I say semi OT because so much of this NG is about Dr. Chungs beliefs and the reaction from other posters about his beliefs Beyond the Fundamentals For as long as I can remember, I have been a seeker. A ravenous searcher, filled with questions and wonderment of the most profound nature. I can recall as if just yesterday, lying in my bed at the age of five and pondering; "if the universe ends, as it surely must, what is just beyond that ending?" I remember getting shivers down my spine as I imagined the blackness of "nothing" prior to the beginning of "everything". Surely these questions and inquiries have not withered as my human mind developed. We all desire answers, truth, and meaning to our existence. Along with this we possess an innate need and appeal for love, companionship, and a sense of belonging, from the highest conceptual sphere down to simple interactions with others. Living in our largely Christian culture, my quest led me inevitably to the question of either embracing or denying the claims of Christianity. By nature I am not one to ride the fence on an issue of such profound importance and implication. Although I believe that individual perception is relative, I feel strongly that there should be a clear response to claims of such a resounding nature. In my early twenties, during my undergraduate college studies, I said yes to these claims and eventually fully embraced the claims of fundamentalist Christianity. In answer to our desires and needs as stated, the belief systems of Christianity do provide a meaning, a purpose, and a love from the highest philosophical standpoint (the key word is "a" instead of "the"). One thing stood in the way of resting in this traditional mindset; an evolving, ever deepening intellectual hunger that desired truth above all else. As a freethinker, I increasingly struggled with "hand me down" thought processes, dogma, and foundations of ideology. Intellectual honesty within myself needed to be addressed. I respect, and in a fleeting sense, envy those who have a deep faith in their religious beliefs. There is rest, peace, and much contentment in many who possess an authentic faith. Faith can be defined as "confident belief". As knowledge expanded in so many areas, including but not restricted to, logic, psychology, philosophy, neurophysiology, evolution, physics, and world religions, my beliefs progressed further and further from confidence in fundamentalist Christianity as truth and more accurately into confidence in the falsity therein. But what of meaning and purpose? There is an abundance of this in every moment alive if the perceptions and desires are present. In nature, relationships, humanitarianism, art, music, love, thought, play, compassion, self actualization etc. What I needed and have realized is that constantly reaching for ultimate meaning can easily invade and deplete meaning from everyday events and the beauty that is amongst us. There will certainly be pain, sorrow, and loneliness at times in those who do not possess a specific concrete theistic belief. However these are natural human emotions and are quite equally replete in individuals who subscribe to traditional theology. On the other side of the examination, there is absolute joy, with an absolution of unnecessary guilt, clothed in a magical freedom (thus the term freethinker), in standing on your own honest beliefs. You need not writhe through dogma you know is illogical, or superstition that you clearly perceive as silly; you dismiss them as just that. With all due respect, I do find it humorous and compelling to hear from individuals in fundamentalist Christian circles about the "problem" with freethinking. Everything from sinful selfishness and pride, to being blinded by Satan and destined for eternal torment. One thing is forgotten by those whom I love and respect in these circles, that is that I had been there for over eight years and have heard, studied, and examined these beliefs in depth. I do not dismiss them due to ignorance, or the reasons just stated, but due to honesty within myself, empowered by experience and wisdom. Upon the time of this writing, I feel that I am, in a multitude of ways, much more spiritually alive than previously. With the shredding of false and unnecessary binds, freeing me to explore various cultural and historical philosophical and theological ideologies, it becomes an exciting time to be alive. In addition, this freedom has been entwined with my own creative spiritual insights, adding to the expanding fulfillment. There are still those who will try to bind and control the flow of a freethinker and ex-fundamentalist for whatever the purported reason; they would have you believe that it emanates from sincere belief. I tend to feel that it originates more often than not from one or more of the following; a desire for control, power, self satisfaction, and/or an insecurity that their own beliefs may have gaping holes that can be exposed upon honest objective examination. There are many truths yet to discover, and I am excited about this journey. When all the dust settles from debate, discussion, and searching. I shall choose to die, not in submission with blinders on, but rather in the forefront, with wonderment, honesty, and freedom in my heart.