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Everything posted by Shinobi

  1. Hi, willybilly30. Your friend was absolutely right. Just having someone who will take the time to listen to you can make all the difference in the world. I've never really met anyone who fully understands what my family and I have been through - it's one of those things you almost have to go through yourself to be able to relate to... However, the few people I knew who just took the time to listen and offer their friendship and support during my time of need really helped me more than they'll probably ever realize.
  2. Thanks for the video @Faithfulless! I really enjoyed it, and it really makes me wonder how often hypnosis techniques are actually used in charismatic services. I really think you might be onto something with this! By the way, I had to show the video to some of my friends. The girl who kept calling herself Bob and the guy who forgot where his mouth was just really blew my mind!
  3. Hey, everyone. I found the original Camp Meeting 97 video on YouTube from which Fweethawt's clip was taken. I just thought I'd post it here in its entirety for anyone who might be interested in watching it. It appears that the laughing manifestations start at around 37:00. Edit: After about five or six minutes of watching this, I was completely creeped out... It's very hard for me to believe that there are so many grown adults who have actually fallen into this kind of thinking, who engage in this kind of behavior, and who embrace these kinds of belief systems. It's actually kind of scary. Kenneth E Hagin Campmeeting 1997 072197 Learning to Flow with the Spirit of God
  4. Hi, MOHO. You bring up a really good point. I'm not 100% sure what the answer is. However, I'm personally of the opinion that religious fundamentalism may cause mental illness over time. I found a study that seems to indicate that this might be the case. In an article titled, "Religious Experiences Shrink Part of the Brain," found in Scientific American, author, Andrew Newberg, writes, "In this study, Owen et al. used MRI to measure the volume of the hippocampus, a central structure of the limbic system that is involved in emotion as well as in memory formation. They evaluated the MRIs of 268 men and women aged 58 and over, who were originally recruited for the NeuroCognitive Outcomes of Depression in the Elderly study, but who also answered several questions regarding their religious beliefs and affiliation. The study by Owen et al. is unique in that it focuses specifically on religious individuals compared to non-religious individuals. This study also broke down these individuals into those who are born again or who have had life-changing religious experiences. The results showed significantly greater hippocampal atrophy in individuals reporting a life-changing religious experience. In addition, they found significantly greater hippocampal atrophy among born-again Protestants, Catholics, and those with no religious affiliation, compared with Protestants not identifying as born-again." Basically, this study may indicate that radical religious experiences such as being 'born-again' might actually cause hippocampal shrinkage in the person who experiences them. If this is in fact true, it might help explain some of the erratic behavior that some members of religious extremist groups exhibit during services, etc. Here's the link to the article: https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/religious-experiences-shrink-part-of-brain/
  5. Hey, everyone! A post recently made by @Fweethawt reminded me of an article I read that discusses the possible connections between religious fundamentalism and mental illness. According to an Oxford University researcher who specializes in neuroscience named Kathleen Taylor, religious fundamentalism may one day be treated as a mental illness. I just thought some of you might be interested in checking this out. Here is an excerpt from the Huffpost article where I found this information: "An Oxford University researcher and author specializing in neuroscience has suggested that one day religious fundamentalism may be treated as a curable mental illness. Kathleen Taylor, who describes herself as a “science writer affiliated to the Department of Physiology, Anatomy and Genetics,” made the suggestion during a presentation on brain research at the Hay Literary Festival in Wales on Wednesday. In response to a question about the future of neuroscience, Taylor said that “One of the surprises may be to see people with certain beliefs as people who can be treated,” The Times of London notes. “Someone who has for example become radicalised to a cult ideology — we might stop seeing that as a personal choice that they have chosen as a result of pure free will and may start treating it as some kind of mental disturbance,” Taylor said. “In many ways it could be a very positive thing because there are no doubt beliefs in our society that do a heck of a lot of damage.” The author went on to say she wasn’t just referring to the “obvious candidates like radical Islam,” but also meant such beliefs as the idea that beating children is acceptable." http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/05/31/kathleen-taylor-religious-fundamentalism-mental-illness_n_3365896.html
