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R_Collins last won the day on December 1 2017

R_Collins had the most liked content!

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About R_Collins

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    Exposing fallacies and deceptions of Christianity
  • More About Me
    I am an ex-Christian who saw the light of reason when I was in ministerial school studying to be a conservative Christian minister.

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  • Still have any Gods? If so, who or what?
  1. I was a full-time student in a hyper-conservative ministerial school, working on a Master of Divinity degree. By then, I'd been a fundamentalist Christian for about 8 years, so I had spent thousands of hours independently studying the Bible, in addition to going to "apologetics conferences", hearing hundreds of sermons, etc. So I thought I really knew the Bible, but my knowledge was very compartmentalized. I had never thought about doctrines "A" and "B" at the same time. Everyone in the seminary was super-WASP (white Anglo Saxon protestant). They invited this black Christian guy to speak at chapel, and he started talking about the book of Joshua, where the Israelites conquered and killed all of the indigenous tribes who were already living there. I'd heard all that before. But then he said, "Did you ever think about the people who got killed?" and he went on to draw some very good analogies between the Canaanites and Blacks in the Deep South from 1865 - present. Although I'm a white WASP, I had grown up in Alabama during the civil rights era, so this really hit home. I started thinking very deeply about why a loving God would tell the Israelites to murder all of those innocent people, then I started thinking about lots of other things in the Bible that contradicted each other. Within a few months, my Christianity had died a well deserved demise.
  2. RachelSkates, thank you for the info about Suetonius. I had done a lot of searching in preparation for my video, but I had missed that one. I'll be sure to look it up. mymistake, thank you for the feedback on my videos. Some topics are very complex and require long videos. But I'm discovering that, on YouTube, the vast majority of viewers prefer shorter videos. So I am going to try to pick more narrowly defined subjects for most of my future videos.
  3. Does The Bible Say That Christian Faith Is Blind Faith?

    Justus: "...it sounds like the LORD must have sent you a strong delusion..." Not long ago, I would have said something very similar to what you said in your post. If you are happy with your beliefs, then I respect your right to believe whatever you want to believe. But if you are like I was - outwardly sure but inwardly conflicted - then I invite you to visit my YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/freethinkersbooks and my web site: http://www.freethinkersbooks.com These are designed to help sincerely questioning Christians learn things about the Bible and other aspects of the Christian faith that Christian leaders have tried to hide from them. You can view this material in complete privacy without any other Christians suspecting that you have secret doubts. My web site also contains an email address where you can send any comments or questions that you may have.
  4. Does The Bible Say That Christian Faith Is Blind Faith?

    LogicalFallacy: "Do you have an area of expertise ... or debate generally..." Most of my formal education is in science. But I do not attempt to debate science with Christians for a couple of reasons: (1) Most Christians do not even want to understand science, and there is so much charlatanism in "scientific" defenses of Christianity (e.g., creationism) that I do not want to dignify them with a response. (2) Even if I "win" a scientific debate with a Christian (which, even when I do, they never admit it, because it's like trying to debate with someone who believes that they were abducted by extraterrestrials), then all I would have done is to turn them into a Christian who also believes in science. So I have not helped them as much as I think I could have. I think that it is more effective to attack Christianity where Christians believe it is the strongest - the Bible. They believe it is a perfect book because they've never really studied it. So it is easy to point out errors and contradictions that many Christians have never thought of. Also, in-depth study of the Bible is the biggest single reason why I rejected Christianity. I went to a Bible-believing church, was heavily involved in para-church groups, etc., for a decade, but I just believed whatever my Christian leaders told me about the Bible. I did not dig deeply into the Bible until I became a full time ministerial student in a hyper-conservative (Calvinist) seminary. Within a few weeks of starting classes there, my rational mind was screaming "none of this can possibly be true", and within a year, my former faith had died a well deserved death. BTW, it is unlikely that I will do any more debates because I think that making videos is a more effective way for someone with my background and knowledge to communicate persuasive evidence to Christians who are asking sincere questions. In the time it takes for me to prepare for a debate, which might be seen by a couple of hundred people, I can create a video which might be seen by thousands of people. In addition, a sincerely questioning Christian can view my videos privately (avoiding pressure from other Christians), take notes, review parts that they did not understand at the first viewing, etc., on their own schedule at times when they can truly pay attention.
  5. Does The Bible Say That Christian Faith Is Blind Faith?

