IT’S TRUE: We’ve thrown out the BABY … and the bath water

by Vyckie

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There have been several Christian readers of this blog recently who are leaving comments to the affect that Laura and I were “following” ~ a cultic movement ~ “interpretations of man” ~ a false understanding of God.

Their message is this, “Don’t throw out the baby with the bath water! If only you REALLY KNEW Jesus ~ you would understand that He loves you and seeks your good.” One comment reads, “There’s a big difference between following a cause and following the living Christ.”

I will admit that such comments are seriously aggravating to me because one point we’d really like to make in all of this is that Laura and I were genuine Christians.

While Laura admittedly did “turn off” her brain and blindly accept whatever she was told (mainly by her ex-husband) about authentic Christian living ~ she still did have a conversion experience which changed her heart, mind and way of living. She sincerely desired to please the Lord in every aspect of her life ~ she prayed to God and heard from Him, was led by the Holy Spirit, experienced the joy of the Lord, and felt His peace many, many times in her life as a dedicated Believer.

For myself, I don’t believe I could have been more “sold-out” and wholly devoted ~ not to a “system of belief,” a particular dogma or bible teacher ~ but to Jesus Christ, my Savior and LORD.

The whole reason I posted the long ol’ story of my first marriage which I wrote for my uncle is because it included the testimony of my conversion. Since I wrote it when I still believed it, I’ve included it here for others to read and know that I HAVE experienced an authentic relationship with God ~ by grace, through faith. It was always about HIM.

Here’s how I explained it to my uncle early on in our correspondence:

“Let me say this: The exchange of ideas, delving into the meaning and purpose of life, comparing, contrasting, seeking compatibility ~ all of this is excellent and I look forward to the particulars of whatever we may unfold. But I don’t think I have misrepresented myself to you and that being so, you must know that for my part, the bottom line will always be Jesus. And not some ambiguous Jesus-as-I-perceive-him ~ but the Word become Flesh as He has revealed Himself in history through the Holy Scriptures.

“If all I have to offer you is the very best of myself, I am sure to disappoint you ~ it is only a matter of time. But if I can somehow convey even a glimmer of the precious treasure which the Lord has wrought in my heart through the trials which are His refining and purifying fire ~ a treasure of faith, peace, hope, patience, love (and, yes ~ words are trite and inadequate) ~ that would indeed be a God-send.”

Unlike Laura ~ as a Believer, I never stopped thinking. It was through listening to a radio program, “The Bible Answerman” that I came to the Lord in the first place ~ and apologetics was always my passion. This is why I was not the least bit concerned when my atheist uncle began writing to me ~ no way was I in any danger that Ron might talk me out of my faith because I had spent years studying my bible ~ I believed because I had REASONS to believe that Jesus is the One True God and I was ever ready to “give a defense” for the hope which was in me. Not only could I prove the Truth of my Christian faith through facts and reasoning, but I had the experience of KNOWING it was true because I had Jesus in my heart and life ~ I could feel it, I could see it evidenced over and over again as He worked in my life.

I have dozens of written testimonies of genuine encounters with the Living God ~ He was real to me and THAT is what I was living my life for. This is what I wanted my uncle to understand when I wrote the following:

When I say that I have a strong faith, I am usually not referring to the stubborn ability to maintain my beliefs in the absence of any convincing evidence (though I do admit to possessing a fair amount of that sort of faith ~ as we all do). My faith is not mere belief or wishful thinking ~ it is grounded in evidence and the longer I live, the more that evidence stacks up to the point that it’s become second-nature ~ I have every confidence.

Of course, all of this begs the question: What do I accept as “evidence” for my Christian faith? For me, it’s a combination of (in no particular order) reason, experience (which, I will admit, is weighted pretty heavily), intuition, general revelation (as in nature, scientific method) ~ and, yes, I do accept scriptural revelation as far as I am satisfied that I understand the original intent of the text (and I’m not so naive as to think that I do understand great portions of the Bible in its truest meaning).

So, no ~ I didn’t shut off my brain. It’s just that I CONFINED it to the very narrow, rigid structure of the biblical worldview of a born-again Christian. It is not because I didn’t really study my bible that I ended up in this impossible lifestyle. Quite the opposite actually ~ because I was very diligent to search these things out ~ because I was determined to live a life most true to scripture ~ THAT is how I ended up leading our family into the misogynistic world of patriarchy.

What Laura and I are sharing here is not the story of how we left a movement. I never made a decision to reject the Quiverfull/patriarchy teachings which I had ascribed to UNTIL I realized that I no longer believed in the Bible and Jesus Christ. Once I lost my “firm foundation” ~ the entire structure (which I will admit had become quite elaborate) that I had built upon the “Solid Rock” on which I stood ~ EVERYTHING ELSE (Quiverfull, patriarchy, my abusive marriage, all of it) came tumbling down when that foundation crumbled beneath me.

I have known many, many women living the Quiverfull/patriarchy lifestyle ~ these wives and mothers KNOW and LOVE Jesus Christ ~ they are “passionate housewives, desperate for God.”

To those readers who feel so strongly about defending the Lord and a genuine relationship with Him ~ consider how close you feel to God, how real He is to you ~ THAT was us too. We were totally and absolutely THERE.

I know it is incomprehensible that someone could really and truly be a Christian ~ know the Truth, be born-again ~ a new creation, etc. ~ and then walk away from it all. That IS our story. We didn’t “throw the baby out with the bathwater.” No ~ what we did was throw out the BABY. Without the baby, there’s really no point to keeping the bath water.

Keep reading because we’re going to tell you exactly how we got from there to here.

  • Vyckie

    Just a silly little comment to say that I considered titling this post:Once We Got Rid of the BIG BABY, the Little Babies (Patriarchs) Had to Go Too.

  • Anonymous

    My apologies to you and Laura, Vyckie– I never actually disbelieved that you really believed in Christ, and I didn’t mean it to sound that way. But I do wonder, not so much how you got from “throwing out the Baby” to where you are now, but what it was about the “Baby” that made you want to throw it out in the first place? I read the blog about your “apostacy,” and all of your objections to Christianity still seemed to me to be bound up in Quiverful-style family doctrines rather than with the actual Person of Jesus.So I guess what I’m saying is, if we have frustrated you by assuming you were throwing out the Baby with the bathwater, it’s because you have talked so much about what was wrong with the bathwater and have said very little about what is wrong with the Baby. (grin) I’m looking forward to more details on that.KR Wordgazer

  • Vyckie

    KR Wordgazer ~ you make a valid point. And that’s why I encourage you to keep reading because we’re getting to that in our stories. For me, it was a result of the year-long correspondence with my uncle. I want to share my thought process here ~ and I’m really grateful to have written it all down in those letters because that will make it easier to remember exactly what went through my head ;-)I could always give an apologetic for what I believed ~ and I’m not going to shrink away now from explaining why I don’t believe it anymore. Thanks again. I appreciate all the readers and your thoughtful comments.

  • Kaderin

    Ah, Vicky, you’ve just stumbled upon one of the great logical fallacies that you will continue to encounter in believers as long as you argue as a nonbeliever/atheist/agnostic/whatevs.It’s called the “No true Scotsman”-fallacy and is usually employed by theists who wish to brush aside any responsibility their particular brand of religion has for attrocities commited by its followers.Innocents slaughtered for Allah? No true muslim would do that!Women forced into and abused in polygamous marriages? No true Mormon would do that!Abortion-performing doctors murdered? Violence towards atheists? Contributing to the spread of AIDS by preaching against condoms? Institutionalized Mysoginy? No true Christian!It most commonly pops up when nonbelievers argue against the notion that religion makes people more moral (or, by the same token, that atheists are immoral). It’s the one I see most often.But – and this has never happened to me, because I was never particularly religious – a couple of atheist I know who come off a devout believer’s background get this fallacy shoved down their throats – their devotion questioned, or they are accused of ignorance or their experiences marginalized as not being a hallmark of “the true faith”. I’m told it’s quite insulting and reeks of a sense of superiority.So what I’m basically saying is this: I’m afraid you’ll have to get used to it, vicky.I’ve gotten to the point where I only skim posts employing this fallacy while humming “Will the true Christian (TM) please stand, please stand up, please stand up…”PS: I’m not attacking any of the commenters here personally – in fact, even while disagreeing with the theistic commenters, I find most word their comments politely and not in a condescending manner. So big thumbs up to the community here. These are just general observations coming from years of arguing with theists.

  • Jadehawk

    good for you for standing up for your (non-)beliefs! Expect to be called a “militant atheist” sometime soon for having the gall to say “I’m an atheist, and that’s ok” ;-)I have a friend who was for something like 50 years a passionate, devoted christian and part of one of those snake handling christian cults. she was a veritable fundie, has had at least one “vision” in which a demon came to her while she was praying, which she took as a sign that she wasn’t praying ENOUGH.she’s an atheist now, and gets the same kind of responses, with Christians telling her that he couldn’t possibly have been a True Christian, because a True Christian would never want to turn away from God!she no longer bothers to explain to them that she didn’t “turn away from god”, but rather came to the conclusion that there wasn’t anything to turn away from in the first place, and that that “god feeling” and the vision were all just in her headincidentally, have you been over at Exchristian.org? Great community, with lots of people who have gone through similar transitions as you

  • an atheist in the Bible belt

    Vyckie, I have the utmost respect for you for posting this; I know it’s a hard thing to “come out of the closet”, (although it gets easier), and you’ve been brave to share not only your experience but your beliefs publicly.

  • Arietty

    Well that certainly needed to be said. I have read commentary about this blog from other patrio groups and yep, it all comes down to “they weren’t really christians”. Always frustrating, and probably engenders quite a bit of fear in some readers over their own doubts.Now personally, I still have the baby but I don’t know quite what to do with him anymore.

  • Anonymous

    Being an ex-member of a strict, legalistic Christian sect myself, and now happily agnostic/atheist, I encounter this disconnect often from other “exes” who have left the same sect but continued to be Christians. They are so happy to have finally started living and thinking/believing outside the box, and my reaction is always “Why did you stop once you started?” with theirs being “Why did you throw the baby out with the bathwater?” So it goes. :-)

  • Anonymous

    There are so many different kinds of true Christians, most of which seem to believe that their version is the one and only, or at least the objective best option… I wonder to what extent you’ve (or those who wonder about you throwing out the baby with the bathwater) considered other forms of Christianity as an alternative?

  • Anonymous

    No where that I know of in the Bible does it say, “These writing are figuritive.” I know many Christians who believe they are figuritive and I’m glad they have meaning in their faith, but when you get down to it, the Bible says some awful things. If you believe it is the word of God, great, but why would you only take part of God’s word? If you believe it is a description of people’s religious experiences and the insights on Judism of the period, also great, but why do you believe some parts and not others? Either way, I choose not to follow it. Their may be wisdom in the Bible, but there is too much of it that is just nonsense and judgement and ugliness. I have yet to find any major religion where I didn’t find this streak to some extent. There is undeniable value to the Bible, but not so completely that I’m sold on it. My compasion overwhelms me from doing so. Faith brings so much solace and it is nice to believe in something greater but I don’t understand how others can try to convert others to their own beliefs if they truely understood their personal belief system. The faith of one person will not become the faith of another through osmosis, prayer, or intellectual debate (especially not the former). The crazy thing about faith is that it isn’t suppose to make sense – so believing in a Bible that is sometimes literal and sometimes figuritive is exactly what faith is. Faith also needs to have flexibility if it wants to survice (which up until the past hundred years was the strong suit of the Catholic Church). With all this rambling said, of course you cannot find yourself able to believe in this God of the the Bible anymore. Even if you were to believe a less literal translation, your new faith would always be reminisent of your old faith. Your new conviction would always echo your old. I understand why you had to get rid of the baby with the bathwater, or rather, why when you got rid of the baby you no longer wanted the bathwater.

  • Laura

    Anonymous above, I can only speak for myself and I believed that “my” form of Christianity was the superior one. Yet I would have said that other forms would get a person to heaven. At this point, my view of god is so warped that I don’t know how one can get unbrainwashed enough to see god in any other light. Many of my christian friends have tried to tell me that god is not like my ex-husband (which is how I often chose to see Him) but rather he was loving and accepting and appreciative and pleaseable. I once told a dear friend that was trying to keep me from throwing out both baby and water that even if I went to her church and even if her pastor preached about something and he was totally right and it spoke of god as being loving and forgiving etc..if it didn’t match up with MY view, twisted as it was, then I felt unable to accept what he would say. I had 25 years of seeing god and christianity in a certain light, painted with a particular brush, how was a person supposed to change that??? I didn’t have the slightest idea. It seemed more prudent to just pitch it all out. I have SO many other things to deal with right now…god, if there is one, can just wait his/her/its turn!Laura

  • Anonymous

    While I can the how it might be a good thing to “journal” I fear that you ladies might just be keeping yourselves sitting in the daily shit that you had to live with day in and day out. I think you two are incredilble women, and I can’t help but think, every time I read this blog, it must be awful to relive it every time they post. Wouldn’t they just love to live their new lives to the max and never look back???

  • Anonymous

    But they’re not sitting in it. When they were sitting in it they didn’t know it was shit. Now they do…and part of the cleansing process, if you will, is recognizing it and naming it for what it was. I wouldn’t dream of expecting anyone to just move on from something so profoundly stinky without so much as a backward look, and I am extremely grateful and privileged to be reading about their journey as it happens. What they are doing now, what they are going through now IS their life, and it’s valuable!

