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Showing content with the highest reputation on 02/10/2019 in all areas

  1. 3 points
    Modern "Christianity" is not Christianity at all, but a cult built around the rabid and egomaniacal teachings of Paul. As such, I refer to modern Christians as Paulians. Bring up any criticism of Paul to a Paulian (aka "Christian"), and they will become immediately grieved as you are attacking the very foundation of their dogma.
  2. 3 points
    It made me believe that the music I love was the”Devils” music. it made me believe God would show me his will and when I thought I was following it, I made some of the worst decisions I’ve ever made. Causing an abundance of heart ache. It it made me believe I had a brother “Jesus” and a father “god” that would never leave me or forsake me, who in the end seemed like they didn’t even like me or want me in their church. It turned my life upside down when I realized it was all a lie. However, falling from religion led me to this fine group of people here in ExC. DB
  3. 3 points
    And the only difference between a religion and a cult are the number of people that follow the belief. Otherwise they are the exact same thing. DB
  4. 2 points
    I am pretty new on the site and I have shared a little about my myself and my story. As part of my recovery, I have been journaling about my own experiences. This is kind of long, but here goes. I was born in 1960, in the small East Texas town of Overton, Texas, and into a culture of strict, God-fearing, Bible-believing Christianity. The most popular religion of the area was Southern Baptist and there was some version of that type of church on every corner. According to the church doctrine, I was born a sinner into a sinful world and without giving myself to a life of total service to God, I was doomed to burn in hell for eternity. There was always the conflicting doctrine of God is love, but yet if I didn’t follow his rules, he would send me to hell forever. At five years old, I made the walk down the aisle during special revival meetings at New London Baptist Church, shook the preacher's hand, and said the "sinner's prayer," then was baptized in the church baptistery soon afterward. I was to repeat this same ritual at least a couple more times during my childhood because I didn't feel "saved" and wondered if maybe I had been too young for it to fully take. The fear of going to hell was already a part of my young life. My elementary school years seemed pretty normal for families in the Bible belt region in the 60's. Dad worked and mom stayed home to take care of us kids. We had two sets of grandparents in the same small town of New London, Texas. My brother and sister and I played outside when we weren't in school and we all went to church together on Sunday. From the outside, it might look like a "Leave it to Beaver" family. Life took a dramatic change when I was about 11. My dad was invited to a special church meeting about the book of Revelation and the end times at an Assembly of God church, so the whole family went. At the end of the service, Dad went forward in response to the altar call and "gave his life to the Lord." We immediately began attending the Assembly of God church. The Assembly of God church services were different than we used to in the Baptist church. The music was boisterous and upbeat, whereas the Baptist church had been more reverent and structured. People clapped their hands, spoke in tongues, and prayed out loud all at the same time. As kids, we thought it was much more entertaining. The biggest doctrinal was difference was that we could lose our salvation if we sinned and neglected to ask forgiveness. The fear of hell was a daily part of life. When I was 12, my dad responded to God's call to preach the gospel. He sat me down along with my younger siblings and told us that since God had called him, He had called the entire family. He would need our cooperation to be successful as a preacher. He told us we could choose to be the happiest kids in town if we participated in this call, or we would be the most miserable kids in town if we chose to rebel against it. I don't think it was really a choice. As part of the talk, he gave us a list of all the things we could no longer do. There was a list of TV shows we could no longer watch, like The Love Boat. There was a special list for my sister and me. We weren't old enough yet for make-up, but that was on the list. We weren't allowed to wear shorts, even though we lived in a hot, humid climate. We couldn't go "mixed bathing", swimming where there were males present. We couldn't attend school social events, such as football games or school dances. No secular music, although the choices of acceptable church music were very limited. These things were "of the world" and we had to keep separate from them. Our basic role in the ministry was to be an example to other people of what good Christian children looked like. We had to be good rule followers and obedient to our parents. We had family prayer meetings every night where we all knelt around the living room furniture and prayed before going to bed. We had to stay there an acceptable length of time to prove our commitment. Another difference in doctrine between the Baptist church and the Assemblies of God was the teaching of the gift of the baptism in the Holy Spirit with the evidence of speaking in tongues. Immediately after joining the church, everyone in my family began seeking this experience, even my brother who was only 8. We went to the altar at the end of every church service to be prayed for to receive the Holy Spirit. We were taught speaking in tongues was our prayer language that only God understood. It was one more way of giving up our will to