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Hierophant

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Everything posted by Hierophant

  1. I struggled with this same thing when I left Christianity. I found a book by James Warren called, "Facing Death - Epicures and his critics." It really helped me to come to some of the same conclusions you mentioned in the post. As others have said, it was realizing that I did not exist for billions of years before I came to being. It did not bother me then, why should I be bothered about it when I die. I am certain that I will probably have some level of fear when I am actually dying, if I am in a situation where I will know I am dying. Mostly because I have never done it before. The book addresses that as well; I found it really helpful.
  2. If you have not ran across MythVision on YouTube, they interview a lot of scholars who talk about the same concepts. Really interesting stuff.
  3. @Freed I cannot remember your story, how long have you been questioning the Christian faith?
  4. I forget where I read it, but apparently somebody has the bright idea that history should not be taught as it really happened because it is too triggering. How does someone who gets triggered from history class even survive in this world?
  5. Cancel culture and shit like this feed into each other - amazingly she wasn't fired. Nothing hurts profits like an employee who will not bend the knee to the woke mob: https://nypost.com/2020/09/04/woman-harassed-by-blm-protesters-in-viral-video-still-supports-movement/
  6. The reason it matter is because one day....it could be you. IMO, better to get ahead of this before it is completely out of control and everyone is getting the axe.
  7. Because it has turned into, "if you do not agree with my ideology, we are going to ruin your life." I spent 21 years in the military to support the idea of free political ideas, within reason. Cancel culture is all about silencing dissent. Again, I am not going to stand up for anyone who is actually espousing racist ideas, because race does not inherently mean lesser. It is unscientific. Character and values are how I evaluate other people.
  8. Come on. I completely get taking a stance against outright bigotry and racial comments, but it has turned into a circus. People are digging stuff up from decades ago and getting people fired. It is an absurdity. I am in favor of Europe's "Right to be Forgotten." People change and some off hand comment they may have made years ago does not mean that is an accurate representation of who they are now. Really, people losing their livelihoods over something said years ago. Is that really the kind of society we want to live in? Not only that, people are getting fired even for the perception they did something wrong or they are accused of it. What is this, the Salem Witch trials? What I find even more concerning is that it is a seemingly one way street. I have heard absolutely awful things levied at white people in general that would cause riots if it was stated about other races, but hey, I guess that is okay. There should be one standard that applies to everyone, plain and simple.
  9. I would like to, but I don't see cancel culture slowing down. In my opinion, this idea that you can sterilize the world where nothing is offensive is just setting people up for failure. Does nothing but create weak people who are unable to deal with the way reality truly is. Why are mental health problems on the rise.....I wonder.
  10. @Christianchat_Chat I am not really following your line of thought; it seems a bit sporadic. Could you clarify on what exactly you are trying to argue, be that an argument for the faith, epistemology, et cetera?
  11. The underlying problem is that Christianity is an unproven assumption. It is an assertion of facts without evidence to support the assertions. Even the quips of theology you threw out are your assumptions about what Christianity is. And the reality is that even if we granted some umbrella concept of Christianity being true, nobody is in a position to know what it really is. The Bible is internally inconsistent; being "Christ like" in the Bible is not systematic. There is the book by Albert Schweitzer called The Quest of the Historical Jesus a Critical Study of Its Progress From Reimarus to Wrede. In the book, Schweitzer calls the quest for the historical Jesus much like people looking into a well and seeing their own reflection. Jesus, for anyone who studies the character, seems to extrapolate an idea that Jesus is just like they are! "Jesus supports gays; Jesus was a pacifist; Jesus was meek and mild; Jesus was a communist; Jesus was more of a progressive liberal; Jesus was more of a gun-toting republican." People see Jesus how they want (even unintentionally) to see him, and in the 21st century, we are wholly unaware of what the historical Jesus was even like, if he even existed. The Bible is a mixture of outright fabrications; pseudo-history; historical fiction; fables; ancient myth; and impossible stories with historical window dressing.
  12. @Christianchat_Chat Could you rephrase this post? I am not sure what you are trying to argue here.
  13. @fluffyapple I appreciate the question. Whenever I first had doubts about Christianity, I came to this website to pick the brains of the members here. I am going to go at Gary from a different angle: I think what is most important is to be good at picking apart an argument because the premises following conclusion is shaky. When I was leaving Christianity, I had to learn how to think better. That does not mean you, or I, was stupid, but that the area of logical argumentation was not being properly applied to religious thought. It took me some time to do it, but now I am much better at seeing the gaps in logic that apologists use to try and sound reasonable. Where Gary's, and others like him, fall flat is that their standards of evidence are extremely low for their pet belief, but then they have these super high standards of criticism when it comes to other religions. To me, that is absolutely intellectually dishonest. There should be one, objective standard, by which all claims are measured. People like Gary give their faith a free ride, but will then rip into the same kind of claims made by Islam, Judaism, Hinduism, Jainism, etc. Only by listening to the other side did I pick up how to spot a faulty argument. I have a recommendation of a YouTuber who I think does a fair job of picking apart the claims of Christians, and that is Paulogia. Here is a video on his response to Gary Habermas's "evidence" for the resurrection :
  14. I understand the feeling all to well. Deconverting was not easy, it had its own challenges and ideas I had to face. Getting used to the idea that I was probably not going to live forever was a major hangup for me. I was really bothered by the idea for a couple of years. I cannot say exactly how I got over it, but generally speaking, I realized there is nothing I want to do forever. Right now, the idea of living forever sounds dreadful. Anyways, on to what you are speaking to, I think you should take time to think and focus on what exactly is bothering you, not just focus on the feelings. The feelings are coming from a thought, and until you address that thought or idea, you will have these lingering feelings; and honestly, it is perfectly normal. What always helped me was to investigate what I was thinking about and the associated feeling, then try to uncover why that thought bothers me. Once I was able pin down that specific thought, and the principle behind it, I was able to deal with it and grow.
