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Autumn girl

An Always Christian Now Doubting

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I forgot to mention in my last post that I don't only have my oldest son to consider, but my three younger children. Each of them need and derserve my attention too, which has always been hard to balance considering my oldest's large need for quiet, calm, and focused attention from me. He is highly distractable, so when my two year old starts doing the things two year olds do he can almost instantaneously lose interest in our lesson. Then there is my adorable baby, who I could spend all day cuddling, playing with, and loving on. And my five year old - she's one smart little girl! Can be sassy at times though (as most five year old girls can be sometimes!), so that's another distraction for my oldest.

 

Just wanted to add this because my oldest is not all I have to contend with, and all of this needs to be added to the mix when I'm making new decisions about my/our life.

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I forgot to mention in my last post that I don't only have my oldest son to consider, but my three younger children. Each of them need and derserve my attention too, which has always been hard to balance considering my oldest's large need for quiet, calm, and focused attention from me. He is highly distractable, so when my two year old starts doing the things two year olds do he can almost instantaneously lose interest in our lesson. Then there is my adorable baby, who I could spend all day cuddling, playing with, and loving on. And my five year old - she's one smart little girl! Can be sassy at times though (as most five year old girls can be sometimes!), so that's another distraction for my oldest.

 

Just wanted to add this because my oldest is not all I have to contend with, and all of this needs to be added to the mix when I'm making new decisions about my/our life.

 

I can sympathise to some degree with your oldest son. It seems that every time I try to do Calculus homework, the kids are acting like a bunch of monkeys in a zoo, or my wife cranks up some of that crappy music she listens to. Even for just bs classes like Western Civ, I generally need quiet to accomplish anything. I hate ringing phones, too. It seems that anytime I'm focused in on a task, someone's calling. Pisses me off to no end. A few phones have met their demise by ringing while I was busy.

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And what the story I posted about "god" revealing the Muslim man's personal facts to him through the missionary? Do I just dismiss that, and any other story like that?

3) Some very skilled cold-readers can extract information from a person, without the person realizing that he or she is giving it to the cold-reader. Body language, tone of voice, choice of words, unintentional responses, etc.

 

This is probably a topic that should be discussed elsewhere, and probably a huge can of worms but... I wonder how many ministers are skilled cold readers but don't even realize it? They chalk it up to "discernment" or a word from God when really all they have done is use the same skill that psychics and mediums and mentalists use. I mean, I am positive that there are people out there who use cold reading in order to fool believers, but do you think it possible that some of them use this skill without the intent to fool anyone, but are fooling themselves into believing that it is coming from God?

 

Completely agree. My former Christian mentor was exactly like this. She always believed she was "discerning in the Spirit" but looking back now at the times I witnessed this I think it was just her being a very good reader of body language.

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I will simply say that the concept of Hell is bogus and isn't in the Bible like preachers say it is. I like the website what-the-hell-is-hell but it is Methodist.

 

It is in the bible, just not as much as one would think based on sermons.

 

I don't believe in talking donkeys, talking snakes, virgin births, people rising from the dead and walking around, dry bones dancing, angels with flaming swords keeping me out of a paradise with a tree that makes me self-aware, a flood that covers the earth- in spite of the geologic evidence to the contrary, an 900 year old man, centuries old people having babies, giants, horn blasts making walls fall down, people living in the middle of fires, a voice coming from a burning bush- that is never consumed, two fish feeding 5000 (men- because the women and children don't COUNT)....killing a child for being sassy, stoning an adulteress, or the idea that mensuration is an abomination......

..................................

....................................................................or hell. Because they come from the same book. It just takes time and a new internal dialogue- you will recover from the fear.

 

This needs to be rewritten as a power ballad.

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I will simply say that the concept of Hell is bogus and isn't in the Bible like preachers say it is. I like the website what-the-hell-is-hell but it is Methodist.

 

It is in the bible, just not as much as one would think based on sermons.

 

I don't believe in talking donkeys, talking snakes, virgin births, people rising from the dead and walking around, dry bones dancing, angels with flaming swords keeping me out of a paradise with a tree that makes me self-aware, a flood that covers the earth- in spite of the geologic evidence to the contrary, an 900 year old man, centuries old people having babies, giants, horn blasts making walls fall down, people living in the middle of fires, a voice coming from a burning bush- that is never consumed, two fish feeding 5000 (men- because the women and children don't COUNT)....killing a child for being sassy, stoning an adulteress, or the idea that mensuration is an abomination......

