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Everything posted by DestinyTurtle

  1. This has been a really difficult couple of years, for sure. I won't go into it in great detail (sorry folks), but I realize after much pain and difficulty that a major theme in my life is self acceptance. I know experiences of eX-Christians here are all different, but I think I speak for ones who have had narcissistic or fundamentalist (or both) parents. When you have a parent you tried to please so hard as a child, and that parent is impossible to please, you start to develop a pattern where you pursue the same kind of self-sacrifice and an obsession to engage in impossible situat
  2. @Seekingwhatisnext Thank you so much for sharing that part of the story. It seems to me that you've internalized a strong sense of responsibility over casual acts of abandonment and betrayal that your church enacted on your and your family. I want you to know that you didn't do anything wrong and that it's in fact the others who have wronged YOU. I read your testimony and all I see is someone who saw through the BS of their belief system, but nonetheless loves and supported the community and the people, and willfully offered that support despite differences in perspective. The rejection came f
  3. Absolutely! Calvinists in particular put a great amount of effort pretending to support a brutally consistent and intelligent interpretation of scripture, but it's actually just a lot of fast-talking to cover up a need to feel fundamentally SUPERIOR to others (through inclusion in a pre-determined in-group) without need of justification. I bent myself into a pretzel growing up trying to find answers to the inconsistencies in this seemingly intelligent theology, but everything finally made sense when I accepted that it was emotionally driven nonsense. Calvinists need therapy!
  4. That's really good to hear. Religion can be a real mindf*ck to a person's sense of reality. Feelings are real, though, and a feeling of contentment is a hard-earned and wonderful prize.
  5. I swear Christian families/communities instill deeply rooted fear in their children through trauma, either by explicit violence or implied, mythological threats of violence. The kids experience this fear at such a young age they can't rationally process it. Then later, when they grow up, the now-contextually-detached glob of fear is referred to with an air of mystery and awe, and preachers pretend that it is proof of some spiritual insight or knowledge about God. Getting over the fear of hell is a different, emotional/psychological process rather than the mental process of realizi
  6. Personal honesty is incredibly hard and I admire you for pursuing that despite the circumstances! Learning to live with uncertainty is hard, too, but I think it's best to face and accept it. Welcome to X-Xian!
  7. You'd be amazed how far people will go to to hold onto wild prophecies despite counter-evidence! It reminds me of those doomsday churches that make it on the news now and then... where the paster predicts a specific date for the apocalypse or rapture, and demands his congregation donate all or most of their net worth to the church. When the date passes the pastor just declared another date... and rinse and repeat. They just keep going at it and people let them... There's also a sunk-cost fallacy going on with a lot of followers of these types of things - where admitting the truth i
  8. Welcome to ex-Christian, @TheDeconvertedMan! Yeah it's really nice to witness what others have gone through, so as to realize we're not alone. I probably spent too much time going through my struggles and crisis alone, or opening up to people who didn't have the experience or perspective to understand...
  9. That's really interesting. I guess because Islam is newer we can see the evolution of the mythology more clearly. My memory about it is fuzzy at this point but I remember early in my deconversion I read a lot of apocryphal gnostic texts in an attempt to understand some different or possibly truer interpretation of the bible. I eventually found out that some of the gnostic stories were actually reproduced in the Koran (like the more detailed description of Satan's motivations in The Fall, for example). I realized that at one point in time there was just a smorgasbord of mythologies
  10. That reminds me of a kind of "health, wealth, and prosperity" gospel that's popular in some churches. Churches like that tend to kick out members who become ill or meet financial hardships, accusing them of having lost their faith in God. More likely, they become less useful for financial donations when they're sick or poor. The Christians I grew up with were often physically ill and had financial hardships, so they were weary of this type of teaching. Actually, their attitude was the reverse: If you're healthy and successful, then clearly you are sinful and evil, because "real Chr
  11. That's an interesting perspective, and thank you for it. It makes sense that the broader, more universal, and featureless a deity is that there are more contexts and situations that you can shoehorn it in as an explanation. That being said, this need for abstraction and explanation is itself a specific value system. A culture that interprets "a god that can fit into more situations" or "a god that can explain more things" as inherently "more probable" will see this type of god as convincing. In the broadest and most abstract sense, if you knew nothing about a person and you had to
  12. Welcome to X-Xian, @Jadr! All these stories, interpretations, and accusations are all examples of narratives to get people to feel worthless. Institutions proliferate these so that the believers will be desperate for validation and thus continue to be subservient. It also has the effect that the automatic rejection that comes with any kind of un-subservient behavior (like asking inconvenient questions) feel devastating. Not every Christian is conscious that this is its purpose - but they will proliferate self-worth-poisoning stories out of social ritual habit. Remember your life is valuable an
  13. Welcome to X-Xian! Man, the anti-LGBT stance of churches makes me so mad. It's so dumb, arbitrary, and abusive, and it's clearly a distraction from pressing moral violations that are rampant in the church power hierarchy. It's barely defensible even from a biblical literalist standpoint and pastors end up squawking the same two or three wanna-be-apostle Paul's passages like a cracked record.
