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About Looking4Answers

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    Agnostic Atheist
  • Birthday 12/21/1965

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    Art, 3D Computer Graphics, Books, Writing, Computers, Technology, Role Playing Games and more!
  • More About Me
    I am an agnostic-atheist who had once been a pastor and a missionary in the Fundamentalist Baptist Faith. Thanks be to Myself that I am now a free man! Reason rules!

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  • Still have any Gods? If so, who or what?
    No Freakin' Way!
  1. Hey! Thanks for saying hello. Yeah. I am doing surprisingly well despite all. How are you doing?

  2. Saw your post on the Bart Ehrman thread. Glad to see you back here. Hope you're doing well.

  3. Your story link no longer works. Did you catch any UFC recently? Also, Frank Mir against Brock Lesnar is coming up Aug. 1st. Should be a good one. Look at Frank's submission here (quick fight): http://www.bebo.com/FlashBox.jsp?FlashBoxId=5710761334&

  4. Welcome! I am sure that you will find many wonderful and helpful people here. I know that many here have been (and continue to be) a help to me.
  5. Three nuns are sitting on a bench when a flasher walks over to them. He flashes the first nun. She has a stroke! He flashes the second nun. She also has a stroke! He flashes the third nun. She wouldn't even touch it!
  6. Back in August of this year I had posted my plight as I began to leave the faith. Many of you hear followed my story. However, due to the sensitive nature of some of what was discussed the thread had to be removed. I have received several emails and PMs asking where my thread went and many people told me that my story was a help to them. As a result, I decided to post a condensed version of my story with links (in my signature) to my blogs. The first blog, All for Freedom, will keep you updated on my story. To find out the latest and the greatest, go there. The Beginning of My Story My story, like anyone else's, begins at my birth. I was born into a typical American family. My father is Jewish and my mother was not. Neither were religious. And, as a result, I was not raised within the confines of any particular religion. I grew up not giving it much thought. At the age of 21 I joined the Marine Corps and, in 1990, was sent to Saudi Arabia to help liberate Kuwait during Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm. It was during this time that I began to see some men turn to God. After returning to the States in 1991, I began my own personal quest. I wanted to know if God was real. I first went to my battalion chaplain, who was a Roman Catholic. When he found out I was from Jewish decent (with a name like Silverman, who would have thought that?) he sent me to the base rabbi. However, this rabbi spoke of God like some impersonal force that was out there ... a force that could be tapped into for either good or bad. This did not sit well with me. Along the way of my quest, I met some people that were a part of a Bible believing church. I was told that I needed to be born again. Eventually, I came to the place where I said a sinner's prayer and accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior. From that point on my life was forever changed. When I was honorably discharged from the Marine Corps, I relocated to Winston-Salem, North Carolina and began to attend Piedmont Bible College (now called Piedmont Baptist College). My goal was to train to be a pastor. During a mission's conference at the school I came believe that God was calling me to be a missionary, but I did not know where He wanted me to serve. It was at this time that I met the young woman that would soon become my wife. She told me about going to Israel as a missionary. I believed that I had my answer from God and began to focus on the land of Israel. We married and began to pursue moving to Israel. It was not easy and many years went by. In the process, four wonderful children were born. We were determined to raise them in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. Along the way, I had served as an interim pastor at one church and an elder at another. When the timing seemed right and the finances were there, we moved our family to Israel, where we stayed for the next four-and-a-half years of our lives. In Israel we served at a local assembly in Jerusalem for three-and-a-half years and then moved to start a new work in the northern part of Israel above the Sea of Galilee. After a year there we saw the need to return to the USA in order to help take care of my wife's mother, who was aging and failing in health. I also wanted to continue my education and pursue my Masters degree. I write all this so that you can know a bit about my life. During this phase, I was dedicated to serving the Lord. I had taught in many churches and have taught the Bible in places such as the