Raised Evangelical: April’s Story

A post in the Raised Evangelical series.

Section 1: Introduction

Question 1: Please introduce yourself before we get started, providing a brief snapshot of your background an overview of your beliefs today.

My name is April. I’m 30 years old, college-educated, married to a former Christian, and the mother of a beautiful 3-year-old boy. I grew up in the Bible Belt, living mostly in Florida and Tennessee. My father was a pastor in the Assemblies of God for much of my childhood, and I remember (literally) cutting my teeth on a church pew. Even though I’ve abandoned fundamentalism, I’m still a believer in Christ and blog passionately about matters of faith.

Question 2: How did your family and religious community self identify? As evangelicals? As fundamentalists? Or as something else? What did these terms mean to your parents and religious community?

My community identified mostly as Pentecostals, a term taken from the day of Pentecost (the arrival of the Holy Spirit) mentioned in Acts 2. We wore the term like a badge of honor.

Question 3: How did your parents become evangelicals or fundamentalists? Did they grow up in evangelical or fundamentalist families, or did they convert later?

My father grew up in that culture. His father started out as a preacher, but turned to alcoholism after serving in the military. His mother was extremely conservative; she thought pierced ears were a sin even for women.

My mother converted as a young woman, mostly after marrying my father. The fundamentalist culture didn’t suit her well, which may explain why I was spared some of the more destructive experiences others have had in the fundamentalism movement.

Section 2: Theology

Question 1: Briefly describe the church your family attended while you were growing up. What role did the pastor play? How large was it? What sort of programs did it offer? What denomination was it? How many times a week did you attend church? How about Bible study or Bible club?

Most of the churches I attended were small (under 80 members) and Assembly of God. We had Sunday School for about an hour, then morning and evening worship on Sunday; a Wednesday night service; and occasional revival services lasting anywhere from three nights to two weeks. In addition, the church offered a Missionettes program–similar to Girl Scouts, but with a significant scripture memorization requirement. The church also had its own ACE (Accelerated Christian Education) school. As a teen, I attended summer youth conferences and Acquire the Fire events.

Question 2: When and how were you “saved”? How did your parents and church community respond? Did you have a “relationship with Jesus”? If so, at what age did you form this relationship? Please describe what all it entailed. Or, if you attended a church that was more liturgical and did not emphasize the specific moment of salvation or having a personal relationship with Jesus, what were considered to be most important milestones of a religious upbringing (i.e. confirmation, etc.) and how did you experience them?

I accepted Jesus as savior at 5 years old, led to salvation by my kindergarten teacher during class at a local Baptist school. I had a relationship in which I prayed privately to Jesus even without my parents’ prompting. At around 10, I asked to receive water baptism, which was full immersion. I remember both experiences being absolutely joyous and full of ecstasy, as opposed to everything else in my fundamentalist life.

Question 3: How did your family and church view the Bible, and what role did it play in your life growing up and in the life of your family and church? How often did you, your siblings, and your parents read the Bible? Were you guided by your parents or pastors in how to interpret the Bible, especially certain passages, or were you generally free to form your own ideas about what the Bible said?

The Bible was viewed as the inerrant Word of God, to be taken as literally as possible. Being in Missionettes, ACE and church, scripture (especially the memorization of it) was part of my daily existence. In addition, my family had its own Bible studies, and we read the Christmas story from Luke before we opened our presents on Christmas day. My mom sometimes hung little verses on the walls or bathroom mirror to drive home a particular principle she thought was important that day/week/month.

My parents and other spiritual leaders seemed open to questions about the Bible as long as they were the “right” ones. If you were judged as challenging the wisdom of your leaders, you were shot down real quick. The rapture was a fact, eternal hell for the wicked was a fact, six-day creation was a fact, speaking in tongues was a fact, male headship was a fact, and there was no room for discussion.

Question 4: What role did race play in your church? Were there any black or Hispanic families? Were they treated differently?

The churches I grew up in were white-only. Hispanics didn’t exist in our world, and blacks were viewed as particularly sinful people. Some people in my denomination wouldn’t even let their children watch TV shows that starred black actors and actresses. (Family Matters was my favorite show at the time.) My parents weren’t that racist (thank God), but in my younger years they occasionally made comments that I definitely did not like. I was taught not to date or marry outside of my race. Their views softened significantly after befriending a black minister and his wife.

Section 3: Gender and Family

Question 1: What did your church teach about gender roles, the family, and marriage?

Male headship was definitely emphasized. Men were to be the spiritual leaders of the home, the wife humble and submissive. Marriage was a permanent commitment; divorce was taboo and remarriage an abomination. It wasn’t enough to marry someone who shared your religion; they were expected to share your denominational beliefs, too. Women were discouraged from cutting their hair or acting tomboyish, but also instructed to not wear heavy makeup or jewelry.

Question 2: Describe your parents’ marriage. Was it complementarian (i.e. “soft” patriarchy), or more openly patriarchal, or in practice egalitarian? Did your family or church use any of these terms?

My parents’ marriage was interesting to say the least. My dad possessed a gentle, sensitive personality by nature. My mom was decisive and headstrong. Patriarchal teachings caused them endless grief. My mom so desperately wanted to be accepted by this culture, but couldn’t get her marriage to look the part. Behind closed doors, she screamed at my dad for failing to take the lead in their relationship. I think, deep down, my dad preferred an almost matriarchal type of arrangement. He was so easygoing and struggling with his own self-esteem issues (due to childhood abuse) that he couldn’t handle the pressure of being the sole decision-maker. Fundamentalism probably hurt them far more than it ever hurt me.

I don’t think my church ever used the terms “complementarian” or “egalitarian.” Too many syllables.

Question 3: In what ways were boys and girls in your family expected to dress or act differently from each other? Were there certain things it was appropriate for girls to do but not boys, and vice versa?

Fundamentalism puts tremendous pressure on girls to be modest, submissive and sexually pure. It’s always the girl’s responsibility to do and say the right thing. When boys act out, it’s just “boys being boys.” When a girl acts out, she is in violation of God’s expectations for her and requires correction. In fundamentalism, women keep the men’s pants zipped, women set the tone for the household (even though they have little to no authority in it), women ensure their husbands’ faithfulness, and women obey without objection.

Question 4: In what ways were boys and girls in your family raised differently vocationally? Were the girls expected to be stay at home mothers or to hold jobs? Did your mother work, and if so, how was that viewed by your family and church?

My mom worked out of necessity, and so did other women in the church. It was made clear that women couldn’t be pastors, deacons or preachers, but most other vocations seemed acceptable.

Section 4: Education

Question 1: What sort of education did you have: public school, Christian school, or homeschool? What reasons did your parents give for choosing the method of education for you that they chose? 

I spent most of my education attending my church’s ACE school. Surprisingly, my parents allowed me to have a say in the matter. I chose to attend public school in second grade, but returned to private school the next year due to a negative experience. I didn’t attend public school full-time until I reached the 8th grade.

