Burch: Southern unmentionables

Friday, December 2, 2011 at 4:45pm
By Michael R. Burch

Southern gentlewomen once wore undergarments called “unmentionables.” Eventually we Southerners became either more enlightened or more libidinous (depending on one’s personal interpretation) and today skimpy bathing suits worn openly in public are far more revealing than the corsets, bloomers and petticoats of yore. But I believe we Southerners still have an embarrassing secret that we refuse to discuss or even mention in public: the systematic emotional, psychological and spiritual abuse of millions of children under the guise of adults’ “religious freedom.” This abuse, which I hope to help bring to light and end, is the Christian dogma of “hell.”

It comes in the form of the seemingly innocent phrase “Jesus saves,” which is the basis of the Christian religion. But Jesus obviously doesn’t save Christians from suffering in this life, or from death. So what does he save them from? The only thing he saves them from, as far as I can tell, is eternal damnation, or hell. Therefore, in order for anyone to be “saved” according to orthodox Christianity, they must first be condemned to hell.

This creates a terrifying predicament for young, highly impressionable children who are told that a schizophrenic God loves them unconditionally, but will either cause or allow them to suffer for all eternity if they don’t “believe” in him.

What would a judge or jury do, if a human father built a torture chamber next to his children’s bedrooms and threatened to punish them unrelentingly if they “messed up”? Well, that’s what popes, priests, pastors and Sunday school teachers do, in a spiritual sense, when they threaten children with hell.

In a previous article, I made the rather obvious point that religious organizations like the Roman Catholic Church and quasi-religious organizations like the Boy Scouts of America should not be allowed to keep child abusers from justice in the quest to protect their images and generate revenues. But there are other forms of child abuse.

What about the psychological, emotional and spiritual abuse of children? What about the many churches that teach children that Jesus saves only the “chosen few,” and that anyone who thinks independently and considers the “good news” to be irrational or immoral is bound for an “eternal hell”? How can this be allowed in a nation whose creed is equal rights and justice for everyone? What about the rights of children not to be abused by adults?

Having grown up in evangelical Christian churches, I have great empathy for children who live under the shadow of hell and it disturbs me greatly that our “free press” and government refuse to lift a finger to help them, and that most Southerners fail to say a word in their defense.

Hell is child abuse, pure and simple. The religious freedom of adults should not allow them to abuse children.

Michael R. Burch is a Nashville-based editor and publisher of Holocaust poetry and other “things literary” at www.thehypertexts.com.

 

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53 Comments on this post:

By: JayBee56 on 12/2/11 at 9:27

And who would be the watchdog for things like this? The government, I presume? This is an attack on religion, the first amendment and the rights of parents to raise their children as they see fit. To suggest that religion and/or the concept of hell is child abuse is close to lunacy. Bad experiences are no excuse to "throw out the baby with the bath water". Sorry for your experience in the evangelical Christian church. Do you claim any identification as a Christian? If so, where did you land?

By: dargent7 on 12/3/11 at 8:49

Great, well written piece, Mike.
Growing up, it wasn't enough about the "hell damnation", it got worse when I took the TM meditation (Beatles) technique.
"Meditation is the Devil's workshop", Christian's would say. "A "mantra" is evil".
Then, the "born -agains" started to rise and made you think you had to "re-affirm" your belief in Jesus Christ, get re-baptised, and parade your new found faith to everyone from the gas station attendant to the Walmart cashier.
I minored in "Comparative Religions", and if you even considered Buddhism, Taoism, Hinduism, or hung out with a Hare Krishna or two, you were going to hell in a hand basket.
I read "Autobiography of a Yogi" (Yogananda...I once lived in Cardiff, CA across the st. from his Hermitage...the local coffee shop was called, "Miracles"), and Christians wouldn't even consider reading it, if only for intellectual discussions.
Now, at 50, the only time I say "Jesus Christ", is when the Titans play football.

By: yogiman on 12/3/11 at 10:57

Do you say it when they are winning, or losing, dargent7? One phase would mean you were thanking Him..., but the other would mean you were damming Him, so whose side are you on; His, or the devil's?

By: pswindle on 12/3/11 at 3:11

Michael,
Thank you for a wonderful realistic artilce on the churches of the South. I was raised by a Baptist Father and a Church of Christ Mother, and never a problem in my home. When the preacher preached us to "Hell" my parents let us know that we were not bad but children of God. Today, my siblings and I have a fair respect for the church, but not of the damnation type that is ruining our society.

By: serr8d on 12/3/11 at 3:11

Burch...
How can this be allowed ...

How can you prop yourself up high enough to set rules and guidelines for your fellow citizens? I'll tell you how.

