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"on The Rocks" Part Deux


Bluescreen
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Hi everyone,

I posted my extimony back on June 21 when my faith was still hanging by a thread. I figured it was time for an update on the situation that reflects what's happened since then.

 

Since I first posted, I haven't given up my search for truth. I've genuinely got no idea how many hours I've spent reading different viewpoints and watching for the slightest answer to my last prayer from God, where the one thing I asked for was truth.

 

It's been 5 months of silence from any deities out there, but what I've read has spoken volumes. I've been reading several Jewish anti-missionary forums, and their arguments against the New Testament are absolutely devastating. I had no idea how completely fucked the NT writers' understanding of the OT was, and how they deceptively mistranslated passages, distorted them, or outright fabricated "prophecies" foretelling Jesus. I see why the Jews refuse to convert and why they resent Christianity's appropriation of their holy texts!

 

Not that I'll be converting to Judaism any time soon, the OT's just as screwy as the NT. Science, archaeology, and history all take a big shit on the OT's veracity, and we all know about the vile atrocities and utterly revolting morality in there. Just yesterday I actually saw someone trying to defend the murder of children via croup because the father slacked off on studying Tanach!!! "Kids are spiritual appendages of their fathers until they reach the age of majority." :vent: That bullshit is unbelievably corrosive of basic human empathy, it makes me sick. As if that weren't bad enough, I've recently been reading mythology from other peoples in the mideast region, and have been stunned by the similarities. Half of Zoroastrianism seems to have been imported from Persia into the OT (and the NT for that matter), early Canaanite legends about El and Baal crept in, and some of the other flood myths were plagiarised almost exactly, right down to building an ark and releasing birds to check if the waters had receded!! Hell, even some of the birds were the same.

 

Otherwise, there's been plenty of more abstract arguments against it all, topped off by the utter inability of the Christian apologists to offer anything remotely convincing, especially regarding prayer and how the fuck salvation works. Innocent blood sacrifice = atonement HOW??? I've been amazed by the mind-numbing repetitiveness of apologists' tripe, 2000 years and they can't come up with anything new in the time they take off from being utter assholes to nonbelievers. Hell, there was a great thread over on MessiahTruth where one of the Jewish forum members challenged the Christians to answer why Christianity wasn't producing more righteous people than Judaism and other religions or no religion at all when they claimed to have they Holy Spirit inside. So much whining and evading of the question, as well as playing the victim when they're called to put up or shut up about their extravagant claims that no one can see the fruit of.

 

And of course, there hasn't been any direct communication from any deity who's putatively interested in my eternal wellbeing, despite the umpteen promises in the Bible. (And other holy texts, their deities aren't faring any better!) Seems like with the shitty job the evangelists out there are doing, he needs to take matters into his own hands to spread the message!

 

So... after roughly 6 months of intensive study and searching, I've got to make the call and say I'm through with it, all religion fails the test. All the data I've accumulated points at no personal god in this universe, at least none who isn't totally uninvolved with us. I'll remain open-minded to new information that would change my view of the situation, I don't want to be a "fundy atheist" - besides, it'd be bad science to reject new data! :dumbo:

 

The nice thing is the emotional rollercoaster is starting to mellow out. No more massive swings of fear or depression over this whole mess. Just a lingering sadness and disappointment that it all turned out to be a lie. After all, the idea of an all-loving god and a guaranteed happy ending for the universe is pretty appealing, who wouldn't want that? But I can't lie to myself. So, it seems I'm a "soft" atheist these days, which is incredibly weird to write (for the first time even). But to make Luther turn over in his grave, here I stand, I can do no other.

 

The main thing I worry about now is keeping this from the extremely fundagelical family - I absolutely CAN'T tell them. They'd try to exorcise me! (Not really kidding.) It's getting tough, because my mom's been getting into some wackier and wackier shit lately, and some of it's getting hateful. Don't really know what to do about that. <sigh>

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Hi, Bluescreen

 

Thanks for sharing the results of your quest. The soft-atheism position works for me as well.

Dealing with hardcore family members I'm sure can be problematic, I hope things work out. But if they do catch on and try to exorcise you, be sure to let us know how many demons they sent packin' :grin:

 

"Theology is the effort to explain the unknowable in terms of the not worth knowing." (H L Mencken)

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Hi Bluescreen,

 

I'm glad you are navigating through this so well. Please post links to that stuff about the Jewish scholars devasting the NT. I've read a little on that, but would like more.

