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Showing content with the highest reputation since 07/06/2019 in all areas

  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. 11 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.
  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
    Hello, Ex-C community. I've roamed these forums on and off for over a decade, since shortly after deconverting about 15 years ago. Mine was a traumatic exit from the church, then it took me a few years to realize that the break was permanent. I'm an older woman (as implied by my name, I guess). I came to faith for the last time in my mid-30's, after a couple of decades of trying to find my way to something in which I could honestly believe, trying very hard to make a spiritual home somewhere. I blindly accepted the lie that children require spiritual training to become moral adults, so when my three kids were 4, 6, and 8, my now-ex-husband and I accepted a neighbor's invitation to church and ended up staying ten years. It was my family, my social life, my purpose, my creative outlet, my solace, my hope; it was also, for the last two years, my employer. For the first time in my life, I belonged somewhere. But it ended badly, and the day that happened is, as for many of us here I'm sure, my before-and-after moment, the day I can point to and say "everything before THAT was a different life, and everything since has been something else entirely." I've never been the same; sometimes that feels like a good thing, sometimes not. My relationships with my husband and with the church died in the same week, and though that may sound simplistic, believe me -- it wasn't; by the time I arrived at that point, the marriage was easy enough to walk away from, but the loss of faith was a four-year-hell. So I'm turning off the invisibility screen, because after two decades of kicking around a novel I've promised myself to finish some day, I find myself halfway through the writing and I'm getting to the hard part. It's not autobiographical, but it does come from the place where my end-of-faith pain is stored; the old wounds need to be inspected and cleaned again, and maybe this time I'll get it right and it'll finally heal. Thanks for all the help you've given without knowing it; your existence here means something to the world, even if we're not all brave enough to say hello at first. DD
  8. 10 points
    I am finally ready to share my story. I read many testimonies on here in the beginning of my deconversion that really helped me feel less alone. Maybe my story will help someone too. I grew up in a relaxed Christian home. My mom was very involved in the church, but we didn't live out our faith at home. My childhood was normal and I didn't become a devout Christian until I was in college. We attended church reguarly, but our Pastor didn't really preach from the Bible. He would throw a verse into his sermons now and then, but every service was more of a feel good, God loves you sort of thing. Fast forward to my last few months of college. I was depressed. I hated what I was going to school for, had zero friends, and felt like I had ruined my future by racking up college debt for a degree I hated. After several months of misery, I remembered how good church used to make me feel. I had a part-time job that prevented me from going to church, but I loved to read. I felt so silly for not turning to the Bible earlier! I had a giant love letter from God!! That night I opened my Bible eager to be encouraged... Well as everyone here knows, the Bible is NOT a big self-help book. It's got lots of wrath, Hell, genealogy, and prophecies. When I realized this, instead of running in the opposite direction, I became angry. Not at the Bible, but at my church for not teaching me the real word of God. I felt like I had been lied to all these years. I now wanted to learn who God really was... I got "saved" and found a church that taught the Bible verse by verse. It was actually a good time in my life because I went from depressed to madly in love with Jesus. I was so happy and deeply devoted to God. It was a big non-demonanital church with loud music and a welcoming atmosphere. I learned about sin for the first time, but also learned how much God loved me. It was actually a decent church. Fast forward a few months later and I met my husband. He was exactly what I was looking for faith wise. He also became a Christian as an adult, and was so passionate about God that he did street evangelism, taught adult Sunday School, and was working to become a church deacon. He was a member of a little county Baptist church. I loved my church, but the first time I went to his, I was in love. Not only did his church teach from the Bible, his pastor was not afraid to preach about Hell and God's wrath. I felt like I was finally learning what the Bible