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StephenW

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About StephenW

  • Rank
    Doubter
  • Birthday 02/08/1951

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  • Website URL
    http://www.live-anew.com

Profile Information

  • Gender
    Male
  • Location
    Oregon, USA
  • Interests
    Interacting with my sweet lovely wife, writing, photography, making websites, time with friends.
  • More About Me
    born in 1951, was raised a christian. In recent years have been rethinking my whole belief system and don't use any label. Am happily married since 1989.

Previous Fields

  • Still have any Gods? If so, who or what?
    yes, The big something
  1. Yes, I was thinking something similar. The two opposing sides are we were either created by God as his creation, OR we are products of evolution, decendents of the apes.. I have been thinking long and hard about this question for a long time. This choice seems a lot like: "False Dilemma. (also known as:, the either-or fallacy, either-or reasoning, )" Just because those are the only two choices that we are given does not necessarily mean that those are the only possible choices. Even though both sides seem absolutely certain that their side is the one and only correct choice, which seems a lot like Alledged Certainty, with both sides claiming to have indisputable evidence. Both sides are so dead set on proving their own particular side that neither one seems open to accept that there may be other options, an argument from ignorance. I don't have the answer, but I am open to their being other options. Stephen
  2. No, I have never knowingly "blaspbemed the holy spirit. I never knew what that meant. In recent times I've come to understand the "holy spirit" as a "pure and blameless mental disposition, so that whole idea is irrelevant to me. http://live-anew.com/node/288 Stephen
  3. Tonight I feel pretty alone, in one sense. I love my wife and she loves me, we have an extremely close relationship and we get along very well. But I am saddened that we are on different pages about religion. she listens to a lot of radio preachers almost every day. They speak of stuff that I just don't believe in any more, and I'm never going back. My eyes have been opened and I can't accept all that religious nonsense any more. I still go to church with her, and I am friendly with the people at church, but there is this whole realm of exciting stuff that I can't talk about to most people about. For instance, I just listened to this video today: I found it very interesting and would love to discuss it with the people at church, but it challenges the "inerrancy" history of the Bible. It would just distress them. Stephen
  4. For more about me, see my introduction here: From a Fellow Sojourner. Lately I've been going through a real sense of mourning, like the loss of a dearly loved one. However, no one has died. I'm 65 years old and in relatively good health. I imagine I may live another 10 to 20+ years. I have no sense of dying soon. My wife, whom I love dearly, is 50.We've been married since 1989. Part of my grief is in grieving for her, having to live 10 to 30+ years without me when I do die. And then she will never see me again. I don' t dare let her see me crying because then she'd want to know why. Since she still sees herself as a Christian, with the accompanying belief in heaven and hell, what would I tell her? Anything that I would say to her would only grieve her. Another large part of my grief is the loss of my sense of an after life. The thought that when I die, then I'm gone, that is all there is. Forever gone. That is a hard and bitter pill to swallow. In some ways, much better to have a delusion that after I die I go to heaven and am reunited with all of my loved ones. But, now that my eyes have been opened, I can't go back to that delusion. That's a painful transition, to have traveled beyond that veil. Another thing equaly painful is that I have no one here to talk to about how I'm feeling. If I were to say any of this to my wife, she'd be distressed about me. If I were to talk to any of my "christian" friends about this, they'd try to "correct" my thinking, of quote Bible verses at me to "bring me back" into the fold. I don't need to be fixed. I just need a place to let down, to cry, to be real without someone trying to fix me.
