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  1. 14 points
    It is with great sadness to learn of Marks' death this morning..... better known to us as BAA. Today most people refer to the internet and boards like these as if they weren't 'real' life. But the internet and boards like Ex-c are real life for many of us. It is part of our real life. And we get to know people in this internet world. And they become our friends. And it was part of BAAs' real life. For many, many years, people had no choice but to write long letters to each other and those letters were how people stayed in love.... and in touch with each other. Many times (back in my day) you could find a 'penpal' and write for years and never meet them in real life. We may have never met Mark/BAA in RL but he was our friend. BAA has written and left us many letters on this board. He was a relentless teacher and loved helping us understand the cosmos. He has helped me and many others on this board. I am shocked this morning. And I am very sad. I hope his atoms will become part of the sun. That way, he can continue to help us stay warm and comforted like he did in his posts. That's how I am going to try and remember him. Every time I see the sun or feel its warmth, I will take a moment to say, 'Thank you' BAA, for everything you taught me. We will miss you very much in our community. A person that departs from this earth never truly leaves, for they are still alive in our hearts and minds...it is through us that they live on. Please accept my condolences that BAA will not be forgotten. I wish his whole family much comfort and love as they grieve during these difficult days. Rest in Peace my friend.
  2. 12 points
    I've retyped a response so many times now and nothing does BAA justice. I just found out and I'm shocked, grieved, and tearing up. It hurts. Yet, even in his death, his parting words have filled me with wonderment and appreciation. We all may be made up only of atoms, but special were his indeed.
  3. 12 points
    Wow. I can still scarcely believe what I've read here. BAA, as he'll always be known to me, was one of those rare posters with a sharp wit, an analytical mind, and a commitment to truth. I could write endlessly about positive qualities of his upon which others have already expounded. But what truly impressed me about this man is that he is the only person I have ever known who was a self-made cosmologist. When most of us think of self taught hobbies, activities such piano, woodworking, knitting, and auto mechanics come to mind. Never in my professional life could I ever imagine someone teaching themselves theoretical cosmology - one of the most challenging and intricate fields in all of physics - in their spare time without any formal training. Yet BAA spoke about cosmology and educated others with an insight generally possessed only by practiced researchers. He defended established physics against the pseudoscience of Christianity from an informed posture I have only seen from trained scientists. He would often ask me probing and incisive questions about astrophysics in order to bolster or debunk a particular scientific argument which would require a significant research effort on my part. I have rarely seen such passion for scientific truth even from tenure track professors in the field. We will all miss BAA as a friend and fellow ex-Christian poster. But today I feel as though I've lost something irreplaceable. I have lost a rare kindred spirit, one who shares both my apostasy from Christianity and my determination to understand the nature and origins of the universe from a scientific and mathematical standpoint. Goodbye BAA. You were the only self-made cosmologist I have ever known, and I do not think we will ever again see one of your intellectual stature.
  4. 11 points
    I realized earlier this evening that tonight is the eve of my 5-year deconversionversary! I just pulled out my old journal and read through pages and pages of the stream of consciousness, questioning and mental gymnastics leading up to it, when everything finally came together and the ecstatic joy, and the aftermath of figuring out how to "come out." The last four years or so have been lived in pleasant complacency and normalcy after all the dust settled and don't really think of things much anymore. I haven't posted here in a while! As much of a wild ride my deconversion was, I can't deny that it was a time when I felt truly alive and life burst with meaning. In a way I kind of miss that. Just wanted to share it somewhere because it's something worth celebrating!
  5. 11 points
    BAA was my friend, just like he was to everyone here. His patience and his willingness to post and respond with honesty and consistency to everyone here all the time will never be equaled. I learned so much from him. I would push and push sometimes, especially about the science of space I so love but barely grasp, and he would respond in such an honest manner, and he always went above and beyond what anyone could expect. I haven't been able to bring myself to post here in "my own" thread, since I heard the news about Mark, and thank you to the wonderful mods that let me know what happened. Mark said not to cry because he died. Sorry buddy, I did anyway. I know that death is inevitable, and he said that if I cried, to cry because I miss him. Well, I did that too, and I'm doing that right now, but even after the crying stops, the things I learned from BAA about science, patience, logic, humor, consistency, honesty, teamwork, and compassion will remain. I probably won't live up to them but I'll try. The thing is, Mark would understand that. Thank you Mark for being my internet friend at a place online that is like no other.
