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Showing content with the highest reputation since 07/05/2009 in all areas

  1. 31 points
    Dearest Heavenly Bible God, Father, Jehovah, Jesus, Holy Spirit, The Creator of the Universe, I come to you with the utmost sincerity of my heart, to talk with you. I have wanted to please you all my life. I have searched for you all my life. I have wanted to be one of your chosen. I never wanted to worry on this earth about going to your hell. So I tried to be good. Yes, I screwed up quite a few times, made quite a few mistakes, but they told me it was because I was 'blood and 'flesh' and that you were like the potter, taking this ‘blob’ of sinful clay and turning me into a diamond. I have always asked for your forgiveness and to give me another chance to prove myself to you. I hated letting you down. I always wanted to strengthen myself and be a woman of god for you – but you did not want to prove yourself for me, no matter how much I asked or prayed to you..... Please forgive me for missing any signs that you did try to give me. I have also, throughout the last 30 years, asked for more faith because I always felt as if I didn't have enough. I was honest with you about this. I told you everything. I confessed everything. I was told by many, that the 'mustard seed’ was good enough and that's all I had to have. But I wanted more than a seed of faith. I wanted big faith; enough to convince my mind of you, enough to stop the questions that I continued to drive you crazy with. Enough to move all the mountains in my life.... Please forgive me for this lack of faith that I had during all the past years. I even joked with you, so many times that YOU were the one who gave me this inquisitive personality. You are supposed to be all powerful and therefore you could have changed me? I asked you to change me. Why didn't you? Why did you hesitate? Were you testing me all along like you did your servant, Job? I was even straightforward about that and told you that I would not pass that kind of test. Then I asked you why you would even want to test us? Why would you – a loving, kind father, even permit this devil you allowed to fall from grace, sit by our side and watch as we suffered through many horrific things in life? We are your children. You made us. You created us. You didn’t answer..... Please forgive me for my reservations with this issue. Now I am learning that you might not be there at all. You have watched me at my computer. You have seen the research I’ve been doing in the past 5 years. You have seen and heard me questioning the bible since the night I was ‘saved’. I have asked you a hundred times in the last year to show yourself to me. I have screamed in agony. I have told you that are about to lose me. I have asked you if you care that I am falling away from the faith. And still you do nothing. You don’t even kill me. I was honest before you concerning this ‘doubting Thomas’ syndrome... Can you really see what’s in my heart? If you can, and you are truly a loving entity - will you please forgive me? You give me no clues whatsoever. The world is falling apart. We are killing each other. There are murders, rapes, poverty, and slavery. There are people fighting over whose land is whose and bombings everywhere. Do you see this? Did you understand that your ''Holy Bible' promotes this?? There is torture, starvation, cancer, drowning, dismemberment, and very painful diseases. You are supposed to be ‘all knowing-all powerful’. You could give us the cure for cancer and yet you remain silent. There is an epidemic of depression and suicide and thus far - you do nothing. How could a good and powerful God who loves you stand aside, unmoved to action, while such things happen? Please forgive me for being angry at you. My biggest problem with you is you are supposed to be all powerful; Omnipotent, Omnipresent, and Omniscient. You are supposed to be all good...full of love and yet all this evil exists? They have reassured me that when I get to heaven, you will explain all these mysteries to me. Why wait? Why not explain them to me now? Why not appear at the bottom of my bed in the late of night to have a talk? Why not appear in the sky (or wherever), even one community at a time and tell us that ''you will bring all things together for good'' as you promised in your bible. So many unanswered prayers... Please forgive me for questioning your invisibility and indistinguishable lack of presence. You are hiding from me so effectively, that the world looks just as I would expect it to look, and be, without a God running the show. It doesn’t have any of the characteristics I would be anticipating to find, if there was a caring, intervening, superseding God. All of my attempts to confirm your existence have come up empty handed. You are hiding so successfully. I have to admit that in order to believe like I did for years, I must do it by ignoring the contrary evidence. I must resolve to this concept called ‘faith’. You are hiding so stubbornly, I must conclude, among other things, that you do not want or care if I believe anymore. If you wanted me to believe, you think would show me evidence in a thousand obvious ways, because my heart has yearned for the proof.... Please forgive me for giving up the search. One last quick discussion. Why didn’t you make us the way you wanted us to be in the first place? It could have been so simple – you are the God of the universe! Why tempt us in the garden? Why make hell? Why scare people? Why would you do this to us? I have been taught that all who accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour will go to heaven, but the amount of reward in heaven will be directly related to how closely each one followed God's will in his life. I really tried to do this. Likewise, all those who reject Jesus Christ will go to hell, be tortured forever and will be punished to the degree of how much evil they committed in their life. Please forgive me for thinking you are cruel. Why did you need to resort to human sacrifices to ‘satisfy’ the sin disease - which you created and tempted us with in the first place? Why be so cruel? Obviously, I will go to this hell you created for people who reject. It’s not that I want to reject you – I just don’t trust you anymore. Trust is reliance on the integrity, strength, ability, surety, of a person or thing; confidence. It is the confident expectation of hope that someone really cares for your well-being. It gives you confidence in the certainty of the future. It is a loving person on whom one relies. It is the condition of one, to whom something has been entrusted with, like custody or care. It is a commitment of love, and that love would not hurt you..... Please forgive me for not trusting you anymore. I loved you for a long time and yet, you scare me with hell? And then you tell me that you are a loving God. Would you be affectionate and forgiving enough to take my hand and walk in hell with me? I really wanted to believe in your existence, but you have gone to extraordinary lengths to make that difficult for me. The world looks just like there is no Bible God to me and I am heartbroken. It saddens me from the bottom of my heart to admit that I do not believe that the Holy Christian Bible is the ‘Word of God’ anymore. It grieves me very much to say goodbye to the God of the bible. It is your ‘Holy Scriptures’ taken literally from all over the world has made the planet into the mess it’s in today..... Please forgive me for saying this. One last prayer of forgiveness: I pray that you will understand all my questions and forgive me for not believing the ‘Holy Bible’ that I was brought up to believe in. I am asking for your forgiveness for my doubting. I am asking for forgiveness for not really believing in you – but please, if you do exist and I have missed it – before I end this letter – would you always try to remember the heart that searched long and hard for you? I will forgive you – if you will forgive me. Sincerely, from the bottom of my heart – Your Child, Margee
  2. 23 points
    Whatever... I have no idea what you are talking about. If you are saying I don't have a right to be angry at religion... you are wrong. If you believe that I don't have a right to be angry at certain religious people, you are wrong. The ENTIRE point isn't about wanting to 'sin', or tithe, or whatever. It's about promises made, supposedly by an omniscient creator.. that his people would be blessed. They are not. They are no different, and in some cases much worse than others. The institutions are corrupt and greedy and divisive. The entire legacy sucks. I'm not angry at christianity because I wanted to 'sin'.. you freaking idjit. I'm angry because it didn't live up to MY morality... and it was supposed to surpass my little human heart. It does not. I'm not angry at christians because I'm gay, or cheap, or any of those things.. I'm angry because on the whole (not every individual) they are the most backstabbing, delusional and hateful people I have met. Their beliefs create a culture of judgmentalism and ignorance that is stunning. Most of the time I'm not even angry... and after careful and thorough investigation and heartfelt, honest study I found out it is a bunch of crap... crap that has a negative effect on society. I get angry when I see the crimes perpetuated by religion, the hatred, the excuses for war and intolerance. That is a healthy anger, because it's against injustice and it motivates me to help those subject to this horridness. I don't need you to hear my pain and anger.. I don't give two shits about your pity. Don't pity me - I am no victim, I finally found some peace, and understanding of the world that makes sense and I have been able to release the existential shame and guilt that comes with religion. I found freedom, and I am a better person for it. I didn't even leave the church out of anger, but out of incredulity and the insult to my intelligence. I couldn't swallow the bullshit anymore. I got angry later. YOU are the one who isn't hearing... you post constantly with your preconceived notions of what atheists, agnostics, pagans buddhists, hindus and deists really feel, think, do and are. Good grief.. do you really believe we run around 'sinning' all the time? You arrogant, self-satisfied, hypocritical prick. Read Margee's Testimonial.. if you can't HEAR the anguish and the struggle and the honesty there then I fear you are far too gone to understand anything. Your empathy switch is broken. Typical. You are the one with the delusion..and your very obvious fear that maybe we actually have found some damn happiness and a life that makes sense to us... without your god.
