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Showing content with the highest reputation on 10/27/2017 in all areas

  1. Hello Everyone, I'm still a little bit shocked that I'm on a site such as this and what that now means for the rest of my life. See, I'm 31 now and have been struggling with my faith throughout my entire life, but most notably since I turned 29 did I begin to have serious thoughts that I may be becoming atheist. I was raised in a very conflicted and confused home that was quick to thrust the charismatic version of God down my throat at a young age. The interesting thing is my parents never stayed with one denomination for too long and for what ever reasons they had at the time I got the benefit of being taught by baptist, southern baptist, Pentecostal, Church of Christ etc.. Each new iteration of the faith chipped away at what I was initially taught and left me with a lot of questions. It was probably when I was about 10 or so that I noticed that some of the stories I was taught in Sunday school were changed by what was actually in the Bible. Small things like the fact that David cut of Goliath's head and so on. My parents told me that most kids aren't ready to handle certain details of the stories and even as a young boy that never made sense. Why would God's perfect word not be fit for all? As I grew older I started to get a great fervor for God and finding his mission for my life. I would go to my mother nightly who would pray over me and speak prophecy after prophecy about who I was to become. She told me that I would I would be a light unto the world and that God himself had spoken to her before she knew I was to be and told her to name me Joshua for this very reason. I was always so excited to think that God had a special plan for me. Some of the excitement was truly because I wanted to serve God, but a lot of it was because of my own ego and that I liked the idea of being more important than everyone else. So, this continued to go on over time and my mother would tell me stories about how God has protected me while I was growing up. That he stopped my biological mother (I'm adopted) from aborting me and that he's saved me from car accidents as a child. Going as far as to tell me that an entire semi truck went through our car when I was a baby. As though it was only a projection of light and not comprised of matter. This only stoked this fire that I had for this mission that I was chosen for. Desperate to hear God's voice myself I asked my mother and other authority figures how it can be done and I was met with the same answer from everyone. God speaks in a small voice and if I'm quiet enough I can hear it. This lead to me spending hours away in my room at night in silence or with sermons playing on my old tape player. Never did I ever hear a word. Yet I continued to search. Now, while I had what I thought were positive experiences with the faith (prophecy, life plan) I had also had terrible problems that plagued me constantly. One of the denominations taught that God doesn't speak at all and even more so, they taught that there was no such thing as once saved always saved. This doctrine which I had based my entire salvation on was now being torn a part (effectively) by this new teaching. After being exposed to it for only a short time it scarred me terribly. I had the worst anxiety of my life starting from that moment all the way to when I turned 29 or so. It was an agony that I couldn't describe and later had to be treated with anxiety medications. This fear and the fact that there were so many conflicting doctrines pushed me to study more. I was still obsessed, but for new reasons. I figured I need to find out what all those silly atheists are upset about, so I can help them. This lead me to all sorts of places on YouTube like AronRa and so on. Needless to say that the debunking of Noah's flood and the harsh slave loving blood lust nature of the Old Testament God blew me away. How had I missed this before? One of the events that lead to me finally starting to give up on faith had to due with this new King James Only Church I started attending a few years ago. I told the pastor how trouble I was and that the more I studied the worse it got. His answer still makes me shake my head in disbelief. He said if reading those things made me doubt my faith that I should simply stop reading them or asking questions (what? Why would God want this?). Unfortunately, it was by that time that I realized that there was no special plan for my life and lost it. There was suicide attempt with police that thankfully didn't lead to my arrest, but did thankfully lead to my hospitalization where I learned that my anxiety and delusions of grander and a lot of other symptoms were related to me being undiagnosed bipolar 1. I know that some people even here may not believe in certain mental conditions, but when they finally put me on lithium (a drug mainly used for Bipolar) my life changed. I lost most of my anxiety about hell and my religious obsession started to fade. So, here I am today. I'm learning more and more about science and evolution due to the isolating nature of my christian home school education. I'm constantly thirsty for knowledge, but I still suffer from time to time with the idea that God is real and that he is still calling to me. I do still feel worried about hell, but instead of being a bone crushing anxiety it's now been reduced to a small feeling in the back of my mind. I do, however, have four kids and am married to a woman who is still christian. While my initial turn into atheism was a big rock in the boat, she is still committed to me. That's another whole can of worms, but you get the idea. I'm here to make friends and learn anything from anyone who willing to teach me something that is demonstrable and true lol. One final thought comes to mind and it's a verse from the new testament about those who seek God. There is a passage in Jeremiah that states that you will seek me and find me if you look with your whole heart. I still think about his today, because never have I ever met anyone who searches for truth like the Atheist community and by people like myself. Yet, we find nothing...Anyway, a big thank you to all who read my story. I appreciate it.
