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Showing content with the highest reputation since 03/23/2018 in all areas

  1. 13 points
    Hi, everyone. Missed many of you, I've been insane crazy busy pursuing my baking business dreams, working, etc. I hope everyone is doing well. I haven't been active, because the forum posts were starting to blur together into this left vs. right bullshit of which I grew quite weary. I had a few minutes, logged in, and kinda skimmed through all my notifications. After reading through several forum posts with inflammatory titles and/or responses, I was getting worked up and crafting all these responses in my head....and then I realized that there is no point to it at all. Why should I bother to respond to things and throw in my two cents? Nothing happens. There are some people I truly respect on this site, I respect sticking to the arguments and disagreeing without being an asshole. Bouncing ideas off each other, challenging your thinking together, and checking your own biases and misinformation. But there is MUCH assholery here and I'm pretty done with it. I'm barely even on this site anyway and one day of scrolling through all of these posts has me heading straight back to my busy life without looking back. How are we supposed to grow together, learn from each other, help each other navigate through life, or do anything remotely productive on this site when we're too busy slinging shit at each other? There is pure gold in these forums from people who lost their faith and we are going to lose people who need help freshly deconverting by demonizing each other and put each other in boxes, with labels like "snowflakes," "racists," "ignorant," "stupid," etc. As someone who prefers to think critically about any various issue as opposed to holding to some party line or whatever, I'm seeing it on both sides. I don't know how many of the people on this site that I hold in high regard have the diligence and patience to respond to such mind-numbingly dumb shit with respect and thought-provoking material. I will fiercely defend anyone's right to say whatever they want to say, free speech and what not....but god DAMN what is the POINT of trolling? You think it's funny or something? What is the POINT of trying to make another person feel inferior or ill-informed? Sure, I'll chuckle at a potentially offensive meme every now and then....but like, there is just so much unproductivity in many of these discussions that it's overwhelming. Congratulations, you have free speech, now are you gonna doing anything useful with it? You're free to say whatever you want, by all means, but I don't have to listen to you say it. And before a select few of you want to say I'm throwing a snowflake tantrum, do me a favor and f*** right off. I won't put up with it, the way this place has been lately. It's called self-respect, not inability to hear things I don't like. I can't be the only one observing this crap or feeling this way, for the love of Zeus.
  2. 7 points
    Take your time. Whatever you do, do not have a conversation that you are not ready to have. These are words that can't be unsaid, and have the potential to fundamentally and forever alter your relationship with your parents. I'm not saying don't tell them, but make sure you are ready first. If I may ask, what is the nature of your relationship with your parents? Are you close? Are you dependent on them in any way? If so, be extra careful. Best of luck!
  3. 7 points
    Very funny. Maybe you should ask to see the burial account by Joseph of Arimathea. Nobody has ever heard of him outside of the Gospel stories. Basically I agree with Geezer except that since "Apostle Paul" is a name somebody gave himself, like a pen name, then the very first person who used it was the original Paul even if his life was nothing like what he claimed. Certainly many works attributed to Paul are forgeries and Paul became a legend himself in the book of Acts and other Christian writings that failed to become Biblical cannon. Also historians need to compensate for two trends. The early Catholic church destroyed almost any Christian work that did not fit their agenda. Later when they had power the Catholic church would execute anybody who offered ideas that threatened the Catholic church. When such an execution took place they would also destroy all written works and kill any follower who wouldn't recant. That is why every historian from 500 ad - 1800 ad held that Jesus was historical. You were erased if you held a different opinion.
  4. 7 points
    It’s been a long time since I’ve been here, but I had to come back. I just heard the news. I am so devastated. Too bad, Mark- I’m bawling my eyes out. You were a friend when I needed one. I can’t look at the old PM’s, I can’t bear to. I was okay until I read your final goodbye message to us all. I was lucky to have known you. Farewell, friend.
