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About nontheistpilgrim

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    old, sometimes grumpy

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  • Still have any Gods? If so, who or what?
    Don't think so!

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  1. Smile sweetly. If they are close to me they should know that I don't believe in praying so I'd be hypocritical if I said I would. So it's something like you suggest: 'Go to a doctor, hope all will be well', 'let me know if I can do anything'. I'm in a situation where a close family member is saying that their marriage is over after over 50 years. It would be so easy to say 'Pray about it and I will pray for you both'. But it's rubbish (not to my family member of course but I guess he/she and friends in the fundamentalist church are doing a lot of praying at the moment). If they were physically ill they'd go to a doctor but there's no question of going to a marriage guidance counsellor which I think is to do with their fundamentalism. Sorry, that's not really a tangent, the principles apply don't they? And to them and me it is 'terrible'.
  2. I like webmdave's viewpoint. I would like to clarify in response to Lefty. I will maintain, for now, my original position. It may be relevant that you have never been to UK. (I have never been to the USA which is why I added a proviso.) I live in an English city and my time as a minister was amongst people who came from (or to a lesser extent were the offspring of people who came from) the Caribbean and Africa. You will know that these areas were heavily influenced by an evangelical / fundamentalist missionary push. I have witnessed the other end of this, to a small extent, in both the Caribbean and East Africa. As a minister I was continually 'battling' against what I perceived as a fundamentalist sub-ideology. Discussions about creationism, abortion, other faiths etc were not un-common. Many of these people watch 'THE GOD CHANNEL', as do some much more liberal Christians it seems to me. Enough, I'm getting a bit angry and depressed! Perhaps my fundamentalist upbringing is showing in a blinkered outlook?
  3. Only my fundamentalist old friends from years ago and with whom I remained in contact until they were told I'd given up on god. Other Christians are OK and I notice no change in how we relate (I don't see them every week).
  4. Jerry your story is similar to mine - 60 years a Christian, much of it in ministry. The way that I cope may not suit you but I offer it. I do not call myself an atheist ('though I am). I am a non-theist. In another place on this site I drew attention to a book that I found very helpful: David Boulton's 'Godless for God's Sake'; this is all about non-theism. Basically, I do not believe in god, I say that I am not aware of any gods that I have (e.g. money, women, song!). But I can accept that other people have their gods which are created within their own imaginations (that is not a put-down) and which they find helpful, challenging, whatever. I am happy to acknowledge their gods which are in their lives. Of course I wish they were not so, but that's life. For example, in this way I am able to play the organ sometimes for my old church. OK it gets hairy sometimes because I fundamentally disagree with what is being said or sung, but I believe I am helping 'community' amongst a group of people who want to be together. Non-theism (or nontheism) satisfies me very well. I commend it. All the best in your pilgrimage.
  5. All the best with that. I've just remembered that in my youth I heard it stated that 'They are filling the pulpits with degrees and by degrees they are emptying the churches'. Needless to say this was the opinion of people who were 'charismatic' without having academic qualifications. And fundamenalist - yep, we don't need anything more than the Bible. Anybody else heard that?
  6. It's a tangent but obviously I need to respond briefly. I do not believe that the Bible, taken as a whole, is anti-gay sex - except for a single verse, I think in Romans? The rest of the so-called proof texts mean something else, the most obvious being that the Sodom story is not about homosexuality but about hospitaility. But that's enough; I won't preach my sermon here. BTW I am not gay - nor a Christian now.
  7. Yes, agreed. I used to think that it was the task of preachers and teachers to encourage such attenders to 'greater heights' otherwise, what's the point? I now think 'everyone to their own likes', if they want to attend for those reasons it's fine by me ( although there are other places where these needs could be met). But surely they believe in things like the existence of god, the resurrection, even the virgin birth, the Bible, prayer? This doesn't make them fundamentalists, I suppose, but they are fundamentals!
