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Every Non-theist Has A "issue"


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I think I became open to the possibility that God didn't exist due to my non existent prayer life. I genuinly tried to pray, but I always knew that I was just talking to myself. I blamed this on myself: obviously I wasn't sincere enough and needed to try harder. These deeply rooted doubts about god made me open to exploring other possibilities. HOWEVER, when I began to look at athiest/agnostic materials online, none of them really convinced me. I would always use my knowledge of christian aplogetics to refute whatever point was made. "Ah, another Problem of Evil argument. I know why God allows evil..." It made for fun entertainment (I'm weird like that). Then I came across a site (I'm sorry I don't have the URL) that pointed out the ridiculousness of the birth and death of Jesus. "There is no record of a census like the one described in the bible taking place, the years given in the gospel don't match with secular history, there is no way that the jewish leadership would meet on passover eve to deal with a prisoner." THESE arguments struck home. THIS was what I needed to hear for the door to open. THIS was my "ISSUE." Up until that point, nothing had really refuted god for me. The hypothetical "why doesn't god do X?" or "Why did do X in the bible" questions never caused internal debate. This is because you can justify the actions of a god however you want. Its just like debating about why movie characters didn't do something in a movie. "He didn't shoot the hero when he had the chance because he wanted to savor the moment and gloat."

 

I'm non-theist because I studied biblical evidence and saw the flaws. However, a lot of people are non-theist because of the arguments that I wasn't convinced by, like the argument from evil. I think this has a lot to do with personality.

 

So what is your issue? What is the problem with the bible/ god /christian science that made you open your eyes?

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So what is your issue? What is the problem with the bible/ god /christian science that made you open your eyes?

 

 

It's just all so nonsensical and unbelievable!

 

All the fairy stories of the bible are just that to me and when you start thinking about Revelation and End Times, it just becomes even more ridiculous.

 

I don't even bother debating about the "truth" of it all. I'm perfectly happy with my non-belief.

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simply, that I wasn't allowed to choose my belief. It was expected that I would believe and it was expected that I would go to church.

 

So when I got the chance to choose...I choose my own way.

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Did some writing today for a note that may end up on my Facebook page. Here's part of it.

 

"This story of my exit from Christianity starts around 2007 or 2008. I was trying to be the best fundamentalist Christian that I could be, and was encouraged to read the Bible through in a year, and did so, believing it would be a very worth-while endeavor. As it turned out, it was the beginning of the end. Three things caught my attention. First: Scripture passages which the New Testament used claiming to be proof that Jesus was Messiah, were simply bits and pieces of verses taken completely out of context. Secondly: there are passages in the Old Testament which predict what the Messiah will do, however Jesus fulfilled none of those. So upon the conclusion of my reading of the Old Testament, I had one of my life-long questions answered - why did the Jewish people reject Jesus as Messiah? Now, I knew. Moving on, I went through the New Testament and found another problem. The method of salvation as prescribed by Jesus and the epistles written by his apostles was different than the method of salvation as prescribed by Paul. I wanted the Bible to be true and harmonious, so I tried to suppress "thinking" about it, but would occasionally let myself try to work out the Bible's problems. By spring/summer of 2010, I was sick and tired of the indecision, and my last prayers as a Christian was for God to lead me to the truth. (Isn't that ironic?) It turned into a process of throwing ideas over-board. First, Paul, because his method of salvation was different from Jesus' method, and Jesus was the Son of God, and Paul was not. Then Jesus went over-board because He hadn't been the Old Testament's fulfillment of the Messiah. For a period of a month or two, I seriously considered becoming a practicing Jew or Noahide. But the Old Testament has problems also. God sure loves to kill people, with the icing on the cake being God telling Abraham to sacrifice his son Isaac. I understand that God ultimately stopped it, but why didn't God make the point that He wasn't interested in human sacrifice, instead of Abraham's near barbaric deed becoming the cornerstone of the big three monotheistic religions. At the end of it all, I concluded that I wasn't interested in serving a God that had such a murderous track record."

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It was the problem of evil, with a personal twist on respect in regard to god's character. A very close friend had converted to Calvinism and seemed to have no difficulty whatsoever accepting that god would predestine people to hell. When I tried to express my issue with this he kept making arguments from authority and telling me I didn't have the right to question god, just shunning the issue that it was god's idea in the first place.

