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I also have a random thought that I wanted to share with you all:

 

I just read this article about the debates of whether Jesus actually existed or not: http://www.livescience.com/38014-physical-evidence-jesus-debated.html

 

So clearly there really is no evidence that he did exist, according to this information... now this is probably just the "irrational Christian" side that I've grown up with coming out, but I was told my whole life to "just believe". However, if God/Jesus REALLY wanted his children to believe, wouldn't he make the evidence more evident for us?

Or what IF God/Jesus is almost testing us to see who truly does believe with little evidence? I still don't see the connection between a "loving God" and silly little tests that Christians believe he is doing, however I was just curious of your opinions, or if I'm just thinking way too much about all of the "supernatural" stuff and need to focus more on the concrete evidence (other than the bible).

 

Why is believing on the basis of faith alone supposed to be a good thing? This is something that has never been made clear to me.

 

When I was a Christian, and first began exploring the other side of some of these issues, the way that I dealt with these sorts of doubts was to assert to myself that if Christianity is true, then God gave me my capacity for reason. Did I really believe in a God who would give me this capacity and then expect me not to use it? When I searched my heart, I found that I didn't. Further, it seemed to me that if a statement is true then surely it ought to be able to stand up to reasoned criticism. If it were to turn out that Christianity couldn't do that, then I would want to know about it. So I persisted in my questioning and the rest, as they say, is history.

 

Claims that God's ways are not our ways, and that we can't understand Him so we must just believe are fatuous. Are we really to base our lives on a proposition that we do not understand, and which all of the available evidence indicates is false? How is this not absurd?

 

I will never be one to tell you that you are focusing too much on one area or another. Look into the things that interest you at the moment. But please, whatever you are thinking about, think critically. Don't fall into the trap of "just believing". As you say, if God really wanted us to believe, then He could convince us without too much trouble.

 

I definitely agree with everything you have said, and I appreciate the feedback and advice. Like I said, I am absorbing all of the advice I can obtain, as silly as some of the questions are.

 

I know I will not allow myself to fall back into the "just believe" mindset, however, I also know that it is probably my body/brain's natural response to the questions I am asking myself.

As you all have stated, it will go away with time, so I'm definitely trying to not let it worry me all too much. It's all really fascinating to me, and I cannot wait to figure things out more and more. smile.png

 

Many of us have had so much difficulty with our "deconversions." It takes an emotional toll, that's for sure. This place is medicine. Use it up. Hell, become and addict. There are some great minds here that have aided me significantly.

 

The very beginning phase of acknowledging that your faith is departing can be hard to work through on your own. Just keep pushing forward. Keep asking those questions. You deserve it. You're doing this for you. You're helping yourself. Just keep going. :)

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Looking at the scientific reasoning after leaving I feel a bit foolish for ever believing.  When you are born into a christian family the brainwashing starts so early and is nothing we think about much because we knew.  I've been told many times in my christian life "Don't open your mind up so much that your brain falls out".  The real fear is that I would let knowledge in and that is what happened. 

totally agree with that! I was always afraid to open my mind up to the possibility that my faith wasn't true; but now that I have, I almost feel more confident in what I believe in. It's kind of funny how that works, eh? It's almost like you've been "protected" from the real scientific truth that is out there, in order to believe in a hereditary belief-system.

It is so fascinating to me how the human brain works through the concepts of religion, especially family-based religion. I'm so happy I found this community!

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Thank you very much for your kind words!

I have definitely become obsessed with researching evidence of truths over the last week or so, especially this forum as well. I even ordered a book!

It is so amazing to have a community of people who are/have gone through the same questioning as I have. It is so much easier to have people there for you! :)

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Welcome!  I think that you have the right attitude when you say "I don't disbelieve, I just don't care."  Yahweh may exist, but if he does, it really wouldn't be salient to our lives.  He may have curses up his sleeve, but we have courage up ours.  What you will not find on this forum, or anywhere else in the universe, is certainty -- it just doesn't exist.  We live in a precarious and hazardous world.  You can cultivate a thought that may give you a feeling of certainty, but it will ultimately prove to be an illusion that will fall, leaving you in the same position that you are in now.  Yahweh may exist;  his hell may be real;  he may be trying to talk to you.  But much more likely is that Christianity is just the elaborate fiction that you have discovered that it is.  

