Newly Revealed Atheist Ex-Pastor Comforts Vacillating Non-Believer

Newly Revealed Atheist Ex-Pastor Comforts Vacillating Non-Believer September 29, 2014

Editor’s Note: “Dave,” our atheist ex-pastor has come out publicly as a non-believer in a newspaper column he’s been writing for 25 years for IFP (special to QMI Agency) in Ontario, Canada. He is really Bob Ripley, former pastor of Metropolitan United Church in London, Ontario. As he told us in his original Rational Doubt post on July 14th, he has written a book about his deconversion. It is coming out on October 1st (more on that later). Today, “Dave,” now Bob, answers a question posed by reader “Wilmer” to the atheist ex-pastor.

========================

42-15243430Dear Dave:

As I have gotten older, I realize that I can no longer affirm any of the following:

– Any spirit being that one would call God or Goddess
– Angels and demons
– Heaven and hell as literal places
– Miracles as recorded in the Bible
– Life after death

But there are two major reasons that I have not been able to fully embrace my unbelief.  The first is that I am not completely certain that the God I have rejected is what God is, that maybe something like Tillich’s “Ground of Being” is what God is.  And the second could be related to the first, and that is that even with my doubts, I still love the Church as institution. I love being in Church and relating with the folks there.

My question is this: Are these contradictory thoughts normal in the process of moving from Christianity to the full embrace of atheism?

Sincerely,

Wilmer

————

Atheist ex-pastor answers:

Dear Wilmer,

Thanks for these great questions.   I’m of the opinion that since an atheist does not believe in anything supernatural, then any deity separate from humanity would be outside the realm of possibility.  This would include, I suppose, Paul Tillich’s “Ground of Being” although I always thought of Tillich’s theology as a reduction of God and his relationship to man into anthropocentric terms.

Your second question is one I too struggle with as one who was raised in the arms of the church.   It may sound disingenuous to some, but as a former pastor there are parts of the life of the church that I miss.   Take the music.  I loved the choral music of our choir so I went out and bought CD’s of choral music (for example, Thomas Tallis’ Spem in Alium which is a 40-part Renaissance motet).   You don’t have to believe the text to like the music.   As for the folks there, I miss some of them too but I’ve also developed a group of new friends with whom I can socialize.   Not every aspect of church life is bad but atheists are free to find secular parallels to fill the void.

All the best in your process from faith to reason,

Dave (aka Bob Ripley)

 =============================

ripley2 photoBio:  Bob Ripley, aka “The Atheist Ex-Pastor” is a syndicated religion columnist, broadcaster, former preacher and author of Christian devotional material.  His new book coming out in October, 2014 is titled Life Beyond Belief: A Preacher’s Deconversion.


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  • John Lombard

    I’ll add my two cents. For the first issue, a lifetime of beliefs in the supernatural are hard to overthrow in an instant, and it may take time to further examine the evidence, and your own conclusions. It doesn’t have to happen all at once. My own ‘deconversion’ took the better part of a decade…but I’m stronger for it now, because when I finally made that ultimate step to reject it all, it was based on a solid foundation of knowledge, evidence, and understanding…not just an emotional reaction, or a blind step into the unknown.

    And for the second issue, that is often the most difficult and traumatic part of leaving any religious faith, particularly if it was a major part of your life. It almost inevitably means loss of friends, loss of community, loss of much that was important to you.

    There’s no easy answer, either. It takes time to build a new life from scratch. Odds are that you’ll lose the vast majority of your old religious relationships — even if they don’t deliberately actively reject you, the truth is that you no longer share that common core belief. It’s incredibly awkward going to dinner with old friends, for example, and they bow their heads to say grace…while you sit there awkwardly looking around, or feigning prayer. And how are you supposed to respond when they seek to share with you their joy about the latest way in which God has blessed them?

    But…you CAN build that new life. With new friends, a new community, and a new life. For me, despite how painful and difficult it was, I would never, ever go back…and am very happy with where my life is now.

  • Kent Truesdale

    My own experience as a minister and what I know of colleagues who’ve also lost their faith is that (as John Lombard describes) it’s a benignly protracted process. I would go so far as to say that if a minister makes a complete and sudden rejection of all the things he found positive about religion, that he or she is indulging a very common psychological reaction that could bring them as much anguish as the faith they’re rejecting?

