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Christian No More: A Guest Post by Jeffrey Mark

cnmOver the past few years, I’ve been reading spiritual memoirs, specifically de-conversion stories about how and why people left their faith behind and stories about people who changed faiths. One of these books was Christian No More: A Personal Journey of Leaving Christianity and How You Can Leave Too by Jeffrey Mark. This book is more than a memoir; while it does contain Mark’s story, it is also much, much more. You can read the table of contents and some of the content of the book on Jeff’s Amazon blog.

Here’s the book description:

This book is for everyone: Atheists will find excellent arguments to help them defend their positions; Agnostics will appreciate the clarification it brings; Christians who are struggling will find this book a great help in breaking free from their shackles as they learn exactly why there’s no possible way Christianity is true and why they don’t have to worry ever again.

The Bible says that the world’s languages began with the Tower of Babel. Today we know better. But how could the Bible contain stories that aren’t true? Author Jeffrey Mark was a devout Christian throughout his life until, during his early 30s, he began studying the Bible more seriously than he ever had. And that’s when he made the disturbing realization that so many stories were simply untrue. For him, this realization started with the Tower of Babel. That in turn launched a series of events that eventually led him to abandon his long-held beliefs. Letting go of his beliefs resulted in pain, anger, and distrust towards everyone around him. But slowly he was able to rebuild his life and come to terms with the realities of the world and ultimately find happiness. If you’ve ever questioned your beliefs, Jeff’s story will inspire you. Travel with him through his journey as he explores the deeper truths behind the Bible while discovering science, logic and reason, and ultimately revealing Christianity for what it really is. This is a book that every Christian must read! 

Below the fold is a guest post by author Jeffrey Mark.

My name is Jeffrey Mark, and I’m the author of a book called Christian No More. I wanted to share with all of you a bit about my book and why I wrote it.

I grew up a devout Christian. Although we weren’t a hardcore, hellfire & brimstone type family, we went to church every week, which was enough for me to grow up believing without a doubt that God and Jesus are real. My faith was so strong that when I heard people say things like, “It’s okay to sometimes doubt,” I knew that never applied to me, because I had no doubt whatsoever. And that was my feeling right up into my 20s.

But in my late 20s, there were things that started bothering me. The Bible had many stories in the Old Testament that I knew couldn’t be real. For instance, we knew languages didn’t all originate with the Tower of Babel. And we knew that the world was far, far older than the Bible tells us. This prompted me to start reading the Bible in more detail, to seek out the full truth. With these heavy-duty studies, I found many things that didn’t sit right; and so I did what made sense: I knew the stories and verses had to be true, but at the same I knew they couldn’t be real; so in my mind, I adjusted them until they made sense and worked. I called this adjustment “interpretation”. But over the course of about three years, these interpretations became weaker and weaker. They weren’t holding up to scrutiny. And over time I finally realized the stories simply weren’t true.

That, of course, created a major problem in my mind. How could there be stories in the Bible that weren’t real?

Determine, I continued my studies, but this time I included studies outside of the Bible. I explored as much science as I could. And over time I found I believed less and less of what Christianity teaches us, until that fateful day when I realized I was forced to decide whether I even believed Jesus existed. And that was the defining moment: After about five years of struggling, I realized he wasn’t real. And that, by definition, was the moment I was no longer a Christian.

But the journey was incredibly painful and difficult. I felt a huge amount of anger at the church for terrorizing me with threats of Hell. And I had an enormous feeling of emptiness. And that’s when I resolved to write a book. As a professional writer, I decided to cover many topics: Why the Bible simply cannot be real; what the Church is doing to people (especially children) with threats of Hell; what the Bible really says about things like Hell (very little, in fact). And I also decided to spend a good amount of time explaining how science really works, and why it’s not about faith but rather solid data, tests, and the scientific method. And I spent a lengthy chapter dismantling the Bible itself, going deep into the verses, and exploring what is and isn’t in the Bible and why what’s there is based totally in myth, having been heavily influenced by other myths of ancient times–myths that Christians today reject.