 

This was all very personal to me because I had recently accepted myself as a "moderate Christian" for the first time, which is to say I was no longer going to feel guilty about not praying every day or going to church, for issues probably similar to yours. I found that I was just pretending to be something I wasn't, and if I wasn't fooling myself anymore, I wasn't fooling god, either. Privately, I wasn't even sure anymore that I'd always be Christian. So listening to someone I cared so much about tell me he was "elect" really pissed me off. At any point in my Christian life, I knew there was nothing "chosen" about me.

 

But after thinking and researching, I had to conclude that what I had held to be true wasn't that respectable either. It angered me that just when I was getting away from it, there I was again, made to sit there and wonder if I were really god's child or not. What kind of father leaves his children to wonder if they were truly his?

 

Why people suffer, why they go to hell … suddenly none of the trusty old apologetic responses worked anymore, because I had lost my respect for this god. He was a neurotic sociopath, nothing better.

 

What finally did it was Romans 9, which my friend showed me to bolster his views. Paul cops out with an argument from authority and says the pottery has no right to question the potter, if he made one vase for ornamentation, and another to throw garbage in.

 

I'm not a piece of inanimate clay. I'm not something to throw garbage in. I'm not here to be a "sheep." I'm not "nothing without Christ." I am a sentient, intelligent being who didn't deserve to spend 18 years of my life thinking I was born worthless and in debt to this absentee "father" who obviously hates his own creation. This miscreant who puts people in this circumstance, whether by chance or by predestination, is not worthy of my respect. I was no longer able to convince myself that he was. and if he's not worthy of that … then by definition he's not real.

 

After this I tossed between deism and agnosticism for about six months while I dealt with the pseudo-scientific issues I had for believing in god. I read the God Delusion not to change anything but really to determine where I stood. I've since considered myself an atheist.

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Eugene: Actually reading the bible objectively is the best way to deconvert I can think of. Way to go man.

Flockoff: I was a calvinist for a while. It made me think that I was predestined for hell because I couldn't pray right :( The best way to deal with them is to disprove their creationist ideas. If you can show that the christian god didn't create us, then their appeal to authority loses its teeth.

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1.God is all powerful.

2 God is love.

3.God is good.

4.Evil exists and according to the bible - God created evil.

 

That's it in a 'nutshell' for me! Simple! :shrug:

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At first it was the realization, that christianity had man made roots to, like religions that were created, the disciples thought the same way as other religious people that where not Christians had similar biases and interests. In all in ended up telling me that it was man made. I also, though I am not well read in it, started looking at the minority opinion and found the arguments convincing.

 

Later as I started thinking about thinks like the problem from evil, and that kind of thing does bother me. And also I can't think of a good rebuttal to it, and all the rebuttals I have heard, don't get it done for me. How can this be the best possible world(if that is the case then a all loving god is selfish for creating us in the first place) or how is are free will being violated if god interferes, this when throughout the bible free will is violated. Or the euypthro dilemma, thats another one. Seems like to both options are not good for a theistic idea of god.

 

Also the realization that god can't be all loving and all knowing without being evil. I have never been convinced that a evil god could exist, so I have to say that the christian god, which by all the understand I can muster, looks and feels and acts in a way that I can't say is anything but evil or at the very least very very stupid.

 

My main reasons I usually say are christianity makes no logical sense. These might not convince a believer but that is not my purpose, I am say these are issue that causes me trouble, and if they don't cause you trouble, fine by me.

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So what is your issue? What is the problem with the bible/ god /christian science that made you open your eyes?

 

If that counts (you decide), my "issue" was that I never believed in anything supernatural in christianity anyway. As I always understood the (German protestant mainstream) church, yes it used jebus as a role model but never claimed that any of the miracle/resurrection/whathaveyou stories ever really happened. I lived a more or less happy CINO life until I stumbled over Asatru :fdevil:

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I had similar issue with religion as you. I looked at the bible and saw flaws, always felt like i was talking to myself too. I would look at atheist material and i would refute it. After awhile of studying both biblical and secular materials i finally decided that there was no such thing as god. So i identified myself as an atheist. The problem is it took almost 2 years for me to admit it to others. All religions are wrong. All people need to do is treat others right and be happy.