    Well said, mymistake, florduh, TheRedneckProfessor and Geezer. Thanks. Geezer, I understand your position. But as an ex-Christian, I would like to explain why I go to the trouble of producing these videos. When I was a Christian, it was before the internet and it was a lot harder to verify the claims that Christians, particularly Christina apologists, were making. I wasted a lot of years being deliberately lied to by ministers, para-church leaders, professional apologists and others, because I was very sincere about my Christian faith but I had lots of unanswered questions. I had to go to ministerial school to start getting answers. Once I was an "insider", I quickly learned that there aren't any answers. But that's ok because ministers can still make a good living by practicing "mushroom theology" (keep your flocks in the dark and feed them manure). I want to help Christians avoid this kind of wasted time, effort and emotion. I take some of the questions that I had as a Christian, and answer them in my videos and books. So any Christian who is sincerely looking for answers can (hopefully) find those answers in the materials that I offer, which are mostly instantly available for free via the web. I've done several public debates in front of large audiences, and I'm very good at debating. But a debate provides only a single 2-hour blob of data which is difficult to absorb, and may not answer many of the particular questions that are troubling a particular Christian. So my videos, articles and books give a sincerely questioning Christian, and ex-Christians who want to help their sincerely questioning friends, a way to get just the answers that they are most interested in, in quantities that are small and focused enough so that they will be easier to understand in depth.
  6. When I was a Christian, I really struggled with the definition of "faith". The problem was that every other Christian had a different definition of faith - specifically, what is the relationship between faith and evidence. Is faith really just "looking at all of the evidence and taking another tiny step", as my apologetics leaders told me, or was it "blind - the blinder the better", as most of the rest of my Christian leaders told me? The discovery that the Bible really did say that Christian faith was supposed to be blind (in fact, the best faith was faith that went against all known evidence), was a key factor in my becoming an ex-Christian, because it meant that: (1) There really isn't any evidence for Christ's resurrection, etc (2) There isn't even supposed to be any evidence. It's all faith, even when contrary to evidence. (3) The Christian apologists whom I'd trusted were deceiving me I think that lots of Christians have been misled as I was misled. So I have done a video that discusses over 20 Bible passages that show that the Bible does indeed say, repeatedly, that Christian faith is blind. I hope that you find this video to be useful. I welcome any comments, which you can post on this thread or email to freethinkersbooks@gmail.com Does The Bible Say That Christian Faith Is Blind Faith? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SnM5gQlFUwI
  7. mwc, LogicalFallacy, ficino, TrueFreedom: Thank you for the compliments. I REALLY appreciate your encouragement!!
  8. I am an ex-Christian who is writing a book to help other ex-Christians with many of the issues that arise when anyone leaves faith and decides to live a life of enlightenment. I've seen a lot of comments on various forums about the problems that arise when an ex-Christian (or any non-theist) is raising their children in geographical areas where there are large numbers of religious people. I have raised two children as a single parent in Alabama, the buckle of the Bible belt, the cloaca of the Body of Christ. My children are now rational, non-religious, happy adults. I want to share what worked for me and my children in this difficult environment. So I've posted part of my new book on my web site. This part is titled, "Raising Rational Children in an Irrational World" http://www.freethinkersbooks.com/rationalchildren.html This is completely free of charge. I don't even ask for you to "log in" or identify yourself in any way. I hope that some ex-Christians and other non-theists find this to be helpful. I welcome any comments, which you can post on this thread or email to freethinkersbooks@gmail.com
  9. I know a large number of Bible contradictions, because I'm writing a book about them. So I try to pick a contradiction that will be appropriate for whoever it is that I'm talking to. My objective is not to "win" and argument, nor do I expect a single contradiction to "convert" them to non-Christianity. My goal is to create some cognitive dissonance and try to make them think about their beliefs. The ancient Stoics had a concept of planting seeds of reason/enlightenment, which hopefully will grow with time. (Christianity plagiarized this concept into a much less effective version, "The Parable Of The Sower".) So I get one of two responses: (1) The Christian gets anxious and unsuccessfully tries to defend the Bible. I know the Bible a lot better than just about all Christians, so I refute their arguments as gently as I can, trying to tread that fine line between convincing them that they are wrong and destroying their argument so completely that they tune me out. In this case, I believe that I have successfully sowed some seeds. (2) The Christian completely ignores what I say and does not even try to refute it. They respond with something completely irrelevant, such as accusing me of not having enough "faith", telling me that I am going to Hell, etc. In this case, I probably have not succeeded in planting any seeds. I have discussed de-conversion with literally hundreds of ex-Christians. I haven't found a single one who was de-converted by a single argument. But, like an avalanche, de-conversion always starts with one thing,(which may be a different thing for every person). One thing that bothers them and they can't explain or feel good about. Then they start thinking about their beliefs, which is beginning of the end of their faith.
  10. The birth of Jesus Christ cannot be confirmed historically, but apologists correctly point out that almost no ancient births can be confirmed historically. It was just too long ago. Are there events that the Bible reports are associated with Christ's birth, and are big enough to be reported by the surviving writings of ancient authors? The Star of Bethlehem (also called the "Christmas Star") is such an event. If it indeed happened, it should be widely reported by even secular astronomers (astrologers) and historians, such as Pliny and Josephus, who do report other astronomical events. The Star of Bethlehem also had huge apologetic and evangelistic value to First Century Christians, because surviving eyewitnesses would have been able to confirm it. We should expect it to figure prominently in the evangelistic sermons that are reported in the New Testament, and in the Epistles that argue in favor of Christ's divinity. Disprove the Star of Bethlehem, and you have powerful evidence against the reliability of the entire nativity story in the Gospel of Matthew. I've created a video that discusses the Star of Bethlehem, and the fact that the evidence for it is so completely lacking that I have not been able to find a single Christian apologist who even tries to defend it. Why Won't Christian Apologists Defend Matthew's Christmas Star of Bethlehem? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yNxT--N60-U
  11. Codependence