Question 2: Briefly describe the academic aspect of your educational experience (public school, Christian school, or homeschool), focusing on the role played by religion. If you were public schooled, did your parents try to counteract anything you were learning at school with different teachings at home (i.e. sex education, evolution)? Or, did the public schools in your area find ways to include things like creationism or abstinence only sex education?

ACE schools are very isolating. Children sit in divided cubicles all day and work out of booklets chosen for their grade level and ability. There is no group work, creative projects, audio/visual aids, general instruction by teachers or any kind of socialization beyond lunch and break time. The English lessons were very thorough, but math and science was a joke. The science curriculum taught creationism, and scripture memorization was a requirement in every booklet. My math skills were so poor when I entered public school that one teacher claimed I had a learning disability.

My public high school managed to provide a fairly comprehensive education in science and health without getting too deep into evolution or contraception. Condoms were mentioned, but abstinence was encouraged. Biology included heredity, gene theory and cell theory, which my church didn’t seem to mind.

Question 3: Briefly describe the social aspect of your upbringing, especially as influenced by religion. How did your educational experience (public school, Christian school, or homeschool) affect your socialization? Was your friend group religiously diverse or more homogeneous? If you were public schooled, did your religious background cause you any social problems in school?

Most of my childhood friends attended the same church and school I did, so they were fairly uniform in belief. Meeting someone who subverted authority or held different beliefs was like receiving an electric shock. When I finally got to public school, I had a tough time fitting in. After spending years trapped in a cubicle, I just didn’t know how to interact with people my age. I eventually learned, but it took a while. In some ways, I’m still learning.

Question 4: Did you attend Sunday school, youth group, Bible club, or church camp? Please describe your experiences.

Church camp, despite the modesty issues, was a fairly positive experience for me, as was Sunday School and Missionettes. Youth group was another matter. The group I attended as a young adult became heavily involved in emotionalism. We had to be “on fire” for God all the time, always jumping up and down and raising hands during worship. Whenever anyone hesitated to join in the hype, the youth pastor said we were apathetic and God was going to vomit us out of His mouth. I came to despise Luke 9:26 and Revelation 3:16, because they were crammed down our throats at every service to justify the hype. The roller coaster of guilt and ecstasy I experienced in these services made me emotionally sick.

Section 5: Purity

Question 1: What were you taught about physical and emotional purity, and also about modesty? What did your family believe about dating and/or courtship? How was sex education handled?

Thankfully, I wasn’t exposed much to the Purity Movement as a child. My particular church community was convinced that Christ was going to return at any second, so urging people to marry and have lots of kids was a moot point. The whole family values/courtship mindset didn’t come into the church until I was a young adult and my father was no longer pastoring. I had already started dating by that time and wasn’t about to give it up just because some weirdo wrote a book about it (I Kissed Dating Goodbye being the book).

My parents allowed me to start dating at 16, but they gave me hell about kissing, being home on time, and dating guys outside our denomination. They believed dating was for finding a spouse, not for having a good time, which probably explains why I got engaged at 16. Therefore, I needed to know not only my boyfriend’s religious beliefs and plans for the future, but also the beliefs and attitudes of his parents. After all, they were going to be my in-laws. Not bad advice, really. (Fortunately, that early engagement didn’t last.)

My sex education was surprisingly thorough despite abstinence being so heavily stressed. My mom taught me about menstruation and conception at 9 years old, even drawing an accurate diagram to illustrate the concept. When I became a teen, she talked to me about sex and various birth control methods—which were to be used after marriage, of course. I was attending a public high school by then and learned about the different types of sex and the STIs that could result. My dad even talked to me about how kissing and petting gets guys worked up and pushy for sex.

Question 2: How did the things you were taught about purity, modesty, and dating/courtship work out for you in practice? Did you date, and at what age? Did you have sex before marriage, and if you did, did you experience guilt? In essence, explain how belief met practice and with what results.

Modesty was a giant pain for me, especially at a young age. Long skirts were required for school and church, which made playing sports at school difficult. Shorts had to be knee-length; culottes were preferred. We weren’t allowed to go to the beach if we knew it was going to be crowded, because swimming with the opposite sex was forbidden. I remember wearing shorts and a t-shirt to the pool at Bible camp because I couldn’t find a swimsuit that met my parents’ standards for modesty—even though guys and girls had separate swim times, and the pool was in the middle of a field and surrounded by a privacy fence. I was 12 before my parents allowed me to pierce my ears, experiment with makeup or shave my legs, which mortified me because I was mercilessly teased for my hairy legs. My stomach still knots at the memories.

I did have sex before marriage, but managed to save my virginity for the man I married. I didn’t have much guilt about having sex with my fiance; I loved him fiercely and our intimate times were very comforting to me. (I was a senior in college by this time.) However, I did have other sexual experiences with different guys as a teen, and I wish I hadn’t. I wish I could have just dated people without the pressure to be physical, even though such pressure sometimes came from me. It stressed me out and left me feeling dirty and empty.

Question 3: How do you feel about your family and church’s purity, modesty, and dating/courtship teachings today? Do you think there are any parts of these teachings that still have value? How do you plan to handle these issues with your own children?

I definitely think some of these teachings have value, abstinence in particular. I don’t see a reason why 5-year-olds should wear makeup and mini-skirts. However, I dislike the idea of courtship. I think young people need time alone together to express their true personality, because it’s too easy for people to put on a show when they know they’re being supervised. Fathers can express an opinion about the men his daughters choose to court, but daddy has no business picking grooms. Marriage without love is a miserable business.

Young people can’t make wise decisions without accurate information and honest perspectives. Yelling, nagging and manipulation doesn’t work. Helicopter parenting doesn’t work. Forcing a child to endure humiliating situations for the sake of “pleasing God” doesn’t work. With my own child, I plan on setting some boundaries (curfew, etc.) and then providing him with information (both practical and spiritual) that he can use to make good decisions on his own.

Question 4: Do you feel that the purity, modesty, and dating/courtship teachings you were raised with still have lasting impact on your life today? If so, how? What do you feel is the most detrimental effect of purity teachings?

In my experience, purity teachings are manipulative, shaming, sexist and unbiblical. Every object lesson on sexual purity I witnessed was directed at women. It was always the woman shown giving away her sexual purity to multiple guys; the men were just there to receive, completely without responsibility. A few friends and I once signed purity pledge cards at a True Love Waits rally only tofind the cards staked, without our consent, on the front lawn of our public high school the next morning for the world to see. (I thought I was making a private commitment.)

I know many women who suffer extreme guilt and feelings of worthlessness because they lost their virginity before marriage. It’s wrong for the church to make women feel this way, especially women who were violated against their will. The Bible says there is no condemnation in Christ—a fact many ministers fail to mention when they’re calling girls sluts. Thank goodness such teachings don’t impact my life much today. I have been forgiven for my past mistakes by God, my husband and myself, so I no longer see myself as damaged goods.

