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My Unbearable Dilema


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Sorry long post but very important to me. Please try to read to the end to get to the heart of my problem.

How did you do it? Leaving the faith?

I first came here a little over a year ago as my faith was being tried by different variables. I have taken time away from this site occasionally visiting as I continued in my Christian faith to see if I could come to some peace.

I have believed in God as long as I can remember. 25 years ago I said the sinners prayer and was converted to a deeper Christian (more aware of what my sins were). Before this I was just a Catholic and not a good one. After my deeper conversion I stayed a Catholic. For the most part as much as the Catholics get bashed and their beliefs get bashed even by me (I have not considered myself a Catholic for years) overall compared to a lot of denominations out there, being a Catholic is better then a lot of them.

 

I remember when I first came to Christ 25+years ago I was immediately full of joy right after the sinners prayer but not less then 24 hours my life turned into a psychological disaster. For years I was always in fear of being in sin and of the fires of hell and trying to read the bible and just not understanding it. I use to annoy the priests at the church with so many questions. I was even told by one I should stop reading the bible because I was too scrupulous. I did. For years afterwards I struggled with my Christianity, so many questions I didn’t understand. I still had fear. About 5 years ago I set out to read the bible from beginning to end with study, I had put it off long enough. So I went out and spent $35 on a good bible with commentaries on every chapter. It was very helpful to have those commentaries as I struggle with understanding the bible. I took my time and got through it in about one and a half years. At times when I would read the bible including now I would have feelings of condemnation. I joined some Internet Christian sites and found them to be full of legalism and sometimes quite a mess with people’s beliefs. Eventually I found UR Universal Reconciliation, which is the ultimate salvation of all. (Not to be mistaken with Unitarians). UR is based 100% on the bible and actually is backed up by scripture in its original Greek and Hebrew texts. So I studied it and although it was the best theology I have ever studied and actually had most love as compared to Calvinism and Arminianism, I still had so many questions and answers that don’t seemed to be answered. There are questions and just my life experience that tells me maybe atheism is the last and only ism.

 

First I can’t believe I am at the stage where I am even writing this. I would have never thought in a millions years I would be on the brink of giving up my faith and beliefs. It has not been in one step. It has been an accumulation of many. I first quit being a Catholic years ago. This in it self was huge because I believed it was only Catholics who went to heaven and it would be harder for others as I was taught. Then I started to do a lot of freethinking and exploring other Christian beliefs. This added some liberation but also added new bondages depending on the denominations. Finally it was just God and I as it kind of always was. I was no longer under the influence of men but just wanted to hear from God. And this is where I started to question more and more and yet no answers or answers that just seem to be religious spin from others.

The Old Testament God seems very scary and violent. Some things I never really understood like why he would strike Uzzah dead when he was just trying to keep the arc from falling? Why take the millions out of Egypt but to end up punishing them for disobedience and leave them in the dessert for 40 years? Why create billions of people to suffer? So many people try to defend this by saying God doesn’t make robots but that logic really doesn’t hold up because yes free will is the best but it is better to be a robot enjoying life then a suffering human with cancer, heart disease, depression who has free will but can’t free will their way out of pain. What about all the starvation in the world and the atrocities. How is this world better. Then there are teachings that just don’t make sense. Now most of the teachings in the bible you don’t need a deity to tell you they are wrong. All you need is to be a victim and you know they are wrong. Like when someone lies to you or hits you or if your spouse cheats on you, you being the victim feel these are wrong. But then there are some that seem out there like Mathew 5:39 turn the other cheek. Is this even realistic? I heard a Catholic priest tell the church we were supposed to do this. I asked him after if someone attacked him and beat him and robbed him, he said he would allow him self to get beat and that he would probably not call the police. That told me for sure I should not be listening to this guy. Then there is the whole hardening of the heart. Why would God harden people’s hearts instead of drawing people to himself? Some say people harden their heart first then God just gives them over to it but I still contend why give them over to it why not save them? Then there are contradictions like Romans 1:19 where it says 19since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. Yet how come so much is not plain to millions?

 

Overall evaluating my life the last 25 years since coming to Christ there has been much mental anguish and actual nervous breakdowns, lots of fear and lack of peace. I also don’t know of a single prayer out of the 10s of thousands I have asked ever being answered. I mean if they were, I wouldn’t know the difference because how many of the thousands were not. I also never felt the Spirit as so many claim. I had emotional highs but I don’t know if that was the Spirit.