    Fuego, I read your article "The God Of Abuse". It is very insightful. Thank you for all of the hard work and thought that you put into writing it!!
  12. There are already lots of good comments, so I'm not going to repeat what they've said. Overall, TylerJ, it sounds like you are on the right track. The only thing that I would add is that the process of re-programming your emotions is not uniform or steady. There will be ups and downs. There will be progress and regress. Counselors who work with people recovering from chemical dependency use the phrase "two steps forward, one step back". The important thing is not to get discouraged when you feel yourself slipping back into your old habits. Just take a little time to look at your slip(s), try to figure out why you're slipping and what you can do about it (sometimes there is something you'll figure it out, sometimes not). Then keep on trying.
  13. Codependence

    I agree with Jeff's definition of "codependence" But JehovahJesus does, in many ways, fit the description of a profoundly dysfunctional parent or spouse. - He can be infinitely cruel to anyone who doesn't believe him - He commands his followers to kill people, even little children - He is obsessively controlling even about trivial things - He discriminates against women solely because of their gender - He tells his followers that he will do extraordinary things for them if they just obey him, but when they ask (prayer), he doesn't - He is so arbitrary and his commands so self-contradictory that even his most devoted followers can't agree on what he wants them to do (which is why we have Protestants, Catholics, etc) - etc
  14. Christian apologists' argument that "non-Christians can't understand the Bible" is a theological weapon of mass distraction. It turns a very obviously true statement (that some non-Christians DO understand the Bible) into an ad-hominem attack. It has the obvious appeal of making Christians feel superior. There are two effective arguments against this (that I know of): (1) It does not explain the millions of Christians who read the Bible, prayerfully and obediently ask God to explain it to them, and end up not believing it. (2) It ignores the fact that Christians don't understand the Bible either. If they did, they would agree about what it says. But there are Protestants, Catholics, Eastern Orthodox, Mormons and many other kinds of Christians who have huge disagreements about what the Bible says, even though the Bible clearly teaches that the Holy Spirit will guide all Christian into the truth. (John 16:13), so they should all agree, unless the Holy Spirit is screwing up. I usually deal with this argument by turning to a couple of passages in the Bible that clearly contradict each other. Then I ask the Christian to explain them.
  15. Thoughts About Sin

    During the year or so that I was evolving from Christian to ex-Christian, I ran across Romans 7:7-9, which says, ""Is the Law sin? May it never be! On the contrary, I would not have come to know sin except through the Law; for I would not have known about coveting if the Law had not said, "YOU SHALL NOT COVET. But sin, taking opportunity through the commandment, produced in me coveting of every kind; for apart from the Law sin is dead. I was once alive apart from the Law; but when the commandment came, sin became alive and I died;" This is a direct admission about the true function of "sin" to a Christian. Sin is the ultimate marketing tool. Sin is the tool that Christianity uses to create its own demand. Compare "I would not have come to know sin except through the Law", to cigarettes, "I never felt like I needed nicotine until I started smoking". In other words, "I was doing fine until you told me that I was a depraved sinner." This also explains why Christians cannot reach a consensus on what "sin" really is, or even what actions constitute "sin". Those are not the point at all. The point of "sin" is to make you feel bad so that you will be susceptible to (and financially support) Christian leaders. I know from personal experience that if a Christian ever gets "perfect" enough that he/she is not committing enough sins to make them feel guilty enough, Christian leaders either invent new things for you to feel guilty about, or suddenly change the rules so that you will have a whole new set of things to feel guilty about.