..................................

....................................................................or hell. Because they come from the same book. It just takes time and a new internal dialogue- you will recover from the fear.

 

This needs to be rewritten as a power ballad.

 

+1 I like the way you think, jabber. Obviously you too, Not-So-Foolish Girl, great words!!!

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And what the story I posted about "god" revealing the Muslim man's personal facts to him through the missionary? Do I just dismiss that, and any other story like that?

 

I suspect you attend a Christian and Missionary Alliance church. Am I right?

 

I spent part of my childhood in this church and attended AWANA clubs and heard these stories too. I was amazed and awed too when the missionaries would come tell of miracles.

 

But did you ever notice how those appearances were usually associated with requests for more long-term funding?

 

I don't want to be completely cynical. The missionary probably really believed what he was saying. But a good miracle story with no corroboration always grows in the telling.

 

And I have never seen evidence of a biblical miracle -- snake-handling, coming back to life, birth defects regrown, contagious diseases healed. Why not? Jesus did say "greater than these will you do in my name." Was he wrong? Do we not have enough faith? Or was he just making promises he knew no one would ever call him on? Why do we only hear of crappy miracles, like "the missionary miraculously knew personal things about the guy that he could have learned by reading his tells?"

 

Same with these miracles. They are always third-hand stories with no photos or video which offers compelling evidence, and the temptation to embellish must be huge for the storyteller. Especially when long-term funding is at stake.

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I forgot to mention in my last post that I don't only have my oldest son to consider, but my three younger children. Each of them need and derserve my attention too, which has always been hard to balance considering my oldest's large need for quiet, calm, and focused attention from me. He is highly distractable, so when my two year old starts doing the things two year olds do he can almost instantaneously lose interest in our lesson. Then there is my adorable baby, who I could spend all day cuddling, playing with, and loving on. And my five year old - she's one smart little girl! Can be sassy at times though (as most five year old girls can be sometimes!), so that's another distraction for my oldest.

 

Just wanted to add this because my oldest is not all I have to contend with, and all of this needs to be added to the mix when I'm making new decisions about my/our life.

 

I can sympathise to some degree with your oldest son. It seems that every time I try to do Calculus homework, the kids are acting like a bunch of monkeys in a zoo, or my wife cranks up some of that crappy music she listens to. Even for just bs classes like Western Civ, I generally need quiet to accomplish anything. I hate ringing phones, too. It seems that anytime I'm focused in on a task, someone's calling. Pisses me off to no end. A few phones have met their demise by ringing while I was busy.

 

Hey monkey, I have this problem too. A solution for me is headphones. I listen to pandora while I do math. Either "zen Garden" or David Russel" (that is classical guitar). It makes a nice background and it kind of works as a white noise, for me. Plus music stimulates the left side of your brain- good for Calc!

;)

Take it or leave it..

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I forgot to mention in my last post that I don't only have my oldest son to consider, but my three younger children. Each of them need and derserve my attention too, which has always been hard to balance considering my oldest's large need for quiet, calm, and focused attention from me. He is highly distractable, so when my two year old starts doing the things two year olds do he can almost instantaneously lose interest in our lesson. Then there is my adorable baby, who I could spend all day cuddling, playing with, and loving on. And my five year old - she's one smart little girl! Can be sassy at times though (as most five year old girls can be sometimes!), so that's another distraction for my oldest.

 

Just wanted to add this because my oldest is not all I have to contend with, and all of this needs to be added to the mix when I'm making new decisions about my/our life.

 

I can sympathise to some degree with your oldest son. It seems that every time I try to do Calculus homework, the kids are acting like a bunch of monkeys in a zoo, or my wife cranks up some of that crappy music she listens to. Even for just bs classes like Western Civ, I generally need quiet to accomplish anything. I hate ringing phones, too. It seems that anytime I'm focused in on a task, someone's calling. Pisses me off to no end. A few phones have met their demise by ringing while I was busy.

 

Hey monkey, I have this problem too. A solution for me is headphones. I listen to pandora while I do math. Either "zen Garden" or David Russel" (that is classical guitar). It makes a nice background and it kind of works as a white noise, for me. Plus music stimulates the left side of your brain- good for Calc!

