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  1. 8 points
    Hey everyone I just wanted to introduce myself. I was homeschooled through a very legalistic Baptist church all through pre-k to high school graduation, all my friends were also homeschooled by the same baptist church. Everything I knew about the world was essentially filtered through the church until I was 18. I remember some crazy rules like no music in headphones, no movies, no kissing before marriage, no “non-christian” friends etc... literally all my family including aunts, uncles, and cousins belonged to this church (and also homeschooled) I have about 7 pastors in my immediate circle of influence, including my brother, father, best friend growing up and his dad, and a few cousins. I was essentially trained to follow the same path and in my effort to become a good fundamentalist baptist pastor, I lost my faith. It took about 2 years of seriously studying apologetics to realize it was a losing argument. Now I’ve quit the church, started a business that operates on Sunday, and started dating a catholic (oh my!) so I’m very much the family disappointment and still trying to recover from that psychologically. You all are the first people I’ve really talked to about this and I really appreciate the forum and the opportunity to talk with like minded people. Cheers!
  2. 8 points
    For those of you who missed my long odes.....drink up, bitches! If you didn't, well, lucky for you, this post explains why you don't see them much anymore. Wanted to save you a read, you're welcome. When I heard you were leaving, I logged back in for the first time in a few months just to emphasize how much I totally understand and agree with you, RC. I will probably not delete my profile, I had good things to say that could help others, but I never log in anymore. Those who challenge the mainstream opinion politically end up leaving, mind relatively unchanged, but recognizing that some here aren't in pursuit of truth wherever that pursuit may lead. I know, I know, I should just avoid ToT right? It's not like I have to go there, like....just don't go there. So I didn't for awhile. But I am not fan of the "don't like it, just avoid it" concept. Why don't we like it in the first place? Can't we make it better for more people? Deal with the source of the problem! I would engage, take breaks and research, reexamine my beliefs.....but you start to feel really lonely when you don't want to talk to christians, you don't want to talk about christianity, and you now also don't want to deal with the increasingly frustrating "Woke." So many posts challenged my perspective; so I would research all different sides of an argument as time allowed, I was willing to change if the argument was convincing to me. When that feels one sided, after awhile, you just leave. You don't make some fuss, or demand change like some kind of narcissist; you stop with the rant posts or comments of frustration and you just leave. You look for those who listen like you try to. That's not even to be dramatic either, just a simple choice that seems best for everyone. If you're reading this and you have an urge to debate me or defend the situation as I'm describing it instead of just listening and empathizing with an opposing perspective (which is what we want from christians), you might be one of those people. As a christian, my pursuit of truth in spite of discomfort was met with "You're just an atheist because you just want to go out and sin" or "You just don't see it from our lord and savior's holy perspective yet" or "HOW can you read the bible and not see GOD everywhere?! How can you not see his hand in your life?!" When you drop christianity, you start to drop any conservatism at first too, surely they are uniquely linked because of all the annoying religious republicans I know. Turns out atheists can be moral without the bible AND fiscally conservative without faith, who knew. Now, I hear about my "sin of whiteness" / "just being mad because you have to make your racist jokes in private now" or "That's just internalized misogyny you haven't dealt with yet" or "not having arrived upon the real, "factual," truth of academia" in spite of my reality not matching up with what I was being taught. Of course these are tropes, not necessarily a reference to direct encounters on this site, but that mindset is the same and is very recognizable and there was absolutely overlap. It's why many of us like the lion's den even if we haven't battled "this one" yet. You're right, I could avoid ToT. I was even shaming myself for not seeing it the way so many seemed to. Why couldn't I see it this way, what the heck? Why is this article or "evidence" not convincing to me? One day it clicked; it is what is and I feel how I feel and I think what I think through personal experience and I don't have to apologize for it. I tried it, don't agree, move on. I don't have to keep moving things around mentally, shifting things around to make sense of it, blaming myself, etc. This site helped me tremendously with leaving my faith, I'm forever grateful. I have met some truly wonderful people. Sure, I could stay for the new ex-christians.....but it's not like what I have to say is a whole lot different than others here, it's not like I have a @Margee hug (<3), it's not like I have loads of time, and we have archives and archives of users tackling the same material. It's not like I'm offering much new. That's just the humility of it. Everyone wants to be missed, and every active member is to an extent, but you're just one of many and everyone will be fine. I'm not trying to make this political or start anything or be unkind or dramatic, it just pertains to the OP and I'm tired of downplaying or apologizing for where I legitimately am with all this political stuff. I joined when I was starting to value reason and the simple "live and let live" concept of beliefs and behavior. I stopped logging in awhile ago when I realized just how much these ideologies share with the faith I "left." I threw christianity the fuck away for many, many reasons. I refuse to blindly follow the majority consensus just because it's the majority or certain public figure endorsements or ideas purely for the sake of their partisan ties.There is true liberal thought, open dialogue, and constructive criticism of ideas on one hand (which I recognize and can take) and then there is privileged, condescending, parroted "education" with questionable many sources on the other (which I will not take). I am a free thinker. If you made it this far, I appreciate you taking the time. If you have more time, this article explains what I mean in particularly memorable way and is very well written. Also, I promise I do enjoy cat memes as well. I just tend to like the nitty gritty, just check my Enneagram results. https://www.alternet.org/2019/01/heres-why-evangelicals-and-social-justice-warriors-trigger-me-in-the-same-way/ Thanks for the post, RC. And thanks for your contributions here.