  6. 10 points
    I am stunned and saddened by this news. This is an irreplaceable loss. I find myself in tears again, and I don't yet think that the full loss has hit me yet. Many of you have known BAA/Mark for many years. I knew him only for a year - since October 2016 - the briefest of blips in time. It was Mark who helped me as a person struggling from recent de-conversion. From the get go in private messages we were on first name basis. He patiently talked me through a lot of issues I was having regarding family and the like. I'm am not sure if I ever expressed how great an impact Mark made on me, how much he helped, how much I valued his friendship. Alas now it is too late to tell him but for everyone else here never let anyone ever tell you that you don't make a difference. Mark made a difference not only with his knowledge and keen intelligence, but with his compassion and caring. Mark truly cared about truth, and about helping others. On the forum it was Mark that gave me my first grounding in cosmology. For a creationist whose education was woeful, I was slow to pick things up, but Mark, true to form, patiently walked me through examples and explanations. I can say that much of my scientific understanding of cosmology is directly attributable to Mark. To my great regret I will not be able to finish the threads I started with BAA over a year ago. Mark was the first atheist I felt I could call friend, and I hope he felt the same about me. To Maureen, if you read this: You have my sincerest condolences. There is probably nothing anyone could say that can ease your pain, but please know that the man you loved truly made a difference in this world. So farewell Mark. We will pick up the torch that you carried so well on the forum, and though we will never reach your impact we will try to carry the message of finding truth. Rest in peace Logical Fallacy
  7. 10 points
    Friends, I honestly don’t know what to say. I recently celebrated my 30th birthday, and along with this somewhat arbitrary milestone came the realization that I have now been an ex-Christian for over seven years. I’ve only been a member of this site for 4 years, but I was a lurker here for quite a while before I joined. This site has had a very significant effect on my life. It has helped me through some very hard times, and I continue to derive a great deal of enjoyment and satisfaction from my interactions with all of you, here. Needless to say, BAA was one of the foremost contributors to this site. He was a force to be reckoned with. He was knowledgeable, forthright, and incisive. He and I shared a number of very productive discussions, both publicly and privately. I am very proud to say that I considered Mark to be a friend. A friend that, regrettably, I never had the privilege of meeting. A “friend-across-the-miles”, indeed. No one that I have ever held discourse with was as dedicated to the authentic pursuit of truth as Mark was. He was truly relentless in his analysis, and sincerely passionate in his argumentation. And if he was, at times, a touch pedantic, it was only because he expected of others the same level of dedication to the pursuit of truth that he himself held to be of the utmost importance. He attempted, always, to be truly intellectually honest. And that is, perhaps, the highest compliment that I can give to a fellow thinker. Mark’s posts on this site helped me a great deal on my journey away from the faith. In a very real way, he helped me to become the person that I am today. I know that there are many others here who can say the same. Personally, I am deeply grieved to hear of his passing. This site is diminished. This is unquestionable. Deepest condolences to Maureen, and to all others who, like me, are proud to have had the opportunity to call Mark a friend. My heart is torn asunder. “They shall have stars at elbow and foot; Though they go mad, they shall be sane, Though they sink through the sea, they shall rise again; Though lovers be lost, love shall not; And death shall have no dominion.” - Dylan Thomas - Farewell, my friend. Ave atque vale!
  8. 10 points
    I am saddened by the news of Mark's (BAA's) death. I'm finding my thoughts and emotions are focused towards a celebration of his character and composition. Mark was an excellent blend of intelligence, knowledge, skepticism, curiosity, determination and compassionate cleverness, among other worthy traits. His participation in this forum was honest and caring and always focused on the purpose of this website. Mark was a stellar human being. He will be missed.
  9. 9 points
    Sorry for turning this into a "let's remember the good times with BAA" thread but...what am I saying? Of course I'm not sorry! I was digging through old PMs between BAA and me. We used to chat every so often about astrophysics and cosmology, as well as argumentative strategies for dealing with specific Christian claims here in the Lion's Den. Once I was out of touch for a couple months because I was off in rural India getting married, and when I was back in civilization I sent him a message to let him know why I'd ducked out in the middle of one of our strategizing sessions. He replied by talking about a time when he and his partner Maureen had been on vacation and encountered a Hindu wedding party. Looking back on it, his ability to convey imagery via the written word was remarkable. Here is his message to me: ----------------- Bhim, About eight years ago my partner Maureen and I were visiting our British friends Neal and Katy and we spent a long weekend with them in London. One afternoon we dined at the Belvedere, a fine restaurant in the middle of Holland Park. http://www.belvedererestaurant.co.uk/Intro.html It's a lovely place and every so often the staff have to shoo the peacocks out, because they wander in from the park! Anyway, while we were there I noticed a small group of very elegantly-dressed Hindi (is that right?) gentlemen entering the hotel foyer. They all wore dazzling white, formal outfits with what Neal told me were Gandhi collars. Later we saw that a large private room had been booked by them for what was clearly some kind of family celebration. Because it was high summer, all the doors leading out to the park were left wide open and we caught glimpses of the party moving to and fro as they circulated and mingled, chatting and laughing. What caught Maureen's eye was the sheer beauty and vibrant colors of the ladies sari's. Peach, aquamarine, cobalt blue, rose and many other gorgeous shades. Many decorated with delicate filigrees of gold. They wore exquisite and elaborate jewelry too. We soon realized that we were seeing a post-wedding celebration involving the bride and groom's extended families and their many guests and friends. OK Bhim, what I'm describing here happened in an urban setting, but if your wedding was anything like this colorful and joyous occasion, then I'm very, very happy for you. ----------------- BAA, I must say your ability to freely absorb the grandeur of your surroundings knew no distinction between the terrestrial and the astronomical. I wish I had taken even more opportunities to converse with you while you were with us. I regret that I didn't take the time to reciprocate your profound musings on the seemingly trivial activities of life during our conversations, but now that you're gone I'll do my best to learn from your example.
