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A Conversation With My Former Fundy Self


ShackledNoMore

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Evolution beyond's thread, "If I Were A Christian," has inspired me to imagine a thought experiment in which my present day self could travel back in time and have a conversation with my fundy self from days past. I hope you find the results of my musings a worthy read.

 

The cast of characters is:

 

ShackledNoMore, my current self.

Shackled, my former fundy self.

Narrator, my current self in the role of narrator, providing explanation and commentary about the discussion.

 

ShackledNoMore: Hi.

 

Shackled: Hi.

 

ShackledNoMore: How do you know that god exists?

 

Shackled: The Bible says so.

 

Narrator: Alice was the lady who first witnessed to my mother and me.

 

ShackledNoMore: Remember 3 years ago when you had the conversation on the playground with some other kid about the existence of god? That was before you or your mother met Alice and before you ever heard of anything called the 'new birth'. In spite of your catholic upbringing, you were analyzing things from two angles: one assuming god exists, and the other assuming he doesn't. You didn't see anything incongruent about this. Now you fully embrace the 'born again' paradigm and leave no room to question the existence of god. I'm here to help you examine all that.

 

Narrator: A wave of panic and fear washes down Shackled's stomach. Shackled considers the possibility that he may be talking with a literal demon.

 

Shackled: How do you know all this stuff?

 

ShackledNoMore: Lets just say that I'm your future self.

 

Shackled: No, that's not good enough. We both know that you can't just travel back in time from the future to talk to yourself. You know stuff that there should be no way for you to know. How do you know it?

 

ShackledNoMore: Look, neither of us actually exist. We are just abstract constructs in a thought experiment your future self is performing. Your not accepting that assumption will sidetrack this conversation.

 

Shackled: OK. I accept your premise. Let's proceed.

 

ShackledNoMore: So how do you know that the bible represents the ultimate truth?

 

Shackled: I know it in my heart.

 

ShackledNoMore: You know that you have a near absolute faith in your mother, your teachers, your pastor, and other adult authority figures, right?

 

Shackled: I haven't exactly confronted this assumption yet, but I know that it is true. They have lived a lot longer than me and learned a lot more. They are wiser and more experienced. They have no reason not to be benevolent. It is their job to impart their superior wisdom to me.

 

ShackledNoMore: You would also consider me, your future self, to be such a wise, experienced authority figure. To keep your reactions more natural, I magically release you from that assumption for the purposes of this thought experiment.

 

Shackled: Thank you.

 

ShackledNoMore: So, then: you said that you know in your heart that the bible represents the ultimate truth, but if you look deep down at something you haven't yet confronted, you will see that your faith is really in those who have told you what you believe about god.

 

Shackled: That's not true! I've felt the Spirit of God. He's confirmed His presence. He's changed my life! I've seen Him heal people. He's healed me of a cold!

 

ShackledNoMore: Younger self, you will learn about the natural order of disease as you get older. You were very congested and that made you feel very miserable, and the congestion broke rather quickly. If your god had really healed you, you would not have progressed through the final stages of a cold over the next couple of days feeling only 95% better--you would have been completely healed. Changed your life? You're the same goody two-shoes you were before you were "saved" and you know it. And the healings you've seen? They're scams, plain and simple. That's why you see leg lengthenings and people healed of backaches at your church where everybody knows each other and why you see people healed of heart disease and kidney problems at revivals where the miracles cannot be verified. There are elements of both psychology and outright fraud.

 

Shackled: Maybe you really ARE a demon. I REBUKE YOU, SATAN, IN THE NAME OF JESUS!

 

Narrator: At this point Shackled becomes very fearful and tries to escape, but since he is only a construct in a thought experiment, he is constrained to remain.

 

ShackledNoMore: OK then, lets go back and tread in an area you would have been willing to explore three years ago, and will in the future, but are not now. First, is the bible fallible?

 

Shackled: The Bible is the inspired and infallible Word of God. It is inerrant down to the last detail and without contradiction.

 

ShackledNoMore: How carefully have you examined that assumption?

 

Shackled: What do you mean?

 

ShackledNoMore: Did you know that the bible is littered with contradictions, many of them straightforward, mundane, and trivially obvious?

 

Shackled: No its not. That's simply not true. Some guy has offered a million dollar prize to anyone who can find a single contradiction in the Bible. And nobody ever has. I've read the entire Bible and didn't find any contradictions.

 

ShackledNoMore: What is the value of pi?

 

Shackled: 3.1415926535

 

ShackledNoMore: I knew you'd say that. I would have accepted 3.14 as an acceptable approximation, but maybe it's better you carried it out to so many digits. How do you know that the value of pi is 3.1415926535, and how can you figure it out so exactly?

 

Shackled: I have calculated it myself. I know that there are many mathematical methods to determine the value of pi. I created polygons bounded by a circle and summed up the areas of those polygons to approximate the value of pi. The value I came up with approached the accepted value. If I had enough time, patience, and incentive, I could calculate it to as many digits as I want.

 

ShackledNoMore: You used math skills you learned in junior high school to do this. And you understand how this worked and are satisfied that you used a valid and sound method of calculating pi?

 

Shackled: Yes, I understand completely how it works. I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that my method was valid and sound.

 

ShackledNoMore: And you've been taught, and believe fully, that every last detail of the bible is perfect and correct.

 

Shackled: I've already said that it is, yes, the Bible is inerrant in every detail.

