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What about the comfort & security religion gives many people ?

What about mass morality if people don't follow a religion ?

These can be gained elsewhere.

They will then not be lost when people realize religion is untrue.

Abraham Lincoln (1809 - 1865):

"My earlier views of the unsoundness
of the Christian scheme of salvation

and the human origin of the scriptures

have become clearer and
stronger with advancing years,

and I see no reason for thinking
that I shall ever change them."

seen by their loyal followers
to have special access to
and understanding of the Divine,
have a special responsibility
to critically study
and honestly examine
what they teach,
whatever their tradition."

"The competing traditions of mankind can not all be correct,
in fact none maybe correct."

New reformation Leaving

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Frequently asked questions
What was significant in your decision to leave ?
Why the 2 images on the page headers ?
You do not use denominational terminology - why ?
Any thoughts on the S.A's prohibition of wine ?
Was the theory of evolution a significant factor for you ?
Why are ring-species important ?

What was significant in your decision to leave ?
I'd consciously tried to to develop clear & logical thinking skills.
I started at about 18, increasingly concerned at the emotional, semi-rational
ideas and actions I could see happening around me and very determined to develop clear thinking.

At the same time I began to concentrate on formulating & expressing my thoughts more accurately & clearly.

By the time I left, I could see that this was not true of the church as a whole.
There is a lot of inconsistent, muddled thinking - and I do not mean to offend those who do try.

I'd increasingly realised that Psychology offered better explanations of the human condition,
and could be applied to at least modify so called "spiritual problems".

This made more sense than calling on the "Holy Spirit to indwell"
and attributing any changes to God's actions,
when psycological factors were obvious.
It also explained the failures of those sincere people who tried to 'let God live in their lives'.

It became increasingly obvious that much of what was being preached did not relate to reality.
Religion is best explained as a human-initiated mindset and activity.
The Bible just one of many "Holy" writings that were human in origin.


Why the 2 images on the page headers ?
The left one represents DNA & RNA in the genome of all animals, including humans.

( The haploid human genome (23 chromosomes) is estimated to be about 3 billion base pairs long and to contain 20,00025,000 distinct genes. )

The right one is a spiral galaxy.

Our Sun is one of the stars in the Milky Way galaxy.

Typical galaxies range from dwarfs with as few as ten million stars up to giants with hundred trillion stars, all orbiting the galaxy's center of mass.

There are probably more than 170 billion (1.7 1011) galaxies in the observable universe.

Most galaxies are 1,000 to 100,000 parsecs in diameter and are usually separated by distances on the order of millions of parsecs (or megaparsecs).

See Heavenly_Dreams.htm

Info source: Wikipedia

Modern cosmology , evolution studies and psychology have massively altered knowledge.
Religions arose out of attempts to explain areas we can now know as facts.


You do not use specificly SA terminology,
eg "equivalent to a bishop" rather than "Divisional Commander, Colonel", why?

a) I left the church, all religion, rather than just a church denomination.

( I had met ministry students from other denominations,
& knew a number of ministers from various denominations. )

For over 9 years I ran a restaurant near the central Uniting church in Brisbane, Australia
& not far from the other churches in the centre of the city.

I did NOT ever think that I should search different Christian groups,
or even older world religions;
in some hope that I would find something I could somehow force myself to believe.

b) It is simpler for most people to understand.

c) It is a way to distance myself from those days.
"Opportunity cost" refers to the cost of something in terms of opportunity foregone.

My youth & young adulthood, emotions, money & precious time were wasted;
they can never be re-gained.


The S.A. requires strict total abstinence from all alcohol for all members.
Do you have any thoughts on that ?

A: Quite a few!! [ * ]

Not even 1 glass of wine was allowed and this was totally integrated into one's Christian commitment, with no options.

The commitment insisted complete acceptance of the Bible as "God's word" & Jesus as the "Son of God",

yet Paul's advice to Timothy "to take a little wine..",
Jesus' alleged "Last Supper" statement " this ( wine ) is my blood..., do this in remembrance of me..",
and Jesus' "miracle of turning water into wine" at a wedding,

were all over-ruled.

( Jesus didn't just make wine - He made good wine, according to the story. )

The people who assembled the Bible, long after Jesus died
and after it became obvious that His alleged pledge
to return within alleged listeners' lifetime wasn't happening,
did not remove the story - why would they ?

They were residents of the Mediterranean where wine has been made for thousands of years.

This is just another example of how selective religious groups are about their holy writings.

Each group has it's own way of interpreting things.
( see my )

Modern society means they have to tolerate other groups who disagree,

(They did not always see
+ )
but they insist that the children born into their particular group,
and anyone lured into their clutches,
must agree with their "infallible", "God required" teachings.

