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Hey guys. I'm not sure if I'm posting this in the right forum or not. I've been an ex-Christian for about two years. I'm (mostly) past all of the anger, and past that automatic urge to pray in thanks or sorrow.

 

Here's the problem I'm having, and I'm sorry if it's been addressed already. For all of its faults, Christianity gives a very comprehensive world-view about souls, the meaning of this life, the hope of the next life... every theological and philosophical loose end is closed up. To be perfectly honest, I'm finding myself pretty lost and depressed without these answers. (Not that I wasn't depressed with Christianity, but, I digress.)

 

I know that no one can give me the answers; it's a personal journey. But what were some of the questions that you started asking yourself in order to find your own personal truth after you abandoned Christianity? And were there any resources (books, websites) that helped you to find those questions or answers? 

 

The few questions that I already know are:

 

A) How was the universe (or multiverse) created?

B) Is there a soul?

C) Is there an afterlife?

D) What is the meaning of life?

E) Is there a God?

 

... but I know there are probably more things that I should be asking. Any help on what questions you asked, or where you turned to for these and other answers, would be much appreciated.

 

Kind regards,

Hazen Aurora

Ex-Christian since September 2011, leaning towards atheism.

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Here's the problem I'm having, and I'm sorry if it's been addressed already. For all of its faults, Christianity gives a very comprehensive world-view about souls, the meaning of this life, the hope of the next life... every theological and philosophical loose end is closed up. To be perfectly honest, I'm finding myself pretty lost and depressed without these answers. (Not that I wasn't depressed with Christianity, but, I digress.)

I struggle with this also, and in fact, spent quite a bit of time discussing it with someone last weekend. 

 

A way I try to cope with this is by enriching some one else's life in some way. This applies to both humans and animals as both have consciousness. The flip side of this is that some lives are enriched by me staying out of them! 

 

Learning what makes you tick is also important. For me, hobbies are important because I can't make a living doing what I enjoy - that ship has already sailed. So, its important for me to have somewhere I can go mentally to get away. 

 

Thirdly, I HAVE to have something to look forward to. For me, this is a return to a pre-Abrahamic mindset or pagan mindset - acknowledging and celebrating the movements of our earth and celestial bodies in their cycles. 

 

Fourthly, learning to live in the moment. This is a hard one for me. It's so easy to navel-gaze about the bad things in our past and the bad stuff that we worry is going to happen in the future. 

 

I see you're new here. Welcome to Ex-C.

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Welcome to the forum, HazenAurora.  You are right, it is an individual journey.  Once I decided Christianity was false, I realized that I had to forge ahead and explore what I thought might be true.  I have still not come to any firm certainty but I seem to have a need to feel like I am part of something ongoing. Also, I have this feeling of devotion that needs an outlet. Since Christianity was not acceptable to me, I first studied the work of J. Krishnamurti for about 8 years, and then I went into Buddhism.

 

There are many of the same problems with organized religion in Buddhism, but at least I am on board philosophically. I have no idea how it happens, but I think at least part of what makes up who we are continues after death.  I am still working out whether this makes me a dualist - it probably does - and how that works in with Buddhism.  What I am trying to say, and being needlessly complicated, is that deconversion is a long process.  Maybe if I come to some conclusions and they don't quite fit together, I just keep working on it.

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The few questions that I already know are:

 

A) How was the universe (or multiverse) created?

cool.png Is there a soul?

C) Is there an afterlife?

D) What is the meaning of life?

E) Is there a God?

A - the big bang theory does have evidence to support origins from a singularity some 13.7Bn years ago, the honest answer is we don't really know.

B - No, everything you are is a product of your brain and thought processes.

C - No, this is just wishful thinking used to deal with the brute finality of our existence.

D - simply propagation of the species and all the rest is window dressing (or 42) :)

E - No, gods are man made and were invented to explain things we did not understand before science.

 

These are the shortest answers I can provide but unlike religion, there are no soundbyte explanations. If that were the case, there would be more vocal atheists.

 

Oh and welcome.