 

There is no account of the world that you can adopt that will give you certainty.  Embrace the uncertainty and just be flexible for what might pop up next.  Hitchens says something I agree with wholeheartedly:  "The offer of certainty, the offer of complete security, the offer of an impermeable faith that can’t give way is an offer of something not worth having. I want to live my life taking the risk all the time that I don’t know anything like enough yet… that I haven’t understood enough… that I can’t know enough… that I am always hungrily operating on the margins of a potentially great harvest of future knowledge and wisdom. I wouldn’t have it any other way."

 

I really appreciate your input and advice, and I checked out the video! That is so inspiring, and I completely agree with it. I used to be so fixated on doing/believing what others told me to do, however, I have really come to terms with the fact that I decide what I believe in and how to live. So the video is definitely a great reminder of how to do so. I will be keeping it saved as my own littler personal reminder, so thank you again. :)

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Edit: I was supposed to quote LifeCycle a couple of posts ago, but clearly it didn't work. glare.gif

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Also, (sorry for the million replies), if anyone has some interesting books that they enjoyed about the science vs. religion concept, I would love to get the titles! I've been looking at the list of books recommended on this site, but I'm also more so looking for the hard scientific evidence comparing the two of them.

Thank you for the tips! smile.png

 

I really like Christopher Hitchens. I particularly like his debates and speeches. The one from which the clip that Llwellyn shared is taken is a particularly good one, but most of them are quite entertaining. His writing is also very good, so I do recommend god is not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything. Some of his points in this book are made more strongly than others, but overall it's quite good.

 

As far as science and religion goes, I really liked Breaking the Spell: Religion as a Natural Phenomenon by Daniel Dennett. It's very well written, and although Dennett is a philosopher first and foremost, the entire book is written from an evolutionary perspective.

 

Sam Harris has also written some good stuff. Letter to a Christian Nation is a nice, quick read (although it's not overly scientific). I find that he has a tendency to oversimplify certain issues at times, but overall I think he makes some good points.

 

I am not a fan of Richard Dawkins as anything other than a biologist.

 

Kenneth Miller (actually a christian) has quite a few interesting things to say about evolution vs creationism. This is one of my favorite youtube lectures at the moment. It's 2 hours long, but it contains almost an hour of q/a. It's about a court case from around 10 years ago that had to do with teaching intelligent design in lieu of (or perhaps in addition to) evolution in high schools in Dover Pennsylvania. Really interesting stuff. He's also written a book on the subject, which I have not read, and so I can't properly recommend.

 

Is there a specific area of science that you're interested in?

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Also, (sorry for the million replies), if anyone has some interesting books that they enjoyed about the science vs. religion concept, I would love to get the titles! I've been looking at the list of books recommended on this site, but I'm also more so looking for the hard scientific evidence comparing the two of them.

Thank you for the tips! smile.png

 

I really like Christopher Hitchens. I particularly like his debates and speeches. The one from which the clip that Llwellyn shared is taken is a particularly good one, but most of them are quite entertaining. His writing is also very good, so I do recommend god is not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything. Some of his points in this book are made more strongly than others, but overall it's quite good.

 

As far as science and religion goes, I really liked Breaking the Spell: Religion as a Natural Phenomenon by Daniel Dennett. It's very well written, and although Dennett is a philosopher first and foremost, the entire book is written from an evolutionary perspective.

 

Sam Harris has also written some good stuff. Letter to a Christian Nation is a nice, quick read (although it's not overly scientific). I find that he has a tendency to oversimplify certain issues at times, but overall I think he makes some good points.

 

I am not a fan of Richard Dawkins as anything other than a biologist.

 

Kenneth Miller (actually a christian) has quite a few interesting things to say about evolution vs creationism. This is one of my favorite youtube lectures at the moment. It's 2 hours long, but it contains almost an hour of q/a. It's about a court case from around 10 years ago that had to do with teaching intelligent design in lieu of (or perhaps in addition to) evolution in high schools in Dover Pennsylvania. Really interesting stuff. He's also written a book on the subject, which I have not read, and so I can't properly recommend.

 

Is there a specific area of science that you're interested in?

 

Thank you so much for your input! I will definitely check all of those out. :)

I actually just ordered The Counter-Creationism Handbook by Mark Isaak today, so I'm really excited to get started on that!