  5. Comparing Traditional Christianity with My Sense of Reality [reality defined as “what seems ‘real’ to me”.] I have created a chart contrasting side by side many of beliefs of Traditional Christianity with what I consider to be more realistic. I could not get the chart to show nicely here, so, to see the chart go to the page on my website here: Comparing Christian Beliefs With My Sense of Reality This chart is not finished, and I plan on continuing to work on it as I have time, but it is useful now. For many years I have been transitioning into a new paradigm, a new way of thinking and acting in life. I have found it increasingly difficult to explain where my thinking is at in this stage of my life. For example, when I say that I no longer believe in hell, most Christians have a hard time relating or understanding. Modern Christianity is largely based on the concept of hell. if that is taken away, then what is Christianity, or religion, all about? I’ve been writing for years on my website www.live-anew.com , mainly to clarify my thinking to myself. Finally an idea has come to me to make this chart as a comparison of where I used to be (and what I think Christianity largely believes) and where I am at now, which I call an Alternate Paradigm. Paradigm: which would include the basic assumptions, values, goals, beliefs, expectations, theories and knowledge that a community has about. NOTE: I make no claims as to the rightness of my paradigm, this is merely what makes sense to me. The Traditional Christian Paradigm makes no sense to me. How could I have every believed that? How could anyone really believe that?
  6. One thing that I notice about myself is that whenever I consider writing a blog, such as this, for a particular point of view (i.e. ex-Christian) there is that part of me that wants to write it in such a way to "be acceptable" from people of that particular belief-system. So, since I'm aware of that about myself, I'm hestitant to write this blog, because it is part of this ex-christian website. However, my analytical side says "No!. I won't write anything just to be accepted by anyone. I will only write what seems real and true to me." This is one reason that I do most of my writing on my own blog/website www.live-anew.com. I have no one to please but myself. I just write what seems reasonable or true to me. I don't see the people in the Christian belief system, or other belief systems, as intricately evil. I would assume that most of the people involved in any responsible belief system are trying to do what they think is right. However, I think that many of them are misled or living under a delusion, as I once was. Consequently, I don't judge or condemn them. I write this mainly as a reminder to myself to write fair and balanced articles.
  7. I got a lot of my values from my time in Christianity, (i.e. Love, as in 1Cor 13,) and many others. Although I think that I could have just as well picked up many good values from other religions, such as the Toltec Spirit (1. Be Impeccable with your Word. 2. Don’t Take Anything Personally. 3. Don’t Make Assumptions. 4. Always Do Your Best) I really like those principles. I've heard that the "Golden Rule", "Do unto others as you would have done to you" is part of many of the world religions. It would seem that the teachings of many religions were originally meant to be helpful, meaning they have good advice about how to live a good life and have good relationships with others. After all, as GuyGone said, the authors of those religious writings were not stupid. (of Course, GuyGone only mentioned the authors of the Christian Bible). However, the writings were not mean to be part of a religious system. For example, if you look thoroughly through the Bible, there is no place where any of the individual writings claim to be a part of a larger religious book. They were just writings or letters, many were just written to particular people. It was only later when some men came along and bound them into a book and called that book (Bible) as sacred. That was not the original intent of the original authors. Where the problems come in is that men come in and try to use those writings and added a bunch of rhetoric and doctrine to try to control other people. When the men came in and called the book the "Word of God" they made it into an idol. I know from experience because the Bible was an idol in my life when I was younger. I read and memorized it a lot. I even went to a 2 week Bible memory camp, where we memorized something like (outlines of) 72 chapters of the Bible. I continued to memorize afterword had something like 140 chapters memorized. The main thing I got from all of that was, a lot of PRIDE in how much I thought I knew. Did it change the way I lived my life? No! In this life we all begin life a babies, who are only concerned with ourselves and our wants. Hopefully, as we grow up we learn to also consider and value the needs of others. Christianity says that we are all born in sin, and stay in sin our whole lives, unless we are one of the chosen who "accept Jesus as our savior" Then we become righteous, not because of what we have done but because of what Jesus did for us, dying for our sins and then end up in heaven. (We either accept that or go to be tormented in hell for eternity) In my spiritual journey (through the counselors and other) the whole concept of heaven and hell, Satan, demons, Holy Spirit and sin all dissolved. Now, they didn't all go a way at once, but gradually over a period of some years. Now, with all of that gone, what do we have left? For one thing, instead of going from sin to righteousness, we go from immaturity to maturity. Now that makes a lot more sense to me. When we are very young we have very immature behaviors and are very self-centered. Hopefully, with time and proper instruction we grown up and mature into fully functioning compassionate, responsible, loving, and caring human beings. You know what, with the threat of hell gone, and with the scapegoat of Satan gone, what do we have. We each person being responsible for their own behavior. No more blaming it on Satan. That again makes sense to me. In reality, I think that we can learn to live healthy, responsible, compassionate, loving lives from many different sources. Living this way doesn't some automatically. Some people are fortunate enough to have had good parents, some of us have had counselors and other authorities to guide us down the path towards maturity. Best Wishes, Stephen5
