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ag_NO_stic last won the day on April 18

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About ag_NO_stic

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    Authentic Pastafarian
  • Birthday June 6

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    Food. Life. People. Laughter.
  • More About Me
    I am Jess. My name's a good start.

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  • Still have any Gods? If so, who or what?
    Damn good sandwiches elicit "hallelujahs" from me.

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  1. Oohhh, intrigue. Where is aggy going? It's posted in "Ex-Christian Life," this could be about anything! I don't come on here much, life is what it is, but when I feel like I've learned something, I am intent on sharing it. If it reaches someone, anyone, and makes a positive change in your life, my heart sings. If you don't, you should come back and read it again sometime. I am only starting to type, I have no earthly clue how long it will be, so consider yourself warned. But if I had to summarize it in a twitter hashtag, I think it might be: #yourewrong #yesyou #yepstillyou #yesyoureallyare #alsogototherapy I did an introduction post when I first joined, I still remember it keenly, because I took a great deal of time in choosing it. "I Am Jess, Hear Me Roar" with a smiley. That title represented a few core values of mine. Authentic and personable, in spite of the internet. Fierce. Kindness. I want to be someone whose story is worth knowing. I want to be "all the things." In the past few years, since rejecting faith, I have learned a lot, so much. There are no words for how grateful I am to have shed my faith, and I hope new users see this and find a sincere hope that their journey is only starting. The only way to describe all that I've learned is that I was "born again." Buckle up, reader, you're getting MY GOSPEL. Whoever has ears, let them hear. It's strange to live 20+ years being certain that you are correct. I had inklings far younger than my official deconversion where I wondered how I could be so certain. Cue college (private christian of course), where I decided to pursue the social sciences. The study of people and how we get where we are. I learned about "feral children" who behaved like animals because they were not socialized with humans or were in some sort of negligent environment and were only recognizably human in their appearance. It's easy for us all to write off the first 18 years of your life in a passing statement. But you come out of the womb and your parents teach you their values. You have no real way of escaping that environment, so you learn various coping mechanisms and defense mechanisms in varying degrees of intensity. You learn about personality and how impressionable the brain is and how POWERFUL confirmation bias is. Confirmation bias, to sum up something I could write a lot more about, is seeing what you want to see and filtering out what you don't like. It's why, for example, both sides of the political spectrum are so annoying right now. Because everyone picks what they like and ignores what they don't, it's just what we do. We look for things that align with our reality and ignore things that align with other peoples' reality, if we haven't experienced them. I can't speak for you, but I can speak for me. It's the only person I can speak for. Somewhere along the way, I forgot this very, very simple truth. I can't speak for one other person, but myself. My life and who I am as a person, who I was shaped to be by those around me, my "lessons learned" center around what I have actually gone through. For some reason, we as a species, have gotten all intellectual about things we've just never experienced. "The truth" is somewhere in between two extremes. But what is "truth?" It appears to mean something different to each one of us, why is that? Why do I find one certain thing convincing or another idea ludicrous, only to meet another who comes along and finds my idea ludicrous and theirs "true." Have you ever googled or just read the definition of true/truth before? Something that is true is defined as "in accordance with fact or reality." Okay. Well what is fact/reality? "a thing that is known or proved to be true" and "the world or the state of things as they actually exist, as opposed to an idealistic or notional idea of them." Okay, a little circular. Makes sense why I always believe I am right until I "realize I'm wrong" so that I can "be right again." What does believe mean? "Accept [something] as true." Seriously, google this shit, it's all circular and it all has to do with our own, particular, individual experiences. We throw the word narcissism around like we aren't all narcissists. Maybe you got a tattoo and suddenly everyone who got a tattoo is way doper than before, because you get it now. That happened for me. I died my hair blonde one time, learned about "purple shampoo" and suddenly everyone's blonde hair was way more interesting to me. That's just trivial stuff. But consider it for a moment, your friends are those with whom you have things in common and shared experiences. I'm preaching to the choir, right? You were "right" with your faith until you were wrong. You believed one thing until you believed another. And [someone you love] doesn't get it, because they haven't experienced it yet. The ability to empathize is the next best thing we do, we try to envision what we would do IF we WERE in someone's shoes. But isn't it funny how, when we were christians, we speculated on our atheism/agnosticism, still with our christian lens? You want to know the kicker? I'm still right and wrong about this. I'm right. But I'm assuming things about you that I couldn't possibly know. But