TinMan

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About TinMan

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    Doubter

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  • Gender
    Male
  • Location
    South Korea (just living here temporarily)
  • Interests
    Academics; knowledge; golf.
  • More About Me
    Became Christian ever since I went to Iraq in 2003 (fear of death and possible subsequent assignment to hell). It has only been recently (past year) where I started to question the validity of my worldview. I am on the slippery slope. I cannot seem to figure out where I fit in. I know I cannot go back to fundamentalism, it was just too crazy and nothing but a bad experience.
    ***Update*** I have definitely moved from "Christian Agnostic" to Agnostic/Atheist.

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  • Still have any Gods? If so, who or what?
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  1. TinMan

    The epistles of John.

    Any time. I saw your post and wanted to respond, but I did not have any resource material in front of me. As I stated earlier, I am fairly certain I know where you are mentally because of the way you framed that question. I am guessing right now you have doubts, but you are still not able to see the Bible any differently than you did before because the Evangelical glasses of which you viewed the world are the only ones that help to see it clearly, or so you believe. Part of the fundamentalist party line is giving the Bible all kinds of authority, i.e., inerrancy. Just to get you started, did you ever realize there are two different sets of "The 10 Commandments?" No kidding, look at Exodus 34 (I forget the verses), literally lays out 10 different commandments than the ones you see everyone raving about as being the pillars of civilization. Most people (Christians) have no idea what the 10 Commandments in Exodus 20 (or is it 22) even say, let alone what they may mean. For example, what does it mean that "Thou shall not have any other gods before me." In the 21st century theology, the church would say this means that you should not put material possessions over God, your idols if you will. But would have ancient people have understood that, especially ones that supposedly just came from Egypt (zero archeological evidence that over a million muldoons troped through the desert for 40 years) where they were exposed to multitudes of gods. In this case, might the Bible actually implicitly indicate there other gods but YHWH is the God if Israel? Also, what about taking God's name in vain. This might simply mean not swearing an oath in the name of YHWH and then backing out. Think about it, God is simply a title, it is not a name. So if you swear and use the title God, how is that taking God's name in vain? My point is, you have been told time and time again what "truth" is and I just made an example of how that is not so. Read Psalm 137 (if anyone has the verses handy, feel free to provide them. Again, I do not have my stuff in front of me). In it, the author talks about smashing little ones against rocks in revenge for the Babylon conquer and exile....does that sound like divine inspiration or some guy who's village was ransacked. In Isaiah, the author includes this speech where YHWH states he gave Israel commandments that were horrible and unbearable (probably relating to the child sacrifice of the firstborn) so that they may know he is the Lord......what!? Convenient how modern day theology just passes this one right over. All this talk of love and I am always asking who in the world they are talking about, because that does not describe Jesus or YHWH.
  2. I thought of something as I was deconverting that really resonated with me and I wanted to share it here. Let's suppose there is a God and some kind of eternal reward and punishment, and this God has a expectation of what you believe and what you do. Your destiny hinges on getting these two keys areas correct. Just based on that premise, picture the predicament humans are really placed in: One: How does one even establish there is a God, let alone what its character is like, therefore how could you actually know what you were expected to believe about God, let alone anything else. Two: If there was one true faith out there, what possible tools could humans employ to figure it out. I suppose if there was only one religious belief system out there and its beliefs were cogent and consistent amongst its believers, that would at least narrow the choice down to a 50/50 chance of being right. But that is not the case, there are literally thousands of religious systems all claiming to have a corner on the truth. Nearly all of them are unable to be tested for veracity, so we are all stuck again trying to figure out the true faith with no real way of knowing how to do that. This is really the situation is with Christianity. So if God really is up there, he has put this burden on humanity to figure out who he is, what he wants you to believe, and what he wants you to do. And if you get it wrong, you are going to burn forever. That is quite literally an impossible task. How could you possibly figure out any of these things? And when I say figure them out, I mean you know them to be true, not that you have faith they are true. I always put this scenario to believers. They are so confident they have it all figured out and they are sitting comfortably in God's back pocket. To which I say, how could you possibly know that to be true? If there is a God, they have no idea if they are pleasing him. In reality if the scenario is true and there is a God with all these expectations, then anyone who got it right really just got lucky. That is why I do not believe in hell. There is no way a reasonable, let alone loving God would put us in such an impossible position. I could only see this being remotely true if everyone received direct revelation and signed some kind of contract indicating both parties fully understood expectations and consequences....not a cosmic guessing game.
  3. TinMan

