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Everything posted by Shinobi

  1. Ha ha ha! I bet you're right. I actually brought up questions like the ones I mentioned above every now and then. The leaders in my church would try their best to answer me, but I could tell that my inquiries made them uncomfortable. They would usually get to the point where they told me something along the lines of, "You just got to have faith." If they really cared, they might relate a story of how they faced similar doubts when they were young but eventually overcame them with God's help. Needless to say, I eventually quit asking those kinds of questions because I knew I was never going to get any straight answers.
  2. 10 Simple Steps to Salvation 1. First, learn to read in one of the world's more popular languages like English. You won't be able to "read" about God's plan of salvation for all of humanity which is found in the Bible if you can't read. (If you speak the tribal language of an indigenous civilization like those found in South America or Africa, the road to salvation may be a bit longer and harder for you than it is for others. No worries! With enough perseverance anything is possible!) 2. Get fully acquainted with Western European cultural traditions and try your best to fully comprehend them or else much of the New Testament won't make sense. It's a good idea to make them your own as well. It will save you a lot of heartache down the road. 3. Get fully acquainted with ancient Middle Eastern cultural traditions and politics. If you do not take the time to do this, many of the stories found in the Old Testament will not make a whole lot of sense either. 4. After you have completed steps 1-3 try your best to play a game of connect the dots. Try to figure out how the harsh ideals of the Old Testament version of God connect with the more liberal ideals of the New Testament version of God. (This is hard to do, but with a strong enough imagination and a fair amount of mental gymnastics it is definitely possible.) 5. Prepare yourself to reject anything that the people of your tribe, community, and culture may have taught you that contradicts the ideals found in the Bible. You must to come to the realization that the world you were raised in is a lie - the real truth of reality can only be found in the Bible. If this seems unfair, all I can tell you to do is to deal with it - life's unfair! 6. Pick one of the best ways you've found in the New Testament to achieve salvation. You can either pray for it, get baptized in water, or get baptized in the spirit. Many Christians will argue about which is the right way, but with enough luck, I'm sure you'll figure it out. 7. Learn about capitalism and taxes. You'll probably struggle with the idea of paying 10% of all of your income to the church if you don't understand how a system of taxation works. If you were raised in an economic system other than capitalism, you might have a hard time with this. Fear not, capitalism is the only true economic system, and you will be better off for having embraced its pure ideals! Plus, you wouldn't want to anger God by stealing from him, now would you??? 8. The Bible says you have to prove your faith by your works, so your next step is to go out and prove to the world that you really believe. If you can't find it in your heart to do this, then you might not really have the kind of faith it takes to attain salvation. 9. Get really good at the above 9 steps and then attempt to get your friends and family to accept God's plan of salvation as well. After all, since God made it so darn easy for you to get saved, the least you can do is return the favor by spreading his wonderful message. 10. Finally, learn how to stop thinking for yourself. This is the hardest part of the plan, but it is the most important. God loves and values an obedient heart and mind. Without your blind faith, it is impossible to please him. Besides, there are people who will always be there to do your thinking for you, like ministers, teachers, authors, evangelists, monks, and priests. And, if you get good enough at following their teachings, you might just get the opportunity to join their ranks one day. Now, if you can do all of the above ten steps, you will most definitely attain salvation and have a "great" reward awaiting you in a magical place called heaven after you die. Don't give up! At times you might feel like your not in control of your life anymore, but that is just a lie that has been planted in your head by the evil one, Satan. You've got to keep pressing on. After all, what is one small lifetime in comparison with the eternal joys that await you after you die? Good luck!
  3. You all bring up extremely good points. However, in my mind, there is one point that concerns the "salvation process" that is so blatantly ridiculous that it defies all logic - how are people who can't read ever supposed to come to know of God's plan of salvation??? Or better yet, how are people who were born into geographic regions and cultures where popular languages aren't spoken, let alone read, ever supposed to come to know of Jesus? And still better yet, how are people who come from cultural backgrounds that are based on different sets of morals, cultural traditions, belief systems, economic systems, etc. etc. ever supposed to even begin to comprehend any of the messages (even the simple ones) in the Bible that are clearly based upon a mix of ancient middle eastern cultural tradition and western European thinking??? I guess they all can burn in hell, right? Oh, well...
  4. No one says it quite like Mr. Carlin.
  5. Hi, Geezer. Nice to meet you! It sounds like we have a lot in common. I honestly can't understand how anyone who has ever taken the time to seriously study the origins of Christianity, Judaism, and Middle Eastern religion in general could ever be convinced that those religions are anything more than human contrivances that were created by the various tribal leaders of the time in order to further their goals of economic, political, and social control. I also can't understand how any minister who has a conscience could go all the way through college and or seminary and not come to the conclusion that he or she will be nothing more than a snake oil sales person if he or she continues down the ministerial path... When one starts to study subjects like documentary hypothesis, ancient religious and political history, and archaeology, it doesn't take long for that person to come to the conclusion that the Bible has no more academic and historical validity than the Agamas, the Quran, or the Bhagavad Gita. There are definitely things in all of these books that can be used for historical reference, but they, like all other human literary works, are extremely flawed with inconsistencies, canon discrepancies, half-truths, and political and cultural biases. For example, archaeological discoveries have been made that put a number of the stories found in the Old Testament into serious question. It now appears that the ancient Hebrews were just as guilty of retelling history to justify their political decisions and to make themselves look good as any of the other cultures of the ancient past were... In short, if the Old Testament falls apart in the historical and academic arena, the New Testament has absolutely nothing to base its claims on. Christianity is just another cult that sprang from an older more established religion.
