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Everything posted by Lerk

  1. 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.
  2. Lerk


    As Geezer says, a lot of us know exactly where you're coming from! Welcome aboard. You can say it all here!
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Thanks, MOHO! I’ve gained a lot of online friends! And I’ve strengthened the bond with my older son who is a deconvert, and not trying so hard to hide it from his brother.
  6. I thought it was El Elyon saying that, and that he was saying it to Yahweh and his brothers, all of whom were El Elyon’s Sons.
  7. The Bible is a book of myths, legends, and embellished history. Mixed in, it contains some wise sayings and some really foolish ones.
  8. Still lovin' your show, Karen. I'm glad this isn't the board you got kicked off of.
  9. Of course, Christians always spin things and will have an answer, such as "Jehovah knew they couldn't reach actual Heaven, since it's a spiritual place, but he still needed to put them in their place." Still, ol' Yahweh must hate Google Translate!
  10. Lerk


    That's my finding. Like you, I remain closeted (mostly, anyway). While I often despise church services, there's just a lot less worry in my life. There's no wondering why the god doesn't keep its promises, why it doesn't answer prayer. It's just life, and in that, I've found the actual "peace that passes understanding." Edit: Oops! I didn't realize that I'd already commented on this post. Anyway, comment stands.
  11. That's not entirely true. For those of us who were ahead of the curve, the last 35 years have indeed been prosperous. I got my degree in 1982 and now my income is in the top 2nd percentile of Americans -- and I'm not even a manager. I was born at the right time. My dad was a laborer, and my parents insisted that we go to college. College was cheap at the time, and some semesters I even got federal grants that paid all of my tuition and some of my books. (I lived at home and commuted, so there were no extra housing expenses.) But the middle class is shrinking. Even the Democrats since the 80s have followed conservative economic policies. Before Reagan, even Republicans followed progressive economic policy to some extent. Trickle down economics didn't work, because nothing trickled down. Business tax savings didn't translate into jobs, it translated into profit-taking. I was on board with it at the time, too. I voted for Reagan in my very first Presidential election. But I became a liberal long before I deconverted. And my parents leaned liberal, too! My mother, I know, voted for Nixon three times (when he ran against Kennedy, and the two times he won), and she supported Reagan when he lost the nomination to Ford, but 4 years later she was firmly a Democrat. Some people say that you get more conservative as you get older, but it seems that both my parents and I got more liberal. And I don't think it's actually uncommon. A lot of people bought into the Southern switch from the Democrats to the Republicans in the late 70s, and the Moral Majority bullshit, but there are a bunch of people who got turned off of conservative politics at that time, and since then.
  12. The fact that to we Church-of-Christers, all of our Baptist, Methodist, and Catholic friends were "non-Christians" made it pretty much mandatory that we associate with non-Christians!
  13. Lerk