  • Ruth1940

    David Randolph (who was the oldest person to conduct in Carnegie Hall, and reportedly directed Handel’s Messiah more times than anyone else – St. Cecilia Chorus, a non-religious group) used to say he wasn’t going to let the words get in the way of good music!

    It’s funny, though, because I took piano lessons as a child and learned to play hymns along with other music (as it saved buying so much music and we didn’t have much money) and enjoyed them until my mother said (when I was around 20) that you’re supposed to pay attention to the words. After I read about David Randolph, I just smile and enjoy them again!

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/15/arts/music/15randolph.html?_r=0

  • Ruth1940

    Many of the things about religion perceived as positive are actually just qualities of being human, as we are social animals. Correlation does not imply causation.
    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/19/science/19longevity_excerpt.html?pagewanted=all

  • Linda_LaScola

    Kent — though the clergy I interviewed were different in many ways, no one changed their beliefs quickly or without a lot of reflection.

  • Linda_LaScola

    to Wilmer — I was a regular church-goer when my beliefs started to change. I served on the Profile committee to choose a new pastor and sang in the choir! I purposely stayed on to sing for Easter – couldn’t bear missing all that good music. Several church friends said I shouldn’t let beliefs interfere with attending church (Episcopal), but for me it was more comfortable to leave. If you stay on, depending on the denomination, you may find there are a lot of non-believers in your parish – including maybe the pastor. There’s a lot of good in some church communities. I wish people felt they could be more straightforward about their beliefs.

  • I’m mostly in the closet, three years into my atheism (no, actually it’s four now–wow). When I first deconverted, I still loved all the Christian music, and got good feelings from it. I would play in my church worship team whenever I could, because it was so much fun to be around those people and play the familiar music.

    Now? I’ve started to be less enamored by most of modern Christian music. I’ve discovered that, on the rare occasion I can make it to an atheist gathering, a Unitarian church, or some other group of like minded people–that it’s more fulfilling to be around people who think like me, and less and less comfortable in a traditional Christian church. I find when I sing those old songs, I do care about the words — and I’m surprised and a little disturbed at the lyrics I used to think were so good. All about debasing ourselves as humans, ignoring our own virtues, surrendering our own intellect, to this deity who never does anything in return.

    I still love some of the Christian music. And definitely old hymns. And VeggieTales. It’s a long complicated process.

  • Linda_LaScola

    Hi, Physeter – I know what you mean about the hymns. Once I started paying attention to the lyrics, some of it was truly gruesome – especially the psalms, in which the music itself is so calming. My favorite Christian music had Latin lyrics. I pretty much knew what it meant, but the words being in another language helped keep the focus on the music.

  • Linda_LaScola

    PS — I joined a community choir where we sing all the great Masses — Bach, Brahms, Verdi — I get chills just writing the composers’ names. We also sing some secular music, for instance, broadway tunes, so it’s worked out for me. Perhaps you can find something like that.

  • rdnaskela

    I’ll always love VeggieTales!

  • Freebird

    This is why shunning is such an effective technique. Humans are social animals and I believe more than anything the social aspects are hardest to give up.

  • Maine_Skeptic

    When we’re going through big changes in our lives, we often question our own judgment and our own motives. Having the support of friends we trust can save our sanity. So NATURALLY, they want to take that away from people who are leaving.

  • Maine_Skeptic

    Does that happen, Kent? The only times I’ve seen people make sudden changes in religion are when they’ve been under a lot of heavy social pressure to convert, and they’re emotionally vulnerable.

  • Maine_Skeptic

    To me, it wasn’t just music, but other aspects of the culture. For instance, I always like the way C.S. Lewis thought about things, and I liked his personality as it came out in his work. In the past few years, though, I can’t enjoy them as much because of the dogma underlying so much of it.

  • Oh, Beethoven…

  • Haha, how can you not?

  • Mario Strada

    I have been an atheist my entire adult (and teen) life. I was even baptized in St. peter in Rome, but it didn’t take.

    Yet, I love requiems. I have amassed a huge collection, but Verdi and Mozart remain my favorite (with Schnittke a close third even though it’s way more dissonant and bizarre).

