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  1. 6 points
  2. 4 points
    Just wanted to give a little update. The therapy and medication is definitely helping me stay positive. The intrusive religious thoughts seem to be getting less frequent and extreme. Unfortunately, I just had an argument about religion with my sister. The conversation started with us just trying to understand each other and get along better, but it ended up turning to religion. I tried really hard to be respectful, but she started using the same tired old apologist excuses, and it just went downhill from there. It would be really nice to get along with her better, I just don't know. Religious fundamentalists genuinely freak me out. On the plus side, I didn't have a major panic attack after the conversation like I would have before I started therapy. That does not change the fact that I still have a really strong negative reaction towards religion.
  3. 4 points
    As a behavioral and social scientist I have mulled over this concept for years. Here is where I am at this time in my life. The words attributed to Jesus, "love your neighbor as yourself", (a.k.a. the Golden Rule, predating him by centuries) is a valid "truth", or philosophy, recognized by ancient thinkers, that is the "salvation" of humanity. Salvation, meaning the maximizing of human wellbeing, not a home in an afterlife. It is found through a balance of concern for self and others. Loving (taking care of) self, and doing what we can to help others do the same. A concern about WE. Not just ME. When we lose that balance, we have problems. Yes, there are times when it comes down to survival of self, but we are social creatures and need each other. We need that balance. For me, that is a valid "spirituality" for today. Comments?
  4. 4 points
  5. 4 points
    I think I understand what you mean. I see the churches, and other evangelical religions, as cults. Most of the time they don't present a visible problem, but historically and when taken literally, they have resulted in a lot of trauma, torture, death, genocide, and billions in wasted money. It is irritating to see so many church buildings within a mile of my house, but that is a reflection of just how much influence our culture has from believers. However, I am trying to give my story where I can in order to influence our culture away from gods and religions. Attacking structures and people tends to make them more steadfast (like the Soviet treatment of believers) rather than removing them. I also see our way of life as one that allows for freedom of beliefs even when I disagree with them. That does give room for more radical elements to develop, but it also lets us be free in other ways that don't need anyone's or any government's approval.
  6. 3 points
    Good luck but it appears to be a losing battle and here's why in my opinion: in America the Christian religion is still seen as the "norm," in particular among white people, a great many of whom have an interesting take on American history: that they and their norms (white Protestant middle class) are what makes America great, and that anything different (and true equality with others) is dangerous. Trumpism involves white evangelicals much more than black and for a good reason. I just watched The Great White Hoax, which examines why divide and conquer has worked in America historically, and why it's working now. Under such a system, how do you create change? Tell the people who their enemies are and the uneducated, dissatisfied, ignorant ones (there's a lot of them) will run with it, in particular when they are religious. It all explains why the current leader of the White House is where he is and why secret organizations such as The Family are rejoicing in that. The way I see it is that Americans are involved in an ongoing battle about what it means to be American: progressive multiethnic multi-religious, diverse society of equal rights and privilege (many whites refuse to see how white privilege operates) vs some version of a white Protestant 1950s style America as normative, that in it's most dangerous form is explicitly racist and has no shame about it. One only needs to watch Trumps campaign speeches from the last election to figure out which side of this battle he has appealed to.
  7. 3 points
    Although it helps, life is more than excitement and entertainment. We need to feel worthwhile. That takes each person doing something that helps them feel worthwhile. And being around people that contribute to the feeling. Others can help you in the process, but no One can give it to you. What do you have to offer to the world that would help you feel worthwhile? Helping people leave oppressive beliefs on this forum helps me feel worthwhile. Giving my kids and grandkids a good foundation to build their lives on helps with the feeling. But I can't give it to them. They have to complete the building themselves to feel a sense of accomplishment, and being worthwhile. And it takes more than just feeding your own wants. You do not leave yourself behind, but it takes getting outside of self and doing what you can to make this a better world to live in. What do I do for excitement and entertainment? Ride an Enduro motorcycle across country off road, or on back roads. Look "outside the box". Find something you are good at and enjoy. Even if others think it is crazy, like my wife and some relatives, GET OUTSIDE THE BOX OF YOUR PREVIOUS EXPERIENCES. Use good judgement, but take what others want you to do with a grain of salt. By the way, you may never consider it, but riding isnt just for men. I occasionally ride with 2 women who are in their 50s. I am telling you this because the your options are almost limitless. But you will have to open your mind and get off the couch to find them.