    4 points
  2. Welcome! Thank you so much for sharing your story with us. Every one of us on this site can relate to some of the points you made in your post. You are here with people who have gone through exactly what you are going through. Hang in there. It takes time to deprogram your brain from all the brainwashing that was done to you. You're home with us! Keep reading - keep posting. Someone is always here to help you. I personally wouldn't have made it without Ex-c. I actually thought I was the only one who had the nerve to doubt the christian god. So glad you found us!
    4 points
  3. I don't have any advice, but I do have a story. I was essentially in the shoes of your grand kids with my own grandfather. He also didn't believe and was at best an agnostic who hated the church. My grandmother went to church and raised my father in it, but his dad just stayed home and was mostly quiet about it other than making a few snide comments from time to time. I remember writing him a letter when I was a young teen pleading with him to adopt the faith, also worried he was going to hell. Like you, he kept things to himself and was just a good grand dad. After I grew up and ended up an atheist, I apologized to him for writing him that letter. He just laughed it off. I don't know if there are any morals for you here other than just hang tight. Not much you can, or probably should do. Life will do with your grand kids what it does. All you can do is be you.
    3 points
  4. What you really want, although you may not realize it right now, is to be deprogrammed. You have been deeply indoctrinated (brainwashed) into believing the various Christian dgma's are literally true & historically accurate. They are not. The authors of the Bile are unknown (nobody named Matthew, Mark, Luke, & John wrote one single word of the Bible, those names were added to anonymous manuscripts in the fourth century as a way of identifying them.) Present day Bibles are forgeries that have been edited, redacted, & parts completely rewritten to make it say what some of the church fathers wanted it to say. I would recommend the section on this site called General Theological issues as a good place to get information about the Bible. I would also recommend Dr. Bart Ehrman as a good scholar to read. You can find his books on Amazon & they come in Kindle versions. I notice you listed The Church of Christ as one of the places you attended. I was an Elder in the c of c when I came to the realization that the Bible contained endless contradictions & inconsistences. I also accepted the fact some of the stuff in the Bible just isn't believable because it's impossible. Last but not least, welcome aboard. I know you will find the help you are seeking here.
    3 points
  5. 2 points
  6. Welcome to the forum! I relate to a lot in your story, most of all thinking when younger that my childhood was "protected" and this was seen in many miracles (in fact, my home was abusive), and also the suicidal thoughts (and almost actions) when it all came tumbling down - at 29. I too never thought I'd end up here. The Rock of Ages was supposed to be the one thing in my life that wouldn't change. I'm still learning what I really want from my life, and also making decisions without asking what someone else sees as fit for me. Seems that it's going to be worth it, though, especially the living here and now instead of waiting for blessings and prophecies and..death and eternity, yeah. I was a Pente once and they talk about death so much with a grin on their faces. I didn't see anything wrong with it then! I too have found plenty of help in modern medicine and psychiatry. Apparently my tendency to dissociate (I'm diagnosed with DDNOS, a dissociative disorder) pretty much created my religious experiences. Learning bit by bit how my mind works helps so much, and there is no longer the previous guilt of thinking of "flesh". I'm sure you'll find this forum very beneficial, and I hope to see you writing more!
    2 points
  7. Greetings, and welcome! When I was a believer, I also would not have believed it if someone would've told me I'd end up here. I was also 29 when it started to unravel for me, but I hadn't even been questioning it before that. I was one of the 100% convinced Christians, so it was a huge shock when I started to see genuine problems in the Bible (or Bile, as geezer aptly put it, whether intentional or a typo) and Christian beliefs. We're glad you're here. Keep seeking truth and following the evidence wherever it leads. Good luck, and enjoy the journey ahead of you....
