Fuego

♦ Diamond Patron ♦
  • Content Count

    2,578
  • Joined

  • Last visited

  • Days Won

    17

Fuego last won the day on April 10

Fuego had the most liked content!

Community Reputation

1,447 Wow

2 Followers

About Fuego

  • Rank
    Infidel
  • Birthday 03/18/1964

Profile Information

  • Gender
    Male
  • Location
    Vancouver, WA
  • Interests
    singing, writing, computer geekery, cooking, science experiments, foreign languages, photography, gemstones
  • More About Me
    Was an "on fire" Christian for 30 years, now I lean more towards a pagan-ish bent. I have been in transition since October 2007, so I doubt that I've stopped changing just yet.

Previous Fields

  • Still have any Gods? If so, who or what?
    communing with nature

Recent Profile Visitors

4,799 profile views
  1. It's...ok. I far preferred the original writers. The author Neil Gaiman said it didn't matter, but there is clearly a difference in quality. They lost actors Kristin Chenoweth (Ostara/Easter) and Gillian Anderson (Media), and seem intent on introducing as many new characters as possible without really creating much depth. Thor/ came and went in one odd show. The New Media is a good character, more modern. They already started setting up the end, so I assume they will either finish with this season or maybe have one more. It has diverged from the book rather a lot at this point, but carries the same themes. They are spending a lot of time on racism in this season, probably because the original monologue by Mr. Nancy had a profound effect on many blacks who watched the show. They want to keep that audience stoked.
  2. In the video I watched (Kansas, I think) the church ate up his story and probably gave lots of money to his "mission". He was a great storyteller, so his many claims always seemed possible and amazing to those willing to believe (like I did until I caught him red handed). His compound in Mexico is run very tightly. The women are rather robotic, and the men very macho, only subservient to him. And the men seem to be all angry all the time, part of the macho package. They are all serious believers, but it is a cult. I don't know if it will survive once he dies. I hope not.
  3. I started studying the cults back as a believer in the 80s to try and learn the differences between Christianity and "them". When I described how they often get converts through love-bombing, a friend asked me how that was different from what we were doing. That made me pause. But mostly I just assumed that we had it right and the big difference was what we believed, not the entire mindset of making belief critical instead of demonstrable facts. Whenever I spoke with JWs or Mormons at the door, it was always about doctrines or exposing the corruption of their leadership rather than going after faith in myths being critical to a god's judgment of my life. I was a strong believer for 30 years, the last 9 of which were spent promoting a particular preacher from the south who claims thousands of outstanding miracles, the most notable being several people raised from the dead. While I promoted him and defended him online against critics, I brought up comparisons to the faith we put in the Bible where we didn't see those miracles either but have no doubt they happened. I pointed out that everything he preached was biblical, that he was going to "the least of these", and showed a life of utter commitment to Jesus. Then one day I caught him making up a long involved tale about a witch coven challenging the power of god at one of his services in Germany. I had just watched those services on video, and no such thing happened. His translator had trouble understanding his southern accent, that was all. But he turned it into a huge tale about witches falling under the power of god and all getting born-again. That was the slap in the face I needed. It began a year of questioning why he would need to make up anything. Keep in mind, I had felt power in his services, the body shaking and trembling like electricity was coursing through my body. That was unique from all the other church involvement I'd had. But this fact staring me in the face couldn't be denied. During this year of questioning why, the evening news was reporting about the Oklahoma polygamous cult and I wondered out loud "Why would anybody believe such crazy stuff?" Then I realized with chagrin that I had believed some outstandingly stupid things. Then I asked the most important question, "I wonder what else I've believed that is a lie?" I had a visceral reaction to that question, actually squirming, because I knew it struck at the root of my own faith. But I persisted in the question, and lots of other buried questions began resurfacing. Why is the god of the bible such an arrogant asshole? Why are all the obvious myths of the bible "true"? Why is the church divided instead of filled with almighty power and doing miracles? Why are most prayers for healing completely ignored? Why is hell not mentioned in the old testament? On and one the questions came. I revisited why I had first believed. It was out of a childish fear of monsters. When I'd see a monster movie (not the campy Godzilla ones) that monster was real and waiting