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Showing content with the highest reputation on 08/29/2012 in all areas

  1. 2 points
    This poor kid's parents told him he just wanted to sin. The Church Lady thinks it's because the pastor offended someone or there wasn't enough parking. This guy claims that people "tell him" they're just too spiritual, darn it, or they'd rather do yoga at home. (Note to the preacher: this is the Christian version of friendzoning.) And this blog cites a chain letter that blames ungratefulness--that people who leave church are just too used to God's "blessings" and get all complacent about them being showered down on them all the damn time. No, really. Read it; it's a hoot. I read a number of pages and studies about "why people leave Christianity" and the one thing that really springs out at me is that all these "reasons" are made up by Christians with, it seems, very little honest input from the actual deconverts. I'm not surprised, of course. If someone leaves the fold, Christians bash their brains out trying to figure out what was wrong with that person that he left. There's this insatiable need to figure out a reason, push the whole issue into a file folder marked "resolved," close it, and put it away and not ever have to think about it ever again. I used to do it too, and I really think the reason why was I was terrified of finding out there might have been a damned good reason that person left. The problem might not be the person leaving, but with the message itself. And that's what turned out to be the case when it came to be my time to walk away from it all. We all have different stories, but Christians don't tend to want to hear those stories. They may say they do, but really they just want to hear it so they can discount it or try to explain it away. No matter how many hours or weeks or years you put into researching your decision, they are the magic Christian who will explain it all away and it'll all make sense and you'll leap back into that church pew and give thanks for having such wonderful Christian friends. They don't listen; it's a lot easier to just make stuff up, and when you do that, you don't have to worry about engaging with the real reasons people leave. And when you make stuff up, what you're really doing is comforting yourself: you're assuring yourself that YOU'D never leave. YOU'D never deconvert. YOU'D know better. YOU'RE the true Christian. The apostate is clearly deluded, stupid, vain, arrogant, or just wasn't a "real Christian" (like you are), or didn't know the Bible (like you do), or was in the wrong denomination (ie, not yours). When you're tilting at windmills, you don't really engage with the message you hear. Stop listening to that craziness and really listen to what we're saying here. This is why we're not coming back, and this is why we left. I do not speak for all deconverts, but these are the common threads I see in deconversion stories: 1. To our shock and pain, we discovered that the Bible isn't true at all. Not even a little. There's no evidence that prayer works, no proof that miracles ever happen, and every time history examines a Biblical question, the Bible turns out to be almost completely mythical. Not a one of its dogmatic claims holds up to even cursory argument. Very liberal Christians may not care, but for ex-Christians from a conservative evangelical background, discovering that there couldn't possibly have been a worldwide flood or a person fitting the background given for Jesus is devastating. Not for nothing do atheists claim that the easiest way to make a Christian deconvert is to make that Christian read his or her own Bible; some of the most prominent ex-Christians ever were people who went to seminary to learn more about their beloved Bibles only to emerge with their faith destroyed by simple reality (like Charles Templeton, one of the founders of Campus Crusade for Christ!). Most Christians have no clue in the world what's in there: God condoning--even ordering--rape, slavery, murder, trickery, witchcraft, incest, genocide, abortion, war, abuse, infanticide, and more. Most ex-Christians, however, are very familiar with these myths and commandments. We're not idiots. We studied the Bible and found it full of contradictions and monstrous, inhuman crimes against mankind. We read the apologetics books and found them struggling to doublespeak themselves into a god against all evidence to the contrary. We attended revivals to try to recover our faith and heard ignorant speakers misstate science or parrot claims we knew weren't true. We prayed, and nothing we prayed for happened even though the Bible says it always will. We begged for a sign, and got none even though God did tons of signs just like what we'd requested in the OT and in Jesus' day. We wept and we fasted and we drilled down on acting right and talking right and doing right, and nothing changed even though change is promised if we do those things. There's no amount of arguing that'll change the simple fact that the Bible is a book of myths, and nothing it really happened, and nothing it promises really comes true through any means other than human effort or coincidence. 