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Showing content with the highest reputation since 01/18/2020 in Posts

  1. 12 points
    I am so glad to see that ExC is still here engaging in its very important mission. I see a lot of familiar names and a good number of new members. I am glad. I first came here in 2009 and received an incredible amount of help in my deconversion (is that term still used here?). I found this place to be a very welcoming community and I am sure it still is. Untold thousands have been helped by webmdave’s website/forums, assisted by the capable moderators and caring members. if anyone is interested, you can find some of my old postings buried somewhere here. But one thing I will say is that I have never looked back, never returned to Christianity, and remain a steadfast non-believer. Life is better without that religion dragging its victims into the depths of a non-existent hell. That’s right, hell does not exist. It is a control device used to keep scared people in the prison of Christianity, shackled to a cross on which no savior was ever crucified, and bound to a Bible that offers no freedom.
  2. 10 points
    Hello everyone my name is Tim, I just deconverted this week and I feel so much better. I had some serious doubts about christianity all my life, And when I found this website and read a few testomonials it gave me the strength to finnaly break free from that evil cult. I feel so grateful for the support and I am looking forward to meeting all of you and posting my own story soon.
  3. 9 points
    I've never properly thanked you guys and this site for helping me to deconvert. Deconversion is best for people who are mentally ill. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. Thank you for having patience with me. I haven't had one manic attack since I spoke to you last. At this stage I am fully deconverted. Christianity seems like a fairytale to me now. I have read many books by sensible non christian writers that gave me a new perspective. I am glad this site still exists. It is indeed valuable to many individuals. Anyway, my best wishes to all of you.
  4. 8 points
    Hi everyone, I am a lifelong Catholic who has recently decided that religion (at the very least) is man made. I went from carrying a rosary everywhere I went to reading the God Delusion in one weekend. I was watching a documentary on the Greek gods, and just like that I was overwhelmed with the realization that my God was no different than any other. That my scripture was no more inspired than any other. I cant see my religion (any religion) as faith any more. All I can see now is a sort of mob like swelling of "beliefs." Us vs. them. We're righteous. They're not. Anyways...nice to meet all of you.
  5. 8 points
    Well, I just got back from the group meetup. The people there were nice and supportive, and It was really good to be able to talk with people who have the same mindset. One of the group leaders is a former minister who's now an atheist, so that was very interesting to see. I don't feel quite as alone anymore.
  6. 8 points
    Only when they are interested in wanting to know answers. Remember how we were 'open' to wanting to question the bible when we arrived here at Ex-c? If they are not open, you will get defensive answers as to why they are right. I was one of them many years ago. I would not listen. So I feel that it is a waste of time. Most people have to be ready to hear these truths about the bible. I would think that millions of people have their doubts (the same as I did) but do not want to face the truth. As we all know, finding out the truth can be devastating. Losing faith is the single most hard thing that has ever happened to me. I leave others alone now. They can barely make it through life without their faith.
  7. 7 points
    Hello, my name is Joseph. I’m currently 23 years old and have been closeted gay since I was 14. I spent years of my life questioning my sexuality and what I liked and didn’t like. For all of those years, I isolated myself more and more. I also became angry and irritable towards my family. My mom would inquire about my attitude, but I would always shrug off her questions as me just being a “moody teenager” or being under stress from school. In reality though, I was keeping this major part of my life a secret and was even resenting her and my family for making me feel like I had to keep it a secret. Until recently, I had never even considered leaving my faith. Surprisingly enough, I actually decided to look up atheist arguments against Christianity while reading some books by CS Lewis my mom had just bought me for Christmas. Reading his writings, I realized that I had never taken the time to see what the other side of the argument was. Rather, I had always assumed what I believed to be true and kept my gayness in check because of that. Soon after some Google and YouTube searches though, I was beginning to realize that I had been doubting my faith for years. Many of the arguments against Christianity were similar to the questions I was already thinking but too afraid to ask for many years. Now, I’m in this state of limbo, feeling stuck with these beliefs that I’m not really sure I have anymore but also feeling this desire to let go of it all and finally allow myself to be the person I’ve been hiding for years. The more I realize how not-unique my story is and how many people share a similar experience and walk away feeling better because of it, the more I want it for myself. I still feel stuck though, like I have to get God’s permission first to stop believing in Him, even though I know how ridiculous that sounds. I don’t necessarily want to believe, but I also can’t escape the feelings and experiences that have propped up my faith for the past 23 years. Thank you for taking the time to read this. I look forward to maybe finding a community of people that I can actually talk about these things openly with.
  8. 7 points
    Welcome BarnOwl. I'm so happy you found Ex-c! Just remember my friend, you are going to be confused about all of this at first because your mind is pulling you back and forth. Once you learn more about the christian god, you will be able to become free to be who you really are! Stay with us. Post. Read. Ask us questions. And remember.....jesus himself never said one word in the new testament about being against any loving, gay person. Don't you think if this topic of being gay was that important, Jesus himself would have said something about it? Yet he didn't. So breathe and relax for tonight. Get ready for the journey you are about to take. It will be a little bit of a roller-coaster ride as you find your new life and form a new 'world view'. You got this!.
  9. 7 points
    Many of us had great experiences in church and in private worship times, it's just that eventually we had enough legitimate questions with only vague nonsensical answers, reams of Bible verses that gave a very different picture of the Bible god than we worshiped, actual historical evidence that belies the stories of the scriptures, and the complete silence of god when we really needed answers (which stands in stark contrast to the pleasant sounding promises that drew us in as converts "Ask and it shall be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For all who ask receive, etc" "If your child asks for bread, will you give him a stone?" etc). It turned into a constant shell-game of "Oh He's always faithful! He answered, but it just looks different than you expected or wanted." "He's not a cosmic vending machine you know" "Maybe God wanted another little angel at his throne" I experienced things that seemed to confirm the reality of God at the time, but in retrospect leave me wondering what it really was. I've been out of the faith now for 12.5 years after 30 years of on-fire pursuit of God's presence. Since then, I've read a lot about the reality of world history, and the complete lack of it matching the Bible. Then the logistics of a whole people group and their animals leaving Egypt without a trace of that being found in any writings outside of Judaism, trying to get water to millions of them from a magic rock drinking fountain, talking snake, talking donkey, and loads of God blessing mass rape and genocide. I swallowed all of it while a believer and hoped I'd experience some of that magic, especially after Jesus promised that God would dwell inside each believer. 30 years and tens of thousands of dollars later, there was no reality to it. Lots of smiles and fellowship in the cult, but no reality of God in it. No answers to honest questions. No explanations for the primitive tribal violence and taboos replete in the scriptures (including the anti-gay ones). No revelations to the primitive peoples about germs or cooking their food properly, or any science at all. Lots of stories about magic, but nothing for us but promises that aren't kept. Now that I'm on the outside, life makes a ton more sense with no invisible battles between angels and demons. Sex is simply a drive we all have (or mostly all have), and there is a variety of wiring in that regard. We are products of the Earth and part of the variety of life left on the planet. I find joy in that connection and in trying to be kind to others. Anyway, I hope you find the inner peace you need.
  10. 7 points
    Welcome to our community. I understand the feeling of being a square peg forced into a round hole very well. Having been out of religion for nearly 20 years now, I still find parts of myself that I have kept hidden or not allowed myself the freedom to experience or explore. But knowing that the only permission I need is my own has been the most liberating knowledge I have ever gained.
