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Showing content with the highest reputation since 06/22/2019 in Posts

  1. 9 points
    Any idea why that is? Perhaps because Islamic countries can get away with throwing homosexuals from rooftops and more enlightened societies can't. It takes a special kind of hero to come out and admit who they are when their life is in constant danger. It's tough in an open society, suicidal in repressive regimes.
  2. 8 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.
  3. 7 points
    I personally haven't heard any about myself, though I am quite certain my once fellow church members whisper in the shadows. My advice. Fuck 'em and Ignore it. You should practice IDGAF. In my gaming group we would say In DSA games are fun. In other words I don't give a fuck! Sometimes that is the best attitude to take. Nothing you'll do can change the mind of somebody intent on being an malicious gossiper. True friends, the people you should spend energy on, will come to you if they have concerns and will be genuinely interested in what you have to say. Everyone else give a one fingered salute... metaphorically speaking.
  4. 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.
  5. 6 points
    I'm sorry to hear about your panic attacks. That sort of thing sucks royally. It may be in your best interest to see a professional secular therapist. In the meantime, it doesn't hurt to look into some of the background of the idea of Hell. The following is an excerpt from a letter I wrote a few years ago. I hope it can help you. The Lake of Fire The Bible says that "the beast" and "false prophet" will be "cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone" (Rev 19:20), and that "the devil" will also be "cast into the lake of fire and brimstone" and that they "shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever" (Rev 20:10). After that we read that "death and hell" and "whosoever was not found written in the book of life" will be "cast into the lake of fire," which it also calls "the second death" (Rev 20:14-15). Though it doesn't specify here, one would assume that this implies that everyone thrown into this lake of fire would also be tortured forever, just like it says will happen to the beast, false prophet and devil. Granted, Revelation is highly symbolic, so one could argue that this is not meant literally, especially given the reference to a "second death." For the sake of this writing, though, I will treat it literally, as traditional Christians tend to do. As a side note, many confuse "hell" with the eternal "lake of fire." However, as can be seen from the statement that "hell" will be "cast into the lake of fire" (Rev 20:14), they are technically not the same thing in the Bible. "Hell" here is the Greek term "Hades," which was used for the grave, the nether world, the realm of the dead. But, since most people think of "Hell" as the lake of fire, from here on out that will be what I am referring to when I use the capitalized word "Hell" in quotes. So, let's move on and take a closer look at the concept of eternal torture and what the Bible has to say about "Hell." To hear Christians talk, "Hell" is one of the most important topics in Christianity. Indeed, what we supposedly need saving from is "Hell." Yet, if "Hell" is such a hot topic (pun intended), and burning eternally is the final punishment for the wicked, then why is the concept of the lake of fire completely absent from the Old Testament? Sure, the word "hell" is found in the KJV Old Testament, but it is the Hebrew word "Sheol," which means the grave, the underworld, the abode of the dead, a pit. Though there are several places where the Old Testament refers to "fire" symbolically, there is no place in it that says anything about eternal torture in fire (when preachers use Old Testament verses to prove "Hell," a quick look at the context always reveals that they mean something else). In the Old Testament, the punishment for wickedness is said to be death (Eze 3:18-19; 18:20,24; 33:8-14; Psalm 37:20; Prov 2:22). Beyond that, Isaiah says, "They are dead, they shall not live; they are deceased, they shall not rise" (Isa 26:14). Daniel contradicts that by saying, "And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt" (Dan 12:2), but though it doesn't fit with most of what we see in the Old Testament, even this verse doesn't say anything about torture. There is a significant Old Testament verse to mention, though. Jeremiah says, "Therefore, behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that this place shall no more be called Tophet, nor The valley of the son of Hinnom, but The valley of slaughter" (Jer 19:6). In this verse, "The valley of the son of Hinnom" in Hebrew is "gay ben Hinnom," or "gay Hinnom" ("The valley of Hinnom") for short, and is the basis of a later Greek word "Gehenna" that referred to a valley south of Jerusalem where they reportedly burned trash, dead animals and at times the corpses of executed criminals. This "Gehenna" is translated "hell" in the New Testament. So, for clarification, there are two Greek words commonly translated "hell" in the New Testament. "Hades," as mentioned previously, refers to the grave or the netherworld. "Gehenna," on the other hand, was the city dump where refuse was burned. (The Greek word "tartaroo" is also translated "hell," but it's only used once in the Bible and its meaning is comparable to "Hades.") Now let's look at a few uses of "Gehenna." When we read, "Whosever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire" (Matt 5:22), that "hell fire" is referring to the burning dump south of Jerusalem. So is the statement, "It is profitable for thee that one of thy members (body parts) should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell" (Matt 5:29-30). When we read, "Fear him, which after he hath killed hath power to cast into hell" (Luke 12:5), that is again using the burning city dump for imagery. In addition we read, "And if thy hand offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter into life maimed, than having two hands to go into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched: Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched" (Mark 9:43-44). This is an often cited passage about "Hell," but let's dig deeper. Not only is this using the imagery of "Gehenna" discussed above, but it is based on an Old Testament quote that says, "And they shall go forth, and look upon the carcases of the men that have transgressed against me: for their worm shall not die, neither shall their fire be quenched" (Isaiah 66:24). What is being talked about here is clearly not eternal torture, but simply mounting corpses. The worm not dying out is meant in reference to constantly having rotting corpses to eat on. Whatever "fire" may be referring to here, it is clearly not depicting the "Hell" that Christianity teaches. Again, if "Hell" was such an important topic, then why would God avoid making mention of it throughout the entire Old Testament? Why repeatedly warn of death as