    A bit of trivia: Verdi was what we today would call an atheist. In fact, sources claim he considered himself such. His wife preferred to refer to him as an agnostic or lapsed catholic. Obviously she was not enthusiastic about his lack of faith and I am sure in those circles it wasn’t good for one’s career.

    Nevertheless, when he died , or rather as he lay dying, he was so loved by the people that hay was put all around his home as to make the noise of horses and carriages less disturbing for him.

  • I rekindled my love of choral music post-deconversion; Tallis’ Spem in Alium is a joy to listen to, and there are some fantastic choirs out there keeping the art alive and fresh (Platinum Consort is up there, and I like the work of Eric Whitacre as well). It’s definitely easier for someone like me, who doesn’t speak Latin, to enjoy the music whilst not really understanding the lyrics; that said, having performed a full Catholic Mass I did become intimate with the meaning of them, but I still enjoy them for their artistry (the Mass for Four Voices is still one of my favourite relaxation pieces).

  • Linda_LaScola

    Hi, Mario — your comment inspired me to look up Va Pensiero — the Verdi aria from nabucco that the crowd of mourners spontaneously started sining during Verdi’s funeral procession. Here is a modern flash mob version of it http://www.wqxr.org/#!/story/verdi-flashmob-choir-surprises-shoppers-va-pensiero/

  • Jon Drake

    Where is the book available?

  • Jon Drake

    One reason the Church has had so many problems is that there are plenty of people in authority who don’t believe at all.

    So no wonder there is corruption.

    I hope more come out. If I get the chance, I will out one myself that I know about.

  • Lisa H.-S.

    There’s nothing wrong with enjoying gorgeous choral music, no matter the source or content. Unfortunately for we atheists, most of the major chorale works were written for the church (to curry favor with God?). I’ve sung in a major symphonic choir for over 35 years…I’ve certainly performed various versions of the Latin mass scores of times…and I still love it every time. I don’t care what the words say – I think it’s akin to being an actor. You wouldn’t expect an actor playing the villain to actually be a villain, right? He’s acting! So when I sing those words…”domine jesu christe rex gloriae” I’m clueing into the emotion of the beautiful music (and even the emotion from which it was written) and ignoring the words. Those of us who are choral singers, and also secular, just have to learn to come to terms with this. THEN I get to be really excited when we sing one of the great secular pieces (like one in this year’s season: Serenade to Music – Vaughan Williams). Yeah!

  • Lisa H.-S.

    Mario – that’s one of the reason’s that Verdi requiem is one of my most favorite requiems to perform. Also, it figures in one of the greatest musical stories of all time. Have you ever heard of The Defiant Requiem?
    http://www.murrysidlin.com/_home/Defiant_Requiem_Story.html

  • Jon Drake

    There isn’t a book, is there?

  • Ruth1940

    Read about David Randolph, who was the atheist conductor of St. Cecilia’s (a secular) chorus, was the oldest to conduct in Carnegie Hall, and arguably conducted Handel’s Messiah more times than anyone else.
    In his 1963 book, A guide to the understanding of music which analyses musical content and musical form without the use of illustrative musical notation, he explains that Handel borrowed some of the music for it from a previous secular work that hadn’t taken off in which the former words, “NO!” had been where “For” was in “For unto us a child is born.” He said he didn’t let the words get in the way of good music.

  • james warren

    Ethics for a dying planet can easily be taken from the authentic historical figure of Jesus. Christianity has been so focused on “Jesus AS.” Jesus as Son of God, Jesus as Messiah, Savior, born of a virgin, etc. that it has divorced itself from the parabolic teachings of the Galilean rabbi.

  • NEIL C. REINHARDT

    FYI YOU POOR DEUDED PROGRAMMED RELIGIOUS ROBOT, YOUR SO-CALLED HISTORICAL JESUS NEVER EXISTED ANY WHERE OTHER THAN MYTHS AND IN THE MINDS BEIEVERS. AND YOU CAN NOT PROVIDE A SINGLE SHRED OF SECULAR EVIDENCE HE DID.

