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  1. TheBluegrassSkeptic

    We Are Just Animated Pieces Of Meat

    If you haven’t read the recent Daily Mail piece by A.N. Wilson, I would recommend you do so to follow along with what I am about to go on about. Some of you might already be familiar with his emotional appeal drivel for Christ and might be able to save yourself the agony of reading more of his blatantly misleading depictions of atheism. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1169145/Religion-hatred-Why-longer-cowed-secular-zealots.html With that said, he likes to akin atheists belief that there is no soul to that of us believing we are “animated pieces of meat”. Sigh. I know what you are thinking, and what is brilliant about his work is that he actually proves that theistic beliefs in a deity being responsible for emotions and empathy would be considered “animated pieces of meat”. His article is essentially proving why it is a good thing to NOT believe in such things as divinely programmed morality and empathy. Now, let’s tackle the article. From the get go, after his long rant about Easter, his emotional appeal for Christ based on his own “anger at being conned into believing that story”, and a hateful secular government that is ruining Britain, he decides atheists, well more specifically “material atheists”, have decided that humans are only composed of chemicals, and that does not explain emotion. So, I am going to assume that in this article Wilson has decided to toss all of neuroscience and biology out the window and put “God dunnit” in place instead? I cannot accept the somewhat generalized view of material atheism. In all honesty, I think most atheists would be considered materialists, so I really do not understand why he would bother isolating such a specific word. We do not generally believe in souls or spirits. We do not believe in after lives. Overall, the atheist community accepts the idea that we are of our brains. Still, his framing of the atheist as being so detached from humanity is ridiculous. I think he is trying to distract his readers from what the heart of the issue really is, and it is at the center of a religion’s belief system, not that of the atheist. We are not saying we are just animated pieces of meat. That is a very unfair analogy. Why not ask why it is such a terrible thing to believe that our emotions and reactions come from stimulus of our very complex system of senses, nerves, neurons, and chemicals produced by our bodies? I will tell you why, because this FACT of how our bodies works means is even more less likely that a higher power is in control. Let’s take this even further. To say human emotion is derived from an idol and not from the complex workings of nerves, hormones and neurons is truly sad and insulting to the individual.By saying a higher power is the one making such experiences possible, then one is relegating a human being to something akin to an automaton. We are apparently programmed ahead of time to react to certain things in a way God deemed fitting, after all, we are all individual. So He decided Mary will feel fear when she sees a spider, and William will feel immense distress if he has lost sight of his son in a crowd at the local mall? How is that different than an animated piece of meat? You have no control over how God programmed you to react because you are programmed. I would think that is the very definition of such a thing in all honesty. At least with the scientific understandings of body signals and chemicals we can lend a more independent response to the world around us and not some programmed soul that risks damnation for not believing in a Holy Spirit. I respect A.N. Wilson’s choice to reconvert to Christianity and I would like to know what it is like deciding that he is now simply an animated piece of flesh only operating on the software God installed long before he was ever conceived of.
  2. Like many of us on Ex-C, being confronted by relatives, friends, trolls on discussion boards, and co-workers that have faith in one deity or another is a part of everyday life. Some folks, you just know not to even waste your breath on. Others you might converse with, merely like the debate. Of course, a confrontation isn't a good one unless it involves someone on a mission to "save your soul from eternal damnation". Ultimately though, pent up frustration with confrontation, the exchange of viewpoints and sometimes just flat out shitty behavior of slams, verbal slaps and sarcastic twits, keeps us coming for more sharp tongue abuses. Whilst coming back for more ignorant lashings, I wondered how many take a few minutes to breathe before pounding out a smart ass reply on their keyboards? Do you take the argument that no God is worthy of worship when he encourages prejudice, bigotry, murder and degradation? Or do you start taking apart "facts" of the Bible with scientifically proven facts? Do you just pull out Hawkings, Krauss, Dawkins, and De Grasse, and just pummel the shit out of creationism in general? When asking this, I am coming from a straight laced Atheistic point of view, no room for agnosticism. You outright do not believe there is a deity of any kind whatsoever. Period. No wiggle room. See, that is where I come from in my arguments. There is nothing out there in the present, or future for that matter, which would ever have the qualitative substance to be considered a deity. For me, it is an impossibility simply because the term "deity" doesn't exist to me as anything more than what a mermaid represents to everyone else. Deities, leprechauns, faeries, unicorns, and ghosts are terms for folk lore and mythology in my reality. I cannot label something a deity just because it can pass judgement, tell me what I am thinking, or even heal my wounds and make my mind free of sorrow. These are not powers of an omniscient being that created the world and passes judgement on its creatures. These are the powers of something I do not understand. Fin. This basis for my line of reasoning, while many can attack it, holds up like a dam because it is impossible to debunk my line of thought, and there are a plethora of examples one can use to clearly, factually, and rationally, demonstrate my point. Instead of pointing out the erroneous nature of the Bible, Talmud and Quran, I go further to the definition of faith and deity. Once I make it clear that none of the latter terms exist as a reality and why, there isn't any further argument really, just petty attacks, moving of goal posts, or just outright lack of comprehension of what I am trying to explain. If I were to argue over points of the Bible that do not agree with one another, or point out that revisions have been mistranslated, used and abused, I would get nowhere. It allows for circular arguments. It enables those blinded by faith to manipulate and translate their points however they wish, which is the malevolent nature of the holy works to begin with - to twist their meaning in to what you want. I could insist that cherry picked scriptures be put in context. I could easily expose ignorance of certain passages that are taught in mainstream churches inaccurately. And still, my challengers would have footing to continue arguing till they are blue in the face. Asking someone why it was moral for their idol to condone drowning billions, or to explain why incest was condoned in the story of Lot, or even further, why killing first born innocents of Egypt was appropriate to punish the parents, will get you no where. I can understand why as well. Most Christians will agree that God has His own way of doing things that are at times beyond our understanding. Kind of like the movie Rubber, which pays a tribute to the typical movie detail of "no reason". Why did she pick the blue pants before going on the date? No reason. Why did Mel Gibson decide to choose a plaid tartan for his costume in Braveheart that didn't match everyone else's? No reason given, just is the way it is. Why did God kill the firstborn of Egypt as a punishment instead of their parents? No reason given, just how the story is going to go. How can you argue morality of a deity's actions if the decision doesn't really have a basis to begin with anyway? You can't. So why bother arguing the details so much? Now to switch gears for a moment. Why not just smash these religiously ignorant bigots with science and proven fact? I will tell you why. Purposely keeping oneself ignorant, while a dirty tactic, is still a smart one. If you are too ignorant to understand the basics, nay, purposely ignorant to not understand the basics, you are still going to win. Why? Because in ignorance, one can win any fight. Lack of knowledge gives one the authority to reject any answer given. For example, you can't blame someone for not wanting to fly a plane when they don't understand the basic mechanics. For some, aviation is overwhelming in its technical knowledge requirements. Can you really blame everyone out there who doesn't know how to fly a plane for not showing initiative and go to school and learn? I think not. And we purposely decide to stay ignorant for many reasons. To some, physics and the known Universe is so vast a topic, it is overwhelming, much like aviation. They are sticking to what they know when they cite the Bible and quote Jesus. You can only blame them so much. There really are those out there who are too intellectually weak minded to grasp their world. That is why I stay away from fact and fiction arguments with theists for the most part. I find those I do engage on a more scientific level of debate are willing to listen, willing to use rationale, and 98% of the time admit right off the bat that the Bible facts are rather misguided and ill-informed foundations of thought. Really, when arguing, your best line of persuasion is going after the source: God. Not so much whether He exists, but rather, what his definition is, and why the definition isn't possible. See how easily you can dismantle it by making it clear the definition alone makes him impossible to exist.