  6. Hi, Fweethawt. I must say that this was one of the funniest things I've seen in quite awhile. How completely embarrassing! Are these people for real? It almost makes you wonder if they don't have a few screws loose to begin with. I can't think of a single mentally stable person that I personally know who would act out like this at home or in public without being under the influence of hardcore drugs or the like... Anyway, you are absolutely right when you bring up the fact that it's scary that these people can vote... It pisses me off that people like this are taken seriously at all by anyone. Unfortunately, in our modern society people like this are not only taken seriously, but they are given positions of authority and power in our cities, places of government, and schools. This might sound harsh to some, but I'm of the opinion that people like those featured in your video should be under some sort of psychiatric evaluation. If anyone acted out like that in regular society without the safeguard of the church, he or she would be forcibly committed. Here is an article that I think you might be interested in checking out. It is titled, "Kathleen Taylor, Neuroscientist, Says Religious Fundamentalism Could Be Treated As A Mental Illness." http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/05/31/kathleen-taylor-religious-fundamentalism-mental-illness_n_3365896.html
  7. Agnostic, you are right on so many different levels. I could probably write ten pages about the different feelings and thoughts I've had as they regard this whole situation. There were times after the bottom fell out when I literally felt like I was losing my mind. I can only imagine that my sister felt the pain tenfold. My eyes were opened up to so many different hypocritical and painful things regarding church, religion, family, community, and society in general that it was almost too much for me to take. Even though I didn't immediately lose what little faith I had in God, I was never able to look at anything that was connected to the church in quite the same way again. Eventually, I lost my faith completely, and it's safe to say that between all the pain, confusion, and anger that I experienced as it concerns my father and the church's actions as well as the many personal, emotional, and intellectual breakthroughs I made after leaving Christianity behind, I could never go back to being a Christian again even if someone held a gun to my head and told me to convert or die. I am doing a whole lot better now. Believe it or not, this site has played a huge role in the healing process for me. Even when I wasn't actively posting on here, I could come here and read the different stories that other people had posted as they concerned leaving Christianity behind. Just knowing that there were other people out in the world who understood some of the pain I had been put through really helped me to cope. It helped me to not feel so alone...
  8. Ha ha ha! I was wondering if you'd read that!
  9. There's a huge and very important reason that I didn't post this in the "What are You Listening to?" section of the forums. Every last one of you who are using this site will probably be able to relate with every single word that this man has written. I don't care who you are, this will hit you on a deep and personal level - I can almost guarantee it. Please take a few minutes from whatever it is you are doing and listen to this song. I've honestly never heard anything so bold, raw, and honest in my entire life... Ill Mind Of Hopsin 7 It's us, mind power Live life, mind power It's us, mind power Live life, mind power Yo, fuck anybody I might alarm Life is a tour, I sit and ride along Taking some notes and then I write the song I'm staring down the road my life has gone Is this where I belong? Is it wrong to not believe in right and wrong? My mental state is fucking me up And I cried upon while asking you for some answers But we don't have that type of bond Now my desires gone with the way that I've been living lately If I died right now, you'd turn the fire on Sick of this bullshit, niggas call me a sellout 'Cause I hopped on Christianity so strongly then I fell out Now I'm avoiding questions like a scared dog with his tail down Feeling so damn humiliated 'cause they looking at me like I'm hellbound What story should I tell now? I'll just expose the truth I'm so close to the fucking edge, I should be close to you But who the fuck are You? You never showed the proof And I'm only fucking human yo, what am I supposed to do? There's way too many different religions with vivid descriptions Begging all fucking men and women to listen I can't even beat my dick without getting convicted These ain't wicked decisions, I got different intentions I been itching to get it, I've been given