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Showing content with the highest reputation since 05/04/2020 in Posts

  1. 9 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. 7 points
    One of my colleagues from work saw me and Ms. Professor at the grocery store this past weekend. He did not say "Hello", or try to speak to me at all. His reasoning was, "I figured since you never want to talk to people at work, you probably wouldn't want to outside of work either." Reckon I'm more adept at this social distancing thing than I realized.
  3. 6 points
    I lived about 20-years of my life as the "perfect christian". I followed ALL of the rules, I taught Bible Study, I was a counselor for teens at a christian camp for many years, I oversaw the junior high youth group, I was on the worship team, I helped lead retreats, I baptized some of those junior high students, I went on mission trips, I did, I did, I did, in order to please god, follow his plan, be an example, earn his favor. I just realized yesterday that I was probably attracted to Christianity, at 16-years-old, because I was a rule follower - I strived for perfection - in everything I did. And having that set of rules aligned with who I had already become. But what happens when you do all of that and god doesn't show up when you need him the most? When you've seen some of the worst of humanity, when you've lost everything, when you can't believe anymore that he is a "good, loving" god? I became very angry... I have been angry for probably a dozen years or more. I am working through this with a therapist, and as I do that, I'm on here just looking, trying to find answers, seeking to figure out what I need now. I am clear that I am not perfect, and that is okay, but what I'm not clear about is that there are all kinds of promises in the bible that require us to essentially be in a transactional relationship with god but where do turn when you figure out that you're the only one participating in the transactions?
  4. 6 points
    I sent an email to Jon inviting him to this website.
  5. 6 points
    Hello Leia. I hope you won’t mind my relating a true story to you. The story is true because its my story. Many years ago, I was betrayed by someone who was a very good friend and close confidant. His act of betrayal hurt me terribly and had very bad consequences for me on personal, familial and financial levels. I’ve never spoken to him again and I avoid all contact with him, even though we still live in the same area. Fast forward five years and I was working in a department of local government and I had access to confidential records and information about tens of thousands of people living in the area. One day the thought came to me to use my access privileges and interrogate the computer system about my ex-friend. Acting on a malevolent impulse I called up his details and covertly wrote them down in my pocket diary. “Perhaps I can (mis)use this data in some way to pay him back and hurt him as much (or more) as he hurt me?” I thought to myself. I made no changes to his data on the system and since I was allowed to access this kind of data, none of my colleagues or superiors were suspicious. Leia, by doing this I had become the very thing he was – a betrayer of trust. I had broken the Official Secrets Act, several Data protection laws and betrayed the trust placed in me by my employers. I’m not proud of this, btw. I’m ashamed of myself. Now let’s fast forward another five years. My marriage was going through a difficult time and my wife and I used the services of counselors, both separately and together. In one of my solo consultations my counselor Karen asked me if there were any baggage (secrets or burdens) from my past that might be weighing upon me and affecting my marriage. We dealt with several and then, on my last solo session with Karen, I put a piece of paper on her desk. This was the page from my diary with the stolen data about my old enemy written on it. I explained everything to her and said that I wanted to unburden myself of it. She understood and promised me that she would destroy it without looking at its information. I’m relating this story to you Leia, not to lecture or judge you, but to offer you a gentle warning about the effects that revenge can have upon a person. There’s an old Chinese proverb that goes something like this. “Before you embark on a journey of revenge, dig TWO graves. One for your enemy and one for yourself.” I sincerely and genuinely ask you to not walk down the road of revenge. Please do as I did and turn away before its too late. Turning away doesn’t necessarily mean forgiving or forgetting. I haven’t forgotten what was done to me, nor have I really forgiven him. But at least I’ve chosen not to repay the harm he did to me by hurting him back. There are other ways. Please reconsider your plans before you come to harm. Thank you. Walter.
  6. 6 points
    I suppose the point that I (and others) have tried to make is that having already lost so much of your life to this cult, why are you so determined to keep devoting your life to them? It's like you haven't really taken off the shackles; you've just turned them around in the opposite direction and called yourself free. But, you're not free. You're still enslaved. Your anger at them has you just as imprisoned in your behavior, thought, and emotion, as they had you. I sincerely wish you the best; but I will say no more.
  7. 6 points
    Yup. Spring is the best time of year. Nice photo, Taba. Don't we wish the blossoms on the trees would last for months rather than weeks? Here's something from the advice column in today's paper that seems quite true: Dear Amy: Responding to the current COVID crisis, I’d like to share the following observation: I think people are becoming “more so…” If they were kind and thoughtful and inclined to be loving before, now they are “more so.” And those of us who were angry and scared and suspicious before, sadly, are now “more so.”
  8. 5 points
    Is anyone else amazed at how clear their mind is since deconverting? When I was a Christian, I was always praying in my head, apologizing to God for thoughts that weren't Christ-like, remembering scriptures...It was exhausting! Ever since I quit believing in God, I feel so much better! Anyone else experience this?
  9. 5 points
    I understand your problem is that your anxiety is getting the better of your intellect on some occasions, and that truly sucks. I do encourage you to contact Recovering from Religion as their counselors have skills and training that we do not, plus it helps to have a live conversation over the phone. It may be that your anxiety cannot be managed using either counseling or medication alone, but may require some combination of the two, at least until you can get to a certain point.
