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Showing content with the highest reputation on 04/07/2017 in all areas

  1. 5 points
    Thanks for you guys' responses. I'm still reeling from last night. I'll take a harder look at everyone's suggestions later on today. "For God is not the author of confusion but of peace, as in all the churches of the saints." 1 Corinthians 14:33 Quite the contrary to what I have experienced. What about God telling His children not to worry about food, drink, or shelter for he clothes the lillies in the field better than Solomon? Believers all across the world are living in horrifying conditions. I said to myself: "God, why did you bring this guy HERE? To this college town where most of the students already believe fervently in you? Why not use your energy to help those starving children?" God is also inconsistent. Does he want to shelter us from harm or have us be martyrs for the cause? This sort of confusion is why so many people have left. There just aren't any clear answers. This isn't peace at all. Not when we live in a world that largely disproves of Him. Evidence for evolution could have easily been stopped by God. Instead he allows scientists to devote their entire lives in finding evidence against what He claims in His 'good book.' He allows technology to get to a point where we can research for ourselves the millions of galaxies out there. This is the same God who supposedly split all of us up from the Tower of Babel. He allows numerous atrocities to be done in His name daily, including African American slavery. The process it took to free us from that still causes millions of them problems to this day. This is the same God who brought thousands of fish to feed the multitudes? This is the God who when a woman touched Jesus' robe, she was healed? Wow. Mind fuckery to the 9th degree.
  2. 5 points
    When I was your age, I heard the same kind of messages about god using college kids to bring about revival and healing to the world. Has the world changed for the better during your lifetime? No, it has not. The reason it has not is because god hasn't done jack shit through my generation, despite the prophesies, signs, and wonders we all believed in back then. It was prophesied over me that I would see entire nations brought to christ. But when I launched out into the deep to become a missionary, I ended up being sent back home because I didn't have the proper documents to stay in country. Imagine an all-powerful god whose plans are so easily thwarted by a lowly immigrations officer. You might also consider, in light of the great and mighty things god had planned for my generation, why is Islam now the fastest growing religion in the world?
  3. 4 points
    The guy is a fraud. It's as simple as that. I can't say he's an outright liar because maybe he believes the mumbo-jumbo he's spouting but he's a fraud nonetheless. People go to all sorts of self-help gurus and have all sorts of amazing outcomes. That doesn't mean they're working miracles. It means that people will do things when they get worked into a frenzy at the behest of these sorts of people. The only reason you think a god is doing it is because you're allowing yourself to think that's the case. That's the setup and your programming. Step back from that a moment and understand that if you were in a situation where you told this was happening because you were a self-motivator or maybe L. Ron Hubbard's teachings gave you the power that your programming wouldn't kick in to allow you consider the possibility that any of this was actually real even though everything was entirely identical. The same sort of charismatic speaker and so on. However, if your programming was inclined to those beliefs, as opposed to xianity, you'd be suckered in all the same and far less inclined in the situation that triggered your post here. That's how these games work. The idea that there's some magical and invisible war going on is stupid. Why would "fallen" angels get to run around everywhere without any limits when "hell" was supposedly created for them? Why do humans who die not get this ability but are immediately locked up forever? Why are these "demons" put in charge of humans when they're at least equally "bad", if not more so as they had been in heaven and seen god in person? Why do they get to wage a war while we're just held against our will? Why can't damned humans join this crusade? The list can go on and on. The idea that there are some group of angels that are so evil god created a special place for them but god still allows them freedom to do what they want including waging a war is silly. The argument that god lets them do this is due to "free will" is stupid as damned humans aren't provided the same "free will" opportunity as these same damned angels. Damned humans may want their own kingdom. They may want to wage war. They may want to do all these things. They're simply chained and punished. If it can be done to damned humans then the damned angels have no reason to not have the same treatment. Unless, it's a made up story. Which it is. Then it makes perfect sense that the original sinners aren't punished in the same way their victims are. mwc
  4. 4 points
    To add another suggestion, one thing I found it was helpful to see/know was how psychics and magicians work. Some of the shows by James Randi, Darren Brown or even Penn & Teller showing how tricks are done, how cold reading is done and giving that view of what happens behind the curtain. If you have a clear understanding of these kinds of tricks then staged shows feel more down to earth. Once you understand cold reading, psychics are more easily identified as scam artists. There is video on Youtube of Dawkins interviewing Darren Brown that goes in detail about cold reading.
  5. 4 points
    I'm with Margee - I too used to be quite charismatic, using gifts of spirit and getting called "encouraging" when I publicly gave my testimony. When one really believes that the awesomest thing ever is that "god is leading me and making me into a whole new person", in some cases the mind actually gives you that experience. It changes the way you talk, the way you move. It gives a very weird confidence because even though it's still you, you are sure it's not, and someone else is in charge - the creator of the universe is in charge of the little ant that a single human is! Who wouldn't look happy and super confident if believing that 100%? The "words of knowledge" might be stuff he's heard people talking about, or his assistants have heard about. Also with a big enough audience, there's bound to be people with certain health problems, death in the family, struggles with faith etc. Also, if that doesn't satisfy you: I've long since left the faith, but I guess a lot of things about people right. I used to think at the time that it was spiritual knowledge. Now I know it's because I grew up in a dangerous home and honed my observation skills so that I didn't have to ask people how they were feeling (though this was also very problematic for a long time, but that's OT). With some people I even feel where they hurt, with strange precision. I believe it's a potential human ability that some people end up using and others don't. If that was god using me at this point, that would be the oddest, un-biblical thing to happen because I've made sure to curse the bible, the holy spirit, jesus, god, all that jazz that supposedly won't be forgiven, and I'm also atheist.