    2 points
  8. Thank you! The unequally Yoked Club made laugh out loud. I appreciate that. I really feel like my wife is taking all of the things I talk about in, but the internal conflict is a bit too much for her to bear, so she stays where shes comfortable. I understand that, I guess. Thanks for the friendly welcome.
    2 points
  9. I understand how you feel, as I felt much the same way when I first started my deconversion. Changing who you are after such a long time is a difficult process and learning to think and be different is going to take time. Just keep working through your thoughts and feelings and know that it will get better over time. Don't hesitate to go meet with a counselor (non-christian) and address your depression and also to process your deconversion. Isolation and withdrawal is the strength for depression and as much as it can be difficult to be open when you're feeling that way, you need to reach out and get it off your chest and out of your head. Come here if you have to, vent or journal or go to the chatroom. We will listen. We understand. One thing I would like to point out regarding this, is that when you prayed and had the mindset that someone was watching over you, you did and there was. It was you. Nothing has changed in that regard other than the fact that you now understand that it isn't some entity in another dimension, it was simply you expressing how you felt about life and thinking that some cosmic being heard you and cared about you doesn't change that. But just the act of sharing your feelings out loud in a prayer was in itself, cathartic and freeing. And guess what? You can still do that. Talk to yourself in quiet meditation. share how you feel about things in the quiet of the morning or in your "prayer" closet. Its perfectly ok to do that. There is no magic formula to deconverting. You can do it however it works best for you. I still "pray" to myself, much like i did when I was a believer, but I now understand that I am simply being honest with myself rather than petitioning god. I still struggle with these feelings too. But, you be who you want to be. You can be a cultural Christian and follow their general moral codes if you want. That is perfectly ok. You have been taught an extreme view of the non-christian world. But the reality is much less crazy than they led you to believe. Truthfully, very few people really care about how you live your life, as long as you respect their right to live theirs. Do what is the most comfortable to you. I think that we often think that when people make a change, that it has to be an all or none proposition. Christians think that if you're not a believer that you eat babies and go to orgies every day. But that isn't true. Being an unbeliever really just means you stop going to church and you stop being influenced by a bunch of rules and regulations set about by people who lived in a very different time than we do now, and those rules really don't apply anymore. As much as believers want that to be the case, I think that deep down, they know this. Bottom line: there are no expectations about leaving the faith you once held. Go at your own pace. Do what you feel works best for you. Its much easier to make small changes than to make wholesale changes. But also remember that if you want to go out and have sex or watch porn or be a "sinner", its ok to do so. Always get consent, and be respectful of others. You only get one trip on this rock. Make it worthwhile. Good luck
    2 points
  10. Welcome to the forum, @theyownyou33, And welcome to the Unequally Yoked Club! Glad to year that the fear of hell has been demoted to TinyLittleThought and relegated to the back of your mind. That's usually a toughie for folks here. " never have I ever met anyone who searches for truth like the Atheist community " My feeling too. Yes there are folks who do, and have, researched in earnest and wound up embracing the faith but I am under the impression that they are in the minority. If I am wrong about that statistic folks here will correct me. " Some of the excitement was truly because I wanted to serve God, but a lot of it was because of my own ego and that I liked the idea of being more important than everyone else " Owning that one says a lot about your character. I commend you. If I could just get Mrs. MOHO to own that one we'd be far better off. " I'm here to make friends and learn anything from anyone who willing to teach me something that is demonstrable and true lol. " You're in the right place for those things for sure. The friend part I can do but, for the rest, I'd defer to the smart folks that post here. - MOHO (Mind Of His Own)
    2 points
  11. I notice that free will is made a huge deal by Christians even though the Bible never uses the phrase "free will." Supposedly, free will is why god refuses to help the helpless. Teleporting people out of the World Trade Center during 9/11 would have violated free will? I was just pondering, if I were a superhero with mind-control powers and somebody was about to use a doomsday weapon, according to the Christian, it would be more moral to let him fire the weapon than to violate his free will. Supposedly, only full free will is possible. God can't make it where we can't choose to harm people but can choose what color shirt to wear. We either have full free will or none at all. An omnipotent god can't or won't create anything in between. Also, because of free will, god is obligated to send people to hell if they want to go there, and hell is total agony. My mom thought that it was monstrous of me that I would send people to heaven against their will if I were god. I would prefer free will be violated than