 

To be honest, all of science is pretty new to me because, like I said before, I was always almost afraid of it. I have, however, always loved Astronomy! I'm also really interested in Social Sciences as well and how people work... especially their religions at the moment. It's all very fascinating to me and I'm just absorbing every bit of information I come across.

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Add Misquoting Jesus by Bart Ehrman to the list if you were big into bible inerrancy. I grew up all KJV and such. It was an impactful book for me.

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Add Misquoting Jesus by Bart Ehrman to the list if you were big into bible inerrancy. I grew up all KJV and such. It was an impactful book for me.

Awesome! Thank you so much! I added it to my reading list. I can't wait to read them all! :)

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Welcome! :) I am a pretty recent de-convert too, my process started a bit over a year ago and this January I figured out I was done with it all for good and had become agnostic. I've had some painful moments of fear of being wrong, but this web community has helped me get through them. So keep posting, keep exploring! :D

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Bart Ehrman has actually been on my to read for a long time. Maybe I'll have to check out Misquoting Jesus sometime soon.

 

Stephen Hawking has some good stuff. A Brief History of Time is a classic. It doesn't focus on religion, but if you're just interested in astronomy it's quite good. The Grand Design focuses more on why Hawking is an atheist. I've only read parts of it, but I've spoken to several people who have read and enjoyed it.

 

Also, check out talkorigins.org. Some very good stuff there on evolution.

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Welcome! :) I am a pretty recent de-convert too, my process started a bit over a year ago and this January I figured out I was done with it all for good and had become agnostic. I've had some painful moments of fear of being wrong, but this web community has helped me get through them. So keep posting, keep exploring! :D

Thank you! Yeah, it's definitely been tough, but I have been researching absolutely everything I possibly can, and the more I research, the more I realize how silly it all is. I am so much more confident in myself and my beliefs now that I've become agnostic. It's almost like a relief! This online community has helped me a lot for sure. My only worry now is starting to "come out" to some of my Christian friends. I feel like they suspect something is up, but I have no idea how to actually tell them without them becoming judgemental or concerned.

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Bart Ehrman has actually been on my to read for a long time. Maybe I'll have to check out Misquoting Jesus sometime soon.

 

Stephen Hawking has some good stuff. A Brief History of Time is a classic. It doesn't focus on religion, but if you're just interested in astronomy it's quite good. The Grand Design focuses more on why Hawking is an atheist. I've only read parts of it, but I've spoken to several people who have read and enjoyed it.

 

Also, check out talkorigins.org. Some very good stuff there on evolution.

Thank you again! I will add that to my list. I've been watching a lot of debates lately of Religion vs Science and I am finding myself understanding and agreeing far more with the Science perspective. So it is definitely helping for sure. :)

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Hi Leikela,

 

Welcome! I understand the position you are in with the "what if's", but you can successfully move past all of that. You are not wrong, and you are not wrong to question. Fear is one of the foundational pillars of fundamentalist religion, the others being ignorance, guilt, and shame. Hell is a morally reprehensible concept, and I can assure you that is not real. You don't need to spend another second fearing going to such a place. 

 

Hope that helps. Glory!

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Hi Leikela,

 

Welcome! I understand the position you are in with the "what if's", but you can successfully move past all of that. You are not wrong, and you are not wrong to question. Fear is one of the foundational pillars of fundamentalist religion, the others being ignorance, guilt, and shame. Hell is a morally reprehensible concept, and I can assure you that is not real. You don't need to spend another second fearing going to such a place. 

 

Hope that helps. Glory!

Thank you very much! That does make me feel a lot better. I have been coming to the conclusion that Hell is more of a psychological, fear-based, place as you also said. So I appreciate the reassurance. :)

It's kind of annoying to be honest because some days I have little anxiety about the "what if's", and other days, I'm really confused still.

 

This question is open to everyone, but I've been thinking a lot about what I personally believe in, based on facts. I know we cannot truly prove if 'God' or an afterlife exist, however, I still kind of believe they do. I do not, however, believe this 'God' is omnipresent and here ALL of the time. I also do not believe in the Bible and what it states. I think that there is a possibility that there was a 'God' that created the Big Bang and evolution but kind of let evolution itself do its thing over the years.

