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About Insightful

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    Strong Minded

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    orange county CA
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    Learning, Loving
  • More About Me
    38 year old male
    3 year crisis of faith
    Ended early 2015 with shift to agnosticism

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  • Still have any Gods? If so, who or what?

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  1. I'm not sure how many of you still have Christian friends on Facebook/etc., but something really interesting happened yesterday. The news was all abuzz about Ellen Degeneres sitting next to George Bush at a baseball game - specifically, the very gracious way that she defended her friendship with someone very ideologically different than herself. She spoke about showing kindness to ALL PEOPLE, regardless of faith, gender, politics, orientation, etc. The interesting thing was that several of my conservative, evangelical, anti-gay, Christian facebook friends independently posted support for Ellen's comments. They took them on as a challenge - saying, basically, "Ellen is right! This is what love and friendship and kindness need to look like. And we Christians need to be like this!" I thought it was so cool because here is someone who Christianity would say cannot be a truly moral person because she does not believe in Biblical Christianity, YET she schooled the world on what true love and kindness looks like. Go Ellen!
  2. Hi kdeaustin, Thank you so much for sharing your story with us and... welcome! I can definitely relate to so much of what you wrote. I believed with all my heart for a solid 14 years and then, like you, I experienced some life circumstances that caused me to stop giving Christianity the benefit of the doubt. Once I started looking at the Bible with fresh eyes everything began to unravel quickly. Those Old Testament stories deeply bothered me as well. I remember reading numbers 31 where the Israelite soldiers were told to kill everyone except for the young women to keep for themselves ( obviously to rape), and I remember just trembling with my heart pounding. I just knew the Bible couldn't be true anymore and I was so angry about it and so upset and so confused and so scared. It's been about 6 years now and I can honestly say I'm the happiest I've ever been in my life. I no longer have to try to make my conflicted illogical worldview somehow fit the reality I'm experiencing. I've learned so much about myself and about others in the last 6 years. I feel truly free. Although I believe many things differently, at the core, my values are still the same - but now those values are not constrained by anything external and I'm free to truly live by them. You may have some really dark and scary months ahead. Please hang in there. I promise there is another side that you'll come out that will be really really good. You will find true peace and joy. Your life at that point might look nothing like you ever thought it would but you won't mind in the least. A book that I really loved during that season of my life was "Why I believed: reflections of a former missionary" by Ken Daniels. I also found this site (ex_C) to be a lifesaver - something I could hold on to when I felt very alone. A sad reality is that most people in your life will not be able to understand what you are going through. The Believers in your life will have absolutely no clue. If you're lucky someone will see the light and join you. But you really can't count on that. In order to preserve their own faith ( which will feel necessary to them for their own Survival) their only option will be to figure out a reason why you stopped believing that fits within their worldview. So it's either because you are never truly a Christian or because you really want to go and sin or because you're really proud etc etc. There is no room for someone who looked with sincerity and concluded that Christianity is wrong about truth. I wasted a lot of breath trying to convince people and get them to understand that I was a good and sincere man trying to live the best life I could and just choosing to be intellectually honest. But they won't see that. You have to be strong in Who You Are even if no one around you truly understands you. That in my experience was the biggest hurdle. Once you can clear that, things get a lot better.
  3. Totally! That one made my document of problems with Christianity. Have David's bowels liquify on the spot? No problem, he had it coming. (Ok, arguably cruel, but within a god's prerogative). But kill... THE BABY??! What in the name of anything good and decent? Can you imagine any system of justice that did that today? I can't even get my wife to attend jury duty in my place...
  4. Rainbows used to mess with my head. As a believer, i thought they were supposed to be a reminder of the promise that God wouldn't send another flood... But every time i saw them, i would think about how the prismatic effect of water on light is just its natural property. It looks like magic when you dont understand it... But then i would feel anxious and guilty for doubting and worry i wasnt a real believer and pray for forgiveness. All for doubting the supernatural origin of the rainbow... Man i was messed up!
  5. *This. Fuego - when I began seriously questioning my faith , it was this story out of Numbers 31 that literally affected me physically. As I read it with open eyes for the first time, my heart began pounding and my body began shaking. I think it might have been the moment that i knew EMOTIONALLY that the Bible simply could not be true. I had all of my intellectual doubts but this story rocked me to the Core. And I thought about it just like you did - so having watched these soldiers slaughter your family, now you get raped by them?
  6. If a Christian came with me to my father's grave (he passed away 4 years ago. I was with him for his final breath, he was cremated, and his ashes buried), prayed for him to be raised in Jesus' name - and my dad immediately rose, presented himself alive, and remained alive, I would believe.
  7. Well written! Welcome I love this line! Permission to steal it?
