How I Got Over: My disabilities led me to question Christianity and finally to abandon it

Jun 24, 2013

Discussion by: Rhondazvous

One day, as I sat in Church, I  heard the man behind the pulpit tell a lie.  Whether he was intentionally trying to deceive the congregation or was himself deceived is beside the point.  He was a man of God, under divine anointing and speaking by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. How could he say something that was not true?  So while the rest of the congregation shouted, “Praise the Lord, Glory to God, Thank you, Jesus.” I sat there waiting for lightening to strike him dead or for some voice from Heaven to boom down “HE’S LYING.” No such thing occurred.  It dawned on me that God expected me to use my brain to discern what is true and not just accept everything that comes from the pulpit as divine revelation.

Still, I did not leave the Church in a fit of disgust.  One incident could not have done it. Ten incidents, of and by themselves, could not have done it, but it was a confluence of incidents that created in me a slowly increasing sense of dissatisfaction and cognitive dissonance.

From the time I was a wee child, going to Church was one painful experience after the other.  You see, I am disabled.  From the time I was a child I’ve had a slowly progressive visual and hearing impairment.  Because there was so much I could hear, no one was aware there were things I was not hearing.  As a result, behavior which should have been attributed to my disabilities was seen as disobedience and lack of common sense.   I cannot blame people for acting on what they did not know.  But in a place that promises solace to the rejected and weary, I found only more rejection.  As I said, it was painful. But it wasn’t the behavior of other Christians that drove me from the Church. If anything, that only made me cling all the harder to Jesus Christ.  After all, my faith was in him, not in man.  I had a “personal relationship with Jesus.”

In my teens, I fell under the influence of a well known televangelist of the Word of Faith persuasion.  Everyone was so excited. They were going to see God perform a great healing miracle.  As time progressed and my disabilities continued, they cast jaundiced eyes my way.  Even my mother jumped on me. “Why are you not healed yet?  You must be doing something wrong.”  To this day, almost 35 years later, she still holds me responsible for not letting God heal me.  This was around the time of the fall of televangelists Jim and Tammy Bakker.  I became the local stand-in for the disappointment and disillusionment the Church felt towards the Bakker’s.

After high school, I went to Biola University, a school that leans heavily towards Calvinism trying to reconcile Word of Faith teachings with Calvinism nearly drove me insane I developed a fear of death—not my death, but the death of those around me.  I did not trust God to be able to keep them alive if I wasn’t constantly praying for them.  I’d pray for one uncle and another uncle would die.  I cannot say if what I experienced could clinically be defined as panic attacks, but they might as well have been. Finally, the absurdity of taking responsibility for things that were totally outside my control and knowledge began to erode my fear.   Still, I did not leave the Church.

One day a famous televangelist, who touted himself as a prophet, came to our Church.  I knew that surely the power of God would come through this man so, like the woman with the issue of blood, I thought that if only he would touch me. He held a healing session and I went up with a crowd of others for the laying on of hands. I believed so hard.  If I wasn’t believing, then I don’t know what belief is.  But when he touched me, nothing happened.  You’d think Jesus had said, “If you have faith as a mountain, you will say unto this grain of mustard seed…”  I didn’t bother talking  to someone at the Church about my experience, for I knew they would just add insult to injury. So  I tucked my disappointment into a drawer.  

Sometimes I’d read things in the Bible that seemed odd to me.  For instance, when God rejected Cain’s offering saying, “If you do well, will you not be accepted.” Or in the book of the Revelation where God pours down plagues on people and between each plague he looks down and is surprised to see that the people have not repented and aren’t ready to love him.  For a brief moment, I’d wonder, what is wrong with this God? He hasn’t the slightest clue of the psychology of the creatures he created.  But I was well indoctrinated to  squelch such dangerous questions, so they quickly vanished in a surge of faith.

Then one day I went to New York where my uncle Richard, who is an evangelist of sorts for Islam, tried to talk to me about why  Christianity is wrong and Islam in right.  The house was full of people and it was too noisy for me to hear him, so he took me down into the laundry area, jacked me up against the washing machine and talked directly into my ear for what must have been two or three hours, though it felt like four.  When he finished, I literally could not walk straight. I was dazed.  What made it so disconcerting was I did not know enough about the bible and Christian history  to know if what he had told me was true or not. There I was, supposed to be the light of the world and the people I called myself enlightening knew more than I did.  As a graduate of Biola and member of Bible based Churches, I knew a lot more about the Bible than a lot of Christians.  But you see, in Sunday school they gave us so many memory verses that we could go our whole lives thinking we know what’s in the Bible yet, have no clue of the really questionable passages therein.  

