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Showing content with the highest reputation on 05/26/2020 in all areas

  1. 5 points
    I left my last non-denominational Christian church more than 15 years ago, after trying to be the “perfect Christian” for almost 20 years, but my journey of being in a love/hate relationship with God started in 2001. I had been married 362 days before and had just left my emotionally and physically abusive husband. I hadn't yet been hit but had been hurt in other ways and knew, the night before, that if I didn't leave, I would be hit soon. I had married this man, after a whirlwind dating experience, 8 months after we had met. I was 29, a month shy of 30, when we married, and I was sure that God had hand-picked him out just for me. I was "born again" at 16, right around the time that Love Waits was touring the country. I made a decision at one of those rallies to wait until I was married to have sex. I had fulfilled that promise to God and had waited the almost 30 years I mentioned earlier by the time we married. I was also incredibly involved in church – had led the junior high youth group, hosted bible studies, was on the worship team, played music with other women on the worship team at retreats... I was IN, 100% IN. I met my, now, ex-husband on December 31, 1999 and danced with him well into January 1, 2000. The song "It's the End of the World (As We Know It)" played at midnight and the thought that ran through my mind was that it really wasn't ever going to be the same. I was right; I just had no idea the trajectory it would ultimately have. Of course, I later attributed that thought to God telling me he brought this man into my life. We had an instant familiarity because he was friends with my pastor's stepdaughter and her husband. The two men had been friends since they were 10 so I decided that meant he must be a good guy to still be friends after all of these years. I didn't see any of the red flags because I was so certain this was "of God". Fast forward 362 days. I had left my husband and was sitting with a very good friend from my church when her husband came home. I’m not even sure if he greeted me, but the exact words he said within about a minute of his arrival were that I was "spitting on the cross of Christ" for leaving my husband. No one knew of, or bothered to ask about, the abuses, of the assault that had shattered me, of the affair, or of the child pornography I had found. No one heard him screaming at me and then throwing up, because he had become so worked up, while I laid in bed. No one else had wondered that night if or when the cops might show up because a neighbor called 911. But apparently the only thing that mattered was that I had "spit on the cross of Christ" by leaving. In that moment and in the weeks to follow, I not only lost the dream of the perfect marriage, I had now also lost my all of friends (who sided with this man who was a church deacon), and my church home of seven years. I didn’t know it then but that was the beginning of the end of my relationship with God. I attended a new church, in a new town, after my marriage fell apart. I was there for about 3 years when that also fell apart because a new building changed the focus from people to money. The pastor’s mantra became about giving more money and then saying, "If you don't like it, you can leave, and 10 others will come in your place." I didn't like it, I didn't like the in-fighting, I didn't like being devalued week after week after giving so much of myself, and I didn't let the door hit me on the ass on the way out. I had friends tell me not to stay away too long - that I needed to be back among believers, but I never really made it back. I was disillusioned, heartbroken, lacked any trust in church leaders, and couldn't understand why God would allow any of that. Where was he?? Not too many years later, I moved to Washington, DC to work for a 3-letter agency, on a child exploitation task force and saw the absolute worst of humanity on a daily basis. I worked with an amazing team of people which made the work bearable but if something will make you ask questions about a "good, loving God", it's watching kids being abused in videos and pictures. The other things that contributed to my questioning a "good, loving God", was that, while I was in DC, I ended up losing my house in the collapse of the housing market, which caused me to go bankrupt, and in the same week, found out the man I had been in love with for four years, was married. So, where was God? I thought he had plans for me, promises for me: "plans for good and not for disaster, to give (me) a future and a hope" "all you who are weary and burdened, come to me and I will give you rest" "all who listen to me will live in peace, untroubled by fear of harm" "whatever you ask in my name, this I will do" "if you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, 'move from here to there,' and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you." But none of those things actually happened. Since that time, I have been what my best friend calls, an angry agnostic. I have been so mad at God and at the people that were supposed to represent him, that even the mention of someone praying for someone or hearing a song that sounds “Christian” has made me angry. But on the other hand, I haven’t been able to say that there is no God. I just keep asking, “whose God? What makes the Christian God THE God”? But then two weeks ago, when talking with that same friend, I made an off-handed remark about there being no god and it was the first time I didn’t feel any guilt, no trepidation, no worry of being struck down, no fear of being wrong. I don’t yet have an ending for this… I am just now processing it. I don’t know where I will land on any of this, but I do know that being angry hasn’t helped for the last dozen-plus years so I have let that go (with the help of an amazing therapist) and am now on a quest to figure out what faith means for me, if anything at all.