  11. 6 points
  12. 6 points
    The goal of any argument should never be changing the mind of the person you're arguing with; but, rather, perhaps, enlightening those who might be listening in. That said, let them come, let them do their best.
  13. 6 points
    I said other. I appreciate that this is a space for ex-Christians to recover, and there are times when being exposed to evangelism may not be helpful. However, I think there are enough "seasoned" members here that Christian arguments are usually dealt with in short order. Also, some new members find it actively helpful to argue with Christians and thereby strengthen their own new convictions. I think that roughly covers my feelings on options 1 and 2. As far as trying to (de?)convert them is concerned, in principle I would like it if more people saw that Christianity is false, but I don't really feel a strong desire to dissuade people of their convictions, so long as those convictions aren't actively causing harm. I have enjoyed arguing with Christians in the past, but these days I mainly just find it tiresome. I do think it's important to remember that some Christians may stumble upon this site on their way out, as it were, and may engage in passionate evangelism here in a desperate attempt to justify their own faith. Enchanges with us here may eventually help some of these top find their way out, which I think is important. Ultimately, I'm happy to have conversation with anyone who is willing to engage in rational discussion. If someone wants to try to argue for Christianity, fine. They'll have a hard time of it, but that's alright. And if they just resort to preaching ad nauseum, then they're easy enough to ignore. On the whole, I think I prefer a case-by-case approach.
  14. 6 points
    Hello. I just typed out a very long post and accidentally deleted it. Ugh. Anyways I am 37 and was in and out of church most of my life. I tried many different times and many different ways to “get closer to God” always wondering what I was missing. Pray more! MemoriZe and meditate on scripture! Just have faith! Don’t question! Have more unwanted sex with your husband! The list goes on. I always ended up short. Always felt like I didn’t belong in the church circles. Always felt shame for not being able to love my husband the way others seemed to love theirs. I hastily got married young after getting pregnant by someone I barely knew. I proceeded to get caught up in the Christian, homeschool, large family movement. And had 8 kids. I love them dearly. But 15 years of nursing, breastfeeding, and isolation took a severe toll on me. After my last child I was very suicidal. My husband didn’t take it seriously. Through a series of unfortunate events I was connected to a Christian therapist who has been amazing. Anyways a year ago I really started trying to get to know myself and focus on my health. I realized I am gay. Took me a long time to begin accepting it. I am still in the process. But I have no idea how I will untangle the choices I have made in order to live my truth. And I still have the religious voices in my head that tell me I am shameful and undeserving of love and I will go to hell. I was excited to find this site today. I have read a few threads and it was a breath of fresh air. I look forward to interacting with you all.
  15. 6 points
    I felt more connected to humanity upon deconversion. It's weird; because I don't like people very much.
  16. 6 points
    So sorry it didn't go over very well AP. And this is what family (or friends) will do when you tell them something you know isn't going to go well. People like to make others feel guilty. It's part of wanting for them to stay in control and to control YOU. Even when you call somebody out on their own bullshit, you will get defensive answers as to why they did what they did (or believe what they believe) and they will normally blame everything around them except themselves. People ''pass the buck'' all the time. It's passive aggressive behavior and it will produce guilt in you if you accept it. Especially when you are trying to tell someone that you are not a believer anymore. I wouldn't say too much more to any of them. Go quiet for awhile. And be peaceful to know that you stood up for yourself!! Every time you stand up for yourself, it becomes easier. Just remain loving and kind and show them YOU are in control now!! Keep us posted. (hug)
  17. 6 points
    Welcome, BarnOwl! I too like your screen name, especially since I used to be an avid birder. Like you, I struggled to reconcile being Christian with being gay. Eventually the injustice of God as depicted by Christianity, and the failure of NT promises to come true as the NT indicates they should, drove me out of the religion. Later on I came to see how flawed is the evidential basis it rests on. I don't know whether the old archives are still accessible here on Ex-Chr. Below is my anti-testimony, which I posted back in 2004. Egad! 16 more years have gone by! Sorry for the length. I hope there is something you can identify with. I agree with you that we're not all that unique. Time to say yes to life It’s been over twenty years since my fervent faith collapsed, and almost fifteen since I stopped going to church altogether. I used to think I could never go on without believing in Christ as my savior. Rarely, I miss it, but I realize it’s the social or emotional trappings-- Christmas carols on an icy night, incense breathed at mass, or tradition and the pull of ideals. I know from reading posts on this website that many people who drop Christianity feel adrift and anxious. From my middle-aged perspective, I haven’t looked back or regretted leaving. I’d make the same decision again and know it was the right one. Christianity was costing me my chance for a human life. The god it represented was unjust. It didn’t live up to what it promised. As a system, it couldn’t be true. As a young child I was sent to Presbyterian Sunday School by parents who were also into Westernized, Hinduistic practices and ideas like vedantic yoga and reincarnation. I was attracted to God and spiritual things. The summer after ninth grade I had been reading Autobiography of a Yogi and was struck by the meaninglessness of earthly life compared to the aspiration of becoming one with God. All the same I wanted to fit in with other kids, plus I was attracted to other boys, but I didn’t confront that as a “problem” within myself until I was well into high school. I wound up in college lonely and confused, resigned that I was gay but unable to decide what to do about that, wishing for a sense of direction and purpose. I wanted to understand truth that would set me free (I used to say this biblical verse to myself). I had fallen in love with philosophy and wanted to study more, even perhaps someday to be a philosopher. At the start of sophomore year I met some students who had been “saved” over the summer. They seemed full of life and purpose. I marveled at how they seemed transformed. They and other Christian students all seemed to display instant love for each other, and they tried to show it to non-Christians like me, too. It didn’t take long before I agreed to go with one of my new friends to an emotional revival at an Assemblies of God church. I thought the emphasis on sin, repentance and belief was ridiculous, even too easy. I had come to believe that, if knowledge of God is real at all, it can be obtained only through arduous searching and self-development. I thought sin was more lack of awareness. Still, at the end of the night I asked the pastor to pray that I would understand I was a sinner. My friend told me to read the epistle to the Romans. Within two weeks I sat in the university chapel, prayed the sinner’s prayer, and gave my heart to Christ. All my new friends rejoiced that another sinner was born again. I became immersed in the Assemblies church and in InterVarsity Christian Fellowship on campus. I had a multitude of instant friends. People wanted to hear my testimony. At first I still had doubts. My upbringing and education had left me assuming that fundamentalist Protestantism was just for the ignorant and emotional. I dove into the Bible and devoured books explaining prophecy, creationism, and so on. It was not long before the Assemblies of God led me to seek the “baptism of the Holy Spirit” and to speak in tongues. It seems another person's life now, but I remember kneeling with two other people from the congregation in a darkened living room one autumn night on a shag carpet waiting, and then receiving, the "baptism." My tongue took off and formed what seemed like complete utterances all by itself in an unknown language. I now am convinced I psyched myself into an extreme emotional state with my own prayers plus increased rate of breathing. While my voice was doing the tongues thing, my rational faculties were all intact and I was with another part of my mind sort of standing back and thinking, wow, I've gotten the baptism, hasn't God blessed me! plus also wondering how much my consciousness was controlling what my tongue was doing. My influence was a role in my sister’s becoming a Christian. She and her husband now are still deeply into the charismatic movement. On campus I became aware