  10. 9 points
    Wow. This is a shock and very sad news. We are left with a BAA-shaped hole that none can fill, but may we all take comfort in knowing that his contributions have been immortalized on this board. R.I.P. Mark
  11. 9 points
    May you visit a multitude of Stars during your long journey. Goodbye BAA/Mark, you are missed already. Jeff
  12. 9 points
    I am crying, too. He was always there for anyone who asked anything of him. I don't remember him putting anyone down, much as he would disagree with those who persisted in bad or null arguments. It's beautiful to read his tribute, one coming from someone who so loved our universe (with its flaws and broken pieces?) and people in it. "Friendship dances around the world, bidding us all to awaken to the recognition of happiness. ... if one of them died before his time, the survivors did not lament his death as if it called for pity." ~ Epicurus.
  13. 8 points
    I didn’t have much interaction with Mark but I appreciate the great contribution he made here. He was a smart, articulate voice for reason and for defending and encouraging ex-Christians. His sudden loss is a shock. I hope that Maureen’s pain, and the pain of others who loved him, will in time be eased by the happy memories and by the knowledge of the good he did.
  14. 8 points
    The immortality of the dead is in the memory of the living. Rest in peaceful memory, my friend, my mentor, my muse. John
  15. 8 points
    Well... fuck. BAA was one of the bright spots here at Ex-C, a person that made it worth visiting. His never-tiring commitment to fighting scientific bullshit was something I admired, but he was always able to be so damn nice about it, too, which is something I always envied. I think it was Carl Sagan that said that life is the Universe observing itself. Now, it has one less person's perspective. You'll be missed, BAA.
  16. 8 points
    Wow. Words fail me now. I'm shocked and saddened. I enjoyed our conversations and I learned so much from him. I enjoyed the way he challenged me and my way of thinking. His attention to detail and how he carefully crafted his posts and responses will forever impact my way of participating in these forums. Rest in peace, Mark. You'll be missed.
  17. 8 points
    Well son of a gun. I didn't know this. BAA (Mark), and I argued a lot, but would have still bought him a beer. Sorry to hear.
  18. 8 points
    This site is diminished by his passing.
  19. 7 points
    As I've noted in other posts my wife left her fundamentalists roots two years ago and joined the Methodist Church. Honestly, the Methodist seem to be pretty sane people as far as Christians go. My wife also attends a weekly independent interdenominational bible study, but we never discuss religion. It's a forbidden subject in our home. She is fully aware why I am no longer a believer, but that is not a subject open for discussion. We went out for breakfast today and out of the blue she says, "We're studying the Epistles in my Bible Study Class and Paul makes no sense to me. He's all over the place and I can't figure out why." As I previously noted, as part of our compromise we have agreed not to discuss religion. Knowing our deal I said, "I can tell you why Paul is inconsistent and contradictory in his teaching, but if you would rather I not talk about it then I won't." She was silent for a moment or two and then she said, "No, go ahead, but don't lecture me." So I noted first that she was reading the Bible literally and then noted the Bible is literature not history. That's the first problem. Then I carefully went through the historical research that has been done on Paul and noted it is a very real possibility that Paul was a literary figure only. He was a character in a story not a real person. They I provided reasons why scholars have come to that conclusion. After that I told her about Marcion and Simon Magus and how they "found" Paul's Epistles in the 2nd Century and the popularity of the Marcionite Churches that came out of those Epistles. And noted again that all of that occured in the second century. Then I noted that many scholars believe Marcion and Simon Magus were the real authors of Paul's Epistles. And I gave her the back story behind all of that and how the Catholic Church became the ultimately survivor. I pointed out the differences between the Orthodox and Gnostic teaching and beliefs. Then I noted that the Christian faith, the Gospel of John, and the Epistles (Whoever wrote them) are all Gnostic. When I got to that point she cut me off and said, "That's enough for now. Let me think about all of that. I may want to talk more about this later, but don't bring it up unless I tell you I want to talk about it some more." I said okay and that is where we left it.