( see my The shameful background to the " Love of God " at

The "infallible" Christian tradition has given us a strange assortment.

God apparently requires :

some to refuse life-saving blood transfusions;

some to have practised polygamy ( not just early LDS ),

while others are to require a totally celibate clergy;

some to worship on Saturday;

some to enforce complete abstinence from tea & coffee, ( but hot chocolate is OK );

God is apparently quite happy for most clergy
to be free to drink liquor in a responsible way,

but insists that even the ordinary members of some other groups must refuse wine,
even if Jesus suddenly returned and offered them good quality, free wine ...

* This note was added much later
(on Anzac Day 2015 as Australia remembered the lives lost in war + I reflected, as older people do :>), on the brevity + uncertainties of life, and on the need to responsibly enjoy + make the best of our lives. )

( see my My parents had experienced two World Wars. at end of

See also my page on "Secular Culture" ( in preparation , not ready yet )

Obviously, and it should not be necessary to include this :

I am NOT advocating some sort of "substance abuse" , socially irresponsible or personally health-harming excessive use.

( If you have a problem with it's use and can't reduce to comfortable, safe levels,
please get SECULAR help now.

There might be medical or psychological issues underlying the problem.
Keep at it with suitable help, there is a way through.

See (external site)
+ Secular therapists search

I know it's controversial and will not be appropriate if there is permanent physical damage,
but, I think there is good evidence that for most people it may NOT be necessary to stop all wine if you suspect that you have an alcohol problem.

With the right help from those helpful secular people trained to do so a return to moderate, healthy , relaxing enjoyment seems possible for most.

There is no need to "hit rock bottom" ( become desperately incapable of functioning ) before recovery.
The people who promoted the idea that recovery is only possible if one permanently quits all alcohol believed that wine was a social evil + sin
- disregarding the story of Jesus creating good wine in the same book they thought was "God's Word".

Of course if underlying issues are not addressed and, for example, one is alone + depressed or is with a group of "binge drinkers" the first drink is likely to lead to more than you want or should have.

Common sense, moderation and reason need to prevail. ) ----

Was the theory of evolution a significant factor for you ?
No, I did not pay much attention to it,
both while a Christian and after I left.

Like many believers, then and now, I accepted the theory in a vague way.
It was science, after all; but, if I thought about it at all,
I assumed God worked through evolution.
( This was not some detailed "Intelligent Design theory".)

In more recent times I've realised just how much it shattered the traditional view of God and creation.
People who had / have an emotional attachment to that traditional view found ( & some still find ) it hard to accept.

There is now more than sufficient evidence for evolution.
It is an emotional attachment that prevents people from accepting it.

Some people are genuinely afraid that morality, decency & civilisation will collapse without complete adherance to traditional religion.

There is more than sufficient evidence that "Good without God" is attainable.


Why are ring-species important ?
by Professor Dawkins, ( I think ).

We would all agree that a six-foot woman is tall, and a five-foot woman is not.
Words like 'tall' and 'short' tempt us to force the world into qualitative classes, but this doesn't mean that the world really is discontinuously distributed.
Were you to tell me that a woman is five feet nine inches tall, and ask me to decide whether she should therefore be called tall or not, I'd shrug and say 'She's five foot nine, doesn't that tell you what you need to know?'

But the discontinuous mind, to caricature it a little, would go to court (probably at great expense) to decide whether the woman was tall or short.
Indeed, I hardly need to say caricature.
For years, South African courts had done a brisk trade adjudicating whether particular individuals of mixed parentage count as white, black or coloured.

The discontinuous mind is ubiquitous.
It is especially influential when it afflicts lawyers and the religious (not only are all judges lawyers; a high proportion of politicians are too, and all politicians have to woo the religious vote).

Recently, after giving a public lecture, I was crossexamined by a lawyer in the audience.
He brought the full weight of his legal acumen to bear on a nice point of evolution.
If species A evolves into a later species B, he reasoned closely, there must come a point when a mother belongs to the old species A and her child belongs to the new species B.
Members of different species cannot interbreed with one another.
I put it to you, he went on, that a child could hardly be so different from its parents that it could not interbreed with their kind.
So, he wound up triumphantly, isn't this a fatal flaw in the theory of evolution?

But it is we that choose to divide animals up into discontinuous species.
On the evolutionary view of life there must have been intermediates, even though, conveniently for our naming rituals, they are usually extinct: usually, but not always.

The lawyer would be surprised and, I hope, intrigued by so-called 'ring species'.
The best-known case is herring gull versus lesser black-backed gull.

