Christmas from the Archives

 By Jon Morgan

Different people following this site will have different views of Christmas.  Clearly it contains both religious elements and secular elements.  As it's less than a week away, I thought I'd link a few Christmas posts from the archives.

For myself, last night I went to a carols concert in a cathedral, and really enjoyed it.  I don't believe the events referenced in many of the carols actually happened, but enjoy the music and the memories.  On Christmas Day I expect I'll spend time with family members.  Religion will probably get a mention, but it won't be the centre of the day.

Merry Christmas to all readers!

Christmas cartoon

 

The evidence for the existence
of Santa is all around you

A Christmas poem

By Mancott

It was Sunday in a small town Ecclesia, it had fallen on a bright Christmas Day
The President said "Now please bow your heads we are just now a-goin` to pray"

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Comment of the Week - From Mancott 

I was indoctrinated into CDism from the cradle. I believed in it as fervently as I believed in Santa Claus. Then Santa Claus was revealed as my dad creeping into my bedroom with presents early on Christmas day. 

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The true meaning of Christmas

Here in Australia, it’s Christmas time. The houses sport Christmas lights, the streets have Christmas decorations, and the shops are filled with busy shoppers buying gifts or completing their Christmas preparations.

But, in among the many Christmas traditions, one religion claims to have the true meaning of Christmas: A true meaning that has little to do with all the bustle and confusion. In past years, I made this claim myself. But how does it measure up?

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Last week, I went along to a local church’s Christmas play. Usually, it’s just a bit of fun for the children. I expected to hear claims about the True Meaning of Christmas, and was not disappointed (my take).

However, this time the superlatives were out. The Christmas story was “The Greatest Story Ever Told”. Baby Jesus was “The Greatest Gift Ever Given”. And this was all completely free, with no strings attached.

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Was Jesus born in Bethlehem?

A few days ago, I discussed a positive case for the resurrection story having grown over time. There is a similar case for Jesus’ birth in Bethlehem being a later addition, though it’s a lot simpler: Only Matthew and Luke make explicit claims about Jesus being born in Bethlehem, they have completely separate stories, and prophecy gives a good reason for them to want to claim a birth in Bethlehem.

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212 comments:

  1. We celebrate Christmas as a cultural tradition. And because it brings us joy -- something CDism didn't do. They had a way of raining on everything, pissing on everything. So we celebrate it in a spirit of defiance and contrariness and because we enjoy it. Many millions do likewise.

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  2. Love the cartoon. Reminds me of the Christian saying, "Faith is the evidence of things unseen," which people parroted at me throughout my childhood. LOL, indeed. Faith isn't the evidence of anything at all, in reality, except, perhaps, gullibility.

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  3. To the extent that I and my loved ones remain Christian, we are "cultural Christians," and nothing beyond that. The religious icons and traditions and holidays of Christendom are thus cultural trappings, and nothing more to us. And perhaps that evolution is both wise and predictable, both in terms of individuals and societies.

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  4. In that light....Merry Christmas, One and All !!

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  6. John, you are overreacting. Your "Devil's Advocate" article was intended to stir things up. It did so. You are now going to go occupy "the middle ground" by belonging to a CD ecclesia that allows you to be a non-attending Atheist member? ???? Do you understand how few of us would have that option -- even if we wanted it? How about we all just take a breather for a while and decompress?

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    1. I can imagine the response if a former Christadelphian, now an Atheist, tried to re-join an ecclesia:
      "You say you are an Atheist and you want to re-join us?"
      "Yes, that is so."
      "Um, you mean you want to stop being an Atheist, you`ve had a re-think?"
      "Oh, no, I`ll still be an Atheist. Can a leopard change his spots?"
      "Well, you cast off your Christadelphian spots, didn`t you?"
      "Yes, because you`ve all got it wrong. There is no Heaven, no God."
      "I see. Well, I don`t, but you say you want to meet with us, as we praise and pray to the God you say doesn`t exist?"
      "Yes, that`s exactly what I want to do."
      "It doesn`t seem to make any sense."
      "It does to me."
      "I suppose you could come to the Lectures, and sit at the back."
      "I don`t want to sit at the back, I want to be a member, an Atheist member, come to the Breaking of Bread and---"
      "You---What? I`ll put it to the AB`s, but don`t hold your breath."

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    3. All slightly humorous, John, and it is a bit too personal against Joseph in parts in my opinion. Stop! I`ve had a thought. Someone is sending in these posts having captured John and is holding him the basement of a Liberal meeting room, feeding him on mushrooms from Patmos, and is using his name to further their interests. It`s a revelation, so it is.

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    4. John, I'm Catholic by decent, so I have a third option as well as heaven or hell I'll have you know....
      Do you think you would win the obedience section at Crufts?

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    5. Mancott, it was "bound" to happen when those liberal Ecclesias got a bit too liberal and starting admitting admitting "The Sodomites" into fellowship, all that nodding and winking, and talk of "looking the other way"and chatter of "handshakes" and stuff going on under tables just sent out all the wrong messages, and before we knew it John was over platform, collection bag over his head and an orange in his mouth. I heard that he was shouting and screaming a lot, but had been away since 1986, so could not remember "The Word".

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    7. Making rude or otherwise comments about your new `Make Christadelphians Great Again` article, John, seems difficult, as the reply section seems to have suddenly disappeared. Is this a glitch, or something more sinister?

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    9. So, John, are you the person now running this site, making the rules as to how and where to comment?

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    13. They interest me, too. What a task! It`s not as if one only Christadelphian lightbulb needs changing, it`s as if there are as many as at the Blackpool Illuminations that need removing and changing, so many facets of their long-held and cherished beliefs to tackle and change or eliminate. You don`t have enough time. CD`s in UK most probably will all have vanished by 2040 or so.

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    15. Mancott, I wouldn't worry too much, just comment on the "none-John" posts, and leave him be. I'm sure that you and John are aware that I no longer have any interest in the Christadelphians, I've raised my children now, both are adults, and neither have shown any interest in the Christadelphians, or religion in general, for other than academic and family reasons, so my need to keep an eye on what Christadelphians are up to is ended, and as John so eloquently pointed out, I'm not a genetic Christadelphian, I was just briefly hired in to boost genetic diversity. My interest now is more akin to the interest that one might have when looking into a cage at Dudley zoo, housing a troop of baboons, the hierarchy, family relationships, and all that teeth baring and shrieking, chasing each other off and general scrapping amongst themselves,while entirely isolated from the outside world, interesting for a while, but then forgotten as you walk onto the next enclosure housing a different species, and get curious about their antics.

      A lot of what John is trying to tell them rings true though. As an Anglican, I lived through the trouble caused by social change, people having to leave because of divorces, gradual acceptance of women vicars (which caused many members to leave to enclaves of intolerance or head to Rome), and the appointment of LGBT clergy, and acceptance of LGBT members (which is just more recent social change), continues to divide the community and induce defections. Two years before John left the Christadelphians, York Minster was struck by lightning and badly damaged by the ensuing fire, at the time, my brother was working on his theology masters at Cambridge, and the church was alive with speculation of divine intervention at the appointment of Bishop Jenkins, who had openly questioned the acceptance of the literality of the virgin birth and the physical resurrection. I am sure John is aware that these events have been used many times by Christadelphian speakers to cast doubt on the validity of the beliefs of Anglicans. What is saddening is that the Christadelphians appear to be operating in a timezone at least forty years removed from the one that the rest of us, and other denominations live in, and now in far less sympathetic times, seemingly only have John to guide them through all of the same things.

