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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?
    Not for me

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  1. Add my welcome too. In my extimony I describe my experience as 'Surprised by joy' - a nod to C S Lewsi and a dig at my old, long gone fundamentalism. I've never looked back although I retain an academic interest. However, I do find it irksome that Christians do not question my journey - after 60 years, including some as a minister, you'd think they would be interested but apparently not (and I'm not an ogre trying to spread my non-theism ). We had a minister for a meal this week - he is new to my partner's church - we chatted over many things but not a mention of my journey, though he knows I am an ex-christian and ex-minister of his church. Keep asking questions. And lots of the awkward questions are answered on this excellent Forum.
  2. I noticed that and drew the same conclusion. Weezer, I had not seen your paper. Many many thanks. I read it whilst having a coffee whilst my wife was in church. An excellent read, much of it resonates with me. Not to criticise, I would have liked to see some development of the latter parts - but I am a lazy so-and-so and should do it myself. Thanks again.
  3. I think it's because I live in one of the most diverse areas of UK. Professionals feel the need to show that they are impartial by producing statistics. I sort of get it although I, too, object to the question. In fact it makes no difference to the way I am treated, so far as I know....the colour of my skin may determine that!
  4. This is the reason that I self-identify as non-theist - which means I do not believe in a god but want to respect those who have created their gods from within their imaginations and who find them helpful. This morning I had to provide an answer to a person who had a tick box for 'religion'- she had none for non-theist, so I explained what it means, how important it is to me and agreed that she put me down as atheist (no-one else will see it and I'd rather it went into her statistical analysis as 'atheist' than anything else).
  5. Off-topic: I feel so sad and still do not understand how Christians, who put so much store on relationships, do not practice what they preach. I just don't get it. But it's true. Sadly. Perhaps I will come back on my own experience which is a bit different. But I am in my eighties and with a fairly tolerant personality. Back to you all.
  6. It could be that when you leave the congregation you discover something that many ex-christians in the western world have discovered....you never hear another word from your christian friends; no enquiries about your welfare, no moves to get you back, just silence. It's sad, but it happens frequently and more so, I suspect, amongst fundamentalist christians. It may even help you to confirm to yourself that you did the right thing. All the best on your journey.
  7. Perhaps my position had some similarities to yours? I was the main keyboard player at a 'middle-of-the-road' church. I believe in 'community', people doing things together and having fun. I felt that I was enabling that for 50 odd people by providing decent music for them to sing. All the time I was a non-believer and I played for them with that being known and agreed upon. But increasingly I could not cope with the theology / christian teaching / words of the hymns. The day came when I could no longer play without physical pain and I had to give up. With great relief. Trying to put myself in your shoes I would suggest you walk away. The idea that god will provide a replacement - I like that a lot! When all is said and done, the congregation could sing without live musicians, surely? We call it canned music. It's not ideal but it supplies the need. But it's not your concern, it's up to them to work out their own difficulties. Leave them, take control of your own life, and do it without any sense of guilt. I wish you the very best. By the way, I was a fully committed Christian minister for many years up to the time I retired when I saw the light.
  8. "Being honest with myself" is such an important thing to grasp and practice. I used to rely heavily on the opinions of others. I used to accept stuff without much questioning because I had been convinced by 'people who know better' that god is real, jesus is real and so on and so on. I preached this stuff because I believed it. Then I woke up and had to come to terms with my previous nonsense. I had to work at 'being honest with myself'. That is what brought joy and a sense of freedom.
  9. Yes, some of both. My sister repremanded me for saying there is no god - and affirmed that god is looking after her. But she is the most insecure person I know. And dragging others with her on her road. Our parents have a lot to answer for - I wonder what St Peter said to them at the gate?
  10. I do agree. But it's hard isn't it? We who reject and react against pressure to convert to christianity have to find ways of politely (but does that work?!) but firmly giving our extimony and sharing the joy and fulfillment that we find in our nontheism. Otherwise we simply will be mimicking fundamentalism, I fear. On the other hand, I know I am not the only one who finds that christians do not wish to engage with these issues.....and we know why, sadly.
  11. Well, well. ALL dancing was evil and 'of the devil' when I was a teenager in the 1950's. I hadn't thought about it but I bet my parents went apoplectic when they heard that I was organising 'twist sessions' for teenagers whilst I was ministering abroad.
  12. Interesting! You've reminded me of something that has not been with me for over 50 years of happy marriage. But I do distinctly remember travelling on a train with my girlfriend (who bacame my wife) and I quizzed her about whether she was a Christian. I was a fundamentalist and she was fully involved in a more liberal church. Of course, I now think "What an awful cheek, she should have dumped me straightaway". I'm so glad she didn't. The 'confrontation' was not a problem in reality. I only tell this story to add to the point that young people who are 'very Christian' (and who are not open-minded towards other Christians) can be so pig-headed (with apologies to pigs). So honesty and openness are essential I believe.
  13. I'll be frank. A 'girl' who is 'very Chistian' is likely to be big trouble if she has a fundamentalist family and church and if she is unlikely to voluntarily change her faith. Here is a true story that may illustrate what I mean. A member of my extended family was brought up as a fundamentalist: over the years she lost some of that. A few years ago she joined a fundamentalist church again. She, in addition, is a control freak. For years she nagged her husband, made demands, was never wrong, played secrecy games and more. I watched it happening. Earlier this year she accused him of having an affair (which I don't believe) and set divorce in motion without consultation and refusing to countenance any idea of talking about it (she is always right and never admits that she is wrong). Soon after setting the divorce in motion she suggested that her husband is not a Christian (he is and he is fully involved in a more liberal church). The points I would suggest to you are... New Testament Scripture only allows (I think) a wife to divorce her husband for adultery or if he was/is an unbeliever who doesn't repent. She had no proof of adultery and the second reason is invalid. (Don't forget the scripture that speaks of believers being unequally yoked with believers.) I suspect that my family member is being influenced by her fundamentalist church and that they are encouraging the divorce, providing (false) ammunition against her husband. I don't think she is capable of working out the ‘unbeliever' grounds for herself. Of course I could be wrong. So, if you link up with this person you'd better engage your brain as well as your heart. I suspect that she is unlikely to change - perhaps she will get more involved. And you are unlikely to take on her extremism, I guess? I hope life works out well for you: perhaps a little more patience?
  14. You have more grace than me! I like your attitude towards your parents. I've never heard of the class system in heaven that you describe. In some ways it's convenient if they don't have to actually deny that other churches possess truth ... that's a better stance than some (RC's included). The people I'm talking about know my position but still say these stupid things, so it seems they don't accept me - and they pray for my return to their Faith.
  15. Yeah, well, it ain't easy when your (fundamentalist) 'best friend' sends you a Christmas card with the words 'Yours in the Lord' and one of the teenagers who was converted under my ministry sends one of those horrible video cards with angels flying around lighting candles around the crib. Yukkkk. They do know of my conversion although they have refused to engage with my story. I try to live up to my motto about 'accepting others as they are' but when they totally ignore / choose not to understand / provoke me I bite my tongue but I don't smile and I hope they stay where they are - a hundred miles away.
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