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Everything posted by Riven

  1. Thank you for the additional input and titles! I spent my second Saturday this morning reading my book outside on my deck. I was wonderful to spend time in nature, and think critically about my existence. One that does not include a god I am beholden to.
  2. You know, this is interesting, and I've been giving it a lot of thought. I think most Christians just want to feel that God is accessible and responsive. They (and I include myself in this before I left), just want to have a "God of their own making" that is caring and involved. However, once I became too good a student of the Bible, I realized that position didn't square with the reality of scripture. I had to exist in a kind of spiritual tension that could not be resolved. And for a long time I did not want to resolve it. I think alongside that blanket of false hope, exists that very real (and far too scary) idea that we are not really protected by some kind of invisible force; one that rewards for being good, and takes away for being bad. The idea that the universe, and by extension, this planet can be random, or the idea of no divine justice for the inequities and inequalities that exist, is terrifying for most to look at. I honestly believe that it's harder to walk the road I'm on, than the road of faith in God. (Although, they see it as the opposite for completely different reasons!)
  3. Thank you, @DestinyTurtle! I'd say the first year was almost unbearable. Plus, I felt so stuck. I knew I could never go back to how it was before, but I didn't know how to live in the actual world, either. Slowly, things have opened up, and feelings of freedom began to take root. Some days I still struggle, but I would never turn back.
  4. This is very painful for me too, @L.B.. I was the one that was always there for anyone in need, but when my time came, it was radio silence. You want to know who the church wants to deal with less than a hurting Christian? An angry one, who's been hurt by their church. The most egregious thing about a Christian's response to this (as you detailed in your post) is that you get blamed for your pain or loneliness. It's clearly your fault for not trusting god enough, or for "depending on man" too much. So, when people fail you, and you have real human feelings about that, then it's actually that you don't trust god enough, or you are relying on others more than you should. It's the sickest, most nasty thing about other believer's responses to their very own people being in pain. Christianity shoots their wounded. Period. God is never wrong, and guess what, neither are people who hurt you! You are to forgive, and that's the end of it.
  5. This drove me nuts to no end. God was never wrong. If he "answered" then it was something he wanted for you. If he didn't, yep --- he said, "no" or "no for now." Of course, why he "answered" frivolous prayers (like a friend of mine praying for a good parking spot) versus not answering "please save my child from dying a horrible death from cancer" is always swept under the cloak of, "his ways our higher than ours, and it's just not for us to know." Mmmmmkay. I would agree with this in my case, but also what @disillusioned said too about thinking that some things are just fundamentally beyond our understanding. It was because I was such a student of the bible, that I began to see the problems. But it was because I allowed the idea, "there are just some things we're not meant to know" to take root, that I ignored them. Bingo. Cognitive dissonance was how I stayed in for so long. I got really good at not dealing with any of it. THIS ^^^^ is the perfect explanation of my experience. Especially the part about not wanting to escape. The longer I was in, the more I stood to lose by leaving. That, and being told the only unforgivable sin was unbelief. What a mind job.
  6. I am trying to get the lay of the land here, and I just wondered what the difference was between the two sections. Specifically, I have followed some of the blogs, but it doesn't look like you can follow people who post/write things in the "opinion" section. I'm wondering if there is a good way to keep track of a certain author in the opinion area, because I can't figure out how to follow them. (Here's to hoping this isn't a stupid newbie question.)
  7. @TheLyniezian true enough! I guess the list is my personal hot button list! Regarding doctrinal differences: I look at that now, and wonder why I didn't question more. I mean, if the religion as a whole can't agree...... True. I did watch the Leah Remini series, so I know the history. I guess (now) I equate believing in body thetans and Xenu as being just as weird as believing in a virgin getting inseminated by a god.
