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  1. 7 points
    Hello all, I lost my faith, I believe, in the summer of 2008. It was Youtube, reading articles on Infidels and Talk Origins that did it. From Youtube, Thunderf00t, Profmth Mitch, and cdk007 come to mind -- ah, early Youtube atheism! Reading about Evolution literally blew my mind. I recall actually having an identity crisis; like, whoa, so I have no soul? Then who am I? Trying to grapple with the problem of evil and God's silence also really shook me. Richard Carrier's essay Why I Am Not a Christian really had an impact on me.There was one night, though, that I remember quite clearly because it was the first time I realized I had completely lost my faith. It was after I had finished David Mills' book Atheist Universe. For about 5 years I was really into the whole atheism/theism debate. I read some of the best books and articles out there -- or tried to. I "accidentally" grabbed J. L. Schellenberg's book Divine Hiddenness and Human Reason way too early in my journey. Didn't attempt it until 6 years later, lmao. Biblical scholarship, philosophy of religion, cognitive science of religion was my thing. Virtually everyone in my family is a Christian. Some tried to bring me back into the fold. Got invited to church, out for coffee, you know the drill. After I attended a multi-part apologetic sermon series with family in 2012, I decided to put together an anthology to give them as a way of showing them what I believe and why; to show them why I don't accept the standard arguments; and to hopefully show them that I searched hard for the truth. My interest in these big issues has waned considerably over the last couple years due to issues I won't get into. I do, however, still enjoy reading the stories of recent deconverts. This is long enough for in intro, I guess! I might not interact much, but I look forward to reading posts here.
  2. 7 points
    I call that intellectual atheism. Non belief without deep rooted knowledge, comprehension and understanding is one thing. Non belief with very deep rooted knowledge, comprehension and understanding is quite another. And staying active and sharp on anti-apologetic's usually helps most people. I've never found any apologetic's to date that are not nonsensical in transparent and easy to locate ways. I'm giving one of our christian members a hard time about it, but for his own good as far as I'm concerned. He's a smart guy, he deserves to face off with the facts and understand what it's like to be in the hot seat of having to try and defend christian claims. That can be an eye opener for anyone who's interested in keeping it intellectually honest. Because when you're interested in keeping it honest there's problem after problem, one after the next. Over and over again. Contradictions on top of misinterpretations between writers. To apologize for these obvious things involves a lot of intellectual dishonesty. And poor excuses. Sure, people can still block out reason and accept these poor excuses. But the excuses are still poor. You can always hold the apologist's into a corner because they're wrong. They can't demonstrably establish that the bible is true. It isn't possible. It doesn't start off true. The rest of story line characters speak AS If the scriptures do start out true, but they don't. So the remaining stories all share in the domino effect of the bible starting out "demonstrably false." Take jesus for instance. He's a story line character built out of diverse writers contributing to the story. The character believes Genesis is literally true. But Genesis is demonstrably not literally true. If it's not literally true, then it doesn't really tell us about the first humans, what their names were, or how they came into existence. If it isn't true, then there wasn't any such "original sin" in the first place, no lineage of literal patriarchs leading to Noah, leading to Abraham, leading to Moses, king David, nor any such jesus from the line of David. Dominoes, right down the line. There's no need for redemption from an original sin that never happened in the first place and can not be demonstrated as true in any meaningful sense of the word. If the story isn't literally true, then human's were not literally immortal, only to digress into mortality, in order strive to restore a previous immortality. Because none of this story is literally true to begin with and we can establish that right from the beginning and see it follow through to the end. The apologist's have to try and over come this foundational problem. But all they can offer are excuses. Poor excuses at that. When you understand all of this you can keep apologists against the ropes, back into a corner, and keep them there. They're on the weak side of the argument. And how likely is it to start wondering if they're right when they're against the ropes all the time and stuck in corners that they can't escape from? Keeping the whole thing in focus and in context is a good way of becoming immune to succumbing to any of it in my opinion.
  3. 7 points
    My husband pulled this same crap on me 3 years ago, which was 19 years into our marriage. We are divorcing now. It’s impossible to live with a fundamentalist, every conversation turns into an argument. I strongly advise you not to have children with your bf, they will be in agony listening to you argue about how to best raise them. He will fret about their salvation, and you will become the enemy.
  4. 7 points
    Ironically, I would have agreed with that blog post when I was a Christian. I made essentially the same arguments. Yet, here I am now, evidence that it's poppycock. The real problem with that line of "reasoning" is that they refuse to even remotely consider the possibility that they could be the ones who are wrong, that maybe, just maybe, Christianity really isn't true after all. They want everyone of every other belief system to consider the possibility that they're wrong, but they refuse to do it themselves. Been there, done that, and I've since then grown to realize that that attitude is the biggest stumbling-block there is to finding truth.
