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Hi all,

 

I'm new to this forum & so I thought I'd start with my de-conversion testimony.

I was brought up in a fundamentalist evangelical Christian family who believe (& still do) that the earth was created 6,000 years ago by a magical being. They also taught me that "love they neighbour" really meant "love they neighbour except if the neighbour is black, asian, Jewish, gay, a Muslim or any non-Christian faith". I also learned that it's OK to question your faith so long as it strengthens it; I was taught that my parents' love was conditional upon me accepting their beliefs & that all my achievements were due to god (not my own efforts), although all defeats were mine alone. I couldn't reconcile what I was supposed to believe with the reality as I saw it & bit by bit my faith withered & fell away. Having explored Buddhism for years (& gaining much from it) I am now happily a "weak atheist"/agnostic atheist. I have joined this forum not only to converse with those of a similar background, but to encourage those Christians who are having doubts but dare not express them to their Christian friends or relations.

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...I am now happily a "weak atheist"/agnostic atheist...

 

Contrary to what some people may think about "us" here at first glance, we are not all atheists. In fact, upon close inspection one finds an interesting mixture of atheists and a number of non-morontheist believers of whatever faiths are out there ;)

 

This posting has been written by one of those crazy followers of the Viking Gods :yellow:

 

(And, as far as I can tell, the most active of them all in this place)

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"love they neighbour" really meant "love they neighbour except if the neighbour is black, asian, Jewish, gay, a Muslim or any non-Christian faith"

 

Ah yes, the true christian way.

 

Welcome to the land of heatherns and heretics.

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Thank you for your welcome & while I have the such learned theists & atheists alike, may I ask one of the questions which bothered me so much when I believed? I was always frustrated that when reading scripture that seemed ambiguous, I was told my interpretations were "wrong" by those who claimed to know the "right" interpretation. Yet there exists no more evidence to support their interpretation than mine; nor can anyone offer me any secret decoder to ascertain the "correct" meaning from the plethora of possible interpretations. Surely in the absence of evidence, any & each interpretation is equally valid? Likewise, I'm so very weary of being told by people not to take "verses out of context" & yet even when taking this into consideration, my interpretations, I'm still told, is "wrong". Considering there are so many denominations using the same bible, I guess I'm not the only confused one, although it would have been a lot easier if the bible had been written clearer than by the semi-literate, technologically challenged goat herders 2,000 years ago who actually felt inspired to write it.

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Thank you for your welcome & while I have the such learned theists & atheists alike, may I ask one of the questions which bothered me so much when I believed? I was always frustrated that when reading scripture that seemed ambiguous, I was told my interpretations were "wrong" by those who claimed to know the "right" interpretation. Yet there exists no more evidence to support their interpretation than mine; nor can anyone offer me any secret decoder to ascertain the "correct" meaning from the plethora of possible interpretations. Surely in the absence of evidence, any & each interpretation is equally valid? Likewise, I'm so very weary of being told by people not to take "verses out of context" & yet even when taking this into consideration, my interpretations, I'm still told, is "wrong". Considering there are so many denominations using the same bible, I guess I'm not the only confused one, although it would have been a lot easier if the bible had been written clearer than by the semi-literate, technologically challenged goat herders 2,000 years ago who actually felt inspired to write it.

 

Actually none of them are right. The ambiguity of the bible ensures that the simple follow the church leaders without question. Quite a good strategy that, actually.

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Becoming, I've spent a large portion of my life trying to figure out how Christians know what they profess to know. I challenged my prof and I guess that is not a wise thing to do but I did get the answer from him. I think I'll just copy that part of his email:

 

Theological knowledge is usually not empirical, but it is reasonable. The sort of knowing is more intuitive, as discussed by the philosopher Michael Polanyi. He was a chemist who became dissatisfied with the empiricist view of how scientists think and so became a philosopher to combat what he saw as a simplistic view of science. Emperical knowledge is only one form of knowledge and perhaps not the most important. Polanyi found through his own experience and that of other scientists that they tended to intuite the answer long before they could prove it. Theological knowledge is more like that.

 

I am seriously disappointed because I had trusted a more solid foundation for his beliefs. I believe that if we intuit an answer before we set up the experiment (as he says) we are closed to learning. I think in such a case we just arrange the data to fit our beliefs. I would guess that is what the people did you are talking about. Or perhaps they tried to control you and intentionally twisted those verses to mean something other than you thought. It's hard to know.

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Surely in the absence of evidence, any & each interpretation is equally valid?

 

Abso-fucking-lutely. There's no objective way to decide on the "right" interpretation without any evidence for either option. You can, of course, decide on a subjective basis (like me back then as a christian always choosing, when in doubt, the verse that fits better with modern humanist values ;) )... but that means asking your "fellow christians" to get bitchy. :blink:

 

Likewise, I'm so very weary of being told by people not to take "verses out of context" & yet even when taking this into consideration, my interpretations, I'm still told, is "wrong".

 

You need to take everything in that fucking book of crap out of some context or another before you can make any sense of it, no matter how little. :vent:

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yeh, the "out of context" comment is a favorite of christians. one of the best replies i have for that one, if they want to discuss context, is to look at every "prophecy" in matthew, then read where the "prophecy" came from in the OT, in its "context". read the whole chapter or even several around it. you will quickly see that each "prophecy" is anything but. context destroys prophecy, becase they were not prophecy at all and the context reveals this truth.

 

another comeback that is common and laughable is, as my friend said "The Holy Spirit appears to be a device for proclaiming that this or that embarrassing passage of scripture doesn't mean what it says..."johnhanks

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Hey there Becoming and welcome to Ex-C.

 

I wanted to comment on this "wrong interpretation" thing. Over the years I've discovered a number of tell tale signs that indicate if people are trespassers. I think this is often one of them. Certainly people can and do disagree over interpretations. But disagreement does not necessarily indicate that one or the other is "wrong" in my opinion. If someone says to me, "I disagree with your interpretation" then I have little problem with that. However if someone says to me, "Your interpretation is wrong" then I know to red flag them and continue to look for other signs that they are trespassers. I think that trespassing is often the "sin" of many Christians.

 

Anyway, again welcome. I like your screen name.

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  • 3 weeks later...
Considering there are so many denominations using the same bible, I guess I'm not the only confused one, although it would have been a lot easier if the bible had been written clearer than by the semi-literate, technologically challenged goat herders 2,000 years ago who actually felt inspired to write it.

You are so right, and I agree with you. The Bible is so vague and non-specific about so many things (not to mention contradictory in many instances), that you can literally make the Bible say just about anything you want, as long as you can find a few verses to support what you want it to say. It's really rather laughable that anyone would ever mistake the Bible for anything other than what it really is: a dusty old book documenting the daily lives of superstitious bronze-age man of the ancient middle-east.

 

When I was a kid I used to think that if there really was a god, why did he reveal himself the way he did? He really didn't reveal himself through written documents as Christians claim (which when you think about it seems like kind of a poor way for an all-powerful being and creator of all things to reveal itself), he basically revealed himself to a few primitive middle-eastern people (how? in person? in dreams? in hallucinations?), and they in turn documented these supposed interactions. So the Bible isn't really "god's word" it is "a few middle-eastern men's claim of 'god's word'". In other words, this is no different than what any other primitive peoples from other regions of the world theorized about their own "god(s)", which they also documented in their own holy books, which they also claim are "god inspired". Yeah right.

 

By the way, welcome to the forums, becoming.

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