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Showing content with the highest reputation since 05/28/2020 in Posts

  1. 6 points
    I sent an email to Jon inviting him to this website.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 4 points
    SeaJay, no heaven or hell. No santa. No easter bunny. No tooth fairy. No nessy. No bigfoot............ Set all of the philosophical technicalities aside. You know in your heart and mind that none of these things really exist, don't you? Your better judgement knows this, doesn't it? Somewhere inside this is obvious, isn't it? I get it with the relapse thing. But you have pushed these fears already. You know it's bullshit. Compulsive tendencies are what they are. But you understand the reality of the situation. This is as far fetched as far fetched can possibly be. I've been rooting for you over the years. You are smart and intelligent. You have read material and watched videos. You have actually tried to take in the intellectual content. I'm telling you buddy, some cult claiming that if you assist someone else out of the cult comes with afterlife punishment is nothing other than very human projected narcissistic behavior. What else could it be? How could it even be true? It's transparently biased towards the political agenda's of the particular religious cult. Just like the Muslim cult's texts are biased towards the Muslim cult religion. Or any other cultish religion towards its own claims. This is very obvious. I'm still rooting for you! I hope you get to place of mind where you've finally beaten this thing!!!
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 3 points
    It is Hell on earth! I am a big advocate of the philosophy that one thing we can know 100%, is that we have the life we are living now, anything beyond that is just mere speculation. And the one thing I can do is live my life here the way that makes me happy. Being in religion only made me miserable, depressed, and at times I just wanted to die. That is how bad those thoughts were, they were ruining my life. I hope one day you will be able to put this behind you and discover peace of mind. I became a different person after leaving religion. It is difficult, and there will be some other things you struggle with, but going through it myself, I will be here whenever you need me.
  10. 3 points
    When we have strong emotional ties to Christianity, it can make us examine Christianity in a biased way. "We can't disprove God, so maybe he does exist?" ... "If you interpret this story as a metaphor and that as having happened 350 years later, it could potentially have happened" ... "If you view this quote in the right context, it potentially doesn't contradict that other quote"... etc. etc. We look for the smallest possibility that it might be true, because it's of such high emotional importance to us. It can help put it into perspective to examine it from the other direction, though: We can't disprove the mighty Atheos either, the god who demands that we deny the existence of all gods, Atheos included. Are we really willing to risk angering Atheos, who controls our eternal fate? What about Fabric, the god of stylish curtains? Can we truly afford not to engage in curtain-worship when it could be the key to everything? And so on and so forth. There could be an infinite number of gods demanding an infinite number of things. The God of the Bible is just one, and we don't really gain a lot of information about what we should do by picking the one god that happened to be suggested to us as the one to worry about. What we do know is that we're here on Earth, and that seeking happiness tends to lead to a better life.
  11. 3 points
    There's clearly a lot of anger here. I'm not saying it's unjustified, but I'm not sure that actively leaning into it is the most helpful approach either. And that's all I'm going to say about that.
  12. 3 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?
  13. 3 points
    If ever there was a time for a strong, independent, moderate party. . . .it is NOW.
  14. 3 points
    SeaJay and all, just look at Revelation 22:19 where a threat is made about altering the content of the writing: 19 And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book. This tends to outline something very well known today, which is that religious writings were readily being altered in their transmission back then. And it was well known back then too. And made obvious by certain authors while trying to keep people from altering their work, through scare tactics. Again, this is clearly a human construct. And the very act of trying to fear monger is inherently human motivated. The fact remains that the surviving manuscripts today show signs of being altered over and over again despite any of the threats involved. Bart Ehrman lays that out time and time again. Errors and alterations abound. Hey, maybe someone will denounce christianity on account of me pointing out what's wrong with it. I have zero fear when going over these things with people. Because it's false, fake, unauthentic, not credible, and no where even remotely close to being in the ball park of something that I can look at and consider as objectively true. It's completely off the table as truth in my mind. It's demonstrably wrong the whole way through. It's full of holes the whole way through. It's contradicting the whole way through. To the best of my knowledge, I know that it's false in every imaginable and detectable way of discovering something as false. These are the same reasons that I don't buy scientology, mormonism, or anything similar. Christianity is on no better footing. And that's the focus here. Special pleading goes nowhere. It doesn't and can not hold up to scrutiny. Why should I care about scientologist's threats, or mormon threats, or muslim threats, or any similar threats about influencing people away from their unfounded beliefs??? I can not see any good reason to care...