God’s will. I cried and prayed for months until it finally happened. I was then a part of God’s core group. As I approached my teenage years, being separate from "the world" was difficult. I loved rock and disco music of the 70's, but since it was considered sinful and taboo, I looked for secret opportunities to listen to it. Of course, when I listened to it, guilt and shame came along with it. I wasn't allowed to participate in school activities, such as football games, school dances, or school trips. My school friends had parties outside of school and they often went to the lake on weekends. I wasn't allowed to go to these either and I felt separate and left out. I loved music and as a young teenager, I couldn't wait to be in high school band. I played flute from 6th grade and excelled at it. I was allowed to be in band as long as there were no football games involved. When I was in 8th grade, the band was to play at the high school football game. I asked for permission to go and my dad gave me a huge guilt trip, but then let me make the decision. Of course, I chose to go in spite of the guilt. My first year of high school, my dad said I could be in band only if I didn't participate in football games. During the first few months of school, band is all about practicing and performing at football games. I was so disheartened, but I didn't think I could be a part of the band without being a part of marching band. I remember looking out the window of my home economics class and watching the band practice for parades, just aching to be a part of it. By my sophomore year, my dad decided to allow me to be in band as long as it didn't interfere with church. Schools in Texas didn't normally have functions on most peoples' church days, but our church sometimes had special services that required attendance every night of the week. I remember one such meeting and true to his word, Dad required me to miss the football game to attend a Friday night "revival" service. He bragged with pride from the pulpit about how his daughter “chose God over the world". I sat in church longing to be marching in my spot on the field, while feeling guilty because I didn’t want to put God first. I participated in band my remaining years of high school and loved it. My parents never attended one event to watch me. My junior and senior years of high school my dad pastored an Assembly of God church in the tiny East Texas town of Arp. I was allowed to be in band and go to football games as long as it didn't interfere with church meetings. Although I always felt different and separate, I did enjoy activities with my church youth group. I went to summer camp every summer, which was the highlight of my year. It was closed off from the rest of the world, so no sinners to worry about. I even got to go swimming in the pool because boys and girls went separately. It was kind of like the perfect world to me. I even discovered "Christian rock music". It wasn't the same as secular music, but it was a good alternative with no guilt attached. My childhood and teenage years were only about pleasing God, pleasing my parents, being a good Christian example to church people, and avoiding hell. Any personal desires or needs were considered sinful. In fact, just the idea of wanting anything for myself would seem completely foreign. I was brought up to believe my purpose in life was to be a wife and a mother, therefore, the only reason to go to college would be to find a good Christian husband, preferably a minister. Because I was never allowed to make choices, I was not equipped to make major life choices. They were all filtered through the lens of continuing to be accepted by the church. I got married three times, enduring some form of abuse towards me and my children with each marriage until I could no longer endure it, then living with the shame of divorce until I could jump into the next one. As crazy as it sounds, it was all I knew. At 43, in bad marriage number 3, I finally came to a breaking point. I had been living the definition of insane – doing the same thing repeatedly and expecting a different result. I felt so much shame, I wrote a letter to my parents to tell them I was getting divorced a third time because I couldn’t bear to tell them to their faces. I was a worship leader in my church and although I feared losing my job, I asked for support from my pastor and his wife as I pursued divorce. This resulted in me being called into a board meeting of six men and being interrogated while I sat in tears, spilling my guts. I felt emotionally raped by these church leaders. I was so hurt by this church I just couldn’t go back. I was jobless and homeless. Although this was a tremendously hurtful experience, it was the catalyst that got me out of this religious system of abuse. I am now free and living a happy life. I have a wonderful husband who loves me unconditionally. Through a couple of books I have recently read, I am fully understanding the trauma I have suffered. I am still in the process of complete healing, but finding more peace every day.
  5. 2 points
    Thank you, Dan. My youngest son was a young teenager when I left the church and he is now 29 with two small children, a 4 year old son and a 3 month old daughter. He and my daughter-in-law are not raising my grandchildren in religion and I’m very happy about that. I hate that it took so many years for me and such a hard road to finally get out of that system, but the contrast of finally being free of it is wonderful. I’m in a place of hunger for knowledge than has always been taboo. I’m just happy I’m not still living like that. In the middle of all the chaos, I did end up getting 2 degrees. I was a dental hygienist for 16 years and now I’m in my 9th year of being a teacher.
