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  1. Today
  2. That was awesome, TABA. Glad to hear Citsonga is not trading sexual favors to get his letters read. Haha! Btw - his letter to his parents really is pretty spectacular.
  3. I don't think he's anymore than the next douche in line for the power the seat. None of what I said has to do with Trump supporters. It just so happens that the economic point lines up with something they champion around. I didn't vote for Trump. I likely won't next year either. That's what I'm saying. If Yang gets in there I would take him as the closest thing to a libertarian win as we could expect. I think he's a descent choice for moderates, independents, libertarians and even people who did support Trump out of pure spite for the new left. Yang looks like a guy with the potential to change that around a little bit. I highly doubt that if Hillary won the economy would have done the same. Maybe it would have, I just doubt it myself. Maybe you have a point with flaunting it. But I don't expect we've had any presidents who were not violating the rule of law. Just more of the same. So I'm not any more concerned with it now than I was with Obama, Bush, Clinton, Bush, Reagan.......... Again, the thread is about Yang the potential to rise up through his opponents from the new left and possibly take out Trump next year. Probably a long shot. Probably won't make it. But interesting to follow IMO.
  4. https://www.stuff.co.nz/world/australia/114347666/bible-doesnt-say-thou-shall-not-pay-tax-judge-tells-christian-siblings
  5. Falsifiability: How much importance do we assign to it? https://www.edge.org/response-detail/25322
  6. This thread has been pretty interesting. With many contributions from several people. Good questions that seem worthy of trying to answer.
  7. Yesterday
  8. All versions of fundamentalist Christianity exhibit enough cultish traits to qualify as a cult IMO.
  9. Thanks for the consideration. I'm happy that you recognize I'd be interested. Thing is, it's obvious we're at a snails pace in the debate. I prefer to re-establish footing there. I know I did jump off for the "Deconversion" thread but that was not a time consuming effort. I'm going to stick to the debate but keep this in mind. You all say the most interesting things.
  10. New Episode! https://deconversiontherapypodcast.com/2019/07/17/23-the-cult-that-poisoned-an-oregon-town/ Bonnie and Karen talk about the sex cult called the Rajneesh this week. If you haven’t watched the Netflix documentary Wild Wild Country, Bonnie goes over it while trying to capture the insanity. Bagwan Shree Rajneesh, the guru, gathers up well-educated Western followers in Pune, India. Bagwan Shree Rajneesh They then all move, with his Rolls Royces, to Antelope, Oregon. That’s when they take over the small town and things go to hell. This story has orgies, robes, beavers in blenders and on women, bombs, poison, salad bars. It seems like a fictitious story, but it’s very real. Karen tells her own story of being a missionary in India and visiting the Rajneesh ashram with hopes that her presence and under-her-breath prayers will slay the devil and they’ll all repent.
  11. So growing up I was told by the SDA church that salvation is uncertain. No one can rest in assurance that they are saved. And once saved always saved sentiment of the southern baptist's was always used a lesson of biblical ignorance, to their superior theological knowledge. We didn't touch on the Calvinist's much. But the basic idea is that no one knows, and that's why no one can rightfully judge another. God the father alone knows the final judgement. So yes, people in the churches most certainly will be lost and some people outside of the churches could be saved for all anyone knows. And that's the way I looked at it growing up. When people tried judging someone based on appearance, I'd lecture them like a good little boy for jesus quoting verses to the contrary of their judging. Funny anecdote: During my junior year at the boarding academy, I was called into administrative counsel and put on the spot for not attending the required evening worship services at the boys dorm chapel. The dean was a pompous, ass. I quit attending worship one evening after he gave some self righteous sermon based on the writings of Ellen White where she spoke of the small minority of people who will be saved. Something like only 1/3 will be saved (taken from the 1/3's given in revelation I assume). So he translated that into 1/3 of the boys sitting in that chapel (or 1/3 of any given group of people) will see the gates of heaven. It was a stupid sermon. And I just quite attending after that. I'd had enough. So I'm cornered in this administrative counsel and asked why I haven't been attending the required worship services. I got quick witted on the spot (for a kid) and stood up from my seat and pointed my finger at the boys dean. I said something to the effect of, 'The dean has been preaching blasphemous sermons about who will and will not be saved at the second coming! Blasphemous because according to our belief system god the father alone knows the outcome of the final judgement! How then does the dean know how many boys in the chapel will be saved and how many will not?' The dean was pissed! In fact that started a long tension between the two of us. The principle seeing the potential for embarrassment just wanted to hush it up. So he concluded that I had to be in my assigned seat BUT I was allowed to wear ear plugs or a walkman if I didn't want to hear the dean's sermons. The deans face, I wish I could describe it. I created a life long foe that day. So what did I do? I didn't even attend so much as one chapel after that. And they did all of jack squat in response. They just let it go. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ Having said that, another big point here is the question of how blasphemous it is for anyone to claim to know the judgement of another, regardless of anything written in the bible. I see christians try and trump the bit about not judging, or even having the capability to judge by finding some other contrary verses in the bible. But taken altogether I haven't seen how the contrary verses could trump the verses about human's not having the ability to know the final judgement. A bum on the street could get to heaven before some self righteous jack ass for all anyone knows, right? How in the world would these Calvinist elitist's know whether or not THEY are saved without going the direction of blasphemy? If they think that they can know, what then is the final judgement in revelation all about? @LuthAMF If you feel up to taking on the crowd outside of our private debate, here's a good place to try and do so. Forget about deconversion therapy for a moment. What about this theological issue? If you do not feel up to taking on the crown outside of our private debate then I propose that we will include the issue of predestination and free will into our private debate at some point to make sure that the issue get's covered there. Let me know what you think about it.
