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About DanForsman

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    San Francisco East Bay
  • Interests
    hiking/walking, vegan diet, smaller houses and less stuff, sustainable world population size, economy not built on growth
  • More About Me
    I am looking for something meaningful to focus on in retirement. I value independent thought and believe that world peace is an achievable goal.

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  • Still have any Gods? If so, who or what?
    No thanks; I have had enough now.

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  1. DanForsman

    An Athiest Too Late.

    Hi HoneyBib and welcome to our little corner of the world here. I too am so sorry to hear that you are so sad and frightened. There are some possible similarities between experiences you briefly mention and events that occurred in my life when I was in my early twenties. The good news is that I did get better. It sounds likely that you experienced some kind of shift when you were 13 meaning your life sort of jumped track and you have moved along since in a different place on a different track with a different landscape. The shift occurred due to negative frightening events and you can never go back and get on the same track you were on but your train is still moving and the new landscape will not be all barren and sunless if you can just hang on one day at a time. Perhaps something in your mind was overwhelmed and temporarily lost it’s ability to produce a necessary feel good chemical or temporarily couldn’t make some - important to you mental well being - electrical connections. If your case is like mine was then these things will very slowly repair themselves to a large extent although you will not be just as you were before. Definitely you should not feel the emptiness you feel now but some of the intensity of feelings you previously had will probably be lost. Real easily identifiable happiness will return with greater and greater frequency and you can then put your new life together and with the wisdom of having seen what things caused you harm you can build in safeguards and protect yourself from ever being hurt like that again. You are so very young that the vast majority of your life is ahead. I get the impression that you are being careful and thoughtful with yourself and that is very important as is learning to be that good supportive patient parent to yourself the one that you may never have had. Those kind of panicked feelings that something horrible is just around the corner should become less frequent and less intense with time and although this is a slow process it should start happening so if it doesn’t you should probably seek out some professional help. The abilities and sincerity of mental health workers runs the spectrum so you have to be aware of that and use recommendations from people you trust and then trust your gut instincts which may well be better than most given you history. Hopefully you can get where you long to be with self help. That is the path that Mandy is traveling and it is the path that I was able to make work for me. Just keep monitoring yourself and seek some high quality help if you need it. Marlene Winell specializes in the damages caused by these cult like religions and can help you assess your state of mind and find a good path forward. http://marlenewinell.net/recovery-harmful-religion. Pease keep us posted regarding your journey and recovery.
  2. DanForsman

    Pushing Back

    For sure and a beautiful thing is that your response is so much shorter and clearer than the stuff in that link that goes on and on. Quite curious as to what Renee looks like though.
  3. DanForsman

    Hey. my name is Jeffrey

    Don’t know if you’ll take comfort in knowing this or not but you’re path (“Deism-Agnosticism-atheism. Taking baby steps.“) is a very common one that many here have taken and it isn’t uncommon for that path to take years to travel down. Nice to have you here.
  4. DanForsman

    The holidays and how my parents visit went.

    Mandy, i’m sorry to hear you are going through the difficult time. The crazy thing is that the simple clear thinking becomes a crime in fundamental Christianity. So glad you are here with us and especially glad to here you have your daughter as an ally. You are working through a difficult situation with this rift forming between your own family and your birth family and because Christians are taught to push it could be that some future conflict will be unavoidable. I think you can stay in the drivers seat and avoid emotional confrontations should you find yourself forced to divulge you true feelings about Christianity. The reason I bring this up is because you said, “ I just don’t have the energy for it. I don’t have the energy to fight with them, to debate them, to be hurt anymore by their lack of concern for me or how I feel.” I don’t have ideas specific to countering the hurt feelings but I do believe you can greatly lessen the conflict by refusing to get into the debate they may push for. You don’t owe it to your parents or anyone else to explain why you believe what you believe. It is absolutely enough to just simply get the point across that you believe you have made a thoughtful decision and that you need them to understand that even though they don’t approve it is your final decision (barring some brand new overwhelming irrefutable evidence). If you just stick with this every time the topic comes to why you can save yourself and your parents a lot of aggravating fruitless debate/confrontation. Very very few Christians would alow themselves to consider any point that contradicts their beliefs irregardless of how persuasive they may actually be. With so many emotional undercurrents no actual debate of the facts will likely ever take place. If you won’t allow yourself to get sucked into a debate they will quickly burn themselves out. They will probably need to accuse you of having a god sized hole in your heart or being angry at god or at being tired of following god’s rules, etc. They are taught that these are the only reasons anyone stops believing. But just repeating that you’ve spent many hours considering Christianity and just don’t believe in it is a powerful way to protect yourself and keep the conversation/confrontation from escalating. Possibly you will never be forced to declare you beliefs but you shouldn’t be fearful should you find yourself in that position. The conversation rightfully belongs to focus on where do we go from here rather than who is more right or who need to change. I think you can get there much more quickly by skipping the debate about Christian dogma and proofs.
  5. DanForsman

