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Showing content with the highest reputation on 07/18/2019 in all areas

  1. 5 points
    I'm sorry to hear about your panic attacks. That sort of thing sucks royally. It may be in your best interest to see a professional secular therapist. In the meantime, it doesn't hurt to look into some of the background of the idea of Hell. The following is an excerpt from a letter I wrote a few years ago. I hope it can help you. The Lake of Fire The Bible says that "the beast" and "false prophet" will be "cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone" (Rev 19:20), and that "the devil" will also be "cast into the lake of fire and brimstone" and that they "shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever" (Rev 20:10). After that we read that "death and hell" and "whosoever was not found written in the book of life" will be "cast into the lake of fire," which it also calls "the second death" (Rev 20:14-15). Though it doesn't specify here, one would assume that this implies that everyone thrown into this lake of fire would also be tortured forever, just like it says will happen to the beast, false prophet and devil. Granted, Revelation is highly symbolic, so one could argue that this is not meant literally, especially given the reference to a "second death." For the sake of this writing, though, I will treat it literally, as traditional Christians tend to do. As a side note, many confuse "hell" with the eternal "lake of fire." However, as can be seen from the statement that "hell" will be "cast into the lake of fire" (Rev 20:14), they are technically not the same thing in the Bible. "Hell" here is the Greek term "Hades," which was used for the grave, the nether world, the realm of the dead. But, since most people think of "Hell" as the lake of fire, from here on out that will be what I am referring to when I use the capitalized word "Hell" in quotes. So, let's move on and take a closer look at the concept of eternal torture and what the Bible has to say about "Hell." To hear Christians talk, "Hell" is one of the most important topics in Christianity. Indeed, what we supposedly need saving from is "Hell." Yet, if "Hell" is such a hot topic (pun intended), and burning eternally is the final punishment for the wicked, then why is the concept of the lake of fire completely absent from the Old Testament? Sure, the word "hell" is found in the KJV Old Testament, but it is the Hebrew word "Sheol," which means the grave, the underworld, the abode of the dead, a pit. Though there are several places where the Old Testament refers to "fire" symbolically, there is no place in it that says anything about eternal torture in fire (when preachers use Old Testament verses to prove "Hell," a quick look at the context always reveals that they mean something else). In the Old Testament, the punishment for wickedness is said to be death (Eze 3:18-19; 18:20,24; 33:8-14; Psalm 37:20; Prov 2:22). Beyond that, Isaiah says, "They are dead, they shall not live; they are deceased, they shall not rise" (Isa 26:14). Daniel contradicts that by saying, "And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt" (Dan 12:2), but though it doesn't fit with most of what we see in the Old Testament, even this verse doesn't say anything about torture. There is a significant Old Testament verse to mention, though. Jeremiah says, "Therefore, behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that this place shall no more be called Tophet, nor The valley of the son of Hinnom, but The valley of slaughter" (Jer 19:6). In this verse, "The valley of the son of Hinnom" in Hebrew is "gay ben Hinnom," or "gay Hinnom" ("The valley of Hinnom") for short, and is the basis of a later Greek word "Gehenna" that referred to a valley south of Jerusalem where they reportedly burned trash, dead animals and at times the corpses of executed criminals. This "Gehenna" is translated "hell" in the New Testament. So, for clarification, there are two Greek words commonly translated "hell" in the New Testament. "Hades," as mentioned previously, refers to the grave or the netherworld. "Gehenna," on the other hand, was the city dump where refuse was burned. (The Greek word "tartaroo" is also translated "hell," but it's only used once in the Bible and its meaning is comparable to "Hades.") Now let's look at a few uses of "Gehenna." When we read, "Whosever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire" (Matt 5:22), that "hell fire" is referring to the burning dump south of Jerusalem. So is the statement, "It is profitable for thee that one of thy members (body parts) should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell" (Matt 5:29-30). When we read, "Fear him, which after he hath killed hath power to cast into hell" (Luke 12:5), that is again using the burning city dump for imagery. In addition we read, "And if thy hand offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter into life maimed, than having two hands to go into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched: Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched" (Mark 9:43-44). This is an often cited passage about "Hell," but let's dig deeper. Not only is this using the imagery of "Gehenna" discussed above, but it is based on an Old Testament quote that says, "And they shall go forth, and look upon the carcases of the men that have transgressed against me: for their worm shall not die, neither shall their fire be quenched" (Isaiah 66:24). What is being talked about here is clearly not eternal torture, but simply mounting corpses. The worm not dying out is meant in reference to constantly having rotting corpses to eat on. Whatever "fire" may be referring to here, it is clearly not depicting the "Hell" that Christianity teaches. Again, if "Hell" was such an important topic, then why would God avoid making mention of it throughout the entire Old Testament? Why repeatedly warn of death as punishment if eternal torture was really the punishment? With the complete absence of "Hell" in the Old Testament, and the idea growing out of the imagery of a burning city dump south of Jerusalem called the Valley of Hinnom in the New Testament, isn't it quite clear that "Hell" is merely a doctrine that evolved over time? Beyond that, what about the ethics of "Hell"? How can justice be served by inflicting infinite torture as punishment for finite infractions? How is being burned forever a befitting discipline for mere mortals? What loving father would ever do such a thing? Would any good judge ever issue such an unfair sentence? Jesus supposedly said that "whosever believeth" in God's "only begotten Son" will "have everlasting life," and that "he that believeth not is condemned" (John 3:16,18). In Christian theology, that condemnation is "Hell." However, what about all the people who die having never heard about Jesus? What about people raised in different cultures far removed from Christianity, those who are indoctrinated with other views (through no fault of their own) to the point that that they cannot believe Christianity when presented with it? What about the many, many people throughout the ages who simply never had the opportunity to believe in Jesus? Some Christians try to weasel out of that dilemma by suggesting that God is just and will deal fairly with those other people. They may even cite the judgment based on deeds that Jesus spoke of in Matthew 25:31-46. While that may seem to be a noble thought, it is flat-out contradicted by the very quote from Jesus listed above, that "he that believeth not is condemned" (John 3:18). If one doesn't believe, then he's condemned, with no recourse. Besides, there are other logical problems with this argument. Since it indicates that belief in Jesus really isn't necessary for salvation, then what's the point in evangelizing and sending out missionaries? That's commanded in the Bible, of course, but it would be rather pointless if it was true that God would judge everyone justly anyway and that believing in Jesus really isn't necessary for salvation! In addition, what about other people, such as myself, who know the story of Jesus quite well but study Christianity and honestly conclude that it is without merit? With regard to us, as well as the aforementioned people who never heard of Jesus or who were already indoctrinated with another religious view, how could a loving God condemn such people to eternal agony when God himself has refused to show himself? If the all-loving, all-powerful, all-knowing God of evangelical Christianity existed and wanted to have a relationship with every person, then there would be no question that he is real and Christianity is true because he would make it clear! Yet the majority of people in the world have not been convinced of such. Where is this Christian God who is supposedly reaching out to everyone? Another common Christian response is to bring up the quote, "For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse" (Romans 1:20). Thus, it is argued, nobody has an excuse for not knowing, because "the creation" around us is proof. But is it really? If this verse was true and the natural world we see clearly depicted the Christian God, then everyone who looks at nature would automatically be convinced of the Christian God! Yet, throughout the world there are varying cultures with different religious views, and many of those people look at the exact same nature and see evidence of their gods! And other people look at nature and see no evidence of any god at all! How could this be if "creation" was so clear regarding the Christian God? Obviously, this argument from "creation" is simply false. Think about this. You were raised in a Christian culture that convinced you that Christianity is true, but in the same way people raised in a Muslim culture are convinced that Islam is true, and people raised in a Hindu culture are convinced that Hinduism is true, and so on and so forth. The fact is that people's religious beliefs are primarily dependent upon demographics instead of logic, reason and indisputable evidence. You cannot believe Islam to be true because you were programmed to believe Christianity. But the opposite is also true: Those who are programmed to believe Islam simply cannot believe Christianity. Put yourself in their shoes. What if you had been raised and indoctrinated with Islam, and therefore you could not believe Christianity? That would be no fault of your own; it would simply be the result of being raised in that culture. Would it then be fair to torture you in "Hell" forever and ever and ever, with no mercy and no relief, simply because you did not believe something that you had no ability to believe? Do you not see the absurdity and injustice in that? Do you really believe that a righteous, loving God would do that to his creation? You've heard about "cruel and unusual punishment." Indeed, when someone commits a crime, we expect them to be punished, but we expect the punishment to be in accordance with the crime. However, how could any criminal deserve being tortured forever and ever and ever? We are mere mortals with a very limited life-span, so how could anything one does be worthy of unending agony? Such torture would be "cruel and unusual punishment"! And, again, the idea of issuing such punishment for a lack of belief by those who can't believe is even more problematic. Clearly, any God who would torture people like that would have to be sadistic and unjust, because only a sadistic monster could be so cruel! To call any such God "good" is ridiculous, and is an insult to all that is good. Given that the unjust nature of the doctrine of "Hell" is incompatible with the idea of a loving and just God, and given the way the Christian doctrine of "Hell" evolved out of the imagery of a burning city dump outside Jerusalem, it becomes quite clear that "Hell" is not something revealed by God, but merely a morbid myth that developed over time and became useful for scaring people throughout the ages.
  2. 5 points
    Hey Myrkhoos - Wow I'm sorry man that sounds pretty intense. I suffered from panic disorder for about a year and that is not something I would wish on anyone. Once in awhile I get a momentary fear - the " what if I'm wrong to reject Christianity?" moment. Because, damn, if we are wrong we're pretty screwed! But try out this little logical thought sequence and see if it works for you: 1. If the Bible was true, we would be judged on whether or not we believed that Jesus was actually the Son of God who actually died on the cross for our sins. 2. And if it were true, God would be all-knowing. 3. The Bible is full of hopeless contradictions, inconsistencies, moral atrocities, and historical incongruities such that no clear-headed person could conclude with any degree of certainty that Jesus actually was the son of God who came and died for the sins of the world. 4. I don't know about you, but if I knew for certain that it was absolutely true then I would certainly acknowledge that it was true and live my life accordingly. 5. Therefore I conclude that if an all-knowing God exists, he would also know and understand all of the reasons that I simply cannot believe that it's true. And he also would know that I would have readily believed it had he made it sufficiently clear. Therefore I cannot imagine on what basis such a God would ever condemn me if he existed.
  3. 5 points
    Here's a question to ask those who make unsupported assertions about anything; gods, religious belief, flat earth, climate deniers, anything at all. "If it were available, what evidence would you accept for disproving your claim." You will not get an answer.
  4. 3 points
    This is pure gold, in my opinion. If you haven’t read Citsonga’s Extimony and ‘Letter to My Christian Parents’, take some time (a good bit of time!) to read them. You won’t find a smarter, more informed, clearly written, heartfelt explanation of why he - and so many of us - became Ex-Christians. It will be time well spent, believe me. Note: I received no financial compensation, merchandise, sexual favors or any other benefit from Citsonga in exchange for this endorsement.
  5. 2 points
    Close minded is when you say your position will never change regardless of the evidence presented. A flat earther taken to the ISS who says "these windows must be TV screens showing cgi video of the globe earth" for example. Open minded is simply being willing to consider new ideas and evidence. We all default to "proven beyond reasonable doubt" for our knowledge, but facts and therefore knowledge have a subjective level to them which can lead different answers on the same question. For example if a scientist runs an experiment and shows X is the result, then perhaps that is enough verification for you. Another person may say "no, you need to repeat the test", so it is done again with the same result. It gets done a thousand times by a thousand different labs all with the same result. At what point do you say this data is verified beyond reasonable doubt? This is subjective. The quantity and quality of verification is up to each persons opinion. I believe we can prove god doesn't exist beyond reasonable doubt, but completely understand the same facts and reasons given would not convince a Christian.
  6. 2 points
    I remain open minded to evidence, not beliefs. Anything is technically possible, but is it probable? We must live by probabilities, not absolutes. The probability that unicorns exist is virtually nonexistent, the probability that life on other planets exists is somewhat higher even though we have yet to discover any actual proof.
  7. 2 points
    A hunch is a suspicion that something could be true. We can then follow up on a hunch to see if it has any supporting evidence. This is how a lot of science starts, and is then followed up with well-designed tests to see if the hunch is really worth pursuing. A belief is more of a conclusion that it is probably true or is true, with little evidence or without evidence. Saying "I believe in unicorns" is essentially saying that they are real, a conclusion without evidence. But the original question you posed was, how open should we be to things that are not proved. If the things have a rational basis, with at least some actual evidence pointing to them, then we can see if the hunch plays out or not. But the more fanciful and "magic" the claims are, the less credence we can give to them until further evidence is available (and a plethora of believers isn't evidence). I can claim to be from Venus, and speak some other language as evidence, but from what we know of Venus it is not compatible with human life and if I cannot provide evidence of a ship or something more, then my claim is likely not true and can be regarded as a lie. Evidence against my claim is talking with my family, showing my birth certificate showing I was born in the USA, school pictures, and so on. Some people will still claim that things are true even when factual evidence is shown to disprove their claims. That is called being stupid and stubborn. Con artists love people like that, because they can be scammed for a lot of money. Other cons just like the control it gives them over such people.
  8. 2 points
    The burden of proof lies upon the one making the claim. There is no evidence of unicorns, therefore no reason to conclude they exist. Nor is there any reason to be open minded about it, any more than the existence of Gramblyfudds or Qualfidnerds. Those making the claims can submit evidence, but until then there is no point giving any credence to the claims. Belief is a substitute for knowing, but goes beyond a hunch to more of a conclusion based on desire for the thing. I can have a hunch that there are yet unknown species of life on Earth, and since we occasionally find them, that is even likely that we haven't seen every kind of creature or plant. Unicorns are a myth from a time of pre-science when all kinds of magic were feared and regarded as true without proof. Eventually, through the development of logic and much scientific inquiry we can safely say they have no basis in reality. I could even have a hunch that there could be life elsewhere in the universe. But to conclude it by saying I believe is going beyond the guess. Trying to draw up odds is not possible since we don't know how life starts in the first place.
  9. 1 point
    "My Daughter Got A Bible For Her Birthday, What Should I Do?" Notify your local hazmat response team.
  10. 1 point
    https://www.patheos.com/blogs/godlessmom/2019/07/my-daughter-got-a-bible-for-her-birthday-what-should-i-do/ Good advice
  11. 1 point
    I like that blog post...a very similar thing happened to me. Several years ago, my very religious mother gave my young daughter a bible for some occasion or other...I forget which. Anyways, I told my daughter to treat it like any other book of fictional stories. I encouraged her to ask as many questions as she could think up...and boy, did she! I answered all her questions honestly and frankly. She now has a similar attitude towards religion as I do, and I am quite proud of her.
  12. 1 point
  13. 1 point
    I have kept three. I have one I never open and feel I should burn from when I was a child up to early teens. I have a second one that my folks bought me when I started high school. It didn't get used nearly as much as the first - I figure by high school I was already on my way out, lol. The blank pages at the back got used to roll joints, though, in desperate uh, recreational moments during college. The other copy I have is one that contains the Apocrypha because at some point during my high school years I thought maybe the Catholics had info that I hadn't encountered yet. (They did not.) Anybody else have to get rid of scads of those little Gideon Bibles. I started refusing them even before I quit believing because I knew I already had a dozen. Ha. Good times.
  14. 1 point
    I was pretty much thinking of the same quote. I think the full version is "By all means keep an open mind, but don't be so open minded that your brain falls out" For example I am not open minded towards the earth being flat. People try and bring in a 'balanced discussion' argument where they claim all sides should have equal time to be heard. Creationists do this in regards to evolution, climate sceptics in regards to climate change. This is nonsense. There is no 'balance' to contemplating with any seriousness the idea that the earth is flat, or that evolution doesn't happen. What we should be open minded to is unanswered questions in those subject areas. Regarding unfalsifiable propositions which is what the OP was about - it would seem to be a bit of a waste of time being open minded about such a proposition. By definition there is no test or evidence that could falsify an unfalsifiable proposition therefore you can never know its true. You can falsify my claim that unicorns exist on earth by sheer virtue of what we know about unicorn physiology and the vast amount of the plant explored where they might be expected to live. Now try and falsify my claim that a great Invisible Pink Transcendent Immaterial Unicorn exists. Any time you try I can just make up shit explaining why you haven't falsified it.
  15. 1 point
    Karen, I listen to you and Bonnie "religiously." You two tackle some difficult subjects, and your approach is very palatable. That person, entrusted with power, is plain and simple sick. I understand he's lost his livelihood, but now he harbors deep resentment, and will bear watching. Ain't no terrorist like a homegrown terrorist.
  16. 1 point
  17. 1 point
    GREAT CARTOON! It captures the essence of what happened.
  18. 1 point
    One way I like to remain open-minded is to consider that our ways of knowing may be very limited at this point in our evolutionary stage. The scientific method as we know it may be very primitive compared to other ways we may develop for discerning truth, as we evolve. Even the idea that we have to string along alphabetical characters in long redundant patterns, in order to convey our thoughts in speech and writing, seems a primitave and cumbersome task. At the same time, we have instinctively "known" as a human species, how to regulate our own body temperature and acid-base balance, how to regenerate our own blood cells, digest our food, grow our hair, procreate, etc. If you think about it, these are different ways of "knowing." In most instances where humanity took huge leaps in understanding better how the world works, there was a willingness to think outside of the proverbial box. Its interesting to me that there is no real authority on how to draw the line between thinking "outside the box" versus "outside the realms of reality."
  19. 1 point
    I think private messages should generally only be shared publicly with the consent of both parties. Not sure there was anything particularly sensitive in these messages, but still.
  20. 1 point
    I will take the word open-minded and change it to 'pursue.' Should we pursue something that we are interested in if we only have a hunch/belief that it may be true...or that it may be possible? If someone else says, "That's total nonsense" should we then abandon further pursuit of that idea? I'm willing to bet that many things we take for granted today (killing germs by hand washing, antibiotics, airplanes, radio waves, quantum entanglement, access to all known information on a flat pocket sized device) were once (or would have been) considered completely absurd/impossible by the average person ... or even top minds of the day. Some things are not testable yet. Some day they may be testable if we continue developing technology and/or keep searching and researching. Regarding unicorns or other unfalsifiable notions, if you begin to obsess about something, then it could be harmful. If you feel unicorns are telling you to adjust your investment portfolio into more risky areas and you are already retired, well, maybe you ought to rethink that. If you are well adjusted yet feel a unicorn might be blessing you with a beautiful backyard of flowers (even though you are the one that plants and waters them)...is that really an issue? A bit of magical thinking won't send you to hell...nor lead to your intellectual demise or insanity. If something isn't an 'issue' then dont make it an issue. Dont let someone else make it an issue for you. Unicorns havent' given me any trouble in 50 some odd years. Never had to scoop their poop ever. Pretty clean animals, imo. (haha) How much credence you want to give something that is unfalsifiable it is up to you. How much time you want to spend thinking about them is up to you. As long as rational scientists like ... I dont know, Carl Sagan, for example..dont do something patently absurd, like send a golden record into space so aliens for which we have no evidence decide ... to play it , then I'm good. ( oh wait! LoL) edit: P.S. Consider also that some claims are ordinary, some are extraordinary...and others are somewhere in between. Not everything that is without physical evidence is necessarily on the extreme side of extraordinary. Where something lies on that spectrum may guide you in how much thought you want to devote to it.
  21. 1 point
    I was raised in fairly conservative churches/schools. Gradually I started to move away from some of the more extreme elements of that, I believed in evolution, didn't take the Genesis creation narrative literally, was open to certain Bible stories being myths, exc.. Even since I was a little kid and first found out what gay people were I've never understood why anyone cared what gender you liked. The reason I ultimately rejected the whole thing isn't because of anything in the outside world, though, to go along with the whole idea of "faith" you need to accept believing in things that aren't verifiable anyway. Instead it's that the central premise of Christianity doesn't make sense to me now that I've finally seriously examined it, and that the god described in the Bible doesn't sound all wise or all good. It boils down to- A- One thing I've always struggled with is why Jesus needed to die on the cross in order to save people. I got into a lengthy exchange with a school teacher when I was 7 or 8 about this and never got a satisfactory answer. The Bible makes very clear that god can do anything, so why can't he forgive people without killing someone else? Recently I've thought about this in even more depth and it goes beyond the issue of whether god is omnipotent. Forgiving people because Jesus died doesn't make any sense. If I'm going to forgive someone, I don't insist that some random, unrelated person be punished before I can forgive someone. I can either forgive them or I can't. Someone might respond by saying "but that's why god is merciful" but if he were truly merciful wouldn't he be able to forgive someone without killing an unrelated innocent person? Christians consistently say that we should "forgive as god forgives" but wouldn't that mean that when someone asked our forgiveness we'd have to go and crucify someone first before we could forgive them? That kind of thinking only makes sense in the context of a society built around animal sacrifices. It makes the Bible sound less inspired by an all knowing, timeless god and more like a product of a primitive ancient civilization. People try to explain this with the analogy that Jesus is like our parent and it's like he paid for a window that we broke. But that analogy doesn't work because breaking a window isn't a moral issue, and paying for it isn't retribution. It's just an issue of someone suffering a loss and that loss being made right, irrespective of who actually is the one paying. A better analogy would be someone being sentenced to death and Jesus taking their place. But nothing works like that. Even if someone for some reason volunteered to be executed in another person's place, that wouldn't nullify the sentence of death on the other person. Retribution is attached to the person who committed the crime. Again, Christians would say that that is why god is merciful, but if he were truly merciful why couldn't he just forgive people. Killing Jesus was irrelevant to any sins anyone has committed. Another thing Christians say is that the crucifixion was to satisfy god's wrath against our sins. That makes him sound like an unenlightened barbarian, not an infinitely wise god who created the universe. He's so angry that he wants to take it out on someone who did nothing to him? Yet the Bible says humans are supposed to control their anger. But it also says we're to be "holy" like god, and being holy apparently includes murdering innocent people to punish them for things other people did. Add to that that Jesus' sacrifice isn't at all proportionate to evils he's answering for. Killing one person supposedly answers for the death that everyone who has ever existed deserves? Add to that that Jesus didn't truly "die" in the narrative, he never went to hell and came back from the dead. If God is merciful enough to accept a non-proportional sacrifice why isn't he merciful enough to just forgive anyone who asks? Continuing on the topic of forgiveness, for me not forgiving someone means I stay angry at them, it doesn't mean I want someone to be sent to hell and tortured for all eternity after they die. I don't really want that to happen to anyone. Even for someone like Hitler, I'd be sufficient with just letting him die, or just not letting him into heaven and having stay in cosmological limbo. Wanting to endlessly torture someone is vindictive, sadistic, and evil. Especially when it's not just mass murderers but even someone who commits a "sin" as small as stealing a cookie from a cookie jar as a small child. B- I've had some serious bouts of depression recently and I thought in relation to god that if I truly loved someone and I could ensure that they wouldn't feel like this, then I would. Of course the common rebuttal to this is that there are lots of people with worse problems than me, but that just compounds the point. If you look at all the suffering that has occurred throughout history, would a good and loving god allow it all to happen? If a person knew about a child getting raped by someone, didn't tell anyone, and did nothing to stop it, there isn't a court in the world that wouldn't convict that person. Any Christian would agree that it was a sin to not intervene. And yet that's what god does for every murder and every rape that has ever occurred. Again, if we're supposed to be "holy" like god, wouldn't that mean that we'd be as indifferent to all this as he is? I know that the Christian conception of god gives people the free will to sin and that's why we're responsible for our actions. That makes sense for sins that don't directly effect anyone else, like getting drunk, gambling, consensual fornication, lust and so forth. But in the case of sins against others, if it's such a serious sin against another person to justify sending someone to hell, then wouldn't it also be a sin to be able to stop that sin and not do it? Christians talk out of both sides of their mouth on this issue. They defend god allowing, say, 9/11 to happen by saying that people's souls are eternal. But if killing another person is serious enough to warrant sending the murderer to hell, wouldn't it be serious enough for god to intervene and stop it? C- This is a smaller thing and it's an issue I've always had, but the New Testament is terribly inconsistent in regards to how to attains salvation. On the one hand there's John 3:16, and on the other hand there's the book of James, which pretty much goes full Catholic. People try to explain away the book of James by saying that the "works" described are simply an outgrowth of faith, but the book specifically says "faith without works is dead" implying that someone who actually does have faith but doesn't couple it with good works is going to hell. Even more blatantly John says "whosoever believeth in me shall not perish but have everlasting life" but then James explicitly says that belief in Jesus is not enough noting that "Even the demons believe and shudder". That sounds like something written by two different authors and not inspired by one source. I could write more, but this is the main stuff. I just finished graduate school and am stuck living at home until I find a job. I'm going to keep going to church with my parents and not rock the boat for now. I'll probably formally "come out" once I'm living somewhere else. I thought of myself as a "bad Christian" who didn't pray that much, but it didn't occur to me how much I really did throughout the day until now, I find myself thinking "Oh yeah, he's probably not real" a lot of the time now. I get the periodic worry about going to hell, and worrying about not being able to pray when I'm afraid, but mostly I feel really good, because I think these are things I've known deep down for a long time. PS- I was automatically logged out when I spent a lot of time writing this and worried that my long post would all be gone and thought "thank god" when I saw that it was all here. Some habits take a while to go away.