  8. @sdelsolray thank you for that great suggestion! Part of my deconversion story involves learning critical thinking skills through teaching them to my child as a homeschooler. I wanted him to have the advantage of learning how to think (not what to think) early on, and low and behold, guess who got better at it too? Yup. Mom. I still have much to learn, so I need to continue, but it was that beginning critical thinking book that started me noticing and recognizing the double-binds, fallacies (like straw man and red herring) and other psudo-logic that was deployed by Christians whenever questions were asked. Yes, me too. God's last "statement" for mankind was Jesus dying on the cross. Thank you for the additional author names, and the Youtube channels! One thing started doing when I was still a Christian, was watch atheist videos, because I was curious. I was already at the point where I thought, "let me see what this is all about." I'm going to go subscribe to Mr. Deity now!
  9. Thank you, @disillusioned for your reply! I agree wholeheartedly. I have found that so-called "answers" are either at best a dodge (as you put it), or at worst, designed to be a double-bind that shames. Either way, honest introspection of both the written and unwritten rules of Christianity are rarely given a forum in Christian circles. I can't speak for all, but my experience has been exactly that. I was shut down, and in no uncertain terms, it was communicated to me that such topics were not up for examination, much less discussion. I just got, "Ten Tough Problems in Christian Thought and Belief: A Minister-Turned-Atheist Shows Why You Should Ditch the Faith" by David Madison. It looked interesting, and more importantly, understandable by a lay person (me). I would love any beginner book recommendations, as I'm just finding books referenced in posts here, and saving them to my Amazon Wish List. I am very interested in your take on these questions. Any wisdom you want to throw my way would be awesome. The "who is qualified to interpret" is a pretty major sticking point for me, even now. I ask these question in reverse (now) regarding the idea of there being no god. Are the books I'm choosing to read coming from an agenda, or are they attempting to be impartial and fact-based? What credentials should I be looking for? Is there a way for me to study enough on my own to understand if what I'm reading is actually based on proper scholarship? Or, should scholarly credentials even be a consideration? (Because there are people like me, untrained, but really honestly looking to get answers to historical biblical criticism topics, so maybe there's a book out there by someone like me, only much further along in their study.) I hope that make sense. I vacillate between spending inordinate amounts of time trying to find answers, to turning it all off because I'm exhausted from trying to get answers. The only books I've read thus far that seem to be really neutral are: Inspiration & Incarnation: Evangelicals and the Problem of the Old Testament by Peter Enns (I realize he's still a Christian, and I read it when I still was too, but he seemed to be very fair, and it was helpful at the time.) How Jesus Became God, by Bart Ehrman Misquoting Jesus: The Story Behind Who Changed the Bible and Why - also by Bart Ehrman That's my sum total library at this point, other than the David Madison book I already mentioned, which I began reading today.
  10. I am so sorry. I sent you a PM @Aiyana. We have some definite similarities in our stories. If I can be of any help, I will. Or, if you just want to talk -- I'm here.
  11. Yes, THIS ^^^^ exactly. Why was god so "hands on" for so long, and then suddenly, "hands off" pretty much ever since? Of course there's all the unproveable "signs and wonders" that are attributed to god, but what about the big GIANT interventions when his people had gone astray? Does he not care anymore? He ordered the killing of Babylonians (women and children too) for retribution, buried people alive, killed firstborns, sent pestilence, sanctioned mass murder, killed unbelievers, and oh, killed the entire world except one family because he was pissed about sin. And yet, children getting molested by priests is just too much bother I guess. Whenever I asked this question, I was told, "God last spoke through his son, Jesus Christ," but that's just a get out of jail free card as far as I'm concerned. It's an easy answer to tough questions.
  12. Oh boy.... so this is actually something I thought a lot about as a believer. I'll give you the standard answers I heard, but I I'll also tell you that I came to the identical conclusion you did in the end. How I ever believed any of this is baffling now. Answer #1: Augustine, from his famous "love" sermon, stated, "Love and do as you will." This was later modified to, "Love god, and do as you will." The idea being that if you came from a place of love, you would not do anything against god's will. Okaaaaaay. Answer #2: God has revealed his will in his word. Do the revealed will of god (meaning, follow his rules in the bible), and he will make the unrevealed known to you. The second answer is far more problematic that the first. You could almost feel free, going off of #1. Except then, why do we need church? Why all the rules in the bible? But with #2, this is literally something that sounds made up to sound good. Because really, we all know that god is not going to reveal his will to you about what college you should go to, or what parking spot you should park in, or who you should marry, or date, or, or, or...... In fact, many lives have been quite literally shattered by trying to discern god's will this way. I really do need to read The God Delusion. It's on my list. Because frankly, even as a believer, I never believed people half the time they said, "God told me...." In fact, towards the end, I just did what I wanted to do, and wrapped it in a god package. If I told someone I prayed about it, and felt god leading me in a certain direction, it was never questioned! Seriously messed up.