I always felt that if I didn’t believe in God I would actually be free. Not to sin or do evil but just be free of the fear and the trying to live up to standards and trying not to sin. Then there are the Grace teachings about it being all faith and not works but yet the New Testament has lots of dos and don’ts . I have come to the point that yes I do really want there to be a God because I feel life would be so meaningless to just die and be nothing, but at the same time the God I have believed in for so long and have prayed to and cried for help and asked to reveal himself to me…I still have not found or heard from him. Was my heart hardened? No. Did I earnestly seek him? Yes. So why wouldn’t he answer me just like he said he would if I seek him?

 

I always thought from the time I was a child that if there was no God I still would want there to be one because I would not want to die and never see my parents again.

 

Right now I am there where I can walk away from my beliefs but I am so scared. Call me a coward if you will. I have put my life in my faith for 25+ years now. It is scary to think I will be alone in the universe if I abandon my faith even though that may be already the case. I have thought about this and I can accept that if I die I will be nothing. I can live with that thought. I have made it to where I am at the door that will take me to the other side (atheism). The thing that keeps me from going through the door is a thought that is unbearable for me.

My son is 8 years old and at the center of my life. When I even think of him dying or I dying and the thoughts of me never seeing him again, never seeing his smile again, never hugging him again, never holding his hand again…it is unbearable for me that I cry just to think about it. This holds me from passing through the door. I am somewhat torn…How did you do it?

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I can sympathize with your position. It was one I was in when I saw myself losing belief. As for never seeing your son again, you have him right now. Each and every moment with him is special in its own right because they are so precious. Treasure them and live them to the fullest. Your son is not a constant... he's not even that same little boy he was 7 years ago. He changes and is a new person each and every day (moment even). You can't even "keep him" here in this life... he will change from underneath you. All you can do is enjoy the ride and not obsess about never seeing him again. Be with him right now.

 

In my own personal experience, the idea of heaven is as terrible as hell. An eternity of sameness... stagnation... boredom. And if you get bored after a billion billion years... there is no way out. You can't even kill yourself in heaven... no going to hell (well maybe you could try to over-throw God but the Bible implies that it won't happen again)... you are stuck. Even day and night is meaningless and I've heard it suggested that the time never changes in heaven... it's always noon. And you don't need to eat, sleep, fuck, hold hands with your son (who might be an old man and married at the time he dies anyway)... you just exist there to act as a mindless robot and worship God. Maybe heaven does allow other stuff to happen and it's a lot like Earth... but even this life, as varied as it is, would eventually become a bore when stretched out that long. There is a time to live and a time to die. Eternal life is a terrible concept.

 

A couple years ago I "lost" a dear friend from college. She was a true joy and a light unto everyone she came in contact with. I can never hold her again, never touch her, never hear her laugh... but I can in my memories of her... and I can bring the spirit of those memories and the positive things she did out in my life. Her body is dead but she lives on in the people she has touched. That is all we've got... and it's beautiful.

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A couple years ago I "lost" a dear friend from college. She was a true joy and a light unto everyone she came in contact with. I can never hold her again, never touch her, never hear her laugh... but I can in my memories of her...

 

I am so sorry for your loss. just reading it saddened me. this is what I mean by my unbearable dilema. losing that kind of person forever is too much for me to handle.

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As for never seeing your son again, you have him right now. Each and every moment with him is special in its own right because they are so precious. Treasure them and live them to the fullest.
A couple years ago I "lost" a dear friend from college. She was a true joy and a light unto everyone she came in contact with. I can never hold her again, never touch her, never hear her laugh... but I can in my memories of her... and I can bring the spirit of those memories and the positive things she did out in my life. Her body is dead but she lives on in the people she has touched. That is all we've got... and it's beautiful.

 

Beautiful words, fallenleaf. You brought a smile to my face and tears to my eyes at the same time.

 

Now that I think about it, expecting to see your loved ones in heaven when you die actually has at least 2 negative effects:

1) It can be easier to take loved ones for granted in this life. A year ago while I was still a Christian I completely cut off my relationship with my parents, and even worse I thought I was doing exactly what Christ wanted me to do. They and I both went on believing that everything would be made right later in heaven. Such a waste of time. They're still Christians and they don't yet know that I'm an atheist. Some day soon I will attempt to restore my relationship with them, and will also make it clear that it was Christianity that caused the division between us.

2) As a Christian when I thought about my loved ones in heaven, I wanted to pass from this life just so I could be with them. Life here and now had little meaning to me, just a speck in infinity that I had to wait to pass until the real life started. Such a waste of time, just waiting around to die. I now have a desire to improve my own quality of life, and then to go further by improving the quality of life for others.