Upon returning to Texas, I looked up the passages my uncle had shown me.  I was shocked.  I was unnerved.  I closed the book in disgust.  “I cannot read this.  God, I can‘t read this.  I don‘t need an answer.  God, just help me understand.  And for several more years, I thought I could hold on to my Christian faith despite a Bible that couldn‘t possibly be from any god I‘d want to serve.  After all, God is greater than the Bible. He isn‘t subject to the approval of the Nicean council.  

Once again, a man came to our Church who called himself a prophet.  I went down front with the others to let him pray for me.  I wasn‘t there for physical healing but to get healing for the anger that I felt toward the pastor and certain other members of the Church whose reprehensible behavior towards me he had covered up.   The prophet began to lay his hands on my ears but I told him that was not why I was there.  He said, “I know.” After all, he was a prophet. He was supposed to know.  Then he leaned over and whispered . “Why are you here?” I told him it was my mind and my heart. Then he said (DISCLAIMER: before reading this, you should be sitting down.  Make sure your bladder is empty and there are no sharp objects within your immediate vicinity.) “You know the Bible says faith comes by hearing.  Since you can‘t hear, faith can‘t come to you.”  The next day, he reminded us that without faith it is impossible to please God.  I was in tears for days, thinking God had played a terrible catch 22 trick on me.  I needed faith to hear but I needed to hear to have faith. Then I remembered my life.  I remembered how I had walked around Los Angeles for 6 years while my vision progressed to legal blindness.  Without a cane or a cochlear implant, which I now have, every time I stepped off a curb, it was a step of faith.  So I saw this “prophet” in my minds eye and I said. ’Fuck you.’

Yet, it did not come to a head until I found myself in a discussion community online one day, defending the Bible against a man who had listed over 100 biblical contradictions.  I zeroed in on the ones that were easy to refute and was having a good time of it, when someone asked, “what about all the terrible things the Bible says God did to people?”  That was checkmate for me. I could no longer continue to lie to myself.   I could no longer pretend that I still had a personal relationship with Jesus outside the Bible when it was from the Bible that I knew about Jesus to begin with.

You see, it was a slow process.  I now know how frustrating it can be trying to get Christians to use reason and logic.  I understand that it’s like trying to get an AM radio to pick up FM radio waves.  Religion meets people’s emotional needs more readily than logic and reason. Religion tells people that a god will take care of their lives. Logic and reason makes people responsible for their own lives.   Religion doesn’t delude people. It only sanctifies the delusions they already had. Sometimes I feel overwhelmed by the seeming futility of talking to Christians. Then I remember what I went through and redouble my determination not to let Christians have the microphone of public discourse all to themselves.



32 comments on “How I Got Over: My disabilities led me to question Christianity and finally to abandon it

  • I once went to see the great charlatan faith healer Ernest Angely. It is a strange story I tell in full on my website, but at one point we were each holding opposite ends of the giant bible with illustrations of the holy land. I asked “Why is god waiting to heal people?”

    He screamed that I was possessed by the devil and his bodyguards dragged me out of the auditorium and threw me on the ground. I think I might have stumbled on the Angley Rumpelstiltskin word.

    The bible is full of discrimination against the disabled.

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  • When was the first time you read the bible cover to cover?
    I could hardly imagine anyone doing that and continuing to worship Jehovah. Jehovah is just so obnoxious and so unlike the god of pop culture. You might believe he exists, but you certainly would not like him.

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  • What harm would it do, if a man told a good strong lie for the sake of the good and for the Christian
    church; a lie out of necessity, a useful lie, a helpful lie, such lies would not be against God, he would
    accept them.

    Martin Luther 1483-11-10 1546-02-18

    Christians have absolutely no compunction about telling lies, whatever it takes to hook a mark. They will promise anything.
    Atheists constrain themselves to truth, for which there is no reason it should have emotional appeal, other than if you examine it carefully, it matches reality. Most people don’t bother check. All they think about is what they want to be so. Most people are willing marks.

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  • 4
    papa lazaru says:

    It’s good of you to share your experience, even though I find it hard to relate to. I’ve never been really immersed into that world, the worst I got was Sunday church attendance and basic catholic bible lessons, and to be honest, these are very liberal compared to some of the fervent madness and indoctrination stories I keep hearing about. No wonder young (and old) people are leaving in droves. The antidote to all that craziness, a willingness to question what you have been told, access to outside information, and a reality check.

    I suppose you might be interested in that story too.