  3. 7 points
    The only thing flat-earthers have to fear is sphere itself.
  4. 7 points
    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.
  5. 6 points
    Jane, I think you’d appreciate the books of Bart Ehrman. I just read one of his latest, “How Jesus Became God”. Absolutely fascinating. It’s a great read and I think it would answer some of your questions.
  6. 6 points
    I’ve read through your responses on this thread. I think that everything you’ve said has been really profound and thoughtful. I especially like how you’ve interpreted your dream. I realize I’ve been fixated on how I’ll have to worry about my parents reaction to the “death.” All my life, I’ve been victim-blamed, which has conditioned me into feeling responsible for other people’s emotions, reactions, and thoughts. Just last week, my mother cried boo-hoo tears as if she was the victim when Blue mentioned rising levels of depression and suicidal thoughts this summer. So both Blue and I, had to apologize to our mother for making her cry and feel like she’s “wrong” (even though she definitely is) for causing us depression and suicidal thoughts. My parents version of Christianity always focused on only God, rejecting oneself, and serving people. And they forced me to do so in a self-destructive way. Never taking care of my needs. Never addressing mental health. Never addressing social needs. Never addressing physical needs. After the past few very abusive weeks, I’ve come to terms that I can’t worry anymore about what they believe. I’m barely getting by on surviving and all the while dreaming of thriving instead. I have to address the fact that I’m not responsible for their reactions to the “death” of my “faith.” But now as an adult, I am responsible for taking care of my needs for once in my life and actually learning how to thrive in a real life.
  7. 6 points
    Just think, Christians, anyone you are positive is rock solid in the faith could drop out next week. Your best friend in Christ. A pastor. Anyone. An on-fire believer you know right now could flip sides. Since these people obviously "never were true Christians" what does that say about your ability to discern a real one from a false one? Why did Jesus let you fellowship with a fake? Why is he right now letting you fellowship with a fake? Who in your church is next? Which person in whom you have confided your sins will 'come out' as an unbeliever. Dont say it wont happen. I'm sure Joshua's friends were pretty shocked. At least he came clean, though. Some of the people you go to church with are going just to please their family members or they are a pastor who doesn't believe in Jesus but still has to pay the bills the only way he knows how. Who is it in your church? Look around. It could be anyone you know. Anyone you love. They are in your church right now. And you dont know who they are.
  8. 6 points
    ME, I would assume, since this is my post about my story that I posted to get information and support, and now I find it moved to a debate forum with pages of posts that have nothing to do with my story! I'd be very grateful if you would move my thread back into the original folder, and delete these pages of debate, so that this thread can go back to being what it's supposed to be about, ME and what I've been going through!
  9. 6 points
    @Georgia, do you dismiss Allah? How long were you a Buddhist before you discounted the Four Noble Truths as folly? Did you continue praying to the other Hindu gods, even after your prayers to Vishnu went unanswered? If your answer is that you have never studied these other religions, then that answers your question, too.
  10. 6 points
    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.
  11. 6 points
    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.