  13. This is why I LOVE this forum. So many inconsistencies I've yet to pinpoint. This is just one more example of the non-logical nature of god's nature. Yep. All made up. Thank you, @ag_NO_stic
  14. Thanks, @Lydie for pointing out that sentence. It's really the core problem, I think. (I would just hit "like" so you knew I saw your response, but I can't do that yet as a new member!)
  15. Welcome! I'm new to posting here, although I've read the forums here for years. Even when I still considered myself a Christian. I think I found this site when I was Googling the latest thing I was pissed about in Christianity. I read a post the other day where @sdelsolray recommended the book by Price. I've ordered it. I used to invite unsuspecting friends over (back in the day) and talk them into viewing Lee Strobel's movie. I thought it was an airtight case for Christ! Anyhow, welcome, and hope to see you on the boards!
  16. @Geezerthat's just horrible! We didn't do that in the main church I went to for so many years, but I did go to one once when I lived in another state, where the preacher would "call out" that he "just knew" there was someone in the audience that had something to confess. It was so uncomfortable because he wasn't going to move on until someone stood (however, they just went up to get prayer, they didn't have to say what it was). Thank you @ConsiderTheSource! I did a lot of online interaction from the time I was really seriously questioning, until I'd finally had it. The attitudes in #42 were experienced online, not in person. Still, this is one of my biggest triggers. The idea that every single moment of your time, dedication, commitment, tithing, bible study, and attendance, and ministry service are invalidated under that banner of, "not really a believer" is just evil to me. It's the ultimate form of gas lighting in my opinion. I'm still so incredibly triggered by the thought that a Christian just deems it so, thereby editing your reality. #1 is so dangerous! Scientology comes to mind. (Although that's a different fake religion!)
  17. Well, the trump card verse that was always hurled my way is James 4:3: "When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures." So, when your prayers are not answered, it's because of YOU. Your wrong motives. God, meanwhile, sits back being all perfect and such, shaking his head that such a miserable worm such as you would even ask for anything! Oh, I'm sorry. Was I being sarcastic? It may wear off eventually. Or not. I'm still processing years of shaming and blaming.
  18. I'm in the midst of processing my deconversion. I wrote this today. I'm probably a little shrill, but whatever. I really hope any current believers that lurk here see this. I wrote a bunch of stuff over the years, much it from a place of incredible emotional pain and torment, as I felt my heart slowly get ripped away from my faith. It's hard to read now. However, this list came to me, after pouring through those writings today. 42 Reasons Why I'm Not a Christian Anymore The idea that if you are divorced because you were in an abusive marriage, you’ve got “no grounds” for a “scriptural divorce.” Seeing Christians more motivated by who they hate, than by who they should love. (Um, that would also be people groups that your savior, Jesus, said to love.) Attacking each other if you dare to offer any other rational idea to a problem than the accepted “party line.” All forms of “We’re a Christian Nation!” The idea that you will go to hell if you don’t worship or believe “X” way. I’m talking denominational differences here. Theological in-fighting. I’m right, you’re wrong, about “X” theological presumption. And writing endless books to prove the point. Pre-trib, post-trib, who cares?! Christians would rather argue about the evils of social justice in the church, rather than lift a finger to help the hurting. Oh, and if you do want to help the hurting or needy, you’re a liberal! You must believe the exact literal interpretation of creation as written in Genesis. Young earth teaching. Random TV Morality: “Desperate Housewives” is OK, but Harry Potter or Twilight isn’t. Arguments about symbolic rituals: baptism or communion comes to mind. My Christianity is better than yours! And we are all better than those that don’t believe “our way”. Jesus would be a Democrat. Jesus would be a Republican. Actually, any sentence that begins with, “Jesus would be a....” If Christians are being criticized, it’s the devil attacking. It's never because they are being cruel, mean or unfair. The evil upturned eye when you get when say you are interested in learning yoga or meditation. (“Don’t you know they are “gateway exercises”!?) Ignoring completely that meditation is in the Bible. The Boy Scouts are bad! They let in homosexuals! Beware of psychology! Science is run by liberals! (And therefore, has a hidden agenda!) 