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Lyra last won the day on August 15 2016

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  • Still have any Gods? If so, who or what?

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  1. Does anyone know of good books, or other types of stories that could promote philosophical discussion (like movies, shows or story-rich video games) that could plant seeds of doubt to get someone to start questioning their religion? I don't mean books like "The God Delusion" or "Why Religion is False" that are so obvious they'd make any believer refuse to crack the cover. I mean ones where the message is subtle enough that they'll read it, but will get them on that logical path. For example, George Orwell's "1984," or any other story about totalitarian mind-control government, like "The Matrix." You could read/watch it together, start off a discussion about governments who brainwash their people, and then transition into "But what if this applied to religion too?"
  2. Hey y'all, thank you for responding. Sorry it took me so long to write back. Faithfulless, what you said was especially spot-on. I write novels and also volunteer on an anti-abuse hotline because I identify with that drive to make an impact on the world. I guess it's common for that to go hand-in-hand with anxiety. I hung out with my aunt last weekend. It was fun and cool and she didn't say a word about the dryer, probably because she doesn't give a shit about that conflict anymore. My parents mailed me a children's Bible coloring book for my 25th birthday. Isn't that strange? I have no problem with gifts that aren't the best fit, and I was able to say thank you and be polite (like i would if it was a sweater I didn't like or something). But even being Christian, who sends a kid's coloring book to a 25 y-o-?? I haven't lived with them since 17 when I finished high school, and I've been financially independent since I landed my first job at graduation time. Definitely not a kid by any stretch. I like art, but a children's Bible coloring book? Does anyone else find that supremely weird? I'm not sure what to think it means. Also, during a phone conversation with my dad, he asked if I'd found a church yet in my new city. I said "I'm going to a Unitarian church that I like a lot and have made great friends at," which is true (I'm not religious but I do believe in spirituality and a higher-power, just not Biblegod), and he just said "Find a good Baptist church" as if he didn't give a shit about what I'd just said. This kind of thing drives me fucking NUTS. I wish they would just accept that it's my life, and stop trying to force their religion down my throats. Those examples aren't relevant to the anxiety, in that they don't make me feel anxious. They just make me feel annoyed. I'm very emotionally distant from my parents because of this type of stuff - I feel like they aren't genuinely interested in knowing me as a person, and instead just want to mold me into what they think I should be. I do have other family and friends who I feel like I can be myself around, though.
  3. Thank you so much for your responses. I'm feeling much better now. I do totally realize that I probably have anxiety, and agree that therapy would help.
  4. You can be part of something larger and help others without The BuyBull having anything to do with it. For the past 2-3 years I've volunteered on an anti-abuse hotline, and helped save lots of people. I get a tremendous sense of purpose from that.
  5. When I was little, my parents raised me with the Baptist-style mentality. They weren't too batshit nuts -- I got to go to normal school, read Harry Potter, listen to rock music, go to school dances and do other normal things -- but the religion had that vibe of "God loves us, and it was a huge altruistic act of Him because we're so deeply flawed we don't deserve it, blah blah." I remember when I was like 7, being taught an analogy about burnt cake, and how people are like a cake that got burnt and deserve to be thrown away because we're a gone-wrong creation because God stepped in and saved us. That kind of shit. My parents genuinely thought they were teaching me the right thing, and were amazing in other ways (like encouraging me to do well in school and have ambition). But still, I always had this constant sense of anxiety and guilt, from early childhood until I was a teenager and started realizing I didn't believe anyway. This sense of guilt was even before I figured out that I prefer other women, or that I didn't believe the bullcrap. It went beyond the more commonly-described feelings of shame surrounding issues like sexuality and disbelief. I remember being like 9 or 10 years old and constantly being worried that I was having too much fun with my friends and being not "wise and discerning" enough (as if having fun with friends is a