Brian Flemming on Fox News Channel January 28, 2007

Brian Flemming on Fox News Channel

Wow. John Kasich of Fox News is really frightened about the Blasphemy Challenge.

Co-Founder of the Challenge, Brian Flemming, sat with him for an interview last night.

It’s intense.

(Incidentally, the other co-founder was Brian Sapient, who I spoke to a couple weeks ago.)

[tags]John Kasich, Fox News, Blasphemy Challenge, Brian Flemming, Brian Sapient, atheist, atheism[/tags]
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  • Alison

    This is a letter I recently wrote to filmmaker Brian Flemming after watching the film The God Who Wasn’t There:


    For the first time in my life, someone has reflected back to me the kind of kind of utter confusion, anxiety, stress, and often panic that I experienced being raised in a fundamentalist, evangelical christian community. I, too, was a christian ? one who earnestly and perpetually tried to come to terms with “reality” inside of the “absolute truth” of christian teachings. The constant presence of obvious inconsistency without logical explanation, however, which seemed rarely to weigh as significantly on the hearts of christians around me as on me, was never overcome by that “peace that passes all understanding” that Faith was taught to provide.

    The beginning of the end of my identity as a christian was at the age of 27, when the lifetime of internal struggle finally gave way to the discernment best described as:
    “This has never made sense enough for me to be absolutely sure of it (no matter Who says one can be absolutely sure of it) AND I’m tired of trying to make it make sense AND I’m tired of trying to simply accept through Faith what doesn’t make sense AND I’m tired of being afraid of hell for myself and others because I/they can’t feel honest in accepting it like it is”.
    My departure from christianity occurred even as the programmed fear of hell and satan and antichrists and raptures with trumpets blaring and people flying up in the sky still held me. My journey beyond christendom began with me watching an 8 part PBS documentary explaining Darwinian evolutionary theory, borrowed from the library. Prior to this, even though I was always very curious about the nature of the universe, I was too scared to research such things and I certainly had no mentors to turn to. I grew up in a world were Darwin was likened to satan’s right-hand man in deception ? I even remember 2 popular christian pop songs by Steven Curtis Chapman and Geoff Moore and the Distance criticizing evolution (in fact, I just located the lyrics- see and I watched the Darwin documentary and the more I saw and heard, the more I cried – for the first time basic questions about the nature of the world around me were not only answered, but making logical sense. My continuing, personal exploration to understand “how things work” has happily broadened since then to include many diverse sciences. And when I don’t understand something or experience skepticism toward some concept, not having everlasting damnation as a likely punishment is a definite plus. 🙂

    I am crying right now, so I don’t think I will write much more at the moment even though the memories also leave me feeling compelled to provide you with details (I think because now I know there is another person who could even begin to understand these experiences). I truly believe most people not part of the mainstream christian world have little idea of the nature of the specific ideologies perpetuated there. As an analytical, thoughtful, and creative child, not only were they confusing, they were truly frightening. Lack of acceptance being equated with eternal excruciating torment was only one of many terrifying concepts that plagued my inner world even as I was perpetuating pleasantness in the foreground.

    Here is a recent promotional video for the school I went to – very similar to yours. It wasn’t a small school when I attended there, and it has grown incredibly since that time. I believe most who are part of the school have the best intentions in saying and doing what they do. However, they don’t talk very much on the front end about their ideas that the God in whom these students will be taught to cultivate absolute trust is also the God who damns you if you don’t trust. This video is only about the love and nurture, not the ‘accept or else’ dimension they just as readily believe and teach about God:

    My entire family is still a part of christianity, and my siblings’ children are being brought up in christian schools now.

    I don’t want to be an evangelist of any ideology, but I would like in some way to be a part of creating a new meme. I would also very much enjoy meeting ex-christians who are not bitter about their experiences, yet mindful of the significance of this issue ? who could be better to heartfully and compassionately create new possibilities than those who have experienced life from both sides of this issue?

    Ironically, my Netflix account delivered your movie later than expected, so I’m watching it on the day before easter. Mom invited me, yet again, to easter dinner with the family. I believe I’ll pass. (lol)

    – Alison

  • Paularenas26

    I would like to explain what people refer to as “The Gospel” or “Good News”.  In this explanation, I will discuss God’s grace, which unfortunately so many people do not understand or have never been clearly explained.  

