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Ellinas last won the day on March 12 2017

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About Ellinas

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    Greek language; archaeology; books; musing about life, the universe and everything.
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    Former Christian, now (for want of a better description) Hellenic pagan; married into a fundamentalist Christian family, and increasingly fed up with being told what to believe.

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

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  1. Ellinas

    Pushing Back

    So, that was Thursday. This is Sunday. Was war declared?
  2. Ellinas

    Musing about work

    Speaking from the standpoint of regularly saying to the boss words to the effect: "You can give me more to do if you want to do so - but I'm not working evenings or weekends and I already have a backlog, so just tell me the order in which you suggest I do all these things, and which ones to ignore for now", I would echo the thought that, if they are prepared to pay you for drinking coffee, good luck to you. I am considering also the question possibly of reducing hours in a couple of years' time - but that will be linked to my age and my determination not to spend time in full time work all the way to my retirement. If I go that route, and am told my job is full time only, I'll be informing the powers that be that their choice is not whether I work full or part time, but whether I work part time for them or for someone else. I agree, however, there is a lack of imagination as to the best way to keep productivity up and absence down. I have noted an increasing tendency to greater managerial arrogance this last year or two. Fortunately, I'm, nearing the position where I don't have to put up with it at all, and am already able to say "no" with a reasonable degree of confidence.
  3. Mrs E and I have just returned from a trip to a care home to visit her elderly aunt. The undeniably sad part is that she is immobile (her legs don't work any more) and is in a home largely geared towards dementia patients, despite being sharp of mind herself - not ideal surroundings for her. But... This elderly aunt, a long-time fundamentalist Christian of the "old school" (no television, never go to the cinema, no entertainment beyond singing a hymn or two, wouldn't allow a pack of playing cards in the house - you get the picture) was very worried the other evening when the activities at the home involved a magic show. She was also very relieved when she found an excuse to go to her room instead. "After all", she told us, "you never know what people are dabbling in, do you?" Well, stuffed rabbits, bunches of fake flowers and a couple of top hats, probably. Though I don't think my suggesting that has altered her fear of conjuring tricks at all.
  4. Ellinas


    I suppose the question is whether synchronicity is just a coincidence, if you see what I mean...
  5. I have a theory that advancing years and the attendant financial, family, professional etc responsibilities that go with it result in a mind that is too cluttered and busy. I find it increasingly difficult to get the background thought process to shut off.
  6. Ellinas

    On the subject of Hell and Salvation.

    I've known Christians who take what would be, in their terms, the brutally logical approach. Those who know nothing of Christ are condemned because they are sinners, and sin is a matter of human responsibility. I suppose that view may have the "merit" (note quotation marks) of greater scriptural consistency than the "god will let them in anyway" approach. Then again, it does not explain quite how this can be justified in terms of a "loving" god. I suppose it depends on which part of an internally inconsistent worldview the individual believer is most comfortable ignoring.
  7. You can speculate endlessly as to what this was. I tend to the rather practical approach of "might be this, might be that; either way it's an experience and an experience is a thing and is a reality, regardless of its' source". So, what "really" happened, whether in any one instance or, if a general explanation is capable of formulation, overall, is probably less important than what these experiences mean to you. Regardless of whether you see this as a voice of your own consciousness or something external, regardless of whether you see it as hallucinatory, psychological or something else entirely, the point remains that you had these experiences then and you don't now. That tells me that, potentially, you have the capacity to tap into a highly intuitive form of awareness, but the circumstances that permit, or, at least, facilitate that, no longer exist. Can you re-create those circumstances outside of Christian beliefs? I suspect so. Your description of the crystal shop incident suggests that it is possible. It may be as simple as trying to catch the right ambience. Always assuming you want to go that route, of course.
  8. A couple of days back, on a BBC news report of events surrounding the US government shut-down, we were treated to footage of the US president in a room full of his advisors and government colleagues, in a meeting that concluded with a pastor praying for their collective wisdom as they all sat their with heads bowed. At the end, Mr T thanked the pastor, describing his words as "beautiful". In the UK, politics tends to be reasonably secular, with just the trappings of the traditions of the country's Christian past but not, generally, anything like this. I rather suspect a political body that behaved like this here would find its' electoral prospects in free-fall. I found it as disturbing as it was incredible.
  9. Ellinas