that there were many versions of Christianity and much doctrinal dispute. When I wrote a paper the next year on St. Thomas Aquinas’ doctrine of predestination (he held that God foreordains all events, including who shall be saved), I came to believe that the Arminian (God foreknows but doesn’t cause) approach of the Assemblies was not scriptural. My adherence to Christianity was stronger than my natural resistance to Calvinistic doctrines like God predestines those whom He will punish forever in hell (the saints rejoice at their torments), and I drifted into Calvinism under the influence of some other Christian students who were also studying philosophy. I was elected president of the campus InterVarsity chapter, and I had a lot to do as leader of an organization of 160 or so members. I was “discipling” younger students and all sorts of stuff that amazes me - how did I think I knew anything? I visited elderly shut-ins. I was always in love secretly with some male friend and no prayer or religious exercise ever changed that. I believed God would change me eventually. I did seek counseling from adult Inter Varsity leaders. Like everyone else, I jerked off every so often and repented. At one college retreat, about a hundred guys went to a session on masturbation, while I and one girl and one other guy went to a session on homosexuality! Every so often my friends would confess their lusts or that they’d looked at porn or whatever. I dated girls here and there but didn’t feel any physical desire - which scared me, but I still believed God would change me. Like many who are really into Christianity, I wanted to go into some ministry. In graduate school I met Eastern Orthodox and Catholic students. For the first time, I was confronted with serious Christians who were not Protestants. My Assemblies and then Calvinist associates had all just assumed that those traditions were unscriptural and works-centered rather than salvation by faith alone. One Sunday I went with other students to English services in a side chapel at a Russian Orthodox cathedral on New York’s Lower East Side. It seemed very foreign, but people were clearly into it as much as in the Assemblies. I met seminarians from St. Vladimir’s. Protestants tend to talk as though the Holy Spirit skipped over about twelve or more centuries. I started to wonder, were the Reformers justified in breaking away totally? My question changed from “how can these priest-ridden groups think they understand the Gospel?” to “how can the Reformers justify their radical break?” One of the most striking things to hit me as a Calvinist was in a footnote in Tradition and Traditions by Yves Congar, quoting another theologian who observed that the principle of "sola scriptura" does not satisfy its own requirements in the case; it's not taught anywhere in the NT, which on the other hand talks about traditions of the apostles as normative. I was shaken by Congar’s remark that the formation of the canon of scripture had long been one of the trump cards of the Catholic controversialist. Protestants claim to limit themselves to a Bible alone, when that Bible doesn’t itself state the list of books that go into making it up - the Church came up with that. John Henry Newman’s Apologia pro Vita Sua also shook my Protestant assumptions. I went on to a year at a Calvinist seminary to give the Reformation a chance. Someone mentioned Cornelius Van Til a while back on this website; he taught at a nearby seminary, and I heard him lecture on his presuppositionalist apologetics and went to his house for tea. John Henry Newman’s Lectures on Justification and his Essay on the Development of Christian Doctrine provided arguments that none of my Calvinist teachers could answer. I had been taught by Calvinists that “a dogmatic Christ founded a dogmatic church.” They wanted the Westminster Confession and other Protestant documents to hold authority about doctrine over the individual. They got impatient when I kept asking why that principle doesn’t amount to tradition and teaching magisterium, i.e. it leads to Rome. By the end of that year I was sitting in on mass at a local parish, and the other students and the professors abandoned me as an apostate. I had pledged to judge all questions by scripture when I entered that seminary. I believed I was still doing this. “This is my body.” etc. etc. By this time I had a girlfriend, but I wasn’t taking things anywhere. I had sought pastoral counseling about what I called homosexual desires. Nothing was changing. I thought maybe if I just get married in faith I’ll learn to love her physically. As I decided to become Catholic, though, my idealistic side turned toward the priesthood. Plus that gave the obvious advantage of promising ways of not dealing with my sexuality. It turned out that I was groped at one point later by a religious brother in the provincial house of his order, and other priests made passes at me. I told my priest about it as well as the brother’s superior, but I figured to let charity be charity and forgive someone’s weakness. In a meeting with a monk-therapist I was told I wasn’t a real homosexual but a case of arrested development. I didn’t know what to make of that, but since I was more seriously planning to enter religious life, I figured God would enable me to transcend the flesh by his grace. It was very painful to my girlfriend when I told her I planned to become a priest. I am ashamed even now of how long I let her hang on, though I know a marriage would have been total disaster. Among educated Catholics I met many who developed their minds and did not get hung up on fundamentalistic prejudices. All the talk of “the Lord gave me a burden for this” or “the Lord led me to say/do this” etc. ad nauseam is much rarer in Catholic circles. Catholic friends also tended to remain friends with me after I left, when all but one of my former Protestant friends shunned me as an apostate. As years passed, eventually the problems with the God of the desert as depicted in biblical texts, and with the mentality that the religions of those texts create, became too much. I remember one summer visiting the monastery of Mt. Savior near Elmira, and another visitor, a Catholic seminarian, said, in answer to my questions about what he was looking for, replied, "I'm trying to learn how to be a human being." At that time I was in love with my roommate who then became engaged to marry. Again I’d seen my emotions run into directions my religion fenced off. I'd been praying, and people prayed for me, that God would free me, but nothing was changing. My priest said, enduring homosexuality and remaining faithful to church teachings was God’s way for me of carrying the cross. That year I felt depressed at what looked like a life of loneliness. I might have handled my struggles if they’d been unique to me, but as a believer in God’s omnipotence and sovereignty, I couldn’t see how He could be a just god setting up a world with millions of people like me and letting us have human drives and desires, then barring us from experiencing their fulfillment the way He allows heterosexuals to do -- even those who can’t have children. All of us gays and lesbians were the pot saying to the potter, why hast thou made me thus? and the potter’s answer was, because it is my will, and it glorifies me. I would walk down my street wondering, is this the way Luther used to feel when he said he hated God? Some gay Christians claimed the Bible verses against gays and lesbians really have different interpretations, but my study of the Greek never convinced me they were right-- though I’m still open to that possibility. Any ex-fundy knows how useful hermeneutical dexterity can be. I went into therapy with a priest but nothing changed. Contradictions in the Bible that I used to shrug off started to disturb me. A graduate-school friend died of cancer despite the prayers of our whole campus group, including children from a nearby parish who didn’t even know the young man. My hope was that monastic life would give me structure, goals and direction. Then, a REAL miracle! I fell in love with my present lover-partner of 23 years. When we realized we loved each other, my religious scruples fell like a house of cards. The thought of hell waiting for gays melted under the warmth of hope. I realized I could choose life over fear and loneliness. The day we declared our feelings to each other, I wept that I could never pray the rosary again. Ken took me in his arms. “Of course you can, Kit. You can if you want to.” But I knew the man I loved was wrong on this. I could never pray again from inside an infallible faith. Whatever the gray areas, the Christianity to which I’d devoted myself - Protestant or Catholic - claimed to be inerrant in its essentials. I had never taken seriously anything less than that. Drop one essential and the edifice crumbles. I let it crumble and smiled through my tears. In the ensuing days, I walked on air and wanted to shout our love from the rooftops. Over time, the Christian residue faded away. The human part remained and grew into its proper spaces. Sadness and grief and obtuseness alternate day by day with gladness and wonder. They are just what they are; it’s a relief not to spiritualize mental states