punishment if eternal torture was really the punishment? With the complete absence of "Hell" in the Old Testament, and the idea growing out of the imagery of a burning city dump south of Jerusalem called the Valley of Hinnom in the New Testament, isn't it quite clear that "Hell" is merely a doctrine that evolved over time? Beyond that, what about the ethics of "Hell"? How can justice be served by inflicting infinite torture as punishment for finite infractions? How is being burned forever a befitting discipline for mere mortals? What loving father would ever do such a thing? Would any good judge ever issue such an unfair sentence? Jesus supposedly said that "whosever believeth" in God's "only begotten Son" will "have everlasting life," and that "he that believeth not is condemned" (John 3:16,18). In Christian theology, that condemnation is "Hell." However, what about all the people who die having never heard about Jesus? What about people raised in different cultures far removed from Christianity, those who are indoctrinated with other views (through no fault of their own) to the point that that they cannot believe Christianity when presented with it? What about the many, many people throughout the ages who simply never had the opportunity to believe in Jesus? Some Christians try to weasel out of that dilemma by suggesting that God is just and will deal fairly with those other people. They may even cite the judgment based on deeds that Jesus spoke of in Matthew 25:31-46. While that may seem to be a noble thought, it is flat-out contradicted by the very quote from Jesus listed above, that "he that believeth not is condemned" (John 3:18). If one doesn't believe, then he's condemned, with no recourse. Besides, there are other logical problems with this argument. Since it indicates that belief in Jesus really isn't necessary for salvation, then what's the point in evangelizing and sending out missionaries? That's commanded in the Bible, of course, but it would be rather pointless if it was true that God would judge everyone justly anyway and that believing in Jesus really isn't necessary for salvation! In addition, what about other people, such as myself, who know the story of Jesus quite well but study Christianity and honestly conclude that it is without merit? With regard to us, as well as the aforementioned people who never heard of Jesus or who were already indoctrinated with another religious view, how could a loving God condemn such people to eternal agony when God himself has refused to show himself? If the all-loving, all-powerful, all-knowing God of evangelical Christianity existed and wanted to have a relationship with every person, then there would be no question that he is real and Christianity is true because he would make it clear! Yet the majority of people in the world have not been convinced of such. Where is this Christian God who is supposedly reaching out to everyone? Another common Christian response is to bring up the quote, "For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse" (Romans 1:20). Thus, it is argued, nobody has an excuse for not knowing, because "the creation" around us is proof. But is it really? If this verse was true and the natural world we see clearly depicted the Christian God, then everyone who looks at nature would automatically be convinced of the Christian God! Yet, throughout the world there are varying cultures with different religious views, and many of those people look at the exact same nature and see evidence of their gods! And other people look at nature and see no evidence of any god at all! How could this be if "creation" was so clear regarding the Christian God? Obviously, this argument from "creation" is simply false. Think about this. You were raised in a Christian culture that convinced you that Christianity is true, but in the same way people raised in a Muslim culture are convinced that Islam is true, and people raised in a Hindu culture are convinced that Hinduism is true, and so on and so forth. The fact is that people's religious beliefs are primarily dependent upon demographics instead of logic, reason and indisputable evidence. You cannot believe Islam to be true because you were programmed to believe Christianity. But the opposite is also true: Those who are programmed to believe Islam simply cannot believe Christianity. Put yourself in their shoes. What if you had been raised and indoctrinated with Islam, and therefore you could not believe Christianity? That would be no fault of your own; it would simply be the result of being raised in that culture. Would it then be fair to torture you in "Hell" forever and ever and ever, with no mercy and no relief, simply because you did not believe something that you had no ability to believe? Do you not see the absurdity and injustice in that? Do you really believe that a righteous, loving God would do that to his creation? You've heard about "cruel and unusual punishment." Indeed, when someone commits a crime, we expect them to be punished, but we expect the punishment to be in accordance with the crime. However, how could any criminal deserve being tortured forever and ever and ever? We are mere mortals with a very limited life-span, so how could anything one does be worthy of unending agony? Such torture would be "cruel and unusual punishment"! And, again, the idea of issuing such punishment for a lack of belief by those who can't believe is even more problematic. Clearly, any God who would torture people like that would have to be sadistic and unjust, because only a sadistic monster could be so cruel! To call any such God "good" is ridiculous, and is an insult to all that is good. Given that the unjust nature of the doctrine of "Hell" is incompatible with the idea of a loving and just God, and given the way the Christian doctrine of "Hell" evolved out of the imagery of a burning city dump outside Jerusalem, it becomes quite clear that "Hell" is not something revealed by God, but merely a morbid myth that developed over time and became useful for scaring people throughout the ages.
  6. 6 points
    Thanks for replying, guys! Today is much better. I suspect there will be attempts here and there to draw me back, but if so, they're just doing what they feel they've been called to do. Being 36 and having children of my own, I felt it necessary to be this example of living your truth so my kids could see that in action. Also, I've felt kind of foolish for being this age and hesitating to tell my parents about this shift, but shit like this has no appropriate age, I guess. It took years to deprogram and two years to even say it aloud to myself. It's weird. I'm outspoken and headstrong about everything, but this is different, likely because it was my foundation. My brother is about to come behind me and tell them the same thing. I kind of feel bad for my parents, but hey... You can't raise "free thinkers" and expect them to adhere to your worldview. You can't have it both ways. Anyway, I always appreciate the feedback on this website. It means a lot to me.