  6. This song is absolutely sick! Just give it a chance - you have to listen to it all the way through to truly appreciate it. Enjoy!
  7. Hi, Vadarama. I completely understand where you are coming from. For me, it's gotten to the point that I can't hardly stand going to my parents house to visit. As I've grown further and further apart from my Christian past, I have started to look at the world through an entirely different set of lenses. Now, I find that there are very few subjects that concern life, politics, science, love, etc., that I can actually talk about with my family. They always reinterpret everything that I try to talk about from a Christian perspective. It's extremely frustrating and very disheartening. At times, I feel like I'm talking to little kids who don't really have a clue about how the world works and who don't care to know either. Anyway, the end result of my visits is that I always go home feeling severely depressed. Just being around them brings up old feelings and resentments that I have tried hard to put behind me. So, I kind of think I understand where you are coming from. I guess you just need to find the strength to move on without them. To a great extent that's what I had to do.
  8. Ha ha ha!!! That's the funniest shit I've read in quite awhile. You officially just made my night!
  9. Hi, ficino. It's nice to meet you. I know exactly what you mean when you speak of the dysfunction in Christianity. Even before I deconverted that was a big reason I didn't want to have anything to do with it. Needless to say, I'm really glad I didn't go down the ministerial path. When my dad found out, he was highly disappointed, but it's not his life to live. However, he still doesn't know that I've deconverted. I really don't talk to him much anymore, so I don't know if he ever will know. Anyway, I definitely look forward to getting involved with the forums in the future!
  10. Hello everyone. I'm new here, and I just thought I'd introduce myself. I've spent the past few years coming to terms with life as a nonbeliever. During that time, I found myself dropping by this website off and on to read other people's stories because I was always able to find encouragement and strength through reading about what other people, like myself, had been going through after they decided to leave Christianity behind. I finally decided that I wanted to become a part of this community because I would like to be there for other people who might be going through the same or similar struggles that I went through during and after the deconversion process. I guess you could say that I just want to return the favor. Like many of you, I was raised in church. My father is a minister, and I spent the better part of my life having to follow in his footsteps. By the time I was a junior in high school, I started having serious doubts about the validity of my religion and the steadfastness of my faith. My dad and the elders in the church were all pushing me to become a minister, and the thought of committing my life to the church in that manner was way more than I was mentally or emotionally prepared to handle. Over the years that followed, I started researching different forms of spirituality on top of any and all history that related back to Christianity. I read controversial books like the Satanic Bible and watched movies like Zeitgeist - basically, anything and everything I could get my hands on to discover the truth. However, I was never fully able to let go of the belief system I had been brainwashed to accept as my own. Every now and then, I would veer off the straight and narrow for awhile, but the fear of hell and God's disfavor was just too much for me to completely get past. As you can probably imagine, this cyclical process left me a confused and depressed mess. So, it's no surprise that I fell into the clever traps set by people like C.S. Lewis, Lee Strobel, and the king of pseudo intellectualism, Josh McDowell. There apologetic works always managed to answer just enough of my questions to keep me in the fold for a little while longer. Nonetheless, there was always something that didn't quite add up - something that nagged at me and wouldn't go away no matter how much I prayed, studied, or researched. I just couldn't shake the feeling that my life was being stolen from me by invisible hands that cared nothing for who I really was or what I really wanted (metaphorically speaking). It wasn't until I decided to go back to college to finish my bachelor's degree that my eyes were finally opened to the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. It all started when I took a secular Old Testament history course that was taught by a professor who didn't laugh at or belittle my skeptical mind. In fact, he encouraged me to be a critical thinker. He taught the Old Testament strictly from a historical, archaeological, and academic perspective. By the time the class was half over, I realized that I had found the evidence that I was looking for - the evidence I needed to walk away from the "faith" for good. To sum it all up, I discovered that there is little to no historical or academic evidence to support the claim that Christianity is any different from any other mainstream religion in the world. In short, it was a cult started by rebels that was later propagated and made popular by the Roman government who realized its extreme potential as a tool for social control. The Christianity that is taught in the world today is a product of nearly 2,000 years of political and social evolution. There is nothing God-inspired about any of it... After the Old Testament history course came to an end, I began exploring other academic fields like sociology, psychology, and biology. Of course, these academic disciplines did absolutely nothing to restore the faith I had given up on - they did the exact opposite. I quickly came to the realization that this world is an absolutely huge place with thousands of religions, cultures, ways of life, and historical traditions. I discovered that all of us, to a great extent, are products of the environments and the cultures that we were brought up in. And, the list goes on and on... That basically brings me to this point. Obviously, I could say so much more, but I think this will have to do for now. Anyway, thanks for taking the time to read this! I look forward to getting to know all of you.
  11. Hello fellow apostates! Just wanted to introduce myself. :)

    1. TABA


      Welcome Shinobi!  This is a good community.  I hope you'll tell us more about yourself whenever you're ready.  Meanwhile you should find plenty of interesting reading in our various forums. I've been active here for a bit more than a year; I hope you'll find it as valuable as I have!


    2. Shinobi


      I just posted my introduction in the forums. Nice to meet you! :)

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