  8. 3 points
    Why was life more exciting? I think you need to examine why. What emotional high did xtianity give you? Did you leave socially as well if all your friends were xtian and that is part of it? Did it affect your relationship with your family? These things can be replaced with other enriching things, it takes time, energy and perseverance and most of all awareness of what is missing in your life and a plan to improve it.
  9. 3 points
    A few days ago I engaged a believer in another guy's thread on FB. He kept repeating how they were ready for a revolution, a violent one they were willing to die in to protect their freedoms, how they are well armed and will protect those rights. I called him out on his violent attitude and lack of love, saying he was playing right into Putin's hands by wanting America in a civil war. He replied "Violent? I never said anything about violence. Putin? You people are weak." I replied with line after line of his statements about armed conflict, killing, and dying. Then I said "Those are your own words. You seem far more interested in shooting someone than in loving your neighbor." He actually toned down a lot after that, but a lot of believers across the country have become militarized since the 1980s. They see it as reclaiming their "heritage" of the pure white days of prophets Ozzie and Harriet (that was sarcasm, but they really do have a view of America that is idealized and idolized). They WANT someone to take a shot at the president to justify unleashing a bloody civil war against everyone that isn't like them. They WANT violence, not caring for the poor and needy. They eat up old testament stories of God giving victory in battles. They ignore all the words of Jesus in favor of stories like those. The military has strong groups of evangelicals that force recruits into church activities, and you won't get promoted without belonging to the cult. That is why the current president is their wet dream of power, boldness, brashness, acting more like a king than an elected representative. They worship a dictator king who demands absolute obedience, not that they give it other than what they want to give. But the power...they get off on the power. On the flip side, there are millions of us that want things exactly not like what they want, we look forward to the next election and hope that it isn't already too rigged. But my hunch is that if he retains power, we are on the brink of a new kind of fascism with all the tech in their control. The Oregon Republicans openly refuse to even allow a vote on subjects they hate. They literally get up as a group and leave the building, driving into the next state to prevent a quorum. Fucking cowards. Expect that in the federal level if they lose the next election. If they lose widely enough, it won't matter if they leave. It may devolve into violence and renewed open hatred of those who are different. The shot heard round the world could just as easily be at the dems, giving the right a signal to "go". Most days it all feels like we are pawns watching our people being ruined by those in power, and only being given a facade of choice, and the useful idiots who think Jesus is behind it all will push a crackdown on all the "witches and fags" who bringing god's judgment on us, and themselves as the warriors of GAWD upon whom he smiles. I suppose it's possible that there could be a hat-trick and the people at large get fed up with the shitstorm of corruption and do something about it daily. I hope that is still possible.
  10. 3 points
    Wow Wertbag. How freighting coming suddenly from out of the blue for such a young person and then that prognosis with possibly only a few weeks left, so unfair! I'm very very sorry to hear this and wish there was something do or say. I hope you are able to enjoy this last bit of time with your brother and the closeness this kind of situation can bring with your family and friends. Thank you for the updates and for generally keeping us in the loop. Like all the others here I wish you the best possible in this difficult emotional time.