  • aimai

    I had a long comment, punched out on my iphone, dissapear into the ether but it really belonged under this thread anyway. I just wanted to say that *this* is the issue that has been haunting (some) of us and this is the issue that has been raised, as Kaderin so brilliantly puts it, when still true believing Christians appear in the comments (however supportively) to explain that if only poor vyckie or poor laura had known the *right* jesus either a) none of this would have happened or b) it wouldn’t have been so bad? Am I reading that right? First, I really need to stand back for a second and just applaud Vyckie and Laura’s courage in blogging this stuff. But second I need to stand up and say that its *incredible* to me that Vyckie can have started blogging this stuff just a week or so ago and already have the strength and the acumen and the sharpness of wit to jump feet first to this post “yes, we are throwing the baby out with the bathwater.” I don’t think any of us thought that you and Laura came to the place you are in without hours and even years of painful, prayerful, study and struggle but girl–if I may call you that?–you have an incisive wit that has been honed to a razor’s edge.I guess I was going to post some stuff about theology and atheism and all that but I just think its more important to say something which I don’t think either of you has heard enough: you are both really, really, really, smart women. Going back to school or taking lessons in world domination isn’t an option–it is a duty. You both need to be running something, something big and something important. I taught college students at Yale once, a long time ago, and I can assure you that the kind of deep down honesty, personal experience, and plain mother wit that you are both demonstrating every day in your posts and your comments, is a rare commodity.aimai

  • Fi Brown

    I cannot imagine that you didn’t believe because without that faith what was the reason to stay. I find t astonishing that some ‘people’ won’t get it. I rather though the whole point of religion was to help others and be kind and loving….silly me

  • LexiBadger

    What you wrote here really struck a chord with me. I’m a bit tired at the moment so forgive me if I ramble, but I just wanted to say that I completely understand. While I wasn’t a part of the “Quiverfull movement” I *was* very heavily involved in the Pentecostal church from my mid-teens to my early twenties. I was born-again and whole-heartedly believed everything about the bible and was so absorbed with my faith. For various reasons I slowly started to doubt and eventually walked away too, after being judged by my peers as not being “godly enough” for whatever piddly things during the last few months I tried to hang on to my “salvation”. Eventually I stopped trying to hang on and threw the baby out with the bath water too, tub and all. It’s been 6 years since I’ve stepped foot into church and I won’t look back, ever. I tried learning about other religions and tried to consider myself agnostic but I’m so disillusioned with religion and faith in general that I feel quite comfortable considering myself an atheist. I know it’s hard for most people to wrap their heads around the thought that one person can go from believing so deeply in their god and preaching to the world from the roof tops about him to eventually dropping it and being the furthest from what they used to be. So I absolutely hear what you’re saying here. And yes, it is frustrating when people tell you that maybe your faith wasn’t strong enough or you were doing it wrong or whatever, lol.Anyway, I found your blog through a link that someone posted in a community on Live Journal. I’m really glad I did and can’t wait to read more of what you guys have to say.

  • adventuresinmercy

    I’ve had a lot of the “baby with the bathwater” stuff thrown my way, especially when I started my AinM blog. The weird thing was that I wasn’t throwing out the Baby, but to these ladies, throwing out the concept of males leading females, or homeschool-only, etc, WAS the Baby. I mean, I guess they were thinking that you can’t truly love Jesus unless you believe that your husband is your leader…? I dunno, but I can’t tell you how much I hated the “baby with the bathwater” comments. They are so grating with the assumption of “we know what’s best for you.” The other somewhat regular “gentle rebuke” I hated was the charge that I was too extreme. Extreme because I thought men and women were equal and should treat each other with equal respect? Extreme because I thought that QF wasn’t “God’s way” and that there was room in God’s Kingdom for personal choice when it comes to family size? Extreme because I thought that young earth creationism was fine but not the “only possible” way one could interpret Genesis 1? Extreme because I questioned whether voting Republican equaled God’s will? It is always a weird deal. I hate being called extreme by extremists all because I’m no longer being extreme. (HA). :) But I usually just grin and bear it. Because when you’re in that camp, all those things aren’t extreme: they are NORMAL. And I’m sure I handed out pleeenty of such gentle rebukes myself when I was there. *grimace*

  • adventuresinmercy

    This will sound weird but…One of the things that kept me hanging on to a belief in God was the weird/freaky stuff associated in many Christian circles with demonic activity. As most of you probably have, I’d heard plenty of second-hand accounts, but I also actually experienced one myself (with others in the room, so it wasn’t that I went pyscho and started seeing things or something). I hate to even bring it up, in a way, because I am so NOT “there’s a demon around every corner” kind of person…not even close. And yet… ? It was right before my “college-age conversion” experience at 19, when I was living in an apartment with a liquor store employee, a porno freak and a host of other interesting characters (who really were all sweet in their own messed-up-young-adult ways). One night, stone cold sober, while talking about whether or not spirits existed and that kind of stuff, one of my room-mates and I actually had part of our living room decor start MOVING right in front of us… We were SO freaked out… I saw it first (the lights moving) and my face went WHITE, so my room mate stops talking and looking at me…and then he turned around and saw it himself… It was really horror movie scary. (He had no spiritual background, but with my background as a Christian, I felt it was confirmation that there was a spiritual world beyond what we could see, feel, taste, and touch)… Anyways, after leaving the land of patriarchy and having my conservative evangelical theology fall apart like a house of cards, in many respects, I did spend some months entertaining the possibility that the whole ENTIRE thing, including the concept of God, etc, was bunk (during which I read Ehrman and a lot of similar books, from which I truly did glean a lot of good information and valuable questions). The sense that God was there was one of the major things that I couldn’t shake, as I’ve said before. I suppose many explain that as a distinctly human phenomenon, nothing that “proves” anything other than it distinguishes man from other animals. But there was also the unexplained incidences of weirdness that made me uncomfortable tossing out the idea of God, like that time when I was 19 and sitting back on my couch smoking and talking about “deep things” (for us, anyways, back then) and then the light started dancing and moving in this weird jerky fashion—-and wouldn’t stop, even after my freaked out roommate put his hand on it to make them stop, at which point we both ran out of the room. I’m not sure that anything could explain what happened other than a unexplained phenomenon, and believe me, we tried to figure it out (while sitting out on the front porch, AWAY from that freaky living room) but couldn’t come up with anything. It’s still not a lot to “go on,” I realize that, but it’s part of what made me hold on to the Baby.

  • Raytheist

    Hi. An acquaintance in Ravelry posted a link and recommended your blog. As an ex-Pentecostal minister, now a strong atheist, I salute you and congratulate your choice. I, too, had people tell me “don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater.” They’d say I was just angry with God, or that I was looking at people playing “Churchianity” and need to only look to Jesus. I told them, “I didn’t throw the baby out with the bathwater; I carefully drained the tub and discovered there was no baby in there to begin with.” I’ve just added you to the “Thinking People” section of links on my blog: http://www.raywhiting.com/MyLife Thanks for writing your stories.

  • Anonymous

    Kaderin– does the “no true Scotsman” fallacy also apply to atheists who, when you point out the crimes of Stalin, insist that Stalin was trying to establish a secular religion and therefore was not really an atheist? Believe me, I have heard this argument.KR Wordgazer

  • Vyckie

    Molly ~ interesting comment about the demonic activity. I’ve had some similar experiences which I wrote about to my uncle (you all are going to get tired of hearing that, but we touched on just about every subject imaginable) ~ maybe I’ll post that sometime. Maybe. If I can think of a reason why it might actually be relevant to my story ;-)Anyway ~ thanks for sharing. As I’m reading these comments, I get more ideas about topics I want to write and experiences I would like to share. I could easily be at the computer 24/7 trying to catch up on everything that I want to write ~ LOL.

  • Anonymous

    Sigh. No doubt you’re also going to get letters to the effect that you’re being used as an instrument of Satan simply because you’re using the grey stuff between your ears and are thinking things over.Been there, done that, got the T-shirt. If you do get letters like that, please don’t let them keep you awake at night.

  • Jadehawk

    Wordgazer: Stalin was an atheist, but he was not inspired by atheism in his actions. no one says things like “no real atheist would ever do that”, what they’re saying is that his atheism had nothing to do with it. he used his interpretation of Marxism/Communism to further his agenda, so if anything, he was No True Communist (TM)Vyckie and AiM:I have experienced such things as well. just the other day as i was making dinner, I reached for the pot on the stove, and it suddenly moved away from me!I’ve also had “premonitions”, i.e. dreams in which i saw things that would then happen weeks or months later.Now, after the fact, I have a pretty good idea what caused both of those things, but at the time they happened, they freaked me out immensely.

  • Maria Fergus

    Hi, Vyckie, I feel I threw the “baby” out and then had no need of the bathwater myself. My story is unusual in that I actually lost my Christian (Catholic) faith at the same time I quit drinking. I think the more common turn of events is that folks’ faith deepens when they get sober, but with my mind cleared, I became peaceful and able to listen to my own thoughts for the first time. Ironically, I am a much kinder person now. ‘This comment is for “Adventures in Mercy” who posted above. Is it not possible that there is a whole world of spirits and forces and energy that we do not see, and still there is no all-knowing, all-powerful supreme being ? Also, the lights moving were scary because it was unexpected, but they didn’t hurt anyone did they ? Maybe there was something there that just wanted to let you know they were there. I don’t know the answer. I’m just posing a question

  • mom huebert

    You said, referring to Laura, that she prayed to God and heard from Him, was led by the Holy Spirit, experienced the joy of the Lord, and felt His peace many, many times in her life as a dedicated Believer.If that’s the case, then how could she walk away from that? What are you saying? That she must have made up the peace, joy, and the voice of God in her life? And what about you? Are you saying that reality then is no longer reality now? Is that possible?By the way, as far as I can tell, I was the first one to use the phrase “throw the baby out with the bathwater” here, and I’m heartily sorry for using it and starting such a furor.Also, I’m rather miffed at the assumptions by the atheists here that all theists use phony arguments to defend their beliefs. Isn’t that a rather broad generalization?

  • Linnea

    KR Wordgazer asks: does the “no true Scotsman” fallacy also apply to atheists who, when you point out the crimes of Stalin, insist that Stalin was trying to establish a secular religion and therefore was not really an atheist? That would only apply if one was trying to argue that “atheists can’t be evil”, which I haven’t heard any atheists here asserting. Several Christians, however, have come to this blog to say “Christianity is good, therefore what Laura and Vyckie experienced wasn’t Christianity.” Which is classic no-true-Scotsmanism.

  • Susanne

    My ex-husband, a Russian/Jewish atheist, used to joke about hard how it is to find a black cat in a black room, especially when there is no cat. Sometimes all you need is a little light to see what isn’t there.

  • Vyckie

    No need to be sorry for your “throw the baby out with the bath water” comment, mom huebert ;-)I understand your confusion ~ it doesn’t actually make sense for me to believe that my Christian experience and relationship with God was all real ~ and then turn around and say that I don’t believe any of it now. How is that possible?My pastor at the Salvation Army where I attend church most every Sunday is convinced that I was a genuine Christian ~ she insists that deep down, I must still be a Believer. For her, there’s no other explanation.Of course, I’m still sorting things out in my own head ~ writing helps me to think ~ so maybe I’ll figure it out as I go. The feedback here has already prompted me to consider some things I hadn’t thought about before.The other possibility is that I’ll just have to live out my life in ambiguity and confusion. If so, that’s not so scary to me anymore ~ but my preference would be to have a good idea of what it’s all about. ‹(ô¿ô)›

  • Arietty

    mom huebert it is possible to have powerful experiences that one has brainwashed oneself into. If you are strife and anguish and you really desire peace and you cry out to God there is no reason your brain chemistry can’t respond to your need and release a bunch of endorphins that give you that peace. I realize this probably sounds horrible to you, but I do think one fatal error christians make is to ascribe everything to God’s intervening action. How many times did I feel God’s peace and just sink right back into my rut because my anguish had been alleviated? Lots and lots.. and really, it wasn’t much different than taking a valium. In my case what was needed from that anguish was not to self-medicate with prayer induced endorphins but to take a fearless inventory of my life and to ACT. Act to protect myself, act to protect my children, act to understand healthy boundaries. But my prayer didn’t result in a still small voice telling me to act, it resulted in my falling into a self-medicated stupor and calling it good.Understand though I do believe in God and a personal God at that. I just think a lot of the teaching we imbibe about prayer and God’s intervening role in our life is questionable. Add to that an abusive marriage or abusive christian teaching and you have a real lack of clarity.As to demonic manifestations–colour me skeptical though I do believe evil exists. I have experienced them myself but at least one of them I found to have a completely rational and physical explanation. That was certainly enlightening as to how our minds are designed to take information and run with it to a conclusion.

  • mom huebert

    Thanks for your response, Vyckie. Does this mean I can keep praying for you? I’ve just been using the words of one of my favorite prayer/psalms from Divine Hours: “Send out your light and your truth that they may lead me.” (It goes on to say “…to your holy hill” but I don’t want to be presumptuous and pray that for you. I know at this point you’re not exactly wanting to be led to God. But I figure you want truth and light in your confusion, same as me.)By the way, I’ve been following your blog closely since I found a link to the salon.com story on the Church report. I used to read your paper, and your column, and feel like I sort of know you. Therefore, I have been shocked and grieved by your story, and I hope greatly that you continue to find your way out of bondage into freedom.

  • Anonymous

    So if “it was all about Him”, why did you leave Him?I don’t get it, if you have had real experiences with Jesus – why stop believing in Him?