  2. 2 points
    Jacob grappled by the Jabbok in the night Filled with doubts and howling whys and interrogation lies No submission to the angels in his head Do you also lie awake and ask God why Why are floods and droughts reversed and why does coffee taste so good Why there are no answers in the back of that black book Do you live between the question and the mark Do your eyes see in the dark, does your face resent the mask ‘Cos there’s no time between the future and the past Do you see the puzzle pieces do not fit Do you pull your stomach in, grin and bear the heels that pinch Knowing God is love and made a place called hell Do you hug that angel fiercely through the night Dislocate your devious mind, calling this a limp of faith Do you surrender but keep wrestling for your life Do you?
  3. 2 points
    Guys, I think, at this point, we have all made our points. We have given her the advice, warnings, and wisdom we have gained from our experience. It is clear, also, that she intends to go her own way with this thing. Let's not turn this thread into a dogpile. Sometimes the best support we can give to someone is to move put of the way and let them learn for themselves. Some do learn; some don't. Either way, and however difficult it may be to watch, Leia is one of us, and we have each done the best we could for her.
  4. 1 point
    John Steinguard announces his renouncement. Sights problem in Bible that rampant misogyny indicates books where written by, and in the interest of, ancient men of the time(s). Smart boy! I wonder how many of his fans will take note... https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/hawk-nelson-religion-christian-rock-songs-god-a9533286.html
  5. 1 point
    Wow, Jenni, you have been through a lot. A lot that you did not deserve to go through. I am glad you are in such a better position now. You have a lot to discover ahead of you! FWIW a thought about the anger: Aristotle says it's a response to a perceived injustice. There is a lot of injustice in the whole bundle of Christianity as a system. I think it's legitimate for you to be angry against that and the people who profit from its injustices. That is enough to explain your anger, so I don't think you have to feel that you are "mad at God," the way Christians like to accuse ex-Christians of being. And I think you can say something like, "I defend A's right to belief and practice her/his faith, but I deny that Christians have the right to control everyone else, and their attempts to control the rest of us make me angry - and my anger gives me energy to resist!" Or something like that. Hope to hear more from you, F
  6. 1 point
    Anything that lasts forever would be hell. Just existing forever would be hell. There's just not enough to do. I guess that's why bible god is such a dick. The only way this works is if your mind is fundamentally altered to just enjoy things but then you're not really you anymore so who cares at that point? The new you may as well sit back and enjoy the eternal ride. The old, actual, you will be long dead and won't care anyway. mwc
  7. 1 point
    Hi, Jenni... I'm sorry that you had to go through all that adversity. Processing what you've been through can take time, for sure. Thing is, your healing started when you left the cult. Glad you found your way out.
  8. 1 point
    Thanks for sharing... And Welcome! I'm sorry for all that you endured - especially all of the judgment for leaving an obviously unhealthy marriage. I, too, first lost faith in Providence. I always believed IN SPITE of all of the mounting inconsistencies i kept observing within the Bible and between the Bible and reality. But I chose to keep trusting despite my doubts. Once my faith in providence crumbled, i no longer had reason to rationalize away my doubts in order to sustain belief... I am a happy agnostic - fortunate to not be angry. Something that helps me not be angry at "God" is that i am now 99.9999% sure that if some version of God exists, it's not the fundamental-evangelical-bible version that let me down - that god does not exist, so there isn't anyone to be angry at... I hope that made sense. Anyway, glad you are here. I hope that, with time, your anger can pass - so that you can more fully enjoy this precious but fleeting existence. Maybe in a reply you can talk more about the details of your anger - get it all written out. It can be healing.