      Amid all this, Christadelphians closed their churches and cut off contact with the outside world, in a barely believable act of self destruction such as never before, and went, like high street shops, online only. Young people for two years running went away to University, unbaptised, to be exposed to different religions, lifestyles and thinking. When these young people bring partners home, will they be welcome? Expected to convert? I agree with John.

      The demography of the Anglican church, after all this, and all the church closures, even today, is the near reverse of the Christadelphians, who have near double the percentage of elderly members, and, crucially, a spectacularly high proportion of elderly leaders who have been in post for far too long.

      John is, or was,(who knows?) a successful business man, and his post reflects this, what he is presenting is a standard "burning platform" talk (perhaps made well known when Stephen Elop was discussing the future of Nokia but quite literally relating to the Piper Alpha disaster). The business world is littered with failures on a grand scale by companies who relied too long on past glories (like all those outstanding orators John mentioned), just think Kodak, Nokia, BlackBerry for a few.






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    16. I love John's paragraph on fellowship. When I walk into my old Church, (infant baptised, 1964, confirmed 1977, left 1990), I just get shaken by the hand, and when it comes to the breaking of bread, I just get invited up and included, or if I decline, offered a blessing. It's almost as though they are more concerned about me than about what I have decided to believe this week. Same when my brother is round for dinner, when we have said our thanks, we are more likely to chat about steam trains or the leaking shed roof than the finer points of doctrine and whether I accept it or not. Please listen to John.

      When I comment on BITN I often mention how spooked Christadelphians are that society has given up on it's "biblical" principles, that Christadelphians never liked anyway. As a former evengelist myself, I understand that converting someone to a belief set is much, much harder if they have no basic understanding of the religion you are talking about at all. Christadelphians know this, and are fearful of it. Not only are people today less likely to have been brought up in a religious family, they are less likely to have encountered institutionalised religion as they grew up. Start talking to them about literal creation, the imminent return of Jesus, and prophecy that sounds like Nostradamus, and you won't get a second chance, they will have dismissed you as lunatics, and rightly so. My older daughter did a work placement in a Catholic primary school. I was getting messages every day about what on earth they were talking about, and having to explain. They might as well have been talking Swaheli for all she could make of it. Christadelphian beliefs sound much the same to most people.

      I wish John good luck, I'm just relieved to be out of it and not have any familial ties that could keep pulling me back for forty years.

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    17. John, I think I`m already quite Lightened-up enough, I get on well with CD friends and we recognise each others beliefs. But as for me applying for fellowship in the CDs? Get real.
      You say you "see no requirement to change or eliminate long held...CD beliefs". But your whole article is about how you see the need for CDs to change those very beliefs and practices.
      Fellowship: Central to their requirement. When I was looking recently to find out which ecclesias were still closed (re Covid), I came across one which welcomed (non-baptised)visitors to their Exhortation meetings, but to note that they could not take the bread or wine.
      Tolerance - accepting belief in Evolution, Dinosaurs: Brethren are still writing articles and vehemently preaching against belief in such.
      Marriage "out": When will they accept this as a general acceptance, rather than kick out, then re-admit?
      Lack of Attendance: They have a delight in using disfellowship "for long continued absence".
      Prophecy: Discard their reliance on the (many) interpretations they so love to use as "proof"?
      And there are so many more one could list, and very many of these are so deeply held that even a stick of dynamite, or a JCB, couldn`t shift them.
      I really cannot see you making any headway at all with getting such fundamental changes accepted generally. I think it is possible that you might get some members to accept, leaving others to reject and continue in their "old" ways. And what might well happen is that you would cause more ecclesial schisms to occur adding to those in existence at present.
      As Mark commentated, I too have read and commentated on this blog since the time of the very much missed Corky, and during and since that time have been helped by your contributions; but I`m not recognising or understanding the John Bedson who has posted of late.
      We are better off here continuing to examine CD fundamental beliefs (forget practices for a bit) and to show to the best of our several abilities where they are making their belief blunders, enabling wavering individuals to see that getting out from delusion is a good move to make.

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  7. John's plans are wonderful. Although I suspect at the proposed truce would last about as long as the ones on the Palestine/Israel border usually do. I've heard on the grapevine that John's influence is so great, he has even been able to convince hard line Christadelphian groups to join the truce wholeheartedly, and they have agreed, after nearly 200 years, to stop slandering other Christian groups. A true achievement, that has my full support. I'm looking forward to watching his new videos on bibletruthandprophecy, and his guest writing on BITN.

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  10. As far as I'm concerned, all are welcome to contribute or not as they see fit, and that includes John. I have mostly maintained a light touch approach to moderation, which has pros and cons, but so far I would say the pros outweigh the cons.

    That said, I have occasionally moderated comments where they have been off topic. For example, many of the criticisms of Christadelphians we've been seeing over the last couple of weeks would be more likely to be off topic on an article about the origins of the Bible, or the existence of God, or evolution. My observation on the web generally has been that it is much harder to keep comments on topic (or even define what is "on topic") than it looks (which is also true of normal human conversation...). But it can be tried for on articles with specific topics.

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  11. I have been a reader and commenter on this site for a number of years, since the days of Corky. But these latest rants from John either signal that he is trolling us all, or he needs immediate psychiatric help.

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    1. Indeed, best thing to do is not read his rants. No point in engaging, other than to attempt to annoy him into deleting his BS - by getting some negative posts past the gatekeeper, but why bother. Not sure why the editor allows someone who claims to not be an ex-CD write article for an ex-CD blog. On the now deleted post I suggested he wanted to close this blog, which he denied, now it seems he wants to do a John Thomas and convert it to some other thing.

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    2. No, he is fine. In fact I heard this morning that Shirley ecclesia have chartered a plane at Birmingham airport and are despatching 6 of their best looking and most culinary talented sisters to care for him and relieve his stress as he prepares all the new talks and videos he has planned. I've been told that they were instructed just to pack bikinis and aprons, as most of the work will be done "poolside". They are due back in the UK in 9 months time, as the Sunday School is expected to greatly expand around that time.

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    3. It seems to me that if John is allowed to delete replies at his will, then the site will become a useless Alice-in-Wonderland laughingstock to ex`s and others alike.

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    4. Mancott, it surprised me too. But it looks like what he's done is close comments on his posts - which as the post author he is able to do. As far as I know, he doesn't have control of other posts.

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    5. Jon, I'm not overly concerned, but when you say that you do not know, does that mean that you are not the site administrator? For John to post, and edit posts, and approve comments, he would need administrator rights, as I once had.Can we assume that John never actually rescinded those rights, or did you or Steve hand them back to him? As I say, I'm not too concerned, just that as Mancott points out, things get very disjointed with willy nilly editing.

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    6. Joseph, I'm the site administrator. John is an author, not an admin, and I gave him that role when he asked for it sometime last year. I just hadn't realised that the post author was able to turn off comments for that post.

