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Showing content with the highest reputation since 02/11/2020 in Posts

  1. 6 points
  2. 6 points
    The goal of any argument should never be changing the mind of the person you're arguing with; but, rather, perhaps, enlightening those who might be listening in. That said, let them come, let them do their best.
  3. 6 points
    I said other. I appreciate that this is a space for ex-Christians to recover, and there are times when being exposed to evangelism may not be helpful. However, I think there are enough "seasoned" members here that Christian arguments are usually dealt with in short order. Also, some new members find it actively helpful to argue with Christians and thereby strengthen their own new convictions. I think that roughly covers my feelings on options 1 and 2. As far as trying to (de?)convert them is concerned, in principle I would like it if more people saw that Christianity is false, but I don't really feel a strong desire to dissuade people of their convictions, so long as those convictions aren't actively causing harm. I have enjoyed arguing with Christians in the past, but these days I mainly just find it tiresome. I do think it's important to remember that some Christians may stumble upon this site on their way out, as it were, and may engage in passionate evangelism here in a desperate attempt to justify their own faith. Enchanges with us here may eventually help some of these top find their way out, which I think is important. Ultimately, I'm happy to have conversation with anyone who is willing to engage in rational discussion. If someone wants to try to argue for Christianity, fine. They'll have a hard time of it, but that's alright. And if they just resort to preaching ad nauseum, then they're easy enough to ignore. On the whole, I think I prefer a case-by-case approach.
  4. 5 points
    I don’t want this site to be like a Christian fundy site that censors speech they don’t agree with. There isn’t anything a Christian could posts here that we haven’t heard and dealt with. Our rejection of religion is based on facts, evidence, history, science, logic, and reason. I can’t imagine anything a Christian could possibly posts that would cause us to doubt our reasons for leaving Christianity. Christians, on the other hand, might possibly encounter information that could possibly encourage them to investigate their “beliefs” more deeply and hopefully more objectively. Personally, I don’t care whether they are nice or not when they challenge our reasons for leaving religion. I’m a big boy, I don’t take insults personally or even seriously.
  5. 5 points
    I voted “Other”. I’d say the benefits of us engaging with Christians are threefold... Some “inexperienced” ex-Christians can learn new arguments against Christianity from observing the more experienced ones take on the believers, and so gain needed confidence in their deconversion. Those of us who are confident ex-Christians can exercise our counter-apologetics muscles in debating so we can become more effective in debunking Christianity. Fence-sitters, the lurkers who are teetering somewhere between belief and unbelief, will likely encounter solid arguments against Christianity, and against the idea that religious faith is a sound way of knowing what is true. The more civilized the discussion, the more likely it is to be useful. I often feel sympathy for the Christian who ends up alone against the group, trying to respond to multiple lines of opposition. It’s not surprising when they get defensive and combative. I agree that LMTO handled himself pretty well. I see references to him in the past tense: has he departed from among us?
  6. 5 points
    I was thinking along these lines too. I was raised in a toxic faith, so I tend to go grizzly bear when someone’s evangelistic efforts start to get annoying. It would be nice if the evangelists had some advance warning. (I don’t mean about me in particular . . . .) A modest proposal: Some notes for believers visiting ex-christian.net: Who we are We are not poor, wayfaring unbelievers; we are ex-christians. Some of us were ordained ministers; some of us can read the bible in its original languages. We have heard the sermons, we know the arguments. And our reason for being here is not to argue with you; so sometimes visitors with evangelism on their minds do not get the welcome they expect. Most of us thought long and hard about giving up our faith, and an emotional appeal is not going to bring us to the altar. Some of us experienced religious trauma and have very negative opinions of christianity in particular, and religion in general. And some of us still believe in god, or gods, and have our reasons for having left christianity for another religion. How it works From the forum guidelines: “These forums exist for the express purpose of encouraging those who have decided to leave religion behind. It is not an open challenge to Christians to avenge what they perceive as an offense against their beliefs.” We are not here to convert you; and if you are here to convert us, the burden of proof rests on you. When you assert that god exists, or that the bible is true, we are going to ask for objective evidence, and we will subject your assertions to reasoned argument. And many of us can and will give you many reasons why we do not believe in god or the bible. Please note that your conviction that god exists is not evidence. And before you start endlessly prolonging an argument while innocently professing to enjoy discussing christianity, please look up the definition of an internet troll. And do you really want to go there “For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted the heavenly gift, and have become partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, if they fall away, to renew them again to repentance . . . .” Hebrews 6:4-6 https://www.ex-christian.net/guidelines/ https://www.ex-christian.net/forum/29-frequently-asked-questions-and-topics/ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Burden_of_proof_(philosophy) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Internet_troll
