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Everything posted by Geezer

  1. Welcome. I hope you find this site helpful in your journey.
  2. Maybe you subconsciously figured out the God of the Bible is a myth created by humans. I would think it would be hard to develop genuine affection for something you know, or stongly suspect, doesn't really exist.
  3. The idea commonly promoted by Christians that God is Love is absurd. Believer’s say they love God but in reality they only FEAR God. They do all they can to suppress their human needs and desires in the hope that will be enough to keep them out of hell. Religion ain’t about love it’s about control, fear, and extorting money from gullible and naïve people who are so brainwashed they are afraid to use even an inkling of common sense, read between the lines of scripture, or peer into the annals of religious history to see if there is any valid evidence that would indicate any of it is actually true. The choose instead to believe what they are told.
  4. I was so brainwashed I actually believed the bible was the inerrant, inspired, and infallible word of God and must be adhered to perfectly. The group I was affiliated with were bible idolaters. God and the bible were one and the same thing in their minds. Somewhere in the late 90’s I began to see the flaws and inconsistencies in the bible. I knew such a thing should not exist because the bible was literally perfect having been created by God personally. A perfect book could not contain contradictions and inconsistencies. God simply could not and would not create a flawed instruction manual but the evidence clearly indicated that He did. How could that be? The bible was the foundation of my faith and once I detected its flaws my faith began to crack. In an attempt to reconcile my faith with reality I began to research the creation and evolution of the bible and Christianity. I held on for several years before the strength of the evidence forced me to accept the reality that both the bible and Christianity were manmade and there simply wasn’t anything Devine or supernatural about either of them. The last vestige of my crumbling faith evaporated when I found out there was no historical Jesus; not a single word about any such man anywhere in the annals of ancient history. Thus began my journey towards de-conversion. I was eventually deprogramed through an intense study of religous history.
  5. Literalizing metaphor is the problem, but any other approach to scripture nullifies its perceived sacredness and therefore its authority. When a supposed sacred text, any sacred text, is exposed as a human creation it loses its sacred status. When that happens it becomes the first in a long line of dominos that begin to fall. When all the dominos have fallen there is nothing left and religion becomes essentially meaningless. Liberal Christians, such as Bishop Spong, clearly aren’t Christians because they don’t accept the Divinity of Christ or the sacredness of scripture. By definition a Christian is someone who is a follower and worshipper of Christ. Once Christ Divinity is stripped away he becomes either just another human being or worse yet a myth. When I discovered the bible was a very human creation I tried to make some form of liberal Christianity work for me but I couldn’t. If the bible isn’t sacred and Jesus isn’t Divine then I could find no reason to wear the name Christian or identify with a religion that worshipped a man or maybe a myth. Once Christianity has been exposed for what it actually is and essentially destroyed the only spiritual option left would seem to be some form of mysticism or Deism.
  6. I don’t know much about the Episcopalian religion but Bishop John Shelby Spong is one of my favorite authors. Like many Christians who become enlightened Bishop Spong notes that he is a mystic or more precisely that he leans strongly in that direction. When Christians come to the realization that Christianity is built on a foundation of myths, legends, and folklore, and the bible, at least the new testament, is probably mostly a midrash interpretation or rewrite of old testament stories then mysticism or gnostism, one of the oldest forms of woship, is about the only option left for those who seek some form of spirituality.
