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  1. 2 points
    I'm enjoying this discussion as a lurker but can't comment at this point except on the God's omnipotence issue. Can God violate the principle of non-contradiction? I would think the issue there is that the person coming up with examples violates the principle of non-contradiction. So the examples are either meaningless or just deserve the answer 'no'. E.g. can God will His own non-existence? Can God create a second God metaphysically equal to himself, i.e. whose existence does not depend on anything else? These are defective questions, as I understand it. I just this morning read Aquinas on this very topic (in Latin! har har). Here's a link to the relevant passage, Summa Contra Gentiles II.25, if anyone wants to look at a standard treatment of the problem: http://dhspriory.org/thomas/ContraGentiles2.htm#25
  2. 2 points
    We have to be careful about which definition we're discussing, though. Even if God could define his concept of "good" to mean whatever he might want it to be, and even claim that concept to be a universal absolute, that would only prove that God thought himself good. What we're discussing, after all, is whether something can be objectively good according to our concept of "good". If, on the other hand, you're arguing that God could change our concept of "good", or some universal concept of "good" dictated by logic in such a way that we might discover it, we're talking about changing logic itself, or as Blamtasticful put it, creating a rock so big that even he can't lift it. You could of course imagine a God who could do that, but it's a step up from just arbitrarily declaring things to be true.
  3. 2 points
    Respectfully padgemi I think you might want to research the historical information about the bible & Christianity too. There was no crucifixion, that story as written in the bible simply could not have happened as written. Matthew, Mark, Luke, & John were simply names the emerging Catholic Church assigned to 4 popular but unnamed manuscripts. There are no recorded eyewitnesses to anything written in the bible. And there is no historical Jesus. The only place Jesus of Nazarreth is found is in the gospel story. And another minor point no place named Nazarreth existed when Jesus supposedly walked the earth, but it did when the gospel was transferred from oral to written form. And these problems are are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to issues with the bible. Oh yeah, and there is reason to believe Paul was a literary figure too. Evidence suggest Marcion may have written the epistles not Paul.
  4. 1 point
    How and Why I Left Christianity A few years ago, I used to be a Christian. Now I am sort of agnostic/deistic. And also antireligious. To give you a background:I grew up in a conservative Christian bubble for most of my childhood. All of my friends and immediate family are Christians and most of them are Pentecostal. I don’t know any of them who don’t think the Bible is inerrant. I never (and still don’t) have any non-Christian friends. Religion never felt terribly important to me, and I was slightly ashamed that I didn’t naturally feel religious in my day-to-day life like I was expected to. I would silently thank God for a pretty sunset, but didn’t feel overly-dependent or attached to God. Many people in my life would say that they relied on God for everything down to simply getting out of bed in the morning, and I found this weird because I could go a day without even thinking about God and I would be perfectly fine. I had a hard time believing that every mundane little blessing in our everyday lives was caused by God, or that God was causing good things to happen rather them being a result of our own actions or the actions of others. I secretly thought reading the Bible was boring and I would rarely read it without someone else encouraging or shaming me to read it. I rarely felt excited about my faith like other people in my life were. I couldn’t speak in tongues like some of my friends - even though I asked God many times. I did pray, but I never heard God’s voice like other people claimed to hear. For a while, I was very frustrated because of these things and I felt like God was either arbitrarily silent towards me or I wasn’t saved or I was doing something wrong. I felt like I hardly belonged, and I feared for my salvation for a while. I did everything I needed to be saved and I did truly believe the Bible, so finally I concluded that I did my part and if God didn’t accept me then that’s not my problem. Now that I’m agnostic and I look back at this, I’m still not quite sure why I never became “on fire for Jesus” like most other people in my life. I was “going through the motions”, as they say. Maybe I am innately too rational to fool myself into believing I was actually having experiences with God. I don’t know. By growing up always surrounded by conservative Christians, I used to always hear only their side to every religious or political argument. When I heard about what other people believed in religion and politics, it was always a warped, negative, misrepresented picture of it from someone who was against it. It was a classic case of indoctrination. When you are younger, it is forced on you. But once I got old enough, I was given permission to surf the internet on my own. That is when I started being exposed to information outside of my bubble of indoctrination. I began reading countless debates on creation and evolution online, and I also tried to defend my belief in young earth creationism in the comment sections. Through this, I got a sense for the rigidity and formality of debate, learned to spot fallacies, and realized in a way I hadn’t before that I could discover truth by logical reasoning and testing the validity of various arguments. This was incredibly important in my path towards irreligion. These online debate often drifted off into a debate about Christianity and Biblical inerrancy. I found myself having doubts about the accuracy and inerrancy of the Bible (not just about the book of Genesis but countless other parts of scripture). There were so many arguments that seemed to refute different passages of the Bible, and it felt like there were a bunch of leaks in a dam and I was scrambling to plug them up. Every time I found a satisfactory or at least partially satisfactory answer to a question, two more leaks would form. Some arguments