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Showing content with the highest reputation on 02/22/2020 in all areas

  1. 4 points
    It's been a coupe of months since my last update, I figured I would fill everyone on current happenings. Something that I deemed a lost cause occurred, I've shared this with some of you one on one but I've never made a post about it. When I first deconverted 7 1/2 years ago, I had an atheist friend who'm I could be as open and intellectually honest about any topic. The taste of mental freedom that she gave me was a major factor towards my loss of faith and for that I'll always be grateful. However, due to the the worst aspects of my nature (that many of you no doubt have experienced) combined with my "angry atheist" phase drove her away and she never wanted to speak to me again. She is a resolute person and this was all but inevitable and final. Though I got over it and moved on to other like minded individuals, it is something that had lingered in the back of my conscience for years. Due to some unlikely circumstances, I was in fact able to reconnect with her and slowly start to rebuild that friendship. I will say, forgiveness by someone you care about especially years after it weighing on you feels much better than what god ever offered when confessing my "sins". The message I want to get across is hold yourself to a higher standard in how you treat people you care about. You may not get the same opportunity that I did and it's easy to lash out at everyone when you're in an angry period in your life. I look in disgust at the type of person that I've been over the last few years, seeking conflict just for the sake of conflict, being unyielding in my views. Inner peace has taken over since I've abandoned that. Furthermore, I've discovered that life seems more meaningful when I help others. It doesn't have to be some grand cause or anything, small acts of kindness here and there. These can be listening to someone and give advice while sticking with them through a difficult period. It can also be using your abilities and talents to help them and in term, they will help you. This is the way it should be, it is far more fulfilling than coming home from work and just indulge in selfish pleasures/pursuit night after night. Maybe I'm just incoherently typing sentences at this point so I think I'll stop. This is where my life and thoughts are at the moment.
  2. 2 points
    This is very good. I think that's how it should be framed at christians and other people who try and repeat the tired mantra's of claiming that without god, there's no reason not to go around raping and murdering until your hearts content. It's foolish for very specific reasons. And those reasons boil down to natural selection and it's shaping of human social interaction and the rise of moral codes and standards - such as things like, "thou shalt not kill." That literally exists because some guy wrote it down in the bible. Some guy wrote it down in the bible because it had already become a standard of social interaction and he documented it in writing. It had become a standard of social interaction because it's beneficial to the survival of the species not to go around murdering each other. Natural selection is at the base of it, not a supernatural god who is all good. There's plenty of evidence for natural selection but not for a supernatural god.
  3. 2 points
    You'd think that god would tell us beforehand who was going to do this, and actually protect the child. But no magic...
  4. 2 points
    I'm glad I exited a belief system that was chronically worked up over some future apocalypse. At least, I think I did . lol.
  5. 2 points
    I dont know about other branches of the US military but you have to take a test in the Air Force to promote through the enlisted ranks past E4. E1 thru E4 are just time-in-service promotions. My son who separated as an E5 three years ago didnt seem to mention Jesus. Granted, there are churches on military bases and there are definitely factions of high ranking evangelicals and I bet there are even some people 'pretending' to be evangelicals to get some good performance reports from their evangelical boss.
  6. 2 points
    Good luck but it appears to be a losing battle and here's why in my opinion: in America the Christian religion is still seen as the "norm," in particular among white people, a great many of whom have an interesting take on American history: that they and their norms (white Protestant middle class) are what makes America great, and that anything different (and true equality with others) is dangerous. Trumpism involves white evangelicals much more than black and for a good reason. I just watched The Great White Hoax, which examines why divide and conquer has worked in America historically, and why it's working now. Under such a system, how do you create change? Tell the people who their enemies are and the uneducated, dissatisfied, ignorant ones (there's a lot of them) will run with it, in particular when they are religious. It all explains why the current leader of the White House is where he is and why secret organizations such as The Family are rejoicing in that. The way I see it is that Americans are involved in an ongoing battle about what it means to be American: progressive multiethnic multi-religious, diverse society of equal rights and privilege (many whites refuse to see how white privilege operates) vs some version of a white Protestant 1950s style America as normative, that in it's most dangerous form is explicitly racist and has no shame about it. One only needs to watch Trumps campaign speeches from the last election to figure out which side of this battle he has appealed to.
