Victoria NeuroNotes

Being A “Nicer, Friendlier” Fundy Doesn’t Change The Message

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News Flash — The majority of Americans believe Hell is a real place.  

Another News Flash — The majority of Americans are going to hell.

You read that right. A North American Mission Board study estimated that 70% of all Americans are going to hell, based on projected numbers of those who have not had a born-again experience.

The NAMB is a Southern Baptist entity. The Southern Baptist Convention is the 2nd largest Christian denomination in America.

The one reoccurring comment I get from Evangelicals during discourse is that I’m going to hell. I’d be quite financially well-off now if I received 10 bucks for every time I heard or read that comment directed at either me, other unbelievers or non-evangelical believers.  Yesterday I came across this article from an ex-evangelical pastor, Bruce Gerencser, and he expressed my sentiments, exactly.

➡ Why I am Not Interested in a Nicer, Friendlier Christianity

He states that ALL Evangelicals are fundamentalists, and that evangelical belief requires theological fundamentalism, which is to say, a core set of beliefs that one must adhere to be a Christian.

As an adult, with a fully developed brain, I can blow off these inhumane accusations, but that’s not usually the case with children, who tend to look up to, and put their trust in adults.

Last year, Child Evangelism Fellowship boasted that they shared the doctrine of hell with almost 20 million children, ages four through twelve, in 2014. Here’s what they teach the children:

14. That the souls of the lost remain after death in misery until the final judgment of the great white throne, when soul and body reunited at the resurrection shall be cast “Into the lake of fire” which is “the second death,” to be “punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of His power” (2 Thessalonians 1:8, 9). Luke 16:22-23, 27-28; Hebrews 9:27; Revelation 20:5, 11-15; 2 Thessalonians 1:7-9.

A website has been set up to warn parents and public school teachers. This is a group whose events have been supported by McDonald’s, Chick-fil-A and State Fair Grounds. Every year in America thousands of public elementary school children bring flyers and permission slips home to their parents, seeking to take part in an after-school “Good News Club” inside one of over 4000 public elementary schools. Most parents are usually unaware of  CEF’s agenda and what their children are being exposed to. In the investigative video, they even state that their aim is to target specific age groups.

The Good News Club curriculum is filled with over 5000 references to sin and thousands more to obedience, punishment, and Hell.  It stresses Old Testament narratives of a retributive God who must punish sin, warns children that they will suffer an eternity in Hell if they refuse to believe, and stresses complete obedience as the supreme value.

As documented in this site’s sections on “Shame” and “Hell” and individual lesson reviews, Good News Club tells children as young as preschoolers that they have “dark” and “sinful” hearts, were born that way, and “deserve to die” and “go to Hell.

Children are targeted for indoctrination because their brain is uniquely vulnerable

Psychologist Marlene Winell writes:

“When assaulted with such images and ideas at a young age, a child has no chance of emotional self-defense. Christian teachings that sound true when they are embedded in the child’s mind at this tender age can feel true for a lifetime. Even decades later former believers who intellectually reject these ideas can feel intense fear or shame when their unconscious mind is triggered.”

brainwash

Dr. Winell shares a comment by a professor who came to her for counseling:

Here I am, a fifty-one year old college professor, still smarting from the wounds inflicted by the righteous when I was a child. It is a slow, festering wound, one that smarts every day—in some way or another…. I thought I would leave all of that “God loves… God hates…” stuff behind, but not so. Such deep and confusing fear is not easily forgotten. It pops up in my perfectionism, my melancholy mood, the years of being obsessed with finding the assurance of personal salvation.”

Bruce:

“There’s another subset within Evangelicalism that thinks they are what I call a nicer, friendlier version of Evangelicalism. They are convinced that legalism, rules, moralizing, and the like are the problem, so they attempt to advertise their churches as places that are judgment free, places where sinners can come to find healing and deliverance. However, these nicer, friendlier Evangelicals hang on to theological fundamentalism. While their lifestyle or what they consider a sin might be different from their legalistic brethren, theologically there is very little difference between the two.”

Exactly!  Bruce demonstrates how you get a “nicer, friendlier” Evangelical to show their true colors.

Evangelical: The church I go to, First Church of the Most Awesome People in Town, is the nicest, friendliest church in town. We love everyone and I am sure if you come to our church you would feel right at home!!

Bruce: Let me ask you several questions. First, do you believe in a literal hell?

Evangelical: Yes, that’s what the Bible teaches.

Bruce: Who ends up in hell?

Evangelical: Well, I am not the judge, only God is, but the Bible does say that a person must know Jesus as their Lord and Savior to go to heaven when they die.

Bruce: So, since I am not a Christian and I refuse to acknowledge Jesus as my Lord and Savior, I will go to hell when I die, right?

Evangelical: (looks down to ground) Uh, well, um, yeah, if you don’t repent of your sins and believe in the Lord Jesus Christ you will go to hell when you die.

[…]

hell 4

Bruce:

The next time you run into a nicer, friendlier Evangelical, go for their jugular. Ask them point-blank if they believe in hell. Their answer(s) to this questions will tell you all you need to know. Personally, I have no interest in being a part of a group or being friends with anyone who thinks that I will burn in hell for eternity because I am not like them. This kind of thinking is no different from the thinking of the demented killers portrayed on Criminal Minds.