    Welcome, Jerry! I'm right with you on a lot of this. My wife knows I don't believe. One of my sons is a preacher, and the other one is a non-believer. The non-believing son half-way went back in the closet, and he and his wife are going to a church that isn't the denomination we were all raised in for several generations. But his minister-brother is aware that he doesn't really believe and he's really upset with him. I was outed as an atheist and ended up doing the "walk of shame" (aka "going forward" aka "publicly repenting") to get back into the closet, in order not to risk my relationship with minister-son. So I go through the motions, but I no longer lead prayers and such in church. Maybe someday I won't have to worry about it, but for the time being I have to be content. Anyway, glad to have you on board.
  14. Ah! The parable of the sower! One of the few semi-true things in the New Testament. Right along with "Ye shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free".
  15. Zeus has a large stash of lightning bolts. They are made especially for him by the blacksmith Hephaestus -- noone besides Zeus gets them. Have you seen lightning before? What, you've seen it often? Well, that's proof that Zeus exists! Think about that -- there's real, visible evidence for Zeus that is seen quite often! Now Yahweh / Jehovah... what does he do that you can see every day? You say he makes the flowers bloom in Spring? No, that's Persephone. Springtime is evidence of Persephone. Try again!
  16. Sorry if it wasn't clear: I don't believe any of this. I agree that Christians don't know what's in their own Bible. When I was a Christian I studied the Bible a lot, but I always imposed the beliefs I already had on it. I imposed the New Testament on the Old Testament, and I imposed the "logic" passed down from the "restoration movement" onto the New Testament. I imposed the fundamentalist idea that the Bible is 100% consistent from beginning to end upon the whole thing, which basically means that when you run across something that doesn't say what you believe, or that says something that contradicts something else, then either you have to explain why it doesn't mean what it says, or just say "this is a difficult passage" and move on to something else. So when you asked where the gods were, I understood it to be rhetorical. It's just funny to me now because I realize that the oldest stories in the Old Testament treat the gods of other nations as if they are perfectly real gods who are inferior to the god of Israel. Only later does Israel come to believe that there's only one god. And you can see the evolution of belief right in the text!
  17. I've actually seen engraved on their signs, right below "Eastside Church of Christ," the words "Est. 33 AD".
  18. Actually, the Wikipedia article isn't bad. Church of Christ websites probably have more detailed explanation of their own doctrines than any other denomination because they're really steeped in getting their doctrine "right." They claim that they "speak where the Bible speaks" and are "silent where the Bible is silent." This came about because one of the early CoC leaders, Alexander Campbell, believed that there were Christians in all of the denominations, and he was sick of them all (including his branch of Presbyterians) thinking they were the only ones being saved. He figured if everyone would take a few steps back and start over, they'd all come to an agreement and there wouldn't be any more denominations. Thus, they claim that they are non-denominational. And the most ironic thing is that in the intervening 170 years, it has reached the point where the CoC are among the few who think they're the only ones going to Heaven -- Campbell would be turning in his grave. If you want to do some reading, do a search for the initials "ceni". You'll find a bunch of Church of Christ websites about "command, example, and necessary inference" which explain how they treat the Bible. Essentially, they're trying to take the New Testament and distill it down to a "Law of Moses" type law so that they don't have to deal with ambiguity. So much for the "perfect law of liberty!" And if you want to see some real infighting, read the Mental Divorce website! These folks are really nasty to each other when arguing about trivia! (That website's been around since 2000. I was a believer back then and for the life of me couldn't figure out what the argument was about. It turns out that some are super-legalistic, and some are super-duper legalistic when it comes to the "MDR" (marriage, divorce, and remarriage) issue. The fight was over whether the "innocent party" in the case of adultery had to be the one to actually file for divorce in order to be able to remarry. Some argued that it was the principle of being the innocent party that allowed remarriage, and others argued that, no, the Bible only talked about the "innocent" party doing the "putting away," so if the adulterer was the one who filed for divorce, the innocent person could never remarry. No shit. No exaggeration.
  19. No kidding! I can't escape because one of my sons is a minister and it would cause serious problems in our relationship. He knows his brother isn't a believer and he just avoids him. They live near each other, and last week some other family was visiting so the non-believing son went to church with them. My wife listened to part of the sermon online and she felt like preacher-son was preaching at his brother. Maybe someday I'll be honest with him, but I tested the waters once and the water seemed too hot. Kind of a "don't ask -- don't tell" situation at the moment.
  20. Yes! Those things supposedly found in the Bible, the "peace that passes understanding" and the idea that "the truth will make you free" turn out to be real things, only they're found by living in the real world rather than by believing in an unseen world. No longer do I have to ask why things happen! No longer do I have to look at people who don't think like I do (which is everybody, isn't it?) and wonder why they just don't understand! I'm a better, kinder person now, and much less likely to get my feelings hurt. Regarding reading, I'm currently working on "Enlightenment Now" by Steven Pinker. It doesn't deal with leaving theism, but it's a very encouraging look at the progress that's been made in the world since the "Age of Reason." Some accuse Pinker of being hopelessly optimistic, but I don't think they finished the book. And it's really dense, but I'm almost finished and am finding it to be really encouraging.
  21. It is provisional in that it gets refined, but it almost never gets completely overturned. Individual hypotheses get overturned, but whole theories, not so much. There's no such thing as "just a theory." The theory of anything is the entire body of knowledge about it. People colloquially use the word "theory" in place of the technical term "hypothesis," so it is confusing. So although we don't know everything about evolution, and bits of what is believed get replaced with better information, the entire theory isn't going to be found to be incorrect. Although scientists technically won't talk of facts, the whole body of evolutionary theory has been confirmed well enough that it can be considered fact. And the approximate age of the Earth and of the Universe are not in doubt. The Universe is approximately 13.8 billion years old. It could be 13.7 or 13.9 billion, but it can't be 10 billion, or 2 billion, or 1 million, or 6000.
  22. Welcome aboard, Lefty! We don't have a lot in common, except that (like others have said) it was reading the Bible that made atheists out of us. Like several here, I was in the Church of Christ. Unfortunately I was 52 years old before I realized it was just mythology. As to your question, where did all the gods go -- Psalm 82 says that one of the gods (presumably either the Most High God [El Elyon] or Jehovah/The Lord [Yahweh/Adonai]) demoted them. Because they hadn't judged righteously and had favored the rich over the poor, he made them "like princes," meaning that they were still higher than common people, but they were no below the angels and no longer immortal -- they were going to eventually die. How many Christians know that's in the Bible?
  23. The “Universalist” part of UU means “everyone goes to Heaven.” Originally just the Unitarian Church, they were not Trinitarian... didn’t believe in the separate Father/Son/Holy Spirit. Presidents John Adams and John Quincy Adams were Unitarians, having been Quakers before switching. Today, they don’t really have a creed. Lots of pagans attend UU churches, and lots of atheists, too. They celebrate everyone’s holidays! Never been to one — it’s just something I’ve read up on.
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