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Everything posted by Lerk

  1. Lerk


    I gotta say I don't. I never had that problem. While I believed in Heaven and Hell, it was more of mental assent -- I believed the Bible and the NT talks about those places and people going to one or the other, so I thought it was true, but I never actually pictured myself in either place. I wasn't excited about Heaven, never thought about seeing my grandparents again or anything like that, and I never imagined how awful it might be to wind up in Hell. Maybe I don't have a very good imagination. (I sometimes say that even the world around me doesn't seem that vividly real!) I hope
  2. Lerk


    When I first realized that what the Bible says and what believers believe are two very different things, I started to try to figure out what was real. (Briefly, I realized one Sunday morning in church that Genesis 3, the story of the serpent and Eve, doesn't involve the character "Satan" at all. It's just a snake! And I looked around and realized that absolutely nobody there that morning believed that an ordinary snake tempted Eve because snakes are just sneaky and no other animal could or would do such a thing, yet that's exactly what the Bible says! "The serpent was more subtle than the beas
  3. You don't say whether you've told your wife you don't believe it anymore. I hope so! If she doesn't really believe but is hoping you'll convince her, you might want her to know that you both are actually on the same page. As far as the community, would it be that hard for you and your wife to just "drift away" without formally declaring that you don't the mythology? That's tough in the Church of Christ (where I'm still a member) because the elders keep tabs on people, but I don't know about the Baptist church. If it's a big church, it seems possible that no one would notice. If it weren't for
  4. That's the biggest sin the CoC recognizes!
  5. Ah, yes, the "Harmony of the Gospels" study, where you skip around ostensibly to get the stories in the right order, but really you're skipping over the contradictions.
  6. When I was a believer I used to say that if the US were ever to switch to the international standard (Monday is the ISO first day of the week) I'd have to start going to church on Monday. Christians don't worship on the Sabbath, they worship on "the Lord's Day", the first day of the week, the day that Jesus rose from the grave. That was my version of the mythology, anyway.
  7. I actually go with her, yet every once in a while she can't seem to help expressing her dismay that I'm a non-believer. We had a nice little argument the other night. I will not bring it up, but if she's going to go on the offensive I'm going to 1) defend myself and 2) turn it around on her. She stated that nearly everyone in the world believes in gods and accused me and our atheist son of thinking we're smarter than the majority. I asked, then, whether she thought she was smarter than the people who believed in the "wrong" gods or in people like me who didn't think there were any such things
  8. I'm not so sure. Seems like not worrying about what "the other kids" (i.e. the people in your life) think might be a sign of a sociopath. I did get good at saying "no" when I was still a believer. "No, I don't teach Bible class." Being halfway in and halfway out of the closet has allowed me to completely quit participating in the assembly. Sorry (not sorry), I'm not leading singing. My wife is embarrassed just anticipating that someone may ask her why I don't participate, because that's the way we've lived our lives. How do I decide what to do in my life? Well, what would people ex
  9. We had that discussion yesterday. The thing I really hate (and that I explained to her) is going by myself. As long as we're in the same denomination (that calls itself non-denominational) we have connections that might result in unwanted feedback if I were to just drop out. Social/societal pressure stinks. I really hate going into a crowded church building. (Or crowded any other kind of place, for that matter.) For a number of years after the kids left I actually didn't mind too much going to church because I would just sit in an inconspicuous spot and read books on my phone. But
  10. It's really ironic. A lot of Churches of Christ started doing some sort of online thing. Some would have just a few people go down to the building, and they'd go through all of the motions with some sort of streaming. People would buy their own matzoh bread and grape juice and do the Lord's Supper at the appropriate time, and send in their contribution via PayPal. My wife has various health issues, and so she misses most Sunday mornings, but will often make it on Sunday night. (In the CoC you have two Sunday services, with the Lord's Supper served in the evening for anyone who coul
  11. I take it you're not necessarily around your family a lot, but in communication enough that you hear the stuff all of the time. But you're not going to church any more? I don't really know about your family, but I think I'd want to make sure my child knew I didn't believe in gods and such just so when they inevitably start to question the religion they know they have nothing to fear. And you don't want them to just think you're a backslider, but actually a non-believer. (My kids were grown and gone before I realized that Christianity was BS, so I don't actually have experience in t
  12. I call that my “wait... what?” moment.
  13. I think you're right. I'm getting closer and closer to just saying I'm not doing it anymore. I really don't think my believing son would cut me off, although it might be tense for awhile. And nobody else matters. He's literally the only one I'm worried about.
  14. Sorry, I've been neglecting Ex-C for awhile, it seems! It's a very long story. Yes, it's hard. I've explained it elsewhere in detail, but to make it short, my family has a very long history in the Non-Institutional Churches of Christ. My mother's parents were members. (My grandfather was a member, and he converted my grandmother who had been a 7th Day Adventist.) He was "out of duty" (church-of-christ-ese for people who haven't been going to church for awhile) but when he got a job in Port Arthur, TX during the depression, a CoC member he worked with got them to going to church aga
  15. Yes and no. I feel a lot better because the world makes so much more sense. I feel better because I’m better able to see how people really are and to empathize with them. But I live in a world that’s still obsessed with Christianity, where my wife is terrified that people might find out I’m a non-believer, where I have to have a “don’t ask, don’t tell” relationship with one of my adult children, and that keeps me coming back here and reading Patheos Nonreligious all of the time. If I were okay, I wouldn’t bother with those things. The conflict in my mind over having to (minimally) pretend is s
  16. Lerk