United States, Israel and Mexico. It was the Lord and His Word, the Bible, that guided all that I did, all that I thought and by which we, as a family, tried to conform our lives. I was what some would call a Bible Thumper. I believed in the strict, literal interpretation of the Bible. To me, doctrine, hermeneutics and exegetical teaching were everything. But along the journey, there were some things that did not sit well with me. I logged them into the back of my mind and continued on my way until one day I was forced to confront them. My story is about confronting those thoughts and what happened as a result. The Turning Point ... After returning to the United States we began to attend Heritage Baptist Church in Vinton, Virginia. We thought we had found our dream church. The congregation was warm and loving. The church's methodology was to keep families together. In most churches we had experience with, children went to a children's Sunday School and then to Children's Church during the normal church service. At Heritage, there was no segregation of the family. Children stayed with their parents throughout the service, sitting by their families sides and listening to the same preaching and teaching as mommy and daddy. The children in this church environment seemed to act very mature. Their attention seemed to be on heavenly things. After some time of attending there I became a leader of teachers for a part of the service called Family School (or version of Sunday School, but for the entire family) and then later was accepted as a pastor of the church alongside the founding pastor. During this time I was a busy man. Finances were tight and besides the ministry, I was doing computer graphic work on the side to try to make ends meet. I was also teaching in other churches. A typical schedule for me would include helping on Sunday morning (if I was not scheduled to preach), teaching a class such as a New Testament Survey on Monday nights, teaching classes on Wednesdays, such as Messianic Prophecies or a course I had developed called the Biblical Perspective of Israel. Besides ministry and work, we homeschooled our kids and I had a part in that as well. Needless to say, I was working most of my waking hours. Most nights I was not getting very much sleep. As time went on and my schedule became more hectic some of the thoughts I had tossed into the back of my head began to surface. These thoughts contained doubts about what I was doing. Some were doubts about what I was teaching. In most cases I cast these thoughts aside. Christianity had taught me that thoughts like these were either a part of my own sinful nature or an attack from the devil, God's ancient enemy. How could I even trust my own thoughts? After all, the Bible was clear that the heart of man is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked (according to Jeremiah 17:9). It became even more imperative to pray and to give myself to Christ ... to die to self and to live unto God. But my prayers seemed to go unheeded. In fact, I began to notice things that really caught my attention. My wife is an extremely religious woman. She believes the Bible to be literally true and would spend the first hour of her day reading the Scriptures. The next hour was devoted to prayer. A large portion of our prayer was for our children. Over the years we saw quite a rebellious spirit arise in each of our kids. We had desired that they would become godly offspring, willing to sacrifice their own lives for the cause of Christ. As they rebelled and seemed dead set on pursuing their own ways, we pleaded with them, we educated them in the ways of Christ, we chastened them when necessary and, above all things, we prayed for them. However, it seemed that prayer was not effective. No matter how many hours my godly wife prayed, no matter how many times either of us hit our knees, our children did not change. We began to doubt their salvation. I began to doubt God. The Bible declares that God is not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance (Second Peter 3:9). The Bible declares that God died for all (John 3:16). The Bible declares over and over again God's desire for a godly seed and for a holy people to follow him. The Bible told us that if we prayed anything in accordance with His will, he would grant it (First John 5:14, John 14:13; 15:16; 16:23). We prayed according to the clear will of God as revealed in the Scriptures and, despite that, things only grew worse in our family. My doubts began to raise their ugly heads again. And Now, the Rest of the Story ... I was a man on a quest again. I had to learn the truth. There should be no fear in looking for answers. Even the Bible said ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free (John 8:32). Freedom was to be found in the truth and I desperately wanted that. Over the past several years, as I served Christ, I felt more and more restricted, more and more bound. I found myself sleeping