It all came together well, and the book has been very well received. David Mills, author of Atheist Universe found the book fascinating and said it’s sure to become “iconic” in the freethought community. Guy P. Harrison, author of 50 Reasons People Give For Believing in a God, called the book an “intellectual broadside” to Christianity. I’m constantly getting emails from people of all different faiths saying how much they like the book. It has helped some people walk away from Christianity, and atheists are especially enjoying it, because it lets them go into the mind of a (former) Christian and see what makes such a mind tick — and, more importantly, how to help people walk away from the faith.

For me personally, writing this book has been a major re-awakening. I now call myself a Skeptic, a word that in the past I considered a negative term. When I was a Christian, I felt “skeptic” meant somebody who continuously doubts everything, no matter how clear, and argues to no end, and refuses to see what’s obvious. But now I realize it’s a positive thing: I don’t just eat everything up without proof. And for many things, the proof is there. Other times, it’s not. And now skepticism has become a guiding principle in my life; it’s actually a useful skill, or talent, if you will. For example, when coworkers get an idea into their heads about the way a project should go, I approach ideas with healthy skepticism. Is this reworking of a project really going to work, or is it simply something that somebody dreamed up with no real evidence that it will work? Since becoming a skeptic, it’s as if my life is finally complete. I don’t latch onto ideas mindlessly; instead, I’m open-minded and I listen, but reject ideas that make no sense, and only embrace ideas that are clearly real. And now, after Christianity, my life is complete.

writerdd

Donna Druchunas is a freelance technical writer and editor and a knitwear designer. When she's not working, she blogs, studies Lithuanian, reads science and sci-fi books, mouths off on atheist forums, and checks her email every three minutes. (She does that when she's working, too.) Although she loves to chat, she can't keep an IM program open or she'd never get anything else done.

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45 Comments

  1. Sounds like a great book for Christians and non Christians alike. I went through my own de-conversion over the last few years after having been brought up in a very strong Christian household. Now I am a happy skeptic, atheist and humanist :)

    It would have been great to have had a book such as this when I was going through my own journey. I often felt that many atheist books did not understand enough about where I was coming from, and thus whilst what they were saying was fine, it just didn’t connect deeply enough to me.

    In the end it was thinking about the ethics of God and Christianity that brought me out of the Christian darkness into the glorious Skeptical Light!

  2. Best of success with your book and your journey, Mr. Mark.
    For me, the most liberating event of my life was the realization, (long time ago) that I had the power to figure things out for myself, and didn’t need others to show me the way.
    Not that I eschew all advice, I look at it and choose.

  3. And now, after Christianity, my life is complete.

    ____

    Funny how that works, once you stop being your worst enemy and become your best friend! And be rest assured it just gets better–you don’t stay in ruts like you did when you were a Christian. You will have problems and challenges to meet, but you will now be up to them.

    I will use your book as a references in my discussions.

  4. Great post and the book sounds very interesting. I’ll be sure to pick it up and it sounds like it’ll be a good recommendation for people who were never Christian to understand what it’s like.

  5. I watched Bill Maher’s “Religulous” the other day. I had no idea that the whole virgin birth of the messiah story pre-dated the story of Christ (in the story of the Egyptian god Horus and in the story of the Hindu god Krishna).

    This is all timely for me since I had to euthanize my 17 yeard old cat on Friday. I would insist that she is in cat heaven right now, despite complete lack evidence. It makes me feel better to believe that as my brain has a hard time coping with the idea of death, especially when you I was reminded how quick the transition is from sentience to that irreversible state of complete non-existence as is the case with a lethal injection.

    /BCT

  6. A good post, and probably a good book as well. (Even if I haven’t examined the evidence.)

    A couple of typos though:

    David Mills, author of Atheist Universe found the book fascinated

    For example, when coworkers get an idea into their heads about the way a project should god

  7. @Billy Clyde Tuggle:

    What? Horus wasn’t a virgin birth! Isis reassembled the scattered pieces of her husband’s body, attached a wooden penis to make up for the missing part, brought Osiris back to life, and conceived Horus via intercourse with the reanimated corpse.

