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Rounin last won the day on August 1 2020

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About Rounin

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    I am a former Christian seeking to share experiences.

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

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  1. The universe is such a complex system with billions of living beings (that we know of), and things and processes interacting constantly, that events which could be explained in multiple ways are going to happen all the time. When we encounter such an event, we still need to respond do it somehow, so if we've spent a lifetime thinking in Christian terms and valuing things according to Christian values, our first reaction might be to see it through that lens: "Could this be a message from God?" "Could this be a miracle?" etc. This is biased thinking, though, and considering the full implications of that proposed explanation makes it more clear: "Why might my friend have stopped by today?" "1. He hasn't seen me for a while, and he's just come up with some new argument he wanted to tell me about", "2. Some other plausible explanation", or "3. There's actually a person existing independently of space and time, without the need for a universe to exist in, and he's got very specific opinions on eating pork and shellfish and having sex, even though those things probably don't exist outside the universe, and he's hiding so that it seems like he doesn't exist, but will occasionally talk to us by having very random or strange things happen and leaving us to guess." One of these explanations is less likely than the others. Of course, assuming that reality is in any way coherent can also be seen as a bias, but reality is at least there every day.
  2. Hi there, SeaJay! Thank you for sharing those insightful words! And how nice to hear from you again. It does tend to make one aware of one's own vulnerability as a human being, when one starts to ponder the more frightening and negative parts of Christianity and the many interpretations thereof. And as you mention Islam, we would of course be equally vulnerable when faced with any all-powerful being, whether part of any established religion or not. One silver lining is that the fact that there's an infinitude of potential gods, and a fair number of established religions as well, goes a long way to showing how arbitrary these ideas really are. Only one of these religions was passed on to us and gained an emotional hold, but it could have been almost any religion, even one which hasn't been invented. Coming to terms with deep existential anxiety from a very emotional experience that's lasted for years is quite a big change, and the amount of time and effort involved in the process seems to vary wildly from person to person. But it does tend to get better for people over time. And judging from your post, you already seem to be doing much better. I hope you'll continue to find joy and solace in the insights you have along the way, and that you'll share them with us if and when you feel like doing so.
  3. When someone's had a stroke, and on top of that a seizure at the same time, it's not really unexpected for them to be thinking or seeing unusual things. Their brain function has been altered, temporarily or permanently, which could have any number of unusual results. If I was going to investigate stories about heaven and hell, I wouldn't start with someone who obviously had a reason to be hallucinating.
  4. So, 26 is the name of God, they say? But seeing as the Earth is apparently pulsating at 1/26Hz, is 1/26 also the name of God? How about 0.43, as the pulsation happens once per 0.43 minutes? And considering the pulsation happens 23261.538461... times per week, is that the name of God as well? Because I suspect that they came up with that explanation after the fact, and that if the length of the pulsations had changed to 37, they would have found something else.
  5. For the gospels to even begin to seem coherent, we have to assume that God doesn't want to save everyone. After all, Jesus himself says that many won't be saved: You might then ask, why send Jesus at all, then, if he's just going to save a select few? Perhaps that number of people was too small even for God, but with Jesus, he got it just right? And so on and so forth. As long as you don't hit an outright provable logical contradiction, you can try to make it fit, but it gets rather bizarre. God works in mysterious ways.
  6. snopes.com believes the sounds were not a sign of the apocalypse: https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/the-sound-of-apocalypse/ https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/trumpets-and-a-circle-in-the-sky-above-israel/ I'm not familiar with the matter of the yellow orbs.
  7. Even if the bible mentioned turns out to be older than the currently known editions, I doubt it'll lead to a complete transformation of the Catholic faith, as the article suggests. After all, the claims made in this book are no more certain or proven than the claims made in well-known editions of the bible. Any texts in this book that differ significantly from the regular bible could wind up being considered non-biblical, and perhaps more of historical interest than religious importance, whereas some texts could be considered for use as source material to help clear up translation problems or disagreements that aren't fully resolved by existing texts.
  8. Questioning Christianity too deeply does seem to be very difficult for a lot of people. In addition to the early indoctrination and the deep emotional ties and fear of abandonment, the prospect of an eternal reward or punishment also makes the stakes very high. Besides emotional security, one thing which seems to get a lot of people questioning is when some negative event weakens those emotional ties, for instance when some tragic event in their lives causes them to doubt that God cares about them, or when learning of some negative aspect of Christianity causes them to doubt God's rationality or moral character. While having negative feeling about someone can't disprove that someone's existence, Christian beliefs aren't based on evidence to begin with, and punching a hole in that protective emotional wall can often allow those other questions that one had all along to bubble up to the surface.