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  12. Ah John. Taking the p*ss to the extreme. Like the tide - in. out, in, out....

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  13. Why do I sense the arrangements for a lobotomy being prepared somewhere?
    Or does saying that mean I too hate all Christadelphians?

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  14. I find it very objectionable that by frankly recounting my manhandling by Christadelphians -- and, yes, my treatment and that of many others was indeed brutal and traumatizing -- that I become designated as a "hater."

    I understand what Mr. Bedson is hoping to do. He wants to be a "cultural Christadelphian," like the kind of "cultural Christian" or "cultural Jew" who is connected to his former religion only to the extent that it is part of his cultural identity. Yet this can't happen, because except for a very few situations, in the vast majority of ecclesias you have to support a statement of faith and you have to attend meetings and you have to take communion and you certainly can't sit in their midst and say you're actually an atheist. His goals are admirable -- he wants to deconvert Christadelphians by coaxing them out with appeals to their logic and reason -- but what he's hoping to achieve will never happen.

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    1. Donald, read Jon's clarification in answer to my question. John is an author on here, not an administrator, Jon, not John will decide if your comments are to be removed. In my experience Jon is a very fair arbiter, and no one has anything to fear.
      John has made it fairly clear that he does not desire communication with any of us here who do not meet his stated criteria,this has been his position since leaving his editorship some years ago. It is the reason that apart from a few very recent posts, (and for comedy reasons only)I have not addressed him in any way, whereas I usually do address the poster in a reply. It seems the correct thing to do. We should all respect his wishes and not reply to him, comment on his posts, address him in responses, or make any attempt to communicate with him. He is using the platform to directly communicate with his target audience, and that does not include you, me, or 99.99% of other posters here. I have no problem with that, and neither should you.

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  15. Since Mr. Bedson is emulating most of the Christadelphian "mainstream" by restricting and censoring speech, I believe no comments should be posted in response to his articles.

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  16. This is something which has been discussed back and forth in various ways here over the years. Personally, I don't view "Ex-Christadelphian" as an organisation to sign up to so much as a descriptor, exactly the same as, say, "former Christadelphian" would be.

    It is a fact that I was a Christadelphian, it is a fact that I was raised that way from birth, and it is a fact that that has affected my life and continues to do so in some ways. But for me now it is just one small part of my life - it doesn't define my life like Christadelphia used to. It shows more in some parts of my life, like running this site, and is completely irrelevant in other parts of my life.

    Many here faced more problems while in than I did, and had a more difficult exit than I did. And those experiences continue to affect them. I believe their stories matter, and don't think it's ever appropriate to tell others that they should just move on.

    I have to a fair extent moved on, in my own time and in my own way. Not because others told me I had to, but because I realised over time it had become less important to me. Some of the ways I reacted to my upbringing and chose to build a new and different life are probably similar to many others here. Some of them are probably unique to me. And I think that's as it should be. We're individuals here, not card carrying organisation members.

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  17. It would appear that Mr. Bedson is uncertain where he belongs. He rejects most Ex-Christadelphian refugees as being "too intolerant and bitter," despite describing them himself with some pretty vicious language, and he talks about somehow fitting back into the world of Christadelphianism, which is not possible, considering the facts he is providing to us about himself. He would appear to be trapped between the two worlds, which is sad indeed. We must try to feel empathy for his confusion and angst. It is symptomatic of yet another casualty of that dingbat religion.

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  18. Mr. Bedson is obviously highly intelligent has a lot to offer this community, however, he has become Exhibit A for sowing bedlam and temper tantrums at this time. I think his postings should be restricted for the time being.

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    3. Well, the wheel turns again; as John B. appears, sadly, to have thrown his toys out of the pram, and wrapped up the pram and put it aside, we must continue to post in a way that we hope will help and support ex - or former - Christadelphians, and to give the same support to wavering CDs. Jon will moderate as he see fit.

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    5. John: You are more and more resorting, I am sorry to find, to twaddle. You are sweeping us all under a carpet of your ignorance about our personal current and future circumstances. You write, "we" Christadelphians? You are either "ex" or "former", according to choice, unless you have thrown over every single syllable of what you have written about them in the past, and re-joined. In a few posts ago I was your "friend". Now I am a "cry baby" and "can`t afford a luxury retirement home" (what do you know?), and "no one will find my dead body for years". Twaddle. Something very strange has happened to the "old" loveable John, and you should take a long hard look in the mirror at yourself and ask yourself some hard questions about the person you see there.
      p.s. No ecclesia kicked me out. I left. My choice.

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    6. Holmes! John`s comments have suddenly disappeared. Whatever has happened to them?
      He`s had second thoughts about them. Elementary, my dear Watson.

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    7. Mancott, you know how this game is played. John will be back soon.

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    8. Boomerang Bedson?

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  19. A human life is often spent transitioning between groups, individuals, ideologies, and institutions. Sometimes we get stuck in the transition process, and never fully separate ourselves from what we think we have discarded or need to discard. If these separations are painful, there is a healing process, which can take some time. Let us all give one another enough room to say and be what we need to say and be. If that includes some of us being stuck in a grey area between two things or conditions, then let's afford that safe place also. We must each make room here for all others.

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  20. True, but sometimes, if our intentions are good, the transition must be precipitated by others. I grew up in an abusive CD household. The word "abuse" is a euphemism for the things that were done to us, and all while the public face of the family was idyllic.

    All of my siblings have abandoned CDism, yet still spout CD doctrine and still kowtow to relatives who remain in it, even though it is self-evident that the ideology and some of its members have been extremely injurious to them. My friends ask me, "If this religion causes such damage, why are your siblings still half in it?" My answer? For the same reason that almost a thousand people drank poison Kool Aid in Jonestown, Guyana -- because their relative and/or leader Jim Jones controlled them. For the same reason that eighty people burned themselves alive in Waco, Texas -- because their relative and/or lover and/or leader David Koresh controlled them. For the same reason that a battered and violated child -- and yes, I was one of those -- will defend an abusive parent from the authorities, so desperate to have a bond with the parent that they will sometimes maintain it right up until the point where the parent kills them.

    This does not describe this site's current kerfuffle precisely. It does not describe the internal dynamics of the kerfuffle precisely. But there are elements of it in what we're witnessing in this internal squabble. In the absence of a compelling reason, there is no need to return to the well of CDism, to reason with its adherents, to appeal to their logic, to sit in their midst and pretend they have something worth having, or anything else. There is also certainly no reason to pretend to respect some of their potentially destructive behavior and doctrine.

    We can understand and be sympathetic if this occurs. But ultimately, it surely means someone is stuck in the transition process. Some of us may sojourn on this site and similar sites for many years. What almost never occurs is that we return to the poisoned well and imbibe further.

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  21. Jody: "Appalling" and probably, no synonym in a thesaurus is strong enough to describe what happened to you. But I do not think that this type or level of abuse is typical of the behaviour of all, or of many CDs, and almost certainly of very few only.
    An abuse which is general, in my opinion, comes from their unwillingness to change, and their forcing, indoctrinating, their young people into their unbending ways and beliefs, which can lead to so much grief and distress later in their/our lives. I see no reason why, on this site, we shouldn`t continue to highlight this form of abuse -- refraining from personal accounts of specific abuse received -- and to continually repeat the reason why we do. If CDs read what we post, they may not be moved to change, or even consider doing so, but we will have fulfilled one of the aims of the site.

