I am a survivor of cultism, now in my seventies, who wants to share his accumulated experiences and the lessons he has learned with whomever he can.
I opted out of the cultic organization (The Worldwide Church of God) that had monopolized my life and thinking for over 20 years in 1974-75.
In the intervening years, I have progressed in fits and spurts to the relative stability of being an agnostic atheist who believes in none of the gods and religions currently extant in the world.
I pray to no god.
I bow to no priesthood.
I think for myself.
In the past year or so, I have been a regular contributor to The Painful Truth blog at: http://www.hwarmstrong.com/, and have twice been its guest editor. There is a dedicated section of my articles on this site: http://www.hwarmstrong.com/al_dexter.htm, which includes my autobiographical book, Believing the Unbelievable -- Into and Out of Fanaticism.
I first tried to publish and market this book on my own and spent several hundred dollars on the project only to come up against the barrier facing all authors. There are just too many books out there. There is one absolutely true statement in the Bible; “...of making many books there is no end” Eccles. 12:12. After Gutenberg, that became even more of a truism. And, getting enough promotion going to be successful is virtually impossible. So, I put it online and forgot about being a successful author in the commercial market.
Many people no longer buy books. They cost a lot. They take up a lot of space, and most of them sit on a shelf or coffee table and are never really read. Most information one wants can now be found by a simple web search – free. On a whim, I recently bought a book on Alexander Hamilton at a yard sale. It looks like it was never read, and, you guessed it, I haven't read it either. I have lots of partially read books in my library.
The internet has been a boon to those with a message. Finally, an affordable vehicle with worldwide potential open to anyone who has the ability to put their thoughts in writing.
One has to develop a lot of courage and go through much emotional upheaval to come to the place in which I now stand. I'm basically right back where I started as a skeptical teenager, before the siren song of Herbert Armstrong's hypnotic voice and writings overwhelmed my youthful naivete and turned me into a goose stepping fanatic akin to the Hitler youth of the previous generation.
I count myself a free thinker in the mold of Thomas Paine. Paine is revered as one of our great thinkers and a founding father. Many of those who extol him have never read his book, The Age of Reason. If they had, they would have serious questions about the current push to paint the United States of America as a Christian nation. You can find his book here: http://www.hwarmstrong.com/age-of-reason-00.htm.
Paine was an outright avowed atheist!
Others, like Benjamin Franklin (who himself stated the fact), Thomas Jefferson and George Washington, were more in tune with Deism, the belief that a god started it all and then took a hands off policy. Prior to Darwin, that was a logical conclusion to many educated people.
Thomas Paine is no longer around to counter the lies of the religious right, so I've decided to be one of those who stand in for him.
Hence, the title of this blog.