  7. 6 points
    The population of Christians in Islamic countries are very low and are very high among liberal/dem controlled areas. The population of atheists in Islamic countries are very low and are very high among liberal/dem controlled areas. The population of women in professional fields in Islamic countries are very low and are very high among liberal/dem controlled areas. I think you’re on to something!
  8. 6 points
    I was thrilled when I came across ex-christian.net. I was born into a Roman Catholic family, but my mom had been Greek Orthodox. When she and my dad divorced we bagan visiting many other christian churches, from christian science to lutheran. I didn't think much of it because mom said they were basically the same and she was more looking for a group of people that she clicked with. I began to question religion when I had to move in with my dad and go through the process of First Communion again because I had initially gone through it in the Lutheran church so it wasn't valid. WTF? I began to question my beliefs when I began the process of Confirmation, and realized that I just didn't believe. I finished the process because I still lived with my dad at that point and my mom couldn't take me in. I fully believe that words have power and hated making a promise that I knew I wasn't going to keep. I swore I would never lie like that again. I explored paganism and witchcraft for awhile, and while much of it resonates with me, I can't bring myself to follow any one path as they all seem like the same thing but viewed through different colored lenses. I still struggle a bit, as my husband is christian (though mostly ok that I am not) and we agreed to raise our children christian so they had a foundation to start from. I live in a smallish city about an hour south of Dallas so finding like minded people is a challenge. I hope to meet some people that I don't have to pretend with.
  9. 5 points
    I'm open-minded with respect to the existence of unicorns. Just give me a reason to think they exist, and I'll consider it. Give me actual evidence, and I'll be persuaded. That is what having an open mind means. It doesn't mean don't make your mind up; it means be willing to change your mind given sufficient evidence.
  10. 5 points
    This is pure gold, in my opinion. If you haven’t read Citsonga’s Extimony and ‘Letter to My Christian Parents’, take some time (a good bit of time!) to read them. You won’t find a smarter, more informed, clearly written, heartfelt explanation of why he - and so many of us - became Ex-Christians. It will be time well spent, believe me. Note: I received no financial compensation, merchandise, sexual favors or any other benefit from Citsonga in exchange for this endorsement.
  11. 5 points
    Hey Myrkhoos - Wow I'm sorry man that sounds pretty intense. I suffered from panic disorder for about a year and that is not something I would wish on anyone. Once in awhile I get a momentary fear - the " what if I'm wrong to reject Christianity?" moment. Because, damn, if we are wrong we're pretty screwed! But try out this little logical thought sequence and see if it works for you: 1. If the Bible was true, we would be judged on whether or not we believed that Jesus was actually the Son of God who actually died on the cross for our sins. 2. And if it were true, God would be all-knowing. 3. The Bible is full of hopeless contradictions, inconsistencies, moral atrocities, and historical incongruities such that no clear-headed person could conclude with any degree of certainty that Jesus actually was the son of God who came and died for the sins of the world. 4. I don't know about you, but if I knew for certain that it was absolutely true then I would certainly acknowledge that it was true and live my life accordingly. 5. Therefore I conclude that if an all-knowing God exists, he would also know and understand all of the reasons that I simply cannot believe that it's true. And he also would know that I would have readily believed it had he made it sufficiently clear. Therefore I cannot imagine on what basis such a God would ever condemn me if he existed.
  12. 5 points
    Here's a question to ask those who make unsupported assertions about anything; gods, religious belief, flat earth, climate deniers, anything at all. "If it were available, what evidence would you accept for disproving your claim." You will not get an answer.
  13. 5 points
    The burden of proof lies upon the one making the claim. There is no evidence of unicorns, therefore no reason to conclude they exist. Nor is there any reason to be open minded about it, any more than the existence of Gramblyfudds or Qualfidnerds. Those making the claims can submit evidence, but until then there is no point giving any credence to the claims. Belief is a substitute for knowing, but goes beyond a hunch to more of a conclusion based on desire for the thing. I can have a hunch that there are yet unknown species of life on Earth, and since we occasionally find them, that is even likely that we haven't seen every kind of creature or plant. Unicorns are a myth from a time of pre-science when all kinds of magic were feared and regarded as true without proof. Eventually, through the development of logic and much scientific inquiry we can safely say they have no basis in reality. I could even have a hunch that there could be life elsewhere in the universe. But to conclude it by saying I believe is going beyond the guess. Trying to draw up odds is not possible since we don't know how life starts in the first place.