assistance But the whole fucking system is twisted Now I'm dealing with this backlash because Marcus isn't a Christian And I've been told that my sinful life is an addiction But I can't buy it, it's just too hard to stand beside it I need an answer and humans can't provide it I look at the Earth and Sun and I can tell a genius man designed it It's truly mind blowing, I can't deny it Is heaven real? Is it fake? Is it really how I fantasize it? Where's the Holy Ghost at? How long it take Man to find it? My mind's a nonstop tape playing and I can't rewind it You gave me a bible and expect me not to analyze it I'm frustrated and you provoked it I'm not reading that motherfucking book because a human wrote it I have a fucking brain, you should know it You gave it to me to think to avoid every useless moment It was a mission that I had to abort 'Cause humans be lying with such an inaccurate source It's gon' be hard to put me back on the course Next Jehovah's witness to come on my porch, I swear I'm slammin' the door A lot of folks believe it though, but I'm not surprised Humans are fucking dumb, still thinkin' that Pac's alive I ain't trying to take your legacy and torch it down I'm just saying, I ain't heard shit from the horse's mouth Just sheep always telling stories of older guys Who were notarized by you when you finally vocalized Now I'm supposed to bow my head and close my eyes And somehow let the Holy Ghost arise, sounds like a fucking poltergeist Show yourself and the boom is done Every rumor's gone, I no longer doubt this shit, you're the one I'll admit that my sinful ways was stupid fun And all my old habits can hop onto of a roof to plunge I'll donate to a charity that could use the funds Fuck the club, instead of bitches I'd hang with a group of nuns And everyone that I ran into would know what I came to do I wouldn't take a step unless it was in the name of You I hate the fact that I have to believe You haven't been chatting with me like you did Adam and Eve And I ain't seen no talking snake or rabbit from trees With an apple to eat, that shit never happens to me I don't know if you do or don't exist, shit is driving me crazy Send your condolences, this is me reaching to you so don't forget If hell is truly your pit of fire and I get thrown in it I'mma probably regret the fact that I ever wrote this shit My gut feeling says it's all fake, I hate to say it but fuck it, shit I done lost faith This isn't a small phase, my perspective's all changed My thoughts just keep picking shit apart all day And in my mind I make perfect sense If you aren't real then all my prayers aren't worth a cent That would mean that I could just make up what my purpose is And I could just sit in the church and say fuck in the services Man what if Jesus was a facade? Then that would mean the government's God I feel like they've been brainwashing us with a lot So much that we don't even notice that we're stuck in the box Man everything is what if, why is it always what if Planet Earth what if, the universe what if My sacrifice what if, my afterlife what if Every fucking thing that deals with you is fucking suspect I'm fucking done, I'm fucking done This is my fucking life and I'm living it, I'm having fun If you really care for me, prove that I need to live carefully But I'll be damned if I put my own pleasure aside for an afterlife that isn't even guaranteed We are you, and you're us, stop playing games My life's all I got, and heaven is all in my brain And when I feel I am in hell, my ideas are what get me through pain Do as you please, and I'll just do me, I'm a human, I'll stay in my lane Ill mind It's us, mind power Live life, mind power It's us, mind power Live life, mind power Songwriters: Marcus Jamal Hopson Ill Mind Of Hopsin 7 lyrics © The Administration MP, Inc
  10. Ha ha! I completely understand. And, I'm wishing you the best of luck! If there's anyone here at ex-c who should be able to put this guy in his place, it would be you.
  11. @bornagainathiest I've been reading these endless debates between you, the rest of the ex-c crew, and stranger (they're starting to become excruciatingly painful to get through), and I just thought I'd interject with my thoughts on the matter, if that's okay? Anyway, I'm almost 99% sure that Stranger is trolling you and everyone else here at ex-c, and if I were you guys, I'd seriously think about getting out while I was ahead. Just my two cents (no offence intended)! However, don't let me stop you. I'm just beginning to think that he really doesn't care about what you or anyone else here has to say... Maybe he's mad, and he wants to fill up the forums with his raving lunacy? Who the hell knows...? Smh :/ @Stranger, I already told you how I feel about you a few weeks ago. I'm the guy who thinks you're like a Christian version of an Islamic jihadist. My opinion has only been strengthened by your piss poor failed attempts at rhetoric, and I have absolutely no desire whatsoever to talk to you at all. So don't bother responding to me. I won't write back - you can bet on it!
