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What Was The Last Thing You Studied Before You Left?


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I am curious. What was the last thing or subject you studied in the Bible before you left "the fold"?  Did it help to influence your decision to leave. I left the Bible in the "garden". I basically decided, metaphorically speaking, to eat form the tree of life. I find it kind of ironic that the Bible led me out of itself. If you want a better idea of where I am coming from read all of my posts. Thanks for reading this.

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It has been said many times that the fastest way to atheism is reading the bible. For me, it started with realizing that bigotry against gay people is completely improper behavior for a human being. The final nail was when I decided that I could no longer believe in a god that not only condoned but commanded genocide.

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One of the last things I remember studying, that really destroyed my faith in the bible, was all the "second coming" prophecies in the New Testament.  There are MANY, MANY of them and they all point to a second coming, end-of-the-world VERY SOON after Christ's ascension.  Basically, Jesus himself said he was "coming quickly" and also said, "this generation shall not pass until ALL THESE THINGS HAVE TAKEN PLACE."  And ALL of the early Christians were anticipating a very quick return of Christ.

 

I read apologetic after apologetic on this issue, and none of the apologists made any sense, but simply twisted the scriptures to "FIT" the fact that he never returend, and none of the prophecies came true after two thousand years.

 

That was major for me, and I struggled with it for quite a while, before I finally realized that the entire bible is full of fallacies and it can't possibly be true, for reasons that are too long discuss right now.  But on this forum alone there are hundreds of posts destroying the bible and showing all its fallacies and contradictions.

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I remember sitting in church and reading about God ordering the slaughter of the Amelikites, I was already on the border and I found this passage on accident and when I found it I remember saying to myself "I dont want to be apart of this anymore." 

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I was studying on tithing and trying to figure out how the old testament laws fit with new testament christianity. Jesus said that the law would not cease to exist. Paul says we aren't under the law, but under grace. I was having a hard time trying to figure out how old testament laws fit in with my faith and how so many people thought they could pick and choose which laws they wanted to apply to other people. As I studied this more and more, I became more confused and I visited a website that made claims that the bible was fallible and that there were all kinds of errors in it. I questioned this and started reading more and more and I ended up reading Kenneth Daniels book Why I believed: Reflections of a Former Missionary. That book basically pushed me into neutral waters and I began to explore more about what he said and eventually I ended up visiting a Christian blog site run by a guy who apparently hung out here for a while and he was blogging about his experiences here and I got curious about the site and I ended up joining and the rest is history.

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It has been said many times that the fastest way to atheism is reading the bible. For me, it started with realizing that bigotry against gay people is completely improper behavior for a human being. The final nail was when I decided that I could no longer believe in a god that not only condoned but commanded genocide.

I hear you. there were two things I became aware of in the beginning. The first was racism and then hatred. I couldn't overlook these things. They were sanitized but it was still racism and hatred. It is what it is.

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I wish I could remember - it was about 10 years ago. I read a lot of books by different modern Bible scholars, who had all these different theories about what various books of the Bible (New Testament mostly) had to say. I read Elaine Pagals, Hans Kung, a bunch of other authors. Then I read a whole series of books on the history of the Eastern Orthodox Church. After that, I was pretty much done, but this whole period of time took several years.

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Scrutinizing the resurrection accounts followed by a thorough study of other world religions (I got a degree in it).  This seems to be a common path for religion majors at liberal arts colleges.  Don't let the "religion major" label fool you.

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I am curious. What was the last thing or subject you studied in the Bible before you left "the fold"?  Did it help to influence your decision to leave. I left the Bible in the "garden". I basically decided, metaphorically speaking, to eat form the tree of life. I find it kind of ironic that the Bible led me out of itself. If you want a better idea of where I am coming from read all of my posts. Thanks for reading this.

 

The prophets.  Yes it did.