Section 6: Politics

Question 1: In his book Broken Words, Jonathan Dudley argues that a fourfold opposition to abortion, homosexuality, evolution, and environmentalism constitute the markers of evangelical tribal identity. What role did opposition to these four issues in your fundamentalist or evangelical upbringing, and would you agree with Dudley?

For the most part, yes. Although in my particular church, a focus on rapture and end times dominated all other discussion. Abortion and homosexuality were simply things we did not do (or support), and evolution was something we did not believe. The “culture war” approach to these issues came later.

Question 2: What role did you, your family, or your church community believe Christians should play in politics? What did your family or church hold was the end goal of Christians’ involvement in politics? What were your family and church community’s beliefs about the end times, and how (if any) did these beliefs affect their view of Christians’ role in politics?

Politics didn’t play an overt role in my church’s religion until I was in my late teens. We were encouraged to support pro-Christian values at the voting booth, but I don’t recall hearing any sermons as a child telling us who specifically to vote for. Our beliefs in end time events were similar to those expressed in the Left Behind series: rapture, mark of the beast, tribulation, Armageddon and so forth. Pretty much any liberal president elected to office (Carter, Clinton, Obama) was pitched as a possible Anti-Christ.

Question 3: Were you, your family, or your church community involved in politics? What all did this involvement include? Did your pastor ever preach a political view from the pulpit? Did you ever picket an abortion clinic, attend a “defense of marriage” rally, or participate in any related activities? Describe your experiences.

The church I attended as a young adult regularly prayed for Israel and encouraged political support for the state. Some members carried support signs and held little Israel state flags during these corporate prayers. Some Jewish practices also made their way into our services, including blowing the Shofar and wearing prayer shawls.

Politics was occasionally preached from the pulpit. We were strongly encouraged to vote against gay marriage and any relaxation of abortion laws. Spirituality got tangled up in civic responsibility; if you weren’t voting on these issues, you weren’t fulling your duty to God. I remember my church doing a couple of public protests in town, but I did not participate. However, I did vote.

Question 4: What political issues did you, your parents, and/or your church community see as most important in deciding who to vote for and why?

Abortion and gay marriage definitely topped the list of issues, as well as unconditional support for Israel. Democrats were not to be trusted, ever. If you weren’t voting straight-down-the-ticket Republican, you were essentially consigning the country (and yourself) to hell.

Section 7: Questioning

Question 1: In what ways did the culture of your family and church differ from “mainstream” American culture? To what extent were you integrated into or isolated from “mainstream” American culture? To what extent do you feel that evangelicalism creates a sort of self-contained culture of its own, with Christian bookstores, Christian music, etc.?

Fundamentalism is mostly about the restriction of free thought. It begins by identifying biblically stated sins and giving advice on how one should avoid them. The advice then turns to rules that must be obeyed. After a while, it becomes easy to convince people to immediately form a negative opinion about anything simply by labeling it a sin. Unrelated scriptures get cobbled together to justify the label. Step out of line, and your eternal soul becomes jeopardized. The Christian books and music only reinforce the boundaries by creating “safe havens” for “escape.”

For many years, I was not allowed to go to movie theaters or public pools. I wasn’t allowed to wear spaghetti-strap shirts or dresses. I wasn’t allowed to cut my hair above shoulder length, watch cartoons with magical characters, listen to music that even sounded like rock, dance, or make a decision without my parents’ input. It was extremely isolating, because people outside fundamentalism couldn’t understand why I behaved in certain ways. As a result, friendships with outsiders were awkward and usually didn’t last long. And I was forbidden to discuss personal matters with friends inside the church.

My parents were isolated as well. Despite being in the ministry, they were never fully accepted by members of their own church. My mom was a northerner who came from a rough and broken family, and she was viewed as “not good enough” to marry my dad. Because of their desperation to hide their “headship issues” and be viewed as holy, they felt they couldn’t establish close friendships with any lay people. It was a shallow and lonely life for all of us.

Question 2: What first made you question evangelicalism/fundamentalism? Was this initial questioning a frightening or liberating experience?

It’s hard to put a finger on when I first started to question it. In many ways, I think I questioned it all along. As a child, I was a curious, avid reader with a photographic memory who studied scripture daily. It was pretty easy to spot some of the loopholes and contradictions in the church’s doctrines. For me, the questioning was mostly liberating; I was sick of being jerked around in the name of Jesus just to inflate somebody else’s ego.

Question 3: What did you struggle with most when you were in the midst of questioning and leaving evangelicalism/fundamentalism? What was the hardest part?

Two things: nearly losing my faith altogether and exploring the Bible’s true position on eternal damnation. I’m still struggling with the second one.

Question 4: Among those you grew up around who were also raised evangelical/fundamentalist, what proportion still hold those beliefs and what proportion have also left them?

I think most of my childhood friends have abandoned fundamentalism, though many remain Christians. My brother and husband became agnostic.

Section 8: Relating to Family

Question 1: How did your parents and siblings respond to you questioning/rejecting evangelicalism/fundamentalism? How did the friends you grew up with respond?

Most people, including my parents, seem really supportive of my questioning. Everyone else just avoids the subject.

Question 2: Now that you’ve questioned and left evangelicalism/fundamentalism, what is your relationship with your parents and siblings like today? What is your relationship with the friends you grew up with like?

My relationships are great. In fact, I think my relationship with my parents has become stronger since rejecting fundamentalism. My friendships also have a new depth that was lacking before, probably because we can express ourselves honestly without condemning.

Question 3: For those who are no longer Christian, are you “out” to your parents or siblings or friends from growing up? If so, how did you do it and how did they respond?

n/a

Question 4: Have any of the rest of your family, including parents and siblings, left evangelicalism or fundamentalism? How do you approach the relationships with those who have not?

I think my parents are in the process of abandoning their fundamentalist beliefs, though I’m sure they’ll remain Christians. My brother is now agnostic and very critical of religion, which makes our relationship uncomfortable at times, but we’re coping well. As for those who are still fundamentalist, we simply don’t communicate much.

Section 9: Coping

Question 1: Does having being raised evangelical or fundamentalist has made you feel “different” from the rest of society, or like you stick out or don’t fit in in some way? Explain. 

It did in the beginning since I wasn’t allowed to live as other people, but not so much anymore. I’ve overcome a bit of my social awkwardness and am learning how to communicate normally with other people.

Question 2: What do you think is the biggest way being raised in an evangelical or fundamentalist family and church community has influenced who you are today?

I’m somewhat introverted by nature, but I think my fundamentalist upbringing made isolation my comfort zone. I have difficulty developing and maintaining close relationships with people outside of my home, though it is getting easier.

