The Secular Barbershop Podcast: Absence of Christ Interview

Last week I was interviewed by The Secular Barbershop ; a podcast “Run by an Secularist of Color; For Secularists of all Colors.” Below is a link to listen to us talk about speaking in tongues and other weirdnesses of the Charismatic culture within Christianity:

The Secular Barbershop Podcast: Absence of Christ Interview

While you’re at it follow him on Twitter and like him on Facebook:

The Secular Barbershop Facebook
The Secular Barbershop Twitter

The First Couple Journal Entries from my Charismatic Phase

I’ve been pretty busy the last several months so I haven’t been keeping up with my blog like I should.  I have a few draft posts that I’m still working on about topics such as The Satanic Temple and Atheistic-Satanism, Elijah List prophecies, thoughts on death after losing my faith and stories  from Christians about the dead miraculously raising after prayer.

Just to keep my blog active during this time I thought I’d post a couple old journal entries I wrote at the beginning of my Charismatic phase during the renewal meetings I talk about in my past blog entires.

In this first journal entry about the renewal meetings it really shows I started off skeptical about the miracles and God Encounters but wanted to believe it all true.

July 3, 2007: 7:30pm
How can I explain the last several days?  When I got back into town after the tour, the church asked if I could work for them at the nightly meetings they’ve been holding since two Fridays ago.  The best I can describe are my feelings of confusion and frustration.   Confusion, because there’s a lot going on in the church: miracles, healings and stuff I can’t grasp my mind around to try to understand.  Frustration, because a lot of the times it seems others can focus on these happenings and except them as real.  I am walking a line. Is this real or not?

This next entry about some of the miracles I thought I experienced I’ve already taken apart in some of my past blog entries.  The part I want to point out in this entry is the glowing picture taken of the pastor while he was preaching about Moses’ radiant face.   This was taken at a time when camera phones weren’t as common as they are now and pictures taken on camera phones didn’t look as clear and detailed as they do now.   Looking back on this picture now it was just a bad glow from the stage lights reflecting off his body.  The angelic flashes I saw when I closed my eyes were the flashes of camera light.

July 4th, 2007: 4:00am
Ok, things at the church are getting extremely weird.  The other night feathers were falling from thin-air, and I mean they were literally falling out of thin-air and  Gold dust appearing on people.  Someone took a picture on a camera phone, and I am a witness to this, of the pastor while he is on stage talking about Moses glowing after spending time with the Lord.  I’m not talking about a glow, he was actually a beaming light entity.  Nothing logical can explain that.  There is no way someone can doctor that picture within seconds of taking it.
People are seeing angels.  I’ve been seeing flashes of lights when I close my eyes.  I’m not sure if its camera flashes or not, but I’d like to think its a miracle for myself.  Words can’t express how I feel about this. It’s honestly unbelievable, even for myself.  I feel like I’m gonna wake up and it all never happened.  It’s frightening and exciting.  I’m still waiting for myself to feel God.  I hope it happens soon.  All I want is my own encounter with God.

Indeed I woke up and it all never happened.

Podcast: Everyone’s Agnostic Interview With Absence Of Christ

I was recently interviewed by a deconversion podcast out of Nashville called Everyone’s Agnostic.  Below is a link for the show.  This podcast has a lot of great interviews by others who have left the faith, so be sure to check those out too.

Podcast: Everyone’s Agnostic Interview With Absence of Christ

Your God In A Brain

The neuroscience behind the experience of God has been a fascination of mine the last few years.  When I was a young Christian I believed experience was always reality.   If I experienced something and that experience felt so real to me, then it must have been real.  When I felt an angelic presence in my room at night I really believed an angel must be there.  There was no other way to explain my experience.  I didn’t have any real education on how complex the brain and it’s consciousness is.

My supernatural experiences were never too crazy.  I never saw an angel, but would sometimes feel them around me.  But I had friends that would swear that they have seen angels or that during worship they entered God’s thrown room and sat on Jesus’ lap.