  5. 6 points
    Hi Everyone. Those of you who know my story know that my believing wife has a strongly fundamentalist family - all three of her brothers, their families, and her Dad... I've been a non-believer for almost 5 years. My wife and I have decided to keep this from her siblings/dad to make family gatherings easier and to prevent awkward conversations with them. My wife does not like being conspicuous or pitied as "the one married to the unbeliever"... Well, word got around to her oldest brother - a strong believer, an elder in a very fundamentalist church, and the general watchdog of the beliefs of the family... When I heard that he knew, I reached out to him and asked him to be VERY gentle with my wife as this is an incredibly sensitive area for her. He agreed and asked to meet with me... I didn't see any good coming from that so, instead, I opted to write him a letter explaining my beliefs... Here it is (below). As of now, my wife does not know that he knows. He will probably reach out to her soon. I'm a bit anxious that it will "stir the pot" and remind her of all of the things she hates about being married to an unbeliever... Anyway, here's my letter to him. I'm proud of how I was able to articulate my beliefs without attacking his and without being timid or afraid to be me =) ----------------------------------------- Hi [Bro-in-Law], Leaving [his fundamentalist, calvinist, cult-like church] in 2010 gave me the opportunity to consider what I truly believed as an individual, rather than believing certain things because everyone around me believed them. Between 2010 and 2013, some key things happened in my life (and in my understanding of life in general) that caused me to question specifically the idea of Divine Providence – that a good God is working all things out for good for his children, me being one of them. By 2012, I had growing doubts as to the claims of Evangelical Christianity. Ultimately, I lost faith in Providence. With a shattered belief in Providence, there was no longer a driving force to stuff my many intellectual doubts about the Bible and the Christian worldview. By the summer of 2013, I knew that my beliefs had shifted to the point that I could not rightly call myself an Evangelical Christian – and I have not since. I speak specifically of “Evangelical Christianity” because I do not reject all Christian values and ideals. Although I would include “Liberal Christian” as something I identify with - along with “Humanist” and “Agnostic” – I would not, by the evangelical definition, be considered a Christian. In terms of what I now believe, each of those three terms captures values that are important to me. I identify with the term “Agnostic.” It is my belief that the existence of a god or gods – or the nature of any God that might exist - is not knowable with the evidence I have personally considered. I accept the unknowability of things outside/beyond this life. I identify with the term “Humanist.” I value reason and science over supernatural claims to knowledge about the human condition. I believe that humans have dignity and worth by virtue of our existence and I have a compelling desire to seek the betterment of my fellow man. I identify with the term “Liberal Christian”. I value many things taught by Jesus/ the Bible - forgiveness, love, humility, compassion, and justice - and seek to live out these values in my life. Here is a “Creed” that I wrote out about a year ago that summarizes my thoughts about things. It starts with what I no longer believe and progresses to what I do believe. · I do not believe that the Bible is the inspired, inerrant word of God. I acknowledge (rather than explain away) the problems with the Bible – legendary elements, moral problems, contradictions, etc. · I strongly doubt the historicity of the resurrection, the virgin birth, and the miracles. · I am unconvinced of both the existence and the non-existence of God. I believe that the evidence we presently have is insufficient to reach a conclusion either way. · I strongly doubt the existence of heaven and hell. I strongly doubt the existence of a conscious afterlife. · I do not believe that God, if He exists, will inflict eternal suffering upon us based on whether or not we believed in certain (unprovable) propositions and alleged miraculous events. · I do not believe that people, by virtue of simply being born, are inherently evil and worthy of damnation. · I do see in Jesus of Nazareth wisdom, lofty ethics, and a beautiful heart of compassion for the poor and the outcast. They are worthy of admiration and emulation. · I appreciate (and even celebrate) the broader Christian themes of grace, forgiveness, redemption, purpose, and hope. · I believe in an ancient earth, evolution, and secular-psychology’s explanations for human behavior. · I believe in living fully, loving sacrificially, and giving compassionately. I treasure love, justice, truth, and mercy. · I believe in working hard, loving my wife and being faithful to her, loving my children and raising them to be hard-working, ethical, compassionate people. · I believe in science and reason over faith and doctrine. · I believe that actions accomplish more than prayers. · I believe that each of us - as human beings - has a responsibility to help create a just world. [End of Creed] I do not believe that life is meaningless. I do not lack hope or a sense of purpose in my life. I am not an existential nihilist. I do not require a strongly defined theological framework to have joy, hope, meaning, and purpose. I also do not see my present worldview as a license to “sin” (to use Christian vocabulary). Although I probably could not provide a