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Slipping Back Into Belief?


monsterfeets
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I need some advice (and to just get this off of my chest). After my deciding to leave Christianity out of frustration with many things including the Church, Christians and the Hell doctrine I hadn't had any encounter with my church friends until 2 days ago. It had been about 4 months since I de-converted and one of my fundie evangelical buddies, as usual, had to strike up a big analytical debate with me about the Bible. Basically attacking all my views and telling me I was letting emotionalism get in the way of Truth. While this makes some kind of twisted sense coming from a Christian perspective (which I can understand having been Christian), it has infinitely confused me.

 

Basically I've began to get nagging feelings to 'come back to Jesus' accompanied by fear of hell and guilt for abandoning God. I'm at a point where I almost believe again and I am really not sure what to do at all. It's incredibly frustrating. One one hand, I am terrified I am wrong. On the other hand, I am sad because I used to have that "imaginary friend" up in the sky on my side. And on yet another hand I am ANGRY with my friend for putting me in such a position. I respect his opinions and he knows me well enough to know my weak points. One voice tells me I was happier for breaking free. Another says "what if its true and reality has nothing to do with logic or feelings and you're screwed?". It's like, either way I go, I'm miserable and unsure. It's absolutely rediculous.

 

Has anyone else had similar experiences of wanting to return to Christianity or suddenly experiencing doubts after a period of being sure you made the right choice? What did you do and how did it turn out?

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Had that happen to me for a while after my deconversion, the "what if I'm wrong?" fear.

 

Think about this, though...would you be going back out of fear of retribution or actual love for the system? From what you have said it sounds like fear, almost an abusive relationship type deal. Personally, I resolved not to be ruled by my fear and instead follow what I love (or at least what makes sense) instead.

 

Hope that helps.

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Has anyone else had similar experiences of wanting to return to Christianity or suddenly experiencing doubts after a period of being sure you made the right choice? What did you do and how did it turn out?

 

I think your situation is quite normal for people leaving the Faith. Christianity plays on some subtle psychological mechanisms.

 

In my own case, I have tried to go to bed one night feeling as an atheist, and then waking up next morning feeling like a reconverted man. But the import thing – I guess - is to keep on questioning your own beliefs until you find satisfying answers. Don’t stop that process because of fear. Even if we assume that a loving God actually does exist, don’t you think he would allow you to ask honest questions?

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Basically attacking all my views and telling me I was letting emotionalism get in the way of Truth. While this makes some kind of twisted sense coming from a Christian perspective (which I can understand having been Christian), it has infinitely confused me.

 

 

 

Dear monsterfeets, I think almost everyone on here has gone through something like what you are going through. Christianity puts such a strong hold on you that it's extremely difficult not to feel some nagging fears when you leave. Think about things like the contradictions in the bible, the unfulfilled prophecy, the generally appalling character of God, the absurdity of many of its doctrines... The tight sense of community support and of communal norms, as you saw recently from your friends, is a big piece of the religion's strength. It's hard to go against what becomes one's whole community. Imagine leaving Hasidic Judaism or leaving a cell of Marxist activists. It would take some force of character to go against what everyone else assumes is true, and to face their disapproval. You've felt the force of this, and most of us have felt that too when we "came out from among them."

 

I almost have to laugh sadly when your friends say YOU are the one with the emotionalism that blinds to truth. If christianity isn't one of the best systems at producing emotional blindness, I don't know what is. Are they Calvinists, by any chance? I used to hear this a lot when I was a calvinist. I made my distrust all my own reactions, thoughts and feelings. Christianity really is good at alienating you from yourself and trying to replace the "you" with a false self. Imagine, loving Christ in someone else and not just relating to that person as a singular individual. How awful.

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Basically I've began to get nagging feelings to 'come back to Jesus' accompanied by fear of hell and guilt for abandoning God. I'm at a point where I almost believe again and I am really not sure what to do at all. It's incredibly frustrating.

Totally understandable and expected, as everyone has already said. Religion, in our case Christianity, is a mind fuck. It feeds off of your fear and guilt, and until you train yourself in Reason and Knowledge then Emotionalism will continue to be your bane.

