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Showing content with the highest reputation since 12/10/2018 in all areas

  1. 12 points
    @ConsiderTheSource @Geezer @Weezer @DanForsman @disillusioned @DestinyTurtle @Fuego @LogicalFallacy @TheRedneckProfessor @ag_NO_stic @Citsonga @Mariana @Margee @florduh @Joshpantera @DevilsCabanaBoy @RealityCheck @sdelsolray @Derek @Lefty @Lerk @LifeCycle @Blood @buffettphan @Positivist @Realist If I forgot anyone....that's the Alzheimer's setting in...
  2. 11 points
    ...I could not reconcile that a god could make something perfect only to have it rebel and suddenly is not perfect. How can a perfect entity suddenly be not perfect? Makes zero sense. That was when I started researching, even more, then one day the question hit me..."Where have all the gods gone?" It was at that point I realized that the truth is far from true! From then on, I smelled the stench of man, not the hand of a god in writing that book. So, after much thought and research, I came to the conclusion that I had to admit there are no gods. We have so many religions because we have so many people with their own understanding of why we humans even exist, but we all wonder why we are here. And it is that very wonder that has moved some people to offer up their own answers, even to the extreme of forming a religion behind it. Some are sincere, some are not and have had ulterior motives for their doctrines, but the bottom line, not a single god has come forward and saved their creations from themselves. NONE. Humanity is the same now as it always has been. Nothing has changed but the humans involved. Dare I say, I found the truth to be that humans who sincerely just want to know the truth have been played by their fellow humans. If you really want to know the truth of a matter, go looking and you will find it, but be prepared for the answers you might not want to hear.
  3. 9 points
    Overcoming Religious Indoctrination: 6 Steps Towards Sanity David Nicholls Religious indoctrination is real. It is a traditionally-based process of all cultures. Its power is such that peoples so affected have a ‘belief’ they have chosen their particular ‘faith’ above the many on offer throughout the planet. All religions work on the principle of exposing each new generation to a single worldview, to the exclusion of all others, in a repetitious and authorative manner. Doubts, as to the veracity of such ‘teachings’, are not encouraged, indeed, are not tolerated. Once learned, the information so gained is retained for life, allowing it to take on an instinctive mantle in later years. As with all acquired knowledge, such as learning to ride a bicycle or rote remembrance of mathematical time’s tables, once taught, unlearning is not an easy option. This is not to say that the results of such methodology are not practically overcome-able. Youthful brains soak up information with little effort, establishing permanent neuronic pathways. Older brains require considerably more effort to alter this situation. There are many Atheists to attest to this. In fact, it is the rule rather than the rarity that most Atheists were raised from infancy under some religious regime or other. Even the most intense religious indoctrination can be overcome. Here is how it is achieved: First, one must become acquainted with and become used to the correct terminology pertaining to religious indoctrination. Even though the religious are quick to point out that others have been brainwashed (such as communists, other religious adherents and even Atheists), it is they who have succumbed to this process. Brainwashing/inculcation/indoctrination is one in the same word in meaning. These words are used in reference to promoting a one-sided opinion as being truthful, without allowing access to other ideas and with no reservation in calling it unjustifiably, the ‘truth’. Considering the adverse ramifications of such methods and results of brainwashing, this is nothing less than mental child abuse of the worst kind and one day it will be viewed that way. Just seriously think about this for a moment. If you are religious or harbour religious thoughts, it is more than most likely the result of being abused and mentally used as a child. There is no escaping this fact. That the abused can then go on to abuse others in a likewise fashion is near enough to proof positive of the reality of the situation. Under the guise of a good for humanity, the fear of death and/or eternal damnation is instilled into the pliable and susceptible minds of children and continues into adulthood. Sprinkled with tales of eternal life, temporal wishes supernaturally achievable, the unworthiness of humans and the existence of a ‘good’ and an ‘evil’, sets the mental scene for subservient confusion. Second, after recognising one has been abused and brainwashed against their will and without their knowledge, if escape is required, then effort to combat this negative outlook must be more intense and prolonged than the unwanted religious input. A good start is to fully appreciate that all religious people of the thousands of religions that have and do exist, have been similarly abused, with them considering that they have the correct religion and all others are wrong. Even religions under the same name can state unequivocally that their counterparts have it incorrect. As an example, fundamentalist Christianity classes the Pope as the Anti-Christ and Catholicism a heresy. Third, take a proper look at Earth. 50,000 Iranians have been recently killed by earthquake, 3,000 many-denominational people died in the Twin Towers, 6 million Jewish people died in the Holocaust etc etc. Where were their respective gods? They were remarkably silent as they have been throughout history in humanity’s darkest hours. Look at the system that sustains life on our planet: Every life form preys on another life form to exist. Some of this in such brutal and horrible fashion as to totally exclude the idea of a ‘loving’ god as the creator. Look how the dice of life favours some and is more than wretched to others. Look how natural disasters and pathogens kill and maim indiscriminately. Fourth, it must be consciously recognised that books and ideas of old came from ignorant times, and were written and passed on by ignorant men living by the malleable rules of all-encompassing superstition. Fifth, and most importantly, it must be remembered that religions have held sway since consciousness arrived many tens of thousands of years ago. It is only in the last few hundred years that science has leapt onto the scene, and in doing so, has began to devour the very pillars holding superstition aloft. Although it is not fully accepted yet, the one part of science that will eventually be seen as the most profound is the principle of evolution. Not only has science found no evidence for a supernatural realm, it has shown that evolution requires no such thing to sustain it. Sixth and lastly, it therefore has to be asked as to why a super-being or thing would initiate a universe with us as only an infinitesimal dot within it. The Universe works on definite laws in a rational manner. Even if quantum structure appears not to be so! Such a rational creative force would hardly expect us to accept the irrationality that is religion especially as it is introduced in the heinous form of child abuse. An all-loving god with control over every particle in existence, that chooses to allow immense suffering, cannot exist. An all-powerful god incapable of creating perfect happiness for its creation is an oxy-moronic concept. An all-knowing god that cannot see the inherent goodness of humanity and does not nurture and aid its creation in a fair and equitable manner is a god of immeasurably immoral proportion. These thoughts and similar must be the constant companion of the adult psyche wishing to escape the foolishness of religious mind control. Victims of child abuse can overcome the strong hold it has on them and in doing so can benefit greatly from the conflict. The brainwashing will always remain but in its subjugation it will eventually be replaced with feelings of pride of accomplishment.
