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Zoso

my journey through Christianity

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Okay, this is my first attempt at writing the first chapter of a book called "Testimony of an ex-Christian." I've never attempted to write anything other than school-related assignments, so it probably sucks, and that's one of the reasons I'm putting it in here. It's mostly biographical in nature, but contains explanations of why Christianity started to piss me off. I'm attaching it as a word file, because it's about 20 pages long and I don't wanna cut/paste into a thread. So...if you have the time to read it and would like to offer some suggestions, I'm more than willing to take advice

Chapter_1.doc

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Okay, this is my first attempt at writing the first chapter of a book called "Testimony of an ex-Christian."  I've never attempted to write anything other than school-related assignments, so it probably sucks, and that's one of the reasons I'm putting it in here.  It's mostly biographical in nature, but contains explanations of why Christianity started to piss me off.  I'm attaching it as a word file, because it's about 20 pages long and I don't wanna cut/paste into a thread.  So...if you have the time to read it and would like to offer some suggestions, I'm more than willing to take advice

Wow, that's pretty good. Of course, there are some minor style changes you could make which would enhance the essay. For example, there are several paragraphs throughout the essay which might be able to be condensed down into a single thought.

Also, if you're planning on writing a full book on this subject, have you read Ayn Rand's The Art of Nonfiction? (I know I must sound like a bad commercial for Ayn Rand's books after how many times I keep recommending various ones to you but its true.)

BTW, related to another thread, this essay shows me plain and clear that you had at least some of the Objectivist values before you ever heard of Ayn Rand. You simply misintegrated the knowledge you had.

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Thanks for the suggestions. I'd actually planned to read that book, eventually. But, since I'm in school right now, it's better that I not try to write a book. I'll probably wind up never going through with the whole thing, but it feels good just to get some of it on paper. And, yes, I had quite a vew Objectivism-leaning views as I grew up. What paragraphs, specifically, do you think I should condense.

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Nice essay, Zoso.

One item I would mention: most of your paper is taken up with rather subjective arguments: that is, your biggest problem seems to be with the people calling themselves Christians. Although this may be interesting, it is not, ultimately, as useful as you might think (one can find professed Objectivists who live very un-Objectivist lives, and who are just as immune to reason). I think your paper would benefit from greater exposition on, say, your "first cause" refutation. Other arguments along those lines would be useful.

It is important to be able to take on the best arguments of your opponents. In this case, you would do well to argue against Aquinas, not half-baked "Rapture" types (a theory, by the way, which has only been around since 1830, though if you try to explain that to a committed Babtist fundie, you risk being called a MOUTH of SATAN.)

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Well, with the essay, I'm not really trying to argue against Christianity. I'm arguing against the organized Christian church and Christians, themselves. I'm not educated enough in history, science, or philosophy to write a good essay arguing against Christianity. However, my personal experiences make me able to argue against the Christian church.

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Zoso,

Thanks for the clarification. But I think you have a further problem, then: you are arguing, then, against the organized churches that YOU came in contact with. Because of that being very subjective in nature, then a comeback to you might consist of something as simple as "well, I'm sorry that you had that experience with those churches. My church, on the other hand..." or, "But that's human nature, and show my any organization of humans that doesn't have similar problems", or "Because people don't always live up to their convictions doesn't mean we shouldn't have convictions". I honestly think you do need to be able to have more than just a personal recitation of personal experiences, in order for your essay to carry any force. I like your essay (don't get me wrong!!) but I think the personal experiences do not, in and of themselves, make for an effective argument.

You wrote: "I'm not educated enough in history, science, or philosophy to write a good essay arguing against Christianity."

Well, that might be a problem: if your opponents see that, they will simply conclude that you have rejected a Christianity that you didn't understand to begin with. If you say that you are an atheist, you need to be able to back it up with just that kind of material. Trust me, arguing against Baptists, Evangelicals and similar types is a piece of cake: arguing against a Thomist is quite another.

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I agree with everything you said, but this is just the first chapter of an entire book that I'd like to write. As I said, it is mostly biographical in nature and I plan to discuss organized Christianity, as a whole, later in the book. Whether or not I ever actually finish this project, God only knows (lol), but those are all issues that I plan to address later. And, yeah, I know my education is a problem...that's why I do a lot of reading in my spare time, so I'm working on it. What is a Thomist, by the way?