less and wanting to get out of what I was doing. I was not content, but felt more like a trapped animal. All this time I thought it was my own sinful nature rearing its head and I did not realize it was my mind calling out for me to be rational ... to think again. I suppressed my thoughts, but that only made things worse. But then I realized, I should not be afraid of the truth. If God is who He says He is, then I will discover this and the end result is that I will know Him better and be able to serve Him more. However, if He is not who He says He is, then I need to stop living a lie and move on with my life! Many doubts began to arise in me and I wanted to seek the answers of other like-minded Baptists. I did not want to talk to the other pastor I served with. I wanted to do this anonymously. I found a Baptist forum on the Internet and posted a brief of my history and some of my doubts. What occurred surprised me. I was attacked! Some of the members simply assumed I was an atheist come to attempt to change their ways. I found no love and no help. Even so, I continued to try to ask questions about the things I was struggling with. Instead of rational answers, they simply threw more Bible verses at me, verses that did not answer the questions. Others simply told me that they would pray for me. I decided to try something different. I found a web site for those that had left the faith (www.exchristian.net). I shared the same story and my questions. To my surprise, I found a loving group of people who were willing to help me find answers. I was amazed. I had been taught that atheists were cruel and amoral people that had no structure to guide them. I found that notion to be utterly false. As I began to research my doubts and look at the Bible with a new set eyes, I came to the conclusion that I had been living a lie and that I needed to leave the ministry. This was a life-changing decision, but I did not realize how it would change everything around me. When I felt I could, I approached and told my wife of my new decision. The next day I told the pastor and I stepped down from the ministry. I was a mix of emotions. On the one hand, I was free! I could think again. I could dream! It was the most liberating experience I can ever recall! On the other hand, I knew that my decision would break my wife's heart and would cause a multitude of problems for Heritage Baptist Church and the pastor. Even so, I could not live a lie. I had to live as I believed. When I believed in Christ, I lived accordingly. When I ceased believing in Christ, I lived accordingly. My pastor's reaction surprised me. Instead of showing the Christian love that he had preached, he began to blame me for a multitude of problems that would occur as a result of my sudden decision. My wife's reaction was even more surprising. She took me aside to tell me that she was praying for me. She then said these words, "I am praying two things for you: that you will either get right with God or that He will take you out!" I asked, "Are you praying for my death?" She replied, "God's honor is worth more than anything." I was shocked. Here was the woman I was married to for 15 years praying that God would kill me. I didn't know what to say. But things did not get better for me, but worse. The next day my oldest son came to me and said, "Mom says you are an anti-Christ and under a delusion." She had had a Bible study with the children and wanted to warn them about their father. During my coming out of the faith, I did not attempt to stop my wife from having Bible studies with the children and I did not try to keep them from going to church. But my wife was working hard to keep the children from me. She made it clear to me on several occasions that she did not want my children with me. Then meetings began to be arranged with my wife and the pastor. I was never told what the phone calls were about. I did not ask. After all, I trusted my wife. I thought, despite her prayer for my death, that she loved me. I did not know what was being planned. On Saturday evening, one of my children came to me and told me that their mother was trying to find a place for each of them to spend the night on Sunday. She said she just wanted them to be able to spend some time with some of their friends from church. On Sunday my two daughters decided that they would go, but my two sons stayed. On Monday morning, I woke up to find my wife gone. The house was pretty empty except for me and my sons. I went to work. At about 12:30 that afternoon there was a knock on the door. I answered it to find two women detectives standing there asking for me to step outside. I did. They then showed me a warrant for my arrest! I was being charged with aggravated sexual assault on a child who was less than 13! I was dumbfounded as they hauled me off to jail. I was placed in jail without bond. The next day the pastor came to visit me. He pointed a finger at me and said, "See where leaving God