    Unfortunately, many people attend a Christian church regularly (or attended one in the past) but have never been clearly taught what the Bible stresses as the most important decision that one could ever make.   It is only in making this decision that one actually becomes one of God’s children and is “saved” from His eternal judgment.  This decision deals with what is referred to as “The Gospel”.  If you have never heard “The Gospel” before, here it is.  Around 33 AD, Jesus Christ, who is God incarnate, paid the price for every single person’s sin in history by dying the death of crucifixion at the hands of the Romans.  He willingly died for every person’s sin that has ever lived and every will live.  That includes both you and me.  He willing died a death that we deserve for our moral failures in life.  Jesus was brutally beaten, whipped, mocked, spit upon, nailed to a wooden cross, and then died.  Three days later, He rose from the dead, as He foretold His disciples (group of followers).  Jesus then ascended into heaven forty days later.  He currently lives with God, His father, in heaven today.  During Old Testament times (times prior to the birth of Jesus Christ – B.C.), people had a keen awareness of their moral guilt, as any honest person still does today.  I know that I have wronged many people and have felt a deep-seated guilt within many areas of my life.  Many people during Old Testament times sacrificed animals to God as a form of limited atonement for their immoral actions.  God often accepted these sacrifices, but only in a temporary and limited way.  Over time, God changed this extremely limited form of atonement, as He had planned from the very beginning of time.  Moreover, God sent His one and only son Jesus Christ down to the Earth.  Since Jesus was both sinless and blameless, He willingly died on the cross as an unlimited atonement.  It was in God’s will for His son to die in this way.  This unlimited atonement is available to any person who whole-heartedly repents of their sins (moral failures) and then asks God to personally apply Jesus’ undeserved death and resurrection as a payment for their sins.  It is imperative here that one believes the crucifixion of Jesus Christ was ultimately an act of God’s grace.  God did not have to offer an escape from our moral guilt and eternal punishment.  However, God is gracious.  He has a compassion and love for people that is indescribable.  God wants to “wipe the slate” clean for us, in regards to our moral failures.  Through this action, we could then enter a personal relationship with His son Jesus Christ and escape his eternal judgment.  The Bible refers to moral failures as ‘sin’, or missing the mark of God’s perfect standard of morality.  “Sin” is an ancient archery term for an arrow that missed the target.  God is loving in the purest sense of the word and would like to grant us victory over the sins that still haunt us from our past.  All we have to do is accept this gift of grace from Him.  It is free.  

    God promises us a way to become morally blameless and gain entrance into heaven after living our physical live here on Earth.  Here is what we must willingly do on our part.  First off, we must truly believe that God is gracious and extended His grace by allowing His one and only son to die as a ransom for our sins on the cross.  We must admit to God that we have failed morally during our lifetime and that Jesus Christ’s brutal death on the cross is the only sacrifice that could ever forgive our sins.  After making this decision (accepting God’s grace), we are immediately forgiven of all past, present, and future sins.  In addition, we would be guaranteed entrance into heaven after our physical death here on Earth.  We would then live with both God and His son Jesus forever.  We would be guaranteed to see all of our loved ones who had made this decision during his or her physical lives on Earth.

    You could make this decision today.  Please do not wait for the “perfect time”.  You could ask God for eternal forgiveness through applying the death and resurrection of Jesus to your life within the quietness of your bedroom tonight.  This is the most important decision that you will ever make.  

    So you might be asking, “Where in the Bible does it explain what has just been summarized?”  Here are some passages clearly stating that Jesus seeks a personal relationship with us:

    “that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation. 
      – Romans 10:9-10

    “Therefore repent and return, so that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord; “
    – Acts 3:19

    “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.”
      – John 3:16

    As long as you repent of your past sins (moral failures) from the heart, confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord, and apply Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection on the cross as a payment for your sins, you are guaranteed eternal life with God in heaven.  You can make this decision at any time, anywhere.  You can make this decision alone with God or within a group setting.    

    Please know that one cannot sit the fence on making this decision of accepting God’s gift of grace.  If one chooses not to decide, he or she has still made a choice.  This would be like receiving a check (hearing “The Gospel”) but never endorsing and cashing it in at the bank (personally applying Jesus’ death on the cross and resurrection towards one’s sins).

    “He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.” 
    – John 3:18

    The result of not choosing to accept Gods gift of grace, which offers eternal life with both Him and Jesus in heaven is clear.  You will live the remainder of your life here on Earth apart from Jesus Christ and His empowerment.  You will then follow your life plan and not His plan for you.  After you physically die, you will then be brought to a dark place where there is “weeping and gnashing of teeth”.  It is a place of eternal regret.  Here, you will remember this very letter and how you were told the truth but chose not to repent and begin a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.  Remember, if you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice.  You could be diagnosed with a terminal illness tomorrow or be the recipient of a head-on collision while returning home on that all too familiar, two-lane highway this Friday night.  If you are considering starting your personal relationship with Jesus Christ, please do not wait to make this decision.  You never know what tomorrow will bring.

    The following passage outlines the only requirements Jesus Christ has set to both gain eternal life and begin a personal relationship with Him while you are still alive here on Earth.  He makes it crystal-clear in the Bible what is required… 

    “that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation. 
      – Romans 10:9-10

    God has a plan for your life.  You can watch this plan unfold once you accept His gift of grace.  This great plan involves your life experience while here on Earth and continues after your physical death on into heaven. 

    “For I know the plans that I have for you”, declares the Lord, “plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.  Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you.  You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.” 
    – Jeremiah 29:11-13

    Please consider what I have said here.  I am not sure if you have ever made this decision before, but I needed to make sure that you had the facts.  If you should decide that you want to learn more about the life of Jesus and gain a better understanding of authentic Christianity, I strongly recommend reading the book of John within the Bible (NASB or NIV translation).  

    In closing, here is a verse that someone once shared with me that finally brought me into a relationship with God during an extremely low point physically and emotionally.  The understanding of Jesus’ desire to know me personally changed my life forever.  Here it is:

    “Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with Me.”  
    – Revelation 3:20

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