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Showing content with the highest reputation on 12/02/2019 in all areas

  1. 3 points
    I've done that a few times too. Nightmare divorce. Nightmare fiance. Where belief fit into it was in more or less mundane sort of ways. Strong belief in my ability to fly out of the fire. Faith in myself to do what needs to be done and to get to where I need to go. These are internal oriented faith and beliefs. And the problem with theistic thinking for me is that they are usually projected externally, as if some separate force, entity or being is out there looking down on the goings on here. When consciousness appears to work the other way around - from within looking outward at the world. So the only sort of woo woo that I entertain looking at is the inward looking outward variety. That's not YHWH, the transcendent deity folks. That's not a deistic god, either. Nor space aliens from afar. Nothing "out there," far away or discrete from our own individual existence. And I've gotten through hard times, challenging times, and great times via this shifted way of thinking. And it amounts to putting all of the belief and faith in yourself and your own ability to navigate life's hurtles and conditions accordingly. That's the sort of thing that I see our hypothetical teenage sex slave facing down. None of this was planned by a god. A god is not looking down at it with love or hate. A god is absent from the equation. It's going to take an internal focus and drive to plot, plan and break free of circumstance.
  2. 2 points
    I'm not sure I agree. My lack of belief is not, and never has been, an emotional response, or even decision. I am intellectually unable to believe, irrespective of whether I want to or don't.
  3. 2 points
    Over the past 2 years, I've gone through a lot of the earth-shattering kind of chaos that might induce someone to want to believe in some kind of higher power. I've slowly been trying to put my life back together from what might be considered a tragicomedy of errors. It hasn't really made me want to believe in anything outside of myself; but it has made me want to believe more in myself. I've come to adopt an attitude of, "I've been through worse; this ain't nothing." With that said, I've also noticed a huge shift in my attitudes toward life, stability, career, possessions, etc. Things I once thought I wanted no longer seem important. I think part of that just comes with age; but, for me, part of it also comes from getting fed right the fuck up with life slinging its bullshit my way. Edited to add: This is only the fuckteenth time I've had to rebuild my life from the ashes; but the Phoenix don't fly without the fire, boys.
  4. 1 point
    My family didn't actually start out religious. My grandfather came home from WWII wanting nothing to do with god or the church. But for reasons that'll never be known to me, he had a turning point where he jumped in with both feet, joining his wife and kids in their churchly activities and since then, my grandfather has boasted perfect attendance for decades since. By the time I came along, my very large family were deep in Christianity - my father an elder, my mother a youth leader. It wasn't hard to be a Christian. Literally everyone I knew and loved was one. The people I feared for, in terms of suffering eternal hellfire were people who were just less serious Christians. And so it was and so it seemed to forever be. As my family grew and extended ever further out, we did seem to have a knack for finding other very serious and like-minded Christians. A liberal in my family was someone who thought that gay people might actually be spared hell-fire by god. But such views were never discussed during family time. Over this last weekend, after Thanksgiving, a small group of us, 13 in total, spent Friday in Kentucky, at Ken Ham and AiG's Ark Encounter. For those that do not know, this is a $100mil life-sized Noah's Ark that teaches the global flood was real and happened some 4,000-ish years ago. Don't worry, none of us paid to get in. We're all lifetime members due to a $5,000 donation my parents gave during its construction. Afterwards, we went to the Creation Museum which, like the Ark Park, teaches creation is real and happened some 6,000-ish years ago. Don't worry, none of us paid to get in due to $1,000 of my own money that I gave when the Creation Museum was being built. The trip, I thought would be fun irony, and a trip down memory lane of my former beliefs. But it quickly turned sickening for me and I feared the message the young ones in my family would take away from these places. Yes, both places say being gay is a sin worthy of death. As is... metalworking? Seriously, it was on a sign, I don't understand... Anyway, the kids with us seemed to really take it all in and take it to heart. This was extremely disheartening for me as it seemed that my secret apostasy would just be perpetual. Then Saturday came and my side of the family had another get together. It was an informal thing with just 46 of us in total. And during that luncheon, my eldest nephew sought me out because he wanted to have a serious conversation. See, I am now in my mid-thirties and still unwed. The family pressure on me to find and marry a woman, any woman at this point, got so intense that I had to set up some hard boundaries and my family is no longer welcome in that part of my life. It seems that my nephew, now 