  3. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5B3KC0Bu4pU&feature=youtube_gdata
  4. I know this sounds crazy, but..... It's been almost a year since I finally threw in the towel and walked away from the Christian cult. One of those unanswered prayers all of us have experienced was the final nail in the coffin of delusion. After the incident I simply said to myself, "I get it". Yes, I got it - all of it was nothing more than pure bullshit surrounded by fantasy, delusion, and lies. So I simply let go of it and in doing so I also unloaded a 10,000 pound rock that had been chained around my neck. I've never been happier, more content, and more sure of things than now! Yes, there are still doubts about some things but nothing of any importance that will cause me a sleepless night or worrying. But something strange, something fantastic has been happening during this past year. It's not anything some of you may consider special but for me, after struggling in the cult for 25 years, it really is. Things have been falling into place for my family and me as though they'd been scripted in a play of some kind. Good things that have come along after an incredibly long drought in our lives. Both our sons who'd been unemployed for a long time (one for 2 1/2 years and the other for almost 2 years), now have jobs and are able to start supporting themselves. My wife and I had been helping both of them as much as we could by having them live with us, rent free, along with providing food and other necessities. My oldest son met someone a while ago and is now living with her in another state with marriage plans in the works. My wife, who has worked in a company for over 17 years is finally getting the recognition she richly deserves for her hard work and dedication. There's been talk of a significant promotion in the near future for her. How about me? Well, I'm still plodding along keeping things together in our house, making sure 'all the trains are on time' as I put it and never been more content in doing so. Those are just a few of the things going on in our house since my escape from the insanity of religion. Now, why do I say this sounds crazy? Well, here goes the prelude to the premise I've been thinking about for the past few months. What if there is an intelligence behind the universe? Something similar to the deistic approach which I guess I support. What if this intelligence is beyond anything any of us pitiful human beings could ever describe? In fact, what if you put together the entire human race since the dawn of man, combined all of the intelligence of the species, put it up against the incomprehensible intelligence, and still found no way of trying to explain this unseen force? In other words, this intelligence is and will be unfathomable, unexplainable, and beyond anything any of us could ever explain. Having said that, my premise is what if this intelligence literally despises all of the religious attempts to explain it especially the Christian cult? In fact, what if the intelligence has completely ignored this cult or even worse, interfered at times with it in order to prevent it from doing even more harm than it has already done throughout history? I support this premise with some very simply facts and observations. You could even say I used the scientific method in its most rudimentary stages to make certain conclusions. The facts/observations simply stated are: 1. If the Christian cult was the only way to a god, why are Christians the most screwed up people out of all religions except for the most radical Muslim sects? I am going by my and our collective experiences with the cult here. I am also going by actual studies I've made during the past 10 or so years especially with my observations of various clergy among them. 2. These studies include facts such as in highly religious states such as Texas and Alabama, the illiteracy rates are higher than in other states which are more secular. 3. Those same states have higher teen pregnancies and high school dropouts than other secular states. 4. The divorce rates among the cult members are as high or even higher than the rates among non cult members including atheists and even same sex marriages! If marriages are ordained by their god whom supposedly blesses these unions, why do so many of their marriages wind up in the garbage cans? And I can't begin to count the number of acrimonious divorces I've seen among them. 5. The lack of intellectual honesty including what is exhibited during debates between the cult and atheist or other non cult members. It seems that they are incapable of formulating any kind of intelligent argument without being forced to rely on the one source which is the most fallacious - their bible. If they were directed and 'led' by their god, wouldn't it be able to provide them with the basic tools for debating the enemies of this god? 6. If their god favors them over everyone else why do many of them live in squalor, poverty, and seem to live hand to mouth day after day? (this goes back to the first 4 facts cited). If their god is supposed to provide their every need, why has it failed so miserably regarding this? 7. If they were the only ones with the one way to joy, peace, heaven, why do they create such a hell on earth for themselves and the people around them? I mean, if the message is so perfect, why aren't they at least partially perfect in their behavior, lives, and everything else related to living a good life on earth? And more importantly, why does their god allow them to show such a disgraceful 'witness' to the rest of us? I could cite numerous other facts and I'm sure most of you can add to the list but I think I've supported my premise of the incredible disconnect between the Christian god the cult allegedly follows with that of an actual intelligence behind the universe. I'm not suggesting that those of us who have tossed off the garments of the cult are actually rewarded for our efforts by this so-called intelligence. But perhaps it goes back to that thing called a self fulfilling prophecy, i.e.: we cause our own luck many times by our actions and behaviors. If we can discard the harmful behaviors we can then concentrate on living a healthy, reality based life which has rewards in itself. I told you this may sound crazy didn't I? Or, perhaps it isn't. What do you think? From 'Christianity, the Sociopathic Cult' unpublished book I'm working on...