  • Anonymous

    It seems to me this “no true Scotsman” argument works real well to paint Christians black (even though they, too, may not have been “inspired by” their Christian beliefs when some of them did bad things) and then works very nicely to let atheism off as any influence on Stalin’s actions. I’m not buying it. Somehow I’m sensing a very slippery definition of what a “Christian” is, so that Christianity is not allowed to be defined by whether people actually act like they believe what they say they do– and then when someone protests, they get the “no true Scotsman” flung at them. If I say I’m a pacifist, and then go out and kill someone, and someone says, “But a real pacifist would not have done that” — are they committing the “no true Scotsman” fallacy? How, then, do we define pacifism?Do you see what I’m getting at? I sympathize with Vyckie and Laura very much– but it seems to me like the conversation here is turning more and more into just an attack on Christians and Christianity.KR Wordgazer

  • Kaderin

    @WordgazerWhat Jadehawk and Linnea said.I’ve never heard anyone assert that Stalin was not an atheist. If you’ve really heard people argue that “Stalin was no atheist because he was trying to establish a secular religion” then feel free to call bullshit and No True Scotsman. It’s just not a common argument (probably employed by not so bright atheists), unlike No True Scotsmanism in theism.You said, referring to Laura, that she prayed to God and heard from Him, was led by the Holy Spirit, experienced the joy of the Lord, and felt His peace many, many times in her life as a dedicated Believer.If that’s the case, then how could she walk away from that? What are you saying? That she must have made up the peace, joy, and the voice of God in her life?Our brain is a powerful self-deluding tool. It sees patterns where there are none, which can be traced back to living in the wild surrounded by predators. Hey, the guy who imagines a tiger in the bushes and runs will live longer than the guy who ignores patterns and gets eaten by one. Now add to that a willingness to attribute everything in your life to God and you have such experiences.I had a friend (atheist) who used to be in a Christian rockband. Whenever he got on stage and started to sing he’d get this powerful, overwhelming feeling – there was only him, his guitar and the love of God, focused on making heavenly music. His music really was quite good and he claimed that was because God was guiding his body whenever he got on stage.He still gets that feeling, you know, minus thinking it’s God. It’s called adrenalin and endorphins ;DAlso, I’m rather miffed at the assumptions by the atheists here that all theists use phony arguments to defend their beliefs. Isn’t that a rather broad generalization?Where do we claim that all believers do that? But it’s a reality that we, when arguing with theists, see the same fallacious arguments over and over and over again. Not every theist employs them, but many. Honestly, I could play bingo with them. “Uh! No True Scotsman fallacy and claiming no morality without God! That makes one over there and one over here…Bingo!”

  • Anonymous

    I want you two to know that I’m a subscriber and reader. I am also an atheist and have been for many years. I enjoy learning about religions and their affects on humankind throughout history. I want to tell you how impressed I am with your escape and how I think that you are helping people more than you know. I am a homeschooler and I work with other homeschoolers to help them so that they can homeschool in our state. There is one family that I suspect may be following the quiverfull movement and I am worried about them, the mother and the children. Reading your stories is helping me sort out what it is I’m looking at with them.Finally, you should know that when someone hacked into your blog and posted that obscene message, it was sent out to subscribers — it showed up in my google reader. It might be helpful for you to post a short note explaining what happened for those who, like me, were surprised to see that on your blog read this morning. Hang in there ladies, you’re doing the world a great service.

  • Charis

    “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” Heb 11:1″Then Jesus told him, ‘Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.’”John 20:29Faith, by definition, cannot be scientifically proven. My experience of God proves to me that He exists. I have had miraculous things happen to me, answers to prayer, but nothing which someone else might easily dismiss as coincidence or chance. God blesses ALL of us, whether we believe or not. I find that the more I believe, the more I become aware of the blessings. When I was drowning in the leaven of the Pharisees, I took bad things that happened as the punishment of a cruel heavenly parent. Now I can find blessing even in the midst of difficulties. Of the 10 Lepers Jesus healed, only one came back to thank Him, and that one would have been considered “a hellbound heretic” by his contemporaries. (My 6 yo son pointed that out to me- the only one who came back was a Samaritan. Everyone else took their restored health for granted.)

  • Kaderin

    Crap. This is what happens when everything is approved in blocks ;O; Well, okay, here goes…WordgazerNo. You do not understand that it’s a vital difference between something being done by someone who belongs to a group and this action being inspired by that group’s creed.The pacifist example does not work because it is not justifiable within a pacifist framework. No pacifist can murder anyone in the name of pacifism. Now someone who professes pacifism can murder someone, yes, but his pacifism will have nothing to do with it (apart from exposing hypocricy).It’s the same with Stalin – he did not commit his crimes in the name of atheism. That he was an atheist was incidental, you see? It’s like…Both Hitler and Stalin had mustaches. Should we assume that having a mustache correlates with being a mass murderer?No True Scotsman is applicable to different sects of Christians accusing each other of being “Non-Christian” because their actions are justified by the same framework (namely, the Bible) and they claim their interpretation of that framework to be the correct one, while ignoring the consequences of truly living within the framework.Tell me, would the QF-movement work without a biblical grounding? The textual basis for the movement is there and that’s what I mean when I say that Christians of other sects are trying to brush off responsibility their sacred text has for the actions of QF-followers by claiming it’s not really Christian.PS: I have a strong sense of having misspelled a couple of words. Bear with me, english isn’t my first language.

  • aimai

    KR Wordgazer.First, there’s no strict division between “atheist” “theist” and even “christian” or “Jew”. Don’t get excited by the notion that people you are talking to pseudonymously on the blogs are all one thing, or all another. People may have moved in and out of religions and religion. It may be precisely *because* they’ve experienced all the things “believers” believe that they have come to their non belief. Secondly, no one is “painting Christians” black or accusing Christians specifically of any crimes or ugly behaviors or thoughts or follies. Mostly we’re talking about religious belief(s) and social behavior. It so happens we are also talking about an intra Christian spat over which “Christianity” is “the good one” and which ones are “culty.” I could absolutely have the same conversation with Jews–Orthodox, Chassidic, Reform, Reconstruction. Or any religion since there are no purely “orthodox” religions that don’t have their own heterodoxies, heretics, and cults.As for the “One True Scotsman” fallacy it is used in all kinds of situations. The one with which I am most familiar is “conservativism can never fail, it can only be failed.” That is, even though we’ve had eight years of Republican control of the Presidency, Senate, House and Judiciary somehow what those organs did, to the extent it didn’t work out so well, wasn’t really “conservative” and even G. Bush wasn’t “really” a “conservative.” And you can see conservative commentators repeating this line every day on the TV. I hasten to add that if I did know any Marxists I’m sure they would tell me that the Marxism of Stalin was “not true Marxism.” Certainly the Catholic Hierarchy, when shown the massive abuse of children scandal, retreated into statements like “this is in no way representative of Catholicism.”Now, there’s some way in which that’s true. Some things have a very well expressed core of principles which we can say were expressed or violated. If you say you are a vegan but you eat meat I think other vegans are entitled to say “hey, you are no true vegan!” But it gets harder to assert that when the set of principles is as murky and as long lived and as little understood as those surrounding a *mystical religion.* And by that I mean any religion that occasionally resorts to prophecy, obscure texts, individual revelation. Its what makes religion different from science, for example. Religious experiences can be “duplicated” by someone other than the original person who experienced them. But if they can’t the fault lies, always, with the new believer (or the old) and never with the experiment or experience. So when someone has a prophetic vision that I don’t share from the perspective of the religious I’m “not religious enough” but from my perspective they may be crazy.Take a real world example of the Mormon Church. Some Christians assert that its “no true christian church” for a variety of reasons. The mormons think they are a christian church. In fact, they think they are the only christian church. Who is to say they are correct or incorrect. They’ve got prophetic revelation and scripture, history and direct experience of god on their side. And so do their detractors.The dividing line between believers and non believers isn’t as sharp as you seem to think it is. And the dividing line between “true religion” and “cult” (which, of course, just means religious group) is essentially subjective.aimai

  • jemand

    Kaderin! Wonderful job! But I just want to point out that if atheists didn’t think Christians were relying on phony arguments, if they found any valid ones, they would be Christians, not atheists! Besides, as Kaderin stated, it isn’t an “assumption” that most of the arguments employed to prop up christian beliefs don’t stand to logical analysis, we’ve been thrown them over and over and constantly told we aren’t open minded enough, we are missing out, we are going to hell, that we are woefully uninformed about religion, etc etc. Over 85% of the US population is Christian, very few are “out” atheists (ones who are open about their nonbelief) and so while people think they are being helpful, they are giving us something “new” to think about… chances are we’ve already had to answer that a million times.From what I’ve seen, the atheists here are simply stating “we don’t believe.” And when the Christians react in an astonished manner and say but here is evidence and arguments A, B and C! The atheists are simply saying, but that isn’t convincing to me because of X, Y, and Z. That is so FAR from an attack on Christianity that I’m a little surprised it can be mistaken as one, however it is a very common response from religious people so I’m beginning to get used to it. Stating one’s unbelief and the reasons one doesn’t believe is not an attack on faith, it is simply a request that one kind of ideas, one kind of thinking isn’t granted a blanket pass from inquiry. We just want religious ideas to be subject to no more or less criticism than any other type of ideas.

  • emf1947

    Perhaps this example will help make things clearer. In discussing the dynamics of her marriage in the Superstition thread, Arietta said “I don’t blame it on patriarchy because he was like that long before any church entered his life. Patriarchy just anointed his actions and could now call them headship. Mentally for all of us it was incredibly exhausting.”That is NOT a “No True Scotsman” argument. Arietta is not saying that her husband was not a True Christian, she just pointed out that his actions did not change when his ideology did, and sensibly concluded that ideology was not the reason for his actions.That’s the kind of argument people are making relative to Stalin. They are not claiming that he is not a True Atheist, but are arguing just as Christian beliefs were not the driving influence on Arietta’s husband’s behavior, atheism was not the driving influence on Stalin’s. Their argument may actually be wrong, but it isn’t in itself an example of No True Scotsman.HTH

  • Ed H ><>

    I was not a believer. My mom took me to several different churches when I was growing up. I hated church and the Christians that were in them. I can remember one time we were in a crowded Catholic service. I was about 5 or 6, I loudly asked my mom, Can you understand what he is saying?” The service was in Latin. She said, “No, be quite.” And I quipped, “Then WHAT ARE WE DOING HERE?” She quickly whisked us off to the little room in the back for noisy babies.When I met and married my wife she was a Christian. She was kind and easy to care about. We were married 4 months after we met. She wanted me to attend church with her. I tried but I couldn’t take the heat in the kitchen. Sweat poured down my face I was so uncomfortable in that terrible place with those people I had to leave. I told her she could go but I would never go again. If I didn’t go my bride choose not to attend. I didn’t feel comfortable with that but I wasn’t going to change my mind because of my love for her. I had myself to worry about.We were afraid birth control would cause my bride medical problems. It just didn’t seem natural to put chemicals into her body and not have bad effects. Besides I thought I might like to have a child or two. My wife wanted 5, but I explained to her how that wasn’t going to work for us. After all how would that look to everyone else?Eleven years went by and no children. We learned to tell people right away, “We don’t want any children!” Quickly before they could ask any of their foolish questions or offer their unwanted advice.My bride was feeling sick. We didn’t know what was wrong with her so we went to the doctor. What do you know she was 5 months with child! What a exciting feeling. It was like nothing I had ever felt. I wanted to be a good father. I started reading books about childbirth. We took birthing classes together. Before our daughter was born I would come home for lunch and my bride would ask me to put the baby to sleep. She would jump around and cause mom great discomfort. My job was to use my hands and calm her down. After a few minutes of playing she would drift off to sleep. This was a daily routine. I tried to tell my bride how to do it her self. But it just didn’t work for her.Our daughter was alive and kicking. It was a wonderful time I will never forget. I grew to love her so much even before she was born. It was like we were connected somehow.In the delivery room after hours of labor I was told they would need to cut the baby out. We had already discussed this and I told them this was not what we wanted and asked why? They said because the baby was side-ways and could not be birthed that way. I simply said I will turn her. I put my hands on my brides stomach and played with our baby like I had been doing for months. I was able to somehow convey the message for her to put her head down. After a few minutes I said, “There, check the baby now.” They looked at me very funny and said she is in the birth channel. I had to do this twice before she was ready to be born that night. I wasn’t going to turn loose of that baby for anything. She spent that night sleeping on my chest while I slept sitting in a chair in the hospital room. Nothing ever felt so good.I was not a reading kind of a person. I didn’t attend college because I had no intention of reading stacks of meaningless volumes. But I started reading parenting books. I didn’t have parents of my own. I was hungry and left my mom, whom I was very close to. I grew up with my grandparents. They were not exactly parents. I was 14, if I came home at 4 o’clock in the morning that was OK, because I was a boy.I found a great parenting book. I read how I should never say “no” to my daughter because that would harm her. I should make her the center of the universe. This all seemed reasonable even desirable to me. WOW, just think if my parents had loved me enough to raise me this way. What a wonder life I would have had, instead of the mess I had grown up in. I drank it all up. Every drop. It felt good, right even.But out of no where, I thought this strange thought. It had merit and I began to contemplate it. Why are you wasting so much time. This is word for word. I have never forgotten it. I had experienced these types of thoughts before. Once when I was a teenager I was working on a farm and they needed someone to apply some anhydrous ammonia. This was a big job and I stood at attention. Ready to take on this big responsibility. I drove into the night racing to finish the field before the rain that was coming. Well it seems they forgot about proper training and safety gear. I learned quickly to keep that stuff of my hands. One drop burned a spot about the size of a quarter on the back of my hand that lasted for years. To fill the tanks with this gas you had to release the pressure after filling the tank. I, in my rush to finish, mistakenly was standing in the wrong spot when I went to release the pressure from the lines. But this thought came into my mind and said,”Get down and go around to the other side.” In my rush to finish I didn’t think twice, I simply jumped down and ran around to the other side of the tank. When I release the pressure from the lines it blew right where my face had been. I had a very scary feeling. What if I had been standing there. The blast would have hit me in the face. I never forgot that the rest of the night. Another time I was late to work and crashed my car. I hit a telephone pole across the windshield. Just before that I found myself throw through the driver side window, my right arm went up and kept me from flying all the way out. I can remember being in a daze only seeing white. It was foggy and I had no idea where I was, when the thought said, “Pull yourself back into the car.” I obeyed without thinking. I grabbed the steering wheel and pulled myself back in. I braced myself for I have no I idea what. It was the pole. The car was totaled and I only had a scratch from the glass on my arm.I knew these thoughts. They had come to me before. My first reaction was to think about money. Because if I was wasting time then I must have a limited amount of time left. If this were the case then I needed money to take care of my bride and new daughter. I could not accomplish that. So my second thought was GOD. In my absence God would provide for my family. That same Sunday we were in Church.That was sixteen years ago. I don’t believe there is a God, I know God. My life is not my own. My prayer is to die in His service.This life is not for everybody.

  • Anonymous

    Way to stick up for yourself Vyckie. If you hadn’t realized the baby was the problem, you would have probably continued to rationalize the bathwater given how tied to your family you were. Got to treat the cause, not the symptoms.