  4. 9 points
    "7Then I cried out unto my Mod, and saith, 'Oh merciful Mod, how long shalt thou suffer this false prophet in thy midst? 8For he hath surely come that he might deceive the people and lead them astray from thee. 9Cast him down into The Lion's Den that he may be torn limb from limb by thy faithful servants, 10even unto the depths of Sheol, that thy name be glorified.'" The Book of Second Redneckians chapter 6
  5. 8 points
    “Bowling leagues and birding are sure to be taken over by the religious here... and that is exactly the issue... there is no place that people in Texas do not feel like it's ok to want to put you on their prayer chain when you have a cold, if they don't want to just lay hands on you right there and claim your healing in Jesus name.“ I’d recommend picking up a vice. Something other people don’t do. Something that’s sure to scare off the religious. Have you tried coming out as gay? Worked for me.
  6. 8 points
    When I was a practicing christian, I would not ever join a site like this except for one reason and that would be to try as hard as I could to win you all back to god. But if you all came at me with your testimonies, links and video's to watch....and I actually did read them and watch the video's with sincerity, I would totally understand deep, deep down, why you lost your faith because I was already questioning many, many things and every christian does doubt to some degree. (Why do you think they sell thousands of self-help christian books on the very topic of doubt? ) So 'worldly' information like what is posted here at Ex-c would have scared the crap right out of me....and I would have turned a blind eye and run for my life, back to where the christians would have reassured me that you guys were wrong. That's why I think so many christians who join this site don't take long to leave. I even believe that our dear friend 'End' knew the truth deep down inside even though he probably would deny it out of fear. It is 'fear' of gods' wrath. (for many people) This is why they cannot cut that last string. I see that all the time on this site when we have a newcomer. Fear of hell. Learning the truth ain't easy for some people. It wasn't for me.
  7. 8 points
    Get a GOOD divorce lawyer and let them advise you ASAP.
  8. 7 points
    My fundy dad once dragged me to a "party." Fun people, he said. Fun party, he said. It was an Amway ambush. Some kid about 18 or 19 did a presentation showing how as a college student he was already making over $100,000 with Amway. I asked him if he was making that much money why was he wasting his time in school. He said he needed a degree to make a living. Let us pray.....
  9. 6 points
    @Myrkhoos........This.^ When I joined this site I was exactly the same way. Full of rage. Full of grief. And I cried a lot. As soon as the shock wore off (and it took awhile) that I had been told a lie about the bible being a 'literal' book, I slowly became 'free' from the grips of having to please 'the gods' and all the people. I still like people to care and I am still a caring person....but if you don't like me...Oh well.....it won't end my world. It takes time. Start small. Start saying, ''no thanks' to something small. Then do it again. It starts to get easier. If you get rejected, just feel that feeling. You won't die. You will become truly free if you get to the point that you don't give a 'rats ass' if people approve of you or not. It will happen for you . Keep posting.
  10. 6 points
    Hi and welcome. What mental illness do you have? I have bipolar disorder and have been prayed for and have even offered myself for an exorcism which didn't help. The only thing that helped me was correct medication and a secular psychiatrist. Religion just makes me have more manic episodes. It makes things worse, not better. Because of correct medication and a stress free environment I lead a pretty normal life now.
  11. 6 points
    It's been a five year journey into de-converting from my beliefs in Jesus. I really believed at the time that Jesus was going to bring me into a right relationship with him, but the more I held onto that hope the less actually happened. I remember as far back to my teen year's of hanging out with the Christian youth group in my area and feeling so alone. I always had little doubts about Christians, but I pushed those doubts deep down inside. As I got older I went from church to church, from one bible study to another looking for the right people I could feel comfortable with. (But I always felt on edge when I was around them) I used to feel awfully anxious when I had to pray in front of other believers. They could never see the pain I was going through, and even though they all believed they had born again eye's they never saw my real heart. I hated them for that, and that made me start thinking that if Jesus was real why can't they perceive my thoughts like he did? I got into a bit of TV evangelism, but most of the time they made me so angry. I'd get up early in the morning to watch them so I could yell at the television. I eventually went online looking for some believer who actually had evidence, but I found nothing but the old arguments repackaged from the 80's and 90's. Then one night I thought I'd serach in YouTube "Real miracles" but it was mostly testimony and fake reports. From here I had nowhere to go, there just didn't seem to be anything true to my beliefs anymore. So I started to research the evidence against Christianity and what I found made my stomach churn. But I didn't run away, I kept researching until I was satisfied it was all bullshit. It took five year's to wake up out of my religious comma, and it hurt. I'll never go back now, well I can't can I.
