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Showing content with the highest reputation since 04/01/2019 in Posts

  1. 17 points
    I just wanted to say hi and tell you that since the last time that I was here (not sure how many months) I haven't had a single manic episode and I have been living a normal life. I have the correct medicine and I have a secular psychiatrist. I have very little interest in religion. I just wanted to say hi and let you know all is well.
  2. 13 points
    I posted my leaving Christianity testimony almost 2 years ago, but have another testimony. I am 78 years old, but still functioning very well. HA! At least physically. But there is a history of strokes on both sides of my family with a couple of sudden unexpected deaths. Due to a suddenly occurring hearing problem, they did an MRI of my head and found I have already had 3 tiny strokes. But they were not the cause of my hearing loss, and there are no other obvious after effects that aren't typical for my age. But my mortality has reared it's head!! My New Testimony? My de-conversion must be complete. After decades of worrying about it, there are no second thoughts about my "salvation". Hopefully this can encourage those who might be having second thoughts.
  3. 12 points
    I am so glad to see that ExC is still here engaging in its very important mission. I see a lot of familiar names and a good number of new members. I am glad. I first came here in 2009 and received an incredible amount of help in my deconversion (is that term still used here?). I found this place to be a very welcoming community and I am sure it still is. Untold thousands have been helped by webmdave’s website/forums, assisted by the capable moderators and caring members. if anyone is interested, you can find some of my old postings buried somewhere here. But one thing I will say is that I have never looked back, never returned to Christianity, and remain a steadfast non-believer. Life is better without that religion dragging its victims into the depths of a non-existent hell. That’s right, hell does not exist. It is a control device used to keep scared people in the prison of Christianity, shackled to a cross on which no savior was ever crucified, and bound to a Bible that offers no freedom.
  4. 12 points
    Most people who leave Christianity (or other religions for that matter) do investigate alternative beliefs. What often happens, though, is people leave Christianity because there is no evidence that it is true, and find that the same goes for other religions and practices. Many Ex-Christians therefore must conclude that without evidence there is no reason to believe extraordinary claims of any kind. We have learned to put every claim to the test, and we're still waiting for some evidence.
  5. 12 points
    @ConsiderTheSource @Geezer @Weezer @DanForsman @disillusioned @DestinyTurtle @Fuego @LogicalFallacy @TheRedneckProfessor @ag_NO_stic @Citsonga @Mariana @Margee @florduh @Joshpantera @DevilsCabanaBoy @RealityCheck @sdelsolray @Derek @Lefty @Lerk @LifeCycle @Blood @buffettphan @Positivist @Realist If I forgot anyone....that's the Alzheimer's setting in...
  6. 11 points
    I've never properly thanked you guys and this site for helping me to deconvert. Deconversion is best for people who are mentally ill. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. Thank you for having patience with me. I haven't had one manic attack since I spoke to you last. At this stage I am fully deconverted. Christianity seems like a fairytale to me now. I have read many books by sensible non christian writers that gave me a new perspective. I am glad this site still exists. It is indeed valuable to many individuals. Anyway, my best wishes to all of you.
  7. 10 points
    Leia, if I'm being honest, I'm concerned about how much the hateful environment in which you were submerged might have affected you. I'd caution against allowing their hatred of others become your hatred of them. Anger has its place in life, and certainly in the deconversion process; but either we master and use it for good, or it masters and uses us, for results that may be less than good.
  8. 10 points
    Hello Disgruntled, I think "sin" is a theological construct best left at the door. It is Christianity's tool to create a false need, i.e. "I am damned and need to be saved" so that Christianity can then offer [ETA: or "sell you"] the solution to the false need it created. We all do wrong things and we lead better lives as we grow in moral character. To do that does not call for the theological construct, "sin," and in fact I think one's moral character is much firmer when one acts because the thing is good rather than out of fear that God will get you.
  9. 10 points
    Hello everyone my name is Tim, I just deconverted this week and I feel so much better. I had some serious doubts about christianity all my life, And when I found this website and read a few testomonials it gave me the strength to finnaly break free from that evil cult. I feel so grateful for the support and I am looking forward to meeting all of you and posting my own story soon.
  10. 10 points
    A believer posted a blurb about Tebow calling on Christians to stand for Christian values in America. My inner preacher got pissed and wrote this: The problem is that Christians don't seem to agree on what "Christian values" are. Some ardently support the refugee camps (some run by the Baptist church), some are aghast at them seeing them as concentration camps. Some see Trump as a chosen servant of God protecting religious rights, some see him as a babbling immoral reprehensible crotch-grabbing pawn of Russia useful only to the ultra-rich. Some see giant mega-churches as evidence of God's favor, some see them as a mockery of all that the Son of Man who had no place to lay his head preached. Some see monuments to the 10 Commandments as a witness of God's truth, some wonder why we don't see believers embodying the Sermon on the Mount as living monuments instead. Some are adamantly fighting abortion while at the same time adamantly for cutting aid to poor families, seeing them as leaches on society and encouraging "socialism". Others see that as hypocrisy since pro-life is ageless, and the poor are Jesus in disguise. Why look to celebrities when the words and example of Jesus are ignored in favor of comfort and wealth? Believers already know what to do and how to do it, they just don't want to.
  11. 9 points
    Hi, after many years of questioning my Christian faith, last night I became an atheist. I've 40 years of god and religion to undo in my thinking. My brain is on overdrive and feels like it's about to explode. It's all a bit scary at the moment.
  12. 9 points
    My moment of clarity came while watching a documentary aboard a plane. The documentary was on the Greek gods. Stories I've read many times before. A documentary I've probably seen before. But for some reason, on this flight, I was suddenly struck with the realization that my God was no different than any of the other Greek gods. But why did it click this particular time? I've been thinking about that question. Here's what I came up with. First of all, I don't think it was as sudden as it seemed. It was more like opening a new pickle jar. You struggle, adjust your grip, tap the lid, double down on your grip and eventually it suddenly opens. The process is slow and difficult. There's nothing really sudden about it. So in simple bullet points, I'm going to try to list those things that worked on loosening my jar (so to speak). I course questioned many things as a child. It's hard to believe in my current reality, but I am naturally inquisitive and sceptical. However, there was some point where I stopped critically question my faith and the Church. These bullets will start about ten years ago when I went from a delighted devout Catholic to something different. The first crack was when I asked myself the question, "If Christ welcomed everyone, why did we have a closed Communion?" I met and friended several gay people. They were all awesome. Not a one was an evil person. I spent hours debating the Bible with one a lesbian friend. She was an ex-Christian due to the way she was treated because of her homosexuality. After that summer, I began to struggle reconciling my church's teachings with my own sensibilities and notion of love. I sought out spiritual direction to help me with my inability to "reconcile my inside world with the outside world." I converted to Orthodoxy in hope of finding peace. Obama became president and I saw Christians accuse him of being a Muslim, a non-citizen, wearing a tan suit, and putting fancy mustard on his hamburger. Then Trump was elected. I saw Christians throw away everything I thought they held dear just to elect a Republican. ThisChristians began to say Trump was sent by God. The previous two points helped me begin to see that Christianity was more about building boxes and walls and ways to say "we're good because we're not one of them" than actually living like Christians. It was an old boys club. I saw the divisions within Orthodoxy...divisions based on culture, race, and politics. Moscow stopped recognizing the EP, and so on. I converted back to Catholicism in hope of finding peace. Discussions with a good friend (an atheist) helped me begin to see that even my special brand of Christianity shared similar origins to the others. He also helped me see how religion can be a harmful force and how the recent election proved it. Rational thinking was replaced with mob thinking. My son told me he didn't believe in God because "It just doesn't make sense." I put on a documentary about the Greek gods. Pickle jar opened. It seems clear to me now that I was, for those ten years, unsettled because I was trying to do the impossible. I was trying to reconcile rational thinking with religious belief.
