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Thoughts and Thistles

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Stop-gap Answers

I was posting some of this in the Lion's Den for our Recovering Atheist and it occurred to me how seriously off-topic it was so I'll repost it here for further discussion. I was thinking about topics like the End of the World, the Great Judgment, where people went when they died, what the preachers said at funerals--and how things didn't hang together. It occurred to me that a lot of stuff religion tells us and forces us to believe on pain of excommunication may be nothing but stop-gap answers.

R. S. Martin

R. S. Martin

To More Effectively Evangelize

I had fun writing this thing but it's hopelessly awkward and probably about as far from reality as it could be, since I did not grow up in an evangelical church and have absolutely no training in mission or evangelizing. The point is the obtuseness (is that a word) of Christian evangelizing and how they decide what it is that we need to hear without ever doing any research on what it is that we know or don't know, what turned us off from religion to start off with, or what might attract our atte

R. S. Martin

R. S. Martin

Born Again Atheist

Originally posted here.   It's great to get out, it truly is. Born-again atheist. That sounnds like me. Only it took some years to figure out that atheist fit me. CONFUSED is what I was. But when I committed to find my own happiness at whatever it may cost--that is when I was "born again." It was an experience I did not know could happen. The only framework by which I could explain it was with the Christian "born-again" language. Yet in my mind I was turning my back on all I was taught to hol

R. S. Martin

R. S. Martin

Imaginary Convo With Fundy

Originally posted here.   I'm trying to imagine a conversation with a person who believes it's really their business to find out exactly what I believe--given that I am willing to comply with the grilling.   Fundy: Where do you go to church?   Me: I haven't been to church in a long time.   Fundy: Are you an atheist then?   Me: Depends what you mean by "atheist."   Fundy: Well, you know what an atheist is--someone who doesn't believe in God!   Me: Someone who doesn't believe

R. S. Martin

R. S. Martin

Miracles, Christians, And Anthropology

Originally posted here in the thread on miracles.   Mythra, thank you for raising this question. It allows me to think through some major issues I spent much time thinking about and never had anyone to talk to because the questions themselves were taboo. Well, I'm not sure if I thought about them consciously because thinking about taboo topics would have been taboo. But sometimes there are tennis balls just beneath the surface.   QUOTE(Mythra @ Sep 16 2007, 01:15 PM) When you were entrench

R. S. Martin

R. S. Martin

Types And Stages Of Faith/spirituality

This was written for a discussion on stages of faith, including James Fowler's book.     The people who tried to guide me had great difficulty because I had so many unanswerable questions. But they could not admit having no answers because that would make their faith look bad. That was very problematic for me, too, because I was made to feel like I wasn't measuring up. Thus I dug deeper and ever deeper to get at the truth of religion.     By the time I read James Fowler's Stages

R. S. Martin

R. S. Martin

Jonathan Edwards And How I Left The Oom Community

Originally posted here.   Post 12     Thanks for this link. I'm reading it. I've never been exposed to Jonathan Edwards. If this is the teaching on which most of you were raised--it's just plain stupid/horrible! I'm beginning to see why scholars say horse and buggy Mennonites are not true fundamentalists. I think the level of mind control is much higher in fundamentalism than I experienced. There was no ban on reading material. Not even an effort to control reading, except a casual e

R. S. Martin

R. S. Martin

Are Caucasians The Lost Tribes Of Israel?

