Thoughts of a former evangelical Christian

Archive for March, 2013|Monthly archive page

Improbability of Disbelief

In Christianity as Tribalism: Leaving the Tribe on March 19, 2013 at 1:56 am

Many who have never been steeped in religious faith are baffled at the seeming imperviousness of faith to reason. For many, however, faith is not merely a set of ideas. It is an identity. Doubts and disbelief represent existential threats to that identity. The more deeply embedded faith is in a person’s positive sense of self, and the more negative a person’s self image is outside of his or her religious identity, the more difficult it is to escape. One reason religion is so effective is that it systematically strips away every positive sense of self one might have that is not rooted in one’s religious identity.

Some time ago, I developed a flow chart to illustrate some of the common thought processes and defense mechanisms that believers employ to maintain and preserve their faith. The flowchart below, while merely illustrative (the order is not critical) and incomplete, should be helpful in shedding some insight into the mind of a true believer.

Click on the image below.

Improbability

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CEF drops “Hell” from its online Wordless Book presentation

In Child Evangelism Fellowship on March 18, 2013 at 4:54 am

My most compelling motivation in bringing public scrutiny to bear on the severity of Child Evangelism Fellowship’s (CEF’s) curriculum is to prompt CEF to make changes to that curriculum. It affects millions of children every year. I suffered as a child from its harshness. I wish for other children to be spared.  Children deserve to be loved, cherished, and nurtured.  They don’t deserve to be shamed and despised and belittled.  They deserve to live.  They do not — as CEF’s curriculum appallingly states — “deserve to die.”

Now — at last! — there is a small hint of “good news.” This month, CEF –for the first time — dropped the word “Hell” from its online Wordless Book presentation. The appropriately titled “Gospel Dark” page previously looked like this:

OldDarkGospelPage

“[T]he punishment for sin is to be separated from God forever in a place of suffering…a place called Hell.”

This month, CEF dropped the words “in a place of suffering…a place called Hell” from the “gospel dark” script.  This is an incremental improvement in a still stunningly negative script:

NewDarkGospelPage

No more explicit Hell. Hell is now implicit.

Of course, CEF has much, much more to do, including a complete soul-searching reexamination of the reductionist salvation-as-a-formula, punitive & self-abasing theology behind the “Wordless Book.” It is time for the broader evangelical community to reexamine — and ultimately challenge — the same theology.

Some will mock this minor edit.  But I applaud it, small though it may be.

Standing up for children & uniting against religious child abuse

In Child Evangelism Fellowship, Good News Club on March 10, 2013 at 8:46 pm

Protesting Religious Child Abuse

On Saturday, March 9, about 40 concerned citizens gathered at a peaceful protest of the abusive shame and fear indoctrination of Child Evangelism Fellowship. The event was a “Good News Spectacular” at the Dixie Classic Fairgrounds in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.  The protest was covered by the local newspaper, Winston-Salem Journal, and Fox 8 WGHP.