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  1. 11 points
    @ConsiderTheSource @Geezer @Weezer @DanForsman @disillusioned @DestinyTurtle @Fuego @LogicalFallacy @TheRedneckProfessor @ag_NO_stic @Citsonga @Mariana @Margee @florduh @Joshpantera @DevilsCabanaBoy @RealityCheck @sdelsolray @Derek @Lefty @Lerk @LifeCycle @Blood @buffettphan @Positivist @Realist If I forgot anyone....that's the Alzheimer's setting in...
  2. 7 points
    I'm here sweetie but I can't stay right now because I have a very important appointment to go to. I will be back later. I have a few things to add to what everyone else is saying. I am so sorry for what you have to go through with the in-laws right now. So for now, let's all have a group hug and I'll get back to you later. My heart just breaks for what some of us have to go through when we lose our faith in the christian god. You're going to make it through this honey. I'll be back. florduh always said this to me after I wrote an upsetting post, ''Now, go do something fun for yourself today.'' And I did. So go now and do something that makes you happy. We got your back hon. Thank you all for the compliments about the 'hugs' but I tell you the truth...I could not have made it through this horrible bullshit of losing my faith if it had not been the love I received from all of you at Ex-c. Love to all of you today. ((hughughughughughughughughughug))
  3. 7 points
    I just recounted this on our podcast, but I wanted to tell it here. My college roommate and I had just left a women-only Bible study and were walking back to our dorm. All the girls at the Bible study were talking about how they want to get closer to God...so they will be ready to meet their future husbands. In evangelical terms, the saying about you have to work on yourself before you are ready for a relationship is painted over with cherry-picked Bible lingo. I actually was upset on my walk back to the dorm. I was getting fed up with everything having to do with guys, so I turned to my roommate and said, "That's it. I'm avoiding guys. We should want to get closer to God for the fact that he's God, not because we want a husband. None for me. Just me and God." On the quiet road to the dorm, a large bus pulls up. A long-haired guy in short shorts jumps out (this is the 80s which might put the outfit and why we walked alone at night in perspective [we were all idiots]. He asks us where Juno Beach is and says they needed to be there in 5 minutes. "Well, you passed it by about an hour." He asked if I could give directions to the bus driver, so we hopped up the stairs and were in the midst of 25 oiled down guys. "We're the Chippendales." They were great and funny and in the end, I had to pull my roommate out of the bus because she was having the time of her little Baptist life. When they pulled off, we looked at each other, laughed, and talked to God about what a great sense of humor he has! Yes, we believed God caused the Chippendales to be late, or even miss, their show, drive by little ol' me so that God could show his humor about me swearing off guys. Not a question in our minds. Oh, that divine prankster!
  4. 7 points
    There are a lot of questions in the OP, but the underlying theme seems to be "what's the point?". The only honest answer I've ever been able to find to this question is "there ultimately isn't one". But that's not the end of the story. I agree with Fuego that life has meaning only inasmuch as we give it meaning. But that is to say that it does have meaning. It means something to us. I think that's as far as it goes, but that isn't nothing. Similarly, I think there's a significant difference between saying "morality is bullshit" and saying "morality reduces to social norms". I think morality is something that humans create so that we can live with each other. It helps us to give life meaning. It isn't objective, or absolute, or ultimate, but it is real. So my answer to the question "what's the point?" is "there ultimately isn't one", but to this I would add that we can give life meaning. Also, sometimes life is good of its own accord, and even when it isn't, it's not like I've got anything better to do...
  5. 6 points
    Sorry to hear this. It's always tough to deal with fundy family. But keep this in mind: it's not on you. Their beliefs are theirs. There's nothing you can do about it. It's unfortunate, but they believe that their son is going to hell. You didn't make them believe this. It's not your fault, and you shouldn't feel bad about it. But I know. It's one thing to say "I shouldn't feel bad", and another entirely to actually not feel bad. Sucks. Hugs from me. Hope things are alright.
  6. 6 points
    Thank-you all for your support, you have helped me to stay strong for my kids. I still haven’t filed a police report, I will be keeping that up my sleeve until the inevitable custody battle and division of assets. I have a lawyer, psychologist and lots of support from friends. I no longer consider my husband a threat physically, he is very apologetic and has agreed to an 18 week anger management course. In the meantime I am not letting him see our son. My son doesn’t want to see him either. He has high-functioning autism and is seeing a psychologist to help him deal with the trama. It has been 2 weeks since the separation and I’m feeling suprisingly calm. I just want peace. My kids deserve to live in a peaceful home. It feels scary but at the same time wonderful to finally take control of my own life.