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Revelations, and trying to make sense out of all the different interpretations. I had my first panic attack due to the hysteria created by Hal Lindsey's crap... during a sonic boom (I found out later) in the eighties (cold war) I began my deep search then.. to make sense of it all. I guess that was the beginning of the end but my path was long and convoluted, going through several very distinct christian denominations, gnosticism, mysticism, ceremonial magick, new age, etc... a degree in ancient history... paganism.. "what a long, strange trip it's been..."  LOL

 

I've been through the bible (front to back) at least 4 times since that day, and many, many other writings - even to Velikovsky and Sitchin.

 

Now I'm surrounded by Muslims (have a few as friends actually), but I don't really see much of a difference between them and christians... however, if I am to refute it (only because I am convinced it is rubbish as well and like to be well-informed when I hold a strong opinion) I will have to read the Q'aran as well. (sigh)

 

The only thing I still hold with as far as 'religion' is some Buddhist precepts that I find very rational and useful, and keeping the pagan festivals nominally - because it keeps me grounded with the earth and nature.

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I had decided to read the entire Bible and I couldn't even finish Exodus before I was exasperated by the violence, the anger of god and the sheer fact that a lot of this stuff couldn't happen in both Testaments. A lot of the stuff seemed to jump around in time later, and then it would go back to chronological stories. I also could not get over the fact that the New Testament just didn't match up with the Old Testament rules and prophecies. Why connect back to the Jews if the Christians are going to abandon everything the Jews believe in anyway? I also researched Eastern Orthodoxy, the split of the east and west in the creation of the Roman Catholic Church, the Nicene Council, and Protestantism and how Rome became Christian.

 

Realizing all of this just helped me quickly lose the programming of being worried about going to hell, and I had no reason to feel guilty about anything. Then I started to really research Islam and Judaism, and I saw many similarities between them and that there are extremists and liberals in all three religions. I have also read the Qu'ran, but not all of it since none of the revelations are in order, but I have not the Torah. I even looked at all of the different sects in each one. I also researched Buddhism, and I never realized that there were so many different sects and some descriptions of some savior god coming back actually sound like Christianity!

 

I'm researching pagan religions, and I like the natural cycle of the seasons and the morals they have. It seems like how humans were supposed to be, before these monotheist religions took hold of people by force. However, I do not think I can believe anything again, even though I really admire Asatru.

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I read the verse in which Jesus stated that some would not taste death before he returned with his kingdom (Matthew goes a bit further than the other gospels and makes it sound as if he would be completing the final judgement as well)-- this was during a very horrifying endtimes revival that our church was putting on.  I was so freaked out about what was being said at church so I tried to read up on it in the bible and ran accross this information.  I then made an appointment with one of the church pastors who pretty much blew me off, saying that he didn't really understand what these scriptures meant-- but god has a plan.  Uggh.  I walked out of church that day and never went back.  I found a scripture in which Jesus lied-- and that was the start of the end for me.  I still struggle with things, and have seen some of the apologist arguements that try to explain these and scriptures like them away-- but when you read these scriptures plain and simply, Jesus thought he was coming back in all of his glory really soon after his death--  we are close to 2000 years past that!!

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"one of the church pastors who pretty much blew me off" Yep, they do that a lot when you aren't just agreeing with them.

 

I didn't leave because of something I read in the Bible, but because I caught my most trusted pastor lying about miracles he said he experienced. I reasoned that if he had to lie, then it wasn't happening at all. But it SHOULD be happening if the scriptures were true. *crack* After that, it took about a year of praying, seeking, reading, and writing for it to all unravel. Then I found this site and deconverted.

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The apologetics of Calvinism, particularly RC Sproul.

 

I was already on my way out the door, but still questioning, when some specific actions of the church pushed me over the point of no return. Like Fuego said, if the scriptures were true, things would have been different - in particular, someone, anyone at the church would have shown discernment through the holy spirit. It became obvious that if there were a holy spirit, every church member was completely oblivious to it.

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It was Paul's books that did me in.  I can't quite put my finger on what it was that was so unsettling to me about Paul.  But I knew reading his books that he is not somebody I'd ever want to associate with.  Very angry, dominating man, might as well have gone off on a crusade or something.  I don't want to be like Paul. 