  12. 5 points
    Theists often assume about non-theists, like me, that giving up our faith—our belief in the usefulness of the Bible, in the divinity of Jesus, in the very existence of God—was the direct result of some profound personal hurt or deep disappointment. Having been raised Christian, of course I turned to faith and prayer in hard times, as we were taught to do. And of course, it accomplished nothing. When I discovered that faith and prayer plus $1.50 would get me a Kit Kat out of the vending machine, yeah, sure, my disappointment and hurt were components of why I gave up faith and prayer. But these weren't the only, or indeed even the most critical, reasons. I think I mostly still tried to pray until about age 31 or 32—I'm 49 now—and that was mainly a second attempt at faith in order to appease a Christian now-ex-girlfriend, who was/is one of those “I’m not religious; I have a personal relationship with Jesus” types. I was raised from about age 8 in a non-denominational, “Bible-based” evangelical Christian church. Why my faith in Christianity came apart was for me actually several things coming together, amidst steadily improving self-awareness and realization. Things started to break somewhere in the middle of my high school years; eventually you notice lies, falsehoods, and inconsistencies, and if you start to pull at the little threads, it all comes undone. Ultimately, there was no way I could accept the illogic and mendacity of Christianity and the Bible. More or less, in order of my personal discovery, I came to notice: The utter, pathetic futility of prayer. The overwhelming evidence for an old universe, an old Earth, and evolution. My church taught young-Earth creationism; looking back, I now feel ashamed that I thought any of those ridiculous arguments were at all persuasive, but of course I didn’t know any better. The absurdity of so many events in the Bible that I was instructed to take as literally true and historically accurate. So very many people calling themselves Christians but not even trying to walk the walk, especially “leaders” in the Christian community. Sacrificing to help the needy, loving enemies, not being egotistical materialistic jerks, etc. “The Fruits of the Spirit,” “you will know them by their love”: forget it. Utter nonsense. The staggering degree of judgmental and hypocritical attitudes among Christians towards other “sinners.” The reeking repulsiveness of commercialized Christianity. That the most kind, moral, and consistently ethical people I met have generally been non-theists. The colossally immoral, vindictive, and capricious behavior of Yahweh and his “prophets,” as described in both Testaments. The uncountable inconsistencies and contradictions in the Bible. The frankly illogical concepts of original sin, sacrificial atonement, “God become flesh,” etc. My growing advocacy of feminism. And at last my realization that, in the purported words of Pierre-Simon Laplace, “Je n'avais pas besoin de cette hypothèse-là”: “I had no need for that hypothesis.” If there is a God, or gods, there is no apparent requirement for their existence or intervention in the universe. This is not to say science has revealed all mysteries; only that the universe just works, without them. Leaving my faith behind was a long process for me, lasting about 15 years, and definitely not easy. But I am much more content and in a much better place mentally and philosophically than I was when I believed. The church I grew up in was as wacky as you would expect, although it took me awhile to admit it. I tried to believe; I really did. That was a choice. I would say in the end giving up faith for me was not a choice; it was an inevitability.
  13. 5 points
    This is the fundamental question of the human condition. There isn’t a perfect answer. In religion, there are doors to open, but they don’t lead anywhere. Outside of it, there’s only the sky above your head, but you’re free to find your own purpose. Time helps. Relationships help, but it can be hard to find the same sense of community outside of faith which is more self-organizing. What satisfies you is going to be individual. It may be an intellectual pursuit or just a set of comforts and distractions. It’s okay, because it’s yours, and that growing, unapologetic identity will become one of your biggest anchors. Looking back, you’ll realize ways that your old worldview was small, and there’s just no going to it even if the new perspective is more challenging. If you’re still working free of the wreckage of your old life, definitely give it time. Work on living for this life instead of in spite of it.
  14. 5 points
    So encouraging. I wish him well.
  15. 5 points
    Reminds me of one of my favorite memes: ”They say money can’t buy happiness, but it can buy a jet ski - and have you ever seen a sad person on a jet ski?”
  16. 5 points
    Luth: jesus is real Ex-c chorus: prove it Luth: I don't have to. The bible already proved it. Ex-c chorus: so prove the bible is true. Luth: I don't have to. god already proved it. Ex-c chorus: prove that god exists. Luth: I don't have to. It's accepted a priori. Ex-c chorus: ... This clown has nothing more to offer but unfounded assertions, strawman arguments, and ad hominems. If this is the best that an "omnipotent" god has to offer, then jesus is as big a joke as Luth is.
  17. 5 points
    How did we get here? Through biochemical processes driven by natural forces over billions of years, on a foundation of eternally-existing matter/energy. My purpose? Whatever - I - want it to be. A purpose that is assigned to you by anyone else, be it a god or a mortal, is part of their purpose rather than the entirety of your own.
  18. 5 points
    I think most of us here are aware of the Clergy Project. Christians are blissfully unaware of how many Preachers are faking it, because they need a paycheck. Leaving the ministry is difficult. We know the consequences of leaving religion, and those consequences are even worse for those in the ministry. A degree in theology doesn’t transfer to the secular world very well, therefore finding a job that pays enough to support a family is difficult. The alternative is to stay in the pulpit and fake it. Those that can’t do that suffer the consequences and essentially have to start their life over. I’m sure they don’t tell you about the risks associated with being a minister in seminary for those that later discover they aren’t suited for preaching the word.
