Sunday, June 8, 2014

From Child to Parent: A Short Retrospective

When I was a child, you told me stories of Hell. Images of demons coming to get me filled my dreams. You are the cause. You spoke of your delusions as if they were true. I knew you were delusional. I knew you were fundamentally lying about reality. Once, you said, "Don't tell anyone about the things I've seen and the visions I've had." I never would. Not because you asked for my confidence, but because of the potential consequences that public knowledge of your episodes would heap on me. I never meant to love you. I meant to survive you. I never meant to carry on your delusions. I meant to rebut them with truth. I never thanked you for your abuse. I never will. It didn't train me in the way I should go. It fucked my capacity to negotiate and discriminate between healthy and abusive. You are the cause. I will not blame myself for these things. I will not self-attack and fulfill your dreams of my destruction. You are the cause.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Substitutionary Atonement: How It Promotes Dissociation and Empowers Abusers

There was a member of the church I grew up in that was addicted to pornography. We'll call him Bob. Bob was around 30 years of age and was constantly meeting with the pastor and other men in the church for support in his struggle with sexual addiction. The church leaders told Bob that he needed to leave his sinful nature and be satisfied with Christ, singularly defining Bob as the cause of the problem and neglecting to explore childhood trauma producing his sexual addiction. Bob presents the problem: unhealthy sexuality producing sexual addiction. Church leaders present the cure: be satisfied with Christ, read Bible, and pray. Sadly, the cure didn't work. Bob raped an underage girl shortly thereafter, spent time in prison, and came back to the same church. The church welcomed Bob with open arms and celebrated that he had justification in Christ, and that Christ had provided restitution for his sins.

The similarities in application between substitutionary atonement and dissociation are startlingly obvious, yet none of the material that I've interacted with in psychology or religion has portrayed this synchronous relationship. In this post I will show the similarities in practice between substitutionary atonement and dissociation, and present arguments that substitutionary atonement promotes dissociation and is inherently harmful (this should've been my thesis for my religion degree).

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

On Complimentarianism (and a message to John Piper)

Complimentarianism is "the theological view that although men and women are created equal in their being and personhood, they are created to complement each other via different roles and responsibilities as manifested in marriage, family life, religious leadership, and elsewhere"( One of the most important Christian evangelicals of our time, John Piper, is also one of the greatest promoters of complimentarianism. He loves it so much he wrote a book about it--"Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood." Here's an excerpt from the book:
"But it never occurred to me to think of my mother and my father in the same category. Both were strong. Both were bright. Both were kind. Both would kiss me and both would spank me. Both were good with words. Both prayed with fervor and loved the Bible. But unmistakably my father was a man and my mother was a woman. They knew it and I knew it. And it was not mainly a biological fact. It was mainly a matter of personhood and relational dynamics. When my father came home he was clearly the head of the house. He led in prayer at the table. He called the family together for devotions. He got us to Sunday School and worship. He drove the car. He guided the family to where we would sit. He made the decision to go to Howard Johnson’s for lunch. He led us to the table. He called for the waitress. He paid the check. He was the one we knew we would reckon with if we broke a family rule or were disrespectful to Mother. These were the happiest times for Mother. Oh, how she rejoiced to have Daddy home! She loved his leadership. Later I learned that the Bible calls this 'submission.'"

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

The Top 30 Atheist and Freethinking Resources for Those Recovering from Religion

In an attempt to create a list of "top atheist and freethinking websites for those recovering from religion," I found that there are not very many websites for individuals battling the mythology of religion. I was slightly taken aback by the lack of information and guidance on this subject. Originally, I came up with a "top 10" list, but I didn't feel that this was adequate. I will include the original ten websites,which I have found extremely helpful, and I will expand the criteria from "websites" to "resources," allowing me to create a more comprehensive list of resources that can be digested in a variety of ways. I've created the list with specific categories to help align your exploration with your goals, to make it efficient as possible. I'm just some random dude on the internet, but if you were to check out just one of these resources, I would recommend Stefan Molyneux's Freedomain Radio, specifically in the podcast format. It is my personal favorite and by far the most helpful resource I've found thus far. I want this list to reflect the kind of material that I wish I had been exposed to during the hardest transitional period while recovering from religion. I hope you greatly benefit from this material. Draw deeply from the fountainhead of freedom.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

How Religion Threatens Children with Death

While ridding the flower bed of weeds, I was listening to Stefan Molyneux's podcast "Freedomain Radio." Stefan Molyneux is one of my favorite human beings. I'm extremely thankful for his beautiful mixture of atheism, psychology, and philosophy, creating a nearly perfect listening experience. No joke. It's some of the best stuff I've ever heard. I absolutely love it.

The caller mentions to Molyneux that some atheists can be militant and aggressive, almost like a fundamentalist atheist. Molyneux asks how the atheists the caller describes as militant show aggression. The caller responds by saying that the "militant atheists" talk to people about their atheism and are very emphatic about gods not existing. Molyneux says that doesn't sound very aggressive and asks if religious people force their beliefs on others. The caller says that fundamentalists force their beliefs on others but that most religious people don't. The caller also mentions that if someone wants to believe in a religion it doesn't hurt anyone as long as they don't push their beliefs on other people. Molyneux makes the point that when children grow up in religious homes, the religion of the parents is literally forced on the children. The caller responds with a tone of new realization.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Evangeical Pastor in Brazil Says His Penis Contains Holy Milk: The Spirit Comes in Mysterious Ways

This is not a joke. One of his church members said, “He has convinced us that only God could come into our lives through our mouth and that’s why he would do what he did.  Often, after worship, Pastor Valdeci would take us to where the funds were kept at the back of the Church and asked us to have oral sex with him until the Holy Spirit would come through ejaculation.”

Saturday, April 13, 2013

The Sexual Teachings of a Southern Baptist Preacher: Divine Orgasm

The Southern Baptist preacher began with the normal Christian sex stuff: sex is designed to happen inside the context of marriage, it was created for pleasure, it was created to point us toward Christ, it is a foreshadowing of the future joy and pleasure to be had in Christ, and some scripture was read. What came next was rather surprising. The pastor said that when we get married, we should always pray with our wives before we have sex, like this: "Dear Jesus, thank you for this pleasure that we are going to partake in. May it draw us closer together and closer to you. May it be pure, like your love for your bride, the church." Then the pastor says, "When you are having sex, you should be thinking about Jesus. You should be saying 'thank you Jesus, thank you Jesus.' Keep your mind on him."

Monday, April 8, 2013

All Kinds of Broken Sexuality: A Look at Scotty Smith's Prayer for Parents of Gays

About two years ago, I refused an internship with Christ Community Church. I was going to be working with the youth ministry. I went out on a houseboat with the youth ministry staff for a time of getting to know each other before the scheduled summer activities kicked off. We watched "The Hangover," went over some responsibility details, ate dinner, and spent the rest of the night in two jacuzzis on the roof. Cigars and cigarettes were smoked while we turned into prunes. I was the only person with a pack of cigarettes. The youth leader asked me if I would be smoking when the church's summer schedule started and I said that I would be. I was honest, "I'm a smoker. I'm addicted." He said that some of the parents would have issue with a person in my position being a smoker. I asked him if parents ever had any issues with him. He smiled and said yes. "It's an opportunity to teach," I said. He assured me that neither he nor the church had any issue with smokers, but in the interest of keeping nagging parents off his back, I couldn't smoke in any church oriented context. "Are you serious?" I asked. He was.