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TABA last won the day on April 9

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About TABA

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  • Birthday September 24

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    West Virginia
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    Life, the Universe and Everything
  • More About Me
    From childhood Catholic to lukewarm conservative Christian. But now the spell is broken. I've come to realize I was probably always an atheist by nature.

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

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  1. I think Joshpantera’s concept of intellectual immunity to Christianity, as he’s discussed it here and elsewhere, is very important. If we can reach that point in our deconversion journey, we can read an article like the one in the OP and shake our head, or laugh, and shrug it off. I did react that way and I do consider myself intellectually immune to Christianity and other theistic claims. Not patting myself on the back or anything: it takes a while to get there. It helped that I am an engineer, so I typically only believe things that are backed by solid evidence and not just because I want them to be true. Yet for 20+ years I had a walled-off corner of my mind where my Christian faith lived, where the same rules didn’t apply. Within the past 10 years, when I started to apply reason to the claims of Christianity, it rather quickly started to collapse. But the part of my mind that gave credence to religious claims for reasons other than evidence, that didn’t go away completely, not for a while. I had a hunger for books and articles by the likes of Ehrman and Price, who disagree about some things, like the existence of Jesus as an actual figure in history, but who examine the evidence objectively, not necessarily believing something because it’s in the subset of scripture that made it into the Bible. As I read and immersed myself in strictly evidence-based ideas, I stopped thinking like a Christian or theist. Now the Christian clams make no more impression on me than the Muslim ones ever did. As I said, I can read that article without it bothering me in the slightest. But somebody in an earlier stage of deconversion could be thrown into turmoil and anxiety by it. If somebody has concluded that Christianity is not true or valid, but they are affected in this way, I’d advise them to immerse themselves in reason-based arguments by people - like Ehrman and Price - who aren’t invested in a certain outcome. No human can be totally unbiased, but these guys come about as close as possible, I think. At some point you will be able to read stuff about Satan and his plans, but only after you’ve reached a certain point. The part of your mind that believes things because they’ve been repeated over and over again has to be brought to heel. It’s rarely easy and it can be tempting to turn back, but believe me it’s worth the effort. This community is here to encourage and reassure.
  2. I can understand why you would think that. TinMan will surely respond to this for himself, but since it’s the middle of the night in Korea, I wanted to chime in that I think his posts here over the past year have been the sincere thoughts of a man going through the deconversion process. That process is not always smooth sailing. Sometimes there are setbacks, especially when there is still a lingering fear of Hell.
  3. Imagine if someone publicly targeted GOP House members by firing scores of bullets at a charity ball game... https://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/house-majority-whip-scalise-shot-baseball-field-ill-gunman-article-1.3246505
  4. @webmdave thanks for the explanation. As always, thanks for all you do in keeping this community online. Can you give us an update on the financial state of affairs?
  5. Yeah I listened to the podcast from the link in that guy’s blog post. It was worth listening to.
  6. Yes, you are fortunate- congratulations on clearing your head at a young age! Never stop thinking critically - even outside of religion it’s easy to swallow a line of bullshit because you want it to be true, or because people you like believe it. It’s as true in politics as it is in religion. Where to begin? How about the supposed Old Testament predictions of Jesus... many Christians believe that the OT clearly predicts Jesus and Christianity. But when you look at the Old Testament passages that are quoted in the NT, you generally find one or two verses that could fit Jesus and his ministry, surrounded by other verses that don’t fit at all. I suggest you could take just about any historical event or person and lift OT verses here and there out of context to show how it was foretold.
  7. If that blog post is to be believed, no Christian can be sure that they are truly Christians, truly saved: you can commit your life to Christ, study the Bible, live the best life you can, bring others to Jesus - and none of it may matter anyway. What happened to the assurance and peace that Christian faith is supposed to bring? This doesn’t seem like a good way to win people over to Christianity. In fact I’d say it’s the most dramatic own-goal I’ve seen on the part of a Christian apologist.
  8. This isn’t a joke: there actually is a book called “Atheism for Dummies”. You might think that becoming an atheist is the easiest thing in the word: just stop believing in God! But for those of us making the journey away from Christianity, the possibility that we could become atheist can be enough to stop us in our tracks, causing us to end up in an uncomfortable and unstable semi-deconverted state, or even to go back to god-belief from fear of the unknown. I’m recommending this book because it was a huge help to me in my own journey: it helped me make the transition from reluctantly admitting that there was probably no god to embracing my new world-view and becoming increasingly comfortable and confident in it, and to feeling a growing kinship to other non-believers, both past and present. One of the strengths of this book book is in how it reassures us that ceasing to believe in gods doesn’t mean we have to be atheist activists, doesn’t mean we have to hate religion, doesn’t mean we have to align ourselves with any particular political agenda, doesn’t demand we change our views on moral issues. But it does mean we can now form our own opinion on all kinds of issues based on what makes sense to us - and hopefully drawing on the wisdom of centuries of non-theistic and secular wisdom - not on a dogma handed down from the Bronze Age. I’d say this book would be helpful to a wide-range of people. If you’re starting to doubt the truth of Christianity’s claims, but you’re afraid of a life without god or the rules of religion, it will encourage and reassure you. If you’ve already concluded that the god of the Bible doesn’t exist, it will help you grow into your new way of looking at life. Even if you’re a confident committed atheist, it will give you tips on living in a religious world, maybe even a religious family. It will introduce you to some wise and courageous atheist/humanist thinkers and writers you may not have heard of. And it would be a good book for your believing loved ones to read, to help them understand you and hopefully accept you. While it explains why we don’t believe, it’s not at all hostile to religious belief or to believers. That’s important when our religious family and friends are concerned! And finally, if you are still a believer but you have a friend or family member who no longer believes, it will help you understand them and maybe even realize that they’re not as different from you as you thought. I want to make clear that I’m not connected in any way with the author or publisher of this book. It didn't deconvert me, but once I’d reached a certain point, it welcomed me into my new outlook on life and made me glad I’d started the journey. https://www.amazon.com/Atheism-Dummies-Dale-McGowan-ebook/dp/B00BK8KBYG/ref=sr_1_1?crid=7D8R86XR90VI&keywords=atheism+for+dummies&qid=1560192869&s=gateway&sprefix=Atheism+for+%2Caps%2C165&sr=8-1
  9. The essence of 19th-century-style free-market capitalism, I’d say. The problem here is that YouTube has a near-monopoly in its market. If a car manufacturer, an airline or a computer maker had such dominance in its market, they would be broken up by anti-trust regulations in the US and Europe. I’m not sure why anti-trust regulations don’t apply to social media platforms.
  10. Thanks for sharing these, TF. The evidence that Hell is a concept that evolved through the millennia cannot be pointed out too often around here. Everyone who deconverts from Christianity has to deal with the issue at some point. Some of us - like myself - weren’t inclined to believe in Hell even when we were believers. But others start down the deconversion road but then are haunted by fear of Hell in the event that they’re wrong. One of the most valuable things we can do in this community is to ease and eventually dismiss those fears.
  11. Some of us have discussed alternatives to Christianity/theism for those who want something that fills the human desire for ceremony, ritual and something resembling spirituality. This revival of pagan religion in Iceland is an example of what I think - and hope - will becoming a growing trend in cultures around the world: something that provides community, fellowship and ritual without strict moral codes or dogma. http://www.bbc.com/travel/story/20190602-how-iceland-recreated-a-viking-age-religion
  12. TABA

