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  1. 21 points
    A strange thing has happened over the past few weeks - and I think it's a good sign: I haven't felt the need to logon to ex-christian.net EVERY SINGLE DAY... Don't get me wrong, this site is AMAZING. It has played a huge role in processing my deconversion experience, finding my new worldview, growing in confidence in what I believe and why, finding freedom from all of the fears Christianity had gripped me with. Everyday for nearly 3 years, I signed on - eager to hear another extimony, hoping people shared their thoughts about the issues I was facing - and they did. I had to RE-HASH everything over and over to deprogram myself from all of the indoctrination and to get over the fear. I needed to be SURE that I was on the right path. I'm sure now =) I've reached a really fantastic place in my mind - I have peace. I love the person I am now so much more than 4 years ago when I was still a Christian. Honestly, I was an anxious, chauvinistic, self-righteous, judgmental, authoritarian who preached grace and had very little... I have peace as an agnostic. NOT having all of the answers is a much lighter load to bear than claiming to know them all and having to square reality with my “certainty”. I live now in the present - eager to suck every drop of joy and goodness from each experience - whether that is a conversation with my wife, helping one of my patients, or taking my oldest daughter out for a plate of her favorite Vietnamese noodles (like I did tonight) and watching her gulp them down with sheer delight. I derive deep satisfaction from helping the hurting – supporting causes that improve the lives of orphans throughout the world, etc. I love getting to look at amazing creatures and just marvel at how they came to be. I don’t have to feel confused about why God created them with defense and attack structures if they were just all vegetarian. And it doesn’t cause me anxiety when their evolutionary relatedness is apparent. I can just appreciate it! I used to feel the burden of trying to make it all make sense with my worldview… I love not having to used convoluted explanations to defend the Christian worldview to my daughters. I am so proud of them for their bright, curious minds and I am thrilled to no longer be squashing their precious curiosity with “the truth” that I’ve already arrived at. Facing the coming death of my wife’s mother (she’s in her final weeks of life), my oldest asked me, “Why would God make us so that we die?”. Great frickin’ question! Four years ago, I would have said, “he made us to live forever, but we sinned, and the punishment for sinning is that we die.” Now, I can say “That’s a GREAT question. I don’t know. What I do know is that death is a normal part of life and not something to be afraid of. Flowers die and animals die. What death makes me do is focus on how precious each day is and live it to the fullest!” [I would like to tell her why her great question is actually evidence against God’s goodness/existence, but I’ve agreed with my wife not to go there…]. FINALLY, my marriage is beginning to heal from the ways that Christianity has screwed it up, bigtime. IF you take the Bible literally, like I did, verses like these absolutely WILL impact how you view your wife: “3 But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God.” And “9 Nor was man created for the woman, but woman for the man.” And “…For this is how the holy women of the past adorned themselves. They put their hope in God and were subject to their husbands, just as Sarah obeyed Abraham and called him lord.” And “A woman should learn in quietness and full submission. I do not permit a woman to teach or to assume authority over a man; she must be quiet. For Adam was formed first, then Eve. And Adam was not the one deceived; it was the woman who was deceived and became a sinner.” Is it any wonder that my wife resented me for treating her like someone who needed to be under my authority/headship? Who should “obey” me just like Sarah obeyed her husband?? After all, that is how “holy women” acted… The irony is that most modern, educated women do NOT want to be treated this way, even if they revere a text that says they should. Pity the fool (aka ME) who tried to live that out. Finally, though, we are seeing healing. My wife is beginning to revive – to define her own identity as distinct from me – which is so healthy. We are no longer “complementarian” in our marriage, but “Egalitarian”. And it is great. I don’t spank my girls any more – haven’t in four years. Nor do I want to. (OK, maybe once in a while it’s tempting when they’re being total punks…=)). But now it is completely offensive to me and just plain wrong. And I feel awesome about my position on that. I spent 3 years being afraid of my old church friends “finding out” about me… especially because it would get back to my wife’s brother and cause chaos in the family… well now, most of the friendships have dwindled to nothing anyway – and I no longer care who finds out what. I’m not afraid any more of what I believe and why. Fundamentalist belief is so much like a computer virus – it hogs all of your system resources to the point that the computer can barely function. Well, when a mind is preoccupied with constantly trying to make a round world fit into a square worldview-hole, constantly feeling guilty about normal behaviors and short-comings, always wondering if your faith is genuine enough, if you’ve given away enough, if you’ve shared the gospel enough… then that mind is not free to run like it’s supposed to – to live, to work, to love, to experience, to share… Now the virus has been removed and my computer runs fast and free… And as I’ve come out “the other side” of this deconversion process, my existence is no longer defined by the struggle / the processs / the sorting-things-out. I’m actually living my life now on the other side. I suppose this site is much like a rehab facility for substance abuse: you should come and stay while you are sick, get the treatment you need, then get out and live a meaningful life. Some people will stay back as volunteers and help the newly-sick. Some will relapse and show up every now and again. And some will just ride into the sunset. I’m not sure which one I’ll be, but I’m pretty sure I’ve completed my treatment program. =)
  2. 12 points
    @ConsiderTheSource @Geezer @Weezer @DanForsman @disillusioned @DestinyTurtle @Fuego @LogicalFallacy @TheRedneckProfessor @ag_NO_stic @Citsonga @Mariana @Margee @florduh @Joshpantera @DevilsCabanaBoy @RealityCheck @sdelsolray @Derek @Lefty @Lerk @LifeCycle @Blood @buffettphan @Positivist @Realist If I forgot anyone....that's the Alzheimer's setting in...
  3. 12 points
    The land of enormous flags and women with perfectly coiffed blonde hair. I wasn’t born here though. I’m from the north east and it was me,my younger brother,mom and dad. We moved a lot and didn’t have much. Focus on the Family came with us and blared from moms kitchen radio wherever we went. Dad’s narcissism and listening for the Holy Spirit on every detail of my life was just normal. We were charismatic,speaking in tongues,fundies with no Santa or Easter basket, or god forbid trick or treat. I just feel sad now remembering it. I grew up,went to a small Bible college,met a good man and married him my senior year. I found a gentle parenting internet site and told my dad “women aren’t less than” and “god isn’t punitive”. That was my first big step away. I had three kids and suffered anxiety and depression while trying to read the bible to scare it all away. I prayed so hard. I guess maybe this all would have continued for much longer but for two things. 1. My brother is gay and I couldn’t deny the conditional love he got from my parents. 2. Trump came on the scene in 2016. I watched the map turn red Election night and realized I didn’t want to be associated with evangelicals anymore. Two years of depression later,I went to therapy. It took about a month for everything to just crash down to my feet. My brother and I talk every day now. My kids went trick or treating for the first time this year. I dressed up as a red devil and it was awesome. A lady invited me to her church. This is Texas after all. So that’s my story. I guess I’m a hopeful agnostic. I like the idea of a higher power in nature or something like that. But mostly,I love my freedom to live my beautiful life.
  4. 12 points
    I wanted to write this post because I believe there are others who can benefit from it. The journey from believer to atheist is difficult, more so if you were truly committed to the belief system. Though this process probably applies to other religions, I will strictly be speaking to Christianity because that is the only religion I have serious experience with. As I have stated more in depth elsewhere, I was an extremely committed Christian. What I mean by that is that I took the faith seriously. So serious, I was dedicated to figuring out what God wanted and what was my duty as a believer. This was actually one of the major reasons I left Christianity. I was never so hubris to think I had all the answers, I thought everyone else did though. I would scour through CARM, GotQuestions.org, Apologetics Press, and any other Christian website out there, no matter how wacky it was (for example, Dan Corner's Evangelical Outreach). Problem was, none of these groups could agree on anything. The nature of God, what did God want, what was orthodox, what was heresy. It was such a huge mess I just became disenchanted with all of it. It occurred to me that my potential eternal fate was on the line and I did not know how to get on track. Did Jesus really teach pacifism; were we supposed to sell our goods to the poor, if so, why....what would that accomplish other than everyone is poor? That does not seem like a long term economic plan (teaser....if Jesus taught the end of the age was right around the corner, it does make sense....and the NT does teach that); was God predestining people to hell; was there freewill. On and on it went and there were no answers, because there was no evidence to back up the claims. That is the game being played - merely make a statement and then proof-text the Bible to back up the statement. Everyone in the Christian community does it, and nobody is winning. Through all this, I went through the various stages of deconversion: full on Calvinistic fundamentalism (eventually the idea God was jettisoning people into hell started to make me physically nauseous), Arminianism, Annihilationist, Universalist, Deist, agnostic, now atheist (technically agnostic/atheist since I cannot say I know there is no god being). The deconversion process is fairly ubiquitous in the main points, that is, Believer - then Universalist - Deist (perhaps followed by spiritual but not religious) - agnostic - atheist. Make no mistake, this process can be especially painful to go through. When I was a through and through believer, I could not even frame what atheist were trying to say. I was taught to read the Bible one way, and as Dr. Robert M. Price would jokingly put it, "The Bible says it, I believe it, that settles it." Of course I believed it only from a fundamentalist standpoint. It was all I was taught growing up. I thought liberal theology was flat out heresy, and truth be told, I never even heard of the historical-critical method until a year ago. The process of leaving religion starts with losing fear, at least that was true for me. I spent so much time defending the Bible, God, and dogma out of a fear of hell - that is, punishment. I did not want to be punished so I toed the party line no matter how absurd it may have been. It is not until you are able to defeat your fears will you be able to start framing dogmatic stances differently. My first breakthrough was when I said I would no longer defend God's character when it came to difficulties in the Bible. I stopped trying to play the game where God was innocent of all wrong doing in every circumstance. I then decided I would be honest about how I really felt about hell, especially those who believe infants are in hell. I just could not do it anymore. I could not see how eternally punishing someone was just or fair or loving. It is not, it is terrible; and to say a being that "is love" is doing so is just ridiculous. It completely evacuates the word love of any real meaning. These were my initial breakthroughs, after which, I realized that other people do not have the answers. They do not know the Bible, God's heart, or whatever else they are attempting to claim; they are just as lost about the nature of reality as everyone else, if not more so. I say this because at least secularist are willing to go wherever the evidence takes them. Seculars do not believe something and then attempt to rationalize it (well, this holds true if they are doing it right). It was at this moment where I was feeling extremely tumultuous. I remember getting on my knees multiple times asking God to reveal to me what it actually meant