  12. Thanks for the encouragement, Riversong. I'm really sorry to hear about what happened to you... Everything you have described is exactly what my family went through. What freaked me out the most was how people within the church community were so quick to tell me and my sister that we needed to "learn to forgive." I realize that at some point we all have to try to find some understanding as it regards even the most horrendous of situations, but there are some things that happen in this life that never need to be forgotten or written off so easily. I mean, imagine going up to a Jew and telling him or her that that he or she needs to forgive Hitler for killing off his or her family. It sounds almost absurd, right? I honestly don't even know what these people are thinking?! Anyway, I'm really sorry that your mother didn't do more to protect you from the creep you were forced to go to church with, and I mean that sincerely. I can totally relate because my mom didn't do much either. Even though she left my father over the matter, I think she immediately put up a wall to block it all out, and as a result, she never fully allowed herself to come to terms with what actually happened. To this day, she gets weird and flaky if the subject is brought up... By the way, the story you related to me about the guy writing a letter to you in which he blames the devil for his repulsive actions is beyond ridiculous. I honestly don't even have words for it... How does someone like that wake up and look at himself in the mirror with a straight face? How could your mom think that his letters were enough to make up for the pain he caused you? The whole situation is sickening..
  13. Hi, ConsiderTheSource. I'm so sorry to hear that you had to deal with a similar experience regarding your child. I think you'll know what I mean when I tell you that nobody really understands how hard it is deal with molestation and rape until they've actually had to go through it themselves. The way the people in the church handled my father was sickening and disappointing to say the least - I'm sure you can relate. On the one hand, I'll admit that there were a few people who tried their best to be understanding and helpful, but I think that the shock of it all was almost too much for them to bear, and it left them more or less helpless. On the other hand, there were people who refused to even believe it, like the ministers I mentioned above. I think their disbelief or rather denial stemmed from the fact that what my dad did shattered their fragile worldview, and it threatened to undermine the various power structures within the church that they had built their lives and reputations around. I lost so much respect for so many people I knew who were in leadership within the church community that I was involved with at the time that all of this happened. You never really get to see a person's true colors until he or she goes through a life experience that truly tests every aspect of his or her character... Thanks, Jeff. I really appreciate that. We all managed to survive... somehow, and I'm really not trying be overly dramatic when I say that. I'm honestly surprised that my sister didn't take her own life. She told me that suicidal thoughts used to cross her mind all of the time. What my dad did to her screwed her up in ways that I'm not even going to try to describe in this thread. And, honestly, I don't think I should be the one who tries to speak for her. There is no way that I could ever fully understand her pain... DB, I couldn't agree more... I know that you used to be a minister, so I'm sure that you probably have a pretty good idea of how all of this went down. Like I said to ConsiderTheSource above, I lost a lot of respect for a lot of people when all of this was taking place. Outside of my family there were people involved within the church who should have stood up to do the right thing, but they didn't... By the way, when her counselor and social worker found out that there were loopholes in the legal system that prevented my sister from getting the justice she deserved, they were completely furious. It's not like my sister and the people involved with her case didn't try to pursue justice. They just got to a point where their hands were tied, and they couldn't do anything more about it. However, for what it's worth, the social services and child protection agencies in the area where my dad resides were notified about all of this, and supposedly, he is on a private watch list that they keep. I really don't know what else to say about the matter. I think you said it best - it's fucked up.
  14. Hey, MOHO. I certainly understand where you are coming from. However, just because you've never had to deal with a psychopathic pervert preacher who also happens to be your father doesn't mean that you've got it easy. I'm sure you deal with more than your fair share of trials, heartaches, and headaches as they concern dealing with your wife, stepson, and all of the religious gobbledygook that comes along with having to live with their belief systems. The truth of the matter is that none of us who have found the courage to walk away from the faith we were raised to embrace as our own have it very easy. So many aspects of our society are built around a lot of religious nonsense and superstition, and at times, I'm sure we all feel like the world is completely against us... Anyway, I wouldn't wish what my family has been through on anybody. There were times when the pain and confusion was enough to make me consider completely flipping out and going off the deep end.
