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Lilith666

What Killed Your Faith For Good?

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This thread seems to get a lot of attention from guests. May I suggest making it a sticky?

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This thread seems to get a lot of attention from guests. May I suggest making it a sticky?

 

How do I do that? Or is it reserved for mods?

 

Oh. It's already sticky.

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It was back during my college days. I was sitting in an Ethics class and I considered myself a liberal Christian at that point in time. Theistic evolution, gays are cool, Hell is an allegory, you know the story. Anyways, it was close to the end of the semester, and the entire class had up until this point endured a hard core fundamentalist Christian in the class. He was from Africa, so maybe a refugee or something. I feel bad for him today, since I'm sure he, or his family, was converted by missionaries at some point. Either way, he would always interject this opinion into a class that was always open for honest and tolerant debate between various topics. Relativism, humanism, etc...we all had good class debates over each topic. But this dude would always come in and lay this giant mind turd on everyone and talk about how only God can impart morality, Jesus is the only true way and so on. His constant preaching drew the ire of even some of the open Christians in the class.

 

So as I was sitting there, listening to this guy talk about how only Christianity can impart morals the professor asked, "Do you think Christianity's morality has changed over the years? Christians repeatedly argued for slavery during the Civil War." The guy instantly shut up and couldn't think of an honest answer, though later he tried to pipe in with talks about the New Covenant.

 

Anyways, that started me thinking about the moral teachings in the Bible, at which point I began studying it in earnest. After concluding the Bible was filled with some horrific mandates, I moved on to much of the science behind evolution, Big Bang etc...which just further solidified my disbelief.

 

It happen about the same way for me Brother Josh except it was in a philosophy of religion class and the fun-damn-mentalist was one of the members of our New Testament Greek study group. 90% of the philosophy students including the professor had realized the short comings of theism. Mind you I attended a Southern Baptist supported College.

 

I can remember the incident (1973) as if it were yesterday. We were discussing the Christological problem which was the consequence of the trinitarian controversy--"How can he who is of divine nature, without any restriction, be a real man at the same time."

 

The professor open the class with the question " Do you think Jesus pissed in a corner." The class went silent.the fundy guy stood up accused the professor of being Satan and all of us listening blasphemers. He went directly to the dean of the department of philosophy and religious studies and filed a written complaint.

 

The professor stayed and the fundy, well he transferred to a Bible Institute some where is Florida.

 

No one was surprised!

 

I turned my attention toward non-theistic existential psychology.

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For me, it was a long process that all began when I read the Bible through in a year. One season of loosing my faith was particularly frightening as I firmly believed that God was still quite capable and willing to kill people who didn't follow Him. When God didn't hurt (or kill) me or my immediate family, then I had to re-think my God-concept was to whether God didn't exist or either was nothing like the Bible described Him. Then, studying science and history have eliminated God for good for me.

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This thread seems to get a lot of attention from guests. May I suggest making it a sticky?

 

How do I do that? Or is it reserved for mods?

 

Oh. It's already sticky.

 

Bingo. That was either very fast or I wasn't paying attention:).

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There wasn't any particular moment... but years of questions that I found answers too

 

I am an Art History major so through my studies found out a lot about ancient cultures. Art, especially ancient art is mostly religious and illustrates belief systems, politics and the development of cultures as well. It is a documentation of the changes and evolution of belief from earliest times. I also always had a love for archaeology... and paleontology, ...dinosaurs! (fascinating creatures).

 

I studied many things over the years, including ancient texts and stories. Hermes Trimesgestus (sp?), Thoth and the Order of the Golden Dawn, the 'mystery schools' of the ancients, Astrology and it's roots, etymology..etc..(and a hundred more subjects) it became very clear that most ancient culture and beliefs were rooted and could be traced back to Sumerian, Babylonian and Egyptian culture... and not the Hebrews. Then i studied the history of the Catholic Church. eek.gif

 

I was also fascinated by neolithic art (cro-magnon, and some of it is absolutley gorgeous and shows amazing talent, ability and a high order of intelligence) Neanderthals and evolution.