 

you wrote>>After all, the idea of an all-loving god and a guaranteed happy ending for the universe is pretty appealing, who wouldn't want that?

 

You know whay is funny with this? I always felt disturbed by the destiny and ending for the universe that Christianity and the Bible worshippers envision. (Even when I was one for Born Againn evangelical for 17 years) Most are going to eternal suffering for the sake of being born (that IS essentially the only utlimate crime they are guilty of) The guaranteed happy ending part was never there for me. My mother died a pretty agnostic Catholic 2 years before I got "saved". It was pretty clear to me that if this whole thing was true then she went to Hell. She was the nicest person that there ever was in my life. She was loving, kind, gentle, caring, and forgiving (my father had an affair, and she forgave him and let him back for the sake of the family. AND it was genuine, she put it behind her and forgave and loved him, because let's face it, we are weak, and he was sorry and still wanted to be father to his children. I always knew there was no way she was in hell. If she was then I would have screamed at God for all eternity to let her out. -bastard!)

 

Someone recdently opened me up to a very simple conundrum for Christianity. How is it that God "fogives" ANYONE, IF he takes FULL retribution in the killing of Christ? Serioulsy, the debt is paid (according to Myth) by HIS death, paid in FULL. God cannot claim to FORGIVE us if the debt was PAID. IF I owe 20$ to someone, and someone else GIVES him the 20$ for me, the debt is PAID. I owe nothing, and I have been forgiven NOTHING. WHom I owed, has not forgiven me. He was PAID off! I think this is a profound matter. (especially when articulated well, which I am not doing :Doh:

 

Have a secular, happy, Christ-free day!

 

 

 

Hi everyone,

I posted my extimony back on June 21 when my faith was still hanging by a thread. I figured it was time for an update on the situation that reflects what's happened since then.

 

Since I first posted, I haven't given up my search for truth. I've genuinely got no idea how many hours I've spent reading different viewpoints and watching for the slightest answer to my last prayer from God, where the one thing I asked for was truth.

 

It's been 5 months of silence from any deities out there, but what I've read has spoken volumes. I've been reading several Jewish anti-missionary forums, and their arguments against the New Testament are absolutely devastating. I had no idea how completely fucked the NT writers' understanding of the OT was, and how they deceptively mistranslated passages, distorted them, or outright fabricated "prophecies" foretelling Jesus. I see why the Jews refuse to convert and why they resent Christianity's appropriation of their holy texts!

 

Not that I'll be converting to Judaism any time soon, the OT's just as screwy as the NT. Science, archaeology, and history all take a big shit on the OT's veracity, and we all know about the vile atrocities and utterly revolting morality in there. Just yesterday I actually saw someone trying to defend the murder of children via croup because the father slacked off on studying Tanach!!! "Kids are spiritual appendages of their fathers until they reach the age of majority." :vent: That bullshit is unbelievably corrosive of basic human empathy, it makes me sick. As if that weren't bad enough, I've recently been reading mythology from other peoples in the mideast region, and have been stunned by the similarities. Half of Zoroastrianism seems to have been imported from Persia into the OT (and the NT for that matter), early Canaanite legends about El and Baal crept in, and some of the other flood myths were plagiarised almost exactly, right down to building an ark and releasing birds to check if the waters had receded!! Hell, even some of the birds were the same.

 

Otherwise, there's been plenty of more abstract arguments against it all, topped off by the utter inability of the Christian apologists to offer anything remotely convincing, especially regarding prayer and how the fuck salvation works. Innocent blood sacrifice = atonement HOW??? I've been amazed by the mind-numbing repetitiveness of apologists' tripe, 2000 years and they can't come up with anything new in the time they take off from being utter assholes to nonbelievers. Hell, there was a great thread over on MessiahTruth where one of the Jewish forum members challenged the Christians to answer why Christianity wasn't producing more righteous people than Judaism and other religions or no religion at all when they claimed to have they Holy Spirit inside. So much whining and evading of the question, as well as playing the victim when they're called to put up or shut up about their extravagant claims that no one can see the fruit of.

 

And of course, there hasn't been any direct communication from any deity who's putatively interested in my eternal wellbeing, despite the umpteen promises in the Bible. (And other holy texts, their deities aren't faring any better!) Seems like with the shitty job the evangelists out there are doing, he needs to take matters into his own hands to spread the message!