  • james warren

    What elitism ad childish put downs !!!
    It would be a great day if atheists and former believers could live in a world where it was historically proven that Jesus was definitively proved as a fabricated myth. I imagine you & your ideologues would all join hands and sing songs around a Maypole.
    Unfortunately, I stand with the massive consensus of historians & scholars who have a different view. The silly myth of a first-century rabbi who considered himself God, Son of God, Messiah, Savior and all the other ancient theological formulations that were attached to Jesus decades after he died. Jesus rejected divine titles and even divinity itself.
    It’s there in the Bible, but traditional Christians would rather put Jesus on a pedestal, call him Christ and worship him. They would rather do this than actually follow a grapple with a teacher who has disturbing ideas.
    Anyone who identified God as unclean or corrupt could never be “made up.”

  • NEIL C. REINHARDT

    FIRST, HERE IN THE USA, WE ATHEISTS TALK WHILE CHRISTIANS KILL!

    SECOND, YOU ARE JUST ANOTHER TYPICAL PROGRAMMED RELIGIOUS ROBOT CHRISTIAN WHO MOST PROBABLY DOES NOT REALIZE THE ONLY REASON YOU NOT BELIEVE IN MANY GODS AS STRONGLY AS YOU BELIEVE IN YOUR ONE GOD, IS BECAUSE YOU WERE NOT RAISED HINDUS.

    THIRD, I CARE LESS WHO YOU STAND WITH AS YOU CAN NOT PRODUCE ANY SECULAR EVIDENCE JESUS EVER LIVED. NOT ONE SECULAR REPORT ON HIS EXISTENCE DURING THE TIME HE SUPPOSEDLY EXISTED.

    IT WOULD BE LIKE TODAY WITHOUT EVEN ONE REPORTER REPORTING ONE WORD ABOUT TRUMP BEING ALIVE AND RUNNING FOR PRESIDENT.

  • NEIL C. REINHARDT

    HEY JAMES, WHY DON’T YOU GO TELL YOUR BS ABOUT JESUS BEING REAL TO THE OVER 700 FORMER CHRSTIANS MINISTERS IN THE CLERGY PROJECT AND SEE HOW FAR YOU GET?. http://clergyproject.org/

  • NEIL C. REINHARDT
  • james warren

    First, find out how to communicate clearly and respectfully and maturely. Your childish mockery and Jeune put-downs just turn people off. Surely you know this already.

    And you cannot “Try to learn ANYTHING. You either do it or you don’t. My posts contain what I have learned about Jesus’ actual teachings
    Rather than worshiping Christ, I prefer to follow Jesus. I try and separate the theological and exalted titles that were applied to him after his death
    It just makes more sense to me to follow his actual teachings instead. He never claimed to be divine and in many cases he firmly denied it. He did not believe in a jealous and angry God of retribution justice. The passion and character of Jesus’ God was a God of mercy who offered repentance and wanted folks to come before him with a contrite heart. No pagan blood sacrifice needed.

    As he taught in the Lord’s Prayer, forgiveness is reciprocal: We are forgiven to the same extent that we forgive others.

    Unfortunately, the evidence of Jesus’ own words on these matters fail to even register with today’s believers. They prefer to worship a divine Christ instead of following Jesus of Nazareth.

    There are still people around who remain convinced that Humpty Dumpy was an egg, even though there is NO evidence in the nursery rhyme that this is the case !!!

    The actual rhyme says NOTHING about an egg, but people still insist vehemently that the figure who fell off the wall came from a chicken.

    The actual verse is authentic and hisrorical. The fantasy that Humpty was clearly a fact is like the difference between Jesus’ teachings in parables and his pithy sayings versus the later theology that was applied to him by his followers decades after his crucifiction.

    Just as the myth of an actual egg fell from the top of a wall.

  • james warren

    “FORMER” Christian ministers. I am not surprised.

    The Christians today insist on grasping onto a tradition that takes metaphor and myth as something that is factually correct.

    And if you study the Bible carefully you begin to notice the discrepancies and contradictions between Jesus’ actual words instead of the Christian theology that was applied to the Galilean Jew decade after his death.

    According to BARMA, the Christian polling agency, the fastest growing segment of Christian believers is those who are leaving the faith in droves.