I also know that we cannot prove an afterlife either, however, I hope there is of course. I just think that life itself is so detailed, that how can it just happen "by chance" so to speak. I also believe that maybe it could happen "by chance" as well.

I guess my question is: What is this "belief" considered? Is this still Agnostic? I know I want to be Agnostic and have a very factual life, but I think I'm getting Agnostic and Atheist confused a little in the sense of deciding "if" there is a 'God' or not. Overall, I know I can't prove anything, and that it's all beliefs. I also wanted to know if these beliefs are rational or if they're completely absurd and based off of my previous Christian "fears", in your opinions.

I appreciate all of the feedback, I don't know how I would be able to work it through without it. :)

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I don't know if this helps, or just confuses things;  but, my dad was very vocal about being an Agnostic to me.  " I don't know if there is or is not a god".... This all came about for him with the preacher at his father's funeral made it clear his dad was not going to heaven because "he did not believe"...I was not born yet, but I understand it pissed dad off something terrible.  The other thing he said was that he always prays to god every night "just in case he is out there". 

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Well, IMHO, there's nothing wrong with being an agnostic.   smile.png

 

Don't be too concerned with labels until you sort them out. I could actually change mine from agnostic to agnostic atheist. To me, agnostic means I'm without knowledge of any God or gods or deities at all, and I also don't know enough to claim there isn't something somewhere. Atheist because I don't have any believe in any.

One thing I have become certain of is that Biblegod can't possibly be real, and I can base most of that on the Bible itself with all of its contradictions and errors. 

There are good threads on this site about the meanings of all the labels. There's one now in the Lion's Den. Look for the one with Ignosticism in the title.

 

I hope you stick around, take your time to decide these things on your own.  

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Thank you both ConsiderTheSource and Duderonomy! I appreciate your feedback!
I definitely know I'm Agnostic, I was just more so looking for some more critical opinions... that and it's all still new to me! I absolutely love this community though, and I'll check out some more threads. :)

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Hi Leikela,

 

Welcome! I understand the position you are in with the "what if's", but you can successfully move past all of that. You are not wrong, and you are not wrong to question. Fear is one of the foundational pillars of fundamentalist religion, the others being ignorance, guilt, and shame. Hell is a morally reprehensible concept, and I can assure you that is not real. You don't need to spend another second fearing going to such a place. 

 

Hope that helps. Glory!

 

 I think that there is a possibility that there was a 'God' that created the Big Bang and evolution but kind of let evolution itself do its thing over the years.

I also know that we cannot prove an afterlife either, however, I hope there is of course. I just think that life itself is so detailed, that how can it just happen "by chance" so to speak. I also believe that maybe it could happen "by chance" as well.

I guess my question is: What is this "belief" considered? Is this still Agnostic? I know I want to be Agnostic and have a very factual life, but I think I'm getting Agnostic and Atheist confused a little in the sense of deciding "if" there is a 'God' or not. Overall, I know I can't prove anything, and that it's all beliefs. I also wanted to know if these beliefs are rational or if they're completely absurd and based off of my previous Christian "fears", in your opinions.

I appreciate all of the feedback, I don't know how I would be able to work it through without it. smile.png

 

 

The belief you describe (which I emphasized) is called Deism.

 

http://www.deism.com/

 

Is there an afterlife? I don't know, and I don't think anybody else does either. But, check out this site that focuses on the NDE (Near-Death Experience) phenomenon:

 

http://www.near-death.com

 

Hope that helps. Glory!

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Hi Leikela,

 

Welcome! I understand the position you are in with the "what if's", but you can successfully move past all of that. You are not wrong, and you are not wrong to question. Fear is one of the foundational pillars of fundamentalist religion, the others being ignorance, guilt, and shame. Hell is a morally reprehensible concept, and I can assure you that is not real. You don't need to spend another second fearing going to such a place. 

 

Hope that helps. Glory!

 

 I think that there is a possibility that there was a 'God' that created the Big Bang and evolution but kind of let evolution itself do its thing over the years.

I also know that we cannot prove an afterlife either, however, I hope there is of course. I just think that life itself is so detailed, that how can it just happen "by chance" so to speak. I also believe that maybe it could happen "by chance" as well.