  7. 6 points
    I approach it by looking at the other animals. Every other species spends their days looking for food, avoiding predators, competing to find a mate, making more of the same species. Wash, rinse, repeat. All the other animals have way better sense of sight, smell, hearing, and built-in weaponry. Humans edge on that reality is abstract thinking which lets us develop tools, weapons, strategies, math, language, technology, and it gives us an imagination that looks for patterns. Early humans looked at nature and wondered if there might be someone in charge of things that they could appeal to to get and edge on sickness, predators, other tribes raiding them so we invented gods and religions to go with our tribal taboos and rules. Eventually we developed philosophies examining politics and morality, and like every generation we wonder if there is some overarching purpose or meaning, or perhaps a better place we can go after death where it all makes sense. That makes us unique as a species (so far as we can discern). My hunch is that life is just life, and it is our choices that give it any meaning. I can choose to be an asshole to people and try to take what I want, or I can do with less and see how well I can help others live. I can find joy in little things like gardening (a good connection back to the nature that spawned us), singing, music, some kinds of tech, beer, sex and flirting, and examining ways to use my life experiences in three decades of Christianity to help inoculate others against religion. Some days are dull mundane get up and go to work doing mundane shit days. Those are the days I have to make a conscious choice to focus on things that I like. Connecting with other living things and re-connecting to nature make me feel most alive. I've read about brilliant people seeing that death is inevitable, and they decide to shortcut to the end. Others dwell on philosophy that sees life as a cruel joke, and promotes self-death as the truest expression. I see that as a flaw in the programming, short-circuiting all of the things that can be enjoyed and learned in the process of life. One day we will die, and all other days we will not. Use those days to become what you want to become rather than rolling in the pathos of death and meaningless existence. Some days are better than others for me, and I have pondered death at times. But then I'll go do a gig and have fun interacting with other humans doing things unique to our species and I glow for a while. Then I start planning another gig and get weighed down by the work it takes, then face yet another day of mundane get-a-paycheck work day that sucks my life dry, but then refocus on things that I like. So it is always a choice. I try to choose what makes life better for me and others. When we thrive together, we do better as a species than we do when trying to take as much as possible from others. Pull back from the planet and view it as a ball of dirt in space, and all the kings and saviors of mankind, celebrities and politicians are reduced to tiny things crawling around on the dirt with the rest of life here. I do that for perspective also.
  8. 5 points
    Going forward, never forget "It is always about THEM. Always. Unless you reflect THEM, nothing will change. Your "wants" are totally not relevant to THEM. It is not about you. It will never be about you. It will always be about THEM. Emparhy, honest true empathy, is something they will likely never have. You need to decide who you are going to love and respect the most. THEM, or yourself. In my opinion, you seem to be the most valuable human in this bunch. Got lots of hugs waiting for you in Oregon.
  9. 5 points
    @ag_NO_stic Sorry to hear this, love and ((hugs)). It hurts so much to be labeled and misunderstood that way, it's the one thing that keeps getting to me with family. I do not care about their beliefs but I care that they can't even try to see things from a different perspective. I don't expect this to change. Also, I've been thinking I may have similar prospects for myself, dating an atheist whose parents are fundamentalists and may very well put some blame on me for being a bad influence on him (they're not aware of his beliefs). One thing that I have decided is, if the conversation comes up, I'll tell them they will have to decide which is more important, their views on religion or having a healthy relationship with us.
  10. 5 points
    I started studying the cults back as a believer in the 80s to try and learn the differences between Christianity and "them". When I described how they often get converts through love-bombing, a friend asked me how that was different from what we were doing. That made me pause. But mostly I just assumed that we had it right and the big difference was what we believed, not the entire mindset of making belief critical instead of demonstrable facts. Whenever I spoke with JWs or Mormons at the door, it was always about doctrines or exposing the corruption of their leadership rather than going after faith in myths being critical to a god's judgment of my life. I was a strong believer for 30 years, the last 9 of which were spent promoting a particular preacher from the south who claims thousands of outstanding miracles, the most notable being several people raised from the dead. While I promoted him and defended him online against critics, I brought up comparisons to the faith we put in the Bible where we didn't see those miracles either but have no doubt they happened. I pointed out that everything he preached was biblical, that he was going to "the least of these", and showed a life of utter commitment to Jesus. Then one day I caught him making up a long involved tale about a witch coven challenging the power of god at one of his services in Germany. I had just watched those services on video, and no such thing happened. His translator had trouble understanding his southern accent, that was all. But he turned it into a huge tale about witches falling under the power of god and all getting born-again. That was the slap in the face I needed. It began a year of questioning why he would need to make up anything. Keep in mind, I had felt power in his services, the body shaking and trembling like electricity was coursing through my body. That was unique from all the other church involvement I'd had. But this fact staring me in the face couldn't be denied. During this year of questioning why, the evening news was reporting about the Oklahoma polygamous cult and I wondered out loud "Why would anybody believe such crazy stuff?" Then I realized with chagrin that I had believed some outstandingly stupid things. Then I asked the most important question, "I wonder what else I've believed that is a lie?" I had a visceral reaction to that question, actually squirming, because I knew it struck at the root of my own faith. But I persisted in the question, and lots of other buried questions began resurfacing. Why is the god of the bible such an arrogant asshole? Why are all the obvious myths of the bible "true"? Why is the church divided instead of filled with almighty power and doing miracles? Why are most prayers for healing completely ignored? Why is hell not mentioned in the old testament? On and one the questions came. I revisited why I had first believed. It was out of a childish fear of monsters. When I'd see a monster movie (not the campy Godzilla ones) that monster was real and waiting for me in the dark hallway. When I saw an advert for The Exorcist, I felt a cold fear to the core of my being and read the Bible looking for protection. That was it. A stupid childish fear led to 30 years of committed belief, thousands of hours or praying to no one, tens of thousand of dollars given away to promote the cult, my own sexual life messed up with rules and fears of demons and judgments. I went searching online for "ex-christian" and found this site. I realized in short order that these folks had the same kinds of experiences, and I then posted my own realization that I was no longer a Christian. I was part of a cult called Christianity, and the last decade was part of a more classic cult with a charismatic leader that couldn't be questioned by his closest "fellow missionaries". It took an emotional shock to get me to even start questioning the faith. I also realized that reality hadn't changed at all by my deconversion, but that I had taken off a blindfold or filter through which I had interpreted reality. The same question "I wonder what else I've believed that is a lie?" still applies daily because I spent so long assuming I had things right. It applies to culture, politics, and science because where people are involved, there can be falsification of evidence, people seeing personal wealth at my expense, and so on.