 

Soor,

You talk about being alone in the universe. I completely understand. I had felt for the past few years that God was my "real" father, especially as my relationship with my parents began to fade. I talked to God all the time and sometimes felt like I could feel his love, or that he had given me wisdom or knowledge as I prayed. When reality set in that God doesn't exist, I felt like I lost the closest relationship I had ever had. I was devastated. However, a couple weeks later when I stopped and thought about what that relationship really was, I saw that it was a relationship with myself. I guess you could say that I'm my own best friend. I still talk out loud when I'm all alone. It helps me think. It also gives me a chance to look for things to love in myself and gives me peace. I might just be a little loopy, but hey, it works for me.

 

As I get further and further away from religion and think more and more for myself, I see more and more reasons to live. I was very depressed at first when I didn't know how things would turn out. I remember driving down the road, looking around at all the other people driving and walking through the city, and asking myself "What do all these people have to live for? I know there's a certain percentage that doesn't believe in God, so what keeps them from driving over a cliff?" I couldn't answer that question, so I decided to look for answers. I've found some answers already, but know that I'll find more as I continue on this journey. What I've found out so far is that life is beautiful. There is beauty all around us and knowing that we're a part of nature makes me appreciate it more. I'm not an alien in this world, I'm a part of it. I'm going to make the most of my life.

 

[And now for the awkward part. I never know how to conclude since I can't say "I pray that you'll be filled with peace, blah, blah, blah". Somehow, "I hope" or "I wish you the best" don't even seem worth saying. This is the best I've come up with so far:]

Congratulations on becoming more of a freethinker. Reading your testimony, I can see that you're well on your way to living a better, more meaningful life.

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I was very depressed at first when I didn't know how things would turn out. I remember driving down the road, looking around at all the other people driving and walking through the city, and asking myself "What do all these people have to live for?

thanks for your post. this is how I feel now I am just drifting around and look at people and keep wondering to myself. This is a very rough time for me with much confusion and numbness. I feel depressed and empty.

do you get happy again. Does the lonliness and feeling of being lost go away?

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Welcome to the forums Soor.

 

Personally, I can't bring myself to believe in life after death, as much as I would like to at times. But then I can't absolutely rule it out as a possibility either.

 

There are lots of things that we might like to believe, things that would make us comfortable to believe. I'd sometimes like to believe that life is fair for instance. But I've not seen any evidence that it is. Many times life is not fair.

 

Of course there may be many ideas that I continue to hold on to because it makes me feel comfortable. So I don't feel that I am in any kind of position to condemn you if this is in fact what you are doing.

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I was very depressed at first when I didn't know how things would turn out. I remember driving down the road, looking around at all the other people driving and walking through the city, and asking myself "What do all these people have to live for?

thanks for your post. this is how I feel now I am just drifting around and look at people and keep wondering to myself. This is a very rough time for me with much confusion and numbness. I feel depressed and empty.

do you get happy again. Does the lonliness and feeling of being lost go away?

 

Hi Soor,

 

A little over 10 years ago I had to face the fact that I no longer believed in an afterlife. As a christian I spent a lot of time thinking about and planning for heaven and had great expectations of a a beautiful eternity. When I had to let go of this due to lack of belief I went through a pretty serious grieving process. I think it was something like the 4 stages of greif we all go through when facing the loss of a loved one.

 

And yes, I can say that I have come through and have come to terms with it. Once I faced the reality that christianity is not real, it was actually a very freeing experience despite the idea that I will someday die. No longer did my unbelieving friends have to burn in hell, no longer did I have to worry about displeasing god with my thoughts and my actions. No longer did I have to wonder why I couldn't live up to the holy life that god demanded of me (despite the grace that is promised new believers, we all learn that the truth is the bar keeps being raised as the burden of the cross is constantly being forced on "growing" believers).

 

The grieving didn't last long and I'm much happier and more at peace today than I ever was as a believer.

 

Ps, two years ago I lost my best friend to a brain tumor. It was very hard and I was faced with nihilistic feelings. I had to go through the natural greiving process over her death the way we all do; christian or not. It's hard. It's also reality. Life does and must go on. I'm richer for having known her and have no regrets.

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I was very depressed at first when I didn't know how things would turn out. I remember driving down the road, looking around at all the other people driving and walking through the city, and asking myself "What do all these people have to live for?

thanks for your post. this is how I feel now I am just drifting around and look at people and keep wondering to myself. This is a very rough time for me with much confusion and numbness. I feel depressed and empty.

do you get happy again. Does the lonliness and feeling of being lost go away?

