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Showing content with the highest reputation on 05/07/2017 in all areas

  1. 4 points
    Based on my experience and the number of posts about this issue on this site, I would have to rate understanding the Bible as one of the most, if not the most, perplexing problem those leaving the faith have to deal with. This was certainly a major issue for me and I found the answers I was seeking by reading historical critical scholars. It’s their job to dissect scripture and place it in context. John Dominic Crossan, a noted Bible scholar and former Catholic Priest wrote, “My point once again, is not that those ancient people told literal stories and we are now smart enough to take them symbolically, but that they told them symbolically and we are now dumb enough to take them literally.” I’ve read a small library of books written by historical scholars that focus on the origins and evolution of both the Bible and Christianity, but I recently found an author. David Fitzgerald, that sums up the problems with the bible nicely and then explains in plain easy to understand English where the gospel story (there was only one gospel) came from, in other words how it was created and why. His books deal with Jesus and why he was undoubtedly a literary figure, not a real person. His other book(s) deal solely with the Bible such as who wrote it, when was it written, and why was it written. He also deals with the Apostle Paul, also a literary figure, and his Epistles. If you read his books I doubt it would be necessary for you to read anything else. So, if readying volumes of books about Christian history isn’t your thing then this should solve your problem. The first book is NAILED, Ten Christian Myths That Show Jesus Never Existed At All His other book is JESUS: Mything In Action (Volume I & II) If the Bible continues to be a problem for you, and you still fear going to hell, then I suggest these books are a must read for you.
  2. 2 points
    I'm not able to like a post yet SeaJay but I am really behind the last two posts of ThereAndBackAgain. I deconverted at 15 and am now 69. Only since coming onto this site in 2013 have I become aware of how unsubstantiated the claims made in the bible actually are but even so at no point have I ever seriously considered becoming a christian again. That would take evidence that has not yet surfaced. I saw that in the questions area you posted the question of whether Jesus thought he would return in the lifespan of his contemporaries.You quote William Lane Craig in that section and I just wanted to mention that you should think about the quality of the arguments he presents not just in terms of logic but in how plainly and directly they address the question at hand. If Yahweh/Jesus/Holy Spirit had anything at all to do with revealing itself to mankind through the bible then would it allow the repeated misstating and mistranslating of words and passages that are crucial to getting it's desired message across .
  3. 2 points
    Free will -v- religious determinism is a logical inconsistency simply ignored by most Christians. I've never understood why a Calvinist would preach, or what an Armenian would make of texts concerning election. The most "honest" approach I've come across is those who say "The bible teaches both free will and election; I believe both and cannot understand the mystery of how god unites the two". I know some who say just that. And who seem incapable of realising that it is just a way of burying their heads in the theoillogical sand.
  4. 2 points
    That would be the ideal, but it's been several months since either of them spoke to me in a meaningful, more than passive way (I only stopped attending a couple weeks ago). Once I began voicing my doubts and problems with scriptural consistency, a lot of the people I talked to....stopped reaching out to me. My church was very much is of the mind that if they can't/won't convert, then wipe them from their shoes. They're the flavor that talks about how much the world persecutes THE TRUE CHRISTIANITY. Oh, the fucking irony. And while I'd like to think better of those two friends, the general way of our friendships (even when I was "in it") was making sure we were all maintaining our direction towards and in discipline with the Lord's commands. So I don't think it's rash for me to assume they'd pick sticking with that over a person they "befriended" for two years.
