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Showing content with the highest reputation since 10/16/2018 in all areas

  1. 12 points
    The land of enormous flags and women with perfectly coiffed blonde hair. I wasn’t born here though. I’m from the north east and it was me,my younger brother,mom and dad. We moved a lot and didn’t have much. Focus on the Family came with us and blared from moms kitchen radio wherever we went. Dad’s narcissism and listening for the Holy Spirit on every detail of my life was just normal. We were charismatic,speaking in tongues,fundies with no Santa or Easter basket, or god forbid trick or treat. I just feel sad now remembering it. I grew up,went to a small Bible college,met a good man and married him my senior year. I found a gentle parenting internet site and told my dad “women aren’t less than” and “god isn’t punitive”. That was my first big step away. I had three kids and suffered anxiety and depression while trying to read the bible to scare it all away. I prayed so hard. I guess maybe this all would have continued for much longer but for two things. 1. My brother is gay and I couldn’t deny the conditional love he got from my parents. 2. Trump came on the scene in 2016. I watched the map turn red Election night and realized I didn’t want to be associated with evangelicals anymore. Two years of depression later,I went to therapy. It took about a month for everything to just crash down to my feet. My brother and I talk every day now. My kids went trick or treating for the first time this year. I dressed up as a red devil and it was awesome. A lady invited me to her church. This is Texas after all. So that’s my story. I guess I’m a hopeful agnostic. I like the idea of a higher power in nature or something like that. But mostly,I love my freedom to live my beautiful life.
  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. 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.
  5. 8 points
    Now that there are no devote Christians to report me to my church or my family, I HATE CONTEMPORARY WORSHIP SONGS!!! God, they are just awful. Just whiney mopey drudges of insipid trite! Oh, this is not my first complaint as even as a Christian I'd gently critique that "I feel many of these praise songs are somewhat repetitive and... guitar-centric." But no, let's not mince words kiddos, it's musical cancer. It's made of music but it's gone completely rogue and is filling musical works with this tumorous mass that devours anyone with skill. These songs were written by stoned out college students who were trying to serenade some shallow girl who was completely enamored because her talentless boyfriend is an "artist" for being able to play 4 whole cords on an acoustic guitar. And I say talentless because most of this music is four cords and a handful of lines repeated FOREVER! “I could sing of your love forever?” YES! I believe you! Now stop it! Holy hell in a hurricane, batman! These songs are just awful. I would say they are like the high of snorting pixie sticks of they weren’t – so – aggressively – earnest. It’s like they have stumbled upon some secret first uncovered by the Gregorian Monks, only, it’s like they are pining over their highschool sweetheart who’s about to dump them. I am convinced with a little more repetition the singers will devolve into Pokemon. Yes, I’ll match up your Shouttothelord against my Goodgoodfather. You can keep your Woahs and your Yeahyeahs because they are about as effectual as a Rattata. Meaning you should grow out of it almost immediately! SO, IN SUMMARY!!! I don’t really have a strong affinity for modern praise and worship.
  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
    Well, as embarrassed as I am, I will admit how I got my board name. I was still praying at the time when I joined Ex-c even though I continued to post questions every single day. And I was still very much into magical thinking. So, I imagined I had an angel to help me through my deconversion and I called her, ''Margee'', with 2 ee's. Lol I have to admit, she's become part of who I am and I think sometimes she might even be my ''higher self''!! Lol Love and ((hugs)) to you
  9. 6 points
    Thanks for the great replies guys. I guess im still really naive in thinking that its impossible for ANY human being in this day and age to be as totally brainwashed by religion. When facts and logic are so readily at hand. Religions ruins everything. I tried to reason with my christian friend yesterday. She reacted with so much hostility it scared me. Like a cornered wild animal.
  10. 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.
  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
    My older granddaughter used to put a very distinct “r” sound in the word “look.” “Lerk, Pops!” It was really, really cute I needed a new online name at the time and thought to use her pronunciation. I googled it and discovered that there’s a mythical creature by that name, and figured if I used that for my icon it would be less likely for people I know me in person to associate my posts with me, should I happen to be careless. I’ve written some things that would definitely give me away, yet this creature would likely make them second guess themselves. Of course, if they were to read this comment, I’d really be busted!