You are an atheist. There is a huge hole in your very being that should be filled with the realization that there is a God; a realization that you have a soul, and that soul is a piece of an eternal God. You, and all of us miserable humans, have just enough soul allotted to us to get us in trouble, or, as good people who seek answers realize, to allow us to take what we've been blessed with and perform a good life, never losing sight during our short human lives that we've been given tasks; that we should do works that honor our soul's owner, our creator. There is no physical Hell: but there is a place called NOT God, a place that our little bits of soul might not find palatable when our time to return is at hand.

What you've done with your embrace of the religion of atheism is kicked out the Godhead that should be in place in your being. That's left a gaping hole that you've filled with your OWN overweening self, your OWN sense of superiority over others, and that's what is giving you (and other LeftLibProgg atheists) the notion that you can actually set rules and guidelines for the rest of us who are non-atheists.

In other words, you are but a hollow shell filled with a thin mist that is your own miserable soul; Godless, and miserable because you've refused to allow God into your heart.

That's fine with me; you can do whatever you like. But please don't try to even think you and your fellow combative atheists deserve to set rules and guidelines for anyone else.

You've enough problems of your own without trying to make the rest of the world embrace your misery.

By: yogiman on 12/3/11 at 5:18

Mike,

You either believe or you don't believe. The choice is up to each individual. And apparently, you don't believe, which puts you on two possibles roads. One, you could possibly go to Heaven if you are simply "writing and article". But if God is not in your mind then you are going to Hell.

You know, over my years of life on this earth I've known people of all thoughts on this subject and at the "end of the road" every damn one of them has had a change of mind on their "ain't no God" ways of life. I hope you aren't the first one to take the left lane to Hell.

By: Mike Burch on 12/3/11 at 10:02

JayBee,

No, I don't consider myself a Christian. I prayed to God and Jesus thousands of times, and they never spoke to me. Why should I believe if anyone who won't acknowledge my existence? It seems God's much-vaunted superpowers should include the ability to communicate, but of course God doesn't speak to sane people, just to the lunatic fringe.

The question is whether the government has any right or responsibility to protect citizens from crimes. Obviously, we expect the government to send murderers, rapists and arsonists to jail, if they commit crimes. It doesn't matter if they are Christians, Muslims, agnostics or atheists.

If my religion teaches me to believe that children can be raped or sacrificed to the gods, and I act on my beliefs, obviously I should go to jail (or an insane asylum).

No one in his right mind would dispute the fact that an adult's religious beliefs do not allow him to rape, physically abuse or kill children. But then why should any adult be allowed to abuse children emotionally, psychologically and spiritually?

Teaching children that they and other human beings may suffer for all eternity is child abuse, pure and simple. I know because I suffered as a child, when religious fanatics who "believe the Bible" told me that people go to hell for having sex outside marriage, or even thinking about sex outside marriage. After all, Jesus said thinking about sex is the same as adultery, and Paul said that all adulterers will go to the lake of Fire, along with liars, etc. But everyone thinks about sex, and everyone tells lies. It is terrifying for young children to believe that people go to hell for such things, and of course billions of people don't believe in Jesus. So the Christian God becomes an unjust Devil who demands belief without bothering to give human beings the time of day. That makes him unjust. Even Hitler didn't cause his victims to suffer forever.

Is it lunacy to say that children should be protected from emotional and psychological torture, or is it lunacy to say that Christians should have the right to torture children?

By: Mike Burch on 12/3/11 at 10:12

Dargent,

Yes, the Titans can conjure up swear words from time to time.

My experience was probably somewhat similar to yours. I attended Christian churches all around the world, and I found most Christians unwilling to be honest about the Bible (which is worse than Mein Kampf in many passages). How can a true religion teach children to believe in a book that commands or condones the stoning of girls for being raped (Deuteronomy 22), the stoning of boys for being stubborn (Deuteronomy 21), the sale of girls into sex slavery by their own fathers (Exodus 21), and the murder of mothers and their infant sons, with only their virgin daughters being kept alive as sex slaves (Numbers 31)?

The Bible is full of the barbaric "wisdom" of ancient nomadic goatherds who claimed to hear God telling them that they were the "chosen few" and thus could kill women and children, or enslave them, in the process of taking the Promised Land.

Later, white Christians would do the same thing to Native Americans and African Americans, proclaiming it their "manifest destiny" to rule other people.

Today millions of Jews and Christians use the Bible to claim that all Palestine "belongs" to the Jews, despite the fact that millions of Palestinians live there. As a result the Palestinians have been stripped of their land, water, farms and human rights. This was the primary cause of 9-11. But how many Christians bother to study facts, or learn from history? Instead, American churches that once blamed our race problems on the non-white victims of racism, now blame all the trouble in the Middle East on the darker-skinned victims.

If that is the best God and Jesus can do, after 2,000 years, heaven help them.