  11. 4 points
    I have found for me that guilt is quite a good thing. I look at the 'feeling' and ask myself if it is valid? Guilt reminds me that I might have hurt someone with the way I have spoken or acted. That's when I change my behavior to try to become a better person. You have done nothing wrong just because you don't believe the same things as your in-laws. Shame is when we hold on to the fact that we aren't good enough. Well, guess what? Humans aren't good all the time. We blow it. We make mistakes. We screw up. We fuck up somewhere just about every day. We don't share the same beliefs. So do not allow yourself to hold on to the shame because it's a totally useless emotion. Be yourself!! This is where your in-laws come in and you feeling like a piece of shit for something they believe and you don't. That's not your fault. You are allowed to be different and they should not be allowed to hold that over your head. You cannot change them. You can only change yourself and only you have the ability to change how they make you feel. Some may feel that I am a phony person. In a way, I am....but I like getting along with people. I do not like confrontation at all. (I am a natural born people pleaser myself) But now I have the ability to smile and say hello and in my mind say 'fuck you' at the same time! Lol ( One lesson I have learned in my life is that if you yourself don't really like someone, most of the time, they don't like you either.) But we can still be kind and that's what I try to do. Even at family gatherings, I have the ability to be nice to family members and I know deep inside, we really don't like each other a lot. And that's OK. Allow that elephant to be in the room. It will only be for a short time. Just time enough to get along with each other and then when they leave, you can have a nice feeling that you really tried. It's the best you can do. We all have different personalities and beliefs and sometimes, personalities clash. You can't make someone like you. Even if you believed in their religion, there would be something else you would do to try to do to be accepted by your in-laws. That's the people pleaser in you. You'll waste your whole life trying to get everyone's approval. Only you and your husband can set the new boundaries of how you will allow anyone to act or treat you in your home. Talk this over with your husband. I have lost friends over some of the new rules I have for myself now. And then again, I have gained great respect from others and those are the people I like having in my life. It normally goes one way or the other when you clearly tell someone how you want to be treated. Just last week I had to tell one of my friends who is a bit of a bully and quite aggressive of something I couldn't accept. She wasn't happy with my assertiveness but she will respect me or go away. I'll leave that up to her because as I said, I am the one who looks after me now and I refuse to be bullied by anyone. It's not easy being assertive (when you're a softie) but each time you take care of yourself by speaking up (in a loving tone) it gets easier. Do not put off being happy, even for the smallest thing. This is a daily challenge for most of us because we want everything to be perfect and it never will be. Something or someone will always be there to try and screw up your happiness. This is why you can never depend on people (anyone) to make you happy. I hope by sharing some of my own struggles, this might help you in some small way. Take control and make your life what you want. It is not your job to try and change anyone. You can always offer support but you cannot make someone change. It's a huge lesson in life. I have someone extremely close in my life right now who is practically killing himself and I cannot rescue him. I offered all the support in the world but he refused so there is nothing I can do now. I hope so much you and your husband can reach a decision on how you are going to work this out with his parents. Stick to your guns, honey. If they leave and cannot accept you guys, there is nothing you can do. One thing that always helps me with my christian family and friends is to remember how brainwashed I was. This helps me to be a bit compassionate when dealing with them. I wish you the very best. Keep us posted on how it's going. More hugs........Hundreds of them!
  12. 4 points
    So sorry you're in this situation. But I ain't no Margee. You seem to understand that you are not responsible in any way for another's beliefs, feelings, disappointment or condemnation. You know that you have done nothing wrong, but have simply disagreed with someone's opinion. You just haven't really embraced that knowledge. Old habits are hard to overcome, but in time you will, just like the rest of us. Do your best to deflect any attempts at emotional manipulation, remember that you are entitled to equal respect and autonomy. Thoughts and prayers.....
  13. 4 points
    I've already shared my sentiments with you via message but will do so for anyone else reading this and experiencing a similar scenario. Your in-laws are thoroughly infected with the god virus and their beliefs are immutable. There isn't really much you can say or do that's going to change their mind and frankly, it isn't worth your time or emotions. You both need to live your lives to their fullest and let these religious ramblings fade into background noise. You might have to put your foot down and tell them to fuck off at some point, I certainly don't shy away from doing that to certain family members myself. Once you are beyond caring about this, the sense of liberation is priceless. I know you are a naturally caring person but you have to learn to shut that off for people who drag you down.
  14. 4 points
    @ag_NO_stic, It's too easy, writing anonymously, to simply state that this is all the believer's fault/problem/issue(s), and that you can simply turn around and walk away. That is not reality. That is not how people really behave, nor should it be. We'd all be a bunch of psychopathic buttheads if we could simply turn off the emotions. How grand it would be if Mrs. MOHO would simply listen to me, read the books I recommend, and stop surrounding herself with Jesus Freaks. Too, I'm sure you're thinking, that it would be so wonderful if your in laws would have an epiphany and pull their collective head out their collective butt. They likely will not and you have no obligation, I'm sure you know, to placate their superstitions in any manner. So what you have is what you have. I will say that, just as my significant other has done, they just might justify things by telling themselves that "well, she and Jr. DID believe once, so she's good-to-go." Or "since we prayed for the two of them they'll make the cut just fine as god answers all prayers!" We're here for 'ya. I can't hug like @Margee but here you go.. <HUG>Hope you feel better</HUG>
  15. 4 points
    I believe I knew somewhere that you were engaged and to be married soon, congratulations! I'm so sorry to hear the rest of this news. I feel like you and I are in a similar boat and it's a really shitty place to be. Maybe, deep down, I said something that they'll think about, but I have no plans to apologize for where I am or how I got there or how we will raise our children. I truly dread that conversation with every fiber of my being, I am prepared to make a very painful (and ultimately unnecessary) choice to cut out my entire family if they try to indoctrinate my future children. I wish they could see what dickbags they are sometimes lol. Best of luck to you and thanks for the encouragement, truly. Keep us updated!