has gotten you!" I was crushed. I spent the next 50+ days in jail before I was finally allowed to get out on bond. I am now facing several months of court dates in an attempt to prove that I did not do that for which I am accused. My wife had placed a protective order against me and for the last two months I have not heard nor have I seen my children. I am not permitted, by law, to see them. Did I commit the crime? No. I left the faith. I walked away from the ministry and made a decision to follow what I truly believe. Frankly, this crushed my wife. Her dreams of one day returning to Israel were dashed. Her dreams of being married to a dynamic preacher of God's word were over. And so she cast me away. The pastor of Heritage Baptist Church was upset as well. I believe he wanted to humble me in an attempt to bring me back to the faith and to the church. My wife had met with the pastor and, via the phone, another minister. They recommended the solution to her: get the authorities involved. They did. I have so far learned a lot from my experiences. The church's message of love only extends to those that embrace the church. Leave her and experience her wrath. I also learned that innocent until proven guilty is not a part of our country any longer. According to much of what I have read, people who are falsely accused of molesting or abusing a child are likely to be convicted of the crime, even if there is no evidence. According to one web site, mothers who bring the accusation are much more likely to be believed even in the face of the evidence. All it takes is an unfounded accusation to potentially have your life taken away. This is my story. I decided, of my own free will, to leave the faith. Those who were once my friends, and even my dearest love, chose to cast me to the wolves instead of continue to love me as I am. As a result, I have decided to take a stand for freedom! I have decided to speak out for our fundamental right to think for our own selves and to not be persecuted for thinking contrary to those that are around you. Our thoughts make up who we are. No one has the right to try to force us to think according to their ways. Our minds are wonderful things, capable of reason, discovery and creativity. No one should seek to destroy your life because you dare to think!
  7. Where did they move your story to? Can't seem to find it...

  8. Hi Deb, First of all, I want to thank you for taking the time to share all of this. It is really a brave thing to open up and share the trials that one goes through as they come out from under the delusions of Christianity. Thank you, again, for sharing. There are a lot of things that I would like to comment on, but I will restrain my comments to just this one topic: I find that quite a few people that are not religious or who have left their Christian circles either wonder about this or worry about this. So let's think about it for just a moment. Where do we find our information on the place called "hell"? It's in the Bible, of course. And the majority of the teaching on the subject comes from the words that are attributed to Jesus in the New Testament. What we really have to ask ourselves is this: Is the Bible a reliable book? Since the information we have on hell (and who goes there) comes from the Bible, then if that book proves to be unreliable, then we have to conclude that what it says about hell cannot be trusted either. Even a casual read through the Bible by someone that is thinking (i.e. they are not still functioning under the brainwashing of the church) will find that the Bible is absolutely NOT a reliable book ... not a book to be trusted. The huge number of contradictions, the repugnant behavior of the god of the Bible called "good", the lifting up of terrible things and portraying them in a good light (such as the genocide of nations like the Amalekites in First Samuel 15) ... all these things and more show us that the Bible is certainly not a book about a loving god that cares for his creation. The creation story itself contradicts itself and flies in the face of all that we know from science and simple observation of the physical universe. Basically, the Bible is a book written by men. It is a book of myths. It incorporates myths from several different cultures and backgrounds. It is a book of errors and contradictions. The concept of Hell is found within this book. There is no reason to believe that, in the midst of all these fables that the teachings on Hell would be the ones that are true. And, not only that, but even if Hell were somehow true, then how would one get there or how would one avoid it? You see, what it comes down to is that we either accept ALL the teachings of the Bible (hell, salvation, creation, etc) as true and act accordingly or we reject ALL the teachings of the Bible (and live accordingly). I tried not to make this a long complex thing with the quoting of verses and all of that, but I hope this helps on some level.