to be a Christian. I would give anything if he would just give me one hour of his time to answer my questions and get me on the right path. As others before me at this point in the journey, my fervent prayers were met with silence. Not to deviate too much from the topic, but I find this to be a good talking point. For all the talk about how much the Christian God is so loving, and can be viewed as a father, does it not seem odd that he will not actually fulfill that role? What father, or mother, if they truly had the authority to judge their child's life would not fully explain what to believe, what to do, what not to do, and the consequences for each - in person. Why the hearsay? Why the divine hiding? If this deity is so damn concerned with what we are believing and how we are living our lives, then why not just come to everyone and lay it out. To me, any good parent would do so, and if mortals are so terribly horrible compared to this thrice Holy God, it would seem the aforementioned would be natural action this deity would take. Talk is cheap, no matter who is talking. After the failure of any deity to show up and give me divine inspiration, I finally broke down and decided to listen to what the secular atheist had to say. I had one condition, I was not willing to listen to any atheist who had not been a former Christian. Only former believers know what it is like to be in the game and to make their way out of it. I started by visiting sites such as this. After that, I began to watch YouTube videos by atheists: Seth Andrews, Matt Dillahunty, and the like. I was obsessed with what they had to say. It was the first time I ever heard anyone actually question the existence of God in a rational manner, and it made me pause. I must have listened to 24 hours of videos before moving on to other media formats. I joined the Bart Ehrman blog and ordered a few of his books. Reading what Dr. Ehrman had to say regarding the veracity of the Bible was completely uncharted territories for me. Little by little I was able to start pivoting from a fundamentalist reading of the Bible. Again, it was not easy, I was often afraid. Afraid of being wrong, that was my primary fear. I felt as though I was opening a can of worms that cannot be put back once they were out, and if I was wrong, I was going to pay for it eternally. Following Dr. Ehrman, I ran across the name Dr. Robert M. Price. He has a couple podcasts, The Human Bible, and The Bible Geek. I went back and downloaded every Human Bible episode I could as well as Bible Geek episodes. What an eye opening discussion from Dr. Price. I listened to all the Human Bible and Bible Geek (there are a ton of these so I have not been through all of them yet) episodes I could download on Podcast Addict. I then ran across other names such as David Fitzgerald, Dr. Richard Carrier, and Jerry DeWitt (former Pentacostal preacher). Each with YouTube videos, audio books, and the written word which aided in breaking the spell of fundamentalism. I also found websites ran by former believers that also helped to break the spell: https://brucegerencser.net (was a pastor for 25 years) https://rejectingjesus.com https://christosophical.wordpress.com I mention all of these names because I believe others will find value in hearing and reading what they have to say. It was these authors who helped me on my journey. There were so many times I wanted to run back to the safety net of fundamentalism, but more and more I realized, I can not go back, there is nothing to go back to. Nothing changed in the Christian community, there was still no unity. Each church believed the church across the road was going to hell. In reality, hearing these secular authors discuss the Bible was the first time I was getting an honest and frank discussion regarding the Bible. No spin doctors, just academics seeking to know and understand....you do not get that in church, you get a theologically loaded discussion with an endpoint in mind. As I mentioned before, the journey is wrought with self doubt and fear. Each breakthrough is a major victory because it is so difficult to get there. My advice would be to keep learning - keep listening and keep reading. Over time, the dogmatic beliefs you once held will start to loosen, little by little. At first it is terrifying, but as your skepticism grows, you will look back and be astounded at the ridiculous notions you once believed. Do not get me wrong, every now and then I am blindsided by my own mind and wonder if I have this all wrong and will be eternal BBQ; well, if that is the case, then so be it. I did my best to figure out the truth and if I end up eternally punished, it is the deity's fault I am there (this is a discussion for another time - long story short, the Christian God only has himself to blame for the sin in the world [not that I believe this is a true story, but merely speaking to the logical conclusions you would have to draw from biblical narratives]). Looking back, I am not really sure when I started on the journey towards atheism, but it was relatively recent, only within the past year and a half. I can say this, if you stick through it, it can be liberating. No longer the guilt, the shame, the sense of worthlessness, but it can also be troubling. I had to come to terms that this is probably the only life I have to live. Once I go, I likely will never see my son again, I will never experience pleasure, or pain, or love, or a sunset, or all of these aspects of our human existence. That was a tough pill to swallow, but I got through. I gave other religions a cursory look to get over my anxiety regarding death, but none of them made any sense either, and eventually I abandoned the whole notion. All I can say is this, I made peace with the idea that this is probably my only life to live. How I did it, I am not exactly sure, it was not one single thing that brought me peace about it, it was a myriad of thoughts; again, this would be a whole other conversation. Perhaps another time when I am able to put thoughts to words. Everyone on this site is at a different point on the path. I happened to be on the super highway to atheism, but for others, it takes years to find chinks in the armor and expose them. Make no mistake, I am still educating myself and re-framing Christianity. I am currently listening to The Case Against the Case for Christ by Dr. Robert M. Price and On the Historicity of Jesus by Dr. Richard Carrier. Never hesitate to reach out to me if you are questioning and are stuck on the path. I may have some words of wisdom to impart (or at least I have some resources you should look at) because I have been there, and likely I know what it is like to be where you are. I hope this post helps some people. I am grateful for the fact this website exist and there are others on here who have helped me escape the death grip of religion.
  5. 11 points
    ...I could not reconcile that a god could make something perfect only to have it rebel and suddenly is not perfect. How can a perfect entity suddenly be not perfect? Makes zero sense. That was when I started researching, even more, then one day the question hit me..."Where have all the gods gone?" It was at that point I realized that the truth is far from true! From then on, I smelled the stench of man, not the hand of a god in writing that book. So, after much thought and research, I came to the conclusion that I had to admit there are no gods. We have so many religions because we have so many people with their own understanding of why we humans even exist, but we all wonder why we are here. And it is that very wonder that has moved some people to offer up their own answers, even to the extreme of forming a religion behind it. Some are sincere, some are not and have had ulterior motives for their doctrines, but the bottom line, not a single god has come forward and saved their creations from themselves. NONE. Humanity is the same now as it always has been. Nothing has changed but the humans involved. Dare I say, I found the truth to be that humans who sincerely just want to know the truth have been played by their fellow humans. If you really want to know the truth of a matter, go looking and you will find it, but be prepared for the answers you might not want to hear.
  6. 11 points
    Hi everyone. I actually signed up here in December, 2016, but haven't felt ready to start sharing. I spent a good deal of the past year or so dealing with significant emotional wounds, and I only now feel healed enough to be safe interacting with others. Hopefully this isn't as tough a crowd as where I came from. As for me: I spent 25 years of my life in evangelical Christianity. I wasn't fundamentalist, but the denomination (Baptist) was pretty conservative. I was one of those sold-out, all-in believers that signed up for every ministry, and every outreach. I headed up women's bible studies, did outreach to the homeless and did recovery work at rescue missions and the Salvation Army. I was also a professional (blues) musician prior to my conversion, so worship team and choir were also in the mix. During my time in the church, I "filed away" many things that either were "not OK to ask" or were "just the way things are." But cognitive dissonance as a coping strategy can only get you so far. Looking back, I'm amazed that I lasted as long as I did. Especially since I didn't come from a religious family upbringing. When I finally had my done moment and left, I'd been wearing a mask, hiding so many areas of disagreement with church doctrine or policy, that no one really "knew" me. I was a perfect little rule-follower, and as long as I did as I was told, or as I should, all was well. Except for all was not well with me. My husband and son and I had moved up to the Pacific Northwest from California, and our entire social life was wrapped up in this church. When we left, I lost every friend I had. Worse, after 25 years, I literally had no idea how to make friends outside of belonging to a church. It's been a long, hard road, but I think I'm going to make it. I look forward to sharing my ex-timonial at some point soon, and thank you for being here for those of us who arrive as walking wounded.
  7. 11 points
    Hi, everyone. Missed many of you, I've been insane crazy busy pursuing my baking business dreams, working, etc. I hope everyone is doing well. I haven't been active, because the forum posts were starting to blur together into this left vs. right bullshit of which I grew quite weary. I had a few minutes, logged in, and kinda skimmed through all my notifications. After reading through several forum posts with inflammatory titles and/or responses, I was getting worked up and crafting all these responses in my head....and then I realized that there is no point to it at all. Why should I bother to respond to things and throw in my two cents? Nothing happens. There are some people I truly respect on this site, I respect sticking to the arguments and disagreeing without being an asshole. Bouncing ideas off each other, challenging your thinking together, and checking your own biases and misinformation. But there is MUCH assholery here and I'm pretty done with it. I'm barely even on this site anyway and one day of scrolling through all of these posts has me heading straight back to my busy life without looking back. How are we supposed to grow together, learn from each other, help each other navigate through life, or do anything remotely productive on this site when we're too busy slinging shit at each other? There is pure gold in these forums from people who lost their faith and we are going to lose people who need help freshly deconverting by demonizing each other and put each other in boxes, with labels like "snowflakes," "racists," "ignorant," "stupid," etc. As someone who prefers to think critically about any various issue as opposed to holding to some party line or whatever, I'm seeing it on both sides. I don't know how many of the people on this site that I hold in high regard have the diligence and patience to respond to such mind-numbingly dumb shit with respect and thought-provoking material. I will fiercely defend anyone's right to say whatever they want to say, free speech and what not....but god DAMN what is the POINT of trolling? You think it's funny or something? What is the POINT of trying to make another person feel inferior or ill-informed? Sure, I'll chuckle at a potentially offensive meme every now and then....but like, there is just so much unproductivity in many of these discussions that it's overwhelming. Congratulations, you have free speech, now are you gonna doing anything useful with it? You're free to say whatever you want, by all means, but I don't have to listen to you say it. And before a select few of you want to say I'm throwing a snowflake tantrum, do me a favor and f*** right off. I won't put up with it, the way this place has been lately. It's called self-respect, not inability to hear things I don't like. I can't be the only one observing this crap or feeling this way, for the love of Zeus.