  14. 5 points
    Ignoring that you have claimed (repeatedly) that you were finished interacting with me, I am going to strictly limit myself to addressing the sheer stupidity of your statement. As a point of clarification, your statement is not made out of ignorance; it is sheer stupidity. Ignorance would give you the benefit of the doubt with the implication that you simply do not know any better. Unfortunately, both you and I (and anyone else who has followed your interactions here) know that you do know better; you just choose to pretend not to. Because pretending not to know what you do know (stupidity) fits your narrative just as nicely as pretending to know what you do not know (faith). And, indeed, you, Sir, are solid proof that there is an extremely thin line between faith and stupidity. With that said, your statement implies that ex-christians actively seek to deconvert believers, to try to make christians be not christians. Very few of us do. We do not attempt to destroy anyone else's faith, undermine other's beliefs, or negate the emotional attachments that coincide with them. Most of us are willing to point out the flaws in theology (as we do in The Den), when someone else broaches the subject with us. But, as a general rule, ex-christians do not go out of our way to deconvert believers. We have no Great Commission, as christians do; and we feel no compelling obligation to convince, coerce, or manipulate others into thinking, perceiving, believing as we do. We are extremely careful about this, for one reason and one reason alone, to wit: each of us are painfully and acutely aware of how brutal our own deconversions were. We do not wish the experience on anyone else. Deconversion therapy is not attempting to deconvert believers. Rather, it is an effort to help newly deconverted individuals become mentally and emotionally healthy after years of abusive religious tactics. It is an extension of the compassion and shared humanity that each of us have experienced. It is an expression of empathy, a trait with which you seem keenly unfamiliar. Psychologists have demonstrated that adults who suffered childhood indoctrination share many of the same personality defects as adults who suffered physical and/or sexual abuse during childhood. For this reason, many educated professionals in the mental health field consider childhood indoctrination to be a form of abuse. Since praying for these victims is as ineffective as prayer in general, deconversion therapy exists to help them assimilate into their lives after the abuse ends. Many newly deconverted individuals feel a great sense of disillusionment, grief, anger, and loss. Until these emotions can be effectively understood, processed, and worked through, the healing cannot begin. As ex-christians, each of us has gone through the deconversion process and have experienced it in our own way. As a result, we are not only uniquely qualified to help others facing the same struggles, we are also ardently ready and willing to reach out to them. That is precisely why this website exists; and precisely why self-important cunts, such as yourself, are generally kept only in The Lion's Den.
  15. 5 points
    Sorry about your situation, but there's no need to feel shitty. Feeling badly about being yourself and asserting your right to an opinion is due to their emotional blackmail. That has only the power you give it.
  16. 5 points
    I know. The bible doesn't mean what it says or say what it means. That is why an omnipotent god needs apologists to constantly revise, translate, and interpret it for the rest of us.
  17. 5 points
    Because this is an Ex-Christian site. I think most would agree with me that we do not want a theocracy under any banner. Christians, Jews and Muslims worship the same god, so why don't you just all get along?
  18. 5 points
    You mean like christians in America who are constantly being persecuted by the liberal/democrat narrative?
  19. 5 points
    Second the IDGAF response. Bonus points if you can get to a place where you actually give zero fucks. It takes time, but you can get there.
  20. 4 points
    I'm not sure that is typical Presbyterian religious doctrine, but maybe I had the wrong translation or something.
  21. 4 points
    Close minded is when you say your position will never change regardless of the evidence presented. A flat earther taken to the ISS who says "these windows must be TV screens showing cgi video of the globe earth" for example. Open minded is simply being willing to consider new ideas and evidence. We all default to "proven beyond reasonable doubt" for our knowledge, but facts and therefore knowledge have a subjective level to them which can lead different answers on the same question. For example if a scientist runs an experiment and shows X is the result, then perhaps that is enough verification for you. Another person may say "no, you need to repeat the test", so it is done again with the same result. It gets done a thousand times by a thousand different labs all with the same result. At what point do you say this data is verified beyond reasonable doubt? This is subjective. The quantity and quality of verification is up to each persons opinion. I believe we can prove god doesn't exist beyond reasonable doubt, but completely understand the same facts and reasons given would not convince a Christian.
  22. 4 points
    Predestination is active while foreknowledge is passive. The former has god making choices while the latter tries to shift it away from god by his inactivity. I can see how these are different and how people think one is superior over the other but past a certain point they're equally poor. For example, xians love to compare god and humans to parents and kids. So if you have a child a parent might need to let that child experiment to learn lessons. Fair enough. Children need to test the world to learn. So if you actively force your child to touch something hot then that's wrong but if you passively stand-by while they do it so they learn a lesson then that's okay. But what if a parent passively stands-by, with full and total knowledge of the activity and the ability to intervene, while a child slits their wrists with razor blades? Or while they jump off an overpass? Or while they drink a jug of bleach? These aren't little life lessons they imagine where they can quickly pull their hand away and maybe have a little pain for awhile but things that will end that kids life. A parent that is passive in these types of situations are no different than if they had played an active role. I really don't know how anything glorifies this god for most folks. The term seems ambiguous. Seems like people want it to mean something special like pious praise but it just sort of seems to mean something like "fame." So making god famous. Looks kind of like that's happened. This god is pretty famous even though no one actually knows anything about this recluse. I like the one where god is omniscient, but, this very same god wills itself to not know things. A magical compartmentalization. This is just crazy. For some reason this whole explanation just seems like projection. Someone who is just fighting to put aside any "bad thoughts" and focus only on the good imagines that god is doing something similar just in a perfect fashion. If this were compartmentalization like most people experience then it would happen at an unconscious level but god can't do that. So god would have to will itself to not know. Then god would have to know that it has a repository of information "hidden" from itself that it also must "reveal" at select times. This makes god look, I don't know, just weird and pretty awful if we consider some of the information it has hidden from itself is the condemnation of its own creation. mwc
  23. 4 points
    I have deleted the post and offer my apologies.