In Britain these are clearly distinct species, quite different in colour.
Anybody can tell them apart.
But if you follow the population of herring gulls westward round the North Pole to North America, then via Alaska across Siberia and back to Europe again, you will notice a curious fact.
The 'herring gulls' gradually become less and less like herring gulls and more and more like lesser black-backed gulls until it turns out that our European lesser blackbacked gulls actually are the other end of a ring that started out as herring gulls.

At every stage around the ring, the birds are sufficiently similar to their neighbours to interbreed with them.
Until, that is, the ends of the continuum are reached, in Europe.
At this point the herring gull and the lesser black-backed gull never interbreed, although they are linked by a continuous series of interbreeding colleagues all the way round the world.

The only thing that is special about ring species like these gulls is that the intermediates are still alive.
All pairs of related species are potentially ring species.
The intermediates must have lived once.
It is just that in most cases they are now dead.
The lawyer, with his trained discontinuous mind, insists on placing individuals firmly in this species or that.
He does not allow for the possibility that an individual might lie half-way between two species, or a tenth of the way from species A to species B.

The word 'apes' usually means chimpanzees, gorillas, orangutans, gibbons and slamangs.
We admit that we are like apes, but we seldom realise that we are apes.
Our common ancestor with the chimpanzees and gorillas is much more recent than their common ancestor with the Asian apes--the gibbons and orangutans.

There is no natural category that includes chimpanzees, gorillas and orangutans but excludes humans.

The artificiality of the category 'apes', as conventionally taken to exclude humans, is demonstrated by Figure 1.
This family tree shows humans to be in the thick of the ape cluster; the artificiality of the conventional category 'ape' is shown by the stippling.
In truth, not only are we apes, we are African apes.
The category 'African apes', if you don't arbitrarily exclude humans, is a natural one.
The stippled area in Figure 2 doesn't have any artificial 'bites' taken out of it.

------------------------------------------------------------------------ Figure 1 ------------------------------------------------------------------------ Figure 2 ------------------------------------------------------------------------ 'Great apes', too, is a natural category only so long as it includes humans. We are great apes. All the great apes that have ever lived, including ourselves, are linked to one another by an unbroken chain of parent-child bonds.

The same is true of all animals and plants that have ever lived, but there the distances involved are much greater.

Molecular evidence suggests that our common ancestor with chimpanzees lived, in Africa, between five and seven million years ago, say half a million generations ago.

This is not long by evolutionary standards.

Happenings are sometimes organised at which thousands of people hold hands and form a human chain, say from coast to coast of the United States, in aid of some cause or charity.
Let us imagine setting one up along the equator, across the width of our home continent of Africa.

It is a special kind of chain, involving parents and children, and we will have to play tricks with time in order to imagine it.

You stand on the shore of the Indian Ocean in southern Somalia, facing north, and in your left hand you hold the right hand of your mother.
In turn she holds the hand of her mother, your grandmother.
Your grandmother holds her mother's hand, and so on.

The chain wends its way up the beach, into the arid scrubland and westwards on towards the Kenya border.

How far do we have to go until we reach our common ancestor with the chimpanzees?

It is a surprisingly short way.
Allowing one yard per person, we arrive at the ancestor we share with chimpanzees in under 300 miles.

We have hardly started to cross the continent; we are still not half way to the Great Rift Valley.

The ancestor is standing well to the east of Mount Kenya, and holding in her hand an entire chain of her lineal descendants, culminating in you standing on the Somali beach.

The daughter that she is holding in her right hand is the one from whom we are descended.
Now the arch-ancestress turns eastward to face the coast, and with her left hand grasps her other daughter, the one from whom the chimpanzees are descended (or son, of course, but let's stick to females for convenience).

The two sisters are facing one another, and each holding their mother by the hand.
Now the second daughter, the chimpanzee ancestress, holds her daughter's hand, and a new chain is formed, proceeding back towards the coast.
First cousin faces first cousin, second cousin faces second cousin, and so on.

By the time the folded-back chain has reached the coast again, it consists of modern chimpanzees.

You are face to face with your chimpanzee cousin, and you are joined to her by an unbroken chain of mothers holding hands with daughters.

If you walked up the line like an inspecting general--past Homo erectus, Homo habilis, perhaps Australopithecus afarensis--and down again the other side (the intermediates on the chimpanzee side are unnamed because, as it happens, no fossils have been found), you would nowhere find any sharp discontinuity.

Daughters would resemble mothers just as much (or as little) as they always do.
Mothers would love daughters, and feel affinity with them, just as they always do.
And this hand-in-hand continuum, joining us seamlessly to chimpanzees, is so short that it barely makes it past the hinterland of Africa, the mother continent.

Our chain of African apes, doubling back on itself, is in miniature like the ring of gulls round the pole, except that the intermediates happen to be dead.


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