  20. 7 points
    I never posted directly to any of BAA's posts but I read much of his content here and, I can say, that it was a source of ammunition when debating the fundies. Mark's posts were also a source for bolstering my convictions during those times when the indoctrination would gain a foothold. There's nothing like clear-concise logic and reason to repel the impact that religious brain washing can sometimes have. BAA/Mark will be missed...
  21. 7 points
    It cannot be clearer. Christianity is for the ignorant. Note, I say ignorant, not dumb or stupid. They just don't know or admit to themselves that they are following a cult. There used to be a time after I left Christianity that I avoided reading Christian junk because it sucked me right in again. Hallelujah, I can now freely read the Bible and Christian material without being sucked in again. In fact, the opposite happens. It convices me that Christianity is a cult. Nothing more, nothing less.
  22. 7 points
    First & foremost, the Bible was written by men. The imaginary God of the Universe had nothing to do with it. The scripture you referenced was obviously written to scare people & that makes them easier to control & encourages them to be obedient. This particular scripture is intended to create doubt in the minds of believers & that will make them worker harder to please God & avoid Hell. It is all a scam designed to scare naive people into worshipping their man made God, and to get their money too, of course. Scripture is full of this kind of non-sense.
  23. 7 points
    It was 7 years ago tonight that I made my very first post on Ex-c. Sweet mossy, I was a mess that night. I guess you could say I was fantasizing how to get off this earth. Yep. My whole life was a mess....again. And now, no god to pray to this time. That was 2010. You guys don't know the whole story because some things ya just can't tell on a forum. Ex-c saved me. Not god. You guys. You gals. For the first time in my life, I started to feel sane. Thank you all from the bottom of my heart. And Merry whatever you are celebrating this year. The very best to each and every one of you. I truly luv you guys. Let's keep helping each other through this journey. It's a real, hard serious road for some and that's what this site is really about. (((hugs)))
  24. 6 points
    Does anyone know where BAA is? I know he takes a vacation now and again, but has anyone heard that he was going on one?
  25. 6 points
    While little that happens in Texas surprises me, this one did. This judge needs to be sent off to find a new line of work.
  26. 6 points
    Hey guys, Figured I would give you all an update and let you know i"m still alive LOL. It has been almost exactly a year since my deconversion and I can truly say it has been a ride..... sometimes rough sometimes not. But like it has been pointed out before on other threads it is a lot like grieving a lost loved one. I went through all the stages of grief and have finally accepted my new reality. I dont know if acceptance is the best term because I accepted the truth when it was presented to me in my searches. But It took a long time to become comfortable with that truth and to feel like I was me again. I unfortunately haven't been able to be as active on the group as I would have liked to have been during this time because the deconversion affected my relationship with my family.... especially my wife who is still a believer. It has been rough but I think she is finally starting to realize that I still love her an i'm not going to become an adulterer just because i dont believe anymore. I feel like we are growing closer again sometimes as we were before. For awhile there it was touch and go and I was very worried that divorce was in my near furture. Thankfully I think we are past that point and are in the stages of rebuilding our relationship around the fact that I no longer believe in the christian God. One thing that i think helps is that I'm not fully athiest I am agnostic. I still believe in the possibility of something but have accepted that all man made religions are only that. man made religions. I also told her that if i ever came across concrete evidence that supported the biblical account that I would be able to believe again. But just like anything else I"m not going to believe unless it can be proven. I don't really see that happening but hey if it is concrete proof its concrete proof right? lol. I have found in the past several months that the formation of various ancient religions fascinates me now. I'm a history buff sometimes and just love exploring the frame of mind of those that lived long ago. I had to explore this prospect because I had to know why they created this belief that hurt me so much in the end. And when I began to put myself in the shoes of those that lived so long ago without all the years of scientific study and testing that we have been blessed with I can then understand that they were only doing what they could to explain all the Whys that come to mind through life. Why are we here, why is the sky blue, why does rain fall from the sky, why do other people speak other lanquages, and why do i feel bad when I do something wrong that affects someone else? All these questions and more were answered by all the various beliefs, myths, and folk tales that eventually formed the religions we know today and others that fell away long ago. This helped me get past the pure anger i felt at being so deceived for so long. I think that at some points in history, more pointedly during the formation of the monotheistic religions that rule the world now. That there was more