  24. 4 points
    Luth: I'll say it again. If Genesis is not a literal reading, we have no reason to understand anything. I suppose some will take that as some extremist Christian position and use it as a basis for dismissing Christianity but that only reveals the deeper issue. ......... If you want your basic foundation of understanding to be based on something that does not fit with reality then of course you are free to do so. Though, in my opinion people (Christians included) base their understanding of reality on common sense and observation of what is. Christians don't really live their lives as if all the wacky bullshit in the bible is true. If they did they would all be in mental institutions or prison. Christians (and everyone else) use common sense and logic and reason first and foremost, then sprinkle it with Jesus later on. When it comes to web forums, church , and other unimportant activities, Christians will get fired up over their mythical nonsense that supposedly took place back then but is not observable today. It's easy to say you believe the crazy nonsense happened in the past... but not now, of course. Why is there no expectation of talking snakes and burning bushes and 700 year old people now? Of course, there's nothing wrong with wacky beliefs ... unless you try to codify wacky beliefs into law or otherwise insist others believe them.
  25. 4 points
    Apparently God gave us a brain with the expectation that we wouldn't use it.
  26. 4 points
    If you're predestined to believe you will believe in jesus until you die. If you're not then you may well believe in jesus but you will stop believing at some point or you will have simply deceived yourself into thinking you truly believed when you had not. The seed is sown. Some places it grows and others it takes root and dies and others it doesn't...blah...blah...blah. God sends jesus to save those who will be saved. The ones who are supposed to be saved. The ones where the seed is really growing. All the rest? Nope. Jokes on them. The great thing about all this is you still don't know if you're saved until you're saved. You can die believing but still be one of those who jesus denies knowing. You don't know until you get it. Those who adhere to being a part of these "elect" should be far more humble than they are since their salvation isn't as secure as they love to think. But, I guess, if they didn't think it so hard they'd have to worry about their election and perhaps that might cause them to consider not actually being elect which I suppose isn't a thought someone who is truly elect would think? I guess you just know. I knew I wasn't going to hell as a xian. And now I'm certain I'm not as an atheist. mwc
  27. 4 points
    Well as for bibles, I have two on my book shelf nestled in next to my Joseph Campbell and mythicist authors collection. All religion and mythology side by side, bible not withstanding. I did that on the purpose too, in case someone looks at the bible and then sees all of these other books surrounding it disclosing what the bible actually is. Growing up we thought southern baptists were particularly heathen. Pork eating bastards! Once saved, always saved rubbish! We had to stick to clean meat only, per mosaic standard. And we'd sit on our high horses sneering our noses at the dammed among the other christian's. What's wrong, can't they read their bibles? The sabbath is the sabbath. Pork, shelfish, etc. are unclean! These are the type of folks that we believed upon the second coming would be crying out for the rocks and stones to fall down them, because they finally realize that they had been wrong about god and the bible all along. At the big finale. Those who are found unworthy, basically. Along with pentecostals, methodists, lutherans, presbyterians (re-formed), and any other non-SDA denomination. Crying and moaning, wailing and gnashing of teeth right along side of the drunkards, and various dregs of society........ But what a crock of absolute nonsense! Picking and choosing. Returning to the law despite heated arguments in Galatians and elsewhere spelling out that gentile people are NOT to take up mosaic law and start playing a game of make believe jews. That they turn a blind eye to. But why? Because of the motivation to fulfill Revelation 12:7 as the "remnant of Israel" who keep the laws of moses and hold to the testimony of jesus. Never mind anything that seems to run to the contrary, we're the elect and never mind the details! Excusing away Galatians and similar content with apologetic's. Once the preconceived idea was out there, there's no turning back. Every excuse must be made, poor or otherwise, to shore up the belief and faith. All of this over black and white obvious and in your face MYTHOLOGY!!!!!!!!!! Evident mythology which can be established as of Genesis 1 as mythology......
  28. 4 points
    Thanks @TABA, the cartoon ought to be posted here as well:
  29. 4 points
    This has been the story of Christianity especially since the Reformation. Before then, the Catholic Church was able to control the narrative, still picking a subset of scriptural dogma, but without any rivals to say otherwise. Once the Bible became available to a wider audience, the splintering began immediately. And so it continues today. The Bible, not Satan, is the author of confusion.
  30. 4 points
    Just last week I asked some questions about Calvinist doctrine over at Christforums.com, to make sure I understood the basics. They do believe in Predestination, which is the idea that all human beings, before birth, are either chosen by God to be saved (these folks are the ‘Elect’) or not chosen to be saved. Saved from what? From the consequence of Original Sin, which is eternal damnation. Original Sin being Adam and Eve’s eating of the fruit in the garden, presumably, and the fact that we all inherited this tendency to sin. So we are all bound to be sinners, but only some are chosen by God to be saved. Those who are chosen cannot resist ‘God’s Grace’ even if they wanted to. Conversely, those who are the Non-Elect cannot stay faithful even if they try. So for example Elect parents could have a child who is Non-Elect and even if they indoctrinate that child into Christianity, the kid can’t keep it up and inevitably falls away toward damnation. This would explain the existence of Ex-Christians! Calvinists don’t explain what the ratio of Elect to Non-Elect is, or whether it varies from generation to generation. But it seems to be a pretty small ratio. There seems to be something especially monstrous about a deity who would create people who he chooses not to save from damnation. Generation after generation. But is Calvinism a particularly unsavory version of Christianity? Non-Calvinist Christians typically don’t believe in Predestination, but they DO typically believe that God has foreknowledge. So even if this version of God doesn’t choose not to save most people, he still creates them, or allows them to be born, in the knowledge that most won’t measure up to being saved. So God doesn’t come out looking any better regardless of which version of Christianity you follow. No wonder so many atheists say they wouldn’t submit to the god of the Bible, even if they were sure he existed.
