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Showing content with the highest reputation on 10/27/2019 in all areas

  1. 2 points
    I think of the Branch Dividians, Heaven's Gate Cult, and even New Age cults like JZ Knight's Ramtha School of Enlightenment when I read the above. I would say that it makes sense to have some type of sensible alternative worldview available on the table of choices, for people deconverting from traditional religions like christianity. Because there's no shortage of snake oil salesman poised in wait, seeking whom they may devour (sorry for that!). They've already been devoured by christianity or some other traditional religion. They've already bought the Brooklyn Bridge, to be frank. Now what? What's next? How gullible can they be and for how long? I've thought about this many times over the years. I've discussed the issue of alternatives with a few close friends here bouncing ideas around. Maybe we can try and see if we can come up with something reasonable here where the question is being asked. I imagine some basis for a replacement worldview for the modern era coming from a foundation of: "Fool me once, shame on you! Fool me twice, shame on me!" A worldview for people who have been fooled once or more already and consciously do not want that to happen again. But don't want to toss away worldviews altogether or in general, with nothing to replace the previous. And who would prefer some reasonable worldview. I think that hands down, this requires starting at the very beginning. Christians and all of these other traditional religions start off with apriori assumptions about "truth" and "reality," as if they start off knowing exactly what truth and reality are as the foundation of their worldviews. But if challenged, it looks impossible for any of these traditional apriori assumption-ist's to prove or demonstrate the truth or reality of their claims. That's a pretty big handicap starting out if you ask me. They don't stand a chance of overcoming solid questioning. So what's a reasonable alternative to base one's worldview on moving forward? I think it's in the simple, fundamental, admission of "not knowing." Don't pretend to know. Don't bluff as if you know that which you can not prove or demonstrate. If you do pretend or bluff, then you will be labeled a liar, cheat, fraud, etc., etc. And then it's circular loops of back peddling, denial, and all that we see coming from apologetic's. What we know is that ultimately we don't know when it comes to ultimate reality and similar issues. That may seem weak to say that you don't know. But it's far more powerful in terms of sticking to the truth than bluffing or pretending that you know things which you do not and can not possibly know, prove or demonstrate. That seems like a reasonable place to start rebuilding one's worldview in the wake of leaving traditional religions. Take a firm stand in your uncertainty, and therefore your open mind and attitude towards seeking and finding what truths may be out there. It may not be as religionist's claim. It may not be as you find atheist's claiming. It may be something as of yet absent from all discussion. The point is that you and everyone else don't actually know. Everyone is engaged in the search, all of them. Christian's, Hindu's, Buddhist's, secular philosophers and scientists alike. In order to counter this claim of uncertainty, requires that someone brings CERTAINTY to the table and proves and demonstrates it as such, which, is the very thing that they have all been failing to do for centuries. So a foundation of uncertainty seems like a very firm foundation to build up from, considering all of these concerns. An agnostic world view can be a core belief, though. Take into consideration what I've suggested so far. You can believe that in a world full of bluff's who have all failed at proving or demonstrating their truth claims, that ultimate reality and truth is illusive and that you as a human being, a manifestation of the universe, or any other which way you want to look at yourself, are actively seeking truth. Square one. Ground zero. New worldview under way. Why take off believing in things which haven't been proven or substantiated after having already done that once or more? The definition of insanity (social media meme) is to the tune of trying the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. I don't if that's the definition of insanity or not because I haven't fact checked the social meme, but I grant that it's a pretty unreasonable thing to. Maybe it's time to move on from being fooled over and over again with untenable claims. That's where theism's and atheism come into focus. You know that you don't know, but do you believe in gods even in the face of understanding that you don't whether they exist or not? I personally I don't believe it. I don't believe the unsubstantiated claims. But on the other hand, there are things that I do believe about this issue. For instance, I believe that most if not all theists are misguided. I believe that right now. It's something of core belief. It's not absolute, it's subject to change. But as of right now I believe that they're all wrong based on what I consider good reason. There are core belief's involved in my own personal lack of god belief. It's a mix of lack of theistic belief with affirmative beliefs surrounding that. If I'm proven wrong, great, at that time I will stand corrected and move on. Not sooner. These are the first two issues that I land firm on. A new worldview starts to stack up piece by piece again. One block at a time. I'm working on that foundation. It has two firm blocks so far. Firm enough to take into debate with any christian regardless of credentials and remain firm as they wash out when they're exposed as bluffs, blow hard's, and just plain intellectually dishonest concerning the big issues like "truth" and "ultimate reality." The main thing is that I'm trying to remain intellectually honest as I stack up a new worldview. I don't want to just fold like a sack of potatoes when challenged. Been there, done that. "Fool me twice, shame on me!" And to be honest, I don't think that it's a void. I think there's a rich realm of discovery awaiting your attention out there, and in there for that matter. That void perspective can be very unhelpful. Just because ultimate reality is uncertain doesn't mean that it's a void or devoid in any way. And the religionist's are going to push freethinkers into the corner in this way. They want to give false dichotomies of either what they're claiming, or a void. And they're wrong. They can be called out on their false dichotomies and demonstrated as wrong. It's not all either their way or nothing as two options. That sounds like narcissistic speak and doesn't have any more value than that in terms of being intellectually honest. There's more than two options. There can be meaning where no one is currently seeing it correctly. So I'd prefer not to fall into the trap of thinking that either there's supernatural meaning or