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  22. What is the constant need of Mr. Bedson, to repeatedly apply lipstick to a pig called Christadelphianism? I understand his strategy. I think it deserves a hearing. But as to prettifying a sect that isn't remotely pretty or interesting or compelling or anything else -- what is up with that? Yes, let's avoid open hostility in our language. But why defend this little sect like we have an obligation to protect it?

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    2. In a respectful and courteous way, and an honest way, I repeat, that Christadelphians indoctrinate their own young and the young of others in a way of belief and living that often causes those young pain and distress in later life. I think that they should at least examine in a rational way what they are doing. I see no reason why we on this website, if CDs are willing to take part in a discussion about this, can`t have a reasonable debate, putting forward each "sides" point of view. If we don`t point out, in a respectful and courteous way, where we think they are in error, ignorant of the truth, (we don`t necessarily have to point out how often they are self-righteous at the expense of non-believers), then we are not fulfilling the mission of this site.

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  23. Like CDism, this site is what it is. Change nothing. If malcontents in CDism seek it out, they'll find it, warts and all. And they'll be convinced, whatever its imperfections. No particular author drew me to this site or kept me returning to it.

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    2. How about a im sorry or i apologize for my comments attitude John, then we might go along with you.????

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    3. Or not, Paul. Because while John is able to continually remove his stuff, this is confusing, and we don`t know quite what he is up to, and I can`t help wondering if he does himself. I agree with Manny that it wouldn`t be good for the site if we were forbidden to discuss negative experiences (but in so doing using "acceptable" language), and as Barbara has pointed out, CDism is what it is, and ventilating what it is cannot be other than a good pursuit.
      Yes, there is "good", in some ecclesias and in, probably, many CD`s, but both "good" and "bad" are part of a sect which, because of its entrenched 19th century unchanging unwillingness to allow CDs to sit down together and openly examine, unhindered (as some would like to do), what so obviously needs changing, a continuance of being unable to face facts, then we on this site have a role to play in trying to get them to see what needs to happen.

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  24. Are we here to promote doubts about the faith, or to be apologists for it? It would appear some of us want to do both, which feels counterintuitive to me. If some of us have had positive experiences in the denomination, does that mean negative experiences must not come under scrutiny? That we are forbidden to discuss them?

    Most Christadelphians are respectable people. Some aren't. Are we not to mention those who aren't? Or our negative experiences because of them?

    I suspect anyone in the fold who ventures here will come back because they're going through the same evolutionary process most of us went through. I doubt a little harsh language will frighten them away. John's method is more polite, and thus perhaps more palatable -- but I don't think censorship is an area we want to delve into too heavily.

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  25. I am more than a little alarmed that someone who regards CDism as a "valid and respectable faith choice" would have a shot at being an editor on this site. I distinctly remember going in as a child and having a Sunday School teacher sweetly and sincerely telling me and a group of other toddlers that we had on our shoulders the guilt and blood from the murder of Christ. I remember sitting there, horrified that I was in some way responsible for such a sin. And what a vile psychological burden, to place on a child. And that's just for starters.

    Leave this site as it is. Mr. Bedson's logic is in the right place, but censorship is another matter. If he keeps deleting commentary from readers, delete him instead.

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  26. Mr. Bedson rushes to denounce "prejudice," but "prejudice" is the act of prejudging something. I spent decades in Christadelphianism, and was entirely familiar with it. Mr. Bedson denounces inflammatory language, yet rushes to use words like "bigot" and "prejudice," and in one comment even compared some critics of his writing to American police officers who casually kill black people. Puh-leez.

    I feel compelled to designate that myth about police violence as a lie also -- read Heather MacDonald's book, "The War on Cops." Statistically, no such "war" exists. It is simply politically exploitable Media-driven hype, formulated to sell more copies of tabloids and increase TV viewership.

    Intelligent and rational adults must learn to sort the wheat from the chafe in life, the lies from the truths, the respectable things from those things that aren't worth a use of our time and respect. I do not encourage anyone in my life to waste every seventh day of it (or more) sitting in a sanctuary bowing toward an effigy of an alleged wizard who was God become incarnate and who visited us to save man from perceived misdeeds with his dingus. And after reading many verses granting permission for genocide and the stoning to death of rebellious teenagers, my intellect granted me permission to move on to greener pastures.

    My sense is that Mr. Bedson needs to return to the faith. He need not out himself as an Atheist. He need not attend often. He pretends they won't make quick work of him for those things if they're obvious; we all know a large majority of ecclesias won't tolerate such things for long. He can exist there only by maintaining the silence he is demanding of many of his readers.

    Talk about theater of the absurd.

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  27. For an outsider, it is difficult to see the point of this discussion. John does not like either the volume of output of the site, nor the comments/ attitude of those who visit it. He has registered a new domain, has thousands of CD contacts, and potential writers, and knows better how to run it than anyone else, so surely the answer is for him to "shake the dust of his sandals", and move on as planned. Although that begs the question, why did he walk away from the Christadelphians in the first place if it is so full of lovely, wonderful, tolerant people? He could have just sat quietly at the back and enjoyed the social company, or politely voiced his doubts for them to be tolerant of.

    He has an uphill struggle. Look at Ken Gilmore's blog for a glimpse of how even intelligent thinking Christadelphians speak of each other "of like precious faith", this month's post is a pretty good example amongst many, where Ken uses all sorts of "intelligent" sounding putdowns to dismiss his Brethren's beliefs.

    "a long rambling fundamentalist distortion of the relevant Biblical texts....".

    "one paragraph in the essay caught my eye as it neatly encapsulated the poverty of thought and utter surrender to fideism that underlies the mindset of those who wrote this collection of fundamentalist essays".

    "This is sadly not a parody of fundamentalist thought but the real thing. Inculcating impressionable young people with this material is simply priming them for a crisis of faith when one day they actually look at the evidence rather than blindly rejecting it and realise their fundamentalist faith is a house of cards that will fall at the slightest touch".

    Such lovely words of support from WITHIN the brotherhood, just imagine the distain he would have (has) for those outside of it. See the "about me" section for his thoughts on the former editor...

    Now Ken's well chosen clever words don't fool me, and never have, like so many of his posts, they are dripping with the distain he feels for his fellows, but more in line with this discussion, note how he basically accuses the writer of the essay of failing to understand his Bible, and failing to understand science either, clever words to dismiss a Brother as a "thicko" when you strip away the fluff of it...
    Ken disabled comments on his about 8 years ago, he now just throws rocks about in his own little shiny stainless steel bubble. In true fundamentalist Christadelphian form, the writer of the essays Ken criticises has both disabled comments, and remained anonymous.

    John is welcome to invite this lot to his table for a civilised discussion. I have neither the time nor the inclination.

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    1. Joseph, I find that article interesting because I kinda both agree and disagree with Ken. I wouldn't necessarily use the same words, but I do see it as a big problem starting off assuming that the Bible is true. And I have a lot of experience with this: I see it in my upbringing, I see it in my family, and it caused me significant cognitive dissonance before I slowly gave it up and began to view the Bible as just another historical book (or collection of books...) with its own strengths and weaknesses.