  • Kate

    May I ask you something? I am a Christian and have been following your blog for a couple of weeks. I’ll admit it breaks my heart. It’s hard for me to see my faith twisted, manipulated, and downright mutilated into something so horrible, into slavery. Especially since for me, Christ is all about freedom and never slavery.Anyway, I know people have been accusing you of not having been “real” Christians or whatever, but I don’t feel that I’m in a position to judge how “real” your belief in Christ was or wasn’t. If you say it was, then I believe you. So what I’m wondering is, what exactly convinced that Christ was not real, and that a personal God did not exist? Was it research that proved to you it wasn’t possible? Was it that you don’t see a way to believe in the God and Jesus of the Bible APART from the abusive belief system you held to? If you don’t mind speaking to that I would be interested in hearing it. Thank you.

  • Anonymous

    Some years ago, I almost had a “throw the baby out with the bathwater’ moment. It was when I was still realativly new to Christianity, and I had only known at the time one take on it. It started when I was online, and I was looking up Christian stuff, and reading commentaries on differant issues. I had been reading this one ladies comments when on my search around that site, she was saying something like how Christian ladies should submit to all Christian men, and that she didn’t think women should even be outside the home, and other stuff like that. Needless to say, I was horrified.Now I had only known the viewpoint that wives should submit to husbands, and women should not become ministers. But, like I said, I was still kind of newish, and I thought that amybe these people knew better somehow, because they had probably been Christians longer and knew what they were saying.But I couldn’t get what I’d read out of my head. Other Christians affirmed to this, or usually its lesser varient, and it seemed that they were content in it. But I couldn’t deal with it. What it was to me was an affirming of what happened to me and my mother and siblings years ago. That women were not equal, not in the truest sense of the word, no matter how many gymnastics you played with the idea. They had to submit to husbands, their ‘heads,’ and they couldn’t be ministers.What had happened to me and family years ago, was we were beaten and molested by my father. He HATED women, and so treated them evily. And now, so did I. Once that thing I had read settled in my brain with its horrible implications, I felt the greatest of hate towards women. To me they were weak, and they deserved everything men wrought to them. I especially hated Christian women, who were the epitome of what I dispised. I hated their submitting to men, and saying God made them that way. I was angry at God, for creating me as a woman, because I had to join these simpering creatures in their ‘submitting.’ I wanted to have God to make me a man, so I wouldn’t have to be a woman, and even to lay a hand on these creatures myself, and make them ‘submit’ as men were superiour.Such was the extent of my hate.To cut a long story short, I didn’t completely give up on God, even though it was quite tempting. I wanted to hate these women, but I had a sense that God didn’t want me to, and that I should love them. But it was hard.I eventually during this time found out there were other ways to view these ‘problem passages’ on women, and was able for the most part, to let go a lot of my disgust.Istill have issues, but I was able to let go of at least some of them with women. :)Lydia

  • Arietty

    Kate can I ask you what “Christ is all about freedom” actually looks like for you in everyday life? I am curious because as I posted in another thread while I found christianity exciting at times I never experienced it as “freedom”. “The truth shall set you free”.. from what? I am not baiting you btw, this is a genuine inquiry. Some phrases seem to be such common experiences for people but I feel like I’m standing outside looking in and not getting it.

  • Vyckie

    mom huebert and Kate ~ I do want to respond to your posts ~ it’s just that the malicious hacker glitch this morning threw me off and so ~ it’ll take me a little bit to recover my thoughts so that whatever I write might actually be somewhat coherent! LOL

  • Allison

    I am a Christian, homeschooling, full-quiver-er who is not going to tell you that you weren’t a “true” Christian. I’m going to tell you something different…..that there are some women out there in this “movement” (your word, not mine) that are actually living a life of joy and normalcy. I have a husband who adores me and our children. He allows me to be myself. He doesn’t lord over me the convictions that we both have. We have had many people comment on the blatant love we have for each other and our children. Our home is full of laughter and learning. I take endless joy in the life I lead and the children I am raising up to serve the Lord. Just because you both ended up in terrible marriages does not make every Christian, homeschooling, full-quivering woman an abused, unintelligent, following, mindless, uninformed hag. My best friends are women who are living this “movement” blatantly, joyfully, and without an ounce of abuse or rebellion. You would do well to recognize that, admit that, and own up to the fact that just because you experienced the worst, doesn’t mean that those of us living that lifestyle come even CLOSE to feeling the way you do. We don’t. We’re just sorry that you lived through what you did and came out of it rejecting God.

  • Kaderin

    AllisonThe reason that you have a good life is that you have a good man for a husband. Your marriage would be good in any kind of marriage.I have a husband who adores me and our children. He allows me to be myself. He doesn’t lord over me the convictions that we both haveBut he could and within the quiverfull framework he would not be wrong. That you would even praise his ALlOWING you to be yourself… you have a right to be yourself. It’s something that should never be threatened as long as society calls itself “free”. This movement could take it away from you. And if you had the misfortune to land one of the many men whose posession of a penis doesn’t automatically make him a good leader or even a good person – then you’d be screwed. The quiverfull lifestyle empowers the abuser and does not protect the victim.And that’s what’s wrong with it and why Vicky and Laura are doing good work by exposing it.

  • Anonymous

    I should just sign up. Tat!Anon…There is, and I’m sorry to give everyone this mental image, no way to separate the baby and the bathwater. Let’s just pretend the “baby” is a pet jellyfish, okay? So the extreme that submission was taken to is wrong? The Bible still says for wives to submit fully, and that’s still ingrained as a picture of man’s submission to god. The power of the movement is in the way that it is perfectly literal according to the Bible. In fact, it’s near-generous–Biblically, everyone could have lived with their head covered and been unable to go out whenever they had a period. Insisting that everyone stick to a light and equal version is very hard when the Bible gives weight to severe inequality. And at this point, you DO have to wonder why you are keeping the jellyfish when all it does is sting you. Out the window with that.(I am, by the way, worthy of death for falling in love, according to Paul. For *falling in love.* Certainly unintentional, certainly one of the best things that’s happened. So I know what I’m talking about here.)

  • Ed H ><>

    I see a problem here. God doesn’t tell anyone to submit to evil. If you submit to evil then you have are creating your own problem.

  • Anonymous

    Allison’s point up above, and Kaderin’s response, does seem to me to encapsulate the problem for those of us not currently believing in the QF lifestyle. Allison says, more or less: My husband and I are in touch with god, and we are happy, and everyone around us can see we are happy (external proof) and so the lifestyle and the religion are “true” and “good” and blessed by god. And I’m sure that is true–without snark or contradiction it sounds like a great marriage.All well and good. But then what to make of two marriages based on the same model, and same principles, that weren’t “good” and “happy” and “enjoyable.?” Well, you’ve got a few choices in how you understand the situation of Vyckie and Laura. 1) they were in the right marriage, with the right “head” and they weren’t up to the task. So Vyckie and Laura were not real christians, or good christians. Or, you might think, Vyckie and Laura were good christians trying to live a godly life but mysteriously they got stuck with *the wrong husband* so his headship wasn’t enough to make the whole plan work.Or, you might think, Vyckie and Laura were good christians trying to live the godly life (and I think having eight and eleven children respectively makes a darned good case for both of them at least sincerely trying. I had to try very hard to just have two, myself.)And their husbands were just and godly and good and all that other stuff but that the combination of the two pairs was somehow not working out properly.What’s god’s role in this? How do we understand the notion of a godly marriage that isn’t working out? Is it really possible for two people to be confirmed and convicted to be husband and wife and to make such a radically wrong choice? Within a Christian context can it ever be that the right thing thing to do is to separate? Given the supposed authority of Paul (various places) and Jesus (in the statement against divorce) apparently, according to QF practice, no. If the marriage isn’t working and the wife (rightly) can’t say that her husband is a great and loving head to the household or (hypothetically) if the husband wants to leave his wife they can’t do that and still *be* good christians. Furthermore if you read any quiverful writings on this subject women, certainly, are exhorted to remain with husbands who have been guilty of lust, infedelity, sexual abuse of children, and violence towards women and children. In practice, regardless of the sins of the husband towards those in his care, the Quiverful movement considers the job of maintaining the christian household paramount, and the duty to maintain it falls mainly on the woman even if she is the aggrieved party.As far as I can see from reading over at Above Rubies or in other such sites even in marriages that most of us (and allison, by implication) would consider intolerable the onus is on the woman to keep going. God wants her to. In that scenario god wants her to keep plugging away and her suffering within the marriage is at least proof that she is doing what god wants because the one thing god doesn’t want is for her to withdraw from the marriage. The union of the parents, of the married couple, is a higher priority for god than mere happiness for the woman (or the man, presumably).In that case I don’t get what the point of Allison’s post is or what evidentiary value her own personal experience has for understanding the experiences of other women who *lived the same life* but with a different and incompatible “head.” Her marriage and her husband’s headship is working out very nicely for her. He sounds like a great guy and it sounds like a lovely family. But within the principles of the QF movement (and I know that its a movement and not a church per se) it would make literally no difference to god, and it should make no difference to allison or her husband, if each of them were miserable together or he was abusive to her.And that, I think, is where the rubber meets the road for many more liberal Christians, Jews, and Atheists and Theists who are posting here. You absolutely could leave a QF marriage and still love a personal Jesus. Or you could still love some god. But you couldn’t be in one of those marriages for 25 years, endure what you endured, receive the condemnation and lack of moral support from the community, leave the community and still embrace *that* god who had, for 25 years, been your jailor and your husband’s enforcer.aimai

  • adventuresinmercy

    Allison,I know similar families like yours. What a joy they are! :) What I do wish you would acknowledge, though, is that the specific teachings often promoted in this movement/camp helped contribute to the abuse, if not outrightly approved of it. Not so much toward the abusive husband—abusive men will be abusive wherever they are (though this camp baptises their need to control and dominate their wives)—but especially in the area of the the woman’s meek *acceptance* of the hyper-controlling and dominating behavior of her husband.I know that for me, I put up with it for MUCH longer than I ever should have, ONLY because I thought it was God’s will that I be in submission. In fact, the very first thing that happened floored me (as we drove away on our honeymoon…that was the first time…I was shocked)…but I was a wife then…and I knew that wives HAD to submit…wives had to do whatever their husbands wanted, because wives were not allowed any personal boundaries. When we got back from our honeymoon and he commanded that I give up my car, my tv, my guitar, etc, I complied with only a whimper of protest. I didn’t have the rights to own things anymore. I was a wife now, and my husband was my spiritual authority. HIS vision for how our home would look, for what we would do with our lives, etc, was to be MY vision. This is what I’d learned in Bible School, this is what all the books said, and besides, he wasn’t asking me to sin. Right? So later, when my husband gave me lists for what I had to clean to perfection before being allowed to go to bed at night, etc, I submitted because I thought that was what God wanted. In fact, if there was anybody who was in sin, I was positive it was ME for feeling so humiliated at being given these long lists. I thought *my* reaction was what was sinful, not my husband treating me like a child. According to the teachings of this camp, the only time a wife has the right to say no to her husband is when he’s asking her to sin. And giving a detailed list of how the kitchen had to be completely sanitized and toothbrush-scrubbed before I could climb the stairs for bed (where he was waiting for me, ready for some action), was not sin. Right? My heart would sink to my stomach as I climbed those stairs, finally done with my job, and, get this, again, I was sure (thanks to all the books I’d read) that the problem was ME. I would be so ashamed of myself for MY sin at not being a cheerful and amorous wife. I learned to fake it (because a godly wife NEVER ever says no to her husband in bed—she has no rights to any boundaries when it comes to what he wants, and that includes the most intimate parts of her own body), and I fervently prayed for the real feelings to come (looking back, er, I can figure out REAL quick why I would walk up those stairs in dread…who wants to be amorous with someone who treats you like a child…?) Who backed up those beliefs of mine? Who taught them to me in the first place? The patriarchy movement. So while it’s good to openly acknowledge that there are many good families in this movement, it’s also important for you to acknowledge the part that your movement had in what happens to the families where dad isn’t a healthy person. I learned all sorts of ways to help my unhealthy husband become even unhealthier, thanks to the patriarchy movement. I was submissive for all those years because of my love and obedience to God. I would have NEVER put up with that stuff had I not thought that God’s will was for wives to submit. If you never say no to a toddler and always give them what they demand, you’ll have a monster on your hands in no time flat. Same with unhealthy husbands. But the patriarchy movement taught me the exact opposite, such as, – Douglas Wilson’s “Reforming Marriage” where we were taught that I was the ground and my husband was the farmer and whatever he wanted to grow was what I had to grow. – Doug Phillip’s publication by Phil Lancaster, “Family Man, Family Leader,” where men are told that if their wife is always happy with them, they must be doing something wrong, because a good leader will make decisions that his wife doesn’t like sometimes. That same book talked about how the husband was in charge of EVERYTHING the wife does, making my husbands hyper-control look pretty wimpy, really—making me think I had it pretty good. – I learned it from Debi Pearl’s “Created to be His Helpmate,” where I learned that I was created soley to fulfil my husband’s vision, that when he was a “command man” and demanded this and that rudely, I had to do it with a smile. When he was a “visionary,” and had crazy ideas, I had to applaud and be his biggest fan. (I’m filing for bankruptcy now. Let’s just say the idea’s got crazier and crazier and the last one was particularly horrible). I also learned there that suffering quietly in a bad marriage was what women of faith do, and women who don’t have faith leave or talk to a counselor. – I learned from “The Excellent Wife” that I could only give “one appeal” when I disagreed with my husband, and after that, I wasn’t allowed by God to say anything more. So when my husband was beating our dog’s head into the porch, I was only allowed to ask him to stop once. Any more than that was sin. So I ran upstairs and sobbed my prayers to God to stop my husband. I literally thought, thanks to all of these books, that submission was THE MOST IMPORTANT THING, that me not submitting was a far greater crime in God’s eyes than letting an animal be beaten mercilessly. -I learned from Denny Keneston that a godly woman is a “Hidden Woman,” she is somewhere in the background. She serves her husband as if he was an incarnation of Christ–he is her earthly lord. -From Elizabeth Rice Standeford (or is it Standerford Rice?), “Me? Obey Him,” we learn that a woman should obey her husband in everything, even if he tells her to sin, becuase God promises to protect her from the worst of the sin. If her husband tells her not to go to church, she can’t go to church. If he wants to go left, she must go left, if he wants to go right, she must go right, etc. (When you are married to a hyper-controlling perfectionist, let me just say that this is really really BAD). I won’t go on, but I have more books I could mention. I think it’s important that people in the patriarchy camp stand up and say, “We’re not all like that!” But I also think it’s important that you acknowledge that many of the “popular” books SUPPORT what happened to these families where things DIDN’T go so well. These books do not talk about abuse in any sort of detail—many times, they actually condone it. For example, a husband controlling his wife’s decisions isn’t abusive in these books. Rather, it proves he’s a godly leader, and they encourage him to do it even more! Those within the QF patriarchy camp, if they are opposed to abusive men having carte blanche over their families, must stand up and demand a different kind of reading material, a different kind of family vision than the one that is currently selling like hotcakes. What happened to Laura and Vyckie is not some odd strange isolated event. What happened to my family was completely invisible on the outside. My husband was a full-time minister, lauded and loved by our congregation, during the entire time all of this was happening! If those of you in this camp don’t stand up against your camps books and teachings that openly FEED these unhealthy families abusive behaviors, but yet still support this camp as being God’s way and back up these teachers and their publications, you are, albeit in a smaller way than the book’s authors, *helping* to contribute to the abuse. So, yes, stand up and show the world that there ARE healthy good families in this movement. But also stand up against som
    e o
    f the more popular teachings in this movement that support the very thing you do not want your movement to be associated with. Molly

