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My Story & Doubts


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Like many, I was raised in a Christian home. I was taught that the Bible was the one true word, that the god of christianity was the only true god, and all that goes with it.I converted at 14, but in retrospect, I can't honestly say I thought the decision through. However, here I am at 32, and soooo many things about Christianity do not make sense to me right now.

 

Bear with me please, as this part will be quite possibly a bit hard to follow. I've been through a lot in my life, and this was where my questions began.

 

At the ripe old age of 16, I married an abusive man. I realized not too long ago that though we've been divorced for 12 years, I'm still incredibly angry about it. I began questioning why I have to forgive that? I mean really, why shouldn't I be angry? Who wouldn't be? Then one day I realized something more. I'm supposed to forgive without his even asking for it. Wait a minute. That's a higher standard than the god of Christianity holds himself to. After all, if we don't ask he can't forgive right? So why am I held to a higher standard of forgiveness?

 

This wasn't my only question, only my most recent one.That mask has been slowly chipping away for about 5 years. I just started with that one because it was my turning point and was the Google search that brought me here.

 

My other questions and doubts:

 

The Bible says something about no human living beyond 120 years of age. Yet, the Guiness Book of World Records documents a woman who lived to 122.

 

There are numerous inconsistencies in the Bible.

 

Why, if "by his stripes we are healed" does disease and illness still exist in Christians? Why could I not simply pray my Bipolar disorder away? Why did the voices and delusions only go away with the application of an appropriate combination of medication?

 

Why do the "demonic possessions" in the Bible so closely mimic known illnesses now (Epilepsy, etc).

 

To add to those, I studied Criminal Justice in college. Although I did not graduate, I continue to read on cases that interest me. Particularly those that involve religious cults. I'm still scared as hell as I type this, but I'm beginning to accept that it's only from years of conditioning. The questions brought on by those cases, if god is indeed in control:

 

Why was Jim Jones able to brainwash so many at Jonestown in the name of god?

Why did god allow Warren Jeffs to brainwash and abuse so many in Short Creek, Arizona? To what end did so many children lose their innocence?

Where was the justice in this? What was the purpose of the loss of so many lives?

 

Those aside, there's the hypocrisy in the church. I should add here that my family is Pentecostal. Even among our family members it's sickening. My cousin does not believe in god and has been ostracized for it. He's a wonderful person, and fortunately, much kinder then they are. And yet each judge him as a bad person. Never mind that he once did carpentry work for free when he dearly needed the money. His reason? Because the person who needed the work was family. They, on the other hand, nitpick at one another constantly, talk behind each other's backs, one is guilty of gluttony, another has been divorced so many times I've lost count, and yet another uses drugs,another treats a young, mentally disabled cousin as less than because she is adopted. And yet he's an awful person for not believing. It's hard for me to swallow. I feel the same way about those who say "god hates gays". I'm only using him as an example because he's done an impressive amount of humanitarian work, but what about Clay Aiken? He's spread so much love, and yet he's a bad person because of his sexual preference? However Westboro Church spreads nothing but hate and vitriol to anyone who will listen.

 

I've been reading the God Delusion by Richard Dawkins lately. My husband does NOT like it, and he gets very irate when I question things. I guess that's part of why I'm here. My cousin is the only other person I can talk to about it, and he is miles away lol. Anyway, i hope you'll forgive me if I come off a bit scatter brained. I've had all this pinned up in my head for far too long I think.

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Welcome, wtreelane. Pull up a chair and enjoy a little acceptance and understanding. You're in good company. :)

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Welcome to ExC. You do not sound scatter brained at all. All of your questions and observations are reasonable, intelligent, and insightful. Of course, you already know (or strongly suspect) the answer to them all - because the Bible and the Christian religion are not true in their essential elements. Oh, that and because so many (but not all) Christians are hypocrites.

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I began questioning why I have to forgive that? I mean really, why shouldn't I be angry? Who wouldn't be? Then one day I realized something more. I'm supposed to forgive without his even asking for it. Wait a minute. That's a higher standard than the god of Christianity holds himself to. After all, if we don't ask he can't forgive right? So why am I held to a higher standard of forgiveness?

 

Welcome to ex-C. Trust me on this. You need to throw away all Christian ideas regarding forgiveness. They don't have a clue. Here is what I have discovered since leaving Christianity:

 

Forgiveness has nothing at all to do with trust. You can forgive somebody and never trust them again for the rest of your life. In many cases that is exactly what you should do because people who create the need for forgiveness often should not be trusted. Forgiveness does not forget. It's Christian rubbish to confuse and mix forgetting with forgiving. Forgiveness is recognizing that something was bad and wrong but you are not going to let it hurt you anymore. When you forgive you are the only one who benefits from your act of forgiveness. It's moving on with your life. You should forgive because doing so heals you. But you may need to grow out of Christian concepts along the way.

