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Showing content with the highest reputation on 02/04/2019 in all areas

  1. 2 points
    Xtians tend to be immoral. Look at their so called “god” a giant orbital toddler with a penchant for temper tantrums like a spoiled brat. Who commits genocide at the drop of a hat pin, makes people just to have them treated like crap by it’s brain dead followers, and cares more about football games than dying children. Xtians need to hide a midol in a piece of cheese and give it to their “god”.
  2. 2 points
    Hi Viktor. It's really good to have you here on this site. I am so very sorry to hear of what you've been goingb through!! Don't let deperssion ruin your life or cause you to take some unfounded actions. If you start having suicidal thoughts again please seek help immediately. Call the Mental Health Foundation of New Zealand Suicide Crisis Helpline – 0508 828 865 (0508 TAUTOKO) or you can Skype the US hotline completely free at 1-800-273-8255 but please don't ever try to go through an episode of considering or even toying with the idea of suicide all by yourself. The lines are staffed with the most sensitive caring well trained individuals who are typically volunteering their time just to be available to help anyone of us who is having these thoughts. I also think you would benefit greatly by reading Marlene Winell"s book, Leaving The Fold, and also taking a look at her website: https://www.marlenewinell.net/. She specializes in helping people like us make the difficult transition away from these cult like Christian religions and helps us recognize and recover from the surprisingly great mental harm these religions cause (for example from fears left implanted in our minds). Before i leave this part I want to recomend if at all possible financially to get treatment or at least a one time evaluation session with a good secular therapist regarding your depression, panic attacks, suicidal thoughts, empty feelings, etc. Above all learn how to take good care of yourself and practice that every day. I give this advice often here but think about yourself as the ideal parent and how understanding, available, forgiving, encouraging, patient, etc. you would be and then work toward being that parent to yourself. Your emotions are what brought you into a cult (fundamental evangelical christianity) and keep hold of you, but your reason is what can eventually set you free. Don't allow scary confusing thoughts to take control of your mind. Fight back. Pull those thoughts right out into the light of day and separate them into all there pieces, put them out on the table and then use your reason to figure out what is the most reasonable explanation for your feelings and how true are the "facts" you're using to support those feelings. For example when you say to yourself in support of fears about deconverting that the " majority of the world is Christian" which on an emotional level seems absolutely true stop and check using your best Googling practices to find the most reliable online source possible. In this case it is very easy because the percentage of christians in the world is not seriously questioned. It is 33%. So fully 67% of humanity do not choose to be Christian! So your emotions have it backwards in this example but you have the ability to diminish the impact just by looking and questioning. Other questions might the come to mind once you've learned this new fact regarding how powerful could the Holy Spirit really be and why is God so ineffective at reaching humans? This kind of searching is what ultimately ended my fear of hell. There is absolutely no good reasonable support for hell so when my mind became absolutely convinced, my emotion based fear diminished until it just went away. It was a very long process and probably not 100% gone at any moment in time but it can't hurt me now. I believe you can gain ground every time you fight back with reason. If a real creator god exists it very obviously did not hand every human a book when they come into this world but it did equip just about every human with a functioning brain so it seems to me that the message from a god if one exists is to use our mind to determine what is true including what may be true or untrue in any books that we encounter. I hope you stay with us for a while and keep posting things that trouble you as you go through your deconversion.
  3. 2 points
    Thanks so much for all the kind words. It means a lot to me. Offtheromanroad, I am doing fantastic. I'm a totally different person than I was when this event happened. The further I get from religion, the healthier and happier I become. I was able to move out of Texas to Illinois which has helped a lot. Somehow I stumbled upon Mrs. Winell's book, Leaving the Fold, and it helped me realize the depth of the trauma I experienced. I'm currently working with a therapist, as well as reading and journaling to continue my recovery. My parents are still very religious and, just in normal conversation, use so many religious phrases that trigger me. I am currently working on dealing with that. They are elderly and aren't changing, so I'm trying to find a nice balance of communication so I'm not agitated just talking to them.
  4. 2 points
    Full confidence in yourself. Empathy for others. And Intelligence. You have all you need to fully live the rest of your singular life to its best. It is going to be awesome.