  • Vyckie

    Hello ~ just a quick little note about the comments.You all have been so wonderful in keeping the tone of these discussions respectful. I really appreciate that the comments you’re sending have been thoughtful ~ such open-mindedness and tolerance creates a place where people from many different perspectives feel welcome and makes it possible for this sort of discussion to actually be helpful and interesting rather than ugly, bitter and counter-productive.I did have to reject one comment this morning posted anonymously ~ I didn’t like having to hit the “reject” button because I think whoever wrote it had a point ~ but I didn’t think the sarcasm and cussing were in keeping with the respectful “environment” which I think we’re all wanting to maintain here.Anyway ~ thanks again. Please carry on. ‹(ô¿ô)›

  • Vyckie

    Hey Molly ~ AWESOME POST!! Very-well said.Thank you.

  • Anonymous

    Ah, yes, that was me. I’ll try again, this time minus the swearing :DYou should think about writing a couple of rules down so that new commenters know what is acceptable and what is not.Allrighty then…Ed H, the Bible clearly tells wives to submit to their husband. Please point me towards the verses in which God amends that to “…except when he’s evil”Not only that, but evil is a broad term. It must be defined, so you must also provide verses which tell us what exactly is ground for disobedience.Do you remember the story of Abraham? He submitted himself to another’s will and tried to kill his innocent child. And a supposedly loving God applauded him for it. To my moral sensitivities, that is evil.

  • aimai

    Vyckie,I read over my last post, the one right before yours on this thread, and I wanted to say that I apologize profusely for using you and Laura as an example in a thought experiment. I hope you know from my other posts how deeply I admire both of you for your courage and endurance and the thoughtful and honest way you are grappling with your situations. I have blogged for a while on a group blog and even though we don’t get a quarter of your traffic I know how weird it can be to have your own ideas, posts, or life discussed in the third person by complete strangers. I am very grateful that you and Laura have permitted such a wide ranging discussion on these issues–a discussion that begins with what we know (or think we know) of your situation but which probably bears only the slightest resemblance to the way you are thinking about your situation. I guess what I’m saying here is that I hope you aren’t offended or hurt in any way by the way some of us (and I’m sure I’m the worst offender) have been kicking around the ideas about family, abuse, religion etc… using the names “Vyckie” and “Laura” to stand for a given viewpoint or situation. We know there is a huge difference between the real life Vyckie and the real life Laura and the hypothetical or stylized or representative one we are talking about. I apologize if my hypothetical set of questions, up above, read as harsh or judgemental. I think both of you did everything any woman could have done in very difficult circumstances and I really honor you both tremendously for pulling out and for going public. As Kaderin said elsewhere you and this blog are performing a real public service.aimai

  • Anonymous

    Oh, and I forgot – I’d like to apologize for my tone in the first comment. It’s just that Ed’s post blames the victim, which is a berserk button for me *cough*

  • Vyckie

    "Anonymous" ~ I'm glad you came back and re-submitted your post ;-) I have considered coming up with some sort of "comment policy" ~ but the truth is, I personally have lived under nothing but RULES, RULES, RULES for way too long ~ so for now, I'm pretty hesitant about saying, "This is how it has to be." (BTW ~ my kids really appreciate the totally laid-back atmosphere in our home these days ~ and YES ~ they sometimes do take advantage of it!)aimai ~ I appreciate your "apology" post above ~ but it's really not necessary. We have sort of an awkward situation in which Laura & I haven't actually stated our positions on a lot of stuff. It's not that we're wanting to leave you to guess ~ only that: a) We're waiting to "reveal" certain information and thoughts at the proper time in the telling of our stories, or..b) We are clueless ~ it's a lot to process and there's actually quite a lot that we just haven't had time to really think about yet. For myself ~ I can tell you pretty succinctly what *I no longer believe* ~ but it's much more of a challenge to say what I do believe now ~ and even that is complicated by the fact that I don't have a lot of confidence in my ability to know anything since I've obviously been VERY wrong before.The reason I started the "We've been thinking" series is not because I have any set-in-stone opinions about these topics ~ it's because we're wanting to hear some different perspectives to help us sort things out.So ~ it's a learning process. And I'm really grateful that you all are a part of that process.

  • Anonymous

    If someone has a philosophy, and you follow it and suffer, and they say ‘you aren’t applying it right’, then rest assured it’s not you, but the philosophy.A good philosophy wouldn’t allow such perversions because they wouldn’t be inherent in it.It’s the same thing with cigerettes. Some people don’t get lung cancer and live to be 100, and laugh off the warnings. Their experience does not change the fact that smoking exposes your lungs to carcinogens.

  • Kaderin

    VickyRules don’t have to be authoritarian! Think Pirates of the Carribean: “They’re not precisely rules. They’re more like… guidelines.” (I love that movie! Oh, Jack… *swoon*)You can phrase rules in such a way that they’re less about forbidding things and more about what kind of behaviour is encouraged. I think your comment above did that really well, along the lines of “We want to create an open-minded and tolerant comment section, where ideas can be discussed without strife. So please keep the tone of your comments respectful and avoid swearing”Or some such :D

  • Anonymous

    @AdventuresinmercyI’m sorry, but a story like that has to prompt someone to ask “What were you smoking, dude?”I used to be a ‘true’ believer in god, but I never experienced wierd things like moving lights or moving pots. If I had it might have made it harder to stop believing. As it was the thing that started me on the road to disbelief was an Elder of the church who told me to stop painting because my subject matter was demonic. It was a mermaid! I couldn’t really take him seriously after that. Soon he started sounding delusional. Sadly I didn’t throw out the baby after that, just the Version of Christianity tm that I was in at the time. It took me a lot longer to get rid of the baby, but I dont’ have to pretend that strange and unexplainable things happen for a reason anymore. They are just strange, and probably have a reason based in nature that we just dont’ know yet.

  • Linnea

    Anonymous writes: If someone has a philosophy, and you follow it and suffer, and they say ‘you aren’t applying it right’, then rest assured it’s not you, but the philosophy.I agree. In fact, I submit that happy, functional, non-abusive patriarchal families are happy, functional, and non-abusive in spite of patriarchy, not because of it.

  • aimai

    NPR had an absolutely fascinating piece, on This American Life, about ghost stories. The very first piece was a long and very convincing story about a couple whose house was haunted–the experiences they had, the visions they had. It was all presented in their letters and writings because it had happened during the last century. Well, come to find out that they really, truly, had those experiences *because they were suffering from a kind of coal gas poisoning* that was very common back then. Everything they described, which you, while listening, thought was “inexplicable” except as a true form of ghost or demonic presence, was “cured” when they got their coal problem fixed. Now, as any one can tell you the fact that there was a physical cause for one set of visitations or sightings doesn’t mean that there is/will be, a physical cause for all visitations or sightings. But it ought to give us a little pause in asserting that such sightings and visitations are truly paranormal when so many ordinary things can produce identical results.aimai

  • Anonymous

    @Ed H ><>That was a very nice story about all those experiences happening 'just so'. Can I ask, why did god let all those kids die in that plane crash in Montana? Why would he be specially watching after you?

  • Anonymous

    Vyckie “~ but it’s much more of a challenge to say what I do believe now ~ and even that is complicated by the fact that I don’t have a lot of confidence in my ability to know anything since I’ve obviously been VERY wrong before.”Vyckie, what you describe here is the best place of beginnings.As a professing Christian, I didn’t throw out the baby altogether. But I did ignore it or misplace it for a while as I re-adjusted my thinking. And I needed that time and space as part of my healing.Self-righteousness and a lack of humility are problems in Christians because they are a problem in people in general.New believers generally (there are always exceptions) go through a know-it-all stage just like children. I went through my own selfrighteous stage. Looking back, I wonder how anyone could stand me.Hopefully the new believer grows out of that stage just like most children grow out of it. But how many of us know people who never outgrow it both in the church and outside the church.In my opinion it is better to acknowledge and embrace the uncertainty than to be dead wrong and defend it with misplaced zeal.Please take your time working this out.You’ll get no pressure from me.Mara

  • Anonymous

    Jemand said:But I just want to point out that if atheists didn’t think Christians were relying on phony arguments, if they found any valid ones, they would be Christians, not atheists!Jemand, I understand that you didn’t mean this like it sounded, since you said it in the same post where you said you were not attacking Christians– but it was upsetting to me to hear it said as you said it, when “I don’t find Christians’ arguments compelling” would have been so much more respectful and less accusatory.It is simply not true that there are NO valid arguments for Christianity, and that every argument every Christian uses is “phony.” You may find the arguments for atheism more weighty and compelling, and you’re entitled to do so. But I do feel disrespected by the idea that all the reasons I believe in Christianity are not “valid” and are “phony.”I appreciate everyone who replied to my concerns about misuse of the “No True Scotsman” argument. It does seem to me that if a pacifist can’t commit a violent act in the name of pacifism, then stating that Catholics are using the “No True Scotsman” fallacy when they claim child-molesting priests are not representative of Catholicism, is unfair. There is no Christian mainstream or sidestream group which has EVER claimed that their creeds or scriptures give them license to abuse children! And actually, the same goes for spousal abuse in groups like Quiverful. I have never heard a Christian group justify spousal abuse on the basis of scripture or creed, because there is no scripture or creed that gives any such license.Now, you may say that certain structures set up by these groups (which they do justify with their scriptures) are ripe for abuse, and that the church authorities wink at the abuses, and that would be true– but these things aren’t part and parcel with Christianity, any more than a pacifist who commits violence is being representational of pacifism.So let’s be fair, and use the same standards to apply to all groups. Christianity does not include or justify spousal or child abuse or molestation as part of its tenets. So someone who says these behaviors are not representational of Christianity, is committing no fallacy.KR Wordgazer

  • Anonymous

    Allison says, “I am a Christian, homeschooling, full-quiver-er who is not going to tell you that you weren’t a “true” Christian. I’m going to tell you something different…..that there are some women out there in this “movement” (your word, not mine) that are actually living a life of joy and normalcy.”Allison, if you had met Vicky back in the days when she was writing “HOMESCHOOL? OH, I COULD NEVER DO THAT!”, wouldn’t you have said she was one of them?

  • aimai

    KR,You still don’t get the meaning of the “one true scotsman fallacy.” And its important because it means you aren’t understanding what we are saying. The phrase refers to the refusal of a group to acknowledge that its own members can do wrong by insisting that that person “isn’t really an X…” This is what is happening in this conversation vis a vis what “christ” really says or what christianity really is. People on the outside would say that Christianity is what Christians do. Not what they profess–although that is part of it–but what they do. This is both a philosophical issue and a sociological/corporate one. First, Christianity is what Christians do. Did someone have the authority to declare that Dale and Warren were not practicing christians while they were, in fact, calling themselves Christians? Uh. No. They were entitled to call themselves Christians and they *did* call themselves Christians. And Molly’s husband the pastor? He’s a Christian too. If I have a family member who is a pervert and gets arrested for it I don’t have the luxury of saying “he’s not a member of my family.” I might wish he weren’t. I might disown him. But I can’t just say “oh, he’s not really one of us”–especially if I’m not willing to do anything to stop him from living with me, or calling himself a relative, or using my name. And isn’t that in fact exactly the same problem the Evangelical church had with Ted Haggard? One minute he’s “one of them” and the next he’s a non-person? I’d maintain that he was, and is, a Christian and even his flaws and his follies are an outgrowth of his sincere desire to be a Christian. He’s not a gay meth addict because he’s *not a christian* much as his church would like to dissapear him down the memory hole. He’s a gay meth addict because as a Christian he couldn’t figure out any legitimate, honorable, way to satisfy his most basic desire to be loved for who he is, a gay man.And that is one of the problems for Christianity and, really, any disorganized group from a political party to a shoppers club. We congregate together for our benefit and safety, we join with other people in a variety of groups–households, families, towns, book groups, political parties and then we try to maintain some boundaries where we say “these people are not in our group” and “these people are.” Christianity is a pretty amorphous group, really, and except within denominations you don’t have the right or the ability to declare a person or a sect ” not one of us” and to excommunicate them.So, KR, you and the other soft and cuddly Christians who want to tell us that the brand of Christianity that Vyckie and Laura endured “isn’t really christianity” simply don’t have the authority to say that. You aren’t “in charge” of the definition of Christianity or of knowing Jesus or what a personal god looks like or wants. You are just members of a large, amorphous group of people who are in struggle with each other over the definition of your own holy scriptures and over control of a brand name and an identity that each of you wants for yourselves.aimai

