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ToonForever last won the day on March 6 2012

ToonForever had the most liked content!

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About ToonForever

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    Strong Minded
  • Birthday June 14

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    Central California
  • Interests
    Choir, Theater, Writing, Philosophy, Logic
  • More About Me
    I was an evangelical Christian for 26 years, a worship leader and choir director. I'm an atheist humanist with an appreciation for Buddhist philosophy. I'm a husband (31 years) and a father of three. By day I'm a sales representative.

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  • Still have any Gods? If so, who or what?
    Atheist Humanist

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  1. So I think it's clear it's bollocks, in reality. However, from within the hive mind, and specifically within your mainstream, Dispensational Evangelical theology as taught at places like Dallas or Fuller Seminaries, this is the way it was taught to us - and you'll recognize it as an amalgamation of concepts gleaned and cleaned from the vaguest potential references throughout the bible: 1.) Humans, being made in the Triune God's image, are made up of Body (physical self), Soul (mind/will/emotions), and Spirit (the part of your personhood that is capable of being relating to and being connected to God.) 2.) When Adam and Eve sinned, they, as God promised (read: threatened), *died* - not physically, but spiritually. Their spirit was dead, and they were no longer connected to God and perfect, and had to be driven from the Garden. 3.) In the same way that we inherit our parents' eye color, hair color, and other genetic features, we inherit their state of being dead in sin. So it's not that we're being punished for their sin, but rather that they proffered on us this state of Death that can only be restored by the work of Christ on the Cross. 4.) So then when you *accept Jesus* and the Holy Spirit *indwells* you, your Spirit is resurrected and you are reconnected to God. That is the only way this can be corrected under the New Covenant. 5.) Supposedly all those who died under the Old Covenant but followed YHWH faithfully enough, were retroactively restored by this same "finished" work. So that's how they got around that conversation. It wasn't a manner of punishment, it was a matter of parentage. Of course, YVMV, depending on your sect or denomination, but that's how it was fed to us.
  2. I've thought about this quite often, coming from a town that was heavily Mormon and having good friends who are. Of course, when you're a fundie, as I was for a quarter century, that's your entire context - your point of view is from within. But beyond the fact that I was in one camp criticizing another, I think Western Culture is so steeped in, so saturated with the basic Christian narrative (Jesus, born of Virgin Mary, perfect life, died on the Cross, Resurrection, Judgement, Heaven/Hell) that beliefs that depart from what many of us learned though even our public holidays seem strange. Even nominal/holiday Christians retain enough to recognize when a belief departs from the cultural norm (getting your own planet, Satan and Jesus brothers, spirit babies, baptizing for the dead, etc.) That difference contributes to its strangeness, and that makes it far less believable. From the outside, of course, the belief sets are equally ridiculous. Viewing them that way is a step we consciously take, otherwise, the less familiar becomes less belieavable.
  3. Zomberina - I just lurve this post. I never had to face such fear and uncertainty when I came out, being an independent adult with a wife who had already found her way out. But when we were young and in, we were spiritually abused and controlled by our leaders for a time, and the power they can wield is sometimes terrifying. On the blog I post on now and then, I get comments from occasional people who are truly alone, who can't tell others, who are struggling, and I can just imagine how hard it would be to have to face that kind of opposition just for finding reality. Good.. no, Fantastic job. You are a saint.
  4. Oh - no way. That is FUCKED UP. If you really feel the need to go to that meeting, I would go with two fingers up the whole time. These men have no authority over you. I know you fear your parents throwing you out. I'm not you, so I don't mean to pretend I completely understand, but if it was me, I would dare the old man to throw you out. Tell him that you do not believe anymore, that you are not a Christian, that authority over you is yours to give, and you refuse to give it to these men to judge you based on the arbitrary morality in their fairy tales. This makes my blood boil. It's abuse, plain and simple. I know you love him, but he's abusing you. How horrible that you feel you have to put up with this. Is there NO chance you could pay your boyfriend's parents a little bit of rent or somesuch and get the hell out? Good luck either way - sounds like you need it
  5. yeah, its not so much about the giving away any more, as the "not coming at all" i mean he IS my father, and i do want to have a father-daughter dance, and know that he wants to be there and be a part of the life i am making It will be his regret much more than yours. Trust me. You'll be sad for him more than yourself. You'll make that day your day with your husband, and he won't be able to take that away from you. He will miss it if he so chooses, and he will go to the end of his days wishing he'd been there after all. If push comes to shove, you might even tell him that. Make it clear that this is your life, and he's welcome in it, but on your terms. I just read through this whole thread for the first time. I feel for you, I really do. Your dad has been mentally abusing you, make no mistake. Don't sugarcoat it. I think your mom will keep him from doing something stupid. She sounds torn, confused, but not quite so far gone. Also, I find his 98% accuracy remark interesting. That's how I started down my slippery slope. It honestly sounds like you've thrown a few flies in the ointment that he can't quite figure out. Here's hoping you've planted some seeds of doubt to give him an eventual path out. There's always hope, I think, but what do I know? Religion is so poisonous. It takes arbitrary things that are 1.) no big deal and 2.) nobody's fucking business, and makes them dividing lines, breaking relationships, causing rifts and arguments. I do hope your parents find their way out eventually, but most of all I hope you continue to get free of them. It's their privilege to have you as a daughter. They need to figure that out. Cheers.
  6. I agree with Positivist, this is a very encouraging sign. My wife showed zero interest in understanding where I was coming from, and even less interest in reviewing the sources that fed into it. Just to update this, she has at least started to read "Why I Believed" by Ken Daniels at my encouraging. Since this book touches on more of the human / emotional side of deconverting, rather than just spouting discrepancy after biblical discrepancy, I figured that would be a good start. I really liked Daniels's book - here's hoping it gets through the haze...