 

Hmm...I remember feeling much the same way right after deciding I was no longer a christian, while I can't find a new meaning for you, I can offer a few thoughts which perhaps might put some of this in perspective.

 

First, you are getting to the point when you realize that god, or at least god as you perceived him is not real. You may feel a bit empty from this, but remember that he wasn't real even when you thought he was, and a false meaning of life is worse than not having any at all.

 

Second, ask yourself a question, back when you believed was everything you did really about honoring your conception of god? I doubt it, you probably have family or friends that you care about. I'm sure there were times you sat down and read a good book or watched a TV show just because you liked the story and never once thought about god the whole time.

 

Some people will try to tell you that there is no "reason" to care about your family or friends, so and and so forth, without a god, but in my opinion I need no reason to do these things beyond "I want to"

 

To be honest, I was surprised at how little different my life actually is, I mean, I have more time for hobbies without all the time spent praying and going to bible studies, but overall, I am still me.

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To be honest, I was surprised at how little different my life actually is, I mean, I have more time for hobbies without all the time spent praying and going to bible studies, but overall, I am still me.

 

Yeah, it seems weird that this should be a surprise, but that's exactly the experience I had. I was shocked that I was still just me. Even more surprising for me was the fact that I realized that unbelievers were just normal people with the same thoughts and feelings I had as well. I always thought they were somehow wired differently as crazy as that sounds. It was really nice to be able to relate to unbelievers on a normal level; as opposed to an evangelistic one.

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How did you do it? Leaving the faith?

Well, in my case it wasn't my intention to leave faith. Faith left me. Gradually I had a harder time believing the things in the Bible and believing in supernatural things. While my faith was slowly degrading, I wanted to find or see anything that could convince me otherwise, but nothing was there. Nothing helped. Prayer, reading Bible, go to Church, nonthing gave me what I needed anymore. One day I basically realized that I didn't believe there was a god anymore, and to admit that to myself was hard, but I knew it was true.

 

Good luck on your journey Soor, to try to understand life.

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thanks for your post. this is how I feel now I am just drifting around and look at people and keep wondering to myself. This is a very rough time for me with much confusion and numbness. I feel depressed and empty.

do you get happy again. Does the lonliness and feeling of being lost go away?

 

Yes, for me the happiness has returned. The loneliness and feeling of being lost haven't gone away, but they have quieted down. It's still early for me, since I've only been out for 5 months, but I only foresee it improving from here. There are still ups and downs, but as for myself I can say that (all except for the first few weeks) the emotional roller-coaster is less extreme than when I was a Christian. I feel more at peace now than ever, mostly because I know that I'm in control and responsible for my life rather than a god who can "teach me lessons" whenever and however he wants.

 

P.S. On the note of happiness, I must point out that I am now free to enjoy "wicked" things that appealed to me as a Christian such as secular music, nude art, and funny pictures of horny confused little monkeys mounting unsuspecting little kittens. I no longer feel that there's some mystical evil presence that's going to take over me for enjoying them, so in a way I'm happier than I ever was.

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There are still ups and downs, but as for myself I can say that (all except for the first few weeks) the emotional roller-coaster is less extreme than when I was a Christian. I feel more at peace now than ever, mostly because I know that I'm in control and responsible for my life rather than a god who can "teach me lessons" whenever and however he wants.
Thanks for your post

 

how long were you a Christian for and what denomination?

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how long were you a Christian for and what denomination?

 

I was born into a Christian family and am 28 years old now. I can't remember when or if I made a decision to be a Christian, but I was baptized around the age of 7. I remember also making conscious, although ill-informed, choices to live for God just prior to the baptism.

 

I never really belonged to a demon nation per se, but held beliefs closely related to Baptists with a little bit of Mormon mixed in as a kid, and as an adult added Charismatic and Apostolic beliefs in. Just about every church I attended considered themselves non-denominational.

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P.S. On the note of happiness, I must point out that I am now free to enjoy "wicked" things that appealed to me as a Christian such as secular music, nude art, and funny pictures of horny confused little monkeys mounting unsuspecting little kittens. I no longer feel that there's some mystical evil presence that's going to take over me for enjoying them, so in a way I'm happier than I ever was.

 

 

:HaHa: Has anyone here seen that video I posted last month of that chimpanzee molesting the frog? Why hasn't anyone checked that one out? I'm sure you would get a good laugh out of it.