  7. 2 points
    In this post I want to explore in a bit more detail the question of how epistemic truth is generated. Recall that the axioms I started out with include the assumption of consciousness (I am capable of thought, as are you). As these are axioms, they are assumed without proof. However, I think that the assumption of consciousness is self-justifying in a way. I mention this because there are those who maintain that consciousness does not really exist at all, and that it is merely an illusion (Daniel Dennett comes to mind). This seems inconsistent to me for the simple fact that if consciousness is an illusion, then it consciously seems to me that I am conscious. But if it consciously seems to me that I am conscious, then I am conscious. I must be conscious if anything at all is to consciously seem to me to be the case. So the admission of the very possibility of illusions precludes the possibility that consciousness might be one. Or at least so it seems to me. So we are conscious. We've seen so far that this fact, together with the fact that the natural world exists, allows us to form beliefs, generate knowledge, and even create truth. There is a crucial point here, though, that I want to emphasize: we are only able to create epistemic truth because of the existence of underlying brute facts about the world. Again, we assumed axiomatically that the natural world exists and that things in the natural world have definite properties etcetera. It follows directly from this assumption that ontological truth exists. In order to get to epistemic truth, however, we also require consciousness. Fortunately that we are conscious itself seems to be an ontological truth. A question which remains is whether consciousness, together with the assumption of ontological truth, is sufficient to explain epistemic truth, or whether something more is required. When I first developed the notion of epistemic truth in this thread, I relied on the existence of language. It seems to me to be fairly straightforward that language is required for epistemic truth, but I think more than even just consciousness and language are required. Epistemic truth exists at the level of societies. Therefore, if we are to really explain how epistemic truth comes about, we will first need to explain how societies come about. In order to do this, I think we need to develop the idea of collective intentionality. Collective intentionality is a term that was coined by John Searle around 1990, but the idea is not a new one. Intentionality is the ability of a mind to be directed at something. If I think about going to Walmart, my thoughts have intentional content: I am thinking about something (going to Walmart). If you also happen to be thinking about going to Walmart at the same time, then our thoughts have roughly the same intentional content. However, our intentions to go to Walmart are separate in this example. Clearly we don't intend to engage in the joint action of going to Walmart. I intend to go and you intend to go, but our intentions are seperate. Suppose, however, that I call you on the phone and we make a plan to go to Walmart together. This is clearly different from the previous situation. We now not only both have the same intention, but we specifically intend it together. This is a simple example of collective intentionality. Once we have language and collective intentionality, we can do all kinds of things. We can form social groups, hierarchies and classes, governments, laws, and so on and so forth. This has direct bearing on the question of how epistemic truth is created. I've been saying all along in this thread that the fact that money is valuable is a matter of epistemic truth. It is; however, it is not the case that for any one person to think that it is valuable is sufficient to make it true. Collective intentionality is required. When enough people collectively believe that money is valuable, then it really is valuable. I want to be very careful to point out that there are limits to the power of collective intentionality to generate truth. If we all collectively believed that the earth was flat, it would not become flat. That it is round is a matter of ontological truth. However, we have seen that epistemic truth can become ontological truth over time. That Washington was president of the United States is an ontological truth. It's a matter of historical fact. It wouldn't matter if everyone stopped believing that he used to be president. But that Donald Trump is president now is an epistemic truth. If everyone stopped believing it, it would no longer be true. So collective intentionally today can generate epistemic truth today, and ontological truth in the future, but it can't generate just any ontological truth. There remain certain brute facts which simply in no way depend on intentionally, collective or otherwise. I want to look at the problem of free-will at some point, but that's all I have time for right now.
  8. 1 point
    Thanks. That's what I miss the most too. We started having trouble getting along a little bit before the religious shit became an issue, but that is what really divides us now. Just another reason to dislike religion.