for me in the dark hallway. When I saw an advert for The Exorcist, I felt a cold fear to the core of my being and read the Bible looking for protection. That was it. A stupid childish fear led to 30 years of committed belief, thousands of hours or praying to no one, tens of thousand of dollars given away to promote the cult, my own sexual life messed up with rules and fears of demons and judgments. I went searching online for "ex-christian" and found this site. I realized in short order that these folks had the same kinds of experiences, and I then posted my own realization that I was no longer a Christian. I was part of a cult called Christianity, and the last decade was part of a more classic cult with a charismatic leader that couldn't be questioned by his closest "fellow missionaries". It took an emotional shock to get me to even start questioning the faith. I also realized that reality hadn't changed at all by my deconversion, but that I had taken off a blindfold or filter through which I had interpreted reality. The same question "I wonder what else I've believed that is a lie?" still applies daily because I spent so long assuming I had things right. It applies to culture, politics, and science because where people are involved, there can be falsification of evidence, people seeing personal wealth at my expense, and so on.
  4. Kinda my point. He was one among many originally, but then was promoted as the one and only. El Elyon is a title, god most high. I guess the LDS church might be down with plural gods, but Judaism wasn't, especially after they were sacked by Babylon. But all the evidence points to Yahweh being one among others originally.
  5. The story shows that Yahweh, like most of the ancient gods, was not very kind or good or secure. He could be ousted from his position by competing gods, like the Titans that lost their place when the Olympians took over (Zeus replacing Chronos). This is why Genesis has Yahweh saying about Adam and Eve "Let us make man in our image" and later "They have become like one of us". Yahweh was originally one of the pantheon of Middle Eastern gods and later was promoted as the top one, and then the only true one. And the story isn't just about people cooperating and really getting stuff done, the name Babel (Bab-El) is "gate to god" so they were trying to make a stairway to heaven. The concept of up and down are primitive, such as when Jesus (and Mohammed) ascended "up" into the clouds and apparently into Heaven. This shows that the primitive mindset regarding cosmology was still strong 2000 years ago (and most believers never think to question these tales). Mostly it seems like a fable about why there are so many languages, much like "why the snake crawls on his belly and flits his tongue", and "why is life so difficult, and is there anyone to appeal to for an edge on survival".
  6. Here is a blurb from a community college about what a theory is ("After much study, the evidence shows _____. The rest of you scientists check the methodology and results.") versus a hypothesis ("maybe it's like this ____. Let's see if the evidence supports it.") https://www.oakton.edu/user/4/billtong/eas100/scientificmethod.htm In short, a scientific theory is an idea about how something happens based on observable and repeatable evidence that has faced intense scrutiny by other qualified scientists and seems to be a valid explanation. That is far different than where it starts out, and completely different than "It must be this way because ____ and I will find the evidence that supports this and ignore the rest".
  7. They probably already suspect that their dad is a nutcase. Being honest with them is not a bad thing, and pointing out the "emperor's new clothes" is not a bad thing. It will help give them a sense of reality to contrast his crazy behavior and words. They need your help. The god of the bible is evil, which is why he only has one punishment for disobedience: death. The flood myth is about everyone, including children, dying because the bible god is a dick. Happily, it is a myth, a fairy tale but without a good ending. Teach them that they don't need to be afraid of daddy's imaginary friend, and that he has some problems that cause him to behave this way. That is scary, but probably no more scary than his current actions and words. Wait til he starts talking about damnation and demons, and the only cure is becoming a cult member like him. Crazy people trying to push their fears and insane beliefs on kids is a big trigger for me, and I don't have much tolerance at all for it. Christianity re-enforced fears of invisible monsters in my young mind, resulting in 30 years of hardcore belief. That messed up my sexual life also since lust (which is entirely normal) was bad and demonic. Please do all you can to save your kids from this mind-fuck.
