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Everything posted by TABA

  1. God to You: Why didn’t you ever make the Haj to Mecca like I commanded? Oh, you didn’t read THAT book? Too bad!
  2. You can also get Ehrman’s books for free at public libraries.
  3. Jane, I think you’d appreciate the books of Bart Ehrman. I just read one of his latest, “How Jesus Became God”. Absolutely fascinating. It’s a great read and I think it would answer some of your questions.
  4. Reminds me of one of my favorite memes: ”They say money can’t buy happiness, but it can buy a jet ski - and have you ever seen a sad person on a jet ski?”
  5. First of all, welcome, Christopherhays! I hope you’ll share your story with us in due course, but since you started with a question, I’ll give it my best shot. No, I don’t think you should try to deconvert your family, as much as you - and I - would love to see them follow in your footsteps. We can’t deconvert anybody. Lots of people come here and we do help them through the deconversion process, but that can only happen when they’ve taken the first steps themselves and have begun to question things. If a believer does not have some openness to reasoned arguments, then any deconversion attempts are likely to fall on deaf ears or even to drive them deeper into faith. What you can do, depending on the situation, is quietly and politely defend your unbelief and answer questions. Do not be patronizing and adopt an “I was so stupid for believing too but now I know better” approach. And above all, Don’t be a Dick (my personal First Commandment). When a Christian has a loved one “fall away”, one of the things they have to deal with is the idea that he or she is now heading for Hell. That is likely to challenge anybody’s faith to some extent at least, without you having to say a word: could a loving god really send/allow Christopherhays to burn in Hell simply for not believing in Him? It helps if you don’t fit the common Christian stereotype of an agnostic or atheist: somebody whose life enters a downward spiral of drugs, alcohol and depression because that’s what happens when you turn away from the Lord, right? So you should take care of yourself, get comfortable with your new world-View and let them see that you are just as happy (hopefully happier) without Jesus as you were with him. That will make people wonder. And if at some point somebody takes you aside privately to ask you questions, you'll be ready to explain your journey. Just my take. Good luck and keep us posted!
  6. The main, overriding, paramount, tip-top purpose of this community is to help and support people who have deconverted from Christianity or who are somewhere in the process of deconverting, and generally provide a place for Ex-Christians to hang out. We generally don’t favor anything that gets in the way of that ‘mission’. Arguments over politics have been known to do that and very rarely a member is shown the door because they don’t follow the rules. We have a ‘Controversy and Conflict’ forum section that would be the place to debate/argue/fight over politics, but I think it’s now confined to premium members who contribute financially. Political and other off-topic subjects not related to religion, Christianity and Deconversion Should only be posted there. As for your politics, you would be to the right of most members here, very likely. Some atheist groups do seem to demand conformity with a rather left-wing set of views. I’d say this community is not that way, in general. In any case, ‘right’ and ‘left’ are not always as clear as they used to be. There’s no reason why leaving Christianity requires anybody to adopt a particular political position, but people do tend to align with one political tribe or the other, for better or for worse. It’s important to be open to differences of opinion. Whether it’s religion or politics, I think it’s important to know why we believe what we believe, not just going along with the majority view. So while I would discourage you from starting political arguments because it’s a waste of time in my opinion, that’s your choice. If you break rules, you’ll most likely be warned rather than kicked out. I think highly of the administrator and moderators here and I think they’re fair and reasonable. I hope that helped!
  7. Welcome to the Ex-Christian world, Jane. You’re among friends here and you can say whatever is on your mind. I think you’ll find it helpful to be among people who get what you’ve been going through. And believe me, we get it! Your experiences and your feelings are very, very familiar to me and no doubt to the others here too. You've already been given good advice here. You may not be lucky enough to have friends who are not believers at all (other than us at Ex-C), but hopefully you have some friends and acquaintances who are only casual believers. These people often don’t know or care what you do or don’t believe, and I would spend more time with them and less with the die-hard Christian types. Most of my friends are not atheists or even agnostics but they’re not fundamentalists either and it’s easy to be around them. Religion is just not an issue. We have better things to do and to talk about. I can reiterate that it does get better. Deconversion is a process: it takes time to reprogram your mind away from faith and in time you start to experience the benefits of being free of religious dogma. It certainly helped me to spend time here at Ex-C, reading and chatting with fellow travelers. I hope it will help you too. Looking forward to hearing more from you!
  8. Ehrman and Price would certainly agree with that. And it’s plain when you see how Jesus evolves from the Gospel of Mark to the Gospel of John.
  9. I think that is the most intellectually sound, honest position to hold, and the one held my most of us here, regardless of what labels - if any - we use for ourselves.
