My Journey

My Journey Away From Faith: Part 19

For part 18 of my journey, click here.
To start at the beginning of my journey, click here.

Needless to say, the pastors words had shocked me quite a bit. How was I to respond? “Oh, Pastor, you know people don’t come back from the dead…” No, I still fervently believed in the resurrection of Christ at the time, but something told me that this miracle was not going to occur. My grandfather, a sweet man, took my silence to jump in and say that it would be an amazing miracle and that we would all be praying for god’s will to be done. We then said our goodbyes and got back into my grandfather’s truck.

“He’s lost his mind,” my grandfather said.

“No, he’s just deeply in grief, he’ll come too before the funeral.” I said, at least that is what I hoped.

The day of the funeral came and around the time it was going to start I received a phone call. It was a woman with the church saying that the head pastor had got the prayer chain going, he needed us all to pray so that god’s miracle could occur. I hung up the phone believing then that my grandfather had been right. I knew that his daughter was not going to be resurrected and that in the end he was just going to make a mess of her funeral. I learned later that when the funeral was just beginning, he had gotten up, gone to the front of the church and commanded her to get up. A few seconds later he did the same thing. He then screamed at the top of his lungs for Jesus to heal his daughter and yet still she lay still. I’ve been told that he nearly collapsed and was helped to his seat, the only words he said for the rest of the day was, “If only we had more faith.”

After that, a tension fell upon our church. Each Sunday that the head pastor preached, he would speak on faith and that not believing god could do something was the same as praying against a miracle to occur. I hate to say it but a few times went by when I did question if my lack of faith had been what had prevented the miracle that he had been so sure of. His sermons lacked energy and you could tell that he was a broken man. I felt awful for him but would pray daily that god would heal him of the depression that he had fallen into.

This went on for about 6 months and then one day he arrived at church in a positively manic mood. He was bouncing with excitement and couldn’t wait to speak before the church. When he took the stage he said that he understood what had prevented the miracle from occurring and he would make sure we never went through another struggle like he had experienced. He had been up one night, watching “Sid Roth’s: It’s Supernatural,” when a faith healer had been interviewed. She had talked about all the numerous healings that she had taken part in and that she was willing to teach anyone who was willing to listen how to do it. That night he had bought several of her books and a DVD of her miracle ministry.

“He had been up one night, watching “Sid Roth’s: It’s Supernatural,” when a faith healer had been interviewed.”

He then went on to say that he would like to lead a bible study based on her books and that he would be inviting other local churches to take part in it.  The first night we would watch her video, and the next night we would read from her book and see if god would bring about the healings that she promised it would do. He was absolutely sure that if we just paid attention to what this faith healer had to say, we would see miracles and revival like we had never seen before.

I was very doubtful that anything could be found in this woman’s book that we couldn’t already find in the bible and even more so, I absolutely hated faith healers. From the first time I saw a Benny Hinn video tape at around the age of 7, I knew the whole thing was absolute bunk. I remember the scolding I got, from a church member, for asking why Mr. Hinn’s cameramen are never slain in the spirit like everyone else around them? I saw through the act even at that age. Now, I’m not saying that I didn’t believe that miracles could occur, I definitely believed in miracles, but I didn’t believe that god would be ok with people making money off of miracles.

The first night of the Bible study started like any other. We had an enjoyable song service, a testimony service and then the lights were dimmed so that we could watch the video. Within minutes I knew it was a complete and total scam. The first miracle shown was a woman being healed of legs that were different length, as an attempt to cure her back pain. This is one of the oldest cons in the book and I will include a video of the con below. The video isn’t the greatest quality but shows how old this trick is, basically you slip one shoe slightly off making it appear as if one leg is shorter and when you push the shoe back on it looks like the other leg has lengthened.

I was absolutely disgusted, but everyone around me was eating it up. This faith healers schtick was in the prayer-book she sold. While healing someone she would repeat a prayer from her book and the healing would occur. She said the reason that we didn’t see miracles was due to the fact that we weren’t praying with the right words, but lucky enough for us, god had spoken the correct words to her in a vision. She then went on to cure a man of his blindness, and another of her deafness. These are all common cons that fraud healers practice every day,  they work by acting as if the persons ailment is worse than it actually is and playing off of it. So if someone says they have trouble hearing, you play it off as if they are fully deaf, trouble seeing, you play it off as if they are totally blind.  It’s bullshit and they know it, but enough gullible people exist to keep the scam going. When the video ended, I sat in shock as people in the congregation, from several local churches, openly wept and praised god that we had been sent the answer to all of our prayers.

After that it was question and answer time. People would ask the head pastor a question and he would give a nonsense answer. I seethed in anger at some of the things I was hearing but probably would have kept my mouth shut until the pastor said one thing.

“This video has opened my eyes, the only book I’ll ever need for my ministry from here on out is this book,” holding up a book of prayer sold by the faith healer.

