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Everything posted by Fuego

  1. Culturally, anyway. It's how most Americans see good/evil.
  2. Woody Allen's "Crimes and Misdemeanors" is about a Jewish man who can't get rid of a woman with whom he had an affair. He struggles with her threatening to go public and being found out, or having her killed to preserve his own reputation and well-being. He struggles because he expects God to smite him if he has her killed. When god doesn't, he has his first astonished look into the non-existence of his god, and the belief that previously shaped his life. So like it or not, his life was upended but in a way he never expected.
  3. These aren't exactly what you mean, but stood out to me: A Buddhist version of this is The Razor's Edge, although it is more a realization that his faith should be lived in normal life out among people instead of a monastery where he had been staying. He is up on a mountain freezing and ends up burning the scriptures to keep warm. That's where the change from religion to life happened. A horror version is 30 Days Of Night where a woman facing a vampire exclaims "Help me God!". The vampire pauses, looks up at the sky and then at her. "No god". Munch. It really annoys me how many horror films are based on Christianity being true. The Exorcist, Hellraiser, and a zillion others that can't let go of the Devil/Christian God paradigm. A sci-fi film Prometheus shows how an android watches his human creators and develops a disdain for them and their creators (the Engineers). When he sees an engineer die, he says "Mortal after all". A subtext to this part of the Alien series is that Jesus was planted here by them, and that the Engineers are a blood cult that worships an alien whose blood let them breed again after having engineered their own genetics too much. The alien they worship is shown in art in a crucifix pose, and they were heading to Earth to destroy it because we killed Jesus. The movie makers left out 90% of that.
  4. As an ex-fundamentalist, your appraisal sounds about right. Jesus is a culturally familiar "teacher" and people are familiar with going to a church and hearing the name of Jesus, so they tend to focus on the nice things and ignore the rest. Even popular "pastors" from the 60s like Robert Schuller emphasized positive thinking and psychology instead of sin. My first Nazarene pastor was the same way, all about having a great marriage and positive everything. That stuck in my craw as a new believer, but the years of marriage advice really did help me in the long run! Others in our culture have no problem rejecting Jesus as part of the church, and especially in the 60s began embracing other religions from the East, not realizing that although the concepts were new, they were still religions with plenty of corruption. Baha'i also became popular in some circles, but again has someone regarded as a prophet. As an ex-believer I find the concepts of generosity, compassion, empathy, forgiveness, and a general goal of kindness to be a healthy and inclusive way to help everyone benefit. This way seems better than tacking on a petulant whiny impotent god that wants blood or other signs of obeisance.
  5. There is also the problem of hospitals being full and people having to travel to find an open spot, some not finding one. I'm not sure if the reporting happens when someone finally finds an open spot and the hospital handles the reporting or some other way.
  6. Perhaps it is based on the blurb under the name on the left. " Male veganism, working out, spiritualism Jesus Christ "
  7. It's an age old question in the church, and spawned responses like the book of James that sought to balance things. It was pretty clear from the gospels that John the Baptist and Jesus both emphasized actions as demonstrations of change, while Jesus also pointed out that it wasn't just giving that was important but intention and, for a lack of a better term sacrificial cost to the giver (the widow's mite vs the rich donating from their excess). So it was never intended to be a doctrine that good deeds are useless, just that they need to come from compassion and honesty instead of just because a law required it (because that fosters looking into minutiae of rules to find loopholes instead of motivating empathy and compassion). Both Jesus and John the Baptist would have required serious demonstration of change, not just a declaration of belief. John the Baptist specifically called this out when he told the crowd that they weren't the "in crowd" just because they were descended from Abraham, but had to show in their behavior. Believers think they are the "in crowd" because of belief. Jesus calls this out in the last judgment when he says they will tell him "Didn't we do this and that, and even do miracles in your name?" And he tells them, "I was hungry and thirsty, you didn't feed me. I was sick and lonely, you didn't want to deal with me and I died alone. I was an immigrant and you poured out hatred instead of welcoming me and helping me and my family. I never knew you, depart from me..." So in a twisted way, the "belief trumps all" approach is just as toxic since it leads to clearly unjust outcomes like the ones you mentioned. Indoctrinated believers would still argue that if the faith were real, then it is a glorious demonstration of mercy (though the entire concept of a petulant god demanding blood and taking it from his kid to satisfy his narcissistic tantrum is enough to make a reasonable person recoil in horror). People get attracted to the concepts of empathy, generosity, and magic miracles, and are bait-and-switched into religion in groveling service to a bloodthirsty psychopath. I now take the aspects of kindness and empathy as the baseline of what makes humanity good, and life better for everyone. No religion is needed, just that. "Do this and it is enough".
  8. Some meds interfere with sleep. I had cut out sleep aid tablets, sudafed, and benedryl because they were causing crushing anxiety. It took a while to switch my body off of the sleep aid stuff to which I'd been dependent. Then I found anxiety would still rise up some days. I've only recently found a microdose treatment that works for me. But sleep some nights is still weird. One night is great, and another I'm awake at 2am until I get up and go to work. Not anxiety based, I can even be totally relaxed but awake. Often I get sleepy around the time I have to get up. Stupid brain. Last night I think it was way too much salt and some alcohol at dinnertime. Woke up hot and dehydrated, took 4 hours to get back to sleep.