      However, this is the thing I don't get: Surely at some level Ken himself has the same problem? Yes, he is able to interpret the Bible less literally than some, but he still at some level has to consider the Bible "true". Now I'm not suggesting he doesn't believe it to be true, and I'm sure he believes he has good reasons to believe it true (just like I as a young fundie did, actually...).

      So when he says fundamentalism is setting people up for a crisis of faith it's somewhat true. And yet I don't know how many whose faith is important to them will suddenly turn on a dime and the instant something doesn't match their worldview, bang, a new atheist is born. I know for me I spent a long time adding layers of nuance to my understanding as I tried to hold onto the faith and to the Bible. And I know quite a few like me. I am the kind of young person he was talking about, and his description doesn't remotely match my experience. Yes, I eventually left the faith, but it wasn't a "house of cards that [fell] at the slightest touch".

      I didn't go as far as Ken, but that's not because I was unaware of his ideas. No, my big problem with those kind of arguments is that they don't actually give me any reason to believe the Bible. Yes, it means I can't say "YEC is false, evolution is true -> atheism", but I can say "I'm not sure your version fits well with the Bible and to me evolution makes perfect sense without a god or the Bible being true - so why should I believe?".

      To your main point: Yeah, I don't think that post is a model of civil discourse...

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    2. To clarify, I only posted this comment so as to illustrate a point. I read Ken's blog from time to time, simply because he does criticize the Christadelphians, however I find his convoluted reasoning for what he does believe to equally risible, but the references given often educational. The essays to which he referred, (I skip read most of them), seemed to quite accurately reflect the "traditional", if illogical Christadelphian belief set, to which I am used to, his "talking down" and accusation of lack of understanding however, is equally familiar to me as an often used Christadelphian method to handwave off (valid) thinking, discussion or opposition. It's the quick fix, no effort required putdown/control technique that so many of my then Brethren and sisters seemed to be well versed in, and which they seemed to have been reared to excel in. It's not exclusive to the sect though, my younger daughter does religious studies at "A" level, and has an equally, let's say "devout" Baptist in her class who, from my conversations with her, seems to have been equally "blinded" by his upbringing, and is finding being facing with different (or as he sees it, opposing), beliefs.

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  28. John: You are welcome here, to contribute or not as you see fit. No-one is making you do so. But the other commenters are similarly welcome here to contribute or not as they see fit.

    Your suggestions about the right way to run the site would involve suppressing more than half the commenters here, and also suppressing (or at least making private, stuck behind a Facebook wall) valid critiques of Christadelphians. I don't accept that. And I do then find it curious that you have made many references to other commenters needing to "support Jon" following an approach I've made it clear I'm not happy with.

    Generally, I'm with Joseph. If you have the ability to run your own site in the way you'd prefer, why not do so? Why come here trying to change this one? I won't be offended or feel threatened by you launching a separate site. I don't see it as a competition over who will get the most page views, or the most comments, or the most Christadelphians deconverted*. If you can reach people I can't and have a useful message for them, then god speed.

    * As I've also said, personally I don't see deconverting people as a goal so much as supporting those who are already walking that path and making those choices for themselves.

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    1. Again, a clarification, I won't support any effort/website that seeks to deconvert Christadelphians. Quite apart from other considerations, numerically it makes no sense. I got involved here 5 years after leaving the Christadelphians, and a couple of years after my marriage ended. At the time I was under considerable stress from life events that had nothing at all to do with the Christadelphians, and are of no consequence here. John welcomed me, and at the time I was juggling a job, childcare, and considerable pressure from my former partner and family to bring the children up as Christadelphians, clearly I was not happy with this, so I have spent a lot of time trying to make sure that they got to adulthood WITHOUT that affiliation, or any other, being imprinted upon them. What they do in adulthood is their own business, however I would like for EVERY child born into a religious home to be free to make that choice for themselves, in adulthood, and would only support ventures along those lines.

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    2. Joseph: I do agree with Jon, support is what we should be about. Most children born into a religious home don`t get the chance early enough in their young lives to make choices. Indoctrination takes hold at a very early age.
      So, I think we are about Deconversion, but this decision must come from within the doubter. By posting articles here which show that the bible record cannot be true, and discussing, is much better than trotting out our grievances against Cds or CDism. I, like Jon, gradually built up my thinking about what I`d been indoctrinated into over time, turning over what I found to be unreasonable CD stones of belief, and finding underneath reasons to not be cheerful about what I was in. It was like building up a Big Mac-Christo, examining layer by layer by layer, until these layers of doubt turned into understanding, and then meant that I could place the bun of decision on top of those layers and bite confidently into a sure deconversion. We need to assist those who are having doubts about the truth of the bible and help them to understand why they are having those doubts.

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  29. Somewhat related: Some here may be interested by this recent article: Why I’m post-religious, and you might be too. I think "post-religion" is a reasonable description of me. In fact, I used it in a blog post of my own a couple of weeks before Dale did... But I know it fits others here less well than it does me, and that's fine. Like he says, not everyone has the privilege to just be able to view religion as irrelevant to them.

    The story of OnlySky is actually relevant to this whole discussion. It's new, and many of the writers moved en masse from an old site when it stopped them from writing negative things about religion. It's only just gone live, so I don't know how it will go - but I have found some of the writers who moved really helpful over the last few years.

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  30. I think we should give John Bedson the reins for a year, and let him drive the carriage, with the agreement that he will not be heavy on censorship. A kind of trial run. He certainly has enlivened this forum.

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    2. So they saved you. You got lucky. They were kind to you, for reasons perhaps known only to them. To draw you back into the fold? Because of past loyalties? Because those individuals who helped you were kind and honorable?

      And for others who have been injured by the CDs....and there are apparently many who fall into that category....they are to remain silent about their injuries? Says who? You? This site isn't solely intended to appeal to the intellects of CDs; it is also a place where others work through the process of healing and exiting the CDs. That often takes much time and a safe place. This has been, for many people, one such place. You are right in some of your comments, but you have no inherent right to define what language should or should not be tolerated on this site. This site is better with your presence, but it will not be significantly damaged by your departure. The fact that it exists is what's important, and it should not exist as club for CDism's apologists and allies. I have seen the wreckage that CDism made of many lives, and it is a dying faith. It will continue to shrivel, like all nonsensical religious belief systems, with or without our input. In the meanwhile, this is a healing center for those departing CDism, and the healing process quite rightly often involves "venting."

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    4. I'm expecting to see photographs of Bedson in a pith hat, grinning broadly with his boot on the "slain" bodies of Gilmore, Bowen, etc, anytime soon.

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    5. Joseph: What I expect soon to learn, is that on every CD meeting place noticeboard and ecclesial website, John will have managed to place a "Lord Kitchener" type poster -- John`s photograph, arm outstretched, pointing, with the message, "The `Former Christadelphian` Website needs YOU!"

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  31. And now I see that Mr. Bedson has written an article about shifting blame onto ourselves, rather onto CDism. If you were injured in the realm of CDism, if you wasted too much of your life in it, that's on you, not on them.

