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  1. 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.
  2. 5 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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
  9. 4 points
    I have deleted the post and offer my apologies.
  10. 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.
  11. 4 points
    Apparently God gave us a brain with the expectation that we wouldn't use it.
  12. 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
  13. 3 points
    I like that blog post...a very similar thing happened to me. Several years ago, my very religious mother gave my young daughter a bible for some occasion or other...I forget which. Anyways, I told my daughter to treat it like any other book of fictional stories. I encouraged her to ask as many questions as she could think up...and boy, did she! I answered all her questions honestly and frankly. She now has a similar attitude towards religion as I do, and I am quite proud of her.
  14. 3 points
    Hey all, I't's been a minute since I've been on here. My former self was quite the hard atheist and rather confused in a lot of ways. I have to admit I'm quite animist these days. Not so much "spirits" in everything, more like everything is alive and conscious. Admittedly I was in a very bac place when I was on here before. I finally got some help that I needed, and as an aside really discovered the whole "universal consciousness" thing. Orbit -- who probably hasn't been on here in years -- referred to this quite a bit when I was on in 2014 / 2015. I admit I wasn't ready then. Whether I am ready now, who knows. I do know I've been able to reawaken the musical part of myself ... my true self, and use writing music as its own form of meditation. I think those of us coming away from a monotheistic god can pretty easily go to atheist, maybe not easy of course, but the incel god we worshipped acts like that 16-year-old boy whose girlfriend broke up with him. "If I can't have you, NOBODY CAN!" I see a lot of people, myself included, who leave the fold and then join the other fold ... to be properly atheist, and most of all, to listen to ol' Pizza-face there, and let nobody else have us. That's a metaphor which came to me when I was outside smoking a dooby, to be honest, but I do think it fits. That religion would have you be afraid, even as an atheist, to see Gaia as a goddess. All I can say to anyone looking on who is where I was, just stay curious. And you don't have to listen to that particular incel telling you if he can't have you, nobody can ... Just some rambling thoughts I guess, Leo
  15. 3 points
    Or taunt others that you will sit back and enjoy watching them get theirs for not believing, coming from William, a predestination Calvinist!!!!!! The people that apparently are not believing (those of us here he is addressing), that he expresses joy in seeing get what they have coming, are only getting what they were predetermined by a supernatural god to get in the first place regardless any choices on their part. God, as far as his beliefs go, predetermined that we'd stop believing in god. So then what sort of person gloats around and taunts unbelievers who were predetermined by a supernatural god to disbelief in that same supernatural god? A jerk? Some degenerate carrying on smirk and smug towards the eternal damnation of his human peers who he is looking forward to seeing burn forever and ever with a holier than thou attitude to boot? At some point people need to look at this situation and ask themselves why in the world they would even want to be a part of any of this internally inconsistent, contradictory nonsense even if it was true? Even if it did magically result in living forever. That's something that I see many of us express from time to time. We're at the point where even if it was true, we're entirely uninteresting in what they're selling. And what they're selling, as it were, is so largely based on false advertising that we could never very well go back to pretending it isn't. That seems to be a common thread with a lot of members here, myself not withstanding.
  16. 3 points
    I think private messages should generally only be shared publicly with the consent of both parties. Not sure there was anything particularly sensitive in these messages, but still.
  17. 3 points
    I remain open minded to evidence, not beliefs. Anything is technically possible, but is it probable? We must live by probabilities, not absolutes. The probability that unicorns exist is virtually nonexistent, the probability that life on other planets exists is somewhat higher even though we have yet to discover any actual proof.
  18. 3 points
    I would think that all Bible believers can agree on at least one thing, that God is omniscient. It plainly says so in the book. He knows everything. He would know which babies are born as elect and he allows the others to be born anyway as their first step on their journey to Hell. Free will and omniscience are mutually exclusive. While claiming that God/Jesus wants everyone to be saved and that none should perish, it's already a done deal. What would be the point of preaching the "good news" to those already destined for eternal punishment before their birth? I'm beginning to think this whole thing might not make any sense.