people weep or mash their teeth. Of course, I doubt that people would really choose hell forever if it were weeping and gnashing of teeth because people are separated from love for all eternity and unable to feel love (because god is love is a literal rather than figurative statement) and would at worst, prefer erasure from existence. Free will is supposed to be paramount, but god can't honor people's free will to be annihilated because? The Christian god as a fictional character has a code of morality I don't understand. Supposedly, every Christian would send sinners to hell if they were in his position, but I couldn't do it no matter how much someone begged to be sent to hell. I have very good reason to believe that god isn't love because loving people often violate free will. Is giving a child vaccinations against their will violating free will and thus against Christian morality. In this case, we put well being above free will because we love, not in spite of love. Humans respect free will to a degree, but when someone you love's well being is at stake, that is usually where we draw the line at free will. There's a gray area between turning people into robots and not stopping people from harming themselves. Most friends would intervene if a friend commits self harm, but wouldn't turn that person into a slave. WIth god, there is no gray area when it comes to free will. Am I the only person who'd feel uncomfortable with sending people to hell? I know that god, hell, and the like are hooey concepts, but I just find the concept of a loving god who sends people to weeping and gnashing of teeth because they choose to go there revolting. Of course, I don't believe that any non-believer really thinks "gee, I want to go to hell," but Christians say that's what we all think.
    1 point
  12. Ray Cum Fart, appropriate name for a flat Earther.
    1 point
  13. Possible Christian answers are: 1. You took that out of context 2. If you were a Christian, you'd understand 3. Don't question God 4. He works in mysterious ways 5. You think too much
    1 point
  14. Hi Yunea. Yes, i know what you mean. I suffered sexual abuse in my own home, but lusting and all the normal behaviors that come with being young and eager (lol) were completely demonized. I still suffer from guilt from normal relations with my own wife. How sick is that? I'm sorry to hear about DDNOS, but I'm glad that you've found help in psychiatry. I can't believe that there are parts of Christianity that either ignore mental disorders altogether or say that it's demonic. It's funny, because Lithium has done more for me than any prayer I've ever prayed in my life. I did a few partial outpatient groups as well and found that helped a lot as well. The main focus was CBT, but DBT was taught also. Have you done anything like that before?
    1 point
  15. Thanks for the warm welcome. The deprogramming started with this multi-part series called my deconversion story on YouTube. It was rather well done and was more or less at the level I needed for the time. Here is the link for anyone that is interested. I will be sticking around and hopefully contributing for some time!
    1 point
  16. Anger, I'm so sorry you are hurting right now. Once you realize that your brain is really mixed up right now (cognitive dissonance) you will be able to understand that you have had years of indoctrination and that, my dear friend, does not go away overnight. It takes time to figure out what your very own, 'new worldviews' will be. Most of us have gone through this. We understand. Please stay for awhile and keep posting. Keep reading everything you can on the site so you will not feel alone. I still struggle a bit with who I am but I am becoming very comfortable more and more every day with the newer me. Ask all the questions you want. Someone is always here to help you. You are going to learn very soon that there is no such thing as 'sin'. And you will also learn how to make good choices to help you form your new morality and it will be you who sets all the rules. So try to relax a little while you are new to this. A good member on this site used to tell me all the time, ''Now go and have some fun''! So I'll pass that on to you tonight. Hang in there. It's gets better. (hug)
    1 point
  17. I would imagine that the devout Christian believes that they have experienced God in some form. Whether it was a religious experience, being born again, having a prayer granted, they genuinely believe they have experienced the presence of God, and found it to be good. Continuing off of this, they believe that we were created in God's image. Since they believed to have experienced God, they believe this experience was good, and they believe that they are made in God's image, then it isn't a huge leap that they believe that God's image is good. Believers also tend to believe that they are not perfect, and that God is perfect. Since there is always that difference, believers tend to think that there will always be a misunderstanding of God because they are not perfect. This results in the belief that freewill is a reflection of God, that freewill is a reflection of goodness and perfection, and that any misunderstandings of why we are granted freewill are accepted as lack of understanding due to our imperfect nature. While it is an understandable conclusion to the ideas presented, there are a lot of assumptions being made. How do we know that we can't understand perfection? How do we know that God is perfect? How do we know that freewill is the reflection of perfection and not imperfection? How does a person know if they truly experienced God versus just having a powerful psychological experience? Etc.