  6. 4 points
    +1 to go make yourself some tea, or whatever you like to relax with, listen to some music or whatever and try to calm down. Probably should stay away from the religious con artists until you're a bit more comfortable with their act. But you did keep enough of a rational head to not fall for it, I'd chalk that up as a win. When you've calmed down, I'm curious about these so called predictions, I suspect they are either claims of foreknowledge of things that have already passed, therefore useless and most likely lies. Vague predictions about someone in the audience being a skeptic/unbeliever of some sort, having a high probability of being correct while not needing any actual psychic abilities. Or something so vague literally anything could fulfill it.
  7. 4 points
    I was once very charismatic. When I spoke at woman's meetings with fervor and sang a lot at the church, I had people's attention. That's sounds vain to me right now...but the fact is, I believed so strongly that god was ''using me'' that it made me into an extremely charismatic person. I could lay hands on people and claim their healing and I believed it with all my heart. Someone actually thought I healed their eyes one time. Believing so strongly makes you into a kind of an actress or actor and it can be very convincing and intoxicating. Take your time with all of this. Go to the church if you have to experiment. Sit back and be an observer. That's what I did for about 3 years. I was beginning to doubt big time but I still went. I still followed and went through all the emotions but I watched everything like a hawk. This is part of deconverting. Your mind is split. Part of you wants to believe and the other part is doubting. It is cognitive dissonance and if you don't understand that your mind is doing this to you, it can drive you crazy. Don't allow it to. Just tell yourself you are in an experimental stage. Go easy on yourself. Keep posting and we will tell you our stories. You are going to be alright. Take a deep breathe and try to understand that time will show you. (Hug)
  8. 3 points
    Your brain, along with everyone else's are extremely unreliable tools. This is why we have the scientific method. It is designed to help us avoid buying that which "seems" right and verifying what is real. You'll save yourself a lot of grief in life if you refuse to believe something without objective evidence. It's ok to say I don't know. But to "know" something because of the way it "seems" is a recipe for a lot of suffering, confusion and being a rube that others take advantage of.
  9. 3 points
    Good suggestion here, and I would add this: https://skepacabra.wordpress.com/2011/06/10/faith-healer-peter-popoff-caught-on-camera-again/ Keep in mind that the religion entraps its people through manipulating emotion, not through logic and verifiable evidence. Emotion can often overpower better judgment; staying with an abuser, marrying a prison inmate, deliberately getting pregnant at 15, and so forth. Emotions are valid but they are not, by definition, based on factual information nor do they, by themselves, typically lead to wise decisions.
  10. 3 points
    Relaxation is in order. The Christian faith is based on scripture, authority and revelation. Rational thinking is based on evidence, reasonable skepticism and logic. It seems you have already made an intellectual decision to follow the later and decouple from the former. However, the years of religious indoctrination and peer pressure has created intense emotional reliance in you. Your post (and other posts) are convincing evidence of this. Be patient, relax, take a chill pill, enjoy a movie, or a book or a walk in nature. It would appear that you have significant emotional and psychological healing to do. For many, that is difficult. It takes time and effort. Regular meetings with a secular mental health professional of your choosing would help. Another step you can take is to avoid too many connections with the religion, or its adherents, including your religious friends and particularly the "ultra charismatic college missionary" you mention. No church, no praying, no talking with other indoctrinated theists and no charismatic snake oil salesmen. Put another way, do other things worthy of your time.
  11. 2 points
    Living in Kentucky, aka the Bible Belt, it is VERY tough to date as an ex-christian. I had one girl a couple years ago that I spoke with, who was all into me about how cute I was, how good I seemed to be, and such a person was most certainly a moral man of God. I told her I was not religious, but thanked her in that I tried to be a good person regardless. Her tune did a 180, and told me that Satan's influence on me was very powerful and I nearly deceived her. She quickly stated that she retracted all statements and said she would ask for forgiveness in praising Satan's own disciple. Added she would pray for me in that I become a man of God soon, for my own sake. Yep. Kintuckee...
  12. 2 points
    Greetings skysoar Best wishes and I empathize. From time to time I suffer mental battles with anxiety, depression and mania. The states may or may not involve religious belief. It might involve fear of future financial insecurity or health problems or paranoia about many things. What I am trying to do these days is develop access to my "chief executive self" who is able to stop, step aside and view both (or more than 2) sides of the mental battle, from an impartial distance. Part of the process involves appreciating that being on the fence, tortured, is where I am right now and I am not going to settle the matter this instant, but it is going to get settled in the way that benefits me most. I need to lay the groundwork for this process ahead of time, when I am in a stable state. When I am able to do this kind of mental exercise, (and I don't always succeed), I find that I can then go about my daily business. It's painful, but the pain needn't completely derail my life and is part of my life (temporarily, I hope!). Hope that helps. Tom
  13. 2 points
    Hmm I missed this. This is called a christian persecution complex wherein the christian blames some action or disagreement because of their belief for Jesus rather than facing facts. What you believe is irrelevant on this site. There are many and varying beliefs. The only reason you would get banned is the same reason that any one else would get banned - you broke the rules. So far you haven't. So far you have simply produce limited, at times barely coherent posts. In this I agree with LB. In post #65 I produced adequate references from the Bible to meet your challenge quoted below: You are most welcome to respond to that post. Perhaps you'd like to concede the point? Or challenge it?