  8. 11 points
    Awhile back, I crashed my car. My whole life was thrown into a tailspin because of it. I had to find alternate transportation to work, and I nearly lost my job over it. But, things are better now. I believe Jesus allowed me to crash my car so that I could learn to better appreciate the things I have. Just the other day, I had to take my car on a long trip through the big city. I nearly got into a huge wreck when a truck driver forgot to hit his breaks. The truck came about six inches from smashing right into me. I really believe that Jesus caused the truck's breaks to work just a little bit better than they normally would have. I'm sure that my car would have been totaled and I might have even died... But, Jesus saved me from crashing my car! Hallelujah! A long time ago I tripped on acid, and I really believe that Jesus spoke to me in a vision while I was tripping. He was so real and so kind. Because of that wildly spiritual acid trip, I came to the realization that Jesus is real. I really believe he worked through the acid trip to reveal his true nature to me. Thank you, Jesus! About a month ago I smoked a little bit too much weed. I got too high and started freaking out. Within minutes, I was having a full blown panic attack. During that time I swear I could feel the devil's angels trying to rip my life away from me. I started frantically praying, and Jesus calmed my spirit. It was almost like I could hear his voice speak to me telling me that everything was going to be alright. He showed me that day that drugs are bad, and there is no place for them in his beautiful world. Now, I'm going to do my best to make sure no one ever touches the devil's lettuce again! Praise his holy name! A few years ago, my wife and I had the opportunity to help a young Ethiopian girl out of poverty. She came here with a missionary, and we volunteered to let her live in our home. Jesus used us to keep her from living a life of poverty, pain, and misery. She is now going off to college here in the U.S.A. She is going to become a minister! Isn't Jesus great? Two years ago, I saw a video that showed thousands of poor Ethiopian children who were on the brink of death by starvation... I knew there was nothing I or anyone else could do to help them. I said a prayer for them and turned the television off. I guess Jesus just allows those things to happen so that we can appreciate the blessings he's bestowed upon us and our beautiful country. It's really a shame, but sometimes we've got to be able to see the bad to appreciate the good. Can I get a witness?! A year ago, an entire town was wiped out in a tornado. Over 100 people died. It was such a terrible tragedy to witness. However, I know there was a reason that Jesus allowed it to happen. Since the disaster, I've heard that so many people have given their lives back to him. They probably wouldn't have had the disaster never struck their town. But, thanks to the efforts of the church and Jesus' wonderful grace, those people have been able to find a true calm after the storm. About six months ago, a tornado swept by the town I live in. The weather forecaster said that had the wind direction been just a little more to the south, our town would have been wiped out for sure. Thankfully, it didn't. I really believe that Jesus spared our little town. I mean, what would we have done? Praise him for his eternal mercy... Two weeks ago, my grandpa died from lung cancer. He was such a good man, but I guess it was his time to go. My family and I prayed for him day and night, but I guess Jesus was ready for him to come home. I know he's not in as much pain now, and I know he's in a better place. The craziest thing about it all is that unbeknownst to any of us, grandpa had a secret inheritance of a million dollars that he left behind for us. Now, my family can afford to do all of the things we've always wanted to do. It turns out that Jesus knew the whole time what we really needed even when we didn't. Five days ago, my aunt Lorraine came home from the doctor and told us that she was officially cancer free. We were all so happy and overjoyed. I know in my heart that Jesus worked through the doctor's hands and the drugs to bring about a miracle recovery in her life. Isn't Jesus great? He truly is the great healer! Eight months ago, my wife and I celebrated our anniversary. We each drank a bottle of wine, and we had the most romantic and fun night of our life. There was candlelight, dinner, plenty of dancing, and lots of lovemaking afterwards. What a memory! That night revealed to me just why Jesus didn't mind turning the water into wine every once in awhile. Praise Jesus, the true vine and the creator of real mirth and joy! Four months ago, I met a poor sap who had a drinking problem. I invited him to my church recovery group, and now he is clean and sober. Jesus really did a miracle when he delivered that young man from the demon spirits that surround alcohol! A few weeks ago, I experienced a real miracle. I went to my mailbox and found a letter that was addressed to me with no return sender. I opened it up, and it contained five fresh one hundred dollar bills. It was the exact amount of money that I needed to pay my electric bill. I was so overjoyed. I'm so glad I told the members in my church to pray for my finances because Jesus sent me just the amount of money that I needed to keep the lights on. That day he showed me that he truly is the Giver of Light! Glory! Two and a half weeks ago my neighbors had their electricity shut off. I hated to see it happen to them, but in my heart, I understood why. The father of the family of four has been backsliding for some time now. He hasn't been to church in nearly a half a year. He can't really expect Jesus to reward him for that kind of behavior, now can he? I'm sure that Jesus is using this bad experience to teach him a lesson. Maybe he'll get his life right and come back to church! I'll be praying for him regularly - you can count on it! I looked in the mirror today and realized how strong and healthy I am. Jesus sure has taken good care of me. I know that I'm going to need my strength and health to participate in all of the work he has for me to do. For example, next week I'm helping to build our wonderful pastor a brand new house! Thank Jesus that I have the strength and the know-how to accomplish this huge task. I know that I couldn't do it without him. Yesterday, I ran into one of my old friends that I used to go to the gym with. I hadn't seen him in awhile, and I was shocked by how terrible he looked. He told me that he had been diagnosed with muscular dystrophy, and his health and strength was fading fast. Tears welled up in my eyes, and I gave him a big hug. I know that Jesus is using this terrible turn of events to teach him a lesson that he needs to learn. Maybe he needs to learn to not be so prideful? Or maybe he needs to learn to rely less on himself and more on Jesus? Either way, I'm going to be there for him because that is what Jesus would want me to do! ************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************* In case you missed it, the moral of this story is that Jesus didn't have a thing to do with any of the things I mentioned above. For many people, Christianity is nothing short of a live action role playing game in which each participant makes up the rules and the explanations for things as he or she goes along always being sure to fit the miraculous and powerful interventions of Jesus in when applicable. Now, to be clear, I'm not trying to make the point that a god, a higher power, a higher order, or a collective consciousness etc. doesn't exist. I don't claim to have enough knowledge to make those kinds of assertions. Maybe science will eventually figure it all out... or maybe not. It really doesn't matter. What I do know is that Christianity is a mind control game that saps its participants of their intellect, their common sense, and ultimately, their ability to clearly see the true nature of the lives that they lead in this world. There is nothing holy, sacred, or miraculous about any of it. Thanks for taking the time to read!
  9. 10 points
    I never in a million years as a Christian would have guessed that Jesus would be who lead me to reject him. But it is being a devout follower of him that made my faith cave in on itself. I was never that Christian that just swayed with the ebb and flow of cultural Christianity pervading almost every corner of our society. I wanted to take my belief to the next level and do exactly what I thought Christ was telling me to do. As so, I got very involved in my church's youth group, which, in retrospect, was an incredibly toxic environment for a prepubescent mind to be exposed to. I still struggle with self-esteem issues as a result of being told I'm essentially worthless without God! But I digress. At this time in my life, I read my Bible with my Matthew Henry Commentary alongside it every single morning. A chapter a day. And I prayed A LOT... probably at least once per hour that I was awake each day. I also tried to convert my lost friends like my church encouraged me to, but mostly to no avail. But I didn't let it trouble me. It was out of my hands and I already knew that most of humanity would reject God. Satan must have had a wicked strong grip on their souls for them not to see the miraculous joy of our Lord, I thought. Only now I see how neurotic this kind of thinking is... that a such small sliver of humanity, only a few "good" Protestant denominations here and there, are worthy enough to bask in God's glory for the rest of eternity, and of course, tragically, the vast majority of man will be subjected to eternal conscious torment, where the worm will not die and the fire is not quenched (Mark 9). Yeah, even then I recognized that this is pretty messed up, but it's just the way it is. That's the consequence of the Fall of Man in the beginning of creation. It's an impossibility than an infinitely good God could be in any way at fault for men deliberately rejecting him, for all men have an innate sense of the one true god out of probably millions of deities created since the dawn of man, Yahweh. And, of course, I mustn't trouble myself with the trifling philosophical details. That's for God to worry about - my only duty is to unquestioningly obey, I thought. I'm on the right team and that's all that matters - I'm assured of MY salvation. So I read my Bible and unquestioningly did as I was told. I thought God gave me the sense to do things. It lead me to do a lot of absurd things. I practiced speaking in tongues when I was bored, for example, and I once threw away a number of video games in middle school for having content that “disturbed my spirit”. But one thing I never experienced was actually “hearing” his voice. I never actually “heard” his voice like many believers claim to have experienced, but I always felt like his spirit was within me, leading me to do things I wouldn't otherwise do. The hesitance not to follow this sense within me, of course, was just temptation. I vividly recall reading my Bible at 6AM and sometimes thinking about girls I found attractive at my school without clothes. I remember I would, in my head, tell Satan to back off and pray to request God to cause the lustful thoughts to leave my mind. Sometimes it worked, usually it did not. In retrospect, it's funny how much more powerful testosterone was compared to God. My natural bodily urges made me feel like a dirty sinner who constantly needed to repent. I was always inadequate in his eyes and I always had to do more to get closer to him. It is both funny and troubling to me that such a normal expression of myself and my body was painted as such an unnatural, perverted, rebellious act against the Creator. But I knew that victory was inevitably mine and, with God, I would prevail against leagues of demons tempting me to be unrighteous and unholy. I could talk on and on for hours about how dehumanizing Christianity is, but I will write about this another time instead of writing this here. Anyways, moving on to the events leading up to my doubts. The Bible to me was easily the best book ever written. It was the only "living" book that I could think of (although I will admit that I was tempted to call the Lord of the Rings trilogy a living book when I first read it, but I quickly extinguished those heretical thoughts as I read about Sauron and Mordor crumbling into ash). I had read the New Testament over and over again, and though I found Paul to be a little politically incorrect at times about the gays, I had no qualms with the New Testament. They were wonderful stories of redemption, miracles, and the eventual return of Christ that legitimately excited me and gave me an abundance of hope. The four Gospels, however, were like a drug to me. I felt like, in the Gospels, Christ talked to me through the scriptures, painting vivid images of his life and crucifixion as I read those red letters over and over again. But one morning, I had a sense that Jesus was leading me to try something new! I decided he was telling me read the whole Bible cover-to-cover, starting with Genesis and ending with Revelation, and that this would help me see something important to bring me closer to him. So I thought that I should do that and couple it with the wisdom of Matthew Henry like I normally do, and prayerfully sit with the Lord and the Twelve Tribes of Israel in their numerous battles and plights against those evil heathens and learn about God's awesome power and infinite love. I had heard so many good stories about the Old Testament in the audience of a church service, but I had never read it for myself. What a great opportunity to grow closer to God, I thought. So I started in Genesis, like Jesus was leading me to. The first six or seven chapters were awesome, especially since I thought the earth was only 15,000 years old at this time like a lot of conservative Christians in the United States do. I did not think anything of it. But the rest of Genesis and the Mosaic books felt off to me. For one, I found God to be really legalistic, and I was previously told that Christianity was not about religion, but relationship, and that "false" denominations of Christianity like Catholicism were legalistic like that. I was shocked to see what I was reading. I can't eat shellfish or pork? I can't wear clothes with more than one kind of fabric in them? Women who cheated had to drink water that caused her bowels to swell? You cannot even put two different types of seeds in a single field?! Why would God care? Doesn't God just want you to follow and love him? But I had read in the New Testament that Jesus came to fulfill the law, not abolish it. This created a troubling dilemma for me and placed a knot in my heart that I simple could not unravel. And this not to mention the abhorrent moral code our great God advocated for and practiced in the Old Testament. I never knew God had rules for slavery. I never knew God said odd-looking people should be denied the "bread of his God" (seriously, see Leviticus 21:17-24). I never knew God commanded the Israelites to slay thousands in Bashan, Jericho, and the rest. And though I learned about the mass murder in the Noah's ark story and the slaying of infants in Egypt in Sunday School as a child, they felt a lot more disheartening and troubling to me as I read them on my own, framed in a more gruesome way than the colorful images on worksheets I completed in elementary school. And so many more atrocities I read of... it made my stomach churn. It made my whole worldview feel as useless as straw. And, more importantly, I felt like a major ass as I realized that the superiority I felt as a result of my religion was bullshit. I had a mini existential crisis and I felt like I was completely alone. I continued talking to Jesus, but I felt like he stopped giving me so many answers. I felt like he was disappointed in me that I could not accept God the Father. But I simply could not accept the behavior of such a moral monster. I tried devising elaborate theories, such as that the Old Testament was fabricated and distorted the true, loving God of the New Testament, but I knew that it simply did not add up. I was trying so hard to repair a wall in my life that was destined to crumble apart. I needed answers, and fast, because I was beginning to doubt my whole entire foundation in life, and it gave me a perpetual nausea and fear of a life without God. I felt liked I had been lied to and people were hiding the truth from me, and I did not know why. I also had a fear in the back of my mind that all of this was a waste of time and Satan was trying to trick me. Why did Jesus lead me into this trap? Why did he show me this scripture that is leading me to question his nature? I looked on dozens of Christian forums for unanswerable questions I had, read apologetic books, and read the New Testament exclusively all while I had my doubts, but I could not repair the blow that the Old Testament had inflicted upon my faith. None of the Christian answers were satisfactory to me and my beliefs started to morph into something completely unrecognizable. Somehow, in my search for answers, I stumbled upon a video series on YouTube by a channel called Evid3nc3. The series is an incredibly emotional, intimate story of how a fundamentalist Christian, much like me, deconverted and found that atheism was the only reasonable position to assume given our current knowledge about the universe. I highly suggest you look into this series if you are currently questioning your faith, if you recently deconverted, or if you simply enjoy hearing deconversion stories. There was so much I could relate to... how he started to have questions, much like me, as a direct result of reading the Bible... how he was actually genuine and not just a cultural Christian, just like me... how hard he tried to defend God to no avail, just like me. It all made sense. And the creator of the series really helped me cope with my growing skepticism and doubt about my faith. I watched all the videos in two sittings, and it was amazing to me how fast the other pillars of my faith crumbled once the fundamental aspects, such as the goodness of God, became less evident in my own life as I watched the videos. And with those chains being taken off my mind and body, it was only natural to accept the scientific truths revealed by denying Christian fundamentalism. Suddenly, the universe was no longer 15,000 years old but 13.77 BILLION years old. And the universe, physics, and biology were instantly way more interesting than God to me because it’s actually substantial, demonstrable, and not paradoxical. The universe does not have to sacrifice itself to itself to save us from itself. The universe does not have three consubstantial persons somehow wrapped up into one. The universe is a benign, indifferent machine. This thinking was so comforting to me… no more judgement, no more worry about an afterlife? I couldn’t have dreamed of a better universe to live in. In a sweeping motion, like a chalkboard being wiped clean, the earth and the cosmos were no longer depraved, evil, or soulless… they were beautiful and marvelous in their vastness and mystery. It’s funny how realizing how small and insignificant I am when considering the scale of the universe was so liberating. It’s almost paradoxical that moving from a worldview where earth is the primary playing ground in this universe made me feel more worthless than a scientific worldview that revealed we are just a speck of dust orbiting a star in a galaxy of 100 billion stars in a universe with 100 billion galaxies. Maybe it was just freeing to realize that there probably isn’t a god watching me while I am in the bathroom. Being able to take the reins in my life and come up with my own meaning and purpose makes life feel so much more important. And since I only have one shot at life as far as I can tell, I have to make this worthwhile. It’s a dramatic turnaround from the belief that this life is just a “test” for the next, eternal life that really matters. Anyways, as I was watching the videos, it almost felt like Evid3nc3 was reading my mind and deconverting step-by-step along with me. It's ironic to say this but those deconversion videos felt incredibly spiritual to me. I did not feel so alone in my doubt anymore, and I was delighted to find a plethora of channels on YouTube by other atheists, who further exposed the contradictions, absurdities, and ethical issues related to Christianity and religion in general. I eventually graduated to reading books by Dawkins, Harris, and related authors, and they absolutely blew my mind. I could not believe how blind and brainwashed I was. I consumed popular media associated with atheism and evolution for the next 12 to 18 months after my deconversion, and learning well established scientific data about the origin of life and the scientific method that I missed out on up until this point made me very angry. I hated Christianity and all religions and wanted to start a campaign to rid the world of all of them using reason and the rhetorical skills I had picked up, starting with my own community. Lofty goal, I know, but at the time I was really full of myself and thought I was actually capable of convincing people I was right and they were wrong. I eventually started discussing my atheism with my friends and many of them told me what I said made sense and changed their position on some of their views in life. From this, my ego was a little inflated so I thought I was ready to progress onward to my parents. One day from school, I randomly confronted my parents and told them I had my doubts and was skeptical about the entire Bible. I thought, naively, I would be able to deconvert them with the new knowledge I have gained and save them from a wasted life and perpetuating such a parasitic belief system. Boy was I wrong. They were shocked, concerned for my soul, and told me how arrogant I was and how I needed to repent immediately. It spiraled into a 4 or 5 hour gabfest and neither of us were willing to even listen to each other. It wasn't an argument at all. It was just preaching loudly to each other. Neither of us were willing to be open to the possibility that our minds might change on the issue... our minds were already made up. It was a dramatic waste of time, and I eventually lied and told them that I "have some stuff to think about" because I was sick of talking and tired. From here on, I decided to be less combative with not only my parents, but most people I encounter. Religion is not about reason... it's about emotions. And when you attack religion, you attack feeling and passion, not a cleverly designed intellectual argument. I sometimes talk to people about my beliefs if they seem open or ask questions about my religion over lunch or something, but I don't try to randomly debate my friends and family anymore. And, to this day, I have never followed up with my parents or told them exactly how I feel. I do not feel like it is advantageous to "come out" until I graduate college and live completely on my own. Now, a couple years later, I still read a lot and I am still pretty angry about the harm religious beliefs can cause, but not nearly as much as I was in high school when I was a baby atheist and tried to deconvert my parents. I found that I still have a lot of emotional problems as a result of my religious upbringing, but I am working on it. I think a lot of my normal development was stifled by my religious upbringing. As a result, I used to struggle with severe self-esteem issues, I continue to struggle with sexual expression, I regularly feel an incredible amount of guilt about trivial things among many other things. tried to reconvert back to Christianity a couple times, trying out the Episcopal Church and Eastern Orthodoxy on for size in an attempt to be "open-minded", but I just can't swallow Christianity's basic assumptions anymore. I think my attempts were more so to feel like I fit-in with the dominant culture and connect with my parents rather than from an actual conviction that Christianity might have some kind of mystical validity that needs to be reexamined. I follow what seems to be true where it lies, based on all the available evidence... and God, Christianity, and spirituality do not seem to follow from this path of inquiry. I still have a lot of questions about life and my purpose, but I now know that in my life, Christianity is a dead end road that for me only lead to emotional anguish, self-doubt, guilt, and a never ending sense of inadequacy beneath the eyes of a wrathful God. And that’s more than okay. In fact, it’s great that I am comfortable being as intellectually honest as possible. If you have reached this point, thank you so much for reading this very long story. I am interested in hearing your thoughts or answering any questions if you may have them. I hope that this is helpful or comforting to anyone who may share my background. It’s not the craziest, most dramatic, or most action-packed deconversion story out there, but it’s mine and I’m very happy with who I have become. I wouldn’t trade it for anything. There was a lot of growing pains involved, but deprogramming after years of religious indoctrination happens very gradually. I am a much more happy person without a religious faith and am way less anxious about life in general. If you just now started having doubts, please know that you will make it through this, no matter how hard it feels. You are stronger than the religion that binds you and any of its representatives. And for people that are out, please know that you are not alone. Many of us in your community are in hiding.
