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Everything posted by TABA

  1. I think teaching kids to be atheists and god-haters is quite likely to be counter-productive. Teaching kids about the various religious claims, and above all teaching them to become critical thinkers, will likely have the desired results.
  2. I’m sorry for your loss, RC. I’m glad your dad is no longer in pain. I wish you well.
  3. Sorry, man. I hope things look better today. What’s up?
  4. We’re still here. You asked about tithing. The most common version is where Christians feel called to give 10% of their income to “God”. Since you can’t actually give money to a deity, it boils down to writing checks to their church. Most of it is used for ministers’ salaries, building maintenance, all the stuff that goes into running any organization. The church I attended was entirely self-supporting. A small portion (usually very small) is used for helping the needy. In the USA, contributions to churches are almost always tax-deductible. You’ll be shocked to learn this, I know, but the Bible isn’t actually clear about tithing. I believe there are one or two Old Testament references to giving one-tenth of one’s possessions. The NT says different things about giving, but many Christians are certain that God wants 10% minimum of their gross income. That’s probably more than you ever wanted to know about tithing.
  5. You should be able to send TRP a private message, or he may chime in here in the thread since I tagged him in my last post. I don’t think he’ll mind me referencing him. And you don’t seem naive. You see like a regular guy who has never been exposed to the more cultish, creepier versions of Christianity. Be thankful.
  6. I’m afraid it’s for real. At the Church of Christ congregation that I first joined, one of the Bible classes was actually an interview with a couple who had ‘escaped’ from one of these heavy shepherding churches. The stories they told about the degree to which their lives were supervised were pretty wild. Regular Churches of Christ did not have this shepherding and worried that people would associate them with the “Boston Church of Christ” / “International Church of Christ” movement. Regular Churches of Christ are very sane by comparison. It’s legal because adults submit themselves to this kind of thing. If there’s any silver lining here, I’m pretty sure that this oppressive system probably drives away a good number of people. But if this lady is actually a part of this, it shows what you’re up against. Once they find out about you, she will probably be told that you are an agent of Satan, trying to drag her down into the Jaws of Hell with you. She will be required to report any and all contact with you. I see from your profile that that you are from Northern Ireland. Assuming you and she are still in NI, you might profit from the experiences of our member @TheRedneckProfessor. I believe he was actually a missionary in NI for a few years before coming over to the dark side. NI is not that big a place and he may possibly have come across the particular movement she is involved in. Just a thought.
  7. Hi Bazz99, and special greetings from a fellow Irish (ex)Catholic! I also spent 20+ years in a fundamentalist church (Church of Christ) and while I didn’t fully drink the Kool-Aid, or at least not for long, I certainly know how they think. Needless to say, there are different types of Christians, not just doctrinally (umpteen denominations, each in possession of The Truth), but in how seriously they take it. I say this because figuring out what type of Christian this lady is could be the key to knowing whether you might have a future together. I should add that many Christians suffer from some kind of cognitive dissonance (believing mutually incompatible things) and the others go to some length to avoid it. For example, traditional Christian teaching has always been that non-Christians will spend eternity burning in Hell after we die. But nowadays many Christians can’t stomach that idea. Some of them deal with it by believing that Hell is simply annihilation: when you and I die we just die, fade to black, but Christians will be taken to Heaven for eternity. Others believe that Jesus saved all of humanity from Hell. For those Christians who truly think the unbelievers go to Hell, they deal with it by avoiding non-Christians as much as possible, because let’s face it, it would be hard to be around people whom you knew were doomed to that kind of future. It would be heartbreaking every day. Or they convince themselves that non-believers are really nasty people who, deep down, deserve Hell. And the best way to keep thinking that is to avoid any evidence to the contrary. This is why it’s important that more and more of us come out as non-theists. The more of us there are, the harder it will be for Christians to avoid facing up to the implications of their belief system. The more the cognitive dissonance bothers them , the more Ex-Christians there will be. So can this lady “snap out of it”? It’s possible, sure. After all most of us here were more-or-less fundamentalist and we snapped out of it. But we are NOT typical, I’m afraid. Most don’t snap out of it. But I see some hope for you. She clearly still fancies you, and she will struggle with the idea that this man she is so drawn to and who makes her happy deserves to go to Hell. She will either break it off once and for all or cracks will start to appear in her faith. If that happens, you could possibly help her through a deconversion process. There are tons of material here in these forums as to why Christianity is unfounded. Once faith starts to give way to reason, reason most often wins. I’m not going to sugar-coat it, it’s a long-shot I think. But if anybody can pry her away from the “faith-virus”, it’s gonna be you. Maybe if you spend time together regularly, with no strings attached, that cognitive dissonance will kick in and you can start to move forward together. But I think you can only give it so much time. At some point if nothing’s changing you need to move on. Easy for me to say, I know. But your heart and other organs deserve better. We only live once. Man, I hope this helps in some small way. Good luck! We’re always here to help each other out...