    It’s a light hearted take on what you are experiencing, really nothing like a hardcore Hitchslap, which you can inquire later 🙂

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  • 5
    QuestioningKat says:

    Whether your an agnostic, deist, or non-traditional believer at this point in time, know that there are still good people around who will help you – if in need. If prayer worked, we would not need any social services nor any people trained to deal with all sorts of people. In general, life is worth living despite any illnesses, or hardships. Unfortunately, when you get an inadequate start from being surrounded by unskilled people, people suffer to various degrees. Those of us born attractive, intelligent, witty, social who fit into the status quo or the “in group” tend to be favored in life. Even a preacher needs to put on a suit because instinctively he knows that showing up with ragged clothes will not win any supporters. He knows it because he holds less than loving thoughts and discriminates against others he perceives as “less than.” Many religions have a problem explaining poverty, illness, and disabilities. Depending on the religion, they will either patronize or blame people who are not “pretty people.” They tell you to come to Jesus, but do not hold out a helping hand. Some will blame you or a past life. They tell you that they are a community, but stop short of being imposed upon. If they had real faith in their God, you would think that they would trust God to provide if their helping hand became too burdensome. But they do not. They scrounge around hording their time and avoid thinking about anyone else other than themselves. Here’s the thing. We know people do this, so quit sugar coating the ugly psychological nature of many humans. By creating a God that “handles” these problems, religions wash their hands from truly connecting with other people. When we get rid of the idea of heaven and an afterlife, we truly need to “Be Here Now.” When we get rid of the idea of some invisible helper, we truly need to love and support each other.

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  • 6
    Bethvg82 says:

    Thank you for sharing your story. It’s amazing the process some people go through before they become atheists. I was lucky enough to be raised in a halfhearted religious household. The people I knew at church were nice, but I was just never really into it to start with. It didn’t seem to offer any real world positives for me and it was very boring. When I was a child I would occasionally pray “just in case,” and then in my teenage years I decided religion was unnecessary and just didn’t make a lot of sense. I mean, all the religions can’t be right. Perhaps this objectivity came from belonging to more than one religion growing up. We went from Jehovah’s Witness to no church to Mormon. I use the term “belonging” loosely. I didn’t appreciate my mom volunteering me to be baptized Mormon at the age of 10 or so. (I told her this a few years later and successfully got out of church after that!) Not to mention the fact that God did some things that to me seemed to be clearly immoral (from my lowly perspective as a mere human). I also couldn’t reconcile the fact that the Mormon church didn’t allow black people into the priesthood until the 1970s with teachings about a loving god who was guiding the church. Perhaps this was because my mother had always been a strong supporter of equal rights/treatment for everyone, and had instilled this in me prior to our joining this church. This policy seemed flat out racist! If this church was led by a loving god why were its practices similar to other awful people in history? (And God told the church leaders to change this policy after the civil rights movement. It seemed a little too convenient.) I also had a good friend during my teenage years that helped me to remove any lingering doubt that there might be an invisible man in the sky via logical arguments (in retrospect I believe he must have been a Dawkins fan). I have to say the strongest argument for me was also “what about all the terrible things the Bible says God did to people?” The journey is different for everyone. Some fortunate children aren’t raised in any religion! It’s unfortunate that you had so many difficulties along this journey, but you give me hope that logical argument can successfully de-convert other believers (even if it is just the straw that breaks the camel’s back). I wish you the best in your liberated life!

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  • 7
    Lonevoice says:

    Your story breaks my heart. Yes, I know you could ask me what God could have done about it. I won’t lie, I don’t have all the answers and to offer any would probably cause even more pain that you have already experienced. I don’t want to do that.

    The Bible makes it clear that people speak out of turn – even when they’re supposedly speaking on God’s behalf. The Book of Acts refers to a group of people from Berea who “searched the Scriptures to see if what the Apostle Paul said was true”. So, you are right in that you should use your God-given brain to question and evaluate what people tell you. I would disagree with the comment on this Discussion that says Christians have no compunction about telling lies: however, they are not flawless (O, that they were!). I am a Christian and have access to Christian TV broadcasts. However, I can count on the fingers of one hand the preachers that I’m comfortable watching or listening to. There are several with a “Name-it-and-claim-it” message, which is nothing more that getting God to get you what you want. One distortion of the Gospel that arises from such a mantra is that it’s your fault if you don’t get what you want because you didn’t have faith. Christ did not die so that these people have a message by which to market themselves. You hear litlle, if anything, about the need for humility and self-sacrifice that Christ taught. How different the world would be if Christians acted like they are supposed to. And I certainly include myself in that.