    Death of parent

    I cannot answer this directly. I've lost two parents, both of whom were nominal Christians and neither had connections to the fundie church I joined. Bottom line, however, I went a path with which they did not agree - and they never knew I turned back from it. All I can say is that the death of a parent is an intense emotion anyway (leaving aside those who are so estranged that the emotions died before the individuals concerned). Time is the only healer - though that can seem incredible when the pain is fresh. Whatever distress your mother knew is over, and you cannot turn the clock back. Nor could you do much about it were you so able, it seems to me. Somehow, you have to accept the reality that life throws up such circumstances, and, though it is painful and difficult to get one's head around, the only answer is to accept it, get your head around it and move on. I'm sorry if that sounds cold. It is, however, the reality. Allow yourself to grieve for the person. Not for the twisted outlook that they had concerning your differences, but for the person that, ultimately, loved you. That is the part that you will miss. Regrets over the consequences of being yourself are illogical and not to be entertained. And, please, accept my sympathy for your loss.
  10. Ellinas

    I'm not crazy

    The people with whom I work regularly describe me as "mad" or "bonkers" - usually when I'm rowing one of the office chairs back and for the room or singing "ying-tong-iddle-eye-po" from behind my computer screen. Last Tuesday I was so described when I intervened in a discussion about whether vegan sausages are a contradiction in terms by pointing out that it is perfectly possible to make a sausage out of a vegan. So, I'm more than happy to accept you are not crazy
  11. Ellinas


    On another forum, a question was raised that related to Christian ideas of being "tested". I should say it was not a Christian or ex-Christian forum and I have no beef with the questioner - I just couldn't resist launching into a diatribe. Anyhow, these were my thoughts: "As you all know (or, at least, as I've never kept secret), I am a former fundie Christian. In such circles, "testing" is often mentioned. It is seen as inevitable. It is seen as a validation of Christian faith. It is based on texts that tell the believer to expect to be tested - ideas that go all the way back to sparing the rod being a method of spoiling the child.  One might object that the Christian god, being so very omniscient, needs not to test the faith of his believers. The stock answer is that gold is put into the fire not to prove that it is gold but to burn off any impurities. Leaving aside the accuracy of that statement, it boils down to suffering being a seen as a method of gaining spiritual maturity. It's a useful excuse to put before anyone who objects that a "good", "wise" god would hardly be expected to cause sometimes extreme suffering. I suppose it convinces those who use that excuse - at least, as long as they refuse to think about it too deeply. The bottom line here is that "testing" is linked to suffering in the Christian imagination (those who die for their beliefs are merely privileged to be tested to the extreme). Whilst it is true that Christians draw comfort from saying that god will not test any person beyond what he can bear, the shallowness of that thought process, when the person enduring the suffering has little choice but to bear it, seems not to occur to them. This is deeply entrenched in Abrahamic thought processes. The whole religious system is linked to death, suffering, even genocide (in the Old Testament) and through to the promise of ultimate vindication in the never ending suffering of unbelievers. It is also part of a fortress mentality that sees persecution (widely defined, so as to include, e.g, someone taking a satirical swipe at their dottier ideas) as part of that "testing" that validates their faith and purpose. So, for the Christian, testing is a necessary part of their belief system and the structure of their faith. Hence, those that suffer little will cast around for something, anything, that can be termed a "test". If they can claim that the suffering has created doubts that they have overcome, so much the better. They have "fought the good fight". This is a form of brainwashing that renders the Christian secure in his own assumed (and false) humility. It is the mindset that insists that man is worthless, god is all-worthy, and everything that happens to the believer, however painful, is good and is controlled by his deity. It creates people who are servile in their attitude to deity and proud (albeit that would never be admitted) of just how weak and worthless they can represent themselves to be."
  12. Ellinas

    Dear God,

    No doubt the Christians would just say you were being "tested". Idiots. Sorry, but this issue relates to a question that has arisen on another forum and which caused me to become rather talkative... I'll reproduce the answer I gave in a separate thread.
  13. Ellinas

    Are atheists happy

    People are as they are. What they believe is largely incidental. Happy people tend to make happy atheists, and happy theists, for that matter. Unhappy people tend to be unhappy regardless of their belief structure as well.
  14. Ellinas

    How did you choose your nickname?

    Ellinas is the anglicized spelling of the Greek word for a Greek male. I'm not Greek, but it reflects my interests, and is less cumbersome than the equivalent word for Welshman
  15. Ellinas

    What to do about the young minds?

    The ability to shape and understand a counter argument is a useful tool in anyone's brainbox. You are not telling them what to believe, and what you believe is irrelevant to this process. Therefore, no problem