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The Sounds of Fundamentalism: Former Atheist Howard Storm Says Atheists Are Ignorant

howard storm

This is the one hundred and eighty-second installment in The Sounds of Fundamentalism series. This is a series that I would like readers to help me with. If you know of a video clip that shows the crazy, cantankerous, or contradictory side of Evangelical Christianity, please send me an email with the name or link to the video. Please do not leave suggestions in the comment section.  Let’s have some fun!

Today’s Sound of Fundamentalism features a video clip of atheist-turned-Evangelical Howard Storm talking about an out-of-body experience that took him to hell. Storm spins a fantastical story, yet he thinks atheists are the ignorant ones?  Storm says if atheists will just ask Jesus if he is real and sincerely ask him to come into their lives, he will indeed show us that he is real and come into our lives. Go for it! atheist friends.

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Series Navigation<< The Sounds of Fundamentalism: Man Dies, Soul Goes to Hell, Satan Laughs at HimThe Sounds of Fundamentalism: Tony Hutson Prays in a Restaurant — Supposedly >>


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    I am too scared to ask Jesus if he is real. What if Satan is really good at impersonations, and as tricksey as Sacha Baron Cohen?

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    I don’t for a second believe this guy in his claim of having formerly been an atheist. His entire character is inconsistent with the type of atheism I recognise and interact with, in which there’s a level of reasoning that’s just never displayed in this clip. I know it appears we’re back in ‘no true Scotsman’ territory, but the fact is that I’m yet to see reasoning by a religious believer that is in the least tiny, tiny, bit convincing. They try, and of course they think they are using reason, to the extent that they even pretend, perhaps unintentionally in a deluded way, to have once been atheists, but they weren’t.

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    okay I can’t resist. Look this guy up. he was an art professor in Kentucky for 20 years. He had a perforated duodenum (which by the way mispronounces and the hosting interviewer uses his mind to misinterpret as something else entirely), and he was in a French hospital in severe pain and without a doubt heavily medicated with substances likely to heavily affect his mentation, including probably hallucinations.

    At this point I would like to point out that he was indoctrinated as a child in the dogma of Christianity and when the psychoactive drugs took effect, they wove the very painful stimuli he was receiving from his bowel perforation and misinterpreted it as the evils of hell or whatever bizarre perceptions that he’s describing.

    These type of out of body experiences are not surprising given the way the brain works when crippled by injury or drugs. This type of experience is not unique in the hospital. It has nothing to do with death and more to do with injured or impaired functioning of the brain when impaired by injury or drugs.

    Whole religious denominations have been founded upon post traumatic brain injury. I’m speaking here for example of Ellen White who was hit in the head with a rock as a child and later had visions (or hallucinatory seizures?) of heaven with which she founded the Seventh-Day Adventist Church in which I grew up.

    Lastly the common denominator of all religious nut cases is the bizarre argument that even though humans are fallible and very bad at thinking and basically inadequate in the role of thinking logically, we must listen to some other equally fallible human being to know about how to find truth thru this other fallible human being’s imaginary friend!

    It is left to the naive listener to figure out how these humans came to their “superior” knowledge and extrasensory perception outside their human bodies, bodies so fallible and imperfect. Or even better how they came to these amazing deductions under the influence of heavy opiate medication!

    So we should just ask an imaginary friend if this imaginary friend exists, and if something even slightly unusual happens (such as a warm feeling inside!), then that is proof that he does!

    And we know it’s all true because it’s written down in a 2000 year old book cobbled together by people who had an agenda of their own.

    All of this fantasizing is perfectly harmless, right? The government doesn’t subsidize any of it by giving preachers tax breaks on their churches and homes, and these preachers only give of their own resources, never asking for money from elderly widows who can barely afford to eat. Nope, this is all good, perfectly harmless fantasy! (This comment posted on YouTube also to balance the many mindless posts endorsing this painter-not-from-Austria. Should be interesting to compare responses here and there)

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    Searching for the real God/Jesus during a personal study of the whole bible is exactly what lead me right out of Christianity and faith in any god. I had specifically prayed and asked God to reveal himself to me, and now I’m an atheist. So, yeah…

