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Showing content with the highest reputation on 06/21/2018 in all areas

  1. 3 points
    Why does she use any technology? None of it is in the bible. Youtube is probably of Satan.
  2. 2 points
    I like the hand gestures. Kinda looks like the old Robert Plant thing on stage. The list of things not mentioned in the Bible at the end of the video is the best part.
  3. 2 points
    This isn't to sound harsh or hard edge, but the biggest consideration here is that everything you felt about purpose and meaning, and direction and end destinations, were things that were always squarely to do with your own mind and your experience of consciousness. This isn't to belittle any of that, though. You know the saying, "life is what you make it." I think the same is true with the way people believe in god. It's always been what you've made of it. You were inadvertently giving yourself purpose and direction on levels that may be subconscious, but doing it yourself all the same. God is a voice in your own mind. And if you can manage to identify this then you may be able to grab the bull by the horns, so to speak. Continue your life with the perception of direction and purpose, but do so from an awareness of who's really in charge, so to speak. So even to the extent that you may find yourself leaning towards atheism and agnostic views, it's not necessarily an "all or nothing," in terms of having to dump the deeper purpose feeling. You may encounter some atheists who would push you that way, but I'd be happy to join you in disagreeing with them if they do.
  4. 2 points
    It's nice to have someone validate you. It boosts your confidence. I think with age comes less craving for approval. Could be related to Christianity too. I dont know.
  5. 2 points
    I recently saw this quote: “Being taught about only one religion equals indoctrination. Being taught about multiple religions equals inoculation.” -Jeremy Beahan
  6. 2 points
    @Joshpantera - I actually just made a post about man-made thinking, as it's something I've been pondering a lot, and today I had an insight (I'll leave it for my post to explain though.) But to your point, I'm always amazed at how there are still people that are hooked into these "end of the world" cults. I mean, it's not that hard to know about others who said that same, and were wrong. And, if that's not enough, there's the Bible itself saying, "No man knows the day or time..." and that anyone saying so is a false prophet. I realize the dynamics are complicated and multifaceted. Sometimes it's the leader's personality, or other factors. Re: Daniel and Revelation. I'd be interested in learning more about how those books might dissuade someone from believing in exclusivist claims! I agree about Europe and their post-Christianity. In fact, I went on a mission trip to Europe in the 90s, and that's all we talked about. How lost they were, how they didn't understand what a "personal relationship with Jesus" was, etc. OMG. So, fast forward 20+ years and I'm actually rooting for that dynamic to come to the U.S.!
  7. 1 point
    I'm not really sure where to begin. I'm typing this on a computer at a public library next to a dude blasting heavy metal on his headphones. I hate heavy metal with every cell of my being. I'm enduring it because I just need to talk. I was very active on this site back in 2014-ish. I spent the years between 2001 and 2013 as a hardcore evangelical. I think I always had the roots of doubts. But I managed to suppress them for many years. They kicked in hardcore around the beginning of 2012. I spent about a year and a half in the deconversion process. I fought it with all my strength, but I lost. Upon that final thin thread breaking over New Year's weekend of 13/14, I felt relief. Mentally and emotionally, I was very happy. Socially, things were a mess. My marriage was extremely tested to say the least (DH remained, and still remains, quite fundamentalist.) My social circle dissolved. (My entire social circle had been comprised of church friends... each of these relationships suffered... anywhere on the spectrum from becoming awkward to dying outright). My kids, who were 14 and 11 at the time, suffered. This was the price I paid for coming out of the closet and being authentic with those closest to me. I realized within six months or so that I was not, and probably never will be, a pure atheist or materialist. I do believe in a spiritual realm. My longing to connect with said realm led me back through a convoluted searching process that began with paganism and ended with the Catholicism of my youth. In the meantime I was dealing with my "monkey on my back", AKA life-altering anxiety disorder which occasionally wandered into the realm of depression. One day in April of 2017, after a particularly bad emotional time, I rode the waves all the way back to evangelicalism. I "got saved" with my husband at my side. For a few months, I believed it. I remember reloading all the Christian music I had kicked off my ipod, putting on my headphones, and simultaneously playing Hillsong over and over; studying Scripture; and weeping. I started telling people I was a Christian again. I explained it theologically by saying that I had probably not really been saved before. Well, you can guess what comes next. Just over a year later and I'm back where I was in 2013, but without the emotional turmoil. I'm at where I'm at because I started learning about my anxiety from an amazing online resource that explains anxiety disorder in a way I had never heard before. For the first time in almost two decades, I am learning tools and strategies to help kick this anxiety to the curb. But at the same time it is becoming so obvious that it's my anxiety that has always made me turn to Christianity. Without the fear, what motive remains to believe? Scriptures like Deuteronomy 13, which tells the Israelites to murder their family and close friends who stop wanting to worship Yahweh, have begun to pop back out. The ethical and moral horror of the hell for unbelievers has again struck me as unacceptable. The way Christians talk has started to seem weird again. But this time I am not really in a hurry to come out of the closet. And I'm ashamed, to tell the truth. But it is what it is. I tell myself that I'll remain closeted to protect my younger kids and keep my husband happy. And I suppose, in part, those are noble reasons. But I know the other side of the coin is not wanting to deal with the repercussions. I have moved since I last deconverted; from liberal, live-and-let-live Seattle, to a tiny town 45 minutes from the Idaho border (which isn't the Bible belt but might as well be). So it's not only the fam and the church fam this time; it's the entire freaking region who will label and judge me. Maybe someday. I tell myself that I'll stay closeted for ten years and then announce, "Surprise!", and folks will be so amazed at how I could have been so nice and morally upstanding without religion. (They won't, of course). The hardest thing is not being open with my husband. I wish I could really open my heart and be real with him. I hate lying and/or faking so much... it goes against everything I stand for. Part of me wishes he'd undergo his own deconversion, but "be careful what you wish for" amirite? All right. I typed long enough that the heavy metal dude got off the computer. Oh, one more thing... I'm still struggling with the little "signs"... YKWIM? The little things people will say, or whatever other tiny things happen throughout the day, that make you go "Is that a sign? Is God giving me these last little chances before he "gives me over"? I'm sure someone here understands. Thanks for listening.
