05 November 2009

PAULA KIRBY - former Christian

Paula Kirby, a resident of Scotland, is a former Christian, a writer, consultant, and project manager, specializing in freethinking and secular organizations. Her columns appear in the Washington Post. They are well-written and thought provoking.

Click on this link for her archived articles: Paula Kirby Archive


rita said...

I'm glad to see the Washington Post printing her articles. The more mainstream these types of issues become the better for all of us.

This comment "the Bible makes it clear that all who have truly come to Christ (that is, after all, what it means to be a Christian) will never depart from the faith -- that's something, the Bible says, that God makes certain of. Therefore, you aren't, as it says above, a former Christian -- perhaps a former Christian poser, but not a former Christian. by one of her readers, is something I ran up against when I left the Church & spoke to people about about my own "deconversion". In Fact my own mother chooses to believe I am still a Christian no matter how many times I tell her I'm not. This really pisses me off because it totally invalidates my decisions.

C Woods said...

Rita, I run into this kind of attitude, too. There are those who claim that any Christian who does something bad isn't really a Christian to begin with, but then they claim that people who are atheists really aren't atheists, because there is no such thing and that when something bad happens to us, we'll all roll over into Christianity in the end. I want to spit every time I hear "There are no atheists in foxholes." Well, when Christians are looking at death, do they turn only to God? Most call the doctor. So, I guess I could say there are few Christians in emergency rooms. (I don't say there are none, because there are those crazy people who let their children die of horrible diseases while they pray without seeking medical advice.)

As to family. I just don't discuss religion with mine. I guess we have our own "Don't ask, don't tell" policy. My relatives always talk about their churches and their religious activities, but no one asks me, so I guess they suspect, but just don't want to know the truth. And, frankly, I don't want to get into it with them. They aren't going to change their minds and neither am I, so why waste good air and cause friction?

Brad said...

One thing that I always admire about people is honesty and I do thank you for being honest about the way you feel about your situation. The truth is that you probably have never given your life to Christ and asked him to forgive you and come into your life and save you. So, I would probably not agree with your mother, if you really feel the way that you do concerning the faith of Christianity.
My question is why have you shifted from what you originally believed? One of the things that are interesting that atheists or evolutionists say is that Christianity or other Christians are not using reason or simply not thinking. But, the truth is that being a Christian you are or should be encouraged to seek out the Scriptures to learn, question, read, study, and apply to your life. After all, the person with good logic, reason, and thinking ability would have to agree with the fact that the Bible is true. I mean it has withstood the test of time and has been proven over and over again. So, if this really is true then one must agree with its content. If one doesn’t then, that person would struggle in using their reasoning skills about the subject.
So, since the Bible is true, then we must believe what is in it. Jesus said that he is God and that he is the only way to heaven. I would urge you to begin seeking out the truth because the Bible says that if you will seek out the truth you will find it and the only truth this world has is Jesus Christ. He does love you and has a plan for your life. If one says that they do not believe in him that simply isn’t going to change the way things are. So, please take time and think about this and may the truth be given to you.
Jesus Christ died on a Cross for your sins and mine. Just because you may not be a Christian right now doesn’t mean that you cannot become one. Place your faith and trust in Christ and he will saved you and put you on a level you never dreamed you could be. Don’t allow other people of the faith who may or may not be true Christians keep you from believing in the saving power of Jesus Christ.

C Woods said...

Note my comment policies:
I welcome opinions that are not abusive or preachy... Because I believe the Bible & other 'holy' books are fiction, using the Bible...to prove that a god exists, would be like using the Cinderella story to convince me that a pumpkin can be changed into a coach by a fairy godmother."

Your comment is rather preachy but since it was polite & addressed to one of my readers, I posted it. Yet, you make the same tired Biblical arguments I have heard before.

The Bible makes the false assertion that bats are birds ---just one of many false statements. Thus I must doubt the veracity of the rest of it.

You say the Bible has stood the test of time. Many myths & legends have stood the test of time. Do you believe the story of the tortoise & the hare written about 500 BC? The story may convey some truth (slow & steady can best fast & arrogant) but did the events in the story really happen?

Likewise, some Bible stories convey truths, but did it all really happen? I doubt it. And if it did, how can you worship a god who told his followers to dash babies heads against the wall?

Mark Twain said [The Bible] "is full of interest. It has noble poetry in it; & some clever fables; & some blood-drenched history; & some good morals; & a wealth of obscenity; & upwards of a thousand lies." (Letters From the Earth)

Why would you assume that Rita has not given religion a chance? Nearly every atheist I know has read the Bible and studied religion in an attempt to find the truth.

A survey found that less than 50% of Americans can name the 1st book of the Bible, only 1/3 know who delivered the Sermon on the Mount (Billy Graham is a popular answer), 1/4 do not know what is celebrated at Easter, 60% cannot name 5 the 10 commandments; 12% think Noah was married to Joan of Arc. Pollster George Gallup, an Evangelical, describes America as “a nation of biblical illiterates”.

If you read my posts on why I am an atheist, you might know that I tried to believe. But I could not make myself believe something that made no sense to me. Reading the Bible is what convinced me that the god portrayed in the Bible was so repulsive to me, that even if I believed he existed, I certainly could not worship him.