  15. 3 points
    @SeaJay, there you go. Read and re-read those words. In the past couple of days, @Hierophant, myself and other non-believers, mortal men and women, have shown more concern for you than that mythical middle-eastern deity. We’re there when you call out. We’re not all-powerful or anywhere close to perfect, but we’re real and we care for you, some guy in Britain that we’ve never met.
  16. 3 points
    When you are feeling rough, never forgot the Bible has a talking donkey, and treat it with the contempt it deserves.
  17. 3 points
    There's no "almost has to be" about it. You should read Bart Ehrmans latest book - Heaven and Hell.
  18. 3 points
    Yes, I need explanations in plain, coherent English (or very forgiving Spanish).. When I was younger I was better at deciphering gibberish. But seriously, THIS is your analogy? It might work somewhat if man created the ants and was then displeased with them for acting like ants, as we knew they would. We humans would also need a way to torture the bad ants forever and not just kill them. And some clarification is needed on the fact that God created the "evil human" with complete foreknowledge and therefore it's his own doing. But I'm just a befuddled senior citizen.
  19. 3 points
    I think the idea of hell is not only terrifying, but overkill, and unfair. It's so unfair it almost has to be a man made creation. I cannot believe an all powerful all knowing supreme being would be happy to create this torture place. Hell is such an over the top ridiculously terrifying concept, it's almost as if some people got together and thought "what can we use that will really scare them?" Has to be man made.
  20. 3 points
    How is a Mormon any different? For every argument against a mormon, a mormon apologist will have a counter argument. So will a jehovah's witness. So will an adventist. So will any apologist of any type practicing the deceptive art of apologetic's. What they all have in common is that plausible or not, they all have a 'breaking point' where once pushed beyond that point, they really have no good argument. It will become circular logic. Logic leaping and special pleading. Foundations based on apriori assumption... This is how you figure out who's who. Who's intellectually honest, and who's intellectually dishonest. Please, by all means, share with us the apologetic's that you think are plausible and we will show you the errors in logic and the deception involved. Even better, invite said apologist to come here in person. Let them argue their positions with us. And let readers observe the outcome.
  21. 3 points
    I saw a Rabbi trying to excuse the nonsensical structure of Genesis on youtube. He was basically saying that it's poetic writing and such, and the problem is with people who insist that it's written literally. Well yes, exactly! And the conclusion is what? This is not live coverage of the creation of the universe and earth. This is not science, not symbolic of science, nor metaphorical for the actual science of how the universe and earth came to be. It should be obvious, then, that if a god did create the universe and earth, it didn't do so according to Genesis 1 or 2, and therefore the bible can not be used as such a platform. Poetic writing doesn't = credible, objective, and factual based content. This is what scares the apolgist's. The conclusion is that the bible is not a divine revelation of objective reality. And as a subjective context, well, it can step into line along with every other subjective, non-objective religious work. Any of which could be used as a metaphor just as well as any other. None of which are metaphorical of objective, physical reality. They are only metaphors for the mystery of it all. Which isn't an objective issue. And I have to ask myself what value the poetic reading has. If you're Jewish, sure, then I get it. It's cultural. It's your mythology. It has relevance in that way. But to gentile christians? What relevance does it have over our own European, Asian, African, South Pacific Islander, or North and South American cultural myths? When you really think about it, it doesn't have a lot of relevance. Why not take poetic value from myths of Thor, or Zeus, or some other regional and cultural mythology? These are questions that should began to come into view when it becomes obvious that Genesis is neither (1) literally true, nor (2) representative of the whole world and all cultures in the way that it's presented as literally true in the myth. No flood. No tower of Babel. No lineage linking everyone to Noah's family, let alone Adam and Eve. The whole thing folds like a sack of potatoes....