  5. 7 points
    As many times as this comes up, is as many times that it will remain a "No True Scotsman Fallacy." These were never, "true christians." <snipped from article> This is one of the many problems with cult mentality. They can not fathom any other options. Setting up false dichotomies is the go to. Let's also look at option 1) about "biblical truth." What is "biblical truth?" I am currently pressing two of our christian members to justify the claim that the bible is true to begin with. Currently, the one who runs www.christforums.com completely folded and quit trying to prove the bible true as of Genesis 1. He can't do it, we are left to assume. The second member is a youtuber and he's trying to do what he can to demonstrate "the truth" of the bible, but as of yet hasn't been able able to demonstrate that it is true. It boils down to believing something is true which can't be demonstrated as true: https://www.ex-christian.net/topic/82275-luthamf-verses-joshpantera-informal/ So what is this fallacious "true christian" anyways? Someone who believes the bible and jesus are true, when all evidence points to the contrary, and which will never change their mind no matter what and no matter how much they mature, grow, investigate and think for themselves? What else could it be? It sounds more to me like "true credulousness." And besides, fuck'em. Who cares if cult-like church members think that people who left the church were never "true" members of the church in the first place? 1280 × 7 This
  6. 7 points
    “Bowling leagues and birding are sure to be taken over by the religious here... and that is exactly the issue... there is no place that people in Texas do not feel like it's ok to want to put you on their prayer chain when you have a cold, if they don't want to just lay hands on you right there and claim your healing in Jesus name.“ I’d recommend picking up a vice. Something other people don’t do. Something that’s sure to scare off the religious. Have you tried coming out as gay? Worked for me.
  7. 6 points
    @Myrkhoos........This.^ When I joined this site I was exactly the same way. Full of rage. Full of grief. And I cried a lot. As soon as the shock wore off (and it took awhile) that I had been told a lie about the bible being a 'literal' book, I slowly became 'free' from the grips of having to please 'the gods' and all the people. I still like people to care and I am still a caring person....but if you don't like me...Oh well.....it won't end my world. It takes time. Start small. Start saying, ''no thanks' to something small. Then do it again. It starts to get easier. If you get rejected, just feel that feeling. You won't die. You will become truly free if you get to the point that you don't give a 'rats ass' if people approve of you or not. It will happen for you . Keep posting.
  8. 6 points
    Your understanding of your situation and what you've written about it here is flawless Xtina. I believe you understand your new relationship with this man as well as it could be understood. It looks to me like your inner self is telling you to get out . Reread what you have written and see what you think you are saying to yourself. With someone who is lucky enough to think as clearly as you do my advice is always to listen to yourself and follow your instincts. Trust yourself and see where that takes you. Don't allow a half crazy person to take away a substantial portion of who you could (should?) be. This is the only chance you're going to get to find out who you are. You partner seems to be a hopelessly lost sole. I seriously believe living by yourself would be a tremendous upgrade to attempting to drag this guy along with you. If you just give yourself a chance you may very well surprise yourself with how fulfilling and fun being you turns out to be. Good luck Xtina. I'm glad you chose to bring your story to us and please keep us in the loop for at least a while and let us know however you decide to proceed.
  9. 6 points
    If that blog post is to be believed, no Christian can be sure that they are truly Christians, truly saved: you can commit your life to Christ, study the Bible, live the best life you can, bring others to Jesus - and none of it may matter anyway. What happened to the assurance and peace that Christian faith is supposed to bring? This doesn’t seem like a good way to win people over to Christianity. In fact I’d say it’s the most dramatic own-goal I’ve seen on the part of a Christian apologist.
  10. 6 points
    It is yet another group that says all the others have it wrong. Their catch line is that faith in Jesus isn't what a lot of people think, it has to do with obedience. "To believe in Jesus is to believe in his words and obey his words." They have lots of smiling videos and testimonies of transformation, like all tech savvy groups these days. They imply that this is the "last" one, giving a sense of "Yeah! We're doing it right! We're going to transform the world!" Which is basically what every high-school/college believer wants to think. Back in my day it was a cult group called Maranatha, extremely controlling, manipulating emotions, and look we have a major sports star!!! They hurt a lot of people through the psychological pressure they used. I had a buddy end up in a psycho ward for a while after he went full manic thinking he was a prophet meant to save all of Korea. He stopped sleeping, wouldn't listen to reason, was convinced he was hearing directly from God, all the usual manic-break stuff (I've seen it a handful of times now). He crashed hard and slept for days, and was feeling like a failure for a long time but pulled out of it and it doing well now. So, yes it is a cult. Then again, Christianity is a cult with many faces. Even the mediocre social versions are like a virus waiting to mutate in someone that suddenly takes it seriously. The Bible isn't historically valid, the stories are just stories, the gospels are not eyewitness accounts, the miracles didn't happen, Moses and the Exodus never happened, there was no magic fruit tree and a talking snake, nobody outside of the cult ever noticed Jesus and his multitudes and miracles (they didn't happen), nobody noticed people rising from the dead in Jerusalem when Jesus died (because they didn't). Christianity is a shell game of someone thinking they found a great secret, and then constantly moving it around while throngs of people try to follow the hidden pea. Then they are told even when the "great and precious promises" fall flat that God still answered and is faithful all the time, it just looks different than they expected.
  11. 6 points
    I take it that "eat it" is Christianese for "fuck you."