  5. Hi, I'm an ex-christian and here is a snapshot of my journey: I'm a French-Canadian guy, 48 years old, married with 4 kids. I was born into the Catholic faith, my parents were devout church goers and believed in a loving God. When I was about 13, I started being active in the church, helping out in the youth group, in the choir and sometimes reading scriptures during mass. Religion was an important part of my life, but the emphasis was on being a good person, nothing scary like hell and stuff. For me, the youth group was a place to meet my cousins and make new friends, it was completely voluntary. Our purpose was to participate actively in church and organize religious social activities. Catholicism was not about reading the Bible, it was about being obedient to the church which is run by priests, nuns, bishops, under the supervision of the Pope. Jesus was basically just an historical role model, with no real presence. The Virgin Mary, on the other hand, was more visible because she appeared every once in a while to tell you to pray and recite the rosary. The religion was centered around mass, statues, saints, sacraments, the sign of the cross, kneeling, being good, sacrifices, suffering, learning prayers by heart, and avoiding anything sexual. I didn't even know that God had a Word. It's not until my late teenage years that I started hearing about the heavy fundamentalist televangelist teaching from the US. I remember my father watching Jimmy Swaggart on TV and buying his books. I thought Jimmy was interesting because he was so emotional about Jesus, you could just feel the love he had for God by watching him. Unlike the catholic priests who would preach with no emotions whatsoever, this guy was alive. Filled with... the holy ghost. For a Catholic, it was quite a revelation to watch and listen to him. I think that's when I realized that God had a Word and that he was actually talking to people today, through the Bible. The only thing resembling this where I lived was the Charismatic Movement. I wanted to know what Jimmy Swaggart was so excited about. I knew that the Holy Spirit had something to do with it and my dad kept saying that the most important thing in life was to have a personal relationship with God. This meant that it was possible to communicate with God on a personal level. I could just imagine being able to ask God questions and then hear him answer. I was totally interested, although I had doubts. When I turned 19 I decided to spend the whole summer at a Catholic Charismatic School of Faith in Quebec. It was called the Paul VI Center. The place had been built by the most popular French-Canadian Charismatic Leader in Canada, under the direct supervision of the Holy Spirit. It was a building with 80 bedrooms, conference room, cafeteria, etc. Summer sessions lasted 6-weeks long. Once accepted, you attended all the teachings, slept there, ate there, no TV, no PC, no radio, very limited access to the outside world, it was all about meeting Jesus personally. I was curious and decided to go there, but I had no idea what was about to happen to me. When I got there, I was completely overwhelmed by the spirit of love that was in that place. Oh my god! I had never seen anything like this! Today we have the Internet, YouTube, and all this Charismatic/Pentecostal stuff is on video for everyone to see, but back then in 1982, those things were going on behind closed doors and the only way to see it was to go right in and experience it for yourself. So for the next 6 weeks, I was right in the action, along with 80 or so other young adults, experiencing first hand everything the Holy Spirit had to offer: being slain in the Spirit, speaking in tongues, the gift of prophecy, faith, healing, reading the Bible, accepting Jesus as a personal saviour, giving your life to God, miracles, sins being forgiven, demons being cast out, crying, laughing, singing in ecstasy with hands in the air, going out to public parks and prisons to preach the gospel, everything. This experience completely changed my perception of myself, the world, and God. When I got out of there, I was transformed. I was a Child of God, filled with the Holy Spirit. The thing that touched me the most deeply was being slain in the spirit. Besides being head over heels in love with God, Jesus and the Bible, I had the ability to rest in the Spirit at will. All I had to do was lie down in a quiet place, close my eyes, abandon myself to the love of God while speaking in tongues, and then I would gently fall into an altered state of consciousness, where I would feel the presence of God in a way that is difficult to describe, often accompanied by visions and emotional euphoria. This could last from 20 minutes to several hours. When I would "wake up", I would feel completely rejuvenated, alive, happy, loving, with an expanded mental and spiritual awareness. The feeling of well-being could last from several hours to several days, depending on the circumstances of the day. I didn't know there was a term for this, but I did a Google search recently and found on Wikipedia that it is called "religious ecstasy". This was what I called my personal relationship with God. It was God's way of telling me how much he loved me. The experience of resting in the spirit was so wonderful, I would do it every day, sometimes twice a day. It was like a drug. I had found heaven. At that time I started writing everything that was happening to me in a journal, including words of wisdom, what I thought God was saying to me. I knew He had a purpose for me, a mission: something special he wanted me to do. The feeling of euphoria can be compared to being in love. I was deeply in love with God and I acted like I was in love when I was in that state. I shared my experience with anyone who cared to hear about it, but to my surprise and disappointment, no one could relate to it. They would say: "Wow, you are so lucky, I wish God would do the same for me." Then I told them how I did it, but they would try and they wouldn't have the same experience. I knew it was a gift from God but didn't know why God was not bestowing this gift onto others, no matter how much I talked about it. Eventually I stopped talking about it because it would make people feel inferior, jealous and sad. I told them about the Paul VI Center, and that if they wanted to experience the same thing, that maybe they should go there. The next summer, I went back for another 6-week session, this time with my brother, three of my cousins and a friend. I couldn't wait to see the Holy Spirit touch their lives. The weeks went by and nothing happened. The teachers were not the same as the year before. The teachings were different too, not centered around the gifts of the Spirit. The session ended and not one of them had experienced the baptism of the Holy Spirit. I was quite disappointed. Oh well, that's life, I thought. Speaking of life, what was I supposed to do with mine now? I had no control over what God did. I couldn't force people into receiving Him, no matter what I did and not matter how much I prayed. Being spiritual and such a nice person was somewhat of a problem too, because people would fall in love with me, and I wanted them to fall in love with God. After this second session at the Paul VI Center, I didn't really want to go back into the world because I knew that God had a mission for me and I had to find out what it was. So I decided to stay for the 10-month session which ran from September to June. This was an ultra-intense session. People came out of there with some kind of ministry. I just had to do it and find out what my ministry was. The Center was supervised by a 60-year-old charismatic nun named Jacqueline. Sister Jacky ran the Center like the Army. There were strict rules to follow