 

Allow me to illustrate this problem.

 

Christianity is the crutch that cripples. For the longest time you've been convinced that you required this crutch to walk. During this time your muscles (Reason) have atrophied and weakened to the point of uselessness. Then one day you got inspired and decided to attempt to walk unaided. And lo and behold, you did! You discovered that you had been lied to, and that you could walk on your own, with no harm done.

 

Emboldened by this recent accomplishment you throw away your crutches, inform everyone of this good news and you begin the arduous task of learning to walk for the first time. Yet the going is unsteady. You wobble and stumble. The going is weak. You aren't FEELING as strong and healthy as you thought you would. You aren't running marathons yet. And so now you begin to doubt your ability to walk. You begin to suspect (FEAR) that maybe you DO need those crutches after all.

 

And sensing your hesistency, your Christian friends pounce upon you in an attempt to con you in this your moment of weakness, to take your crutches again. "You can't walk without Jesus," they'll say.

 

Bullshit. Your problem, monsterfeets, is that you've gone too far and too fast TOO soon. You're trying to run marathons, when you should be content with learning to walk right now. Your unsteadiness in your knowledge of what you believe is being misdiagnosed by you. You're starting to believe that you're weak and that you need your crutches back, when in reality you just haven't yet grown strong enough to walk and run confidently.

 

What you need to do, just like anyone in physical rehabilitation, is to keep working at building your muscles (Reason). Muscles weak from disuse require time and exercise to become fully functional.

 

And it doesn't hurt to use a CANE to support yourself while in rehabilitation. I did this. Before I was strong enough to embrace atheism, I took baby steps into Deism and Agnosticism. I left Christianity, but I held onto SOME god-belief for a few months to support me while I grew strong enough to walk and run unassisted. After a while I realized that I no longer needed any emotional support and I chucked god altogether. NO FEAR. NO GUILT.

 

Now, today, no emotional ploys by Christians has any effect on me. I mock and deride Pascal's wager. You can too, if you just stay with the program.

 

My 2 cents. Do with it as you will.

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Basically attacking all my views and telling me I was letting emotionalism get in the way of Truth. ... I respect his opinions and he knows me well enough to know my weak points.

As it turns out, your friend knows you so well that HE is the one exploiting your emotions while accusing you that you left because of emotionalism. Put it this way, had anyone else came to you, such as an "enemy" then you probably would have dismissed them, even if they “sounded” right, and you would have seen the situation for what it is. But because you respect his opinions, you are reasoning with your heart and not with your head.

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And it doesn't hurt to use a CANE to support yourself while in rehabilitation. I did this. Before I was strong enough to embrace atheism, I took baby steps into Deism and Agnosticism. I left Christianity, but I held onto SOME god-belief for a few months to support me while I grew strong enough to walk and run unassisted. After a while I realized that I no longer needed any emotional support and I chucked god altogether. NO FEAR. NO GUILT.

 

I don't really consider Agnosticism a cane, but I agree for the most part. It's normal to hang on to some sort of god belief. I tried Paganism for a short period of time (about a year).

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And it doesn't hurt to use a CANE to support yourself while in rehabilitation. I did this. Before I was strong enough to embrace atheism, I took baby steps into Deism and Agnosticism. I left Christianity, but I held onto SOME god-belief for a few months to support me while I grew strong enough to walk and run unassisted. After a while I realized that I no longer needed any emotional support and I chucked god altogether. NO FEAR. NO GUILT.

 

I don't really consider Agnosticism a cane, but I agree for the most part. It's normal to hang on to some sort of god belief. I tried Paganism for a short period of time (about a year).

 

Deism as a cane? Eh.....only if I'm spinning in my fingers while doing a bit of vaudeville. :woohoo:

I don't know about other people and their particular slant on deism, but I go for the absolute basic. God? Sure. Religion? Nope....all screwy.