By: Mike Burch on 12/3/11 at 10:21

pswindle,

I'm glad your parents at least tried to relieve your fears. The adults in my family gave the children every impression that the Bible is the "word of God," which would make God the accuser and damner of billions of human souls. I read the Bible from cover to cover as a young boy, and I was horrified. Only someone who is complete denial could conclude that the God of the Bible is loving, wise, compassionate and just. He is in a few verses here and there, but always within a short period of time he's acting like a monster, telling men like Moses, Joshua and David to commit ethnic cleansing and genocide. In a way the New Testament is worse, because by the time Revelation was written, Jesus had become worse than Hitler, Attila the Hun and Genghis Khan. In the letters to the churches, John of Patmos said that Jesus will murder the children of a woman because she was committing adultery. A verse in Revelation says that human beings will be tortured with fire and brimstone "in the presence of the Lamb and Holy Angels." So much for hell being "separation from God."

Christians who would freak out if someone tried to hand their children the Koran blindly believe the Bible is "good" and that children should read it. But I read it as a boy and it horrified and made me sick to my stomach. It's a shame that millions of Christians refuse to admit that the men who wrote the Bible were primitive barbarians. Some were better than others, but the "believe in Jesus or go to hell" thing only makes God and Jesus seem like monsters.

By: Mike Burch on 12/3/11 at 10:26

Serr8d,

You sound like you're missing a heart. If you had empathy and compassion for billions of other people, how could you believe in a God who is either unable or unwilling to communicate personally with human beings, but then sends them to hell if they don't believe?

Such a God would be the Devil. Would Einstein or Gandhi or any compassionate non-Christian damn you to hell for not believing in them? That would make them more loving, compassionate and just than God. How can God judge human beings if their ethics are better than his?

Why should anyone "believe" in Jesus if he is so petty that he sends people to hell for not believing in him, when he was unable or unwilling to speak to them?

The basis of orthodox Christianity is wildly unjust. Should adults teach children to believe in an unjust God?

By: Mike Burch on 12/3/11 at 10:31

Yogiman,

No one in his right mind would want to go to a heaven where the "chosen few" get a free pass for believing in the Devil, and other people go to hell for not believing God that could be such a Monster.

I don't pretend to know if there is a God, but I do know that there is no reason to believe in a God with the ethics of a pit viper. What about the billions of people who never heard of Jesus because they never read the Bible? If they go to hell, God truly is a monster. If they don't go to hell because they never heard of Jesus, the worst thing anyone could possibly do is mention the name Jesus to any human being, especially children.

The basic tenet of Christianity makes absolutely no sense, and never has. No one should have to believe in Jesus, because Jesus is either unable or unwilling to confirm his existence.

By: JayBee56 on 12/3/11 at 11:14

Mike, you may wish this to happen in an ideal world but it's just not going to happen. Christianity has been around for 2,000 years and doesn't show any signs of going away or changing. The concept of eternal reward or eternal punishment is a foundational doctrine of Christianity and I don't see that changing either. You have gotten hold of the wrong end of the stick on Christianity.

By: JayBee56 on 12/3/11 at 11:43

One more thought. Even though I am a Christian, I don't accept all habits and practices of all churches or Christians. I have been to some churches or interacted with some Christians and had to disagee with them. There is room for a lot of flexibility and each person is in a different place in their faith journey. RIgid practices and beliefs makes people give up and abandon the church. We have to find common ground where we can and let God work on the places where we differ. Much more could be said about this but this is not the forum for it.

By: Mike Burch on 12/4/11 at 3:40

JayBee,

I disagree. Human culture changes and influence religion to a tremendous degree. For thousands of years, animals and human beings, even children, were sacrificed to the gods. Some religions practiced cannibalism and the drinking of blood, believing this gave them the power of their victims. Christians owned slaves because the Bible clearly commands and condones slavery. But all these things went out the window. Christians no longer believe half the things the Bible says.

Hell is a powerful tool because it terrifies people into converting to Christianity, after which they give money to churches. But teaching children about hell is a form of abuse, just as teaching them that slavery is the "will of God" was abusive.

Modern democracies must protect the rights of children, the most vulnerable of all citizens. When forced to comply with standards of decency in the past, Christians gave up a number of Biblical teachings, such as slavery, racism and ethnic cleansing. There is no reason we can't protect innocent children from abusive adults. We have done it in the past.

By: Mike Burch on 12/4/11 at 3:48

Jaybee,

I am for religious freedom and tolerance, as long as religious people are not harming other people. In the past, white Christians used the Bible to enslave people with darker skin, and steal their land and natural resources. Other Christians opposed what was done to Native Americans and African Americans. But surely we should all oppose innocent children being abused just because hell gives churches money and temporal power. As Mark Twain said, he discovered that he had been "saved" for money only, and it embarrassed him to learn that he'd been duped. The Hebrew prophets never mentioned a place called "hell" or any possibility of suffering after death. The Hebrew word Sheol clearly means "the grave," not hell. This means that for thousands of years of Biblical chronologies no human being was ever threatened with hell. And yet there is no verse in the entire Bible in which hell was ever created or its purpose explained. So why do Christian churches condemn human beings to an "eternal hell" that the God of the Bible and his prophets knew nothing about?