  3. 19 points
    Just got off the phone with my Cardiologist. Um, I don't need a transplant anymore. In fact, they want to do surgery and close the hole in my heart and reroute some of the veins. I recently had a Heart Cath to measure the pressures in my lungs and the left and right sides of my heart, and my Cardiologist is fucking amazed. All of my pressures are pretty fucking close to normal. I am literally an unprecedented medical abnormality. What's happened to me does not happen to anyone ever. I'm on a couple of trial drugs [Tyvaso and Letaris] and apparently that shit fucking works. Let me put it this way, when I was admitted to the hospital, I was not expected to leave until after I'd had a transplant, if I survived that long. My current equipment was expected to completely fail in a year or two at most. I had a heart cath around the beginning of November, and I literally died on the operating table, shortly after I died again in a hospital bed. Both times I was revived. Two months later, just after Christmas, I was doing well enough to get a discharge. I was told I still needed a transplant, but that if I continued on as I was I could expect to delay it for several years. The medications were stabilizing me better than expected, and they were hoping it would continue for a while and that I could squeeze out a couple of more years by delaying transplant as long as possible. I was not anywhere near to normal mind you, but well enough I could get through daily life if I didn't push myself. Now, today, I'm told that my pressures are on the high end of normal. Not just in part of my heart, or just in my lungs. Across the board. They want to do surgery and fix the hole in my heart. In a month or two, I should be in better condition than I've ever been in my life. Huh? I had to get him to repeat that a couple of times just to be sure I was hearing it right. The right side of my heart will never be completely normal again, but if things go as planned, it's a very real possibility that it could get damn close to normal...I'm possibly looking at what could only be described as pretty much full recovery. Seriously. I'm an Atheist, and I've got what amounts to a miracle cure. It's awesome. I do have to have major heart surgery, which sucks...sort of. Bear in mind I've been repeatedly told that they were going to rip out my entire respiratory system and put in one that they cut out of someone else just before they died, and that after that my life expectancy was about five fucking years after that. Can you imagine what it's like to be relieved by someone telling you that you're going to have open heart surgery? It's seriously weird. I'm not out of the woods yet, I've still got to be careful, and open heart surgery is obviously risky. However, it's still less risky than staying in my current condition and having a transplant later. I'm not quite sure what to do yet, it's fucking epic that this is even a possibility. Nothing is scheduled yet but an MRI, and then I have to schedule a dentist appointment, but it will probably all happen within a month or two. Not sure yet, but it sounds like they want to do it very soon. I humored thoughts of this nature before, but never believed that it might actually happen. Doctors repeatedly told me that there wasn't any real chance that it would happen. This sort of recovery was extremely unlikely. Yet, here I am, and near as I can tell, it's actually happening. I'm not sure what to think about it all just yet. Don't worry, this hasn't changed my opinion of God. Science and Modern Medicine is fucking awesome.
  4. 18 points
    religion is evil... it's so evil I can hardly find words to describe it's vileness... My deconversion, if you will, seems to have gone in a spiral... in steps. For a very long time even after I rejected christianity I clung to my various conceptions of god, or whatever—fuck—I don't even know what to call it anymore. I've studied and practiced various forms of theism.. from pantheistic witchcraft to Rosicrucianism, to Pentecostal, to... well, let's just say I've been to a lot of different branches of this faith thing, always thinking, nay believing, deep down that somehow there must be a loving force and if so, I can find it... call it god for lack of a better descriptor. I'm a seeker... it's my nature... but what I really desired was truth.(still do) The truth is I'm an evolved and intelligent and MORAL being. I've always been this, even as a child—there isn't a time when I can remember being different... I wasn't raised in religion, and even at 6 or 7 I remember being concerned about others and CARING about the world. I was BORN THIS WAY. I've done a lot of reading, here and elsewhere, I've watched video's, studied history, science and well... done my best to be well-informed and use the reasoning abilities I was born with, and I'm fucking pissed off. Because I've come to the conclusion that religion is evil. It's evil and it exploits human nature and needs in the worst ways possible, It negates reason, morality and humanity. This is not even close to the rage I am experiencing...or the thousand reasons why and how I have come to this conclusion... and expressing it is hard. Just getting over the hurdle of not being 'tolerant' and 'understanding' and 'accepting of others views' is like climbing Mount Everest... being afraid to 'offend'..etc.. blah blah blah... fuck it all because this is a truism... "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing. " - Edmund Burke I think about Victor Frankl's, "The Search for Meaning" and many other books I've read that illustrate the true nobility that humans are capable of and I can see that religion negates all of that—makes it worthless, and teaches that we are less than, NO, REQUIRES that people are less than they can be. How much more despicable than, "without god you can do nothing" can anything be? It devalues people, it devalues people and makes it possible for atrocity. Religion requires that we see ourselves and especially others as not worthy... of anything, much less compassion or kindness. If our own creator can't accept us as we are... And christians are upset to think we are related to chimpanzee's, because they believe it devalues them? Their own book devalues them—the entire concept makes us less worthy than any animal.. animals are innocent! But we are the scum of the earth, and by making us believe that we become so incredibly gullible that we will do ANYTHING to relieve that sense of vulnerability and worthlessness, whether that's believing lies, or killing others... anything. It's an untenable psychic state. Throw in a good dose of fear (but make us believe we deserve it) and that's it folks... wrap it up.. you just created a battered woman out the majority of the human race. FUCK THAT! and Religion REQUIRES violence. Seriously... what is more abhorrent than blood sacrifice of the blameless? It requires that we accept this concept as fucking holy? What the hell is holy about being joyful that innocent blood is shed to keep you from taking personal responsibility? The whole concept is... makes me nauseous. I can see now why the religious are so damn quick to be violent—it's ingrained in their very matrix of how they see reality. How can they be peaceful when their 'creator' in who's image they are, (think about it) is such a violent, bloodthirsty monster? And i don't give two flying fucks if it's fundamentalism or moderate belief because in the end it's the same damn thing... if you really don't believe the world and humanity is intrinsically worthy, or stand against religious batshit crazyness then you ENABLE the worst of you and you are culpable. Religion, by it's very nature, opens the way for people to exploit and abuse others. Interpretation, vague texts, emotional understanding, giving the morally immature a parent figure so they don't have to grow up, feeding people's need for acceptance and society and approval, setting up systems where the immoral can whitewash their crap with 'righteousness'. Taking advantage of the simple human need to be loved, who does that? I'm a parent... of a rebellious teenager I might add... do I ever look at her, even in her worst moments (and boy oh boy, she can dish it out sometimes) and wish her any harm... EVER? The opposite is true... I want nothing for her EXCEPT the very highest happiness, wonderful life and self-fulfillment possible. If she rejects my 'way' would I disown her? never. God is love? Not from where I stand. And the evidence is all around... in spades. AND... If there is a different god, a loving god, why would it hide from me? I call bollocks. Fuck faith and the horse it rode in on. Absurdities. Religion makes people unbelievably stupid, mentally unbalanced, vengeful, arrogant and morally bankrupt. Yet hides behind this 'light and love' clothing. It's the very definition of passive-aggressiveness, malignant narcissism, and delusional projection. This particular wave of my enlightenment was precipitated by the muslim violence over that stupid ass movie (trailer actually) that was made by another group of religious nutjobs who think they have the truth... I'm sick of it. It's UNACCEPTABLE. Religion is a plague on mankind. A mental and moral social disease.. I'm thoroughly convinced now. I am not an atheist anymore... I am firmly an anti-theist. I believe that religion should be fought, torn down, whatever... with all the strength we have. sorry i went all over the place... it's hard to organize it all... because it's a whole lot of everything and it affects every single person on this planet. There is no longer anything that can convince me there is anything good about it.
  5. 18 points
    For those of you who know of me and my deconversion/church exit, you know the stories of my crazy church and subsequent "shunning." It's not an official doctrine by any means, but I'm definitely on the outside, deliberately excluded from family and was on the end of some pretty vitriolic and nasty messages. In my tradition, we go to church twice on sundays and do not do anything else... the major sin is to spend money. I'm not sure why, but we're not allowed to work professionally (unless your role is deemed "urgent services" like doctors, nurses, ems, etc.) And absolutely you don't go shopping, eat out or spend money on entertainment. Well, I quit church in March; I obviously don't subscribe to any of that any more. Today, I went to a baseball game with some friends (Jays vs. Yankees; Jays lost... boo, I'm Canadian). I posted a picture on facebook titled "sunday funday"... now, don't get me wrong. Part of me knew it would bother some people I know from "then".. .part of me just wanted to stop hiding. I'm tired of having to walk on eggshells to not offend people because they're upset that I'm different. I really didn't think anyone would say anything... but my aunt commented: "Nope, Sunday a day of rest and comunion with the church and God" I initially responded with something along the lines of "well, I respect that..." but then a friend made a personal comment to me about how weird my aunt's comment was. I suddenly got really angry because it's true... I put up with a lot of this bullying bullshit from my family and it's rude to me and it's rude to my 100s of non-or-other-religious friends. I responded: "You know what? This might not be the place to put this, but I have gotten A LOT of not-so-nice comments, emails, letters/cards and non-verbal messages from people because they are offended and/or displeased that I don't go to church. NEVER EVER have I told ANYONE that they should not go to church, NEVER EVER have I commented on any of my friends' fb or elsewhere (friends, I might note, who are from all walks of faith and life) telling them that they should lead their lives a different way (especially without backing it up with care and concern) and NEVER EVER EVER would I dream of putting on one of their religious/church-related pictures that they should be living their lives differently. I find it rude and insulting (to both my non or different-than-you religious friends and myself), judgmental and unnecessary and I'm really tired of it. If my life offends you, delete me. If you want to debate with me, debate with me. If you want to ask me why I've made the choices I've made, ask me. Until then, I can say that I live my life with honesty, integrity and truth. I make MANY mistakes, which I try to learn from, and I'm far from perfect. But I love and ask to be loved. I will accept you, and ask to be accepted. If that's too much for you, I understand. Know that I will ALWAYS love and accept you..." I know it was a bit overkill in response to her message... but I also know my tradition and I read the pettiness in her message. Also, it's one piled onto many others... and kind of my breaking point. I'm pretty anxious cause this is my first "public" note on the topic and I dealt with a lot of nastiness from people already. I'm going to be pretty anxious when checking fb over the next few days... but on the other hand, I'm tired of "hiding." Anyway, just wanted to vent. Thanks!