 

I am a seeker, and always have questions. I am also a natural humanist.. and an INTP, the only reasons i was a christian in the first place was because i truly wanted a reality where the world was run by love for my fellow man and it was all around me. I bought into the doctrine of 'god is love' because of my compassion for the world. But my drive to understand things led me to study the bible and religion with the fervor i studied everything else.. and then it began to unravel.

 

I think it began with Noah's Ark... because the story is physically impossible to begin with... and because it is a very common theme in the mythology of many peoples. I could believe in a god that worked through natural forces... the laws of the universe (which a 'creator' must have made just so the universe would work the way it does and not dissolve into chaos)... I could not believe in the suspension of those laws to make a ridiculous story true. I still had the 'woo' factor at this time but it was getting smaller and smaller—aligning with what I knew to be immutable laws (like ummm.. gravity? lol).

 

Long story short... the doctrines of hell and sin repulsed me... but apologetics finally cinched it for me, the excuses for bullshit became so transparent to my logical mind that I couldn't sustain it anymore... that coupled with the REALITY that the OT god was nothing more than one of a pantheon of Canaanite gods (a mountain/storm god), and a not very nice one at that... abhorrent actually, is where i finally laid down my 'belief'.

 

The incredibly negative affect of religion on people continues to sustain my disbelief.

 

I have come to the conclusion that IF there is a 'god' or primary force it most definitely is NOT the christian one, or any anthropomorphic being. The universe is too wondrous and vast to sustain that concept and when human beings are more moral than their 'god' it's time to rethink the whole thing.

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..........The incredibly negative affect of religion on people continues to sustain my disbelief.

 

I noted in other posts that I still attend church services with my wife. The little congregation we attend, like many small congregations, is experiencing financial trouble. The congregation does not currently have a preacher. Instead of a sermon yesterday each of our Shepherds gave a report about various problems facing the congregation.

 

One of our senior Shepherds started to give his report and then broke down in tears. They lost their 21 year old son a year ago. He woke them up at 1 AM that day with extreme nausea and difficulty breathing. They drove him directly to the emergency room but he died from a heart attack almost the same instant they entered the emergency room.

 

This Shepherd is a really good guy. Through sobs and tears he told the congregation that his wife was no longer a believer and she told him she hates god because he could have saved their son, but didn't. Such is the predictable result of believing that god controls every aspect of every human beings life 24/7. Believing that god is our “buddy” the fixer of problems and healer of disease is destined for an eventual devastating reality check.

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wow.. so sad. I can't think of anything more painful than losing your child.

 

The worst part is that there are people who will lay the "god is just testing you" , and "he's in a better place", "it was god's will", crap on her, which is blaming the victim, making light of her pain, and instilling guilt on top of a persons grief. yup.. god is 'love', but uses tragedy and loss to 'test' his followers...

 

I'm beginning to think that religion is just a way to avoid the fact that SHIT HAPPENS and it doesn't have any meaning at all. (sorry- but my own experience with the way people deal with others grief pisses me off)

 

sickening.

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I can't really pin it down to any one moment. I've been questioning the existence of god probably since i was around 10 ,but hadn't yet the cognitive ability to dismiss it for good. I was an altar server for a time and eventually had pretty much rejected the notion of organized religion by 15 , though I still played guitar in a church choir as a social thing more than anything , and still believed in some sense of a god.

I'm 23 and It's really been in the last 2 or 3 years that I've come to the conclusion that God most likely does not exist. I'd say a lot of my reading influenced me. Particularly the Story of B by Daniel Quinn. It severely crippled my belief in God and the God Delusion by Richard Dawkins delivered the knockout blow. he most compelling arguments for me to turn against all religion are what the holy books actually say. Learning about science , particularly cosmology and astrophysics has been cementing my atheism. The most compelling arguments for me to turn against all religion are what the holy books actually say. They're littered with absolute nonsense.

