Thursday, December 22, 2005

Do babies burn in Hell?

Do Babies burn in hell?

Recently I found a webpage that all believers in salvation-through-faith should read. It is entitled Do Babies Automatically go to Heaven? The author, K. B. Napier, argues they do not. His argument is simple: One must be born again to go to heaven; babies cannot be born again; therefore babies are doomed.

The implications of his argument are so horrible that most Christians will immediately turn from the suggestion. How could God burn a baby in hell forever for not believing, even though the baby had never reached an age where he could understand? What would one ever say to a grieving mother whose infant was in hell? Napier confronts that problem:

I can partially understand the desire not to increase the burden of a bereaved parent, by saying something soothing...but to claim it to be a part of scriptural teaching is yet another matter, of gravest importance, because it totally undermines the true gospel...In an effort to comfort the bereaved they often say things that are unscriptural. This is particularly so if the dead person is an unborn or young child. What minister has the courage to teach what scripture says in such circumstances? I know of none!

I struggle to think how Napier might comfort the grieving mother whose infant is supposedly screaming in hell.

Napier is quick to point out that babies are sinners and that sinners go to hell. But even he cannot seem to find the words to declare that babies go to hell. He chooses to concentrate on his conclusion that they don't go to heaven. But he clearly infers where infants go: They all burn in eternal conscious torment in hell forever.

But if you reject Napier's teaching, and find that the rule requiring new birth has an exception in the case of infants--and most Christians think it does--are there other exceptions? Are the mentally handicapped also exempted? What about those who haven't heard? What about those who have reviewed the facts, and decided they cannot believe? If babies can be exempted from the curse without a new birth, why can't others enjoy the same exemption? And then why would faith even matter?

If one truly thought that one must believe certain assertions to escape hell, it seems to me he would end up at the barbaric conclusion that Napier reaches.

For a discussion of this topic, see the thread

Monday, October 31, 2005

Katrina’s America: Failure, Racism, and Profiteering

For an eye-opening analysis of the disastrous response of the government to Katrina, read Katrina’s America: Failure, Racism, and Profiteering.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

When You Feel Like a Loser

Ever feel like your life was wasted, that you have lived your life for a scam? This is a common feeling for someone who has been a victim of a repressive religion. But one can move on, and find a wonderful life. I offer some tips at When You Feel Like a Loser

Excuse Me, Can You Tell Me How to Get to Heaven?

Recently I asked Christians at the Christian Forums website to fill in a checklist of all the requirements for heaven. The results show the great confusion on this issue. No answer was checked by more than 64% of the Christians. That answer, "Accept Jesus as personal saviour" is a very vague statement, with varying definitions of what it means, but still only 64% of the respondents think it is required. 58% said you need to believe in God, 42% said you need to confess Jesus with your mouth, and 50% said you need to accept Jesus as the Lord of your life. All of this from Christians who follow the same book! This is vivid testimony of the problems of living your life from a contradictory book like the Bible.

You can see the poll results at Christian Forums - View Poll Results. A discussion of the results is at this thread.

"Have Fun in Hell, you Fruitcake"

Occasionally I get a letter expressing intolerance and hatred. Let me post one of those for you:
My name is dave, i am 18 years old, and i am commenting about your fruitcake website. You must feel real proud that your turning God-believers into non-God believers. Regardless, those people probably didnt have a strong belief in Jesus, for them to just denounce him all for your screwed up beliefs. All I'm saying is.... I am gonna enjoy watching you get judged by God himself and get cast into hell. Because if you dont get over yourself and if you dont humble yourself and accept jesus as your personal saviour, then your going to hell. And im just tryin to imagine the look thats gonna be on your ugly mug when Jesus says "Depart from me, I never knew you". Have fun in Hell you fruitcake.

(P.S.) Post this on your web-site, so others will see it and maybe inspire them to write back to shut down your tasteless website. Because if i had the power i would shut it down in a heartbeat.
Dave may relish the thought that, if he is right and I am wrong, my ugly mug will face eternal torture. Let me assure Dave, that, if it turns out that some other religion is right, and that he is the one facing eternal torture, I would plead for his life, and feel nothing but horror about a person being placed into such agony. And I think somewhere deep inside, Dave may have similar feelings too.