  15. Thank you for being so understanding, TruthSeeker. I rarely ever talk about this incident with people because I am so embarrassed and angry over the way it was handled. This is the first time I've ever brought it up publicly. Most people don't seem to understand how my dad could get away with what he did, but apparently you do. I want you to know that I really appreciate you for that. At this point, all I can hope for is that my story will help someone else out there who might be going through the same thing or something similar.
  16. Citsonga, I'm going to be up front with you and tell you right now that this subject is still really hard for me to talk about... Things surrounding the incident with my father were not handled properly at all. Allow me to explain. First, my dad is a really good looking, charming, and smart person. He does not fit the child rapist stereotype at all. In other words, if a person met him on the street, he or she probably wouldn't immediately get any bad vibes from him. Second, he had a lot of close and trusted friends within the church community who would follow him to hell and back. When he was exposed, a number of ministers who personally knew him immediately took the stance that my sister was lying and that he would never do something like that. Disgusting, right? Keep in mind that he admitted to my whole family that my sister was telling the truth. We all heard it from his own mouth. That is why my mom divorced him. So, here's what happened. When the news first hit, the people who attended the church he was preaching at all boycotted him, asked him to resign, and went on with their lives. My mom immediately divorced him and took us kids back to her hometown to stay with her mom. My dad fled the state in which the incident happened and moved in with some relatives. He stayed pretty well hidden for a few years. While we were all trying to get our lives back together, my very very Christian grandmother convinced my mom not to pursue the matter any further because she was worried that my whole family would be on the news and our reputations would be ruined forever. My mom took her terrible advice and somehow coerced my sister into lying low and not pressing charges. My sister was an unstable mess at the time, so the fear tactics that my grandma used really worked on her. However, eventually, after spending a few years in counseling, my sister finally told my mom and grandma to butt out and attempted to press charges against my dad anyway. This is where the justice system completely fell apart. Since both my dad and my sister were no longer living in the same state in which the incident took place, and my sister had waited too long to prosecute, nothing ended up happening... Apparently, there were some kinks in the legal system regarding crossing state lines, etc. that prevented my sister from doing what needed to be done. At least that's what I was told. I know this sounds ridiculous, but you have to understand the situation my family was in at the time. My mom is still a hardcore believer to this day, and to some extent, she has never really allowed herself to fully let what happened to my sister sink in. My grandma is the one who told my dad that he was called to be a minister when he was younger, and for the longest time, she worshiped the ground he walked on. Between their unwavering faith in Jesus and their foolish pride, the situation was not handled properly at all... Even to this day, my grandma tries to tell my sister and I that we need to learn to forgive. It's infuriating!!!! She says that regardless of what my father did he always preached the truth. I know... It's completely fucked up beyond all recognition. My grandma is a very stately and prideful Southern Christian woman, and apart from that, I have no good explanation for her behavior or her warped sense of reasoning. Throughout her life, she was married to a very successful and popular businessman. So, to her, keeping up appearances means everything. I guess she comes from a time period when people swept embarrassing and shameful family matters, like the one I'm discussing, under the rug and never brought them up openly again. I'm getting really angry just writing about it. I honestly wish I could tell you that my dad is sitting in prison rotting, but he's not. He's a free man. Just talking about this makes me want to punch a hole in my monitor.
