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I'd never thought of it that way before. 

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3 hours ago, Storm said:

SeaJay

I have been reading through this thread and I couldn't help but notice that one thing that is driving you to have some of the problems you are having is the idea that you are still holding the Bible in some type of authoritative position in your life. I suspect that you still believe it is God's word and that it is his way of communicating his plans and idea to us. But the reality is that it was entirely written by men, with entirely man made doctrines and ideas in it. Its not anything more than propaganda.

 

 

This ^^^.

 

 

Seajay, if you leave the Jesus idea (or Satan idea) in authority over you then you will fear it. If you rise above these ideas and assume authority over yourself then the Jesus/Satan idea will lose its power. Hell is not a real place. It is a story that people told you. The fear of hell was successfully passed to you and you have been generating that idea in your head since then.  Hell is an idea only.

 

Rewrite your life.

 

Do not allow yourself to be paralyzed with the same thoughts about hell. Consider your own solutions to hell and tack them onto your fear. Like if you assume yourself to be in charge of ALL with those other bible characters far beneath you, then they will not trouble you. Jesus is an imagination in your head. Satan is an imagination in your head. Tell these imaginations to leave. It's your mind and anything is possible inside there. Imagine tying up Jesus and Satan and throwing them both in a hole. Then filling it with cement. :)

 

Everything in Christianity is just imagination and always has been. Therefore YOUR POWER of imagination is just as real as the whole of Christianity. Hell is just an idea in your head. You're basically afraid of an idea in your head. But ideas can be replaced or modified.

 

Step 1: Kick Jesus, God and Satan out of your driver's seat.

Step 2: Start driving your own life.

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8 hours ago, Storm said:

SeaJay

I have been reading through this thread and I couldn't help but notice that one thing that is driving you to have some of the problems you are having is the idea that you are still holding the Bible in some type of authoritative position in your life. I suspect that you still believe it is God's word and that it is his way of communicating his plans and idea to us. But the reality is that it was entirely written by men, with entirely man made doctrines and ideas in it. Its not anything more than propaganda. So, all of your beliefs about hell and blasphemy stem from your belief that the Bible is the inspired word of God, and that it still has some type of power over you. So, maybe you should ask yourself: what role does the bible have in your life? or why do I believe it has any type of power over me?

 

 

4

Excellent Storm!

 

SeaJay, please take 10 minutes and watch this fantastic speech because If Storm is right, you need to watch these kinds of videos constantly and stay away from all the christian sites or any opinion of a christian that you may be hearing right now.. Sam Harris sums up some really good points here about the monstrous christian god. Once you understand that the chrisitian god was a myth and a monster, you'll be able to feel less anxious about it all. Hope it helps. (hug)

 

 

 

 

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Seejay I confess I have not read all of this thread, but I can say that fear is a large component of Christian indoctrination.  It took me over 40 years - with lapses back into faith - to rid myself of it.  The thing is, it is not entirely rational. There are emotional and nostalgic factors (if you were raised with it).  You can have the best reasons on earth to walk away, mentally and physically, and it still returns.  I think the brain is like a computer that has been written with a program and it is always there.  All the hymns I sang as a Fundamentalist are still echoing in my head at times, although the last time I sang any was the early '90s.

 

BUT, other programs can be written over top of it, if that makes sense.  Eventually, the fear diminishes as the reasoning mind program kicks in. Read, study about the source documents of Christianity and the history of the church and the development of doctrine. Most Christians have no sense of history and no idea of what happened in the first four centuries that made Christianity the dominant religion that it became. The sad part is that many ministers and pastors had this information taught to them in seminary, but could not or would not teach it in the church. I actually heard a deacon in the Episcopal Church say she wouldn't teach what she knew because "people wouldn't understand it." She was right. It would completely undermine their faith if they knew! My only advice is to educate yourself.  You really have to dig. But, you can and will succeed.

 

Not sure if this helps.

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It does help, it all helps, the support, the videos, the advice, it all helps. 

 

If someone could recommend some good literature to read I'd be grateful. Here's what I have so far (not read the ones in red yet). 