  13. 9 points
    Christianity ruined my brain. I’m 44 and just now realizing how powerful my own mind is, and how powerful I am. Meaning, I work really well without some genie out of the Bible making it happen for me. I grew up in church, my mom was 17 when she had me and she flooded me and my siblings with the omniscient loving father God belief. I always felt chosen and important, like I had to save everyone’s soul. I felt serene and peaceful all the time, knowing that God was in complete control. I never had to use my brain! I only had to just trust God! A lifetime of poor decisions followed. A life of being a kind Christian doormat followed. A life of marriage to a completed loser who gambled away all of our money, stayed out all night, lied constantly, was a horrible lover, zero ambition, poor intellect and so much more I kick myself for believing in God’s divine plan when I met him. He was a ‘christian’, a pastors son and my mom liked him. So I married him, had 3 kids with him, and took care of him during 20 years of seizures. All in the name of God, love, honoring the Bible, being a virtuous wife, forgiveness and all this other bullshit I believed in and laid down my life for. In the end, after 20 years, he cheated on me, left me for a 40 year old gangster type girl with tattoos up to her neck. She couldn’t spell and she chain smoked newports, she was married when they met and she lied and disrespected me and my kids regularly. This was the big payoff from the almighty loving God. He adorned me in humiliation and pain that ended up sending me to a mental breakdown. My ex husband and my kids supported the new relationship like I never existed. Facebook was also a stage in which my awesome loving God also publicly showed me how insignificant I was and how little my life of sacrifice and devotion meant. Even though my ex husband tried to remedy his mistake and leave her for me 4 times after that, I couldn’t do it. The thought of him made my skin crawl and she was the type of leechy personality that would always be lingering in his life. I knew she had no respect for me or my family but most of all he didn’t have respect for me or his own family. She and I were just a game to him and I was too old for that bullshit. At that point in my life, alone was better than him, and trusting the cold darkness was of more comfort than trusting God. I accepted the loss of my family and started learning how to love myself. It took years for me to come to terms that god did not give a fuck about me. This God of the Bible that I tithed to, cried to, sang to, became ‘like’ as possible, this God I tried to be the best for in my ambitions, interactions with everyone and this God that I loved my family really hard for and prayed for my family all the time for wasn’t interested in my life’s journey. It took me years to realize I was a brain dead human for the first 40+ years of my life. Trusting God inhibited my emotional and mental intellect. Trusting God took my body and gave it to a low life to have kids with. Trusting God destroyed my understanding of how to navigate life like a smart human, how to make good decisions for my well being, how to speak my mind, how to pursue what’s good for me. Trusting God destroyed my brain. And I would say I hate God, but God doesn’t exist. So in turn I hated myself and the life I created until now. It was all a mistake, a huge one, and I have to live with it, all the memories and all the attachments that I created. A life with this God of the Bible left me so wounded, wow, stories far beyond just my family life exist in the archives. Don’t let me get started on what it meant to backslide and how hard I fell when I believed god turned from me and my sinful nature and the ‘devil’ was ‘buffeting’ me. I could write books of epic god-fails. But they are really my-fails. And that truly is the hard part of my existence. I have 3 daughters and a son, I’m sure the faith I taught them has been damaging although they are in their 20’s and seem to live fairly ‘free’ lives. My son is my firstborn and he has been a good person through everything. I am now married to a man that I would have married from the beginning had I had no fucked up religion blindsighting me, having me to think trash was gold and trusting god was life beholding wisdom. My current husband is my best friend, he holds advanced degrees, he’s ambitious and funny and full of zest and enthusiasm for our love and our life. If I had the previous 20 years with him we would have achieved every dream because we both love life and living it to the fullest, we love thinking and reading and making love. It’s like heaven on earth if heaven was such a thing. He’s the man my brain chose. My life now is the life my brain chooses, I have hobbies instead of bible studies, I invest in myself and future with my man instead of tithing buckets. I feel pleasure in a glass of wine and a good meal instead of guilt. I’m back in school, I speak my mind, I don’t need to be liked or approved of by anyone. My brain is a good thing. She knows her shit. I’m just getting to know her. I just need to show her some mercy for all the years she was a fool.
  14. 9 points
    I plan on being the last person to die during my lifetime.
