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Showing content with the highest reputation since 12/03/2019 in all areas

  1. 6 points
    IMO, God isn’t the problem for most people. Religion is the problem. It’s religion that wants to brainwash and control people.God is just a tool they use to accomplish their goals. God, for many people, is simply nature without the laws, rules, and commands. Hell is a control mechanism that was created by humans to scare people into being obedient, and thus vulnerable to all the dogma religions create. Ultimately, religion is about controlling people’s minds and manipulating them into being obedient and submissive robots. It’s a big mind game, but no one has to play their game. It’s a choice. Those of us here have chosen to get out of the game and not play it anymore.
  2. 6 points
    It just occurred to me that I never bothered messaging an admin to delete my profile. I'm not fully returning to this site, however I've decided to keep my account and just give everyone periodic updates. Many changes have occurred since my last post. In the beginning of September, I found out that I had to move out of the building I was living in down in the FL Keys. The reason behind this requires it's own post but in a nutshell, I had to find another place to live and fast. Rather than signing a lease and remaining in that small, toxic town, I decided it was time to move on. As many of you know, I was down there helping my parents out and couldn't leave my mother behind after the passing of my dad. However, I was only enabling her, she became lazy and unable to hold a job since she knew I would cover the bills. I had to make the decision to let her be and now she has been forced to change her ways out of necessity. That, combined with my own fear of leaving that town was stifling me so this displacement as been a blessing (not the best term to use in an Ex-Christian site I know). I now live in the Raleigh area in North Carolina, I've made some rather bad choices in the last 10 years but this is NOT one of them. I can't describe the way that I feel right now, for years I thought that I damaged my life beyond repair, that my chance to escape a mediocre existence was over. It's like I've been sent a decade into the past with my current knowledge to fix my mistakes. The door of opportunity that I thought shut behind me has been hacked back open. Now that I am back in the "real world", I have the benefit of not wasting my time with religion or the church. Everything is going to be about my own self improvement. Ironically, I am living with a roommate who was part of that Christian friend circle from back in the day but is now also an atheist. Another major change that I've made is abandoning all political groups. Politics has nothing to offer me aside from having me dislike people that I would normally get along with. It is hate just for the sake of hating. And for what? For a politician that is likely to break all promises and run business as usual as elected? It's insanity, people doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. I have replaced this with an open mind and a willingness to engage with as many people with diverse views as possible. On top of that, I actively go out and socialize right now, I would just rather have fun than be angry just for the sake of being angry. Finally, I am working with a career counselor and putting significant effort into improving my career situation. I spend most of my waking hours at work, if that time is negative then it will undermine everything else. If this endeavor bears any fruit then I will let everyone know. That's all for now, again this is just an update on my life for anyone that cares.
  3. 5 points
    As an example, I found out Friday that I did not get a job that I was really hoping to get. It would have been a "perfect" position for me; and certainly "the next big thing" for my career. But the company found somebody else they liked better. It happens. In the past, I would have obsessed over missing out on the prestige that would have come with working with that particular company. I would have fretted over the lack of financial security I'm currently facing, and lamented the loss of the salary that position offered. I would have used this opportunity to wax philosophical, poetical even, about the vanity of life, as our esteemed author of Ecclesiastes did. Instead, however, I've spent my time this weekend reflecting on The Moment. I ask myself, "Did I really need that job, when right now I have a good, home-cooked meal in front of me?" Or, "Do I really need more money in the bank, when right now I have a nice, warm winter coat on this frosty morning?" "Do I really want to pour more if myself into my career, when right now I have a beautiful wife who is having a wonderful time going grocery shopping with me?" Obviously, this shifts the focus off of the negative (I didn't get a job I was perfect for and it really sucks); and onto the positive (I don't need an incredible job, when I've already got a pretty rad life). But it also enhances The Moment I am currently experiencing. I am able to be present with my family over dinner, present with my new coat, present with my wife... present with a good cup of coffee and nothing more. Rather than just being present with the suckiness of life; I am present with the awesomeness of my life. That's what helps me out, anyway. Take it for what it's worth.