  10. 5 points
    “Whoever seeks other than Islam as a religion, it will not be accepted from him, and he shall be in the Hereafter among the lost” - The Quran, 3:85 So Christians and all other non-Muslims are going to be lost. Does this make you convert to Islam? If not, why not? It says it right there in God’s holy book! Do do you have good reason to believe the Bible over the Quran? If you decide to trust the Bible, a careful study reveals that the modern concept of Hell evolved throughout the Old and New Testaments, which points to Hell as a concept that humans developed over the course of centuries, as opposed to being something real. In the Old Testament, the dead don’t go to either Heaven or Hell at all, but rather exist in a kind of shadowy underworld called Sheol. To this day, Jews don’t at all share the Christian concepts of Heaven and Hell. Why is this? Why have they come to quite different conclusions while having access to the same information? SeaJay I understand you are prone to anxiety, but I hope you will think about what I’ve said here. There are some good videos about the evolution of Hell through Judaeo-Christian history, if you are interested. Its good that you’ve been doing better for a while, but SeaJay buddy, you can’t go around reading religious propaganda. Not with your mind being prone to fear. It’s fucking you up. You’re recovering from religion the way an alcoholic is trying to heal: you can’t take a drink now and then and expect good results.
  11. 5 points
    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
  12. 5 points
    The god of the Bible was created in the image of the monarchs ruling the area at the time. They made their god a king, and kings of that time and place were often ruthless and their misdeeds, as we'd see them today, were largely forgiven and understood as necessary to maintaining the society. This is the Abrahamic god. Because of that the religions have barely moved past the Bronze Age in their thinking.
  13. 5 points
    When prayers are answered it’s God being a loving father. Where prayers are not answered it’s God testing his children, or teaching them valuable lessons. This is the only way to explain a world which looks just like a world where there is no god intervening at all.
  14. 5 points
    This part gives me a lot to think about Lost. Since you did have and enjoy this relationship with someone who was a mismatch and seriously problematic in a number of different ways I find it hard to believe that you weren't created for relationships. I think it's more likely that the problem is with the kind of men you are attracted to. Opra Winfrey had a program in the 90's about how inescapable are the choices we make as adults choosing partners based on our experiences growing up but in particular how we interacted with our parents. A friend shared it with me recently and I'll find it and leave it here for you should you want to check that out. The good news is that no matter how very powerful these destructive urges (that are actually subconscious attempts to resolve or recreate childhood problems) are they can be overcome with conscious recognition and working out a plan to avoid the self sabotage and instead seek relationships that can fulfill your desire for long term companionship. Maybe if after thinking about that you decide to give finding a relationship another try an internet dating site could help you target characteristics you are seeking and avoid those that are problematic. Also I think your description of a normal life with "beloved one and kids" is unnecessarily restrictive. Going from living alone to living with a beloved one is a big change and why not take a look at that by itself as having the potential to be satisfactorily fulfilling for your future. I see having children as greatly over hyped as a need for fulfillment for example how biblical women who can't conceive are called barren and the implication that this barrenness encompasses the entire being. It is possible as a separate endeavor to have wonderful meaningful relationship with children that are not raising in our own home but nevertheless prove to be fulfilling and even possibly last a lifetime. In the same way living alone with a few nice friends can be wonderful and fulfilling but it's up to us to be strong enough to define ourselves and recognize happiness when it comes our way in maybe an unexpected situation. Humans are amazingly adaptable. Thank you for sharing with us again. https://omny.fm/shows/oprah-s-supersoul-conversations/07-190-make-love-last-022520-w-alt-header
  15. 5 points
    The title might raise eyebrows but hear me out. I'm not trying to apologize on behalf of fundamentalists or evangelicals as I've never been one and even then don't speak for all of them, but do hear me out. Like many of you on here, I was raised Christian. Unlike many of you, I was not raised Fundie-homeschooled-not-part-of-the-world style. I was raised fairly casually Christian, in that I don't recall much church growing in earlier childhood and that became more of a dedicated habit around middle school. I actually got into religion more on my won, though over time my mom did push me into the youth choir and such but I began to not mind that much and got into some volunteering and trips, etc. Growing up I could watch just about any cartoon or movie(Dad took me to see the horror film Splice on my 10th birthday lol), and thanks to my non-religious uncle got away with watching Adult Swim before and up to early adolescence. I don't say this as a way to mock anyone, as I know unfortunately that many of you had the opposite experience with strict dress codes, feeling shame over sexual feelings/sexuality, homeschooling and isolation from peers, and strict and in alot of cases dysfunctional and abusive parents and famly. And do not get me wrong, having a ''Christian-lite'' upbringing did not mean that was off the table for me. I was a premie(born around 2-3 months early) and while I'm overall pretty healthy, I was born with Asperger's Syndrome. Thus, for me growing up I was very socially awkward, having issues with body language and social cues, being aware of boundaries and appropriate topics of conversation, and basically had far more ''trial and error'' compared to neurotypical kids. And it is kinda embarassing to admit that in middle school I actually would do Legos and stuff with the younger kids in the neighborhood and didn't really have friends my own age and was kinda the weird kid in middle school due to my tendencies. On top of that, my parents always had problems and middle school was the worst of it, with physical altercations between them,verbal arguments (with insults and profanity that far outdoes the likes of Family Guy and Robot Chicken) being smacked and shoved by my father, told I'm not the son he wanted, accusations of them cheating on each other, and me and my sister having our own altercations similar to my parents. This made youth group actually a safe haven for me in terms of having some sembleance of a social life and an escape of such a dysfunctional environment. Although, my old man(who had once said he was ok with me killing myself at 13) once took me out of youth group(not literally, but came into the room and asked me to step outside) to accuse my mom of carrying condoms in