 

Of course....to be comfortable as a deist, means to be securely comfortable with the words, "I don't know....but at least I'm not convincing myself I do." And the best way to be comfy with the three words that are harder to say than 'I Love You' (for more people than you think), is to research the pagan roots of the world religions. Learn that NOTHING is original. Take a Social Anthropology class if you can.

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It had been about 4 months since I de-converted and one of my fundie evangelical buddies, as usual, had to strike up a big analytical debate with me about the Bible. Basically attacking all my views and telling me I was letting emotionalism get in the way of Truth. While this makes some kind of twisted sense coming from a Christian perspective (which I can understand having been Christian), it has infinitely confused me.

 

Just to use your own words to put this into perspective for you:

 

He was "attacking all my views." If he was a friend coming from a point of reason & logic, not using an emotional argument, you wouldn't be having this problem. You would actually be having that analytical debate, not the emotional one garbed in analytical clothing. Christians are famed for using run around logic and using a tactic then accusing the other person of using that very tactic. And because the other person often gets emotional, they end up falling into the trap and do exactly what the Christian wants, which is get confused & become emotional & susceptible to:

get nagging feelings to 'come back to Jesus' accompanied by fear of hell and guilt for abandoning God. I'm at a point where I almost believe again and I am really not sure what to do at all. It's incredibly frustrating. One one hand, I am terrified I am wrong. On the other hand, I am sad because I used to have that "imaginary friend" up in the sky on my side.

 

Really look at this from an outside perspective. There is not one bit of logic or truth to it. It's pure emotionalism. "Fear of hell", "Guilt of abandoning", "terrified I am wrong." Where is the sense in any of this? You've been goaded into believeing the fear mongering again an you should be:

ANGRY with my friend for putting me in such a position. I respect his opinions and he knows me well enough to know my weak points. One voice tells me I was happier for breaking free. Another says "what if its true and reality has nothing to do with logic or feelings and you're screwed?". It's like, either way I go, I'm miserable and unsure. It's absolutely rediculous.

 

You said it yourself, you are succumbing to them because you "respect his opinions and he knows me well enough to know my weak points." That says it all right there.

 

Do more research, learn more about why it's wrong. You're still fresh out of the guild and probably don't have enough resources yet to feel really secure about the truths that you're now following.

 

As for my own doubts, it was due to this exact same thing. People using emotional arguments to try & goad me back into fearing (otherwise known as believing). Once the emotionalism wore off, I always realized that it was wrong.

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My experience has been that christians usually play on the emotions and self doubt. I personally have never talked with a christion who will debate data or facts, it's always been emotional. I shored myself up with reading science books and doing some limited research. It may be boring, but it's worth while to educate yourself. I found that knowledge and information is the best tool when evaluating religous claims. You will typically see christians side step any thing related to physical sciences or the like. Secular science isn't always right, but it's measurable, testable and falsefiable (sp?)

 

Good luck...

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monsterfeets:

 

Hi, Greg here, new to the forum but not new to these issues.

I hope to add something here for you that will prevent you from

slipping back into thought control and brainwashing.

Which truly, is what all religion is.

 

Religion only works when a person's hope and fear are preyed upon.

Ignorance is relative of course, we're all "ignorant" of everything we don't know,

and the scope of what we don't know is vast indeed.

But we DO know a heck of a lot more now than we once did as a species.

God belief arose from our distant ancestors who attributed everything from

thunder and lightning to the rising of the sun and moon to the gods.

Stars were once explained as the spirits of dead kings watching over us,

the spirits of family members, sparks from thor's hammer,

or even holes in the blanket the gods put over the sun at night.

These are nonsense of course, we now know better.

But people actually believed these claims when a better explanation wan't available.

 

And that's human nature, to want to believe in something freater than ourselves.

We've bred god belief into our species for so long (tens of thousands of years)

that it's almost universally accepted that there is a god/gods and supernatural realm.

"Universally" by about 85% of human beings, but they've NEVER been able to agree on

a description of this god or gods or goddess or goddesses, and still can't to this day.

Each culture projects it's own traits into describing their god/s,

in short man creates god in his own image, and always has.

