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  3. I am interested in hearing about your ayahuasca journey.
  4. It is very interesting on that note how certaib mustics try to "see " the more pantheistic God in the Bible. A lot of mental gymnastics were and are necesary. But christianity just seems to me - i am not an expert - like a soup of very different ideas which do not really belong together.
  5. I am sorry but your answer denotes a total lack of knowledge in psychology and the psychology of religion/ cults in particular. What you feel is obvious might also be wrong. Many people fimd it obvious that God exists and would have the exact same answer of well all atheists would agree to theism if they were honest enough. You should study the overwhelming cult / mind control literature done by psychologists and neurologists on how choices can and are influenced. By the way thinking that everything is just your choice is an extremely CHRISTIAN idea, and is really frowned by modern neuroscience. Read and hear robert sapolsky, atheist neuroscientist. It also called fundamental attribution error in social psychology. You seem to think you are a free thinker and invulnerable to group think. You are not. If you are then you are probably a psychopath with neurological problems unable to emotionally connect with others and be influenced by others. Please get down of your high horse and join us mortals with faulty reasoning and biases all around. But maybe you think you are one of the chosen who has acces to absolute truth and all others are weak and/ or stupid not to see it. Well then...who else has simplistic absolute certainty with a dash of self importance? I wonder. No offense to you as a person, but your line of thinking is demeaning and demonstrably wrong.
  6. I do not know what you SHOULD do. How could I? I do not know your situation. My answer was that influencing people is possible and can be worthwile. If this was not the case then there would be no exit counselors for cults, and there are many. And if you read my answer carefully , I do say having a craft in doing so is essential. Could I start building a bridge? No. Could a bridge engineer along with a team and equipment? Yes. Even in your case maybe and expert psychologist could do the job so that your parents feel grateful and happy. How are you so sure the result would be terrible? Based on what expertise? I admore your desire to not do harm. And so if YOU TRIED BY YOURSELF it would be harmful. But if you tried surgery on them it would also be harmful. Just because we cannot do it does not mean it could not and should not be done.
  7. Hello again Disillusioned and JoshPantera. This post is just to tell you about something that happened to me a few weeks ago, that's relevant to this thread. It confirms and reinforces the ground we've already covered and I thought it best to lead off with this before we pick up with the thread proper. Anyway, while I was recuperating my cousin Mervyn brought me a book he'd picked up for just £10 in a second-hand bookshop. (Hmm... that makes it sound like the shop was second-hand.) Moving on. The Road to Reality: A Complete Guide to the Laws of the Universe Roger Penrose Vintage Books, 2004. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Road_to_Reality So I checked through it and found two sections that are directly relevant to our discussions in this thread. I've added some of my thoughts at the end of each quote. Chapter 19:7 Further issues: cosmological constant; Weyl tensor Page 462 – 463 At this point we should consider the additional term that Einstein introduced in 1917, called the cosmological constant. This is an exceedingly tiny constant quantity Lambda, whose actual presence is strongly suggested by modern cosmological observations, but which cannot differ from 0 by more than the very tiny amount of about 10-55 cm-2. It has no direct observational relevance until cosmological scales are reached. (Discussion of the conservation equation and the introduction of Lambda into the calculation) The Lambda contribution is extremely tiny and, indeed, the extra pressure terms are also normally very tiny compared to the energy, roughly speaking because the little particles that make up the material in question are moving around relatively slowly, compared with the speed of light. However, the pressure contribution to active gravitational mass do play significant roles under certain extreme conditions. When a very massive star is getting close to a situation where it is in danger of it collapsing under its own inward gravitational pull, we find that an increased pressure in the star, which we might expect to help keep the star supported, actually increases the tendency to collapse because of the extra gravitational mass that it produces! ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ The last paragraph is highly significant. As we have seen from looking at Hawking and Penrose's 1970 paper, The Singularities of Gravitational Collapse and Cosmology, a positive cosmological constant means that their theory cannot be applied to this universe. And this is the very theory that WLC uses to 'prove' that science and the Bible agree. Above, Penrose shows that a positive cosmological constant has a significant effect on the behaviour of collapsing stars, just before they become black hole singularities. While this might not seem to have any relevance to the other kind of singularity, the initial singularity that Hawking and Penrose theorized was the beginning of the universe, it does. The reason why is that these two singularities are mirror-images of each other. In 1965 Penrose wrote his ground-paper on how collapsing stars MUST become black hole singularities. Later, Hawking turned Penrose's calculations around and applied them to a time-reversed singularity, showing that what is true for a collapsing singularity, MUST also be true for an expanding singularity. Therefore, if the cosmological constant has a significant effect upon one it MUST have an equally significant effect upon the other. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Chapter 28: 10 Cosmological parameters: observational status? Page 772 – 774. What is the present observational position? Well, things have now shifted very significantly again, with the startling evidence (and from more than one source) that there seems to be a significant positive cosmological constant, Lambda. (Discussion of the mass-energy content of the universe) Then came the bombshell of the cosmological constant. We recall from 19:7 that Einstein regarded the introduction of Lambda as his ‘greatest mistake’ (perhaps mainly because it contributed to his failure to predict the expansion of the universe). Although since then it had always been taken as a possibility by cosmologists, rather few of them seem to have expected to find Lambda to be non-zero in our universe. (Discussion of vacuum energy) Nevertheless, when in 1998 two teams observing very distant supernovae (see 27:8) – one headed by Saul Perlmutter, in California, and the other, headed by Brian Schmidt in Australia and Robert Kirschner in Eastern USA – came to the remarkable conclusion that the expansion of the universe had begun to accelerate, as is consistent with the upward turn in the graph of Fig. 27.15d, which is the hallmark of a positive cosmological constant! How big is this Lambda that seems to be observed? There are still some uncertainties about this (and some theoreticians have argued that the case for a positive Lambda has still not been convincingly made) , but the remarkable conclusion is that the effective mass-energy density Omega/Lambda that Lambda provides , as a fraction of the critical density, is given approximately by Omega/Lambda = 0.7, so we seem to have, for the total effective density, as a fraction of critical Omega/Delta + Omega/Lambda = 0.3 + 0.7 = 1 -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- So there we have it. Penrose confirms what we've discussing in this thread. Neither he nor Hawking expected Lambda (the cosmological constant) to have a positive value in this universe. Their paper allows for Lambda to be a negative value or zero, but not for it to be positive. Penrose wrote these words before 2004, when his book was published, so he was aware of and agrees with the ground-breaking discovery of a positive Lambda in 1998/9. Therefore, WLC cannot use the 1970 paper by Hawking and Penrose to 'prove' that Genesis 1:1 is confirmed by science. Thank you. Walter.
  8. Thanks so much for the warm welcome everyone, It's good to meet some REAL,people, Not those phony asshole hypocrites in church. Drinking Ayahuasca definatley helped set me on this path, If anyone is interested in learning about it I would be glad to share. I do indeed feel like a Phoenix rising from the ashes, I can be whoeve,r I want to be now. Instead of going to church on sunday mornings, I can do something much more useful and productive, Like....Mastubate! I was never a big believer to begin with, It was just something my parents forced on me as a kid. I would have gotten out long ago, But the fear of hell kept me locked in, Now I don't give two shits. Just be sure to put a shotgun and a chainsaw in my casket with me so I can kick some demon ass [Doom reference i'm making here] I've been listening to my two favorite bands alot lately, Black Sabbath and Jethro Tull which just happen to be some of the most anti church bands in history, and It's really helping me stay positive. Thanks again everyone!
  9. I am not at all surprised by the quoted defense of the doctrine of hell as the writer expressed it. Since I left Christianity, I have continued exploring the Bible and, in particular, the four Gospels. What I have seen is that at least by my reading, is that the common Christian concept of hell does not match the actual words in the Gospels. Hell is not that important in the Gospels, though many Christians definitely focus on it, especially certain preachers who use it to scare people into becoming Christians to avoid such described punishment. The Gospel that stands out the most to me that does not speak of eternal punishment is the Gospel of John. Take one of the most well known verses of the Bible, John 3:16. ”For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son so that whosoever believes in him shall not perish, but have everlasting life.” Now, let’s look at the obverse of that verse. It would be something like this: ”For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son so that whosoever does not believe in him shall perish and not have everlasting life.” In other words, the result of not believing in Jesus is not eternal torture in hell, but, instead, Jesus will not call nonbelievers from the grave so that from that point forward they will live forever like he will with believers. See John 6:40 (“And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.”) This reading of John requires reading John separately from the other Gospels and truthfully searching for the meaning of that Gospel and that Gospel alone and not allowing the other Gospels to bleed over into it. Bottom line is that the Gospel of John does not have hell, but only eternal life or eternal death (but no hellish torture).
  10. A buddy of mine came out of a toxic pentecostal group "Maranatha", a college campus cult. The pressure to perform was intense and he finally broke mentally, went manic for weeks and didn't sleep because he "didn't need to, Jesus is my strength", thought he was going to win North Korea for Jesus as a warrior of God, was committed to a hospital and injected with rather a lot of sedative and finally slept for a long time. Then he was broken again when he realized he'd "failed" again. He was as fragile as I'd ever seen a man. Eventually, he settled into Catholicism for its quiet meditative path. I don't mess with his beliefs, or tell him what I think about Jesus horrid non-kind statements. We just focus on the kindness parts and have a beer. This gives him a spiritual path that brings him calmness and a promise of a better future while freeing him from expectations of others.
  11. Welcome! A word of advice: if you haven't already, read up on the intellectual arguments against Christianity (reading other people's extimonies won't be enough - you need to familiarize yourself with what apologists might throw at you to make you doubt).
  12. Plank is right. When people born before 1990 are mostly gone I think it's going to be a much more secular America. The Internet brings knowledge and facts to everyone right in the palm of their hand. Good luck having a Pastor or congregation compete with that a time or two a week when the young mind can read the horror stories about Christianity, get solid answers to Christian apologetic nonsense, and just get information on their smart phone 24/7. I have a lot of business dealing with college age people. None of them have brought up Jesus to me (anecdotal, yes). The Nones are on the rise.