  15. 6 points
    She doesn't want you to fix it and she doesn't want your opinion. She just wants you to listen. Just listen. Commiserate. If she asks for your opinion, turn that into a question about how she feels. Or ask her what she thinks would be the best course of action. (I've learned that when wifey asks for my opinion, what she really wants is for me to confirm the decision she has already made.)
  16. 6 points
    I've never understood people who actually think this is an issue. Say what you want. Celebrate what you want. Who cares?
  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
    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.
  25. 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)
  26. 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.)
  27. 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.
  28. 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.
  29. 5 points
    If you are struggling, this video is excellent and well worth the watch. Hope it helps somebody. (hug) P.S. Check out the responses from the christians after you watch this youtube. Christians cannot or will not watch this with an open mind because they do not want to know.
  30. 5 points
    First, not all non-Christians are atheist. Second, I have come to the opposite conclusion regarding happiness.
  31. 5 points
    I think it’s great that you’re going to set some boundaries. Since they’ll be trampled, have a plan. Are the kids on your side? Make a Fundie Xmas Bingo card so each of the kids can identify and track the cray-cray from gramps. First to get a BINGO gets another helping of dessert. Or inoculate the kids by having them secretly count boundary violations.
  32. 5 points
    It won't be easy for you at first, for sure, but it will eventually get better. The "unequally-yoked" thing ruins a lot of relationships!
  33. 5 points
    I guess this is a good place to start. Everyone seems to be posting their stories of "how I got to here," so here's mine. I was recently referred to this website by a former co-worker. As he reminded me, it's been 16 years since we worked together and we both considered ourselves christians at the time. I'm male, 53 (at the time of this writing) and widowed with three adult sons. I was born and raised in NJ, but now live in KY. I have a degree in engineering and politically, I identify as a Libertarian. I'm now engaged to a woman who is also widowed, also atheist and also has three adult children. I was raised Presbyterian and my dad was active in the church. He was an "elder," but in more of a management role (mostly as treasurer or whatever the position is that was responsible for the buildings and grounds). He was not (and still isn't) anywhere near as religious as many of the people I've come to know now that I live in the bible-belt. In a way, he's more "spiritual" than "religious." My mother was raised catholic. She was religious, but just short of the point of actually going to church. Every Sunday, they would drag me to Sunday school (sometimes kicking and screaming). Somewhere around 4th or 5th grade - between the story of Job and the one about the guy who wore his brother's coat to trick his blind dad on his death bed - I came to the conclusion that it was all B.S. I couldn't take any of it seriously after that. I did remain somewhat "spiritual" after that, though, believing in the standard god, heaven, hell and praying once in a while, but not much more than that. One day, I discovered I could get out of Sunday school by feigning illness - every Sunday. My parents pretty much gave up after that. The only reason I went through the "confirmation" ritual was because my parent convinced me that one day I might need the church to get married in (which I later did, in fact). In my mid-twenties, I met my wife - catholic and religious but just short of the point of actually going to church (just like my mom). She had two boys from her previous marriage (both of whom, I later adopted) and we had a third together. We raised our kids to believe in god, but never took them to church. I'll never forget the conversation my wife and I had one day.... "We need to send these boys to church." "I don't see you getting your ass up early on Sundays." "That's the man's job." "Not this man." In 2002, I changed jobs and we moved from NJ to rural OH and a few years after that, to KY. I currently live in the suburbs of Cincinnati, not too far from Ken Ham's "Creation Museum." About ten years ago, I changed jobs again and now I work from home. This allowed me some free-thought time where I began to question both my previously conservative political beliefs and theological beliefs - ultimately landing on Libertarian (almost anarchist) and atheist... "No rulers, no gods." My family took it as well as anyone could hope for. They were a bit upset at first, but came to accept that I was still the same person they've always known. This is the difficult part for me... A few years before that, my wife developed Degenerative Disk Disease. For over ten years, her back pain increased steadily. She tried everything from doctors and operations to herbal remedies to reading the bible cover-to-cover. I watched my once strong and confident partner in life slowly and painfully deteriorate, falling apart before my very eyes - like a mountain weathered by the elements - until she could no longer bear it. She took her own life a year and a half ago. If there were any cracks in it before, my confidence that there is no god was completely solidified at that point. Neil deGrasse Tyson once said something to the effect of, "If, in our quest for knowledge, we come across 'the bearded man,' then so be it." Well, if I ever come across "the bearded man," I'd punch him in the throat for the suffering my wife endured. Shortly after my wife's death, I met a wonderful and beautiful woman. We hit it off right from the start. She's what keeps me going and gives me the motivation to get up in the morning. As I mentioned earlier, she is also atheist. She never believed at all and never had much exposure to religion. We live together now and are planning on getting married at the end of the year. So that's it. That's my personal journey through life. I hope to meet other normal people here and have normal social interactions (albeit online).