  10. If you think this place is populated by atheists who have not read, studied and examined the Bible, think again! We are Ex-Christians. We’ve talked the talk, walked the walk, and concluded our beliefs were unfounded. We know the Bible pretty damn well. We’ve also done more than our share of looking into history, archaeology, science, the evolution of monotheism and the concepts of Heaven, Hell and Satan, as well as the development of scripture and the slow emergence of Christian orthodoxy over the course of 300+ years, as well as its ‘reformation’ a millennium later. There are people out there who don’t believe in any god and who’ve never thought about it or examined the claims. Those people are not us.
  11. I don’t think your wife is wrong here. You don’t have to tell him it’s not true. Kids are likely to come to that conclusion if they are not indoctrinated with religious beliefs and they are guided to think critically about all kinds of claims. Promoting atheism per se risks backfiring. If at some point your son ASKS what you think, you can say that you don’t find the religious claims credible, but that he will need to make up his own mind. I would recommend the books by Dale McGowan.... https://www.amazon.com/kindle-dbs/author/ref=dbs_P_W_auth?_encoding=UTF8&author=Dale McGowan&searchAlias=digital-text&asin=B001JS5YU8
  12. I guess folks down under get to see the Milky Way more than us Northerners do: the Night side of Earth faces into the galaxy during northern summers / southern winters, so you get more hours of darkness to see it than we do. It would be weird to go down there, look up at the night sky and see NONE of the familiar stars or constellations. Plus, the moon would be ‘upside down’!
  13. Nice! Did you have to travel some distance to get away from artificial lights?
  14. This is pure gold, in my opinion. If you haven’t read Citsonga’s Extimony and ‘Letter to My Christian Parents’, take some time (a good bit of time!) to read them. You won’t find a smarter, more informed, clearly written, heartfelt explanation of why he - and so many of us - became Ex-Christians. It will be time well spent, believe me. Note: I received no financial compensation, merchandise, sexual favors or any other benefit from Citsonga in exchange for this endorsement.
  15. I've never heard a predestinationist explain how God chooses who to save. He saves who he saves, is good enough for them, evidently. Maybe it's the ones conceived doggy-style. Makes as much sense as anything else in that wacky world view.
  16. I think private messages should generally only be shared publicly with the consent of both parties. Not sure there was anything particularly sensitive in these messages, but still.
  17. And at some point you say “Screw this. I’m tired trying to make sense of it. This is not the work of a deity!” And deconvert.
  18. This has been the story of Christianity especially since the Reformation. Before then, the Catholic Church was able to control the narrative, still picking a subset of scriptural dogma, but without any rivals to say otherwise. Once the Bible became available to a wider audience, the splintering began immediately. And so it continues today. The Bible, not Satan, is the author of confusion.
  19. Just last week I asked some questions about Calvinist doctrine over at Christforums.com, to make sure I understood the basics. They do believe in Predestination, which is the idea that all human beings, before birth, are either chosen by God to be saved (these folks are the ‘Elect’) or not chosen to be saved. Saved from what? From the consequence of Original Sin, which is eternal damnation. Original Sin being Adam and Eve’s eating of the fruit in the garden, presumably, and the fact that we all inherited this tendency to sin. So we are all bound to be sinners, but only some are chosen by God to be saved. Those who are chosen cannot resist ‘God’s Grace’ even if they wanted to. Conversely, those who are the Non-Elect cannot stay faithful even if they try. So for example Elect parents could have a child who is Non-Elect and even if they indoctrinate that child into Christianity, the kid can’t keep it up and inevitably falls away toward damnation. This would explain the existence of Ex-Christians! Calvinists don’t explain what the ratio of Elect to Non-Elect is, or whether it varies from generation to generation. But it seems to be a pretty small ratio. There seems to be something especially monstrous about a deity who would create people who he chooses not to save from damnation. Generation after generation. But is Calvinism a particularly unsavory version of Christianity? Non-Calvinist Christians typically don’t believe in Predestination, but they DO typically believe that God has foreknowledge. So even if this version of God doesn’t choose not to save most people, he still creates them, or allows them to be born, in the knowledge that most won’t measure up to being saved. So God doesn’t come out looking any better regardless of which version of Christianity you follow. No wonder so many atheists say they wouldn’t submit to the god of the Bible, even if they were sure he existed.
  20. We have a few on the shelf: a New American Standard and an NIV. I never open them on principle (just me making a symbolic stand) but if I want to look something up (while reading Robert M Price or Bart Ehrman) I have a couple of translations downloaded to my phone and access to many more. That’s just me.
  21. I’ve often thought that modern-day people in Syria and Lebanon resemble people from Greece and southern Italy more than they do their Arab kinfolk in Egypt and the Arabian peninsula, in appearance if not in culture.
  22. Not aware that we have any current members who have became Jews or Muslims. I doubt they’d feel at home here, to be honest. I believe we have at least one member who left Christianity and returned to his Hindu roots, to some extent anyway. Myself, I’m not into any religion now.
  23. The way it works is you pick a denomination. Then you work backwards from that denomination’s theology to decide which parts of scripture are literally true, metaphorical etc. If you try to work forward the way you suggest, there’s a grave danger you could become an Ex-Christian.
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