  9. I look at it this way: Liberal Christianity views most forms of Christianity (including fundamentalists and conservatives) to be Christian simply because their mindset is more accepting and tolerant of other's beliefs. This may be because their "religion" does not depend so much upon dogma and doctrine so these potential dividing points are not there in all cases. Fundamental Christianity is much narrower than the liberal side and, because they depend so much on doctrine to define who they are and what they believe, they judge others that think differently as either not being Christian or "backslidden" (having fallen away from living the true life of a Christian). Having lived the last 17 years or so as a fundamental Baptist, I would have to say that there is even a dividing point between "conservative" Christianity and "fundamental" Christianity. It is almost like the division in Judaism between the Reform, Conservative and the Orthodox. To me (and I am only guessing here), it seems like liberal Christianity is a testing ground. Their ranks are shrinking because one event is happening and two results come out of it. The one event is (in my opinion) that people are beginning to see liberal Christianity for what it is. They see that it is not squarely based on the Bible but more upon tradition or good works, etc. As a result of this conflict (the Bible verses the teachings withing the liberal church) the individual will then start to examine the Bible to see what it says. This will lead them to one of two conclusions (in most cases): 1) the Bible is the literal word of god and, thus, it must be followed literally or 2) the Bible is full of it and must be forsaken. Option #1 may cause the individual to leave the liberal church and go to a more conservative or fundamental church where the Bible is given more respect and adhered to more literally. Option #2 may cause the individual to leave the faith all together and live more like a secular free thinker.
  10. Actually, I think this is a great place for you two to go at it (and others as well). This thread is not really about a personal testimony, but about whether someone should deal with a liberal Christian or not and, if so, how. One thing that we have learned here is that the term, liberal Christian, either needs to be defined (i.e. what does anyone mean when they use that term) or that some of us have the mistaken idea about what a liberal Christian is. For example, in the circles in which I had traveled (fundamental, evangelical, independent Baptist) "liberal Christian" stood for just about anyone that would use the name "Christian" but did not live a strict, Bible believing life (i.e. did not take the entire Bible to be literal and without error, etc). Others seem to equate it with a fad or a movement (somewhat like some Jews look at the Reformed movement as compared to the Conservative or Orthodox Jews) ... almost like it was (or is) a denomination. So, at best, we need to determine what someone means when they use the term "liberal Christian". The discussion you two have (and anyone else her for that matter) looks like it would be relevant because it would all tend to give information that could: 1) be used to determine if someone wants to even bother engaging a liberal Christian in rational thought about religion in general or 2) help someone to understand how to work with them should they indeed decide to engage them in this sort of a discussion. My opinion. I did not start the thread, but I say: go for it .
  11. I have recently de-converted and, in some ways, am going through some similar struggles (despite the fact that I am decades older than you, had been a minister and a missionary, etc). However, how we see life really depends on how we look at it. I know that sounds trite, so I will try to explain. For example, I am going through the discovery phase myself ... discovering or creating just who I am. For the last 16-18 years who I am has been defined by the Bible and what people told me the Bible said I should be ... like Christ (and, in actuality, like Paul, whose letters are more often quoted than the words attributed to Jesus). For me, at my age, starting all over again with discovering who I am (or inventing who I am) could be very frightening and it could be very easy to fall into some easy traps (to get lazy and just be the way I have always been). However, I decided that this is one of the most exciting things to have ever happened to me! How many people get a chance to START ALL OVER again and to create for themselves who they really are? Even simple things, like being nice to someone, is a decision I can CHOOSE and not something demanded of me by some deity that is ready to chastise me simply because I did not obey his hostess ghosties (holy ghost). I guess all I am saying here is that what you go through, as you learn to define or redefine yourself, is