  8. Hi SB, The title of your post is “Am I Committing a Crime” and the short answer to that is “No”. I don’t know of any country where using a VPN to listen to Spotify without paying is a crime. It may be technically illegal, but you can rest assured that nobody is coming after you for this. The anti-piracy police have much bigger fish to fry than one person doing it for their personal use. In the body of your OP, you asked “Is this wrong?”. That’s a different matter. Curiously, the Bible doesn’t say anything about digital music, so even Christians would have to use their own judgement on this to some extent. Would I do it? No. I think musicians should be paid for their work. But you have to decide if it’s something you’re OK with. Regardless, you need fear neither gods nor cops in this particular case.
  9. Don't do it! Don’t do the Twitter! Seriously, Twitter makes almost everybody it touches snarkier and addicted to outrage. It’ll make you want to take a shower every time you log off.
  10. Yeah, it’s much easier to have un-Christian views about things like this now that I myself am un-Christian. Goodbye Cognitive Dissonance...
  11. Obviously I disagree with him, but I disagree with firing him because of his statements. If expressing more-or-less traditional Christian teaching is grounds for firing, what other unpopular views justify it? In a religious culture, would it be OK to fire a guy for making strong atheistic comments? Way too many thin skins these days.
  12. He probably credits the church and the counseling for helping save his marriage. And maybe they did. So he’s emotionally invested in it. Emotion often trumps reason, with each of us at one time or another.
  13. If you have a fear of Hell and you want to destroy your faith, then praying to that god doesn’t seem like a good idea. When I stopped believing in that god, for a while I still was inclined to pray sometimes when under stress. I decided to direct those prayers to Jupiter instead. I felt the same feeling of relief after praying, like I had shared my troubles. Of course I had no belief that Jupiter existed. But it showed that it was the act of praying that helped, not any divine response. Before long, I lost any remaining desire to pray and instead I now try to meditate regularly instead. You might want to try this too. I think it’s really important for somebody with your fears to make a clean and utter break with Christianity. I hope my suggestions help you, my friend. I’d love to see you enjoy the peace that I have experienced since deconverting.
  14. Do you pray to a specific deity that you believe exists, or do you just find it helpful to pray?
  15. Well of course Christian apologists will say this points to there being a design process for us being here. If we're the only ones, they'll say "Isn't it awesome that God created an entire universe just for us!". If the universe turns out to be teeming with intelligent life, it will be "Why would God create all these galaxies and planets and only populate one world with beings to worship him?". @SeaJay, I'm glad you're still coming by here and I'm glad it's been helpful to you. Sounds like you're not free of the fear yet though, and I'm sorry to hear that. Tell us, does Christianity still play a role in your life? Do you ever attend church, or pray, or read the Bible, or read Christian apologetics? Doing any of those things, even occasionally, is going to hinder somebody in your situation from escaping the fear. The Bible says as much? The same Bible that says there was day and night before the sun was created? The same Bible that says a woman was created from a man's rib? I wouldn't say the writers of Genesis and other scriptures knew whether there was or was not life on other planets. Or that they understood the concept of "planet".