  9. 1 point
    As an atheist, one of the key issues I had with religious belief was the idea for whatever we don't understand or have answers for, we can insert God. Also known as God of the Gaps thinking. I've had several religious friends over the years make it clear that they are still saying "I don't know" but they have confidence that God has things handled and that is good enough. No, you are not saying I don't know. You are still acting with some level of presumed certainty. This kind of thinking leaves us vulnerable to compartmentalized thought and cognitive dissonance. This kind of thinking makes it unacceptable to say, "I don't know." Not being able to say "I don't know" hampers finding solutions to very real issues. Funny enough, we suffer from our own "god of the gaps" thinking in many circles outside of religion, as well. Conspiracy theory is a glaring example of this reasoning that has shown itself time and time again throughout the centuries among our most illuminated peers out there. God of the gaps thinking is a method to express the frustration of our more primitive emotional self that can't handle not having certainty. This process heavily affects our supposedly logical thinking. Like it or not, we are emotional beings, and this isn't a detriment by any means, or we'd likely not have survived all the challenges our ancestors faced. Finding the balance in the application of our emotional self is vital. A point I would like to try and make with this bit of discussion is how our desire for certainty can go so far as to alienate and endanger others for the sake of helping our logical brain satisfy our emotional survival instincts. Take for example the divisiveness about masking in public to minimize further spreading of COVID by those who are asymptomatic. Masking is the new hotbed of debate. And it's a fierce arena that even I have taken a few swings. One side argues it's all about precaution and safety, while the other says it's the promotion of fear and baseless science. Both sides present the same argument though, which is highly ironic in my view, but nonetheless: Masking is good or Masking is bad because----health authorities don't know for sure how much effect it will have on COVID since transmission of the disease is still being sorted out. We know some of how it works, but not all of it. There isn't 100% certainty, and this makes some suspicious. The ONLY study that is recognized and used by the medical community regarding the efficacy of masking is here: https://pubs.acs.org/doi/10.1021/acsnano.0c03252 And by the way, it doesn't bring any certainty to the game for either side. Now, before you fire off in the comments below with certainty about masking, whether by your emotional side or what you believe is just your logical, understand I support masking. The reality is the study shows it helps to prevent some spread to others. I don't care if it's only a 20% reduction in spread; that is still worth it to me. So, ease your response, and keep reading. Also, read the study, because many of your cloth masks are absolute shit and you don't know it. It's a simple fix. My point is the certainty that data gives us, and how in our efforts to get that much-needed certainty, we drive away others. So, what happens when we already have suspicions against authority, to begin with? We see the economic impact the response to this virus has taken. For some, the logical response is that health authorities don't know what the hell they are doing and now we have gone over the edge and ruined ourselves. For others, safer than sorry outweighs the longterm economical ramifications because what good is a country if it is unable to get control of a virus? The economy will tank anyway. My point of view is that there are two sides to the debate on the world's response to COVID. One side can accept that this disease, while not completely new, has features to it we haven't dealt with before when it comes to transmission and illness. This side accepts that we have a lack of certainty on how to treat it, and we will have to go through a lot of trial and error to get it right but is willing to err on the side of caution at any cost. This side finds it offensive to not consider the well-being of others when deciding to not wear a mask and shares copious amounts of government and health org data to justify wearing one at all costs. For maskers, trusting these authorities to determine care makes logical sense since they are the only ones with the resources to study and determine treatment. Maskers are suspicious of organizations claiming authority that are not generally supported by authoritative sources and tear apart treatment information that directly contradicts organizations with a history of successful outcomes. Those who are against masking typically can't accept that this disease is anything new or as bad as claimed. Anti-maskers can't accept the uncertainty of how to treat it, or that we should be subjected to trial and error to figure it out. There is distrust towards larger organizational authorities because of the fluidity of the COVID pandemic and information on how to deal with the disease. Some on this side believe that nature should take its course based on past understandings of how similar diseases work. This side feels it is wrong to determine the personal freedom of others in the name of preventing a disease that health officials don't have certainty about. Some believe it's purposeful overreach into their lives to take away personal freedom. It's an almost a my body, my choice argument. Anti-maskers are keenly aware of the current impact on the economy, the overall health of the public due to being locked down and fear, and their emotional side can't justify the