  22. 3 points
    @SeaJay Any time, brother. I know the struggle and I know how much it can help to get some feedback from someone who understands and has been there before. This site was a big help in my deconversion. Before I deconverted, I told myself I would only read material written by former Christians. There is that special insight I was looking for that Dawkins and the rest would not be able to deliver because they were never in the game so to speak. It really helped me step back and reevaluate all the propaganda you hear from clergy, church members, and Christian websites. I can tell you, until you are really past this, and I mean way past it, I do not recommend any Christian websites. Unless you have trained your mind to deal with apologetics, that is, train your mind to think more rationally, they will do nothing but cause you an extreme amount of unrest. The arguments sound good prima facie, but once you dig in, you realize none of them hold weight. I think Matt Dillahunty (though he can be a bit short-tempered and crass) does a really great job of dismantling theist arguments - he cuts to the quip about why they are so unreasonable and untenable. You have to get good at spotting the weaknesses and absurdities yourself, because otherwise, fear and unease will get you every time ~ they will always open this gigantic door of self doubt.
  23. 3 points
    I cannot remember who said it originally, but Dr. Robert Price discussed this idea that the Christian God is described as holding the characteristics of those who are claiming him. As you mentioned, your wife has an abusive personality, so I bet she throws that same sheet onto her idea of God, same with your step-son(?). Other examples are God is a feminist, a vegan, a war-monger, a hippie, i.e., whatever people want him to be because that is what they are. In the end, the Bible turns into a ventriloquist dummy for whatever doctrine suits their needs.
  24. 3 points
    Which is a good sign that they’re all wrong, they’re all human inventions, by people who had much less knowledge about the universe than we do, people struggling to make sense of everything. But you might say, couldn’t one of them actually be right? To which I respond: if there really was a good, loving god who cares about his children, would he allow all these competing messages to flourish, allowing those who latched onto the wrong religion to be lost, or damned for eternity? Would you treat your own kids so callously? No you wouldn’t. Because you’re better than this vengeful god that you still half-believe in. SeaJay, I really think you need some specialized help with this. You’ve been struggling with fears of Hell for a few years now and still experiencing these terrifying setbacks. I’d strongly suggest you call Recovering from Religion, which is present in the UK. Their number is listed as + 44 20 3856 8791. I believe that since you’re inside the UK, you dial 020 3856 8791. I think they could help you in a way that we are not equipped to do. But you gotta stay away from the drinks cabinet.
  25. 3 points
    Your body is going to be resurrected and restored so you can feel the pain, and God can torture you for eternity! That's how he gets his jollies. An infinite orgasm. (Oh my gosh, he's going to get me for that one) JUST KIDDING, GOD!
  26. 2 points
    I don't think anyone is saying murder is okay, the argument seems to be whether the issue is racism (would an overly aggressive cop have killed the criminal regardless of his skin colour? Did he do his actions because of racism or because of being a violent a-hole?) and whether it is epidemic (sure the media highlight the worse cases, but from the close to 2 million people working in law enforcement in the US how many are actually using racial violence?). The very fact the officer is facing murder charges clearly shows this is not condoned. It has been condemned by everyone, from every law enforcement agency to Trump, to the international community. I do agree that some of the black activists are too quick to jump to racism as the reason for events. If a black man with a knife charges a cop and gets shot, it is due to the knife not his skin colour. I think the gap that we have is any answers as to how to fix it. Lots of people are saying things are bad, but I'm not hearing people saying what the answer is. Gangs, drugs, poverty, anti-education mentality, a culture of glorifying thug life/violence/aggression, no counter narrative to "everyone is out to get you", expensive healthcare/insurance etc and fear. Maybe the issues are too wide ranging?
  27. 2 points
    I will check it out right now.
  28. 2 points
    I just noticed you said this a few years back and I wanted to comment on it: Maybe this is it, you are have not reached a point where you realize the Bible is not what Christians say it is. There is a book I would like you to read, it was the very first book I read when I was having serious doubts about the faith and the author had a very similar experience as me: Star Map: A Journey of Faith, Doubt, and Meaning by Lewis Vaughn. Vaughn describes his sincere search to find God and to interpret the Bible correctly, and not to reveal too much of the story, he realizes that it is impossible. The Bible is open to too many interpretations, but I would like for you to experience the book first hand. This book really resonated with me and I think it is important for someone who is struggling to make sense of Christianity to hear the journey other fundamentalist went through before losing faith. Time and again I find that the ranks of atheist are often filled with those who were the most ardent and sincere believers, and the reason we became atheist is because we never found any real answers....