;)

Take it or leave it..

 

Sounds like a damn good idea. Thanks for the suggestion!

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I suspect you attend a Christian and Missionary Alliance church. Am I right?

 

No, just an "evangelical free" church. The man who came to speak is the Vice President of a missions organization that has something like 900 missionaries around the globe. He was/is a personal friend of our pastor and his wife. He, honestly, was mainly trying to drive the point home that giving money is ok and all, but actually going out and doing missions work ourselves is what Jesus would have us really consider.

 

I don't believe in talking donkeys, talking snakes, virgin births, people rising from the dead and walking around, dry bones dancing, angels with flaming swords keeping me out of a paradise with a tree that makes me self-aware, a flood that covers the earth- in spite of the geologic evidence to the contrary, an 900 year old man, centuries old people having babies, giants, horn blasts making walls fall down, people living in the middle of fires, a voice coming from a burning bush- that is never consumed, two fish feeding 5000 (men- because the women and children don't COUNT)....killing a child for being sassy, stoning an adulteress, or the idea that mensuration is an abomination......

..................................

....................................................................or hell. Because they come from the same book. It just takes time and a new internal dialogue- you will recover from the fear.

 

 

foolish girl - That really says it! I look forward to all traces of fear being gone.

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I'm tempted to get rid of all of my Christian books (and there are lots), my bibles, my Christian music CD's, take my kids out of AWANA, stop going to church, tell the head of our Sunday school program that I will not be going to the meeting on Sunday with all of the volunteers, and write a letter with lots of links and information to everyone that would care I'm not a Christian anymore. Something tells me that this might not be the wisest course of action though.

 

I would suggest keeping at least some of your bibles and christian books for future reference.

 

I did get rid of some of my christian books, but I kept most of the more "reference" type books and nearly all my bibles, and I'm glad I did, because every once in a while I need to look something up.

 

Oh, and I've gotten rid of most of my christian music (some of it will stay because my wife wants it, though).

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I'm tempted to get rid of all of my Christian books (and there are lots), my bibles, my Christian music CD's, take my kids out of AWANA, stop going to church, tell the head of our Sunday school program that I will not be going to the meeting on Sunday with all of the volunteers, and write a letter with lots of links and information to everyone that would care I'm not a Christian anymore. Something tells me that this might not be the wisest course of action though.

 

I would suggest keeping at least some of your bibles and christian books for future reference.

 

I did get rid of some of my christian books, but I kept most of the more "reference" type books and nearly all my bibles, and I'm glad I did, because every once in a while I need to look something up.

 

Oh, and I've gotten rid of most of my christian music (some of it will stay because my wife wants it, though).

 

Keep all the books. You never know when you might run out of shit paper.

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I began reading Trusting Doubt, then Leaving the Fold by Marlene Winnel, then Godless by Dan Barker, and now I'm reading Jesus, Interrupted. I have other books waiting for me at the library. I've also watched lots of NonStampCollector's youtube videos.

 

Thanks for the responses so far. Some of you recommended books to me, some of which I've read. I thought I'd post again (above) what I've read so far so no one would miss it. Jesus, Interrupted is by Bart Erhman.

 

And what the story I posted about "god" revealing the Muslim man's personal facts to him through the missionary? Do I just dismiss that, and any other story like that?

 

Yes. It's unverifiable, and it's also the kind of story Christian missionaries have been telling for centuries.

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I will simply say that the concept of Hell is bogus and isn't in the Bible like preachers say it is. I like the website what-the-hell-is-hell but it is Methodist.

 

It is in the bible, just not as much as one would think based on sermons.

 

Yes, the Hell bit is in the Bible but not nearly like what the preacher's say not nearly as graphic and the word eternal Hell [if I remember correctly] the word eternal is not in the Bible. There is no use of a Greek word for the English word eternal. So, it isn't nearly like what is being preached. It helped me a lot to realize that.

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I suspect you attend a Christian and Missionary Alliance church. Am I right?

 

No, just an "evangelical free" church. The man who came to speak is the Vice President of a missions organization that has something like 900 missionaries around the globe. He was/is a personal friend of our pastor and his wife. He, honestly, was mainly trying to drive the point home that giving money is ok and all, but actually going out and doing missions work ourselves is what Jesus would have us really consider.

