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Everything posted by Fuego

  1. Hi Leo, good to hear from you again. I was contemplating the immature nature of the bible god last night since I'm going to be with family next week at a funeral. He really is a whiny little brat that likes to kill, and the only way to placate him is with lots of blood. Then he justifies all his petulant tantrums with "Hey, I'm holy. ...bitch". Most humans that we label holy tend to be super kind and good, not set people on fire for some twisted sense of justice. Actually, a lot of the ancient gods were like that. People wanted to explain the randomness of why shit happens to good people and such, I suppose. Medusa was once a beautiful virgin in service to Athena (goddess of war). Poseidon (god of the ocean) saw her, raped her to spite Athena, and left her there in the temple. Athena saw that she was no longer a virgin (and technically Poseidon's wife now) and booted her out and cursed her to be hideous. The story of the Odyssey was Homer's way of saying that without the gods, man is nothing. So the cult mindset has been around in many forms for a long time.
  2. A hunch is a suspicion that something could be true. We can then follow up on a hunch to see if it has any supporting evidence. This is how a lot of science starts, and is then followed up with well-designed tests to see if the hunch is really worth pursuing. A belief is more of a conclusion that it is probably true or is true, with little evidence or without evidence. Saying "I believe in unicorns" is essentially saying that they are real, a conclusion without evidence. But the original question you posed was, how open should we be to things that are not proved. If the things have a rational basis, with at least some actual evidence pointing to them, then we can see if the hunch plays out or not. But the more fanciful and "magic" the claims are, the less credence we can give to them until further evidence is available (and a plethora of believers isn't evidence). I can claim to be from Venus, and speak some other language as evidence, but from what we know of Venus it is not compatible with human life and if I cannot provide evidence of a ship or something more, then my claim is likely not true and can be regarded as a lie. Evidence against my claim is talking with my family, showing my birth certificate showing I was born in the USA, school pictures, and so on. Some people will still claim that things are true even when factual evidence is shown to disprove their claims. That is called being stupid and stubborn. Con artists love people like that, because they can be scammed for a lot of money. Other cons just like the control it gives them over such people.
  3. The burden of proof lies upon the one making the claim. There is no evidence of unicorns, therefore no reason to conclude they exist. Nor is there any reason to be open minded about it, any more than the existence of Gramblyfudds or Qualfidnerds. Those making the claims can submit evidence, but until then there is no point giving any credence to the claims. Belief is a substitute for knowing, but goes beyond a hunch to more of a conclusion based on desire for the thing. I can have a hunch that there are yet unknown species of life on Earth, and since we occasionally find them, that is even likely that we haven't seen every kind of creature or plant. Unicorns are a myth from a time of pre-science when all kinds of magic were feared and regarded as true without proof. Eventually, through the development of logic and much scientific inquiry we can safely say they have no basis in reality. I could even have a hunch that there could be life elsewhere in the universe. But to conclude it by saying I believe is going beyond the guess. Trying to draw up odds is not possible since we don't know how life starts in the first place.
  4. In case you were wondering, Ecclesiastes 10:2 "The heart of the wise inclines to the right, but the heart of the fool to the left.", and then later the sheep and the goats being divided to the right and left. Like most of the proverb writings, there is no explanation, so believers just see it as a deep truth instead of "I wrote down some bullshit and millions will suffer because of it".
  5. I still do speak in tongues, especially when lifting heavy things, to the amusement of my coworkers. Other times I find it popping out when I remember something embarrassing, I guess as an emotional defensive measure. It is gibberish. Most of those who do it have a pat-phrase they use over and over, or follow a pattern. It's easy once you get started doing it. The first time a lady pentecostal preacher cornered me to force it out of me, I spoke a phrase in Aztec (Nahuatl) and she was satisfied. I smirked as I turned and left. So much for discernment. Now the other parts about feeling power, heat, and such I also felt and have no explanation yet for them. It does fit in seamlessly with the other woo my wife follows. She thinks it has something to do with other people being in a similar mindset in one space. When I felt it, it was the exact caricature of the Shaker/Quaker namesake behavior. I felt a buzzing in my center of gravity just below the navel, and it began zipping up and down through my body and my hands began trembling and shaking. I liken it to a stretched-out Slinky toy being twanged on one end, and you can watch the kinetic energy travel down the metal and back. It remained focused in that one spot below my navel. I didn't tell my wife initially, but she described the same sensation at that meeting, so that was very interesting. She's felt something similar at secular gatherings like UFO conferences, so thinks it is something to do with people sharing some kind of energy. I honestly don't know what it is, but have felt it more than once. Another time, I was with a small bible group and felt heat pouring down like I was under a heating vent. Another lady there was fanning herself madly, but there was no vent. No idea why this sort of thing happens. I've heard about group hypnosis, but am not sure that is an adequate explanation. So far, I don't have an answer that satisfies me, so I say I don't know.