  11. 3 points
    Me too. He wasn't a bad sort. Sure people got frustrated with him, but seriously is there any Christian that we won't get frustrated by? Most of us have probably been hearing arguments over and over depending with how much interest we follow the 'god debate'. But many of these Christians have never studied the arguments for and against and think that this is the first time we've heard about how their personal experience proves god. I can't remember the last time I heard a Christian argument and thought "well that's completely new". Even 'new' sounding ones are often rehashes of older ones. Most of them break down into one of the major fallacies. (God of the gaps, incredulity, ignorance etc)
  12. 3 points
    Hello everyone. I stopped being a Christian at exactly 12/25/2012. After becoming one on 8/13/2007 8:30 PM. I've suffered horrible abuse in the name of God. Feared I committed the unforgivable sin. Read about how inferior I am as a woman. Read I am going to Hell if I don't repent of my bisexuality. I have had some positive experiences with Christianity though. I even felt the beautiful "First Saved" feeling. I loved and worshiped Jesus Christ with all my soul. I seriously wished to become a Christian martyr. I wanted to die to prove my love for Jesus to him. I couldn't wait to go to heaven and spend eternity with my saviour. The only man I could and would ever submit too. I've read the entire Bible cover to cover twice. The new testament 5 times. And some books and verses multiple times. I wanted to remain single so I could serve my God, my master instead of some man. My biggest goal in life was to be a Bible scholar. Anyway. After a long battle with the Bible. Plus the horrible spiritual suffering I faced. (Exactly how I suffered and what I saw and heard is too graphic and inappropriate to list here), and reading all the contradictions in the Bible, I left the faith behind. The true word of God would not have even 1 contradiction or misunderstanding. If God was real he would have NEVER allowed anyone to have such images. It was a hard choice to make. But I finally had enough and found the courage to leave Christianity behind for good. The abuse I suffered got even worse after I left that religion. I never got any support after I left or even before I left and sought support. Instead all I got was judgement and condemnation from other christians. I now suffer one of the worst cases of Religious Trauma Syndrome, Theophobia, Thenatophobia, and Anthropophobia with greater androphobia than gynophobia. Too many people have, still, and will continue to suffer and die because of this religion. But thankfully I got out of that abusive situation shortly after leaving the faith. I hope to support others. And help my fellow women understand their worth and that we are equal to men. And be a shoulder for people to cry on. I also hope to receive support as well. Much respect to you all. Thank you for having me.
  13. 3 points
    I always wondered why he didn't make the figs fruit right there instead of killing the tree for being normal. He's a snippy fussbudget. There, I said it.
  14. 2 points
    One difference between a Christian and someone who has never been one, is the never-been-one doesn't really think about purpose. At least I didnt...nor do I now (as an Ex-c). I was brought up as agnostic and to just enjoy the present moment. That's all we really have. You can certainly make goals for yourself if you are a goal-oriented person... If you deny this life's enjoyment in favor of some vague afterlife, then I think you're missing the point of being alive (personal opinion of course). ... Does being atheist mean you can't have an afterlife? Maybe there is a godless afterlife. I wouldn't stress too much about it, though.
  15. 2 points
    I didn't know where else to put this to get the most attention. If you are interested in the separation of church and state, you need to be aware of this "movement". They are the ones who put on the NATIONAL PRAYER BREAKFAST each year, and are viewed by many, especially some Evangicals, to be God sent. They are very powerful and have the ears of some of the most powerful people in the world. In the name of Jesus, they are out to take the world for God. They are backing Trump and are determined to make the USA a christian nation under God. For an interesting overview of how they got started, the tactics they use, and just how powerful they are, watch the Netflix, 5 part series, THE FAMILY. There is also a book by the same name written by Jeff Sharlet. It is much more detailed than the Netflix series. They are a very shrewd, sly, group, and masters at flying under the radar. They are male, authoritarian oriented, and initation of young men is by invitation only, and remind me of initation into elite fraternities and the Marines. They believe they have been called by God, and are totally committed to their version of "Jesus." They have studied the leadership tactics of powerful people, including Hitler, and say God had used imperfect men through the ages to accomplish his goals. Trump comes to mind. They are to be feared!! Their tactics are very effective.
  16. 2 points
    I dont know about other branches of the US military but you have to take a test in the Air Force to promote through the enlisted ranks past E4. E1 thru E4 are just time-in-service promotions. My son who separated as an E5 three years ago didnt seem to mention Jesus. Granted, there are churches on military bases and there are definitely factions of high ranking evangelicals and I bet there are even some people 'pretending' to be evangelicals to get some good performance reports from their evangelical boss.
  17. 2 points
    What Fuego writes is, I think, very true. I just saw the movie 1917, and the line that stands out most in my mind is when one of the soldiers said, "Some men just want to fight."
