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Everything posted by TABA

  1. Hi warlocktheadam! I think you've been given some good advice by the others here. I agree with the consensus on porn and masturbation: no reason to feel guilty, just limit it. I'm sure that living with your parents helps you make ends meet, but I would encourage you to get your own place as soon as you can afford it. Being more independent will boost your confidence. If there's one thing that's attractive to ladies it's a confident guy. Another thing that will help you grow in confidence is taking good care of your body, not just your brain. Not just the obvious personal hygiene, but working out and being in good shape. You could pick up some free weights or join a place like Planet Fitness that is very affordable. I don't know the biology, but strength training releases some incredible mood-boosting shit into your bloodstream. You don't have to become a heavy-duty lifter unless you want to, but you will start to feel better right away and will start to see results in the mirror too. A gym can also be a good place to meet people! Or start taking a daily jog in the park - again it's good for you and you never know who you might meet. So I think building your independence and confidence is a good way to feel less dependent on religion. You obviously already see that so much of it makes no sense, and it's good that you're questioning at a young age. Many of us here are only sorry that we didn't question earlier, or have the confidence to walk away from religion and superstition. If you haven't already read some books on the subject, we'd be happy to recommend some... Well I wish you all the best my friend. Keep in touch and let us know how you're doing. Life stretches out ahead of you and it is likely to be a good and joyful life if you do your own thinking and make it YOUR life and don't try to make it fit what somebody else thinks it should be, or what some religious dogma demands.
  2. Hockeyfan70: "Which makes me wonder - do certain personality types help dictate whether you are religious or not? Like do people who make decisions through feeling gravitate more towards religion than people who make decisions through thinking?" Oh I think that's true! Isn't it the case that women tend to be more religious than men? I think I'm not emotion-driven so much, and maybe this is why I shed religion relatively smoothly - so far at least...
  3. Seriously - "Kevin Can Wait"? I love it! Should be re-made as a porn flick: Sophomore gets it on with Hot Cougar French Teacher...
  4. I can see why we might want to avoid labels, because they sure can be simplistic and misleading. You see how carefully I had to specify in what regard and to what extent I consider myself an Atheist. Likewise with political labels: I used to consider myself 'Conservative' but I no longer fit in that box, if I ever did, and now I'm some mix of Conservative/Libertarian and Classic Liberal. But I appreciate hockeyfan70's post and the article he shared because it helped me think about and better understand exactly what I do and don't believe. And I think it was also an opportunity for us all here to get to know each other. He and I have only been active here for a few weeks and I for one am delighted to be able to talk freely about belief and unbelief. But yes, if an acquaintance or some pollster were to ask me my religion, I wouldn't say I'm an Agnostic Atheist Skeptic non-pacifist-Humanist. I'd probably say "I have no religion"!
  5. Here's how I would identify at this stage in my journey: ATHEIST? YES When it comes to Jehovah/God/Allah or any other god who supposedly wants to have a relationship with humans, I am a Positive Atheist: I am confident no such god exists, simply because he/she has done a terrible job, allowing millions or billions to be misled into picking the wrong god simply because of where they were born. As for the existence of some god who does not want to reveal himself to us, I'd say I'm a Negative Atheist. I hope there is a benevolent, just god who dispenses cosmic justice, but I'm not counting on it. I suppose there could also be a malevolent god who enjoys inflicting pain. So let's move right along to... ANTI-THEIST? SOMEWHAT I think some religions are worse than others (and some interpretations of some religions!). I would love to see at least conservative Islam and the wilder versions of Christianity vanish from the face of the earth. But some people are inspired to do good things by religion. Is that bad because they are mistaken in their beliefs? I think Anti-Theists believe the world would be better off with no religion whatever, but humans are going to follow some guiding philosophy and many seem to need some kind of deity to believe in. AGNOSTIC? YES I guess I'm a Strong Agnostic when it comes to the latter type of god above (one who doesn't reveal himself to us). I think Strong Agnostic / Negative Atheist are compatible, yes? SKEPTIC? YES FREETHINKER? YES I don't see a difference between these. I don't think any of us would be ex-Christians if we weren't skeptical freethinkers. HUMANIST? NOT SURE At first glance, what is there not to like about humanism? From what little I've read though, Humanism seems close to Pacifism. I'm no warmonger, but evil does need to be fought, whether it's Nazism, ISIS, whatever. I am prepared to use violence to defend myself, others, and our freedoms. PANTHEIST? NO The universe - and just our everyday world - is awesome for sure. I don't attach a spiritual dimension to it.
  6. The funny thing is, while the leadership and pulpits are male, the congregations skew heavily female, in my experience. What's up with that?
  7. Saturday Night service eh, hockeyfan70? Even at my most devout (which was not all that much), I was drinking beer most Saturday nights!