    To be an official Christian you must take literally such ancient theological formulations like God, Son of God, Messiah, Savior of the World, etc. as literal attributes of Jesus of Nazareth.

    And that’s the problem. Such exalted terms are neither compelling or persuadable to people living in today’s world.

    I still maintain that both atheists and believers have little acquaintance with the authentic teachings of Jesus. After sharing many of his teachings online, they fail to even register with most folks. Maybe it comes from fear. Jesus was disturbing–in his own day and ours.

    Next time, become accountable for your rude and mocking replies to me.

    It is perfectly doable to offer and to take criticism without losing your cool and “acting out” your own childhood.

    You say “HEY JAMES, WHY DON’T YOU GO TELL YOUR BS ABOUT JESUS BEING REAL TO THE OVER 700 FORMER CHRSTIANS MINISTERS IN THE CLERGY PROJECT AND SEE HOW FAR YOU GET.”

    I would say “James, I know we have some differences of opinion. But I wonder if you would be willing to please click on the link in my post and check it out. I look forward to your thoughts and beliefs regarding it.”

    See? Simple if you had the right upbringing. Words and expressions are crucial in adult communication skills.

    Many parents do not treat their children with real caring, respect and fairness. As adults, they can only pass along the values or lack of them they got as kids in their own family growing up. We always tend to treat others the same way we ourselves were treated.

    The history of Christian scholarship about Jesus, the New Testament and the Bible at large was begun after the Enlightenment. This was in the late 1700s.

    Jefferson himself noted that “The church’s meddlings have caused good men to reject the whole in disgust.”

    He also observed that recognizing the historical voice of Jesus and putting aside the church’s theology was “…as easy as separating diamonds from a dunghill.”

  • james warren

    Of COURSE Christians kill. Jesus is depicted as a divine murderer in the Bible. The old Christian quote of “Vengeance is mine, sayeth the Lord.” would be an apt sentence to write on the suicide vest of an ISIS terriorist, wouldn’t it?

    But the authentic teachings of Jesus demonstrated equal treatment of the good and the righteous as well as the evil and unrighteous. Both.

    Jesus was also clearly nonviolent.

    As for reporting on and musing subjectively on Trump, as an inveterate reader I have to conclude that you are not paying attention.

    Otherwise, you might comment on what my actual posts are saying instead of the dialogue in your own head.

    I try to answer all your points. And if I have not, then please let me know. Other people deserve a fair hearing in my opinion. We all add to the overall pool of meaning.

    What prevents you from taking my own comments as seriously as I do your own? What is fair about that?

    Again, I expect my remarks to be dismissed and ignored.
    They will fail to even register with you. But I will continue trying to set up both atheists and theists on blind dates with Jesus of Nazareth. You may be surprised that he does not glow in the dark, affect the weather or walk on water.

  • james warren

    Again, if you can let go of your childish vitriol and actually READ my posts instead of nurturing your own personal beliefs and actually offer some evidence, facts, scholarship and honest data for your claims.

    The best scholars and historians but their own methodology out front, for peer and public review.

    I have shown my methodology over and over and over again to you. Instead of grasping onto your own personal theological notions, it would be better if you looked at the facts, evidence and data of history. But to do that, you might start by taking my ideas seriously.

    I believe your ideas are serious. I just wish you were’t so unable or unwilling to grant that same effort to me.

    Honestly, you often seem like an empty-headed follower of a small fringe of Jesus’ critics. There is a massive consensus of history and scholarship from the 1700 hundreds until now that have found otherwise.

    The accepted methods of history are the same. Whether talking about Jesus, Caesar, or Mark Twain. Sifting through actual evidence and choosing what is actually historical gives rise to the conclusions, the conjectures and theories regarding figures from the past…

  • james warren

    I feel like I have become a Christian in exile. I have escaped and denounced the Pharaoh and have set off on my own in the wilderness. I am looking for a glimpse of paradise that will indicate the church has left behind the religion ABOUT Jesus in favor of the religion OF Jesus.

    As of now, I am feeling all right just to set up atheists and theists on blind dates with Jesus of Nazareth. NOT the Christ of the church but the Galilean rabbi whose name and title was simply “Jesus of Nazareth.”