Question 3: How did you perceive your childhood and evangelical or fundamentalist religious upbringing at the time compared to how do you see it now?

I’m not sure I view it much differently from when I was a child. The experiences that were positive and negative for me then are still positive and negative in my mind now.

Question 4: What do you think were the most beneficial things about being raised fundamentalist or evangelical? What were the most problematic things?

The most beneficial thing was the practical wisdom that came out of it. Encountering the Bible’s definition of love in 1 Corinthians 13 literally saved me from an emotionally abusivedating relationship. The teachings on abstinence probably kept me from becoming an unwed teen mother, though it’s hard to say for sure.

One problematic thing was too much focus on holiness and the rapture. For years, I never felt secure in my relationship with Christ; I questioned my salvation constantly with an unhealthy paranoia of being tormented forever. I had terrible nightmares as a child and went into a panic if I found myself alone in my family’s house, thinking I had been left behind.

There was also fear of openness in my denomination, which proved problematic as well. No one wanted to confess their sins “one to another,” because doing so would earn him/her the judgment and condemnation of his/her peers and decrease his/her standing with the church. As a result, many destructive attitudes and behaviors lay beneath the surface of people, untouched and festering. This resulted in me being sexually molested at 8 years old. I’ve come to realize that sexual abuse is systemic in most hardline religions for this very reason. The more condemning, the more corrupt.

About Libby Anne

Libby Anne grew up in a large evangelical homeschool family highly involved in the Christian Right. College turned her world upside down, and she is today an atheist, a feminist, and a progressive. She blogs about leaving religion, her experience with the Christian Patriarchy and Quiverfull movements, the detrimental effects of the "purity culture," the contradictions of conservative politics, and the importance of feminism.

  • Kiki

    My experience was similar to yours (only in the midwest) and made me wonder about all those I was raised with. I struggled for years after leaving home and the church and finally landed in the Episcopal church after a decade or so of complete rejection of all things religion/church. Reading your piece brought back a lot of tough memories and made me glad my children won’t ever know that life.

  • Lizzy

    I hate the straw-man that those of us who think that teaching abstinence is wrong also want to put five year olds in make-up and mini skirts. I think that we need to move away from the constant sexualiaztion of women and girls, and I think that purity culture does the opposite of that; it teaches girls that their value is in their sexuality.

    • http://revolfaith.com April K

      Sorry, it wasn’t my intention to suggest that people who reject abstinence also sexualize little girls. By that statement, I was referring to the modesty aspect of the culture. I agree, the Purity Movement places too much emphasis on sexuality. It’s probably why I had a hard time dating without thinking about sex.

  • Lizzy

    I hate the straw-man that those of us who think that teaching abstinence is wrong also want to put five year olds in make-up and mini skirts. I think that we need to move away from the constant sexualization of women and girls, and I think that purity culture does the opposite of that; it teaches girls that their value is in their sexuality.

    • Lizzy

      Sorry for the double post!

  • http://www.wideopenground.com Lana

    I know EXACTLY what you mean about ACE. The math offer no explanation, the science teaches creationism only and is very dull, and the English is advanced but too tedious.

  • saraquill

    Learning in cubicles? I cannot wrap my head around the idea, it’s so foreign to me. Does anyone know why this was practiced?

    • Nea

      Actually, they did a variation of this in my secular school for one class. The idea was that students could work through these modules at their own pace, allowing the smarter students to surge forward on their own, while the teachers could focus on the struggling ones.

      What *really* happened was that the teacher announced how many modules we had to do each semester and ignored us all while we flopped through as best we could. Not one of the more illuminating classes of my educational career.

  • Ben P

    Libby,

    You said that you believe in Christ, although, in your blog on God closing doors, that you don’t think God does that. You claimed that you control your own doors, whether you open, close, or are in between, that you were in control. Control of failures, of mistakes, of successes, etc. It seems that you are saying that you do not trust God to the full. I myself am a follower of Christ. I am heavily involved in my college ministry and I have found that your words on trusting God to be anything but encouraging. For you to claim “love, joy and feminism” as your blog title, I feel as if you are turning your back on God by not fully understanding that he is truly in control. He, the one who delivered Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, etc is the same God who is in control of your life. If you love Christ, then you love the Father. Please, do not disrespect God in this fashion. Trust in him and he will make your paths straight, right! I hope that your future posts shine the light of Jesus on to those who don’t know him. Stay strong in your faith and resent evil. Good day Libby and God bless.

    • Paula G V aka Yukimi

      As shortcake has said Libby Anne was evangelical but she is now an atheist. Perhaps you may be confused because she has guest post by other people sharing their stories but those stories are always preceded by who the author really is and what the series or whatever is about. Btw, just in case, one of the rules of this blog is not proselytising.

      • Ben P

        Who has made the “rule” that there can be no proselytising? It appears to me like a firewall against others hearing about Truth. Hebrews 4:12 “For the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” Are you feeling uneasy yourself? I would assume yes for those who live in darkness are afraid of the light, for fear that their deeds might be exposed. Do you not believe in God yourself? If so, how do you reason that to yourself?

      • Paula G V aka Yukimi

        Uneasy, hahahah. You are funny. No, I don’t believe in any god and never have although if someday something happens to prove it (by scientifical standards) I’m open to changing my mind. I don’t think I live in darkness and I’m a nice law abiding citizen in a country a little less religious obsessed than the US.

    • Anat

      The rule was made by Libby Anne, as anyone can see in Comments Policy. If you feel the need to proselytize do it on your own blog. Each blogger makes the rules for their own blog.

      • Ben P

        Anat,
        So instead of honestly answering my questions, you choose to point me to some “rule book” that is telling me that I cannot freely speak. I wish you were more open minded to the truths I am presenting to you as well as the difficult questions I am posing. I do not do this for any other reason than to bring GOD glory. Not myself, not you, Libby Anne, or any other human, but GOD. The Almighty Father, Abba, Redeemer, Savior, Lord of Lords, King of Kings, the alpha and the omega, beginning and the end, Jesus the Messiah. God is sovereign, put your trust and hopes and your LIFE in his hands. Don’t listen to the world. They tell you lies about self worth, to compromise your morals, to satisfy yourself with all kinds of pressures and that your “truth” is your “truth” and noone can tell you otherwise. I want to pose a question to you, since I am assuming you are defending Libby Anne since you yourself are an athiest: How can you have the utmost confidence that there is no God? Do you have “faith” in that claim? Further, there is one Truth, not individual truths but the one and only truth. That God gave his son to take on our sins, to live a perfect/sinless life, and to die for those very sins which we do daily. He loves you and me that much to do that. How can we not run to Him? How can we do anything but give 0ur lives on this planet to Him? I hope you consider answering these questions truthfully to yourself. I pray you will listen for God. Just sit down one night and pray and wait for Him. He wants you, but you can not love Him if you do not know Him. Rejecting His existence is only pushing Him away and preventing you, and Libby Anne, from living a life full of Joy-both temporal life & eternal. Give your life to Him, profess Him as Lord over you. Be freed from your sin & doubts and worries of this life. Please, consider my words before you send a hateful reply about what rules I am “breaking”. Thank you. I hope you have a great rest of your week. I look forward to seeing your thoughtful response.

