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mulls
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Hey folks,

 

 

I'm 23 years old, been a born-again Christian for about 4.5 years now. I like to believe that I'm *really* a Christian (I'm sure they have been great discussions here concerning the notion that ex-believers were never really believers in the first place, and things of that nature....). What I mean is, I'm trying my best. I want to believe that I really have faith, that I really walk the talk, that I'm really trying to grow more, that I'm really trying to act Christ-like, and that I'm really not a hypocrite in my lifestyle. That's where I stand with my faith at the moment.

 

I've been reading testimonies on here and ex-christian.org for a few months now. I find them really, really fascinating. Sometimes I get upset when I read them, sometimes angry, sometimes offended. But I'm always fascinated.

 

The thing that breaks my heart the most, after reading several testimonies, is how so many have been ostracized by their friends, family, and church community after leaving the faith. This has made me ask some hard questions of myself lately.....such as, if one of my best Christian friends stopped believing, would I still love them and be their friend? Or would I get defensive, take it personally, and cut them off? And if for some reason I ever went through some major doubting, could I really count on the people I love to be there for me, regardless of my Christian affiliation? Do they love me, or do they love what I am?

 

Anyways that's just a brief intro. I'm a big fan of honesty, and asking hard questions. I look forward to some revealing/interesting/entertaining dialog.

 

 

 

sean

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I hope this is the proper forum for a post like this. I'm not all that interested in ultra-serious debate, (though I don't mind mixing it up now and then) I really just want to get inside some people's heads and pick some brains. Hopefully at least a few will want do the same to me as well.

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Welcome mulls,

 

Find your way around, starting in the Testimonies section if you are so inclined. That'll give you a good feel for some of what is happening with the folks who care to post here at ExC.

 

Remember that here the "House" is quite libertarian in the outlook dealing with free expression of ideas back and forth. If conversation gets heated and one gets called " .. you five legged, good fornothing sonofabitching cocksnuggling motherless pain in the aSS!..", one may have earned that..

 

Most of the folks here are rather rational, level headed and often more informational than you grok in a few days posting.

Will advise to stick around for long haul and see what happens over *time* as compared to those who drop a "Gospel Cluster Munition for daLarde!!" and then run off without seeing what got struck.

 

Anyway, Lion's Den is the hotspot of the Boards where things can and tend to get heated and rather well discussed.

 

Pull up a seat and join in.

 

kFL

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Welcome to the site... you sound like a reasonable person.

 

So I'm game... what kind of questions do you have?

 

I'll start with some...

 

What denomination do you mostly associate with?

What prompted your conversion?

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Welcome to the site. If you have faith, even that as small as a mustard seed, you should be able to do the miracles the bible says you can do. Can you provide us documented proof of your miracles? Thanks.

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Guest Gooneybird
The thing that breaks my heart the most, after reading several testimonies, is how so many have been ostracized by their friends, family, and church community after leaving the faith. This has made me ask some hard questions of myself lately.....such as, if one of my best Christian friends stopped believing, would I still love them and be their friend? Or would I get defensive, take it personally, and cut them off? And if for some reason I ever went through some major doubting, could I really count on the people I love to be there for me, regardless of my Christian affiliation? Do they love me, or do they love what I am?

 

Why would this surprise you? Doesn't your church teach you to not get too close to unbelievers? If yours doesn't, that's good, but many do, you know. I've got news for you. The churches are FULL of people who know nothing of Christ's compassion. Many are not your friends, but think they are. I can't be sure, but I would bet $100 that those you love would not accept you for you, were you an atheist. You know of the us and them mentality. Once you are not one of "us" you are one of "them." Alienation begins immediately. I have christian "friends" that say I don't need to be a christian to go to church. I always reply in the same way. "That's true, but I will be mistrusted and thought of as morally inferior, which will add to my feelings of isolation." If god is love, why are the churches so devoid of it?

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:) Welcome aboard Sean!

 

Please stick around and check it out. If the truth will set you free, you'll find many leads to it here. Don't take anyone's word on things, please research it and check it out for yourself. Check for yourself if it might make some sense. You might be surprised at what you find on your own. Just remember to judge people by their fruits, actions, not their labels. You might finally be finding home, and it just didn't have the label you expected.

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Anyways that's just a brief intro. I'm a big fan of honesty, and asking hard questions. I look forward to some revealing/interesting/entertaining dialog.

 

You sound like one of the rare nice ones. Welcome aboard, greetings from Germany :)

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Greetings from cold and snowy upstate NY. Glad you made it here. Like Nivek said, don't be a hit-and-run Christian. Stick around awhile. We may not agree, but maybe we can be agreeable. Just don't tell us we're going to hell. We already know that :HaHa:

 

Interesting that you've thought about the fact that most christians love other people for what they are, not who they are. That's very true, and it's a foundation of christian belief, though they'll never tell you that. They'd like you to think that they love everyone, yet one of the things that always bothered me in my 20 some-odd years as a christian was how they were so quick to mock non-christians and make light of their condemnation.

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thanks for the welcomes everyone. let me make a few things clear about myself:

 

 

1. I grew up in the real world. I came from a diverse, urban neighborhood. My parents divorced early, my father committed suicide when I was 8. Most of the adults I grew up around were miserable...hated their lives, hated their spouses, hated their kids. Many of my friends that I grew up around have been in and out of prison or have become addicted to drug. My best friend in high school died in a car accident our senior year.

 

This isn't to elicit any sort of pity from you. Just letting you know that I'm not one of these naive church kids that doesn't know about real life, and that it often sucks, and doesn't know how to communicate with normal people like yourselves. In my time as a believer, I've taught many a "church kids" some common, real world sense.

 

2. I'm not interested in hit-and-run evangelism. I won't point you to any online gospel tracts, apologetics websites, or sermons.... unless they really have some sort of baring on our conversation, and I find that someone/something else can answer a question better than I can.

 

In the real world, however, I am a big fan of evangelism. I do share my faith often. Probably not in the way most people do. I actually talk to people, and listen, and care about what they have to say, because what they have to say matters. I've had many, many, many witnessing conversations, and I would say about 90% of them have been positive.....meaning I left the conversation with the person respecting what I had to say, and respecting me as a person, and with me genuinely caring about the person....regardless of how they reacted to the Gospel.

 

 

Now let me respond to some of the responses here....

 

What denomination do you mostly associate with?

What prompted your conversion?

 

I'll get to this in a minute....maybe I'll start a separate post. I need to decide whether to do the long version or short version.

 

Welcome to the site. If you have faith, even that as small as a mustard seed, you should be able to do the miracles the bible says you can do. Can you provide us documented proof of your miracles? Thanks.

 

Depends what you mean my miracles, I suppose. Moving mountains, healing paralytics, raising the dead...can't say I've done any of those things. Can't say I ever expect to, either, if it really is based on faith.

 

The things I count miracles in my life may be rather small and insignificant to anyone besides myself. But little things, such as gaining self-confidence. I was always very insecure, especially through high-school. Now I know I don't need to try to impress anyone (especially Christians). Now I get approach people, initiate with them, and feel comfortable in my own skin.

 

Learning to say "I love you," and mean it. I never had much love for people before. Even my own family. Now my heart has been radically changed (am I gonna get made fun of for saying that? How emotionally sappy can I be before I get jumped on for having a love affair with Jesus? Just trying to feel things out here :grin: )

 

There's alot of little other things I could point out. They're hardly miracles my most people's standards, yet there has been a drastic change in my life, for the better, since I've been a Christian. Not exactly proof of God's existence, the little things do count (something else I've learned as a believer).

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Why would this surprise you? Doesn't your church teach you to not get too close to unbelievers? If yours doesn't, that's good, but many do, you know. I've got news for you. The churches are FULL of people who know nothing of Christ's compassion. Many are not your friends, but think they are. I can't be sure, but I would bet $100 that those you love would not accept you for you, were you an atheist. You know of the us and them mentality. Once you are not one of "us" you are one of "them." Alienation begins immediately. I have christian "friends" that say I don't need to be a christian to go to church. I always reply in the same way. "That's true, but I will be mistrusted and thought of as morally inferior, which will add to my feelings of isolation." If god is love, why are the churches so devoid of it?