  8. As I look through this Ex-Christian.net I see people at various places in their beliefs and practices. Some seem like they are so angry at Christianity that they want to throw away anything related to it. I also went through some years at being angry at church and religion, and I've even been angry at God. Yes, I still believe in God. Even through all my anger at and disappointment with Christianity I never gave up that parts that I saw as important, such as telling the truth, honoring those around, showing true love and compassion., Of course, I saw those qualities more dimly while I was in Christianity (and it a way I'm still somewhat attached to some aspects of Christianity.) But I'm no longer angry. In fact, I have no problem going to church with my wife (because she is still kind of a Christian, but not a typical Christian) and she likes me to go with her. Because I love my wife I am willing to do that for her. I no longer feel any resentment towards to the church or religious people, probably mainly because I am more secure in who I am and I no longer try to get anything from church (i.e. messages from God, etc.). I'm just there to interact with the people, and there are a lot of good caring people there. (meaning that they are caring in as much as they know how in their religious way.) I mainly feel sorry for them because I see that they are trapped in their belief system. There is one part of the church that I really like. It is called a men's transformational meeting, which I've written about here: The Call to Go Deeper, in a Small Group. In the midst of accompanying my wife to church I still do a lot of listening to various speakers on YouTube, debates, atheists, agnostics, Christians of all flavors, , (i.e. Bart Ehrman, Bishop Carlton Pearson, Bishop John Shelby Spong, Marcus Borg, Lots of Speakers on Ted Talks, etc.) There is just so much good stuff to learn. I think of all the years that I wasted with my Christian pride (i.e. "I'm a strong Christian, not like those fallen folks"). I saw no need to better myself. I cringe as I think of the way that I used to be, and, again, all the years that I wasted. But, it's never to late to begin again. Best Wishes, Stephen
  9. I was looking through the subforum about Ex-Christian Spirituality and saw a message thread about God worshipping. I would have replied there but apparently that forum is locked. So I decided to put a message here. The question was asked about worshipping Gods. So, I thought I would give my thoughts on that. First, what do I mean by the term "God"? Well, I no longer believe in the Christian God, but I do believe or think that there is something, which I have already explained here: What do I mean when I say "God"?. What I have written there seems so inadequate, but at least it is something. Now, what do I mean when I use the word "worship"? I saw a webpage here where I found "The simplest definition of worship is to “ascribe worth.”" That simple phrase probably best summarizes what I mean by worship. But what do I mean by that? When I "ascribe worth" to something, then I value it. So, what do I mean by that? Well, I value something, and when I think of that something I generally call it God. When I think of God, I also think about expressions of love, honor, truth, virtue, compassion, and the like. So, to sum that up, when I say that I "worship God" I am really saying that I give great value to the idea and practice of "love, honor, truth, virtue, compassion, and the like" to the extent that I will live my life by those principles. In fact, those make up who I am, I take those inside of me and live by them. But those aren't just terms to keep in my mind. Rather they involve actions, for example, treating my wife with love and compassion, treat her kindly and gently. But those practices are no limited to expressing them to my wife. It is my intention to live a "godly" life (meaning living by and practicing the aforementioned principles and characteristics) toward all people. Does that mean that I live my life perfectly? Of course not, but that is my aim and intention. When I fail, pick myself up, make apologies and corrections, and then go again. Life goes better when I have a good focus. Anyway, I hope that was understandable. Best Wishes, Stephen