    The epistles of John.

    SB: There are a lot of scholars who actually think John's gospel is a very gnostic writing which incorporates a very high Christology not seen in the synoptic gospels. Most believe the epistles of Peter are fakes, meaning someone wrote them and slapped the name Peter on it to give it more credibility. I know what you are looking for right now is some real answers, answers that go into depth on why scholars actually think these writings were not first hand witnesses to the events described. Robert M. Price has a podcast called The Human Bible, you can download 35 episodes for free, but the rest you have to be a Patreon supporter. I bring this up because I have a good idea of the position you are in right now. You only know one way of framing the Bible, likely because you have been taught your whole life to see it one way. Listening to Dr. Price's podcast really opened my eyes and gave me the ability to start viewing the Bible more critically and to tease out different ways to read a passage. I did have a question for you in return, in James, it states that if anyone is sick, the elders should anoint the sick one with oil and pray over them, and they will be healed....have you ever seen anything like that happen? In my 15 years of fundamentalism, I never came close to seeing that particular verse being put to the test....and for good reason. If this is indeed bogus, should we take anything else in James seriously? Also, I cannot believe the weak harmonization argument that James and Paul were saying the same thing when it comes to works, they were not. I would advocate they were not even playing the same game. If we want to be real about it, James had a very Jewish way (like the gospel of Matthew) of living Christianity and Paul did not. Perhaps James and his church were the ones Paul warned about in Galations? It's observations and questions like these that broke the spell of reading the Bible as I was indoctrinated to read it and started to critically analyze it. Reading the Bible as a fundamentalist is a really weird kind of exercise. How many times do you gloss over a passage and think, "oh, that's how it used to be," or "no, that does not apply anymore," or "what does that even mean." You read back into the Bible what your 21st century theology tells you to understand opposed to letting the text speak for itself. Getting past this part of the thinking trap is really difficult, I know, I was in it for a long time.
  4. TinMan

    On Healings

    I can understand how fundies might consider God is throwing them free chicken if they think about it in a vacuum, but once you look at the grand picture, surely the idea God is kicking a breeze your way while thousands are sucking has to strike you as silly.
  5. TinMan

    On Healings

    Do you have any references for healings in othrr religions? It's hard not to find a bunch of biased websites.
  6. TinMan

    On Healings

    I do not disagree. My colleague went on to say there are healings happening around the world. I wondered to myself why these instances are not being documented by the scientific community if that is indeed the case.
  7. TinMan

    On Healings

    Haha.....true.
  8. TinMan

    On Healings

    I was actually thinking that the whole conversation, but I wanted to let my colleague tell his story.
  9. I recently ran into a colleague I have not seen since 2010. Since that time, we were catching up and it turns out he went to Bible College and is now minstering on occasion. Naturally I was interested to hear his take on the Christian faith since I recently left it. We were having the normal discussion and his arguments for the existence of the Christian God were fairly typical until he stated that he has literally seen miracles take place. He stated his brother was deaf in his left ear for the longest time until one day he prayed for him over the phone and his brother's hearing was instantly repaired. Along with this particular healing, he stated he has seen vertebrate become unfused, and limbs lengthened. He did not go into details of each case, but was adamant that these miracles absolutely convince him of the Christian worldview and he cannot be shaken after what he has seen. I am not inclined to believe he is intentionally lying, so I am not sure what to make of these stories. Does anyone have any experience with similar stories and the causes behind them? He does not strike me as a charlatan, like some Benny Hinn kind of guy, he really seems to believe what he is saying is factual.
  10. TinMan

    Your worst nightmare.