 

I wish you the best of luck. My journey of forgiveness was long and hard but worth it in the end.

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Welcome, wtreelane. Those are all very good questions, and there were no answers to them that I could find in Christianity. It's amazing how just thinking and asking questions can get us into so much trouble.

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Welcome to Ex-C, wtreelane!

 

You have come to the right place. We are here because we couldn't find real answers to those hard questions either. I personally found Christianity to be crazy-making. Hang out with us; we're here to help you with your journey!

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Welcome wtreelane! Great questions and so far you're doing great with your conclusions (the myth of Christianity and God etc...). There's so much that doesn't add up, it really takes an honest disconnect from the faith so the bias can be trashed and one can examine the faith without the bias that comes with it. That's how it worked for me, anyway...

 

There's some very knowledgeable people on here with regards to the bible. And they can shoot holes all through it. This has been a good place for me to read and interact. Hopefully you find it to be beneficial as well. =)

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Welcome wtreelane. Hope you enjoy your stay.

 

Yes I like Dawkins. Bit pompous sometimes but he's coming from the right place. The best anti-Christian resource in my opinion is The Atheist Experience on Youtube (especially Matt Dillahunty). Marvellous.

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You're not scatterbrained. yellow.gif Don't worry about that. Nobody has the right to tell you what you *should* feel or do. If you decide to not forgive that's entirely up to you. It may take you longer to get to a place where the anger at what you had to go through doesn't stay with you, but I think people confuse letting go of anger with forgiveness. But then that's just me.

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Thank you all for the warm welcome. I'm already benefiting from this forum in that it validates the doubts I was and continue having. The more I think about it all, the more I see that just seems highly improbable if not completely impossible. This morning , on the drive home from dropping my kids off at school, I was thinking about the resurrection story and the part that mentions Jesus not being recognized right off. Simple thought tells me that if my BFF died and came back, I'd recognize her instantly. I might question my sanity at seeing her alive, but I'd still recognize her. The fog is definitely lifting.

 

Spectrox, I noticed that about Dawkins as well. At first, I was a bit offended, but once I got past it, I'm finding it a good read. I'll check out the videos as well.

 

LifeCycle - your signature line made me giggle a bit.

 

mymistake - I will definitely keep that in mind. You actually answered one of my questions on forgiveness better than the ones I've asked about how to do so, as has scatterbrain . I actually hate the days when the bitterness seeps back into my mind, but haven't really had a clue on how to move completely forward. Funny how Christianity tells you to forgive, but doesn't really tell you how to go about doing so (or at least not in my experience).

 

Posititivist - I agree!

 

I have just one more question......does the irrational fear of disbelieving ever go completely away ? While I recognize that science can better explain many things, I still have moments that I fear "being in trouble" for disbelieving. It's a struggle to remind myself why I feel afraid and that I might actually be afraid of something I need not be.

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And if you read the old testament people lived to 900 or 700....and Jesus only 33 !! :-)) I wonder how I could believe something so stupid and unrealistic...

 

As you say yes the bible is full of contradictions and things that never happens. I often realize that biblical beliefs are like a placebo. You feel better

when you pray but it is more difficult to see that many prayers are unanswered, that's why we spend so many years in christianity having our own explanation

and the most stupid we think that the Holy Ghost reveals us the reason...in fact we dont want to look squarely the reality because somewhere if we start

doubting we know we loose everything and everybody. I cannot count how many times I tried to find an answer in order to stay in christianity but if it wasnt the case

probably I would have left all this brainwashing a long time ago. Christianity is a cocoon....we start feeling free as soon as we dont try to find any excuse...

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I have just one more question......does the irrational fear of disbelieving ever go completely away ?

 

That depends a lot on your own personality and what your experiences were when you still believed. Some people have random panic attacks, others suffer from depression for a while and then get better. Some people have been abused so much they need counseling to work out their issues. I think for most people the fear just fades gradually over time as they take steps further away from the faith and start living their own lives.

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I have just one more question......does the irrational fear of disbelieving ever go completely away ? While I recognize that science can better explain many things, I still have moments that I fear "being in trouble" for disbelieving. It's a struggle to remind myself why I feel afraid and that I might actually be afraid of something I need not be.

FYI: I always thought Jesus not being recognized was suspect even as a christian. Another serious blow to this is the very people who he lived with (Jews). They rejected him as the messiah. they believed in yahweh and the OT but here comes jesus and they are not persuaded by him even though he lived among them and they saw all he had done.

 

I still occasionally do think "what if Im wrong" and them I snap out of it. It all is so stupid. If you ever start to feel yourself fearing hell over it just think

1. what if Allah was the true god. Certainly those millions of muslim arent mistaken are they?