    The clear evidence in the New Testament quotes a Jesus who never referred to himself as divine, believed a blood sacrifice for sin was disgusting and only referred to himself as a “human being.” That’s the actual translation of the phrase “son of the man.”

  • james warren

    The great art that was produced because of the experience of Christ is overwhelming in its beauty. You don’t have to be a Christian to enjoy it and be profoundly influenced by it.

  • james warren

    Jesus has suffered on the cross and has been relegated to a vegetative state.

  • NEIL C. REINHARDT

    LOOK, YOU POOR DELUDED PROGRAMMED RELIGIOUS ROBOT CHRISTIAN,

    FIRST, THE ODDS OF YOUR EVEN COMING CLOSE TO ME IN GENERAL EXPERIENCE AND ADULT THINGS DONE ARE ZERO!

    SECOND, THE ODDS OF YOUR MATCHING MY HIGH EFFECTIVE IQ ARE LESS THAN TWO PERCENT!

    THIRD, IF YOU HAD A CLUE, YOU WOULD KNOW THERE IS ALL KINDS OF SECULAR PROOF CAESAR & ATHEIST MARK TWAIN ACTUALLY LIVED,WHILE YOU HAVE ZERO SECULAR PROOF JESUS DID!

    FORTH, ASIDE FROM THE MULTI MILLIONS OF THE INFORMED IN OTHER RELIGIONS, THERE ARE AROUND 1,5 BILLION ATHEISTS IN THE WORLD AND MANY OF THEM ARE INFORMED ENOUGH TO KNOW YOUR JESUS IS PURE FICTION. AND SO DO THE OVER 700 FORMER CHRISTIAN MINISTERS OF THE CLERGY PROJECT.

    SO GO FIND SOMEONE ELSE TO BOTHER.

  • NEIL C. REINHARDT

    RIGHT ON, LISA, RIGHT ON!

  • NEIL C. REINHARDT

    COME OUT, PLEASE COME OUT. THE MORE “OUT” THE FREER ALL ARE.

  • NEIL C. REINHARDT

    DID YOU KNOW BEETHOVEN, MOZART AND BRAHAMS WERE ATHEISTS?

  • NEIL C. REINHARDT

    ON THIS GREAT TALENT, TOO MANY CHRISTIANS HAD ZERO COMPASSION

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZyFT_oo42iw

  • NEIL C. REINHARDT

    I CAN IMIGINE NOT. IT MUST BE VERY DIFFICULT.

  • james warren

    You seem to want to vent and protect yourself, which is pretty dysfunctional if you really want to communicate to me.

    But you already knew that. You simply have an intention to drive-by insulting. You don’t seem to have any intent to learn about what I have specifically said and give a mature response to them.

    The fact that you literally feel “bothered” by new information or others’ personal thoughts and feelings is going to guarantee a most unhappy and wasted life.

    You are increasingly coming across as a real unpleasant person. I pray that you do not have children. I grieve for their own lives after being ruled by yours.

    It is sad indeed. Truly.

  • james warren

    Atheists like Mao and Stalin killed millions.

    Atheists and Christians are both all-too-human people who get caught up in the normalcy of a violent civilization.

    You should be accountable to historical fact but sadly you are either unwilling or unable to even attempt such a thing.

  • james warren

    You are like the toddler who can only scream in all caps. You are more transparent to others than you think you are.

  • james warren

    You certainly lack compassion, as does everybody else at times.

    Jesus said to pay attention to the giant logs in your own eye before you arrogantly deem to point out the tiny bit of sawdust in your neighbors’

    That’s a bit of 2,000-year old pop psychology that is meaningful today as well as in the first century.

    Enjoy life and try to be kind…

  • james warren

    Good to see some real empathy from you.
    Or was it not genuine? I sometimes believe you have deliberately cut yourself off from all human feeling and morality.

    I’d like you to prove me wrong…

  • NEIL C. REINHARDT

    JUST ANOTHER TYPICAL PROGRAMMED RELIGIOUS ROBOT CHRISTIAN REPLY

    FIRST, YOU SHOULD TAKE A COURSE IMPROVE YOUR POOR READING CMPREHENSION SKILLS AS I VERY CLEARLY SAID: “HERE IN THE USA”.