  7. Religious Trauma Syndrome this is really a must read for anyone who is experiencing a crisis of faith. I've posted a link to the article below. A video is also linked in the article and I highly recommend viewing it. I left a 27 year relationship with the Church of Christ. They are about as legalistic and controlling as a religion can get. They don't even like or agree with each other. I served at the highest levels of leadership so walking away was one of the most difficult things I've ever done in my life. Based on my experience I highly endorse education, education, and more education. Stop reading apologist and start reading religious historians like Karen Armstrong, Bart Eherman, Robert Price, Elaine Pagels. Fill your mind with the truth of what history records really happened during the birth and evolution of the bible and Christianity. It sure isn't what you were told in Sunday school. If you think the bible and Christianity was divinely inspired I invite you to read "Jesus Interpreted" by Dr. Bart Ehrman a former Christian fundamentalists. If you really want to know where religion came from check out "A History of God", by Karen Armstrong a former nun. And if you still believe the devil (Satan) is real then check out "The Birth of Satan" and/or "The Origin of Satan", by Dr. Elaine Pagels. http://new.exchristian.net/2013/03/religious-trauma-syndrome-is-it-real.html
  8. I don't see anything unusual about what chrisstavrous is experiencing. Deconversion involves both an intellectual and emotional component. The emotional component quite often trumps intellect, logic, and reason. That is quite common and any professional salesperson is aware of it. Add the indoctrination element and deconversion becomes even more difficult. Letting go of something that has become ingrained in your mind as a reality, but is in fact only a belief that is not supported by any empirical evidence, is often the most difficult part of the deconversion process. Brain washing has proven to be an enormously effective tool and it often requires profession help to eliminate that kind of thinking from your mind. And religious groups have proven to be experts when it comes to indoctrinating people. Deconversion is a process and often a long process that takes years not weeks or months to complete. And it usually is experienced in stages. Doubt, anger, frustration, and reversals in the process are probably normal and should be expected. And everyone experiences deconverstion differently. I tend to think chrisstavrous is simply going through a normal stage in the process. I experienced a similar stage and latched onto Deism as my security blanket, but that stage eventually passed too. The bible indicates a believer must work out their own salvation, and I think the deconversion process must also be worked out by the former believer on their own too in whatever way that works for them. And if they ultimately decide to return to their faith that's okay too because they will return much wiser and less susceptible to the forces that want to control them.
  9. I don't remember ever being angry at God, but his "followers" constantly drove me nuts. I often found myself angry with the dogmatic screwballs that were part of the particular group that I was affiliated with. Committed believers was the right term........many of them desperately needed to be committed..... to a mental institution.
  10. Religion, any religion, is about mind control obtained by a methodical indoctrination of the adherent. This technique has proven to be so effective it has also been used successfully by educational institutions, political groups, and the military to name a few. Any group that promotes blind obedience to their dogma should be viewed with a great deal of skepticism.
  11. Religion is based on emotion not logic, reason, or evidence. Because religion is based on emotion it is difficult, and some would say impossible, for a believer and a non-believer to engage in an objective adult discussion about virtually anything having to do with religion. It appears that religion is a subject that only like minded people can discuss and even then they often end up in an arguement.
  12. Welcome aboard DrGuitar. Our stories often contain a number of similarities. Christianity’s ability to brainwash, even highly educated people, is truly amazing. I think that demonstrates we have a lot more in common with the ancient cultures than what we’d be comfortable admitting.
  13. Lucky for Tor and K they didn’t stumble on a group of snake handlers hold’n a meet’n. Things could’a got real interesting when they started pass’n round them rattlesnakes, moccasins, and copperheads. Everbody be praise’n God for sure then and a few likely be peeing in their pants too.
  14. I was a dedicated follower of Christ for more than forty years. Eventually, like many others have noted, things began to unravel. I saw the inconsistencies and contradictions. The group I affiliated with was extremely legalistic and cultish. Dr. James Fowler wrote a book about this process called, “Stages of Faith” Many people experience clearly definable stages when they are going through this process. And anger is one of those stages and, for many people, so is a period of grieving after the relationship has been severed. If there is a cure for this I am unaware of it. As in any grieving process it just takes time. As others have already noted it would probably be helpful to develop new interest and focus on the positive aspects of your new life now. I think it is quite normal to experience separation anxiety when anything that has been such an intimate part of your life has been eliminated. Hang in there. It will get better.And sites like this, with likeminded people who have had similar experiences, should be helpful. We get it. Been there and done that.