  12. 5 points
    @MOHO I can see why you might interpret my posts as some kind of underhanded apologetic move, but that is not the point I was after. If I had returned to Christianity, I would have stated as such. For all intents and purposes, I am an atheist. I share ideas and arguments in this thread because if I have these videos and articles coming across my social media feed from family and friends, so does everyone else who has either deconverted, or is in the process, and I want to hear what others have to say about it. I have had other members reach out to me because they are struggling with the fact they fear they may be wrong for leaving the faith and they are going to pay a steep price for it. I want everyone to have a good response when evangelist and apologist throw out these arguments because they can cause a lot of doubt for those who decided religion does not match reality. Arguments made by those in the faith are rarely ever based upon empirical evidence, but philosophy, ad hoc arguments, and "biblical" responses that are not easily investigated, nor falsifiable. This is where the fear factor comes into play. Take for example number 10 on old boys list of Satan's plan to destroy you. If an apologist/evangelist were to tell any one of us that God is now letting Satan run our lives and we are living under a delusion, then pulls out some Bible verses to support that claim, what is really the best way to 1) respond, 2) not cause the ex-christian to do a tailspin of self-doubt? These were the arguments I used to make to non-believers and former believers, so they still make me pause at times and make me wonder if I am completely missing something, or if there is a way to systematically think about Christianity that would place it into the realm of reason. As of right now, I have not found that to be true, but I am humble enough to admit I am limited in knowledge and I know I have not considered every single variable. My response to this preacher would first of all tell him his list is an afterthought of a lot of assumptions. Where I would first bind him would be my flat our rejection of this notion of Satan as defined by Christians. I find that Bible character a complete piece of nonsense. Matter of fact, the preacher unknowingly admits that Satan is an agent of God, much as we see him in the Old Testament. To provide context of what I mean, your standard Christian is going to say God is all powerful, all knowing, and the rest of the typical maximums. Holding them to that standard, I then say if that were true, then Satan is unable to operate without the explicit or implicit permission of God. What they want to be true is somehow God is not responsible for any of the atrocities we see playing out on a daily basis and somehow Satan is to blame. Well, if God is a maximum being, then Satan merely exists within the domain of all things controlled by God. This is normally where I see people start to short circuit. In their mind, they were somehow able to separate the two beings into this cosmic bad and good, but separated them from the rest of their theology. My second point would be 2 Timothy in general. Critical scholars agree 2 Timothy is a forgery, as is the rest of the pastoral epistles. Bart Ehrman and Dr. Robert Price have a few good books discussing the issues with the pastoral epistles. Where I caution skeptics is that they should do their homework before making this kind of argument, otherwise the believer will end up dismissing everything you say. Ultimately one could insist the believer demonstrate why they believe the Bible, or any particular letter in the Bible is inspired by a God, but normally you will not get that, so I like to introduce some doubt by countering why the Bible can be called into question.
  13. 5 points
    Fuck that guy! (Sorry, I couldnt resist the double entendre) It sucks when someone drops a bomb on you like this. At least you're not married and dont have kids ( I guess) which can make a breakup more complicated. If he's gone Full-Jesus-OCD mode that's a good reason to say goodbye in itself. But next year maybe he'll be OCD about model trains or something. It doesnt sound like something a normal person would want to deal with. You have no agreements with God nor government to stay with this guy so don't feel like you have to. I divorced a crazy back in the day. The right side of my brain was very sad (for a while) but the left side knew it was necessary. Then someone better came along. You are far from helpless. You can choose your destiny. You are in charge of you. He is not in charge of you. Take care.
  14. 5 points
    Whatever the motivation might be the arguments both pro and con never change. I have no doubt the preachers arguments resonated with his audience because they don’t critically analyze his arguments or the Bible. Christians are basically sheep. They simply follow their leaders and believe what they’re told and never question anything. Those of us that are ex-Christians regained our critical thinking skills and began thinking for ourselves. Therefore the sin argument the preacher presented as the reason for people leaving the church is not true. Logic, reason, common sense, and evidence is what motivated us to leave religion. Christians reject all of that and blame our apostasy on their imaginary Devil because they are too brainwashed to come up with anything else, and that is truly sad.
  15. 5 points
    @Xtina, I signed up for the crazy 20+ years ago whilst dating Mrs. MOHO. It wasn't too awful as, at the time, she was not an over-the-top, in-your-face, totally controlled by Jesus, proselytizing Xtian. But now she is. OK, there are weeks when it's bad and weeks when she just goes to church on Sunday. But the God Virus is there to stay and it influences her decision making process which, in turn, negatively impacts our life together. The most annoying/harmful is the hopee, prayee thing instead of taking the reins and implementing a solution to problems. It has been my personal experience that the fundies that give God/Jesus credit for overcoming their addiction(s) are the most obnoxious and least likely to recover from their new found addiction. After all - they have daily support from the rest of the crazy crowd. If you are not religious then beat it! I know 9 years is a lot to throw away but do you really want to wait another 9 years only to watch him stay in the crazy? Do you really have time left in your life to throw some of it away when you could find a non-religious person to enjoy THIS life with? - MOHO (Mind Of HIs Own)
  16. 5 points
    Fair points! I think it touches a nerve because I grew up believing in the truth of Christianity completely but never had experiences of my own, even when I was prayed over etc., which always left me with this insecurity about whether I was truly saved - so it’s triggering to find that some Christians actually think that people can believe it and ask Jesus into their heart but not experience true saving belief from God. It plays on all my insecurities. But then with this way of thinking, how does this person know they won’t turn out never to have been a true Christian in 10/20/30/40 years’ time? How could you ever have eternal security, like Calvinists like the author supposedly do?