Interestingly, I asked Dave if I could use his full name and publish one of his comments on the front page of my website. He did not respond. I think that Dave himself may feel some shame for what his religion has caused him to say. Perhaps deep inside, he does not want to be identified with what his words say.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

But This Pilgrim Is Making Progress

Let me share another letter. JB writes:

Please accept the following comments in the spirit in which they are sent. Not anger, just an interest in another human being, who seems to be bewildered: so many questions. Where will they end? One just seems to lead to infinitum. (home-made Latin

I am sorry if my site leaves the impression I am bewildered. For I have found a wonderful life, and I love to share at my site what happened to me. Perhaps JB should read my site again. Perhaps he would get a sense of the purpose I find in life and in my writings.

He continues:

May I suggest you are a person that falls into one of two categories.
1. If you are a Christian, you may have, like Christian of Pilgrim's Progress, relied so much upon your own observations, that you have been lured into Doubting Castle, and are the prisoner of Giant Despair.
2. That you have never known forgiveness of sin, and Christ as personal savior.

"A prisoner of great despair"? Gosh, no. What would ever make JB think that? My mind has been set free. Why would that lead to despair? Has JB even been reading my site?

Also, may I assure JB that there was indeed a time in which I had accepted Christ as my personal savior, was born again by his grace, and had set out daily to live for him. But I have had a change of mind.

He continues:

It would appear, from the size of your website, that almost every waking moment is now centered upon bringing down faith in God. While yours is a most sophisticated program, it really has no better purpose than to destroy faith, which of course cannot be destroyed, as is evident by looking at the history of the "Covenanters" of Scotland. If you fall into the second category, it is impossible for you to believe Hebrews 11:1 "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." If a true Christian cannot explain such a seemingly incomprehensible statement, how can an unbeliever possibly hope to get a grasp of it? You will always see it as just another inconsistency in the Scriptures, as do most of your bservations.

No, of course I do not spend every waking moment working on my site. In fact, in the past few months, I have done very little on this project, basically just a few comments here on the blog.

And, no, my purpose is not to destroy faith. My purpose is to explain to other people why I have changed my mind. If JB would read the introduction, he would see what my purpose is.

I am not telling people they must leave their faith and follow me. But, if anyone is interested, I share with them why I have changed my mind. If JB is not interested, he may surf on to another site.

He continues:

Have you heard of the old blind lay[sic] who remarked on how brightly the sun was, that day? When asked how could she possibly know, as she was completely blind, and therefore was not able to see it, she replied; "Ah but I feel its warmth." Perhaps faith is a little like that.
Okay, so JB has tried faith and felt the warmth. I too had tried faith and felt the warmth. In fact, I had used this same argument when I was a Christian--"I 'feel its warmth', therefore it must be true." Later, I would find that many other people had tried many other faith systems, and each of them had "felt the warmth" of their system. Did this prove that they are right? Of course not. So I could not say that the warmth I found proves that I am right.

Recently, I have felt the warmth of secular humanism. Does this prove that I am right and JB is wrong? I would guess that JB can see right through that argument. Just because someone "feels the warmth" of a religion, it does not prove that the religion is true. So why does JB use this argument?

He continues:

BTW. I once read that Darwin attended an evangelical Sunday School when he was young. Perhaps the truth of HIS sin did penetrate his mind, and was the reason for his search to find a supposed reasonable alternative.

Evolution as "a supposed reasonable alternative"? Goodness, has JB ever read Darwin's book? The Origin of the Species presents the data and shows the reasons for his conclusion. The book has nothing to do with wanting to find a way to get away with sin. It does not involve "supposed" reasoning. It involves solid reasoning. Don't believe me? Read it for yourself.

I think JB would search long and hard to find a better explanation for the available data then the Theory of Evolution.

He continues:

If you have a few moments, take a look near the beginning of Pilgrim's Progress, where the pilgrim is in contact with the man in the iron cage. Very sobering.

But I am not in an iron cage. I have been set free. Why does JB think I should read this?


I have received the following relpy from JB. His message practically oozes with the thought of hell. Has it not occurred to JB that there may be no life after death, no hell, and no future benefit to a particular belief system? Is he sure that his worries are justified? I will post his reply in full and then respond:

This will possibly be the last communication I have with you, but please let me make you aware of a few considerations.

Your utter refusal to believe that you are in any despair, makes me understand that the possible # 1 category, (a Christian who has gone astray,) definitely does not apply to you. You plainly stated that you at one time took Christ as Saviour, but have since changed your mind. Well, as you feel free to use Bible quotations sometimes, I claim the same liberty.