  6. 1 point
    This is probably one of the most amazing videos I've ever seen. Enjoy! https://vimeo.com/315487551?ref=em-v-share
  7. 1 point
    Dear Christian Could you survive for one day without your beliefs? How would you fair if you had to do your own thinking? Do you remember what it's like when you didn't believe? Have you gone so far with your beliefs you don't know anything else?
  8. 1 point
    I don’t believe Paul or Jesus were real people. The evidence leans towards both of them being fictional characters in a fictional story. Those that believed those stories were the ones that created an empire ( Christianity and the Christian Church) and then became powerful & wealthy.
  9. 1 point
    God and Jesus control a believers “public” life. Their private life is another issue.
  10. 1 point
    It's a pet peeve of mine the selfishness and hypocrisy of people who raise their kids this way - depriving them of ordinary everyday joys and relief - when they themselves never had to endure that level of asceticism as kids, because they conveniently got to choose the "true" faith as an adult after they "got it out of their system". Thank you for sharing your story, @mrspearl! It really spoke to me. I think you have tremendous courage and strength of character to stand up to that! I'm honored to be part of a community with people like you
  11. 1 point
    Welcome Mrs.Pearl! Typical assholes, the whole lot. Pastor not withstanding. At least you figured it out. It's one of those things that people have to figure out on their own. I've been watching a lot of Star Wars fan vids on youtube recently concerning episode 9, and fan theories. And they keep using the term, "canon." Such and such would make good sense for the next film because it's, "canon." And that's really it. That's a contemporary, real time example of how a complete fiction can become "canon," with what are considered "non-canon" little spin off's. The bible is Star Wars, the "canons," are the same. These assholes in church administrative counsels are nothing more than the equivalent of Stars Wars fans, where, they own or rent a facility, appoint leadership roles within the fan group, and use transcription of a fiction to dictate life to the fan club. All the arguments amount to the same thing as arguing about Stars Wars. What is a proper interpretation of a complete fiction. With some of the biggest assholes within the fan club at it's helm. Third world church members tend to be some of the most legalistic, I've found. As well as misogynistic. But seriously, "brainwave?" I can only imagine. At least you realized what BS the whole thing actually is and got out. Good on you.
  12. 1 point
    Such a clearly written piece mrspearl. I can’t help but wonder how your life would have unfolded if you had been raised with reasonsble explainations of who you are and why your here and reasonable explainations for what your world is and what affects the behaviors of yourself and other people and what might be reasonable goals to set in order to have a happy fulfilling life. In so many ways it seems incredible to believe that humanity has learned nothing in any of these areas over the last however many thousands of years that we would conclude that continually searching back over ancient texts to find specific detailed descriptions of exact behaviors to copy as perfectly as possible would be the wisest choice for all situations. Three failed marriages in a row seems like a reasonable outcome from such an approach. Good for you for breaking the cycle and putting yourself in the position as a parent to give you children a truly reasonable chance to become the best humans that they can be. If I had to pick an age when the teachings of Christianity were the most difficult for me I would guess 4 years old. I suspect I was a child much like the 5 year old you described who thought deeply about the things they were told. Like the Bible teaching that there were people who would think they were saved but would discover too late that they were not and that many would want salvation but few would achieve it. Some would rise to meet Christ in the rapture and some would be left behind. Like your 5 year old self I responded to the call a number of times but I don’t believe the feeling of knowing I was saved ever lasted more than a few days. Besides the cruelty of subjecting thoughtful children to these horrific fears I wonder what if all that energy and interest in life had not been wasted on made up scary stories. Surely we would have entered young adulthood much better prepared for what we would actually find. Thanks for this contribution and the others you have been making here.
  13. 1 point
    Religion made me believe that everyone outside my group would go to hell. Religion made me belive that being human was sinful. Religion made me believe that I knew better than everyone else. Religion made me believe that I had to judge everything by a book written by sheep herders. Religion made me believe that a invisible evil force was responsible for our condition.
  14. 1 point
    The Church of Christ is an example of Pauline worshippers. They believe every word Paul spoke, or wrote, came directly from God. The 12 Apostles never “got it”, so Jesus was forced to find someone else (Paul) to finish His work and mission. Paul wasn’t God incarnate but he was #3 in the chain of command, at least in the minds of those in the Church of Christ.