against Christianity seemed solid at first, but after researching them, much to my relief it turned out that they were very flimsy. So I tried to encourage myself with that thought: That all the unanswered questions I had were nothing to worry about at all, and a good answer for it would come but I just hadn’t found it yet. Soon, however, I began thinking about the doctrines of Christianity many times a day, forming connections and trying to piece things together. I started daring to come up with new problems for Christianity myself and seeing if I could find an answer to them. To my horror, I found that there were whole realms of questions that led to other questions, all which I could think of few or no answers to. Searching for answers online didn’t help much either. Gotquestions.org and other sites failed me more and more often, and I started seeing logical flaws in the answers I received from them. I felt annoyed and uneasy when sites like Answers in Genesis would answer a scientific question with the Bible more than they did with science. I personally accepted the Bible, but I knew that the atheists I was debating would not, and I didn’t have much of a reason to give them as to why they should accept the Bible as well. The answers I got from Christian websites would only address part of the problem, and the main part of the problem would go unanswered. Or they would give an answer that relies on circular reasoning. Or they would give emotional reasons or other reasons that are irrelevant. Or they would simply say something along the lines of “I don’t know why this is the case, but we’ll just have to take it on faith. After all, it says here in the Bible that God cannot lie, so we can trust Him on this.” However, I saw that faith didn’t work very well in debates. Atheists wouldn’t accept it and I couldn’t blame them for it, so this answer always left me unsatisfied. Faith became a topic to avoid. I was on the same side as those using faith in arguments, but I was embarrassed by them. Faith was like a currency that only had value in my little Christian bubble, and outside it, it was worthless. People who believe different religions use faith to support ideas that contradict with Christianity, and I had no answer to why my faith should be accepted but theirs rejected. But logical reasoning, I saw, was like a universally accepted currency. Logic was incredibly useful. It is what enabled every scientific advancement. It allows us to truly understand the natural world. I relied on it more in my day-to-day life than I did on God. Logic was also necessary to be a Christian, else you could not even read and understand the Bible. I was reluctantly forced to admit the obvious to myself: Logic was superior to faith and it made no sense to make faith superior to logic in special cases. This was an important step in my de-conversion. I had liked to point to creation as the proof that God existed, but I realized that it told us nothing about which god (if any) created the world. Christianity didn’t really have any advantage over other religions. I realized that a great way to show yourself whether or not some argument in support of a religious claim is valid is to think of what other religions say about the matter, and ask yourself what logical reasons you have to think Christianity is correct about the issue and all the other religions are wrong. If you bring up Christian claims of miracles, supernatural experiences, or words from God, then just consider its equivalent in some other religion. If you don’t consider a Muslim’s supernatural experiences as evidence for their claims, why shouldn’t yours be rejected in the same way? I felt like I knew Christianity was logically true somehow (else I would reject Christianity) and I was grateful for being born into a Christian family so that I could grow up knowing the truth. Yet it scared me that in the 2000 years Christianity has existed, there were still no answers (that I could find) to some of the basic questions such as the problem of evil and others. You’d think that if there were good logical answers, everyone would be using them and I would have found them. I was terrified when some of my Christian beliefs could be logically forced into a corner where there were only two options: Believe in spite of the evidence to the contrary or admit the Bible is not perfect and Christianity is built on a foundation of sand. There was a growing pile of things that forced me (because of my indoctrination) to choose the first option, and this required me to have more and more faith that I was still right and all the answers were just hiding somewhere. With anguish, I started seeing that irreligion was winning over Christianity. I quickly became scared that I was losing the faith. I didn’t know if I was still a Christian or how anybody could know for sure that they were. I became afraid I would go to hell. I was afraid of my parents and friends finding out. I was afraid of people asking me about something that would force me to tell them about my doubts. I wanted to remain a Christian. I still wanted to believe in the Bible, but it was becoming difficult. I became depressed thinking that I might be going to hell for having doubts about the Bible, for not letting myself just stop asking questions, and for not being able to take everything on faith. I saw that praying for more faith wouldn’t solve the problems with Christianity – It would just sweep all the problems under the rug. I started constantly praying in my head, “Forgive me of my sins, God”. With all these thoughts about going to hell, my questions turned to the concept of hell, and that opened a whole can of worms for my faith. Thinking things through, I finally realized how evil and senseless God would have to be for him to send a person to hell. I realized the double-standards God has between the rules that he expects us to follow and the ones that He himself has to follow. It seemed that God could do whatever He liked and it would still not be considered sin. I began to see that Christianity essentially blackmails a person into making a low-information decision to follow Christ. It appeared like religion prevents a person from thinking critically about many things - keeping them in a self-perpetuating way of thinking that is almost unable to correct itself. I fully realized that truth is something that must be tested and shown to be true through research, discussion, and lots of logical reasoning - not something logically indefensible, unfalsifiable, and must be believed by blind faith and threats. I tried to console myself with the thought that Christianity only resembles a scam by some sheer coincidence. I used to think along the lines of “It sucks that a place like Hell exists, but that’s just the way things are”. But finally it occurred to me that God chose to create hell and set up all the rules that we follow, and being omnipotent, He could have chosen any number of other ways to set up His world. I thought that if God really loved us and He was omnipotent, He would have never created hell. But if somehow you can defend that He would, He could have made it temporary and bearable or He could have made it so that humans would never end up there. But if somehow you can defend this as well, God could have simply never created us. With the vast majority of humans supposedly going to hell, that seemed like such a terrible tragedy beyond words. I felt like it would have been better if humans never existed at all than for even one person to have to experience that barbaric, merciless punishment for any reason. What could be more important to a loving God than caring for his creation’s fate? For what could He possibly consider all this tragedy to be a net gain? For his glory. That’s it. God wants to be worshipped forever by a small, questioningly-chosen subset of his creation. This seemed to me like the most selfish, hateful act imaginable. Now to me, Christians were always the last people on earth who would try to justify sin. But when asked questions about hell or God’s terrible atrocities in the Old Testament, you could watch even a sweet old Christian lady transform before your eyes into an apologist for murder, torture, hate, rape, slavery, and abuse. But only in specific cases – namely, when it was God doing it or ordering it. At this point, it seemed to me like God was the ultimate hypocrite. I began thinking about the way God set up the rules for us: God determines what is sin and what is not sin. He makes many things to be sin so it is easy to sin, even accidentally. God gives everyone (or allows everyone to have) a sinful nature. A sinful nature ensures that you are tempted to sin and will sin at least once in your life. God decides the punishment for sin – hell. Due to the above two points, everyone is guaranteed to sin so everyone’s default destination is hell. God thinks it is a good idea to create man even with all the cards stacked against them like this. He doesn’t give them a choice of whether they want to be born into this world or not. A loving, omnipotent God would not set up everything so that hell is the default destination, I thought. If He loved us, He would not create hell. But if somehow you can defend this, he would at least set up the rules so that it is nearly impossible for anyone to go there if they didn’t want to go. God’s gift of salvation, the loophole to escape from inevitable torture after death… Maybe having this option available to everyone justifies the way God set up the world for us? And as shown above, God created the problem to begin with (because of the way He set up the rules and the way He created us), but does this loophole actually fix the problem? I began considering the way God set up salvation: Killing Jesus was needed to enable all-forgiving God to forgive us. But this doesn’t actually mean we are forgiven: God made sure that His forgiveness is conditional – depending on whether or not we accept this wonderful offer to solve the problem that He created. And don’t blaspheme the Holy Spirit – the omnipotent and merciful God is unable or unwilling to forgive that. In order to be saved, we have to believe God exists. If God exists, He makes His existence unprovable and requires us to go against what our rational minds tell us by forcing us to believe a huge collection of myths and legends without a shred of evidence. He calls this belief without evidence “faith” and chose to make it the backbone of the Christian religion. Why would God give us rational minds if they tend to lead us to reject the existence of God and therefore cause us to be damned? Why would He give us rational minds if He loves us and wants us to go to heaven? Not only does God give us no good evidence in support of His existence, He allows there to be plenty of evidence that leads us to believe that the Bible is wrong about many things and that God doesn’t exist. Many Christians say that God is testing their faith through this. But why would He want to do this? What is valuable about blind faith? Doesn’t God know that by doing this, He is gambling with our eternal destiny? Again, if God loved us, why would he make it hard to go to heaven? God chooses to give us the gospel message in a book written by mere men rather than a book written directly by himself. This causes rational people to question whether it is actually from God and this in turn causes them to go to hell. God allows there to be many competing religions in the world and does nothing to make His religion seem any truer than any of the other religions. This causes a person’s eternal salvation to come down to the chance that they will choose the correct religion. Again, why would a loving God choose this? God causes people to be born in a situation (geographic location, for example) where they will live their lives without ever hearing the gospel message and go to hell for no thought of their own. Why would God choose this? God chose to make his plan for salvation dependent on a person’s ability to understand His gospel message. Yet God chooses to create people who are mentally incapable of understanding it. Why would God choose this? God allows his gospel message to message to be distorted. This can cause people to go to hell. Why would God choose this? God does not spread the gospel message himself. If He did it Himself, it would simultaneously solve the problem of there being no evidence for God, the problem of His gospel message not being heard, and the problem of His gospel message being distorted. But He doesn’t do this. Why? Nearly everyone would go to heaven if He did this. Isn’t that what He wants? God lets Christians and non-Christians alike to sometimes die young. If He wanted more people to go to heaven, He would go to great lengths to allow non-Christians more time to make a decision to become Christian. If before we were born God gave us a choice about whether or not we wanted to be born