no meaning at all. Neither would Roger Penrose for that matter! I agree with Penrose in terms of suspecting that there probably is meaning which has yet to be discovered. I'm looking at a seeking based worldview here. Not a worldview professing, at intellectually dishonest lengths, to have found the ultimate answers concerning meaning, purpose, etc., These are open ended questions, why not treat them as such? Why not stick to the truth as best as we can? No bullshit. No fooling or being fooled. Just building up a worldview from the ground up all over again. Hopefully what I've told you so far about my own attempts can be helpful. I hope you understand where I'm coming from about the void. For one thing, whatever we point at and call "void," usually isn't when we take a closer look. There's good reason to entertain that there's more going on than anyone currently understands. But once we put a name on it, and pretend that we know exactly what it is, we part ways with intellectual honesty. And can't possibly prove or substantiate the claim. So that addresses the importance of agnostic and even atheist views informing the rebuilding of a new worldview, if you are concerned with not being fooled twice. If being fooled twice or more is not a concern, than none of what I've said matters very much. You can make believe, bluff about truth, make untenable claims and follow others who do the same. It's not all just one way either. There are a lot of different views and philosophies on the table which taken altogether can contribute to firmer ground to stand on and build up from. They can be agnostic, atheistic or any other number of views which contribute to a firmer altogether world view. Everything just has to be checked for value. Tried and proven in debates. And demonstrated as firm. Any number of views may contribute. This in no way excludes speculation about what may or may not exist. It doesn't mean give up on trying to figure out what's really going on. It just means that you're honest with yourself and others when approaching completely speculative subjects like ghosts, UFO's, alien's, gods, spirits, fairies, big foot, or anything similar. If it's fun to do neo-paganism or magick, great! Just keep it grounded in the facts on the table. I don't like the idea of building a new worldview that poo poo's the possibility of having fun exploring speculative things. It's when people lose sight of the fact that they are engaged in speculative things when it takes a sharp turn away from truth and intellectual self honesty. And I don't see why someone couldn't take the first two building blocks and then refer back to them again and again as they continue building, to check themselves as they build up. Pull out the levels. Check for plumb. Check for square. Try not to build a leaning tower that will tip over. People seldom pay close attention in the way that I'm suggesting. They keep building up flimsy buildings that can fall right down. It happens all the time.
  2. 2 points
    No. Not that, Josh. It's just that EM radiation is the not the be all and end all of cosmology. As you can see from that graphic, we also have to look at acoustics, gravitational waves and neutrinos. So, lets deal with them in that order. Acoustics Because the very early universe was a dense plasma, the science of sound waves can be used to understand how it would have worked. We even have a decent analogue of that hot, dense plasma, just 93,000,000 miles away, that we can study in (almost) real time. The Sun. These links give an insight into whats involved. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Helioseismology https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Normal_mode Applying what we infer to be true for the Sun today, we can then infer what might have been true 13.7 billion years ago. The modes, overtones and harmonics of the density variations in the hot plasma seem to have been 'imprinted' with a pattern that shows up on the CMBR. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cosmic_microwave_background#/media/File:WMAP_2010.png But, where did this pattern originate from? Not from anything to do with General Relativity, that's for sure. Hawking and Penrose used only GR in their singularity theory, but GR only deals with the smooth curvature of space-time. It cannot describe the kind of pixelated pattern we see in the CMBR. But, quantum mechanics can. So, cosmologists infer that this pattern is the result of quantum fluctuations, coming from a time when the whole universe was much smaller than an atom. However, this is a conclusion based upon inference and not direct observation. Gravitational Waves These can display themselves in two ways. First, they can 'imprint' B - mode oscillations onto the CMBR. The Bicep2 team mistakenly thought they'd seen this signal, back in 2014. But they were fooled by interstellar dust, masquerading as this signal. So, the jury's still out on this one. We don't yet have a bona fide detection. If that does happen however, it will be taken as the 'smoking gun' of inflation. The other way to observe primordial gravitational waves would be with a space-based detector like LISA. https://www.elisascience.org/ I don't know for sure if they would count as a direct observation or if we'd have to use inference, Josh. Sorry, bout that. Either way, we're still waiting on that news. Neutrinos These little blighters can stream unimpeded through almost anything, so there's no problem with them zipping through the plasma of the early universe and getting through the CMBR wall, either. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cosmic_neutrino_background https://journals.aps.org/prl/abstract/10.1103/PhysRevLett.115.091301 As you can see from the second link, we now have strong evidence of an effect that neutrino's have on the CMBR. Ok, it's inferential and not a direct detection of the particles themselves, but it's being taken seriously. End run, as of 2019, we still don't have anything more than inference to go on about the Big Bang. So, quite how WLC began claiming that it was 'scientifically proven' and 'scientifically confirmed' in 2007, I really don't know. Thank you. Walter.
  3. 2 points
    This may be true of people whose religion is a peripheral part of their lives, but for others it is much more than that. There might be children who build their whole lives around Santa and are then devastated to learn that he does not exist. But I remember learning that there was no Santa, and learning that there was no god was much more earth-shattering. I had in a real sense built my whole life around a belief in god. Deconversion was something like learning that you were living in a simulator, and everything and everyone you knew was not real. And there continued to be fallout; realizing that there was no heaven after I died threw me for a loop. Something as simple as sitting in my house on the first sunday of my life that I had not gone to church; I felt like I was about to fall off a cliff. It’s a big deal for some people; a really big deal.