  34. 5 points
    Why did I leave church? There are a number of reasons. I was an associate pastor at a Lutheran church. I spent a tremendous amount of time, energy and money in the ministry because I wanted to make a difference “for God”. Admittedly, the deeper reason is..........I wanted to be admired. I was given the responsibility to open up the worship service which, being an introvert, I didn’t like. But I gutted it out. I was sitting in the pulpit one Sunday during the worship service and for the first time as a Christian I wondered, “Why does God need to be worshipped?” Worship in “fear and trembling”? How is that a good thing to demand of anyone? I thought about terms commonly used in the liturgy like “lord, kingdom, servant, throne, bow before him”, and it hit me like a brick upside my head as I was sitting there: What the hell am I doing? I’m involved in some kind of imperialistic belief system that is not appearing to be.........real. This whole church thing is a stage performance. I don’ t want this anymore. I don’t need this. Add to the nonsensical idea of worship all the other things I had observed for years in my involvement in church ministry. The politics. The power struggles. The pettiness. The self-righteous pretension. The shame- inducing legalism. The obsession with money. The emotionalism. Arrogant, smooth-talking, pretend-to-know-it-all preachers who try to be your daddy. Church did nothing for me but feed my fear of failure to the point of wanting to commit suicide. I walked away from it all with no goodbyes and no second thought. Today I feel so much better about myself without church and the belief in God.
  35. 4 points
    I once put the questions in my Thought Experiment post to the pastor of a church. He side-stepped them and changed the subject to question me on the source of my Deist morality. I think Christian fundamentalists have been deeply shaken over the last couple of decades. Jesus was expected to return around 1988 (forty years---a biblical generation---after the birth of the modern state of Israel). Jesus didn't come back, the Soviet Union (the great "prophetic" enemy of Israel) fell, the European Common Market (the great beast) was dissolved.....by the early '90s their whole apocalyptic scenario had fallen apart. Now they're scrambling to convert the Jews to Christianity, apparently to set things up so Jesus will return after saying in the gospels that he wouldn't be seen at the temple again until his critics learned to cry, "Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!" They're still proclaiming that the end is near, but I suspect that underneath it all they're desperate for vindication.