  22. 1 point
    Ignoring that you have claimed (repeatedly) that you were finished interacting with me, I am going to strictly limit myself to addressing the sheer stupidity of your statement. As a point of clarification, your statement is not made out of ignorance; it is sheer stupidity. Ignorance would give you the benefit of the doubt with the implication that you simply do not know any better. Unfortunately, both you and I (and anyone else who has followed your interactions here) know that you do know better; you just choose to pretend not to. Because pretending not to know what you do know (stupidity) fits your narrative just as nicely as pretending to know what you do not know (faith). And, indeed, you, Sir, are solid proof that there is an extremely thin line between faith and stupidity. With that said, your statement implies that ex-christians actively seek to deconvert believers, to try to make christians be not christians. Very few of us do. We do not attempt to destroy anyone else's faith, undermine other's beliefs, or negate the emotional attachments that coincide with them. Most of us are willing to point out the flaws in theology (as we do in The Den), when someone else broaches the subject with us. But, as a general rule, ex-christians do not go out of our way to deconvert believers. We have no Great Commission, as christians do; and we feel no compelling obligation to convince, coerce, or manipulate others into thinking, perceiving, believing as we do. We are extremely careful about this, for one reason and one reason alone, to wit: each of us are painfully and acutely aware of how brutal our own deconversions were. We do not wish the experience on anyone else. Deconversion therapy is not attempting to deconvert believers. Rather, it is an effort to help newly deconverted individuals become mentally and emotionally healthy after years of abusive religious tactics. It is an extension of the compassion and shared humanity that each of us have experienced. It is an expression of empathy, a trait with which you seem keenly unfamiliar. Psychologists have demonstrated that adults who suffered childhood indoctrination share many of the same personality defects as adults who suffered physical and/or sexual abuse during childhood. For this reason, many educated professionals in the mental health field consider childhood indoctrination to be a form of abuse. Since praying for these victims is as ineffective as prayer in general, deconversion therapy exists to help them assimilate into their lives after the abuse ends. Many newly deconverted individuals feel a great sense of disillusionment, grief, anger, and loss. Until these emotions can be effectively understood, processed, and worked through, the healing cannot begin. As ex-christians, each of us has gone through the deconversion process and have experienced it in our own way. As a result, we are not only uniquely qualified to help others facing the same struggles, we are also ardently ready and willing to reach out to them. That is precisely why this website exists; and precisely why self-important cunts, such as yourself, are generally kept only in The Lion's Den.
  23. 1 point
    The starting point for anyone considering Christianity should be the historical integrity of the Bible as God's revealed word. If that cannot be proven, its ridiculous to accept the teachings of Christianity. Pseudo experts like the Pope, Graham, Falwell, Robertson, Roberts, Stanley, McDowell, Strobel and other such clowns have never credibly proven that the Hebrew god Yahweh exists or that the Bible is an accurate record of its commands. Despite this failure, hundreds of millions of people devote their lives and their money to this deception. Obviously, they seek solace and answers rather than truth. They are then preyed upon by the Bible thumping hucksters, whose mansions are provided by the same gullible masses.
  24. 1 point
    I keep mine in a drawer because there are so many notes in the margins. Notes like "WTF???" So...so many WTF's.
  25. 1 point
    This brand of hatred goes all the way to the top of our political institutions. People have routinely and publicly called for the death of Obama, Hillary, journalists, gays and atheists with no repercussions. Imagine if someone publicly targeted anyone in the Republican elite guard.