  4. 5 points
    Having been raised with the idea of divine destiny, I've had the expectation that my life was going to somehow be extra-ordinary, incredible, a cut above the average... anything but the garden-variety, mediocre, 9-5 existence most people endure. It was a tremendous disappointment to realize that god doesn't really have a plan for any of us; and that my life was going to end up pretty plain. This disillusionment spilled over into my post-christian life. Even though I know there is no divine destiny, I still find myself looking for the next big thing, the next great adventure, the next new experience; and I'm often horrifically bored with my life. Don't get me wrong, I've had a pretty awesome run, so far; but there's still that part of me longing for "more." A last vestige of my once firmly held belief that me and jesus were going to do great things together, I suppose. What has helped me out a lot over the past year or so has been forcing myself to focus only on The Moment. Just live in The Now, without expectation, or judgement of it. Just observe what is happening and try to learn from it. I might not ever have an incredible life; but I'm learning to create a series of incredible moments. And maybe that's all I really need.
  5. 5 points
    I think younger preachers in fundamentalist denominations are starting to learn more. In the past they went to a "Bible college" (or no college at all -- just interned under an older preacher), and they studied writings almost exclusively from within their denomination. I was raised in the "non-institutional" Churches of Christ in the US. They were (and still are, mostly) separated from the mainline Churches of Christ, but the younger generation doesn't know the history. And the funny thing is, a lot of mainline CoC folks are joining NI churches and don't really know the differences. But anyway, these younger preachers are learning things. They'll get advanced degrees from Harding and Pepperdine that are closer to actual seminary degrees than before. I still attend a NI-CoC (as a semi-closeted atheist), and the youngish preacher (about 35?) a couple of weeks ago mentioned how Matthew basically cribbed some older language about Julius Caesar when writing about Jesus. He knows! There has to be a lot of cognitive dissonance going on. These guys are going to have a really hard time when they eventually deconvert, having trained to do nothing else in their lives. And I'm almost positive that a whole, whole bunch of them will deconvert in the next 10 years. There's just too much information available for them to be able to stay in their bubbles!
  6. 4 points
    I give gifts to my sons and use the holiday to reflect upon peace on earth and how i can improve myself as a person. It is a "spritual" time for me (for lack of a better word).
  7. 4 points
    I used to have a boss who would always ask if I would be willing to work on Christmas day. I would always answer, "jesus never came to any of my birthday parties; why should I show up for one of his?"
  8. 4 points
    All claims about the supernatural are far better explained by reasons other than the existence of actual supernatural processes or entities. For example, the resurrection of Jesus Christ is best explained as an allegory for the annual death and rebirth of the sun as a regular natural process. All other alleged miracles in the Bible have similar natural explanations for how the stories arose. Their value is as moral fables, not as claims about actual events. The best explanation of miracles is from the philosopher David Hume, who argued more than two centuries ago that lies and deception are vastly more probable causes of miracle stories than any inconsistency in the laws of physics. Belief in the supernatural is solely a psycho-social process of emotional comfort, combined with a corrupted distortion of moralistic parables.
  9. 3 points
    Hey all, it's been a while! A lot has changed but I'm in a much better place than I was the last time I was super active on this site. I'm much more confident in my gender and myself, have a wonderful girlfriend, and am working as a hairstylist at a successful salon in my city. More good news to top things off, my family has left our old abusive church. The lead pastor was reprimanded last year for twisting the word for his own messages, and this year my family finally had enough. They're at a new church, but it's still much better than where they were. I know they're at least not hearing hateful and poisonous messages every single Sunday, and that for me is good enough. That church and pastor broke my family when we came home from the mission field and my mother is only now recovering from things almost nine years later. I'm not going to lie, I have a lot of schadenfreude for how the church is collapsing right now. It is a cult through and through and the lead pastor is a glorified piece of shit. I wanted to share because sometimes it's nice to hear about leaders getting their comeuppance.
  10. 3 points
    It *is* nice when cults finally fail. Good to hear that one is dissolving. Hopefully he won't be able to keep his adherents for a spin-off. Even in typical Nazarene churches, I saw pastors get too full of themselves and hurt people in the name of god. Here's to more of them dissolving!