  19. 3 points
    the strangest thing, which sends me into a rage attack, is something akin to what Matt Dillahaunty said. Intelligent, reasonable people, mature, educated, when confronted with the issues of religion, revert to 5 year old logic, slogans, absurd cherry picking, idiocy. Like a psychiatrist explaining that suffering is not because of God, but because of the actions of people. And her PROOF was quoting the Bible. How in the name of fuck do you do medicine? Like a patient comes in, and you say, ahaaaaa, you have psychosis, because a textbook I have never ever bothered to verify and investigate says so? Do you even prove the existence of God, of freedom of choice, real freedom of choice I mean, of the fact that human choices make earthquaques, but you just jump to magical thinking conclusions like an infant. Really? Proove to me a a murderer is entirely conscious, intelectually, and emotionally of what he has done, and still does it, just to piss everyone off. No being, absolutely no being acts in contradiction to its own benefit, even if it is not obvious. Self harm, by traumatises individuals, for example, actually is a form of discharge, it is a benefit the brain is chasing. The stupidiy, the sentimentality of a third grade romantic movie, and of the most crude forms of fairy tales...The sheer lack of depth in their thinking and sensibility is just outstanding. You are a full grown adult. The fuck you are doing, man? The power and level of brainwashing, like it was with me, in a way, is just outstanding. Just outstanding. It is like a virus which keeps evolving to become antibitic resistant and kills of the immune system as well. I am amazed. God would be, in a metaphorical sense, extremely dissapointed that the beings endowed with wisdom, reason and depth just give that all up for some simplistic formulaic bullshit. Like, hey, I created you so you have the ability to complete a post doctoral paper in quantum physics and ancient writing systems of the world, while indulging in fine art and poetry and you choose to be a sleazy used car salesman, drinking moonshine whiskey! Talk about a waste of talent! Really? The being created to experientally know the holiest mysteries of the world? these guys. You gotta be kidding me. Sometimes I just want to tell them. You are so selling yourself short, even from you religion s viewpoint.
  20. 3 points
    Interesting video. The pastor didn't really like being put on the spot like that. His excuse, or apology if you will, seems to be to shift the attention and claim that everyone in hell will be deserving. Likewise, the elect will be deserving as well and no one will question god's judgment. But that excuse fails to acknowledge many things. The people who are so deserving of hell, were predestined to be so deserving of hell. The question isn't whether according to biblical standard they deserve to burn for rejecting god, the question is how does it glorify god to predestine people to be deserving of hell in the first place, knowing full well the outcome in advance of any of it happening and doing it anyways. He completely side stepped the issue, surprise everyone! As to John 3:16 and similar verses in the NT that suggest that "belief" in god, through Jesus and his resurrection is what equals salvation, the idea is that people can make choices in the matter and that people can change. From pagan to christian, for instance. That people can hear the gospel and change their ways. That they have some free will in the matter and are personally responsible for their own outcome. So that the dammed and unelect, are dammed or unelect by their own choices and not predestination. And not to the blame of god for shafting or exalting them in advance against their own choices. But this predestination thing gives a scenario where god has already predetermined who will be the elect and saved and who will not be elect and dammed. The idea being that the elect can't make it otherwise, nor can the dammed as far as that goes if we stick to what it means. It seems to suggest go ahead and spread the gospel, but in doing so it's just going the through the motions and allowing this predestination to play itself out through time accordingly. And those who will be saved will be saved, and those who will be lost will be lost. The pastors excuses about "grace" fly in the face of the above. What grace? The grace in predetermining an elect number of people and then following through bringing them all into existence along with the dammed and then saying, 'look at me and my grace, I am very just! Look at what I've done for a portion of my own creation!' The bible seems to suggest that grace is there for the taking for those who CHOOSE to accept it. At face value, it seems easily dismissed as non-biblical and unsound doctrine for a christian to take up as far as being internally consistent with the bible. Not that anyone else aside from the Calvinist's do a better job of being internally consistent. That just is what it is. One more internally inconsistent belief to add to the pile. The problem is when these Calvinist's claim to be doctrinally sound above and beyond their christian peers, which, looks like a spurious claim.