 

So... after roughly 6 months of intensive study and searching, I've got to make the call and say I'm through with it, all religion fails the test. All the data I've accumulated points at no personal god in this universe, at least none who isn't totally uninvolved with us. I'll remain open-minded to new information that would change my view of the situation, I don't want to be a "fundy atheist" - besides, it'd be bad science to reject new data! :dumbo:

 

The nice thing is the emotional rollercoaster is starting to mellow out. No more massive swings of fear or depression over this whole mess. Just a lingering sadness and disappointment that it all turned out to be a lie. After all, the idea of an all-loving god and a guaranteed happy ending for the universe is pretty appealing, who wouldn't want that? But I can't lie to myself. So, it seems I'm a "soft" atheist these days, which is incredibly weird to write (for the first time even). But to make Luther turn over in his grave, here I stand, I can do no other.

 

The main thing I worry about now is keeping this from the extremely fundagelical family - I absolutely CAN'T tell them. They'd try to exorcise me! (Not really kidding.) It's getting tough, because my mom's been getting into some wackier and wackier shit lately, and some of it's getting hateful. Don't really know what to do about that. <sigh>

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Great post!

 

I keep going back to something Jesus is supposed to have said, that a child can understand what Jesus was about. To me, that means truth, love, acceptance, forgiveness, compassion. Those are things children get without having to attend bible school. Whether Jesus was a real person or not, and whether he was quoted correctly or not, I hold to this bit of wisdom.

 

If you accept this as worth holding to, let's look at the reverse corollary: If a child can't understand it, it's just puffery and intellectual claptrap. It's been 25 years since I left the Assembly of God church, and although I've had my times of loneliness and despondency over losing the family, friends and "relationship" with god, I've reached a point of happiness and stability that doesn't require constant reaffirmation and programming to maintain.

 

To me, the simple truth that a child can understand has been set aside by Christianity, and replaced with theology and intellectual dishonesty. Christian apologists attempt to appear to be engaging in logical debate until their intellectual constructs are threatened, and then retreat into the land of magic (faith) when they run out of places to hide.

 

What has been the secret of my happy departure from Christian double-think and cyclical reasoning? A return to simplicity. The true test of a viable belief system is whether it runs along on its own, without having to constantly shore it up with a book, or mob social pressure. If you find yourself talking to god and god doesn't answer, go for the simple explanation: the god you've been talking to is you. You've outgrown that place in your mind where you need to externalize a supreme being who is intensely interested in your every guilty pleasure and doubting thought. For better or worse, you're on your own. Enjoy your freedom!

 

Rob

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Piprus - You're welcome, it felt kinda good to actually sit down and write it out. I'd been avoiding it for a little while because it just still seemed too weird the first time "I'm an atheist" popped into my head (while driving to an eeeaaarly morning class in a zombie-like daze). And the little bit of humor's appreciated, I could kinda use it right now since my mother (who I'm very close to) has been on a bender of exceptionally nutty, creepy apocalyptic "prophecy" crap that's incredibly vile and hateful. And of course, she keeps sending it to me and wanting to talk about it. I'm having to walk a very fine line between responding coolly enough to NOT encourage this bad behavior, but not so uninterested that she becomes even more suspicious than she already is that I'm not thinking the Right Thoughts any more. I may have to start a thread sharing some of that lunacy, both to blow off steam and just to highlight this particularly nasty new strain of prophetic raving that people are getting hooked on, especially because this new stuff is coming from some websites that are new to me. Due to the total "End Times" immersion I've had since I was little, I'm intimately familiar with the currents of that crap, and I have to say that it's been getting more vicious after 9/11 - and has taken an especially sharp negative turn in the past half-year in particular. Not good.

 

mick - The Jewish anti-missionary sites I've been reading are www.jewsforjudaism.org and www.messiahtruth.com/response.html. Both have excellent essays and very informative forums. Be aware that you'll need to get Jews for Judaism's forum while the getting's good - they're shutting it down and removing it come January 1st, and there's lots of good stuff on there. They've even got sections devoted to refuting Tektonics and Christian-Thinktank. Very nice, especially for detailed translation issues that only native Hebrew speakers can address fully. They do an amazing job of gutting the NT. I'll definitely be seeking out more of the Jewish anti-missionary sites for ammo in the future.

 

And I see what you mean about being disturbed by the consequences of the "happy ending." There have been times where I've had the most disturbing intrusive thoughts about how many people around me were going to go to Hell. And meeting people like your mother who are sweet but godless/wrong religion always made it the most uncomfortable. One good friend of mine was a pagan, nature-worshipping shaman who was also a practicing homosexual. And he just happened to be one of the sweetest, most sensitive and creative souls I've ever met. So of course there was always the fear he'd go to hell lurking in the back of my brain when I'd talk to him. ARGH! Fucking Hell dogma.

