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Everything posted by TABA

  1. You may have heard about what they’re calling The Great Resignation: lots of people leaving their jobs and finding something better in the same field or doing something different. It’s definitely a seller’s market for many skills now. Of course you have to consider whether you’d have to move etc but if you’re not happy in your job I’d definitely pursue it.
  2. But that’s the problem, isn’t it: what does Christianity “say”? Does it say salvation was necessary because the Fall was a literal, historic event where Adam and Eve disobeyed God and thereby ruined it for all their descendants? Or does it say that salvation is needed because everybody sins? Does it say that the death and resurrection of Jesus saved every human, or does it say that only those who believe are saved? And what exactly must they believe? Must they be baptized also? Does it say that nonbelievers endure eternal punishment or are they simply annihilated? Or is it only Satan and his angels who experience the ultimate punishment? All these questions had definitive answers during the millennium when the Catholic Church was synonymous with Christianity. They controlled the narrative, the interpretation. All the questions were answered in the Catechism. But once Rome lost control, once the Bible became accessible to the many, from them on the answers were in the eye of the beholder. That Pandora’s box can’t be closed again. It’s clear that Christianity has few unambiguous answers. It speaks with the many voices of men, not the authoritative voice of a deity.
  3. Hi Bavinck and welcome to the community! The relief you’ve felt at admitting you don’t believe is very familiar to us here: we’re all familiar with that cognitive dissonance - processing to believe but realizing it doesn’t really add up. Being rid of that, and having the weight of all the dogma and theology lifted from your shoulders, is huge. You’re under no obligation to share your deconverison with anybody, and most of us here would advise you to proceed cautiously in that regard. What feels like a relief to you will be regarded as a tragedy to some, and it’s easy to forget that sometimes. It is a big bonus that your family members are not religious. Anyway, I’m glad you decided to share your deconversion with US! Leaving Christianity behind can be unsettling and it meant a lot to me, five years ago, to be welcomed into a community of fellow-travelers. It helped me to gain confidence in and comfort with my non-belief. I trust you will get the same benefits!
  4. Hi SeaJay, I hope you’re already starting to feel a bit better, as often seems to happen as the day goes by. Your anxiety was busy doing its evil work this morning: trying to drag you down by making your obsess about and over-analyze your deconversion. I make it sound like anxiety is a conscious enemy, almost like an interloper in your mind, what in an earlier more superstitious age would have been called a demonic spirit. But it’s nothing external, it’s just one of several sources of thoughts inside your brain. Sam Harris and others have suggested that we are not a unitary “self” but rather we are the sum of all the thoughts that arise in our brains, some of them intrusive and harmful to our well-being. You have said yourself that you can never go back to an Abrahamic religion like Christianity, and you are absolutely right. Anxiety looks for things to latch onto and exploit, and theism in general and Christianity in particular is chock full of threats, paradoxes and contradictions - a toxic witches brew if ever there was one. That’s the bad news about Christianity. The good news, as you’ve seen, is that there’s every reason to believe it’s not true, to realize that God, Satan, Hell, Heaven, sin and salvation are all concepts that sprung from the minds of humans over the millennia. You’ve made important progress this summer and you’ve seen how it can be to be free of this religion. Stay the course, realize this is just your anxiety acting up, the death throes of your old faith desperately trying to maintain its hold over you - and failing, because you’re stronger now. You’ve got its number so to speak, and you’re not playing that game anymore.
  5. I came across this and picked up a digital copy. It’s the second book by this author on Epicureanism and I’m looking forward to reading both. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07WRGSZ2D/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_awdb_K2JAPK2STTJY1KXRE6R7