  7. 5 points
    I think that a lot of christians come here with no previous experience in where this sort of discussion will lead. Then get agitated that they're facing impossible situations. Because they didn't already understand that their positions and claim making are just that, impossible. If they are only familiar with preaching to the choir with confirmation biases, then a conversation like this will come as an abrupt surprise. 'What do you mean subjective experience doesn't equal hard, objective evidence?' They may wonder to themselves, 'what would these people do if they were put into an impossible situation like this?' I've already disclosed it in so many words. But the simple answer is that we simply WON'T make untenable claims that are impossible to substantiate. We won't, for instance, make the claim that we know god does or does not exist. It's untenable either way. Given the evidence that does exist it's highly unlikely and that's good enough for me to lack positive belief. I have no burden of proof requirement to substantiate the non-existence of god, nessy, big foot, fairies or anything similar. Therefore I face no impossible situation. Let's take another example. What if I believe in something? What if I believed in something like mind over matter? 1) Unless I could demonstrate it consistently making the claim factual and objective, I wouldn't make the claim to begin with. 2) I would be honest about the untenable nature of the claim, but then chime in that I believe it myself despite the lack of hard evidence. 3) I would leave it entirely up to others as to whether or not they agree with the claim, even though it's well known that the claim itself is untenable. 4) I would never refer to threats or bullying those who do not choose to believe the untenable claim! There's no good reason to breach 1) and try making such a positive claim. It's an impossible claim, so why make it? It boils down to learning how to be smarter than that. Some of the smarter theistic thinkers do understand this. It's very unintelligent to run head long into untenable claim making, it's ill advised, and completely unnecessary. Christians, pay close attention!!! You come at us like this, you will lose ground. And most likely tuck tail and head for the hills with embarrassment. One after another, this trend continues. All the while with none of them, "getting it." I hope that maybe at least a few of our passing visitors will think on these issues more in their lives and perhaps come around to "getting it" someday, and making the necessary adjustments in how they approach others with untenable claims and untenable claim making.
  8. 4 points
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. 3 points
    Greetings and salutations, board members! My name is Micah and I am an Ex-Mormon, and current Agnostic Buddhist. While "Book of Micah" is not one of my usual net-handles (I also go by Jason Tandro and FearAddict on other communities), I felt it was an appropriate / punny name to use here, given the biblical origin of my namesake. I have a tendency to babble so I'll try to keep this introduction posts into short bite-sized chunks with headers so you can skim to the areas of my introduction that matter to you :) My Basic (Non-Religious) Details I presently reside in Virginia, USA. I'm 31, divorced and with a five-year-old daughter. I am employed as a Night Auditor for a local hotel where I work, quite literally, seven days a week with the occasional day taken off for my mental health (one or two a month). I have been using the income to dig myself out of debt, a journey which I'm happy to say is mostly done. I live in a "hippie co-op" apartment with a couple of friends. I am also a writer, who got his start in fanfiction and has since written a few short stories of some note, mostly horror (under the FearAddict pen name). I was also commissioned to write a fan novella for a Final Fantasy community event along with another author, which earned me a free trip to London and has made me some great connections. Working on original content with the hopes of making it big one day, but until then I'm playing the hand that I'm dealt. My Religious Background I grew up in a Mormon household and was a semi-active member until the age of 24ish. I give myself a bit of a break during my childhood which is rife with its own trauma, the details of which I won't bore you with on my introduction post. However from high school age until my deconversion I was a very different man. I was heavily conservative, and held a lot of values that I now find fairly repugnant, most notably a low-level homophobia which I had to work past, especially given that three of my siblings are various shades of LGBT. I bought hook-line-and-sinker the lie of "love the sinner, hate the sin" which I have since interpreted to be one of the most insidious lies of certain faiths, and can be better phrased as "judge the person with a smile on your face". Around age 24 I started having doubts about my beliefs brought on by a number of things, most important being some very good friends who were patient with my haughty arrogant nonsense. I was pretty full of myself and certain that my religion was correct because I held my