  6. 18 points
    Hi, all. This is my first time posting my very own topic, and I apologize if this sort of story is old hat. Thanks for reading my cathartic word jumble! I grew up in a very conservative Baptist church in the south. Went to youth group and all the Christian summer camps, memorized all the verses and did all the mission trips. Won lots of youth group awards. I mean, I was an obsessive student at school, why wouldn't I be one at church too? I did my devotionals almost every day, prayed, and even tried to model my high school dating relationships on "Biblical principles." I went away to a Christian-based college at 18 where everyone had to take Old and New Testament survey classes. This is where everything started to fall apart. My professors, though Christians, had studied Greek and Hebrew and textual criticism and wanted us to look at the Bible academically. I was so blown away by the two creation stories, the contradictory histories in Joshua and Judges and between the Gospels, and all the other problematic aspects of the Bible that I decided to become a Religion major just so I could better understand them. I mellowed out in my theology, started reading the Bible as a source of social justice and felt I was "called" to get people to stop being such fundamentalist jerks. I learned Hebrew and Greek, and took theology and philosophy classes. I worked as a youth leader for 2 summers at a Baptist church (despite my female-ness and nose ring!) and tried to teach the kids to think critically about the text and to just be really good to people. During all this time my church attendance was pretty sporadic. I didn't really feel the need for any church fellowship when I was taking so many religion classes with awesome people. After college I got into the graduate religion department at a prestigious American university to study the Hebrew bible. The divinity school there was multi-religion and extremely ecumenical. I met and became friends with Jews, Humanists, Muslims, and a myriad of adherents to various Christian denominations. I decided to become Episcopalian because they seemed the most social justice oriented and allowed gay people and women to be priests. I thought this was my happy medium. But as I delved deeper into the textual study of the Hebrew Bible, I realized that the text was more than just a little problematic. I mean, there are MULTIPLE Hebrew words whose meanings we can only guess at! I took a class studying and translating the Dead Sea Scrolls and realized, "Damn, we really don't know what a lot of this actually says." I took classes doing feminist and womanist and LGBT and Liberation interpretations of the text, but still the Bible taunted me with its dickishness. It often took so much work to make the Bible not say terrible things. But I couldn't stand the thought of it saying terrible things! Over time, I found myself both more and more troubled by the concept of God and at the same time just not caring any more. It was truly exhausting to try to stick up for God/Jesus when the things they did seemed pretty indefensible. Eventually I stopped going to church at all and told myself that I just was taking a break, and that I would consider myself "not religious" for a bit. Then two thoughts came to my mind. 1) How can I believe in a God who is less kind and just than humans are? and 2) If I'm having to work this hard to defend the concept of God and Christianity and to suspend this belief in my mind, maybe this belief isn't worth having. Despite thinking these things I still did not consider myself an atheist or an agnostic, just really not religious. A few weeks ago I visited my parents in the south. I went with them to church and it was one of the most depressing things I experienced in a long time. All these truly kind people believing truly stupid and cruel things. When I got back from the trip I realized that I was more than "not religious," I was an agnostic/atheist (still researching to find where I actually fit). And now I am more pissed than ever. HOW ON EARTH can these "pastors" and "priests" who actually studied the text stand there and lie to their congregations every week? I give the congregations more of a pass, but if you have studied the actual language of the Bible and still believe it to be infallible, you are an idiot and a liar. I can't deal with it. And now I sit and simmer as my Facebook is constantly populated with idiotic Christian sayings and verses and ideals. I am so angry. But I don't want to be. So here I am to blow off steam and read other Ex-Christians' experiences and to rebuild my philosophy for living. If you've made it to the end, you are a trooper. So thanks.
  7. 16 points
    So, I still keep in touch with a couple of my Catholic school friends, one of which was the daughter of my old math teacher. Well, I really liked my old math teacher, so I asked my friend to have her mom give me a call. I get a call at work yesterday from my old teacher and after we catch up for a bit, she mentions that her daughter told her that I was an atheist. I'm like, "Yep." She also says that she remembers getting a letter from the Archdiocese requesting information about me in 2005. So I'm like, "I've been excommunicated since 1999... why are they asking about me?" She tells me that when Darth Sidious took over for JP2, he reworded the catechism so that only a doctor performing the abortion and the woman receiving it would be excommunicated. The driver of the car, the person funding it, and the nurses attending it would be held blameless, although they would be encouraged to go to confession and/ or choose another line of work. I'm like, "So, I'm not excommunicated?" She says, "No, everyone who was excommunicated latæ sententiæ for participation via funds or support in an abortion has now been reconciled with the church." Here is the doctrine: The word changed was, "formal." So I just finished the following letter and dropped it in the mail...
  8. 16 points
    Stop reading my posts and telling my parents. This site is supposed to be confidential. You're a jerk and a jack ass whoever you are. Thanks also for hurting my folks. Good Christian actions. NOT.
  9. 15 points
    This is my reply back to him. "i have pondered on what to say or if i even wanted to say anything. i told myself i wouldn't, but then again, i know myself better than that. i am done fighting and bickering and longing for a lost cause. i'm so sick and tired of all that and i have moved on. it isn't easy. i do still hold on to the past and i'm not ashamed to say i cling to it dearly, for in the end that is all we have left anymore. the wound rendered around 5 years ago hangs like the death of a loved one and you simply cannot ever completely forget them and the whole ordeal. i will not fight but i want to make some things clear. if at the end of the day all you have is scare tactics and fear what do you really have? for lack of truth and evidence you try to install a sense of fright and horror with the hope of persuading me. have you forgotten that for nearly 26 years i was a christian? fully aware of the definition of hell that you talk about. living for 26 years fearing hell and wondering about this and worrying about that. did you know that the concept of hell is one of the reasons why i left? not because i think it an actual place but the whole moral and philosophical debate around it. it is absurd. the christian worries about hell, not the atheist. your whole argument centers around fear and the idea of what if by chance i find out i'm wrong one day. all you have done is reworked and repackaged Pascal's Wager. an argument that proves nothing and is as flawed as they come. apply the Wager to Islam or Scientology or some pagan religion and you get the same results. if you think it's a valid argument then i guess it validates all religions. what if by chance one day you find out when it is too late that Allah is the one true god? any religion can pull the Wager card. and it all falls back to fear and scare and the phrases "just in case" and "just to be on the safe side". what a foundation for any system of thought. but i take greatest exception to your claim that i am twisted, hateful, spiteful and foul. whether you say i am this towards god or this in my life in general does not matter, for i can safely say that i am not bitter or angry at anything. i know that you think otherwise, you have to to keep up appearances. your prophecy 5 years ago told that i would either be dead or twisted, hateful, spiteful or foul. and i know you believe that whether you actually come right out and say it or not. but i am no more angry at god than i am Zeus or Thor or Godzilla. are you angry and bitter for what Darth Vader did to the rebel alliance? you may think i am being smart and sarcastic but i can assure you i am not. for the same reason you don't give a flip about Vader and the rebel alliance i don't give a flip about God. I cannot be angry toward what i don't believe it. but as for my attitude about life in general, i couldn't be happier. i can honestly tell you that i am more honored to be alive than i ever was as a christian. i can live life without blinders and see things as they actually are and journey down paths that i simply wouldn't allow as a christian. paths of inquiry and knowledge and to just experience the world as it is without any superstitious agendas hidden under every rock. to know the real stories of us and all living things without demonstrably faulty stories telling of conjuring up magic and the paranormal. Yes my friend, i can say that i enjoy life to the fullest. you can say what you want but i live the proof each day i get up. and if it can be said that i have any aspect of my life that is angry and bitter, it is in regards to what you did those 5 years ago. not you so much, but what you did, but i addressed that in my first paragraph. if i had any fear that you talk about, any worry about whether or not i am right, i am going to say something for the very first time on here. last Wednesday morning when i had my anxiety attack and when for over an hour i thought it was a heart attack and that i was going to die, you want to know what was going through my mind? my loved ones, friends and family, even you all. i wanted all these people there with me. i also thought i really didn't want to die strapped down in the back of this ambulance. i was scared in a way i had never been scared before. but you want to know something else? in that dark and bleak moment in my life not once did i think of god or heaven and hell. so whenever my day comes around, whether it's today, tomorrow or decades from now, i will be sacred, we all will be, but i will not be worrying about making it to heaven or just falling short and instead hitting hell. i will be thinking about the ones i will never see again. i will be thinking things like i thought last Wednesday, dear people that mean everything to me. and also 2 people now 3 who i would want by my side who might not be there because there is this senseless gulf that separates us all because we have a difference of beliefs." I refer to "you all" and "2 people now 3" meaning he and his wife and their young son. He has since had a child in the time that me and him have had this strife and i have only seen his child two or three times. That bothers me a little.