Originally posted here.   Very interesting thread. Thanks for all the info on where "we" come from. Somehow, I don't think it's from ancient Israel. But it sure would make sense that I descended from Pagans in northwestern Europe. Some branches of my family can be traced back to Germanic lands (Austria/Germany/Switzerland) after the Reformation. This part of the family has been in North America for about three centuries.   There's another part of my family (great-grandmother) that I don't

R. S. Martin

R. S. Martin

How Is This Three--friday Evening To Sunday Morning

Originally posted here.   I did some research of the biblical account. I did not look up all the references but enough to make me ask some questions.   First, several days are mentioned:   first day of unleavened bread (arrest during night) day after the first day of unleavened bread (trial, condemnation, crufixion, death) day of preparation=day before Sabbath=our Friday (burial) [This seems to be same day as trial and crucifixion but this not necessarily the case. Mark 15:4

R. S. Martin

R. S. Martin

Bible Study From A Secular Perspective

Recently, there have been a few requests on exC regarding Bible study. I posted two major posts and will copy them here for future reference so I don't have to think so hard every time a question arises.   Books http://www.ex-christian.net/index.php?show...mp;#entry264099     Old Testament   Who Wrote the Bible, by Richard Elliott Friedman   Reading the Old Testament: An Introduction, by Lawrence Boadt   New Testament *Gospel Parallels: A Comparison of the Syn

R. S. Martin

R. S. Martin

Mother's Face In Death

Writen in response to a request after the server crashed on Tuesday. http://www.ex-christian.net/index.php?show...ry264064         I can't seem to find a copy of it. Nor can I rewrite it. Here's the main idea:   The undertaker had nothing to go by for preparing her face for viewing because my people do not believe in taking photographs. All he had to go by was her natural facial structure. He came up with an expression of peace and relaxation I had never seen in her whil

R. S. Martin

R. S. Martin

Dealing With The Funeral

Last night I found out that I will not be allowed to eat at the family table at the funeral. I will go this afternoon to view the body. I think I have to go simply to know for sure that she's gone. The following is part of an email written for the support person who is giving me a ride:       I find some things easier to say in writing than verbally. I have quite a number of online friends. One of them did a Google search on ex-Mennonite. He felt there had to be someone out there with sim

R. S. Martin

R. S. Martin

Hope For Reconciliation With Family

I told a few of you--by all appearances, my mother is in the last stages of life. I just got back from visiting her in the hospital. A batch of my family were there, too. About half of my family take a non-judgmental attidude and about half seem to feel a serious need to control. It was the good half that was there today. I did not feel like an outsider. I think it helped that I could hardly find the place. It took me an hour and a half to get there. It was bus service at about its very worst. T

R. S. Martin

R. S. Martin

Life Is For The Living

Written for Death in the Family?   I'm reading the opening post again. Mick said:     My guess is you're feeling more alive now than you ever have. Keep your eyes on that no matter how thick the persecution. Don't "throw your pearls" to the "swine." And don't "give your treasures" to the "dogs." The xians see you as dead. Be dead to them if that is what they want. You know, and we know, that you are ALIVE.   Celebrate LIFE with those who love and respect you AS YOU ARE and for WHO

R. S. Martin

R. S. Martin

My Aunt And Uncle's Church

Originally posted today as a comment on Isn't Christ's love wondrous? on the Main Blog of exC.   It's good to hear from others of similar experience. I'm from horse and buggy Mennonite, very similar to the Amish. I didn't know much about the Apostolic church. I think perhaps that is the kind of church my aunt and uncle took me to visit last fall. They had a special speaker. He preached a very convincing sermon on the need to get saved. I had already committed myself to not seeking further in

R. S. Martin

R. S. Martin

My Articles On Exc Main Blog

List of my articles and their responses Dave the Webmaster posted on exC's Main Blog.   Double Deconversion Fri. Oct. 27, 2006 http://exchristian.net/testimonies/2006/10/double-deconversion.html   Transforming Prayer and Hymns Thurs. Jan. 18, 2007 http://exchristian.net/exchristian/2007/01...-and-hymns.html

R. S. Martin

R. S. Martin

Transforming Prayer And Hymns

One big issue many of us ex-Christians struggle with, esp. in the early stages of deconversion, is prayer. For me, music is a big issue, too. I was never exposed to anything but church hymns from the 1800s and earlier. Those hymns expressed many deep feelings as I struggled to cope with and understand life. They held the higher ideals of human existence. They explored the depth of human woe. They promised peace to the submissive soul. They gave voice the exuberance I felt when nature bursting wi