 

The myth of Jesus Christ is NO DIFFERENT at it's core from the myth of Horus,

(ancient Egyptian theology) or Hercules (ancient Greek theology).

Many of the story arcs parallel way too closely.

In fact, back then, anyone who was wanyone in mythology somehoe defeated death.

(Rose from the dead, defeated death himself as a being, etc etc).

 

Think about Santa Claus for a minute.

A nice wise older white male who lives "up north" that sees everything every child does,

he knows if you've been sleeping, knows if you're awake,

knows if you've been bad or good so be good for goodness sake! (LOL)

Better watch out! Better not cry and piss off your parents, because they're the REAL Santa!

But they never tell you that part. BE GOOD! Or else!

If you're good for a whole year (and eternity to a child), you get rewarded!

If you're bad, you get nothing! Left out of the party!

Or better yet, you get a lump of COAL! (HHhhmmmm... interesting metaphor, to stoke the fires).

Santa is "god light" for christian children.

And then they grow up to believe in the exact same story all over again,

but most of them never mentally outgrow that one.

It always struck me as a "Duh"; if Santa's not real, why is Jesus?

 

He's not of course, but his minions through the centuries have

woven the tapestry of lies, half truths and plausible deniability so intricately

that after all else, people are tempted to believe "just in case" it's somehow true.

 

I know I'm typing a lot here, but pelase read on.

 

Everything that makes you who you are is contained and facilitated by your brain,

that organ in your skull. Nothing happens in your consciousness or perception of reality

without something measurable and detectable happening within the physical brain.

Chemicals, both internally produced (i.e. endorphins)

and introduced from external sources (i.e. drugs, alcohol) affect perception.

Your personal reality changes with the brain; your sex, your age, your nutrition (diet),

EVEN SLEEP all affects perception.

But it's all made possible by the complex neurological connections formed within the brain.

Before your brain was developed enough to facilitate your current personality and

perceptions of the world around you, you didn't have them.

You were different, and saw the world differently when you were younger.

Before your brain existed at all, you had NO personality and NO perception.

When that organ that makes it all possible is injured from trauma or disease,

our perceptions change yet again.

And when the brain is dead, so are we. Period, as in forever. Gone

We begin, we live, we die. Just like every other lifeform that has ever evolved on this planet.

 

Scary? I'd be a liar if I said no. But I'd be a bigger liar if I allowed myself to be convinced

that I get to live on for all eternity because I'm so special and different from all the other life

on Earth for 3.5 billion years. We're not. We share 98.5% of our genome with chimpanzees,

but also share the core building blocks of our DNA with all Earthly life.

(Beware of animal heaven - another invention of christian offshoots trying to apply a salve to

the pain of loss from beloved pets having died, lest it raise doubts!!).

 

If you find your discussions with your believer friends troubling or confusing,

I'd recommend asking them to leave you alone while you sort things out in your own mind.

(They won't like that one bit, especially since you're likely under those circumstances to come to the conclusion that it really is all bullpucky).

If they continue to jab at you, inserting little annoying reminders into everyday speech,

let them know you don't appreciate it and tell them to back off.

Christians have a real hard time doing that, and even if they lay off, when they come back to find that you've decided after all to reject their religion, they tend to be VERY condescending and go on the attack.

 

One of the hardest things about being an atheist is continued interaction with loved ones

and friends who don't respect your rejection of their religion.

It must be like "coming out" as a gay person. (I myself am straight).

I've found them to be relentless, and it seems you are too.

It's called peer pressure when you're a kid, so what is it now?

:Hmm:

 

Stay strong, and stay here - lots of good advice coming from people who've fought

many of the same battles you are now - including myself.

I hope I've helped.

-Greg-FNA

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Gosh, reading this post reminds me of what I went through at first. The fear and the guilt, the what ifs.... then my "friends" trying to win me back with the song and dance of fear and guilt.