  6. Have the computer in a common family area. If they have phones or tablets, that makes it more difficult. One of the things they need to understand is that there are bad people that will pretend to be friends, and not to meet up with them without family being there. Sometimes those bad people want pictures and things, or will threaten to embarrass or harm them if they don't cooperate. The children need to know that you are there to guide them and help them, not shame them if they did get suckered in by someone. OpenDNS isn't really a filtering method. DNS is how a computer takes a website name and converts it to a number (IP address) so it can actually go to the website. OpenDNS is a way to get around using Comcast or whatever provider's DNS service. It may be faster, more reliable, not divert you to advertisers first and then to what you clicked, and so on. I've been using it for several years and it works well.
  7. No, I dabbled with witchcraft and such for a while, but relaxed into more of a respect for nature and its cycles, connection with the other living things this planet has spawned, and possibly with others elsewhere. Nature isn't really kind, life eats life or at least the remnants. The old song "Old Man River" tells us that nature has been here forever and "must know something, but he don't say nothing, he just keeps rollin' along" not caring if we live or suffer or die. But we are part of it, and I see the cycles of life, and see that many creatures can express kindness and gratitude for kindness, perhaps because it isn't all that common in nature. I see us trashing it at every turn, shitting in our water bowl for money. It can't last much longer. Something will survive and the landscape will change, new things will arise. Maybe something will evolve to eat all the plastic we made. Here's a famous quote from Carl Sagan about this little planet Carl Sagan in his 1994 book, "Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in Space." Here's what he wrote about this photo of Earth from 12 billion miles away (Voyager spacecraft): "From this distant vantage point, the Earth might not seem of any particular interest. But for us, it's different. Consider again that dot. That's here. That's home. That's us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every 'superstar,' every 'supreme leader,' every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there - on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam. The Earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena. Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors so that in glory and triumph they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot. Think of the endless cruelties visited by the inhabitants of one corner of this pixel on the scarcely distinguishable inhabitants of some other corner. How frequent their misunderstandings, how eager they are to kill one another, how fervent their hatreds. Our posturings, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the universe, are challenged by this point of pale light. Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity - in all this vastness - there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves. The Earth is the only world known, so far, to harbor life. There is nowhere else, at least in the near future, to which our species could migrate. Visit, yes. Settle, not yet. Like it or not, for the moment, the Earth is where we make our stand. It has been said that astronomy is a humbling and character-building experience. There is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world. To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly with one another and to preserve and cherish the pale blue dot, the only home we've ever known."
  8. I had gobs of them. I tossed most of them. Some were ornamental and look good on a shelf. For reference, I use the BibleGateway website.
  9. I recall the inherently double-minded lives that many of us led, feeling the natural lusts built-into all mammals, but insistent that we were born-again and somehow above that sort of thing. Then PORN PORN PORN, or at least wanking to the Amy Grant album covers, or to various women or girls at church, then weeping over this awful sin, then right back to it, then... And after hearing all the crap women faced from various pastors, it doesn't surprise me to hear so many criminal stories come out of the same thing. Sex is one of the most powerful drives, and once a guy thinks he's in the clear to indulge, he is like a crack-head about to get his next fix especially if he is repressed all the rest of the time for normal outlets (as many Christians are). I've always been surprised by the guys that are willing to murder kids, some repeatedly. I suppose that fear is the next biggest motivator, but damn. Pastors that are rabidly anti-gay are often found hooking up with guys at bars. Others find hookers. I knew one couple at church that seemed oddly matched. She was far more cool, and he was kind of a dorky conformist guy. I saw her at an outdoor concert with a buff dude, and realized that she wasn't settling at all for the dork. They broke up not too long after. Sexual repression is a huge problem, and is caused by believing a lie about being born-again, incorruptible, pure light shining in darkness, blah blah blah. And lust... oooh it's so baaad. Believing bullshit about normal drives and believing bullshit about sky-dwelling saviors is what causes part of it. But I also see a ton of the same kind of "incel" (involuntary celibates) on sites like 4chan, where guys have never learned at all how to be attractive, so refer to women as bitches, sluts, whores, and post nasty pics of their favorite fetishes, none of which they will ever get to do because they are so isolated from real females and know nothing about the mating game. Frustration leads to derogatory name calling and weird shit instead of normal sex. I'd imagine that many of the guys in church are in this same category, expecting some kind of magic blessing to lead to a mate. I recall being frustrated that church never taught me anything about courting a woman, only about how to keep a marriage alive (which has come in handy in marriage). I finally resorted to a book "How to pick up beautiful women" that isn't nearly as sleazy as it sounds. It worked, and still does for my age group.