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It might be easy for some to say the bible is just a bunch of fairy tales, but that doesn't work with most people that grew up indoctrinated in the church for many years. For me, there were a few sub-conscious problems that I tried to block out or explain away over the years. The thing is, because all your peers and family believe the same thing, you think it must be correct, but you just don't have the right interpretation or understanding. None of that affected my christianity at the time.

 

But what finally took me over the edge were two things. One was that I stopped praying for a number of months and realized that my life was no different. This is after praying every day for some 8 years solid. When I stopped, I found I had the same ups and downs, same successes at work, same failures. In fact, if I didn't know better I would've said God was blessing me - but the fact is I wasn't talking to him or maintaining any kind of 'relationship'! A christian could say "Oh, God blesses you because he still loves you regardless of how you act", but that doesn't hold much water.

The second issue was that I started researching the reality of Hell in the bible. What I found was two hells. Temporary Sheol in the old testament, and eternal Gehenna in the NT. How can they both be right? And if eternity in hell was so awful, why didn't God warn of it back during the Garden of Eden? Why didn't the disciples preach about hell in Acts if it was a reality? One of the stereotypes of christians is that they're always trying to warn people of hell. If that's the case now, why is the book of Acts - with the world's first christian street preachers - completely silent on the subject of hell? On top of that, the jews don't believe in eternal hell, yet they believe the OT.

 

So that for me opened up the door to admitting a host of other problems and contradictions with the bible. Sometimes you reach a point where you have to jump the fence and join the opposite side, rather than continually fumble for flimsy excuses for your beliefs.

 

The method of salvation as prescribed by Jesus and the epistles written by his apostles was different than the method of salvation as prescribed by Paul.

 

How do you find Paul's version of salvation different?

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One of my issues was:

 

Every good thing/deed in my life was god

every evil/nasty thing/deed in my life was me

 

No matter what happened to me or what I did, I was always the looser. If I won a marathon then praise to god for giving me the strength to run, if I failed at my job, it was my lousy preparation. Some Xians would say that I had a problem with "pride" or "submission". It took me years to get rid of this thinking. But I know, that this thinking is different in each church.

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The method of salvation as prescribed by Jesus and the epistles written by his apostles was different than the method of salvation as prescribed by Paul.

How do you find Paul's version of salvation different?

 

In a nutshell, Paul taught faith without works, while the rest taught faith plus works. Here's a link to a discussion on it.

 

http://www.ex-christ...713#entry634713

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  1. God is a hypocrite, who can't stick to one version of propaganda to tell
  2. I studied a lot of other religions and realized their basic use was to keep farmers planting and subservient.
  3. Abrahamic religions are founded on repressed homo-eroticism and the repression of women (at least in their ideas, I think its founders were too stupid to find the area of a square without praying)
  4. The abuse and subjugation of animals. (Why create something just for it to be slaughtered for your own amusement if you are benevolent? Why not make a self regulating system in which carnivores aren't necessary? Or where disease is not necessary for that matter)
  5. Why make a woman menstruate if you find it repugnant? Really?
  6. Killing babies is OK as long as a man does it.
  7. Jesus is the worst politician. Ever.
  8. ...hmmm....can't even build a calendar...
  9. planets revolve around the sun. And there are these things in space time called black holes: perfect universe, I think not!
  10. But what really did it for me was going to a Buddhist retreat and realizing one damn thing: Religion no matter its disguise wants to control you. It doesn't want free thought nor comparison nor exploration of morality.

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So what is your issue? What is the problem with the bible/ god /christian science that made you open your eyes?

 

1. The problem of Hell. The doctrine of Hell is so horrible that I couldn't embrace it even when I called myself a Christian without doubt. I didn't believe in hell.

 

So I switched to Biblical Universalism

 

2. The problem of Evil. Even Biblical Universalism cannot explain the problem of evil.

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I read the OT book of Jeremiah, he didn't believe in the law™. That got me reading the bible in a critical eye rather than accepting everything as true and without error. The 'once saved, always saved,' just did not cut it. Religion is a mental illness that's highly contagious and a poor prognosis.