and we knew the following: Endless torture would await us by default We most likely wouldn’t find or accept the loophole in our lifetime ….Then I don’t think anyone would choose to be born into this world. None of these things make any sense or have any reasonable answer if you are looking at them from the perspective that Christianity is true and God is omnipotent, omniscient, all-loving, perfectly just, and merciful. However, all of these points DO make an astonishing amount of sense if you consider them from the perspective that God does not exist and Christianity is an ingenious self-perpetuating scam. Suddenly I began thinking that things in Christian doctrine aren’t just the way they are because that’s the way they are, but they actually serve the purpose of keeping people dependent on the faith and spreading the scam. For example, verses like John 15:5, Jeremiah 10:23 and Matthew 4:4 demolish a person’s sense of control and self-esteem and leave them dependent on Christianity. Verses like Hebrews 6:4-6 keep them fearful of leaving the faith. Verses like 2 Cor. 10:4 and Matthew 12:31 discourage them of even thinking of leaving the faith to begin with. Verses like Proverbs 22:6 and Ephesians 6:4 encourage Christians to indoctrinate their kids while they are vulnerable to that sort of thing, thereby spreading the scam. Verses like Mark 16:15 also serve this purpose. Verses such as 1 Cor. 3:18-20, 2 Cor. 10:4, Proverbs 3:5-6, Isaiah 55:8-9, James 1:6, etc. encourage Christians to reject “human reasoning” in favor of faith in God and His wisdom - thereby preventing you from questioning the Bible. It suddenly makes perfect sense why verses like Luke 4:12 and Deut. 6:16 would tell you not to put God to the test, when putting God to the test would lead to the salvation of many people if God actually existed and answered prayers. You are encouraged to be like a sheep and to have the faith of a little child. The concept of infinite reward is a bribe to draw them forward in hope of gain, and the concept of infinite punishment serves as a threat to push them forward to avoid loss. Conflicting statements about what is required to be saved are probably unintentional, but nevertheless they serve the purpose of setting a believer down the path of ever increasing devotion to the faith just to be sure of their salvation (I know because this was my situation at one point). There are dozens and dozens of other conclusions I came to about Christianity and religion in general, but it would take me forever to write them all down. Most of them have to do with Old Testament laws, a few New Testament verses, details of God’s actions and overall plan for the world which contradicted with His supposedly perfect nature, contradictions in the Bible, God’s inaction today, the deliberate unreasonableness of most Christians, blatant misinterpretations of the Bible by Christians in order to avoid having to accept the obvious falseness or evil in particular verses, etc. With zero evidence in favor of Christianity, an ever-growing mountain of evidence against Christianity, and a convincing alternate view of what Christianity is actually about and how it even exists, I eventually found it impossible to believe any more. This deconversion that I had did not occur immediately, but occurred gradually over a period of almost 2 years. It was partially my fear of hell and my fear of what the Christians in my life would say if they found out about me that made the process take so long. By the end of that time, I considered myself to be irreligious. Then I soon became antireligious. My morals and politics have changed here and there for the better with my rejection of religion. However, I am still in the closet about all of this, so I still try to pretend to be Christian. It can be a really unpleasant business. Now I see everything that happens today as perfectly explainable by natural causes. I find it very silly to believe that some god must have been involved in the events of the world in order for us to be able to explain why something good or something bad happened to someone. The world looks the same as it would if there wasn’t any god at all and if the world just operated on its own. The laws of nature don’t attach any significance to whether a bolt of lightning strikes a tree or if it strikes a person. Only we do, and I don’t need religion to cope with that. Because there is no God directing my fate, I am fully responsible for making this world a better place. It is no longer forbidden to apply reason to subjects like morality and politics, and because of this, I have a method to improve the world rather than being dogmatic and stuck in the past. I consider that a good thing. I’m sure I could think of a lot more to say if I took the time, but this post is long enough already. Thanks for reading! - - dirwid
  5. 1 point
    I first discovered ex-christian.net about six months or so ago when I was still heavily involved in the faith. I used to look over the articles and see what people had to say regarding the reasons they left the faith. Truth be told, I understood a lot of their positions, but at the same time I had the usual platitudes and ad hoc answers flowing through my mind as well. It was not until recently did I start to really question if what I believed had any empirical evidence to back it up. That all began when I was attempting to win over an atheist who would find himself in my office every now and then. Our discussions were never nasty polemics, but discussions based around what the evidence showed to be true....and that is the sticking point that always got me. I could never provide empirical evidence, all I had were some philosophical answers to why the Christian worldview could be true. Answers from the likes of William L. Craig, J.P. Holding, Glenn Miller....I am sure most are familiar with these fellows. But when I would muse over the answers the atheist gave me, I realized he did in fact seem to have the science to back up his worldview. When I started to be objective, it occurred to me my answers were not based on anything which could be verified, but mere unproven hypothesis. A little about my story: The doctrine of hell is the only reason I got into Christianity back in 2003. The idea of hell has terrified me from day one (I grew up with Christianity in the background and most of my family were either very serious or at least gave a nod to the Christian worldview) and I realize, even now