  17. Hi, Rounin. Yes it was awful, to put it lightly. It would be really hard for me to describe the amount of heartache and pain that my family and I suffered... Of course, my little sister suffered the worst. She is still in the process of recovery to this day... You are absolutely right about the danger of embracing the ideals of unquestioning belief and suppressing critical thought. For many years before I found out about my father I had doubts as they concerned my Christian faith. Every time I would ask questions I was just told that I needed to have more faith. Living a life like that can really screw a person up. But, when you are taught that hell fire awaits you if you don't fully commit your life to Jesus, you end up swallowing your pride and doing your best to make sense of the nonsensical. I really don't know how else to put it. And, yes, by doing that we are opening up the door for a lot of horrible things that could have otherwise been avoided. Thank you for taking the time to comment TruthSeeker. The funny and sad thing about the whole ordeal is that somewhere deep inside of myself I always had a quiet yet strong feeling that something wasn't quite right with my father, the church, and Christianity in general even before my dad was exposed. Looking back, I think my intuition was picking up on bad signals long before I was, if that makes sense. However, I was always told that I needed to fight those feelings, doubts, and fears because they were nothing more than the "fiery darts" of the devil that he was launching at me to destroy my faith. The amount of psychological damage that was inflicted upon me by my father and his hard approach to Biblical parenting nearly destroyed me. When I finally found out about what he had been doing, the first thought I had was, "I knew it. This whole thing has been nothing but a huge lie." That may sound terrible to say, but it's the truth. Immediately after that I freaked out and started worrying about my sister and the future of my family. My sister is still struggling with issues that relate to what my dad did to her even to this day... Anyway, believe it or not, my story is not unique. I've lost count of the amount of news stories I've read since that day in which a pastor, a priest, or some other respected leader was caught doing the exact same thing. It really makes you wonder, doesn't it? Hi, Margee. Thank you so much for taking the time to read and comment. My family and I are doing much better now. Although it goes without saying that all of us are still messed up from it in one way or another... My sister obviously suffered the most through all of this, and I honestly wonder if she'll ever be 100% better again. I really think that my father damaged her in ways that are permanent.... All in all, there are issues that we will all probably deal with for many more years to come. You don't just walk away from an ordeal like that unchanged. Anyway, thank you for taking the time to reach out and show that you care. I realize that I don't know you on a personal level, but I can tell from your comments and posts that you truly have a heart of gold. Don't tell Florduh or anyone else this, but you are definitely my favorite moderator here on ex-c.
  18. Hey, ThereAndBackAgain. I just want to let you know that I would give you a bunch of likes if I could. However, I've used up my quota of likes for the day. Thanks for taking the time to respond and share your opinions with me. Btw, I just created a new post about my dad. I've decided that I'm not going to hide what happened to me and my family anymore. Even though this site is supposed to be completely anonymous, it's still hard to tell the world about such a heartbreaking, infuriating, embarrassing, and tragic experience. I just hope that what I've written serves to help somebody out there who may be struggling with or going through similar circumstances.
  19. Okay, folks.... It's time to come clean. I've had an extremely hard time being honest about something, but I've decided that now is the time to let it all out. My father was a respected minister of a huge church with hundreds of faithful members. He authored a number of Christian books, and he won many awards and commendations for his "service" to the Lord. The only problem with all of this is that he turned out to be a child molesting rapist... He molested my little sister for a solid five years before she finally got the courage to come out and tell all of us what had been going on. I could probably write volumes about how this experience has changed me, shattered my worldview, messed me up on a personal level, and caused me to lose my faith completely. But, I'm not going to. All I'm going to say is that God sure does have a "funny" way of choosing the people who he wants to use to spread his wonderful message. My dad led hundreds of people to the Lord (salvation), and he influenced hundreds more to give their day to day lives over to Christ (service, etc.). The whole time he was a sick freak of nature who was using his charisma, charm, and his ability to lead people in a church setting for the purpose of making money and building an empire. After he was exposed, it didn't take long for me to give Jesus a big "fuck you." However, it actually took me many years to let go of my Christian faith completely. What can I say? When you've been brainwashed and programmed to believe something is true, it is nearly impossible to reprogram yourself overnight no matter how badly you might want to or feel compelled to. In other words, I didn't immediately lose my faith because I was mad at the church or my father, even though I was heartbroken and furious to the point of rage. However, those events are what caused me to take a few steps back and open my eyes to take a closer look at everything I had been raised to believe in. Once I started asking the really tough questions, the doubts started pouring in like a