20 years old, is feeling similar pressures to find a woman and wed. And he started asking me how I've dealt with it. And then, in the seriousness of our conversation, he revealed that he does not hold to the family's rigid traditional views, that, in fact, at least two of the girls he dated would've been rejected by the family. But truly, he just isn't interested in dating and has only done so in the past to maintain appearances. He asked me how important family acceptance was to me. And I told him that it was important to me, but that I would not prioritize it over my own well-being and happiness. It was at this moment he asked me if I am gay. ((No kiddo, I am actually a sexually deviant poly-amorous pansexual who doesn't really care what equipment you got between your legs so long as you aren't a POS and can carry on an interesting conversation)) I actually just smiled and said that it was an area of my life I'd prefer to remain private. I know what conclusion he drew from this but I'm not overly worried about it. Our conversation turned to him asking me how to make the family okay and accepting of someone who might not hold to the traditional social norms but I discouraged him from this hope. While it may be possible to gain family acceptance over social deviation, this will only occur so long as the deviation isn't too extreme from the general direction of the family. He might be able to gain family acceptance if he started dating a Baptist girl, because it's different but... maybe to so different as it can't be rationalized... maybe. But if the social deviation were extreme, like a same gendered partner, no, acceptance will never come because this is a deviation so extreme that the act itself will be perceived as an attack against the family. Is it possible for mutual respect to be rebuilt over time if I or another were to come out as gay? Sure. But there is no fast-forward button over the initial fallout that would be nothing short of calamitous. But this conversation gave me a certain amount of hope over the long-term well-being and happiness of my younger family members. I was locked in my religion for over 30 years. But that nephew, at 20, is asking how to cope with deviating from the family's social norms. His younger brother, who also sees me as a confidant, has the opposite problem, but still of the same extreme. He's naturally charismatic. He has an intensively attractive personality, but it's an intense personality. Girls find him interesting but quickly get worn out and frustrated because the same energy that makes him interesting has no off switch so quickly becomes too much to handle. So he goes through girlfriends at an alarming pace. I think he's had 8 in the past 12 months. But whatever, that's hardly something to get upset over. But the family is upset. His father is upset. Because this does not align with the family's values that he is to settle down and marry. Never mind the youngest of those three boys who has also admitted to me that he finds himself attracted to his male best friend. These are just three in a very large family of many kids. I have 13 nieces and nephews and I am distant to many of them just due to proximity and circumstance. But they all look up to me as the "cool uncle." And many see me as the one they can talk to when they feel their parents wouldn't understand. I am intensely protective of them and I am not at all beyond warning my sisters if I feel any of them are in danger, as once happened when one fell into a bad crowd and I, by pure effing luck, just happened to be at the right place and right time to see. But they also trust me as their secret keeper. And while I will not steer any of their paths, I do try to let all of them know that they have an ally, regardless the path they choose. Even if it leads them away from the family's values. My one fear is that some day I will be accused of leading them astray. That I have become a possessed agent of some goat satyr whose obsessed with kids making their own choices. That by not playing informant to my sisters of their kid's deviations from our family values that I am complicit in their being "lead astray." But all I desire is that they make their own decisions, and that they seek happiness and fulfillment in those choices, even if that means staying in the religion. But in the mean time, I feel there needs to be a foil to the propaganda. And they certainly won't hear it from that god damned Ark Park.
  5. 1 point
    A thread to share all your holiday angst, funny stories, random thoughts, family drama, or favorite memories...
  6. 1 point
    Emotion can effect the maintenance of belief, but not necessarily. Some folks' emotions will be involved to one extent or another. For other folks, not so much.
  7. 1 point
    I'm saying that, in the case of religious belief, my emotions are irrelevant. I won't dispute that emotions played a part in the deconversion process; but once I saw religion for the lie it was, I simply cannot believe anymore.
  8. 1 point
    When things are out of control, I may pray. Or cast a spell. I dont see myself returning to fundamentalist Christianity either. The most I could go is some liberal, bible-less, Jesus-less theism. But I dont really have an interest in it. I'm pretty intellectually immune.. but some stressors can wipe out that immunity. I dont feel guilty about praying, either. Or casting spells. Or believing in woo. At least for 5 or 10 minutes.