and all activities were organized in a schedule. There was not much personal freedom. When it was time to pray, you prayed; when it was time to eat, you ate; when it was time to sleep, you slept. Our purpose was to do the Will of God, and Sister Jacky made sure we understood what that will was. I wanted to do God's will more than anything, but after 2 or 3 months in that Center, I realized that I was not exactly following Jesus, I was following Sister Jacky. I had a problem with her authority because I was spending a lot of time reading the Bible and sometimes it was clear to me that the teachings we were receiving were not always in line with the Word of God. For Catholics, the Word of God is not only the Bible. Church tradition and doctrine is also the Word of God. So there were some contradictions I had to deal with, because I was more of a Bible reader than the others. As time went by, it got more and more difficult for me to obey the rules. Finally, after long prayer sessions and discussions with the people in charge, I was told that it was the will of God that I should leave this place. I was happy to leave, but where was I to go? I felt like Abraham to whom God said: "Go to a place that I will show you." I left the Center at Christmas time and went to my parents' place for the holidays. While I was there, I received an invitation from my cousin who had joined a "religious community". I felt this was a call from God, so I accepted and went there. It was great at the beginning, but after a while, the same problem arose once again. All the members were lead by the Holy Spirit, but when it came to doing God's will, there was not always agreement. No matter how much we prayed and meditated, when it came to making important decisions, it was never clear what God's will was. I think I was there 3 months, then I was kicked out because I was not catholic enough, I was too much evangelical according to them. So I left. But soon after, everybody left also because no one could agree on what God's will was. After that I decided to go into the real world, find a job and follow Jesus without being subject to any religious authority. To me, doing God's will was about love, my motto was: "Love, and do whatever you want." I was a very liberal christian, I could feel God's love whenever I meditated. I didn't think I had to join any church, although I did try to join different churches, but it was always the same problem. God's will was not clear, everyone seemed to have his own version of what the will of God was, so any religious group would almost always end in conflict. The only church that seemed to stand strong was the Catholic Church, and we all know that this church is probably the most morally corrupt of all, so I continued attending mass but not regularly. I moved to the city, rented an apartment and was hired to work for the government. I spent most of my free time praying, writing to God and asking him to show me what to do. At the age of 24, I concluded that His will was to find a Christian girl and get married, and learn about love by loving her. I dated many girls and finally I found the one that was right for me. Convinced that I was doing God's will, I married her at the age of 25. That's when my descent into hell started. My wife's version of Christianity was more materialistic than I ever could have imagined. I was all spiritual, loving and willing to do anything to make her happy. She was all damaged psychologically and willing to do anything to control me, so it was a very bad combination. Still, I toughed it out, by the grace of God, and we had two kids. Our marriage lasted 8 years, but I was not happy with her. During all this time I pleaded God to help me and to show me what to do, what to say. Do I stay with her one more day, can I divorce her? No matter how much I meditated, God would not answer me. After 8 years of pure hell I started hating her so much I wanted to kill her. That's when I decided I should leave. So I left her. The year after, we were officially divorced with joint custody of our two young ones. So there I was, 33 years old and nothing to show for except an ex-wife who hated me, two kids to raise and a God who didn't want to talk to me, or show me what to do or protect me from evil. Financially, I was ruined. That's when I really started to question God and his motives. What was the purpose of all this? Was it all my fault? All I wanted was to love my wife and learn how to love more. Why did this happen? What lesson did I learn? Why didn't God give me some kind of vision or sign before I got myself into this? What's the use having a personal relationship with God if He won't guide you? What was I supposed to do now? One thing was for sure, I would never get married again (and so I thought). I was more determined than ever to find out what God's will was. I knew how important communication was in a relationship. If I was to have a real, good, effective relationship with God, I had to learn how to communicate better with him. I had to learn how to hear him clearly. I insist on the word "clearly". I had to find a way to hear God's voice CLEARLY. No more guessing games. I started reading everything I could find on the subject. I read "Conversations with God" by Neale Donald Walsch. I read the "True Life in God" series by Vassula Ryden. I read many other books and most of all, I practised writing God's words clearly. I wrote everything I thought was clear messages from God. More than anything else, I wanted to dialogue with God in a very simple and loving way with written words. I was determined to succeed, this was the most important thing in my life. And then, something very unusual happened: I met my soul mate, my Twin Soul. I didn't even believe there was such a thing as a Twin Soul, but there she was. She could understand me like no one else did. She would listen to me like I thought only God could. She would talk to me like I thought only God could. She loved me like I thought only God could. In her presence, I felt exactly like I did when I received the baptism in the Holy Spirit. I felt ecstatic. When I kissed her it was euphoric, I would experience rushes of pleasure that were so intense, it was almost like an out-of-body experience. I remembered I had seen this women in my dreams when I was a child. She was the person God had made to show me how much he loved me. I had found what it was to communicate clearly with another being. The relationship I so long dreamed of having with God, I had with her. It was incredible. I had to marry her, no question about it, I felt we were already married: she was my Twin Soul. This woman had a gift, I don't know what it was, but each time we would go to the casino together, she would win! It was miraculous. Sometimes we would win $20, sometimes $100, sometimes $500, sometimes thousands. Our biggest win was on our wedding day. It was awesome. So going to the local casino was our favourite outing. Most of the time, after a big win, we would go back the next day and spend it all, but nevertheless, we ended up winning again. This went on for months. Then one day I found her credit card statements. She was $17,000 in debt. She was crying and unable to pay back the monthly minimum amount. She had been lying to me all this time about our casino winnings. She would put money in slot machines from her credit card until hitting the jackpot, but by that time, she had put more in the machine than it ended up paying out. When I would ask her how much she put into the machine, she would say "Oh, just $20" when in fact she had put $600. She kept on lying to me month after month, letting me believe that she had this gift from God of being able to beat the odds and win repeatedly. I was devastated. How could she lie to me like this continuously. How can my Twin Soul lie to me? How could she sleep at night? How was this possible? My whole Twin Soul belief came crashing down. My faith in a loving God came crashing down. My belief in human trust came crashing down. This was the year the Twin Towers came crashing down. Those two towers were the symbol of our Twin Souls. We even went to New York to see them "in person" the year before the tragic events. 