 

Why I Became an Atheist (Loftus)

The God Virus (Ray, PhD)

Climbing Mount Improbable (Dawkins)

The Blind Watchmaker (Dawkins)

God Delusion (Dawkins)

God is No Great (Hitchens)

Misquoting Jesus (Ehrman)

Godless (Barker)

 

The first two I'm not even sure if they're good reads as I picked them out myself. 

 

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On 11/10/2017 at 10:01 PM, Margee said:

Excellent Storm!

 

SeaJay, please take 10 minutes and watch this fantastic speech because If Storm is right, you need to watch these kinds of videos constantly and stay away from all the christian sites or any opinion of a christian that you may be hearing right now.. Sam Harris sums up some really good points here about the monstrous christian god. Once you understand that the chrisitian god was a myth and a monster, you'll be able to feel less anxious about it all. Hope it helps. (hug)

 

 

 

 

Really thought provoking video Margee. 

 

The reason I was told that people do bad things and the reason God doesn't intervene is free will. Stopping the rapist takes away his free will. <-- Just saying what I've heard.

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2 hours ago, SeaJay said:

Really thought provoking video Margee. 

 

The reason I was told that people do bad things and the reason God doesn't intervene is free will. Stopping the rapist takes away his free will. <-- Just saying what I've heard.

 

Free will is a red herring.

 

When you consider Christian dogma as a whole you realise the concept of a god given free will is inconsistent with other attributes applied to god.

 

Take just one: God has a plan, and being omniscient knows what everyone will do. If you do something not in the plan then god didn't know about it which contradicts god being omniscient.

 

So if God doesn't know a woman will be raped then he is not omniscient. If he does know she would be raped then the future is already set and the rapist has no ability to change it.

 

There is a possible God that allows free will: It is one that doesn't know all things and is not all powerful. But then why call that being God? Isn't it just a super advanced being?

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3 hours ago, SeaJay said:

It does help, it all helps, the support, the videos, the advice, it all helps. 

 

If someone could recommend some good literature to read I'd be grateful. Here's what I have so far (not read the ones in red yet). 

 

Why I Became an Atheist (Loftus)

The God Virus (Ray, PhD)

Climbing Mount Improbable (Dawkins)

The Blind Watchmaker (Dawkins)

God Delusion (Dawkins)

God is No Great (Hitchens)

Misquoting Jesus (Ehrman)

Godless (Barker)

 

The first two I'm not even sure if they're good reads as I picked them out myself. 

 

 

I have read The Blind Watchmaker, God is Not Great and Misquoting Jesus.     The must read on this list is The Blind Watchmaker.  After that, Misquoting Jesus.  Both good books.

 

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10 hours ago, LogicalFallacy said:

 

Free will is a red herring.

 

When you consider Christian dogma as a whole you realise the concept of a god given free will is inconsistent with other attributes applied to god.

 

Take just one: God has a plan, and being omniscient knows what everyone will do. If you do something not in the plan then god didn't know about it which contradicts god being omniscient.

 

So if God doesn't know a woman will be raped then he is not omniscient. If he does know she would be raped then the future is already set and the rapist has no ability to change it.

 

There is a possible God that allows free will: It is one that doesn't know all things and is not all powerful. But then why call that being God? Isn't it just a super advanced being?

 

Does the Bible specifically teach that God is all powerful and all knowing, or is that something we have assumed from the text?

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10 hours ago, Deva said:

 

I have read The Blind Watchmaker, God is Not Great and Misquoting Jesus.     The must read on this list is The Blind Watchmaker.  After that, Misquoting Jesus.  Both good books.

 

Thank you for the advice, I'll read the Blind Watchmaker first and then I'll reread Misquoting Jesus.

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"I am the alpha and the omega. The beginning and the end. What was, what is, what's to come." - rough Revelations text is a good start. 

 

Let's also not forget about Isaiah: "I create light and darkness, peace/good and evil. I, the Lord, do all these things." - rough text.

 

Then another Isaiah passage: "Remember the former things, those of long ago; I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me. I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come. I say: My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please." 