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From the time I was a child, I was told to read the Bible every day. So I did just that. When I was 14, my mom bought me a few theological books comparing secular history to Biblical history as well as canonical studies and debates regarding the apocrypha. I started to realize the worst possible thing you could do was read an English translation of the Bible and interpret it literally. I'm actually a big fan of the Bible. I just don't believe it was divinely inspired nor do I find it mysterious. Rather, I find it to be the lynch pin of the biggest con job ever recorded. That con job is, of course, Christianity.

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The biggest thing was that I was less of a person because I was female. As far as they were concerned, I was good for only one thing. :banghead:

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I had a few issues as a Christian that I debated internally . 1. Why did Jesus HAVE to die for our sins? I couldn't figure it out. I accepted it as truth, but didn't really understand it and tried not to think about it too much. 2. I didn't believe Heaven was real. I tried to believe it was real and to believe that I wanted to go there but I had no desire to go to heaven. Although, I really did believe in Hell. And when I tried to reason my way out of that belief, every scripture would come back to my memory and I would have panic attacks from the fear of Hell for me or anyone else. 3. I couldn't understand why archeological evidence, scientific evidence and anthropological evidence was all contrary to biblical "evidence". I was in a fundie world, but secretly believed it was all just a bunch of stories. Is all empirical evidence just one big conspiracy against God? It's not logical to think that.

 

freedom

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I didn't believe Heaven was real.

Why would you believe in hell but not heaven?

 

 

Why did Jesus HAVE to die for our sins? I couldn't figure it out. I accepted it as truth, but didn't really understand it

Yeah same. It's like in christianity you have to short circuit your brain from thinking too much due to all the questions that no one can answer. In the end you just accept it because everyone else does.

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I didn't believe Heaven was real.

Why would you believe in hell but not heaven?

 

I don't know. Sometimes I 'believed" in Heaven. Or I thought I did. But if I pondered it, I never felt satisfied with it. I think I always served an angry God who was two seconds away from throwing everyone in Hell. I think my reasoning (if you can call it that) was if there is no heaven, then who cares, so what. BUT if there is a Hell, then, "Aghhh! I'd do anything not to go there."

 

freedom

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My "issue" was internal problems in the Bible. Though it took a long time to see through the indoctrination and apologetics nonsense, my Bible studies eventually led me to realize that there are indeed contradictions in the Bible that undermine its accuracy. Beyond that, the NT repeatedly took OT passages out of context to fabricate prophetic fulfillments, thus undermining its integrity. Those were the things that unraveled my belief, though other issues (such as God-sanctioned genocide, slavery, subjugation, etc. and absurdities like stars being able to be cast down to earth) further solidified my disbelief when I could finally look at them objectively rather than through rose-tinted lenses.

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I didn't believe Heaven was real.

Why would you believe in hell but not heaven?

 

I don't know. Sometimes I 'believed" in Heaven. Or I thought I did. But if I pondered it, I never felt satisfied with it. I think I always served an angry God who was two seconds away from throwing everyone in Hell. I think my reasoning (if you can call it that) was if there is no heaven, then who cares, so what. BUT if there is a Hell, then, "Aghhh! I'd do anything not to go there."

 

freedom

I really think it's the Hell doctrine that keeps many Xtians in. I didn't care much about Heaven either. Worshiping God for eternity and singing praises of him as if it would be one eternal Church service, doesn't sound that exciting. I mean I'm totally content with just ceasing to exist after dying. I'm not afraid of that. However I was very much afraid of the prospect of Hell. What if Hell is real and we don't just cease to exist? That scared me and kept me in for so long.

 

 

 

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what was my issue with christianity?

 

well i was born into christianity so my bigest problem was the fact icould never connect with god. in a protostant church if you couldent connect with god then it was allways your fault, hell evrything was "your fault". basicly i was simply torn apart by the very religion that was suposed to biuld you up. also i started reading alot of history and relized some of the worlds worst mass murderers are not so difrent from god. and the church its self has dont horible atrocitys in history. i also started studying alot of material on sociology and phycology and i relized the true nature of religion...a control mechanism. in church can be compared to the movie the matrix in my opinion exept the machine's are not people it is a sub concious entity handed down by christians to other future/new christians known as"god". this subconcious force controls you through conviction and giult this was probly the biggest decider in my step to atheism as this is the same for all religions.

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