9/11 2001 was so relevant to me, it was so symbolic, and all the government bullshit that followed was also so relevant of the bullshit that exists in the spiritual world: God, faith, honesty, love. It's just crap, all crap, I thought: a big deception to fool you, to make people who are more intelligent than you take advantage of you. I was so disappointed. What was I supposed to do now? Who had to pay back the credit card debt? Who had to live with a dishonest wife? This event was accompanied by another shocking event: at work, everyone got a promotion except me. Then a business venture I had invested in with my brother went bad, my brother didn't fulfil his part of the contract and I lost thousands of dollars in property damage. There is just so much bullshit a guy can take: I fell into a severe depression and ended up in a psychiatric hospital. The doctor had to prescribe the highest dosage of antidepressants allowed by law. I lost my job and my interest in life. I was sent home, heavily medicated, regularly having to meet with my psychiatrist. Unable to think properly, dizzy most of time, negative, I had lost interest in almost everything. Nothing mattered to me anymore. I decided to stay with my "twin soul" wife and forgive her. The major depressive disorder lasted six years. I am OK now, I think. I have come to terms with my life and my past. I don't take any medication any more. I have found reasons to live. I can laugh again, but I have to learn to live without faith. I don't know where to start. I don't believe in Bible-God. I'm not sure what love is all about, and what's the purpose of life. Probably just to enjoy it and have fun while it lasts. Have babies. Follow your instincts like animals, trust in life and don't worry about anything. Death is natural. If there's an after-life then we'll see when we get there. Now I know that when someone says he has a personal relationship with God he is lying or suffering from delusion. It's impossible to have a real relationship with God without clear communication, and there is no such thing as clear communication with God, if there was, the world would not be what it is today. A dog communicates more clearly than God does. So either God exists and cannot (will not) communicate, or he simply does not exist. Either way, the result is the same. Now I know what causes the ecstasy when you're in love with God or with a human, it's a hormone called dopamine. The body releases it at the right moment. It has the same effect as taking cocaine. It's purpose is to make you want to be closer to that person, so that eventually you will have sex and reproduce. Survival of the species, that's all. It's not the Holy Spirit. I think many Pentecostal leaders have been duped by this hormone. They should teach about this in school. I think it's important. They teach us so many useless things and withhold information about the important stuff. It's all about controlling society. So much bullshit going on, it's unbelievable. I think Christianity is a big lie to make people submissive and ignorant. It's toxic and it's everywhere. It can also be proven that it was fabricated. Ex-Christians have to speak out. Our testimonies are important. We always hear about how much God loves us, but hardly anything about how much damage it can do to believe in a loving God. There is more I need to write about, this is just the beginning but it's good therapy. I think joining this site is a step in the right direction. At home I'm surrounded by Christians like most of you probably. When I talk about this, they will always say that it is my fault, that God cannot do anything wrong. God is always right and humans are always sinning. I have heard it all. Hopefully I will meet intelligent people here who can relate to what I'm saying and what I had to go through to learn the truth. The story of Adam and Eve makes a little more sense now. The Creator of the universe tells Adam he can eat from any tree in the garden, including the Tree of Life, but not eat from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. Our knowledge of good and evil comes from the Bible, the church, Christianity, religion, and from our own insecure and guilty consciences. Our Creator tells us right at the beginning not to touch that tree. He says to eat from the tree of life! In other words: “Enjoy life and don't worry about good and evil, you'll be OK.” The rest of the Bible is the story of what happens to those who choose to eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil. They have to go through all this redemption absurdity to end up at the same place they were in the beginning. So this is it then: Welcome to the Garden of Eden!
  6. TheBluegrassSkeptic

    The Book Of Life

    I have been often troubled by the many mortal human attitudes and behaviors many different deities have taken on in various holy texts. Petty emotions like jealously, bigotry, hate, anger, and lust, to name a few. All of these characteristics are thought to be beneath the prestige of a being with omnipotent abilites, yet these very traits seem to be what hobbles religion in my mind. Because I was born in the states, I am more familiar with that of the Christian idols. Particularly disturbing to me has always been the "Book of Life". This is a metaphysical book that God felt the need to write down everyone's name into that will EVER exist in all of time and space. And then, if you were really shitty or not, he will decide to either keep your name on his "good child" list and reward you with heavenly treasures OR he will blot you out...as in INK you out, and send you to eternal torment of fire and pain. This eerily reeks of Santa Claus and Krampus. Can I get a WTF!?! First, WHY does this idol need to have a "book" to keep all the names in? Isn't he omnipotent? Last I checked, and granted this is open to human error, because, well, this is a HUMAN observation, but I thought to be omnipotent meant to be all knowing, mortal accoutrements not required? I know some would like to argue that this is merely symbolism, but what for? I mean, do we really need a book to signify the vastness of God's knowledge? Books are finite in page numbers. NOT a good symbol! Secondly, since he knows me before I was ever even remotely conceived of, all the way to the DNA level, he already knows I'm going to be a total asshole and tell him to fuck off... So WHY allow my birth? I know, I know, so that MY sin might be an example for others not to do, right? Which opens up a whole other discussion of his impotence to draw to his fold under his own merit. And thirdly, this whole notion of ritualistic judgement seems poorly thought out and way below the prestige of being a lord and master of souls that he purports himself to be. There is absolutely no rationalizing logic here for this kind of menial behavior. Why judge at all? Just straight out cast one in to pain, correct? And why does he feel it necessary to have constant screams of torment, agony and suffering in his omnipotent ears? What purpose does this serve. By his own supposedly mortally inspired verbatim, the greatest reward is Heaven, and being denied Heaven is a torment in itself as well... So why the need to double down? To me, by having to keep a book, it further belies the veracity of this doctrine. He can't be all knowing if he needs to keep cliff notes. Just sayin'.