 

 

I wish I could answer that.

 

Actually, I think I can.

 

People are selfish. End of story.

 

If they're Christians, they should be in-process about getting over their selfishness, and extending love to others. It's hard not to get caught up in the Christian-bubble, and ignore everyone else around you. The Christian culture sucks. It's completely self-absorbed.

 

It is probably true that in most churches, you would be thought of as untrustworthy and inferior, once people found out you weren't a Christian. THANK GOD that I have found a church where that's not the case at all. It's a small, conservative, bible-thumping church, but the people there are all real-world people, and understand that everyone has inherit worth just because they are a human being, and therefore worthy of respect and love. Nobody is ever looked down upon. My church has its issues, like every church, but if we do get anything right, it's probably the love part. I've learned alot in this area.

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:) Welcome aboard Sean!

 

Please stick around and check it out. If the truth will set you free, you'll find many leads to it here. Don't take anyone's word on things, please research it and check it out for yourself. Check for yourself if it might make some sense. You might be surprised at what you find on your own. Just remember to judge people by their fruits, actions, not their labels. You might finally be finding home, and it just didn't have the label you expected.

 

 

hahaha, I'm sure I've said close to the exact same thing to "new people" who were exploring church or the Christian groups on campus (I work full-time in campus ministry). I see your passive evangelism tactics....you can't BS a BS'er!

 

thanks for the welcome :thanks:

 

 

 

Greetings from cold and snowy upstate NY. Glad you made it here. Like Nivek said, don't be a hit-and-run Christian. Stick around awhile. We may not agree, but maybe we can be agreeable. Just don't tell us we're going to hell. We already know that

 

Amen!

(wait....am I allowed to say that?)

 

um....

 

I agree! :HaHa:

 

Interesting that you've thought about the fact that most christians love other people for what they are, not who they are. That's very true, and it's a foundation of christian belief, though they'll never tell you that.

 

This is unfortunately true in alot of practice, but I do reject the notion that it's a foundation christian belief. I've seen real love in action on many, many occasions. Not as much as I should, and certainly not enough flowing from my own life.

 

They'd like you to think that they love everyone, yet one of the things that always bothered me in my 20 some-odd years as a christian was how they were so quick to mock non-christians and make light of their condemnation.

 

Terrible.

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Well Mulls, if you're not genuine you're at least a very skillful liar. Almost worthy of being honored for your skill alone, if not your intentions... in the worst case, that is.

In the best case, we may well have gained a valuable new member. ;)

 

(Thoughts cross my mind of a certain someone who, as I've been told, dropped in with a kind of similar attitude... and later became first one of the well-liked christians over here - yep, such people do exist ;) - and then an atheist... :scratch: )

 

Very interesting indeed. :)

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Well Mulls, if you're not genuine you're at least a very skillful liar. Almost worthy of being honored for your skill alone, if not your intentions... in the worst case, that is.

In the best case, we may well have gained a valuable new member. ;)

 

(Thoughts cross my mind of a certain someone who, as I've been told, dropped in with a kind of similar attitude... and later became first one of the well-liked christians over here - yep, such people do exist ;) - and then an atheist... :scratch: )

 

Very interesting indeed. :)

 

 

Hahaha. You know what man? I think we Christians take the verses in the bible about being hated on and persecuted and push them too far. I'm not gonna lie....I like to be liked. I want everyone here to like me. If anyone has a reason to dislike me, it will be because of my views and my faith. It won't be because of my personality and attitude. That's what the bible is teaching, I believe. We're supposed to have such a high quality of character, and be so genuine, that it puts those who are hating on us to shame, and causes others to glorify God. That doesn't mean we go out of our way to flaunt ourselves in front of people.

 

Like I still the college students I work with in ministry.....JUST BE NICE AND LOVE PEOPLE AND TREAT THEM LIKE YOU WANT TO BE TREATED!!

