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Showing content with the highest reputation on 01/11/2020 in all areas

  1. 2 points
    I am reading a blog post on Patheos by an Evangelical author, Philip Yancey, called "A Time to Doubt" here. The post doesn't allow comments, which is not unexpected given the subject and some of the things he says. The comments section could easily get out of hand and really would serve no purpose, but I want to comment on the article on my own blog, so here goes: One paragraph says "Often seems silent." I would have worded it this way, also, when I was a Christian. Jehovah often seems silent. But eventually I realized that those times he seems silent are the times I'm expecting an answer. All of the times I'm expecting an answer. The times you don't notice Jehovah's silence are the times you're not expecting anything. In other words, the reality is that there's never actually a word from Jehovah. When I was a believer I didn't actually go through many periods of doubt that Mr. Yancey is describing here, because I didn't actually need anything. And when I first deconverted, it had nothing to do with Jehovah's silence, but shortly afterward I realized the truth -- that (as Annie Laurie Gaylor says) nothing fails like prayer. As a Christian, convincing myself that "God's will is always done" was pretty easy, and so when any struggles didn't actually get resolved (simply delayed for later) I accepted the caveat that it wasn't the god's will, and that it would make me stronger, or more patient, or some such. Only afterward did I realize the obvious -- that nothing magical or supernatural ever actually happens. Life is just life. Yancey writes about the Jews who had escaped from Egypt: Of course, the author of the books of Exodus and Numbers are writing many years later of the legends passed down to them, not about current events. For the most part, historians doubt that the descendants of Jacob were even in Egypt. But even if they were, go back and read the accounts in the Bible! The Bible says these people doubted even though they'd seen obvious signs of Jehovah helping them. I can't help but think that this is the author's perspective, passed down to him through many generations, and specifically related to him by a believing elderly relative. The more likely conclusion is that the people who doubted never actually saw any evidence. If anything like the events recorded as the Exodus actually happened, the people caught up in it very likely saw nothing that made them think this god of theirs was real. Further in the article, Yancey says Again -- proof within the Bible itself that the evidence isn't actually there, and wasn't there during the time the events were supposedly happening. And there's the real evidence against there being any such being as Jehovah. The people alive at the time weren't convinced. The writers who came along later claim that the evidence should have been enough to convince anyone alive, yet they admit that those living at the time didn't actually find it to be convincing! It's only by asserting, after the fact when no actual witnesses to the time are alive, that all of the miracles happened, that people can be convinced. The people who were alive at the time saw only life as usual with nothing supernatural going on. Yancey makes the typical objection that we were all taught to make as Christians: It's nothing but a "get out of jail free" card for Jehovah. The truth is that the Bible makes specific promises about what this god will do. When those things don't happen, Christianity has evolved the mechanism of accusing the accuser -- of saying "you have no right to 'test' God". That came along early, too -- before Christianity even -- in the book of Job, where the god basically tells Job he's just a stupid human and has no right to question the god. A paragraph further on, in his outline of an article, is entitled Now here, Yancey is correct! The famous statement in Hebrews about faith ("faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen") makes it clear, if you pay attention to what the author is actually saying, that faith is a substitute for substance and evidence. As a Christian, I'm not sure I ever had faith. I was most certainly a believer -- a true Christian! But I thought there was evidence for my beliefs. Faith is what happens when you just assume something to be true without evidence. It's belief for no reason other than that someone told you so or you read it. Yancey then makes a blatantly false assertion: No. "Unbelief" is honesty. "Doubt" is the path to unbelief and honesty, but that path is often not traveled due to the fear instilled by the religion itself. The meme of Christianity has evolved to continue to exist by overtly stating that doubt is caused by external, evil forces -- by a powerful being (somehow not credited as being an evil god) who has the power to literally plant thoughts in people's heads. "Reason" is of the Devil, Christianity asserts. The moment you start to wonder whether the god is real, your Christian indoctrination makes you think that doubt has been implanted in your head by the evil god Satan. But that's not what's happening. The god Satan isn't real. The gods Jehovah and Jesus aren't real. You're doubting because you can plainly see that the claims of the Bible about Jehovah and Jesus are simply untrue. Yancey then talks about Mother Teresa: She knew! She knew it wasn't real! She knew Jehovah wasn't there, doing anything at all on the Earth. Yancey goes on: She conducted her life in order to help people, "despite her doubts". I would say, "despite her eventual coming to terms with the fact that her faith was baseless". In the end, she was good without god, as we all are, really. People are generally good -- no gods required.