  5. 1 point
    It’s Spring of 2004. I thought I was finally in the place I was supposed to be in; God’s perfect will for my life. I was being paid $300 a week to play piano and lead worship at Living Water Church in Fort Worth, Texas with my husband, Bob, who was also part of the worship team. I had been redeemed from the guilt and shame of past divorce and choices that took me out of God’s will. Every Sunday morning, Sunday night, and Wednesday night, I went early to church to prepare my song list with the band and vocalists for the upcoming church service. I lead the church people through the worship portion of the church service, then played piano and sang during the altar call part of the service, after the pastor’s sermon. The only glitch in “God’s perfect will” was that my unhealthy marriage and home life were taking a toll on me. Since my marriage to Bob in January of 1999, his untreated and uncontrolled mental illness had put me in a state of depression and hopelessness. I came to a point where I felt I could no longer continue in my present home situation, so I went to my pastor for help. He was aware of Bob’s mental condition and encouraged me to seek help from a professional counselor. He gave me the number for a Christian counseling referral service. I made an appointment for Bob and I, but never expected Bob to go with me. Sure enough, he didn’t. My new counselor was very understanding of me, but said she wasn’t able to counsel Bob and me as a couple. From what I described of Bob, she told me she didn’t feel he would be able to participate in a relationship until he received therapy on his own and took control of his mental illness. She saw how I was hurting and told me I needed to focus on taking care of myself and not expect anything from Bob without years of therapy. I felt I had to separate from Bob and get healthy myself. Although I wasn’t happy about another divorce, I felt it was necessary for my mental and emotional health. I was concerned about the security of my church position as worship leader while going through divorce and my counselor advised me to ask my pastor and his wife for support before continuing as worship leader. After I got home, I thought about who I could talk to for support. I had been in Living Water Church for a few years and thought of the church people as my extended family. I called a lady who was the leader of the church’s version of AA, a twelve-step Christian-based program for people with addictions. I knew this woman was doing community service for a drunk driving conviction and had been divorced a few times herself. I felt since she wasn’t the stereotypical church person, she would be the one I could confide in. Moments after I hung up the phone from talking to her, she called the pastor and told him everything I had said. When I told Pastor Wade of my counselor’s advice to divorce Bob, he was not happy. He said she wasn’t a Christian counselor and thought I should find a different one. That wasn’t an option for me. I felt freedom and hope just at the thought of getting out of the marriage and there was no going back. Dr. Kathy Foster had not only understood me, but affirmed me and gave me hope. I asked the pastor whether or not he would be able to support me through the divorce. He was very vague in his answer, but he wanted me to continue as worship leader. In the next couple of weeks, I began the process of separating from Bob. I couldn’t afford to keep the apartment we were in, so I began packing up to move all Kory's and my things into a storage building. I planned to stay with friends until I could get on my feet and get us a place of our own. This was a very stressful time for me and I felt very alone. I was not only going through a third divorce, but also financial uncertainty. On Wednesday night at church, Pastor Wade told me the church board wanted to meet with me the following Friday morning. They wanted to discuss my reasons for getting divorced and determine if they would allow me to continue my position as the church worship leader. I was planning to move out of my apartment the next day, Saturday, at which time my son and I would basically be homeless. It wasn’t a great time for such a meeting, but I wanted to continue my job as worship leader if at all possibly, so I agreed. I felt uneasy about the church board meeting and I had typed up a letter summarizing my years with Bob and why I felt I could no longer stay in the marriage. I also mailed a copy of the letter to my parents because I couldn’t bear the shame of telling them in person that I was getting divorced again. The church board consisted of four men. I asked another woman, Debbie Oliver, who sang with me on the worship team