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About jobear

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    programming, board games, puzzles, intelligent discussions, gardening, reading, biking
  • More About Me
    I'm an ex-southern baptist. still trying to figure out where I stand and what I believe, but I've definitely figured out a lot of what I *don't* believe.

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  • Still have any Gods? If so, who or what?
    not sure
  1. it's amazing how many habits and thought patterns stem from feeling like I'm inherently a bad person and I have to apologize for existing. Owning my emotions, having needs/boundaries, making decisions based on the above, not blaming myself for everything...I have so much difficulty with these things because even now I still haven't fully internalized the idea of my right to take up space and be my own person. I'm bad, and only worthwhile because God forgives me. I'm supposed to put God's needs above my own. If I have a strong emotion I'm supposed to pray until it goes away. All these independent thoughts and needs are just more sins because I'm supposed to only care about how He wants me to live. Ugh. I don't think about it that directly anymore, but I grew up with those thoughts and I know that's a big part of why I still react to things the way I do.
  2. This is still a struggle for me. Welcome!!
  3. Welcome! Your name and testimony make me think of "I once was lost but now am found, was blind but now I see." So appropriate a hymn for us now!
  4. My web browser seems to have eaten some of my replies. I wanted to thank you all for the support, and for making me feel like I'm not alone. It is difficult to find people I can talk to without running into "I wish you believed what I believe..." Sadly, I get that from both christians and atheists. Many people from both groups don't understand my doubt and confusion (for different reasons, but it's the same problem from my POV). Thank you for making a safe place to admit that I don't understand what's going on in my own head, and that it doesn't always make any sense.
  5. Yikes. And this is what so many parents are doing to their children in the name of love.
  6. Welcome to the group! Whoa. I just posted basically the same thing about the moment I was "saved." It's safe to say I sympathize.
  7. A funny thing: I told Siri to remind me to remind me to "add spray and wash to the list" yesterday. She translated that as "ask anti-brainwashing list." I laughed and wondered what I was supposed to ask you guys . I'm having a lot of trouble figuring out what it was I ever really believed, which makes it hard to tell my story even to myself. I remember having some doubts when I was young - though I think mostly they were about myself. Instead of questioning what I was being told I was questioning why I couldn't understand what was so clear to everyone around me. I also remember having very firm beliefs like that the rapture was going to happen and I wasn't going. Seems like an odd combination, but there it is. I remember being on my knees and asking Jesus to come into my heart and be my personal savior. I remember my older sister being so proud of me for that. I remember expecting to feel some sort of change, and convincing myself that the lack of noticeable change meant something had gone wrong - I'd said the wrong words, or wasn't sincere enough, or wasn't deserving of god's love so he'd rejected my request. Not that I put it into those words as a young child, but that's the best I can do to explain what was happening in my head. I was baptized soon after, because that's what I was supposed to do. I don't remember what I felt at the time, but I know that when I was older (maybe 12?) I told my parents I wanted to be baptized again. I told them I thought I was too young to really understand what I was doing the first time, and they accepted that. I think that was my excuse to myself for why the magic hadn't happened for me. When it didn't happen the second time, I was lost. The biggest and earliest source of doubt I remember is the whole idea that Jesus died for everyone's sins, but that only counted for some people. Even though I was kind of isolated and thought most people were christians, I knew there were some people who weren't, and I didn't understand how if god loved the world enough to send his only son to save it, why that would have a caveat. I remember trying to ask about that a few times, and basically being told that's just how it works. I was told god could not be in the presence of sin, so he needed jesus to wash away the sins of humans so they could come to heaven. So...how did god appear to some people before Jesus did that? And how can he not be in the presence of something he invented? and if he really wanted us to be able to come to him, why did he create us as sinners in the first place? So much confusion; I'm not sure how much of that was in my head back then, but they are questions I've wondered since. As I got older and realized more and more just how few christians there are in the scheme of things, the less any of it made sense. And the more I realized how few christians, the more I realized how MANY other beliefs. Many of which claim to be the one true thing. And that made me start thinking more seriously about the implications of that, and how lucky you'd have to be to be born in a culture that believes "the right thing" and how if it were all true then god would basically be punishing a lot of people for where they were born and what their parents believed. So at this point I find it impossible to believe most of what my parents taught me, but it's still confusing. I can tell you I don't believe in the rapture anymore, and for the most part that's true, but no matter how much logic I throw at it, there are moments when the clouds suddenly get dark and part in a funny way and something in me still says, "oh shit, here he comes." I also find I still want answers to my questions, even if they don't make sense. Maybe I just want to see that they don't make sense? Maybe I want to be treated like a human being and have my questions treated with respect instead of handwaved? or maybe somewhere in my head I'm still hoping someone can convince me. Sometimes I wonder how I could be smarter than the rest of my family to have seen through all this and gotten away. But sometimes...sometimes I still think I was the dumb one and wonder why I couldn't "get it".