  6. Sounds like a good book but jeez it’s expensive! $57.99 for the Kindle version, $65 for paperback. I do think Epicurus is a valuable source of wisdom for ex-Christians and others. It can be found here and elsewhere: https://classicalwisdom.com/people/philosophers/epicurus-the-nature-of-death-and-the-purpose-of-life/ Epicureanism, like Stoicism, is undergoing somewhat of a revival as people leaving Christianity look elsewhere for wisdom. Neither philosophy truly matches the common perceptions, of Stoicism as grim acceptance and Epicureanism as the eat-drink-and-be-merry approach. They’re both well worth exploring.
  7. Some of the techniques of Stoicism, among others. Stoicism predates christianity and influenced it considerably. It sank into relative obscurity for centuries while christianity was dominant and now it’s seeing a big resurgence as people leave religion. It provides valuable guidelines for living, especially for those of us who no longer look to a deity. And yet it’s not incompatible with christianity, even though it has supplanted it for many people.
  8. That was a bit ominous, until I read on… I’m puzzled by the differences in reactions to these particular vaccines. For instance, my wife and I got the same Moderna second-shot at the same time, but she had nasty flu-symptoms for 18 hours and I had no reaction whatsoever.
  9. I would agree that MOST theists are operating solely on the basis of presupposition: they have never questioned the existence of a god, for whatever reason. But I don’t doubt that some theists HAVE questioned and have sincerely concluded that the existence of a god is justified by evidence. Like Josh, I disagree with that conclusion, so I hold a position of agnostic atheism: not claiming certainty, but not believing. Most of us here who identify as atheists take that position.
  10. I imagine you’ve lost faith in that outfit to some extent.
  11. Different strokes, but personally I’m not offended by the term. I rejected Christianity, so I’m an apostate. Guilty as charged. I consider apostasy a feature, not a bug. As to what I believe now, none of the supernatural stuff. Not the father, the son, the holy spirit, satan, heaven, hell, sin or salvation. That’s quite a lot to unload from one’s shoulders. I live my life without theology or religious dogma. I’ve taken in ideas and practices from various schools of philosophy, and continue to explore. Life is good.
  12. One good thing about Facebook is you can Unfollow somebody without un-friending them. You don’t see their posts - and they don’t know. But you can still get in touch if you need to.
  13. I think it’s extremely unlikely that any court in a liberal democracy (W. Eur, N.Am, Aus/NZ, Japan) could draw a line - beyond reasonable doubt - from person A, who declined to get a vaccine, being culpable for the death of person B who died from the virus. It would be like accusing a prime minister of mass manslaughter for failing to procure enough vaccines for her citizens in a timely manner. Maybe a moral case could be made, but a legal one, I very much doubt it. On the other hand if a state passed a law requiring all citizens to get the vaccine, period, that’s a different matter… in that case you either get the vaccine or you don’t, and if you don’t there are consequences. Not that I am advocating such a blanket mandate. To me, one of the most basic human rights is the right to be left alone. It’s one thing for a restaurant owner to insist that all customers be vaccinated. It’s his business, his premises. He can insist all customers wear pink tutus if it’s important to him. Likewise any homeowner can require that only vaccinated friends and family cross his threshold. She may or may not be lonely as a result, but that’s her choice. A government may insist that nobody may set foot in any government building without evidence of vaccination. But for a government to insist that citizens get vaccinated, period, for me that crosses an important line into refusing to leave people alone.
  14. So her plan is to send the pastor and his wife to YOUR home to talk to you and/or your daughter? You should be able to say No to that, right? Or do you share a home with your mother? In any case, she’s surely going to do whatever she can to influence her grand-daughter toward Christianity, given that so much is at stake in her eyes. Not much you can do about that, short of the drastic step of cutting off contact. Best thing you can do is to teach your child to think for herself and to educate her about the variety of religions, all of which claim to have unique access to truth. Are you familiar with the Dale McGowan book “Parenting Beyond Belief”? Haven’t read it myself but I’ve heard his podcasts and he has lots of good advice for non-believing parents. I’d definitely read it if I were in your situation. Good luck!
  15. You and I have the same libertarian instincts. Sometimes when a good practice gets mandated, human nature rebels against the practice itself. I always wear a seat-belt and I’d always wear a motorcycle helmet if I rode. I fear some people don’t do those things simply because they’re mandated. There’s always going to be a tension between safety and personal liberty because some people will choose to do stupid things. Bottom line: it’s complicated.
