by Bil Aulenbach

Old Ideas, New Ways

Religions and Cults

One Sunday morning, in an adult education class, I was talking with someone about one of my recent blog posts that stated that Mormonism is a cult. One man, a Mormon who attends my church, denied this vehemently.

I believe that religions like Mormonism, Roman Catholicism, and fundamentalism continue to fan the flames of anti-LGBTQUI hostility.… Read more >

Can I Save Myself?

I recently read Damascus Gate, a novel by Robert Stone that talks about Israel’s four-thousand-years-long quest for a Messiah. At one point, a character says, “I am my own Messiah.” Interesting!

For as long as I can remember, the church has told me that I can’t save myself. Is that because I’m not smart enough or because the church wants to control me and every facet of my life?… Read more >

Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary

This old nursery rhyme plays in my head whenever I read about the women who were at the cross when Jesus died, most of whom were named Mary (Matthew 27:55–56, Mark 15:40, and John 19:25).

To me, the most important one, and the only one named in all three accounts, was Mary Magdalene from the tiny fishing village of Magdala on the west side of the Sea of Galilee.… Read more >

Are Christians Monotheists?

The definition of monotheism is “the doctrine or belief that there is only one god.” Christians and Jews claim that their religions are monotheistic.

I was baptized (at three weeks old) and raised in the Episcopal church, which I loved until I went to college. There, I learned to think, ask questions, and doubt many of my core beliefs.… Read more >

“One Minute After You Die”

I was on my way to my spin class when I saw a pamphlet entitled “One Minute after You Die” on the ground. I picked it up and read it. Yikes!

It promised that one minute after I die, I’ll “either be enjoying a personal welcome from Christ or catching [my] first glimpse of gloom as [I] have never known it.”

Reality says that one minute after I die, I will start to decompose, and nobody will welcome me to the afterlife.… Read more >

What’s the WOG?

I recently learned that Christianity has two WOGs. A few weeks ago, I wrote about the first WOG, which stands for the “Word of God.” I explained that even though the words sound very religious, they don’t mean anything to me because I don’t believe that God wrote the Bible. Human beings wrote it.… Read more >

What’s the “Word of God?”

Often when someone finishes reading a passage from the Bible, they’ll say, “The Word of God.” I find this confusing. What does that mean?

Perhaps the reader is quoting a letter from Paul, John, or James. I imagine this practice started because sometime in the church’s early history, someone found a letter written by Paul, who never met Jesus but put forth some strange ideas.… Read more >

The Immaculate Conception Equals the Immaculate Deception

I read a fun story in the newspaper last week about a congressman who received a lecture from a radio commentator because he confused the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception with the doctrine of the Incarnation—an easy thing to do, since both are total foolishness.

One might call the Immaculate Conception and the Incarnation fake news from long ago, but the church insists on continuing to market this fake news to its own detriment.… Read more >