  10. 9 points
    Overcoming Religious Indoctrination: 6 Steps Towards Sanity David Nicholls Religious indoctrination is real. It is a traditionally-based process of all cultures. Its power is such that peoples so affected have a ‘belief’ they have chosen their particular ‘faith’ above the many on offer throughout the planet. All religions work on the principle of exposing each new generation to a single worldview, to the exclusion of all others, in a repetitious and authorative manner. Doubts, as to the veracity of such ‘teachings’, are not encouraged, indeed, are not tolerated. Once learned, the information so gained is retained for life, allowing it to take on an instinctive mantle in later years. As with all acquired knowledge, such as learning to ride a bicycle or rote remembrance of mathematical time’s tables, once taught, unlearning is not an easy option. This is not to say that the results of such methodology are not practically overcome-able. Youthful brains soak up information with little effort, establishing permanent neuronic pathways. Older brains require considerably more effort to alter this situation. There are many Atheists to attest to this. In fact, it is the rule rather than the rarity that most Atheists were raised from infancy under some religious regime or other. Even the most intense religious indoctrination can be overcome. Here is how it is achieved: First, one must become acquainted with and become used to the correct terminology pertaining to religious indoctrination. Even though the religious are quick to point out that others have been brainwashed (such as communists, other religious adherents and even Atheists), it is they who have succumbed to this process. Brainwashing/inculcation/indoctrination is one in the same word in meaning. These words are used in reference to promoting a one-sided opinion as being truthful, without allowing access to other ideas and with no reservation in calling it unjustifiably, the ‘truth’. Considering the adverse ramifications of such methods and results of brainwashing, this is nothing less than mental child abuse of the worst kind and one day it will be viewed that way. Just seriously think about this for a moment. If you are religious or harbour religious thoughts, it is more than most likely the result of being abused and mentally used as a child. There is no escaping this fact. That the abused can then go on to abuse others in a likewise fashion is near enough to proof positive of the reality of the situation. Under the guise of a good for humanity, the fear of death and/or eternal damnation is instilled into the pliable and susceptible minds of children and continues into adulthood. Sprinkled with tales of eternal life, temporal wishes supernaturally achievable, the unworthiness of humans and the existence of a ‘good’ and an ‘evil’, sets the mental scene for subservient confusion. Second, after recognising one has been abused and brainwashed against their will and without their knowledge, if escape is required, then effort to combat this negative outlook must be more intense and prolonged than the unwanted religious input. A good start is to fully appreciate that all religious people of the thousands of religions that have and do exist, have been similarly abused, with them considering that they have the correct religion and all others are wrong. Even religions under the same name can state unequivocally that their counterparts have it incorrect. As an example, fundamentalist Christianity classes the Pope as the Anti-Christ and Catholicism a heresy. Third, take a proper look at Earth. 50,000 Iranians have been recently killed by earthquake, 3,000 many-denominational people died in the Twin Towers, 6 million Jewish people died in the Holocaust etc etc. Where were their respective gods? They were remarkably silent as they have been throughout history in humanity’s darkest hours. Look at the system that sustains life on our planet: Every life form preys on another life form to exist. Some of this in such brutal and horrible fashion as to totally exclude the idea of a ‘loving’ god as the creator. Look how the dice of life favours some and is more than wretched to others. Look how natural disasters and pathogens kill and maim indiscriminately. Fourth, it must be consciously recognised that books and ideas of old came from ignorant times, and were written and passed on by ignorant men living by the malleable rules of all-encompassing superstition. Fifth, and most importantly, it must be remembered that religions have held sway since consciousness arrived many tens of thousands of years ago. It is only in the last few hundred years that science has leapt onto the scene, and in doing so, has began to devour the very pillars holding superstition aloft. Although it is not fully accepted yet, the one part of science that will eventually be seen as the most profound is the principle of evolution. Not only has science found no evidence for a supernatural realm, it has shown that evolution requires no such thing to sustain it. Sixth and lastly, it therefore has to be asked as to why a super-being or thing would initiate a universe with us as only an infinitesimal dot within it. The Universe works on definite laws in a rational manner. Even if quantum structure appears not to be so! Such a rational creative force would hardly expect us to accept the irrationality that is religion especially as it is introduced in the heinous form of child abuse. An all-loving god with control over every particle in existence, that chooses to allow immense suffering, cannot exist. An all-powerful god incapable of creating perfect happiness for its creation is an oxy-moronic concept. An all-knowing god that cannot see the inherent goodness of humanity and does not nurture and aid its creation in a fair and equitable manner is a god of immeasurably immoral proportion. These thoughts and similar must be the constant companion of the adult psyche wishing to escape the foolishness of religious mind control. Victims of child abuse can overcome the strong hold it has on them and in doing so can benefit greatly from the conflict. The brainwashing will always remain but in its subjugation it will eventually be replaced with feelings of pride of accomplishment.
  11. 9 points
    "7Then I cried out unto my Mod, and saith, 'Oh merciful Mod, how long shalt thou suffer this false prophet in thy midst? 8For he hath surely come that he might deceive the people and lead them astray from thee. 9Cast him down into The Lion's Den that he may be torn limb from limb by thy faithful servants, 10even unto the depths of Sheol, that thy name be glorified.'" The Book of Second Redneckians chapter 6
  12. 9 points
    You can take the woman out of religious patriarchy, but you can't take the patriarchy out the woman, at least not very easily. That's what I've learned in the last two years. I want to speak about this topic, because I've considered myself a liberated woman (even before I left religion, as ironic as that is). But sometimes, you don't see the ropes, until there's another mind shift, and only then do you see the ropes that were tying you down. I want to speak in particular to any women out there, particularly those of the ex fundamentalist variety. Maybe they might benefit in some small measure by this insight. The patriarchy is so invisible sometimes, that even we women don't recognize it, or how it works. In particular, it's difficult to see if it has been upheld in some ways by the women around you, who have played a large role in your life. I have a relatively forward thinking mom. She always impressed upon me that it was OK to desire the best of both worlds, a career, a husband, and a family. However, even if it wasn't said, it was taken for granted that every woman in the church wanted a husband and family. You were abnormal somehow if you expressed another wish. I was one of the ones that actually wanted a husband and family, so I never struggled with that issue. I always struggled more with what I wanted in building a career. But I excelled in education and I loved learning and would have continued down the academic path as a career, if things hadn't become so challenging on some levels. Anyway, fast forward to my mid 30s, and deconversion, at which time I started to pick apart the patriarchy on a whole other level, and recognize how religion had influenced and ordered my life. One of the first things I did relatively soon after escaping the church was join the dating world. That can be summed up in one word: disillusionment. A few people close to me questioned this. Didn't I want to find out who I was without religion first? Why didn't I take some time? I myself figured I was doing it because, well, I could (dating outside of the church was outlawed and I had no interest within the church). Well, fast forward one year later, and another mind shift, and I can tell you guys, I'm unsure how many fetters of the religious patriarchy are left to tie me down, but some clearly were. It's so difficult to recognize how deeply we have internalized all the messages in religion, culture, the surrounding world around us. I somehow thought I was immune to all the messaging in the church that a woman is less/diminished without a man in her life, but no, I had internalized that on a deep level, and the first thing I wanted to do after getting the hell out of the church was find myself someone, and prove that I was an equal to all those women (and the system as a whole) that had made me feel less than. In hindsight, it's so easy to recognize this motivation. But, I've only been able to recognize it now that I've made a more conscious decision, because I really want to, to exit the dating scene and focus on my own life and finding my own happiness. It really doesn't matter how much of a liberated woman you tell yourself you are. You're only liberated when you begin to truly believe that your value isn't tied to any other person, or relationship. And the patriarchy, particularly the religious variety, will have you think otherwise.
  13. 9 points
    Sorry for turning this into a "let's remember the good times with BAA" thread but...what am I saying? Of course I'm not sorry! I was digging through old PMs between BAA and me. We used to chat every so often about astrophysics and cosmology, as well as argumentative strategies for dealing with specific Christian claims here in the Lion's Den. Once I was out of touch for a couple months because I was off in rural India getting married, and when I was back in civilization I sent him a message to let him know why I'd ducked out in the middle of one of our strategizing sessions. He replied by talking about a time when he and his partner Maureen had been on vacation and encountered a Hindu wedding party. Looking back on it, his ability to convey imagery via the written word was remarkable. Here is his message to me: ----------------- Bhim, About eight years ago my partner Maureen and I were visiting our British friends Neal and Katy and we spent a long weekend with them in London. One afternoon we dined at the Belvedere, a fine restaurant in the middle of Holland Park. http://www.belvedererestaurant.co.uk/Intro.html It's a lovely place and every so often the staff have to shoo the peacocks out, because they wander in from the park! Anyway, while we were there I noticed a small group of very elegantly-dressed Hindi (is that right?) gentlemen entering the hotel foyer. They all wore dazzling white, formal outfits with what Neal told me were Gandhi collars. Later we saw that a large private room had been booked by them for what was clearly some kind of family celebration. Because it was high summer, all the doors leading out to the park were left wide open and we caught glimpses of the party moving to and fro as they circulated and mingled, chatting and laughing. What caught Maureen's eye was the sheer beauty and vibrant colors of the ladies sari's. Peach, aquamarine, cobalt blue, rose and many other gorgeous shades. Many decorated with delicate filigrees of gold. They wore exquisite and elaborate jewelry too. We soon realized that we were seeing a post-wedding celebration involving the bride and groom's extended families and their many guests and friends. OK Bhim, what I'm describing here happened in an urban setting, but if your wedding was anything like this colorful and joyous occasion, then I'm very, very happy for you. ----------------- BAA, I must say your ability to freely absorb the grandeur of your surroundings knew no distinction between the terrestrial and the astronomical. I wish I had taken even more opportunities to converse with you while you were with us. I regret that I didn't take the time to reciprocate your profound musings on the seemingly trivial activities of life during our conversations, but now that you're gone I'll do my best to learn from your example.
  14. 9 points
    Many of us were believers when we studied the Bible and started to see the major problems with it.
  15. 8 points
    “Bowling leagues and birding are sure to be taken over by the religious here... and that is exactly the issue... there is no place that people in Texas do not feel like it's ok to want to put you on their prayer chain when you have a cold, if they don't want to just lay hands on you right there and claim your healing in Jesus name.“ I’d recommend picking up a vice. Something other people don’t do. Something that’s sure to scare off the religious. Have you tried coming out as gay? Worked for me.