you're wrong too. Because I'm right. See how this works? It's "tale as old as time," "in the beginning," etc. Wise people before us learned something and tried to save others from making that mistake. It's why "those who don't read history are doomed to repeat it," which is not just a reference to a nation's history, it can be personal history too. There's a reason we value wisdom, the quality of being wise [having or showing experience]. We value learning, "to gain or acquire knowledge of or skill in (something) by study, experience, or being taught." It's why there is a distinct difference between knowledge and speculation. I will stop adding the google definitions at this point, feel free to check, but it's all still pretty circular. It revolves around our own "in the beginning." It's why the parable of the sower and the seed, from the bible, is relatable and poignant. Because all of us (an assumption based on my experience) can take that parable and replace "seed" with a personal experience. We have all faced acceptance, rejection and something in between. Isn't that always how it is? The in-between? It's yin and yang, if you will, order and chaos. "This and that," "here and there" "Beginning and end," "right and wrong," "heaven and hell," "birth and death," "black and white," I could go on. Which is why you're wrong. And it's why I'm wrong. But it's also why I'm right. I'm "born again," the "scales have fallen from my eyes," (ah how it makes sense now) because life feels like it has only just started for me now. Where to start? It's all about lessons learned. I have learned that there is so much more to life than a formula for "success." You can think freely and you can DO anything until you die, although the two are correlated lol. I have learned that the bible has a lot of lessons to teach if you view it with the lens of metaphor. In the beginning, I was a little zygote comprised of two people's DNA. Hey look, a little trinity. Creation. As I grew up, I walked with my "creators," they taught me what I needed to know or so I thought. Their values left wounds on me, tiny fracturings of an innocent spirit who knew no evil. That sin of adam, if you will, is doomed to continue if I am not saved. I will only pass down my parents' issues to my children if I don't deal with them now. And I have. Hey look, fruit of the spirit! I have shed the notion that my children or friends are to be corrected and shaped in the way I believe they should go. I'm not saying my children won't have discipline, but it will be for the sake of them living a full life, wherever that may lead them, not perfection. I have shed pessimism to a degree, in favor of realizing that another's "truth" can teach me something even if I don't agree with everything. I have shed insecurity to a degree by realizing that the galaxy is beautiful because of ALL the stars that are there. If you are the only star, you might burn other people. I have shed the idea of being a victim to my surroundings, I have been dealt a hand of cards and I will win the game even if I lose this hand. Life is metaphor. Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (*clap-clap*), are the fruit of a person who deals with the way they are tearing others down or being negative. Their sin. And if you want to be redeemed from that, you need to die to that sin, and choose life. This life. It can be heaven or hell, it can be light or dark, it can be good or evil. Or in between. Cue the zombies. They told me not to eat that forbidden apple, but I did. Both Winston Churchill and John F. Kennedy are credited with this quote: "A man does what he must, in spite of personal consequences, in spite of obstacles and dangers and pressures, and that is the basis of all human morality." So now what, everything is relative? Not necessarily, life has so much meaning if you choose to make it mean something. If experience lends wisdom and a new perspective, than it logically follows that you would approach life with a newfound hunger for new perspective. Take with you a sense of appreciation and regard for an entire life someone else has lived of which you know nothing. They are wrong. So are you. So go, open your eyes, take in a deep breath of the freshest air and realize how free you are to go and learn new things until you die, with no regrets, having thrown yourself into a life of making it count.
  2. Jane, I'm so sorry to hear you've been feeling this way and dealing with all this. It sucks. In all honesty, what helped me the most was considering how unpleasant heaven sounded to me. We are taught to fear hell, but there was a small part of me that NEVER connected with the concept of heaven. Even in all my fervent attempts to be "all in" as a Christian, and I was, there was always this part of me that hated never-f***ing-ending church and like being all about the lord constantly and stuff. It already sucks to think about, I could barely make it to lunch most Sundays, though I repented and trusted god was "sanctifying me." I mean this, life is what you make of it. You don't have to reject the spiritual just because you have rejected bible-god's bullshit. Christians have fooled people into thinking that it's either THIS or THAT. But you can be whatever the hell you want and you can believe whatever you want to believe. When you realize that your loved ones can truly be lost, you love them more. When you realize time is NOT never-ending it becomes more precious. When something can be lost, you fight to protect it. You appreciate what's around you "like the eyes of a child" and you realize that heaven was here all along and you were putting yourself through hell. It might bring you comfort to watch youtube videos of near death experiences, there are so many accounts of "peace", "calm", "no longer a fear of death."