  13. Right, I agree. I've been a believer in the past and it was standard procedure to ignore logic, evidence, reason, etc. (Unfortunately I found some of the Eastern religion stuff inside the bible which gave me pause to wonder...and question.) My assertion is that Christians 'can' be aware of the intellectual arguments for atheism without caving into them. Just having that information is not enough to make a Christian into an atheist or ex-C, at least. A Christian has to be in the right frame of mind to begin to accept the atheist intellectual arguments put forth. Yes a large percentage can't do it. I imagine there is also a group that dont want to break out of the mold.
  14. Add my welcome too. In my extimony I describe my experience as 'Surprised by joy' - a nod to C S Lewsi and a dig at my old, long gone fundamentalism. I've never looked back although I retain an academic interest. However, I do find it irksome that Christians do not question my journey - after 60 years, including some as a minister, you'd think they would be interested but apparently not (and I'm not an ogre trying to spread my non-theism ). We had a minister for a meal this week - he is new to my partner's church - we chatted over many things but not a mention of my journey, though he knows I am an ex-christian and ex-minister of his church. Keep asking questions. And lots of the awkward questions are answered on this excellent Forum.
  15. Welcome and congratulations. On occasion one may find themselves reverting back to the old ways, esp during times of high stress. Just keep reminding yourself that was then and this is now, now is better.
  16. And of that percentage, many are older citizens which are passing away year after year. Taking these superstitions to the grave. Unable to pass them along with very much success because their kids, grandchildren and great grand children just don't buy in to it. As you span from boomers, to Gen X, to Millennial's and down to Gen Z, the passing along of religious belief down scales. Seen in church attendance and other polling factors. So I see it like science and scientific theory: “A new scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents eventually die, and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it.” - Max Plank I'd say that newer thinking in general doesn't win by going out and converting old thinkers. It wins because old thinkers eventually die off leaving behind new generations which are familiar with the newer ways of thinking. To paraphrase and adapt it to our religious discussion.
  17. Alan Watts lectured on this. If you look very closely, you'll notice that the entire biblical drama is based on the very human concept of monarchy. A king on high, lowly servants beneath. Angels, like court personalities with various authority in between. We no longer (in most places) live in an outdated system of monarchy. But christians are stuck with the biblical text which is ball and chained to the old concepts. And the various other human concepts from bronze age periods, such as slavery, polygamy, mass genocide, and so on and so forth. It's tribal in a lot of ways too. If their human concept of god were true, then what else could it be aside from a very human-like, emotional, cosmic bully? Not so much a supreme, supernatural entity above and beyond all human concepts. But a glorified and elevated version of a jealous and hateful human ego, with a side order of love sprinkled in. And with a very thin line between love and hate to boot! And if there were a god which is something other than that, well, then that would mean that they have it all wrong and their god isn't anything more than a mistaken representation of something else entirely. Let's say a pantheistic god. That would be completely different than the monotheistic god projected as out there, other than ourselves, and beyond the universe or beyond anything else. It would be any and everything. And that would therefore make total nonsense of the bible, christianity, heaven and hell, and so on.
  18. It should be noted, per your screen name, that the Phoenix rises from the ashes. Life begins anew. Enjoy the journey.
  19. Religious PTSD: Escaping Toxic Religion https://forgingploughshares.org/2019/11/21/religious-ptsd-escaping-toxic-religion/
  20. This messed me up for years after I deconverted, to a degree that surprised me. Now, the “friendly nihilist” side of me says, yes, life is like playing solitaire in a prison cell, or polishing silver on the Titanic, but you might as well enjoy it.
  21. I can tell you from experience, and I am sure others here can relate, when you are a true believer your beliefs take precedence over reason. “Jesus is the son of god and our savior,” “the bible is god’s word and therefore 100% true,” “there is a heaven and hell and I am going to one or the other after I die” and such, are adhered to without question; and everything has to be made to fit that worldview, like the procrustean bed. Hence, pretzel-logic exegesis and “harmonization” of seemingly contradictory bible passages, blind spots at difficult places such as the pagan origins of the old testament god, theology in general, etc. The thought that “this book does not make sense” is not permitted, any more than a normal parent permitting themselves to think, “I hate my children.” Rather, it is always, “how do I twist this around to make it fit my beliefs?” It just happens automatically. And it can be traumatic to break out of that mold, a kind of culture shock. I believe that a large percentage of mankind simply cannot do it.
  22. Aya sounds a little scary to me but the deconversion is perfectly safe and absolutely reasonable. Good choice. Congratulations!
  23. Oh, good. I wondered what was going on. I used to work at Cape Canaveral Air Station in the late 90's. I saw several unmanned rockets explode during that time. Those were not intentional. They were carrying payloads like satellites. It was getting common to see rocket explosions at that time. It's good that they've probably come a long, long way since then. I watched, "The Martian," recently. It reminded me of this projected mission. And how close we're getting to actually doing such a thing.
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