 

With that said, I'm not about to be de-converted. I just like to mix it up. As soon as I became a Christian, I signed up for a minor in religious studies back at college, so I can mix it up and learn about everything. If my faith can't be challenged, it's not worth having. So don't expect me to become an atheist....but please do hold me to a high standard of charity and humility, lest I be a hypocrite in trying to follow Christ.

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this is a beautiful board, but it needs an "edit" button because I'm fond of fixing my typos.

 

 

by the way, I hope everyone hear soon realizes that I'm very conservative. I'm a bible-thumper. An evangelical. Some liberal Christians might even call me a "fundamentalist." Whatever. I'll take any of those labels and hope I can redeem it, because I'm just trying to be a decent person. But I probably do believe many of the things that alot of you find repugnant. But like I said, if you dislike me, dislike me for what I believe, because I'll try and be as charitable and friendly as possible.

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Welcome, mulls :wave:

 

Yes, don't be a hit-and-run XIan. We get plenty of those around here. But just understand that if you advertise a facet of your belief here, it will be challenged. Don't expect everyone to ignore what they may find disagreeable or revolting.

 

There are few folks here who are non-xian because they do not find your religion revolting.

 

that I'm really trying to act Christ-like, and that I'm really not a hypocrite in my lifestyle. That's where I stand with my faith at the moment.

 

I remember thinking like that myself, once upon a time. Then I came to realize that Jebus is the hypocrite. Always demanding us to turn the other cheek and show "love" but all too ready to damn "sinners" upon our deaths to an eternity of suffering - yeah, what a "loving" god :rolleyes:

 

Xians are taught that Jebus was all nice and squishy, but any reading of the plain text of the Babble, without spin or ignoring the facts the plain text clearly conveys, does not give us any sort of meek and mild savior. Sickening :vent:

 

The thing that breaks my heart the most, after reading several testimonies, is how so many have been ostracized by their friends, family, and church community after leaving the faith. This has made me ask some hard questions of myself lately.....such as, if one of my best Christian friends stopped believing, would I still love them and be their friend? Or would I get defensive, take it personally, and cut them off? And if for some reason I ever went through some major doubting, could I really count on the people I love to be there for me, regardless of my Christian affiliation? Do they love me, or do they love what I am?

 

Yes, people can be selfish, but Xianity encourages such favoritism. The Babble contains verses which encourage the Xian to disassociate with non-believers and to shun them if they won't accept any evangelization. It's no wonder that many Xians take that seriously, if they take the idea of their hellfire-happy god seriously.

 

He's the bully on the playground to suck up to, after all.

 

Learning to say "I love you," and mean it. I never had much love for people before. Even my own family. Now my heart has been radically changed (am I gonna get made fun of for saying that? How emotionally sappy can I be before I get jumped on for having a love affair with Jesus? Just trying to feel things out here :grin: )

 

That's not a miracle. That's just a change of attitude. Miracles, if we go by the Babble, are much different - yes, healing the sick and raising the dead, etc. Drinking poison without harm, moving mountains with a mere thought - you know the spiel. If you can't do that, then you don't have "real" faith, according to the Babble. It lays out some pretty strict specifications for what is "faith" and what is not. I had to take an honest look at that, once upon a time, because I of course could not produce a single one of those "miracles."

 

Today's soft, touchy-feely evangelicals may want to make us think that changing "hard" hearts is some sort of miracle, but it's easier to change a person's attitude than to employ faith-based telekinesis to move rock formations or magically will the dead back to life (in contradiction of the Babble verse that says we die but once and then are judged). Perhaps they can trick themselves into Xian belief through such self-deceits, but I have had no desire to for some time.

 

Again, welcome to the boards, but be wary of talking about your beliefs. Generally, they may touch on things that will set a number of us off, and you may find yourself hip-deep in the "ultra-serious debate" you said you didn't want to get into.

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Welcome to ExChristian.net forums

 

Like everyone said don't be a hit and run Christian. ( Thats all we have been having lately) Anyway welcome to the Lions Den. This is section where all hell "can" break loose. Well welcome and now I will begin saying my say on your comments.