  4. 2 points
    I really do not think Santa is a core belief at all. It has nothing to do with their main identity, it does not change their main attachments, probably their parents, etc. It does not affect the whole view of reality. Racism is again not USUALLY a core belief in itself nor are aliens. They may be part of a larger set of beliefs. Or even flat earth. And there are very church type organisation even for racism like Ku Klux Klan and the flat earth society. These are secondary to tertiary beliefs. I would imagine a klansman refuting his prior beliefs would be vary shajen up. If children thought Santa was the creator of mankind maybe, but this figure was mildly important one night of the year. Childhood is filled to the edge with magical thinking. Santa is only a very small part of it.You cannot seriously compare the depth and complexity of mainline religions with belief in Santa Klaus. It is like a Christian stops believing that angels have wings or smth. And the reason most children move on is because they or their parents have another foundational set of beliefs. Religious or otherwise. And what really changes if you stop believing in Santa? If you behave well you will receive presents, especially if you ask beforehand. And not always. Well that remains verifiably true. If you behave to the norms of society you will receive rewards if not punishments ir at least no reward. Again comparing religions to Santa seems to be very shallow. In religions usually the principle attachments are to the deity and its spokesperson - shaman , priest, prophet , etc. That is the basis for your identity, personal and social , the source of your morality and understanding. You lose when you de convert or just convert. Does that seem anywhere near to realising Santa is a phantasy? Maybe if a child discovered his mother was only in his/ her imagination it might come close .
  5. 2 points
    Over the years I have seen a much more diverse cross-section of mankind than the one I knew growing up. I have to say that I do not believe in the inherent goodness of man, any more than I believe in total depravity. My theory is that there is a bell curve to almost everything. For example, there is a range of environmental conditions that we are adapted to, and a range of adaptations for different individuals. Some people live in the arctic, and some live in the sahara. And similarly, some people are more adapted to living in the sahara than others. When it comes to the goodness of man, there is a range of choices and world views that permit survival. Some people have a degree of altruism, others are just looking out for themselves whether the let on or not. And some are near the extremes; for every Ghandi there is a Hitler. So there are people on the “good” side, trying to do the right thing, but just as many on the “bad” side, trying to get away with as much as they dare. A whole lot of them are near the center and not far from being mindlessly amoral, but there is a fair number near each extreme.
  6. 2 points
    Hi Kdeaustin, thanks for coming back! My own take on evil (generally humans harming other humans on purpose) is sometimes based on religion, as seen throughout the Bible and then in the awful medieval times when the religious inquisitions were happening, and even today from various religions. Sometimes it is based on people disliking things that aren't like themselves. Skin color, political beliefs, the other side of a border, all of which are choices people make to hate. Being in a group that hates others lends a feeling of being special, kind of like in grade school when kids would say "YOU can't be in our special club. Nyah nyah!" And some people really do enjoy hurting others. I was bullied in school, and was an easy target. I used to wonder why they did this since I hadn't done anything to them. Then I figured out that it was a game they couldn't lose, and that was very important to them (also seen in their devotion to sports and having the "best" team). Nature is full of animals that eat other animals, often while those animals are still alive. Killing is sometimes done to keep the prey from escaping, but not always. In those cases, it isn't about hatred, just about eating. When I was in church, believers had all kinds of stories about what witches were doing, and would do long seminars about the devil and such. Having left the church and actually talking with several witches and other pagans, they have no such "devil" in their beliefs, and are far more interested in the cycles of nature than in cursing anyone. In other words, the Christians were making it up because it seemed to validate their beliefs. And the "spooky" factor makes it all seem so powerful, and that sells really well, and makes those doing to talking seem important and powerful. I used to go with a group of men around 4am to walk around our city and anoint things with olive oil and pray to bind demons and loose the power of God. Now I see that as a complete waste of time, since there are no demons and no god. The bible is myth and non-historical stories, so none of the ooga-booga in it is any more real than the promises and blessings that fall flat when you need them to work. Other cults like 7th Day Adventists keep doing seminars where they are certain that the government will force people to worship God on Sunday (which they consider the mark of the beast). It's all ridiculous. There are no giants in Antarctica, or we'd see it being broadcast by scientists and anthropologists. There is no threat of marshal law currently, just an impeachment of the most bizarre president we've had. No guillotines, just hacked voting machines. Yes, the Big Bang is at least supported by investigative science which is always refining and improving on our knowledge base. Substituting a god might feel good, but since all the evidence for a god has fallen flat (constantly broken promises, actual history that contradicts the myths of the Bible, no record of Jesus at all outside of his cult's writings, etc) there is no reason to ascribe reality to such a being (be it the Bible god, or any of the Norse, Hindu, Egyptian, Mayan, or other gods). The Bible god just happens to be popular in our culture. Not so much in other countries. So, I hope you can find help with your anxiety. There are some supplements that help, some legal, some not. I fight it myself, and need to get regular good sleep, and still have to use supplements that modify my emotions, because reasoning doesn't seem to touch it. It is often a chemical tweak that the brain needs just to feel normal.
  7. 1 point
    I just wanted to say hi and tell you that since the last time that I was here (not sure how many months) I haven't had a single manic episode and I have been living a normal life. I have the correct medicine and I have a secular psychiatrist. I have very little interest in religion. I just wanted to say hi and let you know all is well.