What you do is ultimately up to you, but just a word of advice, do not allow fear and guilt to be the motivation. Without the fear and guilt, really, what would be holding you to christianity? There has been a lot of good advice given on this thread for anyone struggling with this issue. I know that people here have been a help to me whether they know it or not. (by the way, thanks all) Infact, one of my very first posts was about the guilt and fear you feel when you first leave the fold. I had it pretty bad, especially coming from a pentecostal background. It takes time, that is for sure, but it is well worth it, IMO, once you have reached the finish line. Just don't expect it to happen over night, hang in there and things will work out. Good luck to you!

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Thanks everyone. All good points. It does seem to me a bit hypocritical that he blames me of emotionalism when obviously that's what christianity is founded upon. Fear, Guilt and "Love". That's how I started believing in the first place, thats why most people believe anything because they "feel" that it's right. Browsing through Christian forums was probably a bad idea, but I ended up seeing the argument that the heart is deceptive and wicked and will lead us from the truth. So basically all these "true christians" believe that the only feelings we can trust are the ones that line up with scripture. I have to ask myself how these people came to be Christians in the first place. I guess god made them smart enough for a split second to seek out 'the truth' and then let them be blinded by their emotions all over again to test them? They even go further as to say we should all be terrified of God. This all seems very medieval to me. I don't suppose if Jesus was a real person, he would have liked it too much.

 

And yes going back to being a Christian would be dishonest and out of fear. And selfishness. My friends intentions are good, but they're selfish. He doesn't want me to burn in Hell. But he said he wouldn't go so far as to consider it wrong, or offensive, if I did. Because to every Christian God is more important than everyone else in their lives. Mostly because he has to be. And not really because they want him to be.

 

Although I'm definately not considering athiesm at the moment. Something like Diesm is closer to what I feel is "right" for me. And it may well be the comfort factor, but that's just the kind of person I am. Unfortunately Christianity plays upon that. I tend to get much more worried about it when I'm alone, at night. And in the morning everything seems fine again.

 

You're right that my lack of knowledge is getting me into trouble. I only know enough to take the argument so far in my own mind. I will do more research. That's what helped me break free in the first place really, was researching other religion/mythology and saw all the parallels. Ofcourse my friends answer to this is "Everyone secretly knows the truth" when I mentioned the parallels between Horus and Jesus. He insists that the Ancient Egyptians somehow knew about Jesus's character and just represented him as Horus. That doesn't make any sense to me though, I dont think they believed you had to 'repent' and 'give your life to Horus' in order to be 'saved'.

 

Man I'm really glad this place exists o_o

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The thing is, Monster, that all Xians are relatively repessed -- mentally, physically, spiritually etc. -- the fact that you have had the guts to walk away disturbs them because deep down inside, they are afraid to question. You have been very brave to question. Have you ever lived in a neighborhood where one guy on the block always has the bad ass latest car and when a neighbor gets an even badder car, he feels upset so he tries to knock the other neighbor's car in order for him to feel better about his piece of shit car? I have. I have watched kids do it. I have watched adults do it.

 

Human nature -- or should I say our socialization more so than nature -- has programmed us to always try to one up on the next guy. The guy was upset because you really used to be on his level -- and now you may know something more than he knows and it is HE who is threatened -- it is HE who is emotionalizing. Not you. You are just getting the guilt because he used "triggers" to make you feel very inferior. Like it was you that's wrong...because if you're really right, in his mind, that will undercut everything he believes and feels he stands for.

 

It's like Morpheus said to Neo: A lot of these people are not ready to be unplugged - so they are a slave to the Matrix. They will kill to protect the Matrix.

 

Isn't that a lot like Xians are with ex-Xians?

 

Think about it.

 

The thing is, Monster, that all Xians are relatively repessed -- mentally, physically, spiritually etc. -- the fact that you have had the guts to walk away disturbs them because deep down inside, they are afraid to question. You have been very brave to question. Have you ever lived in a neighborhood where one guy on the block always has the bad ass latest car and when a neighbor gets an even badder car, he feels upset so he tries to knock the other neighbor's car in order for him to feel better about his piece of shit car? I have. I have watched kids do it. I have watched adults do it.