 

All of these, in my opinion, point to a supposed omniscient creator. They also present some troubling evidence on a few other things (god creating evil anyone?). 

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Jews don't believe in hell. Like......Jews, who know the prophecies "Jesus fulfilled" better than we do, who are apparently the good lord's chosen people....don't believe in hell. That just sprung up from Christianity, don't you think that's super weird?

 

 

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On 8/11/2017 at 12:42 AM, SeaJay said:

I wasn't sure where to post this so I chose this forum. I hope it's ok here. I just need somewhere I can turn to say what's on my mind, somewhere I can post things that might not fit anywhere else. A sort of online 'diary' if you will. It'll be a mish-mash of thoughts and feelings that go through my mind. An online diary of sorts, that's a good example of what I'm trying to describe. Feel free to comment of course. 

 

Firstly, thank you all, very much, for the patience and support you have given me. It's massively appreciated and has helped my a lot. Sometimes I don't know what I'd do without you all. Honestly. 

 

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

11-August-2017

Really sucks on times. One day I feel free, the next I might be so low as to be in tears (I'm not being overly dramatic here). The fear is incredible on times. It's not like a panic attack, it's like a cold wave that grips me, a grip so strong I can't function. Somedays I sit in my chair and I cannot even lift my head of the head rest. It's that bad on times. It knocks me sideways. And all due to my fear of hell, a fear that goes beyond any normal fear.

 

As I've said, this is psychologically based fear and that's why I am in therapy and have been since November 2010. But therapy hasn't really helped because, let's be honest, what therapist out there can prove to me there's no hell? None. Nobody can prove that. Yes we can look at the evidence and weigh it up (and that is what I am doing by coming here) but nobody can prove to me hell doesn't exist. That's why I hit upon the idea "I know! Perhaps if I destroy my faith, I'll be free!" Of course that brings its own guilt and fear, as even doubting is considered a sin. I get comfort in knowing that, if God does exist (and I speak from the point of view that nobody - theist or atheist- really knows), then He knows I am only doing this out of fear and not out of rebellion. 

 

I feel stuck. I can't leave the faith and I feel I can't stay in it (not if I want to 'get better' as it were). And what's worse, is that I genuinely do not even know what it is I believe. Someone asked me once (online) "Surely you know if you believe or not?" No, I don't know. I've read a lot and watched a lot and I honestly do not know what I believe. Not 'if', I believe, but what I believe. 

 

Do I believe but hope it isn't true?

Do I not believe but fear it may be true?

 

I don't know. But going by the above two questions and using the:

 

Richard Dawkins’ Belief Scale Scoring Rubric:

 

1 Strong Theist: I do not question the existence of God, I KNOW he exists.
2 De-facto Theist: I cannot know for certain but I strongly believe in God and I live my life on the assumption that he is there.
3 Weak Theist: I am very uncertain, but I am inclined to believe in God.
4 Pure Agnostic: God’s existence and non-existence are exactly equiprobable.
5 Weak Atheist: I do not know whether God exists but I’m inclined to be skeptical.
6 De-facto Atheist: I cannot know for certain but I think God is very improbable and I live my life under the assumption that he is not there.
7 Strong Atheist: I am 100% sure that there is no God.

 

Am I a 3 or a 5? I'd have to say a 3.

Hi SeaJay,

 

Thanks for sharing your thoughts here, as someone who struggles with mental health and a former Christian, I can relate deeply with what you're talking about here.  Depression and other related mood disorders, get started initially by how we respond to them, Christianity teaches a person that they have to believe the right things and fix their behavior, as well as feel guilty for their sins.  This trains you to cognitively respond early in life in ways which might produce the soil necessary for mood disorders to arise.  I am not sure where you stand on the issue of evolution, but it becomes very understandable when you put it in this framework.  The brain has undergone various leaps forward in its evolution, from the invertebrate to the vertebrate, and then from the Reptilian to the Mammalian which further leaped forward with the extinction of the dinosaurs and the emergence of new mammalian fauna to populate these niches.  Among them, the primates would emerge with bipedalism and advanced prefrontal cortexes which would enable humanity to perform what would be known as the cognitive revolution about 70,000 years ago.  Humans still have however, a similar basic system of the brain to its related mammalian cousins, being social and emotional creatures running off of the functionality of the limbic system.  For all mammals, the universal trigger for depression is bereavement, the death of a loved one, and this precipitous slide into a sustained low mood has utility to the survival of a group because hunkering down in a nomadic band would be safer for the group.  Humans are sedentary now, and cognitive, we have complex narratives which we feed into the sensations that arise from our bodies and which arise from our thoughts, and we react emotionally to these cognitions which plunges us down a downward spiral of perpetual feedback into this evolutionary adapted system, and then you have a Major Depressive Episode.