  8. 1 point
    I have discovered that one of the main things in de converting, from anything, actually, is not the DE-converting part, but the RE-converting as I put it now. What do I mean? Well, giving up core beliefs cannot just leave a void. You have to put something in place. I suspect most of the people do not leave many groups they doubt is because they do not have a replacement. I mean you ca give up tertiary beliefs without much effort probably, like you thought dinosaurs did not exist, and you think they do, or any other thing. Secondary stuff, is already pretty hard, like the image of yourself, of being a good athelte, or the opinion of very close others, the close attachment to a spouse, etc. But first principles, core beliefs, as in the order of universe, there are some beings, the overall meaning, many of which run subcounsciously is almost impossible, actually I might say impossible without a replacement. I read about Marlene Winnel saying that replacing worldviews is the first thing to do when deconverting. Atheism is not a core belief, because it does not affirm anything. But without that foundation, like various creeds of the church, you have nothing hard to stand on. And if they are not explicit, they are not stable. The sensation is getting right back drawn to it, to the original belief system because you have nothing else, it is either that or the void. Probably many addictions feel like this. And ok , there is the withdrawl period, but no one can survive without regular amounts of dose brain chemicals, like dopamine, serotonine, and others in you. You quit heroin, ok, but then good nutrition, a hobby, a satisfying job, some friends, etc, has to take its place, otherwise I mean I will that ok, you can barf poisoned and bad food, and then you rest, but you still gotta eat. Otherwise, you re goona end up eating the same poisoned food out of sheer desperation. So this is my place. Opinions? Same feelings? Advice? I mean this religion and any totalistic philosophy which forms core beliefs, I mean it could be psychoanalysis, or communism, or hinduism, not necessarily ancient religions, is your core identity. Tha being destroyed, one does need a new identity, no? I feel I am just living in the void, to afraid to stay in, to afraid to go out.
  9. 1 point
    There isn't really anything to replace it with, I think. It is a problem, but one without a well-defined solution. I guess you just have to live with it and hope that the need itself disappears or at least weakens, as your brain adapts to the new perception of reality. Just raise your own kids without that clutch, so they're adapted to manage without it from the get-go. After 15 years, I find myself still believing on some level and to some extent. I don't subscribe to religion anymore, but I just need the illusion of meaning for comfort, sometimes.
  10. 1 point
    I have indeed been accused of that. As to wanting to sin, it depends on the sin . . . .
  11. 1 point
    So do you have a sort of introduction to physics book idea for a total novice? Physics sounds like a good start fir a foundational reality inquiry.
  12. 1 point
    After a pretty extensive study, including the Gnostic Gospels, I decided he MAY have existed, but if he did, was fabricated into something he wasn't. Like Jupiter said, it really is interesting how so much of the Jesus story, and Christian religion, took on characteristics of much older deities and religions.
  13. 1 point
    Now actually there are scholars like Bart Ehrman arguung that a Jewish preacher named Jesus likely existed. He has a book about that. Have not read but would like too. And similarity does not necessarily mean influence. But if stories are human inventions , the human psyche has some core needs which it continously expresses. Like the need for protection, expiation from guilt, stability, reciprocity, etc. That could also explain certain similarities but Idk for sure.
  14. 1 point
    Frankly, I see no reason to even start discussing this topic. It's settled, and science is right. The proposed mechanism of global warming has been known for more than a century, it's plausible, the actual observations jibe with it, and (my personal litmus test) time and again I see that foundational criticism of AGW (as opposed to discussing details, which is fair) is based on willful ignorance. And just like with (for example) babblical cretinism, when two sides are at each others' throats and side A knows where side B is coming from but not vice versa, it's a damn safe bet that side A is right. In the climate disaster case side A is the scientists. Case closed, as far as I'm concerned. Unless I see some actually reasonable criticism of the topic as a whole.
  15. 1 point
    I agree with Myrkhoos here. It's a false equivalence to compare belief in Santa to a Christian worldview. One concerns a proposition about a small matter occurring on our world that has little bearing on our daily lives, the other is a fundamental proposition about reality. You can do away with Christianity and still believe in Santa. In face a lot of new age beliefs are springing up because people threw Christianity out of the window, didn't replace it with a worldview based on reality, and proceeded to adopt more B/S. Therefore I think it is important that people replace the Christian worldview with something. What are your fundamental core assumptions? Everybody has them, and if its not 'goddidit' then what?
  16. 1 point
    The short answer is YES. I am so sorry for everything you are going through! Truly welcome! I hope you find comfort and more answers here! I understand being angry. My reasons or I guess, personal situation is different from yours, but I do understand the anxiety. Have you looked into the concept of Scrupulosity or Religious OCD? I'm not suggesting you have OCD - I am definitely not a medical professional. From someone who has OCD, I think you might find the information useful, though, in regards to the source of your anxiety. I also grew up in a very conservative, fundamentalist family. Most of my life I went to Christian schools, too. My miseducation and also the influences of my family kept me from being able to properly deal with my anxiety and obsessive thoughts and compulsions. Ritual is such a part of these cults! Obsessive prayer is also encouraged even when it could be seen as a bad thing, damaging especially a developing minds psyche. The biggest kicker for me happened after I had graduated from college. I majored in History. Ok, so, I decided, if Jesus was a real person, I could do a legitimate research paper on him. Right? Wrong. There are no legit, citable sources that give us any information about a real person, Jesus Christ. If anything, there is more evidence showing how the religion was cobbled together from existing spirituality cults of the time. They just rewrote and combined old stories. It's really incredible! I never thought I'd discover he never really existed. I mean. At this point, I didn't even believe in hell, but to think that all of it is bunk!!!! None of them were real!!!! I was super super angry. Still am. Working on it. But I have made major breakthroughs with my anxiety and OCD. It's pretty remarkable. It's like my brain was fighting itself. I mean, to be in a state of constant cognitive dissonance was incredibly painful! I'm still struggling, don't get me wrong. But now, I no longer worry that I could actually be possessed by a demon. I no longer care about things I did in the past that other people viewed as sinful. (and I have stories that would curl your hair, lol) Because their opinions are absolutely not based on 'God's word.' That is misguided man's word. Christians have twisted most of the good out of it, too, if you ask me. About the only person I see acting truly Christian these days is the friggin Pope. (and he believes in climate change) (also, no I was never Catholic) At any rate, I truly get how your mind can twist in on you. However, the more you view their ways as arbitrary and pointless, the better off you will become. I wish you the best of luck. Stay strong! You are on the right path! You're on your path.