  2. 2 points
    In the week after I processed the self posed questions of "What if God is imaginary? What would this imply for the people around me and the how/why they interact the way they do" I feverishly researched online to see if others had a similar revelation. During this feverish search I ran across the "Why does god not heal amputees" website". I completed the deconstruction process five days previously, now fully understanding that god did not exist (I had dismissed bible god four years prior). But, this site was the first to hit my brain with the thought "Oh my! It is so clear and obvious. How could I of been sooooo stupid to fall for all of this. How could I stay stuck in this crap for 25 adult years?" This, in turn, sent me on a much longer search to answer the "why did/does this happen to me and others?" question, which Fuego is so well versed and articulate in. I now am confident I have a firm grasp on most all of the processes that lead folks to a state of being programmed/indoctrinated. I like being at this place in my knowledge.
  3. 1 point
    There are some very good Blogs here at Ex-Christian.Net. For whatever reason, I - and probably others too - often overlook them. I was reminded of this by a very good new post by @Lerk in his Blog “Be Ready Always to Give an Answer”. Do yourself a favor and check it out, along with the other Blogs. Good stuff.
  4. 1 point
  5. 1 point
    It's an eye opener. When you go on Keto you get laser focused in terms of looking at the world as an observer of just how much carbs and straight sugar everyone is consuming regularly. This becomes more and more obvious when you look around at every restaurant menu while on Keto. I see it all, but I ignore it. It's all around me all the time. Carb's, carb's, sugar, sugar..... But I'm devoted and determined and seeing the lbs come off steady keeps me focused on the straight and narrow. I just keep ignoring all of the carbs and sugar constantly around me everywhere I look. This is an interesting disciple to take on. I guess like walking through bars as an alcoholic, constantly seeing the alcohol all around you but ignoring it. I finally allowed a "cheat day," at Christmas. To be honest, I felt like shit after eating carby christmas food. I was actually happy to get right back on the wagon with my salads, low carb tortilla wraps, meat and veggies, and Keto cook book items that my wife cooks. Yesterday we had Keto pizza. Loved it. The cook book is, "Simply Keto" by Suzanne Ryan. We save money because going out to eat is so limited that we hardly do it anymore. Overall, I feel good. I'm focused. I feel healthy. And I've noticed a certain amount clarity by going on this low carb diet. I'm not starving myself. I eat till I'm full and I keep losing weight.
  6. 1 point
    I posted my leaving Christianity testimony almost 2 years ago, but have another testimony. I am 78 years old, but still functioning very well. HA! At least physically. But there is a history of strokes on both sides of my family with a couple of sudden unexpected deaths. Due to a suddenly occurring hearing problem, they did an MRI of my head and found I have already had 3 tiny strokes. But they were not the cause of my hearing loss, and there are no other obvious after effects that aren't typical for my age. But my mortality has reared it's head!! My New Testimony? My de-conversion must be complete. After decades of worrying about it, there are no second thoughts about my "salvation". Hopefully this can encourage those who might be having second thoughts.
  7. 1 point
    I'm 5 days on the wahls protocol so far, it's Paleo with more restrictions. It's going to be difficult maintaining weight if anything. It's true about the sugar and carbs though, we eat way too much of them. Go without sugar for a week and your fruits will taste very different.
  8. 1 point
    A friend of mine has had great success losing weight with Keto. He’s like a new man. And he’s kept the weight off too. I’m convinced that carbs in general and sugar in particular are responsible for the epidemic of obesity and diabetes (among other things) in the rich world today. And so many people don’t know this: I’m flabbergasted at the way people consume soda/pop and sweet tea by the gallon in most parts of the US. We’re not fucking hummingbirds.
  9. 1 point
    I’m 74 my wife is 76. I’m in good health but she is having some issues. At our age death becomes a certainty rather than an abstract reality. Like you Weezer returning to religion isn’t an option for me either. There is no doubt in my mind whatsoever that both Heaven and Hell are myths created by ancient superstitious cultures. I am also convinced, after much study and research, that Jesus is a mythical character in a fictional story. Christianity is just one of many ancient man made religions. Death is simply the end of life. There isn’t anything else.
  10. 1 point
    And let this be an example to viewers of this site as to why so many of us left religion. It gave us a false hope. If that works for you - so be it. For those who would rather confront reality, either by choice or because reality is thrust upon all of us, kudos!