  8. Hi Blue - Thanks for sharing your story. I'm so sorry for the situation you are in. Are you old enough to move out? It certainly sounds abusive to me. If you are a minor, i would absolutely advise reporting this to child protective services. That can be a scary step but you absolutely must protect yourself! Please embrace who you are - resist the guilty feelings others are trying to place on you. You sound smart and strong. We're here for you.
  9. Welcome Jane! Thanks for sharing your story. I had so many similar thoughts on my path out of Christianity - especially related to gratuitous suffering. Even if much suffering of animals could be attributed to "human sin", what about a deer who burns to death in a forest fire caused by lightening? How could that be man's sin? It's just unnecessary suffering allegedly caused by/allowed by someone who could totally prevent it. Something that also put a huge dent in my faith was a question someone posed: if you knew a child was burning in a building and you knew you could run in and rescue her and save her life, would you? Of course you would. So what do we do with a God who does know the child is burning, is able to save her, but doesn't? The whole "there is a higher good that we don't see" argument - I just can't buy... I too accept others' offers of prayers on a humanist level - in their own little world, they are wishing me the best... I totally hear u when, on FB for example, everyone is posting "praying for you". If you write "sending positive feelings" you've pretty much declared your atheism/agnosticism. Instead of either option (offering prayers or warm thoughts), I say something empathetic and uplifting - something that affirms the person suffering while neither making religious pretense nor telegraphing my unbelief. For example - someone posts that their parent died and asking for prayers. Everyone posts "praying for you". I might say "I'm SO sorry. May all the sweet memories you treasure of your Dad comfort you and make him feel near." Or, someone's dog is in surgery and they ask for prayer. "I know how much you love your dog! Please keep us posted on how the procedure goes." Hope that helps! All the best to you.
  10. That was awesome, TABA. Glad to hear Citsonga is not trading sexual favors to get his letters read. Haha! Btw - his letter to his parents really is pretty spectacular.
  11. Hey Myrkhoos - Wow I'm sorry man that sounds pretty intense. I suffered from panic disorder for about a year and that is not something I would wish on anyone. Once in awhile I get a momentary fear - the " what if I'm wrong to reject Christianity?" moment. Because, damn, if we are wrong we're pretty screwed! But try out this little logical thought sequence and see if it works for you: 1. If the Bible was true, we would be judged on whether or not we believed that Jesus was actually the Son of God who actually died on the cross for our sins. 2. And if it were true, God would be all-knowing. 3. The Bible is full of hopeless contradictions, inconsistencies, moral atrocities, and historical incongruities such that no clear-headed person could conclude with any degree of certainty that Jesus actually was the son of God who came and died for the sins of the world. 4. I don't know about you, but if I knew for certain that it was absolutely true then I would certainly acknowledge that it was true and live my life accordingly. 5. Therefore I conclude that if an all-knowing God exists, he would also know and understand all of the reasons that I simply cannot believe that it's true. And he also would know that I would have readily believed it had he made it sufficiently clear. Therefore I cannot imagine on what basis such a God would ever condemn me if he existed.
  12. Totally! I loved CC back in the day. Not that I think all ex-Cs were never true believers, but even as a true believer myself back then, i always wondered about Derek!! The rest of CC sang more "Christian" stuff and his was more secular... In fact, I remember him having a solo album sold at my local Christian bookstore with a "explicit lyrics" label!! ("I am a whore, I do confess...") Anyway, I digressed! As i wrote to my brother in law when I shared my deconversion with him: I think perhaps the saddest aspect of the post Christian experience is that believers only have negative categories to put us in - deluded, self-deluded, deceived, confused, lost, bent-on-sin, knowingly rejecting, etc. They do not have a category for "believed with all his heart, lived out his faith as fully as he could, found his belief system to be faulty, fought with all his might to hold onto his faith, finally, out of honesty and humility and for the sake of integrity, walked away in tears, but remained a good man who lived a noble life, did much good, and added much love and kindness to the world he left behind."
  13. So sorry for you. 9 yrs is a long time that you 2 have shared together. I agree with the others - red flags for sure and lots of problems ahead. Seems wisest to move on... But I can't imagine the pain you must be going through.
  14. 6 years post-faith, I still sometimes get the urge to pray... What I do is just say my thoughts out loud, knowing that I'm talking only to myself. Depending on my mood and what's going on, sometimes I'll go through some "I'm thankful that______" statements. I might have some "I'm angry that_______" statements, or some "I wish/hope that________" statements. It gives me the chance to emote, express, vent and hope... All while understanding that it's just me talking to... me.
  15. Hi Moby! Welcome. For me it was the cumulative weight of unsolvable theological / biblical problems that I kept trying to ignore. For many of the problems I encountered as a Christian, I was able to convince myself with hermeneutical gymnastics into thinking they weren't problems, or at least they weren't big enough problems to Rattle me. But some problems just couldn't be explained to my satisfaction no matter what length I went to rationalize them. One by one they piled up until the cumulative weight was too much. I remembered feeling like I had so many problems that required faith to accept. But then I began to wonder what evidence was providing me with the faith in the first place to be able to accept all the problems on faith... Ultimately I realized I was only continuing on in Christianity because I kept giving it the benefit of the doubt. Until one day I asked myself why am I giving it the benefit of the doubt??
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