 

I'm fairly open about my atheism. Most of my friends know I am. My sister and I have talked about it , she's agnostic. I think my dad suspects it , but I'm not sure if my dad is an atheist or not , he's certainly not a fan of organized religion but I haven't figured out a way to bring it up without showing my hand. My mom and brother are fairly devout catholics , though not fundies

I'm very happy my girlfriend is rational too. Her parents are pretty religious but she was more of a nonbeliever than was when we met. I've dated a couple fundies and they are the most manipulative people I've known.

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I did a lot of ping-ponging from belief to disbelief back to belief again, but the thing that finally got me, oddly enough, was my last read thru of "the gospels", and being struck with the realization that I did not at all relate to, or even really care for, this Jesus guy or the times he lived in. His culture was alien to me. And so the things he did and said within the context of his culture held no relevance for me.

 

Why would God expect me, an American of Irish/Scottish/Welsh descent, living in 2012, to be redeemed through a belief in this ancient Jewish guy, who may as well have lived on a different planet with the 2000+ year difference in our existences? If I was being perfectly honest, nothing Jesus said or did had any application or meaning in my life whatsoever.

 

It just dawned on me that if I really needed saving and the God of the Bible existed, that this God could have done so much better than give modern day people a Bronze Age, rebellious Jew who, while kind of a cool figure in the context of his time and place, was still a guy who didn't care a whit about gentiles.

 

That was the final lightbulb/facepalm moment that I needed to once and for all put the nonsense of Christianity and religion in general behind me.

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Many many moments led to a slow deconversion... a step at a time.

 

It hit me when I was in Ghana. It's an extremely religious nation and everyone asks "are you a Christian?" as soon as they meet you.

I realized I was, unconsciously, answering everyone, "I am from the Christian tradition...." instead of "yes, I'm a Christian."

 

When I got home from Africa I started reading about losing faith and that was the end.

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I will post my full story soon, because personally I think I'd find it quite interesting if it happened to someone else. The final straw was when I was on my way to a Christian conference with an Atheist friend one summer, I was sitting next to him on a 3 hour train journey. We were talking about miracles and the supernatural and I was aching to persuade him that they were possible even if science can't prove they occur, since science only measures the natural. We talked about all of the examples we each had heard (he used to be Christian too), and how there could be a natural explanation for each one, as well as a supernatural one. In the end he said, OK, they could have been supernatural, but for what reason do you believe that they were? What evidence is there that points you to that explanation over the natural one? In fact, what evidence is there that that any of the moments in your personal life when you felt a connection to God, were actually due to God? Sure, he COULD be out there, but without any good evidence, what reason do you have TO believe? In the Christian God let alone any of the infinite other supernatural possibilities, for which there is equally bad evidence. This, for me turned it on its head, and I went through all of the incidences in my own life and saw that there were much better natural explanations, and that I didn't need to believe in God to explain them. Maybe I was just believing because I wanted to. That set the ball rolling and I spent months poring through books and talking to people in the atheist world, as well as frantically questioning people in the Christian one, and that's when I dealt properly with all the niggling doubts I had built up over the years but brushed off. I sensed that despite it all, my idea of God, if he did exist, was someone who would be happy with honest questioning, yet from him no answers were forthcoming, in fact he became more and more invisible, until at a Christmas eve service when I said my final prayer, giving him one last chance in case I had somehow or somewhere got it wrong. Deep down I knew I hadn't though, I couldn't have. Christianity blew that opportunity, God disappeared, and that was that, freedom...

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Ouch, Max, I bet that was difficult for you especially on such a long train ride--talk about mutually captive audiences! Nothing like traveling outside one's boundaries--literally--to make one question the internal ones. I'm glad you did.

 

Welcome to the board!