  18. 2 points
    Here's one of the local GOP extreme Christian terror supporters: https://www.columbian.com/news/2020/feb/20/legislator-suspended-from-republican-caucus-to-emcee-local-gop-event/ And a link to his manifesto of Biblical war: https://www.spokesman.com/documents/2018/oct/25/biblical-basis-war/
  19. 2 points
    Many prisoners who get released find a way to go back to prison. The issue is that they got so used to the regimentation they never had to make and choices or decisions on their own. It's too big a transition for some people to make without professional help. I see many people who leave the church in the same situation; Who will tell me what to do? Who will tell me the approved activities? Who will tell me what to think? If you can't handle the sudden freedom and autonomy and are overwhelmed by having unlimited choices, perhaps some professional help is indicated. It's not a unique situation. Good luck.
  20. 2 points
    I have had the same thoughts. I just finished the book, and except for being too detailed in some places, it appears well researched. I highly recommend it. The latter part of it is about the Evangelicals in general, which I found very interesting. Some on the far right are really scary, believing the ends justify the means. It helped me understand why some professed Christians are so militaristic, and some back Trump. And how they so easily forgive their fallen leaders. One thing we can do is to push for teaching critical thinking in our education systems, a broad (liberal) education, and fight school vouchers. They are big on indoctrination of children. And part of their manifest destiny is to get rid of unbelievers.
  21. 2 points
  22. 2 points
    Biblical Submission is indeed abuse. Wives must submit to their husbands in EVERYTHING. No exceptions Including beatings, rape, and emotional abuse. Wives must even submit to non believing husband's. He has all authority and say so. No where in the Bible does it say abused wives can divorce abusive husband's. Just read about poor abused abigail. She is respected by Bible thumpers for putting up with her husbands abuse like a saint. If the wife is not submissive enough beat her into submission. Or if the wife is being abused she should rejoice! For she is taking up her cross and is suffering for Christ like an abused slave would to his or her owner! The LORDS fist is poised and ready to strike. They all cower. They have become like women. Christ is the husband of the church. Christ disciplines those he loves. So can human husband's discipline his wife! The Bible condones violence against women period. Lots daughters. Judges 11 and 19. All the raping, pillaging, taking wives of enemies. https://www.gotquestions.org/wives-submit.html https://biblehub.com/1_peter/3-6.htm https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+Samuel+25&version=NIV&interface=amp https://www.biblestudytools.com/blogs/association-of-biblical-counselors/abused-wives-called-to-suffer.html https://biblehub.com/matthew/16-24.htm https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Romans+5%3A3-5&version=ESV Matthew 5: 1-11 https://www.openbible.info/topics/the_bride_of_christ https://biblehub.com/revelation/3-19.htm https://biblehub.com/nlt/isaiah/5-25.htm https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Jeremiah+51%3A30-32&version=NLT&interface=amp These verses supports violence against women too. https://biblehub.com/judges/19-24.htm https://biblehub.com/nlt/isaiah/19-16.htm https://www.christianity.com/bible/bible.php?q=Judges+11&ver=nlt https://www.christianity.com/bible/bible.php?q=Judges+19&ver=nlt Sorry for the long read.