actions of authoritative organizations that adjust information constantly. So, they look elsewhere for what they believe is a consistent certainty on what the situation is and how to deal with it. This group wants a final answer on the COVID pandemic and doesn't accept not knowing. The majority of supporting resources they use involve discredited or partially true assumptions from outlier groups that go against the norm and who claim are victims of government censorship, bullying, and threats. So, let's talk about these latter groups of marginalized authorities aka "woke" scientists who peddle alternative theories. I hate to break it to you, but these folks are snake-oil salesmen playing on your uncertainty even more sinister than your government health offices. Conspiracy theories have an agenda that has nothing to do with public safety. Many times, conspiracy theories purposely breed mistrust to help undermine authority because history has shown that too much power leads to abuse. This sounds noble, doesn't it? Unfortunately, they also want a piece of that power pie to have enough weight in public and political circles to get money. Counter-culturism, anti-government philosophy, anti-intellectualism, and religion are all politically motivated and operate this way. Behind every plandemic or NWO documentary, you will find a think-tank that is funding it so that they can get more money to influence (lobby) government. What you believe to be a revolution in thinking that gives a solution to the gap in certainty you can't fill, is 9 times out of 10, a political hack job selling you cherry-picked information out of context. Anti-Masking is a prime example of this. When we have the answer we need served to us on a neat little plate without having to do any true scientific research, it isn't being lazy. We naturally want a leader to trust, but we have personal standards, and sometimes we prefer to choose a leader that aligns with our beliefs more than reality. When you choose an outlier group, a revolutionary group even, often their resources do come from the very government agencies we don't trust. These groups will even, at the same time, accuse government resources of being bought out, and we don't realize this paradox because we either don't check their data, don't have enough knowledge about the subject to verify the data, or don't have anyone else we can trust in that field to verify that data. This situation is a signal that it's time to step back and think: What the fuck am I thinking? Plandemic used CDC data, WHO data, governmental data--but they cherry-picked it to manipulate your understanding by lack of appropriate context. If you don't know what cherry-picking is, let me give you an example. Imagine you are eating a hotdog at a restaurant, and the waitress asks if you want some ketchup. You say, "No, I don't like ketchup on my hotdogs." The waitress then says to everyone else in the diner that you don't like ketchup, and she then proceeds to tell them about how ketchup isn't healthy, that tomatoes are a carcinogen, that other diners who ate ketchup eventually got obese and had heart attacks, and so on. Well, it's not true you don't like ketchup. You just don't like ketchup with hotdogs. That waitress took your statement, cherry-picked it, and then pushed her own agenda. That is exactly what a lot of these faux documentaries do. But why did your waitress push this agenda? This question..the WHY behind the motivation is critical. Turns out, there's a mustard representative that has offered her a huge kickback for supporting their view that mustard is better on a hotdog than ketchup. BUT, she just thinks it's about the health effects of ketchup and she is thrilled someone finally supports her view. The mustard company doesn't tell her it's really just about selling more of their products. The people she is sharing her information with already had an underlying doubt about whether they LIKED ketchup or not, and now she just gave them even more reason to decide they didn't. We see this practiced on the political level in health, science, and even the food market every day. Now, I'm sure you're ready to counter my thoughts here, and please, again, stay your urge to type. Because, yes, the government does this to us too about a lot of things. When it comes to funding, influencing elections, and accepting standards of healthcare, we get manipulated a lot. We get manipulated by our favorite clothing brands, too. Our trusted news sources? Oh, you best believe it. My question is this: Is it all sinister intentions? Of course not. This is where we have to accept we aren't as advanced as a species as you would like to believe. Companies and governments have to make money to operate, have to have some level of compliance to be successful for whatever initiative (good or bad) that is being proposed. We are a herd of beasts influenced by the well-being of our families and communities. Just like when trying to herd chickens into a pen to get away from a nearby coyote, we too have to be controlled. Many times for our own good. This is where our need for certainty comes into play. Either we stay outside of the coop and face the threat we know minimal information about in smaller numbers with the wrong tools and solutions, and or we join the rest and work together in a bit more controlled environment and try to find some answers. We have this amazing disconnect between our individuality and our being a part of a hive. We are and always will be part of a hive. This is not an insult or a display of weakness. Our country wouldn't be what it is today if we operated solely as individuals all the time. I promise you that the liberty you fiercely claim to have wouldn't exist as you know it if we