  10. 15 points
    I'll pray for you because that's the nicest way of saying I'll do nothing.
  11. 15 points
    The temptation to end it with, "So fuck you." was almost unbearable, but I persevered.
  12. 15 points
    I remember how happy I was to accept Jesus as my Savior at the age of 19 after being witnessed to by a good friend and watching “The Jesus Film”. Jesus, you promised me eternal life. What I got was 15 years of false and damaging beliefs and psychological manipulation and abuse. So, fuck you! I worshiped you privately and publicly. I made a fool of myself for you in front of many people. I annoyed family and friends for you. I told my loving mother that she was going to hell. I annoyed and no doubt amused convenience store clerks and toll booth operators for you. My reward? 15 years of psychological manipulation and abuse. Fuck you, Jesus! I have bipolar disorder that had not then been diagnosed. I was prayed for many times. Nobody knew what was wrong with me. I hit the floor for you many times, “slain in the spirit” hoping for healing. My reward? I got a religious high, but nothing else. You failed to heal me, Jesus. So, fuck you! You said you were coming back again and I expected it at any moment for 15 years of my life. I looked forward to being with you in heaven. You lied and gave me a false hope that I held on to for years. So, fuck you! You gave me heartache and heartbreak. You stole 15 years of my life and the pain still remains. So, fuck you, Jesus! I loved you and I thought you loved me. I thought I had the greatest friend in the universe forever. It was just a lie – a myth and nothing more. So, fuck you, Jesus!
  13. 14 points
    “Who are you to question god? Who do you think you are that you would judge Him? You are a mere human—fallen, sinful, a disgusting, miserable wretch. Who are you to question your Creator, the Lord of Heaven and Earth, who loved you so much that He gave His only Son to die for you and save you from your sins? You should be falling at His feet and begging Him for mercy because you are a sinner and the wages of sin is death. God could crush you in a second and not think twice about it. The only reason He hasn’t already done so is because He wants to give you as many chances as possible to repent of your sins and escape the flames of Hell. Yet you sit there, with that smug look on your face, and in your arrogance, you question God? How dare you! Who do you think you are?” Your God said that you would know them by their fruit. By what fruit is your God known? Who am I to question God? I am a man. I am a moral, ethical human being. I am an individual who would see justice done, who would see evil prevented, and who would see the weak and powerless defended. I may be only one man, but I am not alone. I am a man gifted with an insatiable intellectual curiosity—a man whose quest for truth will not be satisfied with anything less than absolute, indisputable proof. Possessing the ability for logical, objective reason, coupled with the capacity for abstract thought, I am a man who can examine the evidence as it is placed before me and draw sound, well-balanced conclusions. For this reason, and this reason alone, your God condemns me to Hell. He doesn’t condemn me because I have murdered, raped, or stolen; He is willing to forgive these treacheries. But for the sin of using my own free will to seek the truth rather than seeking first the kingdom of God, He is willing to cast me into outer darkness where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth. What sort of father would take his son into a candy store and say, “Son, you can have anything in this store that you want; but if you don’t choose what I want you to choose, I will beat you until you are black, red, and blue”? What would we, as a society, think of the father who would commit such emotional blackmail? Would the bile not rise in our throats? Would we not rejoice when the police and the child welfare agents removed the child from such a tyrannical monster? And if you, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more so the Father who is in Heaven? Why should your God’s behavior be excused, simply because He is your Heavenly Father? His actions are no different and neither are His motivations. So, why do you recoil when I call Him into question? Why are so quick to join your God in His vengeful damnation of my eternal soul in eternal Hellfire and Brimstone? I am a man who has seen first hand in Northern Ireland the hatred one man can have for another, simply because the one sees your God through the eyes of a Catholic and the other sees Him with Protestant eyes. I have seen the kneecapped legs, felt the terrifying rumble in the streets as pipe bombs exploded nearby. But the evil I felt was not that of bigotry; it was that of indifference. I am a man who has walked through the archway of the Auschwitz Concentration Camp in Poland and felt the evil that is still just as potent, just as palpable today, as it was when the smoke rising from the crematoria chimneys still snowed ash down upon the inmates. The evil I felt there was not the evil of the murderous Nazi regime, nor the evil of collaboration, either forced or willing, of the Poles and Jews, in the extermination of more than a million and a half human beings. The evil I felt there was the evil of ambivalence. I am a man who has looked into the eyes of a young Bosnian girl who escaped from a rape camp during the genocide in her country during the 1990s. I saw in her eyes the horror that she, along with more than 50,000 other Bosnian women and young girls, some as young as 10 years old, experienced as they were systematically brutalized by Serbian soldiers who had come to cleanse their country of the Muslim hoards in the name of your God. The evil she spoke of was not the wickedness of men, but the benign indifference of God. And there is the crux of it; your God sees the atrocities committed against the innocents of this world and He does nothing to stop it. Was He able to stop the troubles in Northern Ireland but not willing to? Was He willing to prevent the Holocaust, but not able? Was He both able and willing to keep 10-year-old Bosnian girls from being brutalized by drunken soldiers to the point that the majority of them took their own lives just to escape the abject horror their lives had become? Then WHY did it happen? Do you want to tell me that your God refuses to intervene because He doesn't want to interfere with free will? If so, you are telling me that your God would rather send me to hell than to provide me with the proof of Himself that I needed when I was in my darkest hour. You are also admitting that your God would rather allow the free will of 10-year-old girls to be violated in the most brutal of ways, simply so that He doesn't have to interfere with the horrific intentions of evil men. Do you still wish to argue that your God has a plan for everybody? Was His plan for those 10-year-old Bosnian girls that they be gang raped on a nightly basis? If so, then His plans are atrocious! Did He have different plans for those girls, but His plans were ruined by the evilness of men? If so, then His plans are appalling! Isn't it more logical to conclude that He simply doesn't have plans for anybody? Your God tells you that if you fail to prevent evil from happening, then you are guilty of the same evil through the sin of your omission. He tells you that if you see a 10-year-old girl being raped but do not try to stop it, you are as guilty as the rapist. Yet, He, Himself, did nothing for the Bosnian girls, or the Jews of Europe, or the people of Northern Ireland. Human trafficking, child molestation, famine, pestilence, wars and rumors of wars—these define the world we live in, and your God does NOTHING! Yet He still blames you for the sin of omission. There is a word for that kind of mentality, a term that we use to describe that kind of behavior. The word is “hypocrisy”. That is correct, I have just called your God out as a hypocrite. No God, who displays such cavalier behavior, such ruthless ambivalence, should be considered divine; just as no person, who justifies such a God, should be considered human. So let me ask you this: Who are you that you would worship God? Who are you that you would fall at the feet of that menacing demon and call Him good, and call Him righteous? Who do you think you are that you should attempt to force, manipulate, and cajole the rest of us into joining you upon the altar of such a despicable fiend? What does it say about your character that you would use the Word of that insidious tyrant as the basis of your perceptions of the world in which you live? What does it say about you, as a person, that you would use the Hate of that maniacal despot to pass judgment upon the people around you? I do not need you to try to convince me of who you think your God is; I've already seen Him for a liar and a hypocrite. I want you to try to convince me, and yourself, that you are something other than what we both know you are. Who am I that I would question God? I am a Man. Tell me who you are that you would worship Him.
