A Tale of Mercy Ministries

Awhile back I posted a testimonial from someone I know who was sent to a Pentecostal “Drug Rehab” facility as a teenager. I recently found out another person I’ve known for some time had a similar experience when she was sent to a Christian treatment center for issues of “self-harm.” Although she is out as an atheist, her current living situation does not allow her to be completely open in expressing her nonbelief, but I asked if I could share her story anonymously, and she agreed.

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Camp Quest Texas needs YOU

If you’re living anywhere in or near Texas, this means you!

Camp Quest Texas really appreciates all the generous donations they’ve received over the years, and those are still welcome. However, what they need from supporters more than anything is their time. To put it simply, word of mouth has spread like crazy over the last few years, and since CQTX runs for one week of the year in a camp with limited space and even more limited staff, it’s hard to accommodate all the campers who would like to attend each year.

If more people were willing to get involved, they might be able to expand the number of cabins they can support, or even admit a new group of campers during a second session. So if you’re local, and have some time to offer during the month of August, please consider getting in touch with them when you can.

Go here to volunteer.

Open thread on episode #859

Matt and I did the show today, and though there weren’t any theist callers of note (we think the one we got might have been a weak troll), we had at least one feisty call with an atheist viewer, who tried to make an argument in favor of allowing creationism to be taught in schools. As you’ll see in the episode, we thought his whole argument was informed by a naivety in thinking that students who were only at an introductory stage in their education would be able to evaluate (and do so correctly) creationism’s claims without first having an actual grounding in the basics of skepticism and critical thinking (which I sure as hell wasn’t given in junior high or high school). It was essentially a recapitulation of the “equal time” arguments creationists themselves have attempted to use down the years, except the caller thought that science and evolution would benefit from it.

Leave your thinks below.

We Hate Movies: Christian Wish Fulfillment edition

Earlier this week, Beth’s Facebook page linked me to an ridiculous interview with Kevin Sorbo, of Hercules: The Legendary Journeys fame. Kevin is attached to an appalling movie called God’s Not Dead. What’s this gonna be about? Based on the trailer, it is a feature length version of that old urban legend about the atheist professor’s brain. It’s a story that’s been told over and over again: By Jack Chick in comic form, as a laughable anecdote about Albert Einstein and various other smarty pants people, as a “nerds vs. jocks” standoff with a marine.

Here’s the formula: Wholesome Christian boy meets professor. Professor mocks boy. Boy stands up for Christianity. Boy humiliates professor. Atheist looks stupid. The end. It’s great for a thirty second anecdote, but if you use your


you can drag that sucker to 113 minutes running time!

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Open Thread for AETV #857: Message from a Deist

Welcome to the Open Thread for AETV #857.

A deist emailed us this week with a message for Christians and a request that we read his message on The Atheist Experience. I won’t take up air time for that, as I explain in my response to him, but I did think it was valuable as a discussion topic about why we reject deism as well as other flavors of theism.

For reference, deism is the belief that reason and observation of the natural world are sufficient to determine the existence of a creator. Deists generally reject organized religion (with some exceptions) and divine revelation as a source of knowledge about the nature of God.

Now, on to the deist’s message. I’ve left the spelling, capitalization, and punctuation as it is in the original.


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Open Thread for AETV #856 – Christianity’s Dependence on Ignorance

Featuring Russell Glasser and Don Baker.  Have at it!

Added by Russell:

Our first caller, Drew, did share links to the “miracle” stories he was telling us about.

Per our conversation on today’s show, here are a few links. Luke Muehlhauser’s miracles:
Here’s Dan Barker giving the anecdote about the mute man speaking (scroll to 9:50):
After going back through the chat logs, I found enough clues about the Dan Barker story to get a better sense of what was going on there. Here’s what I wrote back:
 I can definitely say now that you misrepresented Dan Barker’s story, although it is an understandable mistake.
Here’s what Dan says in the video:
“I one laid hands on a person, and said in the name of Jesus you are healed, and that person regained his lost voice.”
You told me that he said he healed a mute person. I can see how you thought that from the context, but apparently it’s a pretty big leap to a false conclusion. Here’s Dan telling the same story in his recent book, Godless.

“It was before one of our meetings, as we were preparing and praying, when Gary, who sang bass in the quartet and whose turn it was to preach that night, whispered to us that he had lost his voice and was unable to sing or talk. We gathered in a circle around Gary and laid our hands on his shoulders, and I prayed out loud for God to heal Gary’s voice, ending with the words ‘Gary, in the name of Jesus, be healed!’

“Gary looked up and yelled, ‘Praise the Lord!’ in a strong voice. He went on to sing and preach that night.”

Now, granted, this story is still interesting. But quite often people do in fact recover from a sore throat, without divine intervention. Without the detail that Gary is actually “mute,” it’s very much in the realm of what the placebo effect alone can pull off. Not particularly miraculous in this sense.

I haven’t read much into the Luke Muehlhauser story yet, so if anybody has any points to make, discuss away.