    I’m way late to this conversation... haven’t been on the site at all lately. I really think that if my wife weren’t so afraid of Hell she might have deconverted right along with me 8 years ago, or 3 years ago when I was outed and ended up agreeing to an online study with a preacher. The preacher’s answers to my questions were inadequate, and she could see that. It really scared her that she could see that there wasn’t a good reason to believe! Belief in Hell kept her in, and led her to come up with mental tricks to re-convince herself about the Bible. Fortunately for me, I n
  17. Hi, AC! Welcome aboard. Looking forward to getting to know you.
  18. And he's not even talking about the International Churches of Christ. The ICoC came out of what was called the Boston Movement, and people in "normal" Churches of Christ considered the Boston Movement to be a cult.
  19. I did not, but even when I was a believer the afterlife idea was more "mental assent" than "vividly imagined" to me. I never thought about seeing my grandparents again. I never imagined what Heaven might be like, or worried about winding up in Hell. I definitely believed those places were real, but I guess I'm not the type of person who can really put my mind in a state where places I'm not at seem real. Even life as I'm passing through it seems more like the pages of a book sometimes. (Of course, if you have a vivid imagination, that statement doesn't mean to you what it does to me!)
  20. Makes perfect sense. Welcome aboard!
  21. I second this. Remember when Jesus got the Pharisees and Sadducees to arguing by bringing up life after death? (It's in Acts 23.) The Sadducees didn't believe that people could go to Heaven because it was unscriptural. By extension, there being no mention of it in the Hebrew Bible (aka the Old Testament), they didn't believe in Hell at all. Somewhere along the way, probably when the Persians ruled the world, the common Jewish people picked up the idea of eternal reward and punishment, so most people in New Testament times just assumed it to be real. Knowing that it was just a belie
  22. It's not impossible that there are such things as ghosts/spirits/angels/demons/gods/minds-without-brains, but it's highly unlikely. But this I know: Even if there are such things as gods, the Bible doesn't describe a real one / real ones. The Bible starts off with "The Most High" and his sons creating the Universe in 6 days. At some point, those sons mate with human women and produce a race of giants called the Nephilim. At a later point, those hybrids would necessarily die because the Most High causes a flood that drowns all but 8 people. Later, one of the sons who hap
  23. Christianity: Declaring that hate is love and cruelty is kindness since 33CE.

    1. Aqualung


      Also War is peace. Freedom is slavery. Ignorance is strength.

  24. Long story. It boils down to being in a "don't ask -- don't tell" situation with one son. Maybe not for too much longer.
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