decided to operate independently of one another. We know how shitty we are as individuals, and we certainly wouldn't get everything done if we operated alone. I understand that some say that rogues helped to create change, but many of these so-called rogues weren't rogues though. They actively participated in society as a whole. The outliers like Mikovitz haven't accomplished fuck all because they have been dishonest to get ahead. They peddle their mustard while peddling fear. You don't need to fear your government, you need to be aware of what tyranny actually looks like and decide, is this really a sinister plot to control the masses further or is it the horrifying reality that we don't have the certainty necessary to treat COVID effectively? Is it a mix of both? Which is more likely? A conspiracy to control the masses that involves literally BILLIONS of people to pull it off? Or a disease we don't have the capabilities to quickly get control of because we aren't advanced enough of in science and medicine to deal with it effectively? Which is more likely? Occam's Razor is heavily at play here, and you need to apply this to your reasoning. Are you looking up the sources for your information through outlets that you can be sure isn't pushing an agenda that has nothing to do with your concern? Stacking data, especially information that is not scientifically accurate and isn't corrected for those inaccuracies, is a huge flag you have a bad source and need to re-evaluate your standards for certainty. If a scientist claims that ketchup causes heart attacks and is proven false, and changes his science to meet that finding, that's a good source to trust. There is a dedication to providing accurate information. When a scientist won't change their findings based on the new evidence and insist they are still right, you don't have a good source to trust. Christ, the bible says if you have two animals fuck in front of a stick painted with stripes that the offspring will come out striped. Science has proven this false. Would you still believe the Bible's claim for that subject? I would hope not. The same goes for Plandemic. Some information is cherry-picked to then justify a finding. That isn't how science works. You can claim Fauci has more authority than any world leader and personally drummed her out of her field. What's more likely? Fauci has the authority and influence of a world leader, has millions of scientists under his control, and they all conspired against her? Now Bill Gates is on to her trying to undermine his 5G chip implanting vaccination program that is funded by the NWO with millions of operatives worldwide. Or, she got greedy and thought she could use her reputation alone to push fraudulent work? What is more likely? The work she did is still available. All she had to do was go back, do her work over again and resubmit. She didn't do that. Instead, she found another way to make money and now gets paid by anti-vaxx firms. And yes, there's an actual money trail for that, and she states she's anti-vaxx on her personally controlled bio page. This is all easily found with any search platform, and you can view her own personal work for yourself. So, there you go. My point is, when we have uncertainty coupled with frustration, whether about government control or the healthcare industry, we lean towards what makes our emotional self - our instinctive self - feel secure. Our logical self then tries to rationalize it. We fill that gap of uncertainty because IT FEELS GOOD. This is our survival instinct at our most basic. I don't mean feels good like "let's go have beers and celebrate", I mean feels good as in gaining security and understanding how the world is operating around us. I don't know if you realize this, but the universe isn't predictable, and we barely understand our planet. With the age of information we are in, maybe step back and realize it isn't an age of information at all, but simply an age of communication. I would challenge that the 21st century is leading us to better understand how we reason, and so far, I'm very scared. I don't know what it takes for us to learn how to be comfortable being uncomfortable. I don't know what it will take for us to embrace uncertainty and accept that there are many things out of our control. We're new to the earth's ecosystem. Keep that in perspective. For the billions of years our planet has been here, we've existed for less than 4 million of them. Think how long we lived in caves, used leeches to bleed out demons, and believed the earth was flat. Think how recently we understood the earth is round, that disease isn't a fairy tale beast in our blood, and that the universe is expanding. We have a very steep learning curve, and as infants in this terrarium, we call home, we still barely understand how our bodies work and respond to mutations in our environment through toxins and disease. There are no sacred cows. Be skeptical, but don't make decisions blindly. I see the increase in suicides, people suffering heart attacks, and avoiding treatment out of the ironic fear of contracting COVID. Should we have been locked down this long? No. Could we trust each other to do the right thing? Probably not. There are too many blindsides to know with 100% certainty the right action to take, but at least we have resources that are willing to adapt with new findings and admit when something isn't working. To not be willing to adjust is biblical suicide. Relying on organizations peddling false information to justify your personal bias and actions is reckless too. We are better than this. We are in a catch 22 situation that will have long-term outcomes we can't even predict. There is only one certainty in this scenario: Hindsight is always 2020.
