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Lerk

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Lerk last won the day on June 2 2016

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About Lerk

  • Rank
    Skeptic
  • Birthday 08/18/1959

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  • Website URL
    https://www.ex-christian.net/blogs/blog/208-be-ready-always-to-give-an-answer/

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  • Gender
    Male
  • Location
    Houston, Texas
  • Interests
    science, energy
  • More About Me
    I am a computer programmer, married over 35 years, with two grown children. My wife's father was a minister, and our younger son is a minister. My older son, fortunately, discovered the truth awhile back. The real truth, not the "capital 'T' Truth".

    Still attending church weekly. I was actually outed once, but seeing how badly that was going to go I jumped back into the closet. That has turned out to be pretty comfortable because people don't expect anything from me now, religiously speaking.

    I've explained to my wife how I came to understand that it was all mythology, but she really doesn't want to believe it, and I still say a prayer with her at dinner! But we're starting to skip that more often.

    In some ways, Christianity has kept my life and my family stable, and I appreciate the regular moral training about being a responsible citizen and family member, and about caring for others. I don't know that, without the "you have to be there every week" attitude, I would ever have accepted that training and my life may not be as good as it is. Then again, my life could easily have been better, and churches certainly don't have a monopoly on morality. (In fact, sometimes they're just downright immoral.)

    On the other hand, I wish I had all of those Sundays back to spend with my family doing things that would have kept us closer. I can't really blame religion for a lack of recreation in my life, as many 3-time-a-week Christians do, in fact, spend more time in recreation with their families than I did. My problem may just be the fact that I was just too "responsible", and I don't know whether religion did that, or if I was just born that way. (I know I have always tried to do what was expected of me, even as a child, so it may just be my neurological makeup.)

    Regardless, I wish I had the Sundays back, and that all of that money given to the church could have been used for enjoying life with my family.

    Regarding how I came to realize that Jehovah is a myth like all other gods, it was in church, and I was 52 years old, when the preacher read a couple of verses of Genesis 3. Having turned there I read the entire chapter and realized, for the first time, that there was no Satan in the chapter. It was an ordinary snake! I knew I didn't believe it as written, and that neither did anyone else present. We had, all of our lives, believed that Satan had used the serpent, yet the Bible said nothing of the kind. There's not a single person in that church, not a single person I know, who believes Genesis chapter 3, yet nearly everyone says it is true.