  8. 1 point
    Hi all! I finally decided I had better introduce myself. I am 63 years old and am disabled (I have Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Fibromyalgia). I was born to Christian parents, and raised in a conservative evangelical church – at least it wasn’t a fundamental church. When I was 8 years old I said the sinner’s prayer and became saved. I loved god so much! I loved going to church – my deconversion did not have anything to do with my experiences at church. When I was a teenager the charismatic movement came to my church – which was absolutely wonderful. I started going to a charismatic church with all the woo woo – raising of hands, speaking in tongues, casting out demons, etc. I felt so close to god and loved him even more. I knew that I would never be one of those people who backslide and go away from god. Eventually I went to a Christian college – but I never learned about the background of Christianity – they never taught me anything that would shake my faith. However, after college I hit a real rough spot in my life. I prayed and prayed to god to help me. I was so desperate, but I got no answers. I thought that god didn’t love me, that I had done something wrong. Then I met some non-christians and got to know them very well. They were such good and kind people that I didn’t know how god could send them to hell. That was the beginning of my deconversion – I stopped believing in hell. This was all back before the internet and I didn’t know there were any books that would help me. So I lived in spiritual limbo for the next 25 or so years. I dabbled in the New Age movement – that gave me some relief from my cognitive dissonance. About 5 years ago I started searching for resources to help me and I discovered this site, among others. I’ve been lurking here off and on since then – but about a year ago I created a login and started spending regular time here. I went through all the stages of feeling anger, fear, feeling like I was going crazy, and sadness. I have finally gotten to a point where I am at peace with myself and my beliefs (which I don't know what they are anymore). The only time I feel cognitive dissonance anymore is when I get a little bit into the New Age type stuff (I guess I need to find a website to help me deconvert from that!). Now my beliefs waver between being an atheist, an agnostic, and a deist. I can never be a theist again unless I find a good explanation why a god would not prevent all the truly horrible things that happen. Anyway, I am now fully disabled – my health has crashed to the point that I am almost completely bedridden. You would think that would give me lots of time to study this stuff – but I sleep 14 hours a day. When I am awake I have only a small amount of time that I can study because mental concentration wears me out as quickly as physical activity. But despite that I am still at peace and content with my life. I am focusing on trying to learn more about ancient religions and the history of the bible; mythology; and critical thinking. I wish I had time for science also (including cosmology and evolution), but I have to prioritize myself. I also have a number of questions I would like to start threads about, but with my limited time I don’t know if I would have time to respond to others’ posts. But I’m going to at least start responding in others’ threads. Anyway, that’s about it until I have time to do a full extimony.
  9. 1 point
    This has been a long time coming. I've yet to write my ex-timonial outlining the downfall of my faith, but that's coming. I think it's fair to say that after twenty-five years inside of evangelical Christianity, it's going to take a bit of processing and healing to get it all sorted out enough to write it all down. The best way I can come up with to describe my slow and painful exodus, would be to say it felt like death by a thousand paper cuts. The metaphor works, because any one of the "reasons" I could give, wouldn't seem on its face to be enough to walk away. But over a period of many years, it wore me down. Down to the core of my soul. So much so, that when I finally found the strength to walk away, I felt like I'd been robbed of those years. I was left trying to figure out who I was without the identity of "believer." And in truth, I didn't know. I'm still learning. I can't go back, but I can move forward, living my best life now. These days, I am "closer to fine" than I have ever been. Ironically, I feel free and unchained. Funny, that's what Christianity tells us will happen when we accept Christ. That was even true for me, in the beginning. But what I didn't know, was that Western Christianity also comes with a lot of unspoken and unwritten "rules." In the end, the rule book grew heavy, and the veil that was torn off was the real truth of the Bible: that it's peppered with inconsistencies that most Christians will never hear about in church. We don't have original manuscripts. The gospels were not written by apostles of Jesus. There was political infighting among various church factions that lasted over a century about which manuscripts would be considered "inspired," which was decided four hundred years after-the-fact. As I was beginning to become a student of the real Bible (not the sacred, inspired, "either it's all true of none of it's true" Bible that evangelicals tout), Western evangelicalism decided it was time to get in bed with politics. That was my final straw. That, and the absolute hypocrisy of other evangelical Christians. There is no more discipleship. There is no more open-mindedness. No more quest for truth. The only usefulness the Bible holds for many Christians, is to use it to "proof text" other people. Including other Christians that don't see it exactly how the evangelical does. I left disgusted. I still am. So, here I am. I've found a home at Exchristian. Shockingly, they know how to be respectful when disagreeing. I guess "godless" people aren't so bad after all. Imagine that.
  10. 1 point
    I am struggling right now. I am in a strange limbo with my faith (previously Christian) that's difficult to verbalize. What I know is that last night I had an epiphany concerning A. the toxic nature of religion and B. how those who have forced their faith upon me have been emotionally neglectful and even abusive at times. I have several realizations swimming around in my mind, and to say that it has been overwhelming is an understatement. What I've found is that listening to my inner conscience has been liberating beyond my wildest dreams. What I've Realized: 1. Religious (Christian) people who have told me that being gay is wrong, and that my being bi is a sin, told me a bold-faced lie. 2. People who believe being gay and/or trans is a sinful choice live in willful ignorance. 3. When my parents didn't allow me to express my attraction to girls in healthy ways, but instead by yelling at me, shaming me, and shutting me down, they were being emotionally manipulative in ways that even they do not fully comprehend. 4. By not allowing me to have access to proper, correct LGBT information about healthy relationships and sex, my parents denied my right to basic health information. 5. People who don't allow their morality to be ruled by logic and compassion, but instead a book that is thousands of years old, are allowing themselves to be mentally, emotionally, and spiritually stagnant and even backwards. 6. The fact that I have OCD is not part of a bigger plan - it is a random result of genetics. 7. The fact that I have Binge Eating Disorder is not part of a bigger plan - it is the result of being an emotionally unwell child who didn't receive the proper mental health care I deserved. 8. The fact that I have been able to overcome mental health struggles is not because of a divine being, but because I garnered my own emotional strength and took initiative to seek out mental health care. 9. Every skill and talent I have is either random or something I worked for through practice. 10. On the same note, I get good grades because I study hard. I get the jobs I want because I made an excellent resume and impressed the boss. Not because of anything divine. 11. Religious leaders benefit off of their people being ignorant. Their livelihood comes from donations (tithes) from people who truly believe their lies. 12. The fact that I'm a woman who wants to do "untraditional" things is not because I'm denying God's "plan" for me - it's because I'm female, and my own person, and I am not controlled by my gender. 13. The fact that I'm female does not make me inferior or mean that I must "submit" to anyone. 14. My purpose is not divine - nothing put me here for any specific task. My purpose lies within me, and what I define to be a good, healthy, prosperous, successful life. 15. I should not have to dumb myself down to be seen by a higher power as worthy of love and acceptance. All of these realizations have of course been overwhelming and emotionally stressful, as I have spent my whole life as a Christian - at one point seriously dedicated. But I realized that I was running around in circles which launched me into skepticism. I hope that if reading this has compelled you to share any thoughts with me, you do so. I want to learn as much as possible. Thank you for taking the time to read this.