  10. Hi Anthony, Thank you so much for sharing your story, I really enjoyed reading it and related to much of what you wrote. I am also new here and I'm glad that you are here. Best Wishes, Stephen
  11. Hi Geezer, Yes, the type of like minded that I appreciate that I hope I see here, is the willingness to let each person share his/her story in safety, without being "corrected, attacked, or belittled." Having a place of safety to share one's story is worth a lot. Glad to be here. Best Wishes, Stephen
  12. I have been reading many stories talking about deconversion. As I think about it, both conversion and deconversion all difficult terms for me to comprehend. I just don’t relate to those words Conversion seems like the act of putting on someone else's belief system. Deconverting seems like the act of removing someone else's belief system. I have a different viewpoint about what people mean by losing faith. I don’t see anyone as losing their faith. Instead, I seem them becoming more real about their life and their true faith (which is what they truly believe). I go back to the beginning of my own journey, of the time when I confessed to my crime and deepest shame, which is when my whole world exploded. That's when I went into a deep blackness and I started journaling in earnest just to survive. I also got into counseling. Before this I had never really learned to think for myself. But this man, my first counselor, really validated that my thoughts and ideas (which I wrote in my journal) were valuable. HIs validation was extremely valuable to me because some of my thoughts and ideas that I wrote were very scary to me. With his encouragement I began to explore my own thoughts deeper and deeper. That was the beginning of my really beginning to think out of what I truly believe and think about life. Up until that time I had never really given much thought to what my true beliefs and thoughts world. I just kind of accepted what I heard other people say, including religion. From the time that I started journaling and counseling I have been examining much of my thinking and premises about life. This practice of journaling really helped me, especially after I was convicted and was on probation for 10 years, which include 10 years of treatment (“secular” counseling) with a new counselor. During this time I had to really delve into the distortions of my life, including my messed up religious thinking. So, one could say that for the last 20 years that I have been getting more and more in touch with my real and true self. This has been a gradual progression into my learning and desiring to know what is true about so many things in life. Part of that has been my gradual letting go of all forms of religious thinking and just learning to think for myself. Possibly because of the religious beliefs mixed with the abuse of my childhood I have never joined a church in my life. And especially since being in counseling for the past 20 I have refused to sign a statement of faith for any church or other religious organization. I will not agree to believe anyone else’s belief. So, it is as though my old religious ideas have gradually been dissolving as new thoughts about reality have been replacing them. I have not been as concerned about whether or not Christianity is true. Rather I have been searching for what seems true to me. That has led me down a path that I would not have chosen for myself, that of the shaking up of my whole belief systems. That path has led me to examine what seems true about God, Faith, religion, morality, and many other important things of life. This has been an ongoing process of the last 20 years. It is not as though I am leaving something, such as in deconverting. Instead, it is a process of my becoming more true and real and to really believe in myself, of learning that my thoughts were valuable. It is learning to think for myself and not relying upon the thoughts and belief systems of other people. So in a large sense, this journey has not been about my losing my faith, but in gaining a true faith in who I am becoming and what I am learning about truth. Best Wishes, Stephen
  13. Hi ExhaustedTee, GuyGone and Lycorth have both given you some really good advice. Don't be so hard on yourself, and don't think you have to rush the process. My counselor of 10 years told me over and over again, "You are at the place that you are supposed to be." Best Wishes, Stephen
  14. At this point I still believe in God, but not in the God taught by Christianity. I've written my currenty thinking about God here "What is God: What Do I Mean When I Say God" and "What Do You Mean By God". I'm not saying that those thoughts are "the truth", all inclusive, correct, or accurate. Those are just my current thoughts and ponderings when I think of God. My thoughts still seem incomplete when I think of God, but when I say "God" I like to have some idea of what I mean. At least it's something. Best Wishes, Stephen
  15. Hi GuyGone, One other thing, have you written out your story anywhere on the forum yet? I'd love to hear it. Stephen
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