      • Kodie

        It’s off-topic. Why can’t you hear for yourself what the truth is? The truth is this is not where you do that, and the next thing out of you should be, I respect your wishes. If that’s not what comes to mind, that you’re being willful, rude, and intrusive, with your proselytizing; if what you still think is what you’re interpreting as rejection of god, I have to say you’re just a deluded person. A deluded, willful, rude, and intrusive person. If I can’t make you see that you are, then perhaps at least don’t delude yourself any further that you have any more power of language to convince anyone here of anything, especially when you’re so insulting, oblivious, disrespectful, and arrogant about it.

        Why don’t you start listening to people more and do what they asked you the first time without having to be a big baby about being told what to do, hmm?

      • Anat

        Ben P, your question is off topic, stop trolling.

      • http://patheos.com/blogs/lovejoyfeminism Libby Anne

        Ben P.—This is my blog, so believe it or not, I do get to make the rules for what is or is not allowed in the comment section. And no, that does not impinge on your free speech. You are free to go start your own blog and say whatever you like there.

        I have made a rule against proselytizing because I value communication, discussion, and working to understand other people and other points of view, not because I have a closed mind. Actually, it’s because I have an open mind that I bar proselytizing. Proselytizing is about convincing someone else that your religion is the one true one and they need to join it, not about actually having a discussion or comparing ideas.

        Finally, I was raised an evangelical Christian, so I’ve heard everything you’re saying before. It just so happens that I no longer believe any of it. Simply asserting it as you are doing does nothing to change my mind or offer more viewpoints.

      • Ben P

        To Libby Anne:

        Libby, thank you for your correspondence to my comment. I appreciate that your “open-minded”. I find that important when showing others that you love them and care about their view points. All view points are valued in my opinion to a certain degree. But, to a higher degree, is my understanding of what is unwavering- God’s commands to us. Your rejection of God and your loose opinion of religion and open acceptance of anyone’s opinions has pushed you away from trusting in God. In fact, it appears to me that you may have not ever had a relationship with Jesus Christ, but instead, “knew” of Him rather than putting your faith in Him. This sad realization makes me understand that you do not care nor want to hear any of this. I am sorry, but I hope God changes your outlook on “religion”. After all, what I am talking about is not “religion”, it is Faith & Truth. It is the one Truth. After all, there aren’t MULTIPLE truths. However, the WORLD on the contrary, will tell you otherwise. Libby, I hope that you find God after all of your time spent creating this blog to try to keep an open mind towards the opinions of others. I hope that you create a firm foundation in faith and that your understanding of life is changed. May God show you that you are being swayed in a crippling fashion because the individualistic mindset which is carried by all of your corresponders. If nothing else, ask yourself how weird it is that a MALE COLLEGE AGED CHRISTIAN has come upon your BLOG to converse with you on your faith. TO care enough to stick around and continue to shine light on the situation. I have plenty other things to do, but God has made it a point for me to continue responding to you. I hope that you seriously consider my words as they are pointing to the Truth that God loves you, me and anyone else-despite all of our SIN. He wants a relationship with you and wants you to repent from your sins. He wants to bless you and your family, but he demands that you turn from the ways of the world, for the Spirit and the flesh cannot coexist (Galatians- I’m sure you probably know that reference). I look forward to your reply.

      • Malitia

        Ben P: Oh please. Quit giving yourself too much credit. It’s not weird at all. This blog gets comments like yours more or less daily.
        Christianity in every shape and form is proselytizing religion so their believers have this tendency of sharing the “truth”* (troll) on every atheist / pagan / etc. website in existence. Even more if it deals with topics they feel strongly about like abortion or human rights.
        You aren’t even such interesting read as almost all of you write the same old tired stuff.

        * “truth” in small and in “” because believers tend to refuse to question it and confirming real world evidence is scarce or nonexistent (and every faith/religion has about the same).

      • Nea

        ask yourself how weird it is that a MALE COLLEGE AGED CHRISTIAN has come upon your BLOG to converse with you on your faith.

        There’s nothing wierd about mansplaining. Offensive, tone-deaf, trolling, patronizing… but not wierd.

        Also, you’re a college aged boy? Then you know nothing of real life, nothing. Most of the people here were true believers of one “truth” or another when we were in college and thought we knew everything.

        Take this motherly advice from someone old enough to be your mother: Go do the many other things you have to do. You are convincing no one here.

      • Kodie

        If nothing else, ask yourself how weird it is that a MALE COLLEGE AGED CHRISTIAN has come upon your BLOG to converse with you on your faith. TO care enough to stick around and continue to shine light on the situation. I have plenty other things to do, but God has made it a point for me to continue responding to you.

        To care too little to listen and respect other people? You are arrogant if you think god sent you here. You are deluded if you think god is telling you to talk over and past people.

        Ben P. you are simply rude. No manners. It is hard for me to believe how someone so full of god could be even more full of himself.

      • http://eschaton2012.ca Eamon Knight

        ask yourself how weird it is that a MALE COLLEGE AGED CHRISTIAN

        Well, I think it’s kind of weird that someone who is COLLEGE AGED (though I note you don’t say “in college”) hasn’t yet figured out that endless repetition of the same tired assertions doesn’t constitute an argument (I mean, I’d figured it out by that age, even while suffering from the cognitive impairment of evangelical faith). And it’s kind of weird that anyone would think any of that was relevant (especially the MALE bit) — is it an attempt to impress by level of education? You know that Libby Anne is Ph.D student — which I’m guessing trumps whatever qualification you’ve got — right? And the rest of us are a MIXED BAG OF MALE, FEMALE, WITH POSSIBLY A FEW TRANS* AND GENDERQUEER, OF AGES RANGING FROM COLLEGE TO SENIOR, ATHEISTS, AGNOSTICS, CHRISTIANS, JEWS, PAGANS AND PROBABLY OTHERS I DON’T EVEN KNOW ABOUT which means that we collectively out-weird you by several orders of magnitude. And we all think you’re A) wrong and B) behaving like a jerk.

      • phantomreader42

        Delusional death cultist BenP babbled:

        If nothing else, ask yourself how weird it is that a MALE COLLEGE AGED CHRISTIAN has come upon your BLOG to converse with you on your faith.

        That’s not the least bit weird, and the fact that you think it is serves as yet another sign that you have no idea what you’re talking about. Christians go to atheist blogs to preach and spew nonsense ALL THE TIME! Most of them are male. Few have graduated from anything resembling a reputable college. There are multiple christian sects that send people to knock on strangers’ doors for the sole purpose of babbling to them about jesus. Face it, Ben, you’re not special. Whiny, arrogant proslytizers like you are a dime a dozen.