I developed a simple proof that there is no hell, according to the Bible. Anyone who's interested in the truth about hell can read it at

www.thehypertexts.com/no%20hell%20in%20the%20bible.htm

By: dargent7 on 12/4/11 at 7:19

Mike:
You want proof there's a God?
I used to say "look at the Hubble telescope pictures from space". No way all that shit "just occurred".
Now I just say, "Look at this month's issue of Playboy magazine's Centerfold".
If you don't say, "Jesus, help me", you're legally dead.

By: govskeptic on 12/4/11 at 8:44

Another attempt and pretense of great logical thinking to "kick the
believers" to the curb and allow the "Progressive genius" to rule
the land. Your anger over supposed unanswered prayers may have
more to to with that being requested causing the answers to never
arrive! If you like darg are looking for NASA to develop a telescope
to find the answer, then good luck during the wait! While knowing this
subject travels in circles, your dedication to this and the Palestinian
cause is unwavering!

By: Captain Nemo on 12/4/11 at 12:19

By: serr8d on 12/3/11 at 2:11
Burch...
How can this be allowed ...
How can you prop yourself up high enough to set rules and guidelines for your fellow citizens? I'll tell you how.

Translation; How dare you to raise yourself higher than me.

By: Captain Nemo on 12/4/11 at 12:25

By: yogiman on 12/3/11 at 4:18
Mike,
You know, over my years of life on this earth I've known people of all thoughts on this subject and at the "end of the road" every damn one of them has had a change of mind on their "ain't no God" ways of life. I hope you aren't the first one to take the left lane to Hell.

This pompous ass thinks he knows the final destination of everyone, when in reality he should only be worried about his lack of God.

By: Loner on 12/4/11 at 10:08

Another thought-provoking missive from Mike Burch...and the author's online feedback on the feedback....that's cool...thank you, MIke and thank you, Nashville City Paper.

Is scaring the hell out of kids with Judeo-Christian notions of heaven and hell a form of child abuse? If there is no heaven, nor hell, then that may well be the case.

But, if there is a heaven and if there is a hell, then not informing kids about such things, might be considered a form of child abuse.

It's all in the minds and viewpoints of the believers and the non-believers.

IMO, government should stay out of the religious dogma business. Outlawing beliefs is fundamentally un-American.

A secular and democratic state should not meddle with church matters and the churches should not meddle with matters of state....of course, there are reasonable limits to that general rule.

Secular, that is to say civil law, must trump and supersede all religious law in a secular, pluralistic, constitutional , democratic republic, such as ours.

Informing kids about heaven and hell may not cross the legal threshold of "child abuse", but it can scar developing minds needlessly.

I think that it's best when innocent children are allowed to ask the faith-related questions first, before any attempts are made to supply dogmatic answers to questions that the children never would have thought to ask.

Mike, check out your local Unitarian Universalist church...you may find kindred spirits there.

By: dargent7 on 12/5/11 at 7:28

Preaching the Heaven and Hell paradigm is a form of child abuse?
I'd say, absolutely not.
Children need boundaries when growing up.
It's like telling them masturbating causes blindness. Is that sex abiuse?
I think we all can see this Sandusky fellow is warped and has mental problems exposed the more he rationalizes his need to shower with 10-12 year olds. Just "horseplay" and snappin' towels...while naked?
Just like Michael Jackson before him.
The priests who fondled the altar boys were definitely sick-os and all they got was a transfer order.

By: sidneyames on 12/5/11 at 9:10

Mike said "I am for religious freedom and tolerance, as long as religious people are not harming other people. In the past, white Christians used the Bible to enslave people with darker skin, and steal their land and natural resources. Other Christians opposed what was done to Native Americans and African Americans. But surely we should all oppose innocent children being abused just because hell gives churches money and temporal power."

As you stated Mike, the issues of slavery are in the "past" and most people who of of loving hearts and kindness have forgiven the offenders and moved forward. Your views of Christians are not reality based. You sound like someone who has been deeply wounded by someone or something and have not turned the forgiveness over to God to deal with. Jesus died and was wounded for your healing. I pray that you can turn your heart towards God and stop condeming everyone who believes in Him.

By: Captain Nemo on 12/5/11 at 10:21

Slavery is not a thing of the pass.

http://thecnnfreedomproject.blogs.cnn.com/2011/07/12/three-voices-how-to-end-modern-day-slavery/

By: global_citizen on 12/5/11 at 10:29

"Mike, you may wish this to happen in an ideal world but it's just not going to happen. Christianity has been around for 2,000 years and doesn't show any signs of going away or changing."