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Here's the problem I'm having, and I'm sorry if it's been addressed already. For all of its faults, Christianity gives a very comprehensive world-view about souls, the meaning of this life, the hope of the next life... every theological and philosophical loose end is closed up. To be perfectly honest, I'm finding myself pretty lost and depressed without these answers. (Not that I wasn't depressed with Christianity, but, I digress.)

Actually you picked up on a very important point, that Christianity strives to be a cohesive system that people can use as a structure to integrate the world with. The issue for you, and all of us really, is that the landscape for us changed and that system fails to work in the way it evolved. It's out of touch with today where we have replaced mythological understandings of the world with rational ones. But the dilemma then is, the question now is, what system is there to replace it? What structure touches on all the areas of life that Christianity played in that role for us?

 

I know that no one can give me the answers; it's a personal journey. But what were some of the questions that you started asking yourself in order to find your own personal truth after you abandoned Christianity? And were there any resources (books, websites) that helped you to find those questions or answers? 

 

The few questions that I already know are:

 

A) How was the universe (or multiverse) created?

cool.png Is there a soul?

C) Is there an afterlife?

D) What is the meaning of life?

E) Is there a God?

 

... but I know there are probably more things that I should be asking. Any help on what questions you asked, or where you turned to for these and other answers, would be much appreciated.

The questions I ask are really more a long sequence of questions that continue to arise all the time. I think the important thing is to never stop asking questions, even when you've found new supposed "answers" to the above. The key to all this is to understand that we are constantly in motion, we are constantly growing (at least ideally, I would hope), and therefore our understandings cannot become static, rigid, and dogmatic. That to me defines why Christianity is imploding in on itself, because it views these questions as having single, definitive, and absolutist answers. The danger lays in us taking that approach itself, and now looking for the "real" answers and falling into that exact same pit.

 

Let the questions unfold as they come to the surface, and never be satisfied you have the answers now. Rather, its all about allowing yourself to gain perspectives. When these questions above are allowed to become viewed from multiple angles, it offers wider, newer understandings of their meanings, rather than black and white, true/false answers.

 

Hope that helps, and by the way, welcome.

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Hi Hazen and welcome.  :)

 

I'm an amateur astronomer and there's another member here called Bhim, who's an astrophysicist.  Together we can probably give you a fair hearing of science's current understanding of how the universe (multiverse) came to be.

 

Please note that we'd be doing so from a strictly scientific p.o.v.

It's already been mentioned that you're on a journey here - not only of discovery but also of self-discovery.  Therefore, any personal and/or spiritual significance you choose to assign to any of the science we might present to you is a matter for you and only you to decide.  You are your own person and as the Antlerman has already said, there's a danger of switching between one absolutist view (Christianity) and another (Science). 

 

So, what you make of what you discover is up to you.

.

.

.

 

LivingLife's reply...

"A - the big bang theory does have evidence to support origins from a singularity some 13.7Bn years ago, the honest answer is we don't really know." ...isn't entirely correct.  (Sorry, LL.  :(  But I have to call it as I understand it.)

 

Inflationary theory (the current best explanation favored by cosmologists) removes the singularity from being the direct cause of only the beginnings of our only observable universe, pushing it far, far down the road of causality.  The singularity is understood to have initiated a runaway process of inflation that has been 'inflating' unknown numbers of 'pocket' universes like ours for an unknown duration. 

 

The ever-growing ensemble of these 'pockets' is often referred to the Multiverse.

I'll be the first to admit that there's no real evidence for their existence and that they haven't been directly observed.  Instead, they (as well as the initial singularity) are hypothetical entities - logical inferences, based upon a theory that has strong, independently-verified lines of evidence supporting it. 

 

Perhaps it helps to consider this example?

If a sailor in mid-ocean feels a change in the pattern of the waves pasing under his boat, sees flocks of seabirds heading in a certain direction and notes that clouds seem to congregate at the point where the birds are going, is he right to conclude (make a logical inference) that an island is just over the horizon?  That is the kind of thinking we're dealing with here, when we talk about the wider Multiverse, rather than our observable universe.  Though we can't actually see the former, we can infer their existence from clues given to us by the latter..