I guess my question is: What is this "belief" considered? Is this still Agnostic? I know I want to be Agnostic and have a very factual life, but I think I'm getting Agnostic and Atheist confused a little in the sense of deciding "if" there is a 'God' or not. Overall, I know I can't prove anything, and that it's all beliefs. I also wanted to know if these beliefs are rational or if they're completely absurd and based off of my previous Christian "fears", in your opinions.

I appreciate all of the feedback, I don't know how I would be able to work it through without it. smile.png

 

 

The belief you describe (which I emphasized) is called Deism.

 

http://www.deism.com/

 

Is there an afterlife? I don't know, and I don't think anybody else does either. But, check out this site that focuses on the NDE (Near-Death Experience) phenomenon:

 

http://www.near-death.com

 

Hope that helps. Glory!

 

Thanks for the links! I've been researching a lot about different "labels", and I definitely feel like I do fall under the Agnostic one the most, as I believe in the evidence of Science but I'm unsure about a "God". But Deism is definitely an interesting one as well! :)

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There are some good articles on the subject of hell out there including information about the origins of the topic and what the original words really mean.

Hell starts to be a thing as time goes by. Not really a thing back in Judaism if I recall correctly.

Lots of advice here and will take time to absorb it all and put it in useful context that you can deprogram yourself with. Don't be afraid. Just keep plodding through it all.

It takes time to get free of brainwashing that you've experienced in church.

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Welcome!

 

As far as labels go, I find it is often more useful to not use them and instead say what you think. Labels are so easily misintepretted, have multiple connotations, or are just too technical.

 

As far as resources go, I too am just starting a lot of research. Since university is in session right now, I don't have a lot of time for reading, but there are a few video series I've been looking at.

Dealing with apologetics of the Christian variety: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL3IOkNR8_9gpQa5teO1xQANB-3MiY17uk

Dealing with creationism (as a fellow homeschooler I was misled or outright lied to on this topic): https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL8A11D9F6EF221391

Even more interesting to me, dealing with why we've believed: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL9D9336926EF60BB0 and this https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1iMmvu9eMrg

 

As far as the question "what if I'm wrong?" It's been a weird journey, but I've arrived at the place where I would actually be disappointed if the Christian god were real.

That would mean that the universe in which I live is really smaller and much less impressive than I thought.

It would mean that the Bible, historically inaccurate, scientifically laughable, internally contradictory, and morally reprehensible was somehow still correct.

It would mean that in spite of the numerous excessive cruelties and tragedies of this world that god (at best uncaringly, at worst gleefully since he did so in the Bible) inflicts on humanity, he is still somehow all-knowing, all-powerful, all-loving and all-good.

It would mean that all of our efforts at understanding this universe, despite every appearance of being sound and correct, were in fact false because the Bible said so.

It would mean in spite of the illogical nature of arguments in his favor, despite the inescapable contradictions inherrent in his described nature, despite the absolute nonexistence of evidence of his existence, god still managed to exist.

It would mean that morality is only what god says it is. That the monstrous commands depicted in the Old Testament and the even more monstrous torture forever and ever for the inexcusable crime of being born human depicted in the New Testament are still just and praiseworthy. It would mean that things I value such as equal treatment for all people, love between any number and combination of consenting adults, freedom of thought and belief and even freedom from slavery, the skill of thinking critically, evaluating evidence and living your own life to the best of your ability, those are in fact wrong.

It would mean that meaning purpose aren't what you make of them, they are assigned by god. The meaning and purpose of life are in fact to be god's cheerleaders forever and ever while he punishes people for never having heard of him or not being convinced in spite of no evidence or just generally being human.

If I am wrong, if we are wrong and Christianity is right, then life and the universe are deceptive, petty, immoral, cruel and deeply unsatisfying.

 

Yikes, that became much more of a rant than I had planned at the beginning. Take heart, however, because reason and evidence are reliable. They show us newer, more true things about the world all the time and offer good cause to accept what they say. The world is not small or petty, it is enormous and wonderful. Life is full of meaning because you make it so and other people's lives can be better because of you. Christianity isn't true and I'm glad of it, but many things are true and I am especially glad of that.

 

Welcome to the group, we're glad to have you here.

 

Luke

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Welcome to the other side RL. All the phycological freedom and oeace of mind for you to indulge in. I recommend watching this. It's worth it!

 

edit- i also recommend watching this short video

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