Actually, you might want to get current on your information. Religious affiliation is declining rapidly in the West. Down from 85% to 60% in Europe over the last 35 years.

http://www.usatoday.com/news/world/2005-08-10-europe-religion-cover_x.htm

By: BenDover on 12/5/11 at 10:36

There are so many long forgotten lessons built into our culture and religious traditions. Now Burchie here wants to throw them all out because he's so much smarter than the collective societal evolution of the last 4000 years. The arrogance here is astounding.

Another example of a young man who has yet to learn how little he knows.

By: BenDover on 12/5/11 at 10:41

Interesting article about how experience can teach us to know something we can't explain.

http://discovermagazine.com/2011/sep/18-your-brain-knows-lot-more-than-you-realize

By: Captain Nemo on 12/5/11 at 10:54

I disagree global. Christianity has been around for 2,000 years, but the Christianity of today is not what it was in the beginning. Too many pagan rituals are now apart of Christian culture.

Easter, Halloween, and Christmas observances are among the most commonly observed religious and secular holidays (a word perverted from Holy Days) that many people believe are a part of the worship system of the God; however, basic research into the origin of these holidays shows them to be unacceptable to God the Father and Jesus Christ.

http://godkind.org/pagan-holidays.html

By: global_citizen on 12/5/11 at 10:57

Nemo, I'm not sure what part you disagree with when you say you disagree with me.

Personally, I'm no longer religious, but I still enjoy holidays as a time to get together with family and friends.

By: global_citizen on 12/5/11 at 11:05

Sidney, there is no merit in believing in religious mythology. You may believe, as millions believe, that Jesus died for our sins and all that, but this is nothing more than dogma, traditional dogma handed down generation after generation. This dogma is truly has no basis in reality.

Maybe Mike has been wounded by religion, that's for him to say. But personally, I've not been wounded by religion. I simply grew up and realized just how concocted the whole thing is. I'm indifferent toward religion, except that I lament how inappropriately influential it is in our society.

It's sad to see people being so deferential to religious dogma and to see the church meddling so much (effectively) in the business of politics and the state when you know all of this is so much bunk.

By: global_citizen on 12/5/11 at 11:07

Mike, I suspect we've had similar upbringings in a religious home and have arrived at similar conclusions. I enjoy reading what you have to say on this subject.

By: Captain Nemo on 12/5/11 at 11:07

Interesting read Ben, but this has been call intuition, instinct, hunch or as Thomas Magnum would say, “The little voice in his head...” I have often had bad feeling about things, but could give reason why I felt that way.

By: Captain Nemo on 12/5/11 at 11:19

Sorry global, I was trying to say that Christianity is now what it was intended to be in the first century. A long the way men have screwed it up and changed it to what they wanted it to be. Christianity today I believe is more for social status. Don’t get me wrong, I do think there are people that go and believe in a God, but they are real.

I personally don’t have a religion to cling to, but I do believe.

By: rldavenport@com... on 12/5/11 at 12:03

Loner:

I absolutely agree with your response to Mr. Burch. Certainly preachers, priests, parents, etc. need to be rational and reasonable in explaining to their children what heaven and hell are all about; but not informing children about them is also a form of mental duping or deception (abuse if you want to call it that). Have there been people who have been "scarred" by the way some have approached the subjects of heaven and hell? Yes, but not all children have been scarred by learning about the concept of hell, or eternal punishment. The gospel of Jesus Christ has motivated millions of people to change their lives for the better - yes, even murderers, etc.

Mr. Burch does present a thought--provoking article; he just needs to be willing to admit that there are people who are just as rational and logical as he is who have investigated and thought through the subject as much as he has who have a totally opposite view of God and Jesus, heaven and hell, etc. To argue that anyone with a different viewpoint on these subjects is irrational and ignorant is nothing but arrogance and closed-mindedness.

By: yogiman on 12/5/11 at 12:33

Religion is like beauty: It is in the eyes of the beholder.

By: Captain Nemo on 12/5/11 at 3:21

If that is true,then yogi has one ugly religion.

By: yogiman on 12/5/11 at 3:30

I don't think I have to tell you what to kiss; do I, dumba..? But with your idiocy, I think you should do it twice to really enjoy the smell.

By: Captain Nemo on 12/5/11 at 3:35

No tell me yogi what to kiss.

By: Captain Nemo on 12/5/11 at 3:36

By: Captain Nemo on 12/2/11 at 6:28
Shut up yogi.

Cain will quit the race tomorrow. He is now making settlment to his wife,trying to keep her from taking him to the cleaners.

