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Deva last won the day on November 22 2017

Deva had the most liked content!

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About Deva

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  • Birthday 07/14/1958

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    Birding, Bird photography, art, reading, keeping my small zoo of salamanders, reptiles, and plants; and cultivating a good heart.
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    Raised Fundamentalist Baptist. Left the Baptist Church in 1992 and the Episcopal Church in 2000. Buddhist off and on, but not interested in being a member of any organization. I now consider myself an atheist or agnostic, depending on your definition of God. I really hate religious authority.

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

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  1. I think the secret to a happy life is to let the past go and focus on a project or a life's work that occupies you completely. Some people find that in religion but others, like us Ex-Christians, find it in something else. It is just a change in focus. Fairly simple, but we humans complicate everything and the modern mass media and information overload does not help.
  2. Yes, I believe its possible he is sincere. There are fundamentalist "Bible Colleges" that more than likely don't teach any church history. I wouldn't be a bit surprised. I know that I never knew what this was (the Council of Nicea) being a Baptist fundamentalist, until I was quite a bit older. If its not in the Bible (and the Council and 1,000 plus years of church history is not) then it is of the devil or it doesn't exist. That is the mentality you are dealing with. It cannot be made to appear that humans created this religion. Explaining it to him would probably not have been worthwhile.
  3. Deva


    Welcome to the Forums. I found this site about 2004 (lurked for awhile). I am a survivor of the Independent Baptist Church indoctrination (raised in it). Slightly different than you, because there was a lot of end times apocalyptic emphasis. Now I consider myself a naturalist and atheist regarding the God of the Bible. I would say that you have overcome a major part of the indoctrination that prayer "changes things." It changes nothing. This is mostly learned the hard way. If the person is sick, and they are prayed for and recover its "a miracle!", and if they do not, they are "with Christ and its God's will." Either way, according to the doctrine, prayer works, except that you can see its a scam. These mental games only work for so long. It could be many years, but we who are observant and intelligent eventually wake up. I have been here for a long time, and the people on this site have helped me a lot. It takes a lot of reprogramming and perhaps some relapses (totally OK) but you will reach a point where you understand the Bible is fiction..
  4. For me, letting go of the idea of an afterlife and also the aesthetics (there was some beauty in the mystery of it all). I am actually making progress in those areas after decades of work, and the farther I go, the happier I am! What helped me was immersing myself in other religions and philosophies so that I knew on a deep level that there were different ways of viewing the world - radically different than the Christian Fundamentalism I was raised with, and getting some books on church history, textural criticism of the Bible and evolution. There were whole areas of life of which I knew absolutely nothing. I honestly think the one thing that pushed me over the edge was visiting my elderly parents and seeing how they are so brainwashed with Christian stuff all the time, not willing to look at any other points of view or any information that might challenge them. I realized that this selective blinding, or unwillingness to look, was simply impossible for me.
  5. The same thought crossed my mind with regard to Buddhists building "retreat centers" and numerous stupas and statues. But that would be off topic.
  6. I can't for the life of me figure out the mechanism by which the "atonement" forgave sin, especially since experience shows that people still sin once they are "forgiven." How did this work, exactly?
  7. That's right. Bad religious bumper stickers or other advertisements you see on the road. I am sure this is not the only thread I have started on this subject. I go for years and then its like an overload of the stupid.
  8. In answer to the question "are you happy?" Yes. But, it took me a long time. Everyone is different and some people raised in fundamentalism have a much harder time than others getting out. This is because it is so ingrained that it is a part of yourself. Therefore, throwing it out completely is like amputating a part of yourself, not ALL of which was negative, if that makes any sense. I think the most damaging idea in Christianity is that you cannot trust your own thoughts or judgment, that your mind itself is corrupt and incapable of reasoning correctly. This idea really has to go. It takes time, at least it did for me, and women have it worse than men overall, I believe. I base this on my own experience as the only female child (with two brothers) of fundamentalist parents.
  9. I hope you stick around. I think you will learn a lot.
  10. I must start another thread on this subject because of the absurd mess I saw today. It was a drawing of a man's hand with a nail being driven through it. The caption read "Body piercing saved me." Even if I were still a Christian, I would be disgusted. Really, some of the stuff I see on cars on the road makes me despair. There is a megachurch in the area that has about 25,000 members regularly attending. Their sticker is a cross shape, an equal sign and then the word "Love". I see this thing EVERYWHERE.
  11. Yes, exactly why I believe that certain forms of Christianity are incompatible with a genuine love and appreciation of nature. If you take an apolcalyptic view, then why appreciate something so temporary? The world is going to burn and Christ ride in on a white horse and take you out. They don't simply see things for what they are, Christians have always got some idea behind it. It is not something in reality. There is always some view of a "perfect" world that God will show them in the future. Behind it all is the pretense that " I know something and you don't."
  12. Yes, you will often hear Christians saying things like "look at nature, isn't God wonderful, etc.," To me, that means they haven't really looked at it. If they had, they would see its eat or be eaten, a total survival game. See a lizard or a snake devour another animal whole, while still alive. See an osprey (fish hawk) eat a still living fish. They always start with the head of the fish. See an alligator devour a turtle. See baby birds fall out of the nest and get eaten by a cat, etc.. Numerous other examples could be cited from my memory. So, is God still good or "amazing," or is it that the "curse of sin" has made all the animals predatory? If so, does that mean the Christian can produce any evidence of a world free at any time in history from such predators? There is an unwillingness to look at anything except what the Christian wants to see.
  13. Yes. I remember a similar experience, except instead of a teacher, it was my mother. I drew some kind of a comic strip with talking dinosaurs or something like that, and I was a bit proud of it. My mother just could not comprehend it at all. She did not understand it and did not like it. What a let down. Yes, some Christians do think you are wasting your time if you like to watch birds. Its ironic what you say about worshipping false idols, when the fundamentalists idolize a lousy book. I want to add that there certainly is an aesthetic value in some churches - beautiful buildings, music, statues, etc.., and that is one thing that kept me in it for awhile. And due to the various types of Christianity on tap, my original observation does not apply to all. Many Christians in these liberal denominations don't actually believe, and I understand that. But the stupidity of the dogma and what is behind all this is something that ultimately ruined it for me across the board. It eventually seems like churches are not serious, not really worth my attention, when they don't take their own history, scriptures, or creed seriously.
  14. One other thing I have also discovered is that when the idea of survival after death is abandoned, the beauty and wonder of simply living and being able to appreciate beauty is enhanced tenfold. I am more ready to believe now that nothing exists after death than at any previous time in my life. I can't say I know for sure, but the probability is very likely that death is simply nonexistence. Hard to wrap the mind around this fact, at least it has been for me.
  15. Does anyone else feel this? Beyond all the excellent arguments and evidence for a purely naturalistic view and philosophy, isn't there a fundamental incompatibility with an appreciation and love of nature and Christianity? Particularly fundamentalist Christianity. I really believe this is the core problem I have had dealing with this terrible religion since childhood and I have only just recently come to understand this facet of it. The idea that the world fundamentally isn't important, it is some other unseen world after death. Birds, plants, animals, etc., which I have always enjoyed and appreciated, are devalued. This is a fact, isn't it?
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