    Hi Everybody

    Hi Moby - welcome to our community of apostates! I was also in my early 50s when I deconverted - just within the last five or six years. Better late than never! That feeling of mental freedom is very familiar to me and to many others here. Letting go of the entire belief system and no longer having to do mental gymnastics to make things fit - it feels good, doesn’t it! Anybody who starts using reason to honestly examine the claims of Christianity - or any other god claims - eventually comes to the realization that it just doesn’t work out. Some people reach that stage and suppress that realization, continuing in their faith. You and I and the others here couldn’t or wouldn’t suppress it, and so here we are. This community has been a huge help to me. It’s always a pleasure to welcome and encourage newcomers as I was once welcomed and encouraged. I hope you’ll be active here! All the Best, TABA
  13. This is a choice that has been faced by every person who seriously considers the intellectual case against theism in general and Christianity in particular. Many choose to continue to ‘believe’ or to act as if they believe. Most of us here did not follow that path and separated ourselves from Christianity and - in most cases - from theism also. I can see why somebody would remain in the church: for the social connections, which are absolutely real; for moral guidance, which is highly dubious and anyway is increasingly cherry-picked by the faithful; for the comforting idea of a loving father watching over one’s life. It should not be carried too far though, since getting the theology wrong could result in eternal damnation, which is a feature, not a bug. Come to think of it, most Christians cherry-pick both the morality and the doctrine. Belief in Heaven is pretty much universal; belief in Hell... not so much. Most believers take it seriously enough to attend church and teach their kids about God, but not so seriously that the cognitive dissonance troubles them. In my case, I let go of the belief system and have found agnostic atheism to be better than dealing with the troubling doctrines and downright contradictions. I never expected to find such peace and contentment outside of faith, but here I am.
  14. Well it’s true that atheist homes will generally produce atheist offspring and Christian homes tend to produce Christian ones. I actually think the kids from atheist homes are more likely to follow in their parents’ footsteps given the rather high rate of Christian-raised kids who “fall away” in their teens. It’s just easier for us godless types because we don’t have a complex theology that has to be held together: once a single thread is pulled, the whole thing can come part. Simply lacking belief in a deity is much simpler and more stable. Which brings to mind the Prof’s comment above: ^^^ Wiser words have never been spoken in these forums, IMHO.
  15. No, he didn’t forget. Most of us here define atheism as simply lacking a belief in any god. We don’t claim to KNOW there are no gods, we just find all the various god-claims to be unconvincing. If I as an atheist do not teach my children that a god is real, that is not indoctrination, any more than you are indoctrinating your kids against Hinduism if you fail to teach your children that the elephant-headed god Ganesh is real and should be worshiped. In an age when lightning, earthquakes, diseases, plagues and famines all have natural explanations that require no divine intervention, a child who grows up without being taught constantly that god(s) are real is rather unlikely to end up being a Christian, Muslim, Jew or any other kind of theist. That is why I disagreed with a member who urged kids to be taught to be atheists and god-haters. Simply “failing” to teach theism is all that is needed, along with encouraging kids to practice critical thinking in general.
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