  8. First I want to say that I understand the doubts. After years of being told something is true by people you trust, it's hard to ignore it when people question you and use those same old concepts and phrases to try to talk you "back into the fold." If you ever believed, ever tried hard to believe, ever wanted to be like the "saved" people around you...there's going to be something in your brain that processes what the believers say as familiar and safe. If you grew up with it, even talk of hell can viscerally feel more safe than the idea that there might not be a hell and you've been wrong all along. There is no shame in being confused and scared, or in being drawn in by the familiar. Please examine this paragraph whenever you feel the doubt creeping in. Really read it. Really remember that she accused you of pride and followed it up immediately with "I, personally, know exactly what is going to happen in the afterlife." She doesn't even see that that's pride because she's so thoroughly convinced she's right. She's saying she's 100% positive that out of all the possible religions and cultures that exist, she happened to be born into the "right one." Being uncertain of that is the opposite of pride. As far as "can't make up my own rules about God and reality," this is what people do all the time. Remember that all the holy books ever written were written by humans, and that the people who claim they were "divinely inspired" to do the writing *wrote different things*. If someone wants to believe one or more of those books, that's their choice...but it doesn't make them right. It means they've picked which of the made-up rules about God they like.
  9. To the OP - are your children at the point where they don't believe in Santa anymore? Perhaps you could explain it to them in those terms. Jesus is like this thing that's Santa for adults, and people figure out he's not real at different rates...and you told them it was real because you believed it at the time, but you've figured it out now. This is of course complicated by the fact that other people around you still believe, but it might work.
  10. Thank you! Yes, things are already better in many ways. I'm so glad to have found this site when I did - I think a few years ago I would have still been too terrified to talk about it.
  11. Welcome! I'm new here myself, but it's already helped me just knowing there are other people who can understand me. The Bible is whacked, indeed! And I spent years trying to get satisfactory answers to my questions about it.
  12. For me the issue was the people with faith to profess were left behind in the first place :/. Hm...wanting to be punished. I never put it in those terms before, but I think that was part of it for me too. Or at least believing that I should be punished.
  13. Funny that I was never nearly as afraid of hell as of the rapture.
  14. He thought it was weird :|. I think he sympathized with me, and realized it was a form of trauma, but he didn't know what to do with it.
  15. All my adult life I have thought it was strange how strong my "abandonment issues" are. None of the things which typically cause them are present in my life: my parents have been together forever, I lived in one home for 18 years, I've had the same job all my adult life, many of my friends have stayed with me for decades...and yet deep down I believe people no one can possibly be constant in my life. they'll find out how terrible I am, or something - I don't even know what it is I think will happen - and leave me. What the hell? Then one day in therapy I said, "I seem utterly convinced that one day everyone I love will just disappear." Holy crap, what an epiphany; that is *exactly* what the deep-down fear is. yeah, my family was stable, but they spent my formative years telling me that one day, when I least expect it, god will scoop everyone else up into the sky and leave me here to suffer. Yeah, pretty much just me, at least among the people I knew - I internalized "you are a sinner" pretty well, and even though I asked Jesus to forgive me and be my personal savior and all that...I never felt anything happen, so I thought it didn't take, or that he rejected me. My world was sheltered enough that I believed most people were christians - the most I ever heard about "other" religions was "those crazy catholics." And when my parents took me to church one night to show me "A Thief in the Night" (at age 6 - the age my daughter was when these same people decided Bambi was too scary for her!) the message I got from it was not that the tribulation was for those rare non-christians, but for the people *being christian the wrong way*. If you've ever seen it, you know what I mean - the protagonist and everyone around her were church-going, bible-believing folks who never said the magic Jesus-summoning words. I was not old enough to figure out "nothing happened when I said them because none of this is real." So the whole thing left me feeling even worse about myself than before - not only am I an evil sinner who needs god's forgiveness, but I'm so bad he won't even give it to me! At 6. Yeah, I was such a horrible person with my 6-year-old sins of not cleaning my room, and lying to my parents sometimes, and taking the last donut. This is what a loving god is going to punish me eternally for. Gah.
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