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Hi Zoso,

I hope you will post your chapters here as you finish them.

Thomism is the philosophy of Thomas Aquinas. With your Protestant background, you probably weren't exposed to him (he lived in the thirteenth century, before Protestantism).

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Yeah, I know who he was...I just had never heard that word before. It'll be a while before I get any others done, if ever. School takes up too much of my time, at present.

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It is late now and I am fixing to hit the hay but I will read it tomorrow.

At this time I will point out that you might check with prospective publishers about acceptable fonts and justification. Although I prefer center justification, many publishers prefer left justification. :)

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great essay! really enjoyed the personal touch you gave to it. I too used to talk to ceilings and felt completely uncomfortable when my christian friends urged me to pray with them aloud. i was never religious though-hardly ever went to church. I met a couple of atheists in high school with whom I had fervent debates with about the existence of God. I too feel naive about that now. After reading the Fountainhead I looked into Objectivism. But, like you, found it hard at first to deny God. It's just so ingrained with you. I wrote that night in my diary that I'd rather be happy believing in God ...an imaginary friend as he may be than be an atheist. I re-read that the next morning and felt horrible having even wrote such an atrocity. Blissful ignorance. After that I read Atlas Shrugged and half way through it realized I'd been an atheist for a long time.... just had been too scared to admit to myself.

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Well, I wasn't really planning to do another biographical chapter, if that's what you're wanting. The next one that I'm planning to write was going to be an assault on Christian fascists, like Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson. However, as I said, it may be a rather long time before I get around to writing any more...grad school is just keeping me too busy. The first chapter was easy to write, b/c all the information was stored in my brain. The others that I want to write will all have to involve quite a bit of research.

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Zoso,

Again, just keep in mind that it is sometimes tempting to take the path of least resistance and focus on easy targets. Pat Robertson and Jerry Falwell are good choices in that they are well known, but it must be pointed out that they don't represent historical Christianity, but a specifically Protestant Christianity. And even within Protestant Christianity, you will find considerable criticism of the questionable theology of those two. I don't think anyone would consider them formidable opponents in the intellectual realm, but merely in the public one.

I'm looking forward to reading more.

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Well, I plan on talking specifically about them because of name recognition, but it's not all I'm going to do. I have designed a survey that I'd like to give to people at various denominations, that's meant to discern their ideas on the role of religion in the government. In this way, I can see to what extent the Christian population, at large, holds fascist views regarding church and state, and it will also allow me to differentiate between the different denominations.

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Thank you for your quick response.

I did view your first chapter as an introduction of sorts.

I would expect in the next one or two chapters to read about extrapolated underlying priciples which were illustrated empirically in the first chapter. I would relegate Falwell, Robertson, et cetera to later chapters where I projected these principles into a larger societal realm.

When I sadd that the first chapter made me want to read the second, it was not so much that I was curious about what happened next chronologicallybut that it got my attention both topically and stylistically. I will note that, while I enjoyed the style, it may take some rewrites to achieve a style that will appeal to a wider audience.

I look forward to reading more but, by all means, concentrate on grad school as a hirer priority right now.

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Thanks for the compliments and the suggestions. I realize that I've got some rewriting to do, but, for now, I just need to lay out the framework and worry about polishing it up later.

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I liked it alot Zoso, it has motivated me to write of my own journey through religion, republicanism, Libertarianism, and finally, Objectivism. I hope to write it and post it sometime in a few weeks, right now I have final exams to worry about.

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Dayton, Ohio is the Pit of Despair, the Gray Purgatory, the Plane of Misery, and the 7,777th Layer of the Abyss all in one untidy package.

I know. I live there. It sucks you in and never let go.

Be glad you escaped.

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it has motivated me to write of my own journey through religion, republicanism, Libertarianism, and finally, Objectivism.

That’s very similar to my progression to Objectivism. It makes me wonder how many others found their way to Objectivism along those same lines. Would be an interesting study.

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Mmm . . . environmentalism/Libertarianism/Objectivism for me, although I knew about Objectivism before I became infatuated with Libertarianism, and I was semi-environmentalist during most of that period.

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