As I matured as a Christian and started thinking and questioning why it is that God lets some have mystical experiences and not others.  I’d wonder if it was because some were called to have more supernatural happenings because their experiences and stories could reach people and bring them into the Kingdom of God. And those who don’t have supernatural encounters were called to have a more Earthly and relatable influence on those who are more skeptical of the supernatural.  I’d wonder if those who are more prone to have supernatural experiences needed those experiences for themselves to help keep their faith, while believers who never had an experience were strong enough in their faith to not need one.  I wondered if the mystically-inclined Christians had a more child-like faith believing anything is possible had these experiences cause a skeptical mind didn’t hinder them from seeing the supernatural.

I saw a pattern in personality traits between the more hyper-spiritual Christians and those who were more thoughtful in their faith.  It always seemed the more extroverted in the church were inclined to have these crazy encounters with angels or demons and go into trances and ecstasies, while the more introverted in the church were more likely to only have a feeling of a presence around them or none at all.  I got into reading websites on psychology about different personality theories which then led me to look into more secular explanations of supernatural encounters while still trying to hold on to the idea that all truth is God’s truth.

I was shaken to find that the brain is a lot more complex than I thought.  I read about the controversial Koren helmet (God Helmet).  The helmet was developed by neuroscientist, Michael Pensinger.  Putting the helmet on supposedly stimulates the temporal lobes with a weak fluctuating magnetic field which then gives a feeling of a presence around the person wearing the helmet.  Some of those who have worn the helmet during an experiment have experienced visions, hallucinations, angelic presence, demons, dead relatives and even the feeling of oneness with the universe.  Others have felt nothing.  This brings to question if the helmet is actually causing these feelings and experiences, or if it’s the power of suggestion or the placebo effect.  Either way, it still shows that there seems to be an on and off switch in the brain that doesn’t need prayer or worship to have a supernatural experience.

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Below are a few links and a video about this spiritual phenomenon:

Are Spiritual Encounters All In Your Head?

Finding God In A Seizure: the link between temporal lobe epilepsy and mysticism

God Helmet

Christian Necromancy: Grave Sucking

cuddling at grave
Grave sucking is a Christian necromantic trend coming out of some of the more hyper-spiritual Charismatic and Pentecostal churches.  Grave sucking (also known as grave soaking or mantle grabbing) is when a person goes to the resting place of a dead revivalist, faith healer, apostle or prophet and begins to pray or call up the spiritual anointing of the dead so that they may be filled with the same power.

Even with all the contradictions and strange miraculous stories in the Bible I don’t know where this fringe-ritual within Charismatic culture gets this idea.  The only story in the scripture I can think of is when a dead guy was thrown into Elisha’s tomb and he was immediately resurrected (2 Kings 13:21).  But that had nothing to do with an anointing or prophetic call being passed on.  I assume this ritual comes from this story mixed with other stories and scriptures about one character in the Bible anointing another with their spiritual gift or prophetic promise  (2 Kings 2:9-10) (Numbers 11:24) (Acts 8:17). And New Mystic evangelists like John Crowder and New Apostolic revivalists like Todd Bentley have been open about their grave sucking experiences, thus influencing the more hyper-spiritual Christians looking to have supernatural experiences.

One of my friends I use to do street ministry with told me about his grave sucking experience.  He and a few others from his Vineyard church drove to Fort Lawn Memorial Park Cemetery in Glendale, California where Aimee Semple McPherson is buried and “soaked” over her grave and felt the anointed power go through his body.

Below is a video example of grave sucking by members of the Bethel Church in Redding, California

Gold Dust Miracle At A Global Awakening Meeting

One of the leaders I know from Randy Clark‘s Global Awakening  just posted these gold dust miracle photos on his Facebook page.  I’m not sure where exactly these were taken, but I’m assuming it was in Nashville cause Global Awakening just had a week long series of meetings there.  They were taken a few days ago.

I have seen gold dust miracles before. It was usually a small amount of gold flakes on somebodies hand that most likely flaked off of the gilded golden edges of a Bible while flipping through the pages. This over excited person thinking God gave them a miracle during worship at church only fooled themselves.  I also remember seeing gold flakes on church chairs and feeling excitement that I have found gold, but a couple chairs down I’d see a woman wearing a gold flaked dress.