 

News Flash — I’m not going to walk on eggshells when having discussions with Bible-believing Christians.

Another News Flash — I’m going for the jugular!

 

heaven-hell-christian-sociopaths

 

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Author: NeuroNotes

Victoria predominately blogs about religion, and the brain's role in religious type experiences.

100 thoughts on “Being A “Nicer, Friendlier” Fundy Doesn’t Change The Message

  1. Well done. I especially like the closer. 😃

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Awesome post! Fight the powers that be!!! Even ones with nice, sweet smiles. Those snakes have the deadliest venom. $Amen$

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Jeff, and you are quite right about the venom. Back when my daughter was little, we frequented a beach on the Gulf side of Florida. A couple of children were digging in the sand, and discovered what looked like worms. They were small and looked quite harmless. That is, until the children got bit. Turns out they were tiny Pigmy rattlesnakes. One child died.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Thanks for the mention!

    Bruce

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Exactly… there is a need to understand that all affiliated religious belief used as an identifier (i.e. Christian, Muslim, Jewish, etc) requires some basic – that is to say, fundamental – set of tenets. These are fundamental beliefs. They are necessary. They must be accepted as ‘true’ in order for the name of the affiliated religious belief to be honest.

    Yet in the real world, we find only the most extreme examples to be associated with ‘fundamentalism’. But these are the outliers and what they share with the most liberal and perhaps most populous versions is exactly the same set of fundamental beliefs held to be true. The sustaining root of all religious extremism comes from this shared set of fundamental beliefs and we shall never be rid of religious extremism until we cut this root… a root so well protected not just by the liberal believers who are so very nice but all too often by misguided faitheists who claim agnosticism and atheism. These are the folk who need convincing about this root cause and stop privileging and protecting it from much need critical exposure. The root is pernicious and it is ubiquitous.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Tildeb, in Bruce’s article he writes:

      “Some who deny this fact are really liberal/progressive Christians living in denial. Raised in the Evangelical church and familiar with its worship and practice, these liberal/progressive Christians don’t want to abandon the only church they have ever known. Their theology puts them squarely outside of Evangelicalism, but they refuse to accept this and they dig their heels in when attempts are made to drag them into the liberal/progressive church. There’s not much anyone can do for these folks. In time, the keepers of Evangelical truth will expose and embarrass them and they will be forced to leave. For now, they play pretend Evangelical.”

      We can’t separate Christianity from the Bible, and we can’t separate the Bible from the worst crimes against humanity ever recorded and supposedly condoned and committed by the god of the Bible. When I left Christianity, I became a deist before I became agnostic, then atheist. I could not, in good conscience, support Christianity in any liberal way because of its association with the Bible. Christianity and the Bible go hand and hand. No amount of cherry picking, are slick-sounding rhetoric will change that.

      Liked by 2 people

  5. A couple of weeks ago I was describing the difference between fundamentalists and evangelicals to my atheist step-dad (who did not raise me). I told him as an evangelical I used to have the same radical beliefs as fundamentalists but that rather than being out-right about it there is more of a manipulative “love” thing going on with evangelicals. In a way, it’s even more sick to use this approach.

    This Hell thing had became more and more of a problem for me until I admitted to myself I didn’t actually believe it. I was unable to reconcile the contradiction of God being good and loving if he sent most people to hell.

    Liked by 1 person

    • ” but that rather than being out-right about it there is more of a manipulative “love” thing going on with evangelicals. In a way, it’s even more sick to use this approach.

      Quixie, you nailed it.

      “I was unable to reconcile the contradiction of God being good and loving if he sent most people to hell.

      Exactly! I still had some fear about going to hell when I first deconverted, but as I told Tildeb, I couldn’t, in good conscience, worship a god with such unethical and immoral behavior.

      Liked by 1 person

      • ” but that rather than being out-right about it there is more of a manipulative “love” thing going on with evangelicals. In a way, it’s even more sick to use this approach.” I second Victoria on agreeing with you on this point. The smarmy, sugary, fake “love” crap evangelicals exude are nauseating at best. Yuck.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Sweetheart, you will be in such good company in hell though. Just think of it as one big party on 🙂

        Liked by 2 people

        • I can guarantee you that Christians who believe in the literal hell will have a completely different take on it. The worst of the worst of the worst of horrific suffering. In other words, there’s not going to be partying in hell. It’s going to be far, far worse than what Hitler did to the Jews, or what any torture device the Christians used during Mid-Evil times. Ain’t Yahweh and Jesus awesome? “Obey me or you’re toast”.

          I tell you, Kate, had it not been for the last 10 years studying about how indoctrination can grab hold of the brain and make one (multitudes) think that this sort of behavior is righteous, holy, and justified, I would have lost all hope in humanity. Even though I went deep with my faith, I never taught my daughter about the concept of hell, even though I believed in it at the time. I did have some humanity in me when I was a Christian.

          Liked by 1 person

          • I recall a Christian telling me after church one day, that hell will be worse than anyone’s worst ever day on earth and heaven will be better than anyone’s best ever day on earth. Thinking back to my reaction at the time, I realise now that I never really could accept that as a reality. Deep down part of me could never accept hell and another part had trouble understanding heaven.