  3. Nothing wrong with teaching your children now to be humble enough to admit when they might have been wrong, in my opinion. That's such an important thing to learn. If you phase out religious teachings in favor of more vague things, they might just fade with time. You could even discuss the use of metaphor when he's older. "God", "Satan," "Sin" "Redemption" can all be beautiful stories and learning tools instead of taking it literally and to the extreme.
  4. I'm pretty sure the rest of that quote is something like ".....but god, if he exists, knows what that would be" which is kind of where I am with it. I don't personally believe anything would ever bring back to christianity, short of some sort of personal experience. But even then, I don't know that christian dogma is the same as a spiritual experience. I'm solidly agnostic, in general, because I think we should humble enough to just say we don't know. It's one thing to wonder about the universe and all the things that could be out there, but to claim existential truths as a little primate is amusing to me.
  5. It's my humble opinion that it at least partially revolves around suffering. Not all suffering, mind you, but the trust-breaking kind. And everyone is different and at varying degrees of intelligence, plus we all deal with things in different ways, so it's just a cluster. For me, personally, I am deeply skeptical of many things because the world has proven itself to regularly not be what you think it is. I will spare you the sob story, but I watched my mom be fucking fake my whole life. She was an angel to everyone around me and satan to me and my siblings. I've seen too many "it's not as it seems" stories, but it's backed up with personal pain. Pair that with my personal belief that we're all just shit-slinging monkeys who have no idea what we're doing and claiming that we "while we were wrong before, we now know _______ to be true....now". It's all bullshit, all of it lol. We are incredibly fascinating creatures, our capacity to learn and innovate based on our surroundings is sweet. But seriously, look at everything you believe. It's just unique experiences and environments that shape us, paired with a healthy serving of confirmation bias and the belief that we're better than we are. That being said, there is some funny shit to watch online.
  6. For those of you who missed my long odes.....drink up, bitches! If you didn't, well, lucky for you, this post explains why you don't see them much anymore. Wanted to save you a read, you're welcome. When I heard you were leaving, I logged back in for the first time in a few months just to emphasize how much I totally understand and agree with you, RC. I will probably not delete my profile, I had good things to say that could help others, but I never log in anymore. Those who challenge the mainstream opinion politically end up leaving, mind relatively unchanged, but recognizing that some here aren't in pursuit of truth wherever that pursuit may lead. I know, I know, I should just avoid ToT right? It's not like I have to go there, like....just don't go there. So I didn't for awhile. But I am not fan of the "don't like it, just avoid it" concept. Why don't we like it in the first place? Can't we make it better for more people? Deal with the source of the problem! I would engage, take breaks and research, reexamine my beliefs.....but you start to feel really lonely when you don't want to talk to christians, you don't want to talk about christianity, and you now also don't want to deal with the increasingly frustrating "Woke." So many posts challenged my perspective; so I would research all different sides of an argument as time allowed, I was willing to change if the argument was convincing to me. When that feels one sided, after awhile, you just leave. You don't make some fuss, or demand change like some kind of narcissist; you stop with the rant posts or comments of frustration and you just leave. You look for those who listen like you try to. That's not even to be dramatic either, just a simple choice that seems best for everyone. If you're reading this and you have an urge to debate me or defend the situation as I'm describing it instead of just listening and empathizing with an opposing perspective (which is what we want from christians), you might be one of those people. As a christian, my pursuit of truth in spite of discomfort was met with "You're just an atheist because you just want to go out and sin" or "You just don't see it from our lord and savior's holy perspective yet" or "HOW can you read the bible and not see GOD everywhere?! How can you not see his hand in your life?!" When you drop christianity, you start to drop any conservatism at first too, surely they are uniquely linked because of all the annoying religious republicans I know. Turns out atheists can be moral without the bible AND fiscally conservative without faith, who knew. Now, I hear about my "sin of whiteness" / "just being mad because you have to make your racist jokes in private now" or "That's just internalized misogyny you haven't dealt with yet" or "not having arrived upon the real, "factual," truth of academia" in