    Condolences with regard to your cat.

  8. @Billy Clyde Tuggle: I also offer my sympathies for your cat.

    I find myself occasionally wishing that the “Rainbow Bridge” legend is true, though I know it isn’t. I have lost a few dear dogs and cats to disease and old age, myself.

    I did something similar to the author’s intense study for myself over a period of years and came to the same conclusions, which is why I am here today.

  9. It is hard to imagine taking the Bible literally, but I do know many people who do. I am a non-believer, but was raised in Catholic schools who basically told me during religion class and mass that the bible was not always meant to be taken literally and that the stories in it were just that, stories. They were not to be taken literally.

    It amazes me that at this point in history the Western Catholic church is one of the most progressive and liberal instance of Christianity in the world.

  10. @BeerWill:

    I often felt that many atheist books did not understand enough about where I was coming from

    Hi everyone, thanks for all the kind words.

    I know what you mean about the other books. While I love reading Richard Dawkins’ books (and I’m really excited about meeting him in Atlanta next month!), it does seem that he’s unable to relate to those of us who were indoctrinated throughout childhood into Christianity. For him, it’s all nonsense. For those of us who lived it, it’s something very deep that you usually can’t just walk away from. It’s like the thought process has a mental hold on you at the deepest part of your core, and letting go is just not easy. Since Dr. Dawkins hasn’t been through it, he can’t relate. And so it’s easy for him to just brush off Christians as stupid and ignorant, without being able to give sound advice to those of us so desperately trying to break free.

    And even today — I *still* occasionally start to find myself slipping back into that mindset. What if Jesus is real? What if I’m in majorly deep trouble for what I’ve said and done? But then I have to remind myself of the chapters in my book about how the stories of the Old Testament were nothing more than myths that were based on even earlier myths. And as for the New Testament, Jesus was a follower of that religion built on myths. And so logically, if the religion Jesus followed wasn’t real (assuming Jesus even existed, something I’m not so sure of), then Jesus couldn’t possibly be an actual son of a god, who was, after all, nothing more than a myth.

    And incidentally, I talk about in the book how the god we called God was actually part of a family of earlier “gods” of the myths of the surrounding areas where the Hebrew religion began. Kind of ruins the whole thing, don’t you think?

    Jeff
    p.s. Because my book is put out by a small, independent publisher, it needs *all* the help it can get. What I really need are reviews on Amazon. If you read it and enjoy, I would be forever indebted to you if you post a review for me. :-)

  11. p.s. Thanks for pointing out the typos. Maybe our host will be kind enough to correct them, as I don’t have access to modify the blog. :-) (I wrote it late at night and didn’t proof read it. Oops.)

  12. Good luck with the book Jeff!!

    I think your perspective provides much to the broader discussion of faith and reason. If people are inclined to walk away from their superstitions and faith beliefs (as I also did) then dialogue will certainly be a much more effective tool that diatribes.

  13. @jeffmark:

    It’s like the thought process has a mental hold on you at the deepest part of your core, and letting go is just not easy.

    Exactly. It is hard to explain to people who haven’t been through it how deep it goes. I look forward to being able to lend your book to Christian friends and family. I’ve ordered it on Amazon, but I guess it won’t get to me in Australia for 6 weeks or so, so you’ll have to wait until then for a review!

  14. Jeffery, you have a fantastic writing style! I’d kill to be able to write with that kind of natural clarity. Does it come easily for you, or do you sweat and labor to hammer your prose into such a pleasurable form?

  15. Jeff Mark: Good to see a book out there encouraging people in the process of leaving religion/christianity. I’m always on the look out for accounts of those who have left. I look forward to reading it myself and hopefully find a way to include it my blog on the same topic: Hot-For-Jesus Former Fundie. Those who are in the deprogramming process need all the help they can get… thanks for telling your story!

  16. O.k. I wasn’t going to say anything about this, but there is too much of an ‘anti-Christian love fest’ for me at the moment.