 

 

You know, there's something about that which always bugged me. If we all did that, who would be left to give money to fund these overseas adventures?

 

It's designed to guilt people into giving more money, IMO. Giving isn't good enough, but if you give lots, well, maybe it's almost as good.

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I will simply say that the concept of Hell is bogus and isn't in the Bible like preachers say it is. I like the website what-the-hell-is-hell but it is Methodist.

 

It is in the bible, just not as much as one would think based on sermons.

 

Yes, the Hell bit is in the Bible but not nearly like what the preacher's say not nearly as graphic and the word eternal Hell [if I remember correctly] the word eternal is not in the Bible. There is no use of a Greek word for the English word eternal. So, it isn't nearly like what is being preached. It helped me a lot to realize that.

 

Actually, the word "eternal" is used quite a bit in the bible. It's more often used with "eternal life" than with hell, but there are also mentions of "eternal punishment" (such as Matt 25:46). There is also mention of the devil being "tormented day and night for ever and ever" in "lake of burning sulfur" (Rev 20:10), and then it proceeds to say that anyone whose "name was not found written in the book of life" will be "thrown into the lake of fire" (Rev 20:15).

 

So, there is a biblical basis for the concept of eternal suffering in the lake of fire, even though it's not as prevalent in the bible as preachers claim.

 

And, of course, the bible is about as trustworthy as the National Enquirer, so it really doesn't matter what the bible does say about hell.

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I will simply say that the concept of Hell is bogus and isn't in the Bible like preachers say it is. I like the website what-the-hell-is-hell but it is Methodist.

 

It is in the bible, just not as much as one would think based on sermons.

 

Yes, the Hell bit is in the Bible but not nearly like what the preacher's say not nearly as graphic and the word eternal Hell [if I remember correctly] the word eternal is not in the Bible. There is no use of a Greek word for the English word eternal. So, it isn't nearly like what is being preached. It helped me a lot to realize that.

 

Actually, the word "eternal" is used quite a bit in the bible. It's more often used with "eternal life" than with hell, but there are also mentions of "eternal punishment" (such as Matt 25:46). There is also mention of the devil being "tormented day and night for ever and ever" in "lake of burning sulfur" (Rev 20:10), and then it proceeds to say that anyone whose "name was not found written in the book of life" will be "thrown into the lake of fire" (Rev 20:15).

 

So, there is a biblical basis for the concept of eternal suffering in the lake of fire, even though it's not as prevalent in the bible as preachers claim.

 

And, of course, the bible is about as trustworthy as the National Enquirer, so it really doesn't matter what the bible does say about hell.

 

 

I am admittedly not a scholar but I did read several articles [probably on what-the-hell-is-hell.com that indciate that after a thorough research of the use of the word aion in Greek literature shows that it means an unidentified period of time not and endless eternity possibly better translated as age or possibly eon. So, that takes care of nmost of the references to eternity right there. But since the Bible is about as trustworthy as the stories one of neighbors is always coming up with, it is no bother to me anymore what the Bible says.

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1. How come Christianity is the number one religion in the world if it's false?

 

Hmm well acording to this graph http://www.adherents..._Adherents.html Islam and the non-religious aren't that far behind, but personally I wouldn't use the number of adherents as a standard to judge how accurate a belief is. 1,000 years ago everyone KNEW that the earth was at the center of the universe, but they were wrong. Single people are smart, but groups....are often quite stupid, group think is a powerful tool to get people to believe things for bad reasons.

 

2. How could so many brilliant minds believe in Christianity if it was bogus?

 

Sure, but we could ask the same question of lots of beliefs or ideas, Socrates and Aristotle believed in the Greek gods, which we find laughable, but it does not mean they were stupid.

My parents are Christians and yet they are quite smart, however when I try to discuss religion with them I can often see their normally brilliant minds simply shutting off and refusing to ask any deep questions, and ignoring evidence. It is quite easy for smart people to believe dumb things.

 

3. What about the prophecies of the bible? My parents came to Christianity mainly because of the belief that the fulfilled prophecies of the bible have only happened because they are from god.