  17. 5 points
    Once you're in 2nd (or 3rd, 4th or nth) place then you'll always be there. Is that where you want to be in this relationship? When he wants you, when it's your turn, you'll be brought out and made to be special but when your time is over you'll be back to your normal place. If that's what you want then accept your fate but otherwise you should consider other options like leaving him and being by yourself for awhile so you can sort out what you really need. mwc
  18. 5 points
    Hi and welcome. What mental illness do you have? I have bipolar disorder and have been prayed for and have even offered myself for an exorcism which didn't help. The only thing that helped me was correct medication and a secular psychiatrist. Religion just makes me have more manic episodes. It makes things worse, not better. Because of correct medication and a stress free environment I lead a pretty normal life now.
  19. 5 points
    I had a Catholic friend get me a job and job training that got me the career I now have. I have Christian relatives who knitted blankets for our baby, just because it was a nice thing to do. I've had a gay atheist flatmate steal my alcohol and never pay me back. In any large group of people there will be good and bad. Christians are no different to atheists in that respect.
  20. 4 points
    Hey there, My name is Alex, and I'm excited to finally be on this site! Without the words of your experiences I wouldn't be where I'm at today. This looks like a necessary part of my recovery from indoctrination. So I have just this week told my dad, who in turn told my mom, that I am no longer a Christian. I haven't spoken with them since telling my dad, so we'll see what happens.. I was very hesitant to ever even do that, fearing that it would break my mom's heart, and sever my relationship with them, and potentially damage my financial support from them (I live on my own and support myself, but extra income never hurts). Basically every worst case scenario played through my head, but i finally worked up the courage to speak up for myself. I found it harder and harder to bite my tongue while talking with them. My mom constantly talks about how great church service and worship was, wants to pray over every little thing in life, and my dad has said pretty ridiculous things like him "seeing" a demon, which he later described as having a vision of a demon. He also seems to think that neanderthals were a product of demons breeding with humans... At least he acknowledges that they existed! It boggles my mind that he can say that stuff, being the brilliant guy that he is. So I'd had enough of listening to this stuff and just told him on a trip that I really didn't want to ever tell him I didn't believe in God, but found that I had to, and that I owed him the honest truth. So here's my story: I've finally outgrown religion through freethinking, reason, and lots and lots of research, and being honest with my doubts and actual beliefs. Through my soul searching I realized that my faith was simply not legitimate, in a journal i wrote "I don't have a faith muscle." I grew up in a non-denominational, charismatic, evangelical, spirit-filled mega church. I still consider most people I know from there to be very nice and well intentioned people. Unfortunately my experience was a nightmare that I am only just reckoning with. I initially accepted Jesus when I was around 5 or 6, for the single reason that I didn't want to go to hell. The following days and weeks consisted of uncertainty that I was actually saved, and sheer terror if I wasn't. I had nightmares of satan, hell, and demons. I would lay awake in the dark feeling helpless against possible demons attacking me. I was afraid of the number 6, I thought I might be the anti-christ. Eventually I must have moved on, convincing myself I was indeed saved. From there I became a pretty standout Christian kid, becoming on fire for God for a month or two at a time. There was another side to church life though, one of seriously dreading going to church on Sundays. Occasionally I convinced my parents I was sick, but mostly I was forced to go. This forcing me to go was important in defining my relationship with the church. It was obligatory. I dare not refuse or I would be punished in some way. So I gave in. I gave in to going to bible camps, sharing personal stories, crying during worship about our sinful state because every other kid was crying (little did I know that my sins paled in comparison to everyone else's). The defining moment of giving in was when my sister and I were summoned by our parent's small group to receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit. They sat us in the middle of their circle, and said that we would likely speak in tongues if it worked. So I remember them praying, laying hands on us, anointing us with oil, and I remember the inner turmoil of what I should do. I wanted it to work to please my parents and get a taste of the supernatural, but nothing was happening. So I forced it, pretending to speak in tongues (quite well I must say). Following that, I remember hearing advice about speaking in tongues, to not question if it is legit. So I started to convince myself I didn't pretend after all. I continued to do it during worship, and would sometimes feel a rush of energy on the top of my head. I thought it was the Holy Spirit. Turned out to be the same chills I get at concerts. Then came two more moments of giving in, this time on a missions trip in early high school. During a service we put on in the Dominican Republic one of our leaders was doing the classic Benny Hinn style "slay them in the spirit" routine. It was my turn to be slain. I went with her push and fell back, and layed there with eyes closed, just like one does when they are in bed, pretending to be asleep. Again I tried to force an experience, vision, whatever. Nothing. Later on in that trip we were on the beach and the same leader was with a local lady who braided tourist's hair. I was far away when there was a commotion and when I asked what had happened people said the woman's hands were healed of arthritis, and that her fingers had magically straightened out. I was pretty convinced, and wanted to tell people when we got back home. So I repeated what I had heard but said I'd actually seen it happen. I remember telling this story to quite a few close friends and family members, and regret having lied. What I know about healing stories now is that they are almost certainly not true or verifiable... I have plenty more stories like these of false claims of the supernatural either by