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  • Still have any Gods? If so, who or what?
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  1. I actually just bought a new Bible! It has the Apocryphal and Deuterocanonical books, and I've never read them before. Since there's still so much Christianity around me, I thought it would be useful to see where some New Testament ideas came from that aren't found in the OT. (Like eternal reward and punishment... those don't exist in the OT, yet NT authors just assumed they were real.) I think that can be found in the "in between" books. So far I've read Tobit and Judith. And my wife, a believer, read Judith and will probably read the other stuff. Maybe that'll eventually make a non-believer out of her (one can hope!).
  2. I've had a problem in that I've lived a lot of my life making decisions based on what other people thought I should do, or what I thought was expected of me, or even what I imagined other people might think when in all likelihood they weren't thinking about me at all! At some point I began to realize that I'm really out-of-sight-out-of-mind, and that other people are not likely to have any sort of opinion about me because I'm not, after all, the center of their lives. Then I found out that some people actually have been discussing me because they're fearful for my "soul". Fuckety fuck fuck. The curse of being social beings (which humans are) is that even though it's illogical, even though thoughts are just thoughts and nobody's touching me ("Mom! Sister's looking at me!"), we are wired to respond to other people, and what other people say and do, even though there's nothing "touching" us, we're still stressed out by those things (and stress is physical). I guess if we couldn't feel that, we also wouldn't be able to feel all warm-and-fuzzy when somebody smiles at us or says something nice. But gossip sucks.
  3. Yes, I have pointed that out. Made her mad, but she seemed to understand at the time -- but she still feels the way she feels.
  4. It's tough! I'm in my 50s and can't really be honest about it. My older son is about your age, though, and he went through it all. Our younger son (a minister) hasn't completely cut him off, but sometimes standoffish. My wife occasionally gets really upset and worried, but she tells me rather than him, so he isn't having to deal with it much. When everyone first found out they really "worked on him" but it's gotten better. For me, I just mostly keep pretending. I deal by avoiding having the conversation. My wife knows, of course, and occasionally we end up in an argument. Older son knows, but unfortunately we can't confide in each other too often because when we had some big talks when he was first figuring out the truth, my wife really got mad about us "going behind her back." (I put that in quotes because that's what she called it. Makes me mad that the believers feel like they have the right to restrict conversation, that somehow those of us who don't believe the mythology are doing something naughty when we talk about the mythology.) Anyway, I didn't intend for my minister son to know I was a non-believer simply because I didn't want to have to deal with whatever consequences there might have been. My fear was that I would be cut off from him and his children, and it just wasn't worth it. I ended up being outed, but jumping back in the closet, so now minister son and I have a don't ask don't tell policy. What's weird is that he'll actually ask my opinion on "spiritual things" when he's seeing things our denomination teaches that he thinks now may be incorrect, yet he told my wife that he's wanted to ask me whether I really believe and he's afraid to. It's a weird situation. Anyway, all of that was to say that if my older son's situation is typical, you'll catch quite a bit of flack at first, then it should die down. It may flare up occasionally from different quarters, but your parents will eventually leave you alone (even though they might discuss what they see as your "situation" between themselves). After some time people will quit putting pressure on you, so coming out was the right thing to do. As far as feeling foolish about hesitating to tell them, we're social beings. We really don't like upsetting people, so we feel guilty when we do. I feel foolish, as well -- this ought to be simple! I don't believe in minds without bodies, spirits, angels, demons, or gods and such. The people who believe in those things ought to feel foolish. (And I do feel foolish for having believed in them until I was 52!) But relationships are extremely complicated, even though we're just dealing with thoughts and words, nothing tangible. We wouldn't be human without those intangibles.
  5. I'm way, way late to this conversation, but it struck me because the church I still go to recently sang a song called "The Army of the Lord." It's a terribly old song resurrected for a newish Church of Christ hymnal (published by R. J. Stevens Music), and one verse says "Our elders, long in battle years / Alas, begin to fade; / But from the ranks, young men appear / And lead their first crusade." The next verse: " Our brethren, dead beneath the plain / Whose spirits never died, / Rise up to march and shout again, / “O Christ, be glorified!” /“O Christ, be glorified!” It's literally a song from the time of the Crusades! I doubt that the song leader paid any attention to what it was about when he chose it... he just thought it sounded old and somehow "cool."
  6. I'm way, way late to this conversation, but it struck me because the church I still go to recently sang a song called "The Army of the Lord." It's a terribly old song resurrected for a newish Church of Christ hymnal (published by R. J. Stevens Music), and one verse says "Our elders, long in battle years / Alas, begin to fade; / But from the ranks, young men appear / And lead their first crusade." The next verse: " Our brethren, dead beneath the plain / Whose spirits never died, / Rise up to march and shout again, / “O Christ, be glorified!” /“O Christ, be glorified!” It's literally a song from the time of the Crusades! I doubt that the song leader paid any attention to what it was about when he chose it... he just thought it sounded old and somehow "cool."
  7. I'm way, way late to this conversation, but it struck me because the church I still go to recently sang a song called "The Army of the Lord." It's a terribly old song resurrected for a newish Church of Christ hymnal (published by R. J. Stevens Music), and one verse says "Our elders, long in battle years / Alas, begin to fade; / But from the ranks, young men appear / And lead their first crusade." The next verse: " Our brethren, dead beneath the plain / Whose spirits never died, / Rise up to march and shout again, / “O Christ, be glorified!” /“O Christ, be glorified!” It's literally a song from the time of the Crusades! I doubt that the song leader paid any attention to what it was about when he chose it... he just thought it sounded old and somehow "cool."
  8. I'm way, way late to this conversation, but it struck me because the church I still go to recently sang a song called "The Army of the Lord." It's a terribly old song resurrected for a newish Church of Christ hymnal (published by R. J. Stevens Music), and one verse says "Our elders, long in battle years / Alas, begin to fade; / But from the ranks, young men appear / And lead their first crusade." It's literally a song from the time of the Crusades! I doubt that the song leader paid any attention to what it was about when he chose it... he just thought it sounded old and somehow "cool."
  9. Inasmuch as church seems to have replaced actual community (i.e. the people who live on the same street as us), I think getting to know our neighbors might be the thing. Not that I'm any good at that. At church, we had built in relationships. If nothing else, we had someone to go eat with on Sunday. Most of my "socializing" is done at work. It isn't actually socializing, but working with people seems to satisfy whatever need I may have for friendship, even though I never see my coworkers outside of work. My wife, on the other hand, is lonely. The church we've been at for the last 2.5 years is sort-of an out-of-sight-out-of-mind kind of a place. (Long story as to why I still go.) If she's going to socialize with any of the women there, she has to be the one to make the phone call. Nobody even called her when we were new there. So much for a built-in social group! We need to get to know our neighbors. I know there are women on our street who don't have jobs, and even some retired folks. We're old enough to hang out with them!
  10. " I feel lots of anger but mostly at myself for having been a Christian so long into my adult life. " I wouldn't feel too badly about that. When something is presented as not only true, but obviously true, by your entire culture, it takes a lot to make you even think about whether it's true or not. It would be like wondering whether the sky were really blue.
  11. Lerk