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Has anyone here seen that video I posted last month of that chimpanzee molesting the frog? Why hasn't anyone checked that one out? I'm sure you would get a good laugh out of it.

 

Just viewed it. I did laugh, but I would have to admit that I felt a little dirty for doing so.

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Please bear with me as this is my first post on this board.

 

I don't know what to say in regards to the dilemma with your son. I have no children, well I have two dogs that my girlfriend and I consider our children but that's something entirely different of course. I walked in the understanding of christianity for so long, twenty plus years for me as well. I even spent 4 years as the associate pastor at a nationally known church. I spoke at events and at churches around the country. My path was set - work at the church for a bit more until my name got to be a bit more well known and then pop out a book. One problem stopped the predestined path ( pun so intended) - the questions I had in my youth about god and the bible were still never answered. Being on the pulpit and in the eyes of others you learn to dodge your own questions by keeping busy. One day I had to be honest..I was not convinced.

 

I'm not going to call you a coward, I don't think anyone would. The death question is a rough one, but here's the thing..no one knows. Science can't answer it and the bible sure doesn't prove it at all. Who knows what lies out there, maybe nothing. Maybe everything. If it's nothing, you can't feel loss when you are nothing. It's sad to dwell on that and that's why we can't. We have to love all we do as much as we can, because we don't know when anything ends. I really wish I could say some grand thing to help you with your exact question, but I can't.

 

Going through the door for myself was hard. It took a long time, and much of that time was spent learning to get rid of those fear shackles I had on from being raised in the church. It took being honest to make the steps.

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:lmao: I can't believe now everyone here is commenting on that video as I posted it. This was something I had to post as even my xtian granny couldn't stop laughing hysterically over that frog being forced to give that chimp head.
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A couple years ago I "lost" a dear friend from college. She was a true joy and a light unto everyone she came in contact with. I can never hold her again, never touch her, never hear her laugh... but I can in my memories of her...

 

I am so sorry for your loss. just reading it saddened me. this is what I mean by my unbearable dilema. losing that kind of person forever is too much for me to handle.

 

You don't know how much you can really handle until you are forced to handle it. When I found out she was sick, I didn't think I could handle that. How does one so vibrant get cancer at such a young age? Why does it strike a person who brightens the world and not those who are miserable anyway? We knew it was bad and then three weeks later she asked one of our friends if he would juggle at her wake. I think she knew it was coming and she had always enjoyed watching him juggle (he is amazing but that's another topic). He juggled for her that day until his arms wore out. She was so happy to see him perform and made him promise that he would do it at the wake. He promised and he did. It's odd to see someone in formal dress juggling flaming torches and things at such an event. But that was the kind of person she was... even her wake wouldn't be without joy, wonder, and awe.

 

She never stopped smiling. Okay, I wasn't there for every moment or the last couple days but I never heard anyone say different... and if she did stop smiling, I wouldn't want to know about it. My memories of her are dominated by her joy and spirit. After she died, a group of her friends got together and convinced the college campus to allow them to erect a memorial to her in her favorite place on campus. And, as odd as the request was, the powerful memories she had left at the school made it seem natural to have a memorial to a single student on campus. They planted a young grapefruit tree, and built a table and some benches on the spot to encourage people to sit and stay. And they placed a plaque to let everyone know who had inspired that little oasis.

 

If I need to connect with her again, I go there. It just feels right.

 

But she is gone forever. There is no hell for her to burn in (for surely she would burn as she was no Christian) nor a heaven to find her sitting under a tree and painting in. But, for all the pain losing her brought... knowing her was worth it. My life is better for having known her. You will find your own peace when the times comes. But that peace shouldn't involve a vain hope of an afterlife to make amends for the time you squandered here.

 

So it goes.

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:HaHa: Has anyone here seen that video I posted last month of that chimpanzee molesting the frog? Why hasn't anyone checked that one out? I'm sure you would get a good laugh out of it.

 

I can't find it, but then again I'm new here -- could you give me a link to the thread?

 

How did you do it? Leaving the faith?

Well, in my case it wasn't my intention to leave faith. Faith left me. Gradually I had a harder time believing the things in the Bible and believing in supernatural things. While my faith was slowly degrading, I wanted to find or see anything that could convince me otherwise, but nothing was there. Nothing helped. Prayer, reading Bible, go to Church, nonthing gave me what I needed anymore. One day I basically realized that I didn't believe there was a god anymore, and to admit that to myself was hard, but I knew it was true.