  17. 1 point
  18. 1 point
    Anyway thanks for chiming in everyone. Well , about goodness, I would like a more concrete definition. Good/ bad , right/ wrong vary from perspective to perspective. Beauty is a subjective thing and I would not say that every part of the human body is beautiful, everytime. And sex as well not good and wonderful every time. Anyway my later form of belief was and is to some people pretty body positive. The stoic stuff might prove useful. Or epicurus. Should delve more into the basis for logic and rationality.
  19. 1 point
    As I said, Santa was not a core belief By far. And it did not need replacing. So no real problem there. Like you believed Pluto was a planet. Then it was called a dwarf. No earth shattering event at all. Dissapointing yes. I mean there is no Church of Santa or Chirch of Pluto.
  20. 1 point
    When people ask me what I believe, I answer that I believe in the inherent goodness of man. I believe that almost all people try to do the right thing (and many of them only because it is the right thing to do, and not because they are afraid of some diety). I also believe in the opposite of some of Christianity's basis: I believe that the human body is good and beautiful, that sex is good and wonderful, and that death is normal and final. As MOHO wrote, I believe in science, reason and logic. I accept fact and I am not concerned about finding answers to everything; I am willing to accept that there are things we just do not understand. I do not believe in spirits or gods of any sort.
  21. 1 point
    I was hooked on stoicism after I read Seneca’s letters to Lucilius. Then Epictetus. It is such a “together” philosophy; I wish I could do what they teach. But the basis for it is theism; everything that happens is god's will, whether you understand it or not, that is why you should put up with it. That’s not my belief system; bad things sometimes happen to good people for no reason at all, and it sucks. Of note, Seneca quotes the Epicureans a lot. Take pleasure in that oatmeal and water and you will live a happy life. Fancy pleasures are not better, just different. What I really, honestly am is a nihilist. I study different world views and philosophies, from Taoism, Buddhism, and gnostic Christianity, to Jungian synchronicity and divination, partly on the 0.000001% chance that one of them turns out to be “true,” but mostly because I just think it is cool to see what people come up with. It’s something to do; like playing solitaire in a prison cell.
  22. 1 point
    I'm probably more Epicurean, simple life, simple pleasures, no deities on thrones, though I'd love to be wealthy to avoid having to go to a mundane job every day. I've been around the rich, and I mostly don't care for the vibe and ego I've found. Not all are that way, but just tasted some last night and didn't like it. I try to make kindness my default, and try to notice when I'm not being kind. Not doormat-ish, just respectful and goodhearted. This is when I can borrow some of the saying of Jesus about "if you have two coats, share with him who has none", and the "sheep and goats" where he emphasized simple acts of kindness as the most important things to him, period. I also dabble in the archetypes, occasionally appealing for help with emotional/mental issues that come from deep within. Some of the "dark" ones like Palden Lhamo and Kali are ones I talk to.
  23. 1 point
    That’s my First Commandment too! The Second is like it: Be kind, because you never know what people are dealing with in their lives.
  24. 1 point
    I guess what happened with me is that as I deconverted and lost my Christian worldview it got replaced by others. I guess I don't have "a" worldview, but a series of views that provide foundation if you like. I guess my first one is that of methodological naturalism: 'Naturalism presumes that nature is in principle completely knowable. There is in nature a regularity, unity, and wholeness that implies objective laws, without which the pursuit of scientific knowledge would be absurd." So I hold as a basic belief that the universe we observe is real (I.e. we are not brains in a vat) and unless demonstrated otherwise the supernatural does not exist. Then I tack onto that some form of humanism - that is we should care about our fellow humans which leads me to my only commandment "Thou shalt not be a dick" . However, these are not set in concrete and worldviews and opinions alter and change as new information becomes available.
  25. 1 point
    Leaving religion behind can leave you feeling like you lack a replacement platform on which to base your life, for sure. Something to provide a compass, you could say. Becoming an atheist means no longer having not just the god but also a lot of doctrine and a source of guidance for how to live your life. For me, the ancient Greek/Roman philosophy of Stoicism has helped fill that gap. Stoicism was around for hundreds of years before Christianity and will likely be around long after it becomes a dead religion. Because it's simple, and it works. For those who need the comfort of a loving father-god figure or the prospect of eternal life, it doesn't provide those things, I admit, but for those of us who can do without those things, it does provide a good guide for living. As Christianity and other religions decline, Stoicism has seen a big resurgence in interest in recent years. I should point out that the word "stoic" has come to mean a pretty grim, fatalistic outlook on life, but that's not what the philosophy of Stoicism really is. I'd recommend a few books if you're interested in looking into it: A Guide to the Good Life: The Ancient Art of Stoic Joy - William B. Irvine Any of the books by Ryan Holiday The Daily Stoic: 366 Meditations on Wisdom, Perseverance and the Art of Living I hope this helps. It helped me!
  26. 1 point
    For me science, reason, logic just pushed religion out. Does that constitute replacement? Also the fundy spouse and fams are still there. I did not, and have no intention of, going out and replacing them. They're OK as fundies go.