political motivations rather than just explaining why things were. I can see how limiting the population to one God would cut down on revolts and create a more obedient and subservient population that would govern themselves in obedience to the one and only God that was apparently in favor of your govt. I also dont hold any anger toward those that are in the faith now. I know they have been programmed just as i was to believe what they believe and to carry on those beliefs through "spreading the word". I have become more of a constitutionalist than i ever was in the past year. I see why our fore fathers in america wrote the constitution and I want to see all those rights protected. I believe in our rights as american and I believe in the right to freedom of religion. I actually feel bad about all the grief I gave believers of other faiths that didn't reflect my own personal churches beliefs. In the end we are all just in pursuing our own happiness and trying to get by the only way we know how. They are the ones that are ruled by an ancient and outdated book, not me, not anymore. But if that is what makes them happy then I support that. On another note I have not been cursed by leaving the faith like some people would try to say. In fact have prospered during this past year and ended up making more money than I have in the past last year and have just topped that off with a promotion. O man, Bible God sucked ass but the universe has been very kind to me :-) lmao. Anyway, I just wanted to let you all know whats going on with me in my ex-christian life. I still cant frequent this site as much as i would like as it starts to weird out my wife and brings up some old arguements that have been laid to rest for now, but you are all always in my thoughts and I wish you all well. Dark Bishop
  27. 6 points
    So, in some ways it's been a usual Sunday. As normal, I accompanied Mrs E to the church and sat in silence through the proceedings. As normal, keeping up appearances for the sake of marital harmony and her sense of security. But then, over lunch she started to talk - about the way others there are so sure that they are right and never question anything. How, historically, anyone who did not follow the same version of Christianity was beyond acceptance and would be cut off as if they did not exist. How tradition is enforced (e.g. women should not wear trousers and should have long hair - rules she regularly breaks as to the first and interprets as she sees fit as to the second) and us by attempting pressurise people using terms like "loyalty" and "back to basics". I was probably as scathing of the whole sorry bunch in my comments as she expected, and more so than I would have ventured not that many years ago. Now, I judge that she's still a long way from being prepared to turn her back. But this was somewhat unexpected and left me with something to ponder...
  28. 6 points
    I think a quarter, and maybe as many as a third of Americans would be fine with an ethnic cleansing. I used to wonder how Hitler ever managed to come to power and gain popular support in Germany, but I now see exactly how it happens.
  29. 6 points
    I went to the Candlelight Service at my wife's Methodist church last Christmas Eve. It was good to see some old friends, many smiling faces, to hear the "Merry Christmases." In some ways, it was mildly comfortable to be in my old milieu. Sort of like remembering a childhood memory from days gone by, from days when I simply believed and didn't question. At least not much. But in so many other ways, I just felt out of place. No one talked about the fact that not only is there no historical evidence for Yeshua of Nazareth, but even if he did exist, he certainly wasn't born December 25. No one talked about the differences and discrepancies between Mark and Luke's accounts of the birth narratives. No one talked about the disturbing notion of a being coming down from heaven to mate with and impregnate a young virgin (according to the biblical accounts). No one talked about how the birth of this baby saved no one. No one. We still all die. We still live in a world with suffering and death. No one has been saved by the birth of the Christ-child. And I sat there asking myself, "Am I the only one?" For better or worse (I think it is better), I did pay attention to the man behind the curtain. I saw that there was nothing supernatural there. It was only a man. A clever man, no doubt. But a trickster. A charlatan. The Great Wizard of Oz, despite his presence and claimed power, was no more than a man writ large. If we've seen this, how can we go back to believing in the Wizard? The church service was beautiful. So are fairies. So are unicorns. And I'm sure many there were comforted by the notion that god and sinner have been reconciled and that the world has a new king. But, for me, I can't believe it. I'm searching, not for comfort, but for truth, for what really is. And I simply can't drop the edge of the curtain and pretend that I haven't looked behind it. That wouldn't be honest to either my experience or to what I know of reality.
  30. 6 points
    I always enjoyed reading what Mark had to say. Till we meet again, fellow stardust.
  31. 6 points
    I'm still so sad. Even today. I couldn't get BAA out of my mind. I read so much on the board about what he was trying to teach about the cosmos but it was so over my head and he knew that. Lol I got just enough to understand a bit, thanks to BAA. It's like one of our friends is vacant in the room. Someone who was always there. For the rest of my life when I see Spocks' face from Startrek, I will think of BAA.