    1 point
  18. And it turns out, we don’t really have much in the way of free will. Look up Sam Harris on free will. That pretty much steam rolls the ancient religious writers having no idea how illusory free will turns out to be in reality. They couldn’t have known, short of divine intervention. Which then opens another can of worms as far as eliminating the possibility of an all knowing god inspiring the Bible, who, apparently knew nothing about the reality of free will verses determinism and therefore can’t be all knowing... These idiots don’t just turn out wrong time and again, they’re layers and layers deep in wrong time and time again....
    1 point
  19. If we don't have free will, then Jesus died for nothing. Its our ability to choose to serve God that makes his love for us so valuable. That is what I was taught to believe. If we didn't have free will and God ordered everything and we have no control, whats the point of becoming a believer?
    1 point
  20. I have some thoughts on free will and the Bible. At least twice in the Old Testament God actively negated a person's free will. The first was Pharaoh, the second I can't remember exactly, but it was a king whose territory the Jews passed through. God made the king not trade with the Jews and so the Jews attacked and sacked the kingdom. Furthermore, in the New Testament it says that God will send delusions to the unbelievers so they cannot believe during the Tribulation or whatever you call it, since the term "Tribulation" isn't in the Bible at all. As an aside, we supposedly have free will to choose to believe and serve or not. Our reward is that we get to go to Heaven, where there is no sin. Without the possibility of sin, God negates free will by denying us the ability to choose it. Finally, if God is omnipresent, he already knows everything, including all our future decisions and their outcomes. Do we have free will if the outcome is already determined? Of course not. Because we don't know what's going on we have the illusion of free will, but since God supposedly knows everything, then our past, present, and future are already decided we do not have free will, no matter what any Christian says or believes.
    1 point
  21. I’d like your input on something. We were watching grandkids today at their house on the other side of town, and I was reading books to one of them. They are fundies, I am not a believer. One granddaughter, who is eight years old, brought over a few short picture books of Bible stories. I read them to her, after which she said, “Mom told me something about you.” I teased around, saying that I’m smart, good looking, etc. and she said, “No, it’s serious. If you don’t believe in God you won’t get into heaven. You need to believe.” I was so caught off guard that I didn’t know what to say except, “Well, don’t worry about that.” I could tell she was getting upset, and it looked like she was holding back tears. A moment later she got down from my lap and went into her bedroom and laid down on her bed. I didn’t follow. After a few minutes she came out and we went on to other activities and nothing more was said. Later at our house, I asked my wife for her reaction to this, and she told me that this wasn’t the first time that one of their young children brought this up. Once the boy, who is nine, asked “Nana” if he could pray that I would become a Christian. She told him that it would not be good to do that right then. I really don’t care if these kids know my world view or not. I don’t discuss it with them. But I do care when one of my grandchildren is so upset that she leaves the room. What I believe or do not believe is not something that should be upsetting young children. Our family relationship has been good and we have always had a tacit agreement that we don’t discuss religion. They do their thing and I do mine. I’m going to let this settle for a couple of days before I contact their mom. I find that time helps to produce more thoughtful statements. But I have to tell her that this has upset one of her children (and me), and ask her why she would even bring up my world view with these kids. My wife suggests that in their family prayers they probably are praying that I’ll find Jesus. I don’t care if they do that. But who put the thoughts into this kid’s head that I’m not going to heaven because I don’t believe, resulting in her becoming upset? Why did they even have to discuss this with children at all? Now a second, and really minor, issue is that my world view is my property. I own it. I choose who to share it with and under what circumstances. I don’t put bumper stickers on my car or wear badges on my hat. And I see no need for it to be brought up unless in the context of a religious discussion in which I choose to participate. It is no different from the relevancy of any other status — gender identity, race, age — to any discussion in which that status has no importance. Anyhow, I know that I can’t control what goes on inside their house. But with the thought that we all have a good relationship, I would be interested in what you might say to the children's mom if you were in my position.
    0 points
  22. Thanks, Vigile. What bothers me about this is that it's an 8-year-old kid that's upset. I don't think it's appropriate for a parent to put a kid in this position.
    0 points
  23. Just a potential honor killing in progress... Nothing to see here. Move along...
    0 points
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