  23. 2 points
    That is the attitude of the bible god towards his people as well. And it helps explain why many believers are unwilling to even question. They fear that God will hurt them for questioning. https://articles.exchristian.net/2009/07/god-of-abuse.html
  24. 2 points
    Well freedwoman, I'll start by throwing in my 2 cents for what it's worth. Lol What you posted is very true, unfortunately. The bible was written by men for men. That's the way it was. Because of their physical strength, they thought they were superior. All of the books lead us to the conclusion that women’s voices were silenced and unwanted by this superior man society. We were the inferior species (according to Genesis, we were just a mans 'helper') and these powerful men could do what they wanted including having concubines and basically doing what they chose. For instance, take the Adam and Eve account, the story of the concubine raped and killed by the Benjaminites, and other 'texts of terror' for women, there are glimpses of women being blamed, raped, and killed throughout the 'holy book'. The male authors of these stories typically show little or no compassion. And now in 2020, the famous saying goes, 'women’s rights are human rights'. Women are entitled to all of the same rights as a man. But still, almost everywhere around the world, women and girls are still denied them, often simply because of their gender and religion. Woman have been fighting for a long time to get these rights. Lots of woman have died trying to free woman. For some men and woman it has caused 'war' between the sexes. I believe it's why tons of relationships don't work anymore. Woman are speaking up, not afraid to leave a bad relationship and are becoming independent knowing that we can now in this day and age, make it on our own. Lots of men are happy for us and lots still aren't. I don't blame men for any of this.Things have just really started to change for woman in the last hundred years. Hopefully men will evolve alongside the woman. I understand that some woman have taken it too far and are actually man haters now. This causes it's own set of problems. My hope is for us all to learn from one another. Most men are (mostly) logical but can also be emotional.... and most woman are (mostly) emotional but can also be logical. We can't help that either. Study the brains of men and woman.The brains are different. We are both men and woman 'wired' differently. Neither can you men help that you are physically stronger than us and have a stronger sexual desire to populate the world. Most woman lose this after baby making time. It is what it is. Blame god.. Hopefully, we can all talk to each other, evolve and learn what it's like being a woman and what it like being a man without any dynamite blowing us both up. Lol
  25. 2 points
    Hi ZenPaladin. Glad that you are back and doing therapy to improve your life. Zimba is a taker and doesn't seem to have ever been capable of being a friend worth having. I'm sorry you got into that relationship when you were too young and inexperienced to realize what was happening but good for you to have started looking out for yourself. Stay on this good path you are now traveling down and I'm sure your future will be much brighter. I'm sorry for all the trouble you're going through but really glad to hear your doing what you can to protect yourself from Zimba.
  26. 2 points
    @Wertbag! I just read about your brother. (Been inactive for a couple months). I am very sorry to hear this. At least he has a caring brother in his time of need.
  27. 2 points
    The movement is frightening. Following are excerpts from the movie Silhouette City which addresses numerous groups that are behind the movement and is well worth watching. It came out maybe a dozen years ago. Things have gotten worse.
  28. 2 points
    Bart Ehrman is great at providing objective, non-inflammatory explanations. Misquoting Jesus and Jesus, Interrupted are my favorites written for popular audiences. John Loftus provides an excellent perspective from a former evangelical. Why I Became an Atheist is amazing. Richard Elliott Friedman is an OT authority. I've enjoyed reading Elaine Pagels on early Christianity and gnosticism. Many enjoy Karen Armstrong, "A former Roman Catholic religious sister, she went from a conservative to a more liberal and mystical Christian faith."
  29. 2 points
    The religious right gains ground every day. I fear it might be too late. After all, how do we make people smarter and how do we dissuade others from seeking power and control? If I were younger I would move to a less hostile country.
  30. 2 points
  31. 2 points
    In fairness they do report a 19% poverty rate, but that is set incredibly low ($20 a day). There have been many complaints about the treatment of migrant workers, horrible conditions and debt slavery. They have taken some legal steps to fix the problems but its far from great for many people living there.
  32. 2 points
    Agree. I'm currently in a FB tiff with a guy who is a believer, but he keeps framing life and politics in terms of a fight. I recall that the churches I attended tended to frame things that way also, seeing any disagreement as demonic influences that needed to be fought. This guy takes it further and keeps talking about killing and dying for his "freedoms", and so I mentioned that he doesn't really seem interested in loving his neighbor (except the invisible unborn ones). The stinky homeless injured sick leeches that Jesus talked about helping in the parable of the Good Samaritan are just liberal scum to him. I think that churches are leaving behind the concepts of Jesus and embracing nationalism and wealth. But I chose not to bring up his religion, but instead remind him about loving his neighbors. His attitude changed, and that was wonderful. I just watched a sci-fi series on Amazon based on Philip Dick's books. The last one was a society that had replaced most workers with robots, and they expected you to vote for "the candidate" (only one). The candidate started talking about the need to "kill all others", and left that very open-ended. Of course, "others" turns out to be anyone that doesn't go along with whatever is expected of them. Well beyond our current state, but a dystopian view that has roots in historic experiences of fascism. This also ties in with my previous posting about entheogenic psychedelics, which tend to move people towards empathetic views of inter-connectedness with other beings, rather than dividing and finding things over which to fight and be "right".