  32. 6 points
    I give a military salute to BAA. He was a fine champion of Ex-Christianity. I also give a Vulcan salute to BAA, logician as well as Star Trek fan. It was good to know you. -Midniterider
  33. 6 points
    HEY everyone.... I got into an online tussle with a fundy preacher who has harassed a friend of mine on many occasion on a social media site. It only took me one verse to corner him...LOL See the exchange below (note-I removed the names and just placed the words "Him" for the preacher and "Me" to represent me): And that is where it ended.
  34. 6 points
    You'd love to be where I'm at with all of this. I realize that technically I can't claim that there's zero percent chance that the bible god (gods!) exist, but intuitively I'm there. I myself have no question whatsoever in my own mind that it's 100% not literal, not possible, not plausible, and not true at all. No god(s), no heavens, no hell, and more than likely no afterlife that any human made mythology has described in any of the worlds thoughts or texts. And it's peaceful, dam peaceful to eventually come to a place where I understand and completely accept the above with open arms, no second guessing or hold backs. There's zero anxiety. I'm 100% ok with the natural process and cycle of springing into life and experience and then flowing through into death and it's mystery. I don't expect any rewards, punishments, or anything for that matter accept an ending to my egocentric based (looking out from a centralized perspective) experience of human consciousness. Everything's going according to the natural processes and cycles. How to relate this sort of non-anxiety, lack of religious belief, contentment with the natural order, and one's place within the scheme of nature and the totality of existence, I just don't know. Everyone would have to get there on their own in some way. You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make it drink. I suppose that enough study, enough engagement with these debates, for a long number of years until it all sinks in well, is the key factor in building up the sort of confidence that I'm talking about. And it's there. This confidence is there for the taking if you choose to be intellectually honest with yourself and follow your better judgement to the bitter end. Maybe seeing the raw unwavering confidence in others might help you in some way, Sea Jay. I suppose that's what hooks a lot of people with religion. They seem so confident in the existence of the their gods, their concepts of heaven and hell, the bible or some other ancient man made texts as divine, etc. And people lean on, and feed off that confidence. Even fear that confidence, in some cases. But I'm willing to bet that I'm more confident that they're all wrong, than they really are confident in their own minds that they are right. I think they have more doubt about their positions than I have about mine. Again, I know I'm parting with technical philosophical standards by being this confident, but it is what it is. I'm right there at 100% confidence in my own mind. And I'm willing to bet eternity on it!
  35. 6 points
    BAA certainly left a very positive mark on this site. Call it religious if you want, or call it poetic, but a certain stanza from the Poetic Edda's "Havamal" comes to my mind. In memoriam! Viewed with the eyes of a man of the Vikings' faith... may he be carried to Valhalla, maybe not because he was a brave warrior (though perhaps he was... what do I know?), but for his wisdom. The sagas say Odin is, among other things, the God of wisdom so the two should like each other
  36. 6 points
    My deepest, deepest sorrow for BAA's passing. I know I don't hang out much nowadays, but I always looked forward to BAA's very patient takedowns of Christian apologetics talking points. They were an education of inestimable value--just as he himself was an ex-Christian of inestimable compassion and intelligence. I cannot imagine the pain Maureen faces and offer my most profound condolences to her and the rest of BAA's circle of friends. I'll always remember this eulogy - and its optimism and forward-thinking. In these and many other ways, it was a perfect reflection of BAA himself. I will miss him.
  37. 6 points
    I think the whole MeToo has gone overboard. Weinstein was clearly a predator and abuser. But it seems like a mob mentality has formed and now any guy (take Al Franken who posed as if he were going to grope a woman, and who may have touched someone's but during a photoshoot in which she is smiling) is getting taken out of a job over relatively nothing. A famous French actress has come out against the MeToo movement because it is trying to make men not be men. It is right to call out the problems, it is wrong to equate sexual abuse and a hand around the waist during a photo-op. She also said that men aren't even allowed to defend themselves against accusations, but are expected to fold and disappear. Any resistance and social media goes insane and shouts them down. The other side of the issue is that women have put up with a ton of shit from guys forever and were largely ignored when they wanted justice for being fired, demoted, or treated unfairly. Women tell me that guys are giving them a never ending advertisement for dick daily and guys are offended if they refuse. Saw that happen yesterday evening in a shop where a guy who thinks he needs to be an asshole to get what he wants was being rude to multiple women and got rejected. I've seen some women come unglued if they think an older guy is paying attention to a younger woman, not even an underage woman. One said that Finnian's Rainbow (movie) was disgusting because 60-70-something Fred Astaire was courting a 20-something female. Others say that children today are sexualized, and to some extent that is true, but the reactions are overblown except where is is harmful to the children. Social rules are in a flux as usual.