        Ben pretends to care, but fools no one:

        TO care enough to stick around and continue to shine light on the situation.

        If you actually cared about anyone here, you’d find a way to bring yourself to LISTEN to what people are saying to you. You haven’t done that. Why should anyone care what you say when you obviously can’t be bothered to so much as acknowledge that the people you’re talking to EXIST? You don’t see us as people, only as scoring tokens in your win-souls-for-jeebus game.

        Ben’s delusions of grandeur:

        I have plenty other things to do, but God has made it a point for me to continue responding to you.

        No, Ben, you are not the specially-appointed envoy of the almighty, deputized to convert the heathen by your stunning oratorical glory. You’re just some brainwashed idiot regurgitating nonsense everyone here has heard thousands of times before.

        Ben keeps on babbling:

        I hope that you seriously consider my words as they are pointing to the Truth that God loves you, me and anyone else-despite all of our SIN.

        Why should we seriously consider your words, if you will not seriously consider anything anyone has said to YOU? Why should we give you so much respect, when you have shown none for anyone here? You aren’t here to have a conversation or seek truth, you’re here to vomit forth your dogma and demand that everyone kneel and lick it off your feet. Not gonna happen.

        Ben issues demands from the voices in his head:

        He wants a relationship with you and wants you to repent from your sins. He wants to bless you and your family, but he demands that you turn from the ways of the world, for the Spirit and the flesh cannot coexist (Galatians- I’m sure you probably know that reference).

        If your imaginary god wants a relationship with me, why can’t it tell me directly? This god is supposed to be all-powerful and all-knowing, so if that’s the case it should be capable of such a simple feat as speaking without using an incompetent and arrogant intermediary such as yourself, and it should KNOW that you are not capable of persuading anyone with a brain. So if your god really wants anything from me, or anyone here, why go through you? Why not communicate directly, like actual people in the real world do when they want relationships? Why is it that your god is incapable of even the most rudimentary communication? Oh, yeah, because it’s nothing more than a figment of your imagination.

        Ben closes by just shamelessly outright lying:

        I look forward to your reply.

        No, you don’t. You’ve gotten plenty of replies already, and you haven’t bothered to read a single one for comprehension, you haven’t learned anything from them or made any effort to do so, and that fact is obvious to everyone. Isn’t that imaginary god of yours supposed to have some sort of problem with bearing false witness?

  • shortcake

    @Ben p: you’re barking up the wrong tree, lad. Libby Anne is an atheist. This is Ann atheist blog.
    She was formerly a fundamentalist Christian, so many of her posts address unpacking baggage from many of that subculture’s destructive teachings. Additionally, she blogs about sociopolitical issues.
    Trying to teach Libby Anne about the Bible and God is preaching to the choir. She has heard it all and is choosing her own path.

    • Ben P

      What about you shortcake? How do you feel so strongly that this is what Libby Anne wants? How do you justify denying that a God has created everything in creation, including yourself? How do you reason without thinking of how reason came about to begin with? Do you love someone? If so, how do you deny the origin of love? I will leave this blog, but not because I am worried of offending someone, but because I understand from God’s word that what I speak to those who don’t believe will not be understood. The world rejects Christians because Satan is the prince of this world. In all that is wrong and corrupt, I couldn’t see how anyone could truly not want to find truth. Truth has nothing to hide, for it is truth. I hope that you have not shut off God from your life, he wants to be your life. He wants your obedience and a relationship with you. This is why he created us humans. Thank you for the information on Libby Ann. I was initially under the impression that she was a Christian since I did some quick, late night research on a Sunday school which I am speaking in a soon approaching Sunday. But, I will not apologize for anything that I have said. I have spoken nothing but truth. I hope that you find God and be a light in a dark place.

      • Rosa

        we’re just repeating to you what Libby Anne has SAID she wants, which you were also pointed to in her own words so you could read them yourself.

        Aside from general politeness, it does not argue for your ability to hear and understand God’s words if you can’t read and understand simple human correspondence.

    • Ben P

      Just because you have “heard it all” doesn’t mean that you ever made it “your own”. Maybe you have heard the proverb, “Knowledge puffs up, while love builds up”. Knowledge of God is not the same thing as Love for God. Knowledge is essential to loving Him, but it is not Loving Him. Loving God means that you will follow his commands, obey his Word, revere Him, pray to Him, etc. It means having a relationship with Him where trusting Him is everything. There isn’t ROOM to fall away. There isn’t that ability, despite life’s hardships.

      If you understood that, you would not have said that “Libby Anne has heard it all”. That isn’t faith my friend. Faith is much more than hearing or seeing. Faith is believing without seeing!

      • Kodie

        How about listening and not speaking? How about respecting the comments policy and not evangelizing? How many times do you have to be asked? 4, 5, 10, 15 times?

        Anything ringing a bell here?

      • Ben P

        Kodie: Although your words are hurtful, they are nowhere near the truth. I care is why I speak how I do. I realize that most of these people who are commenting consider themselves “biblically savvy”, but I am making it a point that there is more to faith than knowledge. After all, we are told this in scripture multiple times.
        To respond to your comment about me being rude and that God didn’t put me here (Big “G” God by the way), I have two things to say: 1. You do not believe in God, from what I understand, so I will not listen to what you think God wants. If you do not care enough to give your life to Him, then you cannot use His name just when it is convenient. You are only using His name for argument, not for building up, rather for tearing down. You may notice after mostly every comment I have said I have concluded with God’s grace and what He desires for us, NOT with condemnation. After all, I have no room to condemn, for I once didn’t give my life to God.
        2. I am not full of myself, as you have said. Rather, I am filled with God’s Holy Spirit, that is God Himself. I do not desire to lift myself up out of this effort to converse with atheists, but I desire to lift God’s name up. Through shining light upon his truth, gospel, and expectations, I hope to have opened the eyes of others who are following my comments. They are at first probably following the “rude”, “arrogant”, “disrespectful” Christian as you portray me to be, when you do not know me. I know that my words and firm convictions are not going unnoticed.

      • Rosie

        “Faith is believing without seeing!” Most of us here have life experience enough to have seen that get people (often ourselves) in trouble. And we’ve decided it’s not something desirable or something to strive for. But you, Ben, can’t seem to leave us to our experiences and conclusions in peace. Which is why we think you are not listening to us, but proselytizing.

      • http://eschaton2012.ca Eamon Knight

        @Ben: Oh good grief, you really don’t get it, and you really don’t want to, do you?

        Try and understand this (and it really isn’t hard, if it wasn’t prevented by your dogmatism): We’ve heard it. Many of us believed it. We had Faith. Many of us even said it back, to others. And then we rejected it, for good and sufficient reasons (like: lack of evidence for it and considerable evidence against it).