    As regards the so-called prophet who told you that you can’t have faith because you couldn’t hear – I’ve have never heard anything so unkind and insensitive, not to mention mis-applying and otherwise perfectly good biblical statement. It doesn’t mean physical hearing necessarily. If a person reads and believes, then they have “heard” with the heart. That’s where the Bible says the believing takes place.

    For what it’s worth: sorry for what you’ve been through and that you have been so let down by people.

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  • 8
    Stevehill says:

    “One day, as I sat in Church, I heard the man behind the pulpit tell a lie.”

    Every single time I’ve sat in a church, of any denomination (and I only go as a courtesy to people who are marrying or dead, as a rule), I hear the man behind the pulpit tell an unalloyed succession of lies from start to finish.

    This should not surprise you.

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  • In reply to #7 by Lonevoice:

    So, you are right in that you should use your God-given brain to question and evaluate what people tell you.

    I’m wondering why you would express the above to a person who just shared a very long and painful experience while involved with a religious sect and is no longer a christian? If you were talking about yourself, I would expect that you refer to your own brain as god-given, but why state this is true for the writer of this post, given also that it was shared on an Atheist discussion site?

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  • 10
    Lonevoice says:

    In reply to #9 by Shell:

    In reply to #7 by Lonevoice:

    So, you are right in that you should use your God-given brain to question and evaluate what people tell you.

    I’m wondering why you would express the above to a person who just shared a very long and painful experience while involved with a religious sect and is no long…

    I was referring to the following phrase in the original, very moving, post. “It dawned on me that God expected me to use my brain to discern what is true and not just accept everything that comes from the pulpit as divine revelation.” As far as I understood, at the time of the incident the writer was not thinking like an atheist but as a Christian. (I hope I have understood correctly.) I was making the point that the person in the pulpit is certainly not infallible and people in the pews SHOULD check that what he says is correct – for them, that verification would be to check it against Scripture.

    Of course, I’m not unaware of the many people who post on this site who think the whole Bible is untrue. I was not addressing that in my comments, for the reason I’ve just given. I hope that’s clarified any possible confusion.

    Thanks for picking up on that.

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  • In reply to #10 by Lonevoice:

    In reply to #9 by Shell:

    In reply to #7 by Lonevoice:

    So, you are right in that you should use your God-given brain to question and evaluate what people tell you.

    I’m wondering why you would express the above to a person who just shared a very long and painful experience while involved with a rel…

    Yes, I figured you were referring to that part. I read it in the past tense (what Rhondavouz believed at the time), where the sentence you wrote was in the present tense. My apologies to Rhondavouz, should have checked with you first, as it’s your post.

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  • “what about all the terrible things the Bible says God did to people?”

    Hmm, would be nice to have a list to include with the question.

    E.g., no babies or little kids went on Noah’s ark. I don’t know how Xns deal with this.

    The start down the road to leaving religion certainly varies. For Dan Barker, it was his decision that those Xns who didn’t believe in an actual Adam and Eve weren’t going to hell and that he could have “fellowship” with them. In his book, he said that this small concession was a huge psychological shift for him.

    Going through stories like this and the letters to Dawkins, hunting for such incidents as these, might pay off in a list of effective questions or blunt facts. For example, “Why is it that God gets the credit for the great things people do (doctors saving lives) but people get the blame for doing evil?”

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  • 13
    petermead1 says:

    “You know the Bible says faith comes by hearing. Since you can‘t hear, faith can‘t come to you.”
    What a disgusting thing to say to you. Who does this man think he is? Giving people false hope by appealing to their credulity and ignorance by telling them that he can perform “miracles” and cure their diseases? Men like that thrive off of the desperation of others. Your story moves me. I am sorry that you had to go through all of that. Your disabilities are unfortunate, but they are in no way your own fault. I’m also glad that you finally realized how logically inconsistent Christianity is. When I speak to Christians, I start promptly with original sin in the book of Genesis. I ask them, “If God is omniscient, omnipotent and all loving why did he allow Eve to sin? Why didn’t he stop her before the thought of sinning had ever entered her mind, especially if he already knew it was going to happen anyways? Why didn’t he create us in a way that made us INCAPABLE or IMMUNE to sin?” I usually receive responses like, “He wanted to give us the ability to chose our own path-free will.” This answer is easily refuted with the concept of omnipotence. “But if he is God, then he could give us free will AND make us in such a way as to prevent sin from ever occurring.” They usually reply, “But that wouldn’t be free will.” I repeat myself, “But he is GOD. He can do ANYTHING, even if you can’t imagine it.” The only way to reconcile this cognitive dissonance is to concede that God is either not omnipotent and omniscient or that he intended this to happen. Sometimes they say, “It was SATAN that deceived Eve and caused her to sin.” This is fucking stupid. Why wouldn’t God just DESTROY Satan? If he is bona fide, pure evil, what use is he? Why is God keeping him around? This also goes back to the concept of omniscience. “So what if it was Satan? God knew beforehand that it was going to happen. Why did he allow it?” I also ask them one more thing. “If God is so fond of cleansing the human race because of their depravity by using floods and plagues, why didn’t he do that right off of the bat with Adam and Eve?” With his omniscience, did he ever consider the MONUMENTAL amounts of human suffering that would inevitably ensue because of original sin and think to himself, “Hmm. I had either A. Forgive them of their misdoings right now and purify them. B. Destroy them immediately and start over.” Eliminating them in the beginning and starting from scratch would be FAR more merciful than the alternative, which is to let them be and wallow in their own misery for thousands of years. It’s all a never ending cycle. Some of the rationalizations that I hear for questions such as these are so bizarre. They usually aren’t even from the Bible. Based on the very human nature of them, one can conclude that the person has simply contrived them themselves.

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  • 14
    Mr DArcy says:

    From the OP:

    Religion doesn’t delude people. It only sanctifies the delusions they already had.

    I would have to disagree with that statement. The churches and other places of worship are the very factories of misinformation. Look how, for well over 1000 years, the Christian churches were happy to spread the lie about Adam and Eve and a 6 day creation. Archbishop Ussher of Armagh even calculated the age of the Earth using Biblical chronology. The result 23rd October 4004 bc ! That makes the Earth some 6017 years old by my reckoning ! The fact is that the early Christian geologists went looking for the evidence of Noah’s flood but never found it. At least they were honest enough to admit that the Earth much be much older than 6000 years. Unlike modern day creationists, they at least were honest men. Well with their findings, and other advances in science like the theory of evolution, the major Christian Churches were more or less forced to abandon the Bible’s literal claims, or appear ridiculous. Yes there are still churches such as the Southern Baptists who are still in the bronze age, but no doubt they too will be brought into line with reality eventually. As will the Muslims.

    Yes, disinformation is exactly what religions are good at !

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  • 15
    steve_hopker says:

    In reply to #14 by Mr DArcy:

    From the OP:

    Religion doesn’t delude people. It only sanctifies the delusions they already had.

    I would have to disagree with that statement. The churches and other places of worship are the very factories of misinformation.

    I agree to a large extent (that religions promote false ideas) but I think Rhondazvous’ OP contains a point. Furthermore, it is conclusion from a very moving testimony and account of the clearly painful journey through and eventually out of belief.

    I think the OP point could suggest how believers relationship with religion is not one way, ie it is not just a question of preachers lying (though they do, as Rhondazvous so vividly relates), but of believers both latching their mental patterns and needs into the misinformation, but also condoning and developing it. After all, preachers will have been ‘ordinary’ believers themselves ie there is a generational succession of delusions which has to some extent duped the leaders as well as the led. Nonetheless, I do struggle to think that intelligent or at least media and financially savvy church leaders are entirely unaware of the inconstancies and ot is hard not to feel some anger about that.

    On another point, I might not have looked hard enough for such a publication, but I think that accounts such as Rhondazvous’s and others you see on the RDS website deserve some kind of wider circulation. Sean and Richard, and many other ‘atheist leaders’ are of course excellent speakers and writers, but personal testimonies (I use the word deliberately) such as these carry a great power of their own and could, if the authors were willing, be a strong weapon in the fight, not just against unreason but, as in this case, the truly evil moral values of such religious movements and leaders.

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  • Hi Rhondazvous,

    I’m a new member here and this is my first post. Your post stuck out to me because, I live in TN, went to a Southern Baptist School and indoctrination was attempted on me as a child. In fact, it worked for a long while. I’m disabled too with MS and some other health problems and in the area in which, I live, I have to be careful and unfortunately hide my true beliefs around most or am then a bad person and an outcast and to top it off, I was born gay so you can only imagine what a life so far in the SE.

    My best advice is to avoid so called Religious books because they were all written by humans. Remember, if there had been a God, he/she/it would have had no reason to create a bad guy like Satan to give free will all while knowing before we were even created if we would end up in that everlasting hell fiction so at this time, don’t read Religious books even for stud of insane history and the sad way humans had to cope and how people were kept in control with the so called opiates of the masses.