  8. Hi Vivid! I'm so glad you found us! I'm glad it helped you to break out of It does feel good, doesn't it, to share your story with people who understand. I just shared mine a couple of weeks ago. My Christian experience was much less traumatic than yours, but it was still very liberating to announce to myself and to others that I don't believe anymore. It's a strange feeling to look at Christianity now as an outsider. Strange but good! Anyway, welcome to our community of unbelievers! You can be sure that now you're one of us, nobody will try to make you not believe in the right way, or give you tracts or assign you scripture to read so you get it just right . If you want to join in discussions, that would be cool, but if that's it and you just want to get on with your life now that you've told your story, all the best to you. Enjoy having a free mind! It will be worth whatever it took to get here...
  9. The other day one of my new ex-Xtian friends mentioned that he had always felt like a square peg in a round hole when he was in the church. Bingo!! Even though it's such a common term, I'd never thought of my religious experience that way, but it describes me well. I'm pretty sure I would never have become religious if I hadn't been raised/indoctrinated in the church. I'm an engineer by profession and I don't really have a religious mind, so to speak. My baptism was the culmination of an interest in the Bible that really was more intellectual than spiritual. I'm kicking myself because I didn't have enough confidence in my skepticism back then. I had resisted conversion attempts from friends before and I came SO close to avoiding the two decades of group-think that followed! I know that deconverting can be very painful for some, whether because of anguish from friends or family or maybe mourning the loss of God and Heaven. It has not been painful for me because I was never really all-in. In fact I was probably what Craig Groeschel calls the Christian Atheist (in his book of that name). Now I feel exhilarated by acknowledging - at least in private and with my fellow apostates here, that I DON'T believe. It's an amazing release! It's not all easy though: I worry about my marriage as my wife increasingly realizes how done I am with religious belief. I think we have a good chance of coming out the other side OK. Once our minds break out of that box we can't go back even if we wanted to, right? I sure don't want to. The best we can do is to be honest with ourselves and treat our nearest and dearest with respect and love - a love that's as real without God as it ever was with him. I appreciate all of you!
  10. hockeyfan70, I replied to your message. Took me a while to notice I had a message waiting...
  11. Thanks for the welcome, Geezer! It's great to have this place where we can say what we think. Having a spouse/partner who believes is certainly a challenge. The Bible is a very big part of my wife's worldview, and she goes to a weekly Bible study with a group that I would call conservative but loving. I'm sure they focus on the Loving God but steer clear of the Genocidal God. While she hasn't yet grasped how fully I have broken with Christianity, she says she feels able to voice her thoughts (and mild doubts) with me, in a way that she couldn't with those ladies. This gives me hope that she will transition to a liberal version of Christianity (like your wife's) in time, a version that doesn't require her husband to go to Hell. I don't see her ever leaving Christianity completely, but we take what we can get, especially if her happiness depends on having some religious belief.
  12. I forgot to add a link to the book I mentioned. Here it is: 50 Simple Questions for Every Christian
  13. Here's a book that probably was the final straw for me: 50 Simple Questions for Every Christian by Guy P. Harrison. It's not aggressive like Hitchens or Dawkins, but maybe because of that it is probably more powerful. My faith was already crumbling when I started this, and it did not survive the reading. I think it would make challenging and uncomfortable reading for even a staunch believer, though I doubt many of those would read it.
  14. tycoondon, I appreciate hearing your experience with coming out to your wife, as it seems very similar to my situation. My wife knows I am flirting with unbelief (although I have actually embraced it) but I think she hopes its some kind of mid-life crisis. Of course no two people are gong to react the same, but the plan you put together makes a lot of sense to me: pointing out some of the more obvious problems with Christianity and the Bible at first and gently leading her to question, rather than attacking or ridiculing her faith. Although I am more comfortable in my unbelief than I ever was in my belief, I don't think that would be the case with my wife. Many believers seem to desperately need God, and can't imagine life without him. I would rather my wife be a happy Christian than an unhappy apostate. Anyway, I want to thank you for sharing with us, and hope you'll continue to do so. All the best, my friend!
  15. hockeyfan70, are you familiar with The Clergy Project? They exist to help courageous guys like you in making the transition, with career resources, moral support and, I think, hardship grants, though I'm sure they're underfunded. www.clergyproject.org
  16. Hi hockeyfan70, and welcome! I'm glad you're here. I just posted my own story very recently. I'm very sorry about your brother; I hope the passing of time will ease the pain. As well as Dan Barker, there are some other ex-ministers that I think you might appreciate knowing, although I don't know if they are members here (they should be!). The better known is John W Loftus, who has written several books, including the story of his deconversion. He has a blog at http://debunkingchristianity.blogspot.com/ and is on Twitter @loftusjohnw. Another is John Leone, known on Twitter as 'Anakin' @alpha5169. I don't think he has been published, but I like him because he shares my more-or-less Libertarian philosophy. Are you familiar with Sam Harris? He is often linked to Hitchens and Dawkins but comes across as more likeable, IMO. He does a really good podcast, "Waking Up with Sam Harris". Anyway, welcome again. I'm looking forward to hearing more from you!