  15. As you read more deconversion stories here it will probably become apparent that the deconversion experience is an evolving process. It takes time, and often quite a bit of time, to deal with each of the issues that will likely confront you.Few people simply stop believing without experiencing ongoing residual issues and problems. Deism is often the option chosen by those who have recently experienced some level of deprogramming. It is generally very difficult to quit cold turkey. The desire to find something “spiritual” to hang onto is often an overwhelming need that demands to be addressed. The discovery that we are truly all alone, there is no supernatural deity protecting or loving us, it’s just us and our anxieties is also something that has to be dealt with. The realization there is no such place as hell is often an exhilarating reality, but that is tempered by the realization there is also no heaven or afterlife either. It often takes time for people to process all of that and emotionally come to terms with it. I don’t think anyone is obligated to label themselves. Identifying yourself as an ex Christian or former believer is probably more than sufficient. And at this point in time in your life that is probably the most accurate alternative. Glad you found us and welcome aboard.
  16. I’m sorry for your losses notaxtian, but I’m pleased to learn how you are dealing with them and your prior religious indoctrination. I referenced this incident in a prior post. I still attend church with my wife and one of the Elders son (age 21) died suddenly one night. He passed away within minutes of his parents driving him to the emergency room. It was later determined he had an undiagnosed heart abnormality. The Elders wife has struggled with the loss of her son and the Elder confessed to the congregation that his wife hates God now and asked for prayer on her behalf. When a person unconditionally believes in a personal omniscient, omnipotent, deity that has a specific plan for every believer they are emotionally unprepared to deal with senseless tragedy if it occurs in their life. In her mind God could have and should have saved the life of her son. That fact that he didn’t is unfathomable to her. How could a loving God betray her and her believing son so callously? This is an example of the ugly side of religion. Believers are indoctrinated to believe that anything they ask, in the name of Jesus, will be granted. They unconditionally buy into the teaching that God has a specific plan for their life and that their loving God has them safely in his hands 24/7. Then, when reality strikes the cliché fallback position is taken by declaring that it was just God’s will. It was simply not God’s will that her son would live. Just accept that, suck it up, and continue to bring your tithes and offerings to your loving God and pray for wisdom and guidance and to know the will of your loving father. And be bolstered by the knowledge that you will be with your son again someday in heaven, unless of course, you can’t get over this hating God thing. You don’t even want to think about what God will do to you if you don’t. As has been noted numerous times in other posts religion has built in safe guards to protect them and insure their survival.
  17. All of our stories contain a number of similarities and that seems to be true for both our original conversions as well as our later de-conversions. I think we should all be able to find some level of comfort in that.
  18. Welcome to the community. I think most of us have discovered that de-converting is a process rather than an event. It takes time and it is wise to expect some bumps in the road. I think you will find this a good place to vent; and I’m certain you will soon discover your experience is quite similar to what most of the rest of us have gone through.
  19. If Ehrman rocked your boat then Earl Doherty, Richard Carrier, and Robert Price will rock your world. My story and ultimate de-conversion is not unlike yours. The writers I referenced will likely convince you that God and Jesus are myths and the bible is simply a collection of myths, legends, and parables. Price can convincingly demonstrate that the New Testament is more than likely a midrash rewrite of the Old Testament. I highly recommend Earl Doherty’s book The Jesus Puzzle. My big hurdle was Paul and his epistles. Doherty places Paul’s writing in a completely different context that makes more sense than anything I’d ever read. I am also unequally yoked. Since we've been married for 47 years we've basically agree not to disucss my new status. I still go to church with her and pretend to be interested and that, at least so far, appears to be sufficient enough to preserve the peace and tranquility of our home. Since I was the one that changed I feel some responsibility to meet her more than half way in finding an acceptable solution to our dilemma. I guess I'm forunate that Christians, and the Christian environment, simply don't bother me. I can easily tolerate going to Church once a week. If I can sit through a chick flick and a irrelevant business meeting I can surely sit through a boring church service for an hour once a week. I think I at least owe her that much, but that's just me.