  33. 2 points
    Fear is an emotion and not necessarily rooted in logic or reasoning. I think it's common for people to have persisting irrational fears after deconversion, especially if they were brainwashed or intimidated as a child by christian parents, or their environment. In a sense the fear can be contextualized as a childhood trauma and fear resurfacing under a false narrative. It took me many years (and self reflection, and therapy) after deconversion to overcome this fear, and a lot of the process involved recognizing and healing from psychological/emotional hurt.
  34. 2 points
    If it's technology then presumably it is built of components which are parts of, and operate under the laws of, the natural world. So no, it's not supernatural. Technology seems to me to be natural more or less by definition. Whether or not we should expect to be able to understand everything which is natural is a question that I find interesting. It seems very plausible to me that there might exist an advanced technology (or even just a feature of the universe) that we not only do not understand, but cannot understand. But this still would not be supernatural. It would just be beyond our comprehension. Why on earth should we expect to be able to understand everything that exists in nature?
  35. 2 points
    You sure you don't just have a hatred of wooden buildings? The buildings aren't the religion, so their destruction wouldn't stop the beliefs. When the Russians attempted such things they just generated hundreds of church groups from every house, warehouse and alternative location. Even if you hate the religion, destruction of property doesn't achieve the destruction of the organisation which is what the aim should be. You need to change minds.
  36. 2 points
    The very concept of textual criticism is one that christians tend to breeze over. On one hand, having to “harmonize” differing gospel passages of the same event means that none of the authors got it right in the first place. Bart Ehrman says that the fact that we have multiple gospels is “good news” for critics of the bible. On the other hand, all we have are copies of copies of the original text of the bible; they contain lots of mistakes and variant readings, and a lot of work goes into reconstructing what we think the originals were. I was just watching this video https://youtu.be/lsKRQnpemYc?t=485 and at 8:05, Dr. Lewis Foster, one of the translators of the New International Version, is explaining the process of reconstructing the originals from the differing copies that we have. The fundamental belief is that the originals were inerrant, they are god’s word, and they are the basis of our entire faith. But this god, who can work miracles, was unable to preserve his word without error. If all our copies were identical, that would have been a pretty good miracle. The myth of the translation of the greek septuagint from the hebrew old testament was that seventy scholars translated it independently, and their translations were all identical. Much better than what we are left with today. Here is what I would call a “howler”: the cursing of the fig tree. In both gospels it happens right after the triumphal entry, so it was not two separate events. Note that in Matthew, the tree withered right away, but in Mark it happened the next day, with the cleansing of the temple in between. And the best part of all, Mark points out that Jesus cursed the tree for not having fruit when it was not the season for figs. Matthew 21 [The triumphal entry] [Jesus cleanses the temple] Now in the morning, as He returned to the city, He was hungry. And seeing a fig tree by the road, He came to it and found nothing on it but leaves, and said to it, “Let no fruit grow on you ever again.” Immediately the fig tree withered away. And when the disciples saw it, they marveled, saying, “How did the fig tree wither away so soon?” Mark 11 [The triumphal entry] Now the next day, when they had come out from Bethany, He was hungry. And seeing from afar a fig tree having leaves, He went to see if perhaps He would find something on it. When He came to it, He found nothing but leaves, for it was not the season for figs. In response Jesus said to it, “Let no one eat fruit from you ever again.” And His disciples heard it. [Jesus cleanses the temple] Now in the morning, as they passed by, they saw the fig tree dried up from the roots. And Peter, remembering, said to Him, “Rabbi, look! The fig tree which You cursed has withered away.” We had an assignment to write up word harmonies of several passages from the gospels so we would see how identical they were; I guess it was supposed to strengthen our faith. We were never assigned to harmonize this one . . . .