.

.

.

Anyway, once again welcome.

 

Thanks,

 

BAA.

 

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Hey guys. I'm not sure if I'm posting this in the right forum or not. I've been an ex-Christian for about two years. I'm (mostly) past all of the anger, and past that automatic urge to pray in thanks or sorrow.

 

Here's the problem I'm having, and I'm sorry if it's been addressed already. For all of its faults, Christianity gives a very comprehensive world-view about souls, the meaning of this life, the hope of the next life... every theological and philosophical loose end is closed up. To be perfectly honest, I'm finding myself pretty lost and depressed without these answers. (Not that I wasn't depressed with Christianity, but, I digress.)

 

I know that no one can give me the answers; it's a personal journey. But what were some of the questions that you started asking yourself in order to find your own personal truth after you abandoned Christianity? And were there any resources (books, websites) that helped you to find those questions or answers? 

 

The few questions that I already know are:

 

A) How was the universe (or multiverse) created?

cool.png Is there a soul?

C) Is there an afterlife?

D) What is the meaning of life?

E) Is there a God?

 

... but I know there are probably more things that I should be asking. Any help on what questions you asked, or where you turned to for these and other answers, would be much appreciated.

 

Kind regards,

Hazen Aurora

Ex-Christian since September 2011, leaning towards atheism.

 

Yes, religions have answers. But are they the correct answers? No. Will religions ever admit they are the wrong answers? No. They just find new ways to rationalize and polish the wrong answers. This is intellectual dishonesty and therefore, religions have no moral authority. 

 

As to your questions:

 

 

A) How was the universe (or multiverse) created?

By the expansion of spacetime 13.7 billion years ago. The big question remains what it expanded from. The Multiverse Theory may be the solution to this problem. 

 

B  Is there a soul?

No. This concept was invented by the ancients to account for a conscious afterlife free from our physical bodies. 

 

C) Is there an afterlife?

No. This concept was invented by the ancients to overcome the universal fear of death. 

 

D) What is the meaning of life?

To try to leave the world better off for having you in it. 

 

E) Is there a God?

Possibly, but there is no evidence that such an entity has ever interacted with humankind; therefore it is quixotic to "believe" in such an entity as a father figure as most people choose to do. 

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Hey guys. I'm not sure if I'm posting this in the right forum or not. I've been an ex-Christian for about two years. I'm (mostly) past all of the anger, and past that automatic urge to pray in thanks or sorrow.

 

Here's the problem I'm having, and I'm sorry if it's been addressed already. For all of its faults, Christianity gives a very comprehensive world-view about souls, the meaning of this life, the hope of the next life... every theological and philosophical loose end is closed up. To be perfectly honest, I'm finding myself pretty lost and depressed without these answers. (Not that I wasn't depressed with Christianity, but, I digress.)

 

I know that no one can give me the answers; it's a personal journey. But what were some of the questions that you started asking yourself in order to find your own personal truth after you abandoned Christianity? And were there any resources (books, websites) that helped you to find those questions or answers? 

 

The few questions that I already know are:

 

A) How was the universe (or multiverse) created?

cool.png Is there a soul?

C) Is there an afterlife?

D) What is the meaning of life?

E) Is there a God?

 

... but I know there are probably more things that I should be asking. Any help on what questions you asked, or where you turned to for these and other answers, would be much appreciated.

 

Kind regards,

Hazen Aurora

Ex-Christian since September 2011, leaning towards atheism.

 

Hi Hazen, I'm new around here too. You make a very good point about Christianity offering a framework for understanding reality. I think this is one of the major reasons that it appeals to so many people. People like to believe that there is a deeper meaning and purpose to life, and Christianity affirms this belief. The issue is, of course, that Christianity simply has too many problems that cannot be overlooked. So we are left without the option of using the Christian worldview to explain the meaning of life. But that doesn't mean there is no meaning to life, it just means we don't know what it is.