  16. 8 points
    Now that there are no devote Christians to report me to my church or my family, I HATE CONTEMPORARY WORSHIP SONGS!!! God, they are just awful. Just whiney mopey drudges of insipid trite! Oh, this is not my first complaint as even as a Christian I'd gently critique that "I feel many of these praise songs are somewhat repetitive and... guitar-centric." But no, let's not mince words kiddos, it's musical cancer. It's made of music but it's gone completely rogue and is filling musical works with this tumorous mass that devours anyone with skill. These songs were written by stoned out college students who were trying to serenade some shallow girl who was completely enamored because her talentless boyfriend is an "artist" for being able to play 4 whole cords on an acoustic guitar. And I say talentless because most of this music is four cords and a handful of lines repeated FOREVER! “I could sing of your love forever?” YES! I believe you! Now stop it! Holy hell in a hurricane, batman! These songs are just awful. I would say they are like the high of snorting pixie sticks of they weren’t – so – aggressively – earnest. It’s like they have stumbled upon some secret first uncovered by the Gregorian Monks, only, it’s like they are pining over their highschool sweetheart who’s about to dump them. I am convinced with a little more repetition the singers will devolve into Pokemon. Yes, I’ll match up your Shouttothelord against my Goodgoodfather. You can keep your Woahs and your Yeahyeahs because they are about as effectual as a Rattata. Meaning you should grow out of it almost immediately! SO, IN SUMMARY!!! I don’t really have a strong affinity for modern praise and worship.
  17. 8 points
    When I was a practicing christian, I would not ever join a site like this except for one reason and that would be to try as hard as I could to win you all back to god. But if you all came at me with your testimonies, links and video's to watch....and I actually did read them and watch the video's with sincerity, I would totally understand deep, deep down, why you lost your faith because I was already questioning many, many things and every christian does doubt to some degree. (Why do you think they sell thousands of self-help christian books on the very topic of doubt? ) So 'worldly' information like what is posted here at Ex-c would have scared the crap right out of me....and I would have turned a blind eye and run for my life, back to where the christians would have reassured me that you guys were wrong. That's why I think so many christians who join this site don't take long to leave. I even believe that our dear friend 'End' knew the truth deep down inside even though he probably would deny it out of fear. It is 'fear' of gods' wrath. (for many people) This is why they cannot cut that last string. I see that all the time on this site when we have a newcomer. Fear of hell. Learning the truth ain't easy for some people. It wasn't for me.
  18. 8 points
    Get a GOOD divorce lawyer and let them advise you ASAP.
  19. 8 points
    The moral abhorrence of this thinking really concerns me. Its essentially in the form of "God did X for me" but then the person completely fails to acknowledge what God didn't do for someone else. My prime example is "I prayed and God found my keys" meanwhile fails to acknowledge that the same God left a 4 year old child to die in agony from cancer, and left her parents grieving for the rest of their lives. If that's they way you think, your moral compass is screwed!
  20. 8 points
    The immortality of the dead is in the memory of the living. Rest in peaceful memory, my friend, my mentor, my muse. John
  21. 8 points
    This site is diminished by his passing.
  22. 8 points
    Some prisoners get released from jail and soon commit another crime just so they can return to the controlled life behind bars they got used to. The spirit of independence and self reliance has been extinguished. Same thing.
  23. 7 points
    Well, as embarrassed as I am, I will admit how I got my board name. I was still praying at the time when I joined Ex-c even though I continued to post questions every single day. And I was still very much into magical thinking. So, I imagined I had an angel to help me through my deconversion and I called her, ''Margee'', with 2 ee's. Lol I have to admit, she's become part of who I am and I think sometimes she might even be my ''higher self''!! Lol Love and ((hugs)) to you
  24. 7 points
    Welcome Rangi! A lot of us spent most of our lives in the faith, I was in for 30 years of whole-hearted belief. So to have that break and then vanish was life-changing, and eye-opening. All the things I had feared as "from the devil" turned out to be normal, and all of the invisible spiritual warfare went silent in my mind. I had kept it up internally for three decades and my being was finally able to be quiet and relax, realizing that none of it had ever been real. Then as I read these forums, I saw that the scriptures that had begun my faith were themselves non-historical and certainly not eyewitness testimonies as I had been led to believe. Things like the Exodus never happened, since the Jews hadn't been captive in Egypt, and the gospels betray their alleged eyewitness accounts with conversations between people they didn't know and could not have overheard. Plus the accounts of massive miracles went completely unnoticed by anyone other than the gospel writer, indicating the tales are made-up. So, I hope your journey continues to lead you out of the religion. You certainly deserve a life that is based in reality. You can still embody kindness and generosity without belief in someone watching over your shoulder. It is simply your own choice, probably the most powerful thing each of us has.
  25. 7 points
    I am simultaneously flattered, insulted and intrigued that all of you have gathered together to discuss my origin (however false), legitimacy of existence and personal capabilities. Please do continue. This has the potential to evolve into something fascinating I am sure of it.
  26. 7 points
    That I could use telepathy to send magic thoughts to an invisible being who would then help me
  27. 7 points
    IH and End are alright. You've gotta be able to disagree with someone and still recognise that they are a decent person. Otherwise you'll find yourself very isolated very fast.
  28. 7 points
    It's really hard to pick the dumbest belief set once you have looked into several popular religions. What these diverse belief systems have in common is that they are all just made up by crazy and/or manipulative, power hungry humans.
  29. 7 points
    Sorry to see such a sad story. The marriage is dead, don't let it kill you, too. You can never be okay as long as you let evil people rule your life and disrespect you to the extreme. I wish you well. Now, get out!
  30. 7 points
    Seejay I confess I have not read all of this thread, but I can say that fear is a large component of Christian indoctrination. It took me over 40 years - with lapses back into faith - to rid myself of it. The thing is, it is not entirely rational. There are emotional and nostalgic factors (if you were raised with it). You can have the best reasons on earth to walk away, mentally and physically, and it still returns. I think the brain is like a computer that has been written with a program and it is always there. All the hymns I sang as a Fundamentalist are still echoing in my head at times, although the last time I sang any was the early '90s. BUT, other programs can be written over top of it, if that makes sense. Eventually, the fear diminishes as the reasoning mind program kicks in. Read, study about the source documents of Christianity and the history of the church and the development of doctrine. Most Christians have no sense of history and no idea of what happened in the first four centuries that made Christianity the dominant religion that it became. The sad part is that many ministers and pastors had this information taught to them in seminary, but could not or would not teach it in the church. I actually heard a deacon in the Episcopal Church say she wouldn't teach what she knew because "people wouldn't understand it." She was right. It would completely undermine their faith if they knew! My only advice is to educate yourself. You really have to dig. But, you can and will succeed. Not sure if this helps.
  31. 7 points
    Ah. Apparently your god isn't all-powerful or all-knowing or benevolent then. An all-powerful god could find a way to deal with the problem without mass murder. An all-knowing god would know in advance that flooding the world would *not* achieve the desired goal of eliminating the evil in the world. A benevolent god would avoid mass murder and work out a better solution. Pro tip, Stranger: Gods never do anything because it "needs" to be done. Gods are not constrained by necessity. Gods act because they want to do something. In the case of your evil, bloody-minded myth -- because the Noachide flood did not actually happen, and is in fact an absurdity if you use a bit of simple arithmetic to crunch a few numbers regarding the alleged rate of rainfall -- your god quite obviously wanted to kill, kill and kill some more. Killing was part of its divine plan all along. You are promoting the worship of a god so intractably evil that if it actually existed, it would be the greatest threat to peace and happiness in the entire universe. As I am not omniscient, I can only guess at how you came to Christianity. My guess is that you were indoctrinated in a period of weakness -- either in your childhood, before you had developed critical thinking skills, in the aftermath of failure or tragedy, or after having been emotionally beaten down and made to feel worthless by a preacher. Your failure to defend the rational part of your brain from toxic mythology is not a jewel in a heavenly crown. It's a declaration of moral bankruptcy.
  32. 6 points
    @Myrkhoos........This.^ When I joined this site I was exactly the same way. Full of rage. Full of grief. And I cried a lot. As soon as the shock wore off (and it took awhile) that I had been told a lie about the bible being a 'literal' book, I slowly became 'free' from the grips of having to please 'the gods' and all the people. I still like people to care and I am still a caring person....but if you don't like me...Oh well.....it won't end my world. It takes time. Start small. Start saying, ''no thanks' to something small. Then do it again. It starts to get easier. If you get rejected, just feel that feeling. You won't die. You will become truly free if you get to the point that you don't give a 'rats ass' if people approve of you or not. It will happen for you . Keep posting.
  33. 6 points
    Hi and welcome. What mental illness do you have? I have bipolar disorder and have been prayed for and have even offered myself for an exorcism which didn't help. The only thing that helped me was correct medication and a secular psychiatrist. Religion just makes me have more manic episodes. It makes things worse, not better. Because of correct medication and a stress free environment I lead a pretty normal life now.
  34. 6 points
    It's been a five year journey into de-converting from my beliefs in Jesus. I really believed at the time that Jesus was going to bring me into a right relationship with him, but the more I held onto that hope the less actually happened. I remember as far back to my teen year's of hanging out with the Christian youth group in my area and feeling so alone. I always had little doubts about Christians, but I pushed those doubts deep down inside. As I got older I went from church to church, from one bible study to another looking for the right people I could feel comfortable with. (But I always felt on edge when I was around them) I used to feel awfully anxious when I had to pray in front of other believers. They could never see the pain I was going through, and even though they all believed they had born again eye's they never saw my real heart. I hated them for that, and that made me start thinking that if Jesus was real why can't they perceive my thoughts like he did? I got into a bit of TV evangelism, but most of the time they made me so angry. I'd get up early in the morning to watch them so I could yell at the television. I eventually went online looking for some believer who actually had evidence, but I found nothing but the old arguments repackaged from the 80's and 90's. Then one night I thought I'd serach in YouTube "Real miracles" but it was mostly testimony and fake reports. From here I had nowhere to go, there just didn't seem to be anything true to my beliefs anymore. So I started to research the evidence against Christianity and what I found made my stomach churn. But I didn't run away, I kept researching until I was satisfied it was all bullshit. It took five year's to wake up out of my religious comma, and it hurt. I'll never go back now, well I can't can I.