  12. I'm open-minded with respect to the existence of unicorns. Just give me a reason to think they exist, and I'll consider it. Give me actual evidence, and I'll be persuaded. That is what having an open mind means. It doesn't mean don't make your mind up; it means be willing to change your mind given sufficient evidence.
  13. "My Daughter Got A Bible For Her Birthday, What Should I Do?" Notify your local hazmat response team.
  14. I would be inclined to utilize the situation to present an alternative concept and admonish my child that she/he knows that those books are collections of fairly-tales frequently used by controlling rulers to exploit the masses. I would do this loudly and clearly as the "gift" is presented so that all may hear.
  15. I like that blog post...a very similar thing happened to me. Several years ago, my very religious mother gave my young daughter a bible for some occasion or other...I forget which. Anyways, I told my daughter to treat it like any other book of fictional stories. I encouraged her to ask as many questions as she could think up...and boy, did she! I answered all her questions honestly and frankly. She now has a similar attitude towards religion as I do, and I am quite proud of her.
  16. This is pure gold, in my opinion. If you haven’t read Citsonga’s Extimony and ‘Letter to My Christian Parents’, take some time (a good bit of time!) to read them. You won’t find a smarter, more informed, clearly written, heartfelt explanation of why he - and so many of us - became Ex-Christians. It will be time well spent, believe me. Note: I received no financial compensation, merchandise, sexual favors or any other benefit from Citsonga in exchange for this endorsement.
  17. I'm sorry to hear about your panic attacks. That sort of thing sucks royally. It may be in your best interest to see a professional secular therapist. In the meantime, it doesn't hurt to look into some of the background of the idea of Hell. The following is an excerpt from a letter I wrote a few years ago. I hope it can help you. The Lake of Fire The Bible says that "the beast" and "false prophet" will be "cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone" (Rev 19:20), and that "the devil" will also be "cast into the lake of fire and brimstone" and that they "shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever" (Rev 20:10). After that we read that "death and hell" and "whosoever was not found written in the book of life" will be "cast into the lake of fire," which it also calls "the second death" (Rev 20:14-15). Though it doesn't specify here, one would assume that this implies that everyone thrown into this lake of fire would also be tortured forever, just like it says will happen to the beast, false prophet and devil. Granted, Revelation is highly symbolic, so one could argue that this is not meant literally, especially given the reference to a "second death." For the sake of this writing, though, I will treat it literally, as traditional Christians tend to do. As a side note, many confuse "hell" with the eternal "lake of fire." However, as can be seen from the statement that "hell" will be "cast into the lake of fire" (Rev 20:14), they are technically not the same thing in the Bible. "Hell" here is the Greek term "Hades," which was used for the grave, the nether world, the realm of the dead. But, since most people think of "Hell" as the lake of fire, from here on out that will be what I am referring to when I use the capitalized word "Hell" in quotes. So, let's move on and take a closer look at the concept of eternal torture and what the Bible has to say about "Hell." To hear Christians talk, "Hell" is one of the most important topics in Christianity. Indeed, what we supposedly need saving from is "Hell." Yet, if "Hell" is such a hot topic (pun intended), and burning eternally is the final punishment for the wicked, then why is the concept of the lake of fire completely absent from the Old Testament? Sure, the word "hell" is found in the KJV Old Testament, but it is the Hebrew word "Sheol," which means the grave, the underworld, the abode of the dead, a pit. Though there are several places where the Old Testament refers to "fire" symbolically, there is no place in it that says anything about eternal torture in fire (when preachers use Old Testament verses to prove "Hell," a quick look at the context always reveals that they mean something else). In the Old Testament, the punishment for wickedness is said to be death (Eze 3:18-19; 18:20,24; 33:8-14; Psalm 37:20; Prov 2:22). Beyond that, Isaiah says, "They are dead, they shall not live; they are deceased, they shall not rise" (Isa 26:14). Daniel contradicts that by saying, "And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt" (Dan 12:2), but though it doesn't fit with most of what we see in the Old Testament, even this verse doesn't say anything about torture. There is a significant Old Testament verse to mention, though. Jeremiah