  5. 2 points
    Would be nice to hear from Jon in here. Since this is his fight that I am fighting. DB
  6. 2 points
    SeaJay, your last message helped me to understand your position better. Look, if you were to examine the evidence and reject Christianity (even if you declared yourself an atheist - an optional step you should only take when you're ready) and then later either reexamined the evidence or found new evidence that convinced you were wrong, and you sincerely came to believe again - you could do that! That is the message intended by the story of the prodigal son: a just, loving god would not condemn somebody who sincerely returned. At the same time, it is very rare to change one's mind after such a deconversion (we generally become MORE convinced, not less) and the Hebrews writer knew that. But not impossible. I call myself an agnostic atheist: I don't believe in any god, but I'm not CERTAIN there is none. If convincing evidence appeared, I could conceivably cease being an atheist. Extremely unlikely at this point, but not impossible. So I would encourage you to move forward with reading, studying and asking questions. We may be ex-Christians but we're not working for Satan (he doesn't exist), trying to convert people to atheism come what may. But if you're ready to move forward, we're here for you!
  7. 1 point
    I’m a professional evangelist. I travel the country — and sometimes the world, when the Lard magically commands it — trusting the Spook of Kryasst who is also somehow magically Him to magically cause those who hear me preach the Good News, the Glorious Bullshit about Kryasst, to believe and be SLAVED! As I’m sure you know, the most important decision we can make in life is our Sky Decision about who the Lard Jesus is and what we must do to follow Him. I couldn’t believe it when I first heard the Truth that 2000 years before I was born, the Lard Jesus Kryasst sacrificed Himself to Himself on the big giant stick to save me from the Holy Farter version of Himself! I always sensed somehow that something was wrong with me, and when I heard that that “wrongness” was because Adam and Eve killed my inner spook because they ate some magic fruit from a magic tree after listening to a lying talking snake and caused me to do shit that pisses Jesus off, even against my own will — well, it all just suddenly made perfect sense! The Word says that Jesus came to destroy the diabolical magical works of the Talking Snake (which He did when He Croaked in the Spook on the big giant stick), and the Word also says that Kryasst is gonna ride His Sky Horse down from the Sky Kingdom someday very soon to kick the Talking Snake’s ass for good! Glory! Considering everything that Kryasst has done for me, how can I NOT totally dedicate every moment of my life to Him and His glorious work all around this biblically flat planet? I say without shame or fear of any man that KRYASST IS MY EVERYTHING. He Croaked in the Spook and then Magically Undeadened Himself so that by believing that Glorious Bullshit, I could be SLAVED and go to live with Him in the Sky Kingdom forever after I Croak in the Spook. Hall-lay-LOOH-Yah!!
  8. 1 point
    I was born into Christianity and grew up into an extremely pentecostal church. At one point I was a worship leader in a church and believed that I was called by God to be a missionary. After 38 years, I began to deconstruct my faith. When I tried to put it back together, it felt like puzzle pieces that just didn't fit together. Eventually I came to the conclusion that either God is a mean spirit (by hiding himself and threatening hell) or he doesn't exist. I overwhelmingly think it must be the latter. After about 7 months, I told my family (parents and siblings). My mom is devastated. She believes I'm now going to hell and taking my wife and two children with me. I'm sad that she now has to suffer because of this, which is why I almost didn't tell her. My wife and I decided that it was necessary since my mom had been questioning why we hadn't found a new church and expressing how important it is to have young children in church. "You have to teach them while they're young," she said, "or when they're older they won't be interested." Well we've decided we don't want our children exposed to the fear and guilt of evangelical Christianity. I now want to help others who might be doubting. I want them to know that they're normal and that it's okay to doubt a belief system that doesn't make sense. I've written a lot of short, I don't know what you call them, essays. I don't consider myself a writer and I'm looking for a place where I can get feedback from others before I share any of it with skeptics who are still believers or who are on the fence about God. Is this a good safe place to do that?