  35. 6 points
    It made me believe the promises of Jesus It made me believe that God promised to answer my prayers because he loved me It made me believe that when those prayers weren't answered, that God was answering with "a better plan" It made me believe that God's better plan included suffering and death instead of what I "thought I needed" It made me believe that a constant shell-game of beautiful -sounding promises, "better plans", and God's utter failure was really God's faithful and powerful response of love It made me believe that God was my father who was watching over me and would protect and provide It made me believe that his threats of harm were because he was holy It made me believe that my own sexual desires were really the devil, and that I was now holy but compromising with the devil It made me believe that satisfying my sexual desires made me unclean and made God want to hurt me It made me believe that God was justified in hating me, and that only another tortured person's blood could save me from being burned alive by the God who loved me It made me believe that groveling in tears of shame before this being was the right response to having been a mere human It made me believe that a cruel, abusive, spiteful, harmful, irritable, capricious, blood-loving, tantrum-throwing man was in charge of the universe, and that his actions and threats were really good instead of evil because he's "holy" It made me believe that "men of God" who behaved this way were good because they were chosen as leaders of the house, leaders of the church, and my role was to submit to their whims which weren't really whims because they were led by God
  36. 6 points
    When I came back from my morning walk, look what was on the kitchen counter. The one in the back is chocolate pecan. Right now she's working on her signature lemon meringue. After that she'll start in on the turkey with stuffing; mashed potatoes with gravy; and green peas. And all this from a woman who is in constant pain from 22 surgeries and has four rods and ten screws 3/4 the way up her back, a steel plate in her neck, and two artificial knees and an artificial hip. She has to sit on a stool to cook. (I offer to help but she won't let me. She's afraid of what might happen.) Am I a lucky guy or what!!??
  37. 6 points
    I had a lot of misconceptions about atheists, and all of them introduced by the church. But luckily when I left the church, I also left behind caring about what kind of conception people had about me, and what I believed. I really cared too much about all of that when I was in the church. So I suppose I had no problem with being labeled an atheist - if people want to judge me negatively for that, then they're just operating with the same misconceptions and stereotypes they've been fed their whole lives, which is actually a pretty good indicator for me that I don't want to have much to do with them.
  38. 6 points
    My older granddaughter used to put a very distinct “r” sound in the word “look.” “Lerk, Pops!” It was really, really cute I needed a new online name at the time and thought to use her pronunciation. I googled it and discovered that there’s a mythical creature by that name, and figured if I used that for my icon it would be less likely for people I know me in person to associate my posts with me, should I happen to be careless. I’ve written some things that would definitely give me away, yet this creature would likely make them second guess themselves. Of course, if they were to read this comment, I’d really be busted!
  39. 6 points
    I've never understood people who actually think this is an issue. Say what you want. Celebrate what you want. Who cares?
  40. 6 points
    Hello everyone, I was so happy to find this site and these discussion boards. It truly makes me feel that I am not alone in this journey of leaving Christianity. I have been struggling with many aspects of Christianity for many years, but have only made the step out of the church in the last couple months. I am reading about everything I can get my hands on at this point. I still have yet to share my deconversion with my husband of 25 years, although obviously he knows I am no longer attending church. I am struggling how to approach this as I am fearful that it could damage my marriage. This has been really the only down side to deconversion. I have felt more relief and freedom since coming to the conclusion that I don't believe in the God of the Christian bible. I no longer feel like I have a hammer over my head ready to come down on me with any misstep I might take. This is really how I felt for most if not all of my time as a Christian. I became "saved" in an Assembly of God church when I was 19 and my boyfriend who is now my husband did as well a few months later. It was a very legalistic church with many rules. We were youth leaders and very involved for many years. There came a point where I started having a lot of questions that I just couldn't find the answers for. I started asking some questions to church leadership and friends and was generally meet with non answers or in some cases out right hostility. I had an associate pastor tell me in our small group study that we just skip that part of the bible when I asked why our denomination didn't believe something that seemed clearly spoken of in the bible. To say this response bothered me would be an understatement. Over the continued years we stayed in the church but I still had a lot of questions. I eventually started studying Catholicism and after 2 years of study our family (husband and 2 sons) converted to the Catholic church. We lost a lot of friends to that process. After several out of state moves and about eight years later we started attending a non-denomination church as my husband and I were having a hard time not feeling like we were going through the motions of going to church. We were just finding so many things were so inconsistent in the Catholic church especially as we started moving around. Once we started going to the Non-denominational church I really tried to get back into the faith but just found I still had so many unanswered questions and couldn't buy into most of what was being preached. It hard to believe God heals when you have struggled with Depression most of your life and asked so many times to be healed but yet no change. Of course it you start to ask why people would put the blame back on me even though I knew I was asking with all my heart. I think this struggle was really the main reason I just could never buy into so much of what the church taught. I knew depression was real and all I got from the church was more guilt to add to it and absolutely no help. Over the years I have meet a lot of good people from all walks of life and I have found I just can't believe in a God that would send them to hell because they weren't born in the right country, right family or whatever situation that caused them to not believe in the Jesus my church taught. Many loved God just as much as anyone I knew and I wondered what makes them wrong and me right? I couldn't reconcile that. I just couldn't get to a point where I believed I had all the right answers and everyone else who thought differently was wrong. I continue to read and listen to different you tube videos on arguments against Christianity and it is a relief to find out others have had the same questions that I did. I feel freed in the fact I no longer believe there is a hell that I will go to if I make one wrong step. Now that I have stopped going to church I can't imagine ever believing in those things again. I am now faced with sharing this news with my husband and two grown sons, who are the only ones I really care about what they think of me. I am grateful for this community and hope to find others to share this journey with. Jennifer
  41. 6 points
    Mrs. MOHO (1..2..3.."There he goes again...!") mentioned that pastor asshat said that it is appropriate that I not attend the Sunday Funday Fest while I am "having faith issues" due to the FACT that when one is "in a certain mindset" they tend to see everything through skeptical eyes. This will, in turn, cement their disbelief. No SHIT, Sherlock! My main point here, though, is can the sheeple not see that the thrust to keep questioners and skeptics out of the fold is because they don't want knowledge and disent to spread? Can they REALLY not see this? I think I just took this thread in a direction other than intended by the OP. Sorry.
  42. 6 points
    So I'll spare you all my usual intro and cut to the chase: For the past six months, my entire life feels like a movie that should be called "Cognitive Dissonance: The Musical" or something....I sing a lot. I feel exactly how I did when I was first deconverting without the terror of hell, where I was having to sift through opinions I'd made based on god versus my OWN opinions and it hasn't really gone away. Because I'm a philosopher type, already prone to indecision, and I tend to be (at least try) fairly objective.This has led to some really fucking frustrating mental chatter! Allow me to elucidate: It has really hit me the past few months just how sure everyone is of their own view point. I was personally VERY confident, amidst my doubts, when I was a Christian that I had it right. My beliefs, assumptions, etc.....man was I just so right and boo on everyone else for not getting there yet. Now that I'm a year and a half further in my journey of deconverting....I have that same confidence sometimes, albeit tenuously less than I did originally. But I am ALSO aware of just how unsure I am all the time. I simultaneously don't give a fuck about anyone and give a fuck about all people. I simultaneously try to step forward with strong opinions and....feel very insecure in my own ability to even fucking think at all. Even when I was 5 I would wonder why the sky was blue and not another color or ask "why" a million times, but the past 6 months have been a "you think you know shit but you don't" kick in the 'nads. Is there a way to just not care about settling on any sort of opinion? If so, is a succinct way to communicate this to people? Is there a way to just....not give a fuck about issues? I'd love to not give a shit about politics or the meaning of life or what we as a society should or shouldn't do....I WANT to be the kind of person who loves to learn as opposed to "decide on an opinion," but I love the idea of persuasion and I don't know why. Not sure that I even want to persuade. If I sound crazy, it's because I feel this way. I'm not asking for advice on what to do, per se, I was just wondering if others have gone through this as they deconvert? I love to just think, I will spend hours wrestling with any given issue just for funzies. I question myself, others, motive, sources, "evidence," etc, I get frustrated at making up my mind because I can see objectively what at least one counter argument could be. I love the challenge, but it's also relatively meaningless since I acknowledge there isn't really a "right and wrong answer" So....does anyone else feel this way or am I nuts? Do you ever come to terms with longing to have an opinion and never settling on one? Find peace? *sigh* If uncertainty is a sign of intelligence, I'm a goddamn genius. If it's a sign of insanity, I'm a fucking nuts lol.
  43. 6 points
    Take your time. Whatever you do, do not have a conversation that you are not ready to have. These are words that can't be unsaid, and have the potential to fundamentally and forever alter your relationship with your parents. I'm not saying don't tell them, but make sure you are ready first. If I may ask, what is the nature of your relationship with your parents? Are you close? Are you dependent on them in any way? If so, be extra careful. Best of luck!
  44. 6 points
    If a Baptist prays earnestly he will receive a Baptist answer. This will differ from the false teachings of other denominations. If a Pentecostal prays earnestly he will receive a Pentecostal answer. This will differ from the false teachings of other denominations. If a Catholic prays earnestly he will receive a Catholic answer. This will differ from the false teachings of other denominations. If a Mormon prays earnestly he will receive a Mormon answer. This will differ from the false teachings of other denominations. If a Lutheran prays earnestly he will receive a Lutheran answer. This will differ from the false teachings of other denominations. If a Presbyterian prays earnestly he will receive a Presbyterian answer. This will differ from the false teachings of other denominations. If a Calvinist prays earnestly he will receive a Calvinist answer. This will differ from the false teachings of other denominations.
  45. 6 points
    I think it is evidence of just how powerful & effective religious indoctrination is. Overcoming & rejecting that indoctrination is often easier said than done. It seems to me, for some people anyway, the fear of hell is greater than logic, reason, evidence, & the desire to be free from religious legalism. And yet there are those who still claim Christianity isn't a cult.