 

Personally, I think that most of the questions that need to be asked in the absence of Christianity have to do with trying to resolve this issue. I also think this is a deeply personal journey, and I think it is one that no one can claim to have finished. And this is a very good thing. I think that it is the process of looking for answers that is much more important than whether we actually find them or not. It is the journey that trumps the destination. And I don't think that anyone can really tell you where you should be beginning your journey. We are, each of us, where we are; all we can do is go forward from here.

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Hello, and welcome!! I hope you are finding some good food for thought.

 

BTW Christianity does not offer anything like philosophical loose ends tied up, unless ya just shrug and say "Goddit" to everything. :-) It's a pretty incoherent theology, actually - just set a spell and read these forums and we can take it all apart for you.

 

If you are in the US you are likely surrounded by Christians, and it ain't easy going against the crowd. But with some gumption and smarts you will be able to hold your own against the peer pressure/family influence and go on to learn some actual, real things about the world, rather than ancient myths, folktales and weird theology.

 

All the best to you!

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It's ok to not know, and to even say so. There are people who will give you definitive answers to things that are unknown, but you still need to decide what suits you even if it is "I don't know".

 

I know people that call themselves "mediums" and say that they see spirits and angels. Sometimes they seem to be spot on in relating what a deceased person was like. Other times they are way off. They seem to have a system of invisible beings and such. I don't see any of it, I don't feel any of it, and have found them unreliable and missing critical info like "where is the kidnapped child right now". Still nice people, but I don't buy into the things that seem quite real to them.

 

I know several pagans, and have certain leanings towards aspects of those paths. But do I think of any of it as real? Not so much. Energy healing sometimes has a powerful effect on me, be it placebo or other I don't know. I don't really know what is making the difference. And I'm ok with not knowing, even while listening to possible views on it.

 

I've recently heard stories about the gods of old being visitors from other planets, and that the myths have some basis in fact. But the same people who claim these things go off on some serious tangents into la-la land.

 

I don't think there is a person-type god or a judgement over laws of some kind. There may be a spark of life that kicks things off throughout the universe, or a pool of consciousness that we return to and come back from. But I don't know. They are just interesting ideas to ponder. I used to find comfort in the myths I believed, but now see death as what I felt before being conscious - nothing. It is similar to being put under for surgery, out cold and no sense at all of anything. Or perhaps the stories about floating above the body are true, and I will continue and travel back to my ancestors in a beautiful place with a gorgeous sunrise, and come back with some of them in a new family a few centuries from now. That's ok too. We will all die, that is certain. What we choose to be and become in the meantime, and how we treat others in the process, are probably the most important things to consider and put energy into.

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Thank you all for your warm welcomes and replies! It is just difficult because, with Christianity, you take so many things for granted... yes, there is a soul; yes, there is a heaven and a hell; yes, there are angels and demons; yes, there is a God. And now that we're ex-Christians, we have to take a step back and think... is there?

 

Personally, it's hard for me to make the jump from "yes, there is a soul because Christianity says so," to "if Christianity is wrong, there must not be a soul." Christianity was not the only religion or philosophy to include remarks on the soul. We have to look at the soul from the aspect of other religions, if we so choose (I've done only a rudimentary study of comparative religions), from a scientific view, and from a philosophical view... and maybe other views as well. And that's only one example.

 

I guess what it really boils down to is a time investment. It's very hard not knowing the answers (though Fuego, I do agree with you in that sometimes the best answer we can give is "I don't know"), but what's harder is that in order for me to be satisfied with an answer, I would have to look at it from so many different lenses, and that would require such an in-depth study that it would take years and years. But alas, that's probably where my journey will have to start.

 

Anyway, I'm rambling now. Thanks again for your answers (:

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I guess what it really boils down to is a time investment.

I agree it takes time to come to new understandings, but the key difference today is moving from a closed system of thought to an open one. You're not afraid to ask questions and look and take what comes that may challenge existing ideas. When this first happened for me I called it being saved from religion.