        But of course, to you that means we never *really* had it — we didn’t understand properly, didn’t believe in quite the right way, or with a sufficient degree of fervor or submission, or Satan suckered us, or whatever excuse you want to make up — but somehow or other the Jesus Magic didn’t really happen. Because no one who really “has it” could ever toss it away, *by definition*.

        Which is a stupid position to take, and a dishonest position to take, because claims that simply define the opposition as automatically wrong are stupid and dishonest, and the refuge of the intellectually lazy ideologue. And yes, you are very much full of yourself and your Terribly Important Message, you just call it the Holy Spirit to deflect moral responsibility elsewhere. It’s a passive-aggressive way of being Only The Humble Messenger.

      • Kodie

        That’s just you believing in something telling you to talk over and disrespect people’s wishes. You wrote once and if that wasn’t enough, you’re gone. You’re over the limit. You have exceeded allowances for patience of your evangelizing. It’s off-topic. Talking more and being disrespectful of the comments policy will not make anyone more receptive to your message. Go weep to your friends how you tried and nobody cared. Pray for us if that’s how you like to waste time, but go away.

      • Christine

        Ben P, I am a Christian, I believe in God, so perhaps you’d be more willing to listen to me when I say that’s not a good excuse for being a jerk. You are coming in here, deliberately ignoring requests that have been made for what to do. You are insulting what people have seen and discounting their experiences. You are insisting that you be listened to and that you have no need to listen to anyone else. If you actually believe the nonsense you are spewing you’re an idiot (or else have been fed a pack of BS by someone who was looking for idiots). Otherwise you’re simply a jerk. Mark 12:31 if you need a refresher.

  • saramaimon

    Hes conflating libby anne and the guest postwr, who retains some christian beliefs. dude, listen before you lecture

    • phantomreader42

      Listening is against BenP’s religion. He’s hallucinating that he’s hearing the voice of almighty god, so in his delusions it would be blasphemy for him to actually listen to a mere mortal.

      • Ben P

        It isn’t hallucinating, it is knowing God through Faith and through understanding his Word. If you had his Holy Spirit dwelling in you, as every believer of Jesus Christ as their Lord does, then you would understand what I speak of. However, you call this nonsense and accuse me of hallucinating. I am sorry you feel this way. It is difficult to take these kind of personal attacks. It is like you aren’t even listening to the words, but rather, you are trying to just attack me. I have never done this to you or anyone else in this blog. However, this is being overlooked by Libby Anne because she too does not want to hear the Truth, yes TRUTH, that I have to say. I wish this were not so and that you would consider what God wants for YOU.

      • phantomreader42

        Ben, your sick death cult’s official dogma says that you and your fellow cultists will be entertained by watching your monstrous imaginary friend burn me and billions of others alive for eternity, simply because we do not bow down and worship the voices in your head. Compared to the foul, sadistic atrocity you revere, there is NOTHING I could ever do that would even come CLOSE to an “attack”. Quit whining. You only make your cult look dumber and more cowardly.

  • http://lifeofafemalebiblewarrior.wordpress.com Adrienne

    April, I very much enjoyed your story and am sorry for the negativity you experienced within the fundamentalist, evangelical movement. I think you’re a wonderful person and enjoy your blog so much. Thanks for leading us to this blog and I will continue to read through it, though I am not atheist. I very much enjoy learning why atheists think as they do and am fond of many, despite our differences.

  • Ben P

    Christine: Thank you for your input. However, I do love these people, even as they call me a blasphemer, idiot, rude, disrespectful person. I do love them as I love myself. That is why I remain persistent. But, I digress. I see that this is not a proper environment to give this type of viewpoint. I do apologize if I have hurt anyone’s feelings, but Jesus himself did not mind if he ‘stepped on the toes’ of others as He was delivering his Gopsel and living His life out. He said “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.” (NIV- Matthew 10:34). This is in direct context to this very situation: A Disagreement between those who choose to follow Christ and those who don’t. One day, these differences will be resolved. I am just hoping to open the eyes of those who are Rejecting Christ as their Lord & Savior before it is too late. That is done out of love. Trust me Christine, I love these people. I hope you see that. It is similar to helping one who has been abused an addictive substance- if you care & love that person, you will not enable them to continue in that lifestyle, however, you will point them to resources to defeat this addiction. This matter is similar, but deals with LIFE both temporal & eternal, not just temporal (like the addiction example). Stay strong in your Faith Christine. Continue to love & listen, but please be careful not to fall away of your Faith. Remain in Jesus, our vine, and he will remain in you (John 15:14). Thanks for the reply Christine, but please, understand that I am a brother in Christ and I don’t wished to be called an idiot. It is far too gratifying to the flesh to let our tongues thrash violently. We are to tame our tongues and speak with love to others, in either rebuke or encouragement. Thanks and God bless you Christine.

    • Ben P

      That was John 15:4, NOT John 15:14- My mistake.

    • http://gamesgirlsgods.blogspot.com/ M

      You don’t love us. You want to change us, which means you don’t love us as we are. You want us to stop thinking, stop questioning, stop loving beauty and life and sex and each other as we do and instead do it your way, which is the One True Way. You won’t listen to us, you don’t respect us, and you condescend to us.

      That’s not love.

      • Ben P

        My friend, if you feel this way, then you do not know what true Love is. Love can not be explained comprehended fully unless you know the Father. And I want to help you come to Jesus- That ultimately is the most important love. THERE IS PLENTY OF SCRIPTURE TO BACK THIS UP. However, that would not change anything, for you do not consider what God’s word says because you feel that it infringes on your lifestyle of sex, doing things your own way, etc. But, living in darkness is not questioning in search of finding the Answer, it is a sad cycle of sin and selfishness. If you really are questioning to find Truth, you will find it, for it has NOTHING TO HIDE. I want to challenge you: Sit down tonight alone. Pray to God. Ask Him to show you this “truth” that you are trying to find. Ask him to fill your life with meaning. I can guarantee that your life isn’t as fulfilled as it could be. Although, the world’s pleasures may tell you otherwise, but they never satisfy. Do they?

        As for addressing your first point, all I can say is that you don’t know or care to know what I am saying. You are stuck in your ways as I am stuck to my faith & convictions. I respect you, but I think you are completely wrong about God & faith. The world will always hate those who follow Christ, for they hated Him first. I see this playing out more and more as I read each new blog. It is a shame, but I hope that someone reads these one day and turns from their life of sin and repents. I hope this for you. I hope this because I love you. I love you as I love myself. When I lived life in the darkness I was very similar to you. However, God has filled my heart with love for Him and through His word I have gained greater knowledge of His love & mercy. I hope you do the same.

      • Malitia

        /sarcasm/ Yeah. If the world hates the true followers of Christ then the Atheists (most mistrusted minority) are the true Christians in the US and all who call themselves Christians are secretly Satanists.