  • Allison

    Anonymous’s comments to me (Allison) beg for a rebuttal so here goes. I am a very good observer of people. I used to know Laura. I have watched her over the years with her family, just as I have watched OTHER families and wives and husbands over the years. So I can honestly tell you that, if I had met Vicky back in the days when she was writing for “Above Rubies”-type mags, I would’ve suspected something was amiss. I knew something wasn’t right w/ Laura and Dale long before anything became apparent to outsiders. Her children were lovely but the relationship between Laura and her then-husband was obviously strained. My husband is very affectionate so I am sensitive to that in other marriages. I never remember once seeing Laura and Dale close enough to even brush shoulders. I rarely saw them speak to each other and when they did, it was terse. I never saw them laugh with each other and the only people I saw joy from in that family was the children. Here’s another thing….when my marriage was young, I was EXACTLY like all the rest of you women, here pumping your fists in the air, hollering for your “rights” and “freedoms”. That was me. I was an ego-maniacal piece of self-righteous crap that the world revolved around….or so I thought. There are terrible things that happened in our home that rival Vyckie’s and Laura’s stories so I know wherein I speak. And here is what I found out after nine years of struggling to be and do what I WANTED and what I thought should be my right! God made me to need a leader. Just like he made entire countries to need leaders and large corporations and school classrooms to need leaders. Otherwise, chaos ensues. Selfishness rules. What I believe and want and “feel” is what is right in my little world. Yes, my husband rocks! But it wasn’t always so and that’s because I fought against what God wanted me to be. When I surrendered (oh, y’all must HATE that word!) MY RIGHTS, that is when my life of joy began. Truly. Now, I know many of you will snort and roll your eyes, but that is the truth because God made marriage to be that way. If I am being who God made me to be, even if my husband were a louse, GOD is worth me obeying him. Not being a doormat, but submitting to him. When I put myself and my rights and my desires aside, my husband became a godly man who loves me and treats me like gold. It was not always that way….not because he was a loser, but because I was not who God wanted me to be……and I mean inside and outside. Not this flouncing around, pouting and whining and crying while trying to appear meek and quiet and submissive. True-hearted submission and obedience and joy.

  • Jadehawk

    Wordgazer, you’re still missing the point. I’ll agree with you that child molestation is nowhere in either the bible or the catechism (Catholics don’t believe in “sola scriptura”), but spousal abuse is a dilemma that’s very much part of Christianity.Let me go with that pacifist example you used earlier. Imagine a extreme pacifist community, families with children etc. now one day a crazed man breaks into one of the homes of the community. He murders one child and is about to murder another, when an adult member of the community walks into the room. what now? he’s in a moral dilemma, from the pacifist point of view. He can break his strict pacifism and save the child, or he can according to his ideal, but then the child will die.If he choses to act and kills the murderer, his community might expel him for being No True Pacifist because he didn’t live up to the ideal and brought more violence into the world. on the other hand, if he does not act, then more liberal pacifist will disavow him and say he’s No True Pacifist because his inaction resulted in violence on an innocent. They would be both wrong, of course.This is what happens when dogma crashes with reality, and this is exactly the problem that arises whithin christianity when one member of one branch does something that another disagrees with, they brand each other as No True Christianssimilarly, if the pacifist who was faced with the dilemma decides that pacifism makes no sense, and sometimes violence IS the answer, other pacifist will say that he couldn’t have been a True Pacifist to begin with, or else he wouldn’t revert to violence so easily. the same way, christians accuse ex-Christians of never having been a True Christian, because a true Christian would never be able to turn their back on god!It’s faulty logic. and it’s mostly inapplicable to atheists for the simple reason that the only “dogma” that atheists have is “there are probably no gods at all”. so unless we’re accusing Stalin of believing in Marx as a diety, your point makes no sense.I have however seen the No True Atheist when atheists convert to a religion, because some atheists forget that not all atheists are skeptics. it’s the skeptics who would most likely never convert out of atheism

  • Vyckie

    Oh Allison ~ I can’t describe how painful it was for me to read your post ~ because I spent YEARS and YEARS saying and believing EXACTLY what you just wrote. I had a difficult husband ~ and the whole reason that the patriarchy teachings were attractive to me is because I was looking for a way to make life with him more manageable. I’m happy if your self-negation has led to your husband now treating your better. In my case, it only made my husband feel justified in his tyranny.Reading your letter was like having a flashback ~ that was me! That’s what I was thinking!! OMG.

  • Anonymous

    Vicky,I hope my post didn’t come out as non-sensical. What I was trying to say was something like that I did have an idea of the damage of super-dominant men in families, and how much it could damage the psyche of young girls years later. But sometimes I don’t write well enough to get ideas across, and it can look like giberish. :)Lydia

  • Kaderin

    It does seem to me that if a pacifist can’t commit a violent act in the name of pacifism, then stating that Catholics are using the “No True Scotsman” fallacy when they claim child-molesting priests are not representative of Catholicism, is unfair.Hm, yes and no. You have to understand – the context in which the accusation of No True Scotsman is brought up matters.If an atheist said out of the blue “Catholicism is immoral because priests molest children” and a theist replied “No! Pedophile priests are not represantative of catholic morality”, then for the atheist to claim “Aha! No True Scotsman!” would be wrong.But, as I explained in my first post, there needs to be a positive claim by the theist first, like… T: “Catholicism leads to a better morality in people, truely devoted catholics never commit crimes”A: “But what about child-molesting priest? They are devoted, yet commit heinous acts at the same time”T: “They don’t count. No TRUE devout catholic would ever molest a child.”You see? The fallacy is used to discard evidence to the contrary of a first-established claim (or really, the claim doesn’t have to be stated explicitly, but it has to be an unchallenged presupposition in the theist’s mind), by making it not count. Found this example on wikipedia:A: Faith is permanent. Once a Christian, you cannot lose your faith.B: But Mark used to go to church, and then lost faith in Jesus.A: Yes, but Mark was never a true Christian in the first place.So the No True Scotsman Vicky and Laura now encountered goes something like this:Christians believe the following notion: “Anyone who embraces Christianity and follows the Bible is sure to find a better life, filled with God’s love and superior morality.”Hearing Vicky and Laura describe their lifes of abuse sanctioned by the Bible leads to them making a statement like…”That doesn’t count. I hope you’ll find True Christianity (TM)”And that, boys and girls, is No True Scotsman. It’s not so much an attempt to convince someone else, but also to reassure the speaker himself that his preconceived notions are true. Cognitive dissonance has got to be such a pain…Hope that clears everything upPS: As I wrote this Jadehawk and Aimai wrote wonderful responses as well. Curses, foiled once more! Anyway, what they said *points*

  • Kaderin

    “I was EXACTLY like all the rest of you women, here pumping your fists in the air, hollering for your “rights” and “freedoms”. That was me. I was an ego-maniacal piece of self-righteous crap that the world revolved around“Well, look at that. Ladies, I think we’ve just been severly insulted.How does that quote go? Oh yes.Feminism is the radical idea that women are human.It’s not ego-maniacal to think you deserve the same rights as someone who was born with a penis. Accidents of birth should not determine one’s worth – every person should be judged on their actions and merit. I guess that’s the same attitude that overthrew the monarchies and first established democracy. According to you, a mistake, I take it?And personally, I think it’s hysterical to be accused of self-righteousness by that comment of yours. Glass houses and all that.You have a beautiful marriage. Good for you. And I mean that honestly. But so do others outside your ideology. I think a former commenter put that well – “Just because you survived smoking to be 100 years old, that doesn’t mean it’s healthy.”If you, personally, think you need guidance in your life and could not live a happy life without it, fine. But don’t assume that I or any other woman need it, just because we happen to share genitelia.

  • Allison

    Vyckie, I KNEW you would say that! Amazing. Just because you delude yourself into thinking you know my life, you don’t. You never will. You do not have my joy and you never did. Keep going the way you are and you never will either, sad to say. You both sound like a couple of bitter women who think you are now enlightened and “free”. It’s a sad thing to see. Your level of self-righteousness and self-importance is nauseating. I’m done here.

  • Anonymous

    You know, it may not be that I “don’t understand” the “No True Scotsman” fallacy. It may be that I simply don’t agree with the way it’s being used here. What I’m hearing you all say is, there is NO definition of a Christian. Anything anyone does, if they say they’re a Christian, no matter how “out there” it is, all Christians have to claim them as our own. In that case, no one can ever say anything about what Christianity actually is, can one? How, then, are Christians going to teach their creeds? Have any standards of behavior? Issue any repudiations of heinous crimes done by someone who claims to have done it in Christ’s name? All Christians can do is constantly apologize for the behavior of anyone who ever claims to be a Christian, as if it were the fault of all of us. Metacrock, who runs the Doxa.ws website, has this to say about the “No True Scotsman” fallacy:If it is a fallacy to argue that so and so wasn’t’ a Christian, because Christianity is very diverse and we can’t say who is and who is not and the attempt to try is always a fallacy, then it must also be the same fallacy to say “all Christians do x.” The idea that Christianity causes all these social harms . . . is also the same fallacy. It seems to be that the blanket statement that any time anyone says, “this isn’t Christian behavior” they are committing a fallacy, is so broad as to be pretty nearly useless– except as a way to silence any Christian who tries to speak in defense of his/her faith.KR Wordgazer

  • Anonymous

    Allison, I asked you a question, which you did answer, so thank you for that, but exactly how does a question, asked in good faith, beg for a rebuttal?

  • Anonymous

    Ok — after I posted my last comment, I read Kaderin’s explanation of context– which makes all the difference. Of course if you’re going to make some universal statement that “Christianity (or my version of it) always results in people doing/feeling x” then you can’t turn around when someone doesn’t do/feel “x” and say he/she wasn’t a true Christian. To my mind, the fallacy starts as soon as anyone ever says, “[insert ideology] results in [insert universal result].” But I do disagree that you can just slap someone with this fallacy when they never actually said, “My version of Christianity always has the result x.” Which, whether or not it was meant that way, is what I was hearing before Kaderin spoke up. KR Wordgazer

  • Anonymous

    You ladies are really sad….it is sick to read what you say. I knew Laura. She does not seem to be sharing the WHOLE story. Yes, her husband made mistakes, BUT did she never do anything wrong….was she always perfect? come on!!!

  • emf1947

    “It seems to be that the blanket statement that any time anyone says, “this isn’t Christian behavior” they are committing a fallacy, is so broad as to be pretty nearly useless– except as a way to silence any Christian who tries to speak in defense of his/her faith.”So what do you call the people who are baptized as Christians, profess Jesus as Lord, go to church (or home church) regularly, have not been excommunicated or disfellowshipped, and behave in ways of which you disapprove?

  • Jadehawk

    Wordgazer:the whole problem is that the definition of Christianity is simply “founded by Christ, follows the bible”. the bible being such a massive hodgepodge of different texts, you can interpret it a million different ways and there’s no one who can rightfully say “my way is the right way, and you got it all wrong”. hell, until after the inter-christian crusades were all done, there wasn’t even a single definition of “christ”!and because of this uncertainty, every group who considers christ and the bible the basis of its faith can call themselves christian, and no one can rightfully say they aren’t. unless god or jesus himself descend from heaven and declare “group x has got it right”, there just isn’t one correct way to be christian.

  • Anonymous

    anon: laura doesn’t need to be perfect. it’s irrelevant. what is relevant is the gravity of their faults and misdeeds, unless she locked dale in a closet for extended periods of time, his actions against her weigh more than her actions against him.

  • Kaderin

    WordgrazerAwww. I read your post above and had just typed up a response. But good that you finally see what we mean :DAnyways…AllisonYou do not have my joy and you never did.So you admit that faithfully living the quiverful lifestyle to its full extent did not bring Vicky, Laura and Dan joy and love? That walking this godly path does not, in fact, always work out? Because, you know, you’re kinda proving Vicky’s (and Laura’s) point. Your godly lifestyle would forbid them ever leaving each other, and as such drag out the misery. You are at every turn confirming what Vicky and Laura are claiming.Your level of self-righteousness and self-importance is nauseating.…I think you have a plank in your eye. Bigtime.AnonymousYour comment reveals that you have not really read this blog. Laura admits to mistakes multiple times – but I guess you can’t really see beyond “OMG, they’re critisizing my faith”

  • jemand

    Anonymous. I assume you are a part of quiverful? If so, than you probably have many children. Imagine two of them are arguing over a banana. One says “Mine, all Mine give me this banana!!!!!” The other says “I’m hungry two, can’t we split it?”As a parent do you give the greedy child three fourths???Compromise is NOT always the solution, there is NOT always blame on “both sides” it is NOT the victims fault for being murdered, raped or abused. Even if they are female.and a note to moderation, could we maybe number anonymous posts? I mean I use a pseudonym myself but it’s easier to keep the conversation going if I can refer to a post more specifically.

  • Vyckie

    jemand ~ sorry, but blogger won’t let me alter the posts to add a number on the anon posts. I have considered issuing a threat ~ use a name or pseudonym or your comment won’t make it through.

  • Charis

    dear Lydia,I’m not Vyckie. But I very much appreciated your comment and identify with the feminine self-rejection you experienced, as well as the healing and recovery as you were able to see the troublesome passages in a new light.Shalom,Charis

  • Anonymous

    emf947 — I don’t say “they aren’t true Christians.” But I do feel free to say, “Christianity doesn’t actually teach that it’s ok to do that” — especially if I have good reason to believe such a statement would be accepted by pretty much everyone who professes Christianity (such as, “Christianity doesn’t actually teach that it’s ok for a spiritual leader to molest kids”). Or if it’s only my own version of Christianity that doesn’t teach that, I can say, “I don’t believe the Scriptures/creeds should be interpreted like that. I think that interpretation is faulty, and that Christianity shouldn’t be practiced along those lines.” What I don’t do is say, “OMG, Christianity is so awful, because some people who profess it believe or do x.” Seems to me that’s just as much a fallacy as the other. (BTW– let me make a disclaimer that I’m speaking theoretically here, and none of this is about anything that Vyckie or Laura did, didn’t, should or shouldn’t do. Just in case it could get misinterpreted that way.)KR Wordgazer

  • jemand

    Vykie, sorry the options aren’t there… I think it’s better to have anonymous than not have them posting at all… so I suppose just let it through. I wish people would choose SOME handle though, even if it’s only something like ’75n8′Facilitates conversation!