There is a vast difference between believing that Christ died for sinners, and believing that one IS a sinner, and accepting that death in place of one's own. If a man who is a fair swimmer has a life buoy tossed to him, while he is in a pool, or close to shore, he may accept the ring to please the person who threw it out, but soon finds it impedes his swimming, chafes under his arms, and restricts his view of the beautiful shells on the bottom. In short, it is a hindrance to what he wants to do: enjoy himself. IF, however, this man realizes that he is miles from shore, the chaffing would not be an issue, nor would any other inconvenience. That ring would mean LIFE. He would not trade it for a billion dollars.

Just consider, Merle. Is it possible you never really understood what you are in God's sight? If this is so, I can certainly understand what an absolute bother all this "Christian living " would be to you. What a sham to try to live something that, (like the writer in your website said, "There was a part of me that never really believed.")
Romans 10:10 says "For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation." It would seem plain that at one time you made a great deal of the second part of the verse, but without the heart-change that the first part brings. Thus, the second part chafes and is not acceptable to the mind, because it, by itself, is a lie in your life.

Your observation that many beliefs have felt the "warmth" that I used in an illustration, is simply not true. No religion that I know of can spawn a hymn like "safe in the arms of Jesus." Only an eye-opened understanding that "Jesus LOVES me," would cause such a response from a heart set free.

"Islam is a religion in which God requires you
to send your son to die for him. Christianity is a faith in
which God sends His Son to die for you."
Former US Attorney General John Ashcroft

I certainly fail to detect any "warmth" in the hearts of adherents to the first group mentioned. Just a terror that one is perhaps not pleasing his god: (whatever god that may be.)

Thank you for the courteous treatment of my first letter to you.

First I find it quite odd that he accuses me of having an utter refusal to believe that I am in despair. Can he not see how ridiculous his argument sounds from the outside? Here I am living a happy, fulfilling life and am thrilled to share it on the internet. Along comes a perfect stranger who knows nothing about my inner feelings who announces I am in despair! When I inform him that I have a wonderful life he accuses me of an utter refusal to believe him! Can he possibly be serious? If he wants me to believe I am in despair, then doesn't he need to give me a reason for believing him?

Next he proceeds to attack the sincerity of my former faith. Once again, let me assure JB that, in the past, I believed in Jesus with all my heart. Let me assure him that I was mortally afraid of hell. Let me assure him that I spent many hours crying out to God that I was a poor lost unworthy hell-deserving sinner needing his grace to deliver me from hell. Let me assure him that I pleaded for the blood of Christ to save me from the horrible stench of my sin, and the hell I thought I so fully deserved. Let me assure him that I turned to Christ and was born again just like others have done.

But I later changed my mind. This is what JB is apparently having difficulty understanding. I changed my mind. There was a time when my mind was dominated by what I thought was the reality of hell. Now I no longer believe in hell. And I have found a much better life.

But JB informs me that the possibility of having been a Christian in the past "definitely does not apply" to me. Why not? Muslims and Jews can change their minds, can't they? Why can't a fundamentalist change his mind? Surely JB must understand that some people change their minds when they get new information. Why is he having trouble understanding that I changed my mind?

Jb speaks of a swimmer who would never let go of the life buoy, for he knows the water is deep and he knows he would drown. JB seems to say that the buoy represents salvation, and nobody would ever let go of salvation, for he would surely know he would drown. But what if the swimmer gets new information? What if he found out the water was only 4 feet deep and the shore was not far away? Though he had clung desperately for safey when he thought there was danger, he would let go when he saw he was safe. Can not JB see that the same thing happened to me? Can he not understand that I once feared a danger that I now think is non-existent? And can he not understand that I left fundamentalism and found a new and better life?

JB says that God sent his son to die for us. Why would God need to do that? Why would he not simply forgive us? I can forgive. Why can't God? How can the dead body of his son possibly make forgiveness easier for him? Wouldn't that make it harder?

JB speaks of Islam and informs us he fails to detect any warmth in the hearts of adherents to that group. I find that sad. True, some Moslems may have little warmth is their hearts, and be filled with horrible desires. But others have found a warmth in their religion. I am sorry if JB cannot recognize that some have a sincere comfort in aspects of Islam.

I wonder what JB would do if they had diversity training at his workplace. Would he object and state that his coworkers of another religion find no warmth in their religion? Would he state that these coworkers deserve to go to hell? If he believes they deserve hell, how can he possibly show respect to coworkers of another faith? How could he respect someone who is so horrible that he deserves to be rejected and abandoned to the tortures of hell forever?