her car(I was like, around 14). My family is mostly African Amercian, so both of my parents were raised religious but more in the black family ''praise the Lord'' kind of way. Despite this, cue the shitty, dysfunctional marriage and the cheating accusations. They are also fairly homophobic, as I remember years ago my dad said he wouldn't really talk to a gay person, talked down about a boyfriend my sister had who was bi, and my mom has said we need to have 4 grandkids just in case some get sick and die or are ''confused'' which is what she uses to refer to a distant LGBT southern cousin. So between all of this, I had more work cut out for me in terms of social development and have come to envy people who ''won the lottery'' in comparison. And I had my own ''wolf in sheep's clothing'' in the form of Zimba, a kid I had befriended in my neighborhood who's family were the more conservative Christian type(No HP or LOTR, Spongebob or Johnny Test, stay locked in on Halloween) who I did bond with and had common interests, but over time he used and manipulated me more and years later I found out he allegedly assaulted my sister, and it tore me up at the thought of my only real friendship being for nothing and letting that kind of person into my life, especially given my other circumstances. And Christianity, while not a direct cause, was a hindarance in that the whole idea of a God having a plan for you, that you have a special role to play was very appealing to a lonely, autistic teenager and t left me with a sense of complacency when attempts at friendships and goals didn't work out, figuring God had everything under control. Point is, even if my experience wasn't exactly the norm on here, I definitely can relate to feeling of wasted time and lost opportunities. While others are moving ahead in life and enjoying things, we have to put in more work as the harsh hand we were dealt left us with emotional scars and trauma that held back or even fully robbed us of a proper childhood and adolescence, leaving only baggage that we must carry into adulthood unlike our peers who were given a better starting point. It definitely sucks, but as more of us learn from our experiences and see the truth, there's hope to break such a twisted cycle.
  16. 5 points
    Hi. I'm 32 years old, and I've been a Christian for....most of that. I grew up in a house where religion was life. Everything revolved around church, god and the works. I was homeschooled and indoctrinated from an early age. I prayed the sinners prayer at 5 or 6. Clearly, I did not understand it. Theres absolutely no way, but that's what I was supposed to do. I grew up, involved in church. Youth group. Had a best friend who was a super christian. Met my wife, my friend didn't approve of her so he made her feel not good enough and unvalued. We, obviously, had a falling out. It was at this point I began questioning everything, living my own way. Smoking. Having sex without being married. Things that were a huge deal. It became a big issue with my parents. Eventually I got married, my wife became a Christian and we lived for several years like so. That brings me to the last couple years. I have decided within the last year I'm done. Done with god, jesus and religion. I've read several books about athiesm and nothing has ever made more sense. It addressed all the questions I've always had but never been given answers. I feel freedom I never had before. I have several issues. The inconsistency of the bible and origin of christianity. The judgement of Christian's I know. The scientific evidence against the bible and the fairy tales in it.but most of all the idea of hell. I learned about hell as a young child and knew people went there. It terrifies me and still does. The idea that this loving god created everlasting eternal punishment is unfathomable and evil. It's nothing more than a scare tactic to convert people and get 10% of their income. I cant believe in our worship a god that would do that. And if god is all-knowing and all-powerful but created hell then I see too options. 1 he is evil 2 he is not all-knowing or all-powerful where he can prevent it The freedom I feel from walking away is amazing. I have not talked to my parents about this. Honestly it's such a pain in the ass. I have a cousin who is a lesbian and it's a huge issue of concern to my parents who treat her terrible because of it. My wife had enough one day and said that as long as she was happy it's ok. My dad cut her off to tell her why she was wrong he was incredibly disrespectful and I lost respect for him over this. But he felt it was justified because...you know god trumps everything. Things with my family is complicated. My dad is not open minded, he will never listen to my reasoning or feelings. He will only preach. Fuck that I dont need it. My sister is a single mom of 3, lives off my parents but is super religious and fearful. Shes a conspiracy theorist, her new thing is end of the world stuff. Covid-19 is an end of the world thing. Mark of the beast stuff. It's crazy. But overall I'm happiest and more confident than I've ever been. I'm a better person. I'm continuing to learn, and I'm excited for the future. Thanks for reading
  17. 5 points
    Welcome! You are discovering that sometimes family ties are toxic and will continue to poison you and others you love, all justified by religion (and narcissism even in non-religious families). Some families are great, some of sort of meh, others are best cut off like cancer. It sounds like you have sorted out your own concepts and seen through the programming. Now instead of subjecting yourself to unbending, unreasoning religious fanatics, find joy and peace without them. Some of my own family are about as religious as I once was, and right about the time I rejected the beliefs they became distant. That worked out fine for me. We also had several families of immigrants to whom we had grown close, but our only real tie outside of that closeness we formed was the faith. When we rejected that, our common bond was broken and we rarely see them now. That hurt, but there are a few toxic ones in their family group that make it icky, and since their whole world is utterly steeped in non-stop Jesus, we didn't want to make things awkward for them or for us and split. We saw them recently at a funeral, and 95% of them were wonderful and we expressed love to each other, but the toxic few were there with no smiles, no greetings, and were clearly being the "holy warriors" they imagine themselves to be. Meh. Find new friends and circles, though that is difficult during this quarantine time. For me, nature provides a steady diet of quiet beauty and a feeling of connection to life in general, apart from the odd abstractions of "meaning" humans keep trying to stick on things. Music is another kind of beauty I enjoy. and most of my circle of friends post-church are musicians. Most of them are not religious, or are social believers. When you stop allowing your relationships to be poisoned, you get to explore just being you and being together. And it takes time to decompress from the toxic relationships. When we are around it long enough, we expect to be beaten emotionally. But that is horrible. So I suggest distance and a new way of being, day in and day out. Choose to find the beauty in life.
