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About shadesofgray

  • Birthday 10/21/1987

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    Politics, Doctor Who, Top Gear, baseball, horses, tea, writing, theology
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  • Still have any Gods? If so, who or what?

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  1. Several days ago I was told (among many, many, many other things) that "[shadesofgray], any definition you can offer into a discussion in the atheistic framework you have to work with is subjective and can have no value to anyone but you because it isn't rooted in an absolute, all definitions in that framework are meaningless so you're assertion about it being " hateful" to think homosexuality is immoral is just as meaningful." Which definitely made me realize I was wasting my time.
  2. This exactly. One thing Christianity is so good at is keeping people from thinking for themselves. Instead, pastors, teachers, apologists, parents, and others all set up certain boundaries of what is okay to think and what is not okay. The best thing you can do for yourself is break out of those boundaries. Investigate the whole world, not just the Jesus-approved version. Maybe, after investigating, you'll end up back in some form of Christianity, or maybe in another religion, or maybe in no religion. The important part is, YOU get to decide. It is just not worth it to be forced to live someone else's faith - life is far too short and far too precious to waste on that crap.
  3. Congratulations on getting out and reaching the one-year milestone! Man those Christians sound incredibly nasty and I am glad you're not there anymore.
  4. I sometimes find myself missing the certainty of believing, but if I'm honest with myself I was never certain of anything as a Christian either. I was always paranoid that I wasn't *really* saved, so I was constantly re-asking Jesus into my heart and recommitting my life to god. I struggled massively over Hebrews 6:4-8 which declares that those who have experienced god's grace and fall away are lost forever and always feared that I was one of them. I gradually became more Calvinistic and feared that I was not one of the elect and no matter what I tried, maybe god hadn't chosen me, and I could never know for sure until it was too late. In light if that mind-fuckery, skepticism has been a huge relief. And like others have already said, not knowing is just fine
  5. It's okay to not be sure. There is a lot that has been preprogrammed into us to make us feel guilty and terrified to leave religion. Part of why Christianity has been so successful is because it has features built in that make it psychologically difficult to leave - a built in community and an intense fear of hell kept me in it a lot longer than I should have been. You talk about feeling like you're "playing atheist" - one thing that has been so freeing since deconverting has been not having to pretend anything. If you don't feel convinced of atheism, you don't have to be one. "I don't know" is a perfectly good answer. The most important thing for me is to not feel forced to be anything I'm not. In my case, I have come to terms with the fact I'm an atheist. You may end up there, you may end up somewhere else. But the important thing is being yourself and not letting anyone else tell you what you need to be. You get to decide that for yourself. One thing that helped me feel more comfortable with myself as a nonbeliever was podcasts. The ones I'm tearing through right now are the thinking atheist and reasonable doubts, and I like to watch the atheist experience. It helps me to hear other people who quite frankly are smarter than me put religion in perspective. Also, I struggle with the community thing so much. I moved across the country last year and still have yet to find much of a community or even friends at all. I think I've posted about this here before, and sadly the situation hasn't improved much. When I ask for advice, most people suggest church, which isn't going to work obviously. I've tried a couple local meetup groups and they did not feel like good fits. I'm very shy and anxious when I'm around strangers (so things like bars are out of the question) and do not know how to make friends outside of school and church. Oh well. I'm becoming a pretty good lone wolf... I just realized that I've dredged this post up from last month but I spent a while typing it up so I'm going to post it anyway :-P Hope it helps and good luck!
  6. This exactly. I heard a college group leader preach a sermon where she walked us through a time when she imagined there was no god and how the world was so cold and hopeless. I was confused, because I was imagining it along with her and thought it was freeing and beautiful, which I had never considered possible before thanks to brainwashing. I preferred this world to a world with god. I didn't have to cram the square peg of reality into the round hole of Christianity anymore. I wasn't bound by some archaic rule book I wasn't even sure of anymore. The world was free, and self-sufficient. It didn't take me long from this point from imagining myself an atheist to actually being one. My biggest hurdle was that I so desperately didn't want Christianity to be wrong. It was my everything. I could not begin to picture life without a relationship with Jesus. That is, until I heard that one sermon in college. That changed everything.