  9. 1 point
    Here's the deal: If: mankind is born sinful, unable to do any work of merit towards salvation, unable, as the Westminster Catechism says, "to recommend himself to God in any way", and totally devoid of any interest in God or love for God, Then: the only way for a person to have faith is for God to spiritually change that person, bringing them spiritual life and causing them to have the ability to desire God and desire salvation Thus: People are either CHOSEN by God to be spiritually changed and thus capable of turning to God, or they are irrevocably doomed to a Hell they were created to exist in. ************************************************************************************************************************* So, people, it goes like this: if God is capable of changing people, and that's the only way they can be saved, then he didn't want (and doesn't want) billions of people to be saved. The Christian God is necessarily responsible for what is known as monergism - the action whereby a person can be saved originates from ONE source, namely, God, and never from man. In short, that means that any Christian who accepts the doctrine of "original sin" and the total corruption of the soul of man, making them unable to turn to God, necessarily accepts that their God does not love all people and does not want all to be saved, in total contradiction of Bible verses that specifically say otherwise. The only way for a person to be able to "get saved" by believing WITHOUT the prior, monergistic, sovereign action of God would be if their sinful nature was not total, and their inability to choose God was not total. That would make human beings truly free agents of their own destinies, and it would logically negate the concept of an almighty, absolutely sovereign deity. Which is it? Does the arbitrary, capricious son of a bitch in the sky want billions of people to suffer eternally in Hell because He so chooses, or is He indeed NOT almighty, and thus powerless to save those who freely reject Him? If He was almighty, even a human's willful rejection would not matter, because God would override their choice. If He is almighty, He hates on a level that is incomprehensible.
  10. 1 point
    I actually just raised this point while on vacation this weekend. I was explaining to the group how these stories like Moses and Noah are straight away taken from stories like King Sargon I and Gilgamesh. When they were written the writers had to have known what they were doing by substituting Jewish names and retelling the stories from a Jewish perspective. That's like coming up with a Jewish version of Superman, where instead he's Superstein or something. Or Luke Skywalkerberg. It's funny, but that's about what they were doing back in their day.... I was pointing out that it took years before people came up with the literalist ideas that we see today. And everyone sitting in the room seemed to get it when I explained it thoroughly.
  11. 1 point
    Hang on please sir, let me go find the nearest cliff that I may jump off! Mmmmm the troll is strong with this one!
  12. 1 point
    Thanks for the links Margee. I have to admit I'm not a big fan of Crossan. I've read a few of his books but I find myself disagreeing with him on a number of issues. I think he's more of an apologist than a true historian but I acknowledge he is a brilliant scholar. I would classify him as a very liberal Christian much like Bishop John Shelby Spong.
  13. 1 point
    I was going to make a snarky quip about christians having balls; but then I remembered you're only playing Devil's Advocate here. Never mind me.
  14. 1 point
    Yeah... whatever. Damned if you do, damned if you don't. Let people be foolish reactionaries and hate us whitey's because their post-modernist college professor taught them to. Eventually, some of them will come to their senses. Some people seem to be hell bent on making racial/ethnic tensions worse.
  15. 1 point
    DB, you are new here... so am I. However, in my internet travels I have come across a common tactic that you should know about. It is employed by those with poor fortitude of mind, and even weaker arguments: It's called the "cut and run" I believe that Jon has employed it as a last line of defense PS, brilliant opening line in your rebuttal: exactly what I was thinking. My eyes boggled at your initial opening, and they also boggled at L.B's opening/rebuttal as he didn't address your points, but attacked your perceived authority to debate the issue. Of course he might be 'debating Jon' but I did feel that it was a lost opportunity to shred creationism which is fairly easily countered. Keep at it guys, interesting watching 2 ex-c's debate
  16. 1 point
    We are here for yah here. I know it is just an online group of friends and you don't even know most of our names (mostly because we don't want to be outed to everyone we are associated with in real life) but we do care about the situation you are going through. I think this happens any time one makes a huge change in their life affecting their current social situation. Such as moving out of state, deconversion, job changes, or even conversion. I had close friends I was associated with when I wasn't a Christian that didnt want anything to do with me when I became christian. Likewise since I left the church I have only had two people contact me in real life just because we happened to run in to each other in public. It wasn't like they made an effort to find me. And two people to send me a message or converse with me on Facebook. But that's all fine and dandy because that means I don't have to be guilt tripped because they want me to come back to church. Oh well life goes on. I really appreciate my uncle. He has been their for me no matter what stage of life I was in and we have always been close. I can't even say that about my brothers. If ya ever wanna PM to talk or something feel free too. I will lend an attentive eye to your messages. Deconverting isn't an easy process. Best regards, Dark Bishop
  17. 1 point
    You are way ahead of yourself intellectually. Works on getting your emotions to catch up. Intellectual and emotional balance is healthy.