anymore. I chuckle that as years passed, I even became sexually attracted by females as well as males. It took getting out of Christianity to feel that. I’m loyal to my honey just the same; only monogamy works for me. Before that day, I would have propounded lots of arguments to convince myself that my doubts about Christianity's fundamental truths were smokescreens for my sins, lust, desire for guys, rebellion, pride in my education and intellect, blah blah. “You never really gave your heart to Christ because you were attached to your homosexual desires/scholarly pretensions.” Whatever. I did and believed ALL the stuff. I don’t know how I could have had stronger belief in the forgiveness of my sins. After becoming Catholic I had stopped masturbating for years. I felt and expressed in confession a strong sense of contrition for my mental slip-ups. Religious types always say that a person’s decision not to accept their doctrines comes out of the person’s moral fault, not the fault of the doctrines. When I looked away from myself and at the evidence of unanswered prayer, contradictions in the Bible (check this website!), the moral depravity of the deity depicted in that book, absurd combinations of mutually exclusive ideas, etc. etc., I realized my own "argumenta ad hominem" were my insecurities talking. Some genuine Catholic friends urged me to stay in the church, but picking and choosing what teachings to accept just seemed dishonest. Augustine read Plato and fell in love with the Form of the Beautiful. He wanted that abstraction to have a human face. He convinced himself that face was the face of Christ. How many of us do that? But I need a human face to look into mine. How much "grace" a selfish, flawed human being can reflect back when s/he just is open to acting in right sentiment? I think that's the most love we get and give in this world. Acting because God told me so doesn't bring more virtue and often weakens what virtue there otherwise would be. When I first got saved, Christianity met some of my psychological needs: direction, purpose outside myself, confidence with people, yearning to be loved. Nevertheless I believe Christianity blocked me from other developmental tasks that were important at that age, like integrating romantic and sexual issues, establishing my career, being at ease with the world outside Christian circles. I always secretly hated feeling that non-Christians were fundamentally separated from me and that I had to focus on converting them because they were headed for hell. As a Catholic I loved the sacraments, the slow rise of the Divine Office prayed six times a day, the best of the music (like Faure’s Requiem), the attempt to integrate reason into faith, the understanding of human nature of the more Italianate style of Catholicism. I was like other born again types - when pushed to the wall to give an explanation, I justified my conversion by my experience. So why not appeal to experience the other way round and leave a self-contradictory system when you realize it damages your experience? (Parts of this testimony are pieced together from earlier postings. Apologies to those who are reading them for the second time!)
  18. 6 points
    Yup...a tool... I got a short story...my employer is a deeply religious man. A while back he asked me how I spent my Sunday afternoon. I told him my wife and I went for a hike in the woods. His response was, "Why weren't you in church?" My reply..."maybe I was". He said nothing else. The end.
  19. 6 points
    No snark; but i spent more than 30 years thinking about it. We are discussing evidence for an omnipresent god. If he is everywhere, I should be able to reproduce your experience of him.
  20. 6 points
    Try thinking in logical terms when the issue on your mind is hell. The Christian viewpoint is that one sin requires a person to burn in hell for eternity. But the Savior, Jesus, came as a means of redemption so each person who believes in him and repents of sin will escape hell and go to heaven because belief in Jesus garners forgiveness of sin. Begin with that. So a person born in the Amazon jungle and who never heard of Jesus and thus could not profess belief in him must go to hell because of the circumstances of his or her birth? Does that make sense? Of course it doesn’t. Another anomaly. Suppose there is a good person who helps the poor, assists children in need, and does any number of good deeds in his or her life. However, this person does not believe in Jesus. One day he or she sees another person whom he or she finds sexually attractive and in his or her heart he or she lusts after that person. According to Matthew 5:28, the one who lusted committed the sin of adultery. Immediately after this lustful episode, the person crosses the street, is hit by a car, and dies. Does this otherwise good person go to hell just because he or she was human enough to find another person sexually attractive? That’s ridiculous. My point is that if we mere humans can point out these absurdities, then it proves that all of the talk of hell is of human, not divine, origin. An Omniscient god would be perfect in his proclamations and we mere humans would not be able to find the logical fallacies. Hell is not real. The concept is of human origin as proven by the fact that we can see the lack of logic in the concept. Rest your mind. Hell is falsehood.
  21. 6 points
    It does get better. I just logged in here for the first time in years. I haven't been posting here, because I haven't really had the need for it in my life. And, while I want to give back and help others, there is a lot of emotions and drama that posting here can tend to stir up. This forum was a very beneficial part of my life, and maybe I will continue to post here more often. Many years ago, I posted a follow-up to what had been going on in my life. I had a fairly rough process coming out. Over those years, I have developed my own life. I don't even know how to describe how much better it is. And, I don't know how to describe how much things have changed. In those posts (13-16 years ago), I was a vegetarian. These days, I have been eating a carnivore-style diet for several years. I think it's a bit more than six years now. While some things change, my tendency to go to extremes never has. I am happily married. When I met my future wife, my mom asked me if she was a Christian. I responded, "you know I wouldn't date her if she was." My wife is actually a lapsed Catholic. She's apathetic to the whole religion thing. She used to get frustrated with my strong feelings against it, but she has learned to accept them. She still asks that I don't engage the people who come to the door; and, I respect her enough to do as she desires. I am still teaching and I am a volunteer firefighter. But, I am thinking of maybe going career firefighter. I enjoy it so much. Actually, I am considering violating one of my cardinal rules (no cross/religious tattoos) because I really want the Maltese Cross as a tattoo. It has a non-religious meaning in my life. I'm still an atheist. Well, and an Erisian/Westernized-Zen Buddhist. I see no problem blending those two. That drives my wife a bit crazy, as I insist on celebrating Festivus for its secular and absurdist values. But, to her credit, she goes along with it and even bought a nice Festivus pole ornament for the tree. As for my family, I have taken to my role as the "bad uncle" to my sisters' kids. Although, not really. They (my sisters) get nervous about me when their kids bring up religion, and I never lie in response to direct questions, but I don't attack or challenge their beliefs. They aren't old enough to ask deep follow-up questions. When they ask if I go to church, and I tell them I don't, they don't know where to go from there and I let the topic die. I refuse to set foot in any church unless it is a wedding, a funeral, or some special event where someone is being recognized for an accomplishment. It is very rare. I didn't get married in a real church either. My wife and I had a secular ceremony in Las Vegas. Life is good. Things got better. My mom still believes she will see me in heaven, but I don't need to remind her that I won't be there nearly as often as before. I guess that is all I have to say about that. Stay strong. Stay true to yourself. Don't stoop to becoming someone you are not in order to try and find happiness in the acceptance of others. Find happiness in your own strength and your own actions. We're out there with you. We're living our exChristian lives and making our own way forward.
  22. 6 points
    You have received a lot of very good advice here and I agree with it. I would add one thought that might help you finally cut your ties with that church. Think of what you are doing for that church as a secular job. When many people decide to leave their job for another opportunity, they give notice with a definite date for their last day of employment. That gives the employer time to hire someone else and gives the employee a definite date of departure. You may want to take that route. Tell them you will give them two weeks (or whatever time period you decide on) and at the end of that time you are departing. And don’t negotiate the departure date. Stick to it!