  14. 2 points
    Matthew 19:21 Jesus answered, "If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me." Don't you want to be perfect my friend, will you answer the call of Christ..........
  15. 1 point
    Hello everyone, first time to post. You can call me Chuckles. First things first, I don’t know how long this post will be. My brain has a tendency to want to cover everything, no matter how insignificant the detail. Also, I am rather young (23) and have only been in the church for just over two years, so I know I can’t possibly understand the pain and frustration that so many of you who are older have experienced. I couldn’t imagine experiencing the stories I’ve heard since I started browsing this site four months ago (October 2016). I didn’t grow up in a Christian household. Throughout my school years, I never gave religion much thought. I was about the most relaxed agnostic you could meet. I figured that if you weren’t hurting anyone, you could believe whatever you wished. I realize now that pain caused by religion isn’t always obvious or newsworthy. In January 2015 (a timeline helps me organize my thoughts), I met the man who would introduce me to evangelical “non-denominational” Christianity. He’s a year older than me, and worked in the same building as me at the time. I’d dropped out of the local college, but he was still a student there. Almost immediately he asked me over to his dorms the next night, which I thought was weird considering we’d just met. But I never did much and my girlfriend lived two hours away at her college. Figured I could use an evening out. The next evening I went to his dorm and was startled by what I saw. Not that he appeared so popular that he could stuff his 4-man dorm with so many people, but by the large banner above the living room couches: “JESUS SAVES.” I immediately knew I was in the wrong place. Not because I had anything against Christianity, but because I figured it wouldn’t take long for these Jesus people to realize I wasn’t one of them. Only…that didn’t happen. I was approached by several of his friends who all wanted to know who I was and all about me. It made me feel good. I never had more than a few friends in school. I only spent about 20 minutes in the dorm before leaving. As I left, the guy I initially met (whom I’ll call Jamie for the rest of the post) asked if I knew anything about the Bible. I told him I didn’t, that I vaguely knew the names Noah, Jesus, and Moses from movies. Jamie asked me if I’d like to do a Bible study with him sometime. I cannot tell you what compelled me to say yes, but I said yes. I figured it’d be like any time in school when someone said we should hang out. That nothing would ever come of it. But Jamie made sure something came of it. I’m still in ruins over whether or not saying yes was the biggest mistake I’ve ever made. Over the next few months, Jamie and I pored over several Bible studies. In late January we went over the sinner’s prayer study and I followed the instructions to accept Christ as my savior. At the time it felt quite genuine. Nowadays I’m thinking that I felt pressured to follow through with it because it was the way to continue spending time with these people. And it felt so great to have so many new good friends. I was baptized in March 2015, and the church I joined that sponsored that college ministry group went crazy over it. It’s funny to me that up to this point, I’m telling you all the same story that I told them then at my baptism. Only now, there’s a twist to it that they wouldn’t approve of. May 2015: My girlfriend (whom I’ll call Rachel here) graduated from her college and moved to my city. We had long planned to move in with each other due to our financial circumstances. Jamie strongly urged me to do otherwise. He spoke of past experiences with women in his life and how God “changed his heart” about how to live with them. One of the pastors (who becomes important that I’ll call Adam) of a “sister church,” who also manages Jamie’s college ministry group, an hour down the interstate confronted me with the same general message: that God would greatly bless my relationship with Rachel if we honored what I was being told. So Rachel, who was now in as deep with the church as I was, moved in with some of the college girls while I was forced to move in with a thoroughly unlikable roommate who was one of the church’s young working singles. That summer, Rachel and I were also persuaded to take part in the summer leadership training program at Adam’s sister church. Considering my work hours, my Monday to Friday schedule that summer was: up at 4:00am to drive to my city for work, work from 6:00am to 12:/1:00pm, free time (that I felt guilty if I didn’t give it all to God in reading/prayer) until Rachel got off at 4:30pm, driving to the sister church by 6:30pm for a dinner and sermon/prayer/small group activity, chatting with guys until sometimes midnight, and repeat the next day. From 6/1/2015 to 7/31/2015. I’m surprised that I actually lived through that summer. I was also made to feel guilty whenever we went out for cold turkey evangelism downtown on Saturday nights. Being incredibly introverted, I always felt horrible that I was the only one who didn’t have it in them to talk to total strangers about the gospel. I now realize that I just don’t have what it takes to be a sleazy car salesman (no offense to any actual decent car salesmen). This is what first made me start doubting the legitimacy of the Bible. But those doubts went away for a while. Through fall 2015, Rachel and I continued with the college ministry group, even though we didn’t go to the college. It was around Labor Day that I had the conversation with Adam that made me begin to despise how utterly pushy yet “loving” these Christian people could be when they wanted to me. Adam had the brass balls to ask me why I was stringing Rachel along and