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Eric Martin


Thank you for that very well written and personal piece. It takes immense courage to expose your personal experience to the scrutiny of others. Thank you also for enlightening me on a subject that I only know of from the vantage point of the outsider. I consider these insider glimpses to be valuable assets.

As an aside, there is a blog in my roll called Metablogic written by blogger Josh Gibson. He too is a "reformed" evangelical whose personal story reminded me, in some ways, of your own.

I find this to be an interesting topic because of my own grapples with faith. I am not, nor have I ever been, a member of an organized religion. That being said, I think that the message of Jesus Christ is divinely inspired. If only more Christians were Christ-like, this world would be a different place.

I think you are ultimaley right on the prospects for converting the "Church" vs. individuals, as well as the value in learning the language. I defer to you on such matters.

See, even in a comments box I can be long-winded.


I enjoyed reading your "confession." Say three hails to the Goddess of Mercy, recite the refuges to the Triple Gem 30 times and we will agree to consider your transgressions as void (as in "all phenomena are void"). Just joking... I also cringe these days when someone approaches me wanting to "discuss" religion. It never ends up being a discussion somehow.


Thanks Eric. I'll check out the blog you mentioned. It does feel strange to reveal myself (as opposed to my thoughts) online. Frankly, this isn't a topic I ever really talk about because it's not a neutral one, it's a place of political and personal passion for lots of people. To me, it's generally just been private. And I don't want to mislead here. No-one would mistake me for a religious person. I'm not a reformed evangelical. I'm not even a Christian. I'd describe myself as a deist, rooted in Judeo-Christian faith. I believe in God because I can't do otherwise, but I can't tell you one thing about that God. I embrace the mystery of it all and challenge myself to live a purposeful life without the comfort of a theological framework.

So don't misunderstand and assume that my history gives me any right to speak for today's Christian. They wouldn't recognize me as one of their own and I wouldn't want them to.


Kathy, I think that there are many more folks out there with experiences like yours than you may realize. I too was deeply involved with the church when I was a child. When I was twelve or so my greatest desire was to be baptised (in our church that didn't happen until you could make a concious decision). I even thought about joining the ministry as a career.

Then, one day I sat to a particularly firey sermon about the pagan practices of Buddhists from a missionary that had recently returned to the states. I thought these Buddhists must be the devil incarnate. I researched Buddhism thinking this would give me a better understanding of the face of evil.

It quickly discovered that the missionary had been grossly distorting Buddhism. In fact he had outright lied about some details. I wondered why. I saw that Buddhism was interestingly intellectual and benevolent. I really started thinking.

I asked my minister if there was a way Buddhists or decent folks from any other religion could get into heaven. He looked at me like I was crazy. "No, of course not. They have not accepted christ as their savior and that's the only way".

I asked about the millions, perhaps billions, of people that had lived since christ, but, due to barriers to travel and communication could not have ever possibly even heard of christ. "saddly, they have all gone to hell" But how could a loving god create people just to fuel the fires of hell? "Don't question the ways of god. Be thankful that your soul can be saved".

I walked out the door of the church and never went back. I studied Buddhism and Taoism and many other religious practices. The Bhagavadgida can be a soldier's good friend. I was scared at first. It was a pervasive consumming fear. I had been conditioned to believe that I was damning myself. Over time, though my enlightened understanding of spirituality grew and the fear slipped off me like a wet musty carpet remnant.

Even now, many years later when I am comfortable with who I am and what I believe (or don't believe), I reflect back on the religious experience of my youth. I still find it hard to accept that a church - a place for the healing of the soul - can fill the soul with such fear and such coldness and such bigotry.

For this reason, I do not accept that the democratic party should attempt to oblige these church goers. They won't reciprocate. It's a one way street for them.


I didn't know if the comment would be truncated....

Sorry to take up so much space. I just wanted to finish up.

I know it seems nasty to say something negative about church goers, but it needs to be said. You want to believe that they are decent folks, trying to do good in the world and trying to better themselves in ways that count.

Maybe they are. Then again, we all know what paves the road to hell.

These christians must believe what thy believe. Their very souls depend on it (the fear). The Democratic party might have some principles that christians would seem to support, such as helping the poor, etc. However, the Democrats also support freedom of speach (which protects pornography), religious freedom (which gives voice and equality to alternative religions and criticisms of christianity), Democrats generally are against censorship of any kind (christians would censor many things that offend them), Democrats support gays (God burned down Soddom and Gemorrah), then there's sexual permissiveness, abortion, etc, etc, there's prayer in schools, there's science (Dem.s) vs Creationism (christians).

If Democrats simply act like themselves and stand up for what they believe in, then they've lost the Christians. The Christians are more concerned with the above issues (because they're a matter of damnation) than they are with murkier social welfare issues.

So I don't think they can be talked to without sacrificing a part of our identity.

Just because they're "nice" people doesn't mean that the results of their actions are good. In the recesses of their minds, dark destructive forces can be at play.



Take up all the space you want. I'm glad to read the stories of others whose path has been so much like mine. My exit from the church didn't happen until I was 25 - I tried very hard to find a way to stay without betraying myself. I couldn't.

But one thing I did find, rarely, but I did find it, was that there are people whose faith is not rooted in fear but is instead rooted in love, in the belief that they are lucky to experience the love of God and that they're actions and beliefs should be rooted in that love. I was fortunate to know some of these people quite well, to be known by them and taught by them. It wasn't enough to keep me, but it mattered then and it matters now. Not all Christians have a fear-based belief system, not all Christians are motivated by fear of going to hell. The best of them, the ones I miss and wish I could be like but can't are those who are motivated by love and hope. They're the ones we have to find, to speak to. I suspect they're already listening.


That was amazing, Kathy. Having been an evangelical, you have a better perspective on this issue than the rest of us. Now that I know where you came from, what you posted on my blog totally makes sense.

Thank you for sharing.

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You talk spiritually which is good. I like how you deliver your words.

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