    SECOND, THE REASON Mao and Stalin killed millions WAS BECAUSE THEY WERE PSYCHOPATHS AND NOT BECAUSE THEY WERE DOING WHAT SOME HOLY BOOK INSTRUCTED THEM TO DO.

    THIRD, UNLIKE YOU, I AM VERY accountable to SECULAR historical fact, WHILE YOU ARE NOT!

    FORTH, I WILL WASTE NO MORE TIME REPLYING TO YOU

  • NEIL C. REINHARDT

    YOU, CHRISTIAN, ARE THE SAD ONE!

    FIRST, WHILE MANY WHO KNOW ME IN PERSON AND KNOW ME WELL, WILL ATTEST I AM ONE OF, IF NOT THE SINGLE MOST HONEST AND TRUTHFUL PERSON THEY KNOW, I DOUBT ONE PERSON WOULD SWEAR ON A BIBLE OR TESTIFY IN A COURT OF LAW, THAT YOU ARE MOST HONEST AND TRUTHFUL PERSON THEY KNOW.

    SECOND, THE ODDS OF YOU BEING AS GENERALLY EXPERIENCED AS I AM ARE ABOUT ZERO. THIS AS I AM MUCH MORE GENERALLY EXPERIENCED THAN ARE MOST MY AGE OF EIGHTY ONE MUCH LESS ANYONE YOUNGER, AS EXPERIENCE EQUALS KNOWLEDGE AND AS THE MORE VARIED THE EXPERIENCE, THE GREATER THE KNOWLEDGE, I KNOW A LOT MORE THAN DO MOST.

    THIRD, COLLEGE TESTS PROVE I HAVE A PHD LEVEL VOCABULARY AND THAT I READ AT NEARLY DOUBLE THE SPEED OF MOST COLLEGE GRADS. PLUS, I DO SO WITH HIGH COMPREHENSION, AND MY LISTENING COMPREHENSION SKILLS ONCE RECEIVED THE HIGHEST TEST SCORE ACHIEVED BY ANYONE IN THE WORLD,

    FORTH, AS INTERVIEWS AN TESTS PROVE I USE MY INTELLIGENCE NEARLY TWICE AS EFFECTIVELY AS MOST USE THEIRS,

    FIFTH, ODDS OF YOU MATCHING MY HIGH EFFECTIVE INTELLIGENCE IS LESS THAN TWO PERCENT.

    SIXTH, THE ODDS OF YOUR SERVING YOUR COUNTRY AS LONG AS I HAVE, (10 YEARS) OR OF YOU RECEIVING TWO PUBLIC AWARDS FOR DOING GOOD, (DOCUMENTED BY PICTURES IN THE DENVER POST AND THE SAN DIEGO UNION.) ARE ABOUT ZERO.

    SEVENTH, THE ODDS OF YOUR OF YOUR BEING AS WELL KNOWN AS I AM FOR ALWAYS HELPING OTHERS, OR YOUR DOING AS MANY RADOM ACTS OF KINDNESS AS I DO, OR YOUR SAVING AS MANY LIVES AS I HAVE, OR YOU DOING AS MUCH FOR BLACKS, WOMAN’S AND ATHEISTS CIVIL RIGHTS AS I HAVE ARE ABOUT ZERO,

    (-TODAY, WHILE WALKING TO GET CAT FOOD FOR ALL THE CATS I FEED, I DID FOUR RANDOM ACTS OF KINDNESS. AND I SPEND AROUND $150. OF MY LIMITED SOCIAL SECURITY INCOME FEEDING CATS WHEN I AM REALLY A “DOG” PERSON.-)

    EIGHTH, THE ODDS OF YOUR RISKING PHYSICAL INJURY AND DEATH WHILE STOPPING ASSAULTS ON THE INNOCENT AS I MANY TIMES AS I HAVE, (AROUND 15 TIMES) ARE SO CLOSE TO ZERO, THEY MAY AS WELL BE ZERO!

    SO LOSER, GO BOTHER SOME ONE ELSE.

  • NEIL C. REINHARDT

    YOU ARE A STUPID ASSHOLE AND A PUNK WHO HAS NO CLUE OF WHAT YOU SPEAK !