  11. 1 point
    Gives insight as to how fucked up and violent people were 2k + years ago...
  12. 1 point
    Maybe for now, but I hope those thoughts eventually bring you peace. The Bible is bullshit. People who try to live by it, and who try to force others to live by it, have been deceived -- not by a higher power, but -- by the meme that is called Christianity. I hope that once you've gotten over the initial shock, you'll truly feel a peace that passes anything that the Christian can understand.
  13. 1 point
    Hi everyone. I actually signed up here in December, 2016, but haven't felt ready to start sharing. I spent a good deal of the past year or so dealing with significant emotional wounds, and I only now feel healed enough to be safe interacting with others. Hopefully this isn't as tough a crowd as where I came from. As for me: I spent 25 years of my life in evangelical Christianity. I wasn't fundamentalist, but the denomination (Baptist) was pretty conservative. I was one of those sold-out, all-in believers that signed up for every ministry, and every outreach. I headed up women's bible studies, did outreach to the homeless and did recovery work at rescue missions and the Salvation Army. I was also a professional (blues) musician prior to my conversion, so worship team and choir were also in the mix. During my time in the church, I "filed away" many things that either were "not OK to ask" or were "just the way things are." But cognitive dissonance as a coping strategy can only get you so far. Looking back, I'm amazed that I lasted as long as I did. Especially since I didn't come from a religious family upbringing. When I finally had my done moment and left, I'd been wearing a mask, hiding so many areas of disagreement with church doctrine or policy, that no one really "knew" me. I was a perfect little rule-follower, and as long as I did as I was told, or as I should, all was well. Except for all was not well with me. My husband and son and I had moved up to the Pacific Northwest from California, and our entire social life was wrapped up in this church. When we left, I lost every friend I had. Worse, after 25 years, I literally had no idea how to make friends outside of belonging to a church. It's been a long, hard road, but I think I'm going to make it. I look forward to sharing my ex-timonial at some point soon, and thank you for being here for those of us who arrive as walking wounded.
  14. 1 point
    Instrumental music in church!? Buncha liberals! (Just one of the many reasons people in my denomination (which claims not to be a denomination) think they're they only ones going to Heaven.)
  15. 1 point
    About a year and a half ago I ended up "going forward" because I had been outed to the elders. I was tempted to say "screw it" and just quit, but I have a son who is a preacher and it would potentially have caused problems with my (and my wife's) spending time with them and our grandchildren, so I went to the front on a Wednesday night and "repented." After that I took my name off of the lists to lead singing, lead prayers, etc. And some time later, one of the elders asked me how I was doing, in such a way that I understood him to mean "how are you doing spiritually?" I answered truthfully: "I'm good!" In my mind I figured I was doing better than he was, because he's still a believer. If you believe in mythology, you aren't doing so well!
  16. 1 point
  17. 1 point
    In an even more ironic twist, the only "scriptures" that existed at the time this verse was written was the Old Testament...
  18. 1 point
    Yep, I named the blog after the song, because I really do feel like so much got better when I finally let go of the mythology for good. I'm not out either (also to avoid conflict). But yes, I'm doing juuuuuuust fine! Or, closer to fine anyway!
  19. 1 point
    My browser no likey the vids. That's okay though. Personally, I'm not even sure how she's even making vids. I mean video and the internets aren't mentioned in the bible. How could she use all that? How could the almighty not mention this is his most excellent tome? Seems like a little oversight on his part to not mention any of this. At least mention electricity. Or plastic. Or optics. Or nylon fabrics. Or something. Shit, the cotton gin. Advanced weaving. Soap. Anything. I guess the old syringe (what's that goat herder?) filled with "magical goo" (that's more like it) seems like an easy oversight now. mwc
  20. 1 point
    I agree about being "closer to fine" than ever. (I assume you're referencing the "Indigo Girls" song?) For the most part, I'm in the closet as an atheist. (Long story having mostly to do with avoiding conflict.) But just the fact that I know these people are practicing mythology, and that they really believe it, makes it easier for me to live among it and not let it bother me. I don't have to try to please some invisible deity any more, or figure out what the deity wants based on a book; rather, I just have to live my life in the way that seems most reasonable.
  21. 1 point
    The thing that started me on the journey out of Christianity was: Tithing I had never been a thither. I did tithe for short periods, but it just gnawed at me and I hated giving my money away. I feel shallow and "scrooge-like" saying that, as I usually try to be generous with my money when it comes to legitimate needs for friends and family, but tithing just never sat well with me. I started researching it because I started thinking about how I was taught that the old law was no longer in effect since Jesus' death on the cross, because of the new covenant of Jesus' death. I realized that there is no mention anywhere in the NT after Jesus' death about tithing. Paul mentions giving, but not tithing. I started to research tithing and I found a Master's thesis that someone wrote about tithing and it was very eye opening. I learned that there is actually more than one tithe (there are three) that the Jews were required to pay and that essentially, they all actually had to pay 23.333% of their income and not simply 10 percent. Not one pastor ever mentioned this stuff, indicating to me that they never bothered to study it, and were merely just mimicking what they were taught. This was a problem for me. As I started to realize that tithing was nothing more than a sham, I also started seeing that, just as I mentioned before, they simply picked something from the OT that benefited them and made it "still a law" so that we needed to keep doing it in order to please God. But this made no sense because if it was beneficial in OT times and its still beneficial now, why would this not be the case for all of the other aspects of the law that we don't bother to follow? Shellfish - bad then, good now? Tattoos - bad then, good now? Stoning people for trivial stuff - good then, bad now? If God never changes, and his law is perfect, why is most of it no longer applicable today? And secondly, what formula do you use to determine which OT laws still apply today, and which no longer apply? All of this simply became too much for me to reconcile and the cognitive dissonance was too great to overcome that I ended up on my path out of Christianity. edit for run on sentences
  22. 1 point
    I mean thank u to Joshpantera for the video!