to attend the meeting just so I wouldn’t be the only female in the room. Friday morning, I walked into the pastor’s office with my letter in my hand. The six men, wearing suits and ties, were all sitting in a half circle with fake Christian smiles on their faces. They greeted me and offered me a donut and a cup of coffee, to which I declined. I was in the process of packing up to move, so I arrived with no makeup on and dressed for a day of working at home. My friend and supposed support person, Debbie, had not yet arrived. My pastor began the meeting by asking me to chronicle my personal life with Bob and give my reasons for wanting out of the marriage. I sobbed as I told my story and answered his questions. As I cried and sat in that chair being judged by those six men, I felt emotionally naked and vulnerable. Just when I thought it was over, an African man named Brainwave stood up and began pointing his finger at me. His voice was loud and accusatory. He began asking me more questions while throwing in his personal opinions of people who are divorced, specifically women who divorce their husbands. He kept yelling “can you submit?” This continued on for a few minutes, then I was allowed to leave. My insides were completely torn up. After the meeting, one of the men came up to me and told me to please let him or his wife, Phyllis, know if they could help me in any way. I thanked him. I didn’t understand why he or anyone else in the room did nothing to help or support me. Debbie showed up late, but never said a word. Brainwave is from a totally different culture than American. As far as I know, women are abused in his culture. Why was he given so much power in that room? The next morning the pastor brought a group of teenage boys from the church to help us move. My son, Joel, drove up from Tyler, Texas to help as well. We moved all our belongings into the storage building, then came back to spend the night in a virtually empty apartment. I woke up in the early morning hours just physically and emotionally spent. Even though I had passed the test with the church board, I just had nothing left to give. I woke my preacher dad in the middle of the night to tell him about what was going on and to ask his advice. He said he felt the pastor was out of line with his interrogation meeting and it would be okay for me to take some time off from my church ministry to get through this difficult time. I immediately went to my computer and typed up a letter of resignation. I got to church Sunday morning and waited until Pastor Wade had left his office to slip my letter on his desk. I led the worship service as usual, only I cried through the whole thing. I’m sure the church people just thought I was deeply moved by the Holy Spirit. As soon as I finished my duties at the piano, I went to the car to wait for Kory and Joel, hoping the pastor would read my letter after I had gone. No such luck. As I sat waiting in my car, the pastor came up to my window and questioned me about my resignation. He asked me why I hadn’t resigned before he had helped me move. I told him I was hurt by Brainwave at the church board meeting. He said, “Why? He had every right to ask what he asked and you answered appropriately.” I asked him, “when will it be your turn to answer questions about your personal life?” He said, “that’s part of being a church leader.” I told him, “then I’m done with being a church leader.” The next day, I called my sister to come and help me load up my piano with her truck and take it to the storage building I had rented. Kory continued going to the church youth group for a while so I had to go back to the church to drop him off and pick him up. Also, the couple Kory and I moved in with continued going to Living Water Church. They told me the church never acknowledged that I had left or said anything about me. They just had someone else take my place. As I vomited up that old memory of abuse by church leaders, it brought up feelings of hurt and rage. It seems like a huge hurdle to think about forgiving those ignorant people so I can heal and move on from it. I'm hoping after I completely deal with the injustice of the whole thing, I will be able to thank them all. This is the event that finally broke the camels back. The hurt of staying was worse than the uncertainty of leaving. Even though I had no job and no home, the pain of staying was worse. The woman I am today, post-church, would never allow herself to be mistreated like the church woman I used to be. This woman is not vulnerable and refuses to be a part of any group or system that treats people like they are "less than" for any reason. I love the new freedom and life I have found since this horrendous event.