 

But as Fuego said the "I don't know" answer is actual the best place to be, IMO. What that is is that it moves it away from relying on the mind to try to tell you to feel secure in your beliefs, to not looking to your beliefs for that sense of peace and assurance and simply resting in your heart. It takes mentally looking at these things in order to sort them out, of course. But again, its not in finding "the answers" that you find satisfaction, but in the freedom from looking to external sources for internal peace. If you start from that place, then what you understand about the world takes on an entirely different importance to you.

 

Peace

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The few questions that I already know are:

 

A) How was the universe (or multiverse) created?

cool.png Is there a soul?

C) Is there an afterlife?

D) What is the meaning of life?

E) Is there a God?

 

Hi HazenAurora.  I can understand your situation to a great degree.  I've always had a general bent towards religiosity myself, so these questions are important to me too.  Fortunately I wasn't born Christian, so when I left Christianity I had something else to go back to.

 

You ask some of the typical questions that many humans typically think about.  As BAA mentioned, the first one actually has a fairly complete answer at this point, and it's given by science without the need for invoking the supernatural.  If you'd like to know about the "standard model" of cosmology, which (along with some evolutionary biology) explains how we got from the beginning of time to where we are today, he would be a good resource for giving you an overview of the topic.  As he mentioned, I'm a trained astrophysicist, so if you've got any technical questions I'm always around to help.

 

As to the rest of your questions, the existence of the soul, afterlife, objective meaning of life, and existence of a deity all all issues for which there is insufficient evidence to provide any answers.  Just giving my own opinion here (with the obvious disclaimer that your milage may vary), but I don't think religions are a bad thing, or that you should avoid them when looking for answers.  I do think that Christianity is bad, and that Jesus is an immoral person who is unfit to be any sort of spiritual teacher, much less a god.  So I would avoid the New Testament or any thinkers who draw inspiration from it (i.e. Christians).

 

The problem with looking to a religion for answers to these questions is that you never know if you are right.   At the end of the day I know of no convincing evidence to demonstrate the truth of any religion.  Again, just speaking for myself here, but I've found that on this occasion, reading someone else's ideas on the topic of spirituality beats "thinking for myself," because a lot of people have thought about spirituality in the past and have come up with more well-thought answers than I.  Some may call this groupthink.  I prefer to think of it as standing on the shoulders of giants.  To draw from my own religion here (Hinduism), I'd say that the Bhagavad Gita talks a lot about the nature of the soul as well as the meaning of life.  It expounds on the idea of that the meaning of life is to do your prescribed duty, your prescribed duty being defined by the current birth of your soul.  That all sounds very abstract, so let me make this more concrete.  I was recently privy to a discussion between two of my friends, one Hindu and the other a Western irreligious person (not necessarily atheist, honestly I have no idea where he stands on theism).  The irreligious person pointed out that if people believe in any higher standard of morality, they shouldn't be complacently living their lives in the comfort of home and family, but should serve some greater good.  To put it more bluntly, people shouldn't "sit on their asses."  My Hindu friend invoked the concept of dharma (roughly translated as duty), and pointed out that if you've got a wife and kids, then staying home and taking care of them is the fulfillment of a higher morality, and should be seen as virtuous in and of itself.  So you see that one can have a satisfying answer to "what's the meaning of life?"  It was satisfying to me, anyway.

 

Should you look at religious doctrines yourself?  I don't know.  It works for me, but I can't make any guarantees about whether it'll work for you.  Now that I've left Christianity, I'm through with proselytizing others, so I'm not about to commend my own religion to someone else.  If you're going to get religious again, beware that the very idea of religion is for you to conform yourself to an external standard, not to create a standard that already agrees with the way you live.  If that's not something you're interested in, then I'd avoid religions altogether.

 

Anyway, I hope all of these ramblings of mine are more helpful than confusing.

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BAA,

You're much more than an 'amateur' regarding the Cosmos. It was you who gave me the spark to explore more and more. I remember when more conclusive evidence was cited regarding the validity of the Higgs particle and how excited you were about it. I've actually used some QM arguments in various debates regarding the alleged 'fine tuning' of the universe the theists love to hurl at us. Whatever I have learned about these things during the past year I owe to you because of that spark you lit in me. Thanks!