 

When you got into a depressive episode, your hippocampus ceases to produce additional neurons, and the amygdala grows in size and connection.  Driving your stress and anxiety through the ceiling, and fundamentally altering your conscious experience of the world.  Doubt and existential questioning, are also emotional dispositions and not wholly imbued with a rational essence, as they naturally arise through the adapted system that drive Depression.  Low mood produces negative thinking, and depression is more common in people of more analytical critical thinking ability, in terms of cognition, and are high in introversion and therefore deep thinking.  This disposition then naturally will start having questions about ultimate significance, but it also has elements of guilt which can be exacerbated based upon your beliefs which generate your cognitions.  When you're a Christian, the reality of hell is incredibly terrifying, and that belief literally gets instantiated in the prefrontal cortex so that every time this fear befalls you, it is also correlated with communication of neurotransmitters and synapses and of course blood carrying oxygen.  

 

From the sounds of it, your ruminations about this question of cosmic reality, whether Christianity is real is also feeding into your depression and anxiety which produces guilt and cyclical ruminating which perpetuate the downward spiral of mood.  There are evolutionary benefits to this condition, and I am sure you are appreciative of the new perspectives you have gained through doubt and skepticism, but guilt and fear of hell are conditions which are cultural cognitive artifacts which had their origin at one time or another in human history.  I would recommend reading Yuval Noah Harari's Sapiens, which is a sweeping illustration on the function of mythology in social organization and how the cognitive revolution and agricultural revolution changed us forever.  I would also recommend checking out a mindfulness approach to managing depression, rather than religious contrition, or obsessive rumination on seemingly insolvable existential questions and realities.  A good book on this is the Mindfulness Way Through Depression, by Jon Kabat-Zinn M.D.  

 

I am a former Calvinist and later more liberal Christian, now non-reductive Naturalist Atheist, and also have struggled with Complex PTSD and Depression myself in the context of deconverting from Christianity, so I know how it feels like you need to think your way out of it, but I think a new mindset on how you relate to these cognitions can go a long way to overcoming the emotional traps that they set for you psychologically.  Hope this reply reaches you well, and in good spirits.

 

TS

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11 hours ago, Travi said:

"I am the alpha and the omega. The beginning and the end. What was, what is, what's to come." - rough Revelations text is a good start. 

 

Let's also not forget about Isaiah: "I create light and darkness, peace/good and evil. I, the Lord, do all these things." - rough text.

 

Then another Isaiah passage: "Remember the former things, those of long ago; I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me. I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come. I say: My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please." 

 

All of these, in my opinion, point to a supposed omniscient creator. They also present some troubling evidence on a few other things (god creating evil anyone?). 

These are some of my favorite passages. I always liked the book of Revelation (also parts of the book of John), just for the soaring, poetic imagery.  Forget if its true or not.

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13 hours ago, SeaJay said:

Thank you for the advice, I'll read the Blind Watchmaker first and then I'll reread Misquoting Jesus.

 

Thank you SeaJay.  That is very kind of you to read my post and take my advice.  I would be interested in hearing what insights you may have after reading these books. 