  37. 2 points
    @Bhim I take it you see no merit in the love thy neighbor teaching. As has been pointed out, when you discriminate and act against a certain portion of the population, that leads down the road to authoritarianism way too easily, and isn't that what you despise about religion? People who are brainwashed can be victims to that state of mind, hating them simply because they haven't "woken up" is useless. I say this as a former fundamentalist - I see how I was where they are currently at and I don't see how hatred does anything but cause potential conflict with them. They already have a persecution complex, so why add fuel to that fire? Reasoned debate if they are so inclined is much more effective. Is your neighbor likely to despise you in return if you display open hatred, or attempt to find common ground if you extend a hand of friendship? You jettison anything potentially productive with hatred.
  38. 1 point
    True, we'll just have to vote the religious whack jobs out of office. One problem they might have with taking over America for Jebus is the younger generation of "Nones", in a rapidly declining religious America. https://www.pewforum.org/2019/10/17/in-u-s-decline-of-christianity-continues-at-rapid-pace/ I agree we should keep an eye on organizations like The Fellowship ... but they have been in business since 1935.
  39. 1 point
  40. 1 point
    Thank you for the welcome! Yeah, the subtle lies about contributing to the church are some of my favorites. Worse than tithing, I think, is how the church goes about doing charity. Particularly the LDS. There is always a horrible string attached that doesn't exist in other well-meaning non-profit charities. My folks had a rough time recently and they had to get grocery and bill help from the church. To the church's credit, they pulled my parents fat out of the proverbial fire, but only after making my Army Veteran and "never been unemployed a day in his life" take "Self-Reliance Classes". In theory the idea could actually work. Giving a fishing pole rather than a fish, so to speak. But my father is one of the most responsible men I know and a man with a back-breaking work ethic and yet because he got screwed over by capitalism when he was unceremoniously laid off the church seems to think he has done something wrong. And worse yet? They have my dad believing it. I tried to tell him that he has done an amazing job and he's all "no I should have done this or that" and it's garbage. It's subtle guilt-tripping and mind-control and in so many words is basically a way to get people to think they need the church and they need God to be happy and successful. And when my folks are back on their feet? 10% of their income, before taxes, goes straight back to the church. This. Is. Not. Charity. It is an investment. When I was going through my own rough patch (which has been basically my entire adult life in financial terms buts let's just focus on the last two years, lol) they tried to get me to do the same, knowing that I was no longer a member. I adamantly refused because I knew what it would entail. Frankly, I'd rather be living out of my car eating ramen packets than getting help from the church and I, like my father, have never been unemployed except for a brief five-week window when I was laid of from my tech support job (the entire business went under). That rant went places I wasn't expecting, lol. Back to your last paragraph, I really appreciate the kindness you have shown. I consider myself reasonably intelligent, but that mostly manifests in being able to admit when I'm too uninformed about a particular topic. As far as life experience, well I have my own batch of experiences as everybody does and we all process this world of ours in different ways. Makes us special in a way. But enough platitudes, lol. Thank you!
  41. 1 point
    Great point. That's a very good possibility. I would even say that's likely to be the reality.
  42. 1 point
    Especially the, 'It's all just satan trying to trick us about Jesus' review. Guys like Darlison and Sponge have tried making sense out of the content of the gospels. Reaching for some type of way of accepting the non-historical stories as non-historical, but remaining in their churches anyways. It's weird. But understandable. It's actually not very different from what we see often regarding people going to deism. Same type of motivation. Having the apriori assumption that something must have designed the universe, learning problems with religion, stepping away from religion, but still holding on to the original apriori assumption through a deist belief. The problem with guys like Darlison and Sponge is how they try and apply the discoveries of the pagan influences (the pagan god parallels, astrotheology, solar and lunar worship, etc., etc.) on the NT to their liberal christianity. They reach for conclusions that some how there must be a deeper meaning involved that doesn't constitute the bible as throw away, basically. I tend to think it's throw away, myself, aside from something to be studied from an historical standpoint. I don't see any clear way of anyone justifying belief in the bible no matter which way it's spun. And I've seen it spun in a lot of directions. Especially liberal one's appealing to metaphor and such. There are lot better written "metaphors" in the world besides the judeo-christian bible, so that's a dead end pretty much.......
