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Who Are Your Ex-Christian Heroes?


BendyLine
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This is a topic to give kudos to people who have helped you along the way out of Christianity. It can be someone you know, someone from this site, somebody famous, or even someone in history.

 

Me, I'd like to talk about one of my favorite bands, King's X. In particular, Doug Pinnick, the bass player and one of the lead singers.

 

King's X got their start in the early 80's, the members had played with people like Petra and Phil Keaggy. They eventually formed their own band, and while they never really achieved great fame (aside from a handful of songs that got some playtime during MTV's early days), they were very well respected by fellow musicians and critics (and still are to this day). Early on, they were pigeon-holed into the Christian genre, probably because of their background. All three members of the band were Christians, and some of their lyrics reflected this (one album had a bunch of references to C.S. Lewis' space trilogy, for example). But listening to them, you never felt they were bad copies of bands that were popular half a decade before with Christian lyrics tacked on like just about every other Christian band in history. King's X, on the other hand, was really in the business for their love of music, and it shows in their songs. The band never claimed to be a Christian band, but Christian book stores carried their albums anyway.

 

I first heard of them in the mid-90's. They were based out of Houston for a while (my hometown), and they played a song of theirs on a local rock station (I used to hide out in my room and listen to secular stuff as a teen). I dug the song, and heard that they were a Christian band, so I bought their latest album at a Christian book store. Well, I'm thinking this album was written during a time of serious cognitive dissonance for some of the members of the band. Here's an example of some of the lyrics:

 

"A standard, a program,

Religion burned me at the stake

I questioned, I listened,

I worshipped, how can I relate?

I worked so hard at it

Oh Lord, the bruises and the burns

I guess I don't get it

I guess I lost my faith" - from

by King's X

 

And that wasn't the only song involving questions of faith either. Hell, the only songs that were even remotely religious in nature were about questions. But it wasn't from a bitter, life-long atheist point of view, it was from the point of view of three guys who were taking an honest look at their religion and were in pain because they found it lacking. For a long time, this didn't mean much to me, as I was still drinkin' the Kool-Aid, but when I started questioning my own faith, one lyric stood out to me: "Maybe there's an answer, but it's buried by the lies" (from Run).

 

Anyway, around 1998, Doug Pinnick came out as a homosexual. At first, as he was still a Christian at the time, he admitted to "struggling" with it (as if he was sinning simply by being attracted to the same sex). Immediately after his confession, Christian book stores yanked King's X albums off their shelves.

 

Years later in an interview, Doug was responding to a question of what the band was doing to promote itself--despite being critical darlings, King's X never really made it big in the mainstream. Doug was going over all the things the band had done to promote itself, when he touched on the Christian market. He said they could have made a nice living by playing the Christian market (as everyone had them pegged as a Christian band anyway for some reason). But they didn't feel they were being honest with themselves by promoting themselves as such (and they never have). He said that they enjoy drinking, smoking pot, and Doug himself was gay, and he knew if they were to market themselves as a Christian band it would be dishonest.

 

Personally, I think these guys could have been very successful in the Christian market, they're amazingly talented musicians and there aren't many Christian bands who can compete with the quality of their music. But they had enough integrity to be honest to themselves and to their fans. I have a tremendous amount of respect for them because of this.

 

Also, for a long time their music was about the only exposure I had to ex-Christians before I found this website. While I was turned off by people like Dawkins with their willful misunderstanding of Christianity, I could listen to King's X and feel like those guys really understood what it was like to go through losing your faith. That's one of the reasons I have so much admiration for these guys. They are honest about their faith and their feelings, but they aren't out to make Christians feel like fools, as they used to be Christians.

 

Today, all of the members claim to be agnostics, Pinnick being the most vocal. Hell, many of his interviews sound like a typical Ex-C post.

 

So who are your ex-Christian heroes?

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I had pretty much fully deconverted on my own before I found anyone that had been through the experience and would've inspired me. But for those wanting that sort of thing I'd recommend the testimonies of Taylorx04 and v00d00sixxx on youtube. I don't usually read the testimonies on this site, but Randi's was very touching.

 

I've decided to go third party this year and vote former Salt Lake City mayor Rocky Anderson for president. I didn't care about his religious beliefs and was relieved that I hadn't stumbled across them while researching his policies. But eventually I got curious and googled it, assuming he was probably Mormon. But here's a quote from when he was asked what religion he belonged to:

 

None. I decided when in college that I should carefully consider the best ethical course for my life, then follow those guideposts, without focusing on the theological issues that divert so many people from doing the work that needs to be done, particularly on behalf of those who are most vulnerable and who need the help. I respect those who have, and who live, religious beliefs and values and believe that we each have our own way of making a positive difference while on earth.

 

He grew up LDS, so I guess he counts as ex-C. That doesn't factor into my support, but I really like what he says here.

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George Carlin gave me my first real push out of religion.

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The holy trinity.....ME...MYSELF...and I. I didn't need any outside people to read to necessarily figure it out. I figured it out on my own.

 

Yeah, that's pretty much where I am, also -- at least as far as the actual leaving of religion. I don't recall anyone who helped. I recall many who hindered.

 

But when it comes to helping me deal with the aftermath -- many years later, really -- I credit two friends (just call them J and K). When Christians get me down with their badgering and illogic, J (who was never religious) laughs me through it and K (who was raised painfully fundie and still gets pressure from his family) boosts me via his shared experience and anger.

 

Then I found this place. Ex-Christian.net is a huge factor, if for nothing else than in offering a forum where non-believers can let their hair down, cuss, rant, laugh, and ... no longer have to be silent.

 

Ex-Christian.net also feels powerful. It feels like a force for reason and healing that will eventually help many others know there's home, family, and community outside of religion.

 

Thanks.

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Charles Templeton and his book, 'Farewell To God.' He was the other half of the Billy Graham crusades who quit once he realized there wasn't enough evidence to convince him a god existed. he had been famous evangelist then became an agnostic until his death a few years ago. When I had doubts about my own faith, his book put my mind at ease.

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Guest Valk0010

Carl Sagan

Bertrand Russell

Tom Paine

The Dead Kennedys

Soren Kierkegaard

Emma Goldman

Jean-Luc Godard

 

Cheers

You forgot Noam Chomsky. And I am glad you mentioned that, because alot of the thoughts anarchists have had on the concept of heriachy and authority has helped me deal with religion.
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Like BO I got myself out of religion without a lot of pushing from others. George Carlin shocked me when I heard him perform, but it made me realize that not everybody buys into religion's claims or demands. Once I'd pretty much finished deconverting, I think Bill Maher helped me solidify a lot of my issues with religion and crystallize how I felt about various issues, whether I agreed or not. John Loftus is an amazingly logical person who's helped me to think critically about many of Christianity's specific claims and lack of support.

 

And uh Margee :)

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Charles Templeton and his book, 'Farewell To God.' He was the other half of the Billy Graham crusades who quit once he realized there wasn't enough evidence to convince him a god existed. he had been famous evangelist then became an agnostic until his death a few years ago. When I had doubts about my own faith, his book put my mind at ease.

 

This was the book that did it for me. I didn't read his book - I studied it. And I was lucky because I persisted on getting his phone number and talking to him personally....and I did. Wendytwitch.gif 4 times, I had a hours of long conversation with this man before he died. I got an autographed book from him for a x-mas present. yellow.gif It is signed exactly like this: Margee, don't let the fundamentalists scare you with their hell...it's only to control you. Let the commmandment of your life be: ''Take care of yourself, so you may help take care of others''. Sincerely, Charles

 

This board has been my second home for almost 2 years and I am able to help others now, because of the many people who contributed on EX-c. I think most of you know that Overcame Faith is my 'bestest' friend. He helped me the most when I joined EX-c and I will be forever grateful to him for his friendship and everyone else on this board, who has ever taken the time, to contribute their time towards my 'healing'. There's not a person on this board who hasn't helped me in some wonderful way.

 

The caring, love and friendship on this forum is wonderful. How lucky I was to meet 3 other members on this board in person!! I will never forget it as long as I live. Meeting florduh, noob and Deva was one of the most exciting times of my life!! Every time I see their names, I smile to myself. It has been quite a journey belonging to EX-c. I am so lucky to have so many wonderful friends on this site.

 

Love to everyone of you. 10.gif

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Science fiction writer Harlan Ellison. My hat is off to him. I read a book he wrote where he was discussing how he did not like to be in the company of "born agains". I can't remember which book or the exact wording, but he wrote one sentence which stayed with me for a long time regarding the Garden of Eden story. "God - didn't he know?" I thought about that for a long time. Then for the first time in my life I realized the whole Fall of Man story just didn't make sense.

 

Another tremendous influence on me in breaking free was J. Krishnamurti - reading the books and listening to the videos.

 

Strange that someone wrote Soren Kirkegaard. His writings had the opposite effect on me. I read Soren then went back to church.

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My heroes are the people who have made mistakes and learned from them. Evolution of ideas seems to be difficult at best.

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The Bible is what led me out, it wasn't a person or group of people really.

There is a good friend of mine who helped to show me just by living her life that not all non-christians are awful people ;) She helped me to be a more open minded person.

 

There are some blogs by former xians that I do like, such as John Loftus of Debunking Christianity, and Melissa of Permission to Live on Patheos (that's an amazing story right there, look her up.....)

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When I was 19 at xian college I had an in-home caregiving job. One of my clients was a devout Christian. His granddaughter, who lived with her grandpa, was an alum of the school I went to, but she and her husband were both Ex-C, avid atheists, and possibly some of the coolest people I've ever met. They talked openly & non-judgmentally with me about religion. They also taught me about tea, vegan cooking, safe sex, politics, parenting, science.... It really changed my entire perspective on life!

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The Bible is what led me out, it wasn't a person or group of people really.

 

Mostly, this right here. The Bible itself put the final nail in the coffin for me.

 

I will say that the album "Mer de Noms" by A Perfect Circle was a great comfort to me while deconverting, though. And the magnet boarding school I attended gave me room to breathe and think about real spirituality and myself.

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The holy trinity.....ME...MYSELF...and I. I didn't need any outside people to read to necessarily figure it out. I figured it out on my own.

 

Wash my fricken mouth out......but what he said Wendytwitch.gif

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Upon seeing the title of this thread, Matt Dillahunty was the first name to pop into my mind. He understands Christianity and skepticism, and he is usually right on the money with his arguments. If any of you aren't familiar with him, look up The Atheist Experience on YouTube and watch some of the shows that Matt co-hosts (he's not on all of them).

 

Then I opened the thread and saw that the OP was about King's X, which is also one of my favorite bands. What a great group of guys! I had posted their song "Looking For Love" at the bottom of this page: http://www.ex-christian.net/topic/46431-what-are-your-listening-to-music/page__st__1380

 

Here I'll post it again:

 

Here are some lyrics from another song of theirs, called "Get Away":

 

Hey God, I watched the news tonight

Why are your people so fucking mean?

Hey God, that kid was locked up for three years

Why do the innocent suffer?

Where do you go to get away?

 

Hey God, they say you're perfect and in control

And I am falling apart

Hey God, the God of so many names

But who can I blame?

What the hell are you thinking?

Where do you go to get away?

 

The lyrics to those songs (and "Run," also mentioned in the OP) came from dUg Pinnick, but their last album had the following from the Ty Tabor penned song "I Don't Know":

 

Please forgive me if I ever said to you

Anything pretending that I knew what you should do

'Cause I don't know what I was saying

I don't know me anymore

 

Did I say you need forgiveness?

Tell me that it's not my business

'Cause I don't know what I was saying

I don't know

 

I liked King's X when I was a Christian until the skepticism creeped into the lyrics, but after I woke up to the truth, I came back around and appreciate where they're coming from. Great band!

 

As a side note, while dUg and Jerry did play with Phil Keaggy, Ty played with Morgan Cryar (not Petra).

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