a matter of perspective. You can get upset and feel the crushing weight of responsibility or you can view each new day with excitement because you can continue the work of making yourself into who and what you want to be. And the good news is, even despite your situation, the choice is all yours. I have been in similar circles. If you were/are a part of AWANA, then I can already understand the mindset of the church you are a part of and somewhat how your parents and the people in your church think. After all, AWANA does not allow itself into just any church. They try to target fairly like-minded churches. Back before going to the mission field, my wife and I had our children in the AWANA program as well. AWANA, in my opinion, is very deceptive. It is 45 minutes of play time in order to pump the Gospel into a child's head at the end. Unsuspecting parents (normally those that are not attending church) dump their kids off at the church getting free babysitting so that they can go out to eat or have a little private time while little Johny gets his head filled with mush. AWANA, and programs like it, are very deceptive and, as a result, I have strong negative feelings toward them and the churches that would sponsor such deception. In any case, I would like to give a stab at helping you with your problem. The answer I am going to give is for those, like 169, that come from a fundie, Baptist background. Most likely your pastor (and your parents) believe in the literal interpretation of the Bible. They believe that the Bible is without error and without contradiction. They most likely believe in a literal six day creation as recorded in Genesis chapter 1. They believe in the exegetical preaching and teaching of the Scriptures. Therefore, I am going to approach your question about Jesus from this perspective as well. And, to do so, I would like to begin in Genesis (it is always good to begin at the beginning). For the sake of time I may not quote all the verses, but I will paraphrase or reference them. You can do the additional homework if you want to. In the first chapter of Genesis we read about the creation of all things and this creation is attributed to god. We run across an interesting thing by the third word. It is written, in English, as "God". However, the Hebrew word there is "elohim". "El" is a Hebrew strengthening word and is often used as a multiplier to strengthen the word that follows. However, in most cases, it simply stands for "god" For Example, the famous "El Shadi" is often said to mean, the God who Provides (though that is not a literal translation, but an interpretation). "El", there, meaning "god". The curiosity of "elohim" is in the ending "im" (pronounced "eem"). This is the Hebrew masculine plural ending. As such, this word, "elohim" should not be translated as "god" but as "gods". "Elohim" is the same word used whenever you find the word "gods" (plural) in the Bible such as the "gods" of the Philistines, etc. The Hebrews try to get around this in a variety of ways (as do the Christians), but an honest translation would say "In the beginning gods created the heavens and the earth". After all, later in Genesis, these creative beings say, "Let US make man in OUR image ..." showing the plurality of the creators involved in the process. I know. Christians will write this off as the Trinity in the Old Testament, but that is another story. I did an interesting study recently. I simply read through the five books of Moses and looked for anywhere that god was recorded as speaking because I wanted to see what he had to say about himself (as well as a few other things). I found some interesting things (according to my understanding). The first chapter of Genesis seems to show a plurality of gods at work in the creation. From among this plurality one of them, or so it seems to me, tried to separate himself from the "group" and become the most worshiped. Throughout the five books of Moses, there is no one single denial of there being other gods. Not once! In fact, by implication, from the very words attributed to the god of the Israelites, there are other gods, but the Israelites are simply forbidden to worship them. They were commanded to not make carvings of them (idols) and not to fall down and worship them, but never does this god of the Israelites proclaim that there are no other gods at all. It is not until much later in the Hebrew Bible that we find a declaration suggesting there might not be other gods. Yes, the above was a bit of a rabbit trail and did not deal exactly with your question. However, according to my research to date, the five books of Moses do not speak of one god, but of many, with one god attempting to rise above all the rest and become superior to them all. In my mind, this is much like the claim the Bible places on the devil who supposedly thought he could assume god's throne and become the supreme