2. keep getting more info on disbelief. Your head is gonna absorb something so you may as well let it be valuable undeniable, accurate information not religious guilt and fear. The longer I stay out of the fold the more comfortable I feel. If you simply decide you dont like xianity and then never reinforce the idea you may start doubting yourself but you seem to be doing all the right stuff, joining forums, etc. We are bombarded with religion all the time you cant help but think about it. its taken over our culture.

3. Remember the words of Carl sagan. "Extraordinary Claims require extraordinary evidence" Yet we have none. There is no reason to believe any of it other than unsettling fear which has been pumped into you since you can remember. But, again there is no evidence so you should be afraid.

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  • 1 month later...

I apply the 'what if's and go *with* them to see what are the outcomes I can imagine. I've never been overly indoctrinated with hell, though I've been threatened with it.

 

If it's the 'lake of fire', i think of how quickly fire consumes and burns off the upper layers of something. I'll be *dead*, so I won't even feel it.

 

But anyone who's ever looked at a forest soon after a fire has come through will see all the plants going quickly to seed and sprouting new life.

 

If it's simply a 'separation from God' that has been described by others, since Nature is my only Deity, I'm not going to be separate from Her whether I'm buried in the ground or scattered to the four winds.

 

It's a win-win for me, and takes all the pressure off. Your mileage may vary, but it might help to take those beliefs out and figure out what exactly are you afraid of. I'm more afraid of the 'unknown', so when my anxiety flares up about something if I can accurately figure out what it is that I'm really afraid of or need to know, then it dissipates. It takes some work but it might work for you.

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  • 2 weeks later...

There are numerous inconsistencies in the Bible.

 

Yes, but that is just the tip of the iceberg. When the bible is studied, like historical scholars study it, from a historical critical perspective it falls apart like a house of cards. The bible is absolutely and positively not true in any literal or historical sense. It is simply a collection of ancient legends, myths, and fables.

 

Christians believe the Gospel writers were eyewitnesses to the events they are writing about, but that isn’t true. The actual authors are unknown. The names Mark, Matthew, Luke, and John were added decades after the Gospels stories were written. And the Gospel stories themselves are based on oral traditions that are likely based on legends and myths.

 

The real kicker is that there is absolutely no historical evidence whatsoever than even remotely suggest that Jesus of Nazareth ever existed in the flesh. It is more than likely that Jesus was a mythological character that evolved from pagan myth.sad.png49.gif

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I used to read christian literature to find out how christians can be so confident in their beliefs. I considered myself a christian,but I always carried doubts around with me. Always, except when I was in church listening to a gifted christian speaker. They made it sound so wonderful and rewarding. But the doubts, the doubts. I thought something must be wrong with me. So I would pray and read and go to church. For many years I did this. Maybe god just didn't choose me, before the creation of the world as some said hed did. But there was a lot of christians that said said it was my choice.

Gradually, my mind started changing because I was tired of the doubts. I took steps to determine what was really true as best I could by researching history. Previously I would not give myself permission to do that because of guilt that had been instilled in me by the church. But once I finally decided to check it out properly, it all came pouring out as water through a broken dam. Things began to fit into place. Why was I afraid to search for asnwers outside of the Bible and the church? Because that's what I was taught from childhood. I realized that trying to find the truth could and would not offend a beneficent god, if one existed. He/she would welcome such a search. Also, would a beneficent god create human beings only to condemn the vast majority to eternal hell for not being perfect or not being able to believe the incredible story that Jesus, the supernatural son of god, rose from the dead during a period when superstition was common even among the educated? And even though such a resurrection was and is against all natural laws? And to believe he caused this enormous "miracle" to occur without leaving any proof? And instead leaving merely belated written accounts of the resurrection in hopeless contradiction with each other, written by ignorant people who could not read or write? And without Jesus make any appearance to humanity for over 2,000 years. Moreover,

god left the legacy of the death and resurrection of his only begotten son in to trust a church so corrupt that it oppressed, murdered and tortured thousands of people for well over 1,000 years for no good cause.

Pretty absurd, isn't it? And yet I blieved it, like over a billion other people in the world.So those christians who are so confident in their beliefs are not, in my opinion, at all confident, but instead try to cover up their own insecurity by pretending to themselves that they have no doubts.

 

I try to think of these matters and many other absurdities of the Bible and christian history when my undeserved guilt starts to get me down. I wrote this unruly mess not only in the hope that it might help you, but others and me, also. Welcome to this group. bill

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Wtreelane,

Welcome! I found that looking into how 'cults' kept their members helped me to understand things like the lingering fear and guilt manipulations. Yes, I can tell you with assurance that the fear does fade over time, especially if you actively think your way through it.

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