  29. 2 points
    Not really. We don't have lots of evidence. What we do have indicates that they were somewhat like ourselves. Some took it literally and others took it allegorically with others falling in-between. Josephus and Philo of Alexandria are about the only two writers from that period and they're on both ends of this. Josephus describes a literal creation while Philo tends to a more allegorical one (however, his writings are focused on this so it may well be because of this). Josephus also mentions that the various sects of Jews varied in their beliefs with the Sadducees being most literal and not believing in things like an afterlife moving on down to the Pharisees being more like the Greeks and open to more things like afterlives and whatnot (I'm simplifying here of course). So we don't really know what they believed since the evidence is lacking but we can gather from what we do have that they were not monolithic by any means and their beliefs ran the spectrum. We also know that the Pharisees were more than likely the dominant sect at the time so there were likely more than one take among them as to how to interpret the creation as well as the scriptures as a whole. mwc
  30. 2 points
    Yes it’s awful here. New Zealand, please send help! Seriously, it depends hugely on where in America you live. The pandemic numbers for New York City are comparable to northern Italy, whereas here in Flyover country they’re comparable to Germany. The county I live in (population 85,000) had two deaths from COVID-19, in early April I think. The chart below from The Economist is enlightening. The rioting scenes from cities like Minneapolis are terrible. The riots do symbolize a real and bitter divide that has been whipped up over recent years by politicians and parts of the news media. In times like this it’s no help that the two political parties have offered up as Presidential candidates a venomous man-child and a doddering imbecile. A pox on them and the pathetic parties they both lead. Personally, I’m affected in that I’ve been working from home since mid-March and of course we haven’t been traveling or eating out since this began. The riots are something we see on the News and our community could hardly be more calm and peaceful. I’m happier than ever that I live hours from any major city, although this is no isolated backwater. As an immigrant to the US, I know that the true goodness and strength of America is built by the ordinary men and women who never make the headlines. I’m still very glad I came here 30 years ago.
  31. 2 points
    Just ordered it this minute.
  32. 2 points
    This is just another irrational fear or phobia, it's not unique just because it's wrapped up in religious dogma. People overcome these things every day through proper therapy. These days doctors of all kinds are doing video visits and consultations and I would seek out an expert on phobias. I am not a mental health professional and this is not medical advice, it's just my take on the situation.
  33. 2 points
    Intellectual understanding and emotional attachment are two different things, hence irrational fear. It seems to me no different than a fear of alien abduction or butterflies. The fear is real but unfounded in fact. That doesn't make the fear any less real. Of course we try not to offer medical advice here but I'm suggesting an avenue to discuss with a secular professional.
  34. 2 points
    I wouldn't call anything "scriptural evidence." The Bible is not a reliable source of information. We don't even know for sure whether or not Jesus existed, but even if he did, we don't know how much of what the Bible attributes to him really came from him. Even if he would've said much of what is written, it would obviously have been based on what he was taught, which would've been the Hebrew scriptures. Regardless, in response to your question, I don't think the Gospels have Jesus mention Adam & Eve by name, but they do have Jesus reference their son Abel (Matt 23:35; Luke 11:51), apparently inferring that he was a real person. They also have him referring to mankind's creation as male and female (Matt 19:4; Mark 10:6), which Christians would obviously take as alluding to Adam & Eve. To the best of my recollection, that's about all there is. Again, that's not really evidence of any of that stuff being true. It's just the stories that were passed down, written down, copied and preserved. There are way too many problems with the Bible to take any of it seriously.
  35. 2 points
    As far as I know, Jesus never talks about Adam & Eve or the Fall - at least in the four gospels of the NT, but Jews like him (assuming he actually existed) would have been very familiar with the Torah, which of course includes Genesis. I don’t know whether there is anything in the various other gospels that didn’t make the Final Cut. Why do you ask?
  36. 2 points
    I agree, although I wish even more that we could get away from parties altogether and just have individuals running.
  37. 2 points
    I'm not thrilled with Biden, but there's no way in hell I could ever vote for Trump. Nearly anyone would be better than that arrogant buffoon.