  7. When I realized that my answered prayers didn't seem distinguishable from random chance, I started doubting god's effectiveness and existence. It was a big factor in my deconversion too.
  8. I prayed this for YEARS. When I kept not getting an answer, I kept praying. I surrendered my doubts to god and laid them at the foot of the cross. And still I never heard a thing. THIS, more than anything, convinced me it was all in my head, and god wasn't real. In a way, the offer still stands. If god somehow makes himself real to me even now, I'd go back. I'd believe in him. I still want to believe, but without any evidence, without the "relationship" being a 2-way one, it's just not possible. Anyway, that is a beautiful letter. I think it captures the process beautifully. I don't think many of us hate god. I think we are simply sick of constant disappointment and disillusionment.
  9. Thanks guys It doesn't usually enter into my thoughts, but ever so often I get into a mood like that and I just wish I could completely convince myself it's just fairy tales. I mean, I know it's just fairy tales, but I BELIEVED it so hard and for so long that it's basically ingrained in me. Un-brainwashing is hard, haha. Do any of you know of any good books on the history of the idea of hell (in Christianity)?
  10. So I haven't been on here in quite a while. In the past year, I've moved on, grown more comfortable not having god be a part of my life, made changes in my personal life, moved across the country, etc. There are a couple frustrating things going on, but nothing that's tempting me to crawl back to Jesus or whatever. Except: I am still deathly afraid of going to hell. I know it's not logical, I know there's no evidence whatsoever of hell or really life after death at all, I know I'm already lined up for even worse hells according to any number of other religions, I know it's an absolutely cruel and reprehensible doctrine that no god worth worshipping would create let alone send people to. Still, I am terrified of being damned, terrified of going to hell. Right now I'm fine with my atheism, but I'm pretty sure that if, for example, the doctor called tomorrow and told me I had cancer, I would "backslide" right back to god. I know the "I'm scared of hell" topic pops up all the time here, but I guess I'm gonna broach the topic again. How do/did you snap out of this insidious belief in something so ridiculous yet so compelling? I would love to someday get to the point where I am not afraid of what comes after death.
  11. I definitely did this for a summer. I went to the unchristianized wilds of Scotland, lol. I'm positive that the experience did far more for me than it did for anyone I "ministered" to
  12. Hi, I noticed you're from Bellingham and I've done a bit of shopping for internet plans around here. The companies I know people have gone with are Clear (which is 4g wireless), Comcast (which is what I've got), and CenturyLink/Qwest (which I used to have). I've also heard of Wave but have no firsthand knowledge of them. From what I remember, the slowest internet-only plans seem to start about $30, so the deal you found would probably be better. Also, I've heard that if you go into Best Buy, they have a list of all the internet providers in the area as well as any deals they may be offering at the time. Might be worth a trip there
  13. In the Christian name book my parents used, my name meant Sanctified to God or something like that. In the normal world, it means Little Wise One. Guess which meaning I like better.
  14. There's a guy at my work who a) I think is either dumb or playing dumb, and b ) gets really antagonistic toward everyone, including customers. I can't stand him. Arghhhhhh. And he started within a week of when our last obnoxious guy left.
  15. Hi DeepestDepth! I haven't commented here in a while but I really felt like I can relate to a lot of what you wrote. I grew up in a similar background - while my parents weren't missionaries themselves, they still ran in those circles - and I have always had a love of apologetics. Lots of things caused the foundations of my faith to crack, but what started it tumbling down for good was realizing that all the Christian apologetics I could find were, as one atheist commenter on a religion forum said, elaborate smoke and mirrors masking the fact that there was nothing substantial underneath. I realized he was right. I'm still mostly closeted to Christian friends, although I did come out to my parents as "not able to believe in God anymore" when they asked me about my sudden lack of interest in going to church. My parents sound a lot like yours - good parents, except for the god-delusion thing they've got going on. They took it ok. They cried and "talked" about it, but they were careful to be understanding. I have no doubt that my mom especially prays for me all the time, but they have been very careful not to do any of the stereotypical crazy Christian things that would drive me further away from god. This, of course, won't do them any good in bringing me back to Christianity, but it at least allows my parents and me to have a good relationship still. I hope that if/when you decide to come out as an atheist, your experience is similarly not so bad. Good luck with everything, and welcome!
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