  6. 1 point
    Do you know how Christians are always saying we have no moral compass without belief in god? I was just thinking. Perhaps many of them stay in their religion because they are afraid they won’t know how to live without their imaginary friend, made up rules, and the whole charade. They have been told for so long how to live and what to say and do and even think that the idea of doing all of these things without any direction terrifies them. Honestly there’s a problem when the only thing keeping you from murdering someone or raping someone or molesting a child or abusing another person in any way is an ancient book which lays out contradictions left and right regarding these moral concepts. How would one even begin to gain their morality from an immoral book? Hell even if it’s simply laws set forth by a legal system that keep you from hurting or killing other people then there’s an issue. Would we we know what was right and wrong if we were not told so? I’m pretty certain we would. Ultimately we all come to this understanding differently anyhow. I don’t think any of us have the exact same morals either. You could participate in the same religion, worship the same god, and go to the same church but you could hold entirely different beliefs about what is right and wrong. Or you may hold the same belief about right and wrong on a certain subject but simply decide not to adhere to your belief sometimes. You know something isn’t right but you do it anyhow. We all have done that at some point in our lives. People don’t have to attend a church or have a belief in god to know what the fuck is going on. Societal norms, the people we are around, acceptable behavior, we all learn it. Beyond making informed decisions about our behavior based on our observations of the world around us it is important to understand that morality is rather subjective. If anything we should thank our wonderful beautiful abilitiy to REASON for any sort of morality we possess. I’m just going to say it, I’m pretty sure it’s an evolution thing. Think about it. When our brains grew larger so did our cognitive abilities and also through evolution we gained the ability to speak. Without speech, cognition, reason and ultimately the process of evolution - this whole list of rights and wrongs wouldn’t have came about. We would still be primitive beings. So I thank evolution for it. God doesn’t get credit for morals. I may have put this in the wrong section of the website, not sure. If it needs to be moved please do so.
  7. 1 point
    I just read about Arkansas defending public didplay of the 10 commandments. I don't think Christians understand that they were never meant as universal commandments for all of mankind. If they looked at the big picture with some critical thinking, they would understand the commandments were only for the Israelites, about how to treat each other as they wandered in the desert. (If they actually did) It was okay to kill heathens and steal from them. If they were universal rules for mankind, God would have violated his own rules a few years later by commanding his children, the Israelites, to slaughter the Canaanites and steal their land. They were also allowed to take Canaanite females and sell them. MY, WHAT A WONDERFUL GOD!!! It was a major jolt for me in my religious journey when the reality of this soaked into my brain.
  8. 1 point
    Oh Lord...I actually remember sometimes thinking this way. Batshit crazy.
  9. 1 point
    I did the first test, should do the second as well to see how they compare, but I came out as a 2w1. Not surprising to me at all, I tend to think of myself as relatively humble but I know sometimes I require a serving of humble pie lol. Edit: test 2 tells me I'm a 4w3. I see qualities from all those areas in myself to some degree but feel the first test is more comprehensive.
  10. 1 point
    Will do this tonight. If we get enough responses I might see if we can map the results... though its harder than the political one. @Joshpantera @disillusioned @ThereAndBackAgain You guys interested in doing this?
  11. 1 point
    When youre mashing the gas of a Ford 427 you do
  12. 1 point
    You have to be so proud of yourself for setting the boundaries you need with your parents. I can totally relate with you. I live in a different state from mine and see them maybe twice a year, which is perfect. If they ever moved near me, we would have to have some difficult conversations. They are in their 70's and my dad is in poor health. I've resigned to never having a real relationship with them, which does make me sad. I'm at a point of setting boundaries with them to take care of my mental health. For example, I planned a short visit Easter weekend because I have a couple of days off work. I will spend Sunday with my brother, who lives near them, because I'm not going to church. Baby steps for me.
  13. 1 point
    yeah Athens was petty much the first legit democracy from what I saw. Didn't Last very long though. And upon further review the American system started out kinda shitty. Only white land owning men could vote or hold office. Started out as more of an aristocracy. So our country started out being governed by rich white men................ 2019....... doesn't look like much has changed. Lol. JK it is a lot better than then. Still has a lot of flaws though. The 2 party system being the number one flaw IMO. DB
  14. 1 point
    Wheeee! I is a real man. Emotion correctly. mwc
  15. 1 point
    I'm from NZ and I say you definitely have a problem with illegal immigration. I'm sceptical of the numbers just for the fact most illegals won't admit to it in case it gets them removed. When border control say we can't tell how many people cross the border and can't be sure if there are 5m or 20m in the country, then to say they cost $X is hard to know the accuracy. That's not to say its not a huge problem, but its probably a calculation missing required data.
  16. 1 point
    Typical christian...taking a statement that is simple, straightforward and to-the-point and applying some twisted form of logic to it to form the wrong conclusion. BTW..."eternal, unerring word" was in quotes to show sarcasm. Maybe we need a sarcasm emoji...