    I agree with everyone that fundamentalist are bad. Going further than that, as someone who actually knows something about Christianity I’ll even say that they do not represent the bulk of Christians and they do not even accurately represent the intent of the Bibles teachings.

    So, that all said, de-radicalizing fundamentalist is always good. However, past that, I call bullshit on the position that the only correct place to go from there is to atheism.

  17. @MoltenHotMagma: I agree. But I’d go so far as to say not even all fundies are bad.

    Really it’s right wing politics and some extremist stuff (like the Quiverfull group Rebecca wrote about today) that pisses me off… I still have some fundie friends and a lot of fundie relatives and basically we all get along and enjoy spending time together. OK, not always with the in-laws, but I think that’s a more common problem than just religious differences.

    I wrote a lot of rants over the past few years on this blog against pretty much all Christians and lately I feel like I’ve put my foot in my mouth. Yes, there are some born-again idiots. There are some skeptic and atheist assholes too. So I am not really into the xian bashing any more either.

    Not even most fundies are as radical, stupid, or dangerous as most readers of this blog seem to think.

  18. @MoltenHotMagma: I don’t really see these comments as an ‘anti-Christian love fest’ but rather a group of people who probably have gone through similar circumstances applauding a well written essay that reflects some of what they feel. If bashing Xianity a little helps, it helps.

    Look at it more as a kind of campfire circle of friends singing an atheist Kumbayah.

  19. @writerdd: no disrespect intended, but I feel the need to disagree with you on a couple of points here.

    First fundies are the type of people who will vote to rob people of their rights and freedoms because of race, religion, and/or orientation while pointing their scripture as an excuse without even considering another option. They also force religious doctrine into public schools. It is not xian bashing to call friends and family on their rhetoric, but standing up for what is right. I have done this on many occasions and while they haven’t exactly deconverted they generally think twice about what they are saying (and that is the first step).

    Second MoltenHotMagma’s ire seems to be derived from teandoranges’ accurate statement that for those who are in the process of deconverting reading others’ ordeals helps get them through it. coming from a devout mormon upbringing I can attest that when you start questioning your faith without having a secular support network these stories are important first step in providing a rational framework to build a new life on. as I understand it you must agree at some level since you hosted Jeff’s post. As I read this post there is no blatant cases of xian bashing in the comments, but rather pointing out the similarities with the egyptian Horus myth.

    Third it is not xian bashing, nor is it a case of “asshole” skeptics/atheists to point out the logical flaws and contradictions within the bible. MoltenHotMagma is claiming to know the “accurate” intent of the bible’s teachings when it has clearly been shown to be a flawed and contradictory anthology time and time again. Yes some people can be jerks but having a thin skin about critical thinkers questioning scripture and faith in general is not a sound response, it is in fact a weak appeal to emotion.

    Finally fundamentalists (christian, muslim, jewish…etc) are defined by their willful ignorance of the facts and blind adherence to strict doctrinal codes. The danger they present to the rest of the world covers suppression of research to sectarian violence, I have yet to see well reasoned justification for fundamentalism and I doubt I will see one anytime soon.

  20. @Jimmy: leaving one’s faith can be difficult and most of us who have done so understand the hardships that entails from social ostracism to feeling left out in the cold, you can call it “atheist Kumbayah” if you want but that is so far from the mark as to be going in the opposite direction.

    Most of us are reaching out to a kindred spirit whom we identify with for having gone through the same process (which more often than not is solitary). If you are offended by such camaraderie then I find it unlikely that you will understand what we have gone through and why we comment the way we do.

  21. @Northernskeptic: Whoa…I really failed to make myself clear if you thought that was a criticism. I went through similar circumstances myself. I wasn’t being critical of such camraderie, I was praising it in what I thought was a funny matter. Maybe not.

    Anyway, in my Xian days such fellowship as singing Kumbayah did foster comaraderie and I remember great feelings from this. I was TRYING to suggest that the comments in this section, for me at least and perhaps others, were fulfilling the same function.

    Dude, I’m on your side.