  19. 5 points
    From the article I'm not clear if he means he lost his faith or if he simply has not been living as the Bible indicates true Christians should. Perhaps that's a cop-out to saying he does not believe in that crap anymore. I find two things of special interest in this. Someone could preach something fervently for years then change their minds. This should be a sign unto the masses to do their own research (duh). He now works for a marketing firm. Same skill sets. Same personality. Same goal - get folks to buy stuffs.
  20. 5 points
    Thank you to those who offered support and encouragement in the earlier version of this thread; unfortunately, the thread got hijacked, moved to the Lion's Den, and buried under pages of arguments, so all of that is lost. Thank you also to those who supported my original thread either staying in this forum or being returned here; also unfortunately, that's not going to happen, so I'll try one more time. If another troll appears, PLEASE flag the post but don't respond! I really do need one place where I'm not being stifled by some deluded Christian! I'm non-binary, in other words neither male nor female: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Non-binary_gender I've known this my entire life. I used to think it was only me, but over the past couple of years there has started to be a lot of talk about it, and when I checked it out I realized that they were talking about me. All well and good, until my pastor finally heard something about it, and started making an issue out of it during services, that if you have a womb you're a woman, and if you don't you're a man, and that is that. Totally aside from the fact that there are millions of intersexed people who are born with non-standard combinations of parts that don't match male or female: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intersex there are many people who, like me, know perfectly well that we're neither male nor female. And of course many transgender people whose bodies don't match their genders. You just can't argue that away! I can't begin to describe the feelings of betrayal I had, sitting there at service expecting to be lifted up, and instead being crushed down! That was absolutely the last straw, as far as I was concerned, and believe me there have been plenty of other straws as well. What makes this even worse is that my church is one of those that teaches the interpretation of Genesis that the original human being created was both male and female, which would inescapably mean, not only that men and women were created simultaneously and are therefore equal, but that combinations of parts, and we assume awareness of gender, other than just male and just female are possible. That was it for me.
  21. 5 points
    After over 50 years as a minister I realised that the Bible is a mixture of good stories and utter rubbish. Please don't patronise us. Most of us are not foolish as you seem to suggest. Most of us don't hate anyone and certainly not a god which doesn't exist. (Just to wind you up (!) some of us believe that there are as many gods as there people because people create their own gods from their imaginations - and that is not a put-down.) Perhaps if you read the Bible with an open mind you will become a non-theist?
  22. 5 points
    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.
  23. 5 points
    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.
  24. 4 points
    I'm still fascinated by religion as well. I think there may be a spiritual world that science has not detected, or science maybe just has not detected the 'extent' of the properties of physical matter and space. The universe is 13 billion years old. We've been studying it for 1000 years? Maybe? We probably don't know that much yet. I've gone past wondering. I enjoy my own personal spirituality even if others think it's baloney. Even if my rational mind tells me it's baloney. Once "I" decide to do something spiritual my left brain will roll its eyes and say, "Ok we're doing that again, eh? Well alright, but let me show you to do it the 'right' way." And it will come up with some 'reasonable' method...my left brain hates to be left out. edited...added more drivel
  25. 4 points
    Look on the bright side, you now no longer have to worry about "sin" and "going to hell" . When you die, you are just gone, no big deal. I imagine it will be just like before you ever existed. You no longer have to carry guilt around with you about anything. As long as you obey the laws of the land ( or if not, don't get caught), you are good! There is no hidden superpower watching every move you make. I find this part of being an exCh. very liberating to be honest. I no longer feel the instant eye upon me when I watch some violent movie, cuss, drink too much , lie about something, wish something bad to happen to someone I dislike, and so on. I no longer have to worry about stuff like my kids turning out gay or trans or whatever ( they are not, but when they were teenagers I worried about what I would do if they were, pointless worry) . I no longer am required to give a portion of my income away , nor am I required to "do good works' . I can help whoever and whenever I chose, or not.
  26. 4 points
    I've found that purpose is what I make of it. There are character qualities I want to embody, and some that I don't. Sometimes I have to choose moment by moment, but it is something that I want to do, not to please some bloodthirsty deity, or to make a church-goer happy with my conformity. Helping other humans is approved by all faiths, so kindness is a good thing to embody. Self-direction can be hard at first because we were used to being given "answers". And part of self-direction is also cutting yourself slack when you aren't 100% going after your goals of being. What do you enjoy doing? I like to sing, so I regularly meet with singer friends of mine to listen to them, and they come to hear me also. That helps to form community, and friendships. Joining with others makes us feel like part of something bigger, especially if there are noble goals added to the mix. If travel is your thing, learning languages can be a way to meet up and practice. Most animals don't seem to ponder meaning in being, they find their food, try to get a mate, feed their young, squabble with each other, and eventually die. Humans make a big deal out of there needing to be some overarching meaning. But I think that finding meaning and making meaning is what works best, rather than knowingly embracing myths and insisting that they are true. And it does take time to change old habits of thinking, and especially the programming of faith and religion. They get hooks into our brain's survival software, and that makes the malware harder to remove. It's taken 12 years for me to get over some of it, and there are days where songs from the past pop into my head. I enjoyed those songs at the time, but now I see how they were part of my old programming, and contain false information.