  10. The challenge in finding non-believers, particularly those with a Christian background who have left, is that we don't tend to form groups. Other than this website, my new crowd are jazz musicians and most are not believers. Among the musicians, there are a few cultural Lutherans, one very loose Catholic, three who are 3/4 fundamentalist (which is rare and I don't hang with them), and the rest are just humans who like to make music. It has helped with de-converting to get around regular human adults that don't have imaginary friends who control reality. It also is a great emotional release to pour myself into music and click-in with the vibe of the music. But I doubt many of them would understand some of my emotions surrounding the faith, or why I won't sing some songs that echo belief (and there are quite a few songs like that, esp around Xmas).
  11. Yes, and it is given a default respect instead of default creepy-feeling of a cult. The idea of sin, the myth stories of the magic fruit tree, Noah, Goliath, etc are all way too familiar in our culture. If the religion had been reduced down to kindness, forgiveness, sharing your stuff, feeding the hungry, then it would have been an amazing thing instead of a psychotic blood cult focused on a payment for "forgiveness" and damnation in fire for everyone else. If there were buildings on every corner where people really thought that Spiderman was in charge of reality, and would weep knowing that they aren't being as obedient to his spidey-sense as they should be, all of them striving to be radioactive, and pushing for laws that reflected their beliefs since they ARE REALITY after all, would their beliefs be respected? How about the ones that really think they are part of Star Fleet and dress the part? Not the cosplayers, the ones that really do believe it is real. But if there were millions of them, and had been for centuries, and had sway over the cultures around us...
  12. ...and then their foul reply "Well, you can CHOOSE to BELIEVE that if you want...blah blah blah." I was pondering this morning how believers in the cult are conditioned to think of non-believers as "rejecting" Jesus, when really nobody gives him any more thought than Thor.
  13. The church has been hating and killing for a very long time. Ever read Foxe's Book of Martyrs? The descriptions of the inquisition tortures (often for stupid things like listing the 10 commandments in the wrong order) were so cruel, and in front of other family members who were then also killed slowly. It is written from a Christian perspective, but the ruin the church poured out on "heretics" was horrible and justified by labeling anything "other" as a deception of Satan. Read through Peter (or even the words of Jesus) some time and see how he labels unbelievers as dogs, weeds fit only to be burned, pigs that wallow in shit, as compared with the pure, clean, upright believers. That's where all this crap comes from. Believers actually see themselves as pure light in a world of darkness and demonic possession. And a lot of them are lawmakers, judges, and enforcers.
  14. Lots of other guys out there, no sense in sticking with one that is on the crazy train. Crazy can be a lot of things, but you seem to already know how he obsesses. With religion, he'll have others from the cult telling him it's all true, so that will make it nearly impossible to escape. He'll be doing his best to get you onboard also. Then you can look forward to a lifetime of the crazy shell-game of religion, won't that be wonderful? Best to cut and run and don't look back, in my opinion.
  15. "To be fair, Evangelicalism is not a monolith. Some Evangelicals eschew one or more of these teachings. Also to be fair, theologians proffer complicated work-arounds for all of them." This shell game is another mind-fuck, and it takes a lot of forms. "MY God isn't like that, my God is ___". I just witnessed this on Facebook where a psychic medium talked about Jesus being one of her guides, and an Evangelical objected. The medium countered that she has a relationship with Jesus and no one gets to judge that... This is a demonstration of the spectrum of belief surrounding Jesus. For believers, claim a promise, any promise... go ahead. When it utterly fails to happen, get this... IT STILL HAPPENED because he's faithful all the time, it just looks different than what you expected (the shell game). Alternatively, you may hear that God can say no. Even when he promised. But that's for your own good. Or you may hear that he's not a cosmic vending machine that dances to our tunes (how's that for a mixed metaphor?). Go ahead and object to all this falderal and you'll hear "Well, now you're just being contentious" like that's a bad thing. Contending for truth is a good thing. What they mean is you aren't submitting to their explanation and continuing to be a naive sheep that only goes with the flow and gives money. I went to church with a guy back in my Nazarene days, he had a ton of issues that the church didn't want to deal with, and he complains out loud about God failing. But he keeps going. He was in a Bible study bringing up issues, and the lady running it shut him down. But he keeps going. I wish I could talk to him now and see if it is just a social circle thing. He would do a lot better with a different circle. He also seemed gay now that I think back, but he'd probably never admit that.