  • Jadehawk

    Wordgazer,of course you’re right that Christianity doesn’t teach that it’s ok to molest children, but this is why I used that “dogma meets real world” dilemma earlier. Christianity (and all other strict ideologies) teaches certain things and promotes certain structures that then put followers in a dilemma, and the resolution of the dilemma will break SOME part of the dogma. even the child molestation situation does, since a parish is supposed to follow the priest as their spiritual leader, not rise against him. of course, from a sane person’s point of view it’s ridiculous to put such dogma ahead of the welfare of children… but it’s still thereand on a related note: the structures that Christianity sets up are very much part of that particular kind of Christianity, and those are often dangerous structures. the only way to separate faith from those social structures is if faith was “secret”, i.e. fully internal and never pronounced to the outside world or even to other believers, i.e. keep the faith, abolish the religious community. and somehow, i don’t think there’s enough Christians out there who would be willing to go for that. (and a lot of those who do are calling themselves deists because they do not wish to be associated with those abusive structures)but none of this has anything to do with the No True Scotsman fallacy, since that applies only to people, not to organizations or ideas.

  • a.b.e.

    I am a Bible believing Christian. I love God and Jesus and the Holy Spirit. And I want to thank Molly for her wonderful witness to the abuse that occurs in marriages were only the wives are expected to submit.We need more stories out there by the Vickies, Lauras, Mollys, Charis’s and other women who have suffered in one way submission marriages. Christian women have been stripped of their humanity by Christian teachers who don’t understand, love or respect women.Unless stories like these ladies get out to the mainstream media, those Christians who want dominate, control and own women as property will continue to prevail.God bless you Charis, Laura, Vyckie, and Molly who tell the truth about what can happen in a marriage where only one person has a say.

  • Charis

    God made me to need a leader. -AllisonAllison, I’m so sorry you are gone. :( Hate to have you leave without hearing that God made you to BE a leader, not to NEED a leader. Go back and read Gensis 1:28-28 in any version you like. You will see God’s intention for the man AND woman (male AND female). Can you show me in Scripture where God retracted that? If not, then we rebel to retract it ourselves. At the FALL, the consequence of sin for the woman “your desire shall be for your husband and he shall rule over you”. Its not a command or a prescription. It is descriptive. Men buy tractors and weed killer to ameliorate for the consequences of the Fall, and women use pain killers during childbirth. God has no intention that we embrace husbands ruling over their wives. We are intended to be the king and the queen, equal co-regents. Please stop robbing your husband of help MEET, Allison! PLEASE study Help MEET/ezer it is an equal power, and that is what God intends you to be. Paul also never calls the man “the head of the household”. Go search the Bible for yourself on Biblegateway. You will not find it. Its a christian myth. But he does call the woman that. Its lost in the wimpy translation. Do a word study on the word translated “guide”/”manage” in 1 Tim 5:14. Here, I’ll give you a hand with that: http://2dig.wordpress.com/oikodespoteo-the-authority-of-a-wife/And Allison, don’t you think its really odd how God dealt with Mary, the mother of Jesus if God thought women “need a leader”? He didn’t tell her to go check with her dad, or her betrothed. He didn’t check with them Himself. He approached Mary- who scholars think was around 15- and asked her if she would be the vessel to carry His Son.

  • Linnea

    Well, Allison said she was done here, but in case she’s not . . .Allison, you say that your problem was that you wanted your own way at first, and as soon as you truly submitted, everything between you and your husband became wonderful. I can’t tell if you’re posting “this is what worked for me” or “this is what everyone should do”. But you certainly seem to be implying the latter.You say you know Laura; did you know her when she was first married? Because if you read her story, it sounds like she was pretty much submissive from Day One. Same with Molly (adventuresinmercy), who has been posting here and also has her own blog.So what’s the deal? Does submission only lead to happiness if you pick the right husband? Or do you think that there are no such things as abusive men, only uppity women?

  • a.b.e.

    I’m going to say this even though I’ve said it before – the word “head” in Eph. 5:23 and in 1 Cor 11 did NOT mean leader or authority in the original Greek. A lot of scripture that is used as a weapon to subordinate women under men has either been misunderstood, mistranslated, or taken outside of its cultural context.

  • Charis

    Anon,Apparently you missed Laura’s humble confession and owning responsibility for her attitude? Read the Bosch thread and comments. If anything, I think she blamed herself too much. She was fed poison (by the one who made vows in front of GOD) and responded by wilting.Are you Dale’s replacement woman? I’m concerned for you. You might want to be careful about your judgments:“With the measure you use, it will be measured to you” -Jesus

  • Arietty

    MOLLY!! Awesome post. “If those of you in this camp don’t stand up against your camps books and teachings that openly FEED these unhealthy families abusive behaviors, but yet still support this camp as being God’s way and back up these teachers and their publications, you are, albeit in a smaller way than the book’s authors, *helping* to contribute to the abuse.” (Molly’s words)I am upset reading all this stuff today where people in happy marriages point their finger at women who were abused and tell them it’s their fault for not REALLY being submissive. Or trying to make out that the books don’t say you submit to evil. Or Allison saying that even if your husband is a “louse” it is worth obeying God to submit to him. I am sickened and angry.It all comes down to Molly’s post: these teachings are WRONG and happy quiverful families need to recognized how unbalanced they are and how they give permission for abuse. Just because your husband didn’t equate leading with tyranny doesn’t mean it’s not happening over and over again. Why is this abuse never confronted within these churches? When’s the last time you heard a sermon on abuse? And yet it is happening over and over again, it is not some rare event.If you feel that submitting to abuse from your husband is God’s will, that you get some brownie points for submitting no matter what the circumstances then at least ask yourself this: how will you feel when your sons treat their wives this way, treat their wives WORSE than this? Because that is what they are learning deep in their hearts, that is what is being modeled for them. You learn what you live above and beyond what you are told so all the bible verses in the world won’t wipe it away.

  • Anonymous

    [quote]I didn’t have the slightest idea. It seemed more prudent to just pitch it all out. I have SO many other things to deal with right now…god, if there is one, can just wait his/her/its turn!Laura[?quote]And He will, Laura, bless you both.

  • Anonymous

    Well, thanks for clarifying. Ok! Out goes the baby. Good thing the baby doesn’t really need you, won’t change, and still loves you. I must admit, you are bold in saying you don’t believe in God…..because you don’t. Obviously I do believe in him, and so I am bold in saying it……because I do!Its interesting that you should say it just like that and very clearly and distinctly. It totally clarifies to me the doubts I’ve had of someone actually knowing him “tasting” that he is good and falling away or never having really known him. It boils down to “I don’t know.” I have no idea what you’ve gone through, no idea how you’ve believed or whom you have believed, so its bt. you and God. I have no problem with it, except it makes me sad of course, but I am not you and it doesn’t change who God is.Its interesting too, that I have been homeschooling for 18 years, I have read and bought Home Digest and the other magazines you speak of and blech. I always wondered at the picture perfect kids, but wondered what was behind the perfect dresses and hair. I have a feeling even if they would have been private, or public schooled they would not be perfect. My parents attempted to mold me like that and it didn’t work out. Must be the german genes. Not in my house….To the person or people that wondered about teens and education and such. It works. Tutoring, co-ops, part college, sports with other schools etc. also part time working. There are infinite opportunities. Of course if you aren’t “allowed” to participate, as in extreme legalistic (rule oriented) situations, thats another story, otherwise there are myriads of opportunities. And socialization…pulease….we always have to TURN down the over abundance of opportunities there are. Maybe 20 years ago, when it was relatively new and if your fam. is the kind that is separatist…but now a days.I am of a rare breed I guess, my father is aetheist, my sister jewish and I am Christian, and my uncle is universalist. My conclusions are that I think “everyone” believes in somebody, someone, something. My ship has been rocked many a times and my “grey” matter is constantly pondering on different things. I’ve been exposed to many different kinds of thinking, both in the christian world and in other countries and customs.Your “tour de crap” is that sort of tour, because you weren’t “real”…you pretended everything was fine. Been there, done that. I broke free and screamed at everyone and their mother for a while, my husband thought I’d gone crazy and quite frankly, I had. I was angry. Angry at all the times I’d given in and not spoken up, angry at being judged and not helped, angry at all my childhood injustices…..and so on and so forth. Finally I settled into not pretending anymore. If it hurts it hurts, if its joy, its joy…I don’t know if you’ve ever not even known how you felt. There were no more tears left. So dead that tears had long been gone. Its an awful feeling. All that said, to present time me: No, not super christian, No, not super wife or mom. No, not super housewife. No, not super business owner either. Just a happy christian, homeschooling, business owner, foreign mom, that knows that there is a true living God and that He is a rewarder of those that diligently seek him, and that has children who have brains, speak diff languages, work, and are joyful. The Foreigner

  • EmK

    EKOkay, I thought I would codify myself with a Google blogger account. I just want to see if this works, so here goes.This is EK, whose new name (if it works) will be EmK. Thanks for indulging my experimentation.EK / EmK

  • Anonymous

    Thank you Charis (and that’s a pretty name by the way!)Lydia

  • Kate

    Arietty: are you still looking for an answer? I don’t want to answer here if you aren’t still reading these comments. If you are, let me know, I’ll check back tomorrow.

  • Arietty

    YES KATE! I would like to read your answer. I was just thinking yesterday, “well that’s another question no one ever seems to answer..” (the other question is what people actually get out of Buddhism.. I have asked so many people this and for some reason no one ever replies, they usually say they will get back to me on it, LOL)Yes I would like to know what “Freedom in Christ” looks like in everyday life. Maybe I have experienced this but use different language?

  • kristin.rawls

    “I will admit that such comments are seriously aggravating to me…”THANK YOU for saying it. Here’s the thing: I too have been the target of “witnessing,” and I hate it. It’s condescending and annoying, and, seriously, if *one more person* tells me they’re going to pray for me… So, yeah, it’s really… Yeah, I’ve been finding it aggravating too, and I’m glad you said this. Your narrative is important because of how it speaks to people–and not because it’s an open door to “witnesses” on behalf of a “better” Christianity. Kristin

  • Anonymous

    The freedom of being a Christian is the freedom of walking in the Spirit rather than under laws, rules and regulations. It’s supposed be freedom from all those external rules like “homeschool your kids, don’t use birth control, live apart from everyone who doesn’t agree with you.” Walking in the Spirit is walking in communion with God, Who is Love– and the love of God in us inspiring us to walk in love towards others.I experienced true freedom in Christ when I left fundamentalism and began to simply walk with Him. Fundamentalism is doing the very thing the New Testament continually teaches against: as in “you foolish Galatians! You follow all these rules– do not handle, do not taste, do not touch! Having begun in the Spirit, are you now going to be perfected by living according to the flesh?”Walking in the Spirit is true freedom, because walking in love frees us. If we love others, we won’t want to do harm to them; if we love ourselves and love God, we won’t let others do harm to ourselves either– because we are worth more than that.Love isn’t supposed to be about laws, rules and regulations. When we forsake all those things and simply trust and love God and love others, we are free. It’s funny how Christians have so often turned the New Testament to say the opposite of that– but that really is what it’s all about.KR Wordgazer

  • Erasmus

    I’m a newcomer here, but I found KR Wordgazer’s response incredibly moving. I agree completely. I went through a period of spiritual doubt, and very nearly lost my Christianity. During that time, I considered the tenets of Fundamentalism. But, it just seemed so antithetical to the Gospel. It promised freedom, but in the end I felt hollow. Then, I did as you did, and simply followed Him in the way of love. I felt liberated. No longer would I hate my neighbor, no matter how cruel he was. Instead, I would empathize. And then, seek to share the life of love with him, to make this world what Christ wanted it to be.Vyckie, your story is a powerful one, and it sheds light on the effects of the man-made religious patriarchy systems. I hope that many other women like yourself become free from bondage. As a man, I would never seek a wife who would be submissive to me. I want someone whole, fully and utterly equal. Nothing less than a full human being. If you don’t mind, may I share your story with others I have met?

  • Becky

    This is for Vyckie…I read this original post (without the comments) quickly and then went to take a shower. I thought about what you posted”because one point we’d really like to make in all of this is that Laura and I were genuine Christians.”Then later you say ” I never made a decision to reject the Quiverfull/patriarchy teachings which I had ascribed to UNTIL I realized that I no longer believed in the Bible and Jesus Christ. Once I lost my “firm foundation” ~ the entire structure (which I will admit had become quite elaborate) that I had built upon the “Solid Rock” on which I stood ~ EVERYTHING ELSE (Quiverfull, patriarchy, my abusive marriage, all of it) came tumbling down when that foundation crumbled beneath me.”Obviously if what you believe “now” is true (no longer believe in Jesus Christ), then whatever you experienced earlier (I believe you used the word “conversion” can’t have been a conversion if Jesus Christ either doesn’t exist (atheism) or you can’t know him (agnosticism). So, really, in order to be true to yourself, I believe you should say, “We believed ourselves to be true Christians.” To say that you were truly converted and then to say that that Jesus Christ doesn’t exist (or that He cannot help you) cannot be. You should admit that you just thought you were truly converted. Then, it would make sense.Paul tells us to “make our calling and election sure”. This implies that many people who really think they are Christians aren’t and it has nothing to do with how many kids you have or how the husband rules the house.I’ll keep reading, but I do hope this blog doesn’t turn into a “bash Christianity” blog.

  • jemand

    Becky, that’s annoying.