  9. 1 point
    I agree Josh, and thanks for posting this. The main reason I started (and am carrying on with) this thread was to try to present a completely a-theistic, and accessible, account of as many common crucial philosophical issues as possible. I've reached a point in my own journey where discussing Christianity as such is just boring to me. It's just obviously incorrect. Still, there are a lot of questions that need to be answered from an ex-Christian point of view. My goal in this thread has been to try to present a framework from which an ex-Christian will be able to answer many, if not most, Christian objections. The issue of morality is one that was particularly important to me in my initial deconversion, in no small part because of the arguments of WLC (and CS Lewis as well). @WalterP has basically destroyed Craig's cosmological argument. I think that what I've presented here, together with my previous morality thread, essentially dispenses with his moral argument. If so, that's two of his five favorite arguments which have been soundly refuted. I'm hoping that members here will find this to be of some value.
  10. 1 point
    Robert Price has commented on these christian and muslim fundamentalist flare ups in recent years. His take is that it's a natural fall out from religion losing ground in society. Especially where older fundamentalist ways are waning to new liberal forms of religion. This affects christianity and islam. Liberal theist's tend to water down the old hard line positions and that's part of it. And so these push backs flare up from the fundamentalist sides. And in Prices view, it's all signs of the decline and some last desperate grasps for air of an old dying beast. And looking at it that way, I tend to agree with him. This Fellowship business is more of the example. That's why I say good luck to them. Gaining power as religionists as religion is in rapid decline seems more of a going down with the ship while screaming orders and commands at the crew as the ship sinks. I wouldn't be too worried about it. It's certainly worth following and paying attention to. I'm just not worried about them gaining major control or the country turning into a theocracy or anything like that. I don't think this contractor down here is associated with the fellowship. He's just an over zealous southern baptist certain that evolution is a hoax, and that museum fossils are made in China.
  11. 1 point
    One difference between a Christian and someone who has never been one, is the never-been-one doesn't really think about purpose. At least I didnt...nor do I now (as an Ex-c). I was brought up as agnostic and to just enjoy the present moment. That's all we really have. You can certainly make goals for yourself if you are a goal-oriented person... If you deny this life's enjoyment in favor of some vague afterlife, then I think you're missing the point of being alive (personal opinion of course). ... Does being atheist mean you can't have an afterlife? Maybe there is a godless afterlife. I wouldn't stress too much about it, though.
  12. 1 point
    True, we'll just have to vote the religious whack jobs out of office. One problem they might have with taking over America for Jebus is the younger generation of "Nones", in a rapidly declining religious America. https://www.pewforum.org/2019/10/17/in-u-s-decline-of-christianity-continues-at-rapid-pace/ I agree we should keep an eye on organizations like The Fellowship ... but they have been in business since 1935.
  13. 1 point
  14. 1 point
    One of my granddaughters is that age. She'll spend the weekend with us, along with her four siblings, while her folks are away. I'm going to give her some extra hugs. How these things happen is just a mystery to me. How can anyone hurt a child? And these kinds of things prove to me that the Christian god cannot possibly exist.
  15. 1 point
    But, unfortunately, not in the House or Senate. It could be argued that the Speaker of the House and the Senate leader have more power than the president. Yes, the pres has the nuclear codes but lots of other kinds of damage can be caused by the legislature.
  16. 1 point
    Thank goodness for term limits.
  17. 1 point
    I didn't know where else to put this to get the most attention. If you are interested in the separation of church and state, you need to be aware of this "movement". They are the ones who put on the NATIONAL PRAYER BREAKFAST each year, and are viewed by many, especially some Evangicals, to be God sent. They are very powerful and have the ears of some of the most powerful people in the world. In the name of Jesus, they are out to take the world for God. They are backing Trump and are determined to make the USA a christian nation under God. For an interesting overview of how they got started, the tactics they use, and just how powerful they are, watch the Netflix, 5 part series, THE FAMILY. There is also a book by the same name written by Jeff Sharlet. It is much more detailed than the Netflix series. They are a very shrewd, sly, group, and masters at flying under the radar. They are male, authoritarian oriented, and initation of young men is by invitation only, and remind me of initation into elite fraternities and the Marines. They believe they have been called by God, and are totally committed to their version of "Jesus." They have studied the leadership tactics of powerful people, including Hitler, and say God had used imperfect men through the ages to accomplish his goals. Trump comes to mind. They are to be feared!! Their tactics are very effective.