  38. 2 points
    Ahhh, I see, I misunderstood the context. I do understand what you are referring to though, it seems there is an answer for anything. And I get it, no matter how weak the argument may be, it opens this window of possibility. That is where I fall back to the full picture of why I find it so highly unlikely, it essentially becomes negated. There are multiple veins leading me to think Christianity, even broadly speaking is not objective reality: Systematic theology continually fails because one verse or one way of thinking will contradict another. It is impossible to use the Bible to flesh out any real cogent thought. Calvinism, Arminianism, all fail at some point or another to be supported by the Bible. There was never any "peace in Jesus." I was always in torment, exactly like you are. I never knew if I was saved, what you really needed to do to be saved, what exactly I was supposed to be doing, etc. I never had any answers to what I thought were very important topics. I pleaded with God to show me the way and all I ever got was contradictory talking points from Christians who claim to know "the truth." Time and time again claims made by the Bible are demonstrated to not be true in light of science, which then leads to ambiguous and subjective interpretations. Instead of making things clear, it only muddied the water even more. As I stated before, who is the authority on how the Bible should be interpreted? Why am I relying on another fallible human to tell me what God wants? Why cannot he not just tell me himself? I would think that if there was a God who really wanted me to know him and had a message for me, it would have been delivered in a vastly different manner. The Bible as we have it is too dubious in nature. It has been passed down through the ages and it hands down is a tradition of men. The canon as we have it was voted for, it was a compromise amongst the various churches. How can fallible, wicked, sinful men possibly know what is supposed to be divine writings. Timothy (a known forgery) is the only letter that even says all scripture is "God breathed." If there is a God who wants us to know something, why would he leave us in such an impossible position? Would it not be better if any kind of writing for humans was some book dropped out of heaven and located in multiple places where it was clearly consistent in its message, unable to be altered, adjusted, hidden, or anything else that would not leave any room for doubt it is beyond the natural order? I do not even think the written word is a great way to communicate. It always get interpreted through culture, bias, and other factors that humans are unable to avoid. After looking at the Bible from the viewpoint of the historical-critical method, I find that to be the best explanation for the content of the text. It has way more explanatory power than any theology ever applied to it.
  39. 2 points
    This one goes into depth about the evolution of both as man made concepts. If you're capable of reasoning it can help combat irrational fears. That's the only way you overcome them - with knowledge, and with knowledge comes belief. Edit: imo you've been spending time reading the wrong kind of "evidence" presented by the other side - and triggering irrational fear in doing so. You need to stay away from that and read critiques of xtianity by real scholars/ historians that will help.
  40. 2 points
  41. 2 points
    Reports of miracles (events that could not be explained scientifically, as opposed to the coincidences that believers today characterize as being miracles) dwindled away during the 1st Century CE. Christians during that period believed they were living in the End Times, the New Testament writers included. Bart Ehrman covers this in some of his books. As more and more decades passed by without Jesus returning, the writers had to adjust their predictions, almost as if they were fallible humans who had no more divine inspiration than you and I do. At the end of the day, SeaJay, there is an answer for everything, as you have observed. Answers to explain why somehow the world we observe is just like a world with nobody “in charge”. The only things that are truly in charge of the world and the universe are the laws of physics.
  42. 2 points
    Another example of beliefs that don't match reality.
  43. 2 points
    Funny, that goes against Christian teaching. You are worthless, a worm, in need of outside assistance.
  44. 2 points
    I can somewhat agree with the sentiment that if you believe in miracles, you will see miracles everywhere. I probably wouldnt articulate it with that kind of religious phrasing; but I agree with the idea. It's about perspective. If you are looking for the good in life/people/circumstances, you'll find it. Conversely, if you're looking for the bad...
  45. 2 points
    It was like being smacked in the chops by an invisible wet mackerel. I thought it hurt until I realised it wasn't real.