  21. 3 points
    How many gods have to vote "Yea" in order to elect a person? Will a simple majority suffice? A 2/3 majority? Or does it need to be unanimous?
  22. 2 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.
  23. 2 points
    "My Daughter Got A Bible For Her Birthday, What Should I Do?" Notify your local hazmat response team.
  24. 2 points
    They have to try and conflate a simple lack of belief, with rebellion. Another inconsistency to note. In this situation the parent would have to be more about themselves than their children. They come #1, the child #2. Otherwise you'd think that the parent would reject going to heaven if their child wasn't deemed worthy. That would at least be more honorable a stand to take. One of my own pet theories about christianity in general is that it's an appeal to the human ego. The ego wants to live forever without end. It wants to feel special and privileged. All this business about an elect is nothing more than a tool to draw in ego's. And what we find are all of these various narcissist's and similar self righteous, self interested folks crowded around the religion. Believing they have absolute truth. Stubbing their noses at the rest. And spewing hatred towards anyone who dare not believe as they do. Taking delight, at times, over the promises of hell fire damnation in the texts for any who do not believe in this ego stroking religion. Why? Because their ego's take a hit when people don't believe their claims. That goes right back to the writers and the ego's that went into doing the initial writing. Then spans out through the crowds of believers falling in behind the initial writers....
  25. 2 points
    Doesn't god say something like " Depart from me, thou evil-doer, for I never knew you" before throwing somebody in hell? How does he know he never knew you?
  26. 2 points
    I think foreknowledge is generally the way they looked at it when I was growing up. The idea was that god knows the outcome, but has to allow it all to play out accordingly even though he knows how the final judgement would end. But SDA's draw from extra biblical material on this issue. The idea that the earth is but one of many living planet's, all of which went through their own "Eden" test, but passed. Whereas we failed. So everyone's watching the wages of sin play itself out. God could have cut it short, but then others could say he's unjust and didn't give it a fair shake. So it plays on until a time that god the father alone knows the day and hour. But all the same problems remain as far as I can tell. If a god knows the outcome of a future final judgement, then any which way we spin it foreknowledge and predestination don't have much of a distinction. If allowing it play out for others to witness, the issue still remains that he is the judge of the final judgement and has foreknowledge of what that final judgement will be. The god still allows countless people to be born knowing in advance who he himself will judge worthy or unworthy at the final judgement. That's the same as predetermining who will be elect and who will be dammed anyways, regardless of the free will or determinist views as long as they both subscribe to the belief that god is omniscient, which, they both seem to believe. And how does that glorify this god? The question remains the very same. Deterministic Calvinist's don't escape it. Free will SDA's (or any other free will variety) don't seem to escape it either. And it looks like no one can escape it unless they don't believe that god is omniscient. In not believing that god omniscient, they deny the claims of omniscience which are taken from the bible. That would make them deniers of the bible at least in part. And hang them with being internally inconsistent with the bible. The curve ball being that the bible is internally inconsistent with itself, so bible believers are in actuality predetermined to be internally inconsistent along with the bible, by default.......
  27. 2 points
    I like Alan Watts' take on this stuff. Essentially, you are already where you should be. You don't need a discipline, yoga, prayer, religion or any of the "spiritual" trappings we use as not just crutches but as a way to actually put off enlightenment. You don't need it, unless you think you do and cannot accept yourself without paying some dues first. Everyday life is Nirvana when viewed from a different perspective. Of course then, nobody talks about Fight Club, do they? Namaste, bitches!
