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sjessen last won the day on June 13 2012

sjessen had the most liked content!

About sjessen

  • Birthday 04/22/1963

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    Midwest USA
  • Interests
    computers, graphic design, singing, learning
  • More About Me
    Although I am an ex-Christian and I believe religion is a creation of man, I do believe there is a creator/God and that we as humans have a spiritual component to us that continues on after death. I'm still trying to figure out where my beliefs fit in the spectrum of religions. I think I am a PanenDeist.

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

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  1. I just finished listening to "Proof of Heaven" by Eben Alexander which is about a neurosurgeon who has a NDE, and am reading "Get It Done When You're Depressed" by Julie Fast, which is a how-to about how to get things done when you're depressed.
  2. Given the budget, and the intentions behind the movie, I'd say it only flopped if anyone expected it to be a blockbuster, which I doubt. I think that movie accomplished more or less what it set out to do. And it was good. Yeah, wow, some really big names in it! I ordered it through Netflix. Looking forward to seeing it.
  3. Thanks so much Lillith! I have been looking at publishers on the Writer's Market website and found that some are definitely Christian in tone, but some publish occult stuff and are also interested in romance, so I am hopeful I could find someone who might take a chance. It will depend on how well I write it! I'm not sure when I will have it done. I have a good start on the characters and setting. This is my first book, so I am learning the ropes at this point. I hope I will be able to knock it out fairly soon. We'll see though!
  4. That makes a lot of sense. The latter is how I was planning on telling the story: a romance with a deconversion taking place.
  5. Oh, another thing about the story, she is an ex-Christian, but not an atheist. They both end up still believing in God. I thought that would make it a little more palatable for a general audience as there are many people who believe in God but don't like religion.
  6. I haven't heard of that movie. I'll have to check into it. I'm amazed someone even produced it! I see a lot of books cropping up about people leaving the church, especially ministers. I also read that young people leaving the church now is a huge deal. So I am wondering if it would be pertinent in light of this.
  7. I am working on a deconversion romance story and every now and then the thought crosses my mind about whether it will sell. Publishers publish all kinds of stories, but attack Christianity? Not sure any publishing house would want to take a chance with that (assuming my writing is otherwise acceptable). I suppose I would have to self-publish through amazon. What are your thoughts? I suppose this is worth it to me to put in the time and effort to write this story as a sort of catharsis, but I am curious too about who might buy it. Part of me wants to do it for the "fun" of it, but part of me is practical and doesn't want to waste my time if it will be a complete failure. In the plot, a minister with doubts meets an ex-Christian woman and ends up leaving the church. Maybe I need to believe in it and forget about the rest?
  8. I would double up this post if I could. This seems like really good advice to me! After all, this is just one man's alleged experience. We don't know anything about this person or what he really experienced. There is no reason to allow what he has to say to sway us either way. We have to take in the whole of what we know.
  9. I better not, I am not sure I would do it justice! Also, I'm not sure I am understanding you correctly!! Antlerman, what you've written reminds me of a story I've heard (I think it is more of a proverb--Buddhist?) about how when Columbus came to America, the natives could not see the ships out in the water. They could see the displacement of the water, but they couldn't make out what was causing the displacement for they had never seen such vessels before. So the medicine man of the tribe went out day after day and would look. Eventually he was able to make out the shape of the great ships and then the details of it. Since it was so far away from anything they understood, they couldn't see it. I've heard of something similar done with psychology tests. Rats raised where there are only vertical lines, they can't see horizontal ones, for example. Anyway, that is what is getting through to me. That each of us has a certain view of things and a different way our brain interprets what we see. Like at an accident scene where people report things completely differently. What we see is a projection of who we are and what we are "wired" to comprehend. Someone interested in fashion may be able to tell you what the people were wearing in detail, but not know what the people were driving. Another guy into cars can tell you all about the vehicles involved and the damage done to the vehicles, but couldn't tell you if it was a man or woman involved. This is a poor example, but it is an example, nonetheless. Our minds create shapes and colors and sounds etc to interpret what it perceives; however, what is really there? Is a car actually red or is that just how I perceive it? Your eyes see it in a different shade, which is correct? Or if you're color blind you can't see the color red at all but see gray. So is it really gray or really red, or neither? Maybe it is actually clear with properties that reflect certain wavelengths of light that cause me to see it as red. We don't really know for sure the nature of what we are seeing, we only know how we perceive it. Not sure this is what you are talking about. Hope I'm close.
  10. OMG, I'm abandoning this project, but will tell the story another way...as a romance! I'm so excited!!! A woman rejects Christianity and she falls in love with a minister and he with her. I'm so excited. Lots to work on! I like this idea much better. Don't know if anyplace would actually accept it being about an ex-Christian, but who knows. May just self-publish. Gotta write it now! Already am mocking up the characters and starting on a plot. I bought some books on how to write romance, so that should help. Now if I could quit playing Draw Something! But it is much too fun!