intellect and logic in such high esteem that I couldn't possibly be wrong (I was that insufferable.) Even with my conservative views waning and my mind slowly opening, I didn't fully deconvert until age 26 when the church passed the controversial law preventing children of same-sex couples from being baptized and receiving blessings. It was at this point that I just snapped and said "okay, I can no longer consider myself a moral being and excuse this blatant targeted bigotry." So I made a big declaration of my intent to leave the church and began a sort of spiritual journey trying to discover what I did believe. My Journey I don't mean to step on any of the toes of ex-Christians here, but I consider Mormonism to just be "Christianity with a lot of extra rules", and by this time I'd had my fill of the whole lot of it. Some of the elements of Mormonism made Christianity more palatable to me, rather than less, and so I decided that mainstream Christanity held no interest to me. I had extended this idea to the entire Abrahamic trilogy, and didn't pay any attention to Judaism or Islam. My focus was on other worldviews completely separate from the western big three. I started, most for a chuckle, with The Satanic Bible as my wife at the time was Levaen Satanist (funny aside, on our first date she said our relationship was like the beginning of a joke: "A Mormon and a Satanist walk into a bar..."). While the book actually had some pretty reasonable ideas, there were elements of it that I found personally distasteful - particularly a version of self-idolotry. I'm actually more okay with that idea now than I was then, but even so I don't quite think that brand of philosophy is quite for me, though if there are any Satanists here, you guys are cool with me. I then studied Hinduism, reading through the Bhagavad Gita and the Upanishads. I also read some of the Vedas, but by this point I had come to the conclusion that it wasn't really what I was looking for either. It does have some wonderful mythology though, and the Bhagavad Gita in particular is definitely worth a read for its literary merit. I kind of stuck with this eastern philosophy bent for a while, picking up some Daoism and reading the Tao Te Ching which I also rather liked, and I tried to pour through the I Ching but i quickly lost interest. I also poked my nose briefly into modern Pagan and Wicca but I must confess I had a bit of a personal bias against these right off the bat, as - hypocritical as it might sound from an ex-mormon - I wasn't really interested in the mysticism. My Buddhist friend lent me a copy of the Dhammapada, which he bluntly described as "a little handbook about how not to be a c*nt". Earthy recommendation notwithstanding, I actually found the book to contain several principles that I felt were ultimately true. But while I found them interesting, I also acknowledged that their moral code was good independent of the gnostic elements of Buddhism. I don't believe in Nibbana or an enlightened state of humanity, nor am I convinced that Siddharta Gautama attained such a state. Therefore I adopted the title of Agnostic Buddhist (what you might consider Secular Buddhism). What Do I Believe Now While I do meditate and read from the Dhammapada and other Buddhists texts, you could consider me an Agnostic Atheist in the sense that I am not convinced and do not know that a God exists. I deny the claims of basically every theistic argument for God I've heard. I, being a fan of the ridiculously tortured metaphor, describe myself as "Agnostic with a rich creamy Buddhist filling". Basically it boils down to three core tenets of my theology (or lack thereof): 1. I don't know that a God exists, and I will never know which - if any - God is true. 2. Therefore I should not concern myself with the question of God or the afterlife as I will never know a definitive answer, and subsequently should not base my life decisions off something I have no evidence for. 3. Furthermore if God does exist and expects more of me than to be a good person, and would punish me with eternal hell for not believing in him, is not a God worth worshipping. My morals come from the same place as any human being, except I do not call them divine in origin. I try to live my life as good as I possible can, maximizing the wellbeing and happiness in the world for those around me. I also consider telling my story about leaving the Mormon church and how my views dramatically shifted to be important because I want to be as vocal a proponent for equality and justice as I was for the misguided ideals of my youth. Why Am I Here Well as the title says, I'm still learning. I think understanding how people believe and what led them to their conclusions is important. The study of humanity is the study of our various belief structures and I think the only way we can grow is to take in as much experience as possible. I'm hoping to make a few friends, have some lively conversations, and to share my terrible puns and dad jokes with the board. I spent much of my childhood incredibly sheltered and censored by my loving but strict parents and so I have vowed since I was 18 even to be an open book about all things. You ask a question and I will answer bluntly and honestly. If you have questions about the rat maze of Mormonism, I will answer to the best of my ability with the caveat that I did not progress far enough in the priesthood to see all the sordid details of the faith, not did I attend a mission where the BITE model goes from "a light touch" to "full blown cult". Either way, thank you for listening to, as Q would say, my "dull, plodding and pedantic" speech (much love to the Star Trek TNG fans out there). Peace!