  18. 5 points
    I thought this would be a good image signifying being quarantined.
  19. 5 points
    TruthSeeker0 writes: ____ I've been assuming this isn't going anywhere quickly. It is sobering hearing from people whose parents died, and others who are in hospital fighting for their lives. And of healthcare workers and people in their prime of life who had it, barely made it through, or didn't make it. I'd rather look at my walls and be here at the end of all this. ____ And Florduh writes: ____ But..... the rest of us need to be pragmatic and realize we can't stay at home indefinitely. We need to slowly and judiciously start living again because it could be years before we have vaccines and cures for this. … For most people, hibernating is not a long term option. ____ Two divergent positions. I’m stuck in the middle. This is the most difficult issue I have ever faced. At what point to accept the risk? I have family on the other side of town. We have not seen them but for a few front porch visits since the end of February. And we are a close, huggy family. It is near impossible to be with them and not hold hands or wrap our arms around each other. The little kids want to have another sleepover. They want to climb in my lap and be read to. When you love someone you don’t really understand the pain of separation until you have to deal with it. On the one hand, my user name will tell you that I’m already in the demographic that would be seriously affected by this. Add to that a serious underlying condition that has compromised my immune system, and the odds of surviving an infection are against me. More on the negative side is that while our community case numbers are low compared to many other areas, the number of new cases per day is increasing. And a significant number of community members are ignoring the safety recommendations; the closures will end soon. One more is that a member of our family is working in a place with high public contact and the owner apparently is not concerned about the virus and has not provided a shield between customers and staff, and apparently does not require staff to wear masks. So even if that family member is careful, he could pick up the virus from a coworker and bring it home. And if we visit we would be exposed. On the other hand, however you crunch the numbers our community is not as bad as many others. Mrs. Older and I are not venturing out beyond the market and a few necessary medical visits. Our contact is limited to our family. But our family is young and they cannot modify their life for us. At some point they may rejoin their wider community. They have to move on and we do not expect otherwise. So do we remove ourselves from their life, and them from ours, for the year or two that it might take before this situation subsides? How long do we wait? A month? Six months? We’d like to be able to see our family today, tomorrow and for as many years forward as we can. I could certainly enjoy another ten. And life is full of risk. A stroke could take me out in a heartbeat. We get in our car and chance getting wiped out by a drunk driver. The list is endless. Yes, we want to see every sunrise we can. And we also get up each morning knowing that our lives are one more day closer to the end than to the beginning — the drunk driver could take us out tomorrow. A couple of the kids are tweens. And in a year a couple more will be there. And too soon they will have moved on from overnights with Nana and Grampa, won’t be entertained by me squirting whipped cream into their mouths, won’t giggle when I tickle them, and won’t be interested in sitting with us on the couch to watch a movie. So do we roll the dice, take an increased risk of death, and enjoy life today, or do we hold back and miss out on important parts of our family’s lives now to increase by an unknown amount the chance that we’ll be able to be in their lives later? Mrs. Older is willing to take the chance. But I’m the one with two strikes on the board, so the decision rests with me.
  20. 5 points
    I am a very different personality type from you freedwoman but I would avoid a situation like this because it will almost always yield no positive results while posing a more real risk of hurt feelings on one side or another especially if the topic is faith or religion. Why do you like face to face debates so much and what is it that you are looking for as a result of "winning" such debates? I just wonder if there might not be a better way to get whatever it is that you're looking for.
  21. 5 points
    Are we talking informal settings? My advice is, don't. Have conversations, not confrontations. Informal debates are not organized, and don't have clear rules. They tend to fall apart very quickly, and often lead to people getting hurt. Also, formal debates exist more for the benefit of the observers than the participants. Informal, in person debates generally benefit no one in my experience. Have conversations. Listen to what people have to say. Disagree with them politely if you think they're wrong, but be prepared to just let things go. People who eagerly engage in debates usually just want to hear themselves talk. That's not a particularly good look for anyone, in my opinion.