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9 hours ago, TrueScotsman said:

Hi SeaJay,

 

Thanks for sharing your thoughts here, as someone who struggles with mental health and a former Christian, I can relate deeply with what you're talking about here.  Depression and other related mood disorders, get started initially by how we respond to them, Christianity teaches a person that they have to believe the right things and fix their behavior, as well as feel guilty for their sins.  This trains you to cognitively respond early in life in ways which might produce the soil necessary for mood disorders to arise.  I am not sure where you stand on the issue of evolution, but it becomes very understandable when you put it in this framework.  The brain has undergone various leaps forward in its evolution, from the invertebrate to the vertebrate, and then from the Reptilian to the Mammalian which further leaped forward with the extinction of the dinosaurs and the emergence of new mammalian fauna to populate these niches.  Among them, the primates would emerge with bipedalism and advanced prefrontal cortexes which would enable humanity to perform what would be known as the cognitive revolution about 70,000 years ago.  Humans still have however, a similar basic system of the brain to its related mammalian cousins, being social and emotional creatures running off of the functionality of the limbic system.  For all mammals, the universal trigger for depression is bereavement, the death of a loved one, and this precipitous slide into a sustained low mood has utility to the survival of a group because hunkering down in a nomadic band would be safer for the group.  Humans are sedentary now, and cognitive, we have complex narratives which we feed into the sensations that arise from our bodies and which arise from our thoughts, and we react emotionally to these cognitions which plunges us down a downward spiral of perpetual feedback into this evolutionary adapted system, and then you have a Major Depressive Episode.

 

When you got into a depressive episode, your hippocampus ceases to produce additional neurons, and the amygdala grows in size and connection.  Driving your stress and anxiety through the ceiling, and fundamentally altering your conscious experience of the world.  Doubt and existential questioning, are also emotional dispositions and not wholly imbued with a rational essence, as they naturally arise through the adapted system that drive Depression.  Low mood produces negative thinking, and depression is more common in people of more analytical critical thinking ability, in terms of cognition, and are high in introversion and therefore deep thinking.  This disposition then naturally will start having questions about ultimate significance, but it also has elements of guilt which can be exacerbated based upon your beliefs which generate your cognitions.  When you're a Christian, the reality of hell is incredibly terrifying, and that belief literally gets instantiated in the prefrontal cortex so that every time this fear befalls you, it is also correlated with communication of neurotransmitters and synapses and of course blood carrying oxygen.  

 

From the sounds of it, your ruminations about this question of cosmic reality, whether Christianity is real is also feeding into your depression and anxiety which produces guilt and cyclical ruminating which perpetuate the downward spiral of mood.  There are evolutionary benefits to this condition, and I am sure you are appreciative of the new perspectives you have gained through doubt and skepticism, but guilt and fear of hell are conditions which are cultural cognitive artifacts which had their origin at one time or another in human history.  I would recommend reading Yuval Noah Harari's Sapiens, which is a sweeping illustration on the function of mythology in social organization and how the cognitive revolution and agricultural revolution changed us forever.  I would also recommend checking out a mindfulness approach to managing depression, rather than religious contrition, or obsessive rumination on seemingly insolvable existential questions and realities.  A good book on this is the Mindfulness Way Through Depression, by Jon Kabat-Zinn M.D.  

 

I am a former Calvinist and later more liberal Christian, now non-reductive Naturalist Atheist, and also have struggled with Complex PTSD and Depression myself in the context of deconverting from Christianity, so I know how it feels like you need to think your way out of it, but I think a new mindset on how you relate to these cognitions can go a long way to overcoming the emotional traps that they set for you psychologically.  Hope this reply reaches you well, and in good spirits.

 

TS

 

A very interesting read TrueScotsman. I've been told by a psychologist that my brain has been 'conditioned' to react/act in certain ways and that I can 'remap' my synapses so that I approach things differently and thus react differently to them. Thank you again for this post. 

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On 13/10/2017 at 1:29 PM, Travi said:

"I am the alpha and the omega. The beginning and the end. What was, what is, what's to come." - rough Revelations text is a good start. 

 

Let's also not forget about Isaiah: "I create light and darkness, peace/good and evil. I, the Lord, do all these things." - rough text.

 

Then another Isaiah passage: "Remember the former things, those of long ago; I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me. I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come. I say: My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please." 

 

All of these, in my opinion, point to a supposed omniscient creator. They also present some troubling evidence on a few other things (god creating evil anyone?). 