  15. 9 points
    My family didn't actually start out religious. My grandfather came home from WWII wanting nothing to do with god or the church. But for reasons that'll never be known to me, he had a turning point where he jumped in with both feet, joining his wife and kids in their churchly activities and since then, my grandfather has boasted perfect attendance for decades since. By the time I came along, my very large family were deep in Christianity - my father an elder, my mother a youth leader. It wasn't hard to be a Christian. Literally everyone I knew and loved was one. The people I feared for, in terms of suffering eternal hellfire were people who were just less serious Christians. And so it was and so it seemed to forever be. As my family grew and extended ever further out, we did seem to have a knack for finding other very serious and like-minded Christians. A liberal in my family was someone who thought that gay people might actually be spared hell-fire by god. But such views were never discussed during family time. Over this last weekend, after Thanksgiving, a small group of us, 13 in total, spent Friday in Kentucky, at Ken Ham and AiG's Ark Encounter. For those that do not know, this is a $100mil life-sized Noah's Ark that teaches the global flood was real and happened some 4,000-ish years ago. Don't worry, none of us paid to get in. We're all lifetime members due to a $5,000 donation my parents gave during its construction. Afterwards, we went to the Creation Museum which, like the Ark Park, teaches creation is real and happened some 6,000-ish years ago. Don't worry, none of us paid to get in due to $1,000 of my own money that I gave when the Creation Museum was being built. The trip, I thought would be fun irony, and a trip down memory lane of my former beliefs. But it quickly turned sickening for me and I feared the message the young ones in my family would take away from these places. Yes, both places say being gay is a sin worthy of death. As is... metalworking? Seriously, it was on a sign, I don't understand... Anyway, the kids with us seemed to really take it all in and take it to heart. This was extremely disheartening for me as it seemed that my secret apostasy would just be perpetual. Then Saturday came and my side of the family had another get together. It was an informal thing with just 46 of us in total. And during that luncheon, my eldest nephew sought me out because he wanted to have a serious conversation. See, I am now in my mid-thirties and still unwed. The family pressure on me to find and marry a woman, any woman at this point, got so intense that I had to set up some hard boundaries and my family is no longer welcome in that part of my life. It seems that my nephew, now 20 years old, is feeling similar pressures to find a woman and wed. And he started asking me how I've dealt with it. And then, in the seriousness of our conversation, he revealed that he does not hold to the family's rigid traditional views, that, in fact, at least two of the girls he dated would've been rejected by the family. But truly, he just isn't interested in dating and has only done so in the past to maintain appearances. He asked me how important family acceptance was to me. And I told him that it was important to me, but that I would not prioritize it over my own well-being and happiness. It was at this moment he asked me if I am gay. ((No kiddo, I am actually a sexually deviant poly-amorous pansexual who doesn't really care what equipment you got between your legs so long as you aren't a POS and can carry on an interesting conversation)) I actually just smiled and said that it was an area of my life I'd prefer to remain private. I know what conclusion he drew from this but I'm not overly worried about it. Our conversation turned to him asking me how to make the family okay and accepting of someone who might not hold to the traditional social norms but I discouraged him from this hope. While it may be possible to gain family acceptance over social deviation, this will only occur so long as the deviation isn't too extreme from the general direction of the family. He might be able to gain family acceptance if he started dating a Baptist girl, because it's different but... maybe to so different as it can't be rationalized... maybe. But if the social deviation were extreme, like a same gendered partner, no, acceptance will never come because this is a deviation so extreme that the act itself will be perceived as an attack against the family. Is it possible for mutual respect to be rebuilt over time if I or another were to come out as gay? Sure. But there is no fast-forward button over the initial fallout that would be nothing short of calamitous. But this conversation gave me a certain amount of hope over the long-term well-being and happiness of my younger family members. I was locked in my religion for over 30 years. But that nephew, at 20, is asking how to cope with deviating from the family's social norms. His younger brother, who also sees me as a confidant, has the opposite problem, but still of the same extreme. He's naturally charismatic. He has an intensively attractive personality, but it's an intense personality. Girls find him interesting but quickly get worn out and frustrated because the same energy that makes him interesting has no off switch so quickly becomes too much to handle. So he goes through girlfriends at an alarming pace. I think he's had 8 in the past 12 months. But whatever, that's hardly something to get upset over. But the family is upset. His father is upset. Because this does not align with the family's values that he is to settle down and marry. Never mind the youngest of those three boys who has also admitted to me that he finds himself attracted to his male best friend. These are just three in a very large family of many kids. I have 13 nieces and nephews and I am distant to many of them just due to proximity and circumstance. But they all look up to me as the "cool uncle." And many see me as the one they can talk to when they feel their parents wouldn't understand. I am intensely protective of them and I am not at all beyond warning my sisters if I feel any of them are in danger, as once happened when one fell into a bad crowd and I, by pure effing luck, just happened to be at the right place and right time to see. But they also trust me as their secret keeper. And while I will not steer any of their paths, I do try to let all of them know that they have an ally, regardless the path they choose. Even if it leads them away from the family's values. My one fear is that some day I will be accused of leading them astray. That I have become a possessed agent of some goat satyr whose obsessed with kids making their own choices. That by not playing informant to my sisters of their kid's deviations from our family values that I am complicit in their being "lead astray." But all I desire is that they make their own decisions, and that they seek happiness and fulfillment in those choices, even if that means staying in the religion. But in the mean time, I feel there needs to be a foil to the propaganda. And they certainly won't hear it from that god damned Ark Park.
  16. 9 points
    The fact that she is “very Christian” concerns me. I think my perspective as a member of the Unequally Yoked club may be helpful.... I often attend Catholic Mass with my wife. We were both raised Catholic but both ended up in the Church of Christ, where we met. While I was in the process of deconverting, my wife wanted to start going to a Catholic Church again. This works much better for me as a non-believer. The mass is very ritualized and doesn’t include personal witnessing or other hallmarks of fundamentalist churches. We go in, go through the Mass, then leave. I enjoy the beauty of this particular church so it’s not unpleasant for me, even though I believe none of the theology. I remain silent during the Apostles’ Creed. The sermon (known as a Homily in Catholicism) sometimes contains wisdom and sometimes irritates or amuses me. I don’t take offense easily. I expect the priest to be Catholic; don’t bother me none. I don’t ever go forward to take communion. I feel no pressure to be anybody other than who I am. And there’s my main point: that wouldn’t be possible if we attended a fundamentalist church. If I showed a lack of passion for Jesus, I’d likely come under scrutiny and if my non-belief became known, I’d become a target of a major drive to save my soul. I couldn’t stay around for that. And of course if my wife were fundamentalist herself, she’d either have to cope with the thought of me being headed to Hell, or else she’d have to abandon fundamentalism. One or the other. Even in my situation, I still worry that my wife’s faith could metastasize into a more virulent form that couldn’t tolerate my unbelief. So even at its best there’s risk for you in becoming involved with a Christian lady. And if she really is a fundamentalist, then it doesn’t look good at all. Unless you’re willing to fully embrace the faith. I wish you the best.
  17. 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.