  12. 6 points
    It made me believe the promises of Jesus It made me believe that God promised to answer my prayers because he loved me It made me believe that when those prayers weren't answered, that God was answering with "a better plan" It made me believe that God's better plan included suffering and death instead of what I "thought I needed" It made me believe that a constant shell-game of beautiful -sounding promises, "better plans", and God's utter failure was really God's faithful and powerful response of love It made me believe that God was my father who was watching over me and would protect and provide It made me believe that his threats of harm were because he was holy It made me believe that my own sexual desires were really the devil, and that I was now holy but compromising with the devil It made me believe that satisfying my sexual desires made me unclean and made God want to hurt me It made me believe that God was justified in hating me, and that only another tortured person's blood could save me from being burned alive by the God who loved me It made me believe that groveling in tears of shame before this being was the right response to having been a mere human It made me believe that a cruel, abusive, spiteful, harmful, irritable, capricious, blood-loving, tantrum-throwing man was in charge of the universe, and that his actions and threats were really good instead of evil because he's "holy" It made me believe that "men of God" who behaved this way were good because they were chosen as leaders of the house, leaders of the church, and my role was to submit to their whims which weren't really whims because they were led by God
  13. 6 points
    When I came back from my morning walk, look what was on the kitchen counter. The one in the back is chocolate pecan. Right now she's working on her signature lemon meringue. After that she'll start in on the turkey with stuffing; mashed potatoes with gravy; and green peas. And all this from a woman who is in constant pain from 22 surgeries and has four rods and ten screws 3/4 the way up her back, a steel plate in her neck, and two artificial knees and an artificial hip. She has to sit on a stool to cook. (I offer to help but she won't let me. She's afraid of what might happen.) Am I a lucky guy or what!!??
  14. 6 points
    I had a lot of misconceptions about atheists, and all of them introduced by the church. But luckily when I left the church, I also left behind caring about what kind of conception people had about me, and what I believed. I really cared too much about all of that when I was in the church. So I suppose I had no problem with being labeled an atheist - if people want to judge me negatively for that, then they're just operating with the same misconceptions and stereotypes they've been fed their whole lives, which is actually a pretty good indicator for me that I don't want to have much to do with them.
  15. 5 points
    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.
  16. 5 points
    In the context of the phrase, Jesus indicated it was when his enemies attributed his miracles to the devil. He threw a hissy-fit and said they were essentially damned. He did something similar to a tree that didn't have fruit out of season, he could have caused it to make fruit, but instead killed it. But neither Jesus nor the devil actually exist, and the words and actions of Jesus were invented by someone writing the story.
  17. 5 points
    If christians and all other religious fanatics would mind their own business, respect the boundaries and privacy of others, not meddle into the pelvic areas of consenting adults, and keep their personal relationship with their particular deity out of politics, they probably wouldn't be "persecuted." But that would really suck because it would mess up their big ol' martyr complex. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Myth_of_Persecution https://thehumanist.com/magazine/may-june-2017/church-state/great-persecution-christians-myth
  18. 5 points
    Every time a Christian comes here to hear our deconversion stories and engage us in either friendly discussion or debate, the result is consistent. They'll ignore our points and throw out ad hominems and non sequiturs, and then disappear without addressing any of the legitimate points we raise. Call me a reductionist, but I wonder why a Christian publication would be any different than the individual Christians we encounter here.
  19. 5 points
    First off I would say you need to be selfish to a degree. That is to prioritise your needs before giving anything away. Make sure the basics are covered, rent, food, expenses and cut anything like donations until you are in a good place. You need to consider your shopping habits from a need verse luxury view. Do you spend on anything you can do without? Movies, music, dvds, smoking, drinking etc. You don't have to cut it completely but that stuff is low priority and should be a rare treat rather than constant expense. What are your eating habits like? Do you eat out, eat junk or snack constantly? Easy to forget how much we spend on food and massive savings can be made with a bit of effort. Run a food diary for a week or two and make sure you have a clear idea of those costs and potential savings. Sit down and work out a really basic budget. Income on one side, rent, expenses, bills, average monthly costs on the other. Once you have a clear understanding of the amount you have to play with, you can figure out savings verse entertainment. One simplistic method is divide in thirds. One third for rent/mortgage, one third for expenses and one third for saving, spending and the unexpected. This method can work in certain places, but not so much in big cities or high cost areas. Another suggestion is to talk to your bank. Many have advisory services that will help structure your accounts, sort out debt repayments, and make sure what you have is working the best for you. Debt is the other big pitfall. If you have any ability to avoid debt (eg don't take international trips if you have to borrow to do so) then stay debt free. If you have to borrow then make sure you shop around to compare interest rates and fees, especially with the smaller dodgy loan companies, they will aim to ruin you. Make sure that if you are going to use a credit card that you pay it off in full before the interest period.
  20. 5 points
    Reminds me of one of my favorite memes: ”They say money can’t buy happiness, but it can buy a jet ski - and have you ever seen a sad person on a jet ski?”
  21. 5 points
    Because this is an Ex-Christian site. I think most would agree with me that we do not want a theocracy under any banner. Christians, Jews and Muslims worship the same god, so why don't you just all get along?
  22. 5 points
    Once you're in 2nd (or 3rd, 4th or nth) place then you'll always be there. Is that where you want to be in this relationship? When he wants you, when it's your turn, you'll be brought out and made to be special but when your time is over you'll be back to your normal place. If that's what you want then accept your fate but otherwise you should consider other options like leaving him and being by yourself for awhile so you can sort out what you really need. mwc
  23. 5 points
    I didn't know about this group at all, but I'm excited to be a part of it. My name is Clint Heacock, and I was an evangelical pastor and Bible college teacher for over 20 years. I walked away first from the church about 10 years ago, then I've been deconstructing my faith for a long time too. Currently, I host the MindShift podcast, which I've been doing for nearly 3 years now, in which I interview people from all walks of faith and life. Since January, I've been focusing on the world of the cults, and specifically how evangelicalism shares many characteristics with cults. Glad to be in here! Oh--if you're on Twitter, you can find me @MindShift2018.
  24. 5 points
    Hi! After 60 years as a Christian I realised that I could no longer make sense of GOD (I'd given up on church some years before that but had stayed as I felt I was getting somewhere in trying to bring about change). After reading (David Boulton, Karen Armstrong and others) I adopted non-theism. Within this philosophy I can accept that the beliefs of my friends are real for them and I can respect them, although this doesn't mean that I need to accept that I cannot challenge them if they will allow this. Which is the crunch, I have found (more later). For most of my working life I was in some form of Christian ministry; a minister in both UK and overseas and a Christian community worker. My Christian life began in fundamentalism and slowly moved to liberalism and radical Christianity. Then to nontheism. I am not on a crusade but I miss my old fundamentalist friends. They cannot seem to get beyond the stage of telling me that they are praying for me to return: they will not engage with my (written) reflections on my journey, they don't seem to have 'grown' since the fundamentalist days of their / our youth. Having just found this Forum, I would like to ask folk here what authors / writings / books they might recommend to someone who is sad about the loss of friends and, secondly, writings that might help me to understand my own journey. When I adopted nontheism I was 'surprised by joy' and that has stayed with me although I still don't fully understand what has happened (and still is happening as I become stronger in my nontheism). Thank you.