  23. 5 points
    Hello everyone. I stopped being a Christian at exactly 12/25/2012. After becoming one on 8/13/2007 8:30 PM. I've suffered horrible abuse in the name of God. Feared I committed the unforgivable sin. Read about how inferior I am as a woman. Read I am going to Hell if I don't repent of my bisexuality. I have had some positive experiences with Christianity though. I even felt the beautiful "First Saved" feeling. I loved and worshiped Jesus Christ with all my soul. I seriously wished to become a Christian martyr. I wanted to die to prove my love for Jesus to him. I couldn't wait to go to heaven and spend eternity with my saviour. The only man I could and would ever submit too. I've read the entire Bible cover to cover twice. The new testament 5 times. And some books and verses multiple times. I wanted to remain single so I could serve my God, my master instead of some man. My biggest goal in life was to be a Bible scholar. Anyway. After a long battle with the Bible. Plus the horrible spiritual suffering I faced. (Exactly how I suffered and what I saw and heard is too graphic and inappropriate to list here), and reading all the contradictions in the Bible, I left the faith behind. The true word of God would not have even 1 contradiction or misunderstanding. If God was real he would have NEVER allowed anyone to have such images. It was a hard choice to make. But I finally had enough and found the courage to leave Christianity behind for good. The abuse I suffered got even worse after I left that religion. I never got any support after I left or even before I left and sought support. Instead all I got was judgement and condemnation from other christians. I now suffer one of the worst cases of Religious Trauma Syndrome, Theophobia, Thenatophobia, and Anthropophobia with greater androphobia than gynophobia. Too many people have, still, and will continue to suffer and die because of this religion. But thankfully I got out of that abusive situation shortly after leaving the faith. I hope to support others. And help my fellow women understand their worth and that we are equal to men. And be a shoulder for people to cry on. I also hope to receive support as well. Much respect to you all. Thank you for having me.
  24. 5 points
    I don’t want this site to be like a Christian fundy site that censors speech they don’t agree with. There isn’t anything a Christian could posts here that we haven’t heard and dealt with. Our rejection of religion is based on facts, evidence, history, science, logic, and reason. I can’t imagine anything a Christian could possibly posts that would cause us to doubt our reasons for leaving Christianity. Christians, on the other hand, might possibly encounter information that could possibly encourage them to investigate their “beliefs” more deeply and hopefully more objectively. Personally, I don’t care whether they are nice or not when they challenge our reasons for leaving religion. I’m a big boy, I don’t take insults personally or even seriously.
  25. 5 points
    I voted “Other”. I’d say the benefits of us engaging with Christians are threefold... Some “inexperienced” ex-Christians can learn new arguments against Christianity from observing the more experienced ones take on the believers, and so gain needed confidence in their deconversion. Those of us who are confident ex-Christians can exercise our counter-apologetics muscles in debating so we can become more effective in debunking Christianity. Fence-sitters, the lurkers who are teetering somewhere between belief and unbelief, will likely encounter solid arguments against Christianity, and against the idea that religious faith is a sound way of knowing what is true. The more civilized the discussion, the more likely it is to be useful. I often feel sympathy for the Christian who ends up alone against the group, trying to respond to multiple lines of opposition. It’s not surprising when they get defensive and combative. I agree that LMTO handled himself pretty well. I see references to him in the past tense: has he departed from among us?
  26. 5 points
    I was thinking along these lines too. I was raised in a toxic faith, so I tend to go grizzly bear when someone’s evangelistic efforts start to get annoying. It would be nice if the evangelists had some advance warning. (I don’t mean about me in particular . . . .) A modest proposal: Some notes for believers visiting ex-christian.net: Who we are We are not poor, wayfaring unbelievers; we are ex-christians. Some of us were ordained ministers; some of us can read the bible in its original languages. We have heard the sermons, we know the arguments. And our reason for being here is not to argue with you; so sometimes visitors with evangelism on their minds do not get the welcome they expect. Most of us thought long and hard about giving up our faith, and an emotional appeal is not going to bring us to the altar. Some of us experienced religious trauma and have very negative opinions of christianity in particular, and religion in general. And some of us still believe in god, or gods, and have our reasons for having left christianity for another religion. How it works From the forum guidelines: “These forums exist for the express purpose of encouraging those who have decided to leave religion behind. It is not an open challenge to Christians to avenge what they perceive as an offense against their beliefs.” We are not here to convert you; and if you are here to convert us, the burden of proof rests on you. When you assert that god exists, or that the bible is true, we are going to ask for objective evidence, and we will subject your assertions to reasoned argument. And many of us can and will give you many reasons why we do not believe in god or the bible. Please note that your conviction that god exists is not evidence. And before you start endlessly prolonging an argument while innocently professing to enjoy discussing christianity, please look up the definition of an internet troll. And do you really want to go there “For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted the heavenly gift, and have become partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, if they fall away, to renew them again to repentance . . . .” Hebrews 6:4-6 https://www.ex-christian.net/guidelines/ https://www.ex-christian.net/forum/29-frequently-asked-questions-and-topics/ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Burden_of_proof_(philosophy) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Internet_troll
  27. 5 points
    I think that a lot of christians come here with no previous experience in where this sort of discussion will lead. Then get agitated that they're facing impossible situations. Because they didn't already understand that their positions and claim making are just that, impossible. If they are only familiar with preaching to the choir with confirmation biases, then a conversation like this will come as an abrupt surprise. 'What do you mean subjective experience doesn't equal hard, objective evidence?' They may wonder to themselves, 'what would these people do if they were put into an impossible situation like this?' I've already disclosed it in so many words. But the simple answer is that we simply WON'T make untenable claims that are impossible to substantiate. We won't, for instance, make the claim that we know god does or does not exist. It's untenable either way. Given the evidence that does exist it's highly unlikely and that's good enough for me to lack positive belief. I have no burden of proof requirement to substantiate the non-existence of god, nessy, big foot, fairies or anything similar. Therefore I face no impossible situation. Let's take another example. What if I believe in something? What if I believed in something like mind over matter? 1) Unless I could demonstrate it consistently making the claim factual and objective, I wouldn't make the claim to begin with. 2) I would be honest about the untenable nature of the claim, but then chime in that I believe it myself despite the lack of hard evidence. 3) I would leave it entirely up to others as to whether or not they agree with the claim, even though it's well known that the claim itself is untenable. 4) I would never refer to threats or bullying those who do not choose to believe the untenable claim! There's no good reason to breach 1) and try making such a positive claim. It's an impossible claim, so why make it? It boils down to learning how to be smarter than that. Some of the smarter theistic thinkers do understand this. It's very unintelligent to run head long into untenable claim making, it's ill advised, and completely unnecessary. Christians, pay close attention!!! You come at us like this, you will lose ground. And most likely tuck tail and head for the hills with embarrassment. One after another, this trend continues. All the while with none of them, "getting it." I hope that maybe at least a few of our passing visitors will think on these issues more in their lives and perhaps come around to "getting it" someday, and making the necessary adjustments in how they approach others with untenable claims and untenable claim making.