  14. Trust your judgement. People and institutions that rely on intimidation for persuasion are trying to get you to second guess yourself, and thereby hand over the choices you have over your life to them. People who are defensibly right do not need to rely on intimidation.
  15. I have a soft spot for some buddhist depictions of hell... which is that they are painful reams you can be incarnated in (sometimes for millions of years) where you slog through all your bad karma from your past lives. Makes sense for people who are really assh*les, while also keeping it positive, because it's not cruelty for cruelty's own sake - there's a light at the end of the (million year) tunnel!
  16. The folks I grew up with literally made the 'zero-sum game' argument that if no one went to hell then there would be no glory in going to heaven. To people like that genocide is the *only* way to ensure the supremacy of your in-group!
  17. I always think it's ironic that people are attracted to the idea of eternal life in subservience to a murderous, hateful god who destroys most of what he creates out of sheer spite and resents what he does not destroy... is an idea of a positive outcome? Creating a world where people can be proud of what they have become is more the world I want to see!
  18. Absolutely no surprise there! Always amazes me how people like that can strut about life with an insufferable air of sanctimoniousness. They must know in their hearts that they are unrepentant hypocrites?
  19. Welcome to X-Xian, @FairlySunny! Super proud of you for owning up to yourself! The Xian world's ability to embrace hypocrisy and demonize "outsiders" is always outstanding to me, and there's always an underlying threat that you will be equally demonized if you don't fit in to their template. The red flags are always there but it's just that there aren't very many people who have the courage to point it out.
  20. Quantum physics has to reckon with the fact that they are dealing with such a small scale that you cannot disregard the effect of the observer from the system being observed. The equations describe the evolution of a probability density field wave, and the practical interpretation is basically a statistical one: if enough observations are made and you plot the distribution of observations, the distribution is reproduced by the wave theory of quantum mechanics. The relationship of the observer to the system is often described briefly as causing a 'collapse of the wave function' whic
  21. It always amazes me people's willingness to rewrite the past to justify a theology. I think of it as "time travel theology" because of the similarity of the logic to many time travel science fiction stories that are riddled with deus-ex machina moments - rewriting the past and future of the story as needed to push the narrative to the desired conclusion. Problem is that sci fi does it for entertainment whereas theologians do it to manipulate people's sense of self-worth and validation. It also reminds me of 1984: “The past was alterable. The past never had been altered. Oceania wa
  22. Honestly I think the older ex-Christians here are badasses. It's good to see that it's possible to face mortality with clarity and centeredness! I probably still face the reality with a certain degree of cognitive dissonance.
  23. @Sirolo It may not feel that way to you but I think you are hella brave to be ex-Christian. It's easy to fall back on a toxic belief system in hopes of getting a hint of escape during a difficult period of your life, but you chose a difficult and true path even under the overbearing weight of depression. If you can't get your mind off of the Christian idea of hell I might suggest maybe studying various religions and spiritualities concerning their beliefs about the afterlife? At least for me studying and knowing about the whole scope of beliefs helped get over the delusion that a particular pi
  24. There's a tendency of certain kinds of preachers to attempt to gain visibility by evoking shock value. Flaunting a willingness to abandon family in time of need... or calling out a popular bible text for not being in the original script... are both examples. A weird side effect is something I think of as a kind of "theological hipsterism" where followers are attracted to the teaching because of its eccentricity value and rebelliousness to a perceived "mainstream". Once the preacher becomes popular enough some of their theologically hipster followers get disenfranchised (the preacher's gone mai
  25. The doctrine of "Total Depravity" was a big one in the Calvinist family I grew up in. Basically, it was tied to the Original Sin idea in that, because mankind is "fallen" everything and anything he does (ESPECIALLY if it is done with the intention of betterment) is evil and will lead to evil results. It was actually intimately tied with political (American) conservatism. The purest, least-corrupted form of American politics, to their mind, was an (imagined) Arcadia of Puritans at the point of the nation's conception. Liberalism was talked of not as one of the ends of a linear political spectru
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