  46. 6 points
    Hello. I just discovered this site a few days ago by chance. Thank you to its creators and to every active member. I'm so glad to be able to connect to this community. I was born and raised in Georgia. Right in the Bible Belt. From birth until about age 14, I attended a little Southern Baptist Church without even 50 members. Throughout my teens and into my early 20s, I changed to a Pentecostal church. I never considered myself to be of one denomination or another. I only ever referred to myself as a Christian and simply changed churches because of a racist incident at the baptist church. My parents took me to church nearly every Sunday and always sent me to VBS. Christianity was pounded into my head every chance they had. They never questioned our religion. I tried not to. I was made to feel like I should believe every word of the Bible and every word from the pastor and questioning or disagreeing with either was something you just didn't do. When disagreements or questions arose, I suppressed them. I tried hard not to think of them and worked diligently to pray my guilt away. All of my life, I never felt connected to God. This of course was my fault. I didn't try hard enough. I didn't pray enough. I wasn't good enough...etc, etc. I remember as a child being scared that I would go to hell because I never felt saved. I would go through the motions and come through the other side feeling guilty for the lack of change inside of me. Every church service ended with an alter call for the unsaved. This stressed me out. I would often fake a bathroom break when I noticed the sermon wrapping up so I could skip the guilt and nervousness that would follow. I would say the sinners prayer every Sunday to myself, in my seat. I wanted so badly to run to the front of the church, throw myself on the alter and beg God to please accept me. Why wouldn't he connect with me? Was I so bad? What was I doing wrong? If you've ever been to a Pentecostal church, then you know the emotional hype that hangs in the atmosphere. Countless times I would watch the congregation "experience God" and dance and sing and shout and run and speak in tongues and cry!! So much crying! All because they were feeling God move through them. I was alone in the room. I participated but it was forced. My tears fell for the lack of God that I felt and of course, more guilt because of it. Guilt not God was the only thing that ever moved me. From high school into early adulthood, I could not deny that I felt differently about homosexuality, abortion and how the world was created. I had always had a strong interest in science and psychology. If you have studied either, you can understand how both will make you question any religion. College was even worse! My religious beliefs were put to the test and they didn't hold up. I tried to go to church but it was so forced and I found it was easier to deal with my guilt outside of church. I finally began to allow myself to question my religion which led to questioning if God was even real. Once I started having children, I felt it my duty to raise them in the church, because not doing so was a sin, right? I would one day have to account for that, right? I tried to find a church to attend and I began to read my Bible. I wanted to read it from cover to cover. That wasn't a good idea. It led to more questions and disagreements. About two years ago I decided I would stop pursuing God/Jesus and Christianity. I was tired of the fight within myself and I had long been tired of the guilt. I wanted to be neutral and just see if God would come to me. I wanted to be a good little Christian. I wanted Gods approval. I was just so tired, I needed a break. Finally, last year, I was forced to face myself and my beliefs. I was forced to decide what was real. This may sound like the craziest thing but I have to thank Donald Trump for helping me see the truth. . . . (((Let me take a short pause for a good belly laugh ))) . . . When I saw how many "Christians" supported and praised a man who was NOTHING like Jesus, who didn't even look like a Christian to me, someone who we should stand against.. it threw me for a loop to say the least. I was angry at the church for supporting him. My biggest problem is that he is racist and misogynistic. My husband is black and all three of our children are mixed. I have two daughter who I want to grow up expecting equality and nothing less than common respect. I am raising a son to treat women equally and respectfully in all situations. Needless to say, the whole Trump persona feels like a personal attack against my life. I felt hurt by those close to me or whom I considered friends because they were supporters of him and I felt like they were disgracing my religion. The religion I had worked so hard to follow. So many of the Christians that I knew walked closely with God, somehow didn't see how bad this man was. I had never heard from God but they had. They had that close relationship that I couldn't achieve. How come God didn't tell them not to support Trump? If Jesus was in their hearts, why didn't he move them to know the truth? I became mad at God and the whole idea of Christianity. We were supposed to be all about love. Jesus' greatest teaching was to love right? But here we are, the Christian community is supporting someone who hates other races. This year, I have taken a long hard look at the idea of Christianity and at what I've been taught to believe and what I feel and actually believe in my heart. The conclusion I've come to? I do not believe in any of it. I believe in science. I believe in humans. I believe in this world and in the universe and that is all. Christianity is a scam. The Bible is a bad fairy tale used to control us and warp our minds and our behaviors. I'm over it. Last week I sat down and cried as I admitted this to myself and felt the chains I've drug around fall off of me. The guilt has washed away. I feel a sense of freedom that I have never known. The night I found this website, I nervously, half-ass admitted to my husband that I did not believe any longer. I said "honey, I don't think I'm a Christian anymore..." He looked at me and said "yeah, I've had my doubts for a long time. I think there might be a higher power but it's nothing like what the Bible says". So we were both non-believers and I just fell in love with him all over again !! Until I hit "submit" on this post, he's the only one who knows. My parents would be heartbroken and probably drive the 10 hours between us right now to lay hands on me tonight! My mom is convinced that the world is about to end and Jesus is going to come back any moment. I hear an end of time speach every time we get on the phone and I know that telling her I don't believe would only cause her pain, stress and sadness. So, I will stay in the "closet" for now until I can grow some balls. I would love to just put it out there that I am done with religion, but I don't want to hurt her or hear her mouth. I don't really know how my friends or family will react. I hope they will accept me for not believing as I accept them for believing. Who knows. At least, in my own home, with my dear husband, I can be myself. As for my children, I just want them to live life. They can decide what they believe when they are old enough to analyze the world and whatever religions it can offer them at that time. Thanks for reading
  47. 6 points
    Wow night core. It sucks that your having to go through this. Hopefully they will come around. At least they are making steps toward accommodating your stay with them for the holidays. I am debating coming out of the closet on my deconversion and worry about a similar response. When my son told me he was bi and didn't care whether he dated a boy or a girl I had to drag it out of him. I'm claiming awesome dad title for my instant acceptance of this with him. I could tell he was relieved. I was told by a gay co-worker that the dad is always the hardest to tell. At this point he is dating a girl. But like I tell him I just want him to be happy. I think that eventually your parents love for you will win over their issues with you being gay. I don't really get the whole not sleeping in your siblings room tho..... I mean even if you are gay..... it's still your brother. But anyway. I wish the best for you. People in general don't like change. Hopefully this is just a matter of adjusting to the change. Dark Bishop
  48. 6 points
    I took the time to think this topic through a bit more and I do not at all see how the sacrifice of Jesus determines whether Yahweh does what is right because it’s right, or whether he does whatever he wants and then calls it right. Here are my reasons why: Right from the start, Adam and Eve were set up to fail in Eden, with your god ALREADY KNOWING how the situation would turn out. He knew beforehand that they would disobey and eat the forbidden fruit, resulting in death and the sinful nature programming that everyone is allegedly born with, making it impossible to resist the temptation to sin on our own. This means that regardless of our will, we cannot be anything but pieces of trash in the eyes of “God” and we are condemned merely for existing. Yahweh then arbitrarily decides that sin is deserving of death as a punishment. Using Jesus to atone for every sinful act committed by every human as a result of their programming to sin, does not demonstrate that Yahweh is righteous. It instead demonstrates that Jesus was nothing more than a scapegoat, with the sins of everyone else pinned on him to appease Yahweh’s sadism. If Jesus was indeed somehow “God in the flesh”, then the body of Jesus was merely a puppet being controlled by Yahweh and since Yahweh is supposedly a god and cannot die, then he sacrificed NOTHING. When you look at it closely and are actually open to questioning what the Bible is saying, you will see that Yahweh is responsible for his creations having a programming to disobey him. Not only that, but by sacrificing Jesus, he is then offering the cure for the disease he gave everyone (but only if they worship and obey him without question) and then threatening a punishment worse than death for those who either do not accept the cure or do not even believe that it exists. Stranger, I realize that you will likely never see it the way that I do and that is okay, but in the end, your god’s actions in the Bible only make him look more like a malevolent dictator and less like a loving father. You have failed to demonstrate to any of us that your god is actually righteous, let alone that he actually exists. “The Bible says so” and “God said so” are not adequate reasons for any of us to conclude that any of your assertions are correct. The errors in the Bible that Citsonga has pointed out in the “salvation from Hell” thread, such as the contradictions and the dishonesty of the gospels' authors, who took verses out of context and used them to invent prophecies that were never there, only serve to demonstrate that it is highly unlikely that any sort of god inspired the Bible. It is clear that Christianity is a religion of fear with the sole purpose of being used to control other people. It is also clear that it was humans who arbitrarily decided which Christian writings were “God’s Word” and then put them together for their own reasons. If you have evidence that your god played a role in that process, then show it to us, otherwise, you’re wasting your time here.
  49. 6 points
    DB, This is only my opinion. I believe that it is 'high' empathy. (Almost too much empathy) Most people who have high empathy are very sensitive and feel emotions very strongly. I feel everything very strong. I can't kill a bug. The fact is that the cross was a form of torture. It wouldn't surprise me if they still used this form of torture today as I feel we haven't completely come out of the dark ages yet. You are probaby a highly sensitive person. The thought of anyone dying this way would bother you. If any type of abuse shakes you to your core, you could be a highly sensitive personality and it can be a curse because HS personalities suffer more depression. People like us were 'sitting ducks' for the story of Christ. Stay away from anything that might trigger you. (Hug)
  50. 6 points
    If you focus on the gospels there are far less problems to be concerned about. And the new testament is full of just essays on how to live your life by god's will. Most people I knew studying the bible were more concerned about how to live according to god's will than anything else. Or they just read about Jesus over and over again. And then there were the Armageddon worriers. Everything points to the end of days being soon! Any day now Jesus is gonna fly around in the sky and suck up all the believers like a Holy Vacuum! You better not be sinning when it happens! I wish I had accepted the problems right away. I trusted the adults at the time and decided to read again later. When I read it again when I was older I just found new issues like the whole circumcision thing which I didn't fully understand before. I remember particularly the story where a man rapes Jacob's daughter and then asks to marry her. So they agree but all men from the rapist's town must be circumcised. There were so many circumcisions that they named it "Hill of Foreskins" that day. While all the men were in pain from their circumcisions Jacob's sons murdered everyone. Jacob was upset that they had done this because now other towns will think badly of them. But the boys say they don't want their sister to be a whore. Everything about that story is a big WTF, and it's in the most holy of holy books. It's got it all. Rape, dick tips, slaughter of many for the crime of one, intentional sabotage with intent to betray by the protagonists. I read some apologetics say that they killed everyone because they didn't want their sister to marry her rapist, but that doesn't fix this story. The good book is seriously messed up. I don't see how people can read this stuff and not have doubts about the idea of this religion being the source of morality. I just kept thinking I didn't understand it which made me think I was stupid. This religion seems designed to damage the brain of the believer.

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