    I will visit the grave of my gay cousin, born of CDs, who heard all his life about the evils of sodomites, before he snuffed himself at the age of twenty-six. He was a beautiful and sensitive boy, unworthy of the filth spewed at him from pulpits. "I feel like I don't belong in this world," he said to me, before he shot himself in the head under a boardwalk. I will visit the grave of my sister, who was told to rely on the other ecclesia members for mental health counseling, rather than go out into the "godless world" seeking it. The advice of her "brothers and sisters in Christ" didn't cut it, with disastrous results. I will visit my aging relatives, who cannot sit in one's presence for more than two minutes without attempting to sell their religious beliefs -- it's like watching trained monkeys regurgitating tricks in a carnival. And they are genuinely unbalanced mentally, clinging to their rancid religious doctrines because they always lacked the courage to live anything resembling a real life. They are still inside the cult, but perhaps they should "blame themselves" also, even though the cult told them they'd be eternally damned for even thinking about fleeing. I used to try to be polite, and not point out that they are encouraged by their boring religion not to have anything genuinely resembling a life. Their faith is their life, they said, and their imaginary God will bless them with palaces in the Kingdom.

    There's lots of Christadelphian carnage. Talk about blaming the victims. Instead, you've made the victimizers and the cattle who facilitate and accommodate them into the victims.

    How neat, and tidy and loyal of you.

    Why is Mr. Bedson being allowed to use this site as his personal playground?

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    2. "Playground" is apt, and John seems to favour playing mostly on swings.

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    6. No, but you should remove the head quickly as it is usually addled and will spoil the other ingredients, and remove the skin and discard, as it is usually very thick and difficult to get through.

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  32. Weak? You're the one who talked about returning to Christadelphianism and sitting in their presence as an atheist. To me, that is what Christadelphians would call it: "A dog, returning to its own vomit."

    It's obvious you're a brilliant thinker. Think about the inconsistencies in some of your own statements. I agree with the bulk of what you say. I just draw the line at worrying about CDs' feelings. "They" don't worry about the feelings of the people they disfellowship, the feelings of other Christians, or the feelings of people who stay in their midst and offend them or their archaic rules.

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  33. You are kind. But why does the prospect of visiting your new website stir fear and uneasiness in me?

    I hope your new site achieves its stated goal. Your heart is in the right place.

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  34. Not sure my message posted. I do indeed hope your new site achieves its stated goal. I'd say it has a shot at it. You are a unique talent, I'll give you that.

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    3. "I`m serious" you say? For Pete`s sake, John; can anyone in their wildest imaginations think that a group of assistant editors on John`s new "Former CDs" site, comprised of Ex-Christadelphians, Former Christadelphians, Christadelphians, and any other Tom, Dick and Harryians, the whole damn shoot of them with deletion rights, are going in any way to agree with one another? Confucius, he say, Confusion will reign supreme. Will they be issued with guns?

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  36. John Bedson, I will indeed consider it.

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  37. John: I wish you all success with your new venture. And, like all of us, you are free to define "success" however you want.

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  38. Lots of truths hurt lots of people. Go into your ordinary CD ecclesia and ask the members to meet and shake the hand of your same sex spouse.

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  39. How can they be the best two "ex-christadelphian" websites on the internet when one of them was set up specifically not to be an "ex-christadelphian" website?

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    2. John: You must have re-joined the Christadelphians AKA the "Old and Confused".

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  40. What is the need to pretend to respect religious delusions? Because it will make adherents of the delusions more likely to hear our polite refutations of said delusions?

    Hardly. Anyone coming to sites like this will be mentally halfway out the ecclesial door already. And I perceive no innate need to respect something that is not remotely respectable -- no more so than any other forms of delusional thinking. CDism is a trap, a prison cell, a way of life that controls and manipulates and exploits its adherents. Part of that control involves the perceived sacred nature of its tenets; we are not permitted to question or criticize them.

    Nuts to that. I think it is important to flaunt such thinking by committing the heresy of calling it out as chicken manure. Blast it to bits, and everything connected to it. My GI uncle entered Belgium during the big war, and had a local tell him, "The Bolshevists are the real threat to Europe. We don't need liberating." Sometimes the prisoners can't even perceive that they're in a cell. If rattling the cell's bars awakens the inmates, go to it.

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  41. I believe Mr. Bedson's new site will be exemplary. My one problem with it will be the ability to control commentary, to restrict speech, and to limit what are deemed to be objectionable critiques. It is better, I think, to err in favor of going in the opposite direction.

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    1. I will mull it over. I have a house full of screaming children. I am a single parent. The kids vanished my personal life. In an attempt to obtain a mother for them, I was disfellowshipped for marrying outside the faith. Their mother departed soon thereafter, as, between the kids and the church, her patience had previously fled.

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  43. Looks like you are back to normal John.. All those commnets from you about being nice seem to be bull-shit... oh well, deep down i wondered that.

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  44. After saying play the ball not the man, and saying that CD individuals are victims, he goes on to call them idiots, which must be very insulting for a CD since they know that idiots can not be saved. The whole thing of chucking people out for not behaving in a certain way also shows that he is wrong when he said, in his now deleted post, that CDs are no worse that any other religion, and defended them against the accusation of being a cult. Its all got somewhat farcical.

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    2. Hassan, John is a canny operator, a lot of what he says here is just clickbait to drive traffic to the other site, you will have to accept that.
      He is however turning away from a few obvious things. With regard to disfellowshipping people, it is not the case that a few "rotten apples" decide and do that. A vote of the whole ecclesia is taken, so if you do get disfellowshipped, you can be sure that more than 50% of your brethren and sisters wanted you gone from off the books. To get a more accurate percentage of how many wanted you gone, you could count how many of them troubled themselves to visit you in person, discuss what was going on in your life, what YOU think, etc. For people who claim to find out the facts for themselves, you will find that this number is very low indeed. Perhaps even zero. So perhaps calling out all of those people as rotten apples or idiots would not be totally unreasonable.

      With regards to them "rejecting much of the junk" and having a a page full of stuff to be rejected. So what? The Anglicans had the 39 articles out in 1571 which set out their stall as to what they did and did not believe, best part of 300 years before Thomas and his lot came out with their list of stuff they didn't like the look of, so no, I won't give them credit for that. Nothing special about it at all, just a list. Worth noting too that the Anglicans don't have constantly field questions about failed prophetic predictions, as they didn't make any.

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    3. Joseph, even the 50% or majority of voters who vote anyone "off" are probably not "rotten apples", they are more than likely simply following sheep-like the proposer and seconder`s lead, which seemed to be the way decisions were made when I was a member of an ecclesia.
      You make a good point about the number of people who take the trouble to find out for themselves, that the numbers will be very low, or as you suggest, even zero, which was the number of caring members who didn`t feel it necessary to contact me during the twelve months I "remained absent from the etc etc", before I was voted off.

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    8. John, one thing I did like over on the other site, is the advice with regard to leaving. Write to them and tell them that you have left, and all that disfellowshipping business goes away. It's the big mistake I made, I just left, didn't write it down. Bad move.

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    9. John, years ago I worked at Rampton Special Hospital for the criminally insane (as it was then known), we were building new secure accommodation. We were amongst some very dangerous people. As part of the site induction procedure, we were reassured not to be worried about the people on the inside, as they were known, under control, and could do no harm. They told us to worry about those on the OUTSIDE who were equally dangerous, but had yet to be identified and locked up.
      I feel much the same about older Christadelphians, leave them in. Let them talk nonsense to each other and shuffle off into the care homes still talking nonsense to each other and not bothering normal old people.

