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DestinyTurtle

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Everything posted by DestinyTurtle

  1. Man, I really hope so! The political involvement of christian religious fanatics has really been triggering for me the past few years. I just want them to me wiped away into irrelevance.
  2. 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 situations. Sometimes this propels you to have a really impressive and interesting career - because you work so much harder than anyone else. Still, at the end of the day, if you continue to internalize the feeling of "nothing is ever good enough" you can never feel fulfilled. No matter how many successes you accrue your life feels like a string of failure. If you feel this way - you are not alone, you are good enough, and you deserve better. Little treats to yourself, like a tub of icecream, a schedule to the dentist, or a conversation with an old friend you've lost touch of - it's the little things that are really hard. On top of that, being present and accepting of a nice thing you do for yourself is also hard (it's ok don't hate yourself for the calories in the ice cream). It takes a lot of practice, even once you realize what is going on. It takes a lot of practice, but you will get there. This probably sounds vague to some people, but I'm hoping it resonates with someone going through something similar, and that it encourages them! Open to any thoughts/comments/meditations on the topic of self-acceptance. -DT
  3. @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 from THEM, not you. The feeling is probably so deep that my casual rebuttal won't really help, but I just wanted to get it out there. Believe in yourself. Trust yourself. There is a way to build communities and relationships without a need for delusions, fantasies, and the implied threats embedded in them. I think you know this, which is why you stood up for your non-belief (in Xianity), and I think it's incredibly brave and honorable that you did so. The world needs more people like you.
  4. 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!
  5. 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.
  6. 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 realizing that the religious beliefs are all baloney. You need to do a lot of internal work - through therapy, meditation, etc. - to bring to surface this feeling of fear and process it in a conscious, self-aware way. It can be messy and it can take a while, but you can do it and it's totally worth it.
  7. 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!
  8. 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 is too embarrassing or devastating so they double down believing in the falsehoods.
  9. 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...
  10. 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 and scriptures and some of the ones rejected/forgotten must have been taken up by the newer Islamic religion. Anyways at the time I found stories from the Koran, as well as gnostic texts, provided more context to the bible. I guess I'm prone to thinking major religions (Christianity, Islam, etc.) are 'ridiculous' in the sense that I don't believe in them, and I find they too often condone violence and oppression (probably because the mythologies have evolved to justify the empires the proliferated them). For history and cultural context, though, understanding all of these religions can be important.
  11. 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 Christians" are persecuted and the world belongs to the devil. Illness is frequently referred to as having the function of testing their faith, and a reminder of a hope and optimism of a better, eternal afterlife (not as evidence that they were spiritually astray). That is to say, everyone makes up an interpretation that makes themselves look better than everyone else. Wealthy healthy Christians argue that their wealth and health prove they are great Christians. Poor and unhealthy Christians argue that their poverty and illness is proof they are great Christians. It's all baloney.
  12. 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 make a guess as to whether or not that person had a ball, why add a qualifier like "red"? On the other hand I think there are peoples and cultures that value tangible experience and awareness as evidence for probable "realness". If you see a person holding a red ball you can confidently say "that person is holding a red ball" without doubt and you'd laugh at a philosopher who abstractly argues "it's more likely that a person in general will have a ball of any color than specifically a *red* ball". Arguably Zeus is a lot more believable deity because you can directly experience a thunderstorm. You can point at it, appreciate it, and really *feel* the essence of a thunderstorm. A Christian theologian who clownishly tries to describe something so universal as being indescribable will appear ridiculous in the face of a mighty thunderstorm. Yeah, it doesn't mean that there's a bearded man in the clouds holding a lightning bolt, but you can file that at a metaphor for the power and awe of an actual, literal, thunderstorm. In this sense, I feel polytheism is actually more believable because it's a catalogue of livable experiences described as human personalities. Monotheism is attractive to people who find abstractions persuasive due to their universality, which I think is a specific cultural perspective. I'm not arguing @Krowb's initial point. I'm just kind of rambling on about my own thoughts about monotheism vs. polytheism. Maybe I misunderstood some nuance about what a 'conjunction fallacy is'. Thank you for coming to my TED talk!
  13. 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 and you are worth more than money or power can buy - just for being an individual, living, breathing, human being. It can be a fumble developing your own value system after you relied on the ones offered by Christian institutions (which are broken) but it is a rewarding journey.
  14. 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.
  15. 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.
  16. 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!
  17. 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!
  18. 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!
  19. 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?
  20. 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.
  21. 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' which is to say that at the moment of observation the wave collapses to a single spike at the value that was measured. The reason why this collapse happens is really left in the open; it's more of an ad-hoc deduction based on the simple fact that once measured, the measured quantity is known specifically. I vaguely remember listening to a talk by a theoretical physicist who believed that the wave-function collapse was a physical mechanism involving a classical system (the detector) interacting with the quantum system (the particle) and that the collapse should be described and modeled explicitly as such. I don't know if he was right but it was an interesting idea.
  22. 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 was at war with Eastasia. Oceania had always been at war with Eastasia.”
  23. 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.
  24. @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 picture of the afterlife had any weight in it (or that the only conceivable afterlife involved unending cruelty for cruelty's sake). In the end, Christian or not, you have to come to your own conclusions about what life is about or what everything means. It makes no sense to accept the beliefs that are offered with threats of hell and eternal torture. The necessity for a threat itself betrays that that kind of belief system stands on shaky grounds, and require violence (imagined and/or actual) to perpetuate itself. I struggled with the fear of hell for about a decade or so after my deconversion. I will not lie - it's a lengthy and scary process. I hope you can believe in your ability to get through it because I believe you can.
  25. 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 mainstream), and so they move on to find even more eccentric preachers, etc.
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