  7. 12 The next day as they were leaving Bethany, Jesus was hungry. 13 Seeing in the distance a fig tree in leaf, he went to find out if it had any fruit. When he reached it, he found nothing but leaves, because it was not the season for figs. 14 Then he said to the tree, “May no one ever eat fruit from you again.” And his disciples heard him say it. That is the full scenario of this picture. What a petty asshole Jesus was! Just because it wasn't the time for a fig tree to offer fruit, he curses it... Classy! Now to the argument I hear on behalf of Jebus. I have heard that he is trying to make the tree an example of how when something is useless, it will wither away and die, or even more so in this case, be destroyed. Referencing to Israel...though, I think like many other parables of the bible, this one was quite a stretch as well. Jesus doesn't say anything along the lines of,"This is what is in store for Israel since they went all rogue on me and have become useless in their faith." Granted, people have brought up Jesus' speech in Matthew 21:20's, but he is speaking as to how YOU will conquer nations, he says nothing of Israel directly being in the wrong here. Secondly, don't you think he pre-emptively killed a tree without cause? He couldn't tell with his godly vision and omniscient powers that the tree didn't have fruit? Rather he got pissed when he walked over because the leaves fooled him? Seriously? I realize that if a fig produces fruit, a telling sign are the leaves that show up AFTER such production. Yes, it is an ass backwards plant. But is there not a chance that maybe, just MAYBE, there were other people on the road that morning who might have plucked the fruit first? You can pick figs and have the leaves remain. I think that is why people refer to the first defense that this is in fact a lesson. And ironically, I see it as survival of the fittest as what Jebus was referring to, which would be the Romans overtaking the lands at some point. Everyone in Jebus' time KNEW Rome's march was inevitable. And back to the ass backward fig tree. What really crisps my ass here as that the story isn't even being told honestly either. You can tell whoever wrote this nonsense is scrambling to make it look better. As I recall in this verse, it is an understood fact that Jesus' expectations for fruit were falsely founded because it was NOT time for the figs to be in season. THEN, just incase it was an early bloom, the author decides to deal with that by saying it must be a sick tree to begin with then. AND THEN, they remove the common notion that maybe there were more people on the road that morning who might have enjoyed an early bearing from the tree and left the leaves behind. Forget the fact Jebus couldn't have known before walking over there that fruit wouldn't be on it? And then to rationalize destruction of said tree that had probably fed weary travellers for many years, they use a common sense deduction of survival of the fittest. Where as faith makes you fit and you can move mountains.... This whole thing is ridiculous. I think this whole adventure with a fig tree and petty behavior has been kind of glossed over with this parable of something that was common knowledge anyhow.
  8. ConureDelSol

    I Am Living A Lie

    First off, I want to say that I am writing this before bed and I will likely read this tomorrow morning wondering why I sounded so depressed and possibly wondering why I didn't spellcheck and if perhaps I had unknowingly become drunk. Also, hello to the forums, I'm a ex-lurker who just graduated to a poster. Yay! I am a 20-something year old gal in college. Although since I am broke like most college students, I still live with my parents. Mom has been a nurse for 30 or so years and dad is pretty much a hybrid of every IT job thrown into one big mess of a job. Dad, however, works for our church. Actually, I work for our church too. Under dad. Fixing computers. As a result, I am expected to be at every service, every outreach, every staff meeting that actually involves me, etc. Dad also teaches at our church's "School of Ministry" and teaches "soulwinning" and Apologetics since he was literally months from getting a degree from Moody Bible Institute before he had to drop out. So naturally, I'm expected to be a role model. I'm supposed to love Jesus, pray, read the Bible and believe everything it says etc. Only one problem: I'm a Deist. For those who aren't in the know about Deism, the basics are that I believe there's a God, but only because I can't figure out the universe without one. The analogy Deists often use is that God is like a watchmaker. He makes the watch, winds it up, makes it start ticking and then leaves the watch alone. In other words I don't deceive myself into believing that God cares about the affairs of mortals. They always say to set your expectations low, right? Back to the main problem though. I only became a Deist months ago. This was after attempting to actually make sense of the Bible. Long-story short, my search went from Christianity to Liberal Christianity to Ba'hai, to Islam, to Deist. Listening to my pastor preach actually makes me want to cry with frustration. The way they replace "God" with "Jesus" so freely, the general attitude of "well we're right and that gives us a reason to heckle everyone who isn't a Christian with useless nonsense (aka The Bible)." My preacher's messages are mostly geared towards former gang members, drug users, prostitutes, etc. and so many of them are accusing. I hate it when people talk about how God has touched them and all these wonderful things happened to them. These people are drug addicts and crap. Christianity teaches morals so OF COURSE your life will get better when you start doing GOOD things instead of cocaine and shit. I'm not going to get into my whole story since that would be more for the testimonial page, but I hate what my job is associated with. However, my job is also very important. Only because it has a consistent schedule and I have time to actually do homework while computers I work on run scans and updates. I haven't even been accepted into the nursing program at my college yet and I know I won't be able to find a job like this anywhere else. I cannot afford to leave, but I cannot afford to stay either. Mom and Dad deny the fact that I have told them I don't believe in Jesus and all that and simply label me as a "struggling Christian" because my mind and heart aren't in sync or whatever. I started out in the job thinking I was Christian and now, not even a year after getting the job, I feel trapped. It's like being a democrat who works in a political office with nothing but republicans. I'm surrounded by all these brainwashed people who sound like a broken record. I hate every minute of it, but I can't leave. I feel I'll never be able to live as an ex-Christian until I can move out. That is a good two or three years away. For now I'm trapped working at a place I can't stand, under my conservative brainwashed Dad who has, in turn, brainwashed Mom. They're not the type of parents that would disown me if I didn't go to church. They are the kind that would pester me beyond belief and try to "Jesus loves you" me into going. I honestly don't think I can do this for another three years. I don't know what to do.
