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Discern last won the day on August 24 2012

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About Discern

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  • Still have any Gods? If so, who or what?
    Outlook not so good.
  1. What's messed up is that God is up there apparently punishing you, but you don't really know that for sure. Is it just coincidence or is it really because you doubted his existence? What kind of messed up father is that? What dad punishes his child but doesn't clearly tell them why? Just makes them sit in the dark, their mind in torment making guesses as to why they're being punished. That just doesn't make sense coming from a supposedly loving God. If God is going to punish you for something, he needs to get off his ass, come down, and make it crystal clear what he's doing and why he's doing it. Otherwise it's his own damn fault if you don't 'listen' to him.
  2. This is exactly right. The world around us shows that the omnipotent, loving god described in the bible is incompetent or just plain evil. He knew all this suffering would occur, yet went along with his sick plan anyway, hoping to save a handful with his Bible that no one can interpret properly, while the rest of us suffer in this life and the next. Man if I were God things would be amazing. This is something that I've realized to a fuller extent recently. Fundamental christianity impacted every tiny facet of my family. Growing up, my home was like a mini version of the church we attended. Authoritarian, black and white, you're afraid to speak anything negative, put on a happy face because you're supposed to be a christian, mock every part of science that doesn't align with young-earth creationism, and so on. For almost any topic of conversation, fundamentalism has its dirty judgmental fingerprints all over it. Which makes it hard to have any kind of relationship with family members. No matter what you discuss, there is a christian opinion on it, and if you don't agree then you're deceived by Satan. Having a decent conversation with my parents is like navigating through landmines.
  3. electech98 - I'm sure you 'came out' to your wife at the right time. My parents live in the same city as me, though I didn't come out to them for 8 months. I just didn't feel the timing was right (I wanted to do more research and be able to defend more arguments). However with my own wife, it was pretty much within 20min of my realization that I told her, "I just don't know about the bible". We were attending a fundamentalist church, but she has always thought outside the box, so I knew I could bring the subject up. She didn't grow up in it, but I did so I was thoroughly indoctrinated. She still believes in god, but not so dedicated. I think with me being an unbeliever, it has allowed her to be honest about her own doubts about christianity - such as divine healing, whether prayer is actually useful, whether the whole bible can be trusted, and so on. If however, I had married my previous girlfriend who, like me, had grown up in fundamentalism, I likely would've told her 8 months later when I told my parents. When you talk about your wife, it reminds me of my previous girlfriend. She would get all starry-eyed thinking about raising good little church kids, being a pastor's wife, serving her godly husband, and so on. Basically living the 'dream' instilled in us by our fundamentalist church. It's hard to know when to bring up the hardcore details of why you no longer believe. I always find it better to wait for them to ask the questions. That way you're not actually forcing it on them and they might actually listen to you. The sad thing is, of the people that I've come out to, most of them did not ask about the specifics. And the interesting thing is, for those that I've started talking about specifics to ("..So one thing I wondered was why Jews don't believe Jesus was the Messiah..."), the conversation gets shut down VERY quickly. Unless they've opened the door at least a tiny bit, there is no way they're going to allow you to question their core doctrines. So it's a tough game. Even little comments you make, trying to get them to think, will bounce right off them because they think you're just a bitter backslider. So in the end, it usually seems better if they open the door first.
  4. Yeah, for about 4-5 months before I became an atheist, I had all but given up in prayer because I was so sick of the ambiguous nature of the God I served, and I wanted tangible evidence he actually existed. The only prayer I prayed was basically "If you're real, I need you to show me". Aside from that, I didn't pray a thing. After going from every day in prayer, to five months of no prayer at all, you know what happened? Nothing. Nothing happened to me that was any different than when I prayed every single day. I had ups, I had downs. I had blessings, I had problems. According to my fundamentalism, my whole world should've been crashing down around me - without prayer, my life should be in shambles! But it just reminded me of some of the only good advice Jesus gave: It rains on the just and the unjust alike. My "Magic Eight Ball of God" had been exposed.
  5. But Jesus says "My yoke is easy, and My burden is light"! If that's not your christian experience, then it must be your fault, not His! It's funny how every failing of God is always your fault for not having enough faith or not being holy enough. Yeah, I got sick of all my answers to prayer being no different than chance, coincidence, or luck. At the end of the day, any benefits I got in life could be traced back to chance or simply my own efforts. It wasn't God that got me the job, it was my friend emailing me the advertisement, and me putting in the effort to send in a resume. There was simply no evidence that God ever got involved in the process. Then when you desperately need an answer from God, like "are you even real?" The heavens are silent. He sure doesn't put any effort in to save his own beloved children from rejecting him.
  6. After coming out of my fundamentalist cult sect, I realized through other ex-members that I was basically a victim of spiritual abuse, which seems to be along the same lines as religious trauma. An ex-member recommended a book called The Subtle Power of Spiritual Abuse. I couldn't put the book down. Almost everything in the book described the actions of my church. The book is written by christians (I was still a christian when I left that church), so the advice may be limited given that you're an ex-christian now. Though you can always read the reviews and see if it's something you might find useful. You may want to use the keyword "spiritual abuse" in your internet searches, and see if that brings you some helpful links. On a personal note, being indoctrinated from a young age into fundamentalism had a huge effect on me, and I would have to admit that I am still working my way through it. It affects every single aspect of your life: how you perceive others, what your worldview is like, how you deal with emotions, how you don't deal with emotions, your personality, and so on. What makes it worse is that there are few psychologists that have experience with the subject, so the only real help for these ex-members is other ex-members. The most therapeutic thing I did to shake off those mindsets was talking to others that had come out of the same church.
  7. Yeah, if it's the truth, then they've got nothing to worry about. Researching christianity or any other subject should only confirm your beliefs if it's the truth, not make you doubt even more.
  8. Yeah it seems those of us that took christianity and doctrine more devoutly than others makes us more likely to become strong de-converts. I've been asked the question, "what books did you read that caused you to make your decision?". It wasn't any particular book, the bible simply refutes itself. It's just whether you have the guts to be open-minded about it. At the moment I still attend church occasionally mainly to see friends. But going to church also confirms what rubbish the whole thing is and it's interesting looking at it all from the other side. Looking around I see these people raising their hands and closing their eyes, pretending they're in the presence of the holy spirit, speaking in tongues, and shouting out amen in agreement with some lame easily-refuted statement. If you currently have to preach to the congregation or give advice to members, perhaps it's better just to focus on motivational subjects and advice that's simply common sense, and just use bible stories as illustrations, not dogma. I guess you could take a page out of Joel Osteen's book for now I enjoyed reading your story, thanks.
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