  22. 5 points
    I'm not really into the fierce debating that goes on here at times. What I would like to tell them when they come here is to; first, pray to their God that they will be able to discern the truth about religion. Second, read the whole bible. Third, do an in depth study of how we came to have the Bible. Forth, do an in depth study of the history of all gods and religions. Fifth, study about the moral evolution of human beings. Sixth, if they still want to debate, come back and do so.
  23. 5 points
    Thanks for posting that. It pretty well parallels my observations. There are no easy answers to our situation. May cool heads and rational thinking prevail.
  24. 5 points
    One benefit of working from home (I go in to work one day a week) is being able to enjoy the beauty of the Spring season, whether walking the dogs at lunch time or just taking a quick break from my desk in the basement and looking out the window or stepping out into the backyard. The other day my badly-behaved dogs stood still long enough for me to take this picture in the neighborhood. These scenes are everywhere in April-May where I live.
  25. 4 points
    And I also remember you @Overcame Faith! Glad to hear from you! Thank you for the friendship and encouragement when I needed it! I and @Eugene39 are happy as heck and so thankful for this site. 3 of my 4 kids are grown and 1 has thought his way out of fundamentalism, so that makes me happy too. We happened upon another “Ex-c” (from this site) in our town who is semi-famous now for an ex-c book she wrote and we were privileged to celebrate our wedding at her beautiful home, and are very thankful to know her. My kids love my husband and love seeing us happy. We have had much fallout in our families (specifically parents) but it has always been worth it, to just be our whole selves. Even my fundy parents have gotten over their “horror” and begun to accept us a bit, and I think my mom really loves “Eugene39” because no one can deny he’s just one of the best, kindest, most genuine human beings ever. I’m still so very, VERY thankful for this site and everyone on it, for helping me see I’m not the “crazy” one. For listening to me through the first couple years of anger and rebellion and confusion. Please hang in there; all the rest of you. It gets better.
  26. 4 points
    I absolutely agree with this, SeaJay and I hope you’ll take it to heart. We’re not suggesting you turn a deaf ear to Christian arguments for the rest of your life: you need to open up some distance between you and religious claims for now because you’re having trouble evaluating them without experiencing this awful anxiety. Hierophant experienced similar anxieties but he’s in a much better place now and you would do well to follow his advice.
  27. 4 points
    @SeaJay, Sorry to hear about your bad day but...it's just a day and tomorrow is another. Watch a funny movie. Talk to a friend. The Bible was written by ancient control freaks - not by some deity. Even believing xtian Bible scholars admit men wrote the books and most are not quite sure each supposed author was even one person or the author credited with authoring. This would indicate that what we have is a collection of ancient myths passed by word of mouth over 100's of years. Perfect precipice for accuracy, eh? </sarc> Those authors, and those wishing to use the Bible as a tool, wrote in the "if you don't believe" and "if you blaspheme" sections as they noticed people were calling bullshit on the whole thing and were desperate to real some of them in as well as to threaten the rest of the flock. The affect the frig'n books have had on you is why I maintain that preachers should be licensed and audited and if they screw with someone's head the church should be held financially liable.
  28. 4 points
    @SeaJay Sorry to hear you are having a rough time. I know you struggle of what to do with Christianity as a whole and I know how debilitating it can be to think that you are going to be punished forever. I think @TABA provided some good insight and what is going to help you is to have your mind do a paradigm shift so you are able to think about this in an appropriate way that will not trigger anxiety. Any time emotions take over, it is difficult to get them back in control. One way I look at hell is this, if it is real, it is honestly out my control to do anything about it. Any being that would create hell is not good (as we use that word) in any sense. Nobody deserves to be punished forever, not even Hitler. At some point in time, enough is enough. For that to go on forever, then at some point, the punishment has been served and whoever is perpetuating the punishment is now the antagonist. If eternal punishment is somehow true, and there is not sufficient evidence to believe it is true, then the being in control of that is not even halfway decent....they lack any compassion, mercy, or empathy. If that is the kind of god who is in control of the universe, then let us be frank, nobody has any idea how to please them. The best comparison you could get would be a dictator or an abusive, narcissistic parent that will only reward you for doing exactly what makes them happy all the time, in any particular moment. And even if that is what you were inclined to do to avoid punishment, there is no way to know what that is. Just think about all the different ideas in Christianity ~ Messianic Jews, Seventh Day Adventist, Holiness, Wesleyans, Amish, Lutheran, Catholic, Orthodox, Baptists, Charismatics, Pentecostals, and on and on and on and on we go. There are thousands of different denominations all claiming to have the truth with a capitol 'T,' and they cannot agree on who God is or what he wants. Think about the different teachings of Jesus, have you ever stopped to really think about what they even mean? For example, how in the world do you give up all you have and follow Jesus? What does that even look like in 2020? How would you even know what to do? How does Jesus want you to spend your money, what should you do about that homeless person you see on the highway, how much should you give of those who ask, is violence ever justified? The ambiguity is endless. Nothing