me or told to me. So, from this point until 2 years after college I considered myself a serious Christian. The bumps in the road I encountered had to do with sex. I had, and still have, an underdeveloped understanding of sex. I never got a sex talk from my dad, and had a Christian school version of health class. I never had a girlfriend in high school, and was told to guard myself against any sexual thoughts. I did a great job at it until college. In college I made a choice to given in a little bit, never crossing the forbidden home base. Unfortunately, anything that I experienced was followed by serious guilt and paranoia that my parents knew what I had done. The only thing I ever admitted to them was that I had kissed a girl, and then lied about our break up being because she wanted to go too far. This guilt was part of my indoctrination into purity culture. It placed a super high value on virginity, and as hard as it tried not to, it placed serious shame on anything other than that and abstinence. Anyone who strayed from this was treated differently, looked down upon, and badmouthed by supposedly loving people, even by myself at times. The consequences of this have been devastating for me. As I write, I am afraid of actually going all the way. I also know that if I did, I would still have an irrational guilt. I also have an instinct to fight attraction. If I see an attractive woman, my warning alarms go off, I look away, and can never initiate a conversation. This probably stems from a tip I got in men's group to have bouncing eyes to avoid lusting. It has taken away my self worth and confidence, and I can't currently see a hope in sight for being able to pursue someone I am attracted to. The few times I have been in a sort of relationship have been because she made the first move, and I was settling for less than I wanted, but I needed someone. Moving on to my deconversion, I had always had doubts, but those seriously picked up steam about a year ago. A coworker challenged my belief in a literal Adam and Eve and Noah's flood, mentioning DNA evidence and how we couldn't all come from one couple. I fought that by saying God is all powerful and could have used supernatural DNA. That quickly sounded dumb to me, so I researched it. That led me to re-evaluated the evidence of a global flood. Shouldn't the locations of types of animals point to a single origin around Mt. Ararat? Why are Marsupials only in Australia? Shouldn't there be evidence of a global flood in geology? Why aren't any human fossils mixed in with dinosaur fossils? Why do fossils lie in predictable rock layers which can be pretty reliably dated to very old ages through plenty of kinds of radiometric dating? How can I be seeing light from stars so far away that it traveled for 13 billion years? I used to solve all these questions by thinking God can do anything, like create things to appear older than they really are. But why would he do that? To test our faith? Well then he's playing hide and seek with us. He's forcing us to choose his Bible stories over our own knowledge and observations. That was where I realized I didn't like this god. Then I dug in to the things this god did in the Old Testament. I was absolutely disgusted. I remember a few times myself and others would explain away the horrors of the Old Testament as that all being under the Old Covenant, but Jesus came and fixed everything. That's a TERRIBLE answer and doesn't excuse the initial way God ran things. God commanded genocide, murdered Job's 10 children to test the faith that he already knew was solid, required circumcision (I thought he created man perfect, in his image), hardened Pharoah's heart before killing every first born son. This stuff started sounding like nonsense. But it made sense when I viewed it as man-made. God did not create man, man created God. Even Christians would agree with this, with the exception of their God. In fact, every religion would have to agree with this, with the exception of their own gods. Then I started thinking about how badly God did things. He created Adam knowing Adam would fail, and tried to fix things with Noah and the flood, but then regretted that, and it failed miserably. And to finally fix everything that he messed up, he sent his son/himself to "die" on a cross, but he was only "dead" for 3 days, before returning to heaven. And while he "fixed" things, he's been hanging out in heaven for 2000 years, allowing the crusades and the spanish inquisition and the holocaust to happen, when allll he has to do is come back. Well he'd better hurry up and come back before his religion is completely dead thanks to the internet... Once I admitted to feeling this way, I began reading books by Bart Ehrman, Christopher Hitchens, and Richard Dawkins (who I remember seeing get badmouthed in a creationist film). I wanted to make sure I wasn't crazy, wrong, and making a terrible decision. These guys were the brightest people I'd ever heard, and I couldn't believe how misrepresented their positions were by Christians. My nights switched from video games and netflix to books, podcasts, and debates on youtube. I was hooked. I'm still hooked. So that all has brought me here, seeking communication with like-minded people, so that I can start to live life again. I am struggling with occasional deep depression, anxiety, isolation, crisis of self, sometimes feeling disconnected from reality, emotional dullness, loss of joy, and trying to shake the thought that an invisible dude is watching everything I do. (Basically all the symptoms laid out by Marlene Winell about RTS) I've felt like I don't fit in anywhere. Christian friends don't understand me, keep trying to convince me i'm wrong, and add to the trauma i'm trying to fight. I also want to respect their personal faith, as I remember the pain of having it ridiculed and challenged. So I just can't talk to them in depth about this stuff. And my secular friends don't fully understand where I've come from. I never seem to fully relate to them, and I've missed out of years of normal secular life to I often feel like a fish out of water. All that said, I do have moments of feeling happiness and achievement in being true to myself finally. I've made the decision to attempt to heal, to live the life I want, and to accept the help I need to get there, and be ok with living life on my terms and no one else's. Thanks for reading this, and looking forward to your advise on where to go from here, self-care, therapy, local community, how or if to keep religious friends in my life, resources on biblical criticism, science vs. religion, etc..