            Like

      • I love nailing things!

        Wait…that just sounds…wrong. 😂

        Um, I’m so bad with a hammer I get excited when I can hit the nail on the head? Yes, that’s better! The metaphor fits because I so rarely am able to make a consise point. So thanks for the compliment.😃

        About the concept of hell…yes I was initially terrified that by becoming apostate I would end up there. Then I thought about how cruel God must be to send me there when I tried my hardest to believe! Then I realized that I didn’t believe any of it anyway so it was all good!

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  6. Um, one of these posts that goes over my head. On another note, have you thought about doing a Vchat 2? Takes ages to scroll down through what, six months?

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Nicely done.

    The hell doctrine is severely damaging and disgusting. I find it sinister and alarming when religious organizations try to infiltrate schools and target small children under the guise of love and charity. I also find it weird that some religious people don’t understand why condoning and supporting a system that would hypothetically send someone to a place of eternal torture is offensive.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Well said. I was shocked when I discovered this group, CEF, and how prevalent they are in America. Sugarcoated arsenic, and so many parents are clueless what their children have been exposed to — that is to say — psychological abuse. In the video I linked, the investigators show literature (read it out loud) from CEF’s children’s books condoning genocide, and basically giving the message to children that if God tells you to kill, you better obey.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. As twisted as these Fundies are, their Dominionist brethren and overseers are even worse. Recently, I read about Tim LaHaye – the evangelist organizer and author of the occult “Left Behind” books whose anti-secular and anti-egalitarian roots trace back to the infamous John Birch Society following the McCarthy era. Bad dudes…

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    • Robert, I’ve been following the growth of the Dominionists – Reconstructionist movement since 2007 when a group moved to South Carolina just 45 miles from where I lived. The movement has been successful in taking hold of the conservative political system, hence, the Tea Party.

      “This Republican Party of Lincoln has become a party of theocracy.”
      U.S. Representative Christopher Shays, R-CT, (New York Times 3/23/05)

      Liked by 1 person

      • After watching and listening to Chris Hedges first malign and then distort beyond recognition his straw man of New Atheism in general and vilify Sam Harris, Dawkins, Hitchens, and Dennett by an intentional and consistent misunderstanding of their different theses criticizing the privileging of religion in the public domain (all aimed to sell his book When Atheism Becomes Religion, of course because, hey, if it’s not automatic knee-jerk respect for his versions of jackbooted Catholicism interfering throughout the public domain while publicly subsidized), I cannot hold anything but utter contempt and disdain towards him and his warped view of what constitutes secularism in the public domain.

        In this interview he discusses Dominionism and he’s right that it’s a danger. But until he and his faitheist friends and accommodationist cohort stops lying to the public and himself that this is merely some fringe element of a perverted religious extreme, he’s doing his good Catholic part to keep the root of religious privilege alive and well to hinder secualr aims, doing his part to keep religious fundamentalism going strong by offering aid and comfort to those who, like him, continue to argue that liberal religious privilege is magically harmless, that we can have our cake of religious privilege in in public domain if liberal according to Hedges and eat it too by simply condemning natural extensions of this privilege to less favourable examples like Dominionism.

        He’s sly and cleverly so but he has an agenda – a religious one – that is probably more dangerous to the health and welfare of government secularism than anything the Dominionists can ever hope to equal. He’s a real piece of work.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Tildeb, did he say that in this video? I was multi-tasking while watching and may have missed a few sound bites. I have read several articles and seen a couple of video lectures by Hedges and I have never seen him malign atheists, so this comes as a shock to me.

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          • Sorry for the confusion. He stays on topic in this video but I know I cannot trust what he says because he is quite able to be intellectually dishonest when it suits his thesis. What I wanted to express is that he wants to have it both ways: condemn Dominionism while enabling its root.

            He’s such a hypocrite yet widely fawned over by those who support his latest book-selling thesis.

            And yes, he’s a real piece of work when it comes to misrepresenting and maligning New Atheists in particular (a common trait to Thomists). I mean, just look at the title of that book he churned out about the ‘dangers’ of turning non belief into a religious belief and we see just how skewed his thinking really is. And he relies on this skewed thinking in order to justify his own religious training in seminary and how he elevates his own understanding about his small sliver of religious belief by presuming the whole pie of non belief must entail slivered ignorance in order to be held as a justified opinion rather than on any insight he simply refuses to acknowledge that permeates non belief in general and New Atheism in particular. His position is just another depressing example of believers relying on the Courtier’s Reply.

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        • I just re-watch the video, and he didn’t say anything about atheists, but I did look into it further and he certainly has maligned them. Again, I am shocked because while he has made great strides in exposing the dangers of this movement, Dominionism, he discredits himself by having such a distorted view of atheism. I can’t believe I’m just now finding this out about Hedges, but I appreciate you bringing this to my attention.

          “In this interview he discusses Dominionism and he’s right that it’s a danger. But until he and his faitheist friends and accommodationist cohort stops lying to the public and himself that this is merely some fringe element of a perverted religious extreme,”

          It’s been two years since he did that interview, and hopefully by know he’s realized that this is by far a fringe group.