  7. This. I did the same. You're on neutral turf, there's no chance of getting ganged up on with another leader or party who "just happens" to be there. Good luck.
  8. **Raises hand** Hullo, this was me, all over the place. It was fear that kept me from exploring it. On one side of my mind I was convinced that if I studied what she had looked at, I could poke holes in all of it and show her why her view didn't make any sense. But the other side of me was filled with fear that I'd find it wanting too - that my faith would fail and that I'd end up twice bound for hell and this time irredeemable. It took years, and doubts that piled up one on another. Just keep true to yourself and be loving and gentle with her while she deals with it. Stand your ground like you did - that's the best chance you have. The rest will be up to her, and it's nothing you'll be able to control. Good luck.
  9. Great book - very clear and interesting.
  10. Thinking about you today, Electech - I was on your wife's side of the fence some 8 years ago or so. My wife told me straight up she didn't believe it anymore, though I think I felt it coming on. She asked weird questions during bible study, and she was fascinated by one of her religion classes she'd had at university. At the time she dropped that bomb on me, I was the worship leader at our little church, and I'd been approached about perhaps joining the board of elders. I had an aversion to that to begin with, but now I'm looking at this perfect little church family life I thought we were building and saw all of our goodness and unity going out the window. Everything we'd build our lives and marriage on (I thought) everything we were teaching our children. It was very difficult. I didn't cry, I guess, but I didn't take it well either. We had a lot of arguments and heated discussions. At some point though, we both realized we loved each other and wanted to be married no matter what. We loved this life we had built together. We loved being together. She was willing to give me space to pursue what I believed. As a decent Christian fella I took solace in Hosea. If he was supposed to love his wife though she was a harlot, how much easier should it be to just love my wife for who she was while she went through this "desert experience," as I saw it then - after all, she is certainly no harlot So we found a way to stumble through our religious coexistence and still love each other. But I had to learn to respect her viewpoint and her right to believe as she would. Our kids started getting a double message. She insisted they not be required to go to church, that they could stay home with her or go with me as they pleased. We had some conflict about this, but she stood her ground and I assented. I was just telling her the other day how much I appreciate this in hindsight. We had so many discussions. Somewhere early on we learned to make the discussion about the topic at hand and not about each other. I can't stress that enough. Still I often accused her of only accepting evidence that supported her viewpoint and ignoring that which supported mine. She tried to get through to me and explain the difference between her evidence and mine. Usually it was a constant stalemate. Sometimes she would get me twisted into knots which is usually where I would make said accusation. Only one time can I remember getting the upper hand in a conversation where she held up an example of a book she was reading about Paul - I was actually able to show her how the author ignored context and audience and completely misinterpreted verses to shore up a pretty stretched point she was trying to make. That was once in, what, 7 years? My wife knew her stuff and didn't back down. Some of the things she said resonated with me, but I ignored them, feeling like I had to hold the faith together for the whole family. Cut to last year and I underwent my own deconversion. I've told the story a hundred times around here, so won't belabor it, but I can't tell you how much more in sync we are, and how grateful we both are that we stuck it out and didn't let religion by the be all and end all of our relationship. I would encourage you to love her the best you can. Give her space to be a Christian, but insist on your space too. Learn to discuss and argue safely. Learn to agree to disagree. She's started looking at this site - I think that's fantastic. If nothing else, she's trying to understand you. Hopefully you guys will find a way to keep walking hand-in-hand. Please keep us updated.
  11. It is liberating. Christianity is a self-loathing religion when you get right down to it. Your life is yours again - you're not an empty vessel waiting to be filled by someone else so you can actually do something good. Your righteousness, your good works, are not bloody rags. You're not *just* a sinner saved by grace. You're a person, a human being, of immense value just for who you are, not because you believed god tortured himself for you. You do not just feel free. You *are* free from all that bullshit. Congratulations
  12. Welcome - I too turned to Buddhism when leaving Christianity. When Jesus couldn't seem to help me with issues I was having in my life, I found that there was no magic bullet, that I was responsible for my life and living, but not in control of others, and found the Buddhism gave me better clarity to apply mindfulness to my life situations - it has been a big, positive change for me - with mixed results, certainly (even right here on this site!) but still - much better. Cheers
  13. A couple things that popped out at me 1 - I tried raising my kids as Christians. My oldest (now 19) was baptized when she was 10 - but stopped going to church a little while after that - when my wife deconverted. She (wisely, in hindsight) refused to insist they go to church, and would not let me force them to do so. To keep the peace I relented, because I didn't want to have to explain why they had to go if mom didn't. At the time I was a little frustrated, because I felt I *needed* to teach them while they were young so they'd always have that and not have to go finding it themselves. Now I'm grateful. 2 - Following up to that - and the comment on Buddhism, since deconverting earlier this year I've become a Buddhist (an Agnostic Zen Buddhist, is probably the most accurate way of putting it.) My daughter has shown a lot of interest, but we've had conversations about the *weirdness* of it and how she has a hard time looking at Buddhist philosophy without that veneer of her upbringing causing guilt and unsettling feelings. Now I regret that, of course, and am grateful for my wife's wisdom, some 8 years later That said, my 10 year old still thinks it's very weird I'm a Buddhist. He came into my office (I'm a sales rep and keep my office at home) just as I had finished meditating, had stood up from my zafu, and was blowing out the candle on the little altar I have. He looked at me and said, "I think I'll just go now," and backed out of the room
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