where our relationship was going. Most marriages in the church were from brief courtships after years of “brother/sisterhood.” And you had to receive a pastor’s greenlight not just to propose to a woman, but to initiate a dating relationship, period. Being that Rachel and I had met and dated before we met the church, I thought we would avoid this. I was wrong. I wanted to tell him that it was none of his effing business and that we were perfectly happy on our own timeline, but of course I didn’t. I’ve hated Adam for this, but I don’t think he’d ever understand why. To be married in the church, you had to exemplify “a true Godly man.” So I fake prayed for several months to get Adam’s approval to propose (which he had jumpstarted like an a-hole instead of it being on our time, or even God’s time that you’d think they’d want). I proposed to Rachel in November 2015 and we married in July 2016. Our marriage so far has largely been happy. Until I came to the conclusion that I no longer believed what this church was telling me. Sometime in 2016, I can’t figure out what led to what exactly, I lost my faith. I stopped reading the Bible in May. I feel like I wanted to discover the legitimacy of the faith, and not just trust blindly in “God moments” that I now know are just select coincidences among dozens of unanswered prayers. So many people in this forum have made posts that more accurately convey my feelings that I could ever write or even try to repeat, so I’m going to begin wrapping up here. The “Confused” topic in the “Ex-Christian Life” forum particularly speaks to me. The evidence for the Bible is weak at best, and it makes me sad that grown men and women so readily believe in such obvious fantasy fiction. I feel sorry for their children that will grow up without a choice in whether or not to have the same belief system. My wife is not pushy thankfully, but it tears her apart that we are no longer on the same page regarding the faith. I just feel so angry during Sunday mornings at the lies the pastors are telling. I wanted so badly yesterday to tell her that I wasn’t going to go to church with her, but I couldn’t do it yet. But I’m reaching the breaking point with my frustration. I feel like I’ve lost her to this religion (or “relationship” as they condescendingly call it), and I’m lost on what to do (though not lost in the way they think they can fix). This conflict of faith has thrown the first major wrench into our relationship in the 3 ½ years we’ve been together now. I hate apologetics with a passion. They use them to no end. Just because you can’t thoroughly disprove something doesn’t automatically prove that something. Oh, and also: “freedom in Christ?” What a freaking joke. There isn’t freedom to do anything that isn’t pre-approved. Thank you for bearing through this lengthy post. I apologize for any typos. I wanted to post this as soon as my account was approved.
  16. 1 point
    The stuff comedians dream about. That's so absurd. The women at my college church aren't as forthright like that. In order to date them period, you have to jump through hoops beyond hoops to get them to maybe accept a date offer. There's all this baggage about "not wanting to sin" and for guys needing to "pursue her like Christ does the church." This makes regular dating impossible. You have these girls being trained on how she should wait for a Godly man. Guys are trained to pursue her and push her consistently to Christ. I know at least two guys who waited until their wedding day to kiss their brides. "I hadn't earned it yet." That sounds romantic, but it's absurd to me. I used to understand that conviction, but now it just reeks of trying to win an unwinnable task. From what I've read, secular dating isn't exactly the stuff of dreams either...but at least there isn't all that baggage about salvation and stuff.
  17. 1 point
    Unprincipled people always prey on the gullible through religion and politics. Other big markets include homeopathic medicine, diet fads and multilevel marketing schemes.
  18. 1 point
    (As a Christian) That God micromanaged my thoughts. (Now, as an ex-Christian) The whole bizarre idea that being a sinner and falling short of the glory of God and being saved from that God is some great thing. It's laughable. (Now, as an ex-Christian) That a super advanced being who created everything is concerned about masturbation and homosexuality and abortion and wearing polyester with cotton. (Now, as an ex-Christian) That Christianity is a system of mind control whose ulterior motive is to collect money from good people to pay a pastor to talk about an imaginary being. (Now, as an ex-Christian) Watching one of my relatives present behavior as an obsessive compulsive christian disorder. Jesus is always on this person's mind. She drops Jesus into any conversational topic. It should be classified as a mental illness.
  19. 1 point
    Sky, all I can offer is my suggestion that you stay away from church and kindly decline to associate with any religious friends that you have. I would encourage you to read literature about the real history of the church, when and by whom the gospels and other NT documents were written. Authors like Richard Carrier, Christopher Hitchens, Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris and Bart Ehrman helped me immensely. Someone above mentioned seeking out a secular mental health professional, and I strongly agree with that. It will take time, and some pain. But you've already begun your journey, like so many others before you. As you progress, you will begin to see that the so-called prophetic visions claimed by the pious are no more real than the horoscope in the daily newspaper.
  20. 1 point
    extreme prophetic visions?apparently can heal people?? examples? earthquake in some place tomorrow and richter scale? the hospitals emptied and doctors out of job where ever he went?