12 Step programs are evil! If you are gay, you can’t be a Christian! Elevating some sins over others. Social justice is “invading” the church and should be stopped, at all costs! Shooting your wounded. Shaming messages. If you are hurting, it’s clearly YOUR fault. You don’t trust God enough. All forms of “Should we be friends with this unbelieving family who ______?” (Fill in the blank….drinks, smokes, lives together, is less modest….etc) We have the right to diagnose and point out non-believer’s sins, and we do this in the name of “loving them” (Ours aren’t up for discussion, though.) We have the right to tell non-believers how they should and should not live, whether they want to live our way or not. We have the additional right to legislate what their morality should be. We have the right to email out slanderous, racist, vicious emails about President Obama, including portraying him as a MONKEY because we don’t agree with his political views. Never mind that the Bible says slanderers will not inherit the kingdom of God. Just details! (See 1 Corinthians 6:9-11) And on that note, only in the church can someone who is obese feel morally superior to a homosexual person. Ever heard of gluttony? God sure has. (See Proverbs 23:2) All forms of spiritual abuse. All forms of legalism. Rules are elevated to be more important than love and compassion. Grace? What’s that? Oh yes, something you say Jesus gave his life for freely, that you won’t extend to others. Got it. Invalidating people’s pain. Be sure to bring up how someone else is suffering far worse than they are…..somewhere in the world. Tea Party. Feeling it’s OK to slander anyone with impunity if they don’t share your religious beliefs, political ideals, or any other number of issues (fill in the blank) For shaming anyone who has every struggled as a believer, when they sought out answers to sincere questions and doubt. For completely invalidating someones faith experience, if they have left the church.
  19. So I learned a valuable lesson: Don't start a topic when you're going out of town, and trying to respond on a cell phone! @Eowynesque I like your list. #3 hits me too. After I became a parent especially. I would actually die for my kid, not make him die for something he didn't even do. This is so perplexing in that I never saw how crazy this was. @Lydie - mental gymnastics, indeed. @mymistake - I look back on my life too, and I see where I thought "I was being led" to do this or that. Now I really question those choices. Too late for do overs. @MOHO - Pastor AssHole, indeed. I've had a few of those. They must take "Shaming Messages 101" in seminary. The church is really good at that. @sdelsolray yes! OK... where to begin. First, THANK YOU for this. Second: my head just exploded when I Googled Asherah. I had no idea. For me, I never got too bothered by the Garden of Eden, etc. I actually never believed those account, even though I kept that to myself. My inner process went something like, "Well, I don't care how the world got created. God could have created a mature earth with fossils, or he could have created the earth and let it do it's thing for a million years." I came in late to the party (I wasn't raised in the religion), so I didn't find out about the new earth people until I'd already settled it in my mind. But the flood.... wowza. I remember watching a documentary that explained from a geological perspective, how a "whole earth" flood could not have happened. Plus, how did the animals from other continents get on the ship. And, why did they not fight. (I actually asked that question, and got treated like I was a moron for asking.) Number two is one that I would have argued as a believer, but certainly not now! It was also the start of my unraveling. I started to understand that prayer and god's so-called interventions in our individual lives, could never be proven that it *was* god. Also, answered prayer was unproveable, and statistically looked like chance. Omniscience did a mind you-know-what on me. I walked around day and night in guilt over my inability to stop sinning, about things I prayed desperately to stop doing. Non-proof of miracles. Yes. And, when you try to bring up any doubt about it, you are shamed for lack of faith. In fact, the entire religion elevates a non-thinking position as the desired state to be in. It then shames you for asking logical questions. And, the final one: there are many, many contradictions in this "perfectly seamless, god-inspired text." This is what makes me so angry. Every pastor that went to seminary KNOWS THIS. They know there are problems with authorship. With translations. And yet it took me 25 years, and researching on my own, to discover this. #5 is probably the most triggering thing for me, still. @TruthSeeker0 Ah, yes. The apple. For me, it was: Why did god put this tree right within their reach, and then tell them, "Don't touch it." AND, when I pointed out James 1:13 (When tempted, no one should say, "God is tempting me." For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone I was basically told I didn't understand because I wasn't a trained pastor. Um, OK. @ag_NO_stic - HOLY CRAP!! I had not thought of that one! Seriously, I think this is the best comeback, ever. I'm going to tuck this one away for future use! Thanks, everyone, for the dialogue. I was just curious about the questions that others had while still inside the faith, for which they'd never found any good answers. I see that many of them were the same as mine, and, I learned a few new ones too.