actually said. No more feel-good sermons, you left feeling convicted! Just like everyone else at his church, we were married a few months after meeting. I couldn't wait to begin my life like everyone else at the church. I envisioned my life as a devout Christian wife with a couple kids that we would homeschool. I would bake cookies for church, make friends with the other church women, do Bible studies with my husband daily, fall more in love with Jesus, it was going to be a wonderful amazing future.... Yeah that didn't happen....What happens when you marry someone you barely know just because you're both Christians and love eachother? You argue...A LOT. And guess what also happens when a shy awkward person tries to join a group of people with strict beliefs and ideals? They recede further into their shell. And what happens when someone who was told at 17 they only had a 5% chance of getting pregnant? Jesus doesn't magically heal their infertility! And guess what happens when you combine all of this with NON-STOP preaching about Hell? Well, let's just say anxiety ensues!!! I gave up everything for Jesus. I missed so many family events and functions because they happened on a Sunday. I refused to go for Jesus.. I also continued to have no friends. I didn't fit in with the other church women because my marriage wasn't blissful, and I didn't have kids to homeschool. I felt so alone and couldn't understand why God wasn't helping me. I'll fast forward through all the drama but I had a really rough 4 years. Long story short my husband got so involved in the church we didn't have time for anything else. I didn't have a single friend at the church so I was alone during church 100% of the time (we couldn't even sit together because he had lots of responsibilies during the service). I eventually asked to switch churches, which caused more arguing but finally we left after 4 long years... When we left that church, I was still a believer. Which actually made things more difficult because I couldn't understand why God wasn't making life easier for me. I had done EVERYTHING I was supposed to, but my life was still a mess. I truly thought I wasn't saved. I also thought God was punishing me for making my husband leave his church home. I honestly kept waiting for something horrible to happen to me as punishment. We church shopped for a while, and eventually found somewhere that we both liked. We agreed to only attend services for the time being until we healed from the damage caused by being too involved in our old church. But slowly, our attendance began to waiver... It was a combo of our work schedules, and a fear of getting overly involved again. Then I broke my ankle and it made going to our church (lots of stairs) nearly impossible. After 3 months of no attendance, I started allowing the questions I always had about the Bible to start playing in my head. I really hated the idea of Hell. And the main one (that I NEVER let myself think as a Christian), an eternity worshipping at the feet of Jesus didn't sound like fun. It actually didn't seem fair. I didn't ask Jesus to die for me, so why do I have to spend eternity bowing down to him? A few months later after doing some research, I nervously broke the news to my husband that I didn't believe in the Bible anymore, and questioned if there really was a God. I had no idea what this would do to our relationship. I was worried he would drag me back to church and it would be a nightmare.... But to my SHOCK, he admitted he didn't believe anymore either, but was too afraid to tell me!!!! It's now been 5 months since we officially said we don't believe anymore. Things are getting better and I now love learning about all the errors in the Bible! Thanks for reading, hope this encourages someone.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. 9 points
    As moderators, we have this entire website under our purview. This includes newly deconverted members who are still struggling, christians who are facing crises of faith, and lurkers who might be anywhere on the spectrum. When one member actively seeks to undermine our primary purpose, we have to weigh the needs of everyone against the possibility of offending the one who was deliberately running riot in several forums. If sparing further trauma to already traumatized members means seeming to disrespect the one, I'm comfortable with that. Because my purpose here is reaching out to other recovering ex-christians, not walking on eggshells for the occasional christian apologist. Thanks, TRP
  13. 9 points
    Is anyone else amazed at how clear their mind is since deconverting? When I was a Christian, I was always praying in my head, apologizing to God for thoughts that weren't Christ-like, remembering scriptures...It was exhausting! Ever since I quit believing in God, I feel so much better! Anyone else experience this?