that my faith was always based on fear....I am inclined to see that is a bit of a shame. It is not based on evidence, nor love, nor do I even buy into some of the teachings (surely a woman who gets beat every day by her husband has a legit reason to leave him and marry another; eternal hell just seems over the top). I have just stuck around, fully engaged, out of fear.....I am not even sure what to make of that other than how sad it is. Do you know what really started to unravel it all...? The idea that God seems so readily eager to punish someone forever and he asks us to love our neighbor as ourselves. How could he ask such a thing? Better I hate my neighbor and never consider him opposed to truly feeling empathy, especially when it comes to their eternal fate. And when I truly started expressing mercy and compassion, and other attributes such as the aforementioned for their own sake, I realized how valuable these concepts were. I just cannot buy into the idea that God is expecting us to be more loving, more forgiving, or more compassionate than he is willing to be himself, that seems hypocritical. At the end of the day it just becomes "might makes right." If that is the case, then loving your neighbor like yourself is not good in of itself, it is just something you should do not to go to hell. I am at a bit of a crossroads here. After reading some material from other sites such as infidels.org, I realize how little evidence really exists for my beliefs. No wonder I have lost every argument with naturalist.....the evidence and facts back up their position. My rational mind tells me to follow the evidence, but there is still that hesitation because I do not know for sure that Christianity is false and I may end up making a bad wager. That being said, the other reason I started to question all this is because there are just too many ideas about what the Bible teaches to pin any one thing down. If the Bible is true and truly divine, how in the world are there approximately 30,000 denominations who cannot agree on anything the Bible teaches. Sure, there are some hucksters who are in it for ulterior motives, but I have met my fair share of people who seem very sincere in discovering the truth (regarding the Bible) who come to very different conclusions on what the Bible teaches.....salvation, living, etc. What am I to make of that? How can I know I have the true inner witness and I am not deceived myself. It seems to be a riddle unsolvable. No doubt others here have been through my experience and that is why I am here. Who better to speak to my woes then those who were in it. I am still struggling now. I have read other testimonies where people stated de-converting was a process, not a decision. I really do not know where this is going to lead me, but I will say I feel stuck. I am not sure if I have the right tools to evaluate the evidence correctly, so how could I possible know how to determine if Christianity was true. On top of that, most apologist will say the definition of biblical faith is based on evidence or proven trust, well that being the case, how could I possibly sift through all of the religions of the world, and the naturalistic worldview and determine which one had the best evidence (that would probably take at least three lifetimes). I do not get the impression God is willing to show up and have an hour of Q&A even though I offered to take care of the catering. Even if I did find the premise of Christianity to be feasibly true, I have no idea what denomination would be correct because everyone is all over the map, even with the fundamentals of the faith (salvation, baptism...etc.). On the flip side, I am not sure I am ready to embrace naturalism either. But if I am being honest, I only say that because of the underlying fear. I am afraid to make the wrong decision, but more than that, coming to terms that this may in fact be all there is give me some kind of phobia I do not know the name for. I am not afraid of dying because this is all there is, it is feeling that I want to know how it all plays out. If naturalism is true, I want to know how far humanity goes before we get wiped out....I do not know why that is a thing with me, but it is. At least if I accepted naturalism and Christianity turned out to be true, we do get to be immortal even if it is in Gehenna, at least I know what happens (how strange is that). I appreciate any sound advice or counsel anyone has for me. I know I am not the only one who has or had these thoughts. If you find yourself able to empathize with my current position, I am interested to hear what ultimately led you elsewhere? Or did you uncover some new information that kept you in Christianity. There is another question I have as well, and that it is, how do you account for Christianity getting off the ground? What I mean by that is why would all these people make up a story about the resurrection and seeing Jesus, especially Paul? I get the idea something happened to get this all started, I just am not sure of what; and right now, I am unable to walk away because of this. I could say this for all religions, it baffles me how all of these weird stories and sacred writings came to be. It is possible I am unable to conceptualize it because I am such a person of candor and I want to deal with reality. I am not one to make up stories, nor am I a story teller, and perhaps that is what keeps me interested in religion - I find it hard to believe somebody would just make it up out of thin air. Any insight on this? I found this excerpt on infidels.org. It is by Robert Ingersoll and I have to admit, it describes my religious experience so far: In view of these facts, what, after all, is religion? It is fear. Fear builds the altar and offers the sacrifice. Fear erects the cathedral and bows the head of man in worship. Fear bends the knees and utters the prayer. Fear pretends to love. Religion teaches the slave-virtues -- obedience, humility, self-denial, forgiveness, non-resistance. Lips, religious and fearful, tremblingly repeat this passage: "Though he slay me, yet will I trust him." This is the abyss of degradation. Religion does not teach self-reliance, independence, manliness, courage, self-defence. Religion makes God a master and man his serf. The master cannot be great enough to make slavery sweet. Through it all, I kept being told a relationship with Christ would uplift me, but truth be told, all it did was make me feel guilty and depressed.
