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Eugene39

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Everything posted by Eugene39

  1. My dad died a little over a month ago. He and I had been estranged since mid-2014. He couldn't grasp the fact that one of his kids had left Christianity, gotten divorced and remarried. Thankfully, on one of his most lucid days, he and I talked small talk for a few minutes, and also told each other that we were glad to hear each other voices again. The next time we "talked", he was not able to talk anymore, but I was able to tell him how much I appreciated the good things ( I prepared a letter ahead of time to read to him) that he had taught me, and done for me. He died a few days later. Due to a completely f---ed up ex-wife situation, I didn't go to the funeral, but went out a few weeks later. I sat by his side in the cemetery and wrote and cried for a couple of hours. I don't know why I'm writing this. Sometimes we have to do things that seem unconventional to others. But it's okay. Trust yourself that you are doing the best you can in the situation that you've found yourself in. Take care.
  2. Hi Jadr. Welcome to Ex-C. First of all, congratulations on thinking your way out before you were 23. That makes me jealous. Yes, it's hard to lose what you've always known, but many of us have had to leave our birth family behind. It's natural for living things to remove themselves from toxic environments. My mind still knows what they think about me, but being physically removed from it is extremely helpful. My experience has been that discussions with family aren't helpful. Pointless is a word that comes to mind. What about the possibility of removing yourself from the situation. The planning of these things doesn't happen overnight, although the carrying through with your plan might.
  3. I am one of those of whom you speak! One of the attributes of God that was pounded into me was that He was unchanging. So imagine my surprise when I find three passages in Jeremiah where God reveals that it has never crossed His mind to have anyone sacrifice their children. What about Isaac? And later on, what about Jesus? Also why the confusion about whether salvation consists of faith + works, or faith - works? If there was anything whatsoever that it seems that God would want to be coherent about, wouldn't it be what salvation is? You appear to be new here. Welcome to Ex-C!
  4. I'd forgotten about that song. Goes good with gin and tonic.
  5. Ecclesiastes is my favourite book of the Bible, and the only one that's even worth reading. Obviously, I don't take it literally, but do find it interesting that literature written over 2000 years ago reads like it could have been written today. In my opinion, the book ends at 12:8, with the rest of it being "filler", because the original ending is so sad. But I have given thought to trying to figure out from the book of Ecclesiastes, what are the "commandments of God" that the ending could be talking about. The only thread that seems to be that common is enjoying your food, drink, wife, labour, etc. Be reasonably hedonist perhaps?
  6. Hi Salemite. I'll be 50 next year and I de-converted when I was 39. I have so many regrets, and feel like every big life decision that I made prior to de-converting was the wrong one. Since de-converting, I've been divorced, remarried, and now live on the other side of the country, and these were good decisions. My (now) wife similarly has lots of regrets as her life followed much the same path as mine did. (Coincidentally, we met here on Ex-C.) The "would have, should have" battle is strong for both of us at times. Just the other day, I was telling her that I wish I could just erase the quarter century between when I was 16 / 17 years old and almost figured out that Christianity was nonsense up into my mid forties. To me, it's a sign of a personality type of being a deeper thinker than most. I won't ever understand the people who have no regrets. All I really know to say is that you are certainly not alone in this.
  7. Hi Reduced, yes, I remember those days. It's been ten years ago now for me. I found it healthy to take "time off" from trying to figure it out. Is there a park nearby that you can escape to "Mother Nature" for awhile, away from the Christians and the Internet?
  8. You too? We were at least allowed to play quietly indoors and didn't have to stay dressed up. Then back to church in the evening for Bible study, and then the Sunday evening service was frequently another sermon on hell.
  9. Well, crap. He had asked for people to give him contradictions in the Bible for him to explain. Guess I still have to wait.
  10. One of the things that caught my attention was Genesis 22: 1-14 vs. Jeremiah 7:31, 19:5, and 32:35. The God of Jeremiah seems to have no recollection of ever having thought of someone sacrificing their children by fire.
  11. Wow, that's a lot to have gone through. I'll just double down on what Rounin said. Have any paperwork that you are ever going to need already out. If there's family pictures that you think you may want later, scan them into the cloud. Definitely telling them after you've already gone is good. In my situation, I went 2000 miles away, so hopefully they don't try to chase you since you're only going to be 3 1/2 hours away. Somehow relaying to them that you are safe in a new location seems sufficient (and kind), until you can sort out what is best in the future. It's 5 years after my exit, and still am trying to navigate my relationships with my family. Other than the two that I am safe with, I don't reach out to any of them. So far, nothing too weird has happened. Dad has mentioned in writing a couple of times that he'd like to see me again, but he has no interest in my life now and acknowledges nothing of my current life if I happen to offer anything, so it's confusing to me why he seems to want to see me again. Relationships are a dance. I'm completely with you that some of them just aren't worth the stress and chaos. I'll acknowledge that there is certainly stress and chaos removing yourself from them. Over time, the pain is less sharp. Best wishes, and I hope that you'll update us occasionally.