 

Human nature -- or should I say our socialization more so than nature -- has programmed us to always try to one up on the next guy. The guy was upset because you really used to be on his level -- and now you may know something more than he knows and it is HE who is threatened -- it is HE who is emotionalizing. Not you. You are just getting the guilt because he used "triggers" to make you feel very inferior. Like it was you that's wrong...because if you're really right, in his mind, that will undercut everything he believes and feels he stands for.

 

It's like Morpheus said to Neo: A lot of these people are not ready to be unplugged - so they are a slave to the Matrix. They will kill to protect the Matrix.

 

Isn't that a lot like Xians are with ex-Xians?

 

Think about it.

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Hmm. It's confusing, it really is.

 

I don't want to "hate" Christianity to the point of where the mere mention of it or meeting of a Christian immediately sprouts unrivaled hatred in my heart - I'd just be the non-Christian cousin of the KKK's kind of blind hatred against people. But I'm afraid if I just sit back and let it go, I'll go "soft" and turn back, and let the fundy Christians have their way in the world.

 

You should remain firm in your beliefs, but remember, they are YOUR beliefs, and you are free to believe whatever you choose. Do this: think of being a Christian again and what that would entail and what you would believe in, and then think of your current alternative. Which FEELS better? Which inspires a dropping-heart feeling in your chest, and which lifts it up again (even if just a little)?

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But we DO know a heck of a lot more now than we once did as a species.

God belief arose from our distant ancestors who attributed everything from

thunder and lightning to the rising of the sun and moon to the gods.

Stars were once explained as the spirits of dead kings watching over us,

the spirits of family members, sparks from thor's hammer,

or even holes in the blanket the gods put over the sun at night.

These are nonsense of course, we now know better.

But people actually believed these claims when a better explanation wan't available.

.....

Everything that makes you who you are is contained and facilitated by your brain,

that organ in your skull. Nothing happens in your consciousness or perception of reality

without something measurable and detectable happening within the physical brain.

Chemicals, both internally produced (i.e. endorphins)

and introduced from external sources (i.e. drugs, alcohol) affect perception.

Your personal reality changes with the brain; your sex, your age, your nutrition (diet),

EVEN SLEEP all affects perception.

But it's all made possible by the complex neurological connections formed within the brain.

Before your brain was developed enough to facilitate your current personality and

perceptions of the world around you, you didn't have them.

You were different, and saw the world differently when you were younger.

Before your brain existed at all, you had NO personality and NO perception.

When that organ that makes it all possible is injured from trauma or disease,

our perceptions change yet again.

And when the brain is dead, so are we. Period, as in forever. Gone

We begin, we live, we die. Just like every other lifeform that has ever evolved on this planet.

 

Scary? I'd be a liar if I said no. But I'd be a bigger liar if I allowed myself to be convinced

that I get to live on for all eternity because I'm so special and different from all the other life

on Earth for 3.5 billion years. We're not. We share 98.5% of our genome with chimpanzees,

but also share the core building blocks of our DNA with all Earthly life.

(Beware of animal heaven - another invention of christian offshoots trying to apply a salve to

the pain of loss from beloved pets having died, lest it raise doubts!!).

 

Actually - and it may surprise you to hear this - but you don't know everything, any more than I do. Nobody does. Nobody knows when the mind is too open or too closed, too impressionable or too skeptical, whether we're sooooo on target concerning our knowledge of the universe or not, and neither do you.

 

Stop talking like your BELIEFS are irrefutable fact. I'm a militant agnostic - I don't know, and you don't either!

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With respect to the above poster,

remember that your comfort level with a personal philosophy

is not necessarilly in direct proportion to it's validity as actualy fact or truth.

 

I have found that most if not all christians have at their core

the fundamental motivation to behave as they do (at their "best")

because of fear of punishment and hope of reward in an afterlife.

If that isn't the ultimate selfishness - what is?

NOTHING is truly motivated from within, it's all about "God will see this, so I should..."

My view as an atheist (which I know you said you reject) is at least honest,

honest with myself first, and I interact with the world accordingly.

It's very liberating but I'm not out there committing crimes or trying to rip people off.