  6. 1 point
    Folks, Please take five mins to read this article about observing the eclipse safely. http://mreclipse.com/Totality3/TotalityCh11.html Don't chances with your eyesight. I made that foolish mistake when I was in my teens and I've had to live with the consequences ever since. The vision in my left eye is considerably weaker than my right and my optometrist puts the disparity between left and right down to that mishap. Borrowing my big brothers binoculars I sat on a hill near our local airport and used them to track the planes as they taxied, took off and climbed away into the sky. I followed one plane too far on it's flight path, which from my viewpoint, took it across the face of the sun. AAAAGH!!! It felt as if somebody had hammered a red hot metal spike into the back of my eyes. The binoculars magnified the power of the sun tenfold, turning it's blinding light into concentrated heat. Long story short, besides blinding myself for a short while I'd also damaged the retina of my left eye. Yes, I know. That was a mighty ****ing stupid thing to do. So please learn from my stupidity and take all the necessary precautions to watch the eclipse safely and enjoy it. Thanks, BAA.
  7. 1 point
    @dirwid, The entire post was well thought out and you obviously put a great deal of time and effort into it - over a period of time. The questions in the bullet points were so spot on that I copied them and squirreled them away for later use. Not to plagiarize but to present to those who question my deconversion - whatever may be their intent. They reflect everything I have asked myself and others, over the years, and are organized in a useful manor. Regarding the part of your post that I quoted above: I have often heard people refer to xianity and the three (one ?) gods/men/super-humans (whatever) as kind, loving, all-knowing beings who's only purpose is to love their creation. Mrs. MOHO, a scream'n fundy in her own right, will contradict them in a manor that leaves no grey area regarding her feelings. She has often said that god/jesus is more vengeful and hell bent on punishing "those sinners" than worrying about being loving or forgiving or showing grace or compassion. So, welcome to Ex-C and I hope to "hear" more from you... - MOHO (Mind Of His Own) She will say this with a gleam in her eyes which conveys that she has a direct line to god and will tell him EXACTLY who to punish and that he/they will vanquish her entire list of enemies - especially those who question xianity, criticize The Donald, or have done ANYTHING to her personally.
  8. 1 point
    I remember as a teenager being in awe of the Hebrews 11:1, “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” (KJV) My pastor preached that this verse is what Christianity hinged on. Of course, I had no clue what it actually meant, but I thought it was the most beautiful and profound words I had ever heard and read. This, I had decided was the foundation of my belief in the whole ball of Fundie wax! However, when I turned 50, doubts began to work their way into my mind and I finally took the plunge 4 years ago. I refused to suffer a minute more of abuse from the pulpit about how fucking bad, evil, disobedient and sinful I was. I refused to take communion, walked out of the church, never to return again. It took me decades to work out that the whole thing was a delusion. "The Truman Show" movie did it for me! I like Ex Pastor Dan's (fellow Xtian member) interpretation of Hebrews 11:1 Now Faith is the ABSENCE of things hoped for, the RECOMPENSE of things not seen.” "Faith is not evidence; it is what you use when you don’t have evidence. Hebrews 11:1 is evidence of nothing more than delusion." said Ex Pastor Dan. Well thought out article, Dirwid! I enjoyed reading it.
  9. 1 point
    The eclipse has started in the western US. It's amazing that scientists can calculate this stuff years in advance.