  9. Your post brought back so many memories. I've been out for 14 years, so a lot of the ruts of thinking and feeling have been filled in with new behaviors and patterns. It does get better and more real little by little. The toxic ways of Christianity become more obvious. I've found that people who didn't spend years in it really have no concept of what it teaches outside of the basic salvation story, and no idea what the daily life of a believer is like. I still have Christian songs pop into my head, since I spent 30 years cramming them into it. I am still impressed with a couple of the musicians, and the talent of one clever lyricist though the lyrics are clearly selling the cult. I typically try to consciously change the song in my head to something like an old swing era standard because Christian lyrics are often toxic. Yeah, it's all consuming and all defining. When I deconverted, I was friends with a few immigrant families, and it became pretty obvious quickly that we had nothing in common outside of belief, other than just being kind and liking music. When people are allowed to become themselves instead of "dying to self", they can blossom into something quite different than the church life would ever have produced. And that can make or break relationships, depending on the people. And yes, you do have to have a certain number of posts before various parts of the forum become available.
  10. Yep, did that long ago. I check in every year or so just to see what he is up to.
  11. Three guesses... I stopped responding to his phone calls and voicemails. We stopped having anything in common when I deconverted. He is stuck in the past, craving the fun times we had with a small group of friends. His recent posts on FB have been all political mockery (which he assumes I enjoy and agree with), and making up song lyrics to go with the mockery. Nope.
  12. I've got an old buddy from church days that keeps wanting to contact me and chat over his life troubles, and possibly move in for a while. His is the most convoluted irrational thinking I've ever encountered, and to him it is "deep wisdom of God". Example: When he was a child playing in the yard with his sister, she tossed him a toy pistol so he could act like a cowboy TV star. It hit him in the eye and blinded him. Over the years of being indoctrinated, he turned this unfortunate event into "Jesus saw the pride in my heart, wanting to be like a tough cowboy star, and in his mercy destroyed that pride and made me face years of rejection so I could become a faithful servant." It is more than irrational, it is watching a human capitulate to an abuser and call it the greatest love ever shown. Christianity pretends to be love while being pernicious evil. Happily the abuser doesn't really exist, but the cult is expert at manipulating emotions so that millions believe he is there and hates/loves them and they so deserve to be burned alive by the god who is love. Insane.
  13. Not really. They've been working on mRNA as a vaccine vector since about 2008. But they are doing actual research and that takes time and a lot of testing on non-humans first. The initial vaccines for this virus have had very few serious side effects, and nearly all new drugs tend to have some serious side effects for some people (remember the long list of horrible side effects on TV adverts for medicines?) Here's a blurb from 3 years ago talking about the research that had been going on for 10 years previously. It is new for use on humans, but the effects so far for the vast majority are a week or two of aches and odd feeling during the natural immune response to a virus (just the protein cover in this case) for which humans have no existing defense. https://www.nature.com/articles/nrd.2017.243?fbclid=IwAR3__H1z-bkYusKdu6NoKhSaRmbo1v54Ly6MfU9OgCQ2ZYnzn85IkXm6OXE And the FDA is doing serious research on the effects, and tabulating them using real science. Even with the emergency rush, they can't just rubber stamp it and call it science.
  14. My hunch is that next they will claim the FDA is corrupt, that it was rushed through, etc. If the CDC isn't believed, why the FDA? Meme:
  15. Also, the only reason any of you were together to begin with was that common belief. When that is gone, you are back to normal human interactions. Unless you were really buddies with someone, you have become of no interest to them. We were fairly close friends with a few Russian families, but our bond was Jesus. When we left the faith, there was no more common bond, only the shared experiences we had with them during those years. They have not forgotten those times and remember us with affection. A couple of them would still like us to come over for things like Easter or Christmas, but the others are in a despising "they're apostates, rejecting THELORDJESUSOURSAVIOR" mode. So that would be mighty awkward, and we just don't go. We do go to funerals when they tell us about them, but it is still an awkward time outside of the few that still like us. It is sad to see the fear and apprehension in the eyes of the others. That's what religion does to people when they feel like they have to mirror what their invisible friend feels.
  16. Not new at all. I remember a speaker at my church in the late 80s talking about "American Heritage" that the USA was really Israel, that we existed because of Manifest Destiny, that God was using our country as his chosen instrument to being the gospel to the world. But that was being "raped away from us" (hyperbole, what does that even mean?) by politicians controlled by the devil. Soon I noticed the word "heritage" being applied to Christian businesses and schools everywhere, much like "patriot" is being used now by RealAmericans™. The goal of influencing politics and taking power has long been a goal of those in the church, which is exactly why we need separation of church and state, and why the church tries every way possible to erode that concept. To them, belief trumps facts, and the act of doing that kind of belief is celebrated by the cult. It's a plague of stupidity that has been with humans around the globe for a very long time, and not just the Christian version.