 

That's a very interesting point about debt payment vs. forgiveness, I've never really stopped and thought about it that way. But it makes sense - if God the Father was the one the debt was owed to and received payment, then there's nothing for him to forgive, he's gotten exactly what he required. We'd owe *Jesus* a big favor, but it would be an issue of gratitude owed to a rescuer, not a matter of forgiveness. Hmm. I think you just proposed something that makes the Atonement as stated in the NT make even *less* sense - which is an impressive feat! :Medal:

 

wonderer - <nods> Wise words. The frustration over "but a child is supposed to be able to understand" kept banging on my head the farther and farther I kept following the twisting maze of apologetics and theology. Especially in the face of the junk on Tektonics that basically states that the only way to understand the Magic Book is to teleport back in time to ancient Israel while simultaneously becoming perfectly fluent in about 5 languages and as many cultures. If the message is THAT culture-bound, then exactly how am I supposed to follow it?? Why would a perfect deity communicate in such a way that only the elite academics with post-doctoral degrees could understand it, particularly when the book depicts the lowly and uneducated being the only ones that really "got it"? And another piece of the puzzle fell into place. In the end, I think you've perfectly articulated the gold nuggets in the crap-pile. I think my Christian boyfriend would be in agreement with you, too - originally he had a big interest in apologetics, but it's since waned as he's focused on social justice and the whole helping people/love thy neighbor stuff. To him, the former's not of much use, and the latter's what's really important.

 

Thanks again to everyone!

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After all, the idea of an all-loving god and a guaranteed happy ending for the universe is pretty appealing, who wouldn't want that?

 

this spits in the face of christians who say we just don't want to believe. at times, i think we'd all like to believe in some big, jolly ol' guy who throws a big party at the end (taking into account that we're taking the bible's word that it really does make sense to send tons of people to hell). it's not like we haven't done everything we can to make sense of it.

 

The main thing I worry about now is keeping this from the extremely fundagelical family - I absolutely CAN'T tell them. They'd try to exorcise me! (Not really kidding.) It's getting tough, because my mom's been getting into some wackier and wackier shit lately, and some of it's getting hateful. Don't really know what to do about that. <sigh>

 

sometimes, it's easier to just fly under the radar. because one family member confonted me on religion, i told them, so it's probably around now, but so far, only my brother has offered to EXERSIIIIZE THA DEEEEMUUUUUNS!

 

welcome to the fold. bein' a heathen isn't so bad.

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The main thing I worry about now is keeping this from the extremely fundagelical family - I absolutely CAN'T tell them. They'd try to exorcise me! (Not really kidding.) It's getting tough, because my mom's been getting into some wackier and wackier shit lately, and some of it's getting hateful. Don't really know what to do about that. <sigh>

 

This is something I've come across often.

 

One of the persistent themes of atheists is that you have to be the adult and not talk about your beliefs because of the effects that it would have on your family, even if your family is not extending the same courtesies to you.

 

Oh, and they say that exorcise is good for you - it helps you get more healthy and lose weight...

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The main thing I worry about now is keeping this from the extremely fundagelical family - I absolutely CAN'T tell them. They'd try to exorcise me! (Not really kidding.) It's getting tough, because my mom's been getting into some wackier and wackier shit lately, and some of it's getting hateful. Don't really know what to do about that. <sigh>

 

I'm impressed with your self-education.

 

Regarding disclosure... deal with what you can when you are ready. Don't rush.

 

I remember after I had made the final swing to outright atheism (via email debate) and then travelled home to visit my family, I was invited to sup with some fundy family.

 

The setting suggested they might foist a mild intervention by circling me and cajoaling.

 

Being in my early 40s and way past that crap, I had planned to disclose my fear right up front as a sort of joke which went kind of like "I wondered, ha ha, but only for a minute, ha ha that you might stage an intervention, ha ha".

 

It was really a pre-emptive throwing down the gauntlet.

 

I know my cousin was capable of that kind of manipulation. Everybody laughed and we had a nice chat after that.

 

I guess my message is, once you decide to come out, don't be a coward about it. You will find it easier to not pretend that there is any chance of re-conversion.

 

When you disclose, if you behave like a wose you will not be respected.

 

Good luck.

 

Mongo

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