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Posted inReligion

We Welcome Ben Carson to the Cult of “Before” Stories.

Reading Time: 10 minutes A long time ago, I wrote a post called “A Cult of “Before” Stories” in which I described what it was like as a young Christian to realize that my then-husband had constructed a testimony full of lies–and how I realized that pretty much all of the really dramatic testimonies I heard from other Christians were largely untrue as well. On the heels of realizing that these stories were untrue, I also began to perceive the unbelievably rich rewards Christians get for concocting and sharing these dramatic testimonies. I began to see my tribe as one that was simply obsessed with these “before” stories–thus, my name for the mindset.

Posted inReligion

Alex Malarkey and a Shocking Twist in the Old Story of Lying for Jesus.

Reading Time: 10 minutes You’ve probably heard of that genre of books called heavenly tourism. In these books, a Christian discusses a Near-Death Experience (NDE) they had where they think they visited an afterlife that looks remarkably like the Christian Heaven. They were allowed to return (or requested to do so) and now they feel that their life’s mission is to tell as many people as they can about their experience. Christians love these books. But now one of these heavenly tourists has recanted his story. Here’s how he did it, and why, and what it means for Christianity.

Posted inReligion

The Cult of Before Stories: Shane Hayes, Part 1.

Reading Time: 13 minutes A while ago, Kirk Cameron popularized a fairly-new evangelism technique: claiming that he knows all about atheism because he, himself, was once an (gasp! Shock! OMG!) atheist. He thought it gave him some kind of leg up on authority and credibility to say that he’d once been an atheist, and though the attempt backfired hilariously […]

Posted inReligion

Why They Lie.

Reading Time: 9 minutes (CN: Religious overreach, movie/book spoilers about Hot Fuzz and Watership Down.) The movie Hot Fuzz had one element in it that really weirded me out. And I’d better not be spoiling this for you: the bad guys in the movie keep repeating, over and over again, that they’re doing what they’re doing “for the greater […]

Posted inReligion

No, Virginia, Jesus Doesn’t Magically Change People

Reading Time: 8 minutes It’s time again for another episode of “Christians Behaving Badly.” I’ve seen some additional–and dramatic– stories of Christians who did not actually experience the 180 turnarounds that Christians like to say people experience with Jesus. I’m bringing this up because Christians like to pretend otherwise, and it’s time we really confronted this myth and busted […]

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