robust defense for the existence of moral absolutes in an agnostic paradigm, I do believe that our lives are imbued with a moral dimension – that moral choices do exist, and that moral decisions have implications for the people we become and the impact and legacy we leave behind. I also recognize that some issues can be morally gray and that is OK. I fully recognize that this is very different from where I was 6 or 7 years ago. I am also fully aware that this has an inestimable impact on [my wife] in countless ways. Her life has been completely altered through no fault of her own. She made every effort to marry someone who shared her worldview – and now she finds herself married to someone who does not. I can’t imagine the depth of sadness and disappointment she faces continually. I recognize that I am the one whose beliefs changed, not her. I am committed to honoring her right to believe and practice her faith however she desires. I support (and gladly watch the girls) whenever she wants to spend time with people who will encourage her in her faith. I also recognize that these are but miniscule consolations in light of all that she has lost. [My wife] is free to teach our girls whatever she would like. We agree that because I am the one who changed, Christianity is the default belief system in our home. I happily support sending the girls to [Christian school], to church, etc. I do not, however, lead the family in any type of Bible study or devotional time. I make no effort to block the development of faith in their hearts. I also do not pretend to know the answers to difficult theological questions, nor do I defend God from their often-piercing questions. I encourage them for asking a good question, I acknowledge the tension in their concern, I express that I do not know the answer, and I refrain from indoctrinating them. Whenever possible, I try to model for them compassion and generosity – through the orphan care movements we support, with personal care to the homeless, etc. And I would (and do) tell them that caring for the hurting is near to Jesus’ heart. I can say that with integrity. I hope that gives you a sense for where I am at and what our family life looks like. My purpose in writing is so that, by understanding my beliefs and practices, you can understand [My wife]'s life. I am not inviting a further probing of the experiences that were at the center of my loss of faith in Providence, nor am I desiring discussion/debate on the theological issues that proved insurmountable for me. I already have a deep understanding of the Christian perspective on them – from my own deep studies and contemplations, as well as my own consultations and counseling times with various pastors. I am also painfully aware of the limited categories afforded to me by the believing community: “never truly believed/was saved,” “really wants to live a life of sin,” “proud,” “deceived,” “deluded,” etc. There is no category for: “Believed with all of his heart, felt the painful absence of God in his darkest hour, fought for dear life to hang on, honestly wanted to believe but found the evidence lacking, let go of faith in tears, came out the other side a good man who lived a good life that blessed others.” I also do not need to be understood, accepted, or affirmed. I know it’s not possible. I have peace. Thanks for reading. With love and gratitude, [me]
  6. 6 points
    Funny as it may seem, it was a couple of church leaders who convinced me it is all a big lie they tell themselves. I think they just like to manipulate people, and if they ever really listened to their own voices they would lose that position of authority. The church I left 21 years ago was Struthers Memorial, based in Greenock in Scotland with branches across the country. They got me when I was 17 and feeling lost in a new town where you had to be related to 5 other families in order to be accepted. I think they are called tight knit communities and why my mum moved us there is another story. When you are shy they do try to involve you without ever actually spending time talking to you and finding out why you find it hard to integrate. That was the part that finally got to me after 12 years of being on the fringes. I told the branch leader in Falkirk, the unfriendly town, that I was struggling with a lack of faith. She never asked why, just prayed over me. Not with me, just over me in that intimidating way Pentecostals have of shouting at their God to keep the flock in fear. Three months earlier another leader had prayed over me and then left me with the words' you failed in this before and you will fail again, it's up to you". I had spent 12 years being told God did not want me he wanted my funeral, so now he wants the will power his appointed people have spent all that time taking away from me. When one of the Sunday School teachers told the youth meeting I helped with that she needs to buy new clothes to make herself feel better before she goes to church (or something along those lines) I knew they really were deluded and hope the teenagers who heard that had enough intelligence to get out while they could. The worse part is that 20 years on I still get angry at these people and a narrow minded neighbour who talks endlessly about God every time we meet in the communal lounge. People on Television who refer to everything as absolute and absolutely just annoy me too. There are no absolutes unless you are selling false religion and the word provokes me to turn off. I know, it's crazy, but that's what wasting a quarter of your life being bullied and manipulated does to you. Thank you for reading, hopefully I'll have time to read more in the next few days.