  18. 9 points
    Hey everyone, Since the last time I shared my back story in detail was probably years ago, I suppose a little summary is in order before I share what went on today. I'm in my mid-forties, adopted, raised in a fundamentalist Christian household. I got in a lot of trouble as a kid, did very poorly in school, and was never very good at typical good Christian Behavior. As a young adult, I moved out of my parents home and began to pursue a career as a songwriter and professional musician. I spent a couple of years actually paying the rent and feeding myself playing music and not having any other job. It was of course, not glamorous, but it was exactly what I wanted to do with my life, even after I had heard all the speeches about how unlikely it was that I would succeed at such a choice. I had a few opportunities to take giant steps forward in my music career, but for reasons that I am only just now beginning to understand, I undermined and sabotaged my work by not following through. Fast forward to my mid-twenties. I got married to a woman that I had known since I was a child, and had dated for almost seven years previous to our marriage. I decided, in a misguided attempt to conform my life to what I imagined my parents wanted from me, to quit playing music and settle down, or so I thought. I moved to the southeastern United States and went to Bible College, with an eye toward a degree and a position as a preacher or evangelist in a church somewhere. I involve myself in contemporary Christian music, on the local church level and also in an experiment to see whether my chops and experience would translate to the kind of thing that the Christian music industry recognizes as Talent. Lots of ups and downs, a few Church changes and more than a few struggles and arguments. What I did not realize, at least not to any real extent, was that I had attempted to conform myself to the imaginary standards of a god, and to the pressures and expectations of religious community, all for the sake of building some false sense of security oh, so that I would not have to fear testing my potential at the things I was really good at. I came to realize recently, after two bouts with severe, crippling depression, that I could no longer pretend that I believed or even tolerated the nonsense that had come to Define my wife's daily activities and inner life. Anyway, fast forward again, this time to this morning. Over the last couple of weeks, I had a sudden Resurgence of creativity after years of writer's block and near-total disinterest in my musical creative processes. I knew that I had to pursue this flow of creativity, and I had to be free of the self-doubt and fundamental self mistrust that typifies Christian religion. I told my wife this morning things that we had already discussed, things like the idea that we love one another, but are no longer in love, because we both silently understand that our lives are inevitably going in, and are meant to go in, two very different directions. I explained to her that it did not matter whether she was willing to continue to imagine that we still had a married relationship. Ultimately, I knew that her adherence to the Bible as the word of a god mint that regardless of how she tried to ignore it, her religion dictated that I am an outsider, failed, sinful, and Bound for hell, because I do not believe there is a God, let alone the Christian one. I told her that we needed to accept that, practically speaking, we were always going to have this huge difference between us, and that clinging to these beliefs is what has been helping her, while letting go of these beliefs is what has helped me. In short, we have reached the place where we both understand that if I continued to pretend that I can tolerate insinuating myself into her Social Circles, exclusively Christian people, which are the only friendships that she has, there would sooner than later, time when my attitude and our relationship would implode. I recognized, and told her as much, that I now understand my propensity for Bridge burning, and I wanted this to be an understanding, not a destruction. I want to be able to move forward in positive ways, and I want her to value the community and friendships that she has, that she will continue to have even if I am out of the picture. For all of their sincerity and conviction, none of the people that we are surrounded by have been inspired by their spirit to ever contact me, asked me to spend time together, pray for me, or in any other since be anything but friendly and smiley on Sundays. In other words, there's no reason for me to expect that this community of Christians is good for me, but that does not at all mean that I want to disabuse my wife of her beliefs, in so far as her involvement in the Christian world seems to be a source of comfort, safety, and worldview that she can be comfortable with. I am finally free, in the most honest sense, from any obligation to pretend that those beliefs and that environment needed to be meaningful to me at all. I have had the first important conversation about it with her. The next conversation will have to be with her and my children together. Then, there will be the conversation with the pastor of our local church, who admittedly has been compassionate and a good listener, even welcoming questioning, doubting, critical topics of conversation concerning the Christian religion and Church in general. I know this has been a long post. I wrote it to encourage anyone in a similar situation to embrace honesty about what they believe, or don't believe, rather than trying to handle the weight of how it is going to affect others. If, in fact, you really do not believe these things, you can be completely honest about it without having to scream, without having to blame, and without any expectation that the other people in your life are going to follow you down that path of thought. It's not necessary for anyone else to be convinced of your rightness... It is only necessary that you are honest with yourself and everyone around you, so that the cognitive dissonance and pressure of forced conformity do not bring about ugly, destructive, and scarring consequences. Thank you all for reading. Please feel free to comment or ask questions as you see fit. I'm sure I may have left out a detail or two in trying to explain this journey, and I'm more than glad to talk about it.
  19. 8 points
    Hi everyone, I am a lifelong Catholic who has recently decided that religion (at the very least) is man made. I went from carrying a rosary everywhere I went to reading the God Delusion in one weekend. I was watching a documentary on the Greek gods, and just like that I was overwhelmed with the realization that my God was no different than any other. That my scripture was no more inspired than any other. I cant see my religion (any religion) as faith any more. All I can see now is a sort of mob like swelling of "beliefs." Us vs. them. We're righteous. They're not. Anyways...nice to meet all of you.
  20. 8 points
    I was engaged to a christian once. It didnt work out... Also, she was psycho.
  21. 8 points
    Religion is about control through fear. Priests figured that out a very long time ago. Strange how few believers ever see through it.
  22. 8 points
    Well, I just got back from the group meetup. The people there were nice and supportive, and It was really good to be able to talk with people who have the same mindset. One of the group leaders is a former minister who's now an atheist, so that was very interesting to see. I don't feel quite as alone anymore.
  23. 8 points
    Only when they are interested in wanting to know answers. Remember how we were 'open' to wanting to question the bible when we arrived here at Ex-c? If they are not open, you will get defensive answers as to why they are right. I was one of them many years ago. I would not listen. So I feel that it is a waste of time. Most people have to be ready to hear these truths about the bible. I would think that millions of people have their doubts (the same as I did) but do not want to face the truth. As we all know, finding out the truth can be devastating. Losing faith is the single most hard thing that has ever happened to me. I leave others alone now. They can barely make it through life without their faith.
  24. 8 points
    I once went through a checkpoint in Belfast and the Gardai asked for my religion. I stated that I was an atheist. Their response: Right, but is it the Catholic god or the Protestant god you don't believe in?
  25. 8 points
    I know the word "Christmas" is not secular. Neither is the word "holiday" if you're a stickler. Nonetheless, that is what I call my solstice revelry, because my parents called it that and my changes to their observation of it have been minimal. All I did was remove Jesus. You'd be surprised how much Christmas is left when you leave out the annoying baby and wise men and talking animals. Food, lights, music, tree, candy, holly. mistletoe, Santa elves, reindeer, presents, parties...one could go on and on. We really keep Christmas at my house. We go to a tree farm to get a tree and decorate it on Thanksgiving weekend. We have rituals. And a person entering my home might not even notice the absence of a manger scene or the way we handle the music: all sacred carols are instrumentals; secular Christmas songs can be either instrumental or vocal. My wife and I go to see "A Christmas Carol" at the university every year. I take my daughters, nieces, and nephews to "Nutcracker on Ice" every year. You can accuse me of being an atheist, but you can't call me a Scrooge. Anyway, if you have read this far, you have an interest in the subject. I'd be interested to know how you do Christmas or whatever you call it. P.S.: Umm, hello by the way. I used to come here a lot years ago.
  26. 8 points
    I wouldn't fake a belief or pretend to be someone you are not in order to get a mate. Long term success with someone who is "very Christian" is nil unless you share the same delusion.
  27. 8 points
    It just occurred to me that I never bothered messaging an admin to delete my profile. I'm not fully returning to this site, however I've decided to keep my account and just give everyone periodic updates. Many changes have occurred since my last post. In the beginning of September, I found out that I had to move out of the building I was living in down in the FL Keys. The reason behind this requires it's own post but in a nutshell, I had to find another place to live and fast. Rather than signing a lease and remaining in that small, toxic town, I decided it was time to move on. As many of you know, I was down there helping my parents out and couldn't leave my mother behind after the passing of my dad. However, I was only enabling her, she became lazy and unable to hold a job since she knew I would cover the bills. I had to make the decision to let her be and now she has been forced to change her ways out of necessity. That, combined with my own fear of leaving that town was stifling me so this displacement as been a blessing (not the best term to use in an Ex-Christian site I know). I now live in the Raleigh area in North Carolina, I've made some rather bad choices in the last 10 years but this is NOT one of them. I can't describe the way that I feel right now, for years I thought that I damaged my life beyond repair, that my chance to escape a mediocre existence was over. It's like I've been sent a decade into the past with my current knowledge to fix my mistakes. The door of opportunity that I thought shut behind me has been hacked back open. Now that I am back in the "real world", I have the benefit of not wasting my time with religion or the church. Everything is going to be about my own self improvement. Ironically, I am living with a roommate who was part of that Christian friend circle from back in the day but is now also an atheist. Another major change that I've made is abandoning all political groups. Politics has nothing to offer me aside from having me dislike people that I would normally get along with. It is hate just for the sake of hating. And for what? For a politician that is likely to break all promises and run business as usual as elected? It's insanity, people doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. I have replaced this with an open mind and a willingness to engage with as many people with diverse views as possible. On top of that, I actively go out and socialize right now, I would just rather have fun than be angry just for the sake of being angry. Finally, I am working with a career counselor and putting significant effort into improving my career situation. I spend most of my waking hours at work, if that time is negative then it will undermine everything else. If this endeavor bears any fruit then I will let everyone know. That's all for now, again this is just an update on my life for anyone that cares.