  16. 4 points
    Just about a year ago Mrs. MOHO was researching cults, which I have reported on here. This went on for about three weeks which does not sound like much, but when this woman sinks her teeth into something, she bites down hard and shakes it from side to side like a dachshund clutching a gopher it it's mouth. Anyway she reported a few things to me at the beginning of her research but, suddenly, all went quite. I don't remember how it began but we were having a discussion and the cult topic resurfaced. I suggested the possibility that she abruptly abandoned her investigative efforts because her findings were hitting a little close to home. "I don't NEED to research cults anymore because I learned all I need to know!" Yes Dear. That's exactly what I'm getting at.
  17. 4 points
    Hello, My name is Jerry, I am a closet atheist, and recovering Christian. It isn't that I'm ashamed of being an atheist. I'm proud of myself for realizing the lies that I've been spoon fed over the years, and for coming out of the dark ages. I must remain closeted in fear of losing my family, friends, even my job. You see, my wife is a still a practicing, and enthusiastic, Christian. I must go through the actions and pretend to believe what she does in order to retain my family. As terrible, and deceitful, as that is, it's the life I've created for myself. I first began to question the very existance of a god several years ago. The whole god narative didn't match what I knew to be true from science classes, books, and common scientific theory. The more I learned about the world around me, its history and the history of mankind, through evolution, the more I realized the lies I had been told for almost forty years. I must admit however, it was difficult to give up on god. I was taught that we were nothing without him. I truly believed that without his "guiding hand" my life would spiral out of control. Regardless of my common sense, telling me that it was all a hoax, I was actually relunctant to step away. Then, one day I just stepped away, quit praying, stopped looking for his presence, basically just stopped believing. After two years of being free from religion, at least internally, I'm still fine..and a lot happier. I feel as if I can accomplish great things by myself, and feel free to relish in my achievements. Nothing is the work of an invisible man in the sky. However, it is the work of humanity. I'm glad that I escaped the hand of religion and the hatred it breeds. I am glad to be free from its sexist, abusive demeanor. I'm proud of being wise enough to decipher fact from fiction.
  18. 4 points
    You know, to change the mood of this thread, I should ask the question. What relationships have you GAINED due to the loss of your faith? It's sometimes best to reflect on that.
  19. 4 points
    I tried so hard not to be judgemental. I always prayed silently for them to become saved. It was really weird at our Pentecostal church because sometimes they preached about being non-judgemental and other times they made fun of the different peoples and other religions. I remember like it was yesterday when the pastor came out on the big platform and everyone was cheering and raising their hands as the emotions got higher and higher and he screamed at the top of his voice, ''Aren't you glad you're not a Catholic this morning?'' and the people just roared and jumped all around. I looked at my best friend (who got me involved in the first place) and told her that the statement, 'creeped me out'' and I wanted to leave. But of course, I didn't because I was already hooked on the emotional types of services they had. It was my drug. I knew all kinds of Catholic friends that went to church 6 days a week...not 3!!!! God, that had to mean something eh? But Pentecostals believed that the Catholic church was the anti-christ.
  20. 4 points
    Well, I don't know if it was the first or the second (since Sgr A* has also been studied). But the Event Horizon Telescope collaboration has reported results here: Event Horizon Telescope Very important discovery, in part because data from multiple telescopes designed by different collaborations was successfully combined.
  21. 4 points
    The story shows that Yahweh, like most of the ancient gods, was not very kind or good or secure. He could be ousted from his position by competing gods, like the Titans that lost their place when the Olympians took over (Zeus replacing Chronos). This is why Genesis has Yahweh saying about Adam and Eve "Let us make man in our image" and later "They have become like one of us". Yahweh was originally one of the pantheon of Middle Eastern gods and later was promoted as the top one, and then the only true one. And the story isn't just about people cooperating and really getting stuff done, the name Babel (Bab-El) is "gate to god" so they were trying to make a stairway to heaven. The concept of up and down are primitive, such as when Jesus (and Mohammed) ascended "up" into the clouds and apparently into Heaven. This shows that the primitive mindset regarding cosmology was still strong 2000 years ago (and most believers never think to question these tales). Mostly it seems like a fable about why there are so many languages, much like "why the snake crawls on his belly and flits his tongue", and "why is life so difficult, and is there anyone to appeal to for an edge on survival".
  22. 4 points
    If you have a fear of Hell and you want to destroy your faith, then praying to that god doesn’t seem like a good idea. When I stopped believing in that god, for a while I still was inclined to pray sometimes when under stress. I decided to direct those prayers to Jupiter instead. I felt the same feeling of relief after praying, like I had shared my troubles. Of course I had no belief that Jupiter existed. But it showed that it was the act of praying that helped, not any divine response. Before long, I lost any remaining desire to pray and instead I now try to meditate regularly instead. You might want to try this too. I think it’s really important for somebody with your fears to make a clean and utter break with Christianity. I hope my suggestions help you, my friend. I’d love to see you enjoy the peace that I have experienced since deconverting.
  23. 4 points
    People paint themselves into a corner when they take allegory and myth as historical or factual information. That is the failure of fundamentalism.
  24. 4 points
    The Hubble and the other exploring space craft have not encountered this heaven yet either.
  25. 4 points
    The Christian faith is full of contradictions, that are obvious to everyone but a Christian.