says, "Therefore, behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that this place shall no more be called Tophet, nor The valley of the son of Hinnom, but The valley of slaughter" (Jer 19:6). In this verse, "The valley of the son of Hinnom" in Hebrew is "gay ben Hinnom," or "gay Hinnom" ("The valley of Hinnom") for short, and is the basis of a later Greek word "Gehenna" that referred to a valley south of Jerusalem where they reportedly burned trash, dead animals and at times the corpses of executed criminals. This "Gehenna" is translated "hell" in the New Testament. So, for clarification, there are two Greek words commonly translated "hell" in the New Testament. "Hades," as mentioned previously, refers to the grave or the netherworld. "Gehenna," on the other hand, was the city dump where refuse was burned. (The Greek word "tartaroo" is also translated "hell," but it's only used once in the Bible and its meaning is comparable to "Hades.") Now let's look at a few uses of "Gehenna." When we read, "Whosever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire" (Matt 5:22), that "hell fire" is referring to the burning dump south of Jerusalem. So is the statement, "It is profitable for thee that one of thy members (body parts) should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell" (Matt 5:29-30). When we read, "Fear him, which after he hath killed hath power to cast into hell" (Luke 12:5), that is again using the burning city dump for imagery. In addition we read, "And if thy hand offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter into life maimed, than having two hands to go into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched: Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched" (Mark 9:43-44). This is an often cited passage about "Hell," but let's dig deeper. Not only is this using the imagery of "Gehenna" discussed above, but it is based on an Old Testament quote that says, "And they shall go forth, and look upon the carcases of the men that have transgressed against me: for their worm shall not die, neither shall their fire be quenched" (Isaiah 66:24). What is being talked about here is clearly not eternal torture, but simply mounting corpses. The worm not dying out is meant in reference to constantly having rotting corpses to eat on. Whatever "fire" may be referring to here, it is clearly not depicting the "Hell" that Christianity teaches. Again, if "Hell" was such an important topic, then why would God avoid making mention of it throughout the entire Old Testament? Why repeatedly warn of death as punishment if eternal torture was really the punishment? With the complete absence of "Hell" in the Old Testament, and the idea growing out of the imagery of a burning city dump south of Jerusalem called the Valley of Hinnom in the New Testament, isn't it quite clear that "Hell" is merely a doctrine that evolved over time? Beyond that, what about the ethics of "Hell"? How can justice be served by inflicting infinite torture as punishment for finite infractions? How is being burned forever a befitting discipline for mere mortals? What loving father would ever do such a thing? Would any good judge ever issue such an unfair sentence? Jesus supposedly said that "whosever believeth" in God's "only begotten Son" will "have everlasting life," and that "he that believeth not is condemned" (John 3:16,18). In Christian theology, that condemnation is "Hell." However, what about all the people who die having never heard about Jesus? What about people raised in different cultures far removed from Christianity, those who are indoctrinated with other views (through no fault of their own) to the point that that they cannot believe Christianity when presented with it? What about the many, many people throughout the ages who simply never had the opportunity to believe in Jesus? Some Christians try to weasel out of that dilemma by suggesting that God is just and will deal fairly with those other people. They may even cite the judgment based on deeds that Jesus spoke of in Matthew 25:31-46. While that may seem to be a noble thought, it is flat-out contradicted by the very quote from Jesus listed above, that "he that believeth not is condemned" (John 3:18). If one doesn't believe, then he's condemned, with no recourse. Besides, there are other logical problems with this argument. Since it indicates that belief in Jesus really isn't necessary for salvation, then what's the point in evangelizing and sending out missionaries? That's commanded in the Bible, of course, but it would be rather pointless if it was true that God would judge everyone justly anyway and that believing in Jesus really isn't necessary for salvation! In addition, what about other people, such as myself, who know the story of Jesus quite well but study Christianity and honestly conclude that it is without merit? With regard to us, as well as the aforementioned people who never heard of Jesus or who were already indoctrinated with another religious view, how could a loving God