  18. 1 point
    What Fuego writes is, I think, very true. I just saw the movie 1917, and the line that stands out most in my mind is when one of the soldiers said, "Some men just want to fight."
  19. 1 point
    Oh man I can totally relate to this. I have a fundie sister that I try to reach out to (she is a decent person aside from her belief system, and we used to be close as children). I still reach out to her at times but I try to keep things unrelated to religion or our parents. I mean, if you think about it, our whole relationship got twisted and recasted to be about pleasing our parents or validating/disproving/arguing about our beliefs and it's just not fair. Any conversation we try to have at that angle is already pre-scripted by our parents who turned us against each other... and it's better to try to connect us for just being us... I mean I missed the times we used to have long conversations about random fantasy stories, novels, or video games. We had a real connection before religion hijacked our narrative. Just saying.. I empathize.
  20. 1 point
    Here's one of the local GOP extreme Christian terror supporters: https://www.columbian.com/news/2020/feb/20/legislator-suspended-from-republican-caucus-to-emcee-local-gop-event/ And a link to his manifesto of Biblical war: https://www.spokesman.com/documents/2018/oct/25/biblical-basis-war/
  21. 1 point
    Many prisoners who get released find a way to go back to prison. The issue is that they got so used to the regimentation they never had to make and choices or decisions on their own. It's too big a transition for some people to make without professional help. I see many people who leave the church in the same situation; Who will tell me what to do? Who will tell me the approved activities? Who will tell me what to think? If you can't handle the sudden freedom and autonomy and are overwhelmed by having unlimited choices, perhaps some professional help is indicated. It's not a unique situation. Good luck.
  22. 1 point
    Exactly. People compare the present to the past. Don't do that. The future is yours for the taking. What do you want out of life?
  23. 1 point
  24. 1 point
    Although it helps, life is more than excitement and entertainment. We need to feel worthwhile. That takes each person doing something that helps them feel worthwhile. And being around people that contribute to the feeling. Others can help you in the process, but no One can give it to you. What do you have to offer to the world that would help you feel worthwhile? Helping people leave oppressive beliefs on this forum helps me feel worthwhile. Giving my kids and grandkids a good foundation to build their lives on helps with the feeling. But I can't give it to them. They have to complete the building themselves to feel a sense of accomplishment, and being worthwhile. And it takes more than just feeding your own wants. You do not leave yourself behind, but it takes getting outside of self and doing what you can to make this a better world to live in. What do I do for excitement and entertainment? Ride an Enduro motorcycle across country off road, or on back roads. Look "outside the box". Find something you are good at and enjoy. Even if others think it is crazy, like my wife and some relatives, GET OUTSIDE THE BOX OF YOUR PREVIOUS EXPERIENCES. Use good judgement, but take what others want you to do with a grain of salt. By the way, you may never consider it, but riding isnt just for men. I occasionally ride with 2 women who are in their 50s. I am telling you this because the your options are almost limitless. But you will have to open your mind and get off the couch to find them.
  25. 1 point
    Flood your congressmen in Washington with letters or messages. Although my wife is a christian, she has gotten on the band wagon and can't understand why anyone would back Trump, and believes the Evangical movement has gone off the deep end. A few days ago she sent 3 emails to our congressmen. I may get on a black list for sending emails to congressmen and the white house, heavy on separation of church and state.