    Hello from the UK 🇬🇧

    I'm not from England but that fear of hell you describe sounds like the result of the very same poison diet christianity is feeding us here in the US. It will take time because emotion based decisions typically change much more slowly than reason based decisions. Try to take some comfort in knowing that feelings can not create reality. Christianity wants your emotional commitment to the "extraordinary" good things it has to offer before you try to logically decide if it is based in reality. If it were approached the other way around very few would look at the facts and evedence and end up thinking christianity is in any way remotely what it claims to be. You really have already accomplished the hard part by looking at the evidence objectively and making the only reasonable decision you could. Hell is a made up idea christianity picked up on exactly for the purpose of scaring people away from thoughts of leaving. Be proud of yourself for caring enough about yourself to look into the truth of the christian claims and standing up to the mind game bulling. Whenever that fear raises it's ugly head just say to yourself ok Kat34 lets just calm down and go over any question we have and decide one more time whether or not hell has any crediblity. What do we have to suggest it is a real place and what do we have that suggest it is a man made invention. Real beliefs are not for sale. Look within yourself to see what you believe and if you've gone through some very significant effort (as you aparently have) to decide what you believe then trust yourself and continue to resist the pressure to copy the "beliefs" of people who have never done the work of trying to figure out if their beliefs are correct. Welcome and congratulations Kat34.
  6. I see you visited this site yesterday so hopefully I can add a thought or two that you can consider. I think you could make a big mistake just now if you join forces financially with your parents to rent a nicer 4 bedroom that your parents and brothers can't afford to pay for on there own. You say your mother will need to rehab for a couple of months but it looks like you will need to stay on indefinately or they will not be able to make payments. What if they don't wind up wanting to let you live your own life? What is your exit strategy in this quite likely scenario? Are you meaning to guarentee you will keep sending your share even after you move out in persuit of a meaningful fufilling life for yourself? You may think that when your mother gets better she will work and they'll be able to afford the appartment without you but if this is really the case why didn't they make this move anytime before now? What if the likely thing happens and you just have to leave because the living arrangements are stifling, you need your earnings to secure reasonable living accomodations for yourself and your parents can't keep up with the payments and are therefore forced out. How would you feel and where would your family end up? I think almost any plan would be better than this one. Buy your mother a nice clean room somewhere close where she can rehab until she's strong enough to go back home. Whaterer that costs would be very cheap in the long run. If you can't afford to do that don't feel bad because very few people can. Clearly you love your family but don't push yourself to give more than you are reasonably capable of giving. You can spend time with your mother and do your best to help her have a speedy recovery irregardless of the situation she finds herself in. If you have a little extra money you can use that to help her be more comfortable without jeopardizing your personal life and future. Good luck and best wishes.
  7. DanForsman

    The holidays and how my parents visit went.

    It sounds to me like you did very well. It was a first or at least one of the first visits since coming out so you really couldn't fairly expect much. You held your ground without having unreasonable expectations for their behavior. There was nothing you said that was unreasonable or that you should feel bad about saying. I think you've laid a good groundwork for what will be acceptable in future visits. You're trying to deal with a very difficult situation that often ends in failure so anything positive that ultimately comes out of your efforts is a real plus. Now that everyone has learned somewhat what to expect and what your minimum expectations are there is a reasonable chance that bit by bit future visits will become less tense and possibly (who knows?) even bring some joy. It's up to your parents as much as you I think you should feel great about doing everything you can from your side and putting in as much effort as you obviously have. Excellent job Purple Lilac! I'll be very interested to hear what comes from your next get together but for now just relax and hang with some nice clear headed friends.
  8. DanForsman