          Liked by 1 person

  9. Another reason to keep my kids out of public school. Dandy.
    This makes me wonder if the reason the JWs have developed disfellowshipping is because they don’t believe in Hell. When the afterlife isn’t so threatening, you have to threaten real life to hold onto members.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Madalyn, they are cunningly deceptive. But alarmingly, they aren’t just aiming to indoctrinate your child in after-school elementary school programs.

      PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — An evangelical Christian group plans to try to convert children as young as 5 at Portland apartment pools, public parks and dozens of other gathering spots this summer — a campaign that’s got some residents upset.

      They’ve banded together in recent weeks to warn parents about the Child Evangelism Fellowship’s Good News Club, buying a full-page ad in the local alternative weekly to highlight the group’s tactics.

      “They pretend to be a mainstream Christian Bible study when in fact they’re a very old school fundamentalist sect,”

      http://talkingpointsmemo.com/news/child-evangelism-fellowship-portland

      Like

  10. Hell and a benevolent creator are most certainly mutually exclusive. Another spot on post. It reminds me of one of my favourite youtube vids that also does a pretty great job of driving the point home.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. Only 70% are going to hell? I mean even if you’ve been “born again” I’m sure a good portion of those people are sinning plenty. I remember the idea of hell not making a lot of sense, because when you actually read the bible and all it says you should do, even some of the most staunch Christians seemed to be bending the rules regularly. I remember my Aunt spouting off about Christianity even though she smoked cigarettes regularly and the bible clearly says you are supposed to honor your body. She would swear too, but only swear if she was quoting somebody else, because that she argue was okay. And I looked at all these people bending the rules who were Christians and reasoned it’s really probably more like 95% of people going to hell. And I was like, why would God design a system in which 95% of the participants would fail. Then as I started to understand the concept of infinity more, I also questioned why we only have about 80 years or so of life to determine where we will spending eternity. It didn’t seem fair given how long eternity is compared to only 80 years. It was some bad math. This heaven and hell thing is such a horrible part of Judeo-Christian religions. Great post!

    Liked by 3 people

    • “Only 70% are going to hell?”

      I know, right?

      ” I’m sure a good portion of those people are sinning plenty.”

      Then you have to take into account what neuroscientists/neurosurgeons discovered about belief in god during split brain experiments, not to mention all the subconscious internal dialog that most people aren’t even aware of. The interesting thing about heaven and hell concept, according to Christianity, is that anyone who is who they are, will be in hell, and anyone is the carbon copy of Jesus is going to heaven. In other words, Yahweh don’t want no stinking humans in heaven. He wants a bunch of Jesus clones.

      “I also questioned why we only have about 80 years or so of life to determine where we will spending eternity. It didn’t seem fair given how long eternity is compared to only 80 years. “

      Exactly, and considering the fact that our frontal lobes, which are associated with prosocial behavior, don’t develop fully until we are 25 to 30 years old, just about cuts that time frame in half. There is absolutely nothing sane or rational about the Biblical god. He had the education and mentality of a Middle Eastern during the Iron Age, and certainly knew nothing about the brain or how the environment impacts it and gene expression.

      People are just bloody gullible, lack critical thinking skills, and are vulnerable to death anxiety. The late great Carl Sagan wrote:

      “One of the saddest lessons of history is this: If we’ve been bamboozled long enough, we tend to reject any evidence of the bamboozle. We’re no longer interested in finding out the truth. The bamboozle has captured us. It is simply too painful to acknowledge — even to ourselves — that we’ve been so credulous. Once you give a charlatan power over you, you almost never get it back.”

      Liked by 2 people

      • That’s a great quote Victoria and so true. I was thinking the other day how you can see the occasional physicist or geneticist or biologist as a theist, but I’ve never met anybody who actually studies the brain be an theist. As we’ve said many times…it’s soooo important.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Whilst I don’t actually agree with this anymore, I still love this quote:

      “The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting. It has been found difficult; and left untried.”

      ― G.K. Chesterton, What’s Wrong with the World

      Liked by 1 person

      • I can agree with the spirit of that quote. The reason why it’s a misleading quote is because this would be true of any ideal. I mean after all what’s ideal when us humans are behind it. The scientific method, one could say is ideal, but people make mistakes, we have biases, can be corrupted, etc. I am sure Karl Marx’s utopia might also lead to happiness…at least he believed so, but have we ever tried his vision of socialism? Hindus may also have a wonderful vision of peace on earth that has never been tried either. I really like the quote though. 🙂 Thanks for sharing!

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  12. Since the whole thing is a scare tactic to force you to believe I am not too worried about it. Earlier they would just kill you if you believed the wrong thing. At least the friendlier Christians won’t kill you now. We leave that to the religion of peace.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jim, in 1997, a study was done by a world renown behavioral neuroscientist in Canada. The study was part of a larger research effort in the neurological bases of religious experience, including religious personalities, religious conversions, and now, extreme religious views.

      It was done by administering a set of questionnaires to 1480 university students that asked about a wide range of religious beliefs, habits and behaviors. It also asked about how often the subjects had more common, ‘altered state’ experiences, like deja vu, the sense of a presence (like god), electric-like, tingling sensations, etc. Must that you hear about during a revival or in evangelist/fundamentalist churches. Taken together, these sensations give a measure of a person’s “Limbic Lability”.