  18. 1 point
    Well, it might be that those two guys know or have guessed already, or that they just don't consider it their business and don't want to bother you. Not everyone is a meddler, after all. Documentation for your consideration: http://finnishnightmares.blogspot.com/ https://www.facebook.com/finnishnightmares/
  19. 1 point
    Many theists are taught from a very young age various flavors of xenophobia, including the mistrust, vilification and shunning of non-believers. You are a victim of that indoctrination. Yes, it's sad, but it's also pathetic. You are not the one acting immorally. They are.
  20. 1 point
    That's harsh! Though considering that religion and the deep fear it inspires is their likely motivation for acting that way, I suppose we should commend them for meeting you halfway. You must mean a lot to them if they're weighing their relationship with you against their relationship with God. I can't help but notice the parental arrogance in expecting to be able to bar you from visiting their home, but still come and go in your home as they please. I hope you'll remember to set healthy boundaries with your parents if you feel like it. After all, it may take 20 or so years to raise a child, but it takes a lifetime to raise one's parents.
  21. 1 point
    Just get out here in the real world and make some real friends. You'll be fine, hang in there.
  22. 1 point
    That the Bible has God committing acts that are extremely immoral, even according to Christianity's own morality.
  23. 1 point
    We are here with you nutrichuckles. My best friends haven't uttered a single word to me about leaving church, or God, and why I don't believe. My best friends for 10 years! I tried to start a conversation one time saying if they wanted to talk about it, thinking that maybe they thought it would be rude to push me. They were not interested. It doesn't help that the pastor has and continues to poison the well https://www.logicallyfallacious.com/tools/lp/Bo/LogicalFallacies/140/Poisoning-the-Well This is done both in direct conversations with them, (Oh LF, he really believes he just doesn't know it, or don't talk to him, he has been deceived by science) and by preaching against using intellect logic and reason in church EXCEPT in regards to listening to Gods word (Which means don't use your brain at all) So you are not alone, yes it hurts - those closest to us don't want to talk about one of the biggest changes we will ever face - changing our core belief system. All the best LF
  24. 1 point
    Thank you TABA I'm ok with deconverting, totally. What I meant to say was, I don't want to be a non believer only to find out I was wrong. I understand what you say though, for example, there's no way I can look at Santa Claus and think 'Oh shoot! I was wrong all the time!' It's just my anxiety I may find out I am wrong some time down the road. That's my phobia of hell, it colours everything and I am forced to think of the consequences of perhaps being wrong 1, 10, 30 years down the line. I realise there are no guarantees, but I am hoping to cover as much research as I possibly can. If I arrive at the point where I just cannot carry on believing, then that's how it is.
  25. 1 point
    There is volumes of historical evidence that confirms Jesus isn't going to return because he never came in the first place. The gospel story isn't history it's fiction and there is a ton of evidence that confirms that. If you're reading apologist for answers to your questions, please stop. An apologist job is to defend the faith at all cost. In that context they are a lot like defense lawyers. It's their job to defend the accursed, and that does not require them to tell the truth. It's their job to convince a jury that their client didn't do what the evidence clearly said he did. Read historians for answers not apologist.