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    I’d just like to say that I know Howard very well. I’ve seen countless videos featuring him, I’ve exchanged several emails with him. He is extremely consistent and honest when describing his NDE experience. I, personally, do not doubt his NDE was real. There’s serious scientific research dealing with NDE’s. For those interested I’d recommend Dr. Jeffrey Long’s books. I know Howard Storm can get emotional sometimes but he is the exact opposite of a fundie. He certainly was not indoctrinated by Christianity even though he had some Sunday school experience, etc. (many fundies actually completely disagree with lots of things he believes). He is a great honest critic of Christian institutions and would certainly agree with many many things Bruce writes about. He is a very kind and nice person. What he believes hell is (or what he experienced) is nothing like the institutional version of hell used to scare people and keep them within the walls of Christianity. Although a devoted Christ follower in his NDE he was told there is no one right religion – what matters is love (exactly what Bruce now believes). In Bruce’s terms he was not an atheist, he was a self-centered egotistic materialistic NONE before his NDE . The problem with short videos and bombastic titles like the one Bruce posted is that it distorts the original story and makes it part of an agenda of someone else. His “hellish experience” was simply him in a company of other self-centered egotistic NONE’s – no demons, no typical Christian scary shit. Something like – imagine what 50 Trumps would do to each other on a lonely island kind of thing. Howard is the first one to tell you that all that matters is love and that you don’t have to know the name of Jesus at all (unlike what many of us have experienced in the evangelical world). If you really want to learn what Howard believes I’d recommend not to go for bombastic TV shows, but look up vids that are calm and peaceful such as this one
    I am a huuge fan of what Bruce is doing and I believe he’s doing exactly what Howard was told. He is loving and healing people whose lives have been extremely fucked up by religion. So I hope Bruce will keep it up. Many times after I finish reading your post, Bruce, I just whisper to myself, “I love you, man…” There’s tremendous honesty and courage within you. In my eyes you’re a hero, a warrior for the truth.

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      Bruce Gerencser

      My focus was on what Howard actually said in this video. If he is all the things you say he is, then he truly harmed his cause by — to use your word — bombastically attacking atheists.

      Thank you for the kind words.


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        In this video you posted they kinda push him into an ironical sarcastic mode that is supposed to be funny. You yourself do this kind of stuff a lot on this blog towards arrogant Christians, but you also many times explain that you don’t have any problem whatsoever with kind and good non-fundies. Judging Howard based on one sarcastic moment is like judging you, Bruce, based on one sarcastic blog. It would be completely out of context. One needs to know you more to understand that the real reason why you’re doing all this is love for broken people. I know that because I’ve read so many of your blogs. It’s hard to address Christians as a whole as it is hard to address atheists as a whole; you yourself know there are many fundie arrogant atheists. I’m absolutely convinced that Howard is not speaking to honest atheists who have a long journey of thoughtful deconversion behind them, strive for healing from religious abuse, and are trying to live loving lives (as many people on this blog are). He is addressing self-centered egotistic NONE’s who worship only their self, their greed and their egoism – there are probably many people like that in materialistic societies. It takes time to know Howard as it takes time to really know Bruce. I’m glad that I’ve invested mine to get to know both of you and now I know you are both fantastic loving people. He is trying to do the very thing that you are – spread practical goodness and love. Both of you sometimes get misquoted or misunderstood. That’s how I see it and that is why I chose to defend him here.

        You’re welcome for the kind words, they were more than honest.

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    She knows Howard extremely well because she’s watched a bunch of his videos and exchanged emails? Really, you know him extremely well? I doubt it.

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    Harold Roy Holmyard

    Thanks for sharing the good video.. I like Howard Storm and believe in Jesus. I gather you no longer do, and that is a profound mistake, in my view.

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      Harold, belief and disbelief are not choices – they’re conclusions based on what we perceive to be real or unreal.

      One cannot turn belief on or off – the only choice is whether to pretend to believe, or to acknowledge that we are unconvinced.

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        Harold Holmyard

        Astreja, that seems right, but God does not see it that way, saying through the apostle Paul in Acts 17:30; ‘The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent, 31 because he has fixed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed; and of this he has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead.” If unbelief is a state of rebellion from the truth, which Scripture says we know by the things created, then belief can be a matter of the will.

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          Actually I disagree Harold. If there is god then it will recognise that we have no control over our beliefs, insofar as they’re based on reason, and will reward sincerity, not belief.

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          Harold, I do not consider Paul of Tarsus to be an authority on, well, anything important. I also doubt that your imaginary god can see anything at all, and believe that literally every word in the Bible is 100% of human origin, 0% divine origin

          I know that I have never believed in the god of Christianity, not even for a moment, and I do not give any value at all to religious faith or to scripture.

          Unbelief is not “a state of rebellion from the truth.” In my eyes, it is the truth. Why would I want to waste time trying to hypnotize myself into sort-of-but-never-quite-believing childish crap like Jesus coming back from the dead? I already have what I want, and I don’t want what you have on offer.

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      Harold, if the Bible is infallible what do you do when you find out it’s not accurate? Now if faith is the evidence of things not seen, what do we do when we can see there was no Adam and Eve?

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    James Verner

    I haven’t studied Bruce’s background since I’ve only arrived on this site, but when you say you used to belong to an Evangelical church and now you are an atheist, that has happened a lot of people–for various reasons. I used to be on the outside looking in, so I have a good idea of what you feel like now, much of which includes a terrible feeling of emptiness, with bravado and anti-theist language. I am an 83-year-old who can’t wait to meet Jesus on the other side–and I wish you would join me.

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