is clearly defined in the Bible. Nobody ever asked follow-up questions of Jesus to figure out what he was really demanding. Without you actually meeting Jesus, you have no idea what he wants, and neither does anyone else. And this is me granting a lot, I mean a lot of assumptions about the veracity of the historical accuracy of the Bible. At the end of the day, I do not think the evidence bears out the Bible was inspired by any kind of god. All evidence points to a collection of writings by people who were not there to witness any kind of events first hand, and there is no way to demonstrate or show that any of the claims of the Bible are remotely true (just like every other religion, surprise surprise). I want you to think about your methodology for believing the Bible is true, and I want you to apply that same methodology to every other claim, religious or otherwise, and see where that would lead you. You are not being fair if you lower the standard for this particular pet belief, but then raise the bar for everything else outside of the Christian religion. I would almost guarantee that if you applied your same methodology to your Christian beliefs, you will find that you could just as easily be a Muslim, Hindi, Buddhist, or believe in ghost, goblins, aliens, NWO - or whatever global conspiracy you want to choose from, antivax, and any other baseless assertion with insufficient evidence to back it up. Could you imagine living life that way? It becomes a world where nothing is off the table, every bold assertion carries this weight of plausible instead of just possible - and that is just not the reality of the world we live in. I will tell you what helped me through all this, I stopped believing in things that could not be supported without sufficient evidence. It will just drive you crazy doing otherwise. Do I know a god does not exist? No, of course not, nobody knows that answer. But what I do know is that there is insufficient evidence to suggest one exist. Now, I will say this, I know we have enough evidence to demonstrate evolution is a biological fact. We have multiple lines of evidence to show that there was NOT a global flood, plain and simple, the evidence is overwhelming that it did not happen. I think it is demonstrably true that a "loving" God is not in charge of the show. It is impossible that anyone with a shred of decency would stand by and watch the overwhelming amount of horrific suffering that occurs on a daily basis and do nothing, especially when they have the power to do so. I have a thought experiment, imagine you are powerful enough that you can see every incident happening around the world at any moment and could do something about it. I do not know about you, but if I had the power to manipulate the universe however I pleased, I would not stand by while people killed and ate their own children because they are starving, or watch the rape, pillage and mutilation of man, woman, and, child. I am taken back whenever I see lions and hyenas tear the ass out of a pregnant zebra and carry off its unborn offspring ~ really the brutality of the natural order is fairly depressing. Per the Bible, I am fallen, evil, wicked, and all those other sweet adjectives, and I would do something, all the more reason a "loving" god would not stand for it. Evidence strongly supports there are multiple forgeries in the Bible where authors wrote in the name of someone else (definitely 2 Peter and the pastoral letters), which means the Bible as we have it is in error and therefore the idea the Bible is inerrant, infallible, blah blah blah is bogus. So if there is a god behind the Bible, they made zero effort to effectively communicate a message to us, which means they are completely apathetic to the human condition. I could go on and on for all the reasons I find the Bible, and the notion of anyone or anything that is omni-omni in charge of the show is just not possible, but I have droned on enough. I know it is difficult, but you will not be able to quell this anxiety until you are able to think about Christianity differently. I know it is hard, there are years of indoctrination stored away in there. I encourage you to follow the facts, wherever they may lead.
  29. 4 points
    Yes, replacing one unsupported belief with another doesn't fly with those who left a religion due to critical thinking.
  30. 4 points
    The human mind, for all its amazing qualities, is very good at compartmentalizing: applying different rules to different situations. I am an engineer who looks at things - in my work and in other areas - using a rational, logical approach. When troubleshooting, I look to see if C could have been caused by B and whether B could have been caused by A. If some connection doesn’t make logical sense, I set it aside and look for another explanation. But for most of my adult life I looked at Christianity using a different set of rules: I believed things that I wanted to be true, or because I liked other people who believed them, or because I’d been told them repeatedly. It’s as if my mind was divided like watertight compartments in a ship. But in my case there was always some leakage between the chambers and I would be troubled by problems with the concept of an all-powerful, loving God. Eventually I reached a point where I started evaluating the God claims the same way I did non-religious concepts, or even the claims of non-Christian religions. At a certain point the evidence overwhelmed whatever emotional investment I had in Christianity and I turned my back and walked away. Following my questions to their conclusion and rejecting the theology once and for all was like removing my mind from a vise-grip! Rejecting religious dogma doesn’t mean we’re not still liable as human beings to make the same mistake in other areas: supporting one politician because he’s on “our” side of the aisle, in our tribe, even if we’d condemn a guy from the other tribe who did the same thing. Or lazily supporting some position adopted by our party rather than thinking about the issue for ourselves. Thinking things through for ourselves isn’t the easy way, but it sure is rewarding when we know WHY we believe something . . . or don’t.