  27. 1 point
    Hi @Kdeaustin, Thank you for sharing your story Like many other people who've replied, I too can relate to your confusion, fear, and anger as you begin transitioning out of Christianity. It's very disorienting and anxiety inducing to begin challenging long-held beliefs about reality as you've known it to be, especially when people that you love (and who love you) still ascribe to those beliefs and tell you that you're just being tested by God or tempted by the devil (neither of which are true, at all). De-converting and healing isn't a linear process, especially if you're someone who's prone to anxiety. It's very much two steps forward and one step back, but it's entirely feasible, and you can trust yourself that you're making thoughtful, healthy, and rational decisions for you (and consequentially for your baby). Personally I've found therapy (with a secular therapist) and journaling to be very helpful in coping with the tumultuous and conflicting thoughts and emotions, as well as with various transitions and traumas that I have gone through both related and non-related to Christianity. There's also a video that I found comforting and encouraging when I first began doubting reality as I knew it. It's the true story a woman begrudgingly letting go of her faith and learning to see the world through an atheistic (or agnotistic - I can't recall exactly) lens. A lens that to her surprise turned out to be filled with meaning, creativity, hope, and love. I couldn't watch it the first time I was introduced to it, because I wasn't ready to admit to myself that I was loosing my faith. It was probably a year after I'd started questioning things that I came across it again and felt ready to watch it. If you get a chance to, I hope it also gives you some comfort and encouragement. Sending you a big virtual hug https://youtu.be/C74-f4ZV-ss
  28. 1 point
    If you haven't already done so, I highly recommend contacting a mental health center and asking to see a doctor or therapist that specializes in working with cult victims. I do NOT recommend a "Christian" counseling center. For you and your baby, you need help in dealing with your anxiety. And reducing anxiety will help you think more clearly. And talking with a real person who cares can sometimes be more helpful than reading about stuff. Your mother in all likelyhood means well, but keep in mind that she has also been brain washed and is not thinking clearly. Also, her health condition may be effecting her mental abilities. I am 78 years old and have heard the "world is coming to an end", or some other calamity, so many times I have lost count. Those people create fear and anxiety, in themselves and anyone who will listen. Look for the good, and you will find it. Spend time with positive people who can see the good in life. You tend to find what you are looking for, and you are looking in the right direction.. HANG IN THERE!
  29. 1 point
    Given time, I suspect you will find satisfactory answers to your questions. Be patient. Work hard. Perhaps you could start with where there is no good and/or evil in the world. Does it exist on Mars? Deep in the ocean among the variety of species living there? Inside of a mountain? Good and evil are generally attributed to the behaviors and actions of moral agents, such as homo sapiens and some other sentient species. Quantitatively, nearly all human behavior is neither good or evil, but simply neutral. For example, which foot I use to step out of my front door in the morning (left of right) is neutral behavior. Whether I choose to have broccoli or cauliflower with my dinner is neutral behavior. All that being said, good and/or evil behavior and actions do occur. For the most part, they "come from" humans. The empirical evidence convincingly suggests we (i.e., you, me and other extant humans) come from our ancestors via reproductive processes inherent in carbon based life on Earth. I don't know. The BBT (and/or similar cosmological scientific theories) are certainly plausible, as are other well founded scientific theories. Plausibility does not equate with certainty but simply generates probability. The existence of God is generally based on religious faith, usually instilled through childhood religious indoctrination by trusted adults. Based on your posts so far, I conclude you are infected with religious indoctrination. You assume you uncle's cancer remission was due to magic. Consider it was due to his immune system's action and/or human medical intervention. Is that plausible? Your mother is a nutcase. Learn to ignore her nonsense. That will take time. I suggest you spend time studying other topics. Revelations is mythology, politics and nonsense all rolled into one. Save this question for later.
  30. 1 point
    Thank you all so much for commenting back to me. I apologize for taking so long to respond. It’s been kind of a rough week for me. I did get to finally go to the doctor and saw my baby, so that was a plus. But it’s been kind of disappointing to not be able to really be happy throughout this pregnancy. The indoctrination of Hell is just so present and so scary. Just the thought of some force getting to rule our life with no authority of our own is just so scary to me. And the notion that we can’t really control what happens to us is just scary. I keep watching videos and trying to learn but it’s so hard to unlearn the things I’ve believed to be true. I’ve learned in life that with anxiety, most of the times when I’ve been scared of something it never happens. So I’m trying to cling to anxiety that way but it’s so real. I don't have the capacity to reply to everyone right now individually but trust me, I read everyone’s response and took it to heart and truly appreciated it!!!! Margee, I loved your testimony and shared it with my mom to explain how I was kinda feeling. She sympathizes with me. Really well. She is so compassionate. But she insinuates that it’s just a test from God & then tells me about how the end times are coming true. I know people have been saying that for years but she sends me specific things that are happening out of the Bible. Which is scary. Weezer, I tried to read your testimony but it wouldn’t come up. I have ave a good friend who isn’t a Christian and I keep sending her stuff and she keeps saying “see it doesn’t make sense.” So she has been a big support for me. but I still have big questions that I just don’t know if I will ever have the answer to. There is good and evil in the world, so where does this come from? Where did we all come from? Is the Big Bang theory really any more plausible than the existence of God? Why does there seem to be crazy things that do happen like people mysteriously not having cancer anymore (this happened to my uncle) he didn’t get “saved” until many years later on his death bed. But I mean there are some pretty crazy things that happen just in general like sighting of “aliens” and “miracles.” And just the very real presence of evil. As far as rape & murder & torture. So it’s just like where can these things come from? and then my mom has been sending me all this stuff about how the Nephilim are really in Antarctica and the US government is going to enact Marshall law and how they bought a bunch of guillotines and how revelation is coming true right before our eyes? I really want some material that explains everything in revelation to that time. Does anyone know anything? Sorry thats a lot. Just everything I’ve been thinking.