  16. TABA


    Hi Jerry - and welcome to our community! Congratulations on being willing to question things and to follow through to the logical conclusion. Congratulation also on the things you've gained, despite having to stay in the closet. But you can be yourself here with us - we get you - and so I'm glad you found us. I hope to hear more from you! TABA
  17. Yeah, I don’t think this is the best section for a post like this, since this section doesn’t lend itself to back-and-forth discussion. I’d say “Rants and Replies” might be the best fit. But you raise a very valid concern, though I doubt most people have thought much about this. On the one hand anybody with a phone can record and “broadcast” their own messages, for better or for worse. On the other hand, that “broadcasting” is at the mercy of private companies. And those companies have tighter restrictions on what may be said than does American free-speech law. I listened to a very good Joe Rogan podcast about this just the other day. Joe’s guests were journalist and political commentator Tim Pool, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey and one of Jack’s senior managers (Vijaya Gadde) who basically heads the department that decides who gets banned or suspended from Twitter. It was 2+ hours of very worthwhile back-and-forth. Tim Pool is very critical of Twitter’s tendency to ban people on the right but to be more tolerant of leftists. He thinks that, since Twitter has a virtual monopoly in their market, and since Twitter restricts speech that would be protected in the public sphere by American law, Twitter is setting itself up to be regulated so as to enforce compliance with the First Amendment. Jack’s response, which I believe was sincere, is that he wants to provide a platform for the largest possible number of people. That totally makes sense for a private business that ultimately is in it to make money. But I really wish that Joe and Tim had highlighted a major problem with that outlook, a problem I would illustrate as follows: Suppose 10% of the population has views that are politically “Purple”. Suppose 30% are politically “Yellow” and they are strongly opposed to the Purples. If the Yellows tell Twitter “We’re boycotting you if you provide a platform for problematic Purple views, which we consider to be Hate Speech”, what’s Jack going to do? He’s going to sigh and give in to the Yellows and ban the Purples in line with his mission of providing a platform for as many people as possible. It sounds like a noble goal, doesn’t it, until you think about the consequences. Minorities get excluded, shut out. That’s bad for any society in the long run. I don’t know whether old-fashioned Public Access Broadcasting is ever going to be revived because the technology has changed so much, but I hope that monopolies like Twitter and YouTube are compelled to allow free-speech in line with the First Amendment if they’re going to do business in the United States.
  18. TABA


    I listen. I tell them I’m sorry they’re going through such a rough time. I tell them I wish them the best. I offer help if I can. But I don’t pray so I’m not going to offer that. Hi pk420! I hope you’ll introduce yourself...
  19. Evidently he is.... https://www.christforums.com/forums/topic/20295-prayer-request-for-my-exodus-out-of-california/?tab=comments#comment-82204
  20. If a terrorist yells “Jesus Saves!” I’d be inclined to call it Radical Christian Terrorism. If he yells “Allahu Akhbar!” I’d be inclined to call it Radical Islamic Terrorism.
  21. I don’t think that rash labeling is an effective antidote to rash labeling.
  22. I haven’t seen anything about the killer being a Christian. Did I miss something?
  23. Welcome, Jerry, and congratulations on your new-found freedom. The most precious freedom is freedom of the mind - nobody can take that away. It's not easy being a closeted unbeliever, but I've found being part of this community - even if it's only online - can make a big difference. You can come here and say what you really think and the people here "get" you in a way that nobody else does. I like how you used the word "refreshing" to describe how it feels. That's a word I've often used myself. No two deconversion stories are exactly the same, but we do all have quite a bit in common! So again, Welcome, and I look forward to hearing more from you. We all gain when a new member shows up and I hope you gain the most of all. Cheers, TABA
  24. Hmmm... I had you pictured as an Old Fart, yelling at kids to get off his lawn...
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