2. Christians aren't better people with Jesus, and non-Christians aren't worse people for not having Jesus. For a religion that stresses "spiritual fruits," Christians have next to none; states and countries that are known for having a lot of Christians in them do worse by every conceivable measure than those who are more secular. The news is filled with "god-fearing Christians" tearing each others' faces off, abusing their kids to death, or getting caught in this or that sex scandal. We realized that there can't be a god inhabiting us and informing our every move, because if there were we'd sure expect to find Christians to be at least as good as non-Christians. But arguably they are, by and large, worse. Every ex-Christian has horror stories about abuses at the hands of Christians (more on this further down). We heard the platitudes about Christians not being perfect, just forgiven, and we heard about how church is a "hospital for sinners, not a museum for saints." And that was obviously horseshit to everybody but the pious Christians trying to explain away their total lack of fruits. Whatever you gotta tell yourself, sparky. But we know the truth: there is no god inhabiting Christians and making them wonderful people, and there is no devil influencing the lost making them worse. When we do run across Christians who are genuinely good people, we are forced to conclude that it's not an invisible sky friend making them so, but the sheer fact that they are good people regardless of what religion they follow. Once the threat of becoming a murderous, raping arsonist upon deconversion is removed, a lot of the scariness and Otherness of deconversion is gone. 3. We learned logical fallacies and cognitive biases, and we learned how Christianity uses all of them. We also learned that this faith that we thought was loving and caring is in actuality controlling and callous, even resorting to threats and cruelties to keep its members' butts in seats. If your religion is true, it shouldn't need to threaten a person's reputation, his/her connection to family and friends, his/her livelihood, his/her home, even his/her job to maintain compliance. These maneuvers did a lot to show us how false the religion must be if it stoops to such low levels of shoddy reasoning and cruel behavior. Christianity is a supremely manipulative religion. As any blogger can tell you, anybody who speaks against Christianity is lucky if all s/he gets are a barrage of death threats and insults from those who follow the supposed God of peace, love, and mercy. The threats are designed to chill us and silence us, to scare us into at least acting compliant even if we struggle with the certainty that it's all fake. If we're quiet, it doesn't matter. If we speak up, we become the enemy, and Christians know what to do with those who are different. They've had two thousand years to practice. For all the "it's not you, it's me" breakup statements Christians may hear, it really boils down to a few: we realized the Bible wasn't true. We realized that Christians don't act like they're inhabited by a god--most don't even act like they really believe in most of the myth at all. We realized that Christianity's arguments were shoddy and that its treatment of dissenters was nothing short of inhumane, making its validity highly suspect. The awful truth is that almost every one of us would have gladly welcomed an argument that actually made sense, or believed in evidence once it was provided. We would have gladly accepted the truth had Christians had any to present. I'm probably spitting into the wind here when I tell Christians that we know the Bible very well; we understand it perfectly well; we have looked at the "evidence" and found it seriously lacking. But Christians don't want to hear that. They have to cover that up somehow. It's terrifying to imagine that we might know the Bible better than they do--that might mean the fault isn't ours for leaving. So they cloak these simple truths in belittling us, or claiming we're stupid or misinformed or rebellious or "too spiritual" (seriously, WTFH). Of course they do. The truth is dangerous. It's scary. It's messy. And breaking free of living a lie, with all the threats and cruelties Christians have in store for the unwary deconvert, is so very, very difficult. Yet more and more of us are doing just that. And we will continue to do so. Ignore our real reasons for leaving at your peril, churches; the more you ignore and misstate our reasons, the more you demonstrate how totally out of touch you are.
  2. 2 points
    I love you just as you are. And if you don't let me change you into what I want you to be, YOU WILL BURN IN HELL FOREVER!!!!!!! Because I love you so much.
  3. 2 points
    Except Jesus was a liar. He said he'd come back before everybody hearing him, physically standing with him and hearing him, would die, and he didn't. He swore his followers would do all the miracles he did, and they don't. He said he'd answer all prayers made in his name, and, well, we see how that's worked so far. So their god wants us all to be failed apocalyptic crazies? So.. Harold Camping is a shining example of what their god wants? Hm. Well, okay, but I sure don't want to be that kind of person.