  10. 1 point
    It's sunny here in south-central Pennsylvania and we're slated for an 80% eclipse. I took a vacation day since this is a rare event and the local school district decided to close for the day (mainly for liability reasons, since the eclipse should be happening as the kids would've been leaving the schools and loading onto buses). We have some NASA-approved solar glasses that we plan to use, but even with those we don't plan to be constantly looking at the sun. Better safe than sorry.
  11. 1 point
    Yes, I agree, we need to be very careful about what definition we are using. When you say that we're discussing whether something can be objectively good according to our concept of "good", I'm not sure that I agree with you. The question of objective morality is whether or not things can be good specifically apart from our concept of "good". That is what it means for something to be really right irrespective of what anybody thinks (ie, independent of our concept of "good"). I agree that God would be under no requirement to adhere to our concept of good, but who is to say that our concept of good is objectively correct? Surely the opinion of an all-powerful God, if He exists, is the only one that really matters. ficino beat me to the punch with respect to the logical paradox issue. I'm inclined to agree with him that questions such as these don't actually make any sense. The rock question, for example, suffers in my view from the fact that it relies on a number of assumptions that are not applicable to the subject of the question. Things can only be lifted, for example, on Earth or another planet where there is an "up" due to a gravitational field. The idea of "lifting" things is born of our human experiences here on Earth. No one "lifts" anything in space. So surely the idea of "lifting" simply doesn't apply to God. Thus, it seems to me that trying to answer these questions is rather like trying to answer the question "is seven green?".
  12. 1 point
    Honestly...sometimes I don't know what's wrong with you white people. After creating an economically prosperous, liberal, egalitarian culture in which people like me have thrived, you're ready to sacrifice all of it at Allah's altar of political correctness. I hope you come to your senses and realize that any compromise with the evil of Islam is a step towards the destruction of everything you've built. Which negatively impacts me, because I live and thrive in your society too. I don't know how to put it more bluntly: it's time to ban Islam, guys.
  13. 1 point
    How do you account for Islam, Hinduism, Mormonism, Judaism, Buddhism, or any other religion getting off the ground? Just because a belief system exists doesn't automatically give credibility to its claims. There are differing views on how Christianity got its start, and nobody really knows for sure, but what propelled it into a dominant religion was Constantine making Christianity the official religion of the Roman Empire. Without that, there's a good chance that it would have died off and been largely forgotten now, much like Mithraism and other such ancient religions.
  14. 1 point
    Those of us that have left the faith understand where you are now. You are at the exploration stage. You are seeing the problems with religion for the first time & you have been unable to resolve them with logic, reason, & evidence. The next stage for many people is to begin exploring the bible & the Christian faith from the historical critical perspective. I firmly believe education is the key to resolving your confusion. Most Christians are not aware of the religious scholarship that is dedicated to the study of religion from a historical perspective. I can recommend some authors/scholars that I think you would find helpful. Dr. Bart Ehrman, Dr. Robert M. Price, David Fitzgerald, Dr. Richard Carrier. Anything they have written should be helpful & enlighting. I think you would also enjoy reading Dr. Karen Armstromg's book A History of God. These authors works are available on Amazon & usually come in kindle additions. The journey out of religion is almost always long & difficult. It's nothing like a come to Jesus moment in reverse. The authors I noted will provide evidence that the Bible simply is not true either literally or historically. The Bible is a collection of myths, legends, folklore & Jewish midrash. There is no heaven or hell, and Jesus is more than likely a fictional character. There is a lot of good information on this site. Oh yeah, welcome aboard, I'm glad you found this site.
  15. 1 point
    Bingo! Fear is the power of faith. Without the fear factor, many would have abandoned the faith or never fallen for it. The "what if" of one religion grips the emotions and keeps him or her there. I'm fairly sure that is what was behind the 9/11 hijackers who were educated men, but still had this lingering fear that their secular lives were going to separate them from their god. Then came the promise of martyrdom and reward. Boom. It is a powerful motivation in all religions. Belief (not knowing, but still treating as obvious truth) is said to be critical for survival, and when the emotional mind believes this it will devote a lot of resources towards keeping that belief protected. Belief is needed because all of the evidence of history stands firmly against the beliefs. But pride is then taken in being fools for Christ and instead of actually seeing the beliefs as foolish, they make it seem spiritually "deep" by calling themselves chosen by God to believe, and they feel like part of the "in-crowd". And your quote at the end reminded me of an article I wrote for this site years ago. "Though he slay me, yet I will trust him." That is the attitude of an abused woman terrified of being without the abuser. But it is the highest calling of Christianity, the death of self on the cross. It is a perversion, and a disgusting and vile infection of the mind to call this the ultimate love and perfection of humankind. But to imagine that such a narcissist is in charge of reality, a completely silent one as you pointed out, is maddening. "I do not get the impression God is willing to show up and have an hour of Q&A", and yet believers are taught that they have an intimate relationship with their daddy in Heaven. It is entirely imaginary, like when a young boy or girl hugs and kisses a pillow imagining a crush at school. Only with religion, even the crush is imaginary. The Emperor's clothes, without even an emperor. Welcome to Ex-C! I hope you stick around. I'm here after 30 years of hard-core on-fire belief, and decoverted just about 10 years ago.