Some of my readers may find JB's writings refreshing. But my guess is that many Christians are embarrassed at what he writes.

Saturday, May 28, 2005

From Minister to Honest Doubter

Recently a former minister wrote to me, explaining that he no longer believes the faith, and promoting his new book. You can read more about the book at Trafford Publishing: From Minister to Honest Doubter: Why I Changed my Mind There is an informative review of this book at

Many have no answers to the arguments against Christianity. Quite often, instead of addressing the arguments, believers have referred me to ministers or authors who believe it. The assumption is that these educated people believe it; therefore it must be true. But what about the many who do not believe it? Should not that also be taken into consideration? And what about the many that once believed and changed their mind? Sadly, many simply ignore that fact. The number of sincere, informed believers who changed their minds is clear testimony to the fact that there is something wrong.

I am glad that the author, John W. Loftus, has learned to question the faith that was given to him. He had formerly defended the faith, and he had impressive credentials. But he moved on.

Sunday, April 10, 2005

A Paradigm Shift

I would like to share a moving email that I received recently. Many will be able to identify with the emotions expressed here. I include it here with the writer's permission.

I wrote you once before on the issue of Biblical inerrancy. In that letter, I indicated that I taught a High School Bible class but had not stopped thinking. A little background briefly; My Father was an independent, fundamental, separatist, Baptist pastor, who believes in the literal inspiration of the Bible. Hence, I was raised within that worldview. I grew up being a "witness", being separated from the world, meaning that I didn't drink, smoke, dance, watch movies, listen to rock music, go to parties, have unsaved friends over, etc. I was a good "Christian", president of my church youth group, active in church as a Sunday School Teacher, Choir Director,
Door to Door calling, etc. I attended not one, but two fundamental Bible colleges graduating with a Bachelor's degree in Secondary Ed., Math. At one point, I was liscensed to minister. So much of what you say, and even how you say it really strikes directly home with me. I enjoy finally reading about some of the very same questions I have pondered. There has always been a part of me that didn't really believe, that questioned; perhaps that was the healthy part of my mind?

I am starting to feel an incredible sense of loss, anger, even betrayal of God (if He exists, and I'm thinking about that), not to mention embarrassment at being so obviously ignorant of basic science that the rest of the world seems to take for granted. And, I am just now, at 44, realizing that perhaps literally everything I have ever been raised to hold dear, believed was a universal absolute, etc. is in fact a wrong belief based upon ignorance, poorly researched "science" and flawed thinking.

I am realizing that my upbringing was a very minority group, I almost feel that I am endeavoring to escape a cult set of beliefs to get to normal. I don't know if I can fully express the sense of loss and its ramifications that I am beginning to feel! I will probably have to resign my position as the High School Math Department Chair to preserve any personal integrity if I experience a paradigm shift in my worldview. At the same time, it seems to me, that perhaps there could be a huge sense of freedom, that finally I could realize my full potential to achieve things that I want to achieve.

This man's experience echos mine in many ways. I can certainly identify with the intense feelings of loss and anger as he realizes he has committed his life to something empty. I can assure the writer that these feelings are natural. But many of us have found that the pain is only temporary. The thrill of opening up to a whole new world soon erases the pain. There is a world to be explored and a whole new life to be lived from a new perspective. And the thrill of this adventure more than overwhelms the feeling of loss.

So I feel with the writer as he goes through this loss, and I rejoice with him as he looks to better days ahead.

I do wish the author the best of luck. He has some difficult decisions ahead. But he is well on his way to finding the strength withing to conquer. He has bravely set out on the path of truth, and he is doing the right thing. Another mind set free!

Monday, March 14, 2005

Another Mind Set Free

Here is an interesting email that I received recently from a former evangelical leader who changed his mind:

I recently discovered your website and want to thank you for the excellent job you have done explaining the process and reasoning that led to your deconversion. As a person who was "born again" in 1972-73, largely as the result of Josh MacDowell's apologetics, I remained a zealous evangelical until last year. In fact, I hosted a live Christian Call-in show based out of [city] from 1995-2000. My process, while not identical to yours, has been remarkably similar.

While I have no evangelical zeal to convert all my Christian friends, I find that because I was so high profile for so many years, I now constantly find myself trying to rejection of both Christianity and Judaism. As I know you have discovered, my reasons fall on deaf ears as result of what I call "Deliberate Ignorance."Your cogent arguments are going to be extremely helpful to me, not by changing any minds, but by freeing me from having to provide my own explantions.