  14. 9 points
    I left my last non-denominational Christian church more than 15 years ago, after trying to be the “perfect Christian” for almost 20 years, but my journey of being in a love/hate relationship with God started in 2001. I had been married 362 days before and had just left my emotionally and physically abusive husband. I hadn't yet been hit but had been hurt in other ways and knew, the night before, that if I didn't leave, I would be hit soon. I had married this man, after a whirlwind dating experience, 8 months after we had met. I was 29, a month shy of 30, when we married, and I was sure that God had hand-picked him out just for me. I was "born again" at 16, right around the time that Love Waits was touring the country. I made a decision at one of those rallies to wait until I was married to have sex. I had fulfilled that promise to God and had waited the almost 30 years I mentioned earlier by the time we married. I was also incredibly involved in church – had led the junior high youth group, hosted bible studies, was on the worship team, played music with other women on the worship team at retreats... I was IN, 100% IN. I met my, now, ex-husband on December 31, 1999 and danced with him well into January 1, 2000. The song "It's the End of the World (As We Know It)" played at midnight and the thought that ran through my mind was that it really wasn't ever going to be the same. I was right; I just had no idea the trajectory it would ultimately have. Of course, I later attributed that thought to God telling me he brought this man into my life. We had an instant familiarity because he was friends with my pastor's stepdaughter and her husband. The two men had been friends since they were 10 so I decided that meant he must be a good guy to still be friends after all of these years. I didn't see any of the red flags because I was so certain this was "of God". Fast forward 362 days. I had left my husband and was sitting with a very good friend from my church when her husband came home. I’m not even sure if he greeted me, but the exact words he said within about a minute of his arrival were that I was "spitting on the cross of Christ" for leaving my husband. No one knew of, or bothered to ask about, the abuses, of the assault that had shattered me, of the affair, or of the child pornography I had found. No one heard him screaming at me and then throwing up, because he had become so worked up, while I laid in bed. No one else had wondered that night if or when the cops might show up because a neighbor called 911. But apparently the only thing that mattered was that I had "spit on the cross of Christ" by leaving. In that moment and in the weeks to follow, I not only lost the dream of the perfect marriage, I had now also lost my all of friends (who sided with this man who was a church deacon), and my church home of seven years. I didn’t know it then but that was the beginning of the end of my relationship with God. I attended a new church, in a new town, after my marriage fell apart. I was there for about 3 years when that also fell apart because a new building changed the focus from people to money. The pastor’s mantra became about giving more money and then saying, "If you don't like it, you can leave, and 10 others will come in your place." I didn't like it, I didn't like the in-fighting, I didn't like being devalued week after week after giving so much of myself, and I didn't let the door hit me on the ass on the way out. I had friends tell me not to stay away too long - that I needed to be back among believers, but I never really made it back. I was disillusioned, heartbroken, lacked any trust in church leaders, and couldn't understand why God would allow any of that. Where was he?? Not too many years later, I moved to Washington, DC to work for a 3-letter agency, on a child exploitation task force and saw the absolute worst of humanity on a daily basis. I worked with an amazing team of people which made the work bearable but if something will make you ask questions about a "good, loving God", it's watching kids being abused in videos and pictures. The other things that contributed to my questioning a "good, loving God", was that, while I was in DC, I ended up losing my house in the collapse of the housing market, which caused me to go bankrupt, and in the same week, found out the man I had been in love with for four years, was married. So, where was God? I thought he had plans for me, promises for me: "plans for good and not for disaster, to give (me) a future and a hope" "all you who are weary and burdened, come to me and I will give you rest" "all who listen to me will live in peace, untroubled by fear of harm" "whatever you ask in my name, this I will do" "if you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, 'move from here to there,' and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you." But none of those things actually happened. Since that time, I have been what my best friend calls, an angry agnostic. I have been so mad at God and at the people that were supposed to represent him, that even the mention of someone praying for someone or hearing a song that sounds “Christian” has made me angry. But on the other hand, I haven’t been able to say that there is no God. I just keep asking, “whose God? What makes the Christian God THE God”? But then two weeks ago, when talking with that same friend, I made an off-handed remark about there being no god and it was the first time I didn’t feel any guilt, no trepidation, no worry of being struck down, no fear of being wrong. I don’t yet have an ending for this… I am just now processing it. I don’t know where I will land on any of this, but I do know that being angry hasn’t helped for the last dozen-plus years so I have let that go (with the help of an amazing therapist) and am now on a quest to figure out what faith means for me, if anything at all.
  15. 9 points
    I asked that question on a Christian site where I’m active. To my surprise a hard core fundamentalist acknowledged that God doesn’t seem to be in the prayer answering business. He then referenced all the historical suffering Christians have had to endure. He ended his thoughts by stating that it’s foolish to expect God to respond to prayer. I was frankly shocked by his honesty. This guy is a Bible quoting fundy, that apparently has been struck by reality. I don’t know that he’s ready to leave the faith just yet, but it seems that reality has slapped him in his face.