  22. @writerdd: I think I have to disagree with you about ‘fundies’. I am of the opinion that all fundamentalism is bad. This isn’t to say that people can’t hold strong beliefs, but there is a big difference between a fundamentalists unquestioning acceptance that *insert authority here* has instructed that *insert position here* must be true, therefore (s)he should kill all the heathens or something.

    Fundamentalism is basically a rejection of thought. That is always bad.

    @Jimmy: Very fair and I have no problem with that. I have no more problem with a bunch of atheist supporting each other in their positions than I do with a camp circle of Kum-by-ah singing Christians or praying Muslims. My big problem is in the common position put forth by atheist that any application of critical thinking and skepticism inevitably leads to atheism. Though this isn’t said anywhere in this thread, it is implied in many of the comments. Skepticism is not atheism. The confusion of the two is where I draw the line.

    @Northernskeptic: I agree with a lot of what you say. However, you misrepresent me when you state that I claim to, “…know the “accurate” intent of the bible’s teachings…”.

    My statement was that the beliefs held by Christian fundamentalist do not accurately represent the teachings within the Bible. I stand by this statement and am happy to discuss it if you wish. However, it is not logically equivalent to the statement you attribute to me. Your interpretation of what I said is like saying that the statement, “The belief that the earth is 4000 years old is not accurate”, is equivalent to saying, “I know how old the earth is”. It is entirely possible for me to know that the earth is older than 4000 years without yet knowing exactly how old it is or even if I will ever be able to know ‘exactly’ how old it is.

    Additionally, my problem is never with critical thinking applied to scripture or the Bible in general. My problem is with ‘critical thinking’ applied to straw man representations of scripture, the Bible, or the beliefs of Christians, (or any other religious group). Admittedly, the religious don’t make this easy for themselves since fundamentalist usually act as a living commitment to stupidity and are unfortunately the most visible members of the religious world out there. But as I said, in most cases, their positions aren’t supported even by the religious that they claim to be a part of.

    Likewise, baseless attempts to link all religion to fundamentalism also tend to draw my ire.

    @everyone: My only point is a simple one, and I don’t want to draw to far from it. In two parts, it is:

    Skepticism does not equal Atheism. Atheism does not equal Skepticism.

    The article was interesting, I intend to read the book, and I am glad that the author has found his way to a place that is right for him. We all have our own journeys and I’m not going to judge his or anyone else’s.

    That said, I will still fire in when I think someone here has it wrong just as quickly as I will when a fundamentalist spouts off crap about evolution.

  23. @MoltenHotMagma: In your original message you said fundamentalists are bad, not fundamentalism is bad. Huge difference. Fundamentalists are just people. Some are good some are bad. Yes, I agree that the fundamentalist mindset is bad. But that doesn’t make all the people who get sucked into it bad.

  24. @MoltenHotMagma:

    before I continue I must point out I never claimed that all atheists are skeptics (I know of a few who are not skeptical) and on the flip side I know a few skeptically minded theists (not many mind you, and they generally refuse to examine the core concepts of their faith). Most skeptics I encounter however are also atheist, and it is that initial skepticism that led them (myself included) to reject all divine claims we have been presented with to date due to lack of evidence. The correlation is strong enough that unless a self described skeptic says otherwise it is natural to assume that they are also atheist.

    trying not to belabor the point but your comment regarding straw-man representations needs to be clarified, there are literally thousands of christian denominations out there who have conflicting interpretations of a document that is full of contradictions (the 4 gospels can’t even get the story straight between them). While I have no problem pointing out what particular denominations may interpret scripture as ( I correct people on what mainstream mormons believe all the time), they all call themselves christian to some degree or another, and I have yet to see a Poe that was not also reflected in an actual congregation.

    If you have some specific examples of particular denominations getting the straw-man treatment then I agree that should be corrected, however blindly accusing skeptics in general of committing this fallacy does make it sound like you are placing yourself as an authority who knows better. So if there is an example in this thread then point it out please, but don’t expect to take a broadside at the group without some response.