  26. 1 point
    A few days ago I engaged a believer in another guy's thread on FB. He kept repeating how they were ready for a revolution, a violent one they were willing to die in to protect their freedoms, how they are well armed and will protect those rights. I called him out on his violent attitude and lack of love, saying he was playing right into Putin's hands by wanting America in a civil war. He replied "Violent? I never said anything about violence. Putin? You people are weak." I replied with line after line of his statements about armed conflict, killing, and dying. Then I said "Those are your own words. You seem far more interested in shooting someone than in loving your neighbor." He actually toned down a lot after that, but a lot of believers across the country have become militarized since the 1980s. They see it as reclaiming their "heritage" of the pure white days of prophets Ozzie and Harriet (that was sarcasm, but they really do have a view of America that is idealized and idolized). They WANT someone to take a shot at the president to justify unleashing a bloody civil war against everyone that isn't like them. They WANT violence, not caring for the poor and needy. They eat up old testament stories of God giving victory in battles. They ignore all the words of Jesus in favor of stories like those. The military has strong groups of evangelicals that force recruits into church activities, and you won't get promoted without belonging to the cult. That is why the current president is their wet dream of power, boldness, brashness, acting more like a king than an elected representative. They worship a dictator king who demands absolute obedience, not that they give it other than what they want to give. But the power...they get off on the power. On the flip side, there are millions of us that want things exactly not like what they want, we look forward to the next election and hope that it isn't already too rigged. But my hunch is that if he retains power, we are on the brink of a new kind of fascism with all the tech in their control. The Oregon Republicans openly refuse to even allow a vote on subjects they hate. They literally get up as a group and leave the building, driving into the next state to prevent a quorum. Fucking cowards. Expect that in the federal level if they lose the next election. If they lose widely enough, it won't matter if they leave. It may devolve into violence and renewed open hatred of those who are different. The shot heard round the world could just as easily be at the dems, giving the right a signal to "go". Most days it all feels like we are pawns watching our people being ruined by those in power, and only being given a facade of choice, and the useful idiots who think Jesus is behind it all will push a crackdown on all the "witches and fags" who bringing god's judgment on us, and themselves as the warriors of GAWD upon whom he smiles. I suppose it's possible that there could be a hat-trick and the people at large get fed up with the shitstorm of corruption and do something about it daily. I hope that is still possible.
  27. 1 point
    Hell is basically a form of religious trauma. Imagine being taught from a young age to be afraid of going to literally the worst place imaginable for minor mistakes and being routinely told that if you ever lose your faith you will definitely go there. And with it being something that we won't know with 100% certainty until after we die, it remains untestable. I consider fear of Hell to be an irrational phobia that comes from this trauma. It's not something we can control. You could liken it to otherwise rational people who have a mild fear of ghosts or the supernatural but I would argue it's actually closer to people who get out of abusive relationships and still have night terrors about their abuse. Anybody who says "you can't be an atheist if you still fear hell" might not be operating with that same level of psychological abuse that religion brings. While the intent is probably not malicious, I would say the statement smacks of telling somebody they should be ashamed of their emotions. I sometimes have the fear of Hell, but the truth is for me it is just the fear of nonbeing and the unknown of what, if anything, comes beyond death masquerading as the boogeyman of Hell. Even coming from a religion that doesn't teach a fire and brimstone hell, and one that is very hard to get into properly (Mormons believe in a tier-Heaven and then "Outer Darkness" which is only for the absolute worst of the worst) I still have the occasional flare up. As far as general advice for anybody who still suffers from this, you can present all the usual arguments of the literally thousands of flavors of Hell that are preached about by various world religions and the impossibility of safeguarding against all of them. But logical arguments don't fare so well against emotions. That's why I think the statement is both foolish and somewhat irrelevant.
  28. 1 point
    If it's technology then presumably it is built of components which are parts of, and operate under the laws of, the natural world. So no, it's not supernatural. Technology seems to me to be natural more or less by definition. Whether or not we should expect to be able to understand everything which is natural is a question that I find interesting. It seems very plausible to me that there might exist an advanced technology (or even just a feature of the universe) that we not only do not understand, but cannot understand. But this still would not be supernatural. It would just be beyond our comprehension. Why on earth should we expect to be able to understand everything that exists in nature?
  29. 1 point
    Yes, you call be an atheist and still fear hell. I'm the kind of atheist who doesn't only lack the god belief, but who actively thinks that there is no god. The same goes for hell. As such, I have no fear of hell. I really believe that no such place exists. But it is very possible to be an atheist and simply lack the positive god/hell beliefs. Such a person may very well think it's possible that they could be wrong, and thus be afraid. This isn't even necessarily an irrational fear. It's a bit like being afraid that a plane you're on might crash. It's not something you think will happen, but you know you might be wrong, and so you can still be afraid without being irrational. And of course, as others have pointed out, it's also possible to just be irrationally afraid.