    I agree. David Fitzgerald, Robert M. Price, and Richard Carrier do a fairly solid job of demonstrating there is not even remotely the kind of evidence for Yeshua bar Joseph as Alexander the Great. I too thought mythicism was some outlandish nonsense to be dismissed offhand. After hearing the evidence, I am agnostic on the matter.
  11. Robert Price covered this in one of his last few "Bible Geek" podcasts. I cannot remember the exact history, but the idea came from a German theologian who was trying to make a theological point and it turned into this modern day saying about a relationship and all that. I will go back and see if I can pin down the details. If I recall correctly, the German theologian did not mean for his saying to be taken the way it did.
  12. TinMan

    The Dead Rise!

    This particular passage was the first chink in the armor of biblical inerrancy for me. When I first started to question the veracity of the Bible, I honed in on Matthew 27....the story is just so ludicrous. I went to a few websites to see what apologists had to say, and frankly, it wasn't much. I read part of what Glenn Miller had to say on Christian Think Tank, but I think the response he wrote was dancing around the issue; I forget exactly what it was but I did not find his answer intellectually satisfying. Over time I just could not believe this was a historical event. A bunch of dead people come back to life and mosey around Jerusalem, and nobody takes notice!? There were historians from this area hanging around Jerusalem (Pliny? I cannot remember, but David Fitzgerald has a list of a few historians who were in this region at this time) and none of them wrote anything down about this event....yeah, right. If it was historical, it would be impossible not to have been noticed by contemporary historians. Not only that, and as others have mentioned, no other gospel writers mention it. I am surprised conservatives have not tossed this passage out with the woman caught in adultery passage as well as the long ending of Mark. Mike Licona stated he thought Matthew 27 was questionable and got the business from his fellow conservative believers. Toe the party line or else, Mike!
  13. That title is great....and quite frankly, true. When I was attending a church in TX in 05', there were these two cats who went to the front of the church to announce they were getting married. Both looked like they were still 16, so they were fresh 18 year olds. The church went bananas while I sat there thinking, they just want a "legal" way to get busy because their hormones are raging. Every atom in my body was telling me I should stand up and tell them not to get married because they are going to regret it.
  14. @DestinyTurtle I found that everything always has so many aspects to it. While I did find it comforting that people were probably not going to spend eternity frying, I had also tied a lot of notions to eternity. For a long time, I liked the idea that my efforts on earth would have an eternal ripple effect. In my mind, anything you did, good or bad, had an eternal effect because God was judging your actions. Then you would be rewarded for all your good deeds, and you could enjoy these rewards for eternity (Just typing that last sentence out and reading it makes it sound ridiculous). When I stopped believing in eternity, I no longer had this pet idea my good deeds would have an eternal consequence, and that really bugged me. Anything I did was temporary and it just did not sit well with me. Over time, this disappointment dissipated, and it still is. It was just difficult for me to let go of this notion that I could reap the rewards of my Christian duty forever. Another was that I would never be able to see my family again, especially my boy. There are times when him and I are hanging out (he is three) and I think to myself that this is all we have, and it could be taken away in an instant. I hear stories all the time about children getting diseases, choking, you get the idea - and then passing on. Absolutely sends a shiver down my spine. I would be devastated if I could no longer give him a hug, or carry him to bed, or answer his multiple annoying questions. That being said, that is just the reality we live in. On the flip side, we take a lot for granted when it comes to religious beliefs. If any one religion was true, who is to say you would see your family in the next life or get to experience anything I just mentioned? There is none, people just take it on faith and they hope it is true. Even now, there are times where I still struggle with dying. It just hits me sometimes. What I believe is happening is a "religious hangover." I got so used to this idea of living forever that I get a foul taste in my mouth that I might only get one life to live; but, the deconversion experience is all about re-framing how to view the world. It is all about