  26. 4 points
    Well, I read the article, the original paper, and the Forbes rebuttal by Ethan Siegel. I have to say, I think Siegel's rebuttal is pretty strong. Basically, the original paper boils down to "People have basically just guessed at these numbers in the Drake equation. They can't be at all certain of the outcome. So here's some fancier guessing that gives a different outcome." Nice, I guess, but not demonstrative of anything in particular. The thing about the Fermi paradox, is that it isn't really a logical paradox. There is no actual contradiction, as there are plenty of coherent answers to the question "where is everyone?", even if the assumptions of the paradox are granted. I also think that applications of the Drake equation tend to go rather far into the realm of speculation, since we don't know what appropriate values are for the parameters. Here I agree with the authors of the paper from the OP. Basically, this amounts to saying that the assumptions of the Fermi paradox do not necessarily entail the conclusion. I'll try to elaborate on both of these points below, but first, some background for those unfamiliar with how the Fermi paradox usually goes. The Fermi paradox starts from four premises: There are billions of stars in our galaxy that are similar to the Sun. Many are older than our solar system. Many of these stars likely have Earth-like planets, and may have developed life, and even intelligent life. Some of these intelligent civilisations may have developed interstellar travel. Even at relatively low speeds, the milky way galaxy could be traversed in a few million years. The conclusion drawn from these is that the Earth should have been visited by extraterrestrial intelligence. But it apparently hasn't. This is the (so called) paradox. Hence the question, "where is everyone?". There have been lots of answers to this question (see here). Some seem more tenuous than others, but there are a few that seem to me to be fairly strong in both their explanatory power and their plausibility. One is that it might be the case that we just happen to be among the first intelligent species to develop in our galaxy. This is perfectly plausible, and answers the question. This is an example of why I say that it isn't an actual paradox. The explanation that I personally favour is the "Great Filter", that is, that something tends to cause species which might visit earth to go extinct before they can. My personal opinion at the moment is that climate change might be this "Great Filter". (For more on this kind of idea, see here). Again, plausible, and answers the question. No paradox. Then there is the fact that the four premises do not necessarily entail the conclusion. Terms like many, some, and may have require quantification if this argument is to be persuasive. Enter the Drake equation. But, as we've seen, assigning numbers to the parameters of the Drake equation basically amounts to guesswork. Which means that it may or may not be the case that Earth should have been visited by aliens. The only data we have about life comes from this planet, which may or may not be representative of habitable planets in general. But looking only at this planet, we must consider that there have been billions of species on this planet, and only one has developed the ability to get to space. So arguments can be made that perhaps at least the fc parameter in the Drake equation should be quite small. We already have good reason to suspect that the odds of abiogenesis are small, and it follows that fl would be small as well. We have no idea about fi, it's a straight guess. But you could argue that, based on the fact that most species here on Earth aren't intelligent, it could be small. But then, the first four factors in the equation are quite large, and are actually (potentially, in some cases) quantifiable. This might or might not outweigh the small parameters. But either way, that's a hell of a lot of uncertainty, and to my mind, it means that we can't really conclude anything from the equation. We just don't know what numbers to use. This is where I think the authors of the original paper went wrong. They said, "that's a lot of uncertainty, and from this we can conclude that we're probably alone". They dressed it up a bit, but that's what it amounts to. I don't find this convincing. One final thing to say for the moment: the final parameter in the Drake equation, L, the length of time for which space-faring civilizations release detectable signals into space, is one of the most problematic, in my view. Again, lets look at the only data we have, from species here on Earth. Mammals, our only candidates for the kind of intelligence that is required by the Drake equation, have an average species lifespan of about one million years (source). This is less than the amount of time required to traverse the galaxy at "normal" speeds. So, based on this, it can be quite plausibly argued that a typical species would probably go extinct before it had the chance to traverse the galaxy. This ties in nicely with the "Great Filter" answer to the question "where is everyone?". Now, none of this at all entails that there is no other intelligent life in the universe, or even in our galaxy. (For the record, my opinion is that there probably is, or has been, life, and even intelligent life, elsewhere in our galaxy. But this is just an opinion.). It doesn't even entail that we should expect not to be able to detect signs of it. But it does seem to me to show that we don't have reason to be surprised that we haven't. Assertions that we should be surprised are based on guesswork. And, for that matter, the above is largely conjecture. But this leaves us with no necessary contradiction. So much for the Fermi "paradox".
  27. 4 points
    Any conclusions based on math are pure conjecture at this point. So far, we only have our own planet where we know we have life. Even studying our own kinds of life, we have not yet got a process down that we know creates life from non-living matter. Thus, we cannot yet statistically draw any conclusions at all about probabilities of life elsewhere. We really don't know.
  28. 4 points
    Thanks to the creator of this site, and all of the contributors. Until I found this place, I felt pretty alone in some of the conclusions my mind has forced me to come to. They say that belief is a choice. It's not. You can't choose whether or not you believe Mickey Mouse is the President of the United States. But you can certainly WISH that Mickey was President. Maybe you believe that Mickey would be a better politician than any of the modern day politicians. But obviously, if your mind does not allow you to believe in such fantasies - no matter how comforting - you'll have to confront the cognitive dissonance. Anyway, thanks again to the creator of this site and the contributors. Felt alone before I found this place... was searching for a place where people struggled with the same feelings and concepts. The intellectual struggle has been over for me for quite some time - ever since reading NIetzsche, Hume, et al. It's the emotional and spiritual component that I've struggled with for years. Wishful thinking. Wishing my prayers were heard. Wishing there was a man upstairs that had my back. Wishing that there were people on this earth that actually took the teachings of the so-called Almighty seriously. But Mickey Mouse isn't President.