  28. 8 points
    Just checked my joining date: 19 Nov 2005... I've been a member here for 14 years! I don't think there's any other site that I have returned to after all this time. And I can't remember how I came across it in the first place, probably an external link to the testimonials... Educational, amusing and a real diverse mix of folks. Thanks to everyone for making these forums such a fun and interesting place.
  29. 8 points
    Hi faithevolved, and welcome to our community! Not all of us here are atheists, although most of us do not have a belief in any god. We’re not certain no god exists, but we don’t find any of the claims convincing, and we see insufficient evidence to believe in any deity. We mostly call ourselves agnostic atheists. But we didn’t go from being Christians to where we are today in one step. For most of us the process took many months or even years. Once we stopped believing the Bible as historical fact, and then stopped considering ourselves to be Christians, we typically continued with some kind of god-belief. It might have been because we weren’t ready for the idea that there is nobody ‘in charge’ of the universe, or because we hadn’t learned enough about how the universe progressed from the Big Bang to the existence of stars and planets, or of how complex life evolved. Or maybe we had a preconceived idea of what atheists were like and didn’t want to become like that. But for so many of us, those conditions changed and not only did we we eventually come to see that there was not enough reason to believe in any god, but we become more and more comfortable with the idea, and came to enjoy the benefits of not having our minds bound by theology or trying to understand the will of a deity. But it does take time. Not saying that you will go down the same path that so many of us took, but I do think that having a sufficiently open mind does tend to lead to agnostic atheism. Welcome again, and I hope we’ll learn more about you! - TABA
  30. 8 points
    I told you guys this story a long time ago. This is how I got rid of them and all their junk mail that used to constantly come to my house. I'm embarrassed to tell you guys that I loved watching Benny Hinn in my christian days. Yes...I laid my hands on the T.V. set.... So this one day I received another letter asking for money. They were asking anyone that could possibly send a "seed" of $100 that they were guaranteeing in prayer that you would receive it back 10 fold. I sat down and wrote the saddest story of my own financial situation and ask them that if they would send me $1,000, that would come back to THEM tenfold and they would be quite rich from helping one of God's children who was going "under" at that time because of a divorce. I included all of the sad story in my letter. I signed it, gave my address, included my phone number and I never heard from them ever again! Sad story. You can't make this shit up. Bunch of elfin' con artists.
  31. 8 points
    Anonymous lurkers are likely visiting here in larger numbers than most of us would expect. I think that's a good thing. It also takes a lot of guts to post extimonies publicly and become a member. I remember when I signed up I was anxious to avoid posting anything that might have even the slightest amount of detail identifying me. Now I laugh it off, I've come out as agnostic to the people that matter, and I could care less what Christians I know think of my perspective. I do think people need this site less as they transition into non belief. For me, I stick around because I'm not tired of the debates yet and I don't have an established support network after leaving my ex church, so this place and our chat room helps fill the gap a bit.
  32. 8 points
    Fundagelicals can't even spot the regular christ, let alone the anti one.
  33. 8 points
    Theists often assume about non-theists, like me, that giving up our faith—our belief in the usefulness of the Bible, in the divinity of Jesus, in the very existence of God—was the direct result of some profound personal hurt or deep disappointment. Having been raised Christian, of course I turned to faith and prayer in hard times, as we were taught to do. And of course, it accomplished nothing. When I discovered that faith and prayer plus $1.50 would get me a Kit Kat out of the vending machine, yeah, sure, my disappointment and hurt were components of why I gave up faith and prayer. But these weren't the only, or indeed even the most critical, reasons. I think I mostly still tried to pray until about age 31 or 32—I'm 49 now—and that was mainly a second attempt at faith in order to appease a Christian now-ex-girlfriend, who was/is one of those “I’m not religious; I have a personal relationship with Jesus” types. I was raised from about age 8 in a non-denominational, “Bible-based” evangelical Christian church. Why my faith in Christianity came apart was for me actually several things coming together, amidst steadily improving self-awareness and realization. Things started to break somewhere in the middle of my high school years; eventually you notice lies, falsehoods, and inconsistencies, and if you start to pull at the little threads, it all comes undone. Ultimately, there was no way I could accept the illogic and mendacity of Christianity and the Bible. More or less, in order of my personal discovery, I came to notice: The utter, pathetic futility of prayer. The overwhelming evidence for an old universe, an old Earth, and evolution. My church taught young-Earth creationism; looking back, I now feel ashamed that I thought any of those ridiculous arguments were at all persuasive, but of course I didn’t know any better. The absurdity of so many events in the Bible that I was instructed to take as literally true and historically accurate. So very many people calling themselves Christians but not even trying to walk the walk, especially “leaders” in the Christian community. Sacrificing to help the needy, loving enemies, not being egotistical materialistic jerks, etc. “The Fruits of the Spirit,” “you will know them by their love”: forget it. Utter nonsense. The staggering degree of judgmental and hypocritical attitudes among Christians towards other “sinners.” The reeking repulsiveness of commercialized Christianity. That the most kind, moral, and consistently ethical people I met have generally been non-theists. The colossally immoral, vindictive, and capricious behavior of Yahweh and his “prophets,” as described in both Testaments. The uncountable inconsistencies and contradictions in the Bible. The frankly illogical concepts of original sin, sacrificial atonement, “God become flesh,” etc. My growing advocacy of feminism. And at last my realization that, in the purported words of Pierre-Simon Laplace, “Je n'avais pas besoin de cette hypothèse-là”: “I had no need for that hypothesis.” If there is a God, or gods, there is no apparent requirement for their existence or intervention in the universe. This is not to say science has revealed all mysteries; only that the universe just works, without them. Leaving my faith behind was a long process for me, lasting about 15 years, and definitely not easy. But I am much more content and in a much better place mentally and philosophically than I was when I believed. The church I grew up in was as wacky as you would expect, although it took me awhile to admit it. I tried to believe; I really did. That was a choice. I would say in the end giving up faith for me was not a choice; it was an inevitability.