That was too much. I stood up and raised my hand to get the pastors attention. He acknowledged me and I asked, “Isn’t this entire thing contrary to what Christ taught about prayer in the bible?” He asked what I meant and I read from the bible this passage from Matthew.

“And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.”

                                             – Matthew 6:5-8

I was simply trying to point out how the video and the biblical passage did not line up, but I could tell how angry and hurt the head pastor was. He looked up and said, “Do you think I don’t know what the bible says about prayer?” I tried saying that I knew he did and wasn’t questioning him personally but he cut me off. “I know exactly what the bible says about prayer and yet I know this woman is right, sit back down, Matthew.”

I stood my ground and my aunt, also in the congregation that night, stood up for me. She said that until I had spoken up she had been in awe of the video but that I was right and that everything in the video was non-biblical. A couple of others agreed and said that while they too had been amazed by the video, they didn’t believe she was teaching something that Christ would approve of.

Angrily, the head pastor said, “If that’s how you folks want it, we’ll end the bible study now, we won’t speak of this again, but don’t be surprised when you need a miracle and god doesn’t grant it because of what has happened tonight!”

I was both hurt but also happy. I had stood my ground and won. I knew that god would bless me for standing on his word and not allowing my mind to be drawn away by greener looking pastures. I went to bed that night thinking that things might calm down. I figured I had been through the worst of it but little did I know how vindictive this man, the respected pastor that I loved, the one that had performed my wedding ceremony, could be.

To continue on to part 20, click here.

Freethought Friday

Freethought Friday #1: To My Theist Friends and Foes

Boris Ekner is a friend of mine who I met on Facebook a few months ago. He is a great freethinker and i think you will enjoy his article today as I have. In my mind this is the perfect choice for our first entry to Freethought Friday. If you are interested in writing an article for this weekly series, please use the contact form which can be found here.

To my theist friends and foes,

This is about flipping the coin and take a look on the other side. This is about what we can learn by looking at a topic by from a different perspective. This is about daring to do what you might not have done before.

There are many atheists in the world and the number is growing steadily. It is the fastest growing affiliation world-wide.

Most atheists were once theists. They did believe in a God just as you do. They did believe in a life after death, a Heaven and a Hell. I did too, but I never believed in a Hell. I did, however, believe in a life after death. I did pray to a God for guidance and advice. It brought me comfort even though I never saw any prayers answered.

As most atheist once were people of faith – what was it that made them lose faith? Have you ever looked into it? Have you ever been bold enough to look at it from the perspective of the former believer? What do you think you would find, if you did?
What do you think you would find if you added logic and reason to your faith?Let’s use the story of Jesus as an example and add some logical reasoning to it all.

“Do you dare to do this in order to increase your understandings…”

  • God impregnated Mary in her sleep. As she was asleep God impregnated her without her consensus. (That is the definition of rape, BTW.) God did this in order to make himself visible to humanity. He did it for a good cause though, but nevertheless it was rape.
  • As God is omnipotent (the all-powerful creator of everything) and created the entire universe, why the need of a woman to create himself as Jesus? He did create Adam out of dust and Eve out of a rib, didn’t he?
  • As he now did create himself as Jesus by impregnating Mary with himself, Jesus was, by definition, his own father.
  • As God is omniscient (all-knowing) he knew that he would be killed on the cross.
  • As God is the omnipotent creator of everything he is also the creator of his own killing.
  • God, the omniscient, knew that he as Jesus, would be killed for the sins he created in the first place. That means that God committed suicide on the cross. Suicide is a sin according to the Bible.
  • This means that God, according to the Bible, is a sinner just as you and everyone else.
  • If you disagree on this it means that your God is not omnipotent nor omniscient, and that means that God cannot be a God as it contradicts the very definition.
    Conclusion – God raped Mary. – Jesus was his own father.- Jesus committed suicide for the sins of humanity, sins created by himself. – Jesus resurrected after three days – so he never really died, did he? So what was it he sacrificed, three days?
  • On top of this, there is no independent sustainable proof outside religious texts that Jesus ever existed.

This is a simple example of the thought process that has taken place in every believer when they have questioned what the Bible has taught them.
This method can be applied on every subject the Bible tells us.

  • The creation of universe.
  • The creation of Adam & Eve.
  • The talking snake.
  • The burning bush.
  • The creation of Earth.
  • The creation of Christianity itself.
  • The 10 commandments.
  • The 7 deadly sins.
  • The story of Moses.
  • The story of Abraham.
  • The story of Noah and the Ark
  • …and many more

Do you dare to do this in order to increase your understandings of people like me, the atheist?

About the Author: Boris Ekner
Born in Sweden, 1962. Living in Guatemala since 2010. Married. Father of four.
Radar engineer. Former SOG Air Force officer. Freemason.

…and a full-time freethinking atheist, and anti-theist, since 2015.

In order to stay sane in an insane world I write. For the same reason I have taken up photography, as a hobby.

You can find links to Boris’s blog, instagram, and another photography site below. Check them out, they are great!