  25. @writerdd: I was raised a devout mormon, I read the bible (kjv) book of mormon…etc. I used them to justify racism, sexism, and homophobia. I looked at the world in black and white terms without waivering, I hated people with “love” (hate the sin love the sinner), and I believed that there would be suffering for those who did not accept the church’s “truth” before the end times. so I think I understand the fundy mindset more firmly than you may expect.

    I also look back on that life with shame and guilt over my actions, since I acted terribly to those who were different because I thought they were sinners, or that they were cursed with dark skin by sinner ancestors, or that their simple act of love was an abomination.

    as I see it I already understand all to well what a fundy thinks and in many ways wish I didn’t

  26. @Northernskeptic: “…before I continue I must point out I never claimed that all atheists are skeptics …”

    No you didn’t. I apologize if my post implied that was something you had said. My intent was not to call you out on such a statement, but more to try and draw attention to what I perceived to be an unstated assumption in many of the post leading up to my first one.

    I explicitly made the statement of non-equality because it is a position that I encounter with some regularity. Even amongst skeptical atheist who don’t explicitly say it outright the position is often implied.

    Once again, I do apologize if my comment attributed such a position to you. That was not my my intent.

    “…The correlation is strong enough that unless a self described skeptic says otherwise it is natural to assume that they are also atheist.”

    Accepted, certainly I am just as guilty of such correlation driven assumptions, (as pointed out to me recently by writerdd). Hopefully, though, you can understand why I would want to draw attention to that particular assumption. As a non-atheistic skeptic, I feel that leaving it un-questioned weakens the overall skepticism of the group.

    “trying not to belabor the point but your comment regarding straw-man representations needs to be clarified…”

    This is a very fair question, and I attempted to point in the direction of my answer to it in my previous post. Also, you hit the big problem directly with your statement that, “…I have yet to see a Poe that was not also reflected in an actual congregation. ”

    You are right. No matter how stupid or ridiculous, somewhere there is a congregation who believes ‘it’, and that they are the only correct interpretation of the bible, (snake-handlers are a great example of this). *sigh* This, is the heart of why it is so hard for Christians like me, because the nutters are so many and so vocal. This is also why I have no problem with direct mockery and application of critical thinking or skepticism to particular denominations or activities, (for instance, the recent issue with the ‘quiverfull’ movement covered on this very site).

    In addressing the actual, stated positions of a group there is no straw-man being knocked down. Where the straw man often appears is in the inference that the group just so addressed represents the actual ‘core’ of the religion that they claim affiliation with or the religion as a whole.

    The best example of this is a quote by, (I believe), Richard Dawkins, (if it wasn’t him, then I apologize). But to paraphrase, “The only true voice of any religion are it’s fundamentalist, at least they are committed to what they believe”.

    Now, I’ll first state that I hope that isn’t an actual Dawkins quote, (I haven’t verified it but I trust someone here will let me know one way or another), but his or not, it sums up what I am talking about.

    Very often I encounter the position that the fundamentalist are the true voice of a religion, therefore, showing the fundamentalist to be crap not only invalidates the fundamentalist but it also invalidates the positions of the entire religion. The problem with this idea is that fundamentalist are only the true voice of a religion if the religion is, itself, as extreme as the positions the fundamentalist are taking. Most of the time this isn’t the case, but by perpetuating this perception everyone wins but the actual members of the ‘mainstream’ religion. By committing to this straw-man position, opponents of that religion have an easier target, and the fundamentalist actually gain more attention, (Much like the Rush Limbaugh/leader of the GOP thing going on right now. The real losers in this are the actual Republicans who are watching helplessly as their party is hijacked by extremist).

    Once again, however, it was not my intent to cast aspersions on a specific member of this thread. This isn’t a position that has been explicitly stated here. However, like the assumption that all skeptics are atheist, it is an assumption that I see increasingly appearing in skeptical threads across several websites and the fact that it tends to go unstated is, in my opinion, more insidious than if it was clearly put out there and debated.

    “…but don’t expect to take a broadside at the group without some response.”