  9. The Kingdom of God and the Law of Love Was Jesus really a true character of history and if so, were the claims about him as the son of god or The God, true? The answer still comes up as a 'no.' He could be real or not, and the argument is still 'no, he is not who he claimed to be.' The NT was written to legitimize the Christian church's doctrine as much as the OT was written to legitimize the priest class over the Jew that did not exist until then. There were no Jews in history until they gathered together after the return from Babylon. The books of the OT were fraudulently written and were claimed as such by the OT prophet Jeremiah who recognized the Law of Moses was a pack of lies written by scribes to give credibility to the Law over the Jew. (Jer 7:8) Behold, you trust in lying words that cannot do any good. Jer 8:8 How do you say, We are wise, and the Law of Jehovah is with us? Lo, certainly the lying pen of the scribes has written falsely. Add your burnt offerings to your sacrifices, and eat the flesh yourselves. For in the day that I brought your ancestors out of the land of Egypt, I did not speak to them or command them concerning burnt offerings and sacrifices...But they did not listen, they paid no heed, but went ahead with their own plans with the most stubbornly wicked and evil hearts...Speak to them but they will refuse to listen to you. Call to them but they will refuse to answer... truth has perished from their lips and it is no longer heard in the land. (Jeremiah7:21) Jeremiah denounced the law in a manner that would not get him killed by the Jews for blasphemy. The simple believes every word, But the prudent considers well his steps. --Proverbs 14:15 In the NT we find where someone wrote: But avoid foolish questions and genealogies and contentions, and strivings about the Law, for they are unprofitable and vain. (Tit 3:9) How is it possible to to preach the Law and it be unprofitable and vain unless it were not true? James 1:27 Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their afflictions, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world. True religion shows there is no sin because of love, mercy, and forgiveness (Hosea 6:6). True religion is acceptable to everyone because it shows those with this religion practice love and mercy. How can religion be pure if it only involves caring for others and showing them love and compassion, mercy and forgiveness? Because the law delivered to Moses is not true. Because the law was not given to Moses then there is only one thing that is true and that is love against which there are no Laws and love hurts no one. Where love reigns there is then forgiveness and with forgiveness there is no arguments of the Law because when a person is forgiven a crime, there is no conviction and there is no judgment. That is how love conquers all things and covers a multitude of sins. Jesus is not needed for salvation because with love, mercy, and forgiveness that the gentiles show without the Law, it demonstrates the law has no affect beyond the confines of the Law of the Jew, not the gentile. Gentiles are a law unto themselves because they show the law is a natural occurrence of the heart. The Jew thought the law was required of all men. The gentile proved they already understood what love, mercy and compassion was all about and they never received it from anyone. How is that possible unless the law the Jew received was a lie written by scribes to subject the Jew to the will of the priests and Pharisees. Paul, supposedly wrote thousands of pages of words describing how the law works in a christians's life and what did Jesus himself say about the Pharisee and scribes? Paraphrasing, he said, according to your own bible, he said that unless a man' righteousness exceeds that of the Pharisee he will not enter heaven. How is that possible without Jesus? You don't need Jesus because we already know that forgiveness covers sin, no sin equals no crime and no crime equals no judgment. This found in Romans Chapter Two. Jesus' gospel was not to the gentile, he said so himself. He even referred to gentiles as 'dogs.' Jesus' gospel was to the Jew to shame them into leaving the Law and pursuing common sense through acts of kindness towards one another coming from love, mercy, compassion, and forgiveness. This is the gospel of the Kingdom of God. It is found where? Within you. How? Through unfeigned love of others. The writers of the NT wander from one extreme to the other and once they focus on Paul every writing is made in reference to what Paul teaches. You either follow the gospel of Jesus or you follow Paul and Paul wrote of all kinds of things he believed were necessary for salvation and unless you are holier than Paul, a Pharisee, you will not be saved. In the first part of Jesus' ministry he claimed he did not come speaking of himself but the kingdom of god. Then the writings take a different course and all one reads about is Jesus speaking of himself and the unbelievable miracles right out of the pages of the other religions before and after the period of Jesus. That is what makes Jesus unbelievable and his ministry is not known because the gospel he brought is mired in lies and deceits and the workings of the false apostle Paul. What do we know about Jesus beyond church tradition? Not one thing! Mat 15:8-9 "This people draws near to Me with their mouth, and honors Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me. (9) But in vain they worship Me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men." What are the commandments of men? The ten commandments. To worship god in vain is to preach the ten commandments because in doing so, one teaches the traditions of men that become law over time, not the commandments of god. God never gave any commandments to Moses. The commandments were lies written by the scribes which Jeremiah confessed. This continues to the writings of the NT. Tradition is preached, not gospel. The gospel has no affect because of the traditions of the church. There is no Holy Ghost because everyone has their own idea of Jesus and the church. Otherwise there would only be one body of believers worshiping god in the same way and instead there are hundreds of denominations and thousands of variations of these denominations and all of them preach PAUL not Jesus. Jesus did not live, he is a figment of the christian imagination. And, if he lived, his gospel is so written over and fragmented by the mindless drivel of Paul that anything that jesus brought is fictional because it cannot be separated from the nonsense of Paul. The only theme throughout the OT and NT that is repeated over and over is what? God demands mercy and not sacrifice. God demands love that covers up sin and not the insane ramblings of the Law that points fingers at everyone and accuses everyone for no reason. Behold, you trust in lying words that cannot do you any good! God demands mercy and not sacrifice because that is the only works not covered by the Law that Moses never got from god. Even the prophets knew God never told moses anything but how were they going to tell the Jew without being killed by the Jews? The Law of love was not delivered to Moses so Jesus brought it. That is what the Kingdom of God is within you. Mercy and not sacrifice, and an accusation that traditions were taught as law, as commandments, when there were none given. To prove Jesus lived is impossible. To prove we need Jesus for salvation is impossible because you cannot prove he was sent by god to save us from what a talking snake did. Too many myths and not enough factual accounts. Every time we forgive each other we save each other because where forgiveness abounds there is no strife, no anger, no hate, no feelings of guilt. We don't need Jesus. We need common sense and the willingness to forgive. This is the Kingdom of God, showing unfeigned love to one another and the forgiveness of each other's 'sins' or wrongful deeds they may commit against us. That is the Law of Love and the Kingdom of God. The Kingdom of God is without sin. How? By forgiveness of sin. We forgive each other, that law is within our hearts. Where forgiveness reigns, so does the Kingdom of God.