  15. Poci, Ultimately, if you want to be a Christian, well, it is your life and your decision. That being said, it should be something you dive into because you think it is real, there is truth in the claims of Christianity. Myself, and I recognize a few others here, are truth seekers. We want to know what is real and remove as many false beliefs from our minds as possible. That being said, I have investigated the claims of Christianity, and I do not think there is good or sufficient evidence to warrant the idea it is somehow the reality we are operating in. I recognized the mindset you are viewing this from when I read your post, I too used to think like that. My mind was so orientated towards the assertion Christianity was true, that skeptics needed to provide alternate plausible reasons about why Christianity's claims were not what they were, I thought the onus was on the skeptics to come up with something better; an alternate explanation. Over time I realized that I was placing the onus on the wrong group. If someone is making a claim, then it is on that person to substantiate the veracity of their claim and provide good evidence of why it is true, not the other way around. Moreover, it should be sufficient evidence. Things like testimonies, personal experience (this is the major claim of most Christians I come across - including my former self), and pseudo-history may fall into the category of evidence, but it is very weak evidence. I will give you an example, did you know that eye witness testimony is one of the worst standards of evidence? Memory is a finicky thing and people, by and large, do not have a photographic memory. Studies have shown that people fill in the gaps, get details wrong, etc. Bart Ehrman wrote a book that covers this topic. If I remember correctly (there goes that memory problem), it was Jesus Before the Gospels. I saw you made the comment about the overwhelming evidence for Christianity. If you think there is good evidence, I would like to see it, because I do not want to be wrong. As @Joshpantera said, I have scoured the evidence and I have debated with Christians, I have yet to see any real evidence for any of what Christianity claims. I will give you a personal example of what I mean: My first major doubt in Christianity was that no contemporary historian (someone living at the time Jesus was supposed to live) ever wrote anything about a Jesus actually doing miracles or the other things the Bible claims Jesus did. As a believer, I could not believe it. My thought was, "if Jesus really did these things, how did history completely miss it?" A apologist would respond by saying something like this, "well, who is to say it wasn't written down, but was then lost to time." Okay, that is fair; but then again, if that were the case, why would God allow evidence that would be very beneficial to be destroyed in history? Does God not want all men to repent and be saved (2 Peter)? Why would he make it impossible to validate anything the Bible is saying? In that same vein, the events in Matthew 27 were just impossible to choke down. How do a bunch of dead saints come out of the grave and go through Jerusalem and no contemporary writings validate it, not even the other gospels. That has to be impossible. Now we have a major problem, if there are falsehoods in the Bible, by which method do we go about picking out truth from fiction? Do we act like the Protestant Rationalist who say all miracles in the Bible are not really miracles, but can be explained by methodological naturalism? Do we exert authority over the Bible and determine what is truth, what is folklore, and what is non-applicable? It is exactly that mindset of why there are 30,000 denominations of Christianity. Once the Bible is open to interpretation, everyone has their own idea of what that truth is. Christianity is all over the map. I spent years trying to figure it out and I realized there are no answers. It is like chasing the wind to have any kind of certainty on Bible interpretation and historical claims. I am not an Ex-Christian because "I want to sin," or "the church hurt me," or "I believe God exist but I don't really want him to." No, I left Christianity because I could not find any real answers. Before I deconverted, I realized what a mess Christianity really was and that I was just deluding myself thinking I could come to a point of certainty and everyone else had it wrong. I begged God to meet with me for an hour so I could know the truth and get on the right path. If there really was a God who was good, and wanted people to give up everything for him, then surely he would grant my request. I was willing to give this God everything they supposedly wanted. I even asked God to send me a messenger if he could not make it, so long as it was not another human. When none of my request were answered, I concluded either God is not there, or he does not care; both of which would mean the God of the Bible is not real.