  28. 5 points
    I think about it a lot; it is mostly intellectual musing, not very often a “feeling.” Our existence is like an eddy in a stream; it forms due to the flow of the water, lasts awhile, then disperses. All come from dust, and all return to dust. It may seem strange, but what I feel most connected to, like some sort of role model, is trees. When I feel lost, adrift, wondering what the point is, I ask myself, “Does a tree need a reason to exist?” And my favorite place to be is among trees. The place I go to when meditating is a swing from a tree from my childhood; I had experiences there that were almost transcendent, or maybe dissociative. Overall, I have not felt either more or less depressed since deconverting; there is the good of being free of a bunch of toxic garbage, but the bad of the effect that the garbage had on the course of my life. (Like a tree that gets damaged early on.) And the loss of the false but comforting belief in providence, afterlife, and so forth. It is what it is.
  29. 5 points
    But that's just it, it isn't an established truth. The problem here is that you are thinking that it's established truth when it clearly is not. If you come at this from an objective stand point, and an honest one, will you admit that just because you think something is true or have the opinion that it's true, doesn't make it a hard fact? It has to be a presupposition on your part, because it's not a hard fact. It's just your opinion at this moment in time. The opinion could change. And then you'd see that it wasn't ever a hard fact to begin with. It was just a perspective subject to change. You can prove a bee sting. You can demonstrate the reality of the injury on your physical body. You have nothing comparable to provide as a demonstration of the existence of god. If you think that you do, then by all means, try and provide the demonstration. Whatever you could possibly demonstrate will have multiple explanations and will not default to conclusive evidence of the existence of god, let alone the biblical gods mentioned in the bible, let alone YHWH who was eventually narrowed down and then believed as the only god (refer to the provided citation). What you are calling god moments, I have regularly all the time. The issue is that I know too much about god and the related issues to think that any of it has to do with the bible or it's theistic conceptions. You are calling basic aspects of human consciousness, synchrocity, and possibly mind over matter situations, "god moments." And that comes from the presuppostion that you do have. Once moving away from the presupposition, there's no good reason for seeing it that way. People often mistake these types of things for theistic confirmation. When they actually are not confirmation at all.
  30. 5 points
    And how logic destroys them. https://medium.com/@joeomundson/13-fallacies-used-to-discredit-ex-christians-971c60a6d79f
  31. 5 points
    Feeling that way is normal because you've been brainwashed and your rational brain and your emotional brain are dueling it out. Eventually your rational brain will win. On the first day of spring, get out early in the morning to a secluded place with a view to the east and watch the sun rise, and with it a new life for yourself. I've posted this several times recently and I hope the regulars will forgive me for posting it again, but I find it worthwhile: Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can. —Arthur Ashe
  32. 5 points
    Oh for goodness sake. As florduh said, a wake up to what? The fact we're going to "hell", that place that Christianity invented when the old testament books of the Jewish religion wasn't enough to control people? Edit: Welcome to ex-c. Forgive my impatience but I was brainwashed for 36 years about the "precious treasure" of gods existence before I woke up. Why did I wake up? Let's quote Dan Barker again - basically, I refuse to worship evil: "I do understand what love is, and that is one of the reasons I can never again be a Christian. Love is not self denial. Love is not blood and suffering. Love is not murdering your son to appease your own vanity. Love is not hatred or wrath, consigning billions of people to eternal torture because they have offended your ego or disobeyed your rules. Love is not obedience, conformity, or submission. It is a counterfeit love that is contingent upon authority, punishment, or reward. True love is respect and admiration, compassion and kindness, freely given by a healthy, unafraid human being."
  33. 5 points
    Not to be rude, but this verbiage here demonstrates how profoundly you are mistaken about us, how deeply confused you are. We did used to be christian, which means, by default, that at one time we did believe that god exists. But the hard truth is that no one, not even you, actually knows that god exists. That is the hard truth we have all faced. Again, not trying to be rude, or come off like a bull*dozer here. But there it is.
  34. 5 points
    The church I grew up in was determined to restore the original first century church, and to base everything on the bible alone. They also taught things like interpreting scripture in context, and a literal-based western-style-of-logic hermeneutic. But that hermeneutic is not taught in the bible. When the new testament authors quoted the old testament, they frequently took it completely out of context, as if it were allegorical, and sometimes even seemed to get it wrong. The early church (or at least some people in it) clearly believed in allegorical interpretaton, as evidenced by writings such as the epistle of Barnabas; and it came to a sort of climax in Origen, who believed that the bible was so special that anything in it was liable to contain multiple meanings. It is easy to look back on Origen as some kind of weirdo, but the fact is he was very influential in his own day; people believed in his style of interpretation. And even people who claim to use a literal, logical hermeneutic usually end up twisting the bible around to make it fit their beliefs anyway. “God in three persons,” for example, is not taught anywhere in the bible; the trinity as a whole is something that one puts into the bible, not gets out of it. (And we were taught that “eisegesis” is a bad word.) The whole calvinism vs. arminianism, original sin, total depravity, prevenient grace ball of wax is one of the things that started me questioning the whole christian thing; you would think that if it were important, it would be spelled out clearly somewhere; but all the sides of the issue can pull verses out of the bible to justify their beliefs. Maybe the whole thing is a crock of s*#! after all . . . .
  35. 5 points
    The big issue with these how to respond list is that they think we must always "assume god" in all of our conversations with believers. By "assuming god" we automatically lose. They automatically get to control the arguement. They will always be able to come up with some sort of apologetics, or spin to support their beilef set against whatever we choose to present. It is just not productive, nor worrh the effort. Instead, make them justify their god concept to you....and shoot down the logical fallacies like ducks at an arcade when they send them your way. Never ever cede the burden of proof for nothing in return.