 

Do some reading into the prophecies, fulfillment is often exaggerated if not made up entirely. Isaiah 7:14 for instance is often cited as a reference to Jesus' birth, but on close examination of the passage it is obvious that the writer meant no such thing. For brevity here is an excerpt from the wiki page about this passage, I have read all of this information independently from wiki so I know it is accurate.

Verb tense and time of pregnancy

Thus Jews understand that God indicated he was sending a "sign" in the days of Ahaz (who lived many centuries before Jesus). Isaiah wanted King Ahaz to wait for God to give him support in this troublesome time instead of making alliances with Assyria.[3]

 

Moreover, Jews[who?] observe that there is no indication that Immanuel will be the Messiah, whatever the timing of his birth.

 

Isaiah's original Hebrew, reads (transliterated): Hinneh ha-almah harah ve-yeldeth ben ve-karath shem-o immanuel. The word almah is part of the Hebrew phrase ha-almah hara, meaning "the almah is pregnant." Since the Hebrew imperfect tense is used, it is argued by some, such as rabbi Alfred J. Kolatch (1985)[4] that the young woman was already pregnant and hence not a virgin. As such, the verse cannot be cited as a prediction of the future. However the Jewish Publication Society (JPS) (1917) version reads "Therefore the L-rd Himself shall give you a sign: behold, the young woman shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel."

 

The Jewish tradition has never considered Isaiah 7:14 as a messianic prophecy. Jewish scholars argue that this is a Christian misinterpretation.

 

 

[edit] Adjective “harah הָרָה ” and time of pregnancy

The adjective “harah הָרָה ” is used predicatively. From the narrator’s perspective, some Jewish scholars[who?] argue that this generally means a past, or present, or imminent future pregnancy.[5] With that in mind, the translation of Isaiah 7:14 may also be rendered as either “the [or this] young woman is pregnant” or “the [or this] young woman will soon be pregnant”.

 

 

4. My pastor said that the number one thing he always kept coming back to when he was deciding if Christianity was true or not, is this question: "If Jesus died on the cross and was buried, where is his body?" He was only satisfied with the belief in the ressurection because no one gave him a clear answer.

 

This is an odd question, for one it is stilted, it assumes there was a Jesus in the first place, further more people who were executed were usually buried in mass graves. Besides, we do not know where lots of people from that time were buried. Where is Socrates' body, for instance? Does the fact that no one know where he was interred suggest that Socrates rose from the grave?

 

5. How in the world does one rid themselves of the fear of hell, which both my husband and I have, if we become ex-Christians? We really don't want to burn in hell for eternity! How can we know for sure that there is no hell?

 

Well in truth you can not be 100% sure, but you cannot be 100% sure of practically anything, perhaps the Muslims are right and the hell you should really be scared of is theirs? I imagine, however, that you do not find that thought particularly frightening. One you get to the point that you see Christianity as no different from any other religion out there then this fear will take care of itself, and you will be no more scared of the Christian hell than of the promised punishments for impiety that come from any other religions.

 

6. What can I read that will explain how the ancient religions, before Christianity, had very similar elements in them. I've heard bits and pieces about this, and am very interested, but don't know where to look to find out more.

 

I believe some others have mentioned Bart Eherman, I 2nd that, and warn you to stay away from Zietgiest. Some will recommend it, but it is badly put together and overstates certain things to the point of historical inaccuracy.

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Research how the Romans designed their version of Christianity in the name of power, control, wealth creation. even the Trinity came from other sources, particularly the Egyptians.

 

Great suggestions, I Love Dog! Can you recommend any books on how the Romans designed their version of Christianity? I'm very interested!

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Hi!

I am also new to the forum, but hope I can help anyway. I have some of the same fears that you do.

 

1. How come Christianity is the number one religion in the world if it's false?

 

Why were folk religions once the number one religion in the world?

 

Why do hotels not have a 13h floor? Is it because the number 13 is bad or scary or will cause bad things to happen? Just because most people believe in this superstition does not make it true.