  16. I am waiting for Christians to go bananas over cryptocurrency as the mark of the beast, if they are not already.
  17. I was invited to a church service in Germany. It was not a German congregation, but some Americans who were retired living there or something along those lines. If memory serves me right, it was called "Prophetic Word of God Church." It must have been my lucky day because they had a guest pastor. Him and his wife claimed they could prophecize over people. They thought they had some special insight where the Holy Spirit would tell them something hidden or perhaps not publicly known about a person. This was during my Calvinist days so I cracked open my trusty, John MacArthur Study Bible to see what they were talking about. I must have had a look on my face because the guest pastor and his wife honed in on me. Without directly addressing me, the guest pastor was speaking and then said the typical, "I do not think God would have me talking about this today if it was not true." As I said, I must have been wearing my skepticism on my face because shortly thereafter, the guest pastor or his wife looked at me and asked if I wanted to try and prophesy. I simply told them that I did not have that spiritual gift and I was not going to go up and there and lie in front of everyone. A bit taken aback, the guest pastor's wife asked if she could prophesize over me. Always the good sport, I went up to the front and let her do her thing. My prophesy was that I was seeking God, but was hindered by worldly things. Nothing more than cold reading. Soon thereafter, my apparent skepticism was forgotten about and they started having people come up to the front of the church and get slain in the spirit. Same thing as others described, people dancing, shaking, maybe speaking in tongues, but I cannot remember; they may have been just repeating a phrase over and over in English. After a bit, they started dropping to the ground and would lay there and have the sheet placed over them. It was pretty wild and I had never seen anything like it before. After it was over, the guy who invited me asked if I was "okay." Apparently this kind of service can unnerve some people. I was not unnerved, I was just committed to a certain Calvinist doctrine and I never said it out loud, but I thought the whole thing was outside of "real orthodoxy."
  18. Exactly! Only place I know of where I can talk theology and biblical criticism and people actually know what I am talking about. Your average pew potato has no idea about scholarship or skepticism when the discussion gets going. Usually if someone hears that I know a lot about the Bible, has some questions, and they are a believer, I give them a warning up front that this may be a road they do not want to go down.
  19. @Sirolo Sorry to hear you are having a rough go right now. If there is one thing I understand, it is fear of Hell. It is safe to say that was the foundation of my relationship with Christianity. It took me a long time to get over that fear as well, maybe two to three years after deconversion it stopped being a fear that crept up every now and then. I do not know what will work for you, but for me, I had to stop thinking about what is possible and focus on what is probable. I spent a lot of time studying Christianity both inside and out. I am confident in saying that the odds of Christianity being true are astronomical, to the point where it would not even be close to a whole number. My anxiety used to get the best of me and I would fret over all these possible things that could happen, usually called catastrophising, and just get myself all bent out of shape. It's pointless and all it will do is drive you crazy. To another point, I really thought about Hell and what it would mean to be there. It may sound flippant, but I figured that the vast majority of people would surely be there. If heaven was real, and someone made it, they did so by pure chance. Nobody actually knows what the measuring stick is. Based on that, I figured if Hell was real, odds are, I am probably going there unless I got lucky, but I am not really a lucky person. On top of that, I figured heaven has to be a stressful place to be. You would have to constantly walk on eggshells around YHWH because you never know when he might snap about something. If anything, I can be a total ass in Hell and it isn't going to get any worse. I'm sure you might think my thought process strange, but that is just how I feel about it and the idea of Hell doesn't bother me anymore. For context, I used to get panic attacks thinking about Hell that usually led to nausea.
  20. During my Calvinist days, I read a piece from Piper that said he was not sure if he would come to his daughter's defense if she was being attacked because Jesus taught non-violence. What a champ. Piper was also the first one to point out to me that the story of Jesus and the adulteress in John was not original....I was like whaaaaaaat. That story was told as the greatest story in the Bible. Turns out, some cat made it up years after John was actually written.
  21. I used to be a Calvinist, but perseverance of the saints was the first piece of theology I thought just could not be true according to the Bible. Too many warnings about not doing this or doing that, parable of the sower, and stories like it. I heard Calvinist try to shoehorn their theology into those passages and they were always contrived. I suppose you could say that was the beginning of the end. Once I fell away from Calvinist doctrine, everything started to be up for grabs.
  22. Any time. I spent a ton of my time as a Christian looking at almost every single thing you could imagine. Since I left, I continue to study it, but at a different angle. My wife gets on me every time someone brings up religion or Christianity. Normally predicated with, "he's a nerd, do not ask him unless you want to hear him go on for an hour."
  23. There are three main different schools of thought when it comes to predestination, original sin, and choice: Armenianism - those who hold to this theology believe that man is lost in sin, but prevenient grace is in the world, that is, God has unleashed his Holy Spirit into the world and because of its presence, man is able to chose God opposed to being lost in their own sin. If the Holy Spirit was not surrounding us, then man would never chose God. If I am not mistaken, a lot of those who prescribe to this ideology believe that God will one day withdraw wholly, or in part, the Holy Spirit towards the end times. Molinist - Molinist believe that God knew beforehand who would choose him if they were given the gospel and the right circumstances. I have also heard this called Libertarian Free Will. God then goes about making sure that those he knows that have the heart to accept him are put in a position in their life to hear the gospel and therefore be saved. Calvinism - Full on predestination and most adhere to all points of T.U.L.I.P. There are some who say they are 2-point, or 3-point Calvinist, but your run of the mill Calvinist adheres to all five points. In their mind, God preordained who he would save and there is nothing you can do about it. Those who were called to be saved, will be saved. It gets tricky because if you later falter and leave the faith, then you were never really saved, etc.
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