  20. Riven

    hi there

    Welcome!! I’m new(ish) too! I can only say, “it’s a process” and that I’m still working things out too. This is a great place, with great people, who are helpful.
  21. Wow, some great answers! Some I had as well, and others I had forgotten! @Geezer, Our church was the same with restoration theology. The response to any question of Biblical inerrancy was always, “Its either all true, or none of it’s true.” Such a black/white response! Also: you could have knocked me over with a feather when I found out every pastor must take a historical biblical criticism class in seminary. I had NO IDEA that the bible was never subjected to the rigorous standards that other historical documents received. They never teach any of it to their congregations! So disingenuous. Bart Erhman also was the nail in the coffin for me too. @Lydie - good one. I never thought of that! @ConsiderTheSource I parallel processed too, for years. However, trying to Google answers to apologetics was a futile endeavor for me. I ended up not knowing what to believe and would try and figure out the “agenda” of that particular website. I would give up, and file my ever growing list of issues. Until I couldn’t anymore. @Ellinas yes! Another question I had! It made no sense to me that god would create people knowing ahead of time (you know, that whole omniscient thing) that they would go to hell. (The Calvinists are really nasty about this too.) The answer I got was always “free will.”. God doesn’t choose hell, we do. Sheesh. Basically, god gets a pass on all of it, and it’s our fault.
  22. Thanks, @Geezer My question was more of a personal one. What questions were the ones that you personally struggled with, or wanted the answers to, that were never forthcoming? The question I posted, was my first “file it and try to forget it” moment. There would be many more to come, but all of them added up to my exit, eventually.
  23. Ugh!! Typo in my latest post title, and I can’t seem to edit it. I guess posting from a cell phone is problematic. 😬

    1. disillusioned


      It can be. Editing powers are granted when you lose the "new member" tag.

    2. Riven


      Oh, OK! Well then, I’d better proofread until then! 🤨

  24. My husband and I were talking about our “seeds of doubt” that we had over the years. Here’s mine: The first question I had as a so-called “baby christian” of just weeks, was after some missionaries visited our church from a remote tribe. I asked, “What happened to all the tribal people that lived and died with no knowledge of the message of Jesus? Did they go to hell? “ Given the looks I got, and the tone of voice the pastor used, I could tell I’d stepped in it. And, at the time, it was asked from a sincere place of wondering. That was the very first time I learned there were things you didn’t ask. His answer led to another question, which I knew would be even more problematic. (His answer was that at some point god would show his glory to each person and they’d have a chance to choose...which made no sense. My immediate thought was, “Then why bring the message to them at all if god does it for each individually?) So that was when I learned the old standby, “We just don’t know. We have to take it on faith.” In other words, any failure to trust blindly, even in the face of a non-logical answer, was MY fault for lack of faith. And round and round we go..... crazy-making at its finest.
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