  29. 4 points
    I back track the free will argument even more. I would not let Plantinga get away with his argument because I find the principle baseless. God easily could have created beings with free will that did not invole delving into the evil spectrum. Picture a spectrum where on one end we have pure, unadulterated evil, and the other end, moral perfection. If God resides at the far right of moral perfection, then he could have created beings who could never cross the threshold into evil/sin, however you want to define it. Free will would be defined as the ability to freely choose from options that would fall into God approved. A common response would be that God did not choose that option because then people would not "freely" choose him and be more like robots. I tell them to go back to the Bible and show me where YHWH doesn't want robots. All of the commands are commands to obey and fit a stereotype that God deems fitting. Nowhere do you pick up any theme that YHWH wants individuals, he demands drones. Anyone arguing differently is reading from a different book. Matter of fact, isn't the NT theme to "be like Christ"? Where exactly are we getting this idea God is looking for a variety in personalities? That is just some BS philosophers and apologists use to avoid a tight spot. Would it not be better if they just admitted their God is not kind, or loving, or caring (in any way we understand), and quite frankly just demands us to conform or he is going to kick us in the teeth? The truth is the truth and it stands on its own. If Christianity happened to be true regardless of how we felt about it, then fine, it is true and what we are going to do about it is up to the individual. What I absolutely abhor is how pastors, apologists, and philosophers (like Ravi Zacharias) obfuscate the reality of their religion, the God they serve, ignore the blantent facts about our reality which we can investigate, and pull a bait and switch about their real doctrine.
  30. 4 points
    As I generally do,with my family. I was in good spirits and the elder who saw me and looked down only dampened them temporarily. My husband and I hold our school age children during the worship time and I tried to think about other things while the music played as I usually do. I’m not sure what the pastor said after them but I remember thinking “I hope my kids aren’t paying attention to this.” Then there was this baptism testimony thing and the woman said she was broken and could put all her sins on jesus and be clean. The terrible memories rose up to find me and my husband leaned over to whisper that my nervous foot kicking was shaking the pew. I didn’t take communion (I haven’t in months) and for the first time,today the whole idea of blood and body just felt gross to me and extremely creepy and wrong. The children went to Sunday school. The sermon started. My heart was pounding and I told my husband I was going out to the lobby. I’ve spent a lot of hours there since April of last year. I wonder if my body knows it’s been nearly a year? Like a woman who grieves a miscarriage a year later. I sat in the lobby for a few minutes and then....couldn’t breathe. Stood up and stumbled out the door,gasping for air,air,air. The world spun,I sat under a tree. The outside worship music blared. “You have been so,so kind to me.” I called my best friend,walked back to a picnic table where teens had scrawled verses and declarations about being pro life. Its time to take another long break from that place. I just can’t manage it any longer.
  31. 4 points
    Recently I started recognizing the propaganda that I'd been fed through my early years, but my parents were raised in the WWII years and were parents before Vietnam started. They saw the hippies with drugs, and the Red Commies as a huge threat (they were, and though the game has changed, the players are still there), and so we were raised conservative though without much church. They left church when they saw corruption in the pastor giving tithe money to his kids. They weren't believers anyway, they were just trying to influence us towards a good life. When my dad would mention socialism, it wasn't just a word, it had to be emphasized like it was an obvious disease. He didn't see the irony in the taxes he paid. He tended towards political fervor at times, and was a Fox news devotee in his later years. So part of my upbringing had false ideas and simple opinions being presented as absolute facts. When I left Christianity, it started with a question "I wonder what else I've believed that is a lie?" I think that is the sum of your post. And it isn't always a brainwashing with ulterior motives, sometimes it is simply non-factual information that is treated as reality until you learn better. Part of that is investigating, looking for what is real, and not getting caught up in other conspiracy theories that can sound intriguing but have very little evidence.
  32. 3 points
    Slightly off-topic but, my take on this passage, is a response to those who, at some point, began to call bullshit on xianity. Naturally, family members began to bicker and fight about this just like ours do. The power brokers (church leader) needed to explain away this phenomena and came up with Matt 10:34~36 as a result.
  33. 3 points
    In the video I watched (Kansas, I think) the church ate up his story and probably gave lots of money to his "mission". He was a great storyteller, so his many claims always seemed possible and amazing to those willing to believe (like I did until I caught him red handed). His compound in Mexico is run very tightly. The women are rather robotic, and the men very macho, only subservient to him. And the men seem to be all angry all the time, part of the macho package. They are all serious believers, but it is a cult. I don't know if it will survive once he dies. I hope not.
  34. 3 points
    Oh, all hugs are welcome, you know that. There's just a thing on this site about Margee hugs lol, I'll take all the hugs I can get, every one helps. Thanks for your feedback. I'll keep you updated as things happen of course, but all I can do is leave them to their own beliefs and carry on with my life. Just so painful and unnecessary if they could just see it.
  35. 3 points
    @Margee Maybe she'll check in soon. I'm sorry to hear this. I don't know if masculine hugs and sympathy's will do at this time, but you have them from me. I'm getting remarried early May and her parents are SDA's. I have similar prospects ahead. Where I'm in your position and she is in your husbands. They know that I don't attend church anymore but are more or less foggy on the details. They know that my grand father was dis-fellowship'd and that we all pulled our memberships from the Florida conference of SDA's years ago. It's a sore enough issue to keep them pussy footing around the issue of the church, for now. They're in their 70's. Let's face it, I'm just hoping to ride this out until they pass on. Beyond their generation it's over and done. Her brothers are agnostics and atheists. The kids don't believe any of it. And the old folks loath the fact that everyone's dropped out. So that's why the attention is on her because she hasn't drawn any line in the sand about the church with them.