  12. Eugene39

    Hell

    Hi Larry, It sounds like you and I had similar backgrounds, and a nightmare about hell from when I was just a kid is still vivid to me, and while awake, things weren't any better. This might sound silly, but just starting the use the word hell as a curse word was a big step forward for me. And I did a lot of reading about the origins of hell. Today, I view it as an ancient myth, and nothing more. But honestly, if for some reason, I were to end up sitting in a hell fire and brimstone message again, it would probably trigger me.
  13. My thoughts on getting married young is that it's quite likely a bad idea. My ex-wife and I met at Bible college, and we had no idea then who we even were as people. Marriage needs to be thought of as more of a legal contract than what it typically is. Marriage can be complicated and lots of work. It's certainly nothing to rush into simply so one can get laid. It pays to know what the other person is at their worst. Because if your marriage does end, that will all be dumped on you.
  14. I watched the video last evening and found it interesting. It certainly doesn't fit with Bishop Spong's ideas that he wrote about in his book "Biblical Literalism: A Gentile Heresy" which seems to be a more logical possibility to me of how the gospels were created. My biggest hang-up though is what do we do with the Apostle Paul's writings. He doesn't seem to know anything about Jesus' life other than the last supper scene, but he does mention a person named Jesus. If Jesus was completely an allegory invented far later by Josephus, then Paul shouldn't have known about him.
  15. @Overcame Faith There's a member that I've not seen in a while! It's good to hear from you and that you are doing well. I also came along in 2009, but you were quite a bit further along than I was. There's been a lot of water go under the bridge. I had tried to keep going to church with my then wife just to keep things at an equilibrium, but I couldn't handle it. While our marriage had really been over with for years, she and I broke up in 2014 after 22 years of marriage. Later, I started long distance dating @ilovemybrain and we got married in 2016. We are doing well. We're both thankful that we had an opportunity to reset and restart our lives. Anyway, thanks for stopping by and saying Hi.
  16. Dear Eugene, I'm now 47, and saw that someone had written a letter to their 16 year old self. It seems like a good idea, so here goes. When you were 16, your sexuality had been spun as a possible pathway that could be the complete undoing of you, and you would burn in hell for eternity. You were taught that masturbation was a pathway to eternal damnation. You had been subjected to repeated sermons about hell during your formative years. The terrors you faced had never gone away. Then, your creator made you with feelings that by simply expressing them, they could send you to hell. You really internalized this, and after so many defeats with the battle against masturbation, you felt like the best solution was to end your life, since you were going to hell anyway. Might as well kill yourself and get there sooner than later. In fact, why not kill yourself like Judas did, because in your very depressed state, you believed that you had also failed the Lord and would never be able to be pure enough to make it to heaven. You would fail sometime, and God would kill you, and in such a manner as to ensure that everyone would know that the power of sexuality had won, and everyone would know that you were in hell. So you looked for something that could serve as a gallows, and noticed that the barn next door had a wooden beam across it, and there was a rope in the attic. You would be able to kill yourself at a moment's notice. Interestingly enough, the knowledge that there was a way out would be what would keep you alive. So thirty-one years later, what would I tell myself? Delve into the doubts that you are having about God, namely why would a loving God give someone a desire that could take them to hell. This was an desire that welled up from within yourself, with seemingly no satisfying it without expressing it. So Eugene, make a special note of this next sentence. Doubts about things that you are being told, are your friends. Cherish your new friend Doubt, keep him alive and treat him well. Doubt will lead you out of this situation. You will come to realize that your God that is treating you so horribly is nonexistent. With the realization that this God isn't there, this will lead you to understand that his threats of hell are also nonexistent. You will eventually understand that yes, your sexuality can be an enemy if you use it incorrectly. Casual, unprotected sex with strangers is a bad idea, but the sexual union that occurs between two people who deeply love and respect each other is almost, sorry for the pun, heavenly! You will eventually understand that you don't have to be married to express your sexuality. And by following doubt, you can eventually understand that maybe there never even was a Judas, or even...a Jesus? It's just a made up story so that a new religion would have stories of its origins. Everything that I have mentioned up to this point has been completely intellectual. What about your 16 year old emotions? You are damaged...badly. You have been living in a world of completely conditional love. A God who loves you, but due to bad choices on your part, has to burn you in hell forever. I think you should understand the emotional damage done because when you weren't being beat over the head with hell, then it was about the rapture, and you would be an abandoned child in a wicked world while Armageddon approached, and then be cast into the lake of fire at the end of it all. Learn to love yourself as a person because you've never been allowed to experience that. Be with people who love themselves, people who are nonjudgmental and while realizing that we all make mistakes, it doesn't mean that you are a bad person that deserves to go to hell. It means