  • james warren

    Why do you use such childish language?

    What sort of family did you grow up in?

    How old are you, anyway?

  • james warren

    I am mature enough to be accountable for my own sad times, but in this case I am sad about adults who still rant as through they were a child having a tantrum.

    When Congressman Joe Wilson [the childish congressman who shouted “YOU LIE !!!” to interrupt the president giving his annual State of the Union speech] he was later forced into an apology by the press.

    ” I guess I let my emotions get the better of me.”

    Exactly. Adults and other good communicators do NOT LOSE CONTROL.

  • james warren

    First, try losing your own chains. You are in the sandbox and are unwilling or unable to listen to your own mother who hopefully once told you to:

    “Be nice to others and share.”

    People who have never learned adult behavior are handicapped. And the rest of us are tired building wheelchair ramps and special bathrooms for charlatans.

  • james warren

    His famous quote that Jesus was either Lord, a liar or a lunatic
    presents only three narrow options.

    Jesus was not Lord (he rejected the claims of others who insisted he was divine. He was not a liar; he spoke divine truths and spoke of a God who gave himself to the good as well as the evil; his God did not play favorites.

    And even though his own family tried to “seize him” because they were convinced “he was out of his mind” he was certainly not insane.

    People who are genuinely disturbed by others’ words and behaviors–especially when they overturn the conventional wisdom of shared reality–are prone to hysterical name-calling and mockery.

    That said, Lewis was a brilliant apologist for Christianity, as well as a talented essayist and novelist of allegory and personal history like the Narnia books and his masterful “A Grief Observed.”

  • james warren

    And? Did you know Bertram Russell, Mao Tse
    Tung and Joseph Stalin were as well?

    And many atheists are in America–some of which murdered people with guns in mass shootings?

  • james warren

    All of us are lacking in that department. If we do not study history and become accountable for the evil in our own hearts, we are lost and civilization, integrity and honesty go down the drain.

  • james warren

    Paying attention to Jesus’ actual historical teachings has worked for me. As long as we are willing to jettison the ancient theology and dogma that was later attributed to Jesus long after his death.

    As an example, the pagan notion behind a blood sacrifice for sin was rendered into theology some 900 years after the crucifixion by the revered theologian St. Anslem of Canterbury.

    Jesus himself did not personally believe in a human being killed to spill blood on an altar or anywhere else. Besides he offered and granted forgiveness and salvation to many–long before he bled out on a cross.

  • james warren

    Some people shun believers and believers shun non-believers.

    Clearly, this was not Jesus’ way.

  • james warren

    We should not be reluctant to confront and enter into our own insanity.

    Alone and fearless without the advice of friends.

  • NEIL C. REINHARDT

    RUSSELL? OH, ONE OF THE ONLY FOUR PEOPLE IN HISTORY WHO EACH AWARDED TWO NOBEL PRIZES?
    YES, I KNOW HE WAS AN ATHEIST JUST LIKE THE OTHER THREE WERE.!

  • NEIL C. REINHARDT

    MOST OF AMERICA’S ESTIMATED 30,000,000 ATHEISTS WERE ONCE PROGRAMMED RELIGIOUS ROBOT CHRISTIANS LIKE YOU ARE,

  • NEIL C. REINHARDT

    PROVE ANY AMERICAN ATHEISTS EVER INTENTIONALLY KILLED A CHRISTIAN ONLY AND SIMPLY BECAUSE THEY WERE A CHISTIAN.

  • NEIL C. REINHARDT

    LINDA, DO YOU KNOW ABOUT THE TWO LISTS OF ATHEISTS I POSTED ABOVE?
    THANKS
    NEI;

  • NEIL C. REINHARDT

    PISS OFF!

  • Why must you feed the trolls?

  • Maine_Skeptic

    “I feel like I have become a Christian in exile…”

    That describes how I feel, too. Of course, I also feel like an American in exile. I value the generosity and grace once ascribed to Jesus, and I value the wisdom reflected in most of the U.S. Constitution, but I feel alone in both of those things. The people who talk the most about Jesus tend to be self-righteous and bent on destruction, and the people who talk the most about the Constitution these days are trying their hardest to destroy it.