  17. qadeshet, thanks for the comment! I think the kind of question you suggest makes sense and will in time help my wife come to terms with my unbelief, as well as helping her start to see some of the basic flaws in Christianity. KaySutt, I appreciate your support! It feels so good to be able to express my unbelief even in this limited way. Now that the spell of religion has lost its grip on my mind, I feel more fully alive and human than ever before. amateur, thanks for the welcome! I wish I could be as open with my unbelief as you are, but I am still thankful for the freedom I feel in no longer having to ignore or fight against evidence in order to protect my faith. Letting go is such a relief! Thanks born1ce for the welcome. So good to be able to share my deconversion with fellow apostates!
  18. Thanks for letting me share my story. Although I don't expect replies, comments would still be appreciated. As I entered my fifties, much too late in life, I finally stopped suspending the disbelief that had always been present to some extent. Although still somewhat leery of the 'A' word, I realize that I am essentially an Atheist, technically I guess an Agnostic Atheist. I feel a sense of relief, of joy even, but my path ahead looks less than smooth. I was raised - indoctinated - in a devout Catholic but loving home. By my mid-teens, I was dealing with the guilt (not true guilt or shame of having done harm, but the religious guilt of having broken the law) associated with sex. Instead of rebelling, I meekly went along, for a while. By my twenties, out on my own, I was no longer a practicing Catholic, and gave little thought to religion. Then as I approached 30, my dormant curiosity about the Bible, combined with the loneliness of moving to a city where I knew nobody, led me to start visiting a conservative Christian church. I think the novelty of Bible study, and the friendliness and hospitality of the folks there, drew me in. Although there were voices of doubt in my mind, I was soon baptized and gradually silenced my doubts. Yet the doubts were still in place, and subconsciously kept me from ever being 'on fire' for the Lord. I remember thinking sometimes that I was one of those dreaded lukewarm Christians, who showed no sign of ever bringing anyone else to Christ. I didn't because, deep down, I never felt that anyone was really 'Lost' without Jesus. I had a good number of irreligious friends (thankfully!) and couldn't accept these good people were hell bound. In fact the doctrines of Hell, Satan and life after death were always hard for me to accept, even while believing in a loving God - or maybe BECAUSE I believed in a loving God. A few years later, I met my wife at church. She was also, by coincidence, a former Catholic, and also a somewhat relaxed (though rarely doubting) Christian. During the years that followed, I would say I was on auto-pilot, neither fully embracing nor seriously questioning Christianity. For whatever reason, in my late forties I suddenly started listening to my doubts. I started (very privately) reading Dawkins, Hitchens and others, and I began to look at faith more and more through the eyes of a skeptic. I read books on both sides, Christian apologetics and skeptics alike. I found the skeptics constantly winning the arguments. I finally realized I was seriously doubting the foundations of Christianity, and soon accepted that I no longer believed in any meaningful god whatever. Around this time, my wife (who was unaware of my vanishing faith) began to feel restless at our church, and wanted to start going to a Catholic church after many years away. I welcomed the chance to make a break with a situation where everybody around me was convinced I was a Godly man. The relative anonymity of the Catholic church was welcome. In the past year or so, I began gently introducing my wife to my doubts. Although the term 'Atheist' might be a bridge too far, the word 'Agnostic' has been briefly mentioned, without too much obvious distress on her part. So at least my secret is somewhat out. I think she has doubts of her own, but unlike me, who does not find a godless life scary, she seems 'wired' to be a believer. And she probably prays that I will turn away from Satan before it is too late... I love my wife deeply, and we have always been best friends as well as a couple of Christians. As exciting as I find free-thinking and godlessness, her happiness mans more to me than my intellectual journey. I sometimes wonder if it wouldn't be better to feign a vague theism or even a liberal version of Christianity for her sake, even while being confident in my inner atheism. So there it is. Writing this down and sharing it is important for me, even though I wish I could be truly public with my unbelief. But it's not just about me. Some of you may think I'm a coward, and maybe you're right. I regret my years of belief. I'm at least glad I didn't recruit anyone else to faith in a fiction. I am not an angry ex-believer. Those who influenced me to believe were mostly good and sincere people. If I blame anybody, it's myself for ignoring my doubts for so long. If the New Atheists and the Internet had been around in my college days, I would probably have embraced a secular life early on. Still, as long as it took, and whatever challenges lie ahead, I am happy to finally be an ex-Christian.
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