bad thing?), and I was always scared that my faith wasn't strong/genuine enough and I would go to hell. I remember one time, I was watching the movie "Hercules," which is a G-rated animated Disney kid's film based on the Greek gods, and I was so paranoid about what if I was evil for watching it because it depicted other gods and was sinful. Stuff like that was a constant issue for me. Now that I'm almost 25 and have been religion-free, I find that I still struggle with anxiety, over-thinking, irrational magnification of issues, and constant guilt. Here are some recent examples: 1. Recently, my aunt got mad and blew up at me (understandably so) because when I was staying at her place, I was careless and accidentally put too big of a load in the dryer and caused it to get messed up, despite having been warned about it. I've had extreme guilt about that for the past 3 weeks, and have been feeling like a terrible person and worried that she's going to legitimately hate me forever as a human being. I know it's fucking batshit insane and out of proportion, but that's how I feel right now. 2. I moved into a new place about 3-4 weeks ago, and have been making really awesome progress on my new apartment (scored high-quality antique wood furniture from thrift stores for cheap, got lots of art and plants, really coming along on making my place feel like home) but still have some areas that are messy and not unpacked properly. I've been feeling horrible, like I'm living in squalor and there's something wrong with me for it. As if I'm a homeless crack addict with their bags of trash strewn everywhere or something, which is far from the case. 3. I smoke VERY occasional weed -- like maybe a couple of puffs every few weeks on special days or something. When I get a teeny, tiny amount (what most people could blow through in a weekend) it sits in my bookshelf drawer and lasts me for months. I'm not anywhere near being a daily/chronic user (although I don't judge people who are). But sometimes when I smoke, I get this internal sense of disapproval like I'm "using drugs" as if I was a heroin/meth addict or something, and then I start to think I'm a horrible person at large. Ultimately, it's not just about those issues. Those are just the examples that have been eating at my mind lately. At different points in time, it's been different things. Like if I'm at a party and make a joke that could have been offensive or come off the wrong way to someone, but i didn't realize it until after the fact, I'll feel like shit about myself for days/weeks whereas most people would just brush it off in the moment. Or I'll rehash random memories of doing something wrong or inappropriate -- even if it was done YEARS ago or when I was a kid -- I'll randomly think of it again and again and feel guilty. Does anyone else struggle with this kind of stuff? I realize that it's mostly a secret and internal battle, but sometimes I do really wonder if everyone hates me. Which, going by the facts, obviously isn't the case.
  6. So he's your father and your lover at the same time, but will condemn you to torture if you don't obey him? He sounds like that creepy incestuous Wildling cult leader from Game of Thrones. The one who had dozens of daughters with whom he made more kids with, and sacrificed the baby boys to the ice zombies. Y'all know who I'm talking about here.
  7. Maybe you planted seeds of doubt. Back when I tried to be a be-lie-ver, I used to just go into an uncomfortable silence when atheists brought up logical points against religion. I wasn't offended, more like anxious because I was afraid of doubts (This was when I was a kid and early teen). But later, as the bullshit filter slowly wore off, I looked back and realized that all of those atheist interactions had been little steps toward seeing the light. I bet you helped some of them break free, even though they don't realize it yet.
  8. Logical Fallacy had some very well-thought out points regarding this, but he had a tech error and couldn't post here for some reason. So he PM'd me the message so I could copy-paste and share it Logical Fallacy's intelligent take is below. I hadn't remembered those nastier parts of the Bible, but Jesus himself did say some pretty unloving things that weaken my original post.
  9. i agree. But wasn't Jesus's main message basically just "don't be a douchebag"? What I'm saying is, the exclusive nature of "I am the only way blah blah" could have originally been meant as "look, none of the religious shit matters, just don't be a douche." but instead, the pharisees of that time just morphed into the fundies of today over thousands of years, and we still have the stupid religious shit, hence totally missing the point of Jesus' "don't be a douche" message. Lots of "Christians" are still douches, hence, the "many will claim to be Christians, but I"ll say I never knew you" thing.