 

ShackledNoMore: Then did you know that the bible claims that the value of pi is 3?

 

Shackled: What!?

 

ShackledNoMore: Open your bible up to 1 kings 7:23 and read it.

 

Shackled: Uh...

 

ShackledNoMore: You glossed over the entire bible, in brain-dead fashion to get your bible pin for Royal Rangers. Please re-read the genealogies of jesus in both matthew and luke and compare them.

 

Shackled: Hmmmmm, you're right--it looks like they're different. I'm going to have to think about this.

 

Narrator: Shackled asks several of his christian authority figures about these verses and finds he gets unsatisfying, apologetic answers. Within three years, he finishes going through the deconversion process, seven years earlier than than he did in the real world, without the benefit of a visit from his future self.

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  • 2 months later...
  • 4 weeks later...

"You glossed over the entire bible, in brain-dead fashion to get your bible pin for Royal Rangers."

 

LOL. I take it you're ex-AG! So am I. In fact, not only was I a Royal Ranger, but I was a RR leader. My most significan memory about Royal Rangers was being at a Pow Wow when I was about eight. The frontiersmen (or whatever they were called) were leading a ceremony at night. There was supposed to be fire as part of the service. Anyways, this one particular guy starts praying and calling down fire from heaven to light his little log cabin set up. All of a sudden, the wood ignites. Momentarily, I am amazed until I realize that the fire was really started electronically, at which point I was forever horrified. I never forget that, even though it took me years to finally leave church. None of the "leaders" were horrified enough to "rebuke" that guy. No one did anything.

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"You glossed over the entire bible, in brain-dead fashion to get your bible pin for Royal Rangers."

 

LOL. I take it you're ex-AG! So am I. In fact, not only was I a Royal Ranger, but I was a RR leader. My most significan memory about Royal Rangers was being at a Pow Wow when I was about eight. The frontiersmen (or whatever they were called) were leading a ceremony at night. There was supposed to be fire as part of the service. Anyways, this one particular guy starts praying and calling down fire from heaven to light his little log cabin set up. All of a sudden, the wood ignites. Momentarily, I am amazed until I realize that the fire was really started electronically, at which point I was forever horrified. I never forget that, even though it took me years to finally leave church. None of the "leaders" were horrified enough to "rebuke" that guy. No one did anything.

That's pretty horrifying, and I'm a bit taken aback by it, but not overly surprised.

 

Sometimes I'd wonder (after I was out of it) how close to the surface some of the sleight of hand was--some of what I saw bore a little too much resemblance to a magicians bag of tricks to keep me from wondering if any of it was calculated or if it was truly generated out of the delusions of the leaders.

 

I warn you, it wouldn't take much to spin me off into a huge rant about the AoG. It was a pretty horrendous version of the cult.

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  • 3 weeks later...
"You glossed over the entire bible, in brain-dead fashion to get your bible pin for Royal Rangers."

 

LOL. I take it you're ex-AG! So am I. In fact, not only was I a Royal Ranger, but I was a RR leader. My most significan memory about Royal Rangers was being at a Pow Wow when I was about eight. The frontiersmen (or whatever they were called) were leading a ceremony at night. There was supposed to be fire as part of the service. Anyways, this one particular guy starts praying and calling down fire from heaven to light his little log cabin set up. All of a sudden, the wood ignites. Momentarily, I am amazed until I realize that the fire was really started electronically, at which point I was forever horrified. I never forget that, even though it took me years to finally leave church. None of the "leaders" were horrified enough to "rebuke" that guy. No one did anything.

 

Awanas? Anyone know what Im talking about?

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Same thing as Kiwanas?

 

If Kiwanis secretly brainwashes little children, sure.

 

Check the topic Crazy Christian Groups in the ex-christian life section.

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You shoulda told yourself the winners of the past 3 superbowls while youj were there. Coulda been rich. ;)

Seriously, good read, and thought. I wonder what woulda been different if I had wised up a little sooner.

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  • 2 weeks later...

This was a great read, I want a longer version!

 

I was in RR too, crazy crazy

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Ah, that freaky little boy scout knock off…Fooled as I was at the age of eight, I got the perv vibe from my “commander†and quit going. Staying up stairs with mom was more fun anyhow. Our drunk preacher really made the most out of his Wednesday audience of 15 people.

 

P.S. I second the motion for a longer version.

 

P.P.S. I'm new to these forums but old to this site. Anyone in the know when it comes to the best forums.

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This was a great read, I want a longer version!

 

I was in RR too, crazy crazy

So they allow girls in Royal Rangers in Sweden! Here they have something called Missionettes for girls. Sort of like that Ass of God equivalent to Girl Scouts, as far as I know.

 

I don't think we're egalitarian enough here for unisex scouting, especially in patriarchal churches. It had somewhat of a militaristic, "shaping boys into men" (or what they thought men should be) feel to it.

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Ah, that freaky little boy scout knock off…Fooled as I was at the age of eight, I got the perv vibe from my “commander” and quit going. Staying up stairs with mom was more fun anyhow. Our drunk preacher really made the most out of his Wednesday audience of 15 people.

 

P.S. I second the motion for a longer version.

 

P.P.S. I'm new to these forums but old to this site. Anyone in the know when it comes to the best forums.

Welcome, Telesmith, glad to see you decided to post!

 

I didn't get a perv vibe from my commander, but the hypocrite pastor at one of my churches did pull a Jimmy Swaggart.

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