  7. 6 points
    I'm starting to come around to your way of thinking. No good is served by wasting time in "lost cause" threads. You make a solid case.
  8. 6 points
    I see the bickering and change the channel. I see the same trolling going on in news articles where people are allowed to comment. Any well-thought out comment is immediately pounced upon by snarky abuse. Any good thought is immediately countered by abuse and rudeness. Like you, I used to try to counter the trolls, but quit because - what's the point? I read an article and skip the comments. Even if I want to comment I ask myself why, what point would my comment make that wouldn't be vomited on by idiots that relish sticking people with pins to watch them flinch? Not sure if it is just me, but it seems like the whole snarky troll thing has advanced about 1000% in the last year. I block some things, and hide FB stories where people are just sniping at each other. Political arguments are all heat and no light, so I choose instead to be introspective and provide a comment here or there (usually on FB) if I have a personal experience, otherwise I ignore most politics. I wish this site were more about just ex-C stuff and less about all the peripheral stuff. Plenty of other sites for people to bicker about politics and "how things ought to be".
  9. 5 points
    So it's Easter. The first Sunday following the first full moon following the spring equinox. Really weird how Easter floats around based on the Sun, the Moon and Earth's orbit unless you account for the way Christians wanted to take over Jewish legitimacy. Christianity was a brand new religion. Judaism was several centuries old (it had formed in that incarnation during the Babylonian captivity) so it was perceived as true and legitimate. That was something a new religion desperately needed. A careful reading of the four accepted Christian gospels will note that, of the four, Mark is the most simple and crude. Luke and Matthew clearly build on Mark but John is far more sophisticated and developed. John introduced all kinds of theology that were lacking in the other 3 books. In John we find that Jesus is suddenly the atonement sacrifice pulled from the Jewish religion. John ties the death of Jesus to the Jewish Passover celebration. Because the Jewish celebration was based on the first full moon after the spring equinox the Christians took this for their own calculations for Easter. John even calls Jesus the "Lamb of God" as an appropriation of the Jewish Passover lamb. John gives the death of Jesus all new meaning. Mark left Jesus' death as a tragedy since Jesus didn't even rise in the oldest manuscripts. Luke and Mathew add the resurrection that silly Mark "forgot". So by the time Christians were revising Mark's gospel the resurrection had been added to turn the story into a victory but the theology had not developed enough to go anywhere with the concept. In John the death becomes part of God's master plan to save the entire world from sin. Along the way Christians were taking over the Passover holiday from the (now officially a cult) Jewish religion. Instead of celebrating on Wednesday we are celebrating on Sunday and instead of calling it Passover it's now called "Easter" just like the pagan idol Easter (but that topic deserves it's own thread). "See, we didn't just invent our God out of thin air! Our God is the same one that has been around as long as people can remember but now His plan is complete. Sorry if God didn't tell you about Jesus before but it was part of the Super Secret Plan which isn't a secret anymore. Don't question it. Just take it on faith. Nothing to see here, move along."
  10. 5 points
    Nani, If you are dependent on your folks for your well-being (nice way of saying they are supporting you) then you might want to reconsider telling them anything. Especially if you are past the age that your country, state, local municipality etc requires them to support you. If they are contributing to your schooling wait until you graduate. Then drop the bomb and run like the wind! If none of these things apply then sit them down and start by discussing the questions you have had, where you looked for answers, and how you did not find any. Move on to how not finding answers made you doubt the entire doctrine and explain how cults of all sorts (Scientology yada yada) use fear and coercion to keep their followers baffled and point out how Christianity does this too. Conclude with how you need time to sort it all out... and... just kinda never return. Of course, if your folks are unreasonable, then move to the States and send them a cable.
  11. 5 points
    Yeah, I've seen him go back to Christianity about a dozen times. We are always glad to see him when he comes back to us. We have a couple of other members who battle with a similar challenge. Life can be strange.