  10. The Blasphemy of Evangelism Which ten commandments do you teach? Exodus Chapter 20 are not the ten commandments god gave to Israel. Those verses are the introduction to the Law of Moses. The real ten commandments are found in Exodus Chapter 34, the words of the covenant are the ten commandments. How? Because in verse 28, it says so! The words of the covenant expressed in Chapter 34, are the ten commandments. Why do you teach what you teach? Do you ever consider the notion that your religion is ruining your life? Do you ever have the thought that you have been duped into a lifetime of self-denial? It takes considerable will power to divest one's self of religious doctrine that have been taught to us day after day until we have taken them for granted as truth. When we oppose religious doctrine, we are champions of freedom of thought that allows us to understand the wisdom of the sciences that strive to understand our true purpose in the universe--to discover who we are, where we came from and where we are in the universe. Religious indoctrination rejects scientific factual data in favor of religious faith that requires no evidence of proof. Religious texts warn against following other gods but never teaches to reject wisdom but claims the acceptance of wisdom is the first step in knowing god. To reject science is to reject wisdom and to reject wisdom is to reject the intelligence god gave us. By using our intelligence instead of religious doctrine to explore our universe, we fulfill god's plan for humanity. Warnings of the bible are not against science but warn against traditional teachings that are contradictory to god's will. But avoid foolish questions and genealogies and contentions, and strivings about the Law, for they are unprofitable and vain. (Tit 3:9) (Jer 7:8) Behold, you trust in lying words that cannot do any good. Jer 8:8 How do you say, We are wise, and the Law of Jehovah is with us? Lo, certainly the lying pen of the scribes has written falsely. Add your burnt offerings to your sacrifices, and eat the flesh yourselves. For in the day that I brought your ancestors out of the land of Egypt, I did not speak to them or command them concerning burnt offerings and sacrifices...But they did not listen, they paid no heed, but went ahead with their own plans with the most stubbornly wicked and evil hearts...Speak to them but they will refuse to listen to you. Call to them but they will refuse to answer... truth has perished from their lips and it is no longer heard in the land. (Jeremiah7:21) The OT prophet Jeremiah claims the Laws were lies written by scribes, words god never gave Moses. He knew that the Law was not given by god but by man. Think about how the prophet claims 'in vain do they worship me teaching for commandments the traditions of men.' God himself said their sacrifices did not please him. How can this be so if the Law he gave Moses was to be kept forever? The answer is, God never gave such laws to Moses. Jeremiah confirms this. As does the prophet Hosea. Hos 6:6 For I desired mercy and not sacrifice, and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings. What knowledge of god do we then also desire? It is not the knowledge of what god is but his mind. We desire his knowledge. What does god know? We look into the realm of life and natural laws of the universe using science as a means to interpret collected data to use as evidence in support of our theories in biology, astronomy, and other sciences. We desire facts, not faith. Facts provide evidence apparent to anyone desiring to review the data. Faith, on the other hand, is subjective and dependent upon religious beliefs which vary from person to person. This makes faith unsuitable for interpreting data. Faith requires no data to support one's assertions concerning the workings of the universe. And now we are learning what god knows, because of science, and we are coming closer to the ultimate epiphany, the realization that we are the mind of god. We are the Divine of two embodiments. When we are righteous in our dealings with others, then the Divine is embodied with righteousness. When we commit works of evil against each other, then the Divine is wicked. At any given moment there will be two people in opposition with each other because they believe that the Divine is an all powerful god that speaks directly to them. This is not true. The Divine has no consciousness unless two or more people ponder upon its attributes. When these two or more people become of one spirit, then the spirit is more determined to either be good or evil. Always question the motives of the Divinity that drives men towards war instead of peace. If you read Romans Chapter Two, you would understand that it is blasphemy to preach the Law to gentiles. The Law was for the Jews, not the Gentiles. Gentiles prove that the law is written in their hearts because they prove this with their works. What are these works but love, mercy, and compassion. In this same vein of wisdom god claimed he desires mercy and not sacrifice. Mercy is love, compassion, and forgiveness which are the attributes of God. Mercy covers sin with forgiveness. Sacrifice brings one's sin to the attention of god and death results. God desires that man be saved from death and so he established love as a law unto itself. Against love there is no law, no punishment, no death. God desires that mercy and love trump the workings of the law that results in death. He will give glory and honor to every man who works for good. Faith without works is dead. It is not the hearers of the law who are just but the doers of the law that are just. And the greatest of the law is love, he prefers love and mercy over the workings of the law. He desires mercy and not sacrifice, go and learn what this means. When someone preaches the law, they commit blasphemy because they also break the law. To say someone does not keep the ten commandments, you just committed blasphemy based on Romans Chapter Two. No where in that chapter does it say a belief in Jesus is required nor the keeping of the law nor baptism nor sacrament is required for a Gentile believer. It says that preaching the law is blasphemy. How do you reconcile committing blasphemy by your preaching? Like love, against science and wisdom there are no laws.
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