  36. 5 points
    I suppose this is a good place to add my story, So here I go. My last Ayahuasca ceremony back in October was the most profound and deeply healing expirience I ever had, I've suffered from deppression anxiety and OCD my entire life, as well as alot of hate and anger issues and suicidal thoughts. Aya completley wiped those clean, I felt as if the old me had died and I was reborn. My brain felt squeaky clean and refreshed, I was able to think far more clearly and deeply, I even felt smarter too. I was filled with a sense of happieness peace and love and an innser sense of calm that had eluded me all my life. Everyone else at the ceremony also had an amazing life changing expirience and the desire to make real changes in their live. There was an alcoholic who said he didn't want to drink anymore, And an Iraq war vet with severe PTSD who had given up on life Who now had a completley new outlook and desire to live! For me it was all about thinking, I didn't see any visions but many others did. It is said by many that Ayahuasca is a plant spirit, A divine female being. And a few people at our ceremony even communicated with her directly. I didn't, I was one of the very few Christians there so i'm thinking that was a block keeping me from fully connecting with her, However that is no longer the case, And I can't wait untill my next ceremony to see what a difference that makes! When I returned home all of my friends and family were shocked at the changes they saw in me, I was a completley new man. I went to church the week after I got back and they were also shocked at the changes, I told a few of them what I had done, But they dismmissed it as just being god's work. It was then that I started feeling very disconnected with these people and disillusioned with the whole church and what they were preaching. So I started thinking why am I going here? Why do I believe in a god that I cannot see or hear when I could belive in this divine goddes that ACTUALLY SAVED MY LIFE? So that's when I decided to stop going to church and stop reading the bible, And I grew more and more distant from the faith. And guess what? It felt SO GOOD and natural. A few weeks later I had a dream where I was visited by a woman who told me that the medicine loves you, You're on the right path, Keep up the good work. This past month I started becoming very bothered about all of the hypocrisy in christianity, So I looked online for articles about this, I then came across stories of people who had left the faith and I became more and more interested. I read about a man who had been a pastor for 25 years and then left to become an atheist, He mentioned Ex-christian as the main source for his inspiration, So I came here and read a bunch of testimonials and arguements against the bible and how the whole damn thing just doesn't make any sense, Feelings that I had harbored deep inside for years but never felt I was able to accept, Until now. It was then that I decided it's time to leave this bullshit behind, So I did. And it felt amazing! The feeling I got from renouncing the faith was incredible, I would say atleast half as good as I felt after the Ayahuasca ceremony, which was completley unexpected. My mom took notice and was supprised, She asked me why are you so happy and upbeat? Are you stoned? I said no mom, I can tell you why but you're not going to like it. I won't like it? She asked. So I told her, I renounced my faith and she was shocked, WAIT YOU DID WHAT? After her intial shock she calmed down and seemed to take it better than I expected, She seems to be ok with it, But I know deep down it's killing her. She's the only family member I have told, But I told most of my friends and the support I got from them was overwhelming. Except for a few believers that were dissapointed, But the ratio of 25 positive reactions to 3 negative ones ain't too bad I figure. This one guy tried to reel me back in with something called the book of Enoch, Saying that it proved some of the stories from the bible. I told him politley but sternly NO, I just escaped from that prison and I am not about to lock myself back up. He then backed down and said that he hoped my decision brought me the peace and happiness I was looking for. It sure as hell did! I really want to tell the rest of my family but I understand the dangers of doing so, I see being an Ex-christian as a badge of honor, But i know they won't see it that way. Well anyway there's my story, I hope you liked it. If you want to write me off as a rambling lunatic pushing hallucinogens on people that's fine. But I know what worked for me when everything else failed. If any of you are interested in drinking Ayahuasca please feel free to contact me I will be glad to offer any advice or answer any questions you may have. I think it would incredibly useful for anyone struggling with the de-conversion process, Aswell as anyone with trauma or emotional issues, Or anyone who just wants to find out who they truly are. Thanks for taking the time to read this.
  37. 5 points
    I was posting to @TABA and others in the rants section about a funny interaction at work with an HVAC. Long story short, he felt like throwing in some plugs about how he's a christian. But he's not good with reading. He will fall asleep if he reads the bible, he told me. Then he went in to some unrelated direction about how he teaches HVAC at the college. And how he teaches from the book, but then teaches where the book is wrong and real time work force experience differs. The reason, he told me, that the HVAC manual is off is because one person will write one chapter. Someone else will write another chapter. And the two are just expressing personal opinion and will contradict each other in places. My snappy come back line: Well, if you stay awake long enough to read through the whole bible you may find that the HVAC manual and the bible have a lot more in common than you have been aware of. I laughed. He laughed. But he didn't seem to comprehend the full extent of the joke. So now I'm leaving it alone. But I wonder if he will read the bible, suddenly see the contradictions, and get what the joke was about. Of course the bible was written not very differently than the HVAC manual - different writers contradicting one another over what are essentially their own personal opinions. If he finally does get the joke, hopefully he'll say something. And if he does, I'll post the response here.
  38. 5 points
    Yeah, this is a situation where when people are ready they gravitate towards the non-believers. Like joining this site or something similar. I'll toy with our apologists at times. Jab them about crossing over to ex-C's. But there's no converting people to ex-christian or atheist. Not in the evangelizing christian sense. What there is, however, is mental sparring. Demonstrations of who has the upper hand in a given debate or religious issues. There's always someone demonstrably on the short end of the stick in these encounters. Someone lacking much, much more on their end. And these things can be very transparent. And what can happen is that people can realize, via getting their own ass handed to them, that they are not on the dominant side of a given argument that they previously assumed they once were. Classic example is 15 year old me, summer before shipping off to christian boarding academy. I found myself in a situation where an outspoken atheist at work had me pinned down. There was no clear way out of it. I was pissed off. I resented the guy. And it was harsh, honestly. My sister had died and some one was talking heaven at work and this guy didn't really know the context, but he chimed in an unloaded about how people invented god, heaven and hell, and the afterlife in general due to our own fear of death and dying. Now I didn't want to hear that. Not within 6 months of my own sister dying, especially. And a Muslim guy shut the conversation down calling the atheist an idiot for saying that in front of me. And the atheist let it go and excused himself when he realized the context that had been going on. But I could not for the life of me stop replaying it in my mind. It bothered me until I took it to the youth pastor. I figured he'd have an nifty, "gotcha" response to the atheist. He did not. What he had were poorly thought out apologetic's. And I started seeing it unravel. I knew the truth inside. She was dead. That's it. Dead people are not going to reanimate, or float up out of graves fresh and new. There isn't going to be a host angels in the sky or anything else described in the bible. I struggled with that realization. But then it got to where I couldn't pray without seeing it as myself carrying on inner dialogue. Wishful thinking and grasping at straws. Everything just sort of vanished and I was facing the world without god belief. Now this guy didn't convert me to atheism like a religious person would convert someone to a religion. But his influence caused me to face what I had not faced previously. It was something like a "pay it forward," moment of sorts. I had no idea at the time how valuable that harsh lesson would be towards the remainder of my life. I'm grateful for it.
  39. 5 points
    Yeah I love Sunday mornings now too (I should mention that I often go to mass with my wife but that is generally on Saturday evening, followed by a dinner date). The dogs get me up pretty early but then they and I go back to sleep on the couch so we don’t wake my wife back up again. We sleep until we wake - no alarm - and then it’s coffee - in front of the fire in these winter months. It’s bliss. Weather permitting (meaning the trails aren’t too muddy), I like to go for a two or three mile hike in the woods nearby later in the morning. Being in the outdoors is something like a spiritual experience for me, but free of the baggage of religious dogma. Long may you enjoy your Sunday mornings! P.S. Where do you live that you’re thinking of mowing the lawn in January???
  40. 5 points
    For the fanatics I hung with, nothing would begin to penetrate because they refuse to entertain any doubts. I was convinced I'd found real "magic" in the power of god, and it wasn't until I found the guy that led me there making up stories about miracles. That was enough of an emotional slap to get me really asking questions again, and not accepting bullshit shell-game responses. But I know others that shrugged this off and kept going. Be open to talking to believers, and try to unplug their expectations about atheists. I still hope to influence my believing family members, though I rarely see them anymore. So I go on with life, enjoying singing, growing edible mushrooms (or trying to anyway), posting a lot about my handyman projects, and generally living a happy life. Believers tend to draw a very black and white, light and darkness false dichotomy about belief (we are pigs wallowing in shit, dogs that eat their own vomit, weeds fit only to be burned), so demonstrating to them that this isn't true is in some ways more important than what you say. The real questioning has to come from within themselves, and most believers tend to have some doubts or things that seem terribly wrong about the bible god. Others have galvanized themselves and rubber stamp anything they think is from Jesus.
  41. 4 points
    I think I understand what you mean. I see the churches, and other evangelical religions, as cults. Most of the time they don't present a visible problem, but historically and when taken literally, they have resulted in a lot of trauma, torture, death, genocide, and billions in wasted money. It is irritating to see so many church buildings within a mile of my house, but that is a reflection of just how much influence our culture has from believers. However, I am trying to give my story where I can in order to influence our culture away from gods and religions. Attacking structures and people tends to make them more steadfast (like the Soviet treatment of believers) rather than removing them. I also see our way of life as one that allows for freedom of beliefs even when I disagree with them. That does give room for more radical elements to develop, but it also lets us be free in other ways that don't need anyone's or any government's approval.