  34. 8 points
    Hey everyone I just wanted to introduce myself. I was homeschooled through a very legalistic Baptist church all through pre-k to high school graduation, all my friends were also homeschooled by the same baptist church. Everything I knew about the world was essentially filtered through the church until I was 18. I remember some crazy rules like no music in headphones, no movies, no kissing before marriage, no “non-christian” friends etc... literally all my family including aunts, uncles, and cousins belonged to this church (and also homeschooled) I have about 7 pastors in my immediate circle of influence, including my brother, father, best friend growing up and his dad, and a few cousins. I was essentially trained to follow the same path and in my effort to become a good fundamentalist baptist pastor, I lost my faith. It took about 2 years of seriously studying apologetics to realize it was a losing argument. Now I’ve quit the church, started a business that operates on Sunday, and started dating a catholic (oh my!) so I’m very much the family disappointment and still trying to recover from that psychologically. You all are the first people I’ve really talked to about this and I really appreciate the forum and the opportunity to talk with like minded people. Cheers!
  35. 8 points
    For those of you who missed my long odes.....drink up, bitches! If you didn't, well, lucky for you, this post explains why you don't see them much anymore. Wanted to save you a read, you're welcome. When I heard you were leaving, I logged back in for the first time in a few months just to emphasize how much I totally understand and agree with you, RC. I will probably not delete my profile, I had good things to say that could help others, but I never log in anymore. Those who challenge the mainstream opinion politically end up leaving, mind relatively unchanged, but recognizing that some here aren't in pursuit of truth wherever that pursuit may lead. I know, I know, I should just avoid ToT right? It's not like I have to go there, like....just don't go there. So I didn't for awhile. But I am not fan of the "don't like it, just avoid it" concept. Why don't we like it in the first place? Can't we make it better for more people? Deal with the source of the problem! I would engage, take breaks and research, reexamine my beliefs.....but you start to feel really lonely when you don't want to talk to christians, you don't want to talk about christianity, and you now also don't want to deal with the increasingly frustrating "Woke." So many posts challenged my perspective; so I would research all different sides of an argument as time allowed, I was willing to change if the argument was convincing to me. When that feels one sided, after awhile, you just leave. You don't make some fuss, or demand change like some kind of narcissist; you stop with the rant posts or comments of frustration and you just leave. You look for those who listen like you try to. That's not even to be dramatic either, just a simple choice that seems best for everyone. If you're reading this and you have an urge to debate me or defend the situation as I'm describing it instead of just listening and empathizing with an opposing perspective (which is what we want from christians), you might be one of those people. As a christian, my pursuit of truth in spite of discomfort was met with "You're just an atheist because you just want to go out and sin" or "You just don't see it from our lord and savior's holy perspective yet" or "HOW can you read the bible and not see GOD everywhere?! How can you not see his hand in your life?!" When you drop christianity, you start to drop any conservatism at first too, surely they are uniquely linked because of all the annoying religious republicans I know. Turns out atheists can be moral without the bible AND fiscally conservative without faith, who knew. Now, I hear about my "sin of whiteness" / "just being mad because you have to make your racist jokes in private now" or "That's just internalized misogyny you haven't dealt with yet" or "not having arrived upon the real, "factual," truth of academia" in spite of my reality not matching up with what I was being taught. Of course these are tropes, not necessarily a reference to direct encounters on this site, but that mindset is the same and is very recognizable and there was absolutely overlap. It's why many of us like the lion's den even if we haven't battled "this one" yet. You're right, I could avoid ToT. I was even shaming myself for not seeing it the way so many seemed to. Why couldn't I see it this way, what the heck? Why is this article or "evidence" not convincing to me? One day it clicked; it is what is and I feel how I feel and I think what I think through personal experience and I don't have to apologize for it. I tried it, don't agree, move on. I don't have to keep moving things around mentally, shifting things around to make sense of it, blaming myself, etc. This site helped me tremendously with leaving my faith, I'm forever grateful. I have met some truly wonderful people. Sure, I could stay for the new ex-christians.....but it's not like what I have to say is a whole lot different than others here, it's not like I have a @Margee hug (<3), it's not like I have loads of time, and we have archives and archives of users tackling the same material. It's not like I'm offering much new. That's just the humility of it. Everyone wants to be missed, and every active member is to an extent, but you're just one of many and everyone will be fine. I'm not trying to make this political or start anything or be unkind or dramatic, it just pertains to the OP and I'm tired of downplaying or apologizing for where I legitimately am with all this political stuff. I joined when I was starting to value reason and the simple "live and let live" concept of beliefs and behavior. I stopped logging in awhile ago when I realized just how much these ideologies share with the faith I "left." I threw christianity the fuck away for many, many reasons. I refuse to blindly follow the majority consensus just because it's the majority or certain public figure endorsements or ideas purely for the sake of their partisan ties.There is true liberal thought, open dialogue, and constructive criticism of ideas on one hand (which I recognize and can take) and then there is privileged, condescending, parroted "education" with questionable many sources on the other (which I will not take). I am a free thinker. If you made it this far, I appreciate you taking the time. If you have more time, this article explains what I mean in particularly memorable way and is very well written. Also, I promise I do enjoy cat memes as well. I just tend to like the nitty gritty, just check my Enneagram results. https://www.alternet.org/2019/01/heres-why-evangelicals-and-social-justice-warriors-trigger-me-in-the-same-way/ Thanks for the post, RC. And thanks for your contributions here.
  36. 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.
  37. 8 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.
  38. 8 points
    “Bowling leagues and birding are sure to be taken over by the religious here... and that is exactly the issue... there is no place that people in Texas do not feel like it's ok to want to put you on their prayer chain when you have a cold, if they don't want to just lay hands on you right there and claim your healing in Jesus name.“ I’d recommend picking up a vice. Something other people don’t do. Something that’s sure to scare off the religious. Have you tried coming out as gay? Worked for me.