    As for your disability, any depression related to it, anger or any human need, it is my believe that Evolution has given us a built in ability to help heal ourselves through deep meditation. I will meditate and remember that my brain is in control of my body and so long as the chemicals in my brain that make up my thoughts are okay, those control my brain since what I think of my body is in control imo. This is not going to grow a limb back for one who lost one but meditation might come up with a way to make money or get into a project where one can get a limb for low price or free! In my case, my body has wasted away and I’m also positive for malignant mylenoma if spelled it right but the tumor count is not high so is not confirmed but through medication, I tell my body that I am in control and picture my immune system attacking cancer cells and things like that and I believe it helps. I also meditate for a clear mind in a way to get help from doctors that I’ve not consciously thought of and our subconscious should be put to good use imo instead of allowing it to be pulled in by Religions or terrible things we might hear on the media. Positive thoughts is how I live my life and I do good things to other people and expect good things to be done to me but trust yet verify everything. Verification is important to me. The science is important to me so I do research on various treatments and bring them up to doctors yet in the States, am usually told I am I the States when I do that and I ask the doctors if they doubted that I thought I was in the States lol I pasted a mental exam with good marks other than depression and insomnia disease related.

    I think, the best thing those with a health problem or other problems can do who know the truth that there is no such thing as God is to push foreword and do our parts to see Religions vanish in a moral and legal, kind way. Yes, Atheists have some of the best moral values of anyone imo on average. Since, I think Evolution had some help from unearthly sources, I’d like to do a topic on that and it again has nothing to do with a God but in a book I’m writing called Galactic Castaways which a tid bit is online, I hope to do my part in showing why ancient people ended up believing in Gods. I have another book that I want to do touching on all the major problems in the States with a solution like health care. I have a plan that insures all who want it and costs zero in taxes yet creates jobs at the same time so I hope to get myself out of this poverty of medical bill problems and RX problems by helping others at the same time but I still believe in meditation of self. That does not give us power over other people but it can help us get through some really hard times while giving credit to self when doing well and when we do something wrong, instead of blaming a Satan, we take personal responsibility.

    I have family members that anything that goes right they did, credit given to a God and am talking doctors in some cases and when something bad goes wrong of their doing, Satan made them do it. That is INSANE to me. I’m not the smartest person around and will need a good editor in my manuscripts but I am not so dumb to believe in some God and I think it’s dumb to believe that way.

    BTW, Religion is falling apart I the States and they yell louder as it goes down.

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  • In reply to #16 by MarkR:

    Hi Rhondazvous,

    I’m a new member here and this is my first post. Your post stuck out to me because, I live in TN, went to a Southern Baptist School and indoctrination was attempted on me as a child. In fact, it worked for a long while. I’m disabled too with MS and some other health problems and in… Look at the scandals of TBN and the fighting over private Jets and Mansions as well as a 100k trailer that keeps Jan’s dogs in comfort on travels! Pat Robertson can bench press 20 thousand lbs by the gift of God because those giving him the weight likely put large ones on at 1lb and he lifts 10lbs thinking it is 20 thousand. Anyone seen Jan Crouch without her wig at party time smoking? It’s on Google and pretty funny. It’s one big money making business that puts the poor on the streets imo and shameful. Too bad there isn’t a hell but dumb flock do dumb things.

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  • 18
    margana says:

    To me, this story, which is hard reading because of the pain (and painful perseverance) that it describes, is a stark illustration of why religion should not be taught to children at all. They are highly impressionable, and these wrongful thinking patterns become essentially permanently engraved on the mind. Of course, the church knows this.

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  • Christianity has behaved badly toward a number of other groups:

    1. non Christians, especially Jews and Muslims. It the time of Crusades killing Muslims simply for being Muslim was consider the highest virtue. Today killing Muslims is equated to killing terrorists, even killing children.
    2. tribes surrounding Israel
    3. gay people
    4. the disabled
    5. black people

    There is nothing inconsistent about this. It is just I would not want to belong to a club that treats people, especially me, so badly for so little reason.

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  • I, too, live with a disability—right hand deformity. I attended many prayer meetings, hoping to receive healing, but it never came. Then I decided to quit on Christianity. One question came to my mind: Is God real? I couldn’t deny the fact that he exists. And that made me stick with God. Let’s not forget that true Christianity is about having a relationship with God through Jesus Christ.

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  • Emmanuel, the following statement has the same amount of truth as your post:

    “Is Santa real? I couldn’t deny the fact that he exists. And that made me stick with Santa. Let’s not forget that true Santa-worship is about having a relationship with Santa through Captain Blackbeard.”