  9. 1 point
    I think I could turn on god-belief, after a fashion. But that qualifier is key. Between my agnostic atheism and Christianity lie several intermediate stages, which I passed through during my deconversion: Atheism >> Deism >> Theism >> Liberal Christianity >> Fundamentalist Christianity Could I travel backwards along that road? Each stage would be successively harder. As an AGNOSTIC atheist I’m open to the possibility there could be a sentient being behind the universe, but I’d need to know things I don’t currently know to become a deist. The arguments against theism would be hard for me to overcome. I’d have to really WANT to believe in a deity. Maybe if my life were to take a big turn for the worse, I’d start to want to believe in a loving deity watching over me. I think most people ultimately believe in god because they want to above all. Having traveled the journey, I think that - unlike most people - I’ve reached what @Joshpantera calls Intellectual Immunity to theism. This is a very significant position and those who aren’t religious but who haven’t reached intellectual immunity can be highly vulnerable to returning to faith. But even intellectual immunity could be overcome by prolonged emotional stress. The closest I have come is in moments of stress when I find myself uttering a quick silent ‘prayer’ (to nobody in particular) for help. And that happens even while I’m convinced there’s nobody hearing or answering prayer. But if things got really bad in my life I wouldn’t rule out embracing basic theism as a last resort. But I’m a long way from there and I think I’d find other ways to cope. From there to liberal Christianity wouldn’t be that big a step: it would add ritual and community, both of which have a lot of appeal. I can’t imagine any circumstance where fundamentalist Christianity would be an option. Like Josh, I’ve learned too much to accept the dogma and I can’t see what would be gained by embracing it, under any circumstances. Having said all that, I’ve been an agnostic atheist for almost five years now, am highly satisfied in this state and don’t anticipate changing.
  10. 1 point
  11. 1 point
    Wow! No dogs. No cats. No mold. Just extra pious stepson saying grace and over-the-top fundy wife saying "Yes Jesus!" to every word. Granddaughter made a peanut butter chocolate pie that was not destroyed by anything except my fork. No talk of religion. We've been there and they know they cannot refute anything I say w/out resorting to "You can't deny god!" "You can't deny Jesus!" You know...shit like that. "I can and I will unless you can prove the existence of either."
  12. 1 point
    Just checked my joining date: 19 Nov 2005... I've been a member here for 14 years! I don't think there's any other site that I have returned to after all this time. And I can't remember how I came across it in the first place, probably an external link to the testimonials... Educational, amusing and a real diverse mix of folks. Thanks to everyone for making these forums such a fun and interesting place.
  13. 1 point
    I passed 14 back in July. I remember being a newbie. I was in my thirties, trying to figure out what it meant to be deconverted and how to deal with life without religion. I just turned 50 and see that everything I thought mattered never actually did. mwc
  14. 1 point
    Don't assume that poor = lazy. While there are lazy poor people, there are a lot of hard working people (some holding 2 or 3 jobs) who barely scrape by. There are also people with decent paying jobs who are lazy and get away with it. The problem with politicized discussions about issues like this is that both sides talk past each other and paint an unbalanced picture. While many liberals approach it as though the poor are all hard workers who've simply not had good opportunities (thus ignoring those who bilk the system), many conservatives approach it as though they're all lazy leeches (thus ignoring the hard work and struggle that many endure). I don't claim to know the answer to how best to deal with the problem, but the reality is that it's a mixed bag, and both sides oversimplify the issue and slant it based on their own biases.
  15. 1 point
    Hi @Makawe, Welcome to Ex-C. Many religions have a "don't do THIS or you will receive <insert horrible punishment! here>!" clause somewhere in their doctrine in order to coerce total and unwavering control over their subjects. Christianity is no exception despite the ubiquitous claim that they are all about love. Mrs. MOHO would argue that last comment saying that the xitian god is a vengeful god. (She says this with a look on her face that creeps me out.) Anyway, that discrepancy alone should not exist if xanity had any credibility. So, stop worrying about what blasphemy is and focus on reclaiming your life. - MOHO (Mind Of His Own)

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