  16. 1 point
    Sin is letting people tell you that their imaginary friend thinks you're bad.
  17. 1 point
    And the rest are liars. I'm sure they feel bad about being sinners but that doesn't mean they're goanna stop.
  18. 1 point
    I'm heading about 40 miles south and 15 miles west tomorrow to camp on a friend's farm for Monday's Eclipse. At that spot (Dallas, OR) we'll have 1 minute and 50 seconds of totality. I'm bringing both of my telescopes and two binos for stargazing on Friday, Saturday and/or Sunday nights, but they won't be used for the eclipse because I don't have a solar filter for either scope.
  19. 1 point
    Thanks for the cautionary tale BAA, though I'm sorry it comes at the cost of your partial eyesight. I'm in my 30s and that's a mistake I could easily see myself making with a pair of binoculars. I doubt I'll ever pick up such an instrument again without thinking of this! In any case, I wasn't able to make travel plans since I've got a wedding to go to a couple weeks after the eclipse...and I'm cheap. So that precludes looking directly at the sun by default. I do regret not being able to see the total eclipse though, since the 85% coverage I'll be seeing is certainly not the equivalent of 85% of the experience of a total eclipse (so I'm told by people who've seen the phenomenon). Oh well, this will not be the last one on the North American continent in my lifetime. Since I work at a company with a large number of scientists, they decided to order lunch on the corporate dime and give us a couple hours off to step outside and check it out. They even ordered special glasses for viewing the eclipse; though again, I'm quite certain I don't want to risk my eyes for this. As long as I'm not thwarted by clouds, it should be a great experience.
  20. 1 point
    We're going to Greenville, SC for the full experience. I'm as excited to go to Greenville for the first time as I am to see a total eclipse! Keeping my fingers crossed for good weather, but the forecast looks good, four days out. It occurred to me that making a cross with the fingers for good luck is likely a vestige of Christianity...
  21. 1 point
    For me, personally, I have started to be more at peace with where I am. I have accepted that I could not control indoctrination but that I can control not staying that way....and you can only say the same Matt-Dillahunty-Bart-Erhman buzz word phrases so many times before you realize that there isn't much you can do to get people to open their eyes until they're ready. I also felt like venting my personal problems on here all the time without doing something about it was a bit of a time waste. Ex-C has a special place in my heart and it brings me comfort. I still visit but the posting, at least for me, is kinda the same thing reworded over and over. I'm willing to do it, but I'm far less up in arms about it, I've calmed.
  22. 1 point
    Yet people still lurk here annonymously and then sign up and tell their story. It still helps people deconvert, so this is good.
  23. 1 point
    No, I don't think that's normal at all. I agree with the other commenters here. Forgiving is more normal than not forgiving. Forgiveness isn't a Christian thing, it's a human thing. If you can let things slide that he does that you don't like, then he can do the same. Besides, who says the things he doesn't like are even justified! You have every bit as much right to be you as he does to be him! It's also normal to stand up for yourself. Now that's something Christianity doesn't teach! You may very well overlook his habits that you don't care for, but don't overlook his being hard on you. Don't forgive his lack of forgiveness. Let him know he needs to cut it out.
  24. 1 point
    This reminds me along time ago of a chat friend I had he was a good friend that i lost contact with. one night he was depressed and did not want to say anything at first. He started to come out and he was raped as a kid repeatedly by a decon who his mom made him live with. I was angry this could happen to him and Shit he was a christian kid...Why wont God even protect his own children. He decided to write about it too his friends on the group at the time and We decided to go to Christian debate group and ask why God let him go through this. I am glad you had this place and could write it...I think it was therapy for him and He needed to release his hurt and anger. I wish I knew what to say...I did not really know what to say to him and remembering it I told him...He said"You are helping alot by just listening to me.." Thing is no one he knew in town would listen so, he never got to release his feelings. My friend was the turning point for me in my deconversion. Imagine believing so strongly in a helpful God and Having such a good friend say that. I have read news articles, met people in these situations, and Now, I think were the hell is God....I am glad you are here I know it will help you.