  17. 1 point
    I fully support it and hope NZ can pass this third attempt. I believe it has been written to cover most of the issues such laws have had in the past (being forced on other people, being used for mental illness etc). One terrible example was from Scandinavia (can't remember exactly which country), but the wording on their law just said "incurable illness that affects quality of life", and a teenager suffering from depression was able to argue that depression is a mental illness that is incurable, and got his right to die. I believe the NZ bill covers that hole, but also with our system of people not suing each other over every slight, health professionals can feel confident to offer aid without worrying about litigation. I would have liked to see it expanded so that younger people could make use of it too. I understand the R18 limit, but it still feels wrong to say "this 18 year old can end his suffering, but this 17 year old, with the exact same symptoms, cannot". If it is a terminal illness which will leave you degenerating as you die, then age shouldn't be the deciding factor. I also like that the proposed law says the doctor may administer the drugs via any method (pills, injection or IV) but must stay to make sure it goes as planned, and if they change their mind the doctor is responsible for taking the drugs back. In some countries they gave the drugs then left, leaving the wrong people to take them.
  18. 1 point
    It's not really a matter of reinforcing these facts, it's more about examining the arguments for and against god(s), and understanding them yourself, as well as understanding how the bible came to be written, by whom, and how it's just a book that reflects the belief and cultures of its time, ie it isn't "god's word" and the ultimate book for how to lead your life. There are a LOT of discussions in this forum about the arguments for and against the existence of gods as well as discussions about the bible, a lot of them are likely in the Lion's Den where many of us have had discussions with Christians. Also @Citsonga has a very excellent and thorough letter examining much of the problematic issues with Christianity, you can find it here and I believe he has a direct link to the final version as well from his profile. Personally, I found the more I educated myself on all these issues, the faster all my remaining indoctrination/fears just disappeared. It's a matter of understanding how your mind and emotions have been manipulated, so you can consciously begin to undo that.
  19. 1 point
    I do not agree. The brainwashing/indoctrination and lies; lie after lie after lie. This is what changed my actions and behaviors for the worse. I would be much more open to taking more of the "responsibility" IF I had the right to file, at the very least, civil tort charges against the leaders of the organizations who engaged in deliberate fraudulent behavior in order to benefit and gain for themselves. Until then, I call "BULL" on putting the entire blame on me, or anyone else put under thought control and repression. Yes, yes, and Yessss
  20. 1 point
    Abortion should be legal for the first 18 years of a child's life.
  21. 1 point
    Hey, I'm so glad I found this post. Reading all of your announcements makes me feel better knowing I'm not the only one. I went/ still am going through an existential crisis which started 3 months ago. For a long time, I wanted to find purpose in life. The statement "it doesn't matter if we're all gonna die anyway" kept coming through my head. This leads me to depression which got exponentially worse. After around a month or so the voices kinda stopped and my thoughts were clearer, I could distract myself and somewhat focus. And then I started thinking about the afterlife. The thought of death I feared so much I pretty much forced myself into believing there is something after we have passed. I have not read the bible and for a few days, that is all I could think about, which I knew was not a good way to live. At this point, every day was dreadful, sadness and remorse for my "sins" have taken over. I felt so remorseful that some thoughts amongst the line of "well if I'm gonna go to hell anyway, maybe the devil may have something to offer", at the time I knew this was a bad thought but it didn't stop it from reoccurring and pretty much driving me insane. I started thinking about how my life was before this existential crisis hit me, started to work my way backwards and realised that the only reason people believe in god is so that there is some hope for after they die. Anxiety started to settle in at this point, I can relate to you with the panic attacks where they would come out of nowhere and literally leave me walking lifelessly around the house at 1 am. Just a few days ago I was at my worst, the voice was starting to get to me, I felt so empty at this point, not even sad, just empty, suicide seemed like an escape. My thoughts were getting mixed up and I couldn't separate my own true thoughts from the horrible ones. I managed to convince myself that God doesn't exist, and thus the devil can't exist either, that these thoughts are just thoughts painted in my head. All I wanted to say was thank you, had I not found this post who knows what I would be thinking about now, feel like I belong in a mental hospital. Just wanted to ask, how can I now reinforce the fact that neither god or the devil exists? Its really difficult seeing majority of the world is Christian and I too was raised in a Christian family.
