Comment Policy

I expect the comments on my blog to follow common standards of politeness and decency. I reserve the right to delete posts which fail to meet these standards, and subject to moderation users who repeatedly submit such comments.

I believe in freedom of speech. I also believe it’s important to recognise that, no matter how certain you are about something, there’s a chance you could be wrong. If there’s enough evidence, you should always be prepared to change your mind.

Those two ideas, which I hold are central to adult discourse, were left out of my Accelerated Christian Education schooling. Opposing ideas were not encouraged. In fact, you could be punished for expressing the wrong ideas. And they knew the absolute truth, from God, so there was no question of their being wrong.

Because of this, I have an entirely open comment policy, with one exception.

If you post “proofs” of Creationism, or arguments for a young Earth, I will delete them. 

I am not trying to suppress your arguments. The internet has dozens of Creationist sites, and dozens more where these ideas are debated. You may debate them there.

I will delete them because I’ve heard them before.

I’m not interested. I know what you’re going to say, I’ve considered the evidence myself, and I know that you don’t have a case, Creationist. So don’t waste my time.

If you have something genuinely new to say, of course I will allow that. But I’ll be amazed if that happens.

Otherwise, have at it.

  1. Hi Jonny
    This is an article I wrote a few months ago. It is copyrighted, but you are welcome to use it (or not) if you like without restrictions.

    My Son Thinks I Am Going to Hell!

    In spite of the fact I am a former fundamentalist Christian ex-pastor, my minister son and his family think I am headed for Hell. This is my response to him.

    Different Family Beliefs

    Your faith is important to you.

    My beliefs are important to me.

    We pray to the same God every day

    For me, He is the Caring Creator;

    Who cares about my well being

    To you, He is the fearful God

    Who demands obedience.

    I believe Jesus was a spiritual man but not God.

    I believe Jesus said some great words of wisdom

    And I am sorry he had to die on the cross.

    You believe Jesus died for the sins of man

    And his salvation is a gift from God.

    I do not believe this, but let’s suppose I did.

    Didn’t you say salvation was a gift?

    If it is a gift, why do I need to do anything?

    You say I am going to hell unless . . .

    You even give me the words I should say—

    “Jesus, forgive my sins.”

    Do people go to hell for not saying these words?

    What if I wait until just before dying and then ask?

    What if I meant to ask Him for years but didn’t?

    You say “Too late—you missed your chance!”

    This is God we are talking about isn’t it?

    Is God limited by time or death?

    On the other hand, if salvation is a “gift,”

    Do I really need to ask Him for forgiveness?

    The Bible says God freely gives this gift.

    Where did all these attached strings come from?

    Why conditions on God’s unconditional love?

    New converts are told their Christian duties.

    Tithing is one—not too bad—it is do-able

    Unless you are unemployed or on minimum wage.

    But the heaviest of all these burdens is . . .

    People go to hell unless we show them Jesus.

    So their salvation is in our hands . . .

    I thought salvation was a gift.

    Why is this huge ugly rope attached to this gift?

    Am I responsible for my neighbor’s salvation?

    Why am I involved with another man’s salvation?

    Why does God need Me?

    Suppose I want to play golf on a nice day,

    But my neighbor dies and goes to hell . . .

    And it is my fault . . .

    Because I did not tell him about Jesus.

    Please don’t tell me

    God is so awful and demanding.

    Why am I involved in someone’s eternal choice?

    I thought God loved me and my neighbor.

    Because of His heavy guilt trip,

    I can’t even play golf without God on my back

    I cannot believe God dearly loves me . . .

    But loads me down with guilt trips

    About darn near everything I do.

    If I truly am a child of God,

    Why do I have to be afraid of Him?

    Why can’t I enjoy God

    And let Him fix the world?

    I thought that was His job.

    Scripture says God is with us always;

    If so, “Come on God, let’s go play some golf.”

    *****

    August Stine (google my pen name for more info about my books)

    ordinaryman37@gmail.com

  2. Interesting blog. There is an opinion piece at the NY Times today, with lots of post. It is one of the rare times my comments were not posted. I guess bringing attention to the wounds of fundamentalism is an art I lack.

    http://www.nytimes.com/roomfordebate/2013/01/08/with-children-when-does-religion-go-too-far/in-sects-children-have-few-if-any-rights

    I was really glad to see you covered corporal punishment and the need for mind control. My father had bugs all over the house and a belt was prominently displayed at the dinner table in case anyone lost interest in his monologue. Fundamentalism in the US is often very isolated. There are many barriers; language, clothing, education … mixed with an arrogant sense of godliness, secretiveness and violent threat. (which I believe you correctly express on this site and you can imagine how difficult it is for isolated youth to dash out and embrace a more tolerant community). Did I mention these guys have a lot of gun issues? The fact they can behave politely for a few minutes doesn’t mean much.