  16. 9 points
    I’ve been wanting to post my story for over a year now. I start and then never finish. I don’t want to bore everyone with all of my details, but it’s hard to boil everything down - well, here goes My deconversion started about 3 years ago, I think. My belief system was ultra conservative Catholic. So much so that other Catholics didn’t necessarily know where I was coming from. I had what I believed to be a “born again moment” back in 2000. Prior to that, I was a run of the mill Catholic, checking my boxes of following the faith and trying to be a “good person”. The interesting twist is that my husband is not Catholic and does not identify with any religion. But when you’re young and in love, you think that love will conquer all and I was convinced, that given time, he would become Catholic (spoiler alert: he still does not identify with any religion). After my born again moment, I became very close with a group of Catholic women. We did everything together and they were my support system. My parents lived 4 hours from me and I had no family near me. I raised my kids in a fairly strict Catholic way and for almost 2 decades my main focuses in life were serving my family and serving the Church. With the advent of social media, I began to be exposed to many different viewpoints. Interestingly, I think it was me delving deeper into my Catholic faith that lead me to see that it wasn’t “true”. For many years I even had a “spiritual director”. I still have a high opinion of him. He is a very smart man, but when I allowed myself to explore outside the bounds of the Magesterium (the teaching authority of the Roman Catholic Church), I came up against things that could not be explained away any more – or at least I could not accept the explanations. My brother had stopped being a believer sometime in his 20’s. He never made fun of me for believing the way I did, and as my mind began to open up, we had some great conversations. Sadly, he passed away last year and I no longer have a place to ground myself with my evolving understanding of life. I know there are many influences that caused my belief system to unravel. I think what sealed the deal for me was when I came to accept that the Judeo/Christian story has been one of many stories that explains human existence. I always had a hard time accepting that there was true authority in the Bible. I was never satisfied with the fact that a bunch of people decided that everything in this book is God-inspired and holds the keys to all that we need to know. There’s a lot more I’d like to say about my deconversion and will certainly post more when it seems appropriate. What is more of a concern at the moment is that I am really struggling with staying afloat mentally. I had been trying to re-boot my life prior to the pandemic. I had previously been a stay at home mom and for the last 5 or so years had dabbled in finding a new career or at least something productive to call my own. So that has been put on hold and I am still struggling to find a direction for myself. I have also not come to terms with being “public” about not being a believer. There are about 4 people in my life who I have been able to share this with. My husband and oldest son know. I have not told my two younger sons. The youngest is a freshman at a Catholic high school. Before he started school there (having been in Catholic school since he was 3) I casually asked him about going to public school and he did not want to explore that option. So for the next 3 years, I will most likely have to keep this a secret because I fear how awkward it will be if my deconversion is public. And in the meantime, because of the pandemic, my Catholic friends are inviting me to Zoom prayer meetings and the like and I am just having to ignore their requests. I don’t know what else to do. So far, no one has confronted me about my lack of involvement in religious activities, but I would guess that they suspect something is going on with me. I have not figured out a way to connect with people in person who have similar stories as mine. Prior to the pandemic, I actually went to a Meet Up group of Secular people. It was ok, but obviously Meet Ups will not be the way to go for the near future. I have been reading many of the posts on this site for the last year and have found many of them helpful. I guess I’m finally ready to be part of a virtual community. I had hesitating about joining because I was hoping to find something in person to help me on this journey. Thanks to those who have taken the time to read this and I look forward to getting to know you better.
  17. 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.
  18. 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.
  19. 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.
  20. 9 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.
  21. 9 points
    I plan on being the last person to die during my lifetime.
  22. 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.
  23. 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.
  24. 8 points
    I'm glad you're here, @WWOAC. Yes, you were a Christian. If you called yourself a Christian that's what you were. If you are not anymore then that's great! Don't get caught up in the constant goal-post shifting and weaponized delegitimization of people's experiences. They beckon you to do that because it helps them ignore counter-evidence when they delegitimize the experiences and perspectives of anyone who disagrees with them, outright. Christians like to claim ownership of everything, but in reality they robbed most things from other cultures - like components of their own mythic language and story. If you do some research here you'll see countless examples of how Christianity is not unique in the ways that the believers claim it is (I recommend expanding your mythic knowledge by reading scriptures and teachings of other religions). There's a lot of propaganda framing everything culturally "good" as coming from Christianity - it's just cultural narcissism. Anyways, your questions are valid. Trust your curiosity, your intellect, and your instincts. Don't get bullied by people who make you question your sanity.
  25. 8 points
    They were doing the same thing when I was your age; and the only thing that happened was a meteor killed my pet dinosaur.