  22. 1 point
    Hell yes we are better off. It's been two years for me as well, this February. And it's a long process but it's been worth it, once I got over the shitstorm with family after "coming out." I recently told someone there is no way you could drag me back to church. Well you could, but it would only be if I had a fair chance to stand in front of them all and get a fair hearing about what I think about all the brainwashing.
  23. 1 point
    I told my wife facebook should be called mebook.
  24. 1 point
    Damn. Thank you for sharing that story with us. It's completely out of line for them to interrogate you like that - church leader or not.
  25. 1 point
    This! This makes me so happy -- for you, and for any girl or woman who'll read this and need to hear this to be able to make it out of their very own versions of male dominated cults. We can all do this. We're not less, we're not to be dominated by anyone, and above all, there' s absolutely no need to "submit"! Thank you so much for telling part of your story, mrspearl. Also, your writing is beautiful and powerful. How did your journey out continue? How did you rebuild your life? I have a friend who got a divorce and left the church, too, and nearly nobody ever asked or talked about her anymore. We're still close 17 years later and she's strong like a rock. We're now laughing about the craziness and the ridiculousness of it all. And I sometimes feel sorry for all those who never left and stil think they know it all.
  26. 1 point
    "All that openeth the matrix is mine..." THE MATRIX! I've always wondered why Christians are intent on the 10 Commandments instead of Sermon on the Mount, or Sheep and the Goats. I guess those would remind them about being kind, giving their stuff to the poor, and focusing on love instead of religion.
  27. 1 point
    Best wishes for healing. I have found that this doesn’t come from churches or Christian therapists. It’s a hard road but you are worth it.
  28. 1 point
    Glad you got out. And welcome to the site.
  29. 1 point
    Nope it don't. Reality matter. Facts matter. Theology is the greatest mindfuck ever invented by man.
  30. 1 point
    fuck no! I see your true colors so why would I want that? Are you REALLY a christian?????
  31. 1 point
    ... keep going ... you REALLY are showing your true colors! Your forum would be SO proud of you!!!!
  32. 1 point
    Wow!! The true colors are really showing now are they not! Just what I expected from a true christian! Sad ... but true!
  33. 1 point
    It would seem from all appearances that I is good that I didn't waste time over at Christforums. Unlike some Christian sites where they have open (like its written in their site) arms to non believers, Christforums is very much a this is our doctrine XYZ, anyone outside this is going to hell and we won't tolerate any dissent. However @Christforums we do have dialogue unfinished in the Lion's Den. I note you didn't respond to my last post so perhaps you'd like to continue? You are now aware that there are a variety of members here who range from the quite accommodating, to the more aggressive so hopefully you are better prepared for the Den. You found out why it's called the lions Den, and for Christians I feel it's aptly named. In my time here I've only seen two Christians handle the flow and ebb of the Den with confidence and maturity - sadly one has passed on, the other decided to move on some time ago.
  34. 1 point
    Engaging Christians in an intellectual discussion about religion and faith is a pointless endeavor. Believers and non-believers live in a different universe, so there is no common ground. We look to science, history, logic, and reason for answers. Christians believe the. Bible is literally true and historically accurate. Therefore, they believe the Bible has the answer for all of life’s problems. That is why, primary fundamentalist, will quote scripture when they are questioned. We end up debating the Bible instead of the person. And if we attempt to present evidence to show the Bible is not literally true or historically accurate, we are accused of being agents of Satan. Therefore, unless a person enjoys frustration and being upset, there is no purpose engaging Christians.
  35. 1 point
    I do not agree. The brainwashing/indoctrination and lies; lie after lie after lie. This is what changed my actions and behaviors for the worse. I would be much more open to taking more of the "responsibility" IF I had the right to file, at the very least, civil tort charges against the leaders of the organizations who engaged in deliberate fraudulent behavior in order to benefit and gain for themselves. Until then, I call "BULL" on putting the entire blame on me, or anyone else put under thought control and repression.