  23. 1 point
    I just made a really important connection in my work to understand my deconstruction journey. When I was still a Christian, I realized that the only way anyone would listen to me trying to make a compelling argument for something, was to infuse your point of view with Bible verses. You needed rock-solid "proof" of your position. Since our own opinions don't count for anything inside the religion, I needed God on my side. I got really, really good at making my case with the Bible as my supporting documentation. Then, I was in a church where all kinds of crap was happening in leadership. Long story short, I'd finally had enough, and summoned the courage to write a huge email about the problems I was personally experiencing under someone's leadership. I quoted Bible verses. I knew the concepts that were being violated were absolutely against what scripture was saying. It was, in a nutshell, a very damning case against this leader. The end result? A lot of throat clearing, hemming and hawing and uncomfortable silences. They knew I was right. They knew the Bible backed me up. Guess what? In the end, it didn't matter. They did what they wanted to do, not what their God said they should. At the time, I understood it to be men being in self-will and disobeying what God said, and I knew to be correct. (But I still believed in God at that point.) However today, I just realized that church leaders do what they want to do, and just put a God stamp on it. When someone like me comes along and points that out -- I'm the problem. The problem is not the problem, the person speaking truth is. And hence, I just realized that religion mimics a dysfunctional family dynamic. It the same thing. The person (usually the parent) that is behaving badly is not the problem. It's the person (usually the child) pointing out the issue that is the "problem." The family then focuses on the "problem" so they don't have to look at the real cause. I came from a family dynamic like this. It hooks you in to having to "prove" that you are being reasonable, speaking truth, etc. But it doesn't matter. The mistake you are making is you are trying to use reason and logic with people who do not use reason and logic. The church was exactly like my family of origin. This is probably why I was "hooked in" for so long. I spun my wheels trying to reason with people who were incapable of reasoning. Or being intellectually honest. Now I'm just tired. And pissed.
  24. 1 point
    Make a list of decisions/choices and we'll all go over them one by one and see what we can do for you. Yes, @Anushka, MOHO is short for Smart-ASS!
  25. 1 point
  26. 1 point
    Welcome to the struggle. When I'm weary, I tell myself that I'd rather be on this journey, than stuck swallowing all the shaming messages of the church's teachings. Your list is a great personal manifesto, and also a great source of reminding yourself of your personal boundaries. You fought hard to come to these conclusions, they are your victory. And there is much more to come. I wish I could say that peace will come, it does -- in spurts (at least for me), but the journey is the journey. And it's worth it. Welcome. I"m pretty new too, and I recently wrote a list too! You're in good company!!
  27. 1 point
    I can't remember the source (it was Ehrman, Carrier, or someone else) but the 'no man knows the time' is plausibly an interpolation added to Matthew at a later time to address the 'this generation shall not pass' problem because all who lived at the time of Jesus had died.
  28. 1 point
    Welcome to Ex-C. I'm so sorry to hear about your job in a christian school. That will make things harder for you if you cannot find an alternative position. What helped me at the beginning when I was having a lot of cognitive dissonance, I would come home every evening and get on this or other ex-c-type websites and read obsessively. For awhile after reading my thoughts would feel less crazy. Good luck with your process. Questioner
  29. 1 point
    Hi @justaskingquestions. That is how it begins. Asking from a point of really wanting to learn and understand will likely lead to another epiphany . And another. And another. Wherever you end up just make sure you have done diligence in your quest for knowledge. You are correct that religion - especially the xtian varietals - are manipulative, controlling, and abusive. Individuals administering same frequently are victims themselves and are only partially responsible. HOWEVER, there are those who are NOT innocent and know damn well what they are doing so be CAREFULL! You have support here. Hang around...
  30. 1 point
    Welcome to Ex-C! You have certainly learned a lot of profound truths. The journey out of Christianity is a difficult one at times. But it is so worth it. There is a lot of wisdom here in these forums. Spend time reading the posts and learning from the other members. Many of their stories are relatable and you can learn a lot from them. Post here, ask questions, get involved in discussions and stretch and grow as a person. I look forward to seeing what else you have to share. Good luck! Storm
  31. 1 point
    Okay, y'all, I made it to almost the end of page 6 over the span of several days. I have been reading, thinking, liking posts, thinking some more, considering.....etc. I'm sure you're all really holding your breath hah. I'm confused about what to address, so I'm kinda referencing the OP with regard to freedom of speech, bigotry, etc. I think this site should be able to do whatever they want, mod-wise.....but we do run the risk of an echo chamber and we also run the risk of other people leaving who won't bend over for the evil commies. I want so badly for everyone to feel this sincerity, I am doing my best to listen and hear what you're saying, not just fight. I'm trying to get it, to consider your perspective. I am (most of the time) INFJ-T (I get INTJ enough to be relevant) which has been brought into this discussion. I know that this is not much of a science, but I do think it helps to see what kinds of things people value or whatever. I'm a weird ass blend of getting my feelings hurt easily and not giving a fuck. I think, ultimately "truth" should be pursued at the cost of feelings, but that being said, feelings are important too and they shouldn't just be written off. That puts me in a weird spot when my defense of free speech sometimes bites me in the ass. It really can hurt. It hurts my feelings most when people assume something from things I don't say or intend. I don't mean that in a trivial way either. I come off like a firecracker sometimes sure, but I do sincerely feel hurt when something I put a lot of thought into is written off or dismissed or misrepresented to mean something else. I think many of us understand this hurt or frustration. If something I never intended hurts another person, I feel like a piece of shit for hurting someone else and then feel even shittier that I was taken for the kind of person to actually try to hurt or demean a fellow person. I have no intention of ever using my words to purposefully hurt. I think it is important for y'all to hear that just because I, since I can only speak for myself, really and truly sympathize with some proposed concerns. - I don't want the newly deconverted to leave or never join because they are turned off by aspects of this site - I don't want someone from LGBTQ+ (or any marginalized group really) to experience nastiness from other people in our species - I don't want free speech, in general, to be abused by those who want to prove a point that they can use whatever the hell words they want - I don't want to hurt other people, in general, lol. - I want progress, I want the world to get better for all of us We can truly agree on some of these concerns and fears, I just disagree with some other suggested problems and I also eschew the proposed solution of increased modding or censorship of people in general. Not one of us has ANY right to monitor the thoughts or speech of another, though this site can mod posts if they choose to do so. We cannot, as individuals, be responsible for everyone else's feelings all the time or see the future. It's exhausting to keep track of what offends who constantly, especially when you don't intend to do so ever. Furthermore, I'm confused about whether or not this is a "don't say hurtful things" discussion or not because it seems like a "don't critique [insert favored group here]" kind of discussion. I'm not sure which it is, but I'm certainly not trying to say hurtful things. I understand that many of you care deeply for people who are disenfranchised, that you want to be a voice for the unheard or to stand up against bullying because you are caring people. I find this admirable, deeply so. I think it's easy to misunderstand each other on this forum and I don't want to be misunderstood as saying something I'm not. Since I disagree fundamentally with some perspectives on this post about who is being oppressed and who isn't, where do we go from here? If some of you think, because I have voiced strongly anti-feminist opinions, that I am bullying a fellow woman for her opinions....when I'm not.....then my feelings get hurt because I wasn't trying to bully anyone....no progress has been made....and now both parties are offended and defensive. If you want to stand up for the oppressed, and I agree, but you claim [insert group] is oppressed and I don't......now what? We can't just claim our opinion as the true one, nor can we just be expected to roll over, nor can we start personally attacking others for lack of education or understanding. Why is there not a call for thicker skin, why is censorship the only one being discussed here? We, as a group, have a tendency to over exaggerate how perceived bad status quo or social change will play out, I see this everywhere. "The gays will destroy the American family," "letting black people or women vote is going to lead to the destruction of America," "the LGBTQ folks may as well be stoned if we do nothing," "The democrats are going to tax us until we're basically communists," "the republicans are capitalist racists who, if they're elected, are going to make abortion illegal again and seek profit at the expense of the middle class," "if we make alcohol legal, the sin and debauchery will cause the lord to smite us," "if we make weed legal, they're going to flaunt it in our faces and those potheads will go broke laying around nothing and it will give our kids cancer," "Hillary's going to sell us to the devil," "Trump's going to bomb or nuke everyone," I could go on. In general, our perceived causes and opinions aren't often right to the extent we think or predict they will be. Maybe, members of the LGBTQ+ community are JUST FINE with these discussions, maybe those who are offended should speak for themselves that they have been offended personally. Maybe we shouldn't generalize the LGBT community because they are made of individuals with different opinions. I know Stephen Fry is a liberal homosexual male who is vehement about the historical repercussions of silencing speech. For those of you who identify with the term "feelers," I'm trying desperately to explain that it really seems like only the feelings of certain groups are valued or it feels like only certain people's rights are worth fighting for. When one group is continuously seemingly shit on by another people groups on behalf of still others, what will eventually happen? No one gets heard, certain group opinions are favored, the ones not favored stop giving a fuck about the feelings of the ones everyone cares about. It's like fuck any mildly conservative person's opinion, who cares if it hurts their feelings compared to gay people's. Fuck any white person's opinion, they've had long enough to speak. Fuck any man's opinion, it's the women's time to shine. I could go on. It seems to me that some peoples' values, which are mere opinions, include generalizing about the hypothetical feelings or degradation of perceived oppression in others. When that oppression is challenged, it's like people go on the attack. If this is not intended, I get that....but that is what people like me are experiencing or feeling. Instead of arguing with me (though I'm open to criticism of course), can some of y'all just see how we got there? Can we maybe all just acknowledge the other's perspective, without saying "you're right or wrong?" Can some of y'all understand why some of us start to feel less inclined to consider the feelings of others when it feels like we just get shit on all the time? Especially when many of us are NOT GUILTY of doing what some members of that social group have done. If I do a long drawn out post such as this, responding with "You're just mad you can't tell n****r jokes," is your right ........ but that's just not true. And that's deeply, personally offensive to me. And you either care or you don't care. And if you decide that you do care, but not enough to change anything, why should I? And if I decide to tolerate your offensive untruths anyway, that would be the point, right? I've gotten over myself a little and accepted that you have meaningful values too, so why can't you (generic you btw) do the same? Why must I accept your assertions, even if facts say otherwise, because of how it could affect a certain group of people? What gives anyone the right to label anyone else, in general, instead of tackling bad ideas?! I can say MEAN things and not hate Christians. I say NICE things and absolutely HATE Christians. I can joke about Christians and, ultimately, mean NO OFFENSE or HATE towards them. Funny shit is funny shit, ask John Crist lol. I recognize that many of you believe words have real power, so....what do you make of my comments above? In my view.....nothing ultimately happens. When we agnostics/atheists band together, we can make social change. But my individual words used for "hate" aren't really doing much. If a Christian screams and hollers that I have offended them, what do I do then? Shutup and not critique their beliefs? Apologize? Have I learned any sort of lesson, or have I internalized some frustration? Was it because of a joke (that I still plan to make?) Does calling them "atheist phobic" do anything at all? Are we christianphobic because we disagree or have extreme and vocal distaste for its ideology? Or do you think we are all educated enough to know when we're being told some bullshit with which we disagree? Am I hateful or committing a hate crime by disagreeing with a christian? I think, when bad ideas are not dealt with but silenced, you end up with "hate groups" like the KKK. People learn to find people who think like them before they make the same joke they would have before, calling names or censorship does nothing.