coming to terms with reality and understanding that is just how it is. Easier said than done for the most part. I too have wondered if our consciousness might continue on somehow. Make no mistake, I recognize we do not know or understand a lot about our universe. I would categorize myself as a functional atheist. It really means I am not willing to take a leap of faith or engage in wishful thinking just because I do not like where the evidence may be leading. If new evidence is provided that would demonstrate some kind of continuous consciousness, then by all means, I am willing to change my thoughts and accept this new evidence. I am not dogmatic about agnosticism or atheism. It is simply where I am because of all the religions posited, I do not think they measure up to scrutiny. Human reasoning and the scientific method, while limited, are pretty dang good at weeding out nonsense; but as I said, they are limited. Heck, the ability of the human mind to grasp some concepts is limited. Consider this, how has matter always just been here? How does that happen - I cannot wrap my mind around it. What if time did not exist until the universe started, what does that even mean? It is just beyond me to understand it. Even if you want to tie these notions to a god, the same questions apply. It is a level of thinking and understanding I am unable to do. It would be interesting if our consciousness lived on somehow, but hopefully it does not suck. That is one thing I did consider, at least if you die and there is nothing more, you are saved from an eternity of boredom. We always have such high hopes that the afterlife is this grand experience, but what if it is not. What if your consciousness goes on, but you are completely depressed because you no longer have your human meat bag to carry around and do stuff - you could be a prisoner of your own thoughts forever....that would be really lame. In this moment, I think my only lingering fear of death is that I go before I am ready - but even if that happens, well, it is just part of the reality we live in.
  15. @MOHO "The worst part was when he began to deride my understand of the Bible and even my ability to comprehend the written word...ANY word...in Any book." If I had to guess, out of the other side of his mouth he would say how humble he was. "Now, if only I could induce such fear losing in Mrs. MOHO. Life would be much better in deed!" This, this is the tricky part. Who knows how many different aspects of Mrs. MOHO's worldview are tied to her religious beliefs, probably all of them. Asking someone to see the world completely different is terrifying for people, and everyone is different in how they will begin this process, if they will ever even do it. I forget who said it, perhaps it was David Fitzgerald, but he stated people often enter religion because they had an emotional experience, and it takes an emotional experience for them to leave. Essentially, for whatever reason they got into the gig, it takes the same kind of reason to get out. This was true for me. I got in out of fear, and I left because I was exhausted with it. I was worn out trying to figure it out and it was causing me psychological, and emotional, damage. The critical analysis and the reasoning just helped move me along. Along the process, I still had to keep overcoming fears. My fear of hell shifted to a fear of death. Not only for myself, but for those I love. I used to get anxiety over the idea I was going to never see my son again when one of us died. Eventually I worked through it, or rather, I just came to accept it. I just realized that is how it is and being afraid of death or having anxiety over it was just making me miserable in the short term. Acceptance does not mean I am excited about it, but it gave me peace about it. Trying to put my thoughts to words I would say this, knowing death is a reality made me better able to deal with it. When I know what is true, when I have true knowledge of something, I can then decide if this is something I can change, or if it is something I cannot change, and it is merely part of the reality we live in. If I cannot change it, then I must accept it for my own sanity's sake. Christianity never offered real knowledge, never the ability to pin down something as absolute truth...it was merely possibly true. My mind does not work with "possibly true." I like evidence, I like standing on firm ground. Taking something on faith just did not work for me anymore, and I cannot go back. If somehow we could absolutely know there is a divine being and we know what he wants, then I would be inclined to give it a fair evaluation to decide if I agree with what said being is doing. That to me is an informed choice, not this pseudo-choice religious people say we have. A real choice is when you KNOW what is at stake and you go one way or the other. Always appreciate your comments!