condemn such people to eternal agony when God himself has refused to show himself? If the all-loving, all-powerful, all-knowing God of evangelical Christianity existed and wanted to have a relationship with every person, then there would be no question that he is real and Christianity is true because he would make it clear! Yet the majority of people in the world have not been convinced of such. Where is this Christian God who is supposedly reaching out to everyone? Another common Christian response is to bring up the quote, "For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse" (Romans 1:20). Thus, it is argued, nobody has an excuse for not knowing, because "the creation" around us is proof. But is it really? If this verse was true and the natural world we see clearly depicted the Christian God, then everyone who looks at nature would automatically be convinced of the Christian God! Yet, throughout the world there are varying cultures with different religious views, and many of those people look at the exact same nature and see evidence of their gods! And other people look at nature and see no evidence of any god at all! How could this be if "creation" was so clear regarding the Christian God? Obviously, this argument from "creation" is simply false. Think about this. You were raised in a Christian culture that convinced you that Christianity is true, but in the same way people raised in a Muslim culture are convinced that Islam is true, and people raised in a Hindu culture are convinced that Hinduism is true, and so on and so forth. The fact is that people's religious beliefs are primarily dependent upon demographics instead of logic, reason and indisputable evidence. You cannot believe Islam to be true because you were programmed to believe Christianity. But the opposite is also true: Those who are programmed to believe Islam simply cannot believe Christianity. Put yourself in their shoes. What if you had been raised and indoctrinated with Islam, and therefore you could not believe Christianity? That would be no fault of your own; it would simply be the result of being raised in that culture. Would it then be fair to torture you in "Hell" forever and ever and ever, with no mercy and no relief, simply because you did not believe something that you had no ability to believe? Do you not see the absurdity and injustice in that? Do you really believe that a righteous, loving God would do that to his creation? You've heard about "cruel and unusual punishment." Indeed, when someone commits a crime, we expect them to be punished, but we expect the punishment to be in accordance with the crime. However, how could any criminal deserve being tortured forever and ever and ever? We are mere mortals with a very limited life-span, so how could anything one does be worthy of unending agony? Such torture would be "cruel and unusual punishment"! And, again, the idea of issuing such punishment for a lack of belief by those who can't believe is even more problematic. Clearly, any God who would torture people like that would have to be sadistic and unjust, because only a sadistic monster could be so cruel! To call any such God "good" is ridiculous, and is an insult to all that is good. Given that the unjust nature of the doctrine of "Hell" is incompatible with the idea of a loving and just God, and given the way the Christian doctrine of "Hell" evolved out of the imagery of a burning city dump outside Jerusalem, it becomes quite clear that "Hell" is not something revealed by God, but merely a morbid myth that developed over time and became useful for scaring people throughout the ages.
  18. Hey Myrkhoos - Wow I'm sorry man that sounds pretty intense. I suffered from panic disorder for about a year and that is not something I would wish on anyone. Once in awhile I get a momentary fear - the " what if I'm wrong to reject Christianity?" moment. Because, damn, if we are wrong we're pretty screwed! But try out this little logical thought sequence and see if it works for you: 1. If the Bible was true, we would be judged on whether or not we believed that Jesus was actually the Son of God who actually died on the cross for our sins. 2. And if it were true, God would be all-knowing. 3. The Bible is full of hopeless contradictions, inconsistencies, moral atrocities, and historical incongruities such that no clear-headed person could conclude with any degree of certainty that Jesus actually was the son of God who came and died for the sins of the world. 4. I don't know about you, but if I knew for certain that it was absolutely true then I would certainly acknowledge that it was true and live my life accordingly. 5. Therefore I conclude that if an all-knowing God exists, he would also know and understand all of the reasons that I simply cannot believe that it's true. And he also would know that I would have readily believed it had he made it sufficiently clear. Therefore I cannot imagine on what basis such a God would ever condemn me if he existed.