I'm a good guy, not perfect but I will help someone before ignoring them most of the time.

My morality is my own, it works for me, and I do no harm to anyone.

I try to touch more lives for the better than for the worse. So far, so good.

 

It's YOUR life, no one has to live in it but you, though many will try.

If your mortal existence (the only existence, but for the sake of argument)

is made more enjoyable to you by participating in a particular religion or church,

or your interaction with the people in your life and your own loved ones

is going to be far more positive emotionally for you if you return to christianity,

then go for it - but then you'll have to live with that nagging feeling you already have

that you're living a lie.

 

By the same token, if a person's life is full of emotional pain,

some people use prescription drugs (at best) to deal with that pain.

Some use hard drugs or abuse alcohol.

Without the drug affecting their reality, life is less enjoyable from their perspective.

 

Throwing oneself into a religion because of the social interactions with other christians

and that whole "security blanket" dynamic can feel good and rewarding.

But at least realize that the entire thing is based on the belief/hope/fear of what some

supposed supernatural overlord will do with your supposed immortal soul once you croak.

If you REALLY think you're going to survive your death

(the ultimate oxymoron), then pursue something that caters to that belief,

but I hope you'll still have the courage to continue your pursuit of doubts and

alternate philosophies, science and reason.

And if you do go on a spiritual quest to find yourself,

I wish you well and nothing but happiness.

But at the same time, being honest, it makes me a little sad that

lots of people seem to "need" spirituality on any level.

Millenia of mental conditioning is hard to undo.

One thing we can ALL agree on is this mortal life we have,

no one is going to deny that if we're taking part in this discussion we're here, alive.

I for one already feel that I've wasted far too much of my one life pondering

matters of divinity and demons at work all around me, with me being the point of it all.

 

You could always start over, just press the reset button on your life.

Get all new friends, surround yourself only with people who will accept you

for who and what you are, whatever that may be, and avoid interaction with your detractors.

Sound extreme or unreasonable? Before you think I'm a nutjob for suggesting it,

that's EXACTLY what a lot of fundies tell their own kind, especially new recruits, to do.

(To divorce themselves from their past life, including everyone in it who isn't a christian).

Hey - if that works for them... LOL

 

Wishing you success and clarity of thought, Greg-FNA

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Actually - and it may surprise you to hear this - but you don't know everything, any more than I do. Nobody does. Nobody knows when the mind is too open or too closed, too impressionable or too skeptical, whether we're sooooo on target concerning our knowledge of the universe or not, and neither do you.

 

Stop talking like your BELIEFS are irrefutable fact. I'm a militant agnostic - I don't know, and you don't either!

 

Actually, these are not beliefs, these are irrefutable facts.

If you propose that there is something beyond the brain that facilitates consciousness,

THAT is a belief, because nothing suggests that it does.

"Militant Agnostic"? Beware the tendancy to use that as a blanket "We don't know" for everything.

That's a cop-out, not an explanation. I seek knowledge, not hand in the air shrugs.

I got enough of that from my sunday school teachers 20 years ago.

Yeah, yeah we do know - on a lot of things. And so far, none of it points to magical or supernatural

sources as the explanation of anything. That kind of belief feeds itself, and propogates only in ignorance.

 

I do not claim to know everything, never did - beware anyone who does! LOL

But I know what I'm talking about here about biology and cosmology.

The functionality of the human brain is complex indeed, and no we don't fully understand it.

But we do understand more than we ever have, and we're certainly far from the days when

people actually thought the heart held some bearing on emotion or thought, or carried any measure of our consciousness. The brain is the source of all human thought, memory, emotional awareness,

perception and imagination. Without a living functioning brain none of those thigns are possible.

Are you actually trying to claim otherwise?

 

And about matters of the universe, same thing. More info than ever before,

and I will say with respect that I can just about guarantee you I understand more about that one

subject than anyone else on this board. Not trying to sound full of myself there,

and you have no reason to take me at my word on that one, but I don't say it lightly.

 

You take the position as a self-described "militant agnostic" