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.
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)
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
The second law of thermodynamics may be expressed in many specific ways, the most prominent classical statements being the statement by Rudolph Clausius (1854)
The German scientist Rudolf Clausius laid the foundation for the second law of thermodynamics in 1850 by examining the relation between heat transfer and work. His formulation of the second law, which was published in German in 1854, is known as the Clausius statement:
Heat can never pass from a colder to a warmer body without some other change, connected therewith, occurring at the same time
There have been nearly as many formulations of the second law as there have been discussions of it.
—Philosopher / Physicist P.W. Bridgman, (1941)
Loschmidt’s paradox, also known as the reversibility paradox, is the objection that it should not be possible to deduce an irreversible process from time-symmetric dynamics. This puts the time reversal symmetry of nearly all known low-level fundamental physical processes at odds with any attempt to infer from them the second law of thermodynamics which describes the behavior of macroscopic systems. Both of these are well-accepted principles in physics, with sound observational and theoretical support, yet they seem to be in conflict; hence the paradox.
Due to this paradox, derivations of the Second Law have to make an assumption regarding the past, namely that the system is uncorrelated at some time in the past, or – equivalently – that the entropy in the past was lower than in the future. This assumption is usually thought as a boundary condition, and thus the second Law is ultimately derived from the initial conditions of the Big Bang.
A.C.E. of course does not teach the Big Bang Theory. They choose to teach the truth.
The Second Law of Thermodynamics states that the disorder in a system increases, rather than decreases. The Second Law of Thermodynamics gives a precise definition of a property called Entropy.
Entropy: Entropy can be thought of as a measure of the disorder in a system. The Second Law of Thermodynamics states that the Entropy, or disorder, of an isolated system can never decrease. In other words, in our Universe, a state of order progresses to a state of disorder.
– The Sun and the stars are burning up.
– The Sun is cooling down.
– The Universe is “winding down”.
– Ultimately there will be “heat death” of the Universe.
In other words, everything in our Universe tends to disorder. This principle of Entropy is exactly what the Bible teaches in the following Scriptures:
Hebrews 1:10-12, “Lord, in the beginning you made the Earth, and the Heavens are the work of your hands. They will disappear into nothingness, but you will remain forever. They will become worn out like old clothes, and some day you will fold them up and replace them. But you yourself will never change, and your years will never end”, TLB.
Psalm 102:25-27, “In ages past you laid the foundations of the Earth and made the Heavens with your hands! They shall perish, but you go on forever. They will grow old like worn-out clothing, and you will change them like a man putting on a new shirt and throwing away the old one! But you yourself never grow old. You are forever, and your years never end”, TLB.
In the world that we observe, nothing gets more ordered in design and structure, without an input from an external higher energy source.
The Coliseum in Rome ￼
The Coliseum is not getting in a more ordered state by itself, but is in fact becoming less ordered, and will eventually collapse completely.
Evolutionist claim that adding energy to a system will increase the order in that system This claim is not borne out in observations.
– America added a lot of energy, in the form of nuclear bombs, to Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945. But America certainly did not increase order in either city.
– The Sun’s energy is destructive to everything on Earth except one molecule called Chlorophyll,
– The Sun will eventually burn the roof of our houses and turn the bricks to powder.
Implications of Second Law of Thermodynamics
The Second Law of Thermodynamics implies that the Universe could not order and provide energy for itself.
The order and energy observed in the Universe implies an “Outside Agency”, Who the Bible describes as God.
So, yes things change, but they degenerate. This is why we teach our students that the Word of God never changes as He never changes.
As for whether or not the PACE writers understand evolution or lie about it, not even the so called scientists who devote their lives to proving evolution fully understand it. They don’t feel they have to prove anything and choose to have the attitude of “ I can’t prove I’m right, but you can’t prove I’m wrong”
Goldschmidt is usually referred to as a “non-Darwinian” however he did not object to the general microevolutionary principles of the Darwinians. He only veered from the synthetic theory in his belief that a new species develops suddenly through discontinuous variation, or macromutation. Goldschmidt presented his hypothesis when neo-Darwinism was becoming dominant in the 1940’s and 1950’s and he strongly protested against the strict gradualism of neo-Darwinian theorists. Because of this his ideas were seen as highly unorthodox of the time by most scientists and were greatly subjected to ridicule and scorn.
However there has been a recent interest in the ideas of Goldschmidt in the field of evolutionary developmental biology as some scientists are convinced he was not entirely wrong. Scott F. Gilbert Developmental Biology Sinauer Associates; 6th edition, 2000
Goldschmidt presented two mechanisms for how hopeful monsters might work. One mechanism, involved “systemic mutations”, rejected the classical gene concept and is no longer considered by modern science however, his second mechanism involved “developmental macromutations” in “rate genes” or “controlling genes” that change early development and thus cause large effects in the adult phenotype. These kind of mutations are similar to the ones considered in contemporary evolutionary developmental biology.
Theissen, G. (2010). Homeosis of the angiosperm flower: Studies on three candidate cases of saltational evolution. Palaeodiversity 3, Supplement: 131-139.
Didn’t you say that it has never been part of the scientific community’s thinking on evolution?
Just like your reasoning for stating that they lie about homosexuality is a learned behavior. The studies only show that certain homosexual males had specific areas of the brain larger than heterosexual males as females have. So do lesbians have this same area smaller than those heterosexual males? Also, are they stating that there are no known heterosexual males with this same area of the brain showing larger than females or did they not test any? If you feel that what you provided as proof for this behavior is creditable, then it is no wonder you are so negative as to what A.C.E. is teaching. It is of course a Bible based curriculum teaching God’s truth and not mankind’s lies.
I know you will not even publish this because of your strict policy which ultimately is contradicted by your statement that you believe in freedom of speech. You have made up your mind as to what you choose to believe and yes, you are right about someday being held accountable for your choices.
In love I will say that I pray that by the Grace of God you come to understand what was done for you at the cross and the price that was paid for your salvation. You will choose where you spend eternity and if you really have heard the truth as much as you say you have then you know just how much He truly loves you.
God Bless You
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.
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. 😉
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
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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.
I saw on 700 Club (yes, I watch it to see what they are up to) about a couple arrested and separated from their children for teaching their children at home. It didn’t say if they used ACE. Nor what the formal charges are. All the report said that it was because of their beliefs. CBN took the angle of religious freedom. This was in Texas. I doubt they were arrested for homeschooling or their beliefs. I learned to read between the lines what CBN reports. They mentioned usually Texas separate the children from parents for one of two reasons: One is neglect, the other is abuse. I suspect the quality of their education was substandard, not up to Texas standards, and therefore the parents are up for neglect. CBN report claimed parents were with their children often, mother stayed at home, so it couldn’t be neglect. But I say it is neglect if their educating their children was substandard even for Texas standards. As usual, there is no follow up report on this on CBN.
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.
Thank you! Did you mean to leave this as a comment on my comment policy page or another post?
Sorry, yes, it was meant to be on today’s post about how your idea of love is fucked up.
Very interesting comments. I was brought up in a literalist (Salvation Army missionary) household. Many things have changed for me and my parents. I have just published “Creationism or The Way of Jesus” which soon will be online. The website burtenshaw.net.au should be ready by the end of May and will have a description of the book. Please read it and find love instead of punishment, find freedom instead of guilt. Young adults need to hear this.
I grew up being fed the lie of evolution at every turn I took. I Didn’t come across many bible bashers but boy oh boy you can’t get away from the billionsofyears bashers. Thankfully all their brain washing and blind insistence on following the evolutionist rather than Jesus Christ I could never swallow. Coming out of evolution brings with it a lot of fear. ‘What will the many say of us the few who chose to follow the way of Life?’ Will I lose my friends? What will my family say etc. Well for certain you are ridiculed, told you are following a lie. You lose your former friends no doubt, and your family starts to hate you and call you a fundamentalist. Thankfully the Lord Jesus Christ draws near to you and reminds you that the world hated Him and crucified Him and they will do the same to His followers. He comforts you and the Psalms and scriptures become much nourishment to your soul. I soon discovered I had been floundering in a pool of mud (self, death and pointlessness) and now I had come into the ocean of God’s love and grace and truth. Wow what an abundance for the soul to feed on. No longer the wretched stench of worthless toil and sorrow only to be crowned by death. Now the life God had given me had meaning and love and grace and the solid truth of the word of God and then finally to receive the crown of life. You can turn your back on Christ as Judas did for temporal gain (riches, pleasure, fame or acceptance by the majority) but for myself you are far richer following Him who loved us and gave Himself for us. Come Lord Jesus.