  9. The notion of forgiveness as some sort of binary state, which is either not given or given completely, is certainly a strange and not very constructive way to treat people. If someone has frequently hurt us in the past, even if we may decide to let them back into our lives, we might still have to have stricter boundaries with them than with other people. And if someone is not only a bad friend, but our enemy, we certainly shouldn't feel the need to love them! Morality is just a little bit more complex than Christianity sometimes implies. I also agree that you don't owe it to your family to have infinite patience with them. After all, the reason we tend to be close to family is because it's usually good for us. But if one's family is dysfunctional enough that having a close relation to them is actually harmful, then one's own well-being should come first.
  10. I wouldn't recommend this line if your goal is to find common ground, or even to get your friend to think critically. It could lead to him getting greatly offended and shutting down. That's such a strange rationalization. Are the only moral acts those that generate life? Is heterosexual sex between people of childbearing age literally the only activity that isn't wrong? No wonder God is angry! It reminds me of some debaters I talk to online, who are obsessed with one topic. Every now and then, they come up with a new deep concern that they have, whether it be about balancing budgets, reducing crime, protecting our freedoms, etc. And every time, their conclusion is that we must implement the same pet solution to their pet problem that they suggested last time. Only this time, it's for a completely new reason. Why will homosexuality be wrong next week? Climate change, perhaps? Or why not the risk of disease transmission, now that we're in the midst of a pandemic? Only time will tell. If your friend only wants to discuss Catholicism with you, that seems like a pretty limited friendship. It might be nice to have a friend to discuss Catholic matters with, but then again, is this friend even an expert?
  11. You seem to have gone through a lot, so I just wanted to wish you good luck! Although I don't have a lot of advice to offer, one thing that often gets mentioned when someone is planning to move away from a difficult situation, is to get copies of essential papers like your birth certificate and so on, and bring them out or have them ready beforehand. Also, make sure all your bank accounts are in your name only.
  12. I'm pretty sure LGBT counts as conventional now. It turns out that there are quite a lot of gay people, and thankfully it's not something one always has to keep private anymore. That being said, having a negative experience with Christianity can be a very powerful way to open the door to further questioning, and that certainly was a major factor for me. After all, why question something which one doesn't see a problem with? I'm sure there are many theories in the field of linguistics that are incorrect, but I don't feel the need to research something which doesn't affect me in the slightest. On the other hand, if a political theory gained traction which threatened my livelihood or my lifestyle, I'd be much quicker to take a critical look at it. Religious believers are often taught from childhood to incorporate Christian beliefs into their reasoning and their values, so that it becomes a hugely influential part of their life. In some people, counteracting that influence takes a big emotional or intellectual push. Naturally, those with the greatest motivation to leave Christianity will also have a greater tendency to do so.
  13. One should be a bit skeptical of claims that vague prophecies and predictions are coming to pass after the fact. To take an extreme example, we could all agree that "Discworld" is a fictional book series, yet I just recently witnessed the launch of a manned rocket on YouTube, an event predicted in the Discworld book "The Last Hero" from 2001. In fact, come to think of it, the city I live in is divided in two by a river as well. Could I really be living in Ankh-Morpork? We might be tempted to apply such selective interpretation to Christianity, but not to Discworld, because of the emotional significance Christianity has to many of us as current and former believers, and because of the high-stakes questions Christianity seeks to answer. We want to make absolutely sure to leave no stone unturned so as not to make a serious mistake. However, Christianity's emotional hold on us doesn't make it any more factual than any other idea. Treating it preferentially to other ideas might feel better, as we've been taught to do so over a long period of time, but there's an infinitude of ideas out there, and to know which ones might be good or correct, we have to be prepared to examine all of them critically.
  14. Rounin


    @ChelseaGuy: I suppose it intuitively feels more likely that a very powerful and intelligent being who teaches love and humility and forgiveness would feel no need to send people to such a place. At any rate, I believed along those lines for a very long time, and I think many people do at some level. It raises some interesting questions, though, about how we arrive at the beliefs that we do.
  15. By the way, scarlet and purple dyes have historically been expensive, and wearing scarlet and purple cloth was probably a marker of wealth and power at the time, just as gold still is today. So if this text you're referring to mentions scarlet and purple, and the catholic church tends to use scarlet and purple more than average, the reason is probably money.
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