  27. 4 points
    Awesome Some people call whether Mohammed existed into question. How did an illiterate merchant found the worlds second biggest religion? We probabably can never know what "really happened" because its lost to history. We can surmise based on information we have at hand and what is most likely. How do you suppose this? Often Pastors today say they don't benefit from region and its a massive burden.... while living in million dollar homes. They just don't reveal all the benefits. Humans do a lot of things they believe in that don't directly benefit them. Paul, or whoever wrote those letters existed. We know this because we have the letters. Whether it was the 'Real Paul' or someone writing claiming to be Paul makes little difference. What matters is that a significant portion of the population converted to Christianity and followed his teachings. You are kind of asking a fundamental question about the nature of humanity. Why climb Everest, why go to the moon? Why do we humans do anything? As TABA said, you should start with Bart Ehrman - he has looked at all these questions from an historical perspective and written many great books about it. Here's Bart's blog - he covers many topics about Christianity. https://ehrmanblog.org/ Personally we can probably say a Jesus figure did exist, and most likely died. We cannot with any degree of certainty say that any of the sayings or actions attributed to him actually happened as written. The miracles can be written off because there is no way to determine their validity from an historical perspective. We know enough to day to be very skeptical of any miracle claim. The bible basically claims that Jesus used magic... all the time. There is no reliable evidence today that would indicate this is even possible.
  28. 4 points
    Hi! Just found this site by accident after searching for other former Christian's experiences. It was very difficult for me to let go of my faith but in the end ( about 5 years ago) it brought me only unhappiness and frustration. I just couldn't believe anymore. I stopped believing for various reasons the top being suffering, of humans and animals ( who don't even sin) , and a God that created all that . There are just too many things in the Bible that don't make sense, and make God look like a jerk. Prayers don't get answered either. God has never talked to me, neither given me any sort of sign he is real. I don't want to worship some supernatural being that treats his creation like crap. So I no longer believe in the Bible. If you don't believe in the Bible, you are not a Christian. Therefore I left the church ( LCMS Lutheran then Episcopal, but that didn't work for me either) Now my problem is this, I realize it is nice to have faith in some supernatural GOOD God, that loves us and will put is in heaven after death where we will see all our Christian friends and loved ones again. So, I do not want to take anyone else's faith away. At the same time , I really don't know what to say or not say to my still Christian friends and relatives ( almost everyone I know). They are worried about me, sincerely, and are afraid I will go to hell. The pray for me, and tell me to pray harder to get my faith back, and I don't want to make them feel bad. At the same time I just can't fake it either. Very depressing sometimes Jane
  29. 4 points
    There are many options left. Morality wasn't invented by Christianity and our earth is exactly the same place it was when you imagined everything was running according to a god's plan. Getting hit by an a massive asteroid as far as any of us are concerned is simply death and our death is certainly on it's way anyhow. I think when we first see that christianity can not be true we still have one foot standing on christianity and the other foot moves to stand on the no christianity side. With time those places our feet are on drift further and further apart until eventually we can't keep that foot on the christianity side at all and must put all our weight on the no christianity side. That's when it becomes clear that this place without christianity is safe and fine as can be. We don't have to choose to be immoral but we must think about each moral issue and decide if we think it has value or not. We do not lose any more meaning than we choose to let go of. We have never known anything of eternity no matter how hard we tried to convince ourselves so our focus belongs on this life we are living right now. We must look for meaning and beauty right here today as it appears that other living creatures do. We do belong and we are just as important as anything on our planet and quite possibly as anything in the universe. In fact we still have that same awe we had for god only now we see it was actually for the vast and mostly unknown universe. Our DNA may sometimes cause us to create make believe gods but also our DNA allows us to continue on, unharmed if we need to let go of that prop and look at exactly what we have here and now and see as clearly as possible what this place is where we find ourselves living. The reason Einstein was so misunderstood regarding christianity was because he was so mystified by the order he saw in the universe and he held an extraordinary reverence for the vastness of space. At the end of his life he felt compelled to clarify his certainty that the christian god and all the accompanying fairy tales were only made up stories. I'm sure that after serious thought you won't want to live in a world exclusively dictated by might makes right or where compassion has no place. It's just that now you must consciously choose to work to help make the kind of world you want to have and do it realizing you have choices. I find everything about this proposition much preferred to the chaotic patchwork morality that must be carefully extracted from the immorality crazily woven into the biblical texts. Clear thinking is truly beautiful Jane and that is something you can hang onto for the rest of your life. This is the time to build a world view that is actually solid and stays within the parameters of what you can know so that it will carry you through the remainder of your life.
  30. 4 points
    Your absolutely right about the fear and control. I had a friend while in the 9th grade named Kenny. He was a few years older than me and honestly one of the nicest people you could know. I remember feeling very disconnected from the other church kids at the time. There wasn’t many people my age and the social gap between ages seems to peak during freshman year... I still don’t know if Kenny would look out for me because he genuinely liked me, or because he knew what it was like to feel disconnected. Kenny was a non practicing homosexual. He had been a converted Christian for a few years and actively participated in church counseling. I remember him opening up a few times about his struggles but I had no idea what to say at the time. He had same sex attraction and he knew it was a sin. A sin he never once acted on, but thinking about it was just as bad. He lived every day knowing something was wrong with him and he couldn’t figure out how to fix it. I knew Kenny for about a year and a half before he committed suicide. I would give anything to go back to those moments and say something different... This is exactly why forums like this need to exist. People in these Christian communities are being psychologically abused. People are afraid to even think! How could you tell someone they deserve to burn for eternity because of attractions they’ve never even acted on! People form crazy thoughts before they even know what they’re thinking... it’s NOT the same as acting on it! I was fortunate not to experience the same bigotry as Kenny, but I was told that doubt is the only sin god won’t forgive... another thought crime that I was hopelessly guilty of. I remember weeping and begging for forgiveness because of thoughts of doubt I had. I didn’t even know if I’d committed the “unforgivable sin” or not but I was absolutely terrified of it. The absurd thing is doubt isn’t even a choice. It’s not a violation you can actively commit or not commit. Either you’re convinced or not convinced, and I was helplessly unconvinced. I’m out of all that now. My biggest regret is not bringing Kenny out with me. I didn’t know enough back then to even help myself... there are countless others still trapped in these situations so I hope you all continue to provide this community of support. I truly appreciate everyone who took the time to leave a comment, it means allot
  31. 4 points
    Blue: This is very serious shit. Dan has good ideas about child protective services. On your sister's thread I suggested calling the National Domestic Violence hotline: 1-800-799-7233 from a safe phone. Having just read both your and her posts, I urge you to do this without delay. Here is a link to their website. https://www.thehotline.org (And never use a computer at home for anything you don't want your father to see. It's almost impossible to erase everything. Go to a public or school library.) I also suggested to her to Google "assertive rights." On the sites that come up you'll find validation for what you're doing in a concise, well-worded way. Check more than one link as there are variations on the theme. Please stay with us and keep us updated.
  32. 4 points
    This is to Dreamer but I know you all read everything. I don't have personal experience but I believe if you and Blue went to child protective services you would be immediately heard and taken seriously. Unlike the church or the military, child protective services are trained to spot abuse and as a primary function expected to effectively stop it. I believe just the fact that both you and Blue find his touching uncomfortable and sexually suggestive is enough to confirm that it is inappropriate. The social workers jobs would be threatened if they appeared to blow you off and suggest you were making too much out of what was being done to you. In my opinion your father would in all probability not escalate his sexually inappropriate touching once officially confronted because to do so would put his reputation, employment and church status in jeapordy. So far he has enjoyed pushing the sexual touching as far as he can without doing (in his opinion) anything that could be called clearly sexual and he has escaped without so much as a scratch. Stepping out into the spotlight to force sexual groping on his daughters would be a very big and very dangerous step up in the nature and degree of offensive behavior he would be engaging in, leaving him very little room to escape detection and prosecution. (This is not to say that he won't keep pushing the envelope if nothing seems to be preventing him or exposing him). I would say that once child protective services contacted your family they would make it clear to both your father and mother (and to you and Blue) exactly what constitutes crossing the line at this point and that if he decided to go there they would take immediate action. If your mother ever saw anything suspicious and did nothing to intervene she would be complicit. Whatever child services decided to do it would be their job to see that you and Blue are not ever placed in harms way. I don't think this is at all beyond the abilities of child protective services. You and Blue have every right to expect to feel and be safe in your home without fear of sexual advances from your father. As I've said before you have more power than you have been led to believe by your controlling parents and church. Of course your father could withhold co signing on college loans but once child protective services has made contact with him any changes in his behavior that negatively effect you and Blue could well be seen as retaliatory and could cause your father's behavior to receive additional negative scrutiny.