  28. 2 points
    I've never heard a predestinationist explain how God chooses who to save. He saves who he saves, is good enough for them, evidently. Maybe it's the ones conceived doggy-style. Makes as much sense as anything else in that wacky world view.
  29. 2 points
    I have this thing about saving books, especially old ones, and have saved my bibles and all the reference materials gathered through the years as i studied my way out of christianity, and eventually religion. It is all stored in bookshelves in the basement. HA! Have offered it to some who have asked me why I left religion, but as yet have had no takers. The bible has had such an influence on, especially the western world, that I think it contributes to the understanding of history, and mankind, and think it should be saved for future reference. I have no idea what my kids and grandkids will do with it. None of them go to church anymore. I don't think any of them, including my wife, ever took religion, and the saving of their soul as seriously as I did. Thank goodness! And have all turned out to be decent people!
  30. 2 points
    Though Luth's assessment of this thread is clearly a load of crap, I do have to agree with him that his PMs should not have been publicly displayed without his consent.
  31. 2 points
    Would any of you here appreciate having your private messages to one another displayed for all to see? You're lying if you say it wouldn't matter. So that little envelop for PM is no different than the bell for open notification?
  32. 2 points
    Luth appears unwilling or unable to admit his religious beliefs are based solely on his religious faith. So much for intellectual honesty.
  33. 2 points
    Quick recap: Luth has failed to satisfy the burden of proof concerning both the existence of the christian god and the veracity of scripture. Instead, he expects both to be accepted a priori (which is christianese for "because I said so"). If the foundation of his argument (the existence of the christian god and the veracity of scripture) is not accepted a priori then he sees no reason to continue the "debate."
  34. 2 points
    A hunch is a suspicion that something could be true. We can then follow up on a hunch to see if it has any supporting evidence. This is how a lot of science starts, and is then followed up with well-designed tests to see if the hunch is really worth pursuing. A belief is more of a conclusion that it is probably true or is true, with little evidence or without evidence. Saying "I believe in unicorns" is essentially saying that they are real, a conclusion without evidence. But the original question you posed was, how open should we be to things that are not proved. If the things have a rational basis, with at least some actual evidence pointing to them, then we can see if the hunch plays out or not. But the more fanciful and "magic" the claims are, the less credence we can give to them until further evidence is available (and a plethora of believers isn't evidence). I can claim to be from Venus, and speak some other language as evidence, but from what we know of Venus it is not compatible with human life and if I cannot provide evidence of a ship or something more, then my claim is likely not true and can be regarded as a lie. Evidence against my claim is talking with my family, showing my birth certificate showing I was born in the USA, school pictures, and so on. Some people will still claim that things are true even when factual evidence is shown to disprove their claims. That is called being stupid and stubborn. Con artists love people like that, because they can be scammed for a lot of money. Other cons just like the control it gives them over such people.
  35. 2 points
    LuthAMF 10 Posted 8 hours ago As an aside, I made an extreme error in judgment by posting what I thought to be harmless. Seems there's no such thing around here. The claws, fangs and irrational offense came out very very quickly. Folks made a big to do that's for sure. Seems there's a Ringleader in fomenting offense taken. Lesson learned. Again. This is how sincere this man's apology was.
  36. 2 points
    I have faith in my dirt bike. It has died on several occasions, and each time it has risen. It has taken me to great heights. It took me over a 13,280 ft mountain pass recently. Has taken me over raging streams, and down dangerous highways, even though it was designed for dirt. It is all powerful. It has never failed me------yet. I bow down to it periodically to change it's oil, so it will not forsake me. I invite all of you to join me in my faith. It is a blast. And it is the one true God! An Italian built Beta.
  37. 2 points
    Would you tell people dealing with other trauma (such as the aforementioned sexual and/or physical abuse victims) that they take themselves too seriously?
  38. 2 points
    That would be like bringing beer to an AA meeting... and I'd expect nothing better from you.
  39. 2 points
    Christianity does not recognize democracy.