  31. 4 points
    Most believers convince themselves at first that God is responding. When disappointment is expressed, other believers teach you to make excuses to fill in the blank of silence. I'm sure you've heard them: "Oh, he answered, but it looks different than what you expect. He's always faithful, all the time!" "He can say no. You don't give your kid everything she asks for." "He's not a cosmic vending machine, ya know!" "Who are you to question God?!" But it's only ever them doing the speaking. Some churches have turned the silence into doctrine. The Baptist church I attended for a while insists that God must be silent and not answer prayers for healing or the Bible wouldn't be finished, and that would be a catastrophe for some reason. I always thought that essentially made god dead, so I left (as did a lot of others, but a lot of others stayed). When I finally got a shock discovering a trusted pastor lying and making up long detailed stories about miracles (which brought in a lot of money and followers) I had to start asking hard questions that needed actual answers. That was when the silence became very apparent. Silence brought a lot more questions I had shelved over the years about why is god such a colossal jerk in the Bible? Why does he want blood? Earth is a planet floating in a vast cosmos in all directions, yet Jesus ascended "up" into the clouds. There is no "up", heaven isn't just above the clouds, we fly planes there all the time. We have spacecraft that go outside the solar system. Same with the tower of Babel, god was threatened by a building project? Then there are the talking snake ("more clever than the other wild animals", not Satan), the talking donkey, the odd witchcraft stories about mating sheep in front of striped branches, floating axe heads, rubbing mud in a blind man's eyes to make him see, and an Old Testament filled with god blessing mass rape and genocide. It is a primitive cult, nothing more. We were tricked, we believed, then we saw through. Sadly, millions are still in the cult and many of them are in political positions and military.
  32. 4 points
    Hi and welcome, Jenni One of my biggest reasons for leaving the cult was a lack of any type of real communication on god's part...including the answering of prayers. I never conclusively saw any prayer answered...EVER. The realization that we were all in a building just talking to the walls was a big motivator for me to head out the church doors. It will actually come as a relief to you when you see that all the strength and fortitude you need to face life doesn't come from some spooky, invisible father figure but it comes from yourself.
  33. 4 points
    God is super fucking old. He's smart enough to know that he's in the highest-risk group and so he's staying the hell away from this shit show. mwc
  34. 4 points
    I think it's like a friendship. What do you do when someone who was a friend stops reciprocating? You realize that it has ended and you find new friends. Sometimes it's hard to acknowledge that what you had is gone but that's the way it is. And sometimes it's hard to make new friends. It takes work but it can be done.
  35. 4 points
    Moving out will be challenging financially ZenP but it's probably the only way you will get some clarity in your life. The amount of emotional capital you invest in your family members seems to be too high. You need to shift your focus onto your own needs and generally get to know yourself better as a person who is separate from his family. You seem to be doing well with looking out for your future career wise and I think the paramedic goal is very good. It doesn't sound to me like you need to just disappear as opposed to openly planning your move and then just moving. If you get some physical distance once you find your own place I think you won't be troubled with excessive family involvement unless you pursue it. You may have more of a difficult time letting all that family attachment go than you imagine so you'll need to be deliberate in finding new ways to redirect all that energy in a positive way when you start living your own life away from home.
  36. 4 points
    Pissed at religion? Yes that's an understatement..I'm still pissed sometimes. I lost 38 years in that. So what's wrong with being pissed? You gonna do the xtian thing now and tell me that bitterness is wrong, or sin, or that negative emotions are wrong? Or that I haven't forgiven and forgotten and moved on? I'm allowed to have my emotions and process them. Maybe you're also reading too much tone into my comments. I feel complacent writing this. I'm at a happy stage of my life. But I do get slightly pissed when people start telling me I "need" religion, or a god.
  37. 4 points
    I came across a fair amount of that "damned if you do; damned if you don't" mentality myself. If it works out, it was god's will, you were obedient and faithful, and now the saints rejoice. If it doesn't work out, you got in the way, didn't have enough faith, had hidden sin in your life. Fuck that. Now, if it works out it's because I worked my ass off to make it happen. If it don't work out, it's because I worked my ass off to make it happen and sometimes it just don't work that way. But I'll be god damned if I don't try again.
  38. 4 points
    No. Being in need and realizing god ain't gonna do dick-all about it is why we turn away from christianity.
  39. 4 points
    The odds of any brain function after death are crazy low. Related to this there was a good sized experiment done in a hospital where a shelf in a cardiac surgery room 000was placed just high enough that no one could see what was placed on it. Then different objects were placed on the shelf before every surgery to see if any near death patients might identify what was on the shelf as they floated out of body and watched from above. Not one correctly identified the object on the shelf. Accidents have shown that when various parts of the brain lose function all associated behaviors cease. There is zero evidence for any type of eternal object or being and zero for any eternity.
  40. 4 points
    I must admit the FREEDOM from all those "talks with God about everything" all day long is refreshing as heck. I'm still in the process of deconversion, in my 9th year if you can believe that, but I'm closer than ever. I have always seen others as savable, I have always wondered about the good people I met who didn't believe, it really bothered me that they were going to hell forever so I would pray for everybody on the street. I truly think that type of Christianity can make you freakin' sick both in body and in the head. So yes, I understand what you are talking about and it feels GRRRRRREat. Keep up the good work.