  31. 4 points
    It's tough! I'm in my 50s and can't really be honest about it. My older son is about your age, though, and he went through it all. Our younger son (a minister) hasn't completely cut him off, but sometimes standoffish. My wife occasionally gets really upset and worried, but she tells me rather than him, so he isn't having to deal with it much. When everyone first found out they really "worked on him" but it's gotten better. For me, I just mostly keep pretending. I deal by avoiding having the conversation. My wife knows, of course, and occasionally we end up in an argument. Older son knows, but unfortunately we can't confide in each other too often because when we had some big talks when he was first figuring out the truth, my wife really got mad about us "going behind her back." (I put that in quotes because that's what she called it. Makes me mad that the believers feel like they have the right to restrict conversation, that somehow those of us who don't believe the mythology are doing something naughty when we talk about the mythology.) Anyway, I didn't intend for my minister son to know I was a non-believer simply because I didn't want to have to deal with whatever consequences there might have been. My fear was that I would be cut off from him and his children, and it just wasn't worth it. I ended up being outed, but jumping back in the closet, so now minister son and I have a don't ask don't tell policy. What's weird is that he'll actually ask my opinion on "spiritual things" when he's seeing things our denomination teaches that he thinks now may be incorrect, yet he told my wife that he's wanted to ask me whether I really believe and he's afraid to. It's a weird situation. Anyway, all of that was to say that if my older son's situation is typical, you'll catch quite a bit of flack at first, then it should die down. It may flare up occasionally from different quarters, but your parents will eventually leave you alone (even though they might discuss what they see as your "situation" between themselves). After some time people will quit putting pressure on you, so coming out was the right thing to do. As far as feeling foolish about hesitating to tell them, we're social beings. We really don't like upsetting people, so we feel guilty when we do. I feel foolish, as well -- this ought to be simple! I don't believe in minds without bodies, spirits, angels, demons, or gods and such. The people who believe in those things ought to feel foolish. (And I do feel foolish for having believed in them until I was 52!) But relationships are extremely complicated, even though we're just dealing with thoughts and words, nothing tangible. We wouldn't be human without those intangibles.
  32. 4 points
    So it’s been a few days and so far, so good. They haven’t been on me about it; things have pretty much been normal. I know they’ve been talking to my brother trying to get a handle on it, but I don’t know yet what’s been said in those conversations. Hopefully there’s not an intervention on the horizon. @BobCu, you alright bro?
  33. 4 points
    Don't accept their response. Don't accept their guilt. Dont accept the crazy. You are not responsible for your parents' emotions. If they hit you with more crazy tell them you reject their BS. "I love you, Mom and Dad, but I reject the guilt, shame and fear you're trying to lay on me." Discuss boundaries with them, like not talking about religion with you. Warm them of a no contact timeout if they push it. Follow through if need be.
  34. 4 points
    I grew up meticulously reading the bible, as a child. I used to be a devout fundamentalist. During a particularly emotional and transitional moment in my deconversion process, I threw it in the dumpster. Years later when I was able to approach the bible from a neutral, academic, and scholarly perspective I got a new copy of the bible. Now it sits on my bookshelf for reference because it is, after all, a very historically relevant and referential text.
  35. 4 points
    The luckiest ones just happen to be born into (and indoctrinated by) the True Denomination.
  36. 4 points
    god damn it. If only they had the correct interpretation of the correct translation of the written revelation of the correct god, then they'd know that something that is morally wrong is... morally wrong.
  37. 4 points
    Hmmm, let's add up the snarky insults hurled by the self-professed Christian towards someone he does not know: My open mindedness caused my brains to fall out? I might benefit if I felt enough conviction to kick some dogs? I reek with cowardliness? Gird my loins and speak up like a man? So much for freshstart? I praise and side with people who caused me damages? Wow, @Christforums when I thanked you for coming here to defend your beliefs (thus reinforcing my own beliefs), a simple "you're welcome" would have sufficed. Just for the record, it is people like YOU who "cause damages." And I hold people like YOU wholly responsible for helping me - and hundreds of thousands of others - to see how destructive and hypocritical Christianity is. Your continued ranting and attempts to insult and hurt others is music to my ears, proof that the healthiest and sanest thing I've ever done is to leave the Christian myth in the dust. Please keep it up! And again, THANK YOU for reinforcing my atheism!
  38. 4 points
    Indeed, you have revealed much about yourself in this forum.
  39. 4 points
    @Christforums As twisted as this may sound, I want to thank you for coming here and doing your (presumably) best to defend your beliefs. You have helped me to put yet another nail in the coffin of Christian mythology. If your beliefs are worthy, they should withstand any test. I am hopeful that one day you will allow yourself to put your beliefs to the ultimate test: open-mindedness.