  25. 5 points
    I'm not exactly sure how to present this, and it may be somewhat disjointed, but will give it a try. One of the things I missed after leaving religion was the sense of community with fellow church members, and having things in common with people where ever we went. Back then community meant face to face interaction. I grew up in a rural area and as a kid we didn't get a television until I was 14, or a telephone until I was 16. Church and school activities were where most of our socialization came from, and provided "community". And although there was a lot of B.S. that came with the religion, overall it served a purpose with our socialization. Today I believe one of society's big problems is a lack of community, (sense of belonging), empathy, and healthy socialization of youth, and the dwindling of church membership and attendance contributes to that. We are loosing a sense of "we", and an institution for socialization. In a way we have become self absorbed narcissist, and the resulting disrespect and division are eating at society. I joined the American Humanist Association (AHA) and identify with their tenants. If you haven't done so, I encourage you to take a look at the organization. When joining them you get a bumper/window sticker saying, "I BELIEVE IN GOOD," which I now display in my back window. They promote, and I agree that we need, broad (liberal) educations, science and rational thinking to save ourselves from ourselves, but of course conservative religions have joined the rich and powerful to fight that idea like crazy. Now to my question. Are there ways we can rebuild a sense of community, and replace superstitious religions with organizations that value education and rational thinking? Maybe piggyback on the "church" concept? Have "congregations" called, CITIZENS FOR RATIONAL THINKING. CITIZENS FOR GOOD. CHURCH OF GOOD. ETC. I agree religions with infallible deities are nothing more than superstitions, but something is needed to replace the overall socialization we got with traditional church attendance. I realize some groups were, and are toxic, but many mainstream groups have been benign, and encouraged decent living. There is some good with the bad. AHA encourages developing local groups, but it is not a big push, and they are few and far between. Could more be done? Is this pie in the sky thinking? Has corporate America and technology taken us past human to human, face to face contact, and the desire for community? A concern for "we". If so, what lies ahead? Our "me-ism" and lack of face to face communication is crippling communication skills, and the resulting isolation contributes to lack of empathy, which increases disrespect for each other, and is a form of cancer on society.
  26. 5 points
    I am so sorry you are hurting. The mind fuck of religion is so strong that I actually was the one to cause the pain, heartbreak, and suffering on a 17-year-old marriage that was wonderful..... except the fact that he would not go to church with me or 'accept the lord''. So I left thinking god wanted me to be 'equally yoked'. (well, that's what the preacher always preached!) I still pay for that mistake to this very day because I am not the type of person who likes breaking someone's heart....and I did and I have to live with that. When one is brainwashed by this doctrine, it can cause much suffering. Cry your heart out that you got mixed up with a man who got, (righteous) ''religion'', don't blame yourself and move on to someone who shares your values. So sorry hon you have to go through this. Big (hug)
  27. 5 points
    One other angle to think about, if you are considering leaving him, how might he react? How might he think he has to protect the kids from damnation? How will his church react (as in, would they gang up on you, help him hide the kids, etc)? I'm raising the issue because a fundy mindset isn't a rational one. You may want to lawyer-up (with a non-believer attorney) well before breaking any news of leaving. (As a side-note, this could be a fascinating area of law where an ex-C could have some great insights.)
  28. 5 points
    I am pretty new on the site and I have shared a little about my myself and my story. As part of my recovery, I have been journaling about my own experiences. This is kind of long, but here goes. I was born in 1960, in the small East Texas town of Overton, Texas, and into a culture of strict, God-fearing, Bible-believing Christianity. The most popular religion of the area was Southern Baptist and there was some version of that type of church on every corner. According to the church doctrine, I was born a sinner into a sinful world and without giving myself to a life of total service to God, I was doomed to burn in hell for eternity. There was always the conflicting doctrine of God is love, but yet if I didn’t follow his rules, he would send me to hell forever. At five years old, I made the walk down the aisle during special revival meetings at New London Baptist Church, shook the preacher's hand, and said the "sinner's prayer," then was baptized in the church baptistery soon afterward. I was to repeat this same ritual at least a couple more times during my childhood because I didn't feel "saved" and wondered if maybe I had been too young for it to fully take. The fear of going to hell was already a part of my young life. My elementary school years seemed pretty normal for families in the Bible belt region in the 60's. Dad worked and mom stayed home to take care of us kids. We had two sets of grandparents in the same small town of New London, Texas. My brother and sister and I played outside when we weren't in school and we all went to church together on Sunday. From the outside, it might look like a "Leave it to Beaver" family. Life took a dramatic change when I was about 11. My dad was invited to a special church meeting about the book of Revelation and the end times at an Assembly of God church, so the whole family went. At the end of the service, Dad went forward in response to the altar call and "gave his life to the Lord." We immediately began attending the Assembly of God church. The Assembly of God church services were different than we used to in the Baptist church. The music was boisterous and upbeat, whereas the Baptist church had been more reverent and structured. People clapped their hands, spoke in tongues, and prayed out loud all at the same time. As kids, we thought it was much more entertaining. The biggest doctrinal was difference was that we could lose our salvation if we sinned and neglected to ask forgiveness. The fear of hell was a daily part of life. When I was 12, my dad responded to God's call to preach the gospel. He sat me down along with my younger siblings and told us that since God had called him, He had called the entire family. He would need our cooperation to be successful as a preacher. He told us we could choose to be the happiest kids in town if we participated in this call, or we would be the most miserable kids