      • http://allweathercyclist.blogspot.ca/ JethroElfman

        Dear Ben. Welcome to Libby Anne’s blog. Here you will find atheists and Christians, young and old, parents and youths. Hopefully by seeing what a diverse bunch we are, you will find that many of the stereotypes concerning both atheists and Christians are tremendously inadequate. I for one am a former Christian. The only people I have had sex with were my wives (sequentially — I am divorced). I was raised in a Church where people didn’t just speak to God, they heard it from the trance-like voice of glossolalia. How cool is that? We had the very word of The Lord come to us in the language of the angels. I prayed to be so blessed as to be able to speak in such a fashion. To have God use my mouth directly. I wanted it. I prayed and begged for it. And I felt nothing. No God-voice in my head, no trance, no heavenly rapture. After many years I gave up seeking it, deciding that it wasn’t there. Have you heard of Calvinism? Perhaps I just wasn’t selected by God to be with him. Or perhaps there’s nothing out there. I am far and away much more happy and fulfilled as a atheist knowing that I am the one in charge. This is my life to live. My decisions to make. My future to build. There is no Great Spirit out there deciding which little girls to drag into the woods and murder with a hammer, and which ones to set on fire and burn to death. We have no fate but what me make for ourselves.

    • http://adaldrida.wordpress.com Liz

      I believe your good intentions. If I believed that those who lacked faith would suffer in hell for eternity, I would do all I can to convert them, for their own good. That is a loving and sensible thing to do.

      However, both decency and effectiveness in convincing others require that you try to understand others’ point of view before you tell them that it is wrong. I don’t think you understand how most atheists think about this.

      Picture someone who reads the Bible, decides it is true, and then decides that it is too much trouble to follow the Bible’s commands. He continues on his life as if he had never heard the truth of the Bible. That person is rejecting Jesus, and is not trying to do good. Now, picture someone else who reads the Bible and decides that it is not true. That person has simply made a factual mistake (from the point of view of someone who believes the Bible). Atheists are not intentionally evading moral responsibility and running from the truth. They are (mostly) trying to find truth, and have simply come to a different conclusion than you.

      How about this argument: Zeus commands that you worship him. But you’re not doing this. Why are you running from Zeus? The way you think about Zeus (and many other gods) is how atheists think about the Abrahamic God. He’s just not real.

      If you want to convince atheists to become Christians, you need to first understand their beliefs, and then present specific arguments to demonstrate why those beliefs are wrong.

      • Ben P

        In regards to your hypothetical argument: If that is the case, then what do atheists believe in? Since I believe in the “Abrahamic God”. Whom I believe is the God of everything, the One true God.

        To answer your earlier points on understanding atheists first: I understand that most atheists have came from a “Christian” background. I find this very intriguing, perplexing, frustrating, etc. This is why I am on this blog. TO reveal truth, misconceptions and to learn more about atheists. Let it play out. You can’t assume to know my train of thought. I am not barbaric, nor am I storming some atheist castle to try to destroy it, although I wished all humanity believed in JESUS. On the other hand, I am presenting good arguments that many of these “truth seeking”, “questioning” atheists have shied away from. Many of my foundational questions for these different people to answer have gone remissed. They have not been answered because their anger got the best of them. Perhaps atheists are to be better understanding of me and other Christians.

      • http://adaldrida.wordpress.com Liz

        “If that is the case, then what do atheists believe in?”

        What do atheists believe in about what? In general, atheists believe all different things. I’m happy to spell out my beliefs on different issues if you present a more specific question, though. And there are lots of things I have no idea about.

        Actually — oops — I just scrolled up all the way and saw Libby Anne’s “proselytizing is against comment policy” comment, so I suggest we move this conversation elsewhere if you want to know what I believe in (because I genuinely want to know what you believe in and why you think I’m wrong!). Not sure how exactly to do that though.

      • http://adaldrida.wordpress.com Liz

        Also, I’m sorry if I misunderstood you or underestimated your understanding earlier. I’ve encountered a lot of people who confuse “running away from the implications of something you think is true” with “not thinking that thing is true”. Sorry if mistook you for one of them.

      • phantomreader42

        Liz says:

        I believe your good intentions. If I believed that those who lacked faith would suffer in hell for eternity, I would do all I can to convert them, for their own good. That is a loving and sensible thing to do.

        If I believed there was a god who would torture most of the human race forever for his own sick amusement, I would do all I can to KILL THAT GOD AND RESCUE HIS VICTIMS! Stopping the atrocity at the source, once and for all, would be the loving and sensible thing to do. Sucking up to the monstrous tyrant in hopes of saving one’s own skin is neither loving nor sensible, it is the act of a coward and a traitor. Making a half-assed effort to convince others to lick the boots of the Lord of Evil by your side doesn’t mitigate that.

      • Paula G V aka Yukimi

        People haven’t answered your questions because they think coming to Libby Anne’s blog to break her rules is the work of a jerk and jerk shouldn’t be engaged except to rebuke them (not a half bad policy) and because you really haven’t asked much, preferring to lecture as all in the grandness and goodness of your god. If you want to learn something about atheist, read more, pontificate less. also, what you say wouldn’t convince anyone… it’s totally cliché stuff tat even I who have never been a believer have heard a million times… I’ve always wanted to believe in something because I really don’t want to die but it’s impossible for me to believe something without any evidence. But that’s just me, I’m not precisely the typical atheist, we aren’t very much alike at all because we only share the fact we don’t believe in god. We tend to be progressive and lefties but there’re plenty libertarian atheists for example. It’s probably impossible to catalogue us but even so you seem to know nothing about atheists and we know much about your type so you are at a great disadvantage, do something about, stop being a jerk and breaking the rules or go away before you get banned for being obnoxious. PS: There’re plenty places where you can try to evangelize atheists, just not here.

    • http://revolfaith.com April K

      Hello, Ben. I can understand your desire to proselytize, but I honestly wish you’d find a better forum for that sort of thing. All but four comments on this post have involved a religious debate. That’s not why I shared my story. I shared my story so that maybe it would bring insight, hope and healing to those who have experienced similar spiritual abuse under fundamentalism. Jesus didn’t ask Christians to simply have good intentions; he commanded them to understand the gospel and to approach others with love and grace. It’s because people haven’t done this that so many have been wounded in church. I’d like this space for readers to perhaps discuss their own experiences and ask questions. I’m guessing that’s why Libby Anne has certain restrictions in her comment policy. However, if you’d like to respond to my story, I’d like to hear your perspective.

  • Ben P

    Liz: Would you like to communicate over e-mail? I was feeling the need to leave this blog since nothing of value was coming from it. However, I would be glad to discuss our conversation outside of the blog as well. Let me know if you would agree to that. If you do, I will e-mail you and we will go from there.

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