      The statistical analysis involved taking each questionnaire that included a ‘yes’ response to an item that asked if they would be willing to kill for God. All the questionnaires that included a ‘yes’ to this were examined to see what other items emerged in association with a willingness to kill in ‘His’ name.

      Four factors emerged.

      1) Having had a religious experience.

      2) Weekly church attendance (religious orthodoxy).

      3) Being Male.

      4) Limbic Lability.

      The next step was to look at all the questionnaires that showed all four traits, creating a second group.

      44% of this second group stated that they would kill another person if God told them to.

      If generalizable, then one out of 20 Canadian university students would be willing to kill another person if they were to attribute the instruction to God. Imagine if this test was conducted on very religious Americans. I’m certain the numbers would be significantly higher.

      Now, what’s interesting about this is that if you take a group like CEF, which is pretty much conditioning children to embrace total obedience to the point of obeying god if he tells “speaks to” them and asks them kill someone (see the video I linked), then we’ve got more to be concerned about then just the “religion of peace”. After all, they (both Christians and Muslims) worship the exact same Abrahamic god.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thank you for that Victoria. I believe what you are getting at here. When I was reading your reply it reminded me of YouTube videos I saw about kids talking about God. Kids repeating what has been ingrained in them. The brains of certain types really adhere to early brainwashing. It works well with racism as well. “Train up a child in the east he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it” (proverbs). In those tight religious quarters of the home many are severely manipulated by well meaning parents teaching the fire and brimstone hate. People who don’t fall for it are going to hell, and it is very disturbing. I’ll check the link now. Have a great day!

        Liked by 1 person

  13. Great post Victoria. Evangelists, Young Earthers, Catholics, Islamic or whatever they believe, the indoctrinating of children by removing their right to freedom of thought and consequently their freedom to choose how they live their lives is a major crime because we fought world wars and many died to protect that principle called freedom.

    Liked by 2 people

  14. I had previously asked a Christian about how they could enjoy heaven if they knew others (even some of their loved ones) were being tortured for all eternity. They really could not answer. they either conclude God must given them a sort of memory wipe or that when they see God and his holiness they will understand how it is only fair that their dear relative is being tortured in hell.

    Liked by 2 people

  15. I’m glad you posted this. I trust you won’t mind me sharing it on my Facebook page. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  16. I just wrote a post about how conservative economics and theology are related, and I see Hell as an expression of belief in karma. Evangelicals want to believe that sowing actions reaps like consequences. This tendency to see nonexistent cause and effect relationships also carries over into economics, where the myth of the American Dream relies on a weak relationship between work ethic and financial prosperity.

    There are many Christians who deep down are embarrassed by Hell, whether they admit it or not. They would be more likely centrists or liberals; or liberally inclined but indoctrinated into fundamentalism or c Conservatism (like you and I were).

    Liked by 2 people

  17. Pingback: Jesus Said Love Your Enemies, Yet God 'Jesus' Tortures His Enemies in Hell | The Life and Times of Bruce Gerencser

  18. Love the News Flashes. 😆

    I still can’t believe that anyone can believe that crap. Not one of them can say they came back from the dead and they were in ‘hell’ or ‘heaven’.

    Yeah, just go to church if you want to meet people who will break you down, tell you what to do and want all your hard-earned money.

    I feel sorry for children. They believe everything their parents and peers tell them and grow up with all those beliefs. It’s no wonder most of us are so totally messed-up.

    All those companies want to do is just get more money. It’s what it’s all about in today’s world. They scare children into believing and what do they get out of it? Money! If there really was a ‘God’, he/she would not stand for this kind of nonsense.

    I totally agree with Bruce and the quote by Christopher Hitchens is so true. Love the end quote.

    Great post Victoria. ♥

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Hey Sonel, I’m off to bed soon, but want to post a quick comment before I sign off for the night. You wrote:

    “I feel sorry for children. They believe everything their parents and peers tell them and grow up with all those beliefs. It’s no wonder most of us are so totally messed-up.”

    Did you ever see the movie “Hope Floats”? Well, your comment reminded me of a quote in that movie.

    “Childhood is what you spend the rest of your life trying to overcome.”

    How true is that, lol. Children have enough to contend without being indoctrinated with the message that they better obey or they will burn. As a child, I had night terrors for years after being indoctrinated about Hell. But you’re right — it’s about money and it’s also about control.

    Thanks for dropping by and for your comment. 🙂 ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  20. I’ve been thinking lately about how much of a monstrous asshole the Yahweh character is, especially with the eternal damnation business for not being gullible. So… agreed.

    My approach in my own research (which led to my deconversion) was to “go for the jugular” with skeptical inquiry. I wonder though in what types of cases that approach is productive when trying to convince believers, when (among some, if not many/most) the firmer the challenge, the more they dig in their heels. (Firmer, like calling the Yahweh character an asshole, vs. using the Socratic method to point out the discrepancy between a benevolent being torturing people eternally.)