    Hi Everybody

    Welcome! I was 52. (This was 7 years ago.) But unlike you, from the time I had what I call a "wait... what?" moment until the time I didn't believe at all anymore was only about a month. What I've realized since then is that I never actually had faith. I thought I had actual reasons to believe. Having been in a fundamentalist church (the "non-institutional" branch of the Churches of Christ in the US) I had always been told that if you could find one error or contradiction in the Bible, you might as well through the whole thing out. Their belief that the god could have made the Bible 100% true and consistent from beginning to end, and therefore he would have, really helped to speed my deconversion! The only reason it took as long as it did was that I first had to determine whether there was anything to liberal Christianity, but after a few weeks of study I found that I just didn't buy the premise. Anyway, welcome aboard. Looking forward to conversing with you.
  12. I'm super late to this, but might offer 1-cent if not 2. I've been a software developer since the days when they called us computer programmers, and most of my experience is in Fortran. I've written a good bit of C++ code, but it's really C compiled in a C++ compiler (i.e. nothing object oriented in practice). Such is the plight of staying many years in a department running a legacy system. If I had to change jobs, I'd be in trouble because my skills aren't current. I've done a bit of Python, and could maybe get some "gig economy" type work. And since I have zero management training or experience, I have no confidence that I'd ever be able to get near my current income. If the systems you're working with aren't legacy systems, perhaps your skills are up-to-date and you wouldn't have too much trouble finding a good job. That, plus being in your 40s and having been in the same place for a long time could land you a senior-developer job at a place that is afraid of younger people who might not stick around. You at least owe it to yourself to start putting out feelers. Your situation seems quite unusual! It's a "clergy project" type situation, without the "being a minister" part. I personally would be afraid to jump without knowing where I'd land, as some have advised, but maybe they're right. In any case, you've already decided that you have to do something soon, so I'd say pursue that, and when you've found something that you think should work out, go for it. You'll have an immediate sense of relief, and 20 years from now you'll look back and see that it made your life immeasurably better.
  13. Lerk

    Helllo

    As Geezer says, a lot of us know exactly where you're coming from! Welcome aboard. You can say it all here!
  14. I believe that "dying" is spelled d-y-i-n-g and that "coming" is spelled c-o-m-i-n-g. I believe I shouldn't be pedantic but wow, it's hard not to be that way at the moment. Forgive me "father" for I have given in to my baser instincts. Which reminds me: I once installed a program called "Net Nanny" on my computer (back in the early days of the World Wide Web). A friend came over with her daughter to write a report. (They didn't have a computer at the time.) In her report was the word "coming," and the Net Nanny software seemed to think someone was being naughty. I don't remember whether I uninstalled it or just changed the settings. I do remember that I was embarrassed.
  15. I think you've actually hit on it -- you've listed two things that have stuff in common with the passage. How many more things could you find? Maybe a lot! And are the things in common really things in common, or are they kind of a stretch? I remember in church when they read the passage 1 Tim 4:3 about someone coming later forbidding marriage and commanding to abstain from meats, and everyone said "hey, that's just like the Catholics not eating meat on Friday and forbidding the priests from marrying!". But most scholars think it's talking about the Gnostics, and it's likely they were already doing some of those things by the time this letter was written. (Most do not think Paul wrote this, and that it was late 1st / early 2nd century.) The author of Revelation was writing about things he thought would happen soon, based on things that were happening at the time. Describing this "whore of Babylon" and giving it attributes of the Roman empire makes sense. That part would have been "current events," not prophecy. My 2c.
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