The Hebrew word for evil can mean a good few things, like disaster, calamity, etc. It can mean evil too, but not necessarily

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13 minutes ago, SeaJay said:

The Hebrew word for evil can mean a good few things, like disaster, calamity, etc. It can mean evil too, but not necessarily

Disaster and calamity are good things? 
Definition of disaster is a sudden event, such as an accident or a natural catastrophe, that causes great damage or loss of life.

Calamity is an event causing great and often sudden damage or distress; a disaster. How are these good things?

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35 minutes ago, SeaJay said:

The Hebrew word for evil can mean a good few things, like disaster, calamity, etc. It can mean evil too, but not necessarily

 

This is apologetics Seajay and you know it.

 

Does using those words really change the meaning of the verse or what Travi was saying?

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7 minutes ago, LogicalFallacy said:

 

This is apologetics Seajay and you know it.

 

Does using those words really change the meaning of the verse or what Travi was saying?

I was just about to add this. Defense of god if I ever seen it.

SeaJay, this is why I made my comment in the other thread about you looking for reasons to stick with it. I mean no disrespect, but man - you really are quick to the apologetics on things when it comes to bible verses. 

So again, let's entertain the idea that you are right and the Hebrew word DOES mean calamity or disater: Please tell me again how either of those are good? And how they point to a loving god who is willing to bring suffering on his creations? 

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Yes it's an example of what apologetics say, but I posted it because I'm interested in a non-apologetic point of view.

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5 hours ago, SeaJay said:

Yes it's an example of what apologetics say, but I posted it because I'm interested in a non-apologetic point of view.

 

Hmm and what did you think of our non apologetic point of view?

 

Remember we were talking about an omniscient omnipotent creator. So whether he creates evil, or he creates disaster or calamity is irrelevant to the point made. So my view would be correct translation in this case does not alter the fact that the bible explicitly states that a supposed loving god will intentionally bring about harm and suffering. The aplologetic will of course say well god might be trying to teach humanity blah blah. This is a load of rubbish. Christians make excuses for gods behavior that would never make it past any judge if a parent did the same behavior.

 

Now on the other hand getting the correct translation of the word "almah" in Isiah 7:14 does make a huge difference... we go from virgin to young woman thus changing the meaning entirely. 

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On 10/12/2017 at 6:11 PM, SeaJay said:

 

 

The reason I was told that people do bad things and the reason God doesn't intervene is free will. Stopping the rapist takes away his free will. <-- Just saying what I've heard.

3

 

You've heard it? So should you always believe what you 'heard' from an ancient, tribal book that was written and interpreted by man over 2,000 years ago?? Should a good, kind, loving parent do the same?

 

If anyone laid a hand on my grandchildren, it would not be pretty. They would face Margee's wrath and I would not care if I landed up in jail if it was to protect the child I loved. Funny how the creator of the whole fucking universe (who is supposed to be so full of love) doesn't seem to give a shit (or have a better plan) about all the suffering in the world because he wanted to give everyone 'free will'? 

 

He obviously gave nature 'free will' also. Just look at the last few months to see the devastation caused by nature. See how some of these dear humans died?  All the devastation to the point that some people's lives will NEVER be the same. The suffering and depression will be beyond what we can imagine. Some may even take their own lives because they won't be able to live with the pain. And the money it will cost to rebuild these places?  All because 'he' gave nature and humans 'free will' and could not concoct a better plan for the earth? How about the shooter in Las Vegas? How about all the shooters in the world.? How about all the people who do torturous things to others? Free will again. How about the wars and politics among man that causes nothing but hate against each other? All free will.......Good ole' 'free will'. 

 

'Love' is supposed to protect. And that's what I heard 'god' was?

 

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2 hours ago, Margee said:

Funny how the creator of the whole fucking universe (who is supposed to be so full of love) doesn't seem to give a shit (or have a better plan) about all the suffering in the world because he wanted to give everyone 'free will'?

 

Yes, indeed.

 

If God Himself prefers the rapist exercise his free will rather than prevent the rape, then who the hell are we to take the free will away from the rapist?

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