  41. 4 points
    Hi lost. I'm so happy to see you back at EXC but I am so, so sorry that you are here under such sad circumstances. I am so sorry to hear of the death of your very special man friend. Sudden death is like the biggest punch in the stomach that one can ever experience. Don't be too surprised if your mind is in a bit of trauma shock. Honey, lots of people get involved in what can be a messy relationship. We are all human. You had some things that you shared together that were special. These are what I call the bittersweet relationships. Whether these relationships are right or wrong, you can learn many lessons from them. It sounds to me as if you learned from him and you probably taught him a thing or two. And you cared for each other even though the flaws were all there. Try to remember all of the nice, lovely times that you had with him. At some point you will know the reasons why you were in this relationship. As it was already mentioned here, take your time with the grieving and grieve anyway you want. Some days will be better than others. But we are here for you to help you through this if you need us. One thing that I have learned in my life, having an addictive personality myself, is that we addictive personalities never mean to harm. We use substances, eat too much, shop too much, gamble, take drugs, drink too much, smoke too much and I have discovered that we are all trying to fill a vacuum that is inside of us. Sometimes life is very hard and we use 'things and substances' because we think it will help us cope better. We turn to these things for comfort even though we all know they aren't good for us. Most of the alcoholics and addicts that I know are some of the most beautiful people on this earth even though the behaviour has such negative consequences. Again, I am so sorry but you are going through this. Just know that EXC is here for you. I give you the biggest virtual hug in the world tonight honey. It's going to be alright, you wait and see. It's just going to take some time. Be gentle with yourself.
  42. 4 points
    Here's a 27-second video that sums it up for me:
  43. 4 points
    So sorry to hear this, Lost. Dan has some excellent advice above. Our family also suffered a tragic, unexpected loss and what I can tell you from that experience is that the panic attacks will subside with time. We also learned that there is no one way to grieve, no right way. Everyone will deal with it in his or her own way. You will also receive unexpected kindnesses and unintentional thoughtlessness. The former will touch you; ignore the latter as those people mean well but simply do not know how to express themselves sensitively. Thank them all regardless. A grief support group might be helpful when the time is right. Walks in the forest and watching the sun rise also helps.
  44. 4 points
    Anyone else notice a positive personality change in themselves after leaving Christianity? Our pastor always told us we should be the best worker at our job. Something about having a good testimony for Christ... I've always been a good worker, but was afraid to share my ideas (if they contradicted someone else). I didn't want to risk upsetting someone and hurt my testimony by speaking my mind. Every since I stopped believing a few months ago, I've slowly started allowing myself to become more bold. My shy, timid personality is being replaced with confidence in my ideas and abilities. It's a little scary lol, but it's great to have my voice heard!
  45. 4 points
    Although we generally keep our identities private here at Ex-Christian, I hope Joshpantera won’t mind me sharing this actual footage of him taking aim at the heart of the matter... the God of the Bible.
  46. 4 points
    If I may be so bold, I think that this acknowledgement on your part indicates that you're not ready to engage in in-person debates. A good debate is one in which each participant argues for their point of view, and doesn't particularly care what the opposing party thinks of them for holding that point of view. The minute that you become concerned about how you will be perceived for holding your views is the minute that you lose the ability to argue powerfully for them. This is not meant to be a criticism. Most of us have been there. I know I certainly have. Just focus on learning more and more. Challenge yourself and your convictions by entertaining the points of view of others. This site is a great place to do that. I think you'll find that in time you will become much more secure in yourself, and in your beliefs, and you won't care so much about what your critics think. Then you'll be ready for in person debates. And you may find that you don't want them anymore. But that's up to you.
  47. 4 points
    If you are being called a coward, and stupid, you need to find other people to be around. Also, if you are an adrenalin junkie, have you tried karate, or other self defense? Or other sports? Find something that helps you feel alive and useful, and drain off some of the energy. Or put the energy to positive use. Also attempting to debate religious people might leave you even more frustrated. HA! Nobody ever wins a debate with them.
  48. 4 points
    Tough decisions we all have to make!!! I'm 78, had type I diabetes for 52 years, and 3 mini strokes. But on the up side, overall I have been the healthiest person in the famliy through the years, never being hospitalized, not remembering when last had a cold, or flu. BUT, HOW MUCH DO YOU CHANCE IT?? We have family and friends over, and go to their places, but stay outside and keep distance when eating, etc. But like older said, not touching, especially little grand kids is difficult. We get our groceries using all the precautions during "old peoples" hour. We do some yard work, take drives, and the dog gets more walks than ever before in her life. Being retired is definitely handy. I feel sorry for those dependent upon work for their existence. Wife and I are "having words" now about whether I should do an Enduro ride with some friends. Traveling separately, camping separately, taking most of our own food, only getting food at a drive through (hoping someone in the kitchen didn't sneeze on it) and not touching each other, and keeping our distance when riding, cleaning hands after pumping gas, or using gloves or plastic bags on our hands, etc, etc. And wife says, "are you going to quarantine yourself for 10 days after getting back home? What if you have a wreck?" A LOT OF BIG "WHAT IF'S"!! HA! Haven't I heard somewhere that if it don't kill you, it will make you stronger?
  49. 4 points
    The wealthy, the big corporations and Wall Street are pushing hard to get everybody back to work right away. The wealthy always benefit more from everything, and this is no different. But..... the rest of us need to be pragmatic and realize we can't stay at home indefinitely. We need to slowly and judiciously start living again because it could be years before we have vaccines and cures for this. I will start going back to the open wildlife areas to take photos but I'm not planning to go to a crowded restaurant other than perhaps for one with sparse outdoor seating options. Touching contaminated surfaces and then your face is still the best way to contract the virus, and we can train ourselves to be cautious with that. A mask doesn't keep you from getting sick but it puts others at ease for some reason. Hand washing and sanitizing is still the best defense other than hiding in your home for a couple of years. For most people, hibernating is not a long term option.
  50. 4 points

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