  11. 3 points
    Welcome godless! Maybe spend some time just conversing with us. Generally speaking ex christian atheist's aren't exactly the cookie cutter "new atheist" lot. Maybe a few, but certainly not all. We discuss a lot of ideas that christians can't seem to stereo type. For instance, it's either god or everything came from nothing? Wrong. Atheist's arguing that everything came from nothing. Wrong again. There are answers that fall between the two extremes and many of us have found ourselves gravitating towards those middle grounds. Perhaps we could call it, "Newest Atheism?"
  12. 2 points
    You evil, vile, terrible soldier in the war on Christmas!
  13. 2 points
    Ok, I think you should REALLY, I mean REALLY look up two things. this have personally helped me. first. Mind control and brainwashing, via cult mind control. Some authors = Steve Hassan, Alexandra Stein, Janja Lalich, Margaret Singer and others. There is the ICSA site, International cultic association website there with lots of info. Oh yes and Jon Atack. Mind control and brainwashing works on a very deep level usually, using cognitive, emotional and body based tehniques, social psychology and hypnosis. So all of the tools. Christianity and major religions that have been here for thousands of years have pretty good influencing tehniques, for bad or for worse. They also talk about recovery and I will give you an example from Steve Hassan. A woman who was with the Moonies for just three months, after more than seven years had a fear of having children. Onlye after chance meeting Hassan and working for a little bit with him , she had an insight that her fear was because she was told who leaves the moonies will have stilborn children. Second, modern trauma theory. Bessel van der Kolk , the Body keeps the score is a very good start as it it is very broad, from history, to social, to healing tehniques from yoga acupuncture and qi qong to modern neurofeedback, EMDR and modern medicine, art therapy and animal therapy, medication and with possible combinations. Second, Francine Shapiro, with trauma and EMDR, and maybe Franz Ruppert. Again trauma works at a deep neurological level, actually changing how certain areas of the nervous system works. Pure talk therapy and even CBT, or that is rarely enough. Psychoanalysis, actually, in its ideal, is NOT talk therapy. It is a very long and drawn out process to bring forth those blocked memories from the subconcisous and be aware of them. A type of lucid conscious hypnosis. But there are others, which are faster. Cranio sacral therapy is a modern one, as I said, and other BODY BASED psychotherapies for trauma processing and release. As I said, the cognitive is only a part, but not the whole part. Also TRE, trauma release exercises. Mindfulness meditation is another one, and there trauma focused mindfulness courses/books. Research, pick and choose what you want. Ultimately what is useful in your case. But, I repeat, there are solutions and your problem is NOT at all unsual. far less things affect people for life for some reasons. You could meet people who were mocked in front of their classmates when they were ten and they felt it so intense that they have stage fright up until their death, although they rationally know they should not have. Trauma also disconnects a part of you from your reason, that what fear does it shuts down the prefrontral cortex. So your thinking does even reach that part that easily. Why? Well think of being attacked by a bear. What use is deliberating ? Immediate response is useful. Run. But some events are so big that that mechanism just fails. Being ashamed of that is like being ashamed your arm was broken when you hit it with a sledghammer. But the West still has this very false idea about the so called "power of reason" and free will which although proven wrong by science and reality still tends to reign supreme and provoke even bigger problems, but it is just another defense mechanism of denying the pain of life sometimes. And about dieing in fear. Well some fear will probable always exists, as there is A LOT to afraid of , but not in uncontrollable amounts. Maybe. Also, just saying here, there is a possibility of early childhood trauma, even pre natal trauma, that causes what you feel besides religion, things which you are unconscious of. Not saying you do, but some very early events, before 5 6 year old, can have devastating effects and are often not recognized by adults. You will find stories about it in trauma therapy. There is noi need, by the way, for deep awful stories like war or torture of sexual abuse. It could be just your mother, being vert tired and annoyed one day because of something unrelated, shouted a bit too loud Keep quiet! and you felt extremely afraid and guilty of hurting your mother. Only that. Really. It could have stuck. Not saying it IS SURE, but it is a possibility. Hope this helps.