  43. 1 point
    I definitely recommend the books of Bart Ehrman. If I had to pick only two of his, I’d suggest “Forged” and “How Jesus Became God”. You’ll never look at the Bible the same way again.
  44. 1 point
    I can say from firsthand expirience that weed is most definatley superior to any of that shit from big pharma. My doctors tried me on a whole slew of meds and all they did was make my anxiety worse. But as Wertbag said legality is an issue in many locations, Although CBD oil is much more widely available as long as it contains no THC, As THC is the pyschoative compound that gives cannabis it's high. CBD is non psychoative and only gives a relaxing calming effect, And is therefore legal in many areas where THC is not. Of course I would recomend Ayahuasca as it is by far the best medicine for depression and anxiety, But It's not something you can take on your own, And going to a retreat center is expensive. Yeah I know i'm a goddamn hippy druggie, But I've found what works and I really hate to see somone else get caught in the prescription medication trap.
  45. 1 point
    I’ll spare your life this time. I would just say that it’s hypothetical because I have never seen such a thing; it’s like discussing if pigs had wings. If someone walked on water, or resurrected someone whose head had been blown off, I guess I might wonder if they were aliens with superior technology; but I’m still waiting to see something like that.
  46. 1 point
    I just saw the Deep Space Nine episode Homefront. According to Worf: Our gods are dead. Ancient Klingon warriors slew them a millennium ago. They were more trouble than they were worth.
  47. 1 point
    Welcome to Ex-c BookOfMicah! So glad you found us. I loved reading your post (You are an excellent writer!) and I am looking forward to hearing more of your journey!
  48. 1 point
    Welcome to Ex-c freedwoman! So glad you found us! Looking forward to hearing more about your journey!
  49. 1 point
    I struggle with depression as well. And this journey into atheism is very new to me. I have had been thinking a lot about purpose. Specifically, I have been thinking "without an afterlife, what purpose do I have?" I would be lying if I said it hasn't affected my motivation in a negative way. But it got a little better today. What has given me comfort is thinking about being a very young child. I didn't have any real concept of God, death, or an afterlife. I just enjoyed life for what it was. I enjoyed playing in the dirt, laying in the grass, climbing trees, playing games with my friends, buying candy with the change I found, and so on. It's freeing to me. To allow myself to live in the now. I also see much to find meaning in still. Family, taking care of the earth, helping eliminate poverty, protesting against war, etc. I hope that is helpful.
  50. 1 point
    "A World Lit Only by Fire" by William Manchester. A concise history of Europe from the start of the dark ages (fall of Rome) to the Renaissance. In it, the Catholic church as a matter of course figures prominently and is absolutely skewered not so much deliberately but merely as it comes about in the telling of the history. The short of it was that the Catholic church retarded the advancement of civilization by a thousand years. Decadent popes fathering countless bastard children, raising armies that probably killed millions, selling indulgences and murdering countless in religious purges like the inquisition and the crusades. Few Catholics actually know this history and as a product of catholic school I can tell you they skipped over that part (ya think?). Pedophiles? That didn't just happen over the last few decades. It has been going on for two thousand years. The church was a perfect cover for them and homosexuals in general notwithstanding the hypocrisy regarding the sinfulness thereof. There was a lot more than praying going on in those seminaries and it is still continuing on to this very day and will continue hereafter because it is endemic to the very organization itself - so the only way you will ever see it end is to destroy the church itself. I have been to Rome and to the Vatican. It is a glorious museum that is not a monument to god but rather the church. Gay priest calendars abound in the kiosks all over the city (how rich). It is a cancerous organization having the overarching goal of protecting their gig and not the members of the laity. At present the developing world is wise to the game so they have moved on to preying upon the developing world. Go in to any church and you will find either dying old men or third-world boys as priests. Those of you that insist you are not Catholic must also remember that all Christians were Catholics until Martin Luther so any protestant history must include that history as well. This is a must read as it demonstrates how even the most well-meaning organizations that start with the best of intentions eventually become corrupted. In the meantime I'm taking bets that Jesus is not coming back. I'll give you a million to one. Who's in?

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