 

That's pretty close to my experience too. I was lucky in that I was raised by Christian-but-pretty-openminded parents; two things I never bought into were the Bible as literal truth, and the absolute exclusivity of one path to salvation -- an idea common among some of the Southern Baptists around here is that everyone, including other Christians, who doesn't believe exactly as they do will get the eternal blowtorch. (Well, when I say "never," I mean since I was old enough to really start thinking at all; maybe age ten or so. A five year old will of course believe in a lot of silly things...)

 

Also, looking back, I'd say that being raised near hard-core Southern Baptists but being in a family that wasn't that way ... well, that was very lucky; from day one, serious hard-core religion always kinda "smelled funny" to me.

 

But the more I looked at Christianity over the years, the more absurdity after absurdity fell away. Finally I got to a point where there just wasn't very much about Christianity I did accept. Then I asked myself a very important question:

 

"Knowing what I know now about Christianity, the Bible, and so on ... how much of it is clearly contradicted by science, how morally problematic it is, how little objective evidence there really is to suggest that 'Jesus' was actually a real-life person at all, how much of the Bible and other important Christian documents are forgeries or have other such problems, etc., etc., etc. ... hypothetically, if I were a non-Christian, and knew all these things, what would I think of Christianity?

 

Would I think that there was some important truth behind it? -- that God and Jesus were real in a sprititual sense? Would I feel any attraction at all to the idea of becoming a Christian? Any real "calling" to "come on board," accept Jesus, get baptized, and start going to church?

 

Or would I dismiss it as nothing more than yet another culturally approved superstition -- nothing more than first-century Palestine's version of Zeus, Apollo, et al?"

 

The answer was obvious. No, I wouldn't. Not in a million years, any more than I'm likely to suddenly start praying to Athena, Isis, or Shiva. And I think that really was a critical turning point; I was pretty far along to becoming an atheist anyway, but from that moment I couldn't ever again think about praying, going to church, or whatever without also an underlying conviction coming into play ... the recognition that "this is all a load of crap."

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I can't find it, but then again I'm new here -- could you give me a link to the thread?

 

It's been moved to the Sex and Christianity section of this site, and the thread's name is Interspecies Oral Sex Video:Not a Worksafe Video.

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It's been moved to the Sex and Christianity section of this site, and the thread's name is Interspecies Oral Sex Video:Not a Worksafe Video.

 

Thanks. :) Found where the original post had been in the "off topic" section (that is, the "moved to" link), but the link leads me to a "out of date or broken." And when I pull up the main forum page, there's no Sex and Christianity section listed. Must be in the subscription-only section (I'm a freeloader right now). Oh well. :shrug::Wendywhatever:

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And when I pull up the main forum page, there's no Sex and Christianity section listed. Must be in the subscription-only section (I'm a freeloader right now). Oh well. :shrug::Wendywhatever:

 

Hmm, that's queer. I'm not a subscriber, but the section shows up for me.

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Welcome to XC Forums!

 

Not sure if you were talking to me or to the other newbie, but thanks. And the same to you, looks like you're new around here as well. :)

 

Hmm, that's queer. I'm not a subscriber, but the section shows up for me.

 

It just showed up here too ... my status just changed from "new member" to "regular member," and I'll bet that's the reason. I'm still LMAO at the chimp. ;)

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Soor,

I can identify with your story, since I've been gradually leaving Christianity for a few years now. It was much harder at the beginning than it is now, but sometimes when I feel depressed or physically unwell, I still get thoughts that maybe it's partly because of my "falling away". Then I just remind myself that I had good and bad days when I was a faithful church member and trying to do all that I could to please God. It's just how life is, I guess. I have two boys, 8 and 9, and if I start dwelling on the possibility of one of them dying and never seeing them again, it's frightening. So I try to focus on the time that I have with them in the present (even though they're visiting my parents in New York for a few weeks right now) and enjoy them while I have them. It's true that they will grow up, hopefully, and go on with their lives separate from me. It's good that the growing process is gradual because it's more bearable that way.

You asked if the happiness comes back, and it certainly has for me. Almost as soon as I realized that hell was made up to scare us into submission, a huge weight was lifted and the depression I used to struggle with has pretty much left me. I seriously don't want to go back to being ruled by fears made up by other people to keep control over me. I also found that I'm pretty much the same person, even though some of the church people where I used to attend no longer are friends. I still have a few, and they were the true friends that didn't let dogma get in the way.

So hang in there and I really think it will get easier for you as you learn more and experience more outside the "walls".

 

Sparkyone

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