  14. 2 points
    Two sides of your mind are doing battle: the rational side and the irrational side. It's OK to have irrational fears. We all have them. The key is to know that they are irrational and, even if they won't go away, you won't be hurt as a result. Thus at the end of the day you can put those irrational fears back in their box and sleep well.
  15. 2 points
    I see your point and am glad it was in the Rants and Replies section. But there are ways to vent anger without being disrespectful to others. My situation may have been different from some others. Mine was such that I never felt "abused" by anyone in the christian scene, at least on purpose. Even though some of it was whacky stuff, I always considered they thought they were doing me a favor by trying to "save my soul." I understand how they came to be how they are, and actually feel sorry for them. Also, consider that being disrespectful to them simple reinforces the belief they already have of us, as being depraved or warped human beings.
  16. 2 points
    Yes, it's called empathy.
  17. 2 points
    Many interpret it that way; without the need for gods.
  18. 2 points
    I very much appreciate your article. Although you and I have very different backgrounds and experiences, your conclusions look very much like mine. And while all of the arguments you make resonate with me, your concluding paragraph is the thing that really does so: That is very much my position. I was 52 years old when I realized I'd been practicing mythology most of my life. When I realized that my fundamentalist beliefs were untenable I wondered whether liberal Christianity was more correct, but I didn't consider it long. It seemed to be merely speculation about what a god would be like, if there were such things as gods. It treated the Old Testament as myths and legends, and yet expected us to treat the New Testament as history. And what of the even more liberal theologians who reject eternal torment but accept the resurrection and the need for salvation? Well, I've read their positions and they seem fairly well argued, but their argument in a nutshell is that Hell doesn't make sense. While true, that leaves us with Christianity being based on nothing more than legends and speculation, and there's no reason to believe any of it. It only took me about a month to completely deconvert. Though it isn't what got me started (that was realize that there was no Satan in Genesis 3), further study made me realize that the authors of the older parts of the Hebrew Bible were henotheists, not monotheists. The Song of Moses explains how "the LORD" came to be the god of Israel (it was his portion, bequeathed to him by his father, the Most High God), and it goes on to proclaim that he's a better god than all of his brothers, who are the gods of the other nations. Once I realized that, there was no going back. Anyway, thanks for sharing your story. I very much enjoyed reading it.
  19. 2 points
    Well, I don't mean to imply that I have succeeded in becoming a better person; only that I have recognized the problem and made provisions for addressing it. I know I'm no longer dishonest, manipulative, narcissistic, etc.; but I also know that I don't always get things right and still have a lot of work to do. I've failed miserably, with people I care deeply about. Some stuck around; others didn't. But being able to recognize and correct my own flaws is, for me, probably the greatest benefit of leaving christianity behind. I'm no longer bound to the idea of trusting jesus for absolution, which always kept me from making direct amends with people. Now I know that the onus is on me; and the best apology is changed behavior.
  20. 2 points
    Ah, to be the cool uncle possessed by a goat satyr...
  21. 1 point
    Lesser offense, same mentality. I think of that poor women who came here a while back posting about her abusive father. Depraved lunatic. The torture he put her through. And it's no different than a lie, cheat or thief. Never mind, the imaginary being will sweep it under the rug until next time. Then sweep it under the rug again. And kick the can right on through a given life time. If left unchecked and unchanged. As a society, I do hope we can mature into mass identifying the problem here. Put the heat strongly on theistic thinking. Box it into a corner. Eradicate the problem. While at the same time elevating an actual sense of human morality and decency as it's happening and provoking social evolution. According to how we perceive human morality and decency in the contemporary period, at this time. Rather than towing along these bronze age myths full of indecent and immoral acts of both god and men, and parading it around as, "good." End, please try and follow along closely.