  36. 3 points
    You have been a wonderful friend to me, RC. I would count that as a gain! Also, most people on here I've interacted with I would consider a gain. Other than that, I'll be very honest with you all, I am surrounded by the religious and don't often make a lot of friends who can connect with me in this way. But I'd love to use this opportunity to highlight what I have gained that is not necessarily a relationship: 1) How I view people, on the whole, has transformed. I have connected with a few people, still religious, who I can be VERY real with and also accept others for who they really, truly are. It's amazing what happens when you stop judging seeing people as bad, evil, sinners or viewing them as competition for "best christian." I celebrate in others' successes, I love to learn about who they are and what makes them tick, I genuinely try to help people instead of just "praying for them and moving on," etc. I don't know that I can say much for all my relationships, but I truly believe others would say I'm a better friend to them now than I was as a borderline self-absorbed christian. 2) I have gained a sense of wonder and humility that I never had as a christian. When you think god made the world for you, what else do you do but overlook all the beauty?! When you literally believe the sun (son) revolves around you, what do you expect but to literally not consider the vastness of the universe and how minuscule you are in comparison. I gained perspective on how much we know and, yet, how little. 3) How I view myself has changed. This is the biggest one. I have really dark days, yes, but the majority of them are spent undoing all the "you're screwed up and deserve hell" talk in favor of things that reinforce self-confidence, self-esteem, self-appreciation. I have spurred forward creatively, I have made great strides in my marriage, I love people better than I ever did as a Christian.
  37. 3 points
    In my list of things that I have begun to question, something earlier in this past week caused me to think about the story of the Tower of Babel in Genesis 11. Although it is a very recent problem I encountered, I decided to write about it first because it will be short. The story goes that God saw the people building this city and tower to reach the heavens, so God confused the languages to put a stop to it. He says that if He didn’t there would be nothing the people couldn’t do. He couldn’t have that so He confused the language, made they speak different languages so that they would leave off building this tower and separate themselves. Now, besides the obvious question- did God not foresee this all?, you have the issues of 'reaching the heavens'. Did God actually believe they would reach heaven? The story certainly implies that. I did a little research on oxygen, building heights, etc. Could they have really reached 'the heavens'? How far away was heaven? They would have run out of oxygen at about 21,000 feet. Would they have reached heaven before then? We know now that you can shoot a rocket straight up and unless you hit an asteroid or a planet, it could go indefinitely into the huge expanse of space. Wouldn’t the creator of all this known this? Just what did He think they could reach? The tallest building to date in these modern times is the 829.8-metre-tall (2,722 ft) Burj Khalifa in Dubai (of the United Arab Emirates). (Wikipedia) There is talk of taller ones, it is theoretically possible with today's technology to build one about 4,000 feet tall. The issue on these tall buildings is that the base has to be so wide it becomes impractical to go high, real estate prices being what they are. Was God really afraid they could do anything approaching tall enough to reach heaven? I think not.
  38. 3 points
    Hello all, I generally recoil from social media but I thought it was time to have conversations with like minded people. I'm not an athiest, not exactly sure how to categorize my beliefs yet. That's possibly why I am here as well. I have been an ex christian for about 10 years now. My mom dad brothers and sister are all hard core fundy lovelies. They are lovely! Not sarcasm. But I'm finding it increasingly difficult. They of course, quote scripture to me. Lovingly, apologetically, delicately. I'm struggling for words lol. I guess the next step on my journey is to finally reach out and associate with other people that may be like minded. To stop feeling like the lone black sheep you know? Although this black sheep is a wacky new age fruity space cadet lol. Oooh yeah! Look forward to meeting you all, have a lovely whatever it is in your neck of the woods!
  39. 3 points
    Reality and facts do not carry the baggage of an agenda. All unfounded beliefs do. Believing something that is comforting but false is detrimental to society at large; climate change, all Muslims are terrorists, potential life trumps the mother's life, gay sex is the ultimate sin, and so forth. Many wrong beliefs bleed over to the community that tries to accommodate every crazy but demonstrably wrong belief.
  40. 3 points
  41. 3 points
    This is a good thing for those who miss the social aspects of church life. It's also beneficial for those who feel rejected by family and society in general. From the article in Religious New Service... "That kind of hospitality is especially gratifying in a world that is a long way from fully accepting atheists" Even though I am not very social I see the value in this and other concerns, like...maybe a website where people can share their non-Christian/non-religious leanings, can be of value. In many cases the family will reject us, or at least display rather cool attitudes towards us, and it's refreshing to know their are groups of individuals that think like us and accept us. Having a fixed location to meet with like-minded folks is of value.
  42. 3 points
    Yeah that story. Well, a lot of explanations seems to be about power. People wanted power, or independent power, and Adonai , the God of the Jews, showed them who was the boss and that they should rely solely on him. To me, the whole narrative of obedience/rebellion seems unfit for a supreme being. Really, the whole point of existence is recognizing who's in charge and obeying? That just seems so psychologically damaged, like a wounded control freak of a person. I would imagine God is a very pleasant being to be around, not a power hungry tyrant. That is also why the whole "servant - master " dynamic seems weird as well. Al these things that have to do with control as the main element in the relationship between man and God, and that love is manifested firstly by unflinching submission from the creature side , and undisputed control and authority from the Creator. This seems strange for me. The idea that we are unworthy servants seems appaling. The idea that a supreme being creates beings just to be his servants, when he does not need servants , being all powerful and self sufficient seems absurd on top of that. The absurdity that if there is no evil, people do not have free will. Well, we should then allow poisons near little children and just tell them not to drink from them, and if they do, well, that was their choice. The absurdity of the fact that a life without the ability to reject God is not valuable. Such speculation. That kind of freedom just seems an unnecesary risk and gamble. If freedom has these kind of consequences when bilions may end up in eternal punishment, why do that? Is that really worth it? I personally would refuse to procreate if I was not sure of the salvation of my offspring. It just seems a complicated game. And again this is about power. God gave man the power to reject Him or accept Him. Man used his power wringly, and did not submit to God's power. Such talk about power, who has the power, who has the biggest power, between the devil and God there si a power struggle. It's more like political intrigue, past and present, than the celestial realms.