  8. Yes, Genesis is a huge pile of myths that don't make sense. A tree he desperately didn't want us to eat from, so he first creates it instead of not creating it, plants it right in front of them instead of on another planet or galaxy, it has magic fruit that transforms our minds from being exactly as he wants us to be into beings that "see" like he does, a snake (from whom apparently all snake species come) that walks and talks takes issue with his warnings and gets cursed to crawl on his belly and "eat dust" (which sounds exactly like a Aesop's fairy tale about why snakes crawl and flit their tongues). One of the sons kills his brother, then goes off to another land and marries a woman or two from... hang on, I thought these were the original people. Where'd the other people come from? Later a group of people want to build a stairway "up" to heaven, god is threatened by this and that's why we have so many languages (there's Aesop again). Genesis also sets up the Abraham story and the critical "enslavement in Egypt" that history shows us never happened. Which means there was no plagues, no passover, noTen Commandments, no ark of the covenant, etc.
  9. Very much so. That is why philosophies are important, because humans are observing our own behaviors and outcomes, as well as purposefully adapting our own thoughts and emotions towards a more planned outcome. That is very powerful. Far more powerful than subjecting our passions and plans to a religion that can't and won't adapt (and that is based on fear of an angry insane daddy figure). For example, I look at the concept of "ubuntu" where the concept of consistently working together for our common good has the goal of creating an environment where we all thrive, not by grabbing what I can to the exclusion of others, but going together and working together to achieve mutual success, and sharing what I have with others. It isn't squashing the initiative or creativity of individual for the sake of the collective, but promoting the concept of mutual caring and then leaving it up to the person to choose. That is something seen in the teachings of Jesus, but which the church today tends to ignore in favor of rules and exclusion because those were taught alongside his teachings and tended to be emphasized by the church leaders (again angry daddy figures intent on control). The balance then becomes not shaming others for choosing differently, but continuing to make our own choices to embody that which makes us thrive together. I find some meaning and wholeness in this approach.
  10. Any conclusions based on math are pure conjecture at this point. So far, we only have our own planet where we know we have life. Even studying our own kinds of life, we have not yet got a process down that we know creates life from non-living matter. Thus, we cannot yet statistically draw any conclusions at all about probabilities of life elsewhere. We really don't know.
  11. I approach it by looking at the other animals. Every other species spends their days looking for food, avoiding predators, competing to find a mate, making more of the same species. Wash, rinse, repeat. All the other animals have way better sense of sight, smell, hearing, and built-in weaponry. Humans edge on that reality is abstract thinking which lets us develop tools, weapons, strategies, math, language, technology, and it gives us an imagination that looks for patterns. Early humans looked at nature and wondered if there might be someone in charge of things that they could appeal to to get and edge on sickness, predators, other tribes raiding them so we invented gods and religions to go with our tribal taboos and rules. Eventually we developed philosophies examining politics and morality, and like every generation we wonder if there is some overarching purpose or meaning, or perhaps a better place we can go after death where it all makes sense. That makes us unique as a species (so far as we can discern). My hunch is that life is just life, and it is our choices that give it any meaning. I can choose to be an asshole to people and try to take what I want, or I can do with less and see how well I can help others live. I can find joy in little things like gardening (a good connection back to the nature that spawned us), singing, music, some kinds of tech, beer, sex and flirting, and examining ways to use my life experiences in three decades of Christianity to help inoculate others against religion. Some days are dull mundane get up and go to work doing mundane shit days. Those are the days I have to make a conscious choice to focus on things that I like. Connecting with other living things and re-connecting to nature make me feel most alive. I've read about brilliant people seeing that death is inevitable, and they decide to shortcut to the end. Others dwell on philosophy that sees life as a cruel joke, and promotes self-death as the truest expression. I see that as a flaw in the programming, short-circuiting all of the things that can be enjoyed and learned in the process of life. One day we will die, and all other days we will not. Use those days to become what you want to become rather than rolling in the pathos of death and meaningless existence. Some days are better than others for me, and I have pondered death at times. But then I'll go do a gig and have fun interacting with other humans doing things unique to our species and I glow for a while. Then I start planning another gig and get weighed down by the work it takes, then face yet another day of mundane get-a-paycheck work day that sucks my life dry, but then refocus on things that I like. So it is always a choice. I try to choose what makes life better for me and others. When we thrive together, we do better as a species than we do when trying to take as much as possible from others. Pull back from the planet and view it as a ball of dirt in space, and all the kings and saviors of mankind, celebrities and politicians are reduced to tiny things crawling around on the dirt with the rest of life here. I do that for perspective also.