  39. 8 points
    I have found for me that guilt is quite a good thing. I look at the 'feeling' and ask myself if it is valid? Guilt reminds me that I might have hurt someone with the way I have spoken or acted. That's when I change my behavior to try to become a better person. You have done nothing wrong just because you don't believe the same things as your in-laws. Shame is when we hold on to the fact that we aren't good enough. Well, guess what? Humans aren't good all the time. We blow it. We make mistakes. We screw up. We fuck up somewhere just about every day. We don't share the same beliefs. So do not allow yourself to hold on to the shame because it's a totally useless emotion. Be yourself!! This is where your in-laws come in and you feeling like a piece of shit for something they believe and you don't. That's not your fault. You are allowed to be different and they should not be allowed to hold that over your head. You cannot change them. You can only change yourself and only you have the ability to change how they make you feel. Some may feel that I am a phony person. In a way, I am....but I like getting along with people. I do not like confrontation at all. (I am a natural born people pleaser myself) But now I have the ability to smile and say hello and in my mind say 'fuck you' at the same time! Lol ( One lesson I have learned in my life is that if you yourself don't really like someone, most of the time, they don't like you either.) But we can still be kind and that's what I try to do. Even at family gatherings, I have the ability to be nice to family members and I know deep inside, we really don't like each other a lot. And that's OK. Allow that elephant to be in the room. It will only be for a short time. Just time enough to get along with each other and then when they leave, you can have a nice feeling that you really tried. It's the best you can do. We all have different personalities and beliefs and sometimes, personalities clash. You can't make someone like you. Even if you believed in their religion, there would be something else you would do to try to do to be accepted by your in-laws. That's the people pleaser in you. You'll waste your whole life trying to get everyone's approval. Only you and your husband can set the new boundaries of how you will allow anyone to act or treat you in your home. Talk this over with your husband. I have lost friends over some of the new rules I have for myself now. And then again, I have gained great respect from others and those are the people I like having in my life. It normally goes one way or the other when you clearly tell someone how you want to be treated. Just last week I had to tell one of my friends who is a bit of a bully and quite aggressive of something I couldn't accept. She wasn't happy with my assertiveness but she will respect me or go away. I'll leave that up to her because as I said, I am the one who looks after me now and I refuse to be bullied by anyone. It's not easy being assertive (when you're a softie) but each time you take care of yourself by speaking up (in a loving tone) it gets easier. Do not put off being happy, even for the smallest thing. This is a daily challenge for most of us because we want everything to be perfect and it never will be. Something or someone will always be there to try and screw up your happiness. This is why you can never depend on people (anyone) to make you happy. I hope by sharing some of my own struggles, this might help you in some small way. Take control and make your life what you want. It is not your job to try and change anyone. You can always offer support but you cannot make someone change. It's a huge lesson in life. I have someone extremely close in my life right now who is practically killing himself and I cannot rescue him. I offered all the support in the world but he refused so there is nothing I can do now. I hope so much you and your husband can reach a decision on how you are going to work this out with his parents. Stick to your guns, honey. If they leave and cannot accept you guys, there is nothing you can do. One thing that always helps me with my christian family and friends is to remember how brainwashed I was. This helps me to be a bit compassionate when dealing with them. I wish you the very best. Keep us posted on how it's going. More hugs........Hundreds of them!
  40. 8 points
    I'm here sweetie but I can't stay right now because I have a very important appointment to go to. I will be back later. I have a few things to add to what everyone else is saying. I am so sorry for what you have to go through with the in-laws right now. So for now, let's all have a group hug and I'll get back to you later. My heart just breaks for what some of us have to go through when we lose our faith in the christian god. You're going to make it through this honey. I'll be back. florduh always said this to me after I wrote an upsetting post, ''Now, go do something fun for yourself today.'' And I did. So go now and do something that makes you happy. We got your back hon. Thank you all for the compliments about the 'hugs' but I tell you the truth...I could not have made it through this horrible bullshit of losing my faith if it had not been the love I received from all of you at Ex-c. Love to all of you today. ((hughughughughughughughughughug))
  41. 8 points
    I started studying the cults back as a believer in the 80s to try and learn the differences between Christianity and "them". When I described how they often get converts through love-bombing, a friend asked me how that was different from what we were doing. That made me pause. But mostly I just assumed that we had it right and the big difference was what we believed, not the entire mindset of making belief critical instead of demonstrable facts. Whenever I spoke with JWs or Mormons at the door, it was always about doctrines or exposing the corruption of their leadership rather than going after faith in myths being critical to a god's judgment of my life. I was a strong believer for 30 years, the last 9 of which were spent promoting a particular preacher from the south who claims thousands of outstanding miracles, the most notable being several people raised from the dead. While I promoted him and defended him online against critics, I brought up comparisons to the faith we put in the Bible where we didn't see those miracles either but have no doubt they happened. I pointed out that everything he preached was biblical, that he was going to "the least of these", and showed a life of utter commitment to Jesus. Then one day I caught him making up a long involved tale about a witch coven challenging the power of god at one of his services in Germany. I had just watched those services on video, and no such thing happened. His translator had trouble understanding his southern accent, that was all. But he turned it into a huge tale about witches falling under the power of god and all getting born-again. That was the slap in the face I needed. It began a year of questioning why he would need to make up anything. Keep in mind, I had felt power in his services, the body shaking and trembling like electricity was coursing through my body. That was unique from all the other church involvement I'd had. But this fact staring me in the face couldn't be denied. During this year of questioning why, the evening news was reporting about the Oklahoma polygamous cult and I wondered out loud "Why would anybody believe such crazy stuff?" Then I realized with chagrin that I had believed some outstandingly stupid things. Then I asked the most important question, "I wonder what else I've believed that is a lie?" I had a visceral reaction to that question, actually squirming, because I knew it struck at the root of my own faith. But I persisted in the question, and lots of other buried questions began resurfacing. Why is the god of the bible such an arrogant asshole? Why are all the obvious myths of the bible "true"? Why is the church divided instead of filled with almighty power and doing miracles? Why are most prayers for healing completely ignored? Why is hell not mentioned in the old testament? On and one the questions came. I revisited why I had first believed. It was out of a childish fear of monsters. When I'd see a monster movie (not the campy Godzilla ones) that monster was real and waiting for me in the dark hallway. When I saw an advert for The Exorcist, I felt a cold fear to the core of my being and read the Bible looking for protection. That was it. A stupid childish fear led to 30 years of committed belief, thousands of hours or praying to no one, tens of thousand of dollars given away to promote the cult, my own sexual life messed up with rules and fears of demons and judgments. I went searching online for "ex-christian" and found this site. I realized in short order that these folks had the same kinds of experiences, and I then posted my own realization that I was no longer a Christian. I was part of a cult called Christianity, and the last decade was part of a more classic cult with a charismatic leader that couldn't be questioned by his closest "fellow missionaries". It took an emotional shock to get me to even start questioning the faith. I also realized that reality hadn't changed at all by my deconversion, but that I had taken off a blindfold or filter through which I had interpreted reality. The same question "I wonder what else I've believed that is a lie?" still applies daily because I spent so long assuming I had things right. It applies to culture, politics, and science because where people are involved, there can be falsification of evidence, people seeing personal wealth at my expense, and so on.
  42. 7 points
    The well dressed man entered the chemist shop. He paused to scan the shelves packed with boxes and bottles. With a sigh, he made his way to the counter. "Good morning sir. How can I help you today?" said the pharmacist, dressed in his customary white lab coat, the white on black name tag proudly announcing his name as John. "Yes, good morning. I've left the doctors office where I was told I have the flu. When I asked the doctor what I should take he said 'there is nothing for it, anything I give you would be no better than a placebo', so hence I'm here to buy a placebo." "Err, you do realise a placebo is simply an ineffective product that you put your faith in?" "Absolutely, what do you have that has no benefit?" "But surely knowing that the product is not helping would invalidate the effect?" "Nonsense, I have complete faith in the placebo effect, so please point me to your most useless item." "Okay, umm... Well, these herbal remedies are unproven junk. A few roots and berries with no reason to believe they do anything at all. Very popular with people wanting a placebo." "Hmm, that's good but it feels like it still leaves the door open for some herb to actually be beneficial. Do you have anything that removes all doubt?" The pharmacist scratched his head, eyes sweeping the stacked shelves. "Ah, I have just the thing. Essential oils! These things smell nice, but people take the air freshener idea to believe it cures all sorts of things." "Any science or suggested method for it to work?" "The science says it doesn't work. The only suggestions I can remember were either reminding you of pleasant smells from the past, or perhaps some endorphin release." "Well, it still sounds like it has an effect and I was really hoping for something that does absolutely nothing." The pharmacist was at his wits end. How could he possibly find something so completely benign that it has zero effects? Any chemical, no matter how inert, would do something... Perhaps something non-chemical? Then inspiration hit him. "Have you tried prayer?" "No, what is it?" "Well, you talk to yourself, imagining some invisible and silent super being is listening and you ask that imaginary character to aid you." "Does it matter what name I use or what my imaginary character looks like?" "No, not at all. Its equally ineffective regardless of what super being you think of." "And absolutely no science or suggestions on how it could work?" "Quite the opposite. All research shows its useless and the only suggestion is pure placebo." "Perfect, I'll be feeling better in no time."