  26. 1 point
    I have Ehrman's 'Misquoting Jesus' which I read a few years ago. Can't remember most of it so I need to take a look once more
  27. 1 point
    Yes but this is just one point that Ehrmann makes in his book. This is the one possible reason behind the one forgery after he has pointed out the massive differences in sentence phrasing, run on paragraphs, introduction differences, etc, etc, etc. The timothy's are definitely forgeries. If you want to de-program your mind you need to read books that bring out the lies of the bible. What I gave you was just one example in a 600+ page book which is very well thought out and extensively referenced. Their are many other points he brings out in different books which address issues that didn't happen until after pauls death. How can he writes an epistle when he's dead? You, my friend need to research the truth about the bible if you really want to get peace of mind. DB
  28. 1 point
    @Geezer pointed me in a good direction and I read some of the work of Bart Ehrmann. You should read one or more of his books on forgeries. I read one on the Pauline forgeries and found out that many of the epistles of Paul that made it I to the bible were most likely forged. Whether or not there was even an actual man named Paul has been debated as well. Never the less in the Bart ehrman book I read "forgeries and counter forgeries" he first goes into agonizing detail on the criteria he uses in determining whether or not a document is forged. I read through over half of that but then decided to skip ahead a bit to his analysis of the epistles of Paul. He presents a very good arguement on his findings and even points out possible reasons behind the forgery after he has made his case on that epistle. He determined that 1 and 2 Timothy were forgeries. He pointed out that in the accepted Pauline Epistles that Paul was very adamant, like Jesus was in the gospels, that the second coming would be within their life times. 1st and 2nd Timothy are completely going against pauls original message and setting up the church for the long run and urging the followers to look for signs that may or may not be in the near or distant future. Such as that the son of perdition, that man of sin must be revealed before his coming. Also Paul urged the men to be celibate if possible in 1 corinthians chapter 7. 1 Corinthians 7 1 Now concerning the things whereof ye wrote unto me: It is good for a man not to touch a woman. 2 Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband. 3 Let the husband render unto the wife due benevolence: and likewise also the wife unto the husband. 4 The wife hath not power of her own body, but the husband: and likewise also the husband hath not power of his own body, but the wife. 5 Defraud ye not one the other, except it be with consent for a time, that ye may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again, that Satan tempt you not for your incontinency. 6 But I speak this by permission, and not of commandment. 7 For I would that all men were even as I myself. But every man hath his proper gift of God, one after this manner, and another after that. 8 I say therefore to the unmarried and widows, It is good for them if they abide even as I. 9 But if they cannot contain, let them marry: for it is better to marry than to burn. But in 1 Tim 3 there is a completely different message 1 Timothy 3 1 This is a true saying, If a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work. 2 A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach; note In the accepted epistle he says it is good for a man not to touch a woman and says he would that all men were as he was. (Celibate and unmarried). But in 1 Tim he says to be a Bishop must be the husband of one wife. I think corinthians Paul would have loved for a Bishop to be a celibate man like himself Yah see at some point people began to realise that Jesus wasn't coming. So they had to forge an epistle to reorganize the church and kick the can down the road indefinitely. There are many epistles like this. Out of 13 epistles only 6 I believe he said are accepted to be the original man who is known as paul. And, as I said before, the teachings are not the same as what is reflected in the forgeries. Many men and women have attempted to determine the time of the second coming and all have failed. Because he isn't coming back. It is all a lie to keep you under the thumb of the church. It has been edited, added too, falsified, and re-translated into a weapon of oppression in the guise of a book of love. It is a true Trojan horse. Dark Bishop
  29. 1 point
    Thanks guys, I'm going to get better and become a happy non religious agnostic again.
  30. 1 point
    ^^^^ Thanks for this, BAA! After reading your thought-provoking post above, I suddenly felt this intense gratitude that - for the first time in my life - I am a member of a community of people who are wholly unbound by religious theology or dogma. It's an amazing experience, being exposed to the ideas that are shared here on a daily basis! Everything from scriptural history and science to atheistic philosophies, godless 'spirituality' and more It has been just over three years since I realized I had become an ex-Christian, but my deconversion has become much deeper and more positive since I became active in this community just over a year ago. So I'm just saying 'Thanks' BAA to you and the others who have shown how rich life can be without a god-belief!