  31. 1 point
    I'm not sure how many of you still have Christian friends on Facebook/etc., but something really interesting happened yesterday. The news was all abuzz about Ellen Degeneres sitting next to George Bush at a baseball game - specifically, the very gracious way that she defended her friendship with someone very ideologically different than herself. She spoke about showing kindness to ALL PEOPLE, regardless of faith, gender, politics, orientation, etc. The interesting thing was that several of my conservative, evangelical, anti-gay, Christian facebook friends independently posted support for Ellen's comments. They took them on as a challenge - saying, basically, "Ellen is right! This is what love and friendship and kindness need to look like. And we Christians need to be like this!" I thought it was so cool because here is someone who Christianity would say cannot be a truly moral person because she does not believe in Biblical Christianity, YET she schooled the world on what true love and kindness looks like. Go Ellen!
  32. 1 point
    Hi Kdeaustin. Change is always scary and the bigger the change the more scary. Nevertheless congratulations on trusting your own (god given?) reasoning abilities and gut feelings regarding right and wrong over the powerful influences exerted on you by you christian pier group to control your thoughts. As you gradually come to trust your own reasoning more and more your life view will become much more firm and reliable than one supplied to you by the group think church goers and the confusing contradictory "guidance" found in their bible. That new foundation will be one you can build on with thoughts than can be trusted and examined as closely as you choose and the fear (unfounded fear} will then start to fade. You might take some comfort from the fact that 2/3s of our present population on earth does not believe in the bible or christianity. If the christian god is so concerned for each and every human how can he do such an extremely poor job of reaching them and then the powerful holy spirit unleashed on humanity some 2,000+ years ago but Islam (which believes it is blasphemy to call the human Jesus a god) is the fastest growing religion set to catch the christian plurality by 2050. You are clearly having a dangerously difficult time with this transition so keep up with secular professional help until you find a safe place in your thoughts and emotions. I hope you will engage with us on the things that are being said here. The more we know about your concerns and what kinds of ideas you find helpful the more we'll be able to help you. We look forward to hearing from you when you have time. Thank you for sharing your story,
  33. 1 point
    Welcome! I relate to so much of your story. In particular, all the anger with god. I hope it helps you to know that many others have been where you are before. You asked for advice and resources so I will tell you what helped me. One of the best resources you will find is Marlene Winell's book called Leaving the Fold, which is written as a resource for those leaaving fundamentalism and belief. It helped me immensely in understanding the extent of my own brainwashing and thought control and the dysfunction and manipulation of the community I grew up in. Marleen is a therapist who assists those suffering from Religious Teauma Syndrome, and she offers individual and group therapy. You can find more information and resources at https://journeyfree.org/rts/ It also helped me a lot to read about the experiences of others. There are a lot of extimonies on this site that are helpful that way. Another book that was beneficial to me was that written by ex pastor Dan Barker. And I read a lot of work by Bart Ehrman as you are doing as well as that of Elaine Pagels. Another important thing is to research the idea of hell and how it came to be. The fear of hell disappears when you realize it's just an invention invented by the church to control people's minds and gain money and power for the early church. The concept of hell isn't even included in the old testament. I know there are others on this site that are aware of specific resources in that area. I would like to invite you to join our chat room on discord if you are ready. Most importantly, I would recommend a secular therapist that you can work with in dealing with the trauma. It takes time, it's a long process, one with a lot of grief and anger as relationships with close ones change or even come to an end for some of us. The important thing is that you are able to live your recovery in a space where you can set boundaries from emotional abuse and manipulation (it sounds like you are getting that from your family, gaslighting etc). I wish you all the best in your recovery and welcome to Ex-c
  34. 1 point
    Hello and welcome! Yes, I heard all of those things growing up. They are very common claims which are probably common to most, if not all christian churches and groups. I've watched people pretend to be possessed for attention. Group psychology and opportunities for attention know no bounds.
  35. 1 point
    Kd: If things get to a point where you feel pushed over the edge, I have verified that this hotline is secular, in case you need to speak to someone. National Suicide Prevention Hotline: 800-273-8255. It's not just for suicide, though. Anyone under stress is welcome to call. It was founded by the federal government, works with the VA, and gets evaluated by a foundation at Columbia University, so I feel comfortable suggesting it.
  36. 1 point
    Welcome to Ex-C, @Kdeaustin, Glad you found us. In your extimoney you mentioned the abuse by your biological father. That should give you some insight into the tools that many religions use - especially Christianity. They make you believe that your are a POS not worthy of the attention of some unseen, unheard, universe creator. Then they hand you the solution - Christianity (or the like). Your are SAVED (from WHAT you might ask). "Don't you feel all clean and relaxed and loved?" "Now go out there and SPREAD those feelings. Oh! And don't forget to leave your wallet behind on your way out." Religions were invented, and continue to be utilized, to control people. Some despots have such a lust for money and power that they are willing to exploit individuals such as yourself even at the expense of destroying lives. Yes, there are those churches and church leaders who honestly want to ease your worries and make you feel loved. But those leaders, in my opinion, are not really teaching the actual content of the Bible. They are using some bastardization of the collection of literary works that comprise the Bible. They are accentuating the feel good stuff and downplaying or ignoring what horrible and conflicting topics that you and I have found in the book. Reading Bart Ehrman, Richard Dawkins, Richard Carrier, Marlene Winell et el will put you on the fast track to sorting things out. They will help to un-indoctrinate you. Now, with that said, I feel a duty to make it clear that we are a group motivated to assist those leaving the fold to understand the journey and provide a little emotional support along the way. We are NOT psychiatrists and give no indication that we are professionals of any sort. I'm sure you are in the care of a medical professional and you are encouraged to continue in that capacity. Welcome again and I hope to "hear" more from you. Please do keep us posted on how you are doing. - MOHO (Mind Of His Own)
  37. 1 point
    Hang in there, Kdeaustin. You'll feel better once you learn how absurd those religious teachings are. Here's a brief introduction to the history of the hell doctrine:
  38. 1 point
    Ok, you seem like you need fast some things about psychology of cults and mind control. Read please or listen to books by cult specialists and documentaries about them. Steve Hassan is a prime example, Combatting Cult Mind Control. He was in a Christian Cult. Not complete but it will teach you a lot about phobia indoctrination and other things. I think it should be first in your list as it could really help with your anxiety. Sorry you feel this way, I keep this post short so you easily follow it. Good things by others have been said already.