  21. 4 points
    This is so tedious but Christianity cannot advance from any point to another that is built on the first if the first point cannot be established as true. Is there some kind of god thing? Maybe but there is no particular evidence for this. Is this god thing a creator god? Possible but less likely because this adds a specific attribute of the unproven god thing. Is there a personal god? No. No Christian group can demonstrate special treatment in response to prayers whether protection from disaster or from disease or whatever. Some are very prosperous for a period of time but they fail also just as chance would suggest. Really this is already the end of the line for Christianity because it needs a personal god as a personal god is central to the bible story. There are many foundational points that are nonsensical. A man 2,000+ years ago is dead for three days (brain matter now liquefied), his dead body disappears, but he soon shows up alive somewhere near by and is supposedly seen by some or many which is recorded exclusively in the bible and then he flies up up and out of sight never to return (not yet anyhow). This sounds not just conveniently unprovable but made up to give the story a supernatural lift (I believe I saw at least 50 years after the fact). Since only 1/3 of earth's inhabitants are Christian then the Christian god was terribly unsuccessful with his human creations or maybe hell was his real interest rather than heaven. If there is a powerful holy (god) spirit that will enter the believer's body why hasn't this amazing wonderful experience spread from person to person like wildfire? Why is Islam the worlds fastest growing religion set to catch Christianity by 2050? Whose side is this holy spirit on? Why does archeology fail to support the Exodus or the flood? Here is the best question ever TinMan: What is the most compelling reason you know that will support claims that the the bible and Christianity are true? If you have something it will be the very first I have seen in my years here on this site but I definitely do want to see what you've found.
  22. 4 points
    I think Joshpantera’s concept of intellectual immunity to Christianity, as he’s discussed it here and elsewhere, is very important. If we can reach that point in our deconversion journey, we can read an article like the one in the OP and shake our head, or laugh, and shrug it off. I did react that way and I do consider myself intellectually immune to Christianity and other theistic claims. Not patting myself on the back or anything: it takes a while to get there. It helped that I am an engineer, so I typically only believe things that are backed by solid evidence and not just because I want them to be true. Yet for 20+ years I had a walled-off corner of my mind where my Christian faith lived, where the same rules didn’t apply. Within the past 10 years, when I started to apply reason to the claims of Christianity, it rather quickly started to collapse. But the part of my mind that gave credence to religious claims for reasons other than evidence, that didn’t go away completely, not for a while. I had a hunger for books and articles by the likes of Ehrman and Price, who disagree about some things, like the existence of Jesus as an actual figure in history, but who examine the evidence objectively, not necessarily believing something because it’s in the subset of scripture that made it into the Bible. As I read and immersed myself in strictly evidence-based ideas, I stopped thinking like a Christian or theist. Now the Christian clams make no more impression on me than the Muslim ones ever did. As I said, I can read that article without it bothering me in the slightest. But somebody in an earlier stage of deconversion could be thrown into turmoil and anxiety by it. If somebody has concluded that Christianity is not true or valid, but they are affected in this way, I’d advise them to immerse themselves in reason-based arguments by people - like Ehrman and Price - who aren’t invested in a certain outcome. No human can be totally unbiased, but these guys come about as close as possible, I think. At some point you will be able to read stuff about Satan and his plans, but only after you’ve reached a certain point. The part of your mind that believes things because they’ve been repeated over and over again has to be brought to heel. It’s rarely easy and it can be tempting to turn back, but believe me it’s worth the effort. This community is here to encourage and reassure.
  23. 4 points
    The Bible is all a Christian has and their belief that it is true. My response when they quote scripture as validation for their argument. Sir, historians have proven beyond a doubt that the Bible is not literally true or historically accurate. It is simply a collection of theological myths and allegorical stories.
  24. 4 points
    A decent, short and sweet response to most mere assertions from Christians is, "I do not believe you". This response is accurate and effective. It states your belief. It sets a boundary by indicating you will not play in the theists' sandbox. It does nothing to address their claims, which avoids debate, enabling and codependency. I could go on. If the Christian continues with more mere assertions, a followup response could be, "I am not interested in your claims". When the occasional angry Christian escalates things to something like, "You will burn in hell for not believing!", you can simply state, "I do not believe you".
  25. 4 points
    You can think of creation as a ill-conceived science experiment by a brain-damaged celestial toddler. That might help.
  26. 4 points
    Totally! I loved CC back in the day. Not that I think all ex-Cs were never true believers, but even as a true believer myself back then, i always wondered about Derek!! The rest of CC sang more "Christian" stuff and his was more secular... In fact, I remember him having a solo album sold at my local Christian bookstore with a "explicit lyrics" label!! ("I am a whore, I do confess...") Anyway, I digressed! As i wrote to my brother in law when I shared my deconversion with him: I think perhaps the saddest aspect of the post Christian experience is that believers only have negative categories to put us in - deluded, self-deluded, deceived, confused, lost, bent-on-sin, knowingly rejecting, etc. They do not have a category for "believed with all his heart, lived out his faith as fully as he could, found his belief system to be faulty, fought with all his might to hold onto his faith, finally, out of honesty and humility and for the sake of integrity, walked away in tears, but remained a good man who lived a noble life, did much good, and added much love and kindness to the world he left behind."
  27. 4 points
    None of us actually believed anything. We were just cultural christians. Like all fake believers in the fake religions. We just believed because everyone else believed. We didn't believe because god chose us out to believe. Or because the spirit was in us which gave us faith. We were just impostors. Not like real believers who really have the spirit. And can prove it because they, um, they...hmmm...they, well they just do because they know they do. Anyhow, the most important thing is to get the numbers down to 144,000 in total. That's all the room in that's available in that mighty heavenly mansion. God has always been sort-sighted with his grand schemes. mwc
  28. 4 points
    That is all you need to realize. Move far and fast.
