“Believing is easier than thinking. Hence so many more believers than thinkers.”
- Bruce Calvert

“ Armies of Bible scholars and theologians have for centuries found respected employment devising artful explanations of the Bible often not really meaning what it says.”
- J.S. Bullion, Jr.

“ God is usually on the side of big squadrons and against little ones.”
- Roger de Bussy-Rabutin

“ There are many extraordinary tales from antiquity, including women with snakes for hair, creatures whose gaze turns you to stone, creatures with equine bodies and human torsos, many accounts of people rising from the dead, lots of tales of magic, and numerous accounts of physical encounters with fantastic beings. Ancient people were a superstitious, scientifically primitive lot, and believed in many things that today we know are silly. I find it bizarre that so many people see nothing suspicious about the extraordinary or supernatural claims of the bible, yet don’t hesitate to express disbelief in equally well documented claims of minotaurs, basilisks, and wizards.”
-Scott Brown

“ There is not one verse in the Bible inhibiting slavery, but many regulating it. It is not then, we conclude, immoral.”
- Rev. Alexander Campbell

“ It does not pay a prophet to be too specific.”
- L. Sprague de Camp

“ If there is a sin against life, it consists perhaps not so much in despairing of life as in hoping for another life and in eluding the implacable grandeur of this life.”
- Albert Camus

“ Never attribute to Devil-worshipping conspiracies what opportunism, emotional instability, and religious bigotry are sufficient to explain.”
- Shawn Carlson

“ It is usually when men are at their most religious that they behave with the least sense and the greatest cruelty.”
- Ilka Chase

“ History aside, the almost universal opinion that one’s own religious convictions are the reasoned outcome of a dispassionate evaluation of all the major alternatives is almost demonstrably false for humanity in general. If that really were the genesis of most people’s convictions, then one would expect the major faiths to be distributed more or less randomly or evenly over the globe. But in fact they show a very strong tendency to cluster...which illustrates what we all suspected anyway: that social forces are the primary determinants of religious belief for people in general. To decide scientific questions by appeal to religious orthodoxy would therefore be to put social forces in place of empirical evidence...”
- Paul Churchland

“ The devil and God are components of a Siamese twin. Neither has any existence apart from the other. In denying the existence of the one, Christians have helped to kill the other. If there need to be no fear of hell, people may well ask what is the attraction of heaven? Gods and devils were born together. Gods and devils will die together.”
- Chapman Cohen

© 1999 Losingmyreligion.com, except where otherwise noted.

About us

So, who are these guys with so much time on their hands? Well, Emery is a graphic artist, dog owner and perpetual tinkerer. Russ is a humorist, musician, mail-order business owner and conspiracy theorist. They live in Texas, deep in the heart of the Bible belt. In addition to their day jobs, they spend a lot of time watching Christian TV and listening to Christian radio, everyday more convinced that someone needs to tell the other side of the story.

To find out more personal info about these guys, and why they left the faith, please read their testimonies below. You can contact them by email with any questions or comments, and they will get back to you as soon as they can.

Emery's testimony

One of my favorite stories is Hans Christian Anderson’s The Emperor’s New Clothes. And my favorite part is where the Emperor, completely naked (or just in his underwear, depending on which version you get), parades his new "clothes" for the first time in public. Now the people watching this procession do not want to appear ignorant, for it had long been touted by the Emperor’s "tailors" that the garments were so esoteric, that only the truly noble and wise could see them. So as the bare-bottomed Emperor marches by, they roundly cheer him and tell him how wonderful his new clothes are. And all is well until a young boy exclaims, "but mother, he isn’t wearing any clothes!"

Often when I listen to Christian evangelists, I think of this story. Because in order for their god to be fair, and justly send people like me to hell, Christians must believe that somehow I see the truth to their religion, but refuse to accept it. It must be that I’m belligerent, or too busy having fun doing things I know I shouldn’t do, or maybe I’m just plain dishonest. But the one thing they cannot allow, is that I honestly don’t get the message, that I really don’t see any clothes. Why? Because if this is true, then I would be damned merely for telling the truth. And even Christians are uncomfortable with their god condemning people for just reporting what they see (or don’t see).

But let’s suppose the Emperor in the story really was wearing clothes, but they were of a magical type that only adults could see. What then? Would we punish the child for his remark? Well, that depends. It depends if our priority is truth or conformity. Do we reward people for honesty, or do we reward them for saying the right thing, whether or not it’s how they really feel? I believe it is better to be honest, and that is why I am not a Christian, for I prefer truth over conformity. To put it in its simplest form, I am not a Christian because I am unwilling to lie to save my soul.

Perhaps an easier way to understand this is to pick a religion that you absolutely do not believe in, and ask yourself why you don’t believe it. Take Greek mythology, for example. Why don’t you believe that Prometheus stole fire from the gods and gave it to the humans, and was then punished most horribly for doing so? Well, you might say that the whole idea of a guy getting his liver eaten out by a bird every day, only to have it grow back again each night, seems rather far fetched and unnecessary. And besides, you would have trouble worshipping gods that were so petty and cruel. So what if I told you, "well then, when you die, you’re going to spend eternity in a dark and miserable place, because in your heart you know this whole Zeus thing is really the Truth, but you choose not to accept it? Besides," I continue, "you’re just unwilling to give up your decadent, un-Greek-like ways and start living like a true Olympian."