  39. 1 point
    Hi Kdeaustin: Welcome to the site. Be sure to read Margee's comments twice. She is one of the wisest persons on this site. We are here for you. All your troubles and pain are very, very fresh, and we hope you'll continue to confide in us. Also, we can't talk (literally, talk) here in real time, so in case you have any backslide or feel too overwhelmed, you know there are help lines you can call. I'm hesitant right now to post a phone number until I confirm that any organization I post is secular, but there are places you can go if you need them. Just be sure to ask if they are secular before you start with them.
  40. 1 point
    Hi kdeaustin, Thank you so much for sharing your story with us and... welcome! I can definitely relate to so much of what you wrote. I believed with all my heart for a solid 14 years and then, like you, I experienced some life circumstances that caused me to stop giving Christianity the benefit of the doubt. Once I started looking at the Bible with fresh eyes everything began to unravel quickly. Those Old Testament stories deeply bothered me as well. I remember reading numbers 31 where the Israelite soldiers were told to kill everyone except for the young women to keep for themselves ( obviously to rape), and I remember just trembling with my heart pounding. I just knew the Bible couldn't be true anymore and I was so angry about it and so upset and so confused and so scared. It's been about 6 years now and I can honestly say I'm the happiest I've ever been in my life. I no longer have to try to make my conflicted illogical worldview somehow fit the reality I'm experiencing. I've learned so much about myself and about others in the last 6 years. I feel truly free. Although I believe many things differently, at the core, my values are still the same - but now those values are not constrained by anything external and I'm free to truly live by them. You may have some really dark and scary months ahead. Please hang in there. I promise there is another side that you'll come out that will be really really good. You will find true peace and joy. Your life at that point might look nothing like you ever thought it would but you won't mind in the least. A book that I really loved during that season of my life was "Why I believed: reflections of a former missionary" by Ken Daniels. I also found this site (ex_C) to be a lifesaver - something I could hold on to when I felt very alone. A sad reality is that most people in your life will not be able to understand what you are going through. The Believers in your life will have absolutely no clue. If you're lucky someone will see the light and join you. But you really can't count on that. In order to preserve their own faith ( which will feel necessary to them for their own Survival) their only option will be to figure out a reason why you stopped believing that fits within their worldview. So it's either because you are never truly a Christian or because you really want to go and sin or because you're really proud etc etc. There is no room for someone who looked with sincerity and concluded that Christianity is wrong about truth. I wasted a lot of breath trying to convince people and get them to understand that I was a good and sincere man trying to live the best life I could and just choosing to be intellectually honest. But they won't see that. You have to be strong in Who You Are even if no one around you truly understands you. That in my experience was the biggest hurdle. Once you can clear that, things get a lot better.
  41. 1 point
    WELCOME KD! The world needs a thoughtful, honest, rational thinking, caring person like you. And I know the children in foster care would be fortunate to have you back on the job. I am a retired Social Worker who spent 20 years working in foster care and adoption agencies. So please hang in there, and get back to blessing the world with what you have to offer. I grew up in a more "main stream" Christian group, but understand the "brain washing" we both got. And my questioning also began when some things just didn't seem logical about our religion. God seemed terribly inconsistant. It all began to turn around for me when I stopped praying for more faith, and started praying that God would help me find the TRUTH about religion. After years of study, I decided our Christian God had been conceived by humans, just like all the other gods of the World. I became an agnostic. The step by step story of my spiritual quest is basically a rational, logical approach, and can be found in the TESTIMONIAL section, under the title, "Personal story: TRUTH, A GRADUAL AWAKENING." Maybe it will help you sort through the things you are wrestling with. I believe you have great potential, and your coming to this forum shows you have the fortitude to bring out that potential.
  42. 1 point
    Kdeaustin, you need to keep reading and searching for truth. Watch Rabbi Tovia Singer and jews for judaism on YouTube. When you compare Christianity against Judaism it falls apart over and over. I’m Jewish myself, but now an atheist. I originally rejected Christianity because of studying Jewish arguments against it. I’m an atheist now but for different reasons. You need to realize that you have alot going for you. It’s ok to doubt. Life is worth living. Keep pushing even though its a hard road. You can do it.
  43. 1 point
    Do you own any Bibles? If so, do you read them as literature? Do they just collect dust? I have one Bible, and I have not opened it in years. I treat it like a recovering alcoholic does with drinks in the house. I know how I can get when I open a Bible. That devotional mindset comes right back, and I want to get to the point where I can read the Bible as literature, and have no emotional investment.

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