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Many. Started with hell which was a concept I had intense problems with since I was a kid. I struggled with the classic "how could a loving god...?" question. I listened to apologists and read 'a case for faith' and all that stuff. After a while it was all bull to me. No matter what anyone said it came down to "yeah but god is damning them eternally. it's still disproportional retribution". and a loving god would not condemn his children to hell. a just god wouldn't do that either, because that is not justice. I would think about all my friends and family, and how many people would be going to hell who did their best everyday to make the world a better place. The people in other countries who had never heard the gospel or who were killed in an unjust manner. So, they were killed and sent to hell? Then I had to follow this up for, well what did jesus save us from them. Our sins, that would damn us to hell. well what are sins? Not following what is in accordance to god. Well, I didn't believe what were sins in the bible anymore. And I thought about all those versus that have always given me problems, but christians gloss over. So homosexuality is a sin, but women are allowed to talk in churches when Paul said they had to shut up? Everyone about that verse said it was cultural context, but then what else in the bible is cultural context? Then I started thinking about how flawed the bible is and how much destruction it brought to the world. If god wanted to make himself clear he could have. Instead there is a thousand translations and people killing each other because of that.

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Many. Started with hell which was a concept I had intense problems with since I was a kid. I struggled with the classic "how could a loving god...?" question. I listened to apologists and read 'a case for faith' and all that stuff. After a while it was all bull to me. No matter what anyone said it came down to "yeah but god is damning them eternally. it's still

disproportional retribution". and a loving god would not condemn his

children to hell. a just god wouldn't do that either, because that is not

justice. I would think about all my friends and family, and how many people

would be going to hell who did their best everyday to make the world a

better place. The people in other countries who had never heard the

gospel or who were killed in an unjust manner. So, they were killed and

sent to hell? Then I had to follow this up for, well what did jesus save us

from them. Our sins, that would damn us to hell. well what are sins? Not

following what is in accordance to god. Well, I didn't believe what were sins

in the bible anymore. And I thought about all those versus that have

always given me problems, but christians gloss over. So homosexuality is

a sin, but women are allowed to talk in churches when Paul said they had

to shut up? Everyone about that verse said it was cultural context, but then

what else in the bible is cultural context? Then I started thinking about how

flawed the bible is and how much destruction it brought to the world. If god

wanted to make himself clear he could have. Instead there is a thousand

translations and people killing each other because of that.

 

Exactly! Instead of wasting people's time sending them on a spiritual journey, why doesn't he clear everything up for us so we can go convert other people? We're struggling with tough questions while we could be bringing X to "the lost." But they rationalize that into "well, if you want truth you gotta look for it." Not when there is an almighty gawd who can show us the truth and thereby save us from hell.

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I remember reading the verse, 1 Samuel 15:3

 

"Now go and smite Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and spare them not; but slay

both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass."

 

Thats when i knew i wanted nothing to do with this system anymore.

 

I just looked this up. Ex. 17:8-16 says the Amalekites attacked Israel after

they came out of Egypt. The verse you cited says god told Saul to take revenge on Amalek for this. According to a Jewish site (http://www.simpletoremember.com/articles/a/king_saul/) god's revenge

happened about 400 years after Amalek went after Israel. Can anyone

confirm this?

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When I asked my pastor if we are able to make decisions and make choices, we cannot go to Heaven. Because there will be a Second Fall...... I realised then that I am not looking forward to that life anymore..... He answered me "don't think that way...."

 

That day my journey started!

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I remember reading the verse, 1 Samuel 15:3

 

"Now go and smite Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and spare them not; but slay

both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass."

 

 

Thats when i knew i wanted nothing to do with this system anymore.

 

I just looked this up. Ex. 17:8-16 says the Amalekites attacked Israel after

they came out of Egypt. The verse you cited says god told Saul to take revenge on Amalek for this. According to a Jewish site (http://www.simpletor...es/a/king_saul/) god's revenge

happened about 400 years after Amalek went after Israel. Can anyone

confirm this?

 

Israel never came out of Egypt. The Exodus story is fiction. So this revenge was to get even for a fake event that happened in myth. Probably the revenge story was cooked up to justify a war of aggression. Really you have to kill camels to teach them not to be owned by some guy who was born hundreds of years after something that never happened? In order to justify genocide you have to cook up a great story.