  31. 1 point
    Thanks for raising this fascinating subject, RC. You ask for thoughts - so how about this? My interest in cosmology has lead me to consider the following possibility. Is it possible that we do and don't have free will? Ok, this appears to be a paradox. These two conditions should be mutually exclusive. It should be impossible for us to make free choices, while not making free choices. Yet, if we 'cheat' a little, there is a way of resolving this paradox. I will explain, but keep the exact nature of the cheating secret until the end of this post. . . . Below is an excerpt from this book... https://www.amazon.com/Infinite-Book-Boundless-Timeless-Endless/dp/1400032245 "Imagine living in a universe where nothing is original. Everything is a fake. No ideas are ever new. There is no novelty, no originality. Nothing is ever done for the first time and nothing will ever be done for the last time. Nothing is unique. Everyone possesses not just one double but an unlimited number of them. This unusual state of affairs exists if the universe is infinite in spatial extent (volume) and the probability that life can develop is not equal to zero. It occurs because of the remarkable way in which infinity is quite different from any large finite number, no matter how large the number might be. In a universe of infinite size, anything that has a non-zero probability of occurring must occur infinitely often. Thus at any instant of time—for example, the present moment—there must be an infinite number of identical copies of each of us doing precisely what each of us is now doing. There are also infinite numbers of identical copies of each one of us doing something other than what we are doing at this moment. Indeed, an infinite number of copies of each of us could be found at this moment doing anything that it was possible for us to do with a non-zero probability at this moment. The spatial replication paradox has all sorts of odd consequences aside from the psychological unease it creates. We believe that the evolution of life is possible with non-zero probability because it has happened on Earth by natural means. Hence, in an infinite universe there must exist an infinite number of living civilizations. Within them will exist copies of ourselves of all possible ages. When each of us dies, there will always exist elsewhere an infinite number of copies of ourselves, possessing all the same memories and experiences of our past lives but who will live on to the future. This succession will continue indefinitely into the future and so in some sense each of us 'lives' forever." If we do inhabit such an infinite multiverse, then we inhabit a 'super-deterministic' reality. http://www.informationphilosopher.com/freedom/superdeterminism.html In such a reality, free will is an illusion. In such a reality, we are not unique, but infinitely iterated across infinite space, endlessly repeating the same actions, thoughts and decisions of all of our doppelgangers. In such a reality, everything that can happen in nature happens infinitely often. The same events play out again and again and again... forever. Such a reality would be like a fractal, endlessly repeating itself without ever producing anything new or novel. The same self-similar patterns played and replayed... for eternity. Q. So, how can there be any free will in such a reality? A. There can't. But there is a loophole (aka cheating) in this whole concept that would allow us to believe that we have free will. It all comes down to a matter of scale. Across the entire reality described above, none of us or any of our duplicates have any free will. That is the widest possible view, with a scale that encompasses e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g. However, on a purely LOCAL scale (our observable universe of 94,000,000,000 light years diameter) we have no duplicates. Our nearest possible duplicate is much, much further away from us than this tiny distance. (Many billions of multiples of this figure.) Now, given the fact that we can never meet with any of our duplicates or even know if they exist, we will live out our lives in complete and total ignorance of them. Any they of us. Therefore, we can safely choose to believe that we are unique and that we possess free will, even if neither of these conditions is true. So, provided that we think locally and not cosmically, we can believe that we have free will. We can also believe that we do and we don't have free will, by simultaneously considering both the local and cosmic frames of reference in our minds. As we are doing right now - by reading these words and considering these concepts. And there is the cheating resolution of the paradox. Thanks, BAA.