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Yeah, I must say that a lot of us do fundamental science like astro or cosmology largely so that people like BAA will take an interest in it. During observing shifts on site at the telescope I worked on, we were always pleased when amateur astronomers came by to set up their telescopes and share our dark skies. It was a pleasure to talk to these people and see the extent to which they'd educated themselves.

 

More people should take an interest in the fundamental science that their tax dollars fund!

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Yeah, I must say that a lot of us do fundamental science like astro or cosmology largely so that people like BAA will take an interest in it. During observing shifts on site at the telescope I worked on, we were always pleased when amateur astronomers came by to set up their telescopes and share our dark skies. It was a pleasure to talk to these people and see the extent to which they'd educated themselves.

 

More people should take an interest in the fundamental science that their tax dollars fund!

And people think I'm weird because I have my own microscope an a drawer full of various stains...

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Even being an atheist I still find I struggle with spiritual topics. Although, I personally find a naturalistic world view comprehensive (meaning no souls) it bears little comfort. However, I still cling to it. I'm not Richard Dawkins so I suggest finding a spiritual path that fits you. So long as you harm no one else of course. If you find it in a belief in souls so be it.yellow.gif

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Hey guys. I'm not sure if I'm posting this in the right forum or not. I've been an ex-Christian for about two years. I'm (mostly) past all of the anger, and past that automatic urge to pray in thanks or sorrow.

 

Here's the problem I'm having, and I'm sorry if it's been addressed already. For all of its faults, Christianity gives a very comprehensive world-view about souls, the meaning of this life, the hope of the next life... every theological and philosophical loose end is closed up. To be perfectly honest, I'm finding myself pretty lost and depressed without these answers. (Not that I wasn't depressed with Christianity, but, I digress.)

 

I know that no one can give me the answers; it's a personal journey. But what were some of the questions that you started asking yourself in order to find your own personal truth after you abandoned Christianity? And were there any resources (books, websites) that helped you to find those questions or answers? 

 

The few questions that I already know are:

 

A) How was the universe (or multiverse) created?

cool.png Is there a soul?

C) Is there an afterlife?

D) What is the meaning of life?

E) Is there a God?

 

... but I know there are probably more things that I should be asking. Any help on what questions you asked, or where you turned to for these and other answers, would be much appreciated.

 

Kind regards,

Hazen Aurora

Ex-Christian since September 2011, leaning towards atheism.

 

Hello, Hazen! Welcome to Ex-C, I'm pretty new myself (both to the forum and deconversion). Everyone here is awesome :) 

 

I think that you're used to leading a structured life with all the questions previously answered; in other words, you've been told by others how to live your life, and let's be honest, being sheep and following what somebody says makes life significantly simpler. Sure, it can end in bad consequences, but you don't need to think for yourself, so that takes a lot of hard work away. You've been told what to do, and now, in the absence of a divine boss, you are experiencing not only freedom, but the terrifying consequences of freedom as well. Now you need to think for yourself, now you are accountable for all your actions, etc. It's not always a very fun reality, but for me it was a matter of "Do I want comfort or truth?" I went after truth, and the more I immerse myself in it, the more comfortable I am. Besides, I know inside myself that if I wasn't honest to myself I could never be comfortable. 

 

Perhaps life doesn't have any meaning. It's depressing at first, but then you realize that your actions are all your own instead of some divine plan, and that you, yourself can help make the world an awesome place for all the people that are living and will live on it! You can have a positive atheistic outlook. Mind, I'm not even sure I'm an atheist myself.

 

Alternatively, I'd recommend checking out the topic for Ex-Christians who have found some other form of faith instead, whether it's Buddhism, deism, etc. There's a nice topic there and I'm sure a lot of the people there would help you address your metaphysical questions. Ultimately it's just going to be a journey for you, and you may find spiritual truth even if it isn't in Christianity.

 

Regards :) 

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