    Thoughts?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Ratamacue, I think both methods have their benefits, but this is not a deconversion post (an attempt to deconvert Christians). I am fully aware of the Backfire Effect, so I understand where you’re coming from. However, in cult deprogramming they often use methods that shock the brain. Research shows that shocking the brain (with certain information) can reactivate neural circuitry that had been deactivated. I can tell you that it took a shock to my brain to get me out of my religious stupor — then I was much more open to questioning, whereas before I was paralyzed with fear that questioning and doubting meant I lacked faith, which can be mean a ticket to hell. Remember, I was indoctrinated about hell from the age of four.

      But I’m not here to “shock the brain” of Christians. I’m advocating for children and for people living in fear because they’ve been indoctrinated to believe that hell is real. I’m advocating for people who still get triggers even though they no longer believer in this inhumane teaching. I read comments from ex-believers all the time who said that what slowed down their deconvertion process was still having the fear of hell.

      Going for the jugular means, as the post and quote from Bruce indicates. It means I’m going to be point blank. I’m not interest in being a part of a group or being friends with anyone who believes I’m going to hell.

      Liked by 1 person

      • All good points and clarifications, thanks.

        I hope it didn’t seem like I was picking on you or criticising. I see that this post (and perhaps your blog on general?) isn’t meant to dissuade Christians, but for other good and useful advocacy.

        However, in cult deprogramming they often use methods that shock the brain. Research shows that shocking the brain (with certain information) can reactivate neural circuitry that had been deactivated.

        Interesting. In situations where one is trying to dissuade a believer (unlike this post 😉 ), I wonder what sort of criteria might indicate the most likely outcome of a shock.

        Feel free to let it go if I’m too far off topic.

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        • “Interesting. In situations where one is trying to dissuade a believer (unlike this post 😉 ), I wonder what sort of criteria might indicate the most likely outcome of a shock.”

          Please elaborate.

          Like

          • Like, how do I predict whether a pointed and supported blasphemy (say, explaining some ways in which the Yahweh character is a monstrous asshole) is more likely to be effective or backfire with a particular person?

            Like

            • I’m not sure you can predict. Some people will dig their heels in deeper. I should also mention that when I used the term “cult deprogramming”, I am not referring to the kind used back in the 70’s. The term now is “exist counseling”.

              I also wanted to mention that people who’ve been raised in this environment since childhood or for many years may experience significant anxiety because they are not sure how they are going to cope without this support system. Do you remember the scene in Shawshank Redemption, when the man got out of parole, but he’d been in prison for so long he didn’t know how to cope in the outside world and hung himself?

              I should also note that when I say “shock the brain”, what I mean by that is to discredit the figure of authority, either the preachers, prophet, or a god — even a spouse, and then present contradictions (ideology versus reality), e.g., “How can he preach love and demand we obey commandments when he does just the opposite?”.

              Here’s another example. Josh Dugger. Do you think Anna is going to buy “I’m the head of household — I make the final decisions, I have the rule over you (Genesis 3:16)”, BS now? Hard to tell. Her release of oxytocin (bonding hormone) for her husband may cease all together or it may not. Just depends on how strong her attachment to him is.

              People also release oxytocin for their god, which, as I’ve mentioned in previous posts, will deactivate neural circuitry in regions of the brain associated with negative emotions (towards the one they are bonded to) and critical assessment.

              Liked by 2 people

    • Hi ratamacue0
      Two points:
      1) In regard to ‘God’s love’, I have concluded that the Calvinist argument (taken from Augustine and Paul) about the total depravity of humanity is an important pillar to the God’s love position. The concept is that we are horrible and vile with nothing good in us, thus the fact God’s might save some of us from our deserved fate shows his great love. But even a moments focus on the real world shows the total depravity argument to be clearly false,
      2) Sean Carroll argued the best way to persuade a believer was not through argument but rather through living a good life whilst a person being a person of non belief. Carroll suggested that argument can make people become defensive and draw deeper into their faith, you might say, circle the wagons.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yeah, I think Sean’s wrong on this one and many other New Atheists argue similarly and for the same reasons I do: I’ve been told and read far too many stories by deconvertees who were directly challenged on matters of faith and attribute that confrontation to the beginning of a process away from faith-based belief. Also, I have found the number of younger people who have been exposed to online atheist arguments and rejecting faith-based arguments on their lack of merit far, far more persuasive than waiting several decades to see how moral some atheists may turn out to be. There’s a reason why there’s power to the saying that the internet is where religions come to die.

        Carroll is a really nice person and he bends over backwards trying to make any believer feel welcome. The idea that defensive people will contract into their beliefs if confronted is true as a far as it goes… but often tension is required (and I think usually needed) before breakage occurs. As a physicist, he knows this but makes an exception for the religious. As I said, a nice guy with the best of intentions. But I think that’s a mistake of assumption; I’ve never encountered any deconvertee who slowly moved on his or her own accord towards non belief just because some atheists were nice and never had their religious beliefs challenged by some outside person; there’s just too much social advantage (speaking strictly of the US) to stay a believer – maybe a more liberal one if one stumbles across a reason for significant doubt when bird-watching or comparing fabric swaths – to assume faith-based inertia can be overcome by atheist niceness. I don;t think his argument compares favourably with compelling evidence from confrontation.

        Liked by 1 person

      • 1 – Your thoughts on why some of them don’t see Yahweh as a monster? Seems plausible.