  33. 4 points
    Wow. The cult never ceases to amaze me. My niece and nephew were raised with very strict filtering. Now that they are teens they are getting out more, but still have a filtered view of reality. I remember as a believer studying cults and then trying to relate how they operate to my fellow believers, and being asked "How is that different from what we do?" Oops! It took another 25 years before I realized I was part of a cult, a big one but a cult.
  34. 4 points
    Yes. The flat earther will drive around in their 2019 Awesome Mobile running the latest sat nav system that uses calculations based entirely on a spherical earth all while proclaiming that science is wrong and the earth is flat. Then they moan and bitch when their fucktardedness is pointed out.
  35. 4 points
    No, that's not how it works, Georgia. You are presenting an utterly laughable point of view that strongly suggests you have an execrably poor knowledge of science. You do not get to present your fan-fiction-grade hypotheses on the same stage alongside theories that real scientists have supported with literally millions of man-hours of experimentation, calculation, testing and retesting. It's a damned pity that conspiracy-humping and willful ignorance doesn't usually translate into negative real-world consequences, forcing people to become more informed about Life, the Universe and Everything.
  36. 4 points
    I don't actively try to deconvert people. I don't even broach the subject with others. If they start a conversation, I'll engage them; but, I try to let my actions show how and who I am, now.
  37. 4 points
    Christians cannot "prove beyond any doubt" that the supernatural realm, including related entities, events and dogma, in which they believe actually exists, at least to empirical standards. When asked to do so, they typically respond with mere assertions/unsupported claims, resulting is demonstrating that they merely believe in the truth of those claims. Also, they often claim a special frame of reference and special access to information, e.g., "You can't understand unless you let the Holy Spirit enter you to explain", or other similar nonsense. This behavior often leads to hubris, holier-than-thou and narcissistic dysfunctions. Indeed, they are actually taught to shun rational thinking but instead are taught to solely rely on Scripture, Authority and Revelation. A skeptic can simply say, "I do not believe you", which ends the discussion. However, many folks believe themselves that there is benefit from engaging these theists further. This requires the skeptic to assume, for the sake of discussion, that their claims are true, in whole or in part. Unfortunately, doing this usually results in the theist making more mere assertions or causes them to recite Christian apologetics, which is typically laced with other logical fallacies, lies and misrepresentations and general woo woo. They seem content to grovel in their mysticism, devoid of intellectual honesty, curiosity and critical thinking. Of course, the peer pressure they are under to conform to the expected beliefs and behavior is ever present.
  38. 4 points
    I find this rather patronizing and offensive. Having been on this forum for several years I find the members here have a strong moral code that is moral merely because it is right. And treating other people right is not exclusive to Christianity, as some Christians seem to think.
  39. 4 points
    I don’t understand why you ‘authentic Christian believers’ think that you should come to a site called ‘Ex-Christians’. Here on Ex-Christians, most of us have decided we want an escape from Christian Sermons because we are Ex-Christians. Or we are questioning these beliefs and have come here to get opinions that are from people who understand what it is like to be blindly shoved into belief in someone else’s faith and would never want to put that on someone else. On Ex-Christians we care for and support the experiences and journeys of other Ex-Christians or in questioning people and we do not force our current beliefs or ideals on them. We read these testimonies that others have built up the courage to share so that we may in turn understand those people, care for, support, and kindly offer suggestions if it seems to be welcomed. From your post, you do not seem to care for the content of the OP’s story and only wish to force the OP back into Christianity and the Church. Hopefully my reply may enlighten you in the ways of this site called Ex-Christians that it is not a place for Evangelical Conquests. *Welcome @Blue and thank you for your spot-on comment!
  40. 4 points
    People like to think they have one-up on everyone else. "I know the REAL truth" sort of thing. It is am imaginary way to feel significant in a world where most of us are just replaceable cogs. A crude analogy is wanking to pretty celebrities. It is another form of self-pleasure. Just my opinion, but I think a lot of political rallies are like this. It also comes back to remote possibility versus probability, and landing on the remote one as The Truth™ I do repair work on network and telephone cabling in some old county buildings, one of which holds mental health offices. I walked in with my bag of tools and a lady piped up "HE'S WITH THE CIA! HE'S HERE TO SPY ON MY SESSION, TRUST ME, I KNOW THESE THINGS." I wanted to say "Nah, we went wireless with satellites back in the 60s" but the staff probably wouldn't have appreciated it. A buddy of mine works with similar folks, and has asked a few seriously "You really think you're that important?" Some of them get what he's saying, others are too far gone enjoying the fantasy.
  41. 4 points
    I'm not sure that is typical Presbyterian religious doctrine, but maybe I had the wrong translation or something.