  29. 4 points
    Yes, Luth. "Tactics" is the appropriate term. http://churchandstate.org.uk/2019/03/here-are-evangelical-christianitys-10-biggest-gaslighting-tactics/?fbclid=IwAR1Yl43kEe5rqXDuSC5T5fpuZCSu4Vus8vVSStG7DRGA2_p8r5tBS2cBsyY
  30. 4 points
    I don’t consider Christianity a religion. It’s more a classification for a vast collection of diverse religious cults based on a wide range of beliefs influenced by a few common books and traditions at differing degrees.
  31. 4 points
    The overall problem, as I see it, is that, for christians, everything has to be defined within the context of christianity: charity, compassion, morality, peace (both internal and external), even logic and intellect. Truly hateful things are done in the name of Christian "love"; and horrific atrocities committed in the pursuit of christian "morality". It is reminiscent of the double-speak of 1984--"war is peace, freedom is slavery..." Their definitions are radically different from those understood by the rest of humanity; and some might describe them as fundamentally flawed.
  32. 4 points
    I prayed to Jesus for 10 years. William prays to Jesus now and I guess for quite a while now. Jesus gave me a false pastor. Jesus gave William a good pastor. Jesus gave me false theologians. Jesus gave William good theolologians. Jesus gave me bad translations. Jesus gave William good translations. Jesus gave me a cultish church. Jesus gave William the correct denomination of church. Jesus gave me a church that FOLLOWS the NICENE Creed. Jesus gave William a church that follows the Nicene Creed. I lost my faith. William still has his faith. I trying to figure out what happened here. edit: And I'm trying to figure how William knows that our loss of faith was the result of all these low quality religious tools. .
  33. 4 points
    The entire story is one of us existing only for his pleasure. He made us in his image. He created us to satisfy his love for himself. To put it crudely, we are an act of celestial masturbation. Or so the story goes.
  34. 3 points
    Yes, and it is given a default respect instead of default creepy-feeling of a cult. The idea of sin, the myth stories of the magic fruit tree, Noah, Goliath, etc are all way too familiar in our culture. If the religion had been reduced down to kindness, forgiveness, sharing your stuff, feeding the hungry, then it would have been an amazing thing instead of a psychotic blood cult focused on a payment for "forgiveness" and damnation in fire for everyone else. If there were buildings on every corner where people really thought that Spiderman was in charge of reality, and would weep knowing that they aren't being as obedient to his spidey-sense as they should be, all of them striving to be radioactive, and pushing for laws that reflected their beliefs since they ARE REALITY after all, would their beliefs be respected? How about the ones that really think they are part of Star Fleet and dress the part? Not the cosplayers, the ones that really do believe it is real. But if there were millions of them, and had been for centuries, and had sway over the cultures around us...
  35. 3 points
    Chasing prophecy, making it fit, finding justification for it is a fools errand. I don't bother with it anymore. What I do know about Israel is that today's Israel is an artificial creation made by the victors of WWII for political and financial reasons. I wonder if it should even count as the Biblical description of the "nation" of Israel.
  36. 3 points
    I’m glad to have found a group here! I was raised in a rather lukewarm Catholicism as a child, but became very fundamentalist catholic in my late teens/early 20s in a desperate attempt to find meaning and be “pleasing to god”. Of course, being false, I never found meaning and living according to the dictates of religion was the cause of many, many poor decisions. I’m in my 30s and now extricating myself from a religious mindset and living my life on my terms. I’m looking forward to being a part of the group here, and I’ll make a longer post in the testimony section at some point!
  37. 3 points
    @webmdave thanks for the explanation. As always, thanks for all you do in keeping this community online. Can you give us an update on the financial state of affairs?
  38. 3 points
    God created man to be a gardener. God didn't even have the foresight to create a mate for this guy. He first ran all newly created critters by him to see if any of them would do and, when they wouldn't, he broke down and fashioned up a rib woman. Humans are the only thing on earth that weren't both made from scratch during the creation week as a mating pair. Women were an afterthought. It's not like he's pulling ribs out of ducks when he realized he's only got one of those and then trying to see if that duck will go ahead and be cool getting in a three way with whatever else he has lying around. Maybe the crocodile? The world needs crocoducks but that's another story. I guess animals could talk and cross-breed back then? I suppose that's how the snake got it's legs? Anyway, I've wondered off my point a bit. I know this isn't news. What it shows is that this god isn't really thinking all those steps ahead like xians are telling everyone he is. God had no clue he should make both men and women. He tried to get man to hook up with whatever he had lying around. When that failed he didn't bother to create woman from scratch but cobble one together from a rib. And their job was still to be gardeners. mwc
  39. 3 points
    Red flags are red for a reason. The heart wants what the heart wants, but the heart is fueled by emotion. In this case your brain appears to be functioning rationally. Maybe you should let your brain make this decision and ignore your heart.
  40. 3 points
    Sounds like an addictive personality, with god as the new drug. I guess see what happens. If it doesn't work for you then cut him loose.