  43. 7 points
    Hello, my name is Joseph. I’m currently 23 years old and have been closeted gay since I was 14. I spent years of my life questioning my sexuality and what I liked and didn’t like. For all of those years, I isolated myself more and more. I also became angry and irritable towards my family. My mom would inquire about my attitude, but I would always shrug off her questions as me just being a “moody teenager” or being under stress from school. In reality though, I was keeping this major part of my life a secret and was even resenting her and my family for making me feel like I had to keep it a secret. Until recently, I had never even considered leaving my faith. Surprisingly enough, I actually decided to look up atheist arguments against Christianity while reading some books by CS Lewis my mom had just bought me for Christmas. Reading his writings, I realized that I had never taken the time to see what the other side of the argument was. Rather, I had always assumed what I believed to be true and kept my gayness in check because of that. Soon after some Google and YouTube searches though, I was beginning to realize that I had been doubting my faith for years. Many of the arguments against Christianity were similar to the questions I was already thinking but too afraid to ask for many years. Now, I’m in this state of limbo, feeling stuck with these beliefs that I’m not really sure I have anymore but also feeling this desire to let go of it all and finally allow myself to be the person I’ve been hiding for years. The more I realize how not-unique my story is and how many people share a similar experience and walk away feeling better because of it, the more I want it for myself. I still feel stuck though, like I have to get God’s permission first to stop believing in Him, even though I know how ridiculous that sounds. I don’t necessarily want to believe, but I also can’t escape the feelings and experiences that have propped up my faith for the past 23 years. Thank you for taking the time to read this. I look forward to maybe finding a community of people that I can actually talk about these things openly with.
  44. 7 points
    In my browsing, I've recently seen quite a few Christians who assert that atheism means you fit a whole load of other beliefs into your world view. The most common seems to be "You don't believe in anything supernatural, therefore you must believe in a natural universe". Obviously wrong as atheism says nothing about the supernatural, only about god. There are several atheistic religions which believe in spirits, reincarnation, energy flow and all the related woo, without believing in a god behind the scenes. There are Christians who take it a step further and say "because you are an atheist you must believe in the big bang, abiogenesis and evolution" (although the Ham's and Hovind's of the world often jam all of those separate subjects under their definition of "evolution"). In reality the most common answer to the hard questions like where did the universe come from? or where did life come from? Is simply, we don't know. Some Christians will act like thats a gotcha moment. You admitted you can't explain the universe once you remove god and therefore prove your whole belief system is wrong. This argument sounds solid from their viewpoint but is meaningless to an atheist. Atheism isn't based on these questions, and regardless of what process turns out to be the correct one, it doesn't change the fact that right now there is no good evidence for god, satan, angels, heaven or anything claimed by the heavily debated bible. You then have the offshoot of this argument, which comes up in discussions about morality "as an atheist you must believe everything is pure matter, and one pile of matter is no more special than another, so there can be no value justified for anything. And with morals being purely subjective, it is impossible to say there is right and wrong". Even just from a gut instinct level this will feel wrong, even if you haven't considered it deeply. How do we know right from wrong? It is taught to us by our parents, by our educators, by our peers and by society. We are told what is acceptable behaviour and what is not, and are aware that our negative actions will be punished in various ways. There is no sign of any instinctive morals, with every society and every age changing what they see as acceptable. For the Romans, it wasn't just public executions but a show you would pay to see. Nowdays the practice is considered barbaric. No god given morals stopped those events, and no supernaturally given instincts reined in the inquisition or genocides committed in gods name. There's at least a couple billion atheists in the world, and trying to shoehorn everyone into little boxes is never going to work. The only thing we share is a lack of belief in god, everything else is up for grabs.
  45. 7 points
    Welcome! I relate to so much of your story. In particular, all the anger with god. I hope it helps you to know that many others have been where you are before. You asked for advice and resources so I will tell you what helped me. One of the best resources you will find is Marlene Winell's book called Leaving the Fold, which is written as a resource for those leaaving fundamentalism and belief. It helped me immensely in understanding the extent of my own brainwashing and thought control and the dysfunction and manipulation of the community I grew up in. Marleen is a therapist who assists those suffering from Religious Teauma Syndrome, and she offers individual and group therapy. You can find more information and resources at https://journeyfree.org/rts/ It also helped me a lot to read about the experiences of others. There are a lot of extimonies on this site that are helpful that way. Another book that was beneficial to me was that written by ex pastor Dan Barker. And I read a lot of work by Bart Ehrman as you are doing as well as that of Elaine Pagels. Another important thing is to research the idea of hell and how it came to be. The fear of hell disappears when you realize it's just an invention invented by the church to control people's minds and gain money and power for the early church. The concept of hell isn't even included in the old testament. I know there are others on this site that are aware of specific resources in that area. I would like to invite you to join our chat room on discord if you are ready. Most importantly, I would recommend a secular therapist that you can work with in dealing with the trauma. It takes time, it's a long process, one with a lot of grief and anger as relationships with close ones change or even come to an end for some of us. The important thing is that you are able to live your recovery in a space where you can set boundaries from emotional abuse and manipulation (it sounds like you are getting that from your family, gaslighting etc). I wish you all the best in your recovery and welcome to Ex-c
  46. 7 points
    God to You: Why didn’t you ever make the Haj to Mecca like I commanded? Oh, you didn’t read THAT book? Too bad!
  47. 7 points
    The only thing flat-earthers have to fear is sphere itself.
  48. 7 points
    Ironically, I would have agreed with that blog post when I was a Christian. I made essentially the same arguments. Yet, here I am now, evidence that it's poppycock. The real problem with that line of "reasoning" is that they refuse to even remotely consider the possibility that they could be the ones who are wrong, that maybe, just maybe, Christianity really isn't true after all. They want everyone of every other belief system to consider the possibility that they're wrong, but they refuse to do it themselves. Been there, done that, and I've since then grown to realize that that attitude is the biggest stumbling-block there is to finding truth.
  49. 7 points
    Indoctrinated into the Southern Baptist variant at an early age, I finally walked away a few years ago. Reason and truth mean more than delusion. I now feel better about myself, others and this one life we know we have.
  50. 7 points
    God needed 10 and you did it with one. Brilliance. Shear, unadulterated brilliance!

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