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Did a trusted Xian authority tell you something that struck you as false or hypocritical? Did a bible verse jar with your rationality/set of ethics? What ultimately decapitated your X-love?

 

I wondered if any of you guys remember that moment when you realized you didn't believe anymore.

 

After lots of research, I discovered that there was not enough evidence to convince myself that the Christian god was real and that is when my faith died for good.

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I remember reading the verse, 1 Samuel 15:3

"Now go and smite

Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have,

and spare them not; but slay

both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass."

 

 

Thats when i knew i wanted nothing to do with

this system anymore.

 

I just looked this up. Ex. 17:8-16 says the Amalekites attacked Israel after

they came out of Egypt. The verse you cited

says god told Saul to take revenge on Amalek

for this. According to a Jewish site

(a/king_saul/'>http://www.simpletor...es/a/king_sau

l/) god's revenge

happened about 400 years after Amalek went after Israel. Can anyone

confirm this?

 

Israel never came out of Egypt. The Exodus story is fiction. So this revenge was to get even for a fake event that happened in myth. Probably the revenge story was cooked up to

justify a war of aggression. Really you have to

kill camels to teach them not to be owned by

some guy who was born hundreds of years after

something that never happened? In order to

justify genocide you have to cook up a great

story.

 

Maybe they didn't, but did I read the verses correctly? If so, can I assume that god took his fictional revenge about four centuries too late? I don't want to end up looking stupid trying to bash biblegod for something that didn't happen even in the bible. I guess it could have happened, but it seems too illogical, even for Yahweh.

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I read The Age of Reason by Thomas Paine and learned a lot about the bible. When I sat down to read the passages Paine mentioned, I was pretty much blown away by the campaign of murder, torture and enslavement by a being who is supposed to be all about love but turns out to be a murderous asshole.

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Prayer. One day during prayer, I just thought to myself, " this doesn't work". I asked myself why hadn't god prevented my woes? Why would he help me and not a starving baby? What made me so special? I realized that I just wanted to feel like something powerful was watching over me.

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The turning point for me came about in the aftermath of my failed marriage. My ex was an abusive bully, so when I left her for good, the church turned out to be as much use as a chocolate coffee mug. Given a little space, time and the internet, I researched the church's attitude to abusive marriages and some of the shit that people have gone through because of Matthew 19. It appeared to me that g*d would rather have women beaten black and blue by evil people, and guilt tripping people back into dangerous situations with violent people is as evil as the marital abuse itself. A "loving father" would not act like that.

 

This contradiction let me to this site, which in turn led me to other apostate/agnostic/atheist sites and the whole pack of cards came tumbling down over Christmas and New Year 2011.

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Chronic pain and unanswered prayer about that pain. Chronic pain amputated and cauterized my capacity for faith. God does not answer prayer. Ever.

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After years of spiritual angst because I never experienced or felt ANYTHING from the christian god, I read the bible to understand. I got through Genesis 3, and declared Abraham's god an evil fucktard unworthy of worship.

 

I was 14.

 

Genesis 3 was it for me, too, but I am 52, and this was in January or February of this year. Not that I hadn't had some "problems" with other things in the Bible, and realizing that things my particular denomination held to be true were not quite what the Bible actually said, etc, but one Sunday morning I was listening to the sermon, and the preacher read a couple of verses from Genesis 3. Naturally, I turned there to read it. He read two verses, but I read the whole thing, and realized for the first time that there is nothing about Satan in this story! It's a snake. It's an ordinary snake, and snakes are sneaky! ("The serpent was more subtle than the beasts of the field.") A beaver wouldn't have done this. A horse wouldn't have done this. But snakes! They're bad news!

 

Suddenly the story made more sense. We always ask why the snake was punished (lost its legs!) when Satan was to blame, but I realized that the snake was punished because the snake tempted Eve of its own volition. And if there's no Satan in the account, then this is obviously a myth!

 

Once I realized that, the rest of the Bible fell apart in a hurry.

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