  32. 1 point
    I'm in the process of de-conversion. I'm not sure where I'll end up on the atheist-agnostic spectrum (is that a thing?), but I exited the evangelical church in November of 2015, right about the time several so-called leaders of conservative Christianity threw in for Trump. Talk about shattering everything that I'd always had crammed down my throat. All those voter guides. All that talk of electing "Godly men." It all got thrown out the window on the throne of political power. Instead I heard, “boys will be boys” and “locker room talk” coming from the same voices advocating for godliness in leaders for so many years. I digress. I was not raised in a Christian home. My mom gave it a go for several years when I was around seven or eight. It was enough to memorize, “Jesus Loves Me” and to know the basics. “Jesus loves me, and he died on the cross for my sins.” We moved shortly after that, and church was not on the docket again. In our household, it was my father’s way or the highway. His anger and rage ruled the home. I grew up waiting for the other shoe to drop, because I never knew what kind of night it would be when he got home. Drinking, drunkenness and anger permeated the home. Sometimes it got really scary. I kept my opinions to myself, because no other point of view was tolerated but his. I grew up without understanding personal boundaries. I grew up hiding all opinions and quietly deferred to his will no matter how unfair it felt. It was a survival tactic. Little did I know, this made me the perfect candidate to do well inside the church machine. I’ve had an interesting life. In my early 20s, I was fortunate to fall into a group of amazing musicians with big-time connections. I had backstage passes to NAMM shows, and concerts of some of the biggest names of the 80s. I opened for used-to-be-famous musicians in smaller venues. I also fell into a work situation that ended up being a tech start-up that grew out of a failed, larger corporation. By the time I was twenty-five, I had a life most envied from the outside. However, on the inside, things weren’t working. You know that gnawing feeling in the pit of your stomach that something is missing? Maybe not. But I had it in spades. After many years of reflection, I understand now that it was some major missing pieces from a traumatic childhood. Around this time, I was invited to an evangelical church for the Christmas program, and ended up going forward at the alter call. Unconditional love sounded pretty good to me at the time. Little did I know, this “love” would come at a very high price, with plenty of unwritten rules to follow. I would spend the next twenty-five years inside of conservative evangelicalism. It didn’t solve my problems, but did create plenty of new ones. So, I left my sinful life behind. Musical friends, drinking, the occasional drug dalliance, were all excised from my life. I threw myself into worship team, choir, ministry, outreach, short-term missions. I studied JI Packer, CS Lewis, EM Bounds – we used to call them “all the dead white guys.” I was discipled almost constantly for the first three years by both our senior pastor and the chaplain at the local rescue mission where I volunteered. It was a time of learning, and assimilating. The first time I bumped up against the “don’t ask” rule was after missionaries from Papua New Guinea came to talk about their work creating a bible from scratch, for a people group that had no written language. It was fascinating to think about creating a language from scratch, and they were very sincere in their efforts to “reach” these people. Later that night when I got home, it dawned on me that this tribe had existed from quite some time before the missionary family had arrived. I wondered, “what happened to all the people that had died before they got there?” I mean, did they go to hell? That didn’t seem fair. So I dropped in on our senior pastor the next day to ask my big theological question. I was proud of myself for thinking about this so deeply, and was sure I’d get another theological lesson out of it (which I loved). I had jumped into my studies with enthusiasm and was excited to learn. When I met my pastor and posed the question, it was the first time in all our meetings that I saw his countenance change in front of my eyes. He was not pleased! Why?! I suddenly felt nervous like I’d done something wrong. He quietly told me that at some point in every person’s life, god will make himself known to them in some way. Somehow there would be a reckoning where they would choose to believe, or not. It was all very vague. Now I’m not a theologian, but the question that popped into my mind, yet stuck in my throat refusing to come out was, “but if god shows up in our lives like that, why do we need churches to give the message?” But, my childhood training had taught me well: When a powerful man is upset with you, shut up. And I did. This event sticks in my mind because it was the first time I learned there was ground you didn’t tread on. If only I had known about the historical-critical method of bible study at that time. If only I knew that the bible wasn’t the inerrant word of god. If only I knew that there were no original manuscripts. If only I knew of all the discrepancies. If only I knew. Over the years, I filed away many questions I knew would label me a trouble-maker to ask. My good-girl, "be seen and not heard" childhood training was still my driving force. Don’t make waves. Don’t make waves. Don’t make waves. Say nothing. Put up with partial explanations. Turn a blind eye to hypocrisy. Endure voter guides and the pressure to vote “correctly.” Just fit in. Three years into my life as a Christian, I would get married to someone who put on holy face in church, but turned out to be worse than my dad ever was at home. I endured a divorce in those early years, and was told because it was “just” abuse, it wasn’t a scriptural divorce. I would never be free to remarry, unless it was him! It was floated that I should hang in there. Instead, I got out after fourteen months, and almost didn’t survive it. Feeling like no decent man would ever want me now, I did more than contemplate my suicide: I planned it. Ultimately I didn’t carry it out, but it was close. I stopped myself on the day I had planned to drive to the bridge I would jump off. My affairs were all in order, and letters were written and left in my apartment. It took three years of counseling to be OK again. And still, I didn’t leave the church. Not for a long, long time. Next up on the hit parade was the split of our 3,000-person church. This was something to watch unfold. It was deeply disturbing and ugly. I had a front row seat, since it involved a power struggle between two pastors, both of whom I deeply cared for. The church did split, and it was never the same. It then split again. A few years later, the building was sold and today it no longer exists. To this day, people don't speak to each other. Families were split. Life long friendships ended. All over two men's egos. The bible tells us that god will hold leaders to a higher standard of accountability. I've never seen any leader in the church act as if they gave a crap about that admonition. If there was a holy spirit guiding people, I never saw it. I saw a hell of a lot of self-will run riot though. I saw affairs that were tolerated by big tithers, while those that didn’t have the same financial standing, were thrown out. I learned the many unwritten rules of membership. Which TV programs were OK, which weren’t. Looking like you had it all together was approved of, having problems was not. If you had struggles, this meant your walk with the Lord was at fault, and the fault was always yours. People with real problems were shamed into silence. Including me. One of the Christianese sayings goes, “If you feel far from god, guess who moved?” This and other fluffy platitudes were highest depths of theological introspection that the laity could come up with. I grew to hate these sayings. They were an assault to intelligence. Still, I was silent. As the years wore on, I slowly began to see something more sinister take root. Maybe it was always there to a degree. I know the rabbinic tradition calls for questioning and reinterpretation of scripture, so I saw Jesus as simply operating within that framework. What's interesting is how everything comes around again. The Christian church (at least in America, which is all I can speak to), is very much like those Pharisees of old that Jesus railed against. Over and over I would wonder why leadership didn’t see it this way. Everything was cast in stone. Either all the bible was true, or none of it was. The earth was new. Dinosaurs and man coexisted. By this time, my counseling had served me well, and was getting more and more emotionally healthy. I knew this type of pseudo-reasoning was black-and-white thinking, which was dysfunctional. Their very own Jesus didn’t operate this way! He questioned the authority and wisdom of the current religious leaders and traditions. Critical thinking is completely lost today in general, but the lack of it is almost a requirement to subscribe to the tenants of evangelical Christianity. I'm teaching my son logic and critical thinking, because I want him to have the tools. I look up and down the comment sections on social media and I see nothing but ad hominem attacks, straw-man arguments, etc. And it's no wonder. Our politicians have been winning elections with this kind of rhetoric for... well, for a long time. Pair that with reality TV and the dumbing down of America is complete. The ultimate irony is that the church today teaches Sheep 101, and rewards you for falling in line, towing the party line and not making waves. The exact opposite of who their very own Jesus was. About the time I started seeing the tide of opinion changing on doing outreach to the homeless and the hurting, it was the beginning of the end for me. A deep dissatisfaction was growing at how the church was ignoring most of the teachings of Jesus. For years, there had been a growing faction that had turned into a groundswell that took on "biblical" causes that dovetailed with political positions. The hypocrisy of whipping out the Bible to discriminate or legislate against minority people groups, while simultaneously ignoring most of the very-well-spelled-out teachings of Jesus on enemy love, and other inconvenient teachings, was all I could take. One day the dam just burst. Everything I had “filed” for so many years under my “cognitive dissonance file cabinet” just exploded. I began to Google topics related to my dissatisfaction with Christianity and that was when I knew I could never go back. It took over twenty years to have my final straw moment, but as I began to learn about all the problems with the bible, my beliefs just evaporated. But it would take me another three years to do something about it. I was in emotional turmoil all of the time at this point. I knew I’d be leaving my entire social network. I poured myself into music. I joined a second band. I filled my days with busyness and outreach. I was running from myself, and the hard decisions I knew I needed to make. Maybe if I decide not to decide.... but the lyrics of RUSH’s song Free Will rang in my head. “If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice.” In the end, the church made it easy for me. My son was being picked on for not “hating Obama” enough for his peer’s satisfaction, I overheard the outreach pastor talk about how the homeless were “wrecking this town” and my main band threw a member out because they were divorced and weren’t qualified to minister from the platform. By this time, were in a new state, and our current church had been our home for five years. But no one knew I was divorced. Something inside me broke in late 2015. The final straw was Focus on the Family’s James Dobson advocating for Trump. I’d loved that organization, donated to it, and was completely dumbfounded at his defense of this man from a believer’s point of view. It was like I suddenly saw the truth. The church was a power structure, tapped into man’s need to believe in something higher than himself. Centuries of control, money, and forced adherence to man-made doctrine. Secrets about the bible’s issues and problems kept from the laypeople. I was sickened. I told my husband we were out of there, no matter the cost. I quit both bands, walked out, and never came back. I will close with something I wrote as a believer, back in 1998. Even then, I saw the problems. No more. Well, I guess you know the answer to that. There is no revival. There is, however, a hell of a lot of “Dones” like me, stampeding in mass exodus out the doors of the church. Now to that I can say, “Thank god!”