  17. In some cases, they aren't ignorant of it, they see it as winning. Winning is ALL that matters ("Winning isn't everything; it is the only thing"), and lying, cheating, stealing, and killing are all part of the perceived game. The goal can be wealth, fame, political power, or just control over a spouse or children. Nevertheless, this very confidence does often lead to them staying in charge. In their view, the rules and introspection are for other idiots who don't know how to win. The televangelist years showed an endless parade of confident hucksters peddling religion to people that eagerly gobbled it up, and joined in the feeling of being part of a national movement of evangelical political action. Others (often the followers of the above leaders) who do tout their views as truth may well be ignorant of their stupidity and the havoc it creates. For personal integrity, the descriptions above are what others are choosing to be and do. Purposefully becoming what we want to embody involves choosing, succeeding, choosing, failing, choosing again. Failure isn't a matter of punishment or labeling as much as it is what we next choose to do. Observing our own emotions and behaviors is a good practice. I think that is called mindfulness, or at least is an aspect of that. I have to do this every hour with my remaining house cat, who is aging and a bit senile. I never wanted cats at all, the wife did, so my challenge is to be kind and good to these creatures that I wish were not in my house. Even when they vomit on the floor repeatedly. Even when one pissed all over a leather hide-a-bed and destroyed it for seemingly no reason. Even when he treats me as his cult object of affection when I don't want to ever hear him again. I failed repeatedly. But I also caught myself repeatedly and chose to act kindly to this relatively tiny being that depends on me. I still wish the remaining one would find her way to the "other side", but she hangs on. So I settle into a semi-routine of feeding her and giving her treats to make her last days as comfortable as I can, letting her sit on my lap and petting her for a while every morning. It really doesn't cost me much, and to her is very important. You can tell that I've thought about my behavior towards her a lot, and I often think of her as a lesson of sorts. What if the roles were reversed, and I had a single sound to communicate my every desire? "Mowr". What if there is a next life, and I'm her cat? How would I want to be treated and spoken to? Introspection is useful, but don't expect others to give a damn about what they have already concluded is truth or lies. Most people really don't introspect much. Some recent stories about politicians or influencers who were anti-vax until they caught the virus and died from it, regretting and recanting only on their death beds. Does that even change their families or followers? Not usually. They are used to belief being all important and unquestioned.
  18. Yeah, we don't typically see the standard ex-believer so much anymore. Not sure if it is an age thing or other forums that meet their needs. I've been here nearly 13 years but it doesn't seem like it. A lot of younger folks use apps for other kinds of forums. Maybe we'll get a huge wave of people who just haven't yet thought to search for ex-Christian like I did.
  19. I grew up with them and enjoy them. It is just odd that there is a strange god/gun/patriotism thing with so many believers today. I was watching a rant-cast by comedian Lewis Black where a listener wrote it that their right-wing family has ruined the American flag as a symbol because they use it on everything to endorse their new proud-to-be-stupid politics. The testoster-trucks raging down the roads locally have had the same effect for me. I nearly equate the flag now with rude fascist jerks who equate big loud trucks with being a good American. People gravitate to symbols, religious and political, so much that they equate them with what they are supposed to represent. And it gives them a reason to be enraged when someone disrespects their symbol. And the bigger the symbol the better! A local run-down motel was recently purchased by a avid Christian who wants to use it to help people get off drugs. Noble cause. But out in front is a giant glowing white cross fluorescent sign. Above that is a sign with a Harley engine and a skull, because Jesus and skeletons driving Harleys. I supposed it is advertising to the crowd he wants to attract. After deconversion, I've backed away from cherishing symbols or adorning myself with any. I do like the old Norse ones, but I have no business wearing them, nor do I really want to.
  20. Perhaps it comes from thinking of us as the new Israel, and in general having any "chosen people". Some nationalists have actually preached in churches I've attended and called America the new Israel (even though they support the actual country as well). It is a way for them to feel chosen by god and that their politics are automatically blessed and backed by god. The local anti-abortion crowd had a poster up last election saying "protecting the nation", but they didn't mention "from god's wrath if we don't stop abortion". They have since modified it to "seeking the common good", meaning the same thing but more nice-sounding.
  21. Candidate pushing for stupid as his cornerstone "PRO-GOD. PRO-GUN. PRO-TRUMP” "the Bible and the Constitution are not supposed to be separate” He asserts that the 2020 election was “stolen”
  22. Your ticket reminds me of the town in which I grew up. A university town, the cops would sit silently outside of parties and wait for coeds to make it to the sidewalk with a beer and then arrest them. Not ticket, arrest. They looked for any and every reason to pull people over and ticket them, I assume to keep money flowing in.
  23. My brother in law and his wife isolated their kids to prevent exactly this. 24/7 propaganda until their teen years. He is deeply driven by fear and rules, and it shows in his approach to life. Only he can free himself. The kids only social circles are within church and church camps. But there is always hope. It took me 30 years.
  24. This is where having a good spy network helps out tremendously.
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