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    12. John, it is up to Jon to decide what is deleted, or not. I don`t think Joseph`s analogy was such that his comment should have been deleted. You persist in stating that you will leave this site -- and you keep on coming back. Concentrate on your new site and leave us "disgusting guys" alone. Jon will decide if we are disgusting, or just gusting.

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    13. So the man who says we should not be insulting to CDs now tells us all 'you guys disgust me', for why? Looks like because we dont agree with him. Since we disgust you and since you already realised there is no appetite for your new approach here, and since this is the second time you have deleted everything you can and the second time you have said you wont be helping, maybe stay away for good this time ?

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    16. John, If Jon has any sense, of which he seems to have an abundance, he will ignore your jibes and insults and let them pass him by as the idle wind and respect them not. Your "hypersonic nuclear tipped missile" shining brightly in the blog firmament, doesn`t appear to have landed on anything yet. You don`t come over as a Second Coming Bedson, you are sounding more like the God of the Old testament.

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    17. Wow, we are getting in his way, oh dear.

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    18. The pandemic and their industrialised conversion of Iranian migrants will have much greater effect that anything John does. I'm interested to see how it pans out, now that some ecclesia's are majority Iranian. Call me a cynic but I assume these conversions are sham to help their case with the home office.

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    19. Further, John, your quote about Jon enjoying a carol service in a cathedral was taken out of context, because you didn`t acknowledge Jon saying that at the same time as enjoying the music he didn`t go along with the message. I too would enjoy, for example, a performance of the "Messiah" or the "Elijah" in a cathedral without in any way believing the bible from where the words were taken.

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    21. It was surrealistic, full of coloured buttons, weird, dream-like, and I expect you got a lot of fun writing it. But, should you have been the one to remove it? Shouldn`t this be Jon`s prerogative?

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    24. Oh Dear! Oh Dear! John says he`s banned me from his new website, and I didn`t get to listen to my little bit of the "Messiah". Still, never mind; I won`t miss his weird words on this site either, because, as he has pointed out to me, they are beyond my comprehension. Just a thought, John, you can`t ban me from your new website, you could ban me from joining, and if you ban all of us, who, if any, are going to feature there? I think, John, you are getting more like Cassandra than he ever was. Cassandra`s vitriolic writing, his unstoppable rantings in the columns of the Daily Express of ancient years, was rarely on the mark of truth, and more erudite and thoughtful correspondents than he could ever be brought him to heel on more than one occasion. Sounds familiar? Now, let`s get back to helping CD`s.

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    25. Since it will most likely be deleted above JB wrote 'For me to write on this website is like flying an F35 jet over a tribe of naked uncontacted indigenous people in the Amazon basin.' So John, why continue to write here ?

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    26. Correction: "Cassandra" (Sir William Neil Connor) wrote in the Daily Mirror, not the Express.

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  45. I think John is both incorrect and correct in some of what he says. We should not damn all Christadelphians for what some rotten apples do. When they as groups give their approval for draconian "disciplinary actions" by being silent, however, we need to note that such silence is a form of consent. And that consent is indeed a reflection of them, in one way or another, in their ecclesial entirety.

    In my ecclesia, some were punished for things for which other members were never punished -- even though the forms of misbehavior might be identical. Also, often no one would make any inquiries about a person's dire circumstances, they simply pounced with the "punishment." There might be disagreement in the ecclesia about some of these matters, but no one would be vocal in trying to halt the punishment.

    Yes, silence is a form of consent. And it is a reflection of their collective morality.

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  46. Why are the admins of this site allowing someone to choreograph a perpetual riot in the comments sections? Why are the admins letting him arbitrarily determine what is or is not an acceptable comment? Since he is so determined to restrict freedom of speech, I would recommend, for the sake of order, that his own access to this site be restricted.

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  47. The fact that all of the comments are now getting clustered in the articles NOT written by Mr. Bedson speaks VOLUMES.

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  48. With a few exceptions, I do not believe you or anyone else should have censorship rights.

    And most people visiting this site will understand that the objectionable parties are the congregants remaining in Christoland, not the ones who have fled it or who have been exiled from it. You defend "the nice people who are Christadelphians" because your heart, in some ways, is still with them. Your sympathies are misplaced. I understand your strategy, of de-converting them by appealing to their reason, without rancor, but you are walking on eggshells without it being necessary. Give it a go, if you must. You have many brilliant insights to offer. Just don't impose rules involving censorship on the rest of us here. At your own site, which I admit is insightful and brilliant, do whatever you like.

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  49. Hassan mentions Iranians becoming CDs in order to get along better with the Home Office. We had a convert from Haiti who would routinely ask for rides to church from other members, and then afterward would cheerfully ask, "Where are you going to be buying our lunch today?" At the end of each luncheon, she would slide the dinner check across the restaurant table to her driver. I went along with it, for a while, to get to know her better. Turned out she'd come into the "Truth" because a missionary couple had initiated contact with her by buying her a new pair of glasses. She then parlayed the connection to the missionaries into aid in getting a visitor's visa to our country. Twenty years later, she has brought eighteen relatives into the country, none of whom have ever set foot in our ecclesia, and which she now attends only every two months, like clockwork, even though she currently lives only six blocks from the ecclesia's building. I ended up wondering, "What are such conversions really worth? And what are the real costs, to Christadelphians and the larger society, when we get hustled in this manner?"

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  50. I know a number of arranging brethren are pleased as punch about baptising dozens of Iranians, seeing it as a great thing to be doing. But have these new members suddenly discarded their Islamic religion in favour of CDism because they're sold on it, or does it help their long term immigration status?
    Also now that a couple of ecclesias are majority Iranian, as the geriatric members fall off their perches, could they vote to sell off the meeting rooms and the land they sit on and pocket the cash? As all ecclesias are autonomous, surely this is a distinct possibility?
    Maybe they are genuine, and will continue to be long term brethren and sisters, but surely there must be some ulterior motive to adopt a western sect en masse? Or am I just being too cynical?

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    1. Mark, I`ve had the same thought as you have about ecclesias being majority Iranian. My thoughts went on, could they vote to allow women to fully take part in presiding, speaking, because in Iran (and in Christadelphia) women object to being second class citizens. Could they vote to accept same sex marriages? Or, as you say Mark, sell off the premises?
      There is an interesting study by Leeds Uni I came across, about Iranians in that city, and the reasons and results of their joining different churches there.

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    2. Immigration is a complex topic, and in the general case probably off topic (so I won't share my thoughts).

      As far as Christadelphians go, I'm sure there are some people who convert because of what they can get out of it (though note this can also be true of people who grew up with it - it's not just new converts). But looking at some of the ways over the years I've seen people who came "from outside" struggle to fit in, I think it is just difficult. Will be different in different ecclesias and different social contexts, but I came to the conclusion that there so many expectations, both written and unwritten, and so much assumed knowledge, none of which the new convert necessarily signed up for.

      Given in my experience most ecclesias made decisions by voting, yes, it would be possible to change the official beliefs and requirements of an ecclesia, though if they wished to continue interacting with e.g. neighbouring ecclesias they might find that harder.