By: yogiman on 12/5/11 at 5:00

Where was you Saturday, dumba..? Cain made his announcement back then. Looks like your pal "Barack" pulled one on him.

By: Captain Nemo on 12/5/11 at 5:15

I made the prediction Saturday stupid. I’m just letting you know that I make better predictions than you.

By: Captain Nemo on 12/5/11 at 5:25

It was Perry that sprung the leak, stupid.

Cain Blames Perry Aide for Leaking Sexual Harassment Allegations

http://blogs.wsj.com/washwire/2011/11/02/cain-blames-perry-aide-for-leaking-sexual-harassment-allegations/

By: acluu on 12/5/11 at 9:18

Mike,
You may have gone to church but what did that profit you? It was neither mixed with belief or faith.
You deny the Diety of Christ, His death, burial, and resurrection, and coming again to receive the church to Himself.
You've rejected the God of the whole earth. What else remains for you?

By: Mike Burch on 12/6/11 at 4:01

Religion is like beauty: It is in the eyes of the beholder.

By: Captain Nemo on 12/5/11 at 2:21
If that is true,then yogi has one ugly religion.

Nemo, I have to agree with you. I grew up in churches where the adults all claimed to be "saved by the grace of God," without doing anything to earn that salvation except believe God is an unjust monster, while teaching their children to worship and fear him. I always understood that the "God" of the Bible was unjust, because he demanded belief but wouldn't give me the time of day.

Am I some sort of ingrate, or am I "lost" because I think God should speak to me personally if he wants me to believe in him, not depend on smoke, mirrors and the sermons of people with no compassion and no sense of justice?

Orthodox Christianity is glorified Devil worship. Christians believe that the Devil created an unjust world, sentenced human beings to suffer and die unjustly, never did a thing to end suffering and death, and that if they bow down to the Devil and worship him, he will "save" them by grace. But why should I "believe" in the murderer of Adam, Eve and every animal and human being that ever lived?

Should human beings worship the Devil, and teach their children to worship the Devil? I see no evidence that the "God/Devil" of Christianity exists. If he does exist, there is no evidence that he is loving, wise or just. He doesn't save human children from suffering and death, but any good parent, doctor or nurse would save children whenever possible. It seems self-evident that God is either not all-powerful, or is not good, because someone who is all-powerful and good would not allow innocents to suffer and die. Jesus railed against hypocrisy, but if he demands compassion and justice from human beings, how can he not act with compassion and justice himself?

Orthodox Christianity reveals an emperor with no clothes, who demands that his subjects act with compassion and justice, without ever following his own advice and commandments.

All it takes to cure oneself of Christianity is to ask, "Why don't God and Jesus do what decent human beings would do, and spare innocent children from suffering and death?"

By: Mike Burch on 12/6/11 at 4:15

You've rejected the God of the whole earth. What else remains for you?

Good question. Is it better to believe in the Tooth Fairy, on the slim chance that the Tooth Fairy might really exist, and leave a dollar under my pillow? Should I believe in God and Jesus, despite the fact that their superpowers don't include the ability to communicate with me? If God is unable or unwilling to communicate with me personally, should I believe the Bible, a book worse than Mein Kampf in many passages? Should I believe that God commanded racism, intolerance, matricide, infanticide, ethnic cleansing and genocide?

I don't believe in the Bible because I read and studied it for years. The more I read it, the more it disgusted me. How can any parent who cares about his/her children's emotional and mental well-being hand them a Bible and pretend that it is the "word of God"?

I agree with Mark Twain, who said that it wasn't the Bible verses he didn't understand that bothered him ... it was the verses he understood all too well.

Yes, there are a few nice verses in the Bible, here and there. But for the most part the Bible is a revolting book, full of palpably evil commandments. I read the Bible as a young boy, from cover to cover, before my brainwashing was complete. I know what the Bible says and teaches, and I know how terrifying the Bible is, if children believe it came from God.

I know that most Christian pastors refuse to be honest about the Bible and its many Satanic verses. When "men of God" refuse to be honest about the Bible, they terrorize their own children. Every Christian who denounces me has had the same doubts, if they have really read and studied the Bible. Why not be honest, and admit that the Bible is a very human book, full of stone-age thinking that could not have come from a loving, wise, just, enlightened being?

How can Christians who lie to themselves and their own children about the Bible claim to have a "true" religion?

By: acluu on 12/6/11 at 6:31

Mike Burch " I don't believe in the Bible because I read and studied it for years. The more I read it, the more it disgusted me. How can any parent who cares about his/her children's emotional and mental well-being hand them a Bible and pretend that it is the "word of God"?
I agree with Mark Twain, who said that it wasn't the Bible verses he didn't understand that bothered him ... it was the verses he understood all too well.