  40. 4 points
    1) There may be a misunderstanding here. All of Dr. DiMattei's found contradictions in Genesis can be found at the cited link. For anyone interested in reading through them - you and anyone else included. I'm not saying that the only contradictions are found there. Just a lot of them. We are providing links to citation so people can read and explore without having to reproduce too much text here in our discussion / debate. The same with the video links. They are meant as a launching point to orient towards entire areas of research and study about the bible based on the last several hundred years of advancing research and study, as well as the most up to date contemporary findings coming from archaeology and other areas. And you've left links to apologetic critics who try and excuse what sources like the one's I've cited have aired out about the bible. The extimony video is largely based on Armstrong's "A History of God." Among other things. And it's meant to air out the issues. I keep summarizing the main points of the issues in the citations. 2) About spiritual possibilities. Whether or not there is any type of greater reality, or ultimate reality is really an open question, Luth. I'm not saying that there isn't. Because I'm asking that we both stick to intellectual honesty. I know that it's not possible to honestly claim that there is no type of greater reality. The problem here is that whatever a proposed greater reality may be, I think there's a strong chance that none of us even know what that is in any direct, or literal sense. Not the christian, not the muslim, not the hindu nor buddhist nor amazonian native shaman for that matter. What I am showing is that religion is mythology. And mythology, at best, is not a literally true situation. It may be called metaphor. Granted. But metaphor for what exactly? Well, in terms of honesty, neither you nor I can say with certainty. And we can't say with certainty because words, thoughts, concepts and language in general do not reach that which is alleged to be "beyond" or "transcendent"of space and time. For instance, streets of gold, jeweled crowns, singing praises forever and ever to a deity or being of some imagined type - and other "conceptual" suggestions are all products of time and space - can not possibly be the final, literal, reality that one is suggesting. If one is suggesting a transcendent reality. At best, such concepts can be a metaphor, or symbolic representation of something that can't even be called, "something." Why? Again, because that's what "transcendent" means. It can't literally be streets of gold, crowned jewels, nor beings, or forms, or images for that matter. Because all of these are conceptual terms based on using things which are conceivable within the realm of time and space and do not, necessarily extend into the "beyond," "eternal," or "transcendent." In this process of trying to establish some ultimate, transcendent type of reality, we necessarily lose all language, thoughts and concepts. Gone. Done. So then what? It's not like I haven't scoured every inch of Joseph Campbell's books and lectures in my personal research over the years following my exit from christianity. I've taken the human spirituality issue as far I can possibly take it - to the point where it all dissolves into "transcendence." And that's an entire debate in and of itself which we don't need to get into yet. The debate about where christianity sits along side of other human spirituality in terms of depth, in terms of making claims and then keeping careful to stick closely to the claims that have been made. And spoiler alert, christianity actually fares very low on the list of human spiritual exploration and expression when it's studied to these depths. That's another reason that I remain ex christian, BTW. I know what little christianity has to offer in terms of human spirituality. Having gathered all of this knowledge post christianity, while seeking whatever truths can be found, I have expanded into areas that have made me more or less immune to christian proselytizing. I don't wonder, "what if they're right?" Because I'm way past that at this point. And that's an entire debate by itself worthy of it's own entire thread. There may be a greater reality. There may be much more going on than what we assume. But the smart bet is on christianity having it completely wrong. And a lot of that starts out with the fact that the bible doesn't start out demonstrably true in the first place. And is more deceptive than it is true as far as that goes. We could get stuck going on for pages without end. Let's just leave it with we've each had opportunity to voice our opinions and make our observations about Genesis 1. I don't think going in circles for too long will do any good. I'm saying that it's not literally true, regardless of the interpretation. None of them fair well against the observable universe. You haven't reconciled this at all. You've pointed to some excuses, but those excuses haven't reconciled the problem between the texts and observable reality. YEC doesn't work out. And OEC doesn't work out either. The orders are off any which way we turn. It doesn't gel with knowable cosmology, geology or genetics. The whole thing has the trappings of ancient bronze age creation mythology which is not written literally true. That should be obvious. And probably should not be taken as literally true to begin with. If you have something to offer that does gel Genesis 1 with something that can be substantiated then provide it. The problem here, Luth, is a common one. I have to point out that christians have been at each other's throats basically all along. You think you have it all figured out, that you're right and others are wrong. But those others think just as strongly that you are wrong in some areas and they are right. So who's right about christianity and the bible when everyone has their fingers pointed at one another declaring, "wrong?" I grew up SDA. All of you, every last one of you sunday keeping christians are breaking the 4th commandment according to the bible. I was raised to bring you sun worshiping "heathens" back to jesus. To bible study you people into knowing gods "TRVTH," which is plainly spelled out in the bible. I never went to public school. SDA bible classes every year right on through. Who's right? Are you all sun worshiping heathens tricked by the devil into disrespecting the 4th commandment, all of whom break the 4th commandment every sunday? Sunday worship is not scriptural, it's tradition. That's the argument........ And then you no doubt have excuses where you look somewhere else and put your focus on something other than the SDA. You excuse their biblical argument and launch some other argument of your own. And some other christian does the same. You all cherry pick your way through the bible accepting some things, glossing over or rejecting others. And then making bold claims that you are right and the others are wrong. When it seems more likely that you're all wrong, evenly, across the board in my opinion. Again, saying this is meant as a service to you and others reading. Wake up. Look at the landscape. Do some introspection. I'm trying to help you step out side of the box and look at the big picture, Luth. Who are the "real christians?" Who could they be? Aside from anyone who believes in christianity in whatever form they believe it. There is no one true christianity to locate as far as I can tell. And this is a problem for taking the direction of the old "No True Scotsman" fallacy that you're trying to take here. You are a true christian because you believe some form of it. I was a true christian because I believed some form of it. We were true cult members, basically (even though there are arguments as to if it's technically a cult. I mean it's a cult like environment). You are currently a true cult member, basically. And when people leave the cult, others start alleging "No True Scotsmen" fallacies at those who have left. "You were never a true christian!!!" The whole thing is a lot of nonsense in my opinion. Pot calling the kettle black, etc., etc. If what you're telling me is that we have to debate this only from theological grounds, then perhaps what you're saying is that you can't debate this. If so, you are conceding that you can not establish that the bible is demonstrably true and it all ends as of Genesis 1. Because a theological basis doesn't have the ability, in and of itself, to demonstrate that the bible is true any more than UFOlogy can demonstrate on beliefs alone, that UFO's are literally true. Or paranormal experts can demonstrate that ghosts are true based on an orthodox history of beliefs about ghosts. You get the idea I'm sure. To prove any of this you have to take what is claimed in the bible and then demonstrate that what is claimed is true. Not what theologians (at each other's throats, btw) have opinionated about the bible over the years. And the whole thing tends to fold on that basis. We could go on anyways and just skim the patriarchs and you can say why you believe and I'll say why I don't. If you can't prove anything aside from using theology and suggesting that the bible proves the claims of the bible, then there's no sense in even trying to prove it. Because the bible isn't substantial to prove it's own claims. You could be taken off the hook in terms of proof. Instead you can just voice why YOU chose to believe something that you can't prove. You can still try and witness to people as we skim through the rest of the bible. If you feel up to it. The example will have been made. Then we can rest. If you're still up to it....