  36. 4 points
    This post has been a long time coming, I feel it to be a necessity in order for me to truly move on. I joined this site June of 2013 and it served as a new community after severing ties with my church circles. Over time, I've talked to some incredible people, some I've had the privilege of meeting in person. I've even found relationships here, twice, something that I didn't expect from a forum of this nature. That's not to say that I've gotten along with everyone but that's inevitable when you gather many individuals with separate life experiences all in one place. Many who were with me on this journey are now long gone from the site and thus, perhaps it's time I follow in their footsteps. There are several reasons why I'm choosing this route. I see this site as a sort of medicine, a kind or treatment for people who have been negatively affected by Christianity. I'm at the point where I hardly think about it in a daily basis, the days where I was a church drone are in the distant past now as well as any residual emotions that came along with them. I think it is safe to say that I have completed the recovery cycle and have moved on to other things, other groups, other interests, etc. There is no sense in continuing to take the medicine if you aren't afflicted with the condition it was intended to heal. There is nothing more that I can gain from this site or contribute. Sure, I might encourage new non believers here every once in a while but there are those here who feel more passionate about it and thus will do a much better job than me. On top of this, an ideological rift has formed between me and the majority of the members here. I don't think these differences are reconcilable, the tribal nature of humanity precludes that from ever happening. I suppose that I've found my tribe elsewhere at this point. I would like to thank everyone who recently commented on the thread where my father passed away. I much appreciate the advice and encouragement. The same goes for everyone who is still reading me and have done the same in other instances. Right now I will reach out and say my goodbyes to some of the members here via PM. Once they all reply, I will ask Margee or one of the mods to permanently delete my profile. Anyways, that is all I have to say for now.
  37. 4 points
    So in some countries Christians aren't allowed to infect people with their toxic faith. Sweet. Hopefully with enough education and free flow of information, Christianity will wither away and die. The internet really has dealt a major blow to this idiotic religion.
  38. 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".
  39. 4 points
    Materialists Christians need to be stroked in their un belief so they seek out like minds and all get together and commune in their un belief. Sad, I must say.
  40. 4 points
  41. 4 points
    I have deleted the post and offer my apologies.
  42. 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!
  43. 4 points
    Any conclusions based on math are pure conjecture at this point. So far, we only have our own planet where we know we have life. Even studying our own kinds of life, we have not yet got a process down that we know creates life from non-living matter. Thus, we cannot yet statistically draw any conclusions at all about probabilities of life elsewhere. We really don't know.
  44. 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.
  45. 4 points
    At once Jesus realized that power had gone out from him. He turned around in the crowd and asked, "Who touched my clothes?" -Mark 5:30 Ok, so it didn’t bug me so much but it made everyone I was talking to about it (including the preacher present) deeply uncomfortable. It was an innocent Bible study and I said. ”That’s really interesting! So God’s power is something that he can perceive to flow and it can do so outside his knowledge. Granted, Jesus did not always seem carry the omniscience of God the Father. Presumably God the Father revealed knowledge to Jesus as appropriate. Still it’s interesting that Jesus can perceive his own power in a tangible way and not know to whom it flowed. I wonder if the triggering event for its activation was God willing it without Jesus’s knowledge or if the woman’s acts were the triggering mechanism outside of God’s direct influence, i.e. a fundamental atribute of reality itself...” I was thanked for my perspective and curiosity but told not to look too deeply into God’s power. That was not for us to understand.
  46. 4 points
    I believe Christianity gave me undue stress...worry and pain. I had spiritual nightmares, confusion, panic attacks, fear and so much negativity in it. It was like a sickness. So glad to give it up.
  47. 4 points
    Ive only been here for a couple of days but it seems mostly populated by men. Very wordy men. Am I wrong?
  48. 4 points
    Cheers again for the warm responses and to update, I'm doing better and alive. I am back enjoying things and active. I still feel occasional guilt and sorrow for not having that fatherly like connection but through Christianity and coming down from it I have came to know myself even more and my place in the world, and the wisdom I have received I am able to apply that in my life and I know how people work better. The fear of hell is not as bad and I dont feel as condemned, I start to think critically about things. For example why did God draw me to his son and gave me faith if he knew I was going turn my way and leave the faith 4 months later? If there's a judgement day I would ask that question because the bible says only the father can draw someone to being a Christian.. and there are other things I am starting to find confusing aswell. To be honest lately hell seems better than nothing at all for eternity. I still fear death like everyone does naturally but I am more focused on my own life than death.
  49. 4 points
    Because I'm a fan of Jimmy Buffett.
  50. 4 points
    Nothing new here. You knew the wrong xianity. That was about fear and hate. Real xianity is about love. Let me tell you all about real xianity. Proceeds by using fear and hate. mwc

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