  22. 1 point
    Traveling out of state recently I was going through my home town. Called 3 people (we are all in our 70s now) who were dear friends as we grew up, and went to church together. Hadn't seen them in several years. They knew I graduated from a Christian college. I don't think they knew I no longer go to church. We met for lunch and visited for about 90 minutes. They are all 3 very involved with church, and when meal was served one asked if I wanted to say the prayer, and I replied, "you go ahead." A few minutes later one ask me if I still went to the Church of Christ. I replied "no". Then I was asked where I went to church, to which I replied, "nowhere". After a short silence the conversation continued very cordially and we reminisced the rest of the meal. When leaving they told me we should do this again, and to call them next time I was in town. There was no further discussion or questions about my religion, or lack of it. That was 2 weeks ago. A part of me wants to text them and tell them I would be happy to answer any questions they might have about not going to church. Another part says to leave it alone. What would you do?
  23. 1 point
    Working on it . . . . PENDULUM | | | | I hate all things | I’m still sort of christian! | a believer. | --- | | --- I’m over it.
  24. 1 point
    Have you looked into moving out here to Florida? First of all, the taxes are cut dramatically. Everything is generally less expensive by comparison. My aunt and uncle moved to Orlando from the Santa Monica area a few years and were taken back by the savings. The hundreds of thousands of dollars difference in comparable real estate. I haven't looked into it concerning business, but I don't see why it would be any different. No state taxes is a huge plus. More money for helping people yourself, rather than the state coming in and taking a lion's share and squandering it!
  25. 1 point
    I got so hungry on a fishing expedition years ago that I ended up grilling the shrimp I was supposed to be using for bait. That was the last time I planned to camp out and live on what I caught.
  26. 1 point
    Yeah, a while back we had to confront a NT verse condemning "slave traders." I don't remember who brought it up. But christians here in the US were arguing that slavery was denounced by the bible and citing that verse. But the terms being translated as "slave traders," was a bad translation and completely out of the surrounding context. So we looked at it and it turns out that the verse was referring to "slave stealers," as in thieving other people's property, the slaves. Stealing slaves was being condemned. And that makes sense in context. I remember the conversation well, but I forget where it sits in the archives.
  27. 1 point
    Wow, that was pushy ! I don't know why these people can't be content with a silent prayer. Odd!
  28. 1 point
    Very good points I'd forgotten about the NT teachings of slaves being told to obey their masters.
  29. 1 point
    Speak for yourself. These other creatures are only nasty in your limited opinion. Sea urchins find each other quite sexy, and view us humans as ugly gelatinous blobs of meat.
  30. 1 point
    Yes, Christian apologetics focused on self- importance, convenience and irresponsibility are particularly smarmy.
  31. 1 point
    Snubbing your employer's religious Christmas party? That is a rather courageous act. You have my respect, I don't think I would do this. I suppose I'm just lucky that pretty much everyone in my office is an atheist.
  32. 1 point
    I can't speak for anyone else, but I've found that non-believers in general tend to give the following answers to your questions. The morality comes from our evolution. We have evolved to have empathy towards others. It's not a different morality because it's there all the time. We just have to look inside ourselves to find it and use it. There's no need to invoke any outside agency to account for it. Thank you. Walter.
  33. 1 point
    Welcome to reality! You will find this site very helpful in your journey out of religion.
  34. 1 point
  35. 1 point
    We care. Well I do anyway, so there's one of us at least . Glad you decided not to delete your account and glad you checked in with an update. I like your attitude. You can't go too far wrong thinking like that. Congrats on making those changes in your life!
  36. 1 point
    Thanks TABA - I really appreciate the perspective/advice/thoughts! Being thankful is a great place to start And i love stoic philosophy - I will get myself thinking rightly again.
  37. 1 point
  38. 1 point
    Emotion can effect the maintenance of belief, but not necessarily. Some folks' emotions will be involved to one extent or another. For other folks, not so much.
  39. 1 point
    Over the past 2 years, I've gone through a lot of the earth-shattering kind of chaos that might induce someone to want to believe in some kind of higher power. I've slowly been trying to put my life back together from what might be considered a tragicomedy of errors. It hasn't really made me want to believe in anything outside of myself; but it has made me want to believe more in myself. I've come to adopt an attitude of, "I've been through worse; this ain't nothing." With that said, I've also noticed a huge shift in my attitudes toward life, stability, career, possessions, etc. Things I once thought I wanted no longer seem important. I think part of that just comes with age; but, for me, part of it also comes from getting fed right the fuck up with life slinging its bullshit my way. Edited to add: This is only the fuckteenth time I've had to rebuild my life from the ashes; but the Phoenix don't fly without the fire, boys.