  41. 3 points
    I am hoping someone here can relate and might even have some answers. Some background. I am 50+. I broke free of fundamentalist christianity more than five years ago after a lifetime of being everything from somewhat religious to over the top preachy christian wackadoodle. I was even involved in ministry for a minute... I am still married to a believer who does not accept my deconversion and hopes that with the right hocus pocus I will be brought back into the fold. The problem is that I am having trouble developing a life away from religion/church, which has always been at the epicenter of my friendships. I've found that making new friends at this age is not as effortless as it was in my youth when any roomie, neighbor, or coworker was a potential friend. It is also not helping that I live in the buckle of the bible belt, where nearly everyone is religious, most are christian, and 'I go to this or that church' is often the thing people share right after their name. It's also a disadvantage that I am an ex-christian, because unlike the garden variety heathen or those of another faith I am unlikely to be won or proselytized. In other words it's not that I don't know what I'm missing and what a great deal salvation is... While I am not advertising my deconversion with T-shirt and bumper stickers, I am also no longer interested in religious discussion and will either try to politely steer a conversation in another direction or quietly excuse myself.. Further complications are that I live a more rural/agrarian lifestyle, although I do work 'in town' so have some human contact, I just seem to be missing connection. I've thought about something like a UU church but I am not even particularly spiritual anymore. I tried joining a women's travel and adventure group but found the facebook events page loaded with prayer requests and disproportionately large number of the membership evangelize at events. Homesteader and farming groups- super religious. I've joked that even our local bars are full of christians. So... for those of you who have moved away from church attendance, etc., were you able to maintain old relationships on new terms? Find new friends? Learn to deal with being alone more? I'd love some suggestions. TIA
  42. 3 points
    Best idea yet! I haven't tried it... but there is this hot barista where I get my coffee in the morning
  43. 3 points
    Howdy! My social circle disappeared after leaving church. I started doing things that I enjoyed and ended up finding a new circle of people. I'd call a few of them friends, most are still at a social level. About 12 years ago, I took voice lessons and at the nudge of a friend started singing at a jazz club, piano bars, jazz jams, and such. It was fun, scary, challenging, and got me out with other people doing creative things. There are a few Christian-Lite (mostly Catholic or Lutheran) people, but most are not. I've only encountered one mostly-fundy (who is an outstanding jazz singer) but that's rare. I never hear from the old crowd at all, or even most of my believer family. I'm fine with that for the most part. The cult has a lot more power down where you live, and is so part of the social culture that its hard to escape it. Besides bars, you might try the arts communities and see if you click with anything. Artists tend to think more freely.
  44. 3 points
    Secular scholars have rational discussions about the Bible all the time. Rationality goes out the window when one party believes the Bible is the Word of God, infallible, an historical account or a science book. Without agreement on rules of evidence or how logic works the encounter is pointless aside from demonstrating the weakness of the Christian arguments to onlookers.
  45. 3 points
    "This is important because in textual criticism the goal is to determine as close as possible what the author actually wrote. A paraphrase will not provide this." Don't people paraphrase in order to understand something? Isnt a small group of Christians doing a bible study and concerned with a particular passage using paraphrasing to get at the meaning of it? If someone asks, "What does that scripture mean?", do you repeat the scripture back to them and call it a day? Or do you use other words to describe it. Sermons in church usually involve discussion about the scriptural passage at hand. Seems like a lot of paraphrasing...what do I know.
  46. 3 points
    It appears that Luth believes life to be meaningless without the existence of, specifically, the christian god. It may be true that his own life would be meaniness without his beliefs; but to put forth the claim that jesus exists because all life is meaningless otherwise is much too far of a leap for intellectually honest individuals. What of the millions who find meaning in the Dharma, the Koran, or more secular, humanistic pursuits?
  47. 3 points
    Satan and his demon minions protected your house. They're better at dealing with fire. mwc
  48. 3 points
    I didn't curse anyone. Your imagination fabricated some baloney and I challenged your baloney with common sense. Your mind does not want to entertain the idea that anyone (including you) could possibly stop believing in Jesus so it must whip up some fabrication that most of us ex-believers here from multiple denominations and mainstream churches all had false teachings. Though most of these churches we went to follow the Nicene Creed like you do, studied the bible like you do, prayed to Jesus like you do and basically believed the same thing that you do. We both did the same thing , felt the same thing, worshiped the same way.... and we left. Wow, you could too. It's definitely possible.
  49. 3 points
    Most people convert because a friend or someone convinced them that "God loves you!!!!" I saw people come in from several 12-step programs that are dependent on a higher-power belief. A few come to a church play and get sniffly over Jesus being crucified, and fall for the bait about it being "all for you". Back in the day, hell and damnation were threats that seemed to work on some people, but usually in cultures that were already steeped in Christianity. All that to say that people don't convert because of philosophy or facts, but emotional manipulation and a feeling of belonging. The gospel is set up to create a sort of Stockholm Syndrome where the abusive god of the Bible becomes seen by his victims as the ultimate source of love and good, and they won't hear anything to the contrary (Don't piss Him off, he'll hurt us!).
  50. 3 points
    You know the one thing I was never told when I was young, the one thing never questioned? That was God is real, Jesus died for my sins, and if I didn't believe that I'd go to hell. Heck we went through sessions of questioning if the earth was really a sphere for fucks sake because it says in the bible the "four corners" and there ain't no fucking corners on a globe is there!? The title is right - get em while they are young. Don't ask questions, if they do ask questions obfuscate and deflect, or when shit really hits the fan make up bullshit!

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