Jesus did not die for my sins. He died because he was considered to be a criminal and rabble rouser by the Romans. If god wanted to forgive sins & if he were omnipotent as many claim, he could have forgiven sins without his son being killed.

It seems likely that early Christians used ancient pagan stories about Mithra, Attia, Adonis, Buddha, Indra & others to develop the life story of Jesus. Krishna (lived about 1200 BC): was born of a virgin in a cave, heralded by a star, visited by wise men bearing gifts when his foster father was in the city to pay taxes to the king who sought the life of Krishna by ordering the slaughter of all male children born on that day. Krishna imparted profound wisdom, performed miracles & was crucified.

Does that sound familiar?

(to be continued in my next comment)

C Woods said...

Brad (continued)

How would you react if someone said to you, "Just because you are not an atheist now doesn't mean you cannot become one." That statement implies that the asker doesn't believe you have strong enough beliefs to hold onto your current belief system.

I would never presume that you would change your mind about your beliefs. I know it is a remote possibility, but I doubt it will happen. Likewise, please give the atheist the same respect. Most atheists have studied religion & most have rejected it with eyes wide open.

Studies have shown that no matter what one believes & no matter what proof is presented to show one is mistaken, one will hold onto long-held beliefs ---in fact, the more proof that contradicts one's beliefs, the more one will dig in & hold onto those beliefs.

My blog is not here to convince you to become an atheist. I understand you have strong beliefs which are unlikely to change. You certainly are welcome to read the blog & comment as you wish. I would imagine most Christians would begin to read my blog and quickly back out of it ---afraid of being tainted by my apostasy. It is here mostly for other non-believers and/or skeptics.

Understand my lack of belief is not frivolous. I started to doubt when I was 12. I studied religion. I read the Bible several times. I knew I was an atheist by age 18. Yet, I still read about religion and went back to the Bible. I am now a senior citizen who is still an atheist & unlikely to change my mind any more than you will change yours.

rita said...

Hi C Woods
I didn't realize someone had commented about my comment.

The truth is that you probably have never given your life to Christ and asked him to forgive you and come into your life and save you.
I'm not surprised at brads comments, or his tone of condescension. I've heard it all before. To clarify my position (not that it matters to Brad, who assumes to know what the truth is, since "true" Christians have a monopoly on it) I was raised in the church, I experienced a personal conversion & was a born again Christian actively involved in my church. I taught Sunday school classes from pre-school to adult. I immersed myself in studying the bible & seeking out the truth. I've even been baptized three times. I going to make an assumption myself & say that Brad would say, none of that really matters because if I were a true Christian, I'd still be one. He uses the same kind of logic here: After all, the person with good logic, reason, and thinking ability would have to agree with the fact that the Bible is true. I mean it has withstood the test of time and has been proven over and over again. So, if this really is true then one must agree with its content. If one doesn’t then, that person would struggle in using their reasoning skills about the subject.
So, since the Bible is true, then we must believe what is in it.
Brad you might be able to convince a home schooled third grader with your "reasoning skills" but I'm not buying it.
Because, I've been there, done that. :)

C Woods said...

Great response to Brad ---but I'm sure he has flown the coop. He will probably not return to read our wonderfully thought-out comments, but perhaps some one else of his ilk will.

In my opinion, if the Bible which is so full of hate and violence is true, then we are all doomed.

Are you familiar with the FFRF? The Freedom From Religion Foundation? I like to read the organization's web site and listen to the weekly podcast. I am a member and also receive the monthly newsletter, but the web site has plenty of info if you are not a joiner. One of the co-presidents was a born-again minister. He is very good at explaining Biblical errors.


rita said...

One thing I like about the internet is that is does give people a chance to challenge each others beliefs in a venue that makes it possible to have a discussion & or a debate. I don't mind answering Brad's questions. I understand that current Christians have a hard time listening to much less accepting what former Christians have to say. We are so bad for the faith. In this day & age at least they don't take the Muslim route & condone killing us heretics.

Ozquonk said...

I've just read Paula's "Spirituality: It’s only human!" and found a long searched-for kindred spirit. Yes, spirituality is absolutely a "weaselly word" because it is used to add gravitas to ordinary experience. And it is not even necessary to invoke religion to consider it.
How often is spirituality associated with feeling bad? Never! It is reserved for good feelings about abstract things. How often is spirituality associated with ordinary thoughts. Never! So at the very least, spirituality is associated with good feelings accompanied by ideas about the world beyond the mundane. The ideas don't even have to be true, just not mundane and associated with feeling good. Of course people's spiritualities differ because their imaginations about the cosmos differ and what makes them feel good about these imaginings differ. What's more, your ideas about spirituality aren't accountable to anyone - not even yourself if you don't want them to be. Wanting to feel good about meta-mundane experience would seem like something that everybody would seek. In this sense, NOT having a sense of spirituality may be associated with simply having an impoverished imagination.

C Woods said...

I only approved your comment today. Sorry for the delay, but I have been out of the country for a while. I was in an area where I had to use internet cafés for access and was warned that passwords are often stolen, so I checked only one email account and changed the password often.

Thanks for stopping by.

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