I think you get the point. There is no rebellion on your part, and you do not reject Greek mythology out of belligerence or laziness. The fact is, you honestly don’t buy it. There is no duplicity here. There is only a little kid saying that the Emperor isn’t wearing any clothes because he really doesn’t see any clothes on him!

I wish it were as simple as that. I wish the people who pass hellfire and brimstone literature to me on the street would believe that I’m not miserable, that I am not in denial, and that I really have no need for their religion. I wish they could understand that I do have a peaceful conscience, that I’m not afraid to die (it’s just the process that can be scary), and that I would be very happy to meet God one day. But unfortunately, they don’t. And even if they did, I would probably still be guilty–sort of like what my pastor was fond of saying: "doesn’t matter if you’re sincere, for you can be sincerely wrong."

That, and other statements and beliefs like that, are why I created this site. Like the Pharisees and the religious establishment of Jesus’ day, Christians are absolutely certain that they’re right, no matter how unfair or nonsensical their beliefs might be. Plus they feel an obligation to make others believe as they do, often with little regard for their methods, or comprehension of the damaging effects those methods can have. They put so much effort into convincing people to see something they really don’t see. And so many lives are crippled as a result.

As a born-again, evangelical Christian for 22 years, I was a part of all that. I know the life, I know the mentality, and I know the consequences. Yet I was fortunate, for I finally broke away. There are those close to me who have not. It is for these dear souls, and others like them, that I maintain this site. No, I am not a prodigal son who has strayed from the path to recklessly squander himself so he can come crawling home one day from the pigsty. I still believe in honesty, fairness and integrity, and try to live a good and moral life, perhaps even more so today, for I no longer have a god who will "wash away my sins"–it is I who must deal with them now. Contrary to the picture Christians like to paint of those who leave the faith, I did not do so out of decadence or irresponsibility. I did so out of conscience.

For many years I listened to Christians tell me reasons why I should be a Christian. Now, I hope they will listen to reasons why I am not.

Russ's testimony

I had the born-again experience at age 20, after a very isolated and depressive adolescence left me looking for meaning and direction in life. I grew up in a morally strict but non-churchgoing household with a Methodist background, but had never really understood the idea of salvation by grace through Christ. Being saved and forgiven "once and for all" was just what I needed to lift the feelings of guilt and worthlessness from my mind. For a year my main source of information was a televised Baptist ministry, and the four Gospels in the New Testament. It was a year of great personal growth and exuberance. As my Bible reading continued, I found myself in decidely less simple and pleasant New Testament letters of Paul, and attending a local Baptist church. At first it was great, but once I got past the sappy-sweet veneer of Sunday morning behavior, I got caught up in the game of trying to figure out why my peers in Christianity seemed to be every bit as defeated, confused and aimless as the "unsaved". Why were they telling me I was in the "honeymoon phase" of my "walk with the Lord", and that soon Satan would assail me with doubts and temptations?? Surely they were just not as spiritual as I was.

The three-year journey that followed took me through all the various phases of the modern Christian experience, from getting caught up in shallow and sensationalistic media ministries, to digging deeper and reading the stories of the great Puritan authors. I joined 8000 people in watching Jimmy Swaggart rock the house in Baton Rouge, just months before his lifelong use of porn and prostitutes was revealed. I let cajun televangelist Jesse DuPlantis tap me on the forehead while others babbled and collapsed all around me, and didn't feel the Holy-Ghost zap that I so desperately wanted and needed to restore my flagging spirit. I joined friends at Church on the Rock, years before Larry Lea was exposed making bogus fund-raising appeals. I dated a girl at a huge metropolitan Baptist Church, and listened to that church's popular pastor's positive-thinking messages. Months later he was caught having extramarital affairs with two different women in the church. Meanwhile, I stayed faithful to my little local Baptist Church and the very good and sincere man that pastored it. Until he too made the mistake of falling in love with someone else's wife, and was no longer able to obey the Biblical "command" to keep loving his own wife... who hated being married to a pastor so badly that she was losing her mind before our very eyes.

Even after weeding through all the garbage and getting down to the vital and essential elements of the faith, I struggled to see any cause/effect relationship between my actions of faith, based on God's explicit Biblical promises to his sheep, and the actual events unfolding all around me and other believers. Space doesn't permit me to share my many pathetic stories of sincere futility here. In a nutshell, it seems I had stepped on a treadmill that other Christians had been on long before I had, and that they would still be hanging on to, with the same heartbreaking results, long after I had walked away. I had made the heretical mistake of thinking too much, observing the lives of other believers a little too closely, expecting the promises of the Bible to be literally true, and following my zeal to its inevitably absurd conclusions, instead of finding a comfortable compromise and settling there for a life of intellectual dishonesty.

When I began to question the idea of literal and fundamental Bible belief, my fellow believers quickly evaporated. Even after all these years, none of them come around, perhaps ashamed to admit that it really wasn't working for them, either. The only people left to share my story with in those early awkward days of post-belief were a few old high school friends, atheists and agnostics who had kept the lines of communication open with me, even after I had tried to force my beliefs on them. I am glad they didn't give up on me.

I too am an agnostic, but only in the purest sense of admitting my own "not knowing"... still thinking, growing, reading, studying, meditating, sometimes even praying, keeping an open mind, but never again being so naive or presumptious as to think I have all the answers. The only people who really "know" are dead and gone... and they aren't too much help to us, unfortunately. Intellectual honesty and openness bring a peace and a happiness that is not dependent on weekly reinforcement or group hysteria to maintain. That's what works for me.