  14. 14 points
    As I was sitting on the throne earlier today perusing my copy of "Uncle John's Triumphant 20th Anniversary Bathroom Reader", I came across this glorious quote: "There is no more expensive thing than a free gift." - Michel de Montaigne As I read that glorious quote, it struck me how true it is when applied to Christianity. Christians love to go on about how salvation is a "free gift" from God. They won't shut up about it any more than they will about how Christianity allegedly isn't a religion, but a personal relationship with Jesus. Assuming for the sake of argument that the Christian God is real and that he is the one true God and that the Bible is his word and is trustworthy (yeah, I know, a highly debatable and extremely improbable proposition given the complete lack of evidence for the existence of God and the many serious problems with the Bible), what does it cost us to believe in and accept God's free gift of salvation? The short answer is, "EVERYTHING!" Let's say that you hear the Gospel message and believe it and you submit to God's Plan of Salvation (which is http://exchristian.net/exchristian/2002/10/gods-extremely-complex-plan-of.php" extremely complex, btw) and go through the process of accepting Jesus as your Lord and Savior, then what is your salvation going to cost you after the emotional "honeymoon" high of your religious conversion wears off? Being a Christian is very much like being a drug addict. When you first try a new addictive recreational drug, every time you use it you get a great high and feel fantastic, which keeps you coming back for more. But soon, addiction sets in and using the drug starts becoming an obsession and a need rather than a fun diversion. Everything but getting your next fix begins to fade in importance - job, family, friends, hobbies, etc. - until nothing is left except using the drug and doing whatever is necessary to get your next fix. Drug addiction is a tragedy that frequently robs its victims of everything that had value to them from their jobs and families to their possessions, and then it all too frequently takes their lives as well. In the same way, involvement in Christianity starts out with some wonderful emotional highs that feel fantastic, but then it slowly but surely robs you of everything that makes you valuable and unique as a human being - your mind, your will, and your emotions. So he (Jesus) answered and said, “ ‘You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind,’ and ‘your neighbor as yourself. According to Jesus, one of the things we should love God fully with is our minds. But what happens to the mind as a result of religious conversion? It is put in neutral! People don't convert to Christianity - or any other religion - based on a reasoned, carefully thought-out assessment of the available facts and evidence that exists in favor of or in opposition to a set of religious beliefs. Religious conversions typically take place in an emotionally charged atmosphere after a sermon laced heavily with fear, guilt, and shame (the three things religion thrives on, besides ignorance) has been preached. Religious conversions generally only occur after the victims have been subjected to substantial amounts of emotional manipulation, and in some cases, abuse. Christians are taught to view their own instincts and “worldly” knowledge (such as the latest scientific findings) with suspicion. Intellectualism is frowned upon and ignorance (scientific and otherwise) is proudly hailed as a virtue. Christians are taught that fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom (Proverbs 9:10) and that they should trust in the Lord and lean not on their own understanding (Proverbs 3:5), and things just go downhill from there. Trusting in Jesus may sound great, but what about trust and belief in oneself? The self is subordinate to “God’s will” in Christian teaching… Christians coming out of the cult after years of brainwashing and indoctrination frequently don’t know themselves or how to trust and believe in themselves. “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” In Christianity, the individual will is subordinate to the will of God. Millions of Christians pray daily for God’s will to be done in their lives. But what about their own will? What about the individual’s right to make their own decisions about their own lives? That doesn’t concern devout Christians because they have been taught that they are not their own, that they have been bought with a price, that being the Blood of Jesus. (1 Cor. 6:19-20). Christians are taught in Romans 12:1-2 to offer their bodies as a living sacrifice and to renew their minds and not be conformed to the world. And what about Galatians 2:20: “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” A committed Christian will have no concern for their own will and they will constantly be trying to figure out what God’s will is, which is a very unhealthy state of affairs since God is nonexistent and is therefore silent. Christians coming out of the cult frequently have issues trusting themselves and making their own decisions about their own lives. Emotional issues can run deep for Christians and for those coming out of the cult. Christians – especially those involved in the Charismatic “health and wealth” teachings – can lack trust in their own emotions. Christians caught up in those teachings expect to live victoriously in Christ. They expect to be “more than conquerors” (Romans 8:37) and for them anything negative comes from the devil. Of course, being taught that you are a terrible sinner who deserves to burn in hell forever can cause emotional issues too. When you believe that your righteous acts are as filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6), how can you feel good about yourself? How can you trust yourself? As should be obvious, this wonderful-sounding “free gift” can end up costing a great deal! This is one offer you can and should refuse! LINK: http://religionisbullshit.me/its-a-free-gift-glory/
  15. 14 points
    Here is my letter of what I would say to God. Thanks for reading. I admire each and every one of you for questioning things that were once the foundation of your life. I admire your courage. That couage serves a person very well in life. Dear God, I want so much to believe in you. Whenever something good, yet unexpected happens to me, I want to think it was you who was behind it. I want to think it was you behind setting up me and my boyfriend. I want to think it was you who led me to be bapized. I want to believe it was you there who helped me find the resources I needed to fight my depression. I want to believe that you are there in my suffering. I want to believe you are there to hold me when I am sick. I want to believe you are using physical sickness to help slow down my life and bring me closer to you. When I see something beautiful in the world, I want to believe it was you who created it. When I step inside a beautiful church, I want to believe you are waiting for me there inside it. I want to know you. I want to open a Christian theology book and believe I am unlocking the secrets to a loving creator of the universe. I want to believe that you are the source of all truth, morality, and goodness. I really admire the faith of the person who told me what it meant to be a Christian. I want to emulate his simple, childlike trust in you. I can’t though. I can’t believe anymore and it absolutely breaks my heart. It leaves me with a deep emptiness inside. I can’t believe in hell. I can’t believe that you, a loving God, would send people to such a terrible place just for having the wrong religion or making a wrong decision in their life. I can’t believe that you would send my mom to hell to burn forever, simply for being an agnostic. I can’t believe that you would send the suffering here on earth to suffer more in another eternity. I can’t believe that someone as privileged as myself would hear about you and go to heaven- …but someone on the other side of the world who is without food and happens to be Islam would burn in hell. I can’t believe you would allow 27 million people to be slaves and then send them to hell if they never heard your name. I can’t believe you would answer my prayers to find a nice boyfriend or book on depression and let someone else’s prayers for food to survive, or basic human dignity and freedom to go unanswered. I can’t believe people have used your name to start wars I can’t believe so many Christians persecute homosexuals when what they do is in love and harms absolutely no one. I can’t believe the false pride of your followers. Not all of them are like this but some of them have been the most nasty, judgemenal people I have ever met. I can’t believe they would use your name to justify their own superiority. I can’t believe churches tell us so often not to do silly things like get drunk or have pre-marital sex, yet do so little to help hurting people in the world. I can’t believe the only evidence for your existence is one small book. The same can be said for many other religions. I can’t picture my mom burning in hell any longer. I couldn’t worship a god who would do something so awful. I can’t believe in you anymore. It brings me so much pain and emptiness, but I have to follow truth. God, if you are there, please reveal yourself. I want to believe that my assumptions about you are mistaken and that you are truly there. I want to believe you are a God of love who cares for all people and would never send anyone to hell. All I hear is silence. All I need is truth. Despite your absence, I still have the beauty of the world around me to see every day. I still can see the dignity and value of every human being- a dignity that is immensely greater now that I don’t believe anyone is “damned”. I still have the people in my life who I love very much. I can still help those oppressed people in the world that you have seemed to be ignoring. I still have my thoughts and a deep curiosity about the world around me. I can still ask questions and devour books by sociologists, psychologists, and philosophers- all trying to make sense of the world. I can enjoy life. I can laugh, I can sing, I can explore new places, new thoughts, new ideas, new experiences. I am so sorry I had to let you go, God. I feel a deep emptiness without you. I realize, however, that the world is beautiful whether you created it or not. There is good in life whether you are behind it or not. Regards, FloridaGirl
  16. 14 points
    I'm toying with the idea of responding. I go back and forth. I have typed this out but I have not sent it: (former mentor), I have debated whether or not to reply, but decided that while we may not see eye to eye, it is most respectful for me to at least acknowledge your concern. You're right that I do feel freedom. I no longer feel the need to answer to people who are picking and choosing from a set of ancient books written and re-written time and time again. I do not mean to offend you, as I fear this may, but I want to be honest with you about my thoughts. I do not perceive god to be "too far away" but rather, nonexistent. A figment of my imagination. Yes, I really felt the things you talk about. They were very real to me. But not because of a spiritual "truth" but rather, because of a psychological manifestation. You are right, we cannot suppress the truth and that is why I am where I am. I will not argue doctrine with you because I know that you are firm in your beliefs and I do not wish to try to change that or convince you otherwise. It works for you, and that is great. It did not work for me. I have a great deal of respect and love for you and (your wife) and I sincerely want things to be good between us, which is why I almost didn't say anything, but I wanted you to know.
  17. 14 points
    A strange thing happened yesterday. A strange, exhilirating thing that came out of nowhere, maybe like that ex-nihilo thing the cult apologists love to toss around at us. I had just opened up my car and was putting groceries in the trunk when a lady got out of her car and walked over to me. She had a copy of that WatchTower magazine which you know comes from the Jehovah Witness cult and with a nice smile she said 'hello' and tried to give me the copy. I polititely refrained and shared my background with her. We spoke mostly about the xtian cult and she agreed with me regarding it's sociopathic nature while still trying to show me how her religion has some practical doctrines to it. I politely dismissed the various proofs she attempted to offer but did say I really respected their belief in no involvement in governmental policies such as war. I also said this was very similar to what the 1st century xtians attempted to behave like. After a few more comments we said our goodbyes but before leaving I said, "Anytime you want me to share more with you about my non-beliefs, just ask okay?" "Oh no", she replied with a big smile, "I could never deny god's existence". "Never say never okay? I used to say that same thing before coming into the real light my friend", I retorted. She got into her car and drove away. I guess she must have realized it was going to be a dreary day in that parking lot. Oh yes, I forgot - I did say something wonderful happened and the title of this essay is about coming out of the closet completely. Well that wonderful thing was that at the beginning of our talk when she tried to hand me their magazine I said without even thinking, "No, I'm sorry but I can take that because I'm an atheist". It came out so effortlessly as though there was nothing else I could possibly describe myself as being. Yes, after a year of deconverting and trying to define myself as a deist or an agnostic or even an agnostic deist, I've finally concluded that I'm really an atheist. But I promise to try to not be an obnoxious atheist like some of them seem to be. Actually I can be quite obnoxious on my own without any theological tags. LOL So that's it - I guess I've been an atheist all along without wanting to admit it for whatever reasons. There is one thing that I believe separates me from the some other atheist however. I've heard many atheists say that if they were presented with overwhelming proof of a god or the bible being true, they would then reconsider their stance and perhaps, for some, even change it to theism. Me? I don't give a shit. In fact, if I were presented with those same proofs I would be even more committed to the atheistic philosophy because, after all, my moral laws and behavioral actions are much more rational, humane and mentally balanced than those depicted from this all loving god who seems to love blood for some sick reason. That's it folks - nothing really astounding and yet, for me, it is - it's another load off of my back...
  18. 14 points
    I called Stephen Hawking about this. I got the machine, so I hung up.
  19. 14 points
    I feel like I am completely, 100%, abso-fucking-lutely done with my personal deconversion process. I no longer have even a shred of doubt or an iota of fear. Do I regret coming down this path? Mostly no, but yeah, I do wish some things were the way they used to be. But overall Im much more at peace with my place in the universe. Although I occasionally still feel irritation or anger at xians when they say or do stupid shit, that will always be the case and isnt an emotion thats part of the deconversion itself. I'm free.
  20. 14 points
    Okay, rant on: You are the little fucker that makes nonsensical dipshit arguments and comparisons at every turn, derailing thread after thread with your fucktarded, lameass, tapdancing defense of Christianity, who then whines and moans at every fucking turn about how fucking persecuted you are, and how nobody understands what you're saying when you're such a simple, simple man, and you whine about how everybody that points out that the things you say are retarded is making ad hominem attacks against you. Then, you pull shit like this little statement from out of fucking nowhere like the total douchenozzle you actually are. That is the very definition of ad hominem. You aren't attacking any argument. You're just attacking the person. If you're an example of Christianity, then I am fucking glad I left. I hope Jesus and God see how fucking big of an asshole you are, and send you straight to fucking hell for turning people away from Christianity, you useless fuckwit.
  21. 13 points
    Ha! C.S. Lewis was a celebrity. He knew nothing about a tough row to hoe. He was loved and adored by Christians all over the world. His complaining about the difficulties of Christianity would be like Tom Cruise complaining about how hard it is to be an actor. Puhleeze! What does Christianity cost you in this day and age when it is the most popular religion in the world? It costs you your intellectual honesty, your time, your self esteem and 10% of your income (but most people don't tithe so not even that). Boo hoo. You wanna talk about a tough row to hoe? Try leaving Christianity where you face ridicule, being ostracized, losing all your friends & potentially your family as well, and being called an immoral tool of Satan. In exchange for being allowed to be intellectually honest, to be the owner of my time, and to regain my self-esteem, the cost was worth it. But if you think this gig is easier than being a Christian, you have no clue whatsoever. I guess what I'm trying to say is, piss off. You don't know the first thing about being an outsider.
  22. 13 points
    Dear god, please provide comfort to the families whose children you have just killed, and lord we just lift up all those whose homes you have reduced to splinters, may they know your love and mercy in this time of trial. Fathergod just let them realize that even though you sent a mile-wide tornado to murder their loved ones, it's just your way of telling them that they need to turn back to you so they don't get tortured for eternity lord. Let this tragedy drive them into your arms and make them believe that 2,000 years ago a magical godman was executed for their sins lord, because that is a logical conclusion to draw from tornadoes lord. We lift up in prayer all those who you have caused to feel unbearable grief and suffering. Amen.
  23. 13 points
    At what point can we hold God accountable? Why do Christians never seem to think this? Hello! You're praying to a god who has just proven to allow tragedy to occur, despite the prayers. Why the fuck are your prayers to comfort those affected by HIS INACTION anymore powerful than those who prayed to be spared or have their children spared yet he ignored? When will you be angry at your god? Obviously our lives are meaningless to him. Christians, are you paying attention?!!!
  24. 13 points
    I became “saved” when I was 12 years old, not long after my family started attending a Southern Baptist church. Our old church taught about God and Christianity but I never got a sense that they expected people to have it consume their whole lives. That all changed at our new church. The first thing I found strange about the church was the ridiculously long prayers during the worship service. I entertained myself sometimes by timing them on my watch. When I complained about this to my father, he rebuked me and told me that long prayers were good and that good Christians should pray a lot. I guess I learned early on not to talk about things that seemed weird or unreasonable to me at church. My sister was the first to walk down the aisle during the long, drawn-out emotional hymn after one Sunday sermon. I remember how proud my Dad was about that. On the way home from church that afternoon he announced, “at least three of us in this family will be together in heaven”. Well, there were only four of us so I knew he meant that I was the one still on track to go to hell. I didn’t like feeling that I was being pushed into doing something that wasn’t my idea, so I held out a little longer. I did feel scared about it, though. My Sunday school teacher told my class one day about when she became saved. She said when she prayed for Jesus to enter her heart she felt this enormous weight lifted from her shoulders. She described it as a real, physical feeling to her. When I made the decision to ask Jesus to enter my heart not long after that, sitting quietly in my room, I felt nothing. I thought maybe I did it wrong. I prayed every night for days for Jesus to enter my heart and still felt nothing. I would say, “if you haven’t come into my heart yet, please come in now.” I apologized to Jesus for asking so many times. After a week, I figured God must have heard me and assumed Jesus was there. Much later I asked my dad about this physical feeling experienced by my teacher and he explained that it was probably because she was older and had a lot more sin on her heart. That comforted me a bit. Not long after I prayed for salvation, I planned my walk down the aisle. I started sitting up front in church, as I gained my confidence, and it sure did make the walk a lot shorter. My father seemed happy but he didn’t make as big a deal about it as I thought he would. Anyway, I was just glad that I wasn’t still going to hell. In middle school and high school, I was very much an outsider. My church was teaching me that I needed to stand up for Jesus and proclaim my faith, but I didn’t want to do anything that would cause me any more ridicule than I already suffered. The times I did try to stand up for my faith I just ended up making a jackass of myself. I told myself often I would reinvent myself and really live my life for Christ when I went to college. A few years after we started attending the Southern Baptist church, they got a new pastor. Somewhere around that time, the church started assigning spiritual mentors to new Christians joining the church. Because my father was a deacon and I had been saved for a while, I was selected to be a spiritual mentor to a girl a little bit younger than me who had recently been “saved”. They must have asked if I was willing to serve in that capacity, I can’t remember, but seriously – how could I have said no without bringing shame to my father or embarrassing myself? I stood in front of the entire congregation and accepted this responsibility, but never had a single conversation with her about God. I felt awful about it. I didn’t know how to help her because I didn’t think I was a great Christian myself. What assuaged my guilt about being such a poor mentor was the fact that I realized I didn’t have much to teach her. By the time I was a senior in high school, the church pastor had done a thorough job of ripping the church in two. I don’t remember all of the reasons, and I wasn’t privy to most of them anyway, but the bottom line was that my father and several other long-time church members had discovered that the pastor was a liar, and over the course of several months many families, including mine, left that church. We initially started attending a very small church made up mostly of members from my former congregation, which I liked because my best friend from church also went there. Unfortunately, my father decided that he preferred another Southern Baptist church that was more established and larger. I had one long-time friend from church there, but the others in my Sunday school were exceptionally rude to me. I hated going there and couldn’t wait to stop attending church altogether when I went to college in the fall. The ugliness I experienced during this period convinced me that I would never set foot in a Southern Baptist church again. So no, I did not reinvent