  38. 6 points
    Hi everyone, I've been a "waverer" and a "lurker" for several months, but decided today that it was finally time to sign up. I want to say I have thoroughly enjoyed reading the thoughts of so many of you; they have helped me immensely, as I would say I'm still pretty early on in my deconversion journey. A brief history of my life: I was raised in a Southern Baptist household, technically not a Fundamentalist one, but I would say my parents have what I call some Fundamentalist trappings. Namely, they subscribe to a rigidity of belief that, while it (apparently) doesn't include the Rapture, it is an absolute conviction that Jesus Christ rose from the dead. My father left a church over a disagreement with the pastor because he allowed two members of the Jesus Seminar to hold a forum at the church. He maintained that because at least one of them maintained that the resurrection wasn't literal that they were heretics. Anyway...about me... I was raised to be a Christian since birth, and I was baptized at age 9. I was a Bible-drill kid. I grew up going to all the church summer camps, Vacation Bible School, went to a Baptist college for my undergrad degree, and church attendance was compulsory from birth until I left home to go to college. In fact, I missed two Sundays in a row once due to work when I was 18, and my Dad informed me if I missed a third week, I'd be kicked out of the house. All that said, I've always had a disdain for religion, even though I considered myself to be a Christian without any doubt for many years. Part of this is probably because I've been a fan of heavy metal music (you know, the Devil's favorite soundtrack) for most of my life. I could go on more about my (silly) Christian credentials, but I want to just touch on *why* I began questioning whether God is real in the first place. It started in 2010, when my best friend passed away from cancer at age 29. I had prayed fervently for him. I drove 80 miles each way to sit with him at the hospital several times. We believed he would be healed. HE believed it too. I put the promises of the Bible to the test--I asked for his healing, believing it would already be done for me/him/his family (all of whom were Christians, and praying fervently as well). It wasn't. This was the first occurrence. My wife soon became pregnant with our first child. In short, this ended in miscarriage. The date when we were supposed to go hear the heartbeat was when we found out, as there was no heartbeat. A devout co-worker brought 2 of her devout friends with her and prayed over us for half an hour. One of them spoke in tongues the entire time. Nothing happened. Then, we got pregnant again. This child was (and is!) healthy. We named him Kristian, because I liked the name. We chose to spell it with a "K" so it might be less likely that his name would be associated with the religion. Several years later, we got pregnant again. We had been trying to give Kristian a sibling. This ended up being an ectopic pregnancy. My wife was racked with guilt because she had to choose to terminate a baby which had been growing inside her. In the week between when the doctor couldn't find the fetus in an ultrasound, and the time when she found the baby in the tube, we prayed fervently and asked God for good news. Didn't happen. But again, the Bible said if you had faith the size of a mustard seed, you could move a mountain. I couldn't. This was in February of 2016. In November of 2016, we found out we were pregnant again. We again prayed. My wife saw a lot of rainbows and was talking to "God" every day. She photographed some of the rainbows she saw. This, I was taught, was the sign that God keeps his promises. It also refers to a "Rainbow" baby--one born after a loss. But this pregnancy, too, ended in ectopic. We had two ectopic pregnancies IN THE SAME CALENDAR YEAR. That really led to questioning whether there was a God at all. If there was or is, surely this God is uncaring at best, if not outright cruel. My parents graciously offered to pay for us to pursue IVF. They told us to get every test possible done to ensure a healthy pregnancy. As part of this, we were able to know the gender of our embryos and could choose which one we wanted to implant. We had one girl and three boys. We elected for the girl, and the pregnancy didn't take. This isn't uncommon for IVF, but again, we prayed and acted on faith. This was the final straw for me. Christians might say I'm just angry because I didn't get what I wanted. But the conclusion I came to was this--there is no reason to believe that there is a God who is actively watching over us and intervening in our lives. Sure, pregnancy loss happens to millions of women. Sure, grief happens to nearly everyone at some point in life. But that's just it. These things happen, irrespective of the existence of a God. I pretty much came to the conclusion of the quote I've seen a lot lately (including here) about the world functioning exactly as you'd expect it to if there were no deity. I've come to the conclusion that everything is just random. Unfortunately, my wife and I have experienced a lot of grief and tragedy in our lives, but it is much more comfortable for me to believe that these experiences just happen because we are humans who exist, and they can happen to anyone, rather than believing some God is watching our pain over and over, who could answer prayers or act to stop tragedy and simply...doesn't. I should note that last year, the sister of my best friend also passed away, tragically. I was a pallbearer at her funeral as well. Her parents, devout Church-of-Christers, have now lost two of their four children. I want to tell them, "guess what? You have now lost more of your children than God did." But I know it would not be well received. My wife said that about us--now with four losses of the unborn--that we have sacrificed more children than the supposed creator of the Universe. To wrap this up, I'll say our second round of IVF has been a success so far. My wife started the second trimester yesterday, and everything is going well so far. The kicker? I haven't prayed a single prayer. And in that time, I've been reading these forums, the Godless in Dixie blog, reading and listening to Sam Harris, Bart Ehrman, Dan Barker, and others. I'm in the closet with my family, except for my sister (who is a liberal Christian, and while still a believer is supportive of my position) and my wife (who wasn't raised Christian, and has been "on the fence" for a while herself). I am unsure of whether I'll ever *really* know the truth, but I am working on becoming more comfortable with just, "not knowing." I've concluded that there just is no way for me to really know whether there is a God or not, but the more I read and watch, and the more I experience the world around me, the more I become convinced that Christianity is garbage.