 

 

QUOTE(mulls @ Mar 4 2007, 10:46 PM) *

The thing that breaks my heart the most, after reading several testimonies, is how so many have been ostracized by their friends, family, and church community after leaving the faith. This has made me ask some hard questions of myself lately.....such as, if one of my best Christian friends stopped believing, would I still love them and be their friend? Or would I get defensive, take it personally, and cut them off? And if for some reason I ever went through some major doubting, could I really count on the people I love to be there for me, regardless of my Christian affiliation? Do they love me, or do they love what I am?

 

Ok well I am not going to use reverse fundamentalism on you. BUT......do you believe the Bible is 100% fact and ect. Will you do whatever God tells you to do? Or are you more of a cherry picker of the Bible, a liberal Christian. Well Christians are not suppose to really associate with people outside of their fold. My former church also was heavy on never marry anyone non Christian, atheist, ect or even date them for that matter. Being a friend with an atheist! That's out of the question because they can lead you away from God.

 

-----note sarcasm

 

I think this is where you can draw the line for your beliefs and what the Bible actually says because if you actually followed the Bible in its entirety, you would murder anyone that is not Christian. You may not be knowing what I am talking about. You may not trully know what the Bible says. I don't know your life, past or anything. But these verses are said how to react to non believers I am not going to tell you what to believe but how you react to certain verses is what you decide in your heart.

 

Kill Nonbelievers

They entered into a covenant to seek the Lord, the God of their fathers, with all their heart and soul; and everyone who would not seek the Lord, the God of Israel, was to be put to death, whether small or great, whether man or woman. (2 Chronicles 15:12-13 NAB)

 

Suppose a man or woman among you, in one of your towns that the LORD your God is giving you, has done evil in the sight of the LORD your God and has violated the covenant by serving other gods or by worshiping the sun, the moon, or any of the forces of heaven, which I have strictly forbidden. When you hear about it, investigate the matter thoroughly. If it is true that this detestable thing has been done in Israel, then that man or woman must be taken to the gates of the town and stoned to death. (Deuteronomy 17:2-5 NLT)

 

Anyone arrogant enough to reject the verdict of the judge or of the priest who represents the LORD your God must be put to death. Such evil must be purged from Israel. (Deuteronomy 17:12 NLT)

 

These verses apply to us ungodly heathens, would you kill us? No but you also are rejecting the Bible and so is every other True Christian.

 

I just give information in the Bible decide how you feel about it but the verses are out there.

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Hi there mulls. Welcome to the board. :)

 

So far you seem a decent fellow; I hope that proves to be consistent, and you stick around for awhile.

 

My first question for you: how much of the Bible have you read?

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Hi there mulls. Welcome to the board. :)

 

So far you seem a decent fellow; I hope that proves to be consistent, and you stick around for awhile.

 

My first question for you: how much of the Bible have you read?

 

 

Hi gwen :)

 

 

I've read the New Testament multiple times. I'm making my way through the Old Testament, currently studying Jeremiah. I have a general survey knowledge of the OT...I'm familiar with most major events and prophecies. At least I hope I am by now.

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Hello Mulls,

 

Welcome to Ex-C. You are quite a different flavor from the Christians that we are used to. Thanks. I do want to ask you why you believe what you do? With all the many ways of interpreting the Bible, how do that what you've been told to believe as truth, really is truth?

 

After the born again experience, new Christians are trained by other older Christians who in turn were trained by Christians who came before them and on and on and on. The knowledge handed down is what has been taught and decided to accept as being true. Basically, you accept what you have been told by other Christians to believe.

 

Many of us at Ex-C aren't concerned about your Christianity or beliefs, as much as getting you to think for yourself. If you want to believe in Christianity, more power you, but what is important is coming to your own conclusions about your beliefs, not having your conclusions given to you.

 

If no one told you exactly what to believe regarding your Christianity, would you still believe the same things?

 

Taph

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Hey Taph,

 

You are quite a different flavor from the Christians that we are used to. Thanks.

 

First off, I'm very flattered by this, but also discouraged, that I'm such a rare breed, just by being decent so far. Oh well.

 

Why do I believe what I believe? I just do. The relationship is real. It's so hard to explain, and I apologize for not doing justice to your question.