  21. 1 point
    Does your friend know you don't believe? He said he'd appreciate it? Hmm, do you think he'd come to an atheist convention if you said you'd appreciate it? I have learned, the hard way, that this only goes one way. Sadly while my own family says they care about me, they only want me back in church because 1) they think somehow God is going to save me, 2) it makes them feel better. At no point has anyone asked how I feel, or to leave and be happy. No, they say, what is the harm in coming, you'll make us feel better. Thanks, guys, meanwhile in church I feel like crap. That's my story. Take my advice, don't get suckered into going back, or being guilt tripped back - much harder to leave again. I think, as sdelsolray said, cultivating a rational skeptical mindset will serve you well in the months and years ahead. How do you know he has extreme prophetic visions? Have you ever heard him give a detailed prophesy then witnessed it come to pass, or does he relay stories of such? Or are his 'prophesies' so vague that they can be filled by multiple criteria. Or is he prophesying events so common that its an educated predication? Behold I say to you, an earthquake shall strike Los Angeles. I'm right, you know I'm right, and so does everyone else, yet you aren't convinced I'm from God are you? Can heal people? Uh huh, heard that one before. According to the bible if someone is claiming they can heal they are of the devil - only God can heal. If he's claiming God does the healing what type of healing is occurring. It it something that can naturally occur, even if rare? Cancers will naturally go into remission, 'dead' people can live... though they were probably not really dead. Headaches are cured, hospital operations go well... the lame walk. The one thing I have never heard of is an amputee having their limbs grow back. Prove that and you'll have my attention. I've seen magicians make objects disappear - does it make magic real, or show they are skilled at deception? How do you know what God using a man would be like? You can't even describe God from knowledge let along determine accurately if he is using someone. How do you know this preacher is not of the evil one? "For there shall come false Christs and false prophets, having a form of Godliness but denying the power thereof?" I think Paul said that.. or Peter. All these questions are to encourage you to think critically about this. I went through periods where I was utterly convinced God didn't exist, then swing back and think maybe he did. I find listening to Carl Sagan to help center me - maybe find something that can help focus you and get some reasoned thinking done? Like the others have said, relax. This is very much an emotional response - there is nothing else that can describe your post. All the best LF
  22. 1 point
    @Joshpantera I am aware of my own awareness. I am sentient, cognizant, and currently awake. As such, I don't disbelieve my own existence. On the other hand, my perceptions are as faulty as the senses through which they are filtered, which means there is a good chance that "I" don't exist, but am not aware of it. So, I don't believe my own existence. In the same way, "god" could exist without me being aware of it. he, she, or it could exist in some other dimension that we know about, but cannot currently perceive. Or he could exist somewhere in the 99.99% of the universe that we have yet to explore; or in some other universe, to which we have no access. So, I don't disbelieve in the existence of a god, gods, or some sort of higher/other being. However, the existence of god has made little impact on the world as we know it. Religion has done a lot, both good and bad; and god certainly "exists" in the minds of believers. But god seems useless when it comes down to the daily minutae of our lives. A useless god, or one that is inaccessible, may as well not exist. Certainly the best evidence we can perceive, interpreted by the highest minds we have produced, supports the non-existence of god. Therefore, I don't believe a god exists. As a result, I both believe and disbelieve in the existence of god (and myself). And because one cancels out the other, I neither believe nor disbelieve in the existence of god (or myself). Think about this: I know that the earth revolves around the sun; but I also don't know if the earth or the sun even exist. Make sense?
  23. 1 point
    Hang with me, I'm just not understanding the position. How do you neither believe nor not believe? I'm not sure how anyone would be free from such encumbrances. Everything aside from believing, is not believing. As in not caring is not believing. Just like not knowing is not believing. It's all of the not's or lacks. You're lack of care placing you with the not's. Not belief Not knowledge Not care Basically all of these strike me as sub categories of atheism - not theism. And by being descriptive a person gives a better impression of what they mean. If someone says that they're an agnostic atheist, or an apatheistic atheist, it tells me that they don't know and they lack positive belief or they don't care and they lack in positive belief. Not knowing and not caring seem to run together as descriptive categories of not-theism. Some atheists don't know, some don't care. Some don't know and don't care. What's common here is that neither believes. I for one don't care if any gods exist. It wouldn't change anything, I'm with you on that. So I may describe myself as agnostic atheist with an apatheistic leaning: I don't know if gods exist, I don't believe in them, and I don't really give a shit even if they do. The same goes down the line for Nessy, Big Foot, Santa, etc. It may be unorthodox for me to combine all these terms, but it seems to make sense.
  24. 1 point
    The point of the book is that religion and it's rules are obsolete. Spirituality is personal and religion actually degrades the experience. This is probably one of the best attacks on religion that Harris could offer. I'm surprised to see Harris taking this direction. But I welcome the insight he's bringing to the atheist community. Much of what I'm seeing so far are things right out of Campbell like a focus on the christian and muslim mystics which were killed for equating god with humanity. His treatment of east and west is interesting. There's a lot of misunderstanding out there and Harris zeros right in on the problem. I'm glad to see a reputable atheist taking on such a volume. That may be what it takes for some people to understand the angle of spiritual oriented atheism. I see why Peter Russell gave such a good review. Harris's discourse on using terms like spiritual and mystical are basically identical to posts I've made in this forum. We need not be afraid of such usage, in fact we ought to go ahead and own the terms because why not? We can own them, so let's do.
  25. 1 point
    @Joshpantera Early in this discussion we both came to the conclusion/agreement that it's unlikely that even with the sea level rise predicted, that humanity would face a catastrophic or existential threat. However we were thinking (Or I was) of just sea level rise, and an increase in the temperature of around 2-5 degrees. Assuming the ice caps do melt though, there could be a cascade effect on the entire climate system rendering what we know about current climate systems useless. This was a "what if" thought that popped in my head. We think of sea level rise, and yep areas get flooded, but if too much ice melts off the poles what effect could this have beside sea level rise and temperature rise?
  26. 1 point
    LB, good rant. I'm probably more 'sane' right now than I've ever been. (could also have to do with getting older). I made many mistakes during my life as a christian and I'll always be pissed off about the waste of time I spent trying to please the christian god. Some of those bad decisions were made trying to get gods' approval thinking I was following his direction. I have grown into, more or less, a nihilist with half decent morals. I do swing to wanting everything to be 'one' as in Pantheism, but I still really believe we are just animals. Just like skysoar said, once I saw that humans are just animals from evolving over millions of years, it answered every question I had. Good luck, bad luck, good days, bad days, rich days, poor days...... it's all about being a human animal and survival for me now. You could say that I've grown into a pessimist with a big smile on my face. I try really hard not to ruin anyone's day. I still like to be kind even behind my pessimism. And I still like a good laugh. But.....no more bullshit for me.