  41. 4 points
    B.O. never bothered me because I didn’t take him seriously. Some of his posts were funny and some were obviously just B.O. blowing off steam and being B.O. I’ve never encountered any poster on this site that has been a problem for me personally. Lots of good folks here and some exceptionally smart ones too.
  42. 4 points
    Welcome to Ex-c Nuck. So glad you found us. Thank you so much for sharing your story. You will get a lot from Ex-c. These guys saved my sanity when I first joined here. Most of us can totally relate to how you are feeling right now going through the shock of finding out that what you have believed in for so many years was a complete lie. It can be quite traumatizing to a lot of people. It was for me.I can't believe now (after almost 10 years here) that I even fell for it. But I was young and naive and I was 'prime' bait coming out of an alcoholic family to want the 'special' love of god. So I accepted jesus at 20 because the pastor told me that I was going to be a 'chosen one' for god. We all get sucked in somehow. Some are born into the cult here and their stories are fantastic to read. I'm not a bible debater here at all. We got tons of those wonderful scholars here. They know the bible inside and out. Better than the christian apologetics and debaters! I just keep things real simple. For instance, when I was just newly converted, I studied the book of genesis and it didn't make sense to me. I went to the pastor and asked him one time, ''Pastor, was it only Adam and Eve and the talking serpent in the garden that day?'' He said, ''Yes, my dear''. And I repeated it again. ''Are you absolutely sure pastor? Just Adam and Eve and the talking serpent (and god up in the clouds of course)?''. He repeated, ''yes'' again. I then asked him, ''if it is true what you are saying, who was the 'stenographer' who stood out the gates and wrote the account down?'' His jawed dropped and he told me in a cute, little manner that I was the pastor's worst nightmare. He then told me that the author was unknown and that I had to stop questioning and doubting and just live by faith in Jesus and ''gods word''. So I continued in the church for another 30 years until I was suspecting certain things were very wrong and I came back to that innocent question I asked him many years ago. This started my hunt into finding other people who might be able to help me with my doubts and the ''angels'' led me to Ex-c! Lol (just joking but somehow, I found this site that night) Once I found out that the book of genesis was man written many years later, the whole bible fell apart for me. We were not born sinners, therefore we had no need for a 'human blood sacrifice'' (who was jesus of course) and we didn't need to be saved after all. My point here is, you will get the complicated biblical stuff worked out. The bible scholars will help you with all that and then you will get some of the simplest explanations like mine and the pieces of the puzzle on the bible will all come together for you. And it takes time. Took me a long time. So take your time. Breathe and relax. Post and read a lot. You're in a good family here. Happy journey. Not easy..... but worth it. (hug)
  43. 4 points
    Actually when you posted this I had just ordered Marlene's book. I'm 4 chapters in and its just an absolute game changer for me! I scored so high on the manipulations test that it hurts haha. Thanks for the tips!
  44. 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.
  45. 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.
  46. 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.
  47. 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".
  48. 4 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.
  49. 3 points
    And at some point you say “Screw this. I’m tired trying to make sense of it. This is not the work of a deity!” And deconvert.
  50. 3 points
    This has been entertaining. I just got caught up after the holiday. William, the point remains that you as a Calvinist put forward claims to the effect that you are doctrinally sound while others are not. I understand why you look at a mixed crowd of ex christians and rationalize to yourself that faulty doctrine and / or a general lack of understanding scripture led to people falling away from the faith. If I were still adventist I would look at all of them and even you, as false. So I get it. Then you and others would no doubt call me false as an Adventist. And everyone would be pointing their fingers at the others declaring, "false." The main problem here is one that likely deserves it's own thread where you and everyone else is welcome to debate the issue. Who can demostrate that they are a 100% doctrinally sound christian believer? If you feel confident with providing such a demonstration, I would like to see it tackled. I'm sure everyone else agrees, possibly even you. This would consist of you laying out your Calvinist platforms which are the basis of how you guys moderate CF's - against us searching for contradictions and inconsistencies in your beliefs that make them less than 100% doctrinally sound. Everyone can watch and see if you wipe the floor with the lot of us or not. Yes it's a challenge and yes it's confrontational. But is that a topic more your speed? Something you're confident enough to engage and not back out of?

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