        2 – Maybe sometimes. But some of us are more dense than that. And our lives are short. And Tildeb makes some good points…

        I sure wish I had been more challenged earlier. Maybe I could’ve woken up sooner.

        Like

  21. No doubt you have seen this video before (it is 10 years old), but I just came across it today and thought it was brilliant:

    Liked by 2 people

    • Peter, that video is spot on. You never hear Christians saying their book or the diabolical behavior by their god and the scriptures are immoral. He was also on point when he said:

      “If you were going to draw your to-do list out of a book like Leviticus, it makes Mullah Omar of the Taliban look like Franklin Eleanor Roosevelt.”

      And as he also pointed out, Christians can’t say that Jesus wasn’t immoral, either. He most certainly was, which is why so many conservatively religious people here in the South still support slavery. All they have to do is cite Jesus and other scriptures in the Bible which clearly condoned having and beating slaves, so long as the owners don’t knock out their teeth or poke out their eyes.

      If someone identifies as a Christian, and believes that Yahweh/Jesus is “the God”, then they are inadvertently or advertently condoning the inhumane and unethical behavior clearly evident in the Bible. There’s nothing they can say to worm their way out of it.

      Like

  22. The Good News Club is one of those things that gets my blood boiling. At CEF’s national convention in 2010,The Child Evangelism Fellowship stated aim was to “Knock down all doors to all 65,000 public elementary schools in America and take the Gospel to this open mission field now! Not later, now!”

    Sadly, this crap is spreading. A friend of mine put his 7 y/o son in a school earlier this year. He’s a Spiritualist (that’s big in Brazil) and this was, what he thought, an ordinary private Christian school… the only real option for private education here apart from really, really, really expensive International Schools. Two weeks in, his son comes home and starts talking about Creationism. Six weeks later, he got his kid out of that school. They were teaching not only Creationism, but all this Hell nonsense.

    It’s sick that we have to fight this in 2015.

    Liked by 2 people

    • John, I was reading an article yesterday, where a CEF member, who became a volunteer at an elementary school 4 days a week, openly admitted that children are easily manipulated. Three weeks ago, I was reading a comment from a group I joined on FB who showed a permission slip that her child brought home and was asking others if they had heard about The Good News Club. As it turns out, they are having Summer “events” at the school her daughter attends. Then others started commenting in the group that they had also seen these permission slips sent home by their children but at the time were not aware what the group was about, signing the slips, thinking that if the school approved this, then their children were safe.

      So I checked further and there is a CEF of Mississippi, and they have infiltrated many cities and towns here. Check out the 5 minute video which includes an interview from an elementary school principle and assistant principle (two separate schools) supporting and allowing CEF to indoctrinate children in a public school. This is damn scary.

      http://www.cefofmississippi.com/home

      Liked by 1 person

      • It’s sick, isn’t it. And their logos are all bright and fun and colourful… so innocent! “Now kid’s, let’s talk about god’s genocides…”

        Like

      • It’s not just scary that parents willingly allow their children to be religiously indoctrinated in the public school setting but very dangerous to all of us.

        The Young Evangelical Fellowship knows perfectly well that the key to religious survival is to prey on children and emotionally manipulate them into being devotees. And that’s disgusting moral bahviour… proudly presented in this video as if those disreputable people who engage in this activity are ‘soldiers’ going into ‘battle’ and ‘defending’ the public ‘ground’ taken legally as if this targeted indoctrination of vulnerable minds were nothing more or less than an equivalent club similar to a badminton or chess club out to have organized fun. This intentional misrepresentation yields a product isn’t fun even if fun activities are included while pursuing it; it’s child abuse covered up in piety to look like a social ‘fellowship’ of playing children rather than what it is: a recruitment tool for spreading a submissive and authoritarian ideology to a vulnerable sector of the population. This is intentional deceit being practiced.

        To see if how much bias is being exercised by willing parents and foolish public school staff (and religiously prejudiced judges), alter the object being taught from one Divine Dear Leader to another and see if the reasoning still holds up: is indoctrinating children into the ranks of fundamental Islam really something we should co-op our public schools to promote under the guise of it just being another ‘club’ children can join and play and have fun in?

        Good grief. The bulk of Christian parents are so gullible and so easily deceived that for all intents and purposes their brains really have fallen out when it comes to religious indoctrination.

        Such parent who allow this to happen to their children may have been duped, may be stupid, may be credulous to the point of incredible gullibility, but they are still responsible for allowing this religious fundamentalism contaminant to spread not just into their community but into their families.

        Shame.

        Liked by 1 person

  23. “A North American Mission Board study estimated that 70% of all Americans are going to hell”

    I’ve dreamt about asking the following questions to the audience every time I listen to Hitchens debate someone

    Q1) How many people in this room believe that people are going to hell?
    Q2) How many people in this room believe that some of the people in this room are going to hell?
    Q3) How many people in this room believe that they are going to hell themselves?

    I can only speculate but I would suspect that the amount of hands going up with each successive question would be getting fewer and fewer until Q3, where there likely wouldn’t be a single hand raised in the air.

    I’d love to try this on any type of religious gathering actually. I can’t think of any better way to prove that teaching about hell is nothing more wicked, delusional, vindictive, spiteful, hateful fantasy.