  10. For theoretical purposes of this discussion, let's just [suspend disbelief and] assume that Jesus was a real spiritual leader who had some type of higher consciousness and link to a higher energy. I don't mean Biblegod, but a loving creator in more of a Universalist way. His message was essentially "stop being hung-up about the religious laws and social customs, and treat everyone with love and compassion instead. That's the 'secret' of what matters in life." When he said things like "I am the way, truth and life" and "No one can reach the father but by me," I interpret this to mean like "Put down the stupid religious crap and just focus on my message of kindness." And concepts like "sin" and "hell" could refer to things on earth. For example, if everyone treated each other with generous love and kindness, there would be no evils in this world -- no murder, rape, slavery, oppression, bigotry, etc., because people would respect and take care of each other. "Sin" could just mean "things that don't come from kindness" or "things that tear others down" (others can also include animals and the environment), instead of the stupid rules about drinking, sex, gayness, gender roles, proper ways to worship, or whatever other idiocy that religious people want to police. Actually, Jesus turned water into wine (according to the legend, I'm not saying it was real) so they could continue to party at a wedding feast, and he hung out with the social outcast and shunned the Pharisees, which were like the Pat Robertsons of his day. As far as the "Great Sacrifice" thing, it could just be like a "Hey, dude, thanks for coming down from your mega-enlightened super plane to share your message of peace with us, even though it meant you had to get brutally murdered in the end. We appreciate what you did to help us make our world and lives better." Not the interpretation that so many fundies/Pharisees have today, of "zomg you're all destined to hell unless you believe our religion is the right one." If this is a legit way to view Christianity, I would be much more open to it than, say, the Baptist Evangelical versions. What do you all think? Again, from a theological/philosophical perspective, not a debate about reality. I don't believe that any human will ever have a 100% certainty about truths of the universe in this lifetime, but I do believe there's something up there. I lean towards deism or universalism for this reason. Peace and chillz, Lyra
  11. Maybe he could tell this was on the horizon before he actually found out, and he projected his own impending breakup onto the entire LGBT population. Sort of like how sometimes, when someone gets burned by the opposite sex and/or has a shitty mother or something, they turn into raging misogynist assholes and want to pigeonhole all women.
  12. The way I see this issue, is that there's a huge difference between someone who just happens to have Arabic ethnicity, versus someone who actually believes in Sharia and is an Islam fundamentalist. If a person is secular, and makes their judgments based on compassion and reason with a value of equality and justice for all, then great, and it would be wrong to discriminate against that person simply because of an uncontrollable racial background (i.e. if their parents came from the Middle East but they don't agree with the Islam fundie doctrines over there.) On the other hand, if a person is an actual Koran-believing fundie, then I don't want them in positions to make laws, any more than I would want someone like Rick Santorum or Ted Cruz trying to police what I do with my junk. Although I'm a pretty solid liberal (and a more hardcore liberal with social issues), I do agree with the concern for making sure Sharia religious culture doesn't start to impose on societies where immigrants are being placed from Islam-believing areas. On the other hand, I know lots of people with Muslim names and Arab ethnicity who observe Ramadan, etc. but are also secularized, don't believe in outdated gender roles, aren't religious, etc. and any customs they follow are just for ritual or to please a relative. So for me, it doesn't boil down to "is their race Arabic or not," but "do they actually believe in the regressive religious doctrine of their culture's holy book."
  13. Hi Beyond, thanks for your response. Of course your Christian experiences count. I think I made a communication error in my original post, and was wrong to have dismissed Christian experiences. I had just meant Christian experiences that turned out to be debunked etc., but of course experiences like yours are valid. It makes sense to think of the Holy Spirit as a type of higher self.
  14. Isn't the definition of Christianity essentially "Everyone is naturally destined for Hell, unless they truly believe that Jesus Christ is God in the flesh and that he died for our sins"? Why would Jesus have to die in order for God to forgive us? Or, to go beyond that, why would the average person (who never kills/rapes/harms anyone, and who makes mistakes sometimes but overall tries to do good in the world) deserve to be tortured in Hell forever simply for not accepting Christianity? If none of that stuff matters, and it's just a way to believe in God, then why would Christianity be the specific answer as opposed to spiritual deism, universalism, etc.? Thanks.
  15. What about all the people on here who described, in their "ex-timonies," desperately wanting to believe and praying to God for hours begging for some kind of sign or confirmation, who ended up leaving the faith because no such sign/message was ever sent? Why would they not have a similar experience as yours, whereas you did? Why is God's threshold for determining who gets to go to heaven, based on whether or not a person believes in something that's very hard to accept logically/rationally? I mean no disrespect, and I appreciate your taking the time to respond from my thread. I'm just trying to understand.