    As a number of concerned responders have said your husband though not really that bad by your present estimation is in fact over the line in terms of his controlling behavior and you should be hyper aware of the possibility that he could become danderous at any time in this process. Sure your husband has been brainwashed but that does not in any way excuse him from responsibility for totally unacceptable behavior. Besides controling and dominating behaviors he seems to have stalking tendencies. This man believes you are a possession of his and he could decide to fight for what belongs to him. All you need to do is be aware that there is a possibility for violence even though your husband may not have any history of it so you don't get blindsided as so many women do every day right here in the USA. I contacted Joy and asked her to look at your thread here. Joy's story has a happy ending, she was not harmed in the process of leaving and I believe she is safe now but Joy faced the possible dangers head on and was proactive in protecting herself and her children before informing her husband of her intentions. PS You will have to make a realistic plan for the numerous practical matters necessary for living on your own of course such as finding a place to stay, locating schools for your younger children and finding that all important source of income. Nevertheless it will be worth the effort. No one deserves to be treated the way you have been treated. I'm glad you've decided put and end to it. You are most definately doing the right thing for yourself and the rewards will be well worth the cost.
  9. DanForsman


    http://new.exchristian.net/2015/05/joy-unspeakable-part-10-submission-101.html#disqus_thread This story by undercover agnostic 4 years ago on the main blog here brought over 100 comments. About 20 or 25 comments down undercover and other commenters began discussing whether divorce might not be more realistic that continuing in a marriage that was overwhelmingly one sided and emotionally damaging even if her husband had improved since they had first married so many years ago.
  10. DanForsman


    You could take a look at a book -Joy Unspeakable by Joy Hopper on Amazon. She was on this site just telling her story about deconversion and writing responses for probably a year (as Undercover, I think) when in the course of some exchanges realized her husband was patriarchal to the point or emotionally abusive and decided she wanted out in spite of the long history and 5 children (some about the age that yours are now). It starts with her growing up story but goes all the way to current. If you wanted to pm with her I could check with her about that. She needed a plan to make sure she stayed safe when she informed her husband and separated. You should always be careful when dealing with possessive husbands who think patriarchy is just correct.
  11. DanForsman

    Dealing with uncertainty

    Sorry for your difficulties Kat34. There is so much programming that goes on with fundamental/evangelical Christianity. They tell you what to do in the sermons, in the songs and in the stock explainations for what people do and why they do them. Some are obvious and meant to direct your behaviors while in the cult like how many times you are told to smile and act happy so the world can see the great joy in the Christian message. Other are more subtle and set to take effect if you start to wonder too much or drift too far away. Christians are implanted with the characterization of agnostics as uncertain not just about god but about Christianity. That association makes Christianity appear much more difficult to see through than it actually is because it gives one the impression they’re either Christian or confused but definately they’ve can’t come to a clear rejection of the message. They then seal the deal by painting atheists as irrational, angry, nasty and evil. It puts the person who really doesn’t see any truth at all into the roll of someone they have been programmed to despise. (How many times do they repeat that the Christian message is THE TRUTH.) And it doesn’t end there. You are taught that god is following you everywhere begging you to repent and waiting with open arms. He’s always right there knocking at your hearts door for days, weeks, years, as long as you live and then of course if you miss the boat by dying before you relent and repent...hell’s tortures await you. It’s much easier to see the flaws in a very flawed story than it is to escape what is likely to have been years of brainwashing by a tribal cult that has loved and cared for you just as long as you supported the cause and the message. I think this is why it typically takes years to get free. Try to take comfort in knowing you’re part of the 2/3rds of humanity who doesn’t buy the Christian story. Hell is apparently what Jesus loves best of all. Do yourself the kindness of looking at evidence for and against believing in Christianity and trust your obviously “god given” mind to make the correct choice. People are not given books when they’re born they’re given brains. It will take time because your emotions almost certainly are not driven by reason. However they will eventually back completely off if you keep demonstrating to yourself that those fearful feelings (the ones planted by your church) are without reason. Good luck. It’s a nasty trap they put you into.
  12. DanForsman