Why do you suppose the Romans executed Jesus? Is it not at all possible that it was in fulfillment of that which had been spoken before? When he was scourged of the Romans, do you think it was a pleasant thing? That it may have been just a few little slaps of the cord, or was it much more horrible? Isaiah 52 says his visage was to be marred more than any man, that those who beheld him were to be astonished, that he literally was to be made unrecognizable. This was long before He ever appeared in the courts of Herod or Pilate.

By: acluu on 12/6/11 at 7:32

But Mr.Burch ,
If you would rather to teach your children of such notable atheists such as Samuel Langhorne Clemens, here is a few more that you could to teach them.
Alfred Kinsey, was an infamous American biologist and professor of entomology and zoology, who made groundbreaking research on human sexuality. Undoubtedly, he helped to progress social values – but, nevertheless, he took sadistic pleasure out of his research, and did some very weird stuff, including exploiting children for sex. Moreover, much of his research was fraud.

Napoleon Bonaparte, heavily involved in the anti-clerical French Revolution, was atheist. His 17 years of rule resulted in the bankruptcy of France, loss of many of her territories, six million dead Europeans and economic setback in just one generation.

Than Shwe, is the 77 year old dictator of Myanmar/Burma, the head of the ruling military junta.As far as dictators go, Than Shwe keeps a relatively low, and even sullen, profile. Nevertheless, he reportedly leads an extravagant lifestyle, while his people continue to suffer a life of extreme poverty and natural disasters. In the aftermath of Cyclone Nargis, he refused entry into the country for many foreign aid organizations.

Here are some that your children would love to hear about before bedtime:

Kim Jong Il, is the de facto leader of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, and responsible for the deaths of four million of his fellow Koreans. He presents a great threat to the world in terms of nuclear warfare, having persuaded the Soviet Union to award him a nuclear reactor in 1984.

Jeffrey Dahmer, an infamous serial killer and atheist sentenced to 900 years in prison, said “if a person doesn’t think that there is a God to be accountable to, then what’s the point of trying to modify your behavior to keep it within acceptable ranges?”. He brutally killed seventeen men and boys, dismembering them, storing their parts and indulging in cannibalism and necrophilia.

Jim Jones, drew people into atheism through the People’s Temple, largely based in California. He said that he “took the church and used the church to bring people to atheism”. In 1978, 909 people at the restricted communist “sanctuary” he presided over in Jonestown, Guyana, committed “revolutionary suicide” at his command.

Benito Mussolini, is notorious for his war crimes as a Fascist dictator during World War II. As a young man he openly declared his atheism, and in his early career as a politician was openly anti-clerical. He was the Italian leader of the National Fascist Party, became Prime Minister in 1922 and was eventually a dictator who severely restricted freedom of speech. Mussolini supported Hitler’s conquest of Austria. In 1935, he invaded Ethiopia, using poison gas, bombing Red Cross hospitals and concentration camps to kill civilians and destroy “inferior” cultures. However, later he tried to associate Fascism with Catholicism in order to garner dwindling support (however his widow made it clear that he was still staunchly atheist). Mussolini was also deeply anti-Semitic.

Mao Zedong, led the Communist Party of China to victory in the Chinese Civil War, helping to establish the People’s Republic of China. He had ambitions for a strong China, but his programs largely failed altogether. He has been blamed for the death of between 20 and 67 million of his “comrades”.

Pol Pot, The combined effect of slave labour, malnutrition, poor medical care and executions is estimated to have killed around 2 million Cambodians (approximately one third of the population). His regime achieved special notoriety by singling out all intellectuals, and other “bourgeois enemies”, for murder. The Khmer Rouge committed mass executions in sites known as the Killing Fields, and the executed were buried in mass graves. In order to save ammunition, executions were often carried out using hammers, axe handles, spades or sharpened bamboo sticks. His attempts to “cleanse” the country resulted in the deaths of 1.7 to 2.5 million people.

Joseph Stalin, In addition to the famine, Stalin ordered purges within the Soviet Union of any person deemed to be an enemy of the state (i.e. capitalists, theists). In total, estimates of the total number murdered under Stalin’s reign, range from 10 million to 60 million. His government promoted atheism with mass propaganda in school, and held a terror campaign against the religious. He crushed the Russian Orthodox Church, leveling thousands of churches and shooting more than 100,000 priests, monks and nuns between 1937 and 1938.
listverse.com/.../10-people-who-give-atheism-a-bad-name

Jared Lee Loughner is a 22-year-old "ardent atheist"and a left-wing nihilist. He was formally charged with a shooting spree on January 8, 2011 that left 6 dead and 14 injured, including congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords.

A “nihilist” is the worst of all atheist.

Again, let’s take a look back to what Jeffrey Dahmer had said,
“if a person doesn’t think that there is a God to be accountable to, then what’s the point of trying to modify your behavior to keep it within acceptable ranges?”