  46. 2 points
    @SeaJay Hey, thank you for providing a few examples. I will do one at a time because each one is a lot to unpack, and if anyone else wants to jump in, please do so. If there is a God - why is there so much nastiness on the earth, why doesn't He stop it? It's because of the fall. Sin is in the world and sin is why everything is so bad. We had the chance to choose God's way but we chose our way. This is exactly how things are supposed to be until the second coming. Before we get going, I am guessing we mean a "loving" or “good” God exists, a deistic God or even a malicious God does not really matter here. Great, we have the apologetic. "The Fall,” implied this means that God is not responsible for all of the terrible stuff going on, he is going to get a free pass in all this. Somehow he is not responsible, even though he created everything and is supposed to be in control of everything, but sure. Conveniently, the blame is going to get passed to Adam and Eve, the humans are going to get it with both barrels so Yahve is somehow not responsible for any of the nastiness now, or in history. I want to speak a bit about this before going after it, at the end of the day, this is a possible explanation. And there is definitely a way to tease this out of the Bible, so at least it was not made up out of whole cloth. I mention this because you stated you get hung up on the what-ifs. Essentially, this argument will make you pause because in your head, there is some cogency to it. I think it helps your mind because in the western world, we are taught at an early age to fear and respect the Christian God, so we do not need too much convincing to turn the other cheek so to speak. At the end of the day, this is not going to break Christianity. But I think we can tease out a few ideas of how the whole “Fall” demonstrates there is not a loving God behind it. First off, I am just going to attack the Bible. There is no reason to believe Genesis remotely speaks to a literal sequence of events in the past (past being what really happened in our world). I just do not buy it, matter of fact, @Joshpantera just made a post about all of the problems with a literal reading of Genesis. I recommend you go over there and review the videos because it would take me 40 pages to discuss every topic those videos cover. I am going to smack the larger nails sticking out. I would ask you this, who exactly do you think wrote Genesis? I can tell you scholars do not believe it was the earliest book written, it definitely was not written by one person (you normally hear “Moses wrote it”….no way). Genesis 1 and 2 are definitely different authors telling a similar, but different story. Check this out, we know, for sure, there is not a “firmament” above the earth holding back water, nor are there a smaller light and a larger light affixed to it. To me, end of story. I did not have to make it past the first page before I found an error, and I do not believe that is even the first error I came to, it just happened to be the one I use the most often because it is so obvious that whoever wrote Genesis 1 thought the earth was flat, there was a dome that had windows to allow it to rain, and the sun and moon are affixed to it (flat-earthers believe this). There is nothing about Genesis 1 that would lead me to believe the author was being “symbolic.” It reads as if the author is literally telling a story as if they thought that was the literal history of the universe and planet. Evolution is an established fact, there was no time in history where there just happened to be the first modern human male and female (what I mean here is that there were always these stages of transition and multiple individuals in the population would have similar traits and all that. It is not as if one day two of our ape-like ancestors just happened to pop out a modern male and modern female at the same time, in the same location). Evolution does not work like that. I constantly hear arguments from this woman in my office who is a vegetarian and thinks there was this ideal period where everyone and everything just ate plants. As Ken Ham or Kent Hovind, one of those fools says “T-Rex used those big teeth to eat watermelons.” GTFO. Nope, never happened and there is just no way. And if T-Rex did do that, which is impossible, it does not account for all the microorganisms that die and are processed when you eat fruit. Point is, this world is a constant cycle of life and death and always has been. Multiple science disciplines demonstrate life evolved over time and death was very much a part of life way before humans came on the scene. It is absurd to think that Adam and Eve ate some fruit and all of a sudden all these animals start morphing into carnivorous beasts that start slashing each other up….come on. The tree was called the “Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil,” well, does that not imply Adam and Eve did not even know what evil was, i.e., if evil is disobeying God, they did not even have the mental faculty to even know that what they were doing was “bad.” And as Joshpantera mentioned in his Genesis post, this was a total setup! Think about all the steps this all-knowing God went through. He knows what is going to happen if he puts this tree on earth, yet does it anyway. He tells these humans not to eat it, but he knows they have no idea what disobeying is. He could have made humans without the capacity to sin, or rather disobey (and yes, that does mean we still would have been free, just free to only make good decisions – and who gives a shit about freedom if it means it can end up in eternal torture?). Imagine if I did these kind of things to my son? Look at this from the aspect of a human parent acting like this. Each and every time you are going to conclude that it would be wrong to treat your child like this. You are simply setting them up for failure and then pissed off when it happens. Where in there do you see love, or even rational thinking? If there is anyone to blame for human sin, it is God himself. This is his party, he designed it this way, so what is he so pissed off about? He got exactly what he designed to happen. This only makes sense if we are dealing with a God who is not all-powerful and is not all knowing. A God that makes mistakes and later realizes some of the blunders they made and decide to do things differently in the future. Good luck getting that to pass muster in the Christian community. There are some who adhere to it, it is called open theism, but by and large, it is considered heresy. At the end, where do you think the better argument is laid out? With the apologetic or with my anti-apologetic? At the end of the day, nobody knows for sure, you have to weigh the arguments and decide which one makes more sense or you find more convincing. Personally, I find the apologetic falls flat on its face once you really think about the premises built into “The Fall” theology.