  8. Preacher, stated three times but later denied when challenged: 'If you are not a Christian you shouldn't be here'. OK this preacher is a rather odd ball but he is Methodist accredited local preacher( fundamentalist) .
  9. For a fundamentalist, probably. But I wasn't always so. I came to believe that Bible Study was meant to expose people to Biblical teachings and to let them decide for themselves. On the question of gay sex they rejected the biblical teaching because they had been indoctrinated by heretics (i,e, my predecessors).
  10. Disillusioned: Also, I was a fundamentalist, so naturally I'm inclined to think that that's the only true form of Christianity. Oh but it is, hallelujah, amen, praise the lord. Actually, it's my reaction to this sort of statement that makes me realise that my past is not totally forgotten. How I wish it were so, perhaps I'd be more tolerant of Christians. When I have to sit through a service (at the organ, remember!) listening to the stuff coming at us I can get quite angry and that's not helpful. Orbit: Liberal Christians can be just as fervent in their belief in God as fundamentalists are. Yes, but I still don't get it. As I said elswhere, I don't want to stop learning but as a UK comidienne once said 'It does me 'ed in'.
  11. I embraced nontheism because, it seems to me as aspoused by David Boulton in 'Godless for God's sake', that this allows me to define my atheism whilst accepting that others have their gods - which, of course, I believe they have created from their own imaginations (and that is not meant to be a critical statement). So I don't have to crusade for atheism. However, some time ago, in the frustration that I felt because my old fundmentalist friends had grown distant, I took time to write down my journey from faith to nontheism. It was therapeutic. I decided not to send it to my friends but to mention in my Christmas round-robin letter that I had written it and that it is available to anyone. How many responded? None. I did the same next year and a couple responded. But that's that - no engagement with me, rather 'I am praying for you to return to the Lord. I know my belief is correct' from one old friend. Is he brainwashed? I suspect so, otherwise surely he would want to know more of my story.
  12. I think there is a difference between 'professional' Christians (i.e. those who have studied for work in the church) and those who sit in the pews. I'm talking about the pew Christian. It seems to me that preachers rarely face up to such things as the contradictions in the Bible; nor do they often face controversial issues. For example, I have never heard a preacher give a Bible Study which concluded that gay sex is ok (I did!!). The existence of Jesus is never examined. The virgin birth may be questioned but it's more likely that preachers will avoid too much mention of that! The resurrection is never queried (and people's faith is likely to disintegrate if they doubted this). Thus pew Christians are rarely exposed to or challenged to face up to the difficult issues: they only hear a watered-down version of their faith (the fundamentals). If you live in a city in the UK your fellow pew Christians are likely to have had a strong influence, either directly or via their parents, from the missionary activity of the past and this was generally fundamentalist (I don't think is a generalisation; I don't know about American missionary activity). Thanks for your observations - I am very interested.
  13. A bit of background...I am growing more into nontheism as I read and think. I see no return to christianity ever. My partner is a Christian and attends the church where once I was the minister. We have the greatest love and respect for each other. The said church has a need for an organist. I can play the organ. The church has stated that they are happy for me, as a non believer, to play occasionally. I believe that church should be a joyful place where people have fun being together. Why shouldn't I play occasionally? The stuff that is said and sung in church drives me mad... that's when I cannot avoid listening! But I don't feel that I am being hypocritical as my purpose in playing is to facilitate ‘community'. Now to my point. This morning they sang ‘How blest are they, and only they, who in his truth confide'. Rubbish! This is a theologically middle of the road church. I would be very surprised if many of the congregation were thinking about what they were singing. But not for the first time I found myself thinking "scratch the surface of the average person in the pew and you will find a fundamentalist". This site appears to me to be meeting the needs of ex-fundamentalists. So my question is: do folks here agree that there is a fundamental fundamentalism underneath the surface of most Christians in the pews? And has this got implications for our attitude to ‘curious’ people who come here? I also am interested in any views about possible differences in this subject between USA and UK.
  14. "What about your eternal salvation?" They don't think do they?