  40. 2 points
    The starting point for anyone considering Christianity should be the historical integrity of the Bible as God's revealed word. If that cannot be proven, its ridiculous to accept the teachings of Christianity. Pseudo experts like the Pope, Graham, Falwell, Robertson, Roberts, Stanley, McDowell, Strobel and other such clowns have never credibly proven that the Hebrew god Yahweh exists or that the Bible is an accurate record of its commands. Despite this failure, hundreds of millions of people devote their lives and their money to this deception. Obviously, they seek solace and answers rather than truth. They are then preyed upon by the Bible thumping hucksters, whose mansions are provided by the same gullible masses.
  41. 2 points
    I've been talking to my wife about this Calvinism and predestination business. One of her first reactions was to ask what about John 3:16 and similar verses? All the verses in the NT that suggest belief in Jesus alone = salvation seem to fly in the face of predestination theology. He's already selected who will be saved. It's not as if the great commission has any meaning in this context. Winning converts has no meaning, especially when some of those converts have the inability to be saved regardless of their conversions, and regardless of whether or not they simply believe in the resurrection. All of the proselytizing verses and great commission oriented content spread throughout the NT seems like an achilles heel to this theology. I'm sure they try and weasel out of it somehow. But trying to excuse their way out of it probably results in digging a deeper hole, as it does in just about any case of apologetic's.
  42. 2 points
  43. 2 points
    Yes, there are some reviews of the book which are derogatory. There are also many reviews which are quite complementary. I can only suggest you read the book. That way, you can decide for yourself. I suggested the book to you in response to your question: Ehrman's book is scholarly and rather clearly demonstrates how oral traditions are simply not reliable. Have you found other "scholary articles on how oral tradition isnt reliable"? More to the point, why do you continue to look for ways to sabotage your search?
  44. 2 points
    Yeah, that happened a couple of years ago, but maybe you think I would excuse that; I don't. Perhaps you could look into the scorecard and see who is winning in hate crimes/political violence/public calls for murder contest. The Right Wing/Trumpian/Nazi/Racist/Anti-Gay contingent is way ahead. Way fucking ahead.
  45. 1 point
    If a proposition is unfalsifiable, how much should we remain open minded about the idea that it might exist? It sounds ridiculous to consider that unicorns might exist, but sometimes I hear that we should not ever attempt to disprove it (that which is unfalsifiable) because we fall into the trap of the burden of proof. But for me to be open minded about unicorns seems really absurd.
  46. 1 point
    All versions of fundamentalist Christianity exhibit enough cultish traits to qualify as a cult IMO.
  47. 1 point
    https://www.patheos.com/blogs/godlessmom/2019/07/my-daughter-got-a-bible-for-her-birthday-what-should-i-do/ Good advice
  48. 1 point
    And isn't hell supposed to be a place outside of god's presence? How does omnipresent work if god takes little pieces of his presence and places them outside of his presence? I am where I ain't?
  49. 1 point
    I think that religion (for all it's evils) has a comfort factor, and that includes Christianity. There is a moment of crisis where exChristians feel like if they believe "harder" they can get some happiness out of this religion experiment. The religion is always pointing the finger at the believer and saying "the fault is yours. God is good and you are not." So even when you intellectually say, "There can't be a god. I can't believe in him. I'm an atheist now." it isn't so easy at first. In my case, I tried many years of being spiritual and struggled with depression before I realized a lot of this fear comes from the religion itself. Even the "softer" spiritualism I tried was a response to that original fear of death and hellfire. Some people get through this faster than others, but I can tell you there is a light at the other end of the tunnel. There is a point where you emotionally process what you intellectually know and it gets much easier. You stop looking for god and start concentrating on facts and there here and now. I hope this helps.
  50. 1 point
    This brand of hatred goes all the way to the top of our political institutions. People have routinely and publicly called for the death of Obama, Hillary, journalists, gays and atheists with no repercussions. Imagine if someone publicly targeted anyone in the Republican elite guard.


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