  12. 5 points
    Jeff would be the first to tell you he battles with mental issues. His manic phases take him right to Christianity, but he can turn on a dime and start a website such as "Christianity is Bullshit." He will probably cycle back to atheism eventually, he always does. He's a good guy with problems.
  13. 5 points
    History-like writing is not the same as history writing. Stories about the past are not history. This is where people get screwed up. The only thing that tethers the Gospel of Mark to any resemblance to historical writing is the presence of a real Roman political figure, Pontius Pilate. This one clever trick fools the reader into thinking that the author is an "historian" when he was absolutely nothing of the sort. He was a philosophical theologian. You take Pontius Pilate out of the Gospel of Mark, and the whole thing reads like one of Grimm's Fairy Tales. Imagine if "Cinderella" included an exchange between Cinderella and the Holy Roman Emperor Barbarossa. We would no longer think of the story as a mere fairy tale, when, in reality, the addition of a real person to the story was simply part of the fiction.
  14. 5 points
    Some people just enjoy conflict, some just like to troll. We make a point of not moderating the shit out of this site, and that's rare to find. We do try to limit the extremist rants to Tot, however.
  15. 5 points
    Now that's a rant! Very good post. I can certainly see that some of the sniping that goes on around here is not for everyone. I've been known, on my lesser days, to engage in some of more, shall we say, pointed exchanges. I'll take the criticism. It's fair enough. Sometimes I can be a jerk. I try not to be a jerk needlessly, though, and I also try not to personally attack people. I will confess that I have limited patience for wilful ignorance, whatever form it takes. I have even less patience for needless bullying, and sometimes this leads me to insert myself into situations where I would be better advised to leave well enough alone, and just employ Thur's Law. I will say, though, that much (not all!) of the off putting material can be avoided by simply not venturing into Totally Off Topic. I hope that not too many people are judging the worth of this site simply on the basis of what goes on down there. @ag_NO_stic, I understand that people come and go around here. I also drift in and out from time to time. I hope you'll keep checking in occasionally though, even if it's exhausting for you. You have a knack for elevating the conversation.
  16. 5 points
    Historical scholars, not apologist, generally classify the Gospels as theological myths. Historians have yet to find any witnesses to anything written in the Bible. And there is no independent historical record of anyone ever having any encounter with Jesus, thus there is no record of a historical Jesus. People that believe Jesus was a real person are usually referencing apologist not historians. Dr. Robert M. Price is a good scholar to reference for these questions. Not only is Jesus likely a literary character, it seems the Apostle Paul is too. Like Jesus, there is no historical Paul. The historical evidence suggest the entire Bible is a collection of theological myths, none of that stuff actually happened. You will never convince a Christian of that though no matter how much evidence scholars produce.
  17. 5 points
    And don't forget about the biggest hurdle that has to be overcome - Indoctrination & Brainwashing. They believe the Christian dogma with every fiber in their body. Our words & evidence is from the Devil. It's a trap by the evil one to capture their souls & drag them into hell. Religion is the greatest Con game ever devised by man.
  18. 4 points
    https://i.imgur.com/jt6TRqS.gifv I don't know why some gifs play and others show up as links... But, yeah, the pure joy on that kid's face because he gets to move around a bit kinda pulls on the old heart strings.
  19. 4 points
    I also urge caution but depending on your parents' personality it is possible to succeed. I have a truce with my parents where we all agree to not talk about religion very much. Sometimes the topic comes up spontaneously but when that happens we all remember that we don't really want to talk about it after all. Remember you can always say you don't want to talk about it right now. You can ask your parents to respect your beliefs the way they want you to respect their beliefs. You can remind them that your whole family can accept each other despite these differences in opinion. The one thing I recommend you avoid is debating apologetics or theology with them. If they try it tell them it won't accomplish anything because you want objective evidence and religion is about faith. Good luck! Please let us know how things go.
  20. 4 points
    But not so sad that you realize you can't help but be inspired to do so... Damn near continuously.