  15. 1 point
    I did not realize when I got involved in fundamentalist religion, that is was a cult and a drug to me. I was extremely dependent on it for many years and it almost destroyed my life completely in many, many ways. I am so glad you are free mrspearl. (hug)
  16. 1 point
    The Unitarian Universalists are a hell of lot better than the fundamentalists, fer sure!
  17. 1 point
    This is obviously fake news, @DeadTOm. Church leaders of all denominations are some of the most kind, generous, selfless, and morally upstanding persons on the planet!
  18. 1 point
    Christianity works one of two ways. There is no other. 1. reading the bible as a source of metaphorical wisdom... which means you are still responsible for what exactly you learn from it. 2. ignoring the fucking billions of contradictions in the bible so that you can successfully lie to yourself "I'm following it literally".
  19. 1 point
    I always thought it was contradictory to say "we don't follow the OT laws, Jesus started a new covenant" then worshipping the ten commandments. Either the OT laws should be followed in which case we should be killing witches and people working on weekends, or none of it is relevant in which case the ten commandments are irrelevant.
  20. 1 point
    Glad you found your way out MrsPearl. Church is one of the strongholds of male dominion/oppression throughout the world. So. Much. Abuse. And all done in the name of Jesus, which makes it worse for those that think he's real. And as you discovered, there are women who are complicit with that abuse. Some of them look for kudos from the dominant males, others just like to participate in abuse because it makes them feel powerful (like the men). The men think they are led by "the Spirit" to do stupid shit to people, and I saw nice women reduced to shaking tears by accusations of homosexuality and more (a big deal to fundies), accusations that were untrue. But the men never apologized, they just assumed they were right because of their position. Religion is a disgusting tribal relic, a mere cult that claims to represent "love". Some of us here hope to help inoculate the public by exposing the church mindset.
  21. 1 point
    I think this is not the WHOLE image of Jesus as depicted in the Gospel. He admonished the pharisees, he starts beating the people in the temple, he admonished his disciples, he ups the punishment for sin as mental and verbal sins are enough for one to be sent in Hell. Again he warns people quite often about the gnashing of teeth part. Also he said He should be first to be loved, beyond blood relatives and friends. And he not saying anything about homosexuality is like saying he did not say anything having sex with animals. This was also outlawed and punishable by death. This was so clear to everyone in the 1st century Jewish community where he was preaching that he did not need to say anything extra. Paul, however writes his epistle to the Romans, and well, Romans were known for their sometimes depraved sexual conduct, in the eyes of the Jews so they needed this observation. On a side note, it seems quite clear that sexuality in general, I mean biological sexuality was seen as something quite troublesome to the first Christians. I mean Jesus was celibate and a virgin, his mother was the same, all the apostles left their wives. In the Orthodox tradition, fun fact, it is considered the the groom in Cana, left his wife and became Simon the Zealot, one of the 12. It seems that virginity and celibacy were the ideal form of life for them. Even today, in Orthodox Christianiaty, monasticism is called the "angelic life". And really, it does require only mental gymnastics for someone to integrate LGBT and Christianity, it requires flat out denial of reality. Textual reality and historical reality. I am sorry, but those who think it can somehow match seem to live in self-imposed delusion.
  22. 1 point
    Well, in fairness to her and hubby, as the years advance, it all becomes more and more irrelevant anyway. These days a cup of tea and a Bourbon biscuit often seems to me to be the more pressing need. She's just preparing for the abstinence to come.
  23. 1 point
    I have nothing but pity for her. Her four introductory points revealed a lot about the state of her marriage and sex life ie sex can seem like a chore, and there are temptations outside of marriage etc...well yes, hell there's going to be when you live within these rules and call it "freedom in christ." Some of the most toxic discussions I ever witnessed in the church were about sexuality, and I remember seething even having to sit through those...subjects such as in which situation a wife would have to "yield" to her husband's desire (yeah this turns into a major thing when you're not allowed to use birth control and your fear is, yet another baby), and then of course sex outside of marriage and how we want to honor christ etc and the same old shit. And of course masturbation, which the church uses as a major method to instill guilt and shame in people. Couldn't bother listen to the last half of her video, but I feel pity for these kinds of people, trapped in archaic beliefs and ruining their whole lives.
  24. 0 points
    What is this Christian view that we must be broken first to appreciate how much God loves us? That belief seems so sick now, but before I really thought the pain I endured was Gods way of chastising me.
  25. 0 points
    Religion stole my loving wife and turned my step son into an abusive prick!