my life as a Jesus freak when I began college. I was so excited to finally be building a social circle and making friends that I did not want to jeopardize that by coming out as an evangelical Christian. I did talk about it with my closest friends, though. I gently proselytized to my roommate, who grew up as a Catholic. She told me she couldn’t buy into the part where everyone who never heard of Jesus went to hell. I told her I didn’t have an answer for her on that and later talked to my uncle, an American Baptist pastor, for guidance. In short, my uncle told me that Jesus will judge us on what we know, not what we don’t know – we will be judged by the state of our heart. That sounded reasonable and comforting to me. I remember having some discussions through the years with my father about some parts of the Bible that were hard to accept. He reasoned away Paul’s decree that “women should be silent in the church” as an admonition to one of the ancient churches where some women had been disruptive in the congregation and was not intended to mean that no woman should ever speak in church. He seemed to agree with me when I told him that I thought of the Adam & Eve story as an allegorical tale designed to teach the importance of obedience to God to a primitive audience. But I am ashamed now when I look back at how little I questioned the church teachings and how easily I accepted any explanation that bolstered the dogma that I had been taught. Why had I never thought about how awful it would be if millions of people who had never heard of Jesus were condemned to eternal torture in hell? Why did I think that I could enjoy a blissful existence in heaven if I knew that people I had cared about during my life would be experiencing that everlasting suffering? I was not an unintelligent or uncaring person. I know that somewhere along the way I comforted myself with the thought that God was in control, and whatever system he employed to sort out the good from the bad would be fairer than anything I could develop in my own mind. I recognize now that it was a cop-out for what was really going on in my head – that I couldn’t make sense of the church teachings but I was too afraid not to believe. After college I moved back and forth across the country for my job and eventually turned back to church to make friends and reconnect with the God I had been ignoring for so many years. I got completely sucked up in it and vowed to start living my life for Jesus. Shortly after that I broke up with my college boyfriend, which was extremely traumatic for me. My life became even more difficult when I moved across the country again. I found a new church and was making friends but it was hard to connect with most of the people there, as I was the only one in the singles group with a degree and a professional job. I remember on New Year’s Eve being on the verge of throwing myself off the balcony of my apartment. Everything reminded me of my ex and I didn’t know how to live my life without him. Ironically, the thing that kept me alive that night was not any comfort from God or the Bible. I realized that even if I quit my job, sold all of my stuff, packed it all in and showed up on my parents’ doorstep – although they would be disappointed in me, they would far prefer to support me than to bury me. I knew that I could never actually take that step because of the incredible pain it would cause the people who loved me. I continued following Jesus as I worked through this difficult time in my life. I attended a fundamentalist church regularly, attended small group Bible studies, and was an active member of the singles group. I listened to very little secular music and didn’t even watch much television. Encouraged by friends in the church to develop my “relationship” with Jesus, I began setting aside quiet time every day where I sang worship songs, praised God, prayed, studied the Bible, and had quiet time for God to “speak to me”. I tried as hard as I could to enjoy this boring routine. I tried as hard as I could to convince myself that it was meaningful. I asked Jesus to bless this time that we spent together so that I could feel his presence. Ultimately, I could not get past the emptiness I felt during this exercise and the acute feeling that I was just talking to the wall when I prayed, so I stopped doing it. I volunteered for the visitation ministry at church, where a small group of people from the church would go to people’s homes who had visited our church and indicated that they would like more information about the church. I wanted to become more comfortable with sharing my faith and leading others to Christ, but it somehow felt wrong to me to enter a house and initiate conversations that made the people who lived there uncomfortable. Despite the fact that I did not feel that the visitation leaders were disrespectful or even pushy, and that I really didn’t say more than hello, I just felt strange about being part of the process at all. I told myself that perhaps this wasn’t “God’s calling” for my life, although I don’t think I ever reconciled that idea with the Bible command to “go tell all the world”. I tried in other ways to profess my faith to people I knew but it was always accompanied by a decidedly unpleasant feeling. I stopped doing that, too. I started reading books on Christian apologetics to try to bolster my faith and address some of the questions that continued to develop in my mind. I read other books about loving God and building a relationship with Jesus. The apologetics helped to prop up my beliefs but the relationship books fell flat. Looking back now I think the first seeds of my deconversion were planted at that time in my life, although I was far from realizing it. I moved again when I took leave from my job to attend graduate school full-time. It was an incredibly challenging program but I still attended church when I could. When I graduated, I moved across the country again to take a new job. I shopped around for a church to join, but couldn’t find one with people I could really relate to. I tentatively settled on a very small fundamentalist church, and although the people were very nice, I never fit in. I remember going out with a few of them for dinner one night after work. The restaurant was packed and we had a long wait for our table. I went to the bar and ordered a beer to drink while we waited. When I joined the rest of the group I could see how uncomfortable they were and knew that ordering a drink had been a mistake. To their credit, they didn’t say a word about it. But that wasn’t the only discomfort I experienced that night. One woman in the group could not talk about anything other than Jesus. I found it totally annoying and had nothing to contribute to the conversation. I did not seek their company again. I was very lonely. I had met some people at my new job and was making friends, but I spent most of my time outside of work by myself. My love life was utterly non-existent. I continued attending church on a less regular basis, but started to have trouble during the worship service when the words in the songs seemed to poke at the most painful places in my soul – songs about how happy we are because Jesus is in our lives, how our hearts rejoice because of the prayers that God has answered, etc. I felt completely abandoned. I met one Christian friend who brought me to her church one Sunday and I broke down crying in the middle of the songs. My friend pulled me into another room and I told her that I just could not make myself sing those words anymore. I did not feel that Jesus was there for me. I did not feel his presence. I could not understand why Jesus would leave me with this horrible lonely feeling. She comforted me and sympathized with me, but after that Sunday we never spoke of it again. A few years went by and I finally got to the point where I was simply angry with God. I had tried to suppress that emotion for so long because I was afraid of what would happen if I actually told God how I felt. I finally decided that since Jesus was supposed to be my friend, and God knows how I feel anyway, I let myself express those thoughts out loud. I asked him why he took away the love of my life. I asked him why he hadn’t brought anyone else into my life. I asked him why it felt like he was not there for me and why I had to be so horribly alone. And I apologized for my impertinence at demanding answers from the all-powerful God. After being in this stage for probably another year, I decided that I needed to “take a break” from God. I simply asked him to give me contentment so that I would know that my life was going in the right direction. I finally started making friends, joined a beach house, and made a lot more friends. I partied a lot, drank a lot, and hooked up with a lot of guys. My life didn’t feel perfect, but once I didn’t feel so lonely all the time, I felt pretty content. I was quite confused that God would want me to feel content while living a life that was so diametrically opposed to the church teachings, but I didn’t argue with him about it. I always thought I would eventually “repent” of this lifestyle and go back to church. What happened first was that I got bored with that lifestyle. It didn’t take long. I was still having some fun, but grew tired of the bar scene and all of the childishness that goes along with it. Many of my friends were pairing off in relationships or getting married, and I was still single with no prospects. Sometimes I hung out with friends as the “third wheel”, which was okay, and I also tried to entertain myself with solitary pursuits – like taking myself to movies or dinner or doing puzzles at home. Yeah, that wasn’t going to be fun for long. Fortunately a friend of mine introduced me to a friend of her fiancé’s who she thought I would like. The four of us went out together and their friend and I had an instant connection. We started dating and quickly got serious. I know we discussed religion at some point, but it was not a big deal in either of our lives. He grew up in a Catholic family and had fallen away from that. He infrequently attended a Unitarian church and liked that very much. He was glad that I believed in God because his last girlfriend was an atheist and he didn’t like that. After we got engaged, we attended some church services here and there but didn’t find something that we both felt comfortable with. He wasn’t as interested as I was in finding a church after we got married, but it wasn’t something I worried about a lot. Now that my life was happy and the loneliness issue had disappeared, I thought about ending my “break” with God, but keeping a respectful distance had been working out pretty well so far and I didn’t want to mess with it. So life moved along, and after a few years I got pregnant, my husband took another job and we moved to a new place. We both had terrible commutes for work and once the baby came our free time nearly vanished. My husband showed more interest in joining a church now that we were starting a family, but there wasn’t any time and we figured we would wait until we got settled in our new location. One thing that I find wonderful about my husband is that he is always trying to learn new things. During one trip to the library, he picked out a book called Monkey Girl, a true story about a school board in Pennsylvania that required its biology teachers to promote the theory of intelligent design. In my science classes in high school, I am pretty sure that they just skipped right over the pages that talked about evolution. I had always been taught that scientists had never discovered the “missing link” that connected humans to primate ancestors, and I believed they never would because I thought God had created humans in his own image. I did believe that other animals had