you are human. And being human is good enough. You are not born desperately wicked. God didn't have to sacrifice his son for you. There isn't any God who has to do something to you in order to make you good enough. OMG, it's been 9 years since I deconverted, and I am literally sitting here crying like a baby because for truly the first time, I have realized that I am good enough without God. I can finally, finally let this go. I remember that I used to cry like this sometimes when I would come back to Jesus. It's weird that I'm crying when I finally let him go. And now you are free. Free only because you trusted to, and listened to your old friend Doubt. In fact, listen to him as hard as you listened to God. Just remember, that some people think that Doubt comes from the Devil, and is the enemy of God. Doubt is the enemy of God, but it doesn't come from the Devil. Turns out that God created the Devil to keep you believing in God. So 16 year Eugene, follow those doubts. They will lead you out of the foggy maze of darkness to a life of happiness and sunshine. Life won't always be good, but life can be good. Give yourself a long hug, followed by a quick squeeze. And an hand on your arm, telling you that everything will be alright. You are safe to be following your doubts. Scripture is best thought of as a bunch of stories that tell the origins of a religion. It isn't a bully pulpit. Are there truths in it? Certainly. There's a lot about the struggles of living life. Occasionally, there is even people who are wondering why there are no good answers to the unanswerable questions of life. It's a book of opinions. It's just like any editorial you could read in a paper, or someone's blog post. You don't believe every one of those that you read. The Bible is the same way. Just because something is written, doesn't mean that you have to agree with it. And while you're at it, go ahead and masturbate tonight. Do it twice if the first time didn't rid you of all your sex drive. If there is a God who is cognitive of the fact that you masturbate, he would be pleased to know that you are expressing your natural sexuality in a wholesome way that doesn't harm anyone. And if God is watching you masturbate, he is one sick individual! Sincerely, Your now 47 year old self is looking back, his eyes filled with pain, at his old 16 year old self, loving him, even though knowing that he would not follow his doubts, and would end up living 23 more years of “Dark Ages”. But, in the end, he would make it out. Not unscathed, but he would make it. Not without scars, but he would make it. He would make it because he finally chose to follow his doubts after reading the book through in its entirety that this God supposedly wrote. The book is a completely tangled mess that one can never undo if you try to view it as the coherent thought of one person - a scary guy who lives in the sky. Seriously, that's all it is. A story of a big, loving yet scary guy living in the sky. Instead of looking for a scary guy in the sky, you can look into the sky and be amazed at the wonders that are visible there. Worlds that we'll never understand. Why is there a world...in the first place? Does it matter? Not really. Our consciousness is a gift that we can use to explore this world. We'll never understand our universe or our consciousness - either one. All we need to do is to want the best for everyone else and ourselves, and also treat each other that way. Just love yourself, and also your fellow travelers of consciousness. Loving our fellow travelers also means that we can't be waiting for magical beings to come out of the sky and fix everything. If it gets fixed, it's because we did it. One last, long hug from your 47 year old self, finished with a quick squeeze. And he flashes a smile, then turns away, and disappears.
  17. Eugene is my middle name. I was 39 when I deconverted.
  18. I read it clear through because my SS teacher challenged us to read it through in a year. And it's why I'm no longer a Christian.
  19. My wife is in recovery for alcohol addiction, and was very put off by the 12 step mentality. So she went looking online and found smartrecovery.org (SMART = Self Management and Recovery Training) which is evidence based (rational emotive behavior therapy) and far more empowering than 12 step programs. It is not dogmatic at all, and takes into account the fact that each person is a unique individual and has the power of choice. It has really helped her and given her practical tools to get sober and get her life back on track. You may want to check it out and see if there's anything there that can help you.
  20. Hi Heimer and welcome to Ex-C. I can certainly relate to the fear of hell and am also glad to be over that phase of leaving faith. Just re-reading what you've written, it appears that you are on the way to a healthier you. Recognizing that there are problems is a big step forward. It's good that you are seeking professional help. These things weren't broken overnight and they won't be fixed overnight. A book that was a great help to me when I left about 8 years ago was "Leaving the Fold" by Marlene Winell. There are three sections to the book: sorting it out, healing, and growth. There are used copies available on Amazon for around $20. Looking forward to seeing you around on the forums.
  21. Hi TrueArrow. I gather that the common ground that you and your wife had originally was that you were both praying to find a spouse. Were there other areas of common ground?
  22. Unless it's absolutely necessary, I don't know that I would respond. Neither of you are going to change your minds by talking about it. And it appears that she is expecting you to "run away". It's difficult losing your friends. Unfortunately, it's just part of the fallout, and I too wish that it wasn't that way.
  23. Good topic! Ditto for a lot of the Christianity stuff mentioned here. As far as something not related to Christianity, astro-meterology would be high on the list.
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