  4. 1 point
    Hi. I have recently discovered this site and after reading so many posts from people that hit so close to home I realized that I am among many kindred spirits. I have recently come to reason and officially left the church and organized religion. Religion has always been difficult for me. I grew up in a home where Christian principles were taught but attendance in church was not something we did. I did attend many different worship services while growing up. I went to Baptist, Methodist, Presbyterian, Catholic, and Episcopal churches. My family identified as Methodists but I was more aligned with the church through my scouting experiences. I didn't know at the time that it was because my dad had a falling out with the church as a young adult to be the main reason why we did not go as a family. He has the belief that we are all God's children, no matter how we worship, so why let a church decide who is worshiping the correct way. It wasn't until I was in my 20's before I became a regular church attendee. My best friends were going to church with their spouses and to continue the group I started going too. Fast forward a few years and I really became attached to the church when, as a part of the becoming a couple, my then fiancée and I joined the church I grew up with in scouts. We were very active members, were married in the church, had both of our kids baptized there, and nearly our entire social circle revolved around the church. After a change in senior pastors our church experience was rocked. This new pastor was doing things that were just wrong. He was removing the people that made up the heart of that church. This was the first of the deep wounds that a church gave me. There were many of us from that church who decided to leave and attend another church on the other side of town. This was close to 20 families that moved to the old church. Our circle became tighter and somewhat bitter. We remained at that church until I moved my family to Texas so I could start a new job. We felt it was important to find a new church home once we settled in so we visited many churches. We settled on the largest Methodist church in our town. We thought because we had been a part of a large and active church before, we would need another large church to provide what we wanted. We attended for two years and not once did we have a one-on-one talk with any of the clergy. I had become withdrawn again from church. I didn't want to attend another one, but my wife was teaching pre-school at one of the smaller Methodist churches, so we decided to give that one a try. On our first real visit we were made to feel welcome. They were having a dinner and as we ate, the senior pastor sat down at my table and we talked. He was a good person and the conversation was genuine. I felt we had a new church home. We were happy and active in the church again. That happiness was not to last long. A few months after we joined, the church office decided to move our pastor to a larger church that suddenly lost their pastor. We were assigned another pastor and this is when I started to see the bitterness and shallow actions of so many Christians. The church was divided, half did not like the new pastor at all and the other half didn't seem to mind. Most of the people that didn't like the new paster were the older people with money. They made it known that they wanted the pastor gone and made the church struggle financially. Not wanting to have old wounds reopened, my family did not get involved in the fight. It was sad that a group of people could drive a person from a church like they did. The next pastor seemed to be better at first, but he went hat-in-hand to the people that drove out the last pastor and became their puppet. It was during this time my family had become really involved in the church. My wife was always the one to sing in the choir, but after participating in the spring musical, I too joined the choir. I was even nominated as a church trustee. It was there where I saw the pitched battle. The ugliness that I witnessed there made my first church wounds seem like a paper-cut. This was an all out war. Staff members were lying about one another, conspiring to get one or the other fired. Hostile work place lawsuits were being filed and people were leaving in droves. I was involved in the fight to try to save the church and the music ministry. But all my actions, passion, love, prayers, and tears were for nothing as the people that we were closest to were removed. When I saw others celebrating this loss, I lost it. I could not believe that so-called Christians could act in such a manner. It was then when I decided to not attend church anymore. After that, there were many tragedies that hit us. My wife's best friend was diagnosed with brain cancer and died quickly. The same weekend that my wife's friend died, I learned that a childhood friend of mine took his own life. We were shocked. During this time the wildfires were raging just to our west. I saw a report on tv where a woman was looking at everything she owned burnt up and said "God only gives us what makes us stronger" I had reached my breaking point. What kind of God destroys everything FOR those people? My wife's friend was probably the most devout person one could know. She had gotten married and her personal life was finally turning good for her. They were even talking about children. She went in to see the doctor about headaches and within three weeks she was dead. What kind of God would do something like that? I began to really question my faith and what I believe in. I studied many writings and I now believe that religion is just a way for the ruling class to quiet and control the masses -- and it has always been that. My wife is still a devout believer, and this has created some issues in our house. I finally told her that I no longer believe in religion and that I do not plan on going to church again. She asked me if I was an Atheist. I told her no to make her more comfortable. That was the last time that we discussed religion. We still have a loving relationship, we just don't talk about spiritual matters. Since I left the church, it has been difficult for me. Our social scene still revolves around our church friends. I do not want them to end friendships just because I am no longer a church person, so I live a bit of a lie when around them. It eats me up. I want to yell from the mountain tops what freedom I have discovered, but I can't for fear of isolation for the rest of my family. I am sorry this was so long of a post. I'll try to be more direct next time. Thank you for letting me speak.