flood, and eventually, after years of soul searching, prayer, anguish, and research, I was forced to let all of it go. I eventually ended up taking a number of history courses in college that really opened my eyes to the fact that the Bible is not an academically reliable source of history, and after coming to that realization, it was so much easier for me to overcome the fears that I had been silently harboring about losing my faith and going to hell. Long story short, when a person has been brainwashed to believe that Jesus is completely in control of every aspect of life, reality, and the world in general, it is extremely hard for that person to ever completely wake up on his or her own without a little bit of outside help. Had I not had my eyes violently pried open via tragedy, I'm not sure that I would have ever fully caught on to the charade that is known as Christianity. So, for anyone out there who might be reading this, please remember that not everything is as it seems. The man or woman you look up to the most could be a monster, and the faith you cling so dearly to could be nothing more than a total sham. I sincerely hope none of you ever have to go through what my family and I have been through... We went to hell and back, and it wasn't pretty. Please take it from someone who has experienced a dark side of reality that few people ever come into contact with. Christianity, the church, and the Bible are nothing more than tools of mind control that were created for the sole purpose of manipulating the masses. There is nothing sacred and holy about any of it. If the God of the Bible really does exist, why in the hell would he choose someone as sick as my father to do "his will?" If Jesus truly does exist, why would he allow one of his faithful servants (my father) to rape his own daughter repeatedly in his "temple?" The fact of the matter is that the God of the Bible does not and never has existed. He is a man-made fabrication, and he is only kept alive and relevant by people like you and me who refuse to let go of the fantasy. I really don't have anything else to say about this... The next time you want to defend the church or the Bible, just remember that you are defending an institution that has been a safe refuge for not only my father, but thousands of others like him. Just look into the history of Catholic priests who have molested their tenants if you don't believe me. Yeah, the God of the Bible is awesome, right? Give me a fucking break.... smh :/
  20. Yeah, I was the exact same way. It wasn't until I had my eyes forced open by a number of really bad experiences within the church that I started taking the time to question all of it like I should. One of the preachers I grew up with who I also knew on a personal level turned out to be a child molester. When I found out what he had been doing to his daughter, my faith took a swan dive. It turned out that he had been molesting her before and after services in the church office. Afterwards, he would get up in front of his huge church and preach about the evils of perversion etc. The night that he was exposed he gave a sermon about how rapists, homosexuals, and child molesters all had a place waiting for them in hell. No, I'm not making any of this up. Anyway, I didn't lose my faith because I was mad at the church or the preacher, even though I was heartbroken and furious to the point of rage. However, those events are what caused me to take a few steps back and open my eyes to take a closer look at everything I had been raised to believe in. Once I started asking the really tough questions, the doubts started pouring in like a flood, and eventually, after years of soul searching, prayer, anguish, and research, I was forced to let all of it go. I eventually ended up taking a number of history courses in college that really opened my eyes to the fact that the Bible is not an academically reliable source of history - after coming to that realization, it was so much easier for me to overcome the fears that I had been silently harboring about losing my faith and going to hell. Long story short, when a person has been brainwashed to believe that Jesus is completely in control of every aspect of life, reality, and the world in general, it is extremely hard for that person to ever completely wake up on his or her own without a little bit of outside help. Had I not had my eyes violently pried open via tragedy, I'm not sure that I would have ever fully caught on to the charade that is known as Christianity. Edit: Fuck it! It's time to come clean. The preacher I'm referring to is my father... I've been scared to let anybody know what I've been through, but I'm tired of hiding it. My dad was a respected preacher of a huge church, and he raped my sister.
  21. Hi, ThereAndBackAgain. I completely agree with you. I hope you know that I really wasn't making that reply to disrespect atheists in any way, shape, or form. Like I said, I completely respect where most of them are coming from. I've just found in the past that when I've brought up my own beliefs or ideas about the nature of the universe and reality, I've been belittled and made fun of in a really bad way by various atheists. Like you, I don't claim to really know the true nature of the universe. I've had a lot of experiences in my own life that have led me to believe that there might be something else going on outside of what we taste, touch, see, feel, and hear, so I feel no shame in researching and hypothesizing about the nature of reality from a pantheistic perspective. All the same, I completely understand why there are people out there who might see that as a waste of time. I try my best not to judge others. We all have legitimate reasons for embracing our various worldviews. I think the important thing to focus on is the fact that nearly everyone here has been able to see through the smoke & mirrors of Christianity and organized religion in general.