    PBS is also doing a piece called the Abolitionists. They were certainly vital to the Civil War and ending slavery. But it also divided protestants into sects of pacifists, radicals and the entitled. Americans have a great deal of trouble separating them.

  3. My mother enrolled me into an ACE school in 6th grade. At first I liked it but as I got older I began to see how ridiculous the PACE system was. The paces were so outdated. Everything we were learning was supposedly through the Biblical perspective. We had to wear uniforms. The girls could only wear skirts or gouchos. No pants! The teachers were just members of the church. No formal training. Reading some of the other posts I have to agree that this type of set up was very isolating. The only good thing I can say is that it taught me to work well on my own. I graduated Valedictorian in 1989. I did not go to college. I was afraid to try because I thought they would laugh at my diploma! I am 42 and am still learning things that I should have learned in high school. I feel that I was robbed of my youth and education. I feel I could have been so much more in life. The school and all of it’s forced beliefs have affected me in so many ways. I am still a Christian but my views of what that really means has changed. I would never send my kids to this type of school. These schools are a waste of time.

    • altrok.rs@gmail.com

      Do not be hard on your parents. They believed they were helping you. A MORE modern concept of God is presented in The Dawkins Delusion by Slater. Amazon kindle

  4. The Dawkins Delusion Atheism vs: God [Kindle Edition]
    Robert Slater Liberal Religion trumps Fundamental Anything
    Atheism can be as fundamental as religious types. Above is reference to a short refutation of Atheism but an argument in favor of religion.

  5. Hi there – I feel we are cousins from ‘across the pond’ for so much of what you write mirrors my own upbringing, particularly with your list of 22. Serious props to you for writing about it in such an honest and open way.

    I have to say that the PACE/ ACE system does still thrive in the US, so much so that it was one of the driving things that made me seek to become an educator – so that I could encourage children and people of all ages to think for themselves and explore their *own* reasons for being and doing.

    I’ve joined your blog and look forward to staying informed. :)

    Have a lovely and bright day – know that you are a light in darkness.

  6. I used to be a minister of a church. I considered myself a true believer. I have a major part of the KJV bible memorized. I was fundamentalist. It really screws with your head. At least it did with mine. Sadly,it’s fear based. I was a christian for about 20 years. Leaving the church & that belief system was an over 5 year process because I was so engrained that I was AFRAID God would punish me or worse my children. I now realize that for decades I was forcing this belief down my throat and down other people’s throats because of my own fears. I was mad at God for a while, honestly. In, to quote a phrase, I saved myself from this terror by privately and publicly acknowledging that I don’t believe. I don’t believe the bible is the infallible word of God. I believe it is just a book written by men. I have lost many people who really weren’t my friends to begin with. I still believe that we are true believers (not christian) because what we hold to be true we believe. I am no longer afraid anymore. It’s quite freeing that at 46 I can honestly be who I really am and not worry about being punished for it. Unfortunately, my daughter is still under her own condemnation but my son and husband are free. Guilt now longer controls my every thought and action. I am a true believer because I accept myself. I think you’re a true believer for accepting yourself and your beliefs that fundamentalism is a lie .please, please continue what you are doing because it helps people. YOU helped me.

    • Thanks so much for commenting. I love hearing stories like yours. You would be welcome to share more of your story on this blog any time.

      When I use the phrase “true believer”, I have in mind someone who is absolutely certain they are right, and therefore is unlikely to consider any alternatives very seriously. I have strong convictions now, but I always want to hold in mind the possibility that I could be wrong, and I could need to re-evaluate my beliefs.

      If I did help you, that’s an honour and I’m glad I could.

      • I agree with your definition. I could be wrong but I think I’m right. ;)

      • altrok.rs@gmail.com

        Leaving fundamentalism is not leaving god but finding God. My justification for .believing is published on Amazon Kindle ebooks. The Dawkins Delusion by Robert Slater

        Sent via DroidX2 on Verizon Wireless™

  7. A well thought out and entertaining comment policy. I agree, if people want to debate ideas that should have been turfed on the trash heap a long time ago, they can do so where they aren’t going to waste space where actual productive discussions can take place. I will similarly be surprised if anything new from the fundamentalist mindset shows up on your blog, but I’ll keep reading in anticipation of such a miracle.

  8. I love this post so much. I have thought these exact things so many times & they are the major reasons why I left fundamentalism & indeed religion altogether. Some day I hope to have the courage to post such things.

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