A few months ago at ex-christian.net a man named Dan Silverman started posting on his experiences as he was leaving his faith, his church, his ministry, and breaking this news to his wife and family. All the details of this struggle can be seen on his website and blog–but to make a lengthy story short-Dan has been accused of a crime that I do not believe he committed, it is believed that his former pastor – possibly in collusion with his wife have influenced the accuser to make the accusation. Dan is awaiting trial currently and during this time can’t see any of his children or his wife.
Dan was a minister at Heritage Baptist Church in Vinton, Virginia-a few months ago he stepped down because he didn’t want to mislead the church since he had lost his faith—he didn’t believe the things he was teaching any longer. The pastor seems to have been angered by this and it looks as if he is trying to dismantle this man to a state of desperation, just to get him back into the fold. This is religious, spiritual, and emotional abuse.
This is my challenge to ALL of my readers–ESPECIALLY the Christian ones–because controlling a man’s family and causing turmoil in his life is not the job of the Church and I expect better—My challenge is for you to 1: Blog about this and LINK TO HIS SITE, 2: Put him on your blogroll or something like that 3: READ his site—this story goes much farther than I have talked about here and we need people to be aware of what is happening, and 4: tell other people about it and as a bonus 5: Digg, Fav, Stumble—whatever you can this story, we just want to get the story out there to show how dangerous a Jim Jones type church can be—and this church is heading that way.
I just want to help this guy out…I’m not asking anyone to determine guilt or anything like that—we just want people to know the dangers of a fundamentalist extremist mentality and what happens if you ever question that establishment. Dan, nor myself, are out to harm Christianity or the Church—Dan just wants his family and life back. Please help
Dan is found at the following website: http://allforfreedom.blogspot.com
Please do this. Everyone that reads this blog. No prizes, no pats on the back–just do it for the sake of helping someone out.
Edit notes: Changed name of church to Heritage Baptist
So like I said, I really want to write all this down, its just that my emotions are…crazy right now…it happens to me about every 6 months or so I just have a few days or a few weeks where I feel like I cant function and I don’t enjoy anything…I am sure it will pass but it’s a little disturbing the whole time it goes on.
One thing that is rather overwhelming is that I have been through some pretty radical changes in the last couple of years…putting those changes and the emotions that accompany them is really difficult, because the rate at which my mind is having to process all this is insane…and trying to find the time to put those thoughts down is even more difficult. So , this is one more, likely feeble attempt at an essential extimony, as a remnant of my faith I guess I still have the innate need to share my experience and understanding…and even promote it for others…evangelical atheism-as odd as that sounds…I have been told by other atheists that the desire to deconvert others passes with time, I hope that is true, because I feel so weird undoing a lot of what I have already done…bringing people out of the faith I once had and actively brought others into.. I guess it is like making amends to humanity for the evil I did bringing people into a faith that I now see as a crock and a fallacy. My whole goal in my religious life seems to be centered on helping other people question this faith….because if you are a Christian already no one can tell you nor prove to you that your faith is in vain, you have to come to the realization of your own volition, but I feel that my goal is to just make the questions come up that you must ask in order to relieve yourself of your dependence on deity. Not everyone will or is capable of shedding the skin of religion and renouncing god, which is why so many do not…religion holds people that way, it is powerful in that way because the emotions connected with religion and Christianity in particular are incredibly strong, especially for the devoted follower.
Christianity, in the orthodox consideration, is build upon doctrines that require strong emotional relation to the doctrines: Jesus Loves You evokes the emotion of love and gratefulness for having a deity care for you. The thought of Hell invokes an insane amount of fear, as it did for me when I was younger and unsure of my “salvation”. The stories in the Bible either focus on g-ds wrath, g-ds greatness, g-ds sovereign nature, or g-ds providence…in some way almost all of the time….alot of the stories, the book of Job in particular, really make g-d look like a huge asshole if you think about it more critically…I used to think Job was a beautiful story by the way.
When anything has such strong ties to ones emotions it is hard to override that, fear and love are very hard to deny oneself. Emotions, even when based on superstition and fallacy become reality, because you can physically feel fear and love, I know I have multiple times been overwhelmed by the love of god, feeling the embrace of the divine. How does one experience that and then months or years later break free from the illusion that it is?
Religious ferver, or as some would have me say since, “Christianity is a relationship not a religion” therefore Christianity or Relationship with God is very much an emotional state, not a reality. I believe now that the emotions I felt, the things I saw (up to and including miracles and participating in exorcisms on extremely numerous occasions) were all results of my emotional status.
Thusly we begin our story: (dates and times are really fuzzy, its all kind of a blur but I am telling this to the best of my memory without stretching anything, if I say something happened in 2005…it could have happened in 2003…I cant keep years straight to save my life.