    There’s no evidence for the existence of your god. And that’s a fact you actually can’t deny.

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  • 22
    Michael 100 says:

    Emmanuel, you write that you couldn’t deny the fact that he, god, exists.  Would you be so kind as to tell me what evidence supports your finding of that fact?  I happen to agree with Centauri that there is no evidence for god or anything supernatural.  If there is something that we have missed, please share it with us. 

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  • Emmanuel Adeola says:

    I attended many prayer meetings, hoping to receive healing, but it never came. Then I decided to quit on Christianity.

    It is unfortunate when those with disabilities are persuaded by those with  disabling religious thinking, to seek fake cures from faith healers, rather than seeking expert medical help from doctors.

    The mental programming of indoctrination, only implants an imaginary god in the head of converts, and the only real world powers such god images have, is to persuade their human hosts that they exist and take credit for the wished for benefits which either fail to materialise, or which are provided by other people.

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  • Would you be so kind as to tell me what evidence supports your finding of that fact?

    I wouldn’t want to bore you with the usual creation story confirming the existence of God. Personally, I’ve experienced demonstration of His power on many occasions. If someone ministered to me, I could have assumed he/she used diabolical means. But those times, I was all by myself. Experiencing those miracles are not peculiar to me, I’ve also seen and heard about people who experienced His great power and thereby have strong conviction that God is real.

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  • It is unfortunate when those with disabilities are persuaded by those with  disabling religious thinking, to seek fake cures from faith healers, rather than seeking expert medical help from doctors.

    Actually, I wasn’t trying to refute the claim that God heals sick people (including people with disabilities). What I was driving at is that Christians primarily worship God, not for healing or miracles they would get from him, but for who He is—Our Creator.

    God heals. I have many personal testimonies regarding that. True Christianity doesn’t condemn seeking help from medical professionals either. In fact, there are many Christian-Doctors in the world.

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  • Emmanuel,

    There are millions of people in the world who are afflicted with a condition called Schizophrenia. These people also produce what you call personal testimonies. These testimonies are about various topics including persecution by the government or other people, interactions with aliens from space, and many of their personal testimonies include claims of a religious nature that closely resemble standard Christian doctrine.

    I wonder if you would care to explain what is the difference between your personal testimony and the ones that are on record as given by Schizophrenics.

    How can we tell the difference between these testimonies and how can we know which are true and which are false? Are some testimonies good and some harmful?

    What about testimonies from people of a different religion. Are they true or false and how do you know the difference? What if their testimonies are in conflict with yours?

    As an outsider to religion, how can I know the difference between a Schizophrenic and a person who is in in a situation of experiencing His power, as you said,

    Personally, I’ve experienced demonstration of His power on many occasions.

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  • 27
    Michael 100 says:

    Emmanuel, Sorry but neither creation stories nor personal experiences are evidence of anything, let alone the existence of a supernatural being.

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  • LaurieB,
    First, I wasn’t trying to convince you to give religion a trial. The point I was trying to make is that I myself have had questions regarding the existence of God. I could still debate against creation story as a confirmation of the existence of God. I could debunk people’s testimonies about healing and miracles as cooked-up. But I couldn’t regard my personal encounter with God as false. It was a real experience. So with the report of other reliable witnesses, I could confirm God is real.
    Apart from my personal encounter, I’ve experienced God’s power in corporate worship too, clearly visible to many people whom can bear me witness. That makes my testimony different from those of Schizophrenics.
    Regarding your question pertaining to other religions, people practice religions for many reasons. Christianity is basically about receiving forgiveness for sin by accepting that Jesus actually died for our sins and rose on the third day. Believing in Jesus Christ makes us have intimate relationship with God (Father-Son relationship). Only Christianity affords this, that’s why I chose to be a Christian.

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  • That makes my testimony different from those of Schizophrenics.

    I’m not learned in mental disease, but I strongly suspect schizophrenics could make the same claims to truth, and with as much conviction.

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  • Emanuel,

    First, I wasn’t trying to convince you to give religion a trial. 

    Thank you for that small mercy, Emanuel. I’ve had enough years of my life giving religion a trial and it just didn’t work out very well as you can probably discern. 😀

     I couldn’t regard my personal encounter with God as false. It was a real experience.

    As Alan and Vicki have said in the comments above this, these personal testimony experiences, as you call them, always seem vivid and real to the person who experiences them.