  27. 1 point
    ...or you could just go ahead and deconvert since you seem basically there half the time.
  28. 1 point
    LB I'd like to preface this post by saying I do agree with much of what you are saying, I don't however, agree with the manner in which it is said. Fair comment on the 'shredding" I chose my words poorly. I look on it more as an opportunity to challenge this Christians perspective, and perhaps change their mind. By saying "pretended" you are making the assuming that Jon is more informed and more intelligent than he makes out. This might be right, but as Jeff points out, when challenged Jon already backed down and asked for explanations. I prefer to look on the situation as a Christian, overconfident, and not as knowledgeable as they think, coming here, and we have an opportunity to change the way he thinks. If he simply goes away from here being able to hold an argument better then we have achieved something. He is only wasting your time IF you read his posts and IF you reply to them. You consider it a waste of time, I don't. You see it as an annoyance to be banned, I see it as an opportunity. If we are looking at convincing others of our position, I don't think launching personal attacks is the way to go about it. As far as logic goes, launching an ad hominem is a logical fallacy. https://yourlogicalfallacyis.com/ad-hominem
  29. 1 point
    But TRP, wouldn't it be fair to say, despite your post above, that you do have a belief or lack of belief on subject X, even if you don't give a shit about it? I think there is a conflating of caring about what one believes/doesn't believe and the belief itself? (For example on the subject of God I care about what others believe and that what I believe is true as possible) So you can have a belief and still not give a shit about the consequences of that belief. For example I don't give a shit about whether the FSM exists or not. It's irrelevant, but I don't believe it does exist. So I have both not caring and lack of belief. So you don't give a shit about God existing, but do you believe God exists? (My definition of God in this post is the Judeo/Christian God) PS, you might be ignostic, apatheist and atheist all at the same time?
  30. 1 point
    You are right in all way Insightful Very deep.
  31. 1 point
    That's it in a nutshell. I was unbelievably neurotic as a Christian. After a while, it rendered me unable to process anything anymore. I can't tell you enough how good it feels to take a walk outside and just enjoy the beautiful weather. None of that 'what soul can I win today?' stuff. What made me neurotic was the belief that the evils in the world were all apart of sin. I never grew up drinking or doing drugs. Pornography was the extent of it. Yet, I saw so much hedonism, self-absorption, and war growing up. To someone like me, it made sense that this world was doomed. It felt nice to have an answer to all the chaos I never understood. .
  32. 1 point
    Not giving a shit requires neither belief nor not belief. It is freedom from such encumbrances. I don't believe or not believe; I don't know or not know. I simply don't care. I agree that people ignore the meanings of the labels. That is what has caused each of them to end up meaning so many things to so many people that they ultimately mean nothing to anybody.
  33. 1 point
    I started reading the preview on google books. This looks very good. I like how Harris set forward the interpretation of spirit as "breathe" and hammers home from the outset that (1) meditation is precisely spiritual and (2) that most of the supernatural bagged attached itself in the middle ages. This speaks immediately to the same misunderstanding I've noticed both here at ex-C and abroad where people don't think meditation is spiritual. In fact it's the very hub of spiritual and that's because it involves breathing and consciousness. We face a large scale problem of misunderstanding what spirituality even is in the first place due to religions which have largely degraded human spirituality. And the new wave of the future, IMO, will involve the direction that Harris is going in. This will sweep through the ranks of atheism all in good time. And I think atheism will adapt to the changing landscape.
  34. 1 point
    Jon, you're not going to get banned for believing in Jesus, trust me. But you may end up being ignored if you say you want to debate but don't do so in any kind of coherent manner.
  35. 1 point
    1. Your experience, or lack thereof, carries just as much weight as anybody else's. And more weight than claims made by somebody who heard it from somebody who heard it from somebody else who said they were there and saw it. 2. If god loves children in Africa enough to raise them from the dead or heal their blinded eyes, why doesn't he feed them on a more consistent basis? Wouldn't that be a greater, and more practical, miracle?
  36. 1 point
    That's 5 answers, none of which is particularly robust, but let's see what we can do. Your God is... 1) Jesus Christ 2) God the father of the bible 3) The creator and sustainer of the universe 4) The life giving spirit 5) The father of lights I don't accept that these 5 can be seamlessly amalgamated into one, coherently defined notion of "God". Two of the five do not exactly make sense even of their own accord. What, precisely is meant by "the life giving spirit"? What on earth is meant by "the father of lights"? I understand that you are a Christian, but I'm afraid that I will need you to be a bit more specific. As the prof has suggested, there are multiple versions of Christianity, some of which directly contradict each other about the nature of God. My personal contention is that no one has ever been able to coherently and robustly define the Christian God. But this makes the statement "God exists" incomprehensible, and therefore, meaningless. So until what we mean by God is properly defined, Pascal's wager holds no meaning whatsoever. I understand that this may seem a touch disingenuous on my part. I used to be a Christian. I understand many of the different Christian notions of God very well. So for me to pretend that I don't may seem somehow evasive. But I don't think that this is truly the case. Christianity claims that God's ways are not our ways, and that his thoughts are not our thoughts. So we can't be expected to be able to understand him. Ergo, my contention regarding the definition of God meshes with the Christian message. But it follows, then, that we can't know how God will react to our believing in him. We can't know that salvation is to be gained and damnation avoided by such belief. So, once again, Pascal's wager loses it's potency. Florduh's objection is also very potent. I find myself in the position of actually not believing in God. I could pretend to believe, but surely God would see through that. I can't make myself think that Christianity is true. I sincerely don't believe it. And then there is the issue of which God to choose, which has already been discussed. It bears noting, though, that if I were to pretend to believe in a God in order to evade some hypothetically horrendous afterlife, I wouldn't choose the Christian God. I'd convert to Islam. Their heaven is better, and their hell is worse. But I still might choose to do that and find myself waking up on the shores of the river Styx, with no coin to pay to Charon. See the problem? I hope that by now you can see that Pascal's wager is troubling only to those non-believers who haven't really thought it through.