    Liked by 4 people

  24. Hi Victoria, it’s me, Charity. I don’t know what exactly will come up with my gravatar because I’ve been changing some things with my profile. I’ve missed you, as well as my other internet heathens.

    You know how I feel about this topic. There are so many seeker friendly churches that are just as mean and rude as the fundies. They’ll say stuff like “we love you…as is”, but will threaten you with overbearing shepherding if you question their authority and tactics.

    Childhood indoctrination was a HUGE reason why I couldn’t leave Christianity until I was almost 40. It had such a stronghold on me. However, when praying, going to Church and thoroughly going over scripture with my two little ones, my eyes were wide open. I couldn’t allow my children to go through the mental, physical and emotional abuse that I went through while I was their age and on through my adult years. I’m glad we left it all over three years ago! Best decision hubby and I ever made regarding our marriage, family and children.

    I recently realized something that I fear because of all of that garbage, no holy hedge of protection surrounding me. Remember the fear I had of hell? Our sweet Ruth mentioned it on her blog some time back and all I could do was heave and cry. I’ve worked that out, but I realize something even more sinister about Christianity. Not too long ago there was a horrible thunderstorm over night here. It was similar to the storm the night before my family’s home was flooded. I had something like a vision of a strange man coming in a window on my side of the bed and started frantically screaming! Hubster comforted me as I shook and panted trying to fall asleep. As I grew up and as an adult, the protection of god was a huge deal! I remember countless nights of rebuking the devil, placing Bibles under my pillow or under my mattress at night. I prayed and journaled often, asking god for his hedge of protection. There were so many nights that I lied in bed praying, speaking in tongues, crying and listening to worship music just trying to get some rest. I needed so many things to help me feel safe. I honestly have had a lot less nightmares since deconverting. However, when I had that recent nightmare, I realized that they were all about not feeling protected.

    The reality is, while I was a Christian I suffered with abusive and extremely neglectful parents, domineering Churches and manipulative Christian friends. If Christ had his hedge of protection around me then it clearly failed. Knowing this helps me with the fear. I’m working it out.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Charity, it’s wonderful to hear from you. I’ve missed you too, and think of you often. You wrote:

      “However, when praying, going to Church and thoroughly going over scripture with my two little ones, my eyes were wide open. I couldn’t allow my children to go through the mental, physical and emotional abuse that I went through while I was their age and on through my adult years.”

      I must say that being a mother really played a huge role in me questionng the behavior of the Christian god. Even though I was a devout Christian, I could never bring myself to tell my daughter about hell. I know she heard it in church and Sunday school, but I never reinforced it.

      You want to talk about cognitive dissonance? I had it big time while raising my daughter. As a mother, I knew there is no way I would ever send my daughter to hell because she didn’t love me enough or didn’t obey all my rules. you wrote:

      “They’ll say stuff like “we love you…as is”, but will threaten you with overbearing shepherding if you question their authority and tactics.”

      They will, indeed. Bruce brings this in up in article. Basically, if you color outside the lines of the strict Evangelical rules, such as questioning authority and tactics, you will be embarrassed, and forced to leave.

      Charity, I’m happy to read that you are working through your fear. You are one of the strongest human beings I’ve ever known. ❤

      Send me an email when you have time. I have some great news to share with you.

      Liked by 1 person

  25. Well I expect there will be lots of interesting company there!

    Liked by 1 person

  26. I followed to your blog from a comment at another due to your cool-looking moniker incorporating wingdings! Very striking.
    I disagree that church or raising kids as believers is “emotional abuse”. Maybe some Christians act this way but not all. I was raised in an atheist household by loving parents but later became a believer in my 20’s. I have wonderful friends and family members who are non-believers. We clash once in a while but if you truly like /love a person you will try hard to refrain from emotional abuse.

    I completely agree with Nice Atheist above that abusive and extremely neglectful parents, domineering Churches and manipulative Christian friends are very bad things.

    When you call us “Fundies” is that a blanket term for all conservative Christians or just Pentecostal/Baptist-legalist types?
    Would a conservative Lutheran also be a fundy? Just curious.
    We don’t have a word like “Fundy” to use for non-believers/Atheists. I feel that sometimes atheists don’t discriminate too well between different types of religious faith but label it all as “Fundy” (?)

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hi Andrew. Welcome.

      When I speak of fundies I’m speaking of those who take the bible literally and believe that it’s inerrant.

      Btw, why did you become a believer?

      Like

      • I looked into a lot of beliefs and philosophies while growing up in a very non-religious home,but in my early 20’s I got saved when I began praying during a very difficult period of my life (to make a long story short). But I respect unbelief as long as people remain civil. I have gotten so sick of wrangling over it.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Yeah, I can understand where you’re coming from. There’d really be no problem with belief if it wasn’t for the abuse of power by conservative believers, religious legislators making laws to take human rights away from others, etc. I live in the most dyfunctional state in the United States. We rank last (and have for years) as having the worst well being of any state. It’s the most conservatively religious state, run by religiously conservative politicians who cater to bible literalist. It’s very disheartening. They cause so much unnecessary suffering.

          Thanks for sharing.

          Liked by 1 person

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