  47. 2 points
    @SeaJay As I said before, I completely understand. Here is a point to be made, wherever your head is, the heart will follow. This is what you are doing now, intellectually you think there is merit to apologist arguments, or maybe it is better put that you are not able to completely discount them, and therefore your heart soon follows. I am going to make a fair and objective statement. It is possible, possible, that Christianity, broadly speaking, is somehow true. All the ridiculous arguments apologist make could possibly be true. Somehow, someway, it could all of actually happened and it is legit. For that to be the case, we are talking about one miracle after another for the Bible to be remotely vindicated. That is the rub, it may be possibly true, but in all fairness, I give it less than 1% chance. I am not kidding, while possible, I find it highly improbable. You made a good point, you have read the Bible, went to Bible studies, and you feel you are in a place to weigh the claims. But before you do, I want you to take account for the past 100 years of biblical criticism and add that to the equation. And maybe you have, but in my opinion, you are hung up on the "what ifs." If so, then you need to be thinking about the "what ifs" of every other religion threatening you to an eternal hell. At the end of the day, where do you think the evidence really rests? If you think it rests with Christianity, well I would be very interested in hearing your case because I do not want to go to hell either. If you can construct a very solid argument that can withstand history and science, well then you will convert me back to the faith. I would like to hear what you find so convincing that the threat of hell looms over your head. Here is some food for thought, have you ever considered what an argument from apologist really is? Maybe you have even done it yourself, I know I have, it is normally some ad hoc answer to get out of a tight spot ~ this are not intellectually rigorous arguments. All of them are riddled with one fallacy or another. For example if we say God cannot be loving because of all the shit going down every day, and no good father would let that fly, your standard answer is "freewill." Freewill, WTF does that have to do with anything. Try tying someone down to the details of that answer and watch the squirming. It is ridiculous. I could write a book on how freewill either does not exists, or is a completely ridiculous and is essentially invalidated whenever God steps in to do something, which means he is overriding the freewill of someone. Point is, apologetic arguments are skin deep, they have no meat and they have damn near zero explanatory power, they are just ad hoc excuses to provide paper thin buttresses to the preconceived beliefs of Christians. It is an exercise in pseudo-intellectualism. I bet I am so good at apologetics, go ahead and pose your objection, I will answer it with a standard Christian apologetic, and then proceed to take that argument down. Just to show you that those arguments are not good. And my overall thought on that is if there was a god and he wanted us to know him, it would just be obvious. You wouldn't need Joe Blow preacher telling you about a god, you would just know yourself. It would be obvious for everyone to see and know. You would not need to speak 30 dead languages and need to have some esoteric knowledge to figure out what this god wanted, especially if this god had an ounce of concern. The whole idea to me know is just ridiculous. "uhh, hey, God here. Yeah, I really want you to know me and follow me, but I am not really going to do anything to actually help you. Actually I am going to mess with your head by giving these barbarians some visions and I hope they write it down correctly, but if not, oh well. I know I keep saying that humans are wicked, but I decided to pass my message along via humans, so you know, it probably will not achieve its goals, but whatevs. I could actually write something myself and then make sure every human gets an un-corrupted copy when they are born....nah, that would give them too much of an edge, I want them to really suffer through this trying to figure it out. And if they fail to figure it out, boom, I am going to cook that ass and take no responsiblity. LOL - AWESOME SAUCE!"