  20. I am unequally yoked too, but that hasn’t proven to be an insurmountable problem for us. I have been able to deprogram and lay my religious beliefs aside and still not have a problem being in the presence of Christians. I’m not involved in anything and I don’t do the small group thing but I do attend services with my wife. I do that because I love her and it isn’t like that is some giant problem that requires me to sacrifice my integrity or anything. I can enjoy the music and tune everything else out. I try to be polite and friendly to everyone. I don’t allow myself to become involved in faith based conversations and I don’t express my option about anything of a religious nature. In other words, I smile a lot and mind my own business. That works for them, my wife, and me because all they truly want is mindless obedient sheep anyway. So, in that sense, I fit right in. I have to acknowledge though that this current situation is just another stage of my deconversion. It took me awhile to become this open minded and benevolent. I went through the I don’t want to hear this crap anymore, I’ll argue and debate you till the cows come home, how can you believe this nonsense, and I don’t want to be anywhere near a church stage before I calmed down and accepted the fact my wife is still a Christian, and like it or not I was going to be exposed to that environment. I eventually decided the best course for me to follow was to accept my situation and make the best of it. The fact that I’m a lot older now probably contributes to my willingness to be submissive to my wife’s needs at this stage in our lives. Longevity of years has taught me that this will pass too because nothing good or bad last forever. Life is constantly changing and I’ve found out that going with the flow whenever possible generally makes life a lot more pleasant. I know the truth and that is all that really matters. It ain’t like I’m going to hear anything from the pulpit that is going to make me repent and run down the aisle screaming hallelujah unless I’m suddenly feeling mischievous.
  21. Welcome aboard. I was Church of Christ for 27 years, so I know where you are coming from. I can imagine what you probably have experienced and been exposed to. The Church of Christ, IMO, is an abusive religious cult. I’m pleased to learn that you have escaped their clutches. I was a bible teacher, deacon, and elder so I am intimately familiar with their teachings and tactics. There are lots of good folks in the Church of Christ but unfortunately they are all hopelessly brainwashed and live their lives in an artificial antiseptic reality.
  22. I think most of us that participate on this site can remember a specific day in our lives when we came to the realization that all of the stuff we had been taught and believed in simply wasn't true. I think many of us look at that event as the day we were liberated.
  23. Yep, I get that. My wife continues to be a believer and I continue to attend services with her, but she has at least accepted the reality that the bible isn’t literally true. I’m grateful for that. We’ve been married 47 years and neither of us has any desire to end our marriage. We’ve made it this far because long ago we learned how to compromise and cope. She knows I’m no longer a believer but I’m not trying to deconvert her. She is also aware that I am only physically present during the church service. The words no longer have any meaning to me. I smile and greet people as I’ve always done; and I have become rather proficient in my ability to look interested and stay awake while turning everything going on around me out. She doesn't want to go to church alone and if she did that would invite questions that neither of us want to deal with. I went through the stage of challenging the bible and believer’s faith, but I stopped that some time ago. Church for me has become similar to having to attend an irrelevant business meeting. You have to be there but you don’t have to listen. You only have to look interested. And I just don't feel the need to deconvert anyone else. I figured it out on my own and I assume others, who have developed doubts, will do the same.
  24. You didn’t mention your prior denomination affiliation. If you were affiliated with a liberal version of Christianity then your pastor is more likely to be receptive to your predicament. If your prior affiliation was with a fundamentalist or conservative denomination then your pastor will probably not be receptive, much less have any understanding or empathy, for your dilemma. If you have had an extended relationship with some Christian group then I assume you have some level of knowledge and experience with Christian apologetics. In other words, you know what you used to believe and why. I wouldn’t think a minister would be able to add much to what you already know. Therefore, based on my experience, I think religious historians such as Robert Price, Elaine Pagels, Bart Ehrman, and Earl Doherty would be more informative and beneficial. It is a historians job to determine what happened and when it happened. Apologetics is basically focused on the various legitimate ways to interpret scripture. In my particular case I wasn’t interested in interpreting scripture, so apologetics wasn’t my focus. I wanted to know if the bible was true or not and it’s the historians job to determine that. Since ministers pretty much have to believe the bible is true I wouldn’t consider their POV as being particularly objective. Therefore, I personally wouldn’t put much stock in their counseling.
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