  26. 1 point
    Yeah, it's not as if people who preach a deep hatred of other groups have ever tried to exterminate them right? *Cough* Hitler *Cough*
  27. 1 point
    He's gone: https://www.knoxnews.com/story/news/2019/06/12/knox-county-sheriffs-office-detective-grayson-fritts-personnel-record/1438587001/
  28. 1 point
    The church has been hating and killing for a very long time. Ever read Foxe's Book of Martyrs? The descriptions of the inquisition tortures (often for stupid things like listing the 10 commandments in the wrong order) were so cruel, and in front of other family members who were then also killed slowly. It is written from a Christian perspective, but the ruin the church poured out on "heretics" was horrible and justified by labeling anything "other" as a deception of Satan. Read through Peter (or even the words of Jesus) some time and see how he labels unbelievers as dogs, weeds fit only to be burned, pigs that wallow in shit, as compared with the pure, clean, upright believers. That's where all this crap comes from. Believers actually see themselves as pure light in a world of darkness and demonic possession. And a lot of them are lawmakers, judges, and enforcers.
  29. 1 point
    Good thing there are no instances of insane leaders actually doing any harm in the world. </sarc>
  30. 0 points
    So, Been wondering, is it real? It comes, this panick attack, with the absolute certainty that hell awaits me for my sins, and I have to confess and do exactly what God of the Orthodox Christian Bible says, and believe exactly what he says, and give anything else as demonic as wrong, any free thought, right now, otherwise demonic possesion is a given. The weird thing is that the the thoughts in this panick attack are not profound or coming from understanding, as what it is a sin, what is confession, how it works, who or what is God, who and what to trust, etc, it is more in the line of OCD thoughts, obsessive and strong, but confused and vey unclear. Like some sort of false hope/ritual, do this and you will be ok, saved. Exactly like OCD rituals. It scares the shit out of me, and provokes the flight/fight/freeze/fawn/fantasy coping mechanism all at once. The weird thing is that I tried for six years to do all that stuff, to force myself to believe, to obey, to confess, to get comunion, to stay in monasteries, to get exorcisms, visit holy relics, holy icons, and such, and very little progress. Once I tried psychotherapy and some natural anxiety remedies plus some other medical check ups and treatments it has started to subside. The thing is, at leat in the Orthodox Church, fear of hell, as in extreme anxiety, there are descriptions of monks falling into terror states and refusing to do anything but pray for forgiveness, is considered a virtue, a gift from God. My mind like goes blank, denies everything I read or know, goes into this is a real danger, I have to do this and this to escape, everything else, fuck that shit, like it doesn t matter how I feel, how and what I think, all that matters is escaping the wrath of God because I have a mild pornography addiction , weirdly enough provoked by the anxiety I live in , which prayer does not really make go away. I just see a God who issues commands and threats, demands total dedication and love , kills his enemies and even killed his own Son and gave him up to be eaten. I see a God that threatens people to Hell because they did not do works of charity, BUT that had to do with him, because doing stuff to them, means doing to Him. I see a God who asks complete submission. I see a God that creates danger and evil and then lets people fall into them and then blames them for them. I see a God that demands we be thankful for suffering and atrocities. I see a God that provokes Stokholm Syndrome in his followers, who start out fearing Him, like a victim, then loving him, being attached to Him, like little children to abusive parents, who uncounsciiusly deny everything bad that has happened, idealise parents and are fiercely loyal and interpret everything from them as being love and considering every other feeling bad. I see a God that plays mind games. I am terrified, and pure and simple terrified that THIS God actually exists. What if he exists? What if this thing, which I feel and think, these are opinions of course, is a monster, a total monster worse than any other monster ever, being all powerful, does exist? The terror, the sheer terror is amazing. I talked to a secular therapist friend, and said, you know, while I agree that child abuse, sexual and violent, is extremely traumatic, one does not understand the extreme point of anxiety if one has not experienced the fear of Hell. Of complete, eternal, conscious terror and torment with no escape. That is the reference point of anxiety. I feel like goung to Church and going trhough the motions just to relieve this extreme fear. God, it sounds like and addiction. Jehovah s witness with their anihilation theory sound nice in comparison to the Orthodox Church official version.

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