  43. 3 points
    Here's what it comes down to. And that the believer doesn't try to put their beliefs onto other people. I think what most atheists object to is proselytizing. And, unfortunately, this sometimes goes beyond just persuasion to forcing a religion onto others through extreme social pressure or even legislation. We see that happening here in America regularly.
  44. 3 points
    God needed 10 and you did it with one. Brilliance. Shear, unadulterated brilliance!
  45. 3 points
    Yes, Genesis is a huge pile of myths that don't make sense. A tree he desperately didn't want us to eat from, so he first creates it instead of not creating it, plants it right in front of them instead of on another planet or galaxy, it has magic fruit that transforms our minds from being exactly as he wants us to be into beings that "see" like he does, a snake (from whom apparently all snake species come) that walks and talks takes issue with his warnings and gets cursed to crawl on his belly and "eat dust" (which sounds exactly like a Aesop's fairy tale about why snakes crawl and flit their tongues). One of the sons kills his brother, then goes off to another land and marries a woman or two from... hang on, I thought these were the original people. Where'd the other people come from? Later a group of people want to build a stairway "up" to heaven, god is threatened by this and that's why we have so many languages (there's Aesop again). Genesis also sets up the Abraham story and the critical "enslavement in Egypt" that history shows us never happened. Which means there was no plagues, no passover, noTen Commandments, no ark of the covenant, etc.
  46. 3 points
    Indeed. I think "conjecture" is an understatement at best. I know math is supposed to tell them all kinds of things, but that is under the assumption that their math is actually correct. One must start somewhere I guess based on what we do think we know so they get an A for trying to make sense of it all. The upside is that there is a great chance their math is wrong, based on wrong educated guesses. My problem is that we rely too much on these math calculations that have WAY too many variables they cannot know for certain. Seriously, we still have a major disagreement over evolution theory on our own planet and yet we think we can know about the rest of the universe? I don't think so. Perspective. They claim that in just our own galaxy there are possibly a many as 100 million solar systems within the Milky Way alone. That is just one galaxy, and they claim an estimated 100-200 billion galaxies in the observable universe. 100 million solar systems in 200 billion galaxies? 100 million x 200 billion? And they say not likely? Maybe we need to rethink what we call "odds". I don't know how to do such large mathing, but to me, it seems like we might want to think what the odds are that we are alone in the universe. I don't know if that can even be calculated. Consider that there are roughly a 1 in 300 million odds at winning the Powerball lottery top prize and yet people win it all the time. Who would think a person could win a lottery grand prize more than once? A man in Florida has done it 7 times! I think it absurd to believe we are alone in the universe, especially since we know that our understanding of physics may well not be complete, or may even be outright wrong. We don't even know for certain if we are even close to being correct. Oh, by the way, we can only see what is "observable" from earth. Scientists aren't even able to see ALL of the universe so we actually have no idea just how big the universe really is. The universe may be many times larger than we even guessed. Imagine a universe a million times larger. Alone? I highly doubt it.
  47. 3 points
    One of the busybodies in my old church was one of those people who liked to whip up the fear of Satan with the church members. One day during the sermon the pastor reminded us all that Satan was just a fallen angel and not all powerful like Jesus. Jesus and Satan were not equals locked in a mighty battle for the fate of the world. Now I see the same bullshit by noob Christian friends on facebook talking about fighting against the Enemy... Of course it turns out that neither Jesus nor Satan do any speaking on the matter. Only people.
  48. 3 points
    Wow (once again) LostinParis how quickly things have changed for you! Good for you with your quick recognition of a potentially dangerous situation and making the appropriate response. Sadly so many women here in the US are unable to recognize or tragically underestimate the threat that domestic violence poses. " From nonprofit Violence Policy Center (FBI reports): in 2016 there were 1,809 women killed by men and of those 962 were wives, ex-wives, or current domestic partners. On average almost 3 women in the US are killed every day by their male partner." I doubt that the situation is very much better in Australia relative to it's smaller population. I see older posted a domestic violence helpline for here in the US so I will post an additional one for there in Australia: https://au.reachout.com/articles/domestic-violence-support I am sure you will have many challenges ahead in creating a new life for yourself and your family. Please know that my hat is off to you for the courage you have demonstrated in taking this on. Give yourself all the credit in the world because as difficult as this transition will be I believe the rewards will ultimately far outweigh the costs. There is nothing so exilerating and rejuvinating as taking control of your own life. This may seem a little premature but congratulations. I hope you have the very best of luck and are able to enjoy your journey whenever that is possible. I would suggest as little face to face contact with your husband as possible. If you do meet with him i think it should only be in a very public place and try to get a friend to go with you there and back home after. The next year will probably be the most dangerous time. Anyhow you are doing so great! Keep us up when you can.
  49. 3 points
    Indeed. Propaganda is propaganda. Indoctrination is indoctrination. The political party thing makes it easy for lazy persons to make up their minds when voting. It also makes it easy for some (most?) politicians to manipulate and control. Us against them. If the parties were to go away we'd all have to take a much more in depth look at each issue before voting.
  50. 3 points
    When I came out as an atheist (and I did immediately after deconversion), my church community began the process of love bombing to try to win me back to the fold. When it became clear that it wasn't happening, one "friend" after another stopped talking to me. That entire group gradually fizzled out save for a handful that I still keep in touch with till today. In retrospect, I think that falling out was more to do with the fact that we had nothing in common except Jesus in the first place, I would never associate with them outside the context of the church. There was the couple of fire and brimstone nutjobs who condemn my actions but I shook that off in time. To be honest, overall the atheist community has treated me more harshly when I disagreed on political or social ideas than Christians for leaving their faith. I had a "second deconverstion" after I abandoned Atheism + around the 2015 to 2016 time frame. When you go from one "tribe" to another, you can expect human nature to show it's real colors be it religion or other ideologies.