one himself. As we can see, the god of the Bible acts very much like any human dictator. He demands absolute devotion and obedience and will crush any opposition, painting that opposition as something evil. But let's look at the creation story for a moment. Within your circles, as it was in mine, the six days of creation are going to be interpreted to be six literal 24-hour days. If anyone here is interested in why they come to that conclusion, I will be happy to share it, but I didn't want to take up more space here with that. This will be what 169's church believes being the kind of church that has an AWANA program, etc. However, the vast majority of scientists would vehemently disagree. Genesis asks us to either accept its literal six-day creation story or reject science's observations about nature. We either have to commit intellectual suicide or not. But let's see what happens when we don't take the six days of creation literally. In order to do this, we will need to make a few assumptions, but this is only to make a point. Let's pretend, as some people do, that each creative day of Genesis chapter one is some long, undetermined period of time. For the sake of this discussion, let's say that each day is one million years. This would certainly not satisfy an evolutionist because that would only give us six million years of evolution from the beginning until man is on the scene and that is not nearly enough time. However, it is more than enough time for what I am about to do. In fact, feel free to insert however many years you want. It will not matter if you use 10 years or 10,000,000,000. The outcome will be the same. So, now we have each creative day equaling one million years. According to the Bible, death did not exist in the world until Adam, the first man, brought it into the world (Romans 5:12 and its context). Therefore, before Adam's fall, there was no such thing as death in the world. Genesis 2:17 promises that rebellion toward god's commands (sin) brings death. Romans 8:19-22 tells us that the fall of man brought corruption (i.e. death, etc) on the creation itself. According to Romans, because the first Adam brought death into the world the last "Adam" (Jesus Christ) brought life. The last "Adam" died in our place so that we, who were dead in our sins and trespasses, could live. This is the grand story of the Bible. The very reason for Jesus' death, burial and resurrection is tied up in what happened in the first few chapters of Genesis ... and this is why I am beginning here. With these concepts in mind, let's go back to the creative days. If each day is about a million years, then we run into some problems. On day three vegetation is created. On day five we have the creation of the fish in the water and the birds in the sky. On day six we finally have the creation of man and land animals. If each day were a million years than plant life was around for at least three million years before man is created. Fish and birds were there for at least one million. What's the big deal with that? If death did not enter the world until Adam, then NONE of the plants would have died over that three million year period. If death did not enter the world until Adam sinned than the birds and the fish would have kept breeding and multiplying without a single death for about a million years! Do you know how many eggs a fish lays? Do you know how fast most plants grow and how many seeds they produce? How many plants would there be, with no death, after three million years? How many fish and birds after only one million? Would you be able to see the sky for all the birds? Wouldn't you be able to cross the oceans walking on the living bodies of the fish for all of them? In other words, the Bible forces you to accept a literal six day creation and to reject the facts that are all around us, such as the fossil record, etc. Science and the fossil record tell us that life and DEATH have been going on for a long, long time. We can plainly see that death was a common thing among all species of both animals and plants long before man ever showed up on the scene. If this is the case, then death entered the world BEFORE Adam. And if death entered the world BEFORE Adam, then Adam did not bring in death by sin as it says in Romans 5:12. And if Adam did not introduce death into the world, then death is NOT the result of sin. And if death is not the result of sin then there really is no sin (since god said that death was the sign of sin). If there really is no sin, then Jesus died for nothing because the Bible states that he died for our sins, but we, in actuality, are not sinners at all. Death is simply natural and nothing more. Jesus, the god-man, had nothing to die for. 169, Jesus did not die for your sins because you are not a sinner ... never were and never will be. I hope this helps in some small way. To every one else: Sorry for the long post.