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Revelations, and trying to make sense out of all the different interpretations. I had my first panic attack due to the hysteria created by Hal Lindsey's crap... during a sonic boom (I found out later) in the eighties (cold war) I began my deep search then.. to make sense of it all. I guess that was the beginning of the end but my path was long and convoluted, going through several very distinct christian denominations, gnosticism, mysticism, ceremonial magick, new age, etc... a degree in ancient history... paganism.. "what a long, strange trip it's been..."  LOL

 

I've been through the bible (front to back) at least 4 times since that day, and many, many other writings - even to Velikovsky and Sitchin.

 

Now I'm surrounded by Muslims (have a few as friends actually), but I don't really see much of a difference between them and christians... however, if I am to refute it (only because I am convinced it is rubbish as well and like to be well-informed when I hold a strong opinion) I will have to read the Q'aran as well. (sigh)

 

The only thing I still hold with as far as 'religion' is some Buddhist precepts that I find very rational and useful, and keeping the pagan festivals nominally - because it keeps me grounded with the earth and nature.

(Actually, Ravenstar, I found that reading the Quran is a lot easier than reading the Bible. First, since every translation of the Quran I've ever seen has a long preface by the translator in the front explaining why they're translating it, and the methodology (always nice to have, actually), the book itself is rather shorter than it looks. Also, every translation of the Quran I've ever seen is a tandem translation, which means that it's actually half as long as it looks like, even after you subtract the preface. All of these factors, plus a thriving, centuries-long academic discourse on the meaning and provenance of the book, mean that the Quran is a fantastic counter-example against Biblical literalists. The flow of the text is also an awful lot more cohesive and smooth ('cause it wasn't Frankenstein-ed together from lots of sources in murklily translated different languages over the course of a couple millennia). I'd recommend reading it, if only because it will strengthen your arguments against all the Abrahamic monotheist belief systems. It's always fun to troll Christian fundies by saying "yeah, but Islam does it better" and then proving it to their faces. Alternatively, people come to your door, to convert you to Christianity, you try to convert them to Islam. All sorts of fun and games to be had, there.)

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The Book of John, a plagiarized version of Heraclitus' Greek philosophy known for hundreds of years before the common era.

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heraclitus

 

The book of John is a stolen version of the pagan Greek philosopher's view of Zeus as The Word, the Logos, that spoke creation into being or used fire or some damn thing like that but the rewrite of John claims Jesus is The Word or the Logos. This book actually broke the spell of the religion over me. I started waking up from the coma I had been in for over 45 years. Reality is a weird concept and I can see how some may rebel and impose a mental block on themselves but the dishonesty of the bible suddenly became glaringly real and I started asking questions people didn't want to answer but were willing to pray over. A big hypocrisy-epiphany moment happened.

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Ironically, I actually read the Bible a ton as a Christian (even today current Christians will ask if I actually read the Bible, whatever and I can promptly respond that yes, I did read the Bible cover to cover a few times, some books in I have read several times. Acts, I think I read that book like eight or nine times, I just enjoyed reading it when  I was a Christian as awful as that sounded. Yes, there were things that I found odd and disturbing but I figured I was just a human and not God so got on with it).

 

 I started to have doubts when I realized my atheist best friend who I had prayed for for over ten years was marrying an atheist man with multiple degrees in sciencey stuff that sounded very non-religious. It was actually causing me a lot of stress and anxiety and even some panic attacks that my best friend and her then fiance (now husband) were going to go to Hell.  Then this was further aggravated by hatred of homosexuals within religious doctrine as I had made some friends as I got older and wasn't always in a church circle any longer. This all happened over the course of several years with the last three years being when I really started studying translations (I had also gotten my hands on Bart Erhman's Misquoting Jesus by mistake, I had bought it in the Religious section of a book store and thought it was about Christians misquoting Jesus) and other Bible theology.  I actually felt a great sense of relief when I read the book as I realized I wasn't crazy or horrible for having the doubts I'd had. 