    'God' is killing my mother

    Hi Dexter. I’m sorry that you find yourself is such a perplexing situation at the same time you are having to deal with a very real possibility that your mother could die much too soon. I think it’s important to realize that your mother has not taken this situation lightly nor has she ignored the possibility of chemo. Looking back at the process you described it seems to me that she has used quite possibly every asset at her disposal to make a good decision. Truthfully none of us can know whether or not she has factually chosen the very best possible course given the 50/50 scientific prognosis. You have done your very best at playing the roll she asked of you in helping her make her decision. She probably understood very well what you were saying and became angry not really at you but at the difficult and possibly deadly decision forced upon her by this disease and the times we are living in. I don’t think you should feel responsible for not having tried harder in this situation. You can try gently suggesting she add chemo to the care she has chosen but if she rejects that I think you can feel at peace with supporting her well (from her perspective) thought out and researched decisions especially considering you would accept her decision if only she had approached it from a different angle. Most importantly your mother needs to feel like you trust her to be doing her very best to take care of herself. It may be worth while to research online how debts are handled after a persons death as I think passing on actual debt from a parent to a child (beyond reducing an inheritance) is uncommon if it is even possible. It’s clear you love your mother and your family very much and I wish you all the best in these difficult times.
  13. DanForsman

    Update left church

    Wow. Here you are facing all these very difficult situations just because you've trusted yourself to be able to determine what is and isn't true and found your religion lacking. I'm truly sorry for you, Mothernature, and wish you all the best moving forward. If the tension seems too great it may be time to make a move. It doesn't sound like you really know where your husband is going to go in response to your dropping out of the faith and he can't know where you intend to go with your new world view. He is worried and one part of the cross wiring job the church does is blame the husband if his wife (or children) fall away from the faith. My advice of late is to try to downgrade the tention by focusing on what you think can still be salvaged in the relationship. I don't think it is necessary for you to give specific reasons for losing you faith (potentially a source of bitter conflict) but rather just to make as clear as possible that after a lot of careful thought and research you have come to the conclusion that christianity is not based on truth. You appreciate how difficult this change in you is for him to accept.You don't look down on Christians but Christianity isn't something for you. You are completely fine with him practicing his religion; you're not planning on him changing his mind just as you don't want him working to change yours. A fight takes participation from both parties. Never raise you voice and try to hear what your husband is saying. Expect him to be on edge. On the other hand you don't have to discuss anything you don't want to and you don't have to know everything about why you've changed your mind. You can say I don't know and stick with that just as you can say I'll need time to think about what you're asking me now.Then hopefully you can agree that religion is going to be more or less an out of bounds subject and you can turn your attention to whatever positive interactions you envision taking place between the two of you now that the relationship has changed. Spend some prep time thinking of enjoyable things you can still do together (assuming you believe in salvaging the marriage). I think it would be too much to include negotiations regarding the children in the first discussion. Really if you are unable to see a mutually envisioned satisfactory relationship between the two of you and beyond defining it have also actually had enough time to try out the new arrangements and to have successfully made them work then prospects of working out reasonable agreements regarding the children won't have a very high probability of success.These problems come just when you deserve to be congratulated. You've absolutely done the right thing to ask honest questions and pretty much everyone here has come to the same conclusion you have. With more time you'll see that the puzzle itself is very simple to solve while the extreme complexities all have to do with the way Christianity is presented and packaged. You should be very proud of yourself for caring so much about the truth. You are moving forward with your life in the best possible way and will become more and more capable of dealing with difficult situations by continuing to rely on your own good judgment. Congratulations!!
  14. DanForsman

    Loosing my religon

    Welcome Tenebrae. It sounds like you had a very rough start of your adult life and I'm sorry for that. I'm so glad you were able to get back on you feet. Congratulations though on getting your nursing degree and also on finding your way out of the cults of christianity you got into. Is everything pretty much ok now or are you still substantially struggling? Glad you here to keep us company.
  15. DanForsman

    confused and conflicted!

    Hi REM123. I'll be totally excited to here back anytime you're feeling ready to respond. I thought you had possibly given Christianity another try so was prepared for a very long time of waiting before I heard from you again. Lately I've posted a few things after the first wave so it takes a little luck to have those things even looked at. I am in fact very well just now, thank you, and I hope the same is true for you and for sure you're very welcome.