      Dissolving the ecclesia might be harder, depending on how it was actually set up. I'm pretty sure my former ecclesia had specific wind up rules requiring any assets to go to one or more organisations with similar purposes. But even if there was nothing explicit like that, there are likely to be legal requirements about what can and can't be done with the assets. In particular, if an ecclesia was set up on some kind of charitable* or not-for-profit basis, I'd be surprised if its assets could be used to enrich members, though I don't know the actual laws governing it (and they would vary from country to country anyway).

      * I don't believe "advancement of religion" should be a valid charitable goal, and while some Christadelphian charities may have other valid charitable goals, no ecclesias that I've known have.

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  51. We are cynical. And we should be.

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  52. We are being "unsportsmanlike" via our vitriol on this site. We were actually treated well by the CDs, he says, compared to other victims of Christianity in the past. He should speak for himself. Being expelled into the world after living in the bubble of CDism all your life is no picnic. Having your whole family shun you and your children is no picnic. As we know, the public face of a religion is often very different than its private face; in my group there was domestic violence, sexual misbehavior, psychological abuse, financial malfeasance, etc. And my experience was not unique.

    Why is it so imperative that we not display bitterness about such experiences? Is it not clear that many people come to this site and similar sites because they've also been through the wringer?

    Mr. Bedson's sensitivities are misplaced. No amount of vitriol will drive anyone away from this site if they're edging out CD's door already. Why? Because they're edging out CD's doors for the same reasons, big and little, dramatic and undramatic, that made the rest of us leave.

    Bedson's site will have no greater or lesser impact than this one.

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  53. Annaliese HargroveFebruary 8, 2022 at 6:55 PM

    We're now approaching 200 comments here for just the one article above. Because the people commenting know they are free to speak here. What does that tell us about how censorship is viewed, by most of this site's readers?

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  54. Douglas BridgebainFebruary 9, 2022 at 1:44 AM

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  55. John, I've been pondering this for a while - not because others have been calling for it, but because it's been clear for a while that you are not interested in the conversation here, at least not if it's not done your way (a way that changes from day to day anyway).

    "You have 24 hours to read those comments before I delete them. I delete all my stuff because I don't want Christadelphians reading it. This site leaks like the Titanic."

    I think this is very poor form on the internet. There is a place for deletions, like when former editors (including you) have decided to move on and wipe the slate clean. But it's not (or shouldn't be) a routine part of internet discussion.

    Since you've made it clear on multiple occasions you don't want to contribute here, I've removed you as an author. You have your own site. You're welcome to run it your own way. But I don't think you're contributing anything positive to this one.

    I personally am on on good terms with many Christadelphians. And I've also heard many stories of Christadelphian mis-treatment of those who left, often justified on religious grounds. I don't think psycho-analysing commenters you know little about does anything helpful. Each person here is on their own journey based on their own personal situation, and I don't think it is for others to tell them how they should be handling it, let alone conjecturing personality flaws that are causing issues.

    Douglas, I don't think your comment was helpful, either, though I 100% agree the comment of John's you were responding to is out of line.

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  56. Good. Perhaps we now can return to attending to the two primary and the three secondary goals, the reasonable aims, of this site, without the distracting and Janus-like infiltration of a certain party which has taken place over the past few months.

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  57. Well said, Jon Morgan. Moderators: Please delete my last comment. It was pure vitriol, because I was angered by Mr. Bedson's commentary, which suggests that no one here has any real or legitimate grievances in regard to the Christadelphians or the treatment they received in Christadelphianism. My apologies to Mr. Bedson for my ugly language and my apologies to this site. Let me reassure him that some of us were indeed very greatly injured by the faith of which he is so protective. Some of his analyses are accurate, and I wish him good luck with his own website.

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  58. John: I didn't agree with Douglas' comment, and said I didn't agree with it. I have since deleted it at his request. However, your comment he was responding to was uncalled for and offensive, and it wasn't the first one, either. That means I find it hard to take seriously your guidance about what good moderation looks like for other people's comments.

    I happened to be reading an article from a former editor last night: Measuring the success of this blog.

    And perhaps when I started writing about my former religion, I thought it would be enough to explain clearly why I believed what I believed and why I changed, and those who read it would accept it. Even then I wasn't trying to deconvert people so much as make them aware of inconvenient facts I hadn't been aware of, and leave them to make their own conclusions.

    As I've described several times in the last couple of months, my opinion on this has only strengthened. Maybe some of what I write will make people question, maybe it won't - but I think they have to deconvert themselves, and have to be somewhat ready for it before even being willing to read and accept. I'd like to be there for them when I can, but it's their journey and their choices. And some of the people I want to be there for are the people that you are trying to suppress or tell to move on. I don't agree with that.

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  59. Can I propose that we get another dozen comments, to set a new record of 200 comments for this site? And if things get dull again, we can always let John back in the door.....

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    1. We could discuss what an effective approach to CD kids might be, to get them to discuss why they think what they are being taught is truth. How do we get them accessing this site? Do any of us know any such individuals we could email or write to?

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  60. I can hear crickets starting to chirp. Yes, by all means, bring John back, maybe? He certainly kept the party lively.

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    1. Douglas, there are some types of Lively Parties, and other types of Lively Parties, and even in the best of Lively Parties there are sometimes participants who cause trouble.

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    2. Douglas: I'll return when you get that empty headed bureaucrat Jon Morgan banned from this site that I created. Until then, I will work to destroy it and replace it With something that is decent and well mannered.

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  61. You got that right. Is there a CD group that speaks specifically to CD youth? I don't know. Maybe. There is some kind of academy in Canada, which some CDs have even move to Canada to be near. I don't know much about it.

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  62. As for the Internet, I haven't been able to find a group specifically tailored to CD young people. It may exist, I dunno.

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  63. Most CD young people flee upon reaching adulthood. The ones who stay are often kept in the flock by tight family ties, or effective brainwashing. How I stayed in the sect after reaching adulthood I don't know, except that I loved my parents and wanted very much to give my baptism to them as a gift of love.

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  64. I suspect the same is true for many other Christadelphians who are growing up. When the faith means everything to your parents, it's very hard to go through the process of rejecting it; it is akin to rejecting one's parents' love, after a fashion.

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    1. It is very difficult to leave the CDs when your parents, whom you love, are very much into CDism and you know they will be devastated if you leave -- especially if you were indoctrinated from the cradle. Every family situation is different.

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  65. John Bedson, you have a lot to offer. Just offer it without censoring anyone else.

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  66. "Love" indeed brings many young people into the CDs -- the love they have for their parents, and their feeling that they must fulfill their parents' desire for their children to be baptized. I did not successfully leave the CDs until my parents had died. I do not regret giving them the gift of my baptism, as they were wonderful people and I would have walked through fire for them. Still, on some level, I never really believed CD doctrine, I was simply going along with my parents' wishes. On some level, it was always a lie, and some inner voice was telling me: "Just fake it, for now. You owe it to them."

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  67. Douglas: Your intellect is desired here. Your censorship is not. Your wit and insights are desired here. Your dogmatic pontificating are not. You have a lot to offer. Allow yourself to remain and give it.

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