  10. 1 point
    By that standard I suppose you think I am brainwashed for being a witch (Wicca) . I believe in my Gods as much as the Christians believe in their God. The liberal Christians aren't brainwashed and neither am I . Brainwashing is something I define based on the BITE model of cult behavior not some abstract and subjective standard. I tend to think Leia is right here in reference to the term "brainwashed". Brainwashing is different from indoctrination, and I'm not even sure you could claim liberal Christians are indoctrinated. Some versions of their Christianity is so pink and fluffy that its hard to find reference to God or Jesus. Those types believe simply because it makes them feel good, or they want to, not because they were indoctrinated as kids. However, Leia, I will say you are just as wrong as Christians in your belief's. Not brainwashed sure, but I think you are believing something without good evidence to believe it. Though I'm sure you'll disagree. Of course you are free to believe whatever you like so long as you do not harm others with your belief.
  11. 1 point
    Just processing going from non-xtian to realizing there probably is no god - at least like the one portrayed in the Bible? That was about 2 mos. for me. Anyway, your story is one of millions where xanity or some other jacked up religions has destroyed, significantly impacted, or at least put someone's life on hold for years. Side bar: I'd like to see a study of the percentage of control-freak xtians compared with the "normal" population. The study should probably only include the really strict xtians as those seem to be the abusive ones. Then again...maybe a chicken and egg thing? I wonder if Mrs. MOHO is so drawn to the abusive religion because she has a naturally abusive personality or vice-versa. Her son is the exact same way. Treats his wife and 3 daughters like absolute doo doo then screams at them that they are not "walking with the lard" when they push back. Acts like such a loving, godly, pure, hates people who swear, "bless this", "bless you" little goody too shoos at any other time. Went off on a tangent there. Back to you... Glad you're out of that situation and what a totally effed up reaction from MR. Fundy when you left your asshole husband. There is nothing lower that someone who would send an abuse victim back to the abuser.
  12. 1 point
    You may be onto something with these thoughts. My understanding is that there are no original writings available.
  13. 1 point
    You bet. I'm grateful to have found what you wrote, so no worries! I hope that you tell your story every chance you get. People need to hear your clear story of identifying and doing the hard word getting free! Cheers! ~Yak
  14. 1 point
    My sincere thanks to those of you that responded after I last wrote. It is so incredibly helpful to hear your stories and know that I'm not alone. I did just submit my testimonial. I wasn't sure if I would because I don't have finality yet but a friend encouraged me to because of the things that led me to today. Thank you ALL again! I have found tremendous value in this space.
  15. 1 point
    In liberal Christian Hell you get a participation trophy.
  16. 1 point
    According to the 16 fundamental truths of the ASSemblies of god, the "initial physical evidence" of the indwelling of the holy spirit is speaking in tongues. Unfortunately, this stance is not biblical. The bible lists physical evidence of the indwelling of the holy spirit as "gifts of the spirit" (wisdom, fortitude, piety, etc.) and "fruits of the spirit" (you, patience, faithfulness, etc.). The bible never mentions tongues as being a requirement for baptism in, or indwelling of, the holy spirit. Moreover, there are two Greek words translated as "tongues" in the bible: glossolalia (refering to any vical utterance or articulation) and dialektos (referring to actual languages or dialects). The word used in Acts 2 was dialektos, which means that when the apostles received the holy spirit on the day of pentecost, they were miraculously enabled to speak in other languages (Swahili, Serbian, Cantonese, etc.). Thus the gibberish common in pentecostal churches is also not in keeping with the scripture. In short, the modern practice of speaking in tongues cannot be the work of the same holy spirit who inspired the written word of god, as it is contrary to said text.
  17. 1 point
    It has never happened to me, but I've seen it happen to other people. I think that they reach such a state of euphoria that they give up control and start spewing jibberish. Credit, of course, always goes to the holy spirit..because science and logic have no place in the church...

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