  • aimai

    Yannow, Becky,Not believing in Jesus Christ doesn’t equate to “atheism.” There are plenty of other gods out there, and some darned good ones. And as for hoping that “this blog doesn’t turn into a bash christianity blog” I can’t speak for the other atheists and agnostics on the blog but for good old fashioned christian bashing you might want to limit your reading to officially christian blogs. Some of the things you believing christians, sure of your calling and election, say about each other would curl my liver. There’s something very shroedinger’s cat about the insistence that a person who had a sincere conversion experience and lived an exemplary and devoted life as a Christian somehow, retrospectively, has all that annulled by their realization that they believed in a non existent entity. To say that someone *is not now* a Christian doesn’t mean that they weren’t *then* a Christian anymore than to say that someone is *now* divorced means that they weren’t married, or because they aren’t now married that they don’t now have the children physically born of that marriage. The belief state of Vyckie and Laura is well exemplified in the fact that they both lived within an extremely oppressive christianist movement for love, as they saw it, of god. You don’t get to tell them that their original motivations and beliefs were insincere or not real just because having tried your porridge they decided they didn’t like it. Its like telling a sailor that they “never were a sailor” because they’ve retired to land.aimai

  • Kaderin

    To say that you were truly converted and then to say that that Jesus Christ doesn’t exist (or that He cannot help you) cannot be.*Kaderin after falling of her chair*I’m sorry, I just had a laughing fit. Becky, maybe you should have read the comments that came before because they predicted your behaviour.Quote from one of my earlier comments:You see? The fallacy is used to discard evidence to the contrary of a first-established claim (or really, the claim doesn’t have to be stated explicitly, but it has to be an unchallenged presupposition in the theist’s mind), by making it not count. A: Faith is permanent. Once a Christian, you cannot lose your faith.B: But Mark used to go to church, and then lost faith in Jesus.A: Yes, but Mark was never a true Christian in the first place.Clearly, I am an all-knowing seer. Bow before me, mere mortals!

  • Vyckie

    ROTFLKaderin ~ you crack me up!

  • Kaderin

    Indeed I do. I also expect the traditional goat sacrifice to be delivered to my doorsteps. Chop chop, people, this whorship thing isn’t going to do itself!Now carry on with this serious business of yours.PS: I think I’m overdoing the Internet meme thing. Well this is the last, I swear, I can stop anytime…

  • Vyckie

    Oh Worthy Kaderin ~ what sort of sacrifice will you accept from a humble worshipper who has no goats?

  • Jadehawk

    goat cheese maybe…?

  • Susanne

    A wise woman once told me, “The last time you can change a man is when he is in diapers”. No amount of submission/making myself small made my tyranical husband happy. It made him more demanding, with a greater sense of entitlement. Finally he hit me and I left for good. At some point all that water under the bridge washes out the bridge and the Universe runs over you with a Mac truck and your life is over as you knew it and you start over. The bath water, the baby, all gone. When you are an empty vessel you are ready to be filled.

  • Kaderin

    Goat Cheese! What heresy is this?… Well, I suppose I could be appeased with the very finest of French goat cheeses. Still, I’d prefer the actual goat. Offering cheese upon the altar of Dark Arts just does not have the same vibe to it *worldweary sigh*

  • Bronwyn

    I want to recommend some authors to you. Robert Heinlein was a master writer of science fiction and spent his entire career trying to convince people to think. He was brought up fundamentalist and tossed the whole worldview out as a pack of oppressive lies, so you have something in common. You may not like the opinions he proposes — and in his later books he is undoubtedly having fun shocking people — but he always thought about his opinions and wants to make his readers think about theirs also. Reading his stuff would be good practice in independent thinking for you, and give you an entirely different perspective on many issues, whether you end up agreeing with him or not. You might especially love his Job, which is the story of a fundamentalist preacher tormented by God. It has the most wonderful ending which I will not ruin for you. Spider Robinson not only wants to make you think, but wants us all to be happy healthy loving people. His Callahans stories are relentlessly thoughtful and upbeat, although the most recent ones get a bit silly. The Mindkiller, Time Pressure, and Lifehouse set is highly advised, and any of his one-offs. Barry Hughart wrote three of the loveliest novels I ever read — in twenty-five years of voracious reading — about ancient China that never was, which tackle big problems about good and evil under the enchantment of fairytales.Patricia C. Wrede’s Enchanted Forest Chronicles would be an excellent thing for you to read with your kids as an antidote to the patriarchy. There are four or more of them, and they start out with a princess who is bored of being proper, and goes looking for adventure.You also might enjoy the Slacktivist’s weekly dismemberment of the Left Behind novels (http://slacktivist.typepad.com/). There is a nice big archive of posts starting from the first page of the first book.

  • Bronwyn

    After what you have both been through, neither of you should reasonably want to stay Christian, and the kind of experience you have had is exactly why I have always and will always refuse to become one. That kind of abuse is permitted and encouraged by the system, even when it doesn’t happen within a particular family.So congratulations on having the guts to throw out the baby and the bathwater. Stand firm when people try to bring you back to the faith just because they can’t believe that you could possibly be a happy, moral, and fulfilled person without also being “saved”. You can be, no matter what if any faith you profess. Live in loving kindness and believe in your ability to think for yourself, while being able to see and forgive your mistakes. Take care of your loved ones and your community and let them take care of you.

  • Kate

    Hi Arietty, glad I checked back. I answered it over on my blog actually, and asked my mostly Christian readers to answer it as well (though so far no one has). Feel free to read it here: http://hollywood.keltscorner.com/kate/?p=714I tend to be a bit rambley and process better in conversation so feel free to respond to it. I’m a little nervous posting the link…my blog is pretty low-key and mostly about my boring life…nothing like this one!

  • Alyzza

    ALLISON: “I was EXACTLY like all the rest of you women…an ego-maniacal piece of self-righteous crap that the world revolved around.”And you clearly haven’t changed – though, of course, you no doubt consider your comments here to be the fruit of a “meek and quiet spirit.”

  • Anonymous

    I can sort of understand Becky’s argument, I think… If you assume Jesus exists and that being Christian means following him, then how can someone who doesn’t believe Jesus exists say “I used to follow Jesus” if he doesn’t exist ?Actually, no that doesn’t make sense either. I can totally put something I do believe exists instead of Jesus and it works fine. “I used to be an astronomer, I studied supernovae. I have now come to the conclusion that the Earth flat and the heavens are a solid firmament with holes through which we can see the fires of Hell, and that’s stars. Supernovae don’t exist.”I have no doubt that person used to be an astronomer. I am completely baffled as to how he could have gone from a true and sensible belief to pure craziness, but I don’t automatically doubt he used to be an astronomer and studied real supernovae.And if I did, it would definitely be No True Scotsman.So okay, no excuse for Becky.— Caravelle

  • aimai

    This is a fascinating thread and really too long and too complex to grasp easily. I just re-read through it and I wanted to bring up something, possibly tangential possibly not. KR Wordgazer’s very beautiful post about “walking in the spirit” reminded me of what I have loved, and what was attractive (to me) in some Christian writings. But I don’t think that the admonition, or the urging, to simply “walk in the spirit” and let “The law” lie where it lays really answers the question that lots of people, Christian and most assuredly not, are asking of the god thing which is *how to know* what is the most righteous, or most successful, or most happy making, or most pleasing way to “walk in the spirit.” And, of course, all those goals, which we might say are differentially distributed among religions and christianities, all demand different answers.From the very beginning of Christianity there has been a tension between the notion that the individual believer, having already a spark of the godhead, can be trusted to make his or her own union with god and the notion that the community, study, and scriptural authority were needed to intercede between the individual believer and god. The entire Catholic approach, for example, assumes the necessity of an intercessor between the believer and god and a hierarchy of knowledge with the Pope and priests and learned folk at the top and individual believers at the bottom. Of course there were struggles between different Catholic factions from the very beginning–the Albigensians? anyone remember them?–but the big break apart came with the Protestant Reformation.I’m only saying what all of you already know which is that when a believer states that they “know” or “believe” that one or more beautiful early texts should determine how we read all the other texts they are making a very tendentious claim vis a vis other Christians. If not also vis a vis other religions and their members who don’t acknowledge the primacy, or even the authenticity, of the referenced scriptures.As for me, as I think I said elsewhere, I’m an atheist Jew with a tendency towards Buddhist approaches to incarnation, salvation/nirvana, the idea of “sin” and suffering. I’m personally fascinated by the role that the idea of suffering *for god* or *because of god* or because of *falling away from god* plays in the Quiverful Christianist imagination. I’d love to have a discussion with current true believers, like Allison, about “suffering” and how they think it fits in with their notions of gods plan. But its hard to have that conversation because of the very strong insistence that other religions and their ideas of suffering in this world or the next have no place in the discussion. That is, I think to have such a discussion you’d have to acknowledge a certain utilitarianism in your perspective and perhaps be willing to entertain (even if only for a second) that your solution to the problem of suffering is only one among many not the “True” one.aimai

  • aimai

    Had to come back and post this. Alisson’s remark:ALLISON: “I was EXACTLY like all the rest of you women…an ego-maniacal piece of self-righteous crap that the world revolved around.”Made me crack up. Allison, when do you think you stopped being an “ego maniacal piece of self righteous crap?” You’ve just roped god in to make yourself more comfortable and, as you imagine, make yourself more powerful. You’ve made god part of your ego by, as you pretend, being the only one who submits to his will correctly. It takes an immense amount of self love and self regard to imagine that of all the people in the universe you and you alone have figured out what god wants and is doing it. That’s the very definition of egotistical and self righteous.aimai

  • Linnea

    Bingo.Unfortunately, Allison also said she wasn’t posting here any more, because “Your level of self-righteousness and self-importance is nauseating.”Meek and quiet spirit indeed.

  • Becky

    Kaderin,I really wasn’t posting to you, I’ll just say that you’ve not changed my mind at all, but I wasn’t trying to get a rise out of you–I wanted to ask Vyckie. I’m saying that if Jesus Christ doesn’t matter in life (or doesn’t exist) and that is fact, then, how could that person have a “conversion” experience (with this Jesus Christ who doesn’t exist). Both can’t be true. How can it be?

  • aimai

    Becky, Caravelle and others have answered this point fairly clearly but of course because all our comments were bottled up in the “intertubes” this morning you couldn’t see them. Most of us seem to think that a “conversion” experience and a passionate attachment to the notion of Jesus could be “real” and “true” by any standards and *still* be later rejected or found to be false. In fact, such things happen all the time in real life. I was just listening to an interview on NPR with a woman who left the cult of Sri Chinmoy. People go in and out of passionately believing in various cult leaders–living and dead–and having all the marks of true belief all the time. (I’m using the word “cult” in its old sense of a “cultic religion” and not in its modern sense of something that is not a true religion.)This whole discussion reminds me of the time a prominent public Lesbian was accused of “never having tried a man” as the source of her insistence that she wasn’t sexually attracted to men. I remember that she said, very politely that, well, no, she’d had lots of boyfriends when she was younger because of her determination to be as normal as possible and to hew to normal social mores. It was actually *because* she’d had some many unhappy experiences with men that she’d come to her decision that she was happier being a Lesbian.In that sense on a purely experiential level Vyckie and Laura didn’t come to their conclusion that there was no Jesus, or at least no Jesus as their entire social network conceived of him, because they *didn’t* know him but because they *did* fully give themselves over to him–or the socially sanctioned version of him that they were taught. aimai

  • Jadehawk

    Becky, I think you’ve got the timeline messed up here. the conversion and true belief came first. the realization that it wasn’t true came lateror to put it in different terms: just because a lot of kids really believe in Santa and the Tooth Fairy, doesn’t mean either really exists. Just because adults no longer believe in Santa and the Tooth Fairy, doesn’t mean that they didn’t once very honestly believed in them.

  • Kaderin

    BeckyWell, it’s normal on a blog comment section for many people to not hold back their opinion, even if it wasn’t adressed to them ;D Hope you didn’t mind, but it was just such a magnificent set-up for a joke.Anyways – have you read the comments that came before now? If not, a quick summary: There exists a fallacy that is called No True Scotsman. It’s used to dismiss evidence to the contrary of an assumption/claim. There original goes something like this…A: Every Scotsman likes haggis.B: But Evan is Scottish and he doesn’t like haggis at all.A: Clearly, Evan is no True Scotsman.Now your thought process goes…A: Once you have found Jesus Christ you can never doubt his existence.B: But Vicky lost her faith after decades of serving the Lord and Jesus.A: Clearly, Vicky was no True Christian.So you’re right, both can’t be true. But instead of doing the logically valid thing and discarding your assumption, you instead choose to disbelieve Vicky ever being Christian. Basically, you’re discarding evidence that would threaten your worldview.Just because she now thinks Jesus Christ doesn’t exist, it doesn’t mean she thought that back when she served him (since it would be really silly to serve someone you don’t think exists). See Caravelle’s example with the astronomer.

  • Anonymous

    Okay, I’m a guy, and -I- don’t understand this. Why would anyone in his right mind want a “submissive” wife? News flash: This isn’t a one-night stand, you’re going to have to spend the rest of your life with this person, because you probably think that divorce is evil. With that said, wouldn’t you measure qualities of intelligence, personality, and the like over agreeability? Wouldn’t you want someone who, if you weren’t married to them, you could probably be very close friends?Maybe this is a uniquely Christian phenomenon. Either way, holy crap, it’s 1:16 AM.

  • Anonymous

    Okay, I’m a guy, and -I- don’t understand this. Why would anyone in his right mind want a “submissive” wife? News flash: This isn’t a one-night stand, you’re going to have to spend the rest of your life with this person, because you probably think that divorce is evil. With that said, wouldn’t you measure qualities of intelligence, personality, and the like over agreeability? Wouldn’t you want someone who, if you weren’t married to them, you could probably be very close friends?Maybe this is a uniquely Christian phenomenon. Either way, holy crap, it’s 1:16 AM.

  • Vyckie

    The discussion for this post has been moved over to our new NLQ forums: http://nolongerquivering.proboards.com/index.cgi?board=babyNo further comments on this post will be accepted here ~ please go to the forums. Thank you ;-)


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