  33. 1 point
    Welcome to X-Christian! Oh yeah I read "Case for Christ" back when I was a teenager and my parents wanted me to be impressed by the amount of supposed evidence there was for Christianity. The book was so badly argued that it actually instilled a great sense of doubt in me... even though I was a Christian during the time in which I read it. If there was a shred of substantial evidence why would Christians resort to a mish-mash of shoddy interviews, misinterpretations, and terrible logic to make their crowning case?
  34. 1 point
    You're welcome. I haven't played up front in a band for a long time, since the late 90's. When I quit the rap/rock band (I was writing songs like 311, Rage Against the Machine, Ice-'T's Body Count, and the Henry Rollins Band) because I was just over it. Tired of the punk clubs, tired of waiting through metal band after metal band. I got tired of rock in general, for a while and sort of burned out on all of it by the late 90's. All of the challenge had faded and it was getting boring. I wondered whether I was going to keep playing at all? And so I just played my acoustic here and there whenever I felt like it. Then I started exploring other areas I wanted to focus on, just for my own sake. And started playing a lot more jazz and adding more and more complex chord changes to my playing. I went deep into Bossa Nova style chords. This led into playing reggae with a lot of Bossa chord changes and then into picking up on, by ear, a lot of late 70's music that I remembered from childhood - like Bobby Caldwell, Little River Band, and others. I then found entertainment making acoustic renditions of old motown and 60's songs, which, come out sounding good done acoustic. All the while, I was entertaining myself and keeping the guitar playing alive in the absence of a band and a rigid reason to keep playing. I've also gone off into Barney Kessell and Django Reinhardt. And that's sustained me for years. I've stepped on stage a few times at a biker bar and played a few songs here and there a couple times over the last two years. This guy asked me to come up impromptu so I grabbed an acoustic and did Hotel California with the band. Stayed around for Knocking on Heaven's Door. The crowd seemed to like it. They asked me to come watch a oldie's set at the local Moose, and I wound up going up on stage and doing Johnny B Good. It was fun both times. Just to go up and play in front of everyone. But playing in front of people isn't what it's about anymore. It's about playing for my own amusement, Audiences don't make or break it. And really that seems to be the recipe for going the duration of life, at least in my case, and enjoying every minute of doing it.
  35. 1 point
    Aiyana, I have no new practical advice to offer. I wish I did. I do have this to share: No belief set, religious or otherwise, is more valuable than the mental health of my children, my spouse, or anyone else I deeply care about. You have the right to expect the same level of respect, love, and care from your family. Your spouse and the extended family, and your church friends are telling you they do not value your mental health. They are not there for you. It is only about what you add to their lives. Does any one of these folks listen to you with empathy and compassion? Is anyone 100% on "team Aiyana"? Because, from what I see, team Aiyana deserve 100% support. You need to move forward, and make the decisions as needed. But, please, going forward,when facing with a difficult choice or dilemma, please, please be 100% on team Aiyana, and choose what fills her sense of well being and happiness.
  36. 1 point
    You are in a real difficult situation. Leaving religion is rarely easy and experiencing a total destruction of your social circle is common. Your situation seems to be even more difficult than most people have to experience. Leaving your faith twice makes it even more difficult. Keeping a low profile is probably your best option until you figure out a long term solution. I wish you the best in your efforts to resolve your conflicts.