  19. So, Been wondering, is it real? It comes, this panick attack, with the absolute certainty that hell awaits me for my sins, and I have to confess and do exactly what God of the Orthodox Christian Bible says, and believe exactly what he says, and give anything else as demonic as wrong, any free thought, right now, otherwise demonic possesion is a given. The weird thing is that the the thoughts in this panick attack are not profound or coming from understanding, as what it is a sin, what is confession, how it works, who or what is God, who and what to trust, etc, it is more in the line of OCD thoughts, obsessive and strong, but confused and vey unclear. Like some sort of false hope/ritual, do this and you will be ok, saved. Exactly like OCD rituals. It scares the shit out of me, and provokes the flight/fight/freeze/fawn/fantasy coping mechanism all at once. The weird thing is that I tried for six years to do all that stuff, to force myself to believe, to obey, to confess, to get comunion, to stay in monasteries, to get exorcisms, visit holy relics, holy icons, and such, and very little progress. Once I tried psychotherapy and some natural anxiety remedies plus some other medical check ups and treatments it has started to subside. The thing is, at leat in the Orthodox Church, fear of hell, as in extreme anxiety, there are descriptions of monks falling into terror states and refusing to do anything but pray for forgiveness, is considered a virtue, a gift from God. My mind like goes blank, denies everything I read or know, goes into this is a real danger, I have to do this and this to escape, everything else, fuck that shit, like it doesn t matter how I feel, how and what I think, all that matters is escaping the wrath of God because I have a mild pornography addiction , weirdly enough provoked by the anxiety I live in , which prayer does not really make go away. I just see a God who issues commands and threats, demands total dedication and love , kills his enemies and even killed his own Son and gave him up to be eaten. I see a God that threatens people to Hell because they did not do works of charity, BUT that had to do with him, because doing stuff to them, means doing to Him. I see a God who asks complete submission. I see a God that creates danger and evil and then lets people fall into them and then blames them for them. I see a God that demands we be thankful for suffering and atrocities. I see a God that provokes Stokholm Syndrome in his followers, who start out fearing Him, like a victim, then loving him, being attached to Him, like little children to abusive parents, who uncounsciiusly deny everything bad that has happened, idealise parents and are fiercely loyal and interpret everything from them as being love and considering every other feeling bad. I see a God that plays mind games. I am terrified, and pure and simple terrified that THIS God actually exists. What if he exists? What if this thing, which I feel and think, these are opinions of course, is a monster, a total monster worse than any other monster ever, being all powerful, does exist? The terror, the sheer terror is amazing. I talked to a secular therapist friend, and said, you know, while I agree that child abuse, sexual and violent, is extremely traumatic, one does not understand the extreme point of anxiety if one has not experienced the fear of Hell. Of complete, eternal, conscious terror and torment with no escape. That is the reference point of anxiety. I feel like goung to Church and going trhough the motions just to relieve this extreme fear. God, it sounds like and addiction. Jehovah s witness with their anihilation theory sound nice in comparison to the Orthodox Church official version.
  20. https://www.patheos.com/blogs/godlessmom/2019/07/my-daughter-got-a-bible-for-her-birthday-what-should-i-do/ Good advice
  21. My family still is a cult. Somehow I get to sit on the fringes. I get by with pseudo spiritual cross talk or outright deflections. Sports works every time. I think I am allowed this freedom because deep down my Dad knows he's really really wrong. That said, I've never plainly told them I don't believe anymore. I let them assume what they will. I'm terrified of the fall out if I do plainly speak out. It's not my job to save them. I had to come to terms with that realization. Don't think I quite have yet. A child shouldn't have to teach their parent.
  22. I have kept three. I have one I never open and feel I should burn from when I was a child up to early teens. I have a second one that my folks bought me when I started high school. It didn't get used nearly as much as the first - I figure by high school I was already on my way out, lol. The blank pages at the back got used to roll joints, though, in desperate uh, recreational moments during college. The other copy I have is one that contains the Apocrypha because at some point during my high school years I thought maybe the Catholics had info that I hadn't encountered yet. (They did not.) Anybody else have to get rid of scads of those little Gideon Bibles. I started refusing them even before I quit believing because I knew I already had a dozen. Ha. Good times.
  23. Last week
  24. Here's a question to ask those who make unsupported assertions about anything; gods, religious belief, flat earth, climate deniers, anything at all. "If it were available, what evidence would you accept for disproving your claim." You will not get an answer.
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