 

Honestly, it was more of an extremely emotional thing and at one point towards the end, after cursing God repeatedly (I had done everything he'd said and yet nothing he promised in the Bible came at all, it wasn't even like Job who got stuff and then had it taken away, I didn't get anything, just people taking advantage of me over and over). I realized I was basically acting like a child blaming someone who wasn't there for all the problems that had built up and said to myself, "This is really silly and I think possibly a little crazy." 

 

After that, I stumbled into things like Zoroastrianism and then after a little longer of not really knowing, I wound up at this site and that kind of quelled my fears of being rejected from a Creator for all eternity. 

 

But I guess for actual studying, I had been studying ancient Hebrew, Greek, Aramiac and how they'd been translated into modern English. 

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I had started reading scholarly books about the Bible. That put the first crack in the foundation; I wasn't on solid enough ground to reject faith. I'm now reading Jesus Interrupted, whose author gives some reasons why pastors don't pass on to their congregations what they learned in seminary. I'm sure a lot more people would leave the church if they were told by church authorities that the bible is a book of fairy tales.

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I had started reading scholarly books about the Bible. That put the first crack in the foundation; I wasn't on solid enough ground to reject faith. I'm now reading Jesus Interrupted, whose author gives some reasons why pastors don't pass on to their congregations what they learned in seminary. I'm sure a lot more people would leave the church if they were told by church authorities that the bible is a book of fairy tales.

Church authorities would NEVER reveal this!  They would lose money and have to go get real jobs.  They got a good gig going on; why stop?

 

Anyway, I had simply never understood bible stories even as a child.  I had too many questions that never got a real answer.  God was always talking to people in the OT, either in person or as a burning bush, or was something physical like a column of flame or smoke.  Or people heard god in their heads, like Samuel, and god chatted with them in their heads and told them what to do.  Church people NEVER gave satisfactory answers.  "Because Jesus" is NOT an answer.

 

Then I read "The Origins of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind" by Julian Jaynes.  It is not a religious book.  But as I read it, I finally understood why people back then had heard god in their heads in a way we never do now.  It just clicked and was a true "aha" moment.  It made sense.  And I was 100% done with religion.

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The last thing I remember studying was how biblical canon was developed. I had had doubts about how we can be sure of the veracity of the gospels and other accepted books if the sects of Christianity have different bibles that are considered apocryphal by others. How can we be so sure that Jesus was as described in Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John; or that Paul's letters were divinely inspired and simultaneously be so sure that other books weren't? I eventually read a few articles about the problem on a website that I can't recall the name of, and was satisfied for a while with the answer that the bible didn't need to come entirely from god or be completely true. But eventually I started questioning how we could even be sure of god's existence, and that was the final thing that drove me to reject religion.

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But I guess for actual studying, I had been studying ancient Hebrew, Greek, Aramiac and how they'd been translated into modern English. 

I understand. I was hearing too many things from too many people. I read the bible myself and too many things didn't make sense so I started to study to try and make sense of it all. I did word studies, language studies and then I read commentaries and other books. In the end, I just couldn't find any kind of general concensus. The bible is supposed to be "solid" but all I found was ambiguity and unbalance. Rather than following something that was unreliable. Out of respect, I decided to turn away from all this and look for something that does make sense-reality.

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  • 2 weeks later...

We were doing Galatians at my Bible Study, but just before that we did a thing about what the Bible says about where we go when we die. And THAT was interesting.

 

It didn't have any effect on my leaving, though.

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Strangely enough it was the story about Ananias and Sapphira. I was trying to find a way to reconcile the woman being taken in adultery being granted mercy without repentance while Ananias and Sapphira were executed for not providing full disclosure after selling their property.

 

I could not reconcile why Ananias and Sapphira were not granted mercy or grace but the woman taken in adultery was. As I was contemplating this dilemma the clouds suddenly parted and I realized the story about Ananias and Sapphira simply wasn’t true.

 

Once I accepted that story wasn’t true I immediately began to wonder what else wasn’t true. That was the beginning of the end for me.

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