    I would never dream of it. And my intent wasn’t to ‘take a broadside at the group’. I fully expected that anything I said that wasn’t clear would be challenged. My only hope is that I have been more clear this time.

    I guess, though, that what annoys me the most about this thread is my perception that the book only got a mention, (and received such happiness through most of this thread), because it is the story of someones path from Fundamentalism to his newfound atheism. The impression I receive is that if the story had, instead, been one of an individuals journey from fundamentalism to the embrace of critical thinking and skepticism, and how this changed his relationship with God and had shaped his attempts to fight fundamentalism within his own religion that it wouldn’t have received so much as a look.

    I may be wrong about that, but it is the impression I received and I think it’s a shame. Because from my personal experiences I believe that would be at least as trying a story, and at least as illuminating.

  27. Hi everyone, thanks for all the great comments! I really appreciate it. I’ll try to reply to all of them over the next couple days, so please bear with me. :-)

    Regarding the question of how this book responds to all the Christians who do not take the Bible literally: Yes, absolutely I talk about that. I have an entire chapter devoted to the issue of how I was the type of Christian who, when faced with a verse that didn’t set right with me, I would conveniently twist it around and “interpret” it until I liked it. Case in point: The Bible is pretty nasty towards women. Paul has set out some strict rules for the role of women. Being a good progressive, that bothered me. Well somebody presented an idea that “worked” for me, and that was that Paul’s rules were “lighter” and “less-restrictive” than the previous rules and that Paul was, in fact, a feminist and taking the first step towards equality. That worked for me in my brain, so I *changed* the meaning of Paul’s writings to fit what I wanted to see. Of course, it was totally wrong. Paul was just as anti-woman as the rest of the leaders back then. And unfortunately, today, so many Christians do just that when faced with something obviously wrong (like a seven-day creation). They “interpret” it to modify it to their linking.

    One thing to consider: Prior to modern science, virtually all Christians were literalists. They had no reason to doubt the claims, for example, of a seven-day creation. Only after science found the facts did so many Christians decide “it’s not literal.” Well if it wasn’t literal, then why didn’t the writers say that from the start?

    Jeff

  28. Responding to this comment:

    “Jeffrey, you have a fantastic writing style! I’d kill to be able to write with that kind of natural clarity. Does it come easily for you, or do you sweat and labor to hammer your prose into such a pleasurable form?”

    Thank you! I have years of experience as a writer. It just takes practice, practice, practice! I’ve written a lot of fiction stories (never published) and lots of technical articles for work (by day I work in a computer field). So I’ve had a ton of experience. :-)

  29. @jeffmark: “…Well if it wasn’t literal, then why didn’t the writers say that from the start?”

    It’s an equally valid question to ask, “If it was intended to be taken absolutely literally, then why did Christ spend so much time speaking in riddles and breaking the letter of the old testament laws?”

    Past that, I’m going to try and not hijack this thread any more than I may already have.

    I also love your writing style, what I have read of your work so far is excellent. I look forward to finding the time to actually read the book.

  30. @jeffmark: Regarding the question of how this book responds to all the Christians who do not take the Bible literally: Yes, absolutely I talk about that. I have an entire chapter devoted to the issue of how I was the type of Christian who, when faced with a verse that didn’t set right with me, I would conveniently twist it around and “interpret” it until I liked it.

    Thanks for answering my question. Unforunately, the answer I heard wasn’t the one you said.

    I’m not convinced from this alone that you were not a Biblical literalist. This kind of “twisting” that you describe is primarily engaged in by literalists who see glaring inconsistencies but don’t want to give up literalism. Just try convincing Anthony Flew to give up Christianity (again) using this line of thinking, and see how far it gets you.

    Prior to modern science, virtually all Christians were literalists.

    Like MoltenHotMagma, I don’t want to turn this venue into an in-depth discussion of church history and Biblical interpretation. Let’s just say that I think this statement is true in one sense, but highly misleading in most senses.

    Nonetheless, I think your book hits a sweet spot with a certain kind of US-style fundamentalist/evangelical. So at the very least, thanks for writing it, and thanks for coming here to talk about it.

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