Is The Painful Truth Atheist?
Visitors to this website are sometimes shocked to find many articles that are not only anti-Armstrong, but also seem to be "anti-God". Many over the years have sent emails encouraging us not to lose faith, assuring us that God still loves us even though our cult experience may have felt as if He didn't. The authors of these emails generally seem to mean well, and presumably write out of true concern. They seem to think that The Painful Truth is an atheist site.
It's interesting to note that when people leave the Churches of God, they go in different directions. Many exit out of desperation, still wondering which church is the true church, and try different cults hoping to find it. Others turn mainstream, embracing one of the traditional Protestant (or Catholic) religions; still others eschew church entirely, either worshipping alone or with friends; and a surprising number disavow religion entirely.
The many authors of the articles on this site are, as far as I know, almost all ex-WCG or ex-COG. Some left the cults years, even decades, ago; others left more recently. While we all shared a common experience, upon exit we often drew different conclusions. Many of us remained Christians of one sort or another, but many others, perhaps most of us, did not.
Does that mean we are atheists?
Some of the authors on this site do claim to be atheists, others agnostics. Just what does all that mean?
Christians across the planet seem to feel threatened by atheists, believing that the word "atheist" equates to "hating God". While it's true that many atheists probably do hate God, that isn't what the word really means. It doesn't even mean that an atheist is against God, or opposed to God. Houghton Mifflin defines "atheist" as follows:
One who disbelieves or denies the existence of God or gods.
In other words, it isn't about being "against" God, it's simply that an atheist is not a believer. To be "against" God, one wouldn't be an atheist, but an "anti-theist". The prefix "a" simply means "without".
Remember high school biology? Single-cell reproduction? Single-cell animals reproduce by dividing their cells. They reproduce without sex, and are called "asexual". That doesn't mean they are "against" sex, they simply don't have sex. Some people are described as "amoral"; that doesn't mean they are immoral, just that morality isn't a factor with them.
An a-theist, therefore, is someone without a deity. Period.
The same is true of the agnostic. Remember your Pagan Studies indoctrination, all those dreary Saturday afternoons in WCG? The Gnostics were a sect in ancient times who thought they knew everything. Literally. Hence the name "Gnostic", which is derived from a Greek word that means "knowledge". Agnostic (i.e., "a-Gnostic") simply means the opposite -- "I don't know all the answers".
But What About The Painful Truth?
So is The Painful Truth an atheist, anti-God website? Does the fact that so many articles here seem opposed to God mean that we are all atheists, agnostics, or God-haters?
I can't speak for anyone but myself, of course, but we've had many discussions among ourselves, and on the PT Forum, and I know that some of the staff here are indeed atheists. Others (including me) are agnostics. But predominantly, it seems the majority of us (again including me) are deists.
The belief, based solely on reason, in a God who created the universe and then abandoned it, assuming no control over life, exerting no influence on natural phenomena, and giving no supernatural revelation.
While many articles on this website may sound angry or bitter toward God, if you look carefully I think you'll see that, predominantly, that anger and bitterness is aimed at the God defined in the Bible, which is pretty much fiction. (The question of God can be argued convincingly from either side. See the new articles "The Case for God" and "The Case Against God" on the home page.)
This website contains a great deal of information, most of it documented, that proves the fraudulent and abusive nature of the WCG and the shrewish COG daughters it spawned. A great deal of personal experience is recounted here as well, and one can learn from these pages. I hope that no one will deny themselves access to this information simply because they fear this is an atheist website. We're neither atheist nor Christian. We simply provide information for those who want it.
We're here for you, and we hope you'll see the light, even if you don't agree with our view on God.
You are free to choose.
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