  13. 3 points
  14. 3 points
    I have found it quite educational. I guess you can teach an old dog new tricks
  15. 3 points
    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.
  16. 3 points
    The discussion should be moved to the Lions Den as soon as it looks like a debate, and goes past their introduction. If you enjoy the debate, go for it. But when it starts getting circular, or disrespectful, I lose interest, and think it undermines our credibility when we are disrespectful in our replies to them, even if they are trolls. But will admit it is tempting to do so at times! It seems they can't understand that we know their arguments, and they just keep trying. LOL. After all, God is with them!! Sometimes I think the best thing to do when it becomes ridicilous is to just quit responding to them.
  17. 3 points
    Sometimes I find it irritating, but at the same time I like watching our more debate-skilled members tear their arguments apart. I myself, however, am not very skilled in the debating department, so I don't actively participate much.
  18. 3 points
    I think the question posed by the adoption agency helps provide a picture of the general flexibility of prospective foster parents. If they feel they have to send a kid to conversion therapy for being gay, then they may not be suitable to take care of a Muslim child, or a pregnant teen, or a teen that smokes cigarettes. The ex and I fostered kids for a few years, and we were fairly liberal minded Christians, though some of our Pentecostal 'church family' members were probably of the same mindset as these rejected foster parents in the article. They werent rejected because of their religion, they were rejected because they were prepared to do unreasonable nonsense to a child in the name of their religion.
  19. 3 points
    Even the Bible states it plainly: I Peter 3:15- "to sanctify the Lord God in your hearts and be ready always to give an answer to every man that ask you a reason of the hope that is in you." That, they do not do.
  20. 3 points
    It’s not an assumption, it’s what you are doing. Everyone else is responding to what you are saying, I am responding to what you are doing. And I am going to say this because I think some people don’t really see it. You started out with a disingenous “I have a question” when your real intent was to evangelize in a forum intended for ex-christians. Then you chose to preach to said ex-christians from the fairy tale book of Jonah, of all things (I still can’t get over that). You equate your conviction that god is real with objective evidence, and do not appear to understand the concept. Your response to my comment about the believer’s fallacy was basically, “Oh, yeah? Well, you do it too” when it is you who are here to convert us, not the other way around (and I personally do not give a damn what you believe). Having come to a group of ex-christians to challenge their beliefs, you complain about being “under interrogation” (maybe you expected us to be converted with astonished looks on our faces, like in a chick tract). Then you started trying to take control of the group by directing us to answer your “icebreaker” questions, and continued by starting a new thread and telling us we had to respond to it to get you to answer us (calling us hypocrites in the process). Then you went clear over the top: “I won't respect your opinions on this current topic that try to cause doubt until you can at least attempt to breach the topic in the linked conversation on doubt.” WTF. You are in no position to dictate to us or anyone else the conditions for your respect. Then you had the balls to tell me that I am the one who should go elsewhere, and taunted me to tell you to leave. There are several emojis that would be appropriate here. But I am going to leave the rest to everyone else. Or at least those who want to stay on the merry-go-round. Respond however you want.
  21. 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.
  22. 2 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?
  23. 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.
  24. 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?
  25. 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.
  26. 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 . . . .
  27. 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.
  28. 2 points
    Can you be an atheist and not fit into somebody else's preconceived mold of what an atheist should be? I think you can; and probably should.