One more time ….
“if a person doesn’t think that there is a God to be accountable to, then what’s the point of trying to modify your behavior to keep it within acceptable ranges?”

By: Granpa1 on 12/6/11 at 11:37

Granpa 1

Mr. Burch,

There is a saying you may have come across, "The heart knows its own bitterness…".
I regret such bitterness as I acknowledge in you, and my experience has shown me that such bitterness is indeed a poison.
When confronted by unbelief as you express, I cannot help but thoughtfully examine the reasons I believe in God, against the absolute denial indicated by your words.
But really, Hell, or the host of other things you mention, are the basis of your argument for denial?
What is it that makes you think Catholics or the Boy Scouts are off the hook?
Hell wasn't created for humans. Does it exist? May it enlarge itself? Should we be forewarned of it? That is a debate that seems to be raging within you. How can you even speak of a "judge" and a "jury"? You state a hypothetical case and leave it to us to derive an answer, believing you are impuning God.
A number of years ago I knew a person who was extraordinarily pleasant to be around. Both he and his wife were very religious persons. They were the kind of people who regardless of views such as yours and people who hold them, yet lived their lives in confidence of God. The whole family, and it is quite large, devoted their lives to the service of God and continue in it today. They work jobs just as you and I have done. They are different for their one exception, a wilfull respect for their Creator and His Word. The same Bible you decry, in their homes, remains well worn from use and handling.
I am the better for having known them, and their example is one I can only hope to emulate.
It is intriguing how the same sun that softens the wax can harden the clay.

By: Mike Burch on 12/9/11 at 4:20

acluu,

Citing the bad behavior of a few atheists and agnostics doesn't accomplish much. What about the reprehensible behavior of millions of Christians who owned slaves, and burned "witches" and "heretics" at the stake?

If Christianity is a true religion, why didn't Jesus ever speak from the clouds, or on the pages of the Bible, and explain that slavery was an abomination, and that there are no such things as "witches"?

The claims of Christians are refuted by the evidence of history. Jesus didn't speak to Christians and give them the correct teachings on racism, intolerance, slavery, sexuality, etc. Rather, human beings had to evolve their thinking over thousands of years. The Bible has been a hindrance, as it espouses stone-age, barbaric thinking.

The God and Jesus of the Bible were not wise. They didn't know the proper order of creation, or that the earth is not flat and the center of the universe. They never condemned slavery, but acted as if slavery is acceptable. They didn't know about naturally occurring wonder drugs like aspirin and penicillin.

Why believe in "gods" who are dumber than stone-age rocks? Why not be honest and admit that the god of the Bible never knew more than the men who wrote it?

By: Mike Burch on 12/9/11 at 4:27

Gandpa1,

As Oscar Wilde said, the only sin is stupidity. The real question is why Christians torture their own children with the dogma of hell. I understand the evil stupidity of the religion, because I grew up with morons telling me that human beings lived in danger of hell, and had to believe in a "god" who is either unable or unwilling to speak, in order to escape it.

Am I bitter? If I see children being raped in the name of God, I oppose such abuse. When I see morons condemning their own children to hell in the name of God, I oppose the abuse.

If you think it is wrong to be bitter about children being raped and emotionally abused, then we are like members of two alien species. I think Christians should be honest about the Bible and stop abusing innocent children. If you disagree, I hope not to see you in the afterlife, if there is one. I have no interest in living another life among child abusers. Orthodox Christianity, with its demand that children believe in a God who won't give them the time of day, which means they have to pretend to have a "relationship" with an unjust figment of someone else's imagination, is just another cult. I call it the Cult of Hell, because without hell, it would have no power over innocent children.

By: Mike Burch on 12/9/11 at 4:38

acluu,

Who really cares what happened to Jesus? Billions of other people have suffered more pain, for much longer periods of time. Why elevate the suffering of Christ? Christians only pretend to care about Jesus because they think that if they praise and worship Jesus, they will escape hell and gain heaven.

If they really believed that Jesus was good and able to save, they wouldn't fear hell, and they wouldn't have to elevate his suffering to a bizarre pedestal. No person in his right mind would condemn other people to hell for the sake of his petty ego.

I don't claim to be perfect, but I wouldn't condemn you to hell for not believing in me. Therefore, my ethics are much better than the God and Jesus of the Bible. They want me to believe in them without ever doing anything to earn my belief. That is patently unjust. Why should anyone believe in a pitiful God and Messiah who can't even speak?

Christianity is so unjust, no one with a functional heart and brain can believe its main tenets. Show me a God willing to save everyone, and with the ability to prove his ability to save. Then I will be glad to believe. But all Christianity has to offer is a God who is unable to speak, make sense, or save a flea from suffering or death.

Why not be honest? All Christians have the same doubts, but how many Christians are willing to be honest with their own children? None, in my own experience.