  48. 2 points
    Thanks all, I very much appreciate the feedback. I decided many years ago that I wasn't going to read/watch any more Christian media. Not out of rebellion, but because it fuels my fear. I've also read the bible about 3 times, not including the years of bible study, so I like to think I am not being biased either way. Sort of like, ok, I've experienced both sides of the argument, let's now look at it all. One of the biggest problems I have, is believing the Christians have good answer for every question posed by non believers. Honestly, I have read so many rebuttals to Christianity, but the infuriating thing about anxiety, is that it takes control of your thought processes and says "No. You're going to focus on this and not that." What I mean is, it makes me, if not discount, then put aside all the rational arguments non believers have, and forces me to focus on "the fearful" aspects of it all. It doesn't help that, when I was going to Church, that I'd have all these questions addressed. If only I could remember the details I could post them here and get replies to them, but there's no way I can remember 2% of them. At the end of the day, for every question about a particular topic in the bible, there's a heavy dose of "Yes, but...". There is always doubt. Anxiety hijacks my thought processes and leaves me feeling - pretty much unable to move forward. I've watched a lot of the Atheist Experience among other Youtube videos, I watched/read Dawkins, watched/read Hitchens, watched Sam Harris, watched/read Dan Barker, and many others, but nothing seems to stick. EDIT: It's been so long that I cannot even remember the Christian apologetic replies I received. All I have is a memory that the replies I got were plausible. It's confusing because I can't question a plausible memory, only the apologetic reply I got. But I can't remember them. I should have questioned their replies there and then but I wasn't really in a position to do so. EDIT 2: Another problem is when non believers tell me things like Adam and Eve were never real people, the flood did not occur, Evolution is how humans came about, the earth is 4.5 billion years old, etc, I can find at least one Christian denomination that agrees. That is, they tell me Adam and Eve is just a parable (maybe not a parable, but I'm not sure what it might be called). Another Christian denomination believes Evolution was how we came to be here. Another denomination (or perhaps the same one, i'm not sure) believes the earth is 4.5 billion years old, and so on. If there was just one Church then maybe I could sort it all out.
  49. 2 points
    I completely understand. I struggled with what you are going through. Every now and then the idea pops up that I could be wrong about my current conclusions and there is eternal punishment waiting, it easily spirals out of control. I have to remind myself of the rational conclusions I already came to terms with and when I do, the anxiety and fear subsides. As I said before, my biggest help is knowing that even if there was such a place, I am helpless to avoid it. Seriously, I would not even know what to do about it. Unless I could meet the god who runs it and ask him exactly what I have to do and believe to avoid it, no way to know whether or not it will be in the cards. It becomes one of those things where it is a waste of time to worry about something out of your control. Also, if there was an eternal fire, I figure I could spend an eternity training my mind to ignore the pain - just like those monks who self-emulsify without wincing. It sounds cheesy, but you have to put this whole thing in perspective. I really want you to remember this: Every time you read something from a Christian stating that X or Y will send you to hell, first and foremost they do not know. I mean that, they have no damn clue. Their working hypothesis is just that, speculation. It is not tested, it is not vetted, no scientific rigor was applied to it, it is merely a mountain of assumptions. Moreover, if there is a hell, these apologist are just as likely to end up there as anyone else. There is no way to test the supernatural, even if it did exist. There is no way to know how to interpret the Bible, even if it was authoritative. There is no index explaining what is myth, what is literal, what is a parable, etc. William Lane Craig is the poster child of Christian intellect and do you know what his ultimate evidence is? The inner witness of the Holy Spirit. That is it, that is the best they can come up with. Come off it, that is lousy evidence. Because conviction is not a method by which we can evaluate what is true. You know that Muslims feel the same way, why does WLC reject their conviction. The Christian's method for coming to any kind of truth is a mess and unreliable, and they reject the same methodology used by people to come to different conclusions.
  50. 2 points
    I caught a lot of the Genesis nonsense pretty early on, as an inquisitive child. It read like "just another mythology / creation story" to me! But I stayed in church anyway (physical presence, while disengaged intellectually); for longer than I should. I'm just grateful for the internet, nowadays, so that people can get good accurate information if they search for it! Fewer people will remain "churched up" when they have such access. At least that's what I'ma hopin'........

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