in town if we chose to rebel against it. I don't think it was really a choice. As part of the talk, he gave us a list of all the things we could no longer do. There was a list of TV shows we could no longer watch, like The Love Boat. There was a special list for my sister and me. We weren't old enough yet for make-up, but that was on the list. We weren't allowed to wear shorts, even though we lived in a hot, humid climate. We couldn't go "mixed bathing", swimming where there were males present. We couldn't attend school social events, such as football games or school dances. No secular music, although the choices of acceptable church music were very limited. These things were "of the world" and we had to keep separate from them. Our basic role in the ministry was to be an example to other people of what good Christian children looked like. We had to be good rule followers and obedient to our parents. We had family prayer meetings every night where we all knelt around the living room furniture and prayed before going to bed. We had to stay there an acceptable length of time to prove our commitment. Another difference in doctrine between the Baptist church and the Assemblies of God was the teaching of the gift of the baptism in the Holy Spirit with the evidence of speaking in tongues. Immediately after joining the church, everyone in my family began seeking this experience, even my brother who was only 8. We went to the altar at the end of every church service to be prayed for to receive the Holy Spirit. We were taught speaking in tongues was our prayer language that only God understood. It was one more way of giving up our will to God’s will. I cried and prayed for months until it finally happened. I was then a part of God’s core group. As I approached my teenage years, being separate from "the world" was difficult. I loved rock and disco music of the 70's, but since it was considered sinful and taboo, I looked for secret opportunities to listen to it. Of course, when I listened to it, guilt and shame came along with it. I wasn't allowed to participate in school activities, such as football games, school dances, or school trips. My school friends had parties outside of school and they often went to the lake on weekends. I wasn't allowed to go to these either and I felt separate and left out. I loved music and as a young teenager, I couldn't wait to be in high school band. I played flute from 6th grade and excelled at it. I was allowed to be in band as long as there were no football games involved. When I was in 8th grade, the band was to play at the high school football game. I asked for permission to go and my dad gave me a huge guilt trip, but then let me make the decision. Of course, I chose to go in spite of the guilt. My first year of high school, my dad said I could be in band only if I didn't participate in football games. During the first few months of school, band is all about practicing and performing at football games. I was so disheartened, but I didn't think I could be a part of the band without being a part of marching band. I remember looking out the window of my home economics class and watching the band practice for parades, just aching to be a part of it. By my sophomore year, my dad decided to allow me to be in band as long as it didn't interfere with church. Schools in Texas didn't normally have functions on most peoples' church days, but our church sometimes had special services that required attendance every night of the week. I remember one such meeting and true to his word, Dad required me to miss the football game to attend a Friday night "revival" service. He bragged with pride from the pulpit about how his daughter “chose God over the world". I sat in church longing to be marching in my spot on the field, while feeling guilty because I didn’t want to put God first. I participated in band my remaining years of high school and loved it. My parents never attended one event to watch me. My junior and senior years of high school my dad pastored an Assembly of God church in the tiny East Texas town of Arp. I was allowed to be in band and go to football games as long as it didn't interfere with church meetings. Although I always felt different and separate, I did enjoy activities with my church youth group. I went to summer camp every summer, which was the highlight of my year. It was closed off from the rest of the world, so no sinners to worry about. I even got to go swimming in the pool because boys and girls went separately. It was kind of like the perfect world to me. I even discovered "Christian rock music". It wasn't the same as secular music, but it was a good alternative with no guilt attached. My childhood and teenage years were only about pleasing God, pleasing my parents, being a good Christian example to church people, and avoiding hell. Any personal desires or needs were considered sinful. In fact, just the idea of wanting anything for myself would seem completely foreign. I was brought up to believe my purpose in life was to be a wife and a mother, therefore, the only reason to go to college would be to find a good Christian husband, preferably a minister. Because I was never allowed to make choices, I was not equipped to make major life choices. They were all filtered through the lens of continuing to be accepted by the church. I got married three times, enduring some form of abuse towards me and my children with each marriage until I could no longer endure it, then living with the shame of divorce until I could jump into the next one. As crazy as it sounds, it was all I knew. At 43, in bad marriage number 3, I finally came to a breaking point. I had been living the definition of insane – doing the same thing repeatedly and expecting a different result. I felt so much shame, I wrote a letter to my parents to tell them I was getting divorced a third time because I couldn’t bear to tell them to their faces. I was a worship leader in my church and although I feared losing my job, I asked for support from my pastor and his wife as I pursued divorce. This resulted in me being called into a board meeting of six men and being interrogated while I sat in tears, spilling my guts. I felt emotionally raped by these church leaders. I was so hurt by this church I just couldn’t go back. I was jobless and homeless. Although this was a tremendously hurtful experience, it was the catalyst that got me out of this religious system of abuse. I am now free and living a happy life. I have a wonderful husband who loves me unconditionally. Through a couple of books I have recently read, I am fully understanding the trauma I have suffered. I am still in the process of complete healing, but finding more peace every day.
  29. 5 points
    I spent about 15 minutes reading some of William's posts at his website. Simply put, he is a sanctimonious little shit not worthy of further time, engagement or thought. I suggest he be ignored. We all have better things to do with our time and efforts than to pile on him.