evolved, but that God probably had some hand in that process. I was not sure that I believed in “intelligent design”, but didn’t know exactly what that meant. I believed that God created the Earth, but felt that he probably initiated the Big Bang. A few years back I remember debating with my friends from church who believed in a 6000-year history of the universe. I thought that was ridiculous. I did learn that the debate was useless, though – because even when I found information in the Bible that refuted some of the key points my friends made, they just stopped the conversation when they could not prove me wrong. Anyway, my husband knew my beliefs about evolution but thought I might enjoy reading the book. He always throws good books in my direction, so I figured I’d give it a look. Evolution was not an issue for him as it was not against the teachings of the Catholic church, so reading the book had no impact on his religious belief. In one post on this site, I said that reading this book was the first big “chink in the armor” that really started my deconversion. That is an understatement. It was more like an earthquake. The book laid out the clear evidence for humans’ evolution from primates and showed how the Christian people of the town fervently tried to hide this evidence from their children in fear of it shaking their faith. I suddenly realized that my own school had done me a grave disservice by not presenting this information to me earlier. While I had long believed that the Adam & Eve story was an allegorical tale, knowing that humans had actually evolved from primates and were not created by God kicked off some serious doubts about the teachings of the church in general. I ruminated on this in the back of my mind for years. So time marched on, I had another baby, my husband took another new job and we moved again. This time we thought we could stay put for a while. After a few months we found a small Episcopal church in our neighborhood that seemed like a good compromise church for us. The people were very nice and were not judgmental or preachy at all. The kids seemed to enjoy their time in the nursery. The sermons were usually not that great – we often talked afterwards to see if we could determine what the point of the sermon was – but I didn’t know what I really wanted from a sermon because I no longer really knew what I believed about God. My husband really only wanted to go to church for the sake of the children – to give them some spiritual grounding. We started talking about getting the kids baptized, but scheduling was always a challenge. Ultimately, my husband got another job and we moved again, leaving us in the same position of waiting to find a church until we got settled. During my adult years as a Christian, I wrestled with the church ideology and doctrine on a variety of issues. I continued to comfort myself with the old idea that God’s justice system would be fairer than any I could devise, but now I really struggled over what to believe about the Bible. Was some of it allegorical, some of it literal, some of it intended to be taken in context of the time in which it was written? My ability to believe that it was the infallible, perfect word of God was completely shaken by my acceptance of human evolution. I guess I’m not surprised by how easily my faith folded in the end. It was all built on an intricate web of lies that could not withstand critical analysis. Years before, I studied books on apologetics with the desired conclusion already defined. I allowed myself to hide from the truth by never challenging the fundamental assumptions that my faith was built on. But ultimately, I had to be ready to reach the point where I was truly ready to face reality. I had long since tired of banging my head against a wall to figure out how to “feel God’s presence”. I had no remaining desire to tell others about Jesus or attempt to convert them. I was weary of trying to manipulate the facts to make a case for the “truth” of the Christian teachings. My mom had bought a children’s Bible for my oldest son, which he enjoyed having us read to him. It was never a book I selected, but I would read it if he brought it to me. Boiled down to their basic elements, it suddenly seemed very clear that the stories were not, and could not be, literally true. I started to feel very uncomfortable about reading the book to my child, and began realizing that I didn’t believe any of the fairy tales anymore. I cringed when my son asked how Jesus was able to do the miraculous things described in the stories, and I told him either that Jesus was ‘magic’ or that it was just a story. I found myself hoping that he would interpret these stories in the same way he does when I read to him about Winnie the Pooh or Thomas the Tank Engine. Finally, I could not kick the can any further down the road. I needed to do my own research about Jesus, the Bible, and Christianity. I watched a documentary about Jesus that I thought did a pretty good job describing what the world was like in the time that he was supposed to have lived, and describing what he may have been like if he actually existed. People contributing to the documentary included both Bible scholars and archeologists, and it did not draw any conclusions on whether Jesus or the resurrection was real or not. Then, since I figured I already had exposure to Christian apologetics, I looked for some material arguing against Christianity. I watched a snarky documentary that was not extremely well done, but made some good points. I watched ‘Religulous’, which I had previously refused to watch with my husband. I also started reading material written by Sam Harris, Richard Dawkins, and other prominent atheists. I allowed my mind to open up to facts and arguments that I could not bear to listen to in the past. I realized that there were only two things that had held me to Christianity during all of this time I had been away from the church. The most obvious one was fear. The insidious one was the mental programming that resulted from being told my whole life that the Christian god was real and the Jesus story that was jammed into my brain for the first half of my life. That combination is what caused my otherwise curious, scientific mind to search only for corroborating evidence and find ways to explain away the parts that did not make sense. I came to the conclusion that I could not believe in the Christian god anymore. That none of it was true. I went to a mirror, looked into my own frightened, bewildered eyes and repeated several times “I am an atheist.” It is not a label I ever thought I would apply to myself. Suddenly, a flood of ramifications of this new belief system washed over me. There was no supernatural force watching over my life and protecting me. There was no powerful being that could comfort me if things go wrong. The people who I have loved who have died were really gone forever and I will never reunite with them. There will be no happy ever after in heaven when I die. Even though I didn’t think about these things regularly in my conscious mind, recognizing them as false comforts was a huge jolt. I can only imagine how much more difficult this would be to accept if I had still been actively engaged in church life. I knew I had to talk to my husband about this, but I was afraid that it would upset him. I couldn’t just keep it inside because it was upsetting me. When he came home from work one night, and we had a moment away from the kids, as my heart pounded in my chest I told him that I thought I was an atheist. He just looked at me and smiled, saying “That’s alright!” That was a relief. But I know he doesn’t totally understand where I am coming from. Later he told me that when he looks at our boys, or thinks about how much he loves me, he “sees” God. Not literally, but that he sees something wonderful and beautiful there and believes that there is something good behind it all. He believes that there is something after this life, and that we will be together in it. He doesn’t try to force these beliefs on me, and it doesn’t impact our marriage. I do know that he wants to take our children to church, but I don’t want to impart that awful mental programming on them. Attending a Unitarian church could be a good compromise if I can bear to attend a church at all. I’m so glad I found this site because I don’t have anyone else to talk to who would really understand what I am going through. I don’t plan to tell my parents because I figure they don’t need to know. They are both die-hard fundamentalists and would be too worried about me if they knew I have lost my faith. My mom would worry silently, but my dad would probably try hard to challenge or even denigrate my beliefs to bring me back to Jesus. My father and I don’t have much of a relationship now (although we are on good terms) and I don’t want the little time we have together to be poisoned by religious discussion. And there is no chance of me returning to the church. I can see that the world makes so much more sense without god in it. As scary as it can be to adapt to life as an ex-Christian atheist, I also feel empowered by it. I see that good things and bad things randomly happen in life, and it’s not part of some messed up game or “master plan”. I know that my accomplishments are my own and not because “God” helped me along the way. Now I can relax and live my life without worrying that I’m not doing enough for “God” or that I’m not tithing enough or that my life doesn’t “glorify” him or any of that other mumbo-jumbo. I realize that you have to tell people that you love them now, because they won’t hear you “from heaven” after they die. And I understand even more now that every single day of life is precious and that I should do my best not to waste a single moment. I know that this is a ridiculously long post, so if you’re still reading, thanks for listening. You will probably not believe that this is the edited, shortened version! I hope that my story can help others in some way.
  25. 13 points
    I had some door knockers come a little earlier (a bit late, plus it's Friday but anyways..) and we got into the whole "you were never really a True Christian™" argument. Eventually one of them started saying that because I used "modern perversions" I never came to experience the true word of God (i.e. the King James Bible). After holding my laughter in I preceeded to show them my Bible collection ( I have at least 10 in various English translations not including my original languages and foreign translations) and pull out my first KJV (a Schofield's if anyone used that..) and showed them my notes, markings et cetera. He then got onto the argument that it is a 100% word for word perfect translation. I then went and pulled out my NA27 and began searching for Romans 6:2 and I asked him to read the passage. It starts off with "God forbid" I then asked him to find the word "God" in my NA27 in the same passage. He then tells me that it is a corrupt text and only the TR is the "correct" Greek text. So, to his amazement I pull out my TR (I regret spending so much money on this stuff except for moments like this, I think I posted my bookshelf here ages ago in some post for those curious..) and ask him again. He then tells me he cannot read Greek. I read it for him and tell him the phrase "God forbid" doesn't exist and it's simply a result of dynamic equivalence. He then goes off his nutter telling me that if I don't want to have a "reasonable discussion" then he'll just leave. Him and the other guy (who just sat by silently) left. I must admit I felt pretty good as usually I don't think so quick on my feet and often stumble upon my words. I work better thinking through things slowly rather than going for tit-for-tat in person. I don't think they'll be coming back too soon!