  11. 1 point
    Redding... I was there when the preacher I promoted (David Hogan) preached about raising the dead and how he'd seen it 21 times, plus every part of the body healed or replaced. Charismatics eat that shit UP because it seems to validate their frustrating relationship with their powerless invisible friend who controls the universe. We did the same thing in Portland's largest church (City Bible) when a beloved underling pastor died. I think it was 48 hours of prayer and fasting in the presence of the body. I brought handkerchiefs that had been prayed over by Hogan and his men, and that they anointed with oil. The body stayed cold and dead. When healing doesn't happen, Hogan would harp on being even more committed since that is the only thing that looses the power of god. The more obvious answer is that we were in a cult worshiping an imaginary friend, reading aloud the stories from a book of myths and expecting reality. But when a room full of people gets going in worship, one can feel all kinds of "manifestations" that seem to validate the reality of spiritual power. Not sure if it is group hypnosis/hysteria of a sort, or what exactly. But the dead stay dead, amputees stay amputees even if you feel "power".
  12. 1 point
    Hat-tip to Bob Seidensticker at Cross Examined for inspiring this post with one entitled More Damning Bible Contradictions: #25 Was Jesus Crazy or God? Did you ever wonder what was up with Jesus' mother, Mary, in Mark chapter 3? Mary and Jesus' brothers show up where he's been preaching to his followers, and they're wanting to take him away because they think he is, perhaps, mentally ill. (Well, they thought he had an unclean spirit.) But we know the stories! The angel told Mary about the immaculate conception! When Jesus stayed behind talking to the elders, at age 12, with the wisdom of an adult, she "kept these things in her heart!" (Luke 2:19). How could Jesus' own mother, who knew better than anyone that he was the "Son of God," now be wondering what's wrong with him. I remember wondering that when I was a believer, but the answer didn't occur to me until I read Bob's post today. The gospels are different stories. We have studies in "the harmony of the gospels" in order to try to gloss over the contradictions. This story wouldn't normally be included because it isn't one that shows up anywhere besides in Mark, but in hindsight the reason is obvious. In Mark, the oldest gospel, there's no story of Jesus' birth and no story of his childhood. He starts off preaching and right off the bat his family is worried about him. By the time the other gospels were written, stories of his birth had been imagined and these writers included them, as they were now part of the narrative. But with stories about Mary knowing her child is the "Son of God" now as part of the narrative, Mark's much older story of his mother and brothers' worry made no sense, and so the later authors left those out (even though they copied from Mark a whole lot!). This is just one more of those things that I once thought curious but never bothered to pursue, which now from the outside seems obvious. And just one more bit of evidence that the Bible isn't inspired by a god. When you think it all has to be consistent it's impossible to answer the questions you might have, but when you're able to step back and see the stories for what they are, there's not even anything to be curious about. But the Bible is a lot more interesting now!
  13. 1 point
    But we're the ONE TRUE CHURCHTM! We have to save them from Hell! I still go to a Church of Christ for reasons that I've explained before. They would consider me a "struggling christian," I suppose, because I was outed as an atheist and managed to convince them that I was going to try to believe again. In the year and a half since that happened, nobody has questioned me. I kind of hate it but it keeps family relationships smooth. Anyway, being that I'm still a member, I'm still on the email list. Monday, the following email (names redacted) was sent to the congregation: This was out of the blue. We weren't there Sunday night, so I have to assume that an announcement was made. This couple are not members of our congregation! James 5:20 is the verse that says if you turn a sinner from the error of their ways you'll save them from death and cover a multitude of your own sins (and I thought God didn't keep score!). So, two hours later: As I said, this couple are not members of our congregation; yet this elder, in his concern for their "souls" (they've joined the Catholic church! We have to get them back to the Lord's church!) published their email addresses, phone numbers, and home address to the entire congregation (everyone on the email list, anyway). You can see the polite reaction of the man, saying essentially that they don't want to be bothered, they just want to figure this out, and that their searching for the truth is long overdue. I doubt they would sue, but if contact from people they've never met becomes a big enough hassle, they might be seriously tempted. I don't know how this happened, but I would speculate that the woman mentioned as having received the text must have been really worried about her friends from another congregation, and brought her concerns to her own church, asking for prayers, and the elder(s) decided it would be good to be proactive. (After all, nothing fails like prayer.) I'm just guessing, here. It could easily have been someone else asking for prayers, and this woman just happened to follow up. People in the NI-Churches of Christ know a lot of people in other local congregations. (I'm surprised I don't know this couple; I would bet that my sons and their wives do, though.) I don't know if I'll ask anyone how this came about or maybe just leave that up to my wife. I try to be as uninvolved as possible. But I'd like to send this couple a card congratulating them on their decision to pursue their doubts and try to figure out the truth!

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