  16. I read the article (again, as I’d read it when it first came out), and here’s what I think, keeping in mind that I am no professor… The vaccine is highly effective in preventing serious illness and death from COVID. One statistic they quote is “there are 35,000 symptomatic infections per week among 162 million vaccinated Americans”. Scary, right, thirty five thousand! But that’s ONE symptomatic infection for every 4628 vaccinated individuals. I’d say that’s pretty damn good. Probably one of the most effective vaccines ever produced. And that’s symptomatic infections. Serious illness or death among vaccinated folks is vanishingly rare. But is the death rate zero? No. Every year people get killed by lightning, dogs, elephants, bee stings, heart attacks while having sex, gunshots while having sex, asphyxiation while having sex. But you don’t see the headlines “People are dying from elephant attacks”, “Death by dog attacks are on the rise”, “Sex is more dangerous than you realize”. One thing this pandemic has done is revealed that many people have trouble evaluating risk. And comparing the risks from various threats. I’ve been following the progress of the Delta variant in the United Kingdom, whose trends are about a month ahead of the US. Infection rates rose dramatically in Britain for a while. Almost as high as back in the winter. A few weeks later, the death rates began rising too, but nowhere near as badly as in the winter. Recently the infection rates in the US have likewise risen considerably. And now the death rates have risen too. Again not as bad as the winter, but more so than in the UK. Why? Probably because there is more vaccine hesitancy in the US (not just among Fox News watchers, but also notably among Black and Hispanic Americans), and probably because more Americans are obese, sedentary, diabetic, sugar-addicted, etc. This really is now a disease of the unvaccinated, certainly when it comes to serious illness or death. So I’m glad I got vaccinated back in March-April. I’ll get a booster too, when it’s available. I’ll get a flu-shot this Fall. Am I guaranteed not to get sick from COVID? No, but I’ll be getting behind the wheel here shortly and driving to work. Every day, Americans get killed driving to work! But I’m gonna do it anyway!
  17. It would surely help if the FDA would fully approve the COVID vaccines. They have received Emergency approval only. That was 8 months ago now. What are they waiting for? This is the kind of thing that gives skeptics pause. Speaking as a guy who got his second shot in early April.
  18. I wasn’t offended. I just wanted to respond about my experience with flags.
  19. I was done with my comments here, Prof, but since you slipped in a crack about Irishmen and flags I will say this: It was precisely because of my horror, even as a teenager, seeing the IRA and other terrorists wrapping themselves in the flag of my country, that I refused to surrender the flag to them. I refuse to apologize for or hide the flag of a sovereign republic, either Irish or American, because of thugs or idiots on the right or left and how they may use the flag.
  20. I decided to update my profile picture. Do please let me know if you find it offensive or triggering, won’t you?

    1. Joshpantera



    2. alreadyGone


      I see no reason to be offended..

      It's colorful..  But what does it mean?

  21. Thanks for getting us back on track, buddy! Or close enough, anyway.
  22. I think it’s all of the above, depending on the individual. Some are scared that what happened to us will happen for them. Some don’t want to acknowledge that some people’s lives get better when they leave Christianity. Some probably think that Satan is literally present in us. Some just think we’re irredeemable. They’re right there, generally. Deep down, some don’t really believe that apostates go to hell, even if they won’t admit it, so they’re not worried about us.
  23. If I took my cues from popular American culture I’d be watching trash TV and going to church tomorrow. The airliners on 9/11 were demonstrably hijacked. Whether the ‘meaning’ of the flag has been hijacked is a matter of opinion, as is ‘meaning’ itself. Who decides? I do deny it. I decide what the flag - or life itself - means to me. It means something else to you. Different Strokes. This topic has deviated significantly from ‘Christianity is Collapsing’, so we should put a stop to it if it doesn’t get back on track…
  24. If you lived here in WV you could win a testoster-truck just for getting vaccinated. Big flag not included. A friend of ours won one. She traded it for a less manly vehicle.
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