  30. 1 point
    The lizard brain is a quirky thing. I suppose with enough indoctrination using the Hell tactic, one could have that deep fear crop up after deconversion. A lifetime atheist without the brainwashing would never fear Hell.
  31. 1 point
    I'd say one is a product of the logical mind making a conclusion, the other is the product of the survival mind and is a product of programming. I never realized how separate they were until this last summer when I started having anxiety attacks (PTSD) based on the behavior of a neighbor acting oddly and then aggressively. I had to spend weeks trying to understand why I was reacting so strongly to something that in reality was just an annoyance, not a run-or-be-killed situation. I realized eventually that I had been raised with a single solution to any such situation: shoot her. Not that we ever did, but my family wasn't the most functional and mature folks. We loved firearms and had plenty, and loved Rambo and Terminator type films. The solution to any issue of an "enemy" was then to shoot them. Again, we never did, but that was the programmed response verbally and emotionally. I've been around long enough to know that shooting is only valid if I am in clear and present mortal danger. The neighbor was just being aggressively noisy with her music, sometimes at 3am just to annoy me. Not a threat at all, but I really had no emotional training to deal with it. So my emotional basic mind responded with "I have to shoot her, but I can't do that. I'm trapped, therefore must flee the danger." It really came down to that stupid conclusion. But I reacted with full body shaking terror anytime I heard her subwoofer. Then at work, even an HVAC system turning on had a low thrum sound that I'd react to that. I was stuck in fear by a part of my mind that was trying its best to protect me from perceived danger. It took weeks of purposefully examining the situation with my logical mind, talking to my primitive mind that was in terror, every time I'd hear something that triggered me. I'd ask it "Is this danger, or just an annoyance?" and wait for a response. Over and over again. It eventually learned through repetition that this was just an annoying thing, not a real danger. I taught myself a new response and got to the point where subwoofer sounds were easy to ignore, and I stopped being triggered. The mind really is segmented more than we usually realize, but the pieces can work together through training it. The same sort of thing is true of those who have an irrational fear of hell. It makes no logical sense, but the terror is quite real and will remain so until the mind is taught to see through repetition that it isn't a real danger. I've read articles that say this is backed up by current knowledge of how the amygdala learns. So yes, one can be an atheist and still have fear of hell, and that fear can be overcome through purposeful confrontation of the triggers and re-training the amygdala to see that it was lied to originally and that there is nothing to fear.
  32. 1 point
    Yes I think you can be an atheist and still fear Hell. We have all had irrational fears on occasion. A few years ago, I visited the CN tower in Toronto with my wife and son. On the observation deck there’s a glass floor where you can stand and look down at the ground, a thousand feet below. It’s thoroughly unnerving and most people have great difficulty stepping out on to the glass. I did, even though I was completely confident that it was as strong as the opaque floor nearby. I’m lucky that I have not had a fear of Hell since I deconverted. But then I was very skeptical about Hell even when I was a Christian. But I know there are quite a few people here who had trouble with this fear, even when they were intellectually satisfied that neither gods nor Hell exist. I think that for most Ex-Christians, the fear of Hell, if any, diminishes as time goes by. But it’s not fair in my book to question their atheism while that fear still lingers.
  33. 1 point
    I struggle with depression as well. And this journey into atheism is very new to me. I have had been thinking a lot about purpose. Specifically, I have been thinking "without an afterlife, what purpose do I have?" I would be lying if I said it hasn't affected my motivation in a negative way. But it got a little better today. What has given me comfort is thinking about being a very young child. I didn't have any real concept of God, death, or an afterlife. I just enjoyed life for what it was. I enjoyed playing in the dirt, laying in the grass, climbing trees, playing games with my friends, buying candy with the change I found, and so on. It's freeing to me. To allow myself to live in the now. I also see much to find meaning in still. Family, taking care of the earth, helping eliminate poverty, protesting against war, etc. I hope that is helpful.
  34. 0 points
    If god answers prayer, you’d think he would have answered these (in the affirmative): City that prayed, searched for missing girl to say goodbye https://apnews.com/ab23f1fc60e4a40e1240f96ca5c3cd18

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