 

2. How could so many brilliant minds believe in Christianity if it was bogus?

 

Indoctrination. Brainwashing. The strongest impulse in humans (and non-human animals) is self-preservation. This is why fear is our stongest emotion, our most primitive emotion. We may be brilliant, but if we were well-trained that thinking, doubting, skepticism, or even asking too many respectful questions with the best of intention, was wrong. We were trained to not trust ourselves. We were trained to think that we are unworthy, born sinful. No one wants to have poor self esteem, if we could get a good self-esteem through our belief, then we could feel good about ourselves. It's like when people enter relationships to feel better about themselves. We feel as if we can't survive on our own, because we have been told that we are nothing without God, that no one would be out to protect us. When we are told it is bad to think too much about these things and just accept it, then we can block ourselves from ever doing the research, i.e. from using our brilliant minds. What a terrible trick to keep people from finding out the truth, by making them feel awful by wanting to have knowledge?

 

So there can be many brilliant minds that are still indoctrinated and that fall victim to fear to use their brilliance. It must also be noted that when they begin to use their logic on their religion, many times they do leave the faith. And there are a great many brilliant atheists and agnostics, and brilliant persons of other faiths, too.

 

4. My pastor said that the number one thing he always kept coming back to when he was deciding if Christianity was true or not, is this question: "If Jesus died on the cross and was buried, where is his body?" He was only satisfied with the belief in the ressurection because no one gave him a clear answer.

 

Where is Jimmy Hoffa buried? Did he rise from the dead to form a union in the sky?

 

5. How in the world does one rid themselves of the fear of hell, which both my husband and I have, if we become ex-Christians? We really don't want to burn in hell for eternity! How can we know for sure that there is no hell?

 

Ahhh. Now this is exactly the hardest part for me! As the first responder noted, there is no such thing as "hell" because it is a mistranslation of the bible. It means to go to "the grave." But because there were competing theories as the religion was evolving, they deliberated put the word "hell" in there so that it went along with the common conception at the time.

 

My biggest fear in leaving Christianity is still the devil though, even though there is no hell, I'm afraid of being attacked on earth. Someone suggested I learn more about the history of the concept of the devil. I still get freaked out when I look at this stuff, but as I get into the reading and realize that they are giving a history of the "Concept" not the actual "Devil" that makes me feel less afraid and begin to get feel more rational.

This site is good: http://www.religioustolerance.org/chr_sat2.htm

And also there is a book called A History of the Devil, I haven't bought yet, but I read as much as I could on Amazon:

http://www.amazon.com/History-Devil-Gerald-Messadi%C3%A9/dp/156836198X/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1287547178&sr=1-1

One of the interesting things I learned was that the concept of the devil wasn't really that scary until around the 12th century, in fact he was portrayed as someone who could be shooed away.

 

I also learned the name Lucifer is a Latin name, but it is purportedly in the chapter that was translated from Hebrew. It was obviously rewritten and changed. Here are two links:

http://www.abovetopsecret.com/forum/thread35336/pg1

http://www.israelofgod.org/lucifer.htm

 

6. What can I read that will explain how the ancient religions, before Christianity, had very similar elements in them.

 

Zooroastrianism is nearly identical to Christianity and preceeds it. If you check out the link above (religious tolerance) it mentions Zooroastrianism in the same article. When I read that, it was such a relief for me. Since I don't have any kind of an emotional reaction to hear the word Angra Manyu as I do to hear the word Devil or Satan, it helped a lot!

 

I see you have already begun a lot of reading already which is great! I hope I don't overlap books here but I am currently reading "Breaking the Spell" by Daniel C. Dennett. It shows the progression of belief in religion from an evolutionary psychology perspective. He even takes a long introduction arguing the case for why it's okay to study religion scientifically. It seems more friendly to religious people than "The Atheist's Handbook" which I'm also reading. I'm very interested in the way religion evolved, and the psychology of our ancestors, and the so-called god-center in our brain that can supposedly be stimulated in a scientific experiment to make people think they are having a religious experience. Neat stuff!

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I also learned the name Lucifer is a Latin name, but it is purportedly in the chapter that was translated from Hebrew. It was obviously rewritten and changed. Here are two links:

http://www.abovetopsecret.com/forum/thread35336/pg1

http://www.israelofgod.org/lucifer.htm

 

Not only is "Lucifer" borrowed from Latin instead of directly translated from Hebrew, but it's not even referring to Satan! Isaiah 14 is about the King of Babylon, which is quite obvious when reading the whole chapter. Christians take the "Lucifer" verse out of context and claim it's about Satan, even though Satan is not mentioned anywhere in the passage!

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By the way, don't forget that Plato and Aristotle were living before Christ, so couldn't have been Christians anyway :-).

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