R. S. Martin

R. S. Martin

How I Left The Family

I've read dozens of books about self-improvement. That is what turned my life around. Counselors didn't work for me. My distrust of people was too deep. Then I did a university degree in social work (not the actual social work degree; just the foundation degree so I can go on and do the social work degree if I want to). I also have a significant number of religious studies courses and I am nearing the end of a degree in theology. All of this helps in a major way to figure out what happened to me

R. S. Martin

R. S. Martin

Christmas Memories

Originally written as a comment for Ho, Ho, Ho — Merry Christmas!   I loved this discussion, too. It made me think back to my earliest memories of Christmas. I had no idea it meant anything other than everybody getting together at Dad's parents, lots of good food I never got anywhere else any other time--homemade mashmallows and popcorn balls in the afternoon, chicken and dressing for the main dinner at noon, fruitsalad with purple jello floating in the juice. I did not think anyone except my

R. S. Martin

R. S. Martin

Biblical Scholarship Re Christ Or Messiah

I am posting this mainly for future reference because of the amount of biblical scholarship and research I put into it. I do not consider it professional but I do correct some errors in the quote. This response was originally posted at OCD. My response to the following quote:   EXAMINING CLAIMS ABOUT THE ORIGIN OF "CHRIST" AND "LORD" 1. Hebrews, not Greeks, came up with the name Iesous and used it in place of "Yeshua" . About 150 years BC devout Hebrew men translated the Old

R. S. Martin

R. S. Martin

Farewell To Family

Dec. 5, 2006   Elvina,   If you believe what we were taught to believe you believe that Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. You also believe that those who take up the cross and follow him will be persecuted.   I believe these things because they are true. The extremely difficult part of leaving the church was the severe persecution I knew would follow. The OOM (Old Order Mennonites) persecute every single person who leaves their church.   They persecuted me much m

R. S. Martin

R. S. Martin

From Christianity To Atheism

Originally posted here in For Atheists, Getting through the fear.   There have been a number of strong posts now so perhaps it is okay for me to enter. I'm not absolutely sure of my deepest identity at this point but I identify with a few of your issues and would like to respond.     My suggestion is to give yourself time. There is probably no deadline to meet, no baptism to go to, no testimony you're obligated to make. It was perhaps a year ago, possibly less, when I first confro

R. S. Martin

R. S. Martin

The Jesus Story, Myth, And Oral Culture

Originally posted Nov. 30, 2006.   I spent the best part of half a century to find a reason to believe in Jesus. I have searched the literature of a number of Christian communities (I am speaking of large international communities of different types of Christianity i.e. pietism, evangelical, and liberal). I have been studying theology on the graduate level for several years. Nowhere anywhere by anyone do I find sufficient explanation for what changed when Jesus died to support belief that his

R. S. Martin

R. S. Martin

Strict Religions More Social Problems

I found the following at World versus Christians, Post 41:   Did you know that the Thomas Howells, Study of students showed religiously conservative students "are, in general, relatively inferior in intellectual ability." Societies worse off 'when they have God on their side'     http://new.woxy.com/boards/archive/index.php/t-31351.html<o:p></o:p>     By Ruth Gledhill, Religion Correspondent RELIGIOUS belief can cause damage to a society, contributing towar

R. S. Martin

R. S. Martin

Fear Of Hell

Posted Oct 16 2006 Written for the thread Fear Of Hell - Let's Talk! Let's explore what role hell played in your former xtian life:   Eric, thanks for raising this question. It prompts me to sort through some issues--it's a therapeutic exercise.   1) When you were a xtian, did you fear hell a little or a lot? Moderate but firm and uncompromising. It was a major motivator when I was about 13. As I matured it had a less direct influence on day to day life. I think I got to the pl

R. S. Martin

R. S. Martin

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