  16. It is yet another group that says all the others have it wrong. Their catch line is that faith in Jesus isn't what a lot of people think, it has to do with obedience. "To believe in Jesus is to believe in his words and obey his words." They have lots of smiling videos and testimonies of transformation, like all tech savvy groups these days. They imply that this is the "last" one, giving a sense of "Yeah! We're doing it right! We're going to transform the world!" Which is basically what every high-school/college believer wants to think. Back in my day it was a cult group called Maranatha, extremely controlling, manipulating emotions, and look we have a major sports star!!! They hurt a lot of people through the psychological pressure they used. I had a buddy end up in a psycho ward for a while after he went full manic thinking he was a prophet meant to save all of Korea. He stopped sleeping, wouldn't listen to reason, was convinced he was hearing directly from God, all the usual manic-break stuff (I've seen it a handful of times now). He crashed hard and slept for days, and was feeling like a failure for a long time but pulled out of it and it doing well now. So, yes it is a cult. Then again, Christianity is a cult with many faces. Even the mediocre social versions are like a virus waiting to mutate in someone that suddenly takes it seriously. The Bible isn't historically valid, the stories are just stories, the gospels are not eyewitness accounts, the miracles didn't happen, Moses and the Exodus never happened, there was no magic fruit tree and a talking snake, nobody outside of the cult ever noticed Jesus and his multitudes and miracles (they didn't happen), nobody noticed people rising from the dead in Jerusalem when Jesus died (because they didn't). Christianity is a shell game of someone thinking they found a great secret, and then constantly moving it around while throngs of people try to follow the hidden pea. Then they are told even when the "great and precious promises" fall flat that God still answered and is faithful all the time, it just looks different than they expected.
  17. Any chance you can quit going home for the holidays? Maybe a friend's family as a substitute, or go visit a new place? Family is overrated as important. In the end, they are just people. My own religious family never initiates contact with me unless there's been a death or something big. When a family has a bunch of insane beliefs that rule their lives, there is no point in being around them, especially if they are causing you such turmoil and disrespecting your boundaries. That means they still see you as a child. I remember that I was taught in church men's meetings to disrespect boundaries of common privacy because we were "our brother's keeper", and had to make sure that people were being holy, for their sake and so god wouldn't punish the church for disobedience (LOTS of bible examples of that kind of insane behavior). There is no good that can come from such crazy-making people.
  18. I was wondering also, though I don't miss the snarky nasty stuff.
  19. Howdy! My social circle disappeared after leaving church. I started doing things that I enjoyed and ended up finding a new circle of people. I'd call a few of them friends, most are still at a social level. About 12 years ago, I took voice lessons and at the nudge of a friend started singing at a jazz club, piano bars, jazz jams, and such. It was fun, scary, challenging, and got me out with other people doing creative things. There are a few Christian-Lite (mostly Catholic or Lutheran) people, but most are not. I've only encountered one mostly-fundy (who is an outstanding jazz singer) but that's rare. I never hear from the old crowd at all, or even most of my believer family. I'm fine with that for the most part. The cult has a lot more power down where you live, and is so part of the social culture that its hard to escape it. Besides bars, you might try the arts communities and see if you click with anything. Artists tend to think more freely.
  20. Thank you, I appreciate that.
  21. Things like that are reality smacking them in the face, but the social pressure to fit in at church, and to not admit having spent years on a lie, are emotionally huge. My brother lost a child to a stupid accident (slid on ice over a cliff with his girlfriend) and they had to turn it into a witnessing opportunity, and claim at every point how they didn't know how they could have made it without Jesus helping them. It is truly sad to see people so caught in a trap like this.
  22. And sadly the True Believers™ that remain are more entrenched than ever. I tried engaging one on why her god hadn't responded to some recent tragedies. Kablooie, Blocked. Happily, the same attitude is valuable in showing non-believers the cult nature of the church.
  23. Most people convert because a friend or someone convinced them that "God loves you!!!!" I saw people come in from several 12-step programs that are dependent on a higher-power belief. A few come to a church play and get sniffly over Jesus being crucified, and fall for the bait about it being "all for you". Back in the day, hell and damnation were threats that seemed to work on some people, but usually in cultures that were already steeped in Christianity. All that to say that people don't convert because of philosophy or facts, but emotional manipulation and a feeling of belonging. The gospel is set up to create a sort of Stockholm Syndrome where the abusive god of the Bible becomes seen by his victims as the ultimate source of love and good, and they won't hear anything to the contrary (Don't piss Him off, he'll hurt us!).
  24. Yeah, my main goal in this is to translate the "Where the hell did this come from?" that I keep hearing. I've had one more comment from a lady that saw someone actually say that abortion clinics were offering babies to Satanists. That's a less common myth in fundy circles, but not entirely uncommon. In my experience with church, "I heard" often equates to "fact" in the minds of many. I guess that applies to social media also.
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