  32. 1 point
    Focusing on selfish vs selfless causes too much dichotomous thinking. If you are worrying about it too much, it might be better to not focus on those concepts in your decision making process for a while. Disassociate "selfish and selfless" from being semi-synonymous with "immoral and moral." Believing that selflessness, in and of itself, is moral sets you up to be taken advantage of. If someone is using the accusation of "selfish" to get you to do things for them, they are the ones most likely being selfish. When you are constantly doing things for other people, they adapt the expectation that you should do those things. If you live your life thinking that selfish acts are immoral and selfless acts are moral, then you could end up becoming a selfish person's unpaid servant. The people you are helping tend to not feel gratitude, but rather that you should be selfless for their sake because it's just the way things are. This is just my personal experience from dealing with these issues in many, many people. Anyway, your family is going to try to make you convert back to the faith because it's in their Christian programming to do so. There are many psychological tools that can be used to get you to go along with their wishes. Making you feel that you are being selfish and that selfishness is inherently bad is just one of them. The Christian guilt trip complex has worked for centuries.
  33. 1 point
    As someone who was in a baptist cult as well as someone who has watched nearly every cult documentary out there, there's not a lot you can do on your own. If you try to force her out she'll see it as an attack on her faith and go on the highly defensive. If you drag her out it will add to her conviction. It's even harder since you aren't that close to her, because it's less reason to trust you. The only way for people to get out of cults is for them to have their own doubt. If they open up to you about the doubt, you can work to further it, but other than that there isn't a lot you can do directly. There's not really a quick fix. I think the best thing you can do is be there for her. If you see the cult getting (more) dangerous in the sense that it's going to physically harm her then you can take more drastic measures. But until then there's really not a lot. You can't force someone to not believe without creating a lot of trauma.
  34. 1 point
    Yep, the sheer confusion of it all is baffling. For the supposed 'right' religion, God sure isn't helping these denominations get any closer to him. Now, with the internet showing how false all this stuff really is---it makes you wonder just what is he doing? The question is hypothetical, but just humor it. If God really does exist in the form of the supposed Trinity. What is he actually accomplishing that can't be disproved? Seriously. For someone who apparently created our brains and gave us the ability to think, he sure is allowing us to get far in finding evidence against him. It's almost like he doesn't exist.
  35. 1 point
    DLB, I think probably the best approach to take with your parents and your brother is firstly to answer whatever questions they have about why you no longer believe; you seem well able to do that. Secondly, the more they see you as somebody who is increasingly comfortable in his unbelief and who is happy and still in possession of a moral compass while not believing in or having a relationship with their god, the better. That realization will be unsettling to them, since letting go of God is supposed to be a recipe for misery and all things bad. Your parents may be in too deep for too long to be able to change, but your brother may be different. You may be impatient for him to see how much he was indoctrinated, but patience and a policy of taking care of yourself and growing your confidence in and comfort with your deconversion may well pay off over time. All the Best, TABA
  36. 1 point
    @ThereAndBackAgain thanks for the encouragement! I feel that I was definitely indoctrinated as a small child. My mom lead me in the "sinner's prayer" when I was 2 years old. WTF? Why? All I want now is to help my brother see that he was indoctrinated too. But none of the conversations I've had have been productive. I've gone back and forth with my mom over the past few days. It's been a little frustrating. I had no idea how crazy my parents beliefs had become. She mentioned the "overwhelming evidence of God." When I asked her about that evidence she said, "all the healing, visions, prophetic messages, miracles and angel appearances, plus the people who have died, gone to heaven and come back to tell us about it, including grandma's dad (her grandfather), you have decided you know better than anyone else." I immediately responded, "Well, I don't believe a single one of those things has ever actually happened." Her response, "Why do you think none of those things ever happened? Why would people make it up?" OMG, seriously? Why would people make it up? I said, "I can't infer motive on anyone specifically but I can say that there are a lot of reason to make stuff like that up. Things like attention, power, and money to state a few. Sometimes people will make up a story just to try to make their point of view seem more valid in the eyes of others. Stories often get embellished and exaggerated. Someone