  22. One of my favorite bands of all time! You've got good taste, ExPCA!
  23. Thank you, Margee. I feel the exact same way as you do about all of this. If I had to make a confession to ex-c, it would mirror yours. I guess that's why I am able to write about it - I lived it for so many years... On another note that I think you might be interested in (based on some of the posts you've made in the past), I am not an atheist. I realize that there are people who frequent this site who are 100% convinced that no god, higher power, etc. exists, and I am happy that they have been able to find peace in claiming that worldview. However, on a personal level, I've never been 100% comfortable with looking at the world strictly through that set of lenses, so to speak. That's not to say that I haven't gained a lot of useful insight from their various perspectives. Atheists have a real knack for taking a no-nonsense approach to life which I can fully appreciate and respect. However, after leaving Christianity behind, I still felt the need to feed the spiritual side of my self. I still felt like there were questions about life and the cosmos that needed to be answered. And, I often experienced bizarre things like synchronicity which, in my humble opinion, shouldn't be written off as mere coincidence. That is why I am an agnostic pantheist. I think that maybe all of us are connected on some level, and for lack of a better way of putting it, we are all collectively what Christians would call God... In other words, we are all energy. Everything is energy, and we are all a part of it - we are the energy. Does that make sense? My biggest problem with Christianity isn't necessarily the fact that Christians try to find spiritual meaning in the lives that they lead. It has more to do with the fact that Christianity and Judaism are based around an anthropomorphic god who is about as evil as evil gets. I mean he supposedly killed off everyone and everything in the world with a flood just because it seemed like a good idea at the time, and when the end of the world comes, he plans on killing everyone off again with fire. You'd think an all powerful god could come up with something better than that considering the fact that he is supposed to be the epitome of love. To put it mildly, a book the size of War & Peace could be written just to list the inhumane atrocities committed by him and his followers. I once visited a website called evilbible.com that had a pretty comprehensive list of the evils found in the Bible. You might consider checking it out sometime. So, when Christians try to find spiritual meaning in their lives by basing their worldviews on the Bible, the end result is that they ultimately become cold, uncaring, and inhumane shells of the people they used to be. They eventually adapt their worldviews to match the Bible, and without realizing it, they start to condone certain unenlightened beliefs and behaviors which are nothing short of immoral and bizarre. Some of the most bitter and hateful people I've ever met were elderly Christians who had dedicated their entire lives to the service of the church. The sad and crazy thing about it is that the changes happen so subtly and slowly that by the time many Christians have completely sold out every aspect of their personality and intellect, they don't even realize it. They think that they are still good people who God would be proud of. Eventually, it becomes easy for them to hate gay people or to look down on people from other cultures who weren't raised with the same belief systems, etc. Eventually, it becomes easy for them to live their lives without thinking for themselves anymore. They just think they are serving God in a manner that he would want them to. If you think about it, this also explains why it is so easy for Islamic jihadists to commit cold blooded murder in the name of Allah. They actually think they are doing a good thing that God approves of. Anyway, I just felt like I needed to clarify this for you and anyone else out there who may read this. I truly think that people can find spiritual meaning in their lives apart from Christianity. I mean, even the most hardcore atheist out there should be able to see that other spiritual paths like Buddhism and pantheism are a hundred times more preferable to the outdated monotheistic religions of the Middle East. Not to mention that they are a thousand times more people friendly as well. Christianity is a religion that intellectually lobotomizes its followers, and I want nothing to do with it. I believe in pursuing spirituality in a manner which allows me to incorporate all of the different aspects of my heart, mind, and soul (both good and bad), not just the ones that ancient Middle Eastern sheep herders approved of. I also prefer pursuing spirituality in a manner which allows me to believe in a little thing called science. lol I guess that's all i have to say about the matter, Margee. I hope you have a great week regardless of whether the weather is good or not! (To whom it may concern, I did not post this response to start a debate over atheism vs. panthesim. If anyone who reads this feels like getting into a debate, please know that I will most likely not respond. This response is for Margee alone.)
  24. I'd love to read more of your work. You should post more of it on here in the future!
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