  37. 1 point
    What I found is that church people have a LOT of stories. Stories that cannot be verified and that they usually heard from someone else touting it as true, simply because it seems to indicate their faith is real. I even had a buddy of mine tell me he saw a Jamaican wizard appear in a bathroom at a Christian conference, and that he rebuked him in the name of Jesus and he disappeared. Believers are full of stories, but are any of them true? Believers used to tell me about how video games would ask kids to sign their souls over to the devil to get to the next round. EEEK! If such a game ever existed, no one could tell me the name. When I deconverted from Christianity, I first spent a year praying, fasting, seeking, trying hard to get real answers to real questions. After a year of silence and mounting evidence that the Bible was not at all historical, I left the faith and haven't looked back. It still has taken years to shake the remnants off and retrain my subconscious to a new way of viewing reality, but life makes a lot more sense now that I don't try to perceive an invisible war with invisible angels and demons. Just simple reality.
  38. 1 point
    All that haunts me is that they are worming their way into government and secular life.
  39. 1 point
    Oh really? Do you actually believe this? Does it make you feel better or sleep better at night thinking we just didn't get the full picture of God? Hmmm let me try n see if I got a full picture. While knowing that I was lost and in need of a sacrifice so that I could walk with him as he walked with Adam before they sinned in the garden of eden. He made a plan. A plan that would end up causing his own son to be beaten, tortured, and die on a cross. The ultimate plan of salvation for his lost children. Jesus willing to be the sacrifice for us was born of a Virgin. Lived his life without sin and In his 30s he was baptised by John (his cousin) and began his ministry and his journey to the cross preaching a new gospel of love and faith. In the Garden of Gethsemane he pleaded with his father knowing the end was near to let this cup pass from him but that not his will be done but the fathers. Having his answer the guards came to take him and he went willingly even tho at any point of time he could have called ten thousand of gods angels to vanquish his enemies. But he didn't. He loved us. He wanted us to be saved and he knew without his sacrifice we would be forever bound to an everlasting hell. He submitted and let these men beat him beyond recognition, revile, mock, and spit on him, Strip him of his cloths, nail him to a cross in the place of a murderer, place a crown of thorns upon his head whose thorns would have dug deep beneath the skin. In agony he hung from the cross held their by the love he had for us! His friends! And his sheep! Just so we could be saved. Someone as lowly as me! Even now I begin to cry when I think about this. This is what I believed. From the pulpit I would preach this message with tears streaming from my face just as they are now. Such love! Such sacrifice! For an unworthy man like me! Is this the practical picture your speaking of? A God of Love and mercy willing to do ANYTHING to redeem us? Even to sacrifice his own son? Is that what your talking about? Because if it is then I think I had a pretty good grasp of the concept. Maybe now you can understand the agony I felt when I realised it was just a very well crafted story meant to fill my heart with those emotions and the devotion to serve Jesus. Maybe you can imagine the disappointment when God stopped answering my prayers or when I stopped feeling his spirit. Something I never thought would happen after my salvation experience. I believe every word in that bible until the holes became to obvious for me to cover up with a simple excuse or an apologetic statement. Can you imagine the shock I had when I found out that the exodus never happened when I was genuinely trying to find proof for my son who had decided not to believe. Which also lead to me discovering the origins of my God and realising the systematic evolution of a polytheistic religion into a monotheistic. When your faith in the bible ends...... even a well crafted story like that of Jesus begins to fall apart. I do know what happens when material success crumbles. I lost a house, a wife, two cars, and had to file bankruptcy during the housing market crisis. But I kept the faith for 5 more years after that. I held onto Jesus when I went through the storm. So I can definitely tell you. Can you tell me what happens when the bible crumbles? Because I can. I stood strong during a material melt down. But buckled at the knees, (sometimes literally in prayer) when the bible began to crumble. He tried me and I kept the faith. I tried him and he failed. I'm just gonna leave ya with that Cuz well... living it over again gets a little depressing and it's time for me to sleep anyway as I work nights so I'm gonna stop here. Dark Bishop
  40. 1 point
    ... I'm too sober for this shit.