  29. 2 points
    I'd say one is a product of the logical mind making a conclusion, the other is the product of the survival mind and is a product of programming. I never realized how separate they were until this last summer when I started having anxiety attacks (PTSD) based on the behavior of a neighbor acting oddly and then aggressively. I had to spend weeks trying to understand why I was reacting so strongly to something that in reality was just an annoyance, not a run-or-be-killed situation. I realized eventually that I had been raised with a single solution to any such situation: shoot her. Not that we ever did, but my family wasn't the most functional and mature folks. We loved firearms and had plenty, and loved Rambo and Terminator type films. The solution to any issue of an "enemy" was then to shoot them. Again, we never did, but that was the programmed response verbally and emotionally. I've been around long enough to know that shooting is only valid if I am in clear and present mortal danger. The neighbor was just being aggressively noisy with her music, sometimes at 3am just to annoy me. Not a threat at all, but I really had no emotional training to deal with it. So my emotional basic mind responded with "I have to shoot her, but I can't do that. I'm trapped, therefore must flee the danger." It really came down to that stupid conclusion. But I reacted with full body shaking terror anytime I heard her subwoofer. Then at work, even an HVAC system turning on had a low thrum sound that I'd react to that. I was stuck in fear by a part of my mind that was trying its best to protect me from perceived danger. It took weeks of purposefully examining the situation with my logical mind, talking to my primitive mind that was in terror, every time I'd hear something that triggered me. I'd ask it "Is this danger, or just an annoyance?" and wait for a response. Over and over again. It eventually learned through repetition that this was just an annoying thing, not a real danger. I taught myself a new response and got to the point where subwoofer sounds were easy to ignore, and I stopped being triggered. The mind really is segmented more than we usually realize, but the pieces can work together through training it. The same sort of thing is true of those who have an irrational fear of hell. It makes no logical sense, but the terror is quite real and will remain so until the mind is taught to see through repetition that it isn't a real danger. I've read articles that say this is backed up by current knowledge of how the amygdala learns. So yes, one can be an atheist and still have fear of hell, and that fear can be overcome through purposeful confrontation of the triggers and re-training the amygdala to see that it was lied to originally and that there is nothing to fear.
  30. 2 points
    Maybe just a definition issue? How exactly is the word hatred being used? Most atheists don't hate the religious. We disagree with them, we work in opposition to their church and openly mock their beliefs, but we don't wish harm or death upon them. I hate ISIS and their horrific rules. Due to that I would willingly enact violence upon them to protect the world from their evil. I do not have that same level of anger towards Christians or Muslims. I only hate those who would hurt innocents such as child abuse or inflict pain and death in service of their god. That is not the majority of the religious.
  31. 2 points
    Like in the old kung fu movies where there are fifty bad guys but they only attack one at a time.
  32. 2 points
    Also possibly a futile venture. AOC says the world will end in 10 years... My parents then say that's wrong therefore all climate science is wrong and its just about research grants to make scientists rich. . . . and I'm like NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! Wall please Thank you kindly. Another one is "Al Gore said" For the last time, I do not give two fucks about what Al Gore said. Or "Stuff News reported" Again... do they link their article to a peer reviewed paper? No? Then it's pointless opinion. I don't care what the media reports if they cannot link credible sources. I tend to agree with Bhim that maybe instead of religious behaviours going away they are just morphing into the newest fancy thing: Climate, Veganism/Animal Welfare/ Social Justice. Listening to moderate voices on each of these topics is quite thought provoking. Listening to the extremes is just painfully head banging stuff.
  33. 2 points
    That's why mods usually put them straight to the Den. The staff here recognizes and respects the above. We put them in the Den and then it's up to them to defend themselves and the beliefs they're pushing. But we don't have to be nasty about it. Not at all. Especially considering that fact that we have the upper hand in the exchanges - if we simply stick to the facts and available evidence for consideration.
  34. 2 points
    But do you feel that by watching these interactions you've learned more about ways in which to debate them? You may get to the point where you feel like you've seen it all (it will happen, there's only so many places these arguments can go) and can yourself address just about anything that a christian could ever throw your way. I like to think that by debating these people, deconverts can use the examples set forward as a type of self defense mechanism that they can turn around use against their opponents, like any other fight or combat training.
  35. 2 points
    Mostly I ignore them. But they should be sequestered from the general forums. This is our place, for us to decompress and learn from each other. We spent decades in the faith, and just because they want to ignore that and pretend they have some kind of new insight or info that makes all the mythology and abuse good and true doesn't mean they get to preach here.