  5. 1 point
    I don't know if this is the best place to post this, but this is something I wrote to help myself put in words why I am beginning to doubt the truth of Christianity. I am currently reading Ken Daniel's book, "Why I Believed: Reflections of a Former Missionary," and I have been surprised and saddened by how many things bothered him that also bother me. Here goes. One of things that troubles me about Christianity is the lack of internal consistency simply in the church, never mind the Bible. I do not understand how churches can claim on the one hand that the Bible is the inerrant word of God, and then on the other dismiss whatever portions they do not like as being “for that time” or “for that culture.” Take for example the issue of a woman’s headcovering. I have studied this ad-nauseum, and I cannot make 1Cor 11 say anything other than exactly what it says: a woman should cover her head when she prays at the very least, throughout a church ‘meeting’ if you apply the context of instructions for worship, and possibly all the time if taken with other admonitions to believers to be always at prayer. But not a single church in the denomination I grew up in teaches this. In fact they ignore all of the instructions for worship found in 1 Cor 11-15. These instructions are plain and obvious, not ambiguous in their meaning. Yet beyond the house-church model, do you know of any mainline denominations that follow them? My Dad’s explanation for this is that our church practice is not based solely on the scriptures but also on the traditions of the ancient church fathers. And he said this in all seriousness. So, we ignore the obvious teachings of scripture because church “tradition” does otherwise, but we ignore church tradition when that bothers us too? What about the Pope? Church tradition that gave us sermon-centric worship with pews and ceremonial ‘communion’, rather than the meal outlined in Corinthians also tells us the Catholic church is our mother and that we owe our spiritual allegiance to her. Why do we get to pick and choose? This is the sort of internal consistency, or lack thereof, that has troubled me for years. I have friends who have wrestled with this and in fact joined the Catholic church in order to be more consistent. If we aren’t going to have the Bible be our rule of law because of the traditions, then we should be honest enough to make good on our conviction that tradition is our rule of law and stop pretending it’s the Bible. The problem is, I cannot even choose to follow the Bible alone because many of it’s rules and teachings are unethical, or even illegal by today’s standards. Should we really stone people at the city gate? And the very idea that the Pope is the mouth piece of God comes from the New Testament. If I should look to him for the current voice of God, a) what happened to being lead by the Holy Spirit, and why has God changed so much over the years? The very reason we should be able to trust God is because he is supposed to be immutable, unchangeable. But the God we see across time the Bible is oddly emotional and wildly changeable. On a side note, I am also confused about the attitudes I see displayed by my Christian friends. Last Sunday in our sunday school class, we were preparing to watch a Nooma video on Job. The teacher posed this question to the group: “How many of you feel that your life is going pretty well? That things are working out, that life is good?” Given what faith in Jesus is supposed to give to believers, I was honestly floored that not a single, and I am not kidding, not a single person in a room of about 30 agreed. Several began talking about how hard life is, how things seem to go wrong so often. Sprinkled throughout this litany of pain were interjections of gratitude for having Jesus in their lives, otherwise it would be too much to bear. I sat there in silence. Would I have look fake, or unspiritual if I had admitted that, yeah, mostly I do feel like my life is going well? My life is not one long string of tragedies, even though I can relate lots of bad things that have happened to me. The teacher went on to make the comparison to Job. No matter how bad things seem in our life, it is doubtful they could be as bad as things were for Job. And yet Job never curses God as his friends suggest. The lesson being of course that we should also be strong in our faith, never give up, yada, yada, yada. Then we watched the video. The speaker, walking along a deserted highway in an approaching snowfall begins reciting God’s monologue from the book of Job, and this is where he lost me: “Do you know where I hold the store house of hail that I hold in reserve for times of war?” (More or less, I don’t own a copy of the video). The entire monologue was basically lambasting Job for even questioning God’s goodness because as a minor human, he didn’t know anything about how the natural world worked. God was basing his superiority to Job on his superior knowledge. I stopped trying to follow along at this point, because anyone who has graduated from high school knows that hail is not stored in the atmosphere waiting for the command to fall, that lightning bolts are not sitting around in some lighting-bolt gym waiting for God to command them. Job might not have understood these natural events and was suitably awed by them, but I do, and therefore, I am not. Now I know everyone in that room took all that talk about hail and lighting to be figurative, because the literal truth was just stupid. But why do we have to twist everything dumb from the Old Testament God and make it figurative? Because if I faced it as written, it’s a silly as a Greek myth about a god who flew to the sun with wings of wax. That is when, using my phone I got online and started trying to find other peoples reasons for leaving the faith. Which lead me here.
  6. 1 point
    Your third to last last paragraph is saddening - first because you do not feel comfortable telling your wife that you are an atheist, and second because your wife probably doesn't know what an atheist really is. If she ever asks again, I would recommend countering with a question "so that i can answer in a way that ensures we are on the same page, please define atheism?". Then when she defines it - mostly likely incorrectly - you can say "well that is not the standard dictionary definition, but by your definition, no I am not.". Then tell her what the accepted definition is. My husband and I jumped through these hoops early on (when we were still dating, as I have been an atheist since I can remember) and I am glad we did, because while he never quite told me what he really thought atheists were, it was clear he had been under the impression that they were some sort of self-described baby killing Satan worshippers. As it turns out, just a scant few years later, he's an atheist too.
  7. 1 point
    Welcome to our sanctuary -- from another "unequally-yoked" ex-c'er!
  8. 1 point
    Here's some more links for you, Filipino5: http://filipinofreethinkers.org/ http://www.atheistnexus.org/group/philippineatheist The Philippines is a beautiful place I'd like to visit sometime. I hope you find the peace you long for.
  9. 1 point
  10. 1 point

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