  21. 4 points
    Totally, totally agree. I used to love this site and coming on here and having a chat or a laugh, but my goodness, it seemed (at least to me) to have turned into a right wing echo chamber.. The same old faces would circle the wagons and pat each other on the back for being anti feminist, or pro gun, or whatever and dissenting voices would soon get discouraged. I still sometimes check in, but rarely post now. There are a few posters whose posts I respect, but the trolls soon ruin it for me, at least.
  22. 4 points
    "Are the gospels considered valid sources in the realm of scholarly and historical research and documentation?" By historians? No. That's why there are special departments in academia, usually called "history of religions" or "history of Christianity," that operate completely separate from History departments. The problem starts on the rare occasions that real historians write about Biblical figures. Most notable example: Michael Grant's "Jesus: An Historian's Review of the Gospels" (Scribner's, 1977). The subtitle of the book highlights what a novelty it is that a historian -- for once, not a theologian -- is writing about this subject. But Grant, like all historians who wade into these waters, makes a serious error in methodology: he relies on theologians for sources and interpretations, as if they were unbiased. Thus, he regurgitates a lot of apologetic nonsense without even being conscious of it, because it sounds reasonable. Of course it does. The main objective of all Christian apologetics is to make their myths sound logical and reasonable. One could rationalize any ancient myth. "Apollo was not really a sun god; folk legend grew around a real person who owned a tanning salon, and became venerated after his death."
  23. 4 points
    Dammed plastic that has been made into a very permanent part of the oceans, hell almost any waterway is more bothersome to my thinking than all of the warming/cooling cycle changes combined. Humanity has managed to pollute damn near everything water wise now adding in N. Pacific radiation from Japan. No one seems to know or guess longer term effects of radioactive elements into food chain. suspect that might be in part to reduce alarm among those proles eating fresh or processed seafoods. Demands for the quick 'n easy life, rip off packaging use product, toss all when done. That tossed wrapping is useless in post consumer waste. Value near zero even in tons of weight. Listening to something on TV blaring in other room,caught my ear that an average grocery store bags life was 12 minutes from time of fill to thrown away. Makes for a lot of flying debris around here in wind country and far too much landfill bait. kL
  24. 4 points
    People are free to hate. I'm just not sure it's that simple though. If my neighbor just sits in their house and hates me but I don't know it and I'm never aware of it that's one thing. It's utterly and totally private. They just hate me. Ignorance is bliss. Now, If my neighbor comes out and starts a little parade saying how they hate me then I'm not likely to sit there and "turn the other cheek." Just sit and be some little shit that takes that from them. I'm probably going to hate on them. In similar ways. Maybe escalate it. And back and forth it will go. At the very least, even if I decide, that I don't hate my neighbor, I'm not going to repay their hate in-kind, I am going to worry about what their hate might escalate into. I might call the cops on them for things I probably wouldn't call the cops on them before I knew they had this level of hate for me. Of course, this will likely cause them to hate me more. But I have my safety to think about and if their hate has driven them to take it public then I may have cause to be concerned. It seems unreasonable to think that a person might hate you and that won't illicit some sort of response on your part. Just nothing at all. Not even a single thought. Especially if that other person is vocal including various actions, over a period of time, about their hatred for you. mwc
  25. 4 points
    Dear Karna, Unfortunately I have been on both sides of the fence on this topic. I was once with a woman who was Seventh Day Adventist when I was a Fundy Baptist. To say the least there were many things in her religion that didn't match up with what I was taught in my own religion. I began to tell her how her religion was wrong and mine was the only way to go. I was wrong for that. I shouldn't have done that. There are many things I wish I hadn't said to her. But I was sucked into my own religion and couldn't see around the blinders that were placed around my eyes. I thought I was doing the "right" thing standing up for what I believed God stood for. Now on the other end of the spectrum I no longer believe and my wife does. This has caused a lot of problems in the past year but we are working through all of it fairly well for now. I love her dearly so I really hope we can look past those differences and just focus on the relationship. So far, So good. The best thing for you is to find someone who supports you in your beliefs whether the person is Hindu or not. Atleast you lost her now and not years from now after trying to get past your differences and failing. I wish the best for you and your search for love. Good luck friend. Dark Bishop