  36. 2 points
    I went with the majority, apparently, by choosing "other." Though there is much in common, Christians are individuals. Some are very much worth seriously engaging, others behave like mindless Christ-bots or outright trolls. I judge on a case by case basis.
  37. 2 points
    After the initial state of panic and mental grappling with a sudden shift in my worldview (even one that had been declining over time), I can say that this does sort of apply to me, but in a different way. It didn't help that my religious awakening immediately preceeded my marriage's decline (they weren't related, just poor timing) so I can't say with any certainty that my emotional state was improved any. In fact my initial feelings, and ones that I still grapple with to this day, were feelings of bitterness. I basically felt as though I'd been cheated out of 24 years of a healthy upbringing (ex-Mormon here, with all the emotional shunting that goes with that). I was frustrated that my otherwise very intelligent parents could still believe such nonsense and that they used this nonsense to brainwash my siblings and me (there is some specific instances of emotional abuse that come to mind, but I'll set them aside for now to as not get too off-topic). Having had time to sort of piece it together and settle (mostly) on what I believe, I would say I feel more balanced than anything else. Contrary to the popular Christian line of "without God, life has no meaning" I actually feel that my life has more meaning now than it did. I feel like I'm alive for more reasons than just the whim of some supreme being and that my life can be whatever I choose to make it. I no longer deal with the crippling guilt of being a horrible sinner. I openly embrace myself the way I am, while still acknowledging the areas I need to improve on. Moreover, I feel I no longer waste any energy feeling obligatory gratitude to a God. The gratitude I feel for the change in my life is for those around me who have helped make it a reality. I take a little pride in my achievements, while still recognizing that I have had a lot of help. So I guess in that way I feel more genuinely connected to "my people" for lack of a better word.
  38. 2 points
    One of the beautiful, and indeed powerful, aspects of The Lion's Den (and this website as a whole) is that we each tend to play to our strengths when engaging in discourse. My strength, for example, is straightforward common sense, often couched in witty phrases, and generally reduced down to little more than short quips or, for lack of a better phrase, "sound bytes." You, on the other hand, tend to produce longer posts, which are more measured, articulate, and eloquent. Your application of logical principles is more formal, mine more earthy. Were I to write one of your posts, using the exact words, phrases, and even fonts, as you, I'd somehow still come off sounding sarcastic. We play to our strengths. If you feel it warranted to encourage christians to research burden of proof in your opening parlay, then it would certainly be within your purview, and in keeping with your strengths, to do so.
  39. 2 points
    I'm always surprised when polls talk to 0.003% of a population, and are happy to claim their sample size allows a clear picture of anything. One other reason that wasn't mentioned is the reduction in atheist media. With Hitchens gone, Harris focused on politics, and YouTube channels like the thinking atheist, cosmic skeptic and rationality rules focusing on philosophy, there doesn't seem to be the same quantity or quality of media out there. With no new arguments I can completely understand the boredom with the subject.
  40. 2 points
    Welcome! Christianity breeds patriarchy, which is poisonous for women as their lives become subject to the dictates of men. I'm so glad you saw through it and know your true worth. That can be a struggle for me even 3 years after leaving (the indoctrination was deep on that level). We have a chat room on discord as well if you'd like to join there.
  41. 2 points
    “Pray for so-and-so, who is recovering from surgery.” If prayer worked, she wouldn’t have needed surgery.
  42. 2 points
    People did not suggest false hypotheticals to you. Nevertheless, here is a real situation. Our brother in the Lord, Rod (28), was found to have cancer. EVERYONE prayed. Little children prayed. Everyone laid hold of NT promises. Rod died anyway. Conclusion: the NT promises about answered prayer are bogus. You will want to say, "But that doesn't mean... you all must have just not ... " ETC. Rod died anyway. NT promises about answered prayer are bogus. When we get failure on the verifiable level, the unverifiable level is left with no credibility. That event started my journey out of the cult.
  43. 2 points
    Thank you! I understand the arguments people make for a Christian case for homosexuality. However, after reading multiple books and spending weeks researching the material, I still find that the Bible doesn’t allow for homosexuality. One of the reasons why I also may be closed off to that idea is also because if we are just simply reading the scriptures “incorrectly” then God allowed homosexuals to be pointlessly persecuted by his own church for the past century. For me, I fee like it puts me between a rock and a hard place. On one hand, I can’t bring myself to accept that the way I feel and who I am is inherently wrong. I also can’t believe or accept that God would allow his church to persecute a portion of people in this way if he was ok with it. I’m finding it harder and harder to believe in this faith that I’ve had for so long. Now though, I’m starting to be ok with that. Hey just finished reading “Leaving the Fold” by Dr. Marlene Winell, and that was such an eye opening book. After reading it, I’m now going back through and working through her suggested exercises. It has been very helpful in dealing with the emotions I’ve been having with leaving the faith and other emotional issues I’ve pushed aside in relation to being closeted.
  44. 2 points
    Well I hope you all come to my place and investigate my invisible unicorn. Seems like I don't have to give support to my claim, you guys have to investigate it. However, in the case of members here, we here have investigated the Christian claim, and to use a phrase from a biblical story, it has been weighed in the balances and found wanting.
  45. 2 points
    But we are not out shopping. We have chosen to leave the store. You are the sidewalk barker, beckoning us to come in. If you want us to come back inside, you will have to provide tangible, independently verifiable, logically consistent, reasons why we should do so.
  46. 2 points
    We present hypothetical situations which are then called false hypotheticals by the believer because they know their religion wont hold up to logical scrutiny if he engages in them. Redneck Prof presented biblical contradictions but the believer wont engage because they know their religion won't hold up to logical scrutiny. What other strategies of logic will our believer refuse to engage in?
  47. 2 points
    Just stay out of the Lion’s Den . . . .
  48. 2 points
    Then this is a false hypothetical and why I said it would be better to have an actual case study and real situation to consider. I gave my answers, you didn't like them. Tough beans. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- An actual case study? Of what? You've presented nothing but unsupported truth claims. When asked to justify your claims you have refused, declaring that the burden of proof doesn't lie with you. So, even if a Muslim were present in this thread to make the same claims as you and even if they presented their justification for their claims, this thread would still go nowhere. Because you refuse to accept that the burden of proof applies to you. No comparative case study can be made because you offer up nothing except your bald claims. Therefore, this logjam is not a result of any dislike of your answers on my part. You refuse to play ball on the level playing field of reasoned debate. That's why. Walter.
  49. 2 points
    How would you test my claims? What measure would you use? As far as I can tell the experiences I've observed are one time events. You can't reproduce them to test them. Or if you can reproduce them to text them I'm unaware how. I cannot test your claims, LmtO. There is no measure I can use to do this. Because they are one-off events that cannot be reproduced, nobody can test them. I'm also unaware how they could be reproduced. In that aspect my claims must be rejected outright, or the must be considered as possible. If there's no way to test it then these are your alternatives. Yes. That's exactly right. I have no choice but to reject your claims - because they cannot be tested. Yes again. Your claims must be considered possible. But what's that to me? The fact that something is possible doesn't mean that it is real or true or actual. Again my observations are not subjective, they are observations. They either happened or they didn't. My conclusions based on my observations that can be argued and debated, but whether I have the facilities to know what's real and what isn't when I observe anything in life, that goes to the next level of suspecusion. That has been my constant point. No sir! You are wrong. To you, your own observations are not subjective. But to me and to anyone else they are. That is true for everyone. One man's subjective experiences are closed and off-limits to anyone else but himself. However, if you can argue that other people should accept your experiences as objective, then please do so. Thank you. Walter.
  50. 2 points
    That is nothing. I once spent two solid weeks at work looking for signed paperwork in every conceivable spot in my office and room. I even got others to help me search. Finally, I was at the point where I started rescheduling meetings, to get the papers signed again. As I was explaining my frustration, I said, "If only I had just put them in the folders where they belong, they would be right here." At that point, I picked the folder out of the rack that had been sitting on my counter the whole time, and it flopped open to the signed paperwork. Apparently, in a fit of sanity, I had filed the papers exactly where they should have been! I never do that. Now, this sounds like I am less organized than I am, but I never usually file the papers until they are complete. The fact that they aren't filed is a reminder that they are still outstanding. But, I must have cleaned up at one point and decided to put them where they really belonged.

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