  37. 1 point
    It's compulsive now. Like most people (I think) I get compulsive about things that are new in my life. In 1997 I bought a 12-year-old Corvette, and Corvettes were all I could think about for a very long time. In 2003 I bought a motorcycle, and I'm still, 9 years later, somewhat compulsive about them, though it's waning. In January or February I realized that the god of the Bible is a myth. Now I'm compulsive about athiesm, humanism, agnosticism... whatever it may mean to me to be just a person in the Universe, knowing that we humans are on our own. I say that I realized it early this year. I was in church. (I still go, for reasons I'll explain later.) The preacher read a couple of verses in Genesis 3, and being that this is a Church of Christ, I had my Bible in my lap and I turned there. He only read two verses and I don't remember what the sermon was about, but I read the entire chapter. It was as if I'd never seen it before. I read the story of a snake who convinced a woman to eat a piece of fruit, which she had been told by God not to eat. It was like the first time I'd ever seen the story, because it was the first time I ever read it without thinking ahead of time "Satan used a snake." The chapter is clearly talking about an ordinary snake, as if it's ordinary for snakes to do this sort of thing. No "Satan in the form of a serpent" or "Satan used the serpent", just a serpent. Since that time I've remembered the doubts I've had over the years. I remember teaching a junior high Bible class on Genesis and having to affirm that the Earth is a young planet in a young universe, and feeling a bit guilty about it. (I never wanted to teach in the first place, but people think that since I lead singing that I must have the social skill set to conduct a class. I'm a nerd. I hate teaching classes.) Just yesterday, seeing as how I'm still obsessed and surfing the internet for athiest articles when I'm supposed to be working, just yesterday I suddenly remembered an experience I had around 1990. I was headed home from work, and I prayed that God would make it rain on me. I did this because I was doubting. There wasn't really any prediction of rain, but there were clouds ahead. I set myself up to be convinced. Sure enough, I drove through a brief shower. But I still didn't believe it. I knew I had set up the situation, praying for something that was actually very likely to happen. It didn't prove anything and didn't convince me. But it took 22 more years to get here! Church of Christ: That's a different sort of denomination. - No modern day miracles! We have a proof text in I Corinthians 13 -- "For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away." The "perfect" is the Bible, so there's no more need for miracles. - Even in James 5, where it says "Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing praise. Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven", some people say it must be "spiritual sickness", in spite of the fact that is ends with IF he has committed sins... . Why? Because we've never seen a terminally ill patient get well before. We've seen them not die, but we've never seen them get well. - Not premillennialists -- The "kingdom" is always spoken of in the present tense after the gospels, so when Jesus comes back, that's the judgement, and the "1000 years" is not literal, it is the Christian era which has already gone on nearly 2000 years. So theoretically "we" don't support Israel. (In practice, most members are caught up in popular evangelical Christianity on this subject, but they don't know where it comes from.) But the creation myth is... real. Why, when they see that there are no miracles, do they look for the reason in scripture, but when they see that the Universe is old, they do not do the same? It's just as well, because if they had been accepting of reality where the age of the universe is concerned, I may never have reailized the whole thing is hogwash. My wife has fibromyalgia. Mornings are usually spent in bed or on the couch, waiting for the pain medicine to kick in. She hates the book of Job. People tell her it's supposed to comfort her in her pain, but it's about a man who suffered when God allowed -- encouraged! -- it, and then, when he asked why, God didn't "fess up". Instead, he got defensive, and yelled at Job, asking "how dare you even think you have the right to know what happened to you!?" She hates that book. And so, some time after I realized the truth, that the "Truth" is a lie, she was talking about her doubts and I wasn't helping any, so she asked me if I even believed it anymore, and being too honest for my own good, I admitted that I didn't believe a word of it. Now she feels guilty, as if her doubts caused me to lose my faith. I've told her that I was never really certain it was real. I've explained that I was only baptized at age 11 because it was what was expected of me, and 10-year-old brother went forward and I figured I'd better quit waiting. I've explained the Genesis 3 epiphany to her. She still feels guilty. (We're both guilty of feeling too guilty about a lot of things... it's just the way we are.) We've discussed changing denominations at one time, partly because of the guilt thing. She was talking to a woman who claimed to have had fibro, but who didn't have pain anymore. The woman said when she quit going to the denomination that made her feel so unworthy, the pain went away. What church? It was a Church of Christ. Other times the reason for possibly changing is that people in other denominations seem to get healed, or so they've told us. People in churches of Christ obviously don't believe in prayer. Men leading prayers seldom pray for a sick person to be healed, but instead pray that they'll be comforted, or that the doctors will do the right thing. Other churches seem to have providential (not miraculous! There are no modern miracles, remember!)... providential healing. Maybe we're just in the wrong church, we thought. I can't actually quit going to church. We don't go to the "big" church anymore. (Almost 300 people!) She has too many self-esteem issues. (She's clinically depressed, by the way, something else that "God" hasn't seen fit to relieve.) She's cute, she's pretty, people flock to her, and when she looks in the mirror she thinks she's hideous, so she doesn't want people she knows to see her. She's embarrassed that she misses so often. She's embarrassed that so many people have seen her cry. So now we go to a church that has 30 people on Sunday morning (usually I'm by myself Sunday morning due to her health), 20 on Sunday night, and 7-12 for Wednesday night Bible class. Fortunately, not having to feel accoutable to anyone, we actualy skip Sunday night or Wednesday night quite often. But in the last 5 months she has cried there, and even "gone forward" once. *sigh* She went to Florida College, the private college whose faculty and most students hail from "non-institutional" churches of Christ. I mean... "Churches of Christ". (Old habits die hard.) (Not supported by any churches! That would be institutional! That's unscriptural!) She didn't really want our sons to go there because she didn't want them so far away, and we were glad when our older son decided that the only reason he was interested in it was because a bunch of his friends were going, and it would be like year-round camp, so instead he should go to a real college, the University of Texas. His first sememster was tough (electrical engineering), but I was pround of him for sticking it out. In early January, one of our elders, who was on the board of directors at "FC", told him he would pay for the semester of he would go there. It's not like our son was having to pay his own way, but it was enough for him to jump ship. He was fortunate, after going there for a year and a half, to be able to get re-admitted to the university, and they even gave him credit for his calculus and some other courses at the junior college. He didn't lose a semester! He's an engineer now. But he is also now a serious Christian, married to a minister's daughter. They read the Bible together every night, something that never happened when he was growning up (even though my wife wanted me to initiate the practice). He teaches classes, and occasionally preaches. Our other son went to FC because his brother did. He had offers to go into the honors program at the University of Houston, but he wouldn't even talk to him. Had his brother not enjoyed the FC experience so much, he had been dead set against going there, but he changed his mind. And now... he's a minister! There is a stibility in my life that might not exist had I not been taught, in church, that marriage is for life, that we should love our spouses, parents, and children, and that we should be kind to one another. At least, I think that's the case. There don't seem to be many dysfunctional families in churches of Christ, though there are a few. People stay together for the most part. Husbands and wives are generally kind to one another and to their children. Their children marry Church of Christers, or convert their boyfriends/girlfriends before they marry, and it creates some stability. Most are honest and hard-working, and do okay in life because of their work ethic, though I know that many non-Christians have the same "blessings". But I learned a lot that has helped me in life. Both boys married girls whose parents are still married to each other for about 30 years, so I hope that's a head-start on a stable life. Our younger son is currently thinking that he doesn't want to preach any more. He's really good at it, but he hates teaching the classes. I'm hoping he decides to get out. I'd like to see him in a real job while he's still young, and I'd like to see him get a bachelor's degree. But I can't quit church, because at some point there will be grandchildren, and if we're to ever have them spend time with us we'll have to still be "Christians", and we'll have to take the grandkids to Bible class. Were it not for that, I might be willing to disuss this with them. And they're smart... maybe they would see the truth! But suppose I were to convince my older son, and not his wife? I'll have caused a problem in their marriage then! It's the potential repercussions that are causing me the most stress now. And I'm compulsive about being an athiest, consumed by the thoughts that go along with it.
  38. 0 points
    Hmm. I...don't know if I care for this post. No. This post will not do. mwc

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