  42. 4 points
    Since losing my faith and religious beliefs, I have noticed some things changing for me. I feel more connected to the earth and the universe. Not necessarily in a spiritual or mystical way. I want to say primal, but I can't quite explain it. My life long depression seems to be be noticeably better. Any similar experiences?
  43. 4 points
    Well, heh heh, I never BECAME Eastern Orthodox. And with those βρωμικοί και κλέπτονες παπάδες (dirty, thieving priests), I'm lucky I steered clear.
  44. 4 points
    I have looked into other explanations. The main hub of it is that we just don't know. Everything on the table is based on speculation. But there are more than just two choices on the table, as far as that goes. Existence itself may well have the capacity for experience. From sub atomic particles forwards. Inner experience. Which translates all the way through to the sort of experience we are experiencing. Something inherent in the physical universe itself. And it could be that there's life abroad. Again, we don't have confirmation that there is or there isn't. But if there is, all of it could boil down an existence where experiences are always taking place at various levels and life coming into fruition where it's possible to do so could be common and probable. Again, that's another option. And we could get into more. This is you speaking to yourself within your own mind. Asking for something. Then in like fashion what you were asking yourself within your own inner dialogue, transpired. Not understanding the broad spectrum of explanations involved in such a thing, you divert to taking it as a god granting your prayer. I see it very differently, however. I'm looking at it from a consciousness perspective. I'm going through a book entitled, "Synchronicity," by Kirby Surprise. You may want to read it as well, if you're interested in looking at different perspectives about the very thing you're describing. Synchronicity and syncronistic events. Your description is a standard example. You're calling it "a god moment." I don't think they're as rare as you're suggesting, actually. Again the book outlines that general type of phenomenon. Almost everyone experiences these coincidences. And some people tend to experience them a lot more than others. And more consistently than others. I'll just say this about attributing these sort of things to a god. After decades of non-belief I have looked into a lot of things, like the RP and others. Most of those things tend to lead back to breaking down what it is people mean by god. It's an eternal, infinite, beginning and endless sort of concept. Not just that, but an eternal consciousness of sorts. And the deeper people take it, the more pantheistic the god becomes. Where I'm at with it, is that by the time you keep pursuing this line of thinking the god melts into existence itself. The more you think about that, the more obvious it can become that existence is not a god in any literal sense, it's just the sum total of everything. The beginning and endless sum total of all that is. The totality of everything. And consciousness may well be inherent in all of that. But again, that still doesn't constitute a god. A god is merely a way of trying to visualize and think about the sum totality of all that is. The sum total of all that is couldn't very well be some particular entity, or deity, or any other mythological type of symbol. It's well beyond any of that. Those are finite visualizations (entity, deity, being) of something that is supposed to be beyond finite. People who make it this far down the truth seeking path, or god seeking path if you will, tend to see past all of the symbolism and mythological oriented word and concept usage. That's why in some eastern traditions they are considered atheistic. Because at these deeper levels of contemplation, one can realize and understand that it's never about any literal deity, or male or female personage up and away in some far off place, or any of that. And what's more, is that when people make it these levels of consideration about god, they are very unlikely to return back to the mentality they were at before getting down to these further understandings of the bigger picture involved in such contemplation. Because they can see through the surface level presentations of mythological symbolism. Where gods are personified and taken literally as concrete facts. Does any of that make sense to you?
  45. 4 points
    With regard to the bible: Who put a tree of the knowledge of good and evil smack dab in the middle of the garden of eden, then told two people who did not have the knowledge of good and evil not to eat from it? Who allowed a serpent to talk to Eve about the fruit? Who created the serpent? Who got angry when those people ate from it anyway? Who decided this event was a sin? Who cursed all of Adam and Eve's descendents for a crime they didn't commit? The world is broken because God deemed it to be so. He could stop being a drama queen and just fix it. From a reality perspective: People are mean , shit happens , Christianity is nonsense. Anyway time for bed. Take care.
  46. 4 points
    But the article didn't say where I can send my money. Hey, I found his bio website! Here's a quote. This guy must be legit. He wouldn't say this if he wasn't: His ministry is replete with healings,deep & accurate prophetic ministration,deliverance,creative miracles and above all a reconciliation of people to GOD. He teaches and preaches the unadulterated word of GOD without any compromise and with a great deal of passion and courage!!! Prophet Gaisie thus a young man of dignity and intergrity is a great believer of the Bible to the core and the demonstration of the grace and power available through the Holy Spirit is his hallmark.He does not believe in the selling of items in the house of God,I.e..oil,water hankerch etc cos the church is not a market place or entertainment centre. https://ghanachurch.com/profile-biography-of-prophet-nigel-gaisie/
  47. 4 points
    It's my opinion, from observation, that everyone who claims to follow any religion is actually just following his own personal beliefs with only references to the religion to have an appearance of validity. That applies to Christians in particular, but also Muslims, Hindus and Buddhists. And don't even get me started on "Pagan" belief systems! There are no fast rules for anyone.
  48. 4 points
    Never. Atheists are not, and in my opinion should not be, in the business of conversion. Last thing we need is misinformed people going door to door trying to convert people to atheism. What you can do, as has been suggested, is have respectful conversations if the religious person wants to. Don't go forcing a conversation. I never ask people why do you believe God? I wait for them to come to me and then we will have a conversation. Most of the time it ends very quickly as they realised we are going places they don't want to. Sometimes you will get a person genuinely searching for answers and you can just lay out why you don't believe without trying to 'convert' them.
  49. 4 points
    I had lost count of the number of times people told me that God told them that I was going to be a powerful preacher, after I had already lost my faith.
  50. 4 points
    I am not immediately aware of books or links, and this may be an oversimplification, but here is my take on the programming. Most of us were born into a "faith". Both sides of my family were believers, so I got a full dose of it. But it wasn't as extreme as trying to raise people from the dead. From an early age the beliefs were viewed as fact, or reality. And if nothing happens to conflict that, it remains a reality. That is your "world." That is why cults like to isolate their members, especially the children, and censor their education. That even happens on a grand scale in some societies. They want the thinking to get deeply engrained. Children need positive attention/nurturing, and their biggest fear is of being abandoned, or hurt. They don't like pain. One way to raise very obedient children is to make the attention they get, and the avoidance of pain (their salvation) dependent upon obedience, and not questioning your authority. And if enough fear is instilled into them, that becomes their life, and their mind tends to shut out anything that might cause abandonment or pain. As an older person that can transfer over to God the parent, and the gates of Hell. Evidently, eons ago, people who wanted to control the masses figured this out and developed religion and "not sparing the rod" in raising children. In some cases, fear based upbringing, and perhaps some heredity or other neurological reasons, people can even use complete psychological denial to avoid potential "pain." And in some cases severe trauma and it's pain, as in abuse, or tragic events, can be blocked out of conscious thinking, especially when it happens with children. The earlier the fear based obedience begins, the deeper it tends to be in personality. And it doesn't always have religion involved. It can be very complicated, but that is my simple explanation.

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