  36. 1 point
    I have suffered from depression and it can be very hard to find your joy, but you have to remember it does get better and your life will improve. I struggled to find happiness, everything became a chore and you fail to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Well I can tell you it is certainly there. My personal breakthrough was martial arts. Finding an activity that challenges you, helps meet new people, gains fitness, sets achievable goals and most importantly keeps your mind busy. I realised I was only depressed when I sat and dwelled on it, but as soon as my mind was focused on activities then I just didn't stop to feel bad. I took classes to learn German, I wrote a book, I ran the half marathon, I wrote a business plan, I cross trained in several martial arts and once my life was full there was no room for depression. Once I had some self confidence I tried online dating and have now been married for 6 years with two cute kids. If I've had a bad day at work, coming home to a flying cuddle from the cuteness can't fail to put a smile on my face. Find your joy, try new things and put yourself out there. It will get better.
  37. 1 point
    Wow. That's not an easy one to answer. I guess I was a little bit different in that I don't feel I "ended love" with anyone. For me god just wasn't ever there, so it seemed there was no "relationship" to end. However, it wasn't by any means easy to leave. It was "hell," as a matter of fact. The whole basis for my life was gone. Even if my religious beliefs didn't amount to anything real, to end them left me with just nothing. Having nothing as the basis of your life rather sucks. A Christian friend asked me one day a while after I had left, "Are you any happier?" I don't remember how I responded, but if I was truthful I said, "No. I'm less happy." Before I had had direction and purpose in life, and now I had nothing. Not only that, but I was all alone in the world. When you belong to a church or Christian group of some sort you have a "ready-made" community. You don't have to worry about being all on your own for the weekend. You have friends, people to do things with, people to talk with, people to support you. When you leave it all you have to start all over and try to build something from scratch. It's not easy, and I can't say that I have done very well at it, but I know I can't go back to trying to believe in what is obviously a bunch of superstition. I don't believe in what makes me happy; I believe in what is true. The fear of hell is a strong emotion. Once it is engrained into you it is hard to get away from it. I wish I had a secret "pill" that would do the job, but I think most would agree with me that it can take years to get over that fear. No matter what our rational minds might tell us, once it is engrained into us it is difficult to get over it. I can only say to read and talk to people who take a rational approach, and over time you will get there. I would point out one or two things in regards to the concept of hell. If you read the Bible you find that, although the word "hell" is used in the Old Testament (at least, in the old King James version), nowhere does it say anything about a place of eternal torture in a lake of fire. There is no lake of fire until you get to the New Testament. If there is such a horrible place to be avoided wouldn't god have told all the people that lived back before Jesus' times? Why would he withhold that information from his "chosen people"? And, of course, there is the old argument that how can a loving god send someone to be tortured forever? It may be an old question, but still valid. Or perhaps more pointedly, how can god send me to suffer forever in a lake of fire for not believing in him when he refuses to even let me know that he exists? If I were god and had even the slightest bit of love in me I wouldn't hide up in heaven and expect some old book that was written under questionable circumstance and adopted under even more questionable circumstances to save people. I would want to make sure that they at least knew firsthand about me. I just cannot conceive (now that I have been away from religion for years) that a god could act that way. I mean, he just couldn't unless he was the very essence of evil and hatred. You wouldn't act that way, would you? Are you better than god (i.e. the concept of god that you have held)? So there are a couple of thoughts about this concept of hell that I hope will help alleviate your fears to some degree, but I'm sure it will still take a while before you can feel that you are rid of those fears. The idea of hell is ridiculous, but that doesn't necessarily alleviate all our fears. I have sometimes wished I could be "Spok" and not be pestered by unfounded emotions, but that is not reality. Hang in there though, and you will get there. Yes, you will feel hollow and empty for a while. I know I did. But don't feel "guilty" for "breaking up with" god. He "broke up with" you first, that is, he wasn't there. If he is going to just leave you high and dry then don't feel guilty. (I write this as if he existed, which, of course, he doesn't.) Don't blame yourself. Put the blame where it belongs, on those who convinced you to believe in a magical being, using the unfounded and ridiculous threat of eternal torture to get or hold you there. You can't blame god, because he doesn't exist, but you can blame religion. That is where the blame lies, not in you. Wish I had more to offer to be helpful, but I wish you the best of luck in your new journey.



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