  30. 5 points
    It is coming up on a year since I left the faith and became agnostic in my view of religion, and specifically Christianity. In the past few months, I had a few conversations with family members and co-workers who are still in the faith about the cerebral problems I have with cogency of Christian theology, science versus biblical narratives, higher biblical criticism, as well as lower criticism, and through it, I have picked up a few trends I keep running into. Usually when I start honing in on various problems, the biggest rebuttal I hear is, “it is all about faith/trust in Jesus.” This is especially true whenever I start discussing church history regarding differing views on marriage versus celibacy, poverty versus riches, defining sin, and etcetera. I take issue when I hear it is all about just having faith, because all Christian groups do not actually believe this is the bottom line, there is always a catch. Let us be frank, after you “have a little talk with Jesus,” then you need to conform to a certain set of rules depending on which denomination you are dealing with. If it was really just about having trust in Jesus to save you, then why do people get so bent about sex, movies, language, ethics, and the rest of the gambit? At the end of the day, it cannot be just about having faith, and nobody really believes that. It is speaking out of both sides of the mouth. This kind of double talk is rampant when I am in these discussions with believers. My favorite times are when they retreat to ambiguity, or will start saying the Bible does not teach mainstream orthodoxy beliefs. For example, I have had a few discussions with a colleague at work who constantly contradicts himself sentence by sentence, to rationalize his belief system. The other day I had him cornered in his argument when I asked him why an all loving, all knowing, omnibenevolent, omnipresent, God who supposedly hates sin so much he is going to put sinners on a spit and roast them for eternity, would actually create the capacity to sin in the first place. My thought on this was that if we take a really high view of a constant theme in the Bible, it is that God is just super upset about sin, rebellion, whatever you want to call it. If that is indeed the case, I find it extremely myopic that said God would then create creatures even capable of committing sin. I know the typical apologetic response will be, “freewill.” Yeah, that is great, but surely a solution would be to create beings with freewill who are only ever able to make choices that fall in the domain of acceptable to YHWH. Considering this further, if YHWH created everything, then he also created the capacity for his creation to sin, then he must not hate sin that much; for if he did, then the capacity for sin would not exist. Created beings could only ever choose “good.” How would that not be a win-win for everyone? Whenever I bring this argument up, I can see the mental squirming. My colleague said, “The Bible does not teach that.” When I asked him “what,” he basically stated the Bible does not teach that God contains all those characteristics I stated above. I could only give him a blank stare because he knows that is not what he believes, nor any other Christian you talk to, and he only said it to get out of a tight spot. Maybe my argument is flawed and I have not considered other possibilities, but it just strikes me odd that the God of the Bible who hates sin so much that he is willing to torture people, who he supposedly loves so much, but he never took steps to make sure such a horrific scenario did not play out.
  31. 5 points
    Hi, sorry to hear you had some nasty comments, I think you are right in saying most of us on here are respectful but certainly there are a range of people and some have a lot of anger towards religion. Hopefully you have had a lot more positive responses this time, so perhaps you'll have a better view of the community from this thread. I'm definitely in the Christian-lite category, quite different to many of the people here who have decades of belief. I had bible studies at an early age (starting at 5) but it never felt right. I knew I was too young and didn't have the information to understand what I was being taught. I didn't understand why I wasn't feeling as swept up in the stories as many of my classmates. I now know it was because they came from Christian households who had taught them from birth that these ideas were fact, while I came from a more relaxed, blended idealogy upbringing. This just left me with a hole, a gap in my knowledge that I longed to fill. So at around age 10 I decided I would throw myself into getting a better understanding of the subject from every angle and what followed was decades of research. I read books, attended speeches, watched videos and spoke to numerous people. My plan had been to list reasons for belief vs unbelief, then run those ideas passed the other side to see where the counter arguements lead. Time and time again science would give both answers and explain how those answers were reached, while the believers answers kept ending with gaps and unsatisfactory conclusions. One of the biggest subjects for me was Noah's flood. The list of problems was so extensive and so immediately obvious as to leave me using that as my prime query. The answers recieved were so often hand wave affairs, miracles heaped on miracles, "God can do it cos He can do anything" or "I don't know but the bible is true so it must have happened that way". Science kept supplying calculations of ship strength, food requirements, space per animal, time for each person's workload, waste removal etc. I did come across Christians who had simply written off the story as hypebole, or a local flood. An event that was miraculous but didn't have to break the laws of physics. This response didn't fit with the churches teachings or really require God at all, but it did highlight the divisions within Christianity. That was one of the big take aways, that Christianity doesn't agree on many subjects. Should women teach or be priests? Are fantasy movies evil? Will God punish unbelief with eternal damnation? Which version of the bible is correct? Which books should be accepted as part of cannon? Between the protestant vs Catholic wars, the schism between east and west, the thousands of denominations and dozens of different bibles, Christianity has no sign of unity. If the church could have a united front it would be very powerful, but after thousands of years they are more divided than ever. As an outsider looking in it is very hard to feel anyone actually knows what they are talking about when their own leaders can't agree on the most basic tenants of faith. That's basically my journey in a nut shell, a long search for answers and finding all answers from one side and nothing from the other. I would say I was agnostic from 10-20, then finally admitted to myself I was an atheist. That was 20 years ago and new arguments seem a rare thing these days. All the best with your own journey through life. Cheers
  32. 5 points
    He's an abuser. Taking over your finances is a massive red flag. Google "Domestic abuse safety plan" and then clear your Internet history so that it does not show up in your recently-accessed files. Do not, under any circumstances, let him know that you are planning anything as it will increase the danger. Get copies of all important papers and keep them in a safe location outside the house.
  33. 4 points
    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.
  34. 4 points
    It seems to me that the elephant in the living room is the fact that new contributions have slowed to a trickle when compared to even a year or two ago, and going back 5 or 6 years the new contributions were flowing like a river. Possibly those types of needs are just less as atheism begins to find a place in particularly the US culture. Whatever it means I just can't help but notice how the spaces between new posts by new posters have grown longer and longer. Also there do seem to be quite a number of first time posters who post something that appears to be wanting a response or suggestions but then the OP never engages beyond that single original post. Is that low level of engagement what these posters are looking for? There are still folks out there struggling with ExC type issues or related issues who find the type of deeper engagement they are seeking right here on this site but it seems that they are becoming fewer with time. I do think this site has already made a significant contribution to the online knowledge base that ExChristians need when dealing with the life changes caused by their new world view. Maybe that in itself has filled a significant need that was previously unmet especially when that knowledge is combined with the assurance (derived from lurking) that there is a place to turn to for personal support should they need it.
  35. 4 points
    I’m glad to have found a group here! I was raised in a rather lukewarm Catholicism as a child, but became very fundamentalist catholic in my late teens/early 20s in a desperate attempt to find meaning and be “pleasing to god”. Of course, being false, I never found meaning and living according to the dictates of religion was the cause of many, many poor decisions. I’m in my 30s and now extricating myself from a religious mindset and living my life on my terms. I’m looking forward to being a part of the group here, and I’ll make a longer post in the testimony section at some point!
  36. 4 points
    I don't recall using the term evidence, however what I'm looking for is verifiable facts (evidence if you like) supporting the rational conclusion that a claim is true or false. For example if I say to you "I have a dog in my back yard", and you say back up the claim, I can provide you with photos, invite you to come to my place, you can see the dog poop, maybe pick it up for me, and most importantly pat and interact with the dog. At that point I've presented you with verifiable facts (evidence) supporting the rational conclusion that there is a dog in my back yard. If I did this to 100 people, notwithstanding any mental disorders, they would all agree that there is a dog in my back yard. At that point we can all reasonably confidently state that it is a fact of reality that there is a dog in my back yard. Now, I tell you there is A transcendent, immaterial, invisible Pink Unicorn in my back yard... evidence for this you ask? Well I have a book, I feel good. I asked the unicorn to find my keys and lo and behold I found them. I had a headache, I prayed to the unicorn and it went away... at that point you be like yeah, nah bro... I mean verifiable evidence. Hopefully that gives you some idea of what I mean by "do you have anything other than the bible to back up your claim".
  37. 4 points
    But you can help the things written here by you! Trolls and Trolling. How do we define it and who is guilty of trolling? Many members here have been expressing frustration with these "trolling" posts aimed at irritating and insulting ex christian members of this community for no visible good reason, aside from trying to poke at people and get a reaction. It needs to stop now. Pointing at members here and calling them 'troll-ish' (refer to the guidelines above) doesn't justify the trolling that you've been doing. This is where it ends. @florduh @buffettphan
  38. 4 points
    It's tough! I'm in my 50s and can't really be honest about it. My older son is about your age, though, and he went through it all. Our younger son (a minister) hasn't completely cut him off, but sometimes standoffish. My wife occasionally gets really upset and worried, but she tells me rather than him, so he isn't having to deal with it much. When everyone first found out they really "worked on him" but it's gotten better. For me, I just mostly keep pretending. I deal by avoiding having the conversation. My wife knows, of course, and occasionally we end up in an argument. Older son knows, but unfortunately we can't confide in each other too often because when we had some big talks when he was first figuring out the truth, my wife really got mad about us "going behind her back." (I put that in quotes because that's what she called it. Makes me mad that the believers feel like they have the right to restrict conversation, that somehow those of us who don't believe the mythology are doing something naughty when we talk about the mythology.) Anyway, I didn't intend for my minister son to know I was a non-believer simply because I didn't want to have to deal with whatever consequences there might have been. My fear was that I would be cut off from him and his children, and it just wasn't worth it. I ended up being outed, but jumping back in the closet, so now minister son and I have a don't ask don't tell policy. What's weird is that he'll actually ask my opinion on "spiritual things" when he's seeing things our denomination teaches that he thinks now may be incorrect, yet he told my wife that he's wanted to ask me whether I really believe and he's afraid to. It's a weird situation. Anyway, all of that was to say that if my older son's situation is typical, you'll catch quite a bit of flack at first, then it should die down. It may flare up occasionally from different quarters, but your parents will eventually leave you alone (even though they might discuss what they see as your "situation" between themselves). After some time people will quit putting pressure on you, so coming out was the right thing to do. As far as feeling foolish about hesitating to tell them, we're social beings. We really don't like upsetting people, so we feel guilty when we do. I feel foolish, as well -- this ought to be simple! I don't believe in minds without bodies, spirits, angels, demons, or gods and such. The people who believe in those things ought to feel foolish. (And I do feel foolish for having believed in them until I was 52!) But relationships are extremely complicated, even though we're just dealing with thoughts and words, nothing tangible. We wouldn't be human without those intangibles.
  39. 4 points
    None of us actually believed anything. We were just cultural christians. Like all fake believers in the fake religions. We just believed because everyone else believed. We didn't believe because god chose us out to believe. Or because the spirit was in us which gave us faith. We were just impostors. Not like real believers who really have the spirit. And can prove it because they, um, they...hmmm...they, well they just do because they know they do. Anyhow, the most important thing is to get the numbers down to 144,000 in total. That's all the room in that's available in that mighty heavenly mansion. God has always been sort-sighted with his grand schemes. mwc
  40. 4 points
    I believe I knew somewhere that you were engaged and to be married soon, congratulations! I'm so sorry to hear the rest of this news. I feel like you and I are in a similar boat and it's a really shitty place to be. Maybe, deep down, I said something that they'll think about, but I have no plans to apologize for where I am or how I got there or how we will raise our children. I truly dread that conversation with every fiber of my being, I am prepared to make a very painful (and ultimately unnecessary) choice to cut out my entire family if they try to indoctrinate my future children. I wish they could see what dickbags they are sometimes lol. Best of luck to you and thanks for the encouragement, truly. Keep us updated!
  41. 4 points
    I back track the free will argument even more. I would not let Plantinga get away with his argument because I find the principle baseless. God easily could have created beings with free will that did not invole delving into the evil spectrum. Picture a spectrum where on one end we have pure, unadulterated evil, and the other end, moral perfection. If God resides at the far right of moral perfection, then he could have created beings who could never cross the threshold into evil/sin, however you want to define it. Free will would be defined as the ability to freely choose from options that would fall into God approved. A common response would be that God did not choose that option because then people would not "freely" choose him and be more like robots. I tell them to go back to the Bible and show me where YHWH doesn't want robots. All of the commands are commands to obey and fit a stereotype that God deems fitting. Nowhere do you pick up any theme that YHWH wants individuals, he demands drones. Anyone arguing differently is reading from a different book. Matter of fact, isn't the NT theme to "be like Christ"? Where exactly are we getting this idea God is looking for a variety in personalities? That is just some BS philosophers and apologists use to avoid a tight spot. Would it not be better if they just admitted their God is not kind, or loving, or caring (in any way we understand), and quite frankly just demands us to conform or he is going to kick us in the teeth? The truth is the truth and it stands on its own. If Christianity happened to be true regardless of how we felt about it, then fine, it is true and what we are going to do about it is up to the individual. What I absolutely abhor is how pastors, apologists, and philosophers (like Ravi Zacharias) obfuscate the reality of their religion, the God they serve, ignore the blantent facts about our reality which we can investigate, and pull a bait and switch about their real doctrine.
  42. 4 points
    So how would she have reacted if the waiter had described her and her group as "intelligent people"? Perhaps the restaurant is better off without these folks as customers. Sheesh, folks. Take a chill pill.
  43. 4 points
    This past weekend I made a special trip two states over to visit my grandparents. Specifically my grandfather whose health is rapidly fading due to his considerable age. It has been a very quick decline where, at Thanksgiving, my grandparents could travel without assistance. Then by Christmas, a small stroke took out my grandfather's legs. Now, just a month later, his mind is flickering like a lightbulb struggling to stay lit. It was clear that sooner, rather than later, was the time to visit. So I visited with them over the weekend. I did get to speak to my grandfather some. At times his eyes were bright and he was fully lucid, but then at times his eyes would glass over and he'd lose his grip on the moment. We were able to talk during those lucid moments, though I could also see he exerted a lot of effort to hold to his right mind. Sunday afternoon came and it was time for me to return home. But I was conflicted. How do you end a visit like that knowing with reasonable certainty that this will be your last? Hand shakes and well wishes? Hardly. Tearful embrace? That's not the type of man my grandfather is, nor any of the other men in my family. I stalled, unsure how to give finality to the moment. He was losing lucidity anyway, having exhausted himself talking to me. Then my father who was there too just said that before either of us left, we'd like to pray with my grandfather. My father doesn't know of my deconversion so this was not a presumptuous statement. And nor was I about to say no in that moment. So the three of us held hands while we prayed in a circle. Me, of course, just expressing my thankfulness (to no one in particular) about being able to visit and appreciation for the moments I'll forever cherish. My grandfather also mustered the strength he had left and also prayed his thanks for being blessed with a family so large and so close as he'd never imagined when he'd taken a fancy to my grandmother more than 70 years ago. He prayed until he had no energy left and afterwards, he reclined back in his chair with a large smile on his face. That was the closure I sought.
  44. 4 points
    This is false. @ag_NO_stic asked you for clarification and even called you out for seeming to ignore her. I, and several other members, told you that your question was improperly framed and needed to be rephrased. You were given the opportunity to clarify. You opted not to.
  45. 4 points
    Fun question! Insightful because I am an optometrist... and a deep thinker. I totally could have gone with "1or2" which would have been a fun play on the question optometrists ask and the many gospel discrepancies... How many blind men did Jesus heal? 1 or 2? How many angels were at Jesus' tomb? 1 or 2?
  46. 4 points
    To answer the question in the title: Are atheists happy? I feel happier and freer now that I don't have to somehow relate to an invisible intangible unknowable entity. It takes too much energy to have the "right feelings" of respect, love, worship, and thankfulness toward an entity whose existence one can't perceive somehow with the senses, intellect, or emotions--let alone trust and have faith in this entity. As for feeling connected with the people around them, that is a matter of choice. I find there are atheists who don't want community. I myself want community but I'm very particular what kind of people I "connect" with. It has taken me a very long time but I have made connections. I feel deeply connected with the people who really are true friends, some atheist, some deeply religious, others never mention their beliefs so I don't know.
  47. 4 points
    Yes! The un-churched really don't "get" that the fundamentalists like VP Pence really do believe that domination, control, and even slaughter are completely acceptable to the "religion of love" Christianity. They really do believe in a constant real war with invisible spiritual enemies and protectors, and that their prayers (and laws they pass) prevent the horrors of Satanic blindness in our country. This is also why there is such unbending devotion to Israel, even when they do nasty shit to those around them. It is an ignorant and in many ways willfully stupid mindset ("I'm a FOOL FOR CHRIST!!! MAGA!"). In my still unpublished book, this is the primary thing that I try to convey to the unchurched, the mindset of a serious believer, the daily practices, the many superstitions, the seeming reality that is entirely imaginary, bolstered only by the emotional manipulation of their congregations.
  48. 4 points
    You're paying rent there, that isn't the same at all as you living under your parents roof. And if it really comes to it and they want to try ruin your life, you can remove yourself. You're an adult. You do not deserve to have your parents ordering your life in any way. Particularly when you are pitching in, helping out and doing what you can for your mom. Gratitude should be expressed, not judgement. What you're willing to do is admirable. Edit: Don't go near the guilt complex that may be left over from religion. Be matter of fact and upfront about your SO. If they try lecture or guilt trip you can tell them straight out you live by different principles and have little in common there and therefore you're asking for respect in spite of your differences, as any adult would expect it. You can tell them straight out your SO may visit etc and that they need to be aware of these facts before they pool resources with you.
  49. 4 points
    It's true that most of us on this site don't believe in bible god (or any gods for that matter). The reason we are here discussing these topics is that there are many people, such as yourself, who do believe. Many believers aren't aware of how immoral the bible is, or the problems and contradictions in the bible. Why is it important for us to point these out? We are hoping that good people will realize that what they've been taught or assumed isn't always accurate and will begin to think for themselves. Several of us ex-christians became ex-christians because we did start studying the bible without blinders on. Why do I care whether people believe in the god of the bible? One reason is that bible believers often try to push their beliefs onto others as voters and elected officials or even as terrorists. Good people have done bad and evil things because they think their bible or god wants them to and I would like to see that come to an end.
  50. 4 points
    Gee imagine that, gun laws didnt do crap. Im sooo shocked, look at my shocked face

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