These three pictures have a lot of golden flakes.  I have serious doubts its a real miracle.  Maybe somebody accidentally dropped a plastic canister of glitter and it happened to fall on an open Bible.  Maybe somebody thought it would be amusing to trick the True Believers in the congregation with a fake gold miracle.  Maybe even the person who found the gold planted it there themselves.  People are attention seeking; especially within an emotionally driven worship meeting with a miracle believing culture like the Charismatics and Pentecostals

It would be nice to see someone in the miracle believing Christian community collected the gold dust and taken to someone who can analyze it and prove it’s gold not of this Earth.  Seeing and assuming it’s real doesn’t mean it is.

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Bullshitting My Way Through A Last Minute Testimony On Past Sexual Sins

Several years ago I gave a testimony to my church about my past sexual sins.  I just graduated from the School of Supernatural Ministries that I enrolled into earlier that year and had to give a short sermon to the church on a Sunday as part of the graduation ceremony.  Although I had a month to prepare, I ended up procrastinating.  I stayed up all night the night before the scheduled sermon trying to think up something to preach on, but instead of finding a story or verse in the Bible I somehow decided it would be a good idea to publicly talk about my sex life before I became an on-fire disciple of Christ.

So let me now tell you about my sex life before I gave my life to the Charismania side of Christianity…  I honestly really didn’t have much of a sex life.  My cognitive dissonance concerning sex left me with little experience and a lot of guilt about what little I had.   I remember being on stage speaking while thinking in the back of my head that I may be exaggerating my past sexual sins and making it out to be a bigger problem than it really was.  As I was speaking I began feeling like I was digging myself into a hole that I’d later regret when people start talking to me after I shared my testimony.  But I continued to preach about how God forgave me for my sins and how I was healed from my sexual past.  I got a standing ovation.

After my testimony I was surrounded by people in the congregation asking me for prayer over their sexual addictions.  I laid hands and prayed that the Lord would do for them what He had done for me.  Some even prayed for me that God would break any unhealthy lingering spiritual connection I had with any of the girls I had sex with in the past.  One woman came up to me and told me about how she use to work in the porn industry and has since repented and started her own ministry for people with sex addiction.  She wanted to get in touch with me so I can share my testimony with her ministry.  I got her cell number but never called cause I didn’t want to bring myself into a bigger mess with my already exaggerated testimony.

The worst thing that came out of this was when a friend of mine was inspired by my testimony and confided to me that she had a secret lesbian relationship with another girl in the congregation a year earlier and she still had feelings for her.  She was tortured by regret and her romantic feelings for this woman and wanted prayer that God would take away her “homosexual lust” for this woman.  At the time I was still on the fence about homosexuality. I had a lot of gay friends and knew it wasn’t just lust and didn’t yet have a fully developed opinion on whether homosexuality is a sin or not.  So I just prayed asking God to heal her from regret and to help her get over the relationship.  She put a lot of trust in a person who bullshitted his testimony.  I felt bad for not being completely honest.

There’s a lot of guilt over sex within the Christian culture.  Christians are afraid of sex.  There’s so much cognitive dissonance that it causes when you’re feeling a natural human desire but have grown up believing in the sinfulness of this nature and genuinely want to live a good Christian lifestyle.  There are a lot of tortured Christians in the world lying to themselves and living a life of regret.  The forgiving grace of God isn’t enough when they’re confronted with real natural sexual desire.  Repressing sexual feelings and romantic emotions isn’t gonna stop it from emerging again.  And when you lie to yourself you are also lying to others.

After my on-fire life for Jesus started fading my sexual desires emerged again.   I’d pray for God to help me through it but it never went away.  My lesbian friend still continues to struggle with her homosexual nature.  I later told her that I don’t believe homosexuality is a sin and a couple years later I lost my faith in Christianity. We lost contact when she went on to do missionary work believing God has called her to live a single life married to Jesus.  I wish she would accept herself and live in freedom without guilt and shame as a sexual being not trying to live above human nature.