    The report you’ve given that there are many others around you who have also had a similar observation or interaction with Jesus, God, or any other supernatural being does not qualify as proof or evidence of truth. Your “reliable witnesses” are only considered as being reliable by you and them but not by anyone outside of your group experience.

    There are countless examples of groups of people who are involved in a highly emotional experiences together that involve elements of indoctrination and some degree of coercion and manipulation which resulted in reports of visions and interactions with supernatural entities and all sorts of phenomenon that rational thinkers know to be false and impossible.

     I’ve experienced God’s power in corporate worship too,

    What is “corporate worship”?

    I’m trying to tell you, Emanuel, that what you’ve experienced, whether alone or in a group setting, is a hallucination. Your first reaction to this statement will inevitably be – No! it was real! But that is exactly what every human on the face of the earth says when after experiencing a hallucination they’re told that their vision is false and just a product of a process going on in their brain.

    I do hope you can do some reading on the neurological phenomenon of hallucinations. I recommend a book on the topic by Oliver Sacks that was written for general public, pretty much.

    What is known about hallucinations is that they are very much more common than we might guess. Also, hallucinations can be induced in a “normal” human in ways that are simple and predictable. After the fact, the subject always refuses to believe that the hallucination wasn’t “real”.

    Certain neuropsych conditions predispose people to experiencing hallucinations. As I mentioned above, Schizophrenia is one of them but other conditions do the same. Bipolar individuals can have psychotic breaks with reality and they can experience hallucinations. These hallucinations are vivid and seem very real to them. When these people come back into reality, usually with the help of medications, it takes quite some time for them to discuss those hallucinations and with the help of someone close to them, they might come to some understanding of what was real and what was a fabrication of their own brain based on nothing. A glitch in the program. A brain creating imagery while completely disconnected to its natural editor.

    I mentioned above that hallucinations are easy to induce and common. There are many people all around us who have actually experienced hallucinations whether by way of a psychological condition or by another means…by recreational use of drugs.

    What I know personally, by my own experience is that it takes only a few molecules of certain substances to knock the “editor” of our brains completely off line! It’s a startling and disturbing experience to be functioning in a basically normal and rational way and then in short order to realize that something that we previously considered to be impossible and nonexistent is actually right in front of us!

    In my late teens I partook in a certain substance that produced startling visual imagery. I was with a bunch of cousins, some of them participated and some did not. We all walked to a swimming pool and proceeded to swim on that hot day. In that moment I was astounded to realize that the pool was not filled with water, as one would expect, but was in fact filled with green lime jello. How that mass quantity of lime jello managed to find its way into that large pool was a mystery that crossed my mind but as is the nature of hallucinations, my mind produced a perfectly acceptable explanation. The water chemically converted itself to jello. I was impressed by this and pleased with my discovery.  I was so pleased with myself at that point that I announced the existence of the  phenomenon to everyone else who was swimming in that pool, very loudly! When all of the many other people swimming all around me stopped in their tracks to stare at me with some degree of alarm, I realized that they were obviously a collection of dullards who hadn’t noticed the astounding jello phenomenon that was as plain as the nose on their faces! A few of the cousins who had also partook of the substance immediately realized the truth of my statements. They were my solid “reliable witnesses”.

    That induced episode of hallucination occurred decades ago and still it remains a vivid memory in my mind. At that time, it took me a couple of days to reconcile what I thought was very real with what I knew, after the fact, couldn’t be real at all. I had to go back to the pool and see and feel the water that was really in that pool. What also helped is that all of my cousins that were with me that day hurled insults at me and with jeering laughter accused me of being crazy and embarrassing them in a very public setting. I laughed it off but I can’t deny that I really was temporarily “crazy” thanks to those little molecules of a certain substance and the truth is that I definitely did embarrass them and myself in public. For the rest of that summer I avoided some of the people in town who were in that pool on that day. 😀

    Now, Emanuel, we can turn the tables here. How is my intimate experience with lime jello any different than your intimate experience with the invisible entity known as God.

    Side note: Don’t anyone waste their time lecturing me on the bad judgement involved in this story – the drugs and the swimming while under the influence. I concede that you would be entirely correct and yet I am not remorseful in the least. 🙂


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  • 32
    Michael 100 says:

    Emmanuel:  you seem like an intelligent man.  Could I suggest a book that you might find interesting:  Carl Sagan’s The Demon Haunted World.  In this book, Dr. Sagan discusses the issues that I, LauriB, Alan4Discussion and Centuari are trying to communicate.  Dr. Sagan is a very good writer, and I think you will find he work helpful as you try to sort out this problem.    

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