 

If I still believe 50 years from now, I still don't know if I'd have a good answer for you.

 

It's interesting that in essence, what you just described....the training process....is the process of discipleship. What Jesus meant when he said "Go make disciples...."

 

The ironic thing is, after my conversion, I didn't receive much training. I had my best friend to help me out a little, and I had a church that I no more than *attended* but that was it. My first year back on campus as a believer was very hard, and I was very alone. Not many Christian relationships, and a church that wasn't good for much more than the sunday sermon.

 

So I had to go out of my way to grow in my faith, my studying and learning on my own. That means reading the bible on my own, researching history, apologetics, denominations, theology....all on my own. I read both pro- and anti-christian material. My faith was built up significantly in this time. I just believed more and more. I just know. It's a gut thing, however irrational that may be. To use some Christian-ese, I would attribute this to the internal witness of the Holy Spirit (I don't know how folks here feel about terms like that, but its relevant to my point at least).

 

It has not been until the last two years are so that I have been getting actively trained, or discipled. A man in my church is my mentor. He's 62 years old, has been a Christian for about 50 years. He has an extensive library made up of history (church and secular), theology, philosophy, and art. He's wise beyond comprehension, and challenges me very much. No easy answers from him.

If no one told you exactly what to believe regarding your Christianity, would you still believe the same things?

 

That's a hypothetical, so it's hard to say. But I hope so. I would like to believe so. I've been largely self-taught so far (though obviously influenced by what I've read...maybe 'self-read' is the better term). But I think no matter how I got to this point, my beliefs would still be in line with classical, historical, orthodox Christianity.

 

Great question.

 

 

 

sean

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Hi mulls and welcome.

 

I would just like to ask if what you believe is exclusionary? Or, do you believe the "Holy Spirit" (as per your definition) is available to all regardless of their beliefs? That the "Holy Spirit" may just be a human experience.

 

This is the core of my angst towards orthodox Christianity and I was just wondering where you stood on that.

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Hi notblinded...(is there an easier way to address you?_

 

Thanks for the welcome.

 

Yes, in all honesty I do believe in the exclusive claims of Christianity. Salvation by grace through faith in Christ, that he is the way, truth, life, etc etc.

 

But at the same time, I also believe that Christianity is all-inclusive. It's for anyone, the "whosoever" that is found in John 3:16. The Holy Spirit, while not being a part of the life of a non-believer, is at work among all types of people. He's the one who draws people to Christ, according to the bible.

 

So, I believe Christianity is exclusively inclusive, or inclusively exclusive....something like that. It's for anyone who believes, regardless of where they come from.

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Hiya there Mulls...

You are quite a different flavor from the Christians that we are used to. Thanks.

First off, I'm very flattered by this, but also discouraged, that I'm such a rare breed, just by being decent so far. Oh well.

Yeah... we really don't get that many around here that are even remotely decent.

 

 

No, I'll take that back... we don't get that many around here that remain decent once we've let them know we ain't failing for the same old preaching.

 

Maybe you'll be like that, maybe not... Yes, I'm cynical about this now. It's a once bitten, twice shy kinda thing. One thing I do know is, I've no idea where I'm going with this... (see... a decent Christian just throws me... I'm not used to them at all :twitch: )

 

 

 

 

Anyway... welcome, glad you're not a hit'n'run and hopefully my desire to sharpen my claws on fundies will be denied... :wicked:

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  • 2 weeks later...
Hi notblinded...(is there an easier way to address you?_

 

Thanks for the welcome.

 

Yes, in all honesty I do believe in the exclusive claims of Christianity. Salvation by grace through faith in Christ, that he is the way, truth, life, etc etc.

 

But at the same time, I also believe that Christianity is all-inclusive. It's for anyone, the "whosoever" that is found in John 3:16. The Holy Spirit, while not being a part of the life of a non-believer, is at work among all types of people. He's the one who draws people to Christ, according to the bible.

 

So, I believe Christianity is exclusively inclusive, or inclusively exclusive....something like that. It's for anyone who believes, regardless of where they come from.

 

So what do you think happens to people who die without ever hearing the "gospel?"

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