  12. On one of WebDave's links to Valerie Tarico, she herself links to this article in which a self-described liberal dissociates himself from the toxic SJW doctrines and leftist politics that he describes as not social justice interested in color-blindness and equality, but revenge and dominance very like other extreme left political movements that resulted in terrible bloodshed in the name of "the people". This is what the left will have to dissociate from if it is going to see any victory. ("The Left" is too broad of a term, really. Kind of like "Christian" and all that could mean from the new age Jesus-is-my-spirit-guide to Westboro.) If someone else already linked to this, sorry for not noticing. https://www.patheos.com/blogs/camelswithhammers/2019/01/i-stand-with-liberalism-against-the-critical-theory-domination-of-the-social-justice-movement/
  13. I was recently unfriended on FB by a black lady singer I knew somewhat from her gigs. She has adopted a really aggressive attitude along with the terminology of the new SJW folks (where blacks can't be racist because they don't hold power, etc). I brought up a couple of recent whites who are or were being attacked for things they had done 30 years ago, but hadn't done since. I asked if there was no room allowed for people to change (especially since she sings gospel songs). BOOM! According to her, they are getting their "come-uppance" and deserve to be unemployed now and unemployable in the future, essentially homeless because 30 years ago they posed for blackface pics in college, or posed for a pic with his hands ready to grab a sleeping woman's breasts. She railed on and on, and questions from me were met with a snarky "It isn't my job to educate you", so she essentially wanted me to just agree and parrot everything she said. Some other people chimed in and she blew up at them instead of answering, then unfriended me. I noted that I had respect for her as a singer, but her new views were very polarizing and exclusionary. Most of the others who had commented were rather shocked at her behavior. I have wondered at the things I've been hearing from the SJW types, but hadn't correlated it to cult behaviors before. I do see similarities. Dang, gotta go to work...
  14. Recently I started recognizing the propaganda that I'd been fed through my early years, but my parents were raised in the WWII years and were parents before Vietnam started. They saw the hippies with drugs, and the Red Commies as a huge threat (they were, and though the game has changed, the players are still there), and so we were raised conservative though without much church. They left church when they saw corruption in the pastor giving tithe money to his kids. They weren't believers anyway, they were just trying to influence us towards a good life. When my dad would mention socialism, it wasn't just a word, it had to be emphasized like it was an obvious disease. He didn't see the irony in the taxes he paid. He tended towards political fervor at times, and was a Fox news devotee in his later years. So part of my upbringing had false ideas and simple opinions being presented as absolute facts. When I left Christianity, it started with a question "I wonder what else I've believed that is a lie?" I think that is the sum of your post. And it isn't always a brainwashing with ulterior motives, sometimes it is simply non-factual information that is treated as reality until you learn better. Part of that is investigating, looking for what is real, and not getting caught up in other conspiracy theories that can sound intriguing but have very little evidence.
  15. My family is mostly believers, and since I posted some atheist things to FB they stopped communicating with me for the most part. I still send birthday greetings and get a reply, I still can give them stuff from our dad who died some years ago, but they don't visit or ask how I'm doing even though most of them live pretty near. We were friends with some large Russian families, but our only real common ground other than being human was Christianity. And it would cause church problems for them to have us in their homes once we had rejected Jesus, so we sort of mutually backed away though we still have love for one another. Other friends I had from before contacted me about getting the "old gang" together, so I explained the deconversion to them. That was an interesting exchange of emails. No rejection, just seeking to understand, which was cool. A couple of others that were once close and are more rabid I just stopped giving them access to my FB posts. Their contorted thinking could lead them to say some really bizarre things or show up at a jazz gig to preach. Some of the others were manipulative swine, and I lost nothing in having them apart from me.