  42. 3 points
    What makes you think that the book of Ezekiel was written before Tyre was invaded? It is easy to write "prophecies" in retrospect. It is like the entire book of Exodus (none of which happened in actual history) which is made to sound like it fits into history, but is completely invented. Daniel is another made-up book. The common thought is (others on this site can confirm or deny) that most of the writings were invented around the Babylonian exile in order to give the people a feeling of continuity from ancient times. This is also likely where the "star of David" originated, from Babylonian magic rather than anything to do with David. The Revelation purports to talk about the end time, but seems to clearly point to Rome as the evil thing, and they are not really a world power anymore. Other examples: The "prophecy" about the virgin birth of Jesus isn't related to Jesus at all, but to some unknown kid born or a girl centuries earlier, not a virgin. The "prophecy" of Herod's slaughter of children has no bearing at all on Herod, and the prophecy even says that the children were kidnapped and later returned, not killed. The Bible is full of made up stuff. Apologists ignore that and start with the idea that it is true, then look for things to make it seem factual.
  43. 3 points
    "Real" Christians, feel free to look up the verses and provide the "real" context:
  44. 3 points
    If someone makes their whole life about Jesus for example, is it possible to have a relationship with them? Do you really want to be around a person who brings up religion constantly? I certainly don't. This is also applicable to individuals who bring up racism, sexism, patriarchy, etc every other conversation. When a person's identity is tied to their ideology to such an extreme, ideas that are intellectually repugnant in my opinion, there can't be a normal relationship. It's like being around an alcoholic, sometimes they're normal but most of the time they're drunk and unruly. To be fair, a good portion of the members here are moderates but the overall climate leans left.
  45. 3 points
    What works for me, doesn't necessarily work for others; just as what works for others, doesn't always work for me. christianity did not work for me; but, in its own way, it works for my family. After many troubling years of trying to coerce, cajole, and manipulate others into believing as I believed (the proverbial throat-shoving of my religion), I've said goodbye to all that. What works for others, works. Just because it doesn't work for me doesn't mean I need to change their minds about it. This is a two way street, though; and I need to be firm and secure in my own boundaries. If I am showing others the courtesy and respect of not trying to deconvert them; I will expect, and demand, if necessary, that they extend the same courtesy of not trying to convert, or, rather, re-convert, me.
  46. 3 points
    That's great. Gota wonder how many pastors secretly don't believe what they preach? Takes a lot of courage to come out after having such an opposite public opinion.
  47. 3 points
    I see love and acceptance as totally different things; love is an emotion, acceptance is an intellectual decision. We'll just have to agree to disagree there. I don't think that a definition of sin is necessary, or even possible, other than "whatever God says it is," because there are always so many if's and's or but's, eg stealing in general is wrong, but then there's the hungry child example. Christians are supposed to judge; that's how they determine right from wrong, and good people from bad people. The line about judging not lest ye be judged is taken out of context. I don't know if anybody is saying that being non-binary is a sin; we should probably assume that somebody is, given how intolerant many Christians and churches are these days. What my pastor said is actually worse, really; that it doesn't exist. For something to be a sin, it has to at least exist! I refuse to not exist.
  48. 3 points
    I feel for you. I'm so sorry that this thread was derailed by a nutjob. I spoke up for you on the first page and pointed out that it was a bad decision to move this thread to the Lion's Den. I'm not sure why that was done, but it should not have happened. You deserve much better than this.
  49. 3 points
    "The Confederacy" was an illegal enterprise. Statehood was granted to each new state by the original 13 states with the legal agreement that they would exist as singular political bodies subservient to the supremacy clause of the Constitution. The moment that a "Confederacy" was formed, they had broken the law and they no longer had any rights. You arrest people who break the law, or else the law is rendered meaningless.
  50. 3 points
    The burden of proof lies upon the one making the claim. There is no evidence of unicorns, therefore no reason to conclude they exist. Nor is there any reason to be open minded about it, any more than the existence of Gramblyfudds or Qualfidnerds. Those making the claims can submit evidence, but until then there is no point giving any credence to the claims. Belief is a substitute for knowing, but goes beyond a hunch to more of a conclusion based on desire for the thing. I can have a hunch that there are yet unknown species of life on Earth, and since we occasionally find them, that is even likely that we haven't seen every kind of creature or plant. Unicorns are a myth from a time of pre-science when all kinds of magic were feared and regarded as true without proof. Eventually, through the development of logic and much scientific inquiry we can safely say they have no basis in reality. I could even have a hunch that there could be life elsewhere in the universe. But to conclude it by saying I believe is going beyond the guess. Trying to draw up odds is not possible since we don't know how life starts in the first place.

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