  40. 1 point
  41. 1 point
    I think Republicans and Christians share an authoritarian mindset. Atheists and free thinkers are not welcome in either camp. Funny, because if Jesus existed he was a Socialist and everything he espoused ran counter to the ideals of Republicans.
  42. 1 point
    Often conservatives are religious based, with their ideas being based on church teachings such as bans on abortion, bans on contraception, speaking out against gays, non-Christian immigration, or fighting sex ed and separation of church and state. While there are many one issue voters out there, you will find the more educated voters will look at candidates stances on a range of issues and find incompatible ideologies as they dig deeper. When the extremes are raving SJW's on one side and Christian bigots on the other, I wouldn't be surprised to find most atheists would be more central. As for not wanting to help lazy people, its understandable but very hard practically to implement. There are hard working people who fall on hard times, suffering illness or accident outside of their control. To provide help to those in need without giving handouts to those who want to milk the system is very hard. This is one area where Conservative speakers like Ben Sharpio struggle, when pushed to explain how aid to those in need should occur they give a hand wave "charity will pick it up", knowing full well that it never could with the resources available.
  43. 1 point
    And that (emphasis mine) also bears repeating. Yes some are talking shit on both sides, but that's not proof that the entire topic is bullshit.
  44. 1 point
    True that. I also recall the fight that Hugh Hefner put up in courts against the entrenched morality police, and won. But I still recall how "shocking" Three's Company was. And mom wasn't sure I should be watching "Love American Style". What a different culture we had!
  45. 1 point
    When god doesn't communicate, we can't understand His ways, and He works in mysterious ways, what real meaning of life can you gain? If He has a plan then He hasn't told us what that is. Christians who claim purpose are still making that up for themselves. Whatever they want to do with their lives they can slap a "calling" label on it and justify anything. There have been serial killers who claimed they were doing gods work, so what is the difference between the plan they pulled out of thin air and a Christian pulling missionary work out of thin air? I too have depression, but what you need to know is it will get better. It may not feel like it but we often look so short term we don't see how our lives can change. Think back 5 years, there is a good chance your life was quite different. Maybe you had a different home, job, school, pets, hobbies, goals, love life, style or priorities. There is alot that can change and alot we can influence. Talking to a professional can help, there are coping mechanisms that can be employed or drugs to help balance your mood. Personally I found I suffered the most when I sat and dwelt on my problems. An idle mind goes to bad places, so keep active. Keep your mind busy and you won't dwell on the negative. I started martial arts and found that had many positives (fitness, flexibility, new friends, goals to achieve and useful skills), even just working out keeps your mind busy. Find your joy.
  46. 1 point
    You lost your crutches and now you can’t walk. Alternatives to going back to the crutches: 1. Use a scooter or wheelchair. Find (or better, make) a new purpose. For some, it is what is at hand: work, family. Others find a philosophy or even a non-theistic religion like buddhism. A community or some sort of support network sounds like it might help given that your old support feels hollow. I have known people who sought out buddhist meditation groups, and I have known at least one atheist quaker. 2. Fix your legs. As Midnite Rider said, maybe it is time to see a physician or therapist. Maybe it is biological; maybe it is something else in your life; maybe it is your old religion itself, or having left it. As evidenced by the existence of exchristian.net, religious trauma is a thing . . . . Having left theism, I am still fascinated by religion and the things that people come up with, most recently hinduism. And I still like some of the trappings of the old religion like christmas music. But there is no way I could turn to christianity to find actual purpose in my life; besides the fact that it is all made up, the faith I was raised in was just too toxic.
  47. 1 point
    I vote with the leave-it-alone group, and for reasons already stated. One of the things that annoys us about Christians is that they want to push their religion upon us — some strongly and some subtly. So in the same vein, we should not do anything that they might interpret as pushing a point of view upon them. I recall once going to lunch at a fast food joint with someone I hadn't known before that day. As we sat down with our burgers, he asked if I minded if he said grace. I said fine, and he put out his hands wanting me to grab on. I did but was extremely uncomfortable with that, and in retrospect I should have said that I was not a Christian but didn't mind if he went forward on his own. It was a one-shot meeting so there was no future to think about.