hears one of these stories, believes it to be true and repeats is to others as "truth". There are endless possibilities for the questions of why these stories exist. That's why we should require proof. It's like the story I was told once of a guy eating a steak from Outback that someone peed on. I believed it without proof and a private investigator showed up at my door asking me where I heard the story. He wanted proof. He had spent months tracking this story just trying to get to the bottom of it. Why would someone make up a story about someone peeing on their steak at Outback? I have no idea! When we stop thinking critically about the things we are told and we stop asking for proof, we can start to believe many things that aren't true. There are still people who genuinely believe the earth is flat!" (The private investigator from Outback is a true story. Taught me a serious lesson about not just believing everything you hear, even when you think you have a reliable source.) She replied with, "I was healed once and I didn't make it up. I'll tell you about it if you ever want to know." I'm not going to respond anymore. I think both she and my dad are to entrenched in their beliefs. I'm not sure about my kids. I never want them to tell my kids that they deserve hell unless they believe. I'm ending the indoctrination of children that has spanned my blood line for generations. I'd be okay without my parents in my life but I don't want my kids feeling like they missed out on knowing their grandparents. I keep thinking about all the crazy things my parents do. They just bought a new house and yes, God told them to buy it. They're in their mid 60's. All their kids are gone and they upsized from a 3 bedroom house to a 4 bedroom house on a lake. They seriously said that God told them to do it. Who upsizes in their mid 60s? I could go on all night with all the crazy shit they say and do. OMG it feels so good to get this all out. I've only had my wife to talk to about it before now. @DarkBishop thanks for reading and the warm welcome. @SkepticsApprentice I'm glad my story connected with you. I agree wholeheartedly that we can't live the only life we get just trying to please others. That's the reason I'm out with my family as being agnostic/atheist (I'm not sure what to call myself). Take your time though. Don't feel rushed but certainly don't feel like you have to live a lie just to please them. @DarkFlash so glad to meet you.
  37. 1 point
    Welcome DontLookBack! I'm quite new to this place myself. Even though I haven't been as deeply entrenched in Christianity as you were once, your story still resonated with me, especially when it comes to how strongly I used to believe something that is, in hindsight, patently false–and often ridiculous. I'm sorry your family hasn't been taking the news well. My relatives currently don't know about my deconversion process either, although I plan to tell them eventually. I'll probably do it in a year or so, once I've been able to garner enough knowledge and experience to consistently break down all the typical apologetic arguments that I know they'll try to use. My only concern is how emotionally-charged that conversation is sure to be, when I do finally get around to it. My parents are both believers, but as in your case my mother is probably the one who will be affected the most. Since she spent so much time teaching me about God and the Bible as a child and into young adulthood, I expect that she'll feel like a failure, in addition to the typical fear of hell. To be completely honest, I probably would be content to let everyone I currently know in the Church go to their graves without knowing about how I've changed. Of course, that would mean that I'd have to live a lie whenever I'm around them, which would ultimately poison my friendships with other nonbelievers, my romantic relationships (probably won't be dating too many believers), and the upbringing of my children, if I have any (without church or religious indoctrination). If this life is all I've got–as human experience would suggest it is–I refuse to spend it all in an effort to make other people happy with me. In any case, thanks for sharing your experiences, and I look forward to hearing from you in the future!
  38. 1 point
    Welcome to our community, DLB! Your background and obvious ability to express yourself should serve you well here, as well as making you an asset to the rest of us. It sounds like your wife is on board with raising your kids without religious indoctrination. This is a big deal, because in my opinion the cycle of indoctrination is the biggest thing Christianity and other faith systems have going for them. Even people who are minimally religious themselves contribute to the cycle by thinking that their kids need God to be good. I wrote a post about this a couple of months ago: I think that we can make a big contribution by helping the majority of minimally religious folks to let go of the fig-leaf of a god-belief. The more they see people who are good and happy without a deity, the more they can give themselves permission to count themselves among us. I hope this makes sense... Anyway, Welcome! I look forward to hearing more from you. By all means share some of what you've written.

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