Thanks again. I look forward to reading future additions to your sight.

This man's experience is similar to the experience of many other people. Steve Locks documents that many influential evangelicals have turned from Christianity. Few have made the reverse switch. Yes, I know that folks like Josh Mcdowell and Lee Stroble claims to have switched from atheism, but I know of no documented credentials of their zealous support of atheism before their conversion. Since they have published so much as Christians why did they never publish anything pro-atheist before they converted? And why do they seem so uninformed of the arguments actually made by atheists? Perhaps they were apathetic before becoming Christians, but there is a big difference between informed atheism and apathy.

On the other hand, we have folks like this writer that were once clearly in the evangelical camp--leaders in the camp--who changed their minds.

I suspect that the writer went through years of cognitive dissonance as he dealt with Christian callers on his show. No doubt he heard from Christians of many persuasions, with each convinced that the Holy Spirit was on his side. And no doubt it was difficult to reconcile that so many different opinions could come from one Holy Spirit.

Worse, he may have had to try to answer liberal Christians and skeptics who called into the show. And he may have realized that these callers were more rational than the fundamentalists that called.

This is yet one more testimony to the fact that it is very difficult to be fully infomed of the many views out there while adhering to a strict evangelical Christian view.

I am glad this writer found a better life.

Sunday, March 06, 2005


A reader wrote to me with these comments:

I just finished your last page. I don't remember which page got me to yours, I spent all last night and today reading, as I had time.

The only thing is, I can no longer say Oh My God! LOL

I've read Steve Corbett's essay on Christianity, and his 2 others.. and I think he did a great job, but your pages are very well done! The way you set the stage on page one and flow each page together is great.

Going through your site and especially Steve Corbett's, and using to read the references, all I can say is WOW! I never really read through the Bible before.. I only ever saw those selected quotes people use. WOW! I can't believe the things that are in there that obviously are never read, or just 'not seen' by those who can't handle the truth.

Thanks for sharing with the world your journey, couldn't have written it better if I tried.

It truly is amazing to open one's eyes and to see what is actually written in the Bible.

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Can I help a young-earther?

A reader wrote to me:

I found your whole site so interesting- I keep coming back to it. In fact, I have it on my favorites page. I asked my sister about the old earth/ young earth debate (she is a young earther, which is what I also had been taught) and she claims that the dating used is based on a faulty premise to begin with, so it actually doesn't accurately tell us the age of anything. Could you please respond to this and/ or send me in a direction where I could better understand (and please make it friendly- I was an English major, not science! ). Thank you!!
I am glad this reader found my site interesting. I can understand how her sister might claim that the dating methods are based on faulty premises. Unfortunately, there are books out there that make false claims about origins. They claim to be based on science, but they are based on a faulty understanding of science. Unfortunately, it is fairly easy to write a book that can convince non-experts that a certain idea is scientific. If people do not understand the arguments, and see only impressive scientific jargon and claims, they can be fooled. That is why true science is not based on whether a book can convince the uninformed, but on whether it can convince those who understand the relevant facts. And those who understand the relevant facts overwhelmingly accept an old earth.

I recommend some links at my site. Yes, all will involve science, for that is the only way to really resolve the issue.

I am glad for those who want to help Creationists understand science. But we must remember that convincing someone to change a deeply held religious view is a very hard thing to do. We must decide whether it is worth trying.

Sunday, January 23, 2005

Go Eagles!

At my website, I write how religion can make one suppress thoughts. These thoughts can remain always near the center of consciousness, but they never quite reach it. Paradoxically, experiments have shown that such thoughts can grow stronger when they are thus suppresed.

The illustration I used is that these thoughts are like the Philadelphia Eagles, always near the top of the competition, but never ever to make it to the Super Bowl. I am happy to report that my illustration is no longer valid! The Eagles are no longer suppressed from the Super Bowl.

I hope that suppressed thoughts in the minds of my readers enjoy the same light of day that the Eagles have finally received. Give those thoughts a chance. Be open to all thoughts. If, after careful thought, you find them worthless, then let them go. But they have had their chance.

So I cheer on the Eagles for two reasons. First, they are the home-team favorite. But second, they serve in my illustration to indicate the thoughts set free.

May our thoughts be set free. May they mount up with wings as Eagles.

Go Eagles!