  39. 6 points
    Perhaps he was lying about being a graduate of a Bible College.
  40. 6 points
    @Fweethawt Some of "us" become less crazy as we get older. As the fuckable rating declines with age, so does the crazy. That's why little old ladies are usually portrayed as sweet. The crazy is almost gone (or maybe better at hiding it?). Although some women give up and choose the crazy cat lady route. Me, I'm going down swinging. To clarify, I didn't mean "going down" and "swinging" to be of a sexual nature. After I typed that sentence, I could almost hear Beavis and Butthead's giggles, followed by "She said......"
  41. 6 points
    realityrunt, "Christians, How can you tell one spirit from another "Test the spirits" it says. But what tests do you implement to discern what spirit is what." Although I am not a Christian I would like to throw my hat in the ring here. My spirit recommendations: The only good way to discriminate between spirits is a taste test of your own. You cannot take anyone else word for it. Uncle Jack is one of my favorites, but Jamison Irish Whiskey is also very good and smooth. I like a number of tequilas, and some Russian vodkas, which are also smooth and taste very good. There are also a number of good Gins, Rums, Brandies, as well as Cognacs. There are countess other good mixed spirits and liqueurs. Some wines are called spirits but usually not beers. Most all well-known spirits anyone can trust according to my recommendations, not just dedicated Christians. But maybe only Christians can go to AA, with its twelve steps and all.
  42. 6 points
    So, all I have to do is say, "jesus christ has come in the flesh" and you will listen and believe everything I say? That would certainly make arguing with you a lot easier.
  43. 5 points
    Gawd, I am still having a really hard time with this.
  44. 5 points
    Concur. It sucked. Totally sucked. And painful too. For me, it took a full two years, followed by two more years of infrequently flashbacks/irrationality. But, now, approaching 8 years out of their mindfuck I have washed a good 99% of the old programmingout of my mind. I have Never been at more peace. I have never been happier. I see no end to my peace of mind and existance. Loving it. Every single moment. Loving it.
  45. 5 points
    He's a long-time member whom we all just learned passed away. If you're still worried about things like the holy spirit, it seems to me you would benefit from reading books on logic and science. From what I've read of your posts, it seems you are trying to convince yourself that you're right by focusing on the bible and reading/listening to those who debunk the bible. The bible is a big book of rabbit holes. It's so easy to keep going down trails and getting yourself lost. If you had a stronger logical foundation and understood observable reality better you'd see that the bible is really a silly little book, no more credible than a children's book that tells the story of Santa, and you'd laugh at yourself for ever taking it seriously.
  46. 5 points
    Uh oh, I'm out for a couple months and BAA is gone? I hope he absence is brief. Otherwise I'm going to have to start justifying all the tax dollars you guys put into me by providing timely and informative posts on the latest discoveries in astrophysics.
  47. 5 points
    I would say that this is the scripture that scared me more than all the others. This scripture alone, can turn into a nightmare for the person who never feels that they do enough. That would have been me back then. Always, thank you to the people on this site who make things very simple to understand. It still gives great comfort knowing you don't have to be afraid anymore.
  48. 5 points
    The spirit of jesus will rob you of your free time on sunday as well as steal your common sense.
  49. 5 points
    Very true. I've seen so many people go into debt in order to have the latest cell phone or the newest car or the biggest television. The god of consumerism is an attractive beast.
  50. 5 points
    10% tax paid of annual pay pre-tax paid out in bonuses to most of my crews. Part timers, fill-ins, persons sent from employment agencies, mercenary help not so tipped, but remembered, many put back on seasonal top of list to be rehired when so required. Life sucks being the check signer. After hours figured, time immersed, everything figured *I* would have made more as a midnight shift McD's supervisor. Big However? 140+ people wouldn't be spreading some 1.86M usd around as they please/need/want. I'll take a cut in the jones to help ensure others stay solid. kFL