  26. 8 points
    To help break the boredom and cabin fever, I took a camping trip to a remote rural area and took our dog with me. Couldn't get my wife to go. We took all the food we needed, and enjoyed long hikes in a "badlands" area that had been opened up recently. Saw all kinds of wildlife, and the largest herd of buffalo I have ever seen. And one was a rare white buffalo. The only chance of exposure, or exposing anyone else, was refueling at a gas station, and I minimized that with Clorox wipes. Western Kansas isn't the most spectacular place in the world, but does have some interesting features if you look for them.
  27. 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.
  28. 8 points
    I was engaged to a christian once. It didnt work out... Also, she was psycho.
  29. 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.
  30. 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.
  31. 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?
  32. 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.
  33. 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.
  34. 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.
  35. 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.
  36. 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
  37. 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.
  38. 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.
  39. 8 points
    Fundagelicals can't even spot the regular christ, let alone the anti one.
  40. 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.
  41. 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!
  42. 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.
  43. 7 points
    I think what you’re referring to is called rationalizing a cognitive dissonance. All religious people have to do this in order for the Bible to make sense in their minds. Why do intelligent people believe things that are not believable or scientifically possible? Google the term “cognitive bias” and you will find the answer.
  44. 7 points
    No one, including you has had a god moment, because there is no such thing as god. Most of us here had what we thought were god moments, but later realised it was just wishful thinking/hallucination/crowd hype/co incidence etc. So it's nothing to be sad about, we have not walked away from god, as there is no god. We walked away from the beliefs that were taught to us from a young age. We simply realised god doesn't exist. Prayers aren't answered and there is no one out there intervening in any way. That's why there is so much bad stuff in the world.. But there is also good stuff. We as humans can do the best we can to add to the good stuff as much as possible, and deal with the bad stuff as best we can.
  45. 7 points
    WOW! Is this the first documented occurrence of Ex-C married couples both finding their way out of the mind-control? I envy you, @PSR!
  46. 7 points
    There are some very good Blogs here at Ex-Christian.Net. For whatever reason, I - and probably others too - often overlook them. I was reminded of this by a very good new post by @Lerk in his Blog “Be Ready Always to Give an Answer”. Do yourself a favor and check it out, along with the other Blogs. Good stuff.
  47. 7 points
    The Bible is full of threats of dire punishments in the form of eternal torture. The one unforgivable sin is rejecting Christ’s sacrifice and thus the Holy Spirit. Is that the same as blasphemy of the Holy Spirit? The Bible is clearly a collection of human writings. It is replete with inconsistencies, contradictions, and factually incorrect statements. There is nothing Holy or inerrant about it. Christianity is just another run of the mill religion created by humans. It’s based on rewards and punishments, neither of which can be proven to exist. Our knowledge of science and the laws of physics tell us, with a high degree of certainty, that neither the reward or punishment found in Christian doctrine and beliefs can possibly be true. Faith is required because the promised rewards and threats of eternal punishment cannot possibly be true. So, what does blasphemy of the Holy Spirit mean? Nothing, absolutely nothing at all.
  48. 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
  49. 7 points
    Welcome to Ex-c Kde. Thanks you so much for sharing this story and for your honesty. Fuego said it right...that religion is a mind fuck. I related so much to your story and I would like you to read my testimony when I first arrived here at Ex-c. I was also suicidal but just did not have to guts to end my life. But I wished every night that I would die in my sleep. I am so incredibly sorry for all the pain you have been through. I was in so much pain. I didn't know where to turn and then I found this website by searching for anything that could tell me if christianity was a big lie. My head spun around for a long time. Stay here with us and we can help you through this. You are not crazy. You are very self aware that something wasn't right about the bible and christianity. Try not to be afraid. You are about to embark on a new journey that will open your eyes. You will probably cry, scream and go through many emotions as the truth of what you believed will be disclosed by many here. You are going to grieve. Your head will spin. But you are not alone. Keep reading, keep posting. Someone is always here for you. We totally understand what you are going through. Breathe honey and feel safe. You are not going to hell. There is no hell. It will take some time to understand all of it but if you stay with us, you'll eventually get it. A month after I arrived here, here is the letter I wrote to god. I hope it shows you that you are not alone with all your questions. Feel peace tonight. I'm so glad you are here with us. Big (hug)
  50. 7 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.

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