  12. Uhm ... didn't they do that to one of the earlier models once? Just checking ...
  13. Hi Dave. I think you pose a great question that needs to be answered. I think, on the surface, the answer is simple. I usually like to try to break things down to their base denominators so that my simple mind can get a grasp on things. Would I want to leave someone (especially someone I know like a friend or neighbor) in a delusion or lie? For example, if I knew that my neighbor was going to invest in a scam, wouldn't I at least say something to them? Yes, there might even be times when it is advisable to stay quiet and let things take their course, but that is where knowledge and wisdom come into play. So, my best answer is to take the opportunities that present themselves to us and use them in the hopes of provoking rational thought. Unlike the evangelist that knocks on our doors, I would not be pushy and make it my dogma to de-convert everyone. However, by being a loving (and responsible) friend or neighbor, I would certainly take the time to talk about these issues when they are brought up ... and there are a lot of opportunities when people talk about things like politics, religion and other subjects that will expose a person's point of view. I personally think that liberal Christians have the potential to go in either direction: to come out of religion all together or to be sucked into fundamentalism. Some are looking for answers and it can lead them into strange places. If you don't mind, please let me share something I remembered seeing a lot as I worked among Jewish people ... trying to get them to become "saved". There were times when a Jewish man or a woman would get "saved" and become a Christian (or, as some would call themselves, a Messianic Jew). As was typical, many Messianic Jews were not comfortable being pew sitters. They were excited about the Bible and many would become these on fire evangelists to Jew and Gentile alike. Many would get involved as missionaries for organizations like Jews for Jesus and others. However, something would happen to them. As the years went on many would become dissatisfied with their Christian experience. Of these, many would come out of Christianity, reject Christ and become, in some cases, anti-missionaries. But there tended to be a strange pattern among many of these Jewish ex-believers: They would return to Judaism (if they were even involved with it before becoming Christians), but the form of Judaism they would adopt would either be Orthodox or Mystical (such as Kabalah)! It was like they went from a marginally spiritual Jew to a spiritual Jew to the SUPER spiritual Jew. I have my theory on why that happens. I think that, originally, they were not satisfied with their lives and with the answers they were getting on spiritual matters and, this, they were on some sort of a spiritual quest. Along comes some Christian (Jewish or otherwise) with the "answers". They seemed to have the answers for EVERYTHING! So the unsatisfied Jew converts! Life is exciting for a while (even for several years!), but he or she is living this spiritual life in their own power. After a time it becomes tiring ... like running an unending marathon. The simple answer is to get out, but that does not answer the perceived spiritual need he or she feels she has. So they move on to the next spiritual high (Kabalistic Judaism, Eastern Mysticism, etc) ... repeat and rinse. Many Jewish magazines and books (that deal with the Jew and the Christian) love to tell these stories of those that came out of the Christian faith and are now "faithful Jews". But the pattern was often pretty much the same. In any case, I think that some in liberal Christianity are looking for "real" spiritual answers and, when they become unhappy with where they are, they will move on. Some will move on to abandon the faith and live rational lives. Others will sink deeper into the "monster" and run the risk of becoming fundamental. Because of this, I think we need to be there to tell them the truth. This may help them on the way out and possibly prevent others from going deeper in. Does that make sense?
  14. Please calm down, Piracy, and think for a moment. Being rational (and not just reacting emotionally) can go a long way toward helping you and helping you to understand others. First of all, you used the phrase "peddling Xanax" and said nothing more. I would guess that if you had something like, "I am going to go and take a Xanax" that no one (including myself) would have initially said a thing about it. But YOUR choice of words caught the attention of a few of us. Then you blow that out of proportion and make it sound like we are accusing you. We were not, but we're trying to offer advice as best we could with what little information we had. By the way, you can think and feel whatever you like, but taking prescription medication without having a current prescription or taking someone else's may be illegal and could land you in jail. Some of the people I met in jail were there for possession and/or distribution of drugs and it was not always cocaine. Sometimes it was Xanax, other anti-depressant drugs, etc. Again, just advice, and, as we all know, advice can be ignored at will (and nothing wrong with that ... we all live our own lives). However, in this thread at least, you seem really resistant to advice. I realize what you were saying to Amethyst (that you had tried all that was suggested by Amethyst and none of that worked), but you could have stated it in a bit more of a friendly fashion. Something like: Thanks. I really appreciate you trying to help me. You know, I tried all of that. My situation is so bad that none of that helped. In fact, some of that made things worse for me. So far only prescription medications seem to help. You know what they say, you catch more flies with honey . So, please ... we want to help in any limited way that we can. But settling down (as best you can) seems to be in order. I know life is a mess and everything is out of sorts. Trust me, I know how this is (though from a completely different perspective), jumping on people is never the answer (and I know this from experience as well ).