  48. 1 point
    I’d say leave it alone too. If they are open to questioning Christianity in any way, knowing that you no longer go to church may lead them to ask you questions of their own accord. If they are not, they likely won’t, and might even resent you bringing it up. But most likely they aren’t open to questioning so they’ll either not bring it up or they’ll try to bring you back to the Lord. Best thing you could do, in my opinion, would be to bear silent witness that you are good and contented without religion.
  49. 0 points
    Not even looking forward to christmas, beyond giving gifts to my boys. Thanksgiving was completely miserable with my mom storming around the house creating unnecessary tension and looking for excuses to get angry and hate on people. I caught her several times whispering poison into Redneck Jr.'s ear about the new Ms. Professor and Professor Jr. Had a right royal bowdy-how over it.
  50. 0 points
    Welcome to ex-c faithevoloved. So glad you joined us. Your question is not an unusual one when we first land up on this board. I asked the same question myself. I have been searching for 10 years for 'something' that makes sense to me. One month I am an atheist and the next month I am agnostic. I think i have dabbled in just about everything trying to find something to have 'faith' in again. But yet, that 'faith' that I am trying to find has got to make sense to me.... so I find an interesting 'spiritual' path and then my same questions of 'suffering' come into play and i can't seem to follow it. No one, so far has been able to answer this question of suffering for me. Except the atheists of course because it's so simple to them and it's just all part of evolution. And when I am in my atheist frame of mind, I totally,100% agree with them...that suffering is here and it is normal in the course of things in evolution. For instance car accidents, sickness and horrible deaths, animals eating animals alive, rapes, murder, war, torture, people starving to death and on and on. Humans are just more evolved than animals and can be horrible to each other. You get the picture. Well this is what I can never get past so I completely agree with my atheists friends when I'm so angry that these actually happen. I just went through hell on earth in the month of October. I lost 3 people whom I loved very much. One was a girlfriend who died of a very rare disease where her body turned to stone and then one week later, someone I knew for many, many years ( she was a mentor to me) died also. Once week later, my girlfriends husband (who died) committed suicide because he literally could not bare his wife's death. We had traveled with these people for quite a few years. We were devastated and still are. Then I learned my son could die at any time. (I cannot go into those details) This was even more stress then I care to mention. So if you are going to look for a god or to the 'Universe', you must find one and you will have to agree, 'it', he/she' does not take a personal interest in us.( I am back in my atheist mood right now but I still look all the time for something to hold on to.) But again, I ask why would any loving 'entity' allow his children to suffer on earth so much? I tell you some of my personal story because I am mostly anonymous on this board. I continue to send foolish memes and happy smiles on Facebook. Nobody on Facebook even knows my friend committed suicide. Nobody knows the depression i have been through. I do not mean to dis-in-heart you, but to search honestly, you are going to have to ask why suffering exists or you will be disappointed. I still stick to positive affirmations because they help me so much. I might start searching again in awhile because I stay open to anything that might make sense to me. I once was filled with faith in a loving, caring god and there are definitively aspects of that which i miss dearly. I did not mean to get into talking about me, I was just trying to show you some of the stuff (and the day-to-day suffering) that humans have to go through. I understand completely why you want 'something'. But even If you come to like the topic of reincarnation like I did, you will have to ask the hard question of why you would choose to be burned alive at the stake or be tortured to death in a past life?? These are things that you will have to face. I'm sorry if I was a bit too graphic (I'm normally not because I hate any kind of suffering) but if we are to follow a path, we have to ask these questions. Right now, I just try to be as loving and kind to everyone that I can. I have to be satisfied with the unknown. . Don't be afraid to come here and ask all these questions. I drove the board crazy when i first arrived here and they did everything in their power to help me. I wouldn't have made it without Ex-c. The very best to you in your journey and I truly hope you find something that will give you peace......

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