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  • Still have any Gods? If so, who or what?
  1. This is a good point. Everyone's family and friends are obviously different. But I too can make essentially the same claim and I also came from a very strict background of fundementalism with my family and friends all being completely immersed in the ideology. My mother once sent me an apologetic book via Amazon, but never once has mentioned anything to me directly. My best friend has discussed the issue with me, but we have always been open with each other and willing to debate issues with one another without it affecting our friendship, so this was never anything that made me feel guilty or stressed over. Everyone else has pretty much left the issue alone; either because they don't worry about it, because they don't want to stir things up, or because they don't feel they can counter my concerns reasonably. I feel for the OP. It must be terrible to live a double life. Hopefully things in his life will eventually evolve to the point that he will not feel he has to hide his true thoughts; or at least not feel as if he has to put on a front of thoughts he can no longer support. I think that most of them are just dumbfounded. They are stunned that someone they have known for years who was so devoted to God and knowledgeable of the Bible could possibly become atheistic. They probably thought that I would 'come back' or that someone else (more knowlegeable than they) would talk to me. After months... years, they realized that I wasn't going to return to the faith but so much time had passed that they didn't know what to do. I'm sure that a few of them (such as my parents) continue to pray for me but since they believe in 'eternal security' they aren't worried about my soul. Surely they must wonder why god hasn't been punishing me though. They can see that I am very content now/ I'm financially successful and I'm healthy. (Knock on wood - LOL) Absolutely nothing has happened that most evangelicals believe happens to people who 'backslide'... so they MUST wonder what god is up to??!! But, I'm also certain that they just figure it is "in god's hands" and don't really worry about it. Who knows? I had a good conversation with my dad about a year ago. (I approached him.) I asked him if he REALLY believes that god answers his prayers. I asked him to share some instances where he knew without a doubt that his prayers were answered. Surprisingly he admitted that he could not point to even one time when a prayer was "answered" that he couldn't easily attribute to "coincidence". He couldn't point to any "miracles" he had experienced, seen or heard of that sounded credible to him. After making this admission, he asked me not to ever say anything about our conversation to my mom or my sister. He said that he believes in the God of the Bible but can't explain why so many things in the Bible just (in his words) "don't make sense". Since our conversation he avoids me for the most part. He forwards religious emails to me that he gets from friends but that's about it. He is cordial and kind when we see each other but he never calls and when I call their house he immediately gives the phone to my mom. Very odd!
  2. You are in a tough place. I know... I've been there. I was raised in a very conservative (almost fundamentalist) Southern Baptist family. I was "saved" at the age of 6 and "felt called to preach" at the age of 11. My entire life was devoted to serving Christ. I carried my Bible everywhere, including school, and witnessed daily to friends and teachers. I graduated from an Independent Baptist Bible College and a very conservative "Independent" Southern Baptist Seminary. The "questions" (about Bible contradictions and outright nonsense - a lack of logical progression of ideas/dogma within the Bible and doctrine) started coming during my study in Bible College and continued throughout Seminary. As a preacher/teacher, my study of the Bible intensified... and the questions multiplied! I spent many hours in fervent, tearful prayer BEGGING God to give me answers and/OR peace to accept the lack of answers. In my early 40's I finally 'gave in' to the questions and ALLOWED myself to explore the POSSIBILITY that the God of the Bible doesn't exist. When it became ABUNDANTLY CLEAR to me that he doesn't exist I had to leave the ministry... there was just no other choice if I was to retain a state of sanity - LOL. I am 52 years old now. I am AT PEACE in a way I never dreamed possible! The journey was agonizing... I won't try to sugar-coat it for you - it was AWFUL and PAINFUL but I wouldn't trade it for anything. Amazingly enough, not one person from my past... not one church member; not one elder; not one other preacher; not one family member has come to talk with me about my 'deconversion'. Nobody has tried to pursuade me to 'return to God'. Not one stranger has attempted to witness to me... noone has knocked on my door to witness to me. (And I live in a large Bible Belt city in the southern US). I won't go into the details of my journey at this time but if you want to talk or chat privately feel free to send me a message via this site. I understand your struggle and I CARE! (BTW, let me reiterate the indescribable PEACE I now have and the UTTER JOY that living life is today in comparison to when I was a "believer". One thing in the Bible is for sure... the TRUTH will indeed set you FREE!) Tim
  3. And if the 'afterlife' makes 'the life' worth living then what makes the 'afterlife' worth living? The 'after-afterlife'? It gets sooooo confusing.
  4. Don't worry about not having "answers" or knowing what to say to him. You've never allowed yourself the position of having to verbalize your thoughts before... that's all. You know the answers but your first concern was your husband and his reaction. Give it time. His question is a typical strawman argument. It actually tells more about himself than he will admit... anyone who requires an invisible friend to assimilate any meaning in their life is questioning their own value as a human... tread lightly as his ego is fragile at this point. Remember that the Bible god (as most gods) is a patriarchal being. Many men feel some sort of entitlement to superiority over women based on the model presented in the Bible. (I am a man, BTW) Because of this, he MAY feel a little bit threatened that you are not accepting his god. Even the most feminist-sensitive among os have much of that thought process built into our social conditioning - especially if raised in a conservative religious environment. While Christians make claim to "god" as their purpose in life, they do NOT live that way. They, like everyone, strive to improve themselves and their lives via education, accomplishments, social involvments, etc. If they really believed god to be the sole reason for purpose in life, they would spend it all in pursuing god via prayer and bible study - give the monks a bit of credit there I suppose. Hang in there kid. There is a grand new world of thought and action awaiting your exploration. Enjoy the journey!!
  5. A question for you Scott: Where does the bible say to "accept Jesus as your lord and saviour"? Where does the bible say that a Christian is supposed to "try" to live for Jesus? (Not that you said it in this post but the following are often said by Xtians) Where does the bible say to "ask Jesus into your heart"? Where does the bible say anything about "praying the sinner's prayer"? Where is the "sinner's prayer" in the bible? Why do Xtians ignore the fact that Jesus said many DIFFERENT things as to how one gets into heaven including: "love god with all your heart and your neighbor as yourself", "follow the Mosaic laws", "sell all your possessions" - [oh, and hate your mother, father, sister, brother, etc], "eat Jesus' flesh and drink his blood", "be born again" [interestingly enough he doesn't really elaborate on this but Xtians throughout history have been kind enough to explain what he meant], "believe in Jesus" [this one is kind of interesting in that its meaning requires Xtian explanations as well since "the devils believe too and they tremble in fear"] Yes, indeed, Jesus gave numerous directions for getting into heaven but never once said anything about "accepting him as Lord and Saviour" or "asking Jesus into your heart" or "being baptized", etc. This brings up another question. If ALL the things Jesus DID SAY about getting into heaven are required, why didn't he give ALL these answers to EACH person that asked? Why did he only give each one a "piece" of what is required? Seems like he doesn't really want anyone in heaven with him. It's kind of like having someone ask you how to get to the drug store to get medicine and the directions require that you make 7 or 8 different turns but you only tell them one of the turns... they never get there! Hmmmm.... so many questions and so few reasonable and honest answers. I used to drive my Seminary professors crazy with these questions. Their only answer was "have faith in god".
  6. As I was reading your post I wondered, "Where is he going with this?" Then I got to the end - BRILLIANT! You absolutely nailed it. It was so simple I can't believe I've missed it all these years since I stopped 'believing'. Their entire debate over whether we were true believers is due to FEAR - fear that they too have been deceived and may fall away. If we were never 'true' believers and they 'know' that they are, then they need not fear falling away. Ahhh.... delusional thought can be so comforting.
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