  11. Why would you say that? What other than religion attempts to describe it? Science doesn't. Poetry does, but that is part of religion too. Art does, but that is part of religion too. Actually, I would say that religions specifically take those forms of expression and specifically employs them to describe it. What other discipline does? How well it describes it is the better question. And to that I would say the only way you can truly judge that is by first experiencing ultimate reality yourself. Then you are in the position to say, "yeah, I can see how it can be talked about that way", or not. Otherwise to say it doesn't do a good job assumes the person has some first-hand experience they are drawing from to say it doesn't, and then the question becomes to them how would you choose to describe it? Well to me it shows that all religions express essentially the same thing. The real key to getting your mind around this is that religious expression is not really at its heart about trying to tell you facts of some 'unseen worlds' beyond the grave. Those are simply ways to talk about the experience of a state of ultimate reality. They are highly symbolic expressions, not literal facts. And that the words and symbols used don't point to actual places or persons, is beneath the real point. Questions like 'are NDE's real or not', is not the point. Of course they are real. What the heck are people describing? They had a real experience. They had an experience. It's not an imagined experience. They were there and reported the experience. What they describe as real or not is again besides the point. It's what they represent that is real. What is it in themselves that takes these forms in their minds, and why do these take the forms they do? Those are the real questions. Any face we put on that ultimate reality is NOT that reality itself. It is a face we supply in order to try to comprehend it with the rational mind. That is why each person sees something different. But the real point is they are all talking about the same thing, even if it has a different mask it wears. Why do some experience it and others not? Why are some people more open to religious experience and other never 'get it'? It probably has to do with how we are wired, how those pathways work, which is due to some very complex reasons. We can and we do rewire our brains all the time, and through various life experiences we may become more open to these things, or more closed down to them through such processes. I do believe personally however that we all have that within us, but its a matter of it being more or less opened to us by a lot of factors. But at the bottom line, you have pretty much everyone who does report these experiences saying pretty much the same sorts of things, regardless of how it's expressed symbolically. OMG...I'm starting to understand what you are saying, Antlerman! Interesting.
  12. If you don't mind me asking...why did you leave xianity? and what led you to panendeism? was it the idea that this cant be all for nothing? its very honorable for you and everyone on this site to have left xianity in a culture that clings to it. However, I was always curious why so many that reject the xian god embrace anything else. Please dont consider this an attack as i saw earlier in the thread that this can be touchy. I am merely inquiring. this is ex-christian.net not thereisnogod.com. While none of us can be 100% sure in anything (dawkins included as you listed earlier) we all have in ouru minds what we believe to be a "safe bet" I find religion and spirituality very interesting since leaving the fold so it good for me to learn other perspectives. or at least as many as I can. Hi Roadrunner, No I don't mind you asking and I don't consider this an attack at all. I left Christianity because I discovered that the Bible is not the word of God like I had been taught to believe. After that, the whole religion fell apart as I realized that there was much about it that I did not care for or believe was right or healthy; concepts such as original sin, hell, sacrifices, never measuring up, thought crimes, etc. I wasn't really led to Panendeism, it just fits what I believe. I didn't adopt it's ideas, I already had the ideas in my mind. I got my ideas mainly from nature. It seems likely to me that there is a creator/designer of what exists. The diversity and genius behind what is created and the laws that govern nature speaks to me of there being a vast power and intelligence behind it. I also sense that there is a spiritual aspect to life beyond the physical. As we are extremely limited in what we are able to detect, I think this is highly likely, especially since many people are able to detect this aspect of life. The hope that this isn't all there is has been a part of prompting me to continue the search and acknowledge what I believe, but is not the reason I believe.
  13. LOL, I was thinking that very thing...something short and sweet is my preference anymore. Either that, or I get it on audiobook! The book is by no means comprehensive, but is a reassuring read and a good starting place. I guess I was wondering how people felt about these books since I am thinking about writing one. I think the same way as you, the more that are out there the better. Maybe, too, that will help it be more acceptable to be an ex-Christian.
  14. I just finished reading an ebook I got on amazon dot com. It is about recovering from spiritual abuse. It's called Spiritual Abuse: A Victim's Guide to Recovery. Just wanted to make you aware of it. The book is by Lisa Kerr and only costs 2.99. You can get it on loan for free if you are an amazon prime member. The book gives some good advice for those who are exiting a cult or fundamentalist religion. It is a very short read, only 57 pages that are double spaced. Lisa has a blog and website as well that deals with cults and spiritual abuse. Just FYI. Do you think these kinds of books are a good idea?
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