  41. 1 point
    I can relate to SO much of what you just said. If there is anything that has been perceived as a miracle it was probably going to happen anyway. Like Pat on the 700 club holding hands with his head bowed and says. "There is a woman that found out that she had cervical cancer last year. God wants you to know you are healed." " Someone has lost their wife and is thinking about suicide. God wants you to know he loves you and is with you during this time." I mean seriously out of the millions of people watching how many might fit that criteria? Then they praise God their cancer didn't come back after they scraped her cervix and someone gets a feeling of reassurance during a time of grief. Then pat gets new donations to the 700 club. YAY! God is great. I also had friends and family who were good people but I knew they would go to hell if they didn't accept Jesus. Basically that's just a ploy so you will try your damndest to convert them. Because you've been brain washed to believe someone you love so much will be tortured for eternity if you don't witness to them. The best thing I can tell you to do to break your fears is to research. The more you know about the truth the easier it will be to reprogram your brain. Your loved ones are good people. Their isn't a hell for them to go to. And you are not a bad person for questioning. He says he will try us in the bible. He is a hypocrite if he expects us not to try him. From the sounds of it you have been trying him with your prayers and pleas for his devine intervention with no answer, that's because he is not there. I hope this helps, I know how you feel. Many of us here went through the same things. Don't think your alone in this. We will help anyway we can. Dark Bishop
  42. 1 point
    Hmm, I appreciate the thoughts. One thing I'll note is that I've discovered the reason why I've come to hate my church as much as I do. As for my wife, I love her. I really do. I'm glad I married her and our wedding was great. Everything is great except when I openly grumble about church. What pisses me off is that we didn't get to decide to get married for ourselves. The decision was forced upon us, as my pastor practically said I either needed to marry her or dump her that one day. It wasn't naturally our decision, even though it might/probably would have been. Just later in the future. Same goes for my friend and the pastor telling us not to move in with each other. My wife and I didn't get to make and discover these big relationship decisions for ourselves. Sure, the end result may have been the same, but that doesn't matter. What matters is the force and guilt the church (or merely two people) pressed on us/me to do it their way. What sucks also is that, for the most part, I like the people in my church. Our small group folk are fun to be around on game nights and such or anytime one of them isn't talking about Jesus or the gospel. It's Sunday mornings that get me. The preaching. I wanted to scream at the pastor speaking today (different from the other one). The judgmental prick. Telling people how to live their lives. Looking down on those who don't bow to the people and simply want to live their lives the best they can. Ugh. Sorry. I have no real place to rant except this site. Thank goodness I found it.
  43. 1 point
    Chuckles, That's a funny screen name. It makes me...well...chuckle. When I met Mrs. MOHO 20 years ago she informed me that she would not date anyone who was not an xitan. Of course I said that I was because who in the US was not? So, my initial concept of an xtian, and that religion in general, went largely unchallenged until we moved to Ore-Gun and got mixed up with some screem'n fundies. Mrs. MOHO took to them like long-lost family while I went completely in the opposite direction. Things were so tense on the home-front for 1.5 years after I proclaimed my deconversion that I eventually began going to church on Sunday again - just to smooth things over. I'm telling you this because I want to convey the absolute daily pain this arrangement causes me and that I am only doing this because we have been together for 20 years (no kids but we have 3 lovely grand-daughters from Mrs MOHO's son from a previous marriage) and leaving seems unthinkable at this point. I am trying to communicate to you what your life COULD become if you stay in the marriage and Mrs. Chuckles continues down the path of indoctrination and YOU continue towards enlightenment and freedom. It's tough. REALLY tough! You, Sir, are young enough, and married for such a short time, that changing your entire life will be relatively easy. Approach Mrs. Chuckles with honesty and frankness. Tell her your reasons, if she will listen, for not believing, and give it a few months. If nothing changes GET OUT! GET OUT! Don't look back! Run like the wind! Don't wind up like MOHO where there is nothing but PAIN in either direction!
  44. 1 point
    You found out quickly that some churches are especially into controlling the sheep. They take advantage of people's unwillingness to say NO and push all kinds of stuff on you quickly to keep you submerged emotionally, and thus easier to control. It is a common tactic in all cults. Questioning authority is automatically assumed to come from sin or demons instead of actual questions. And when you aren't willing to accept doubletalk as an answer, they label you "contentious". And they will be working overtime on your wife to convince her that you are under the influence of a "rebellious spirit" which was already there when you two wanted to live together. If she's pretty, they will work triple-time on her because pretty women draw in more potential converts, and pastors like to control pretty women. Pastors wank as much or more than the men they try to counsel. This is because nobody is born-again, there is no new creation, there is no holy spirit, there is no lamb of god, there is no god, no devil, no demons, just humans with unfortunately gullible minds. I was a believer for 30 years. I watched this shit for decades, especially in the more controlling congregations like Maranatha, Christian Center, and Foursquare. The first two had a rule where you must approach a pastor if you feel god is leading you to a particular woman, and they'd have to pray over you and rebuke spirits of lust before they could ever grant consent. Vile disgusting controlling little shits! None of that is even in the Bible, but they extrapolate it to CONTROL people. Control gets them more tithes, and obedient people are a lot easier to deal with than those who have minds. One of the last churches I visited didn't want to hear questions about tithing or the sermon, because that meant you were thinking. They literally said to me, "You'd be happier somewhere else." Meaning they'd be happier if I were somewhere else. They also pushed you into "leadership" training right away, so you could create more drones for them to control. Many cults do the long-hours and little-rest, some only letting you eat sugary foods. Tons of prayer sessions and spiritual warfare bullshit so you think you have invisible enemies trying to trick you into leaving the cult, but you are a mighty warrior of god blah blah blah. Religion like this should be illegal, but isn't. If your wife is willing to unplug from that congregation, move out of town and away from their influence. They'd far rather concentrate on new lackies than try and pursue you. Most of us who left church found out that they forget about you fairly quickly. The constant barrage of "praying for you" and such keeps her underwater emotionally and unwilling to question. I wish you well.


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