spite of my reality not matching up with what I was being taught. Of course these are tropes, not necessarily a reference to direct encounters on this site, but that mindset is the same and is very recognizable and there was absolutely overlap. It's why many of us like the lion's den even if we haven't battled "this one" yet. You're right, I could avoid ToT. I was even shaming myself for not seeing it the way so many seemed to. Why couldn't I see it this way, what the heck? Why is this article or "evidence" not convincing to me? One day it clicked; it is what is and I feel how I feel and I think what I think through personal experience and I don't have to apologize for it. I tried it, don't agree, move on. I don't have to keep moving things around mentally, shifting things around to make sense of it, blaming myself, etc. This site helped me tremendously with leaving my faith, I'm forever grateful. I have met some truly wonderful people. Sure, I could stay for the new ex-christians.....but it's not like what I have to say is a whole lot different than others here, it's not like I have a @Margee hug (<3), it's not like I have loads of time, and we have archives and archives of users tackling the same material. It's not like I'm offering much new. That's just the humility of it. Everyone wants to be missed, and every active member is to an extent, but you're just one of many and everyone will be fine. I'm not trying to make this political or start anything or be unkind or dramatic, it just pertains to the OP and I'm tired of downplaying or apologizing for where I legitimately am with all this political stuff. I joined when I was starting to value reason and the simple "live and let live" concept of beliefs and behavior. I stopped logging in awhile ago when I realized just how much these ideologies share with the faith I "left." I threw christianity the fuck away for many, many reasons. I refuse to blindly follow the majority consensus just because it's the majority or certain public figure endorsements or ideas purely for the sake of their partisan ties.There is true liberal thought, open dialogue, and constructive criticism of ideas on one hand (which I recognize and can take) and then there is privileged, condescending, parroted "education" with questionable many sources on the other (which I will not take). I am a free thinker. If you made it this far, I appreciate you taking the time. If you have more time, this article explains what I mean in particularly memorable way and is very well written. Also, I promise I do enjoy cat memes as well. I just tend to like the nitty gritty, just check my Enneagram results. https://www.alternet.org/2019/01/heres-why-evangelicals-and-social-justice-warriors-trigger-me-in-the-same-way/ Thanks for the post, RC. And thanks for your contributions here.
  7. Sorry for the delay, I run my own little side business I just recently started up and I don't always get a chance to stop back in as soon as I'd like. I love you all, thank you for your encouragement. And Margee, as usual, thanks so much for your advice. It makes sense and is always so helpful. And your hugs *HUG*
  8. Thanks for this, I know I have the capacity to let others manipulate me with emotion. And, as you already know, that will continue to come with time, I've only gotten stronger since I left my faith. I'll continue to do so with people like you in my life!
  9. Oh no, I'm so sorry to hear this. You just expressed exactly how I feel, but it's a lot easier to cut out in laws than to be where you are. I can't imagine, even my husband didn't make me feel that way when he was a Christian. Thank you so much, sometimes just knowing someone else understands and sends hugs can lift you up. You echoed exactly what I was just telling my husband about courage, that is also how I feel. You got this, I'm so sorry the one you feel this with is your spouse. Hugs
  10. Thanks for this, I'm trying to....consider the source....of their hurt. I really do understand them, I'd be upset too if I were them. I just looking for understanding anyway, and acceptance. Hugs in return, thanks for the encouragement
  11. I'm sorry you're looking at rough seas ahead then, it sucks because it doesn't have to be this way. But you know, it helps to know I'm not among here. The more isolated you are, the worse it can be. Thanks for your encouragement and support. EDIT: ((hugs))
  12. Haven't seen this yet, not sure what you're talking about, but will watch soon!
  13. Appreciate your feedback. It's just such a bummer.
  14. I'm doing my best to move forward and not let them hold me back or be shamed into doing what they want. It's so sad. Thanks so much, disillusioned, I so appreciate your encouragement here. Appreciate the hug too
  15. Oh, all hugs are welcome, you know that. There's just a thing on this site about Margee hugs lol, I'll take all the hugs I can get, every one helps. Thanks for your feedback. I'll keep you updated as things happen of course, but all I can do is leave them to their own beliefs and carry on with my life. Just so painful and unnecessary if they could just see it.
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