It must have been the winter of 2004 when I left Holy Ground Outreach…a church I loved very much and was very active in, I was probably at the church at least
3-4 times a week, doing church services, participating in youth, helping my mentor at the time, and we also prayed there on certain nights. It was a comparatively good church as far as that goes, they had a food ministry, and they went to the ghetto’s and places to give away free food and such…things that bigger churches rarely do for some reason…they did…worship services were active and somewhat charismatic. It did have the flaw of being very involved in the Word of Faith movement…which, even though I was big into it at one time, became a bit of an issue with me after a little while, I realized that prosperity was not the god I believed in from my understanding of the Bible…so Monica and I, we went together, discussed it, and we decided to just leave. It was near Christmas time…that was hard enough, but it was the only way we knew, we didn’t tell anybody, we just stopped showing up. At that point I decided to read the Bible, like I had done many times before, and seek God, to find out what was the ultimate Truth.. I pretty much didn’t talk to my wife actively about this from then until just about 6 or so months ago….
During those few years, I was still sure of God and Christ for a very long time, as a person whom had done a lot of study in apologetics I knew a lot of the Bible “difficulties” and could defend it pretty well…but what I decided whilst on this journey, was that I had to completely and totally take my own emotion out of it…which is what I spent the bulk of my time doing…just deciding not to allow the emotional self, which is what I now know as the easily duped self, get in the way of God and my understanding….I wanted my relationship with God to be entirely pure and unadulterated…I stopped praying for myself, I refused to pray for anything other than “Gods will”…I don’t remember the series of events after that, but there came a time, about a year ago…when I questioned hell, and the bible…
I am not going to point out specific areas in which the Bible contradicts itself…the only people that wont see that are fundamentalists and people that will continually lie to themselves…just know that at some point I had to make that admittance…The Skeptics Annotated Bible is a great resource if you are curious to know though (http://www.skepticsannotatedbible.com) . If it doesn’t quash any idea that the bible is the perfect word of god then you aren’t reading it…but that is beside the point. The greatest conflict in that line of thought , for me, was regarding the sovereignty and kindness of god…is god benevolent?
Here was my approach, and still is; Assuming God exists and is the creator of all things…then 1: God must have created evil, simple yes, but none the less conflicting as to the contention that “God is love” 2: God tempted man in the garden by proxy by having created Lucifer and via permission (as was required in
Job) 3: God created Hell 4: God created the nature of man to be fallen and 5:
God by creating man in such a way that he thinks logically and processes information the way we do knew that eventually science would come in to play to cast doubt upon his existence, not to mention the fact that god has allowed thousands upon thousands of unique and salvation (in some way) providing religions most of which claim to be the sole connection with god…by allowing that god proves that he is cynical and cruel and NOT loving, and thereby a contradiction in his own terms…any terms that contradict, mathematically, are null and zero…and thereby the only logical conclusion my mind is capable of coming to is that god does not exist.
This is the realization I came to…I don’t remember the day, it really took months to say out loud and to come to the conclusion in a definitive way. Whilst doing this it was as if both my Father and my Best friend were dying slow and painful deaths. I cried a lot for these months in my quiet drives to work in the morning, a lot of the time I put on some MewithoutYou to see if I could still feel him and commune like I remember.. It was devastating. I hid it pretty well I think…but it was both the darkest and most enlightening time in my life…only recently, within the last few months, have I come to terms with a dead god. I stopped feeling god in me and around me
The aftermath is deciding, that since there is no reason to believe in heaven, hell, or any proof of an afterlife…what does one live for…I have made the decision to live for myself, my wife, and for humanity over all. I feel that I can serve mankind much better without being tied to a deity of any kind, my old god was a jealous god full of wrath, my new god is my own ability and engineering, my old god refused to change, I change readily when it is necessary. I think I am doing a much better job than he ever did.
Overall, despite the last couple of days and the depression that hit, I can say that this writing has taken a load off of my chest…I hope to be able to keep it up and use this LJ account as a way to express my thoughts and connect with other people that are going through similar things. I also welcome anyone that is willing or able to present your ideas, from any religion or background…including Christians. I am very open to a kind debate of myself vs. believers at any time.
I really want to write all this down….i find myself in a rather emotional state today, like some sort of goddamned emo…an emo…
i really wanna write all this down…cuz everything happend really fast and i dont know how to explain much of it…i can defend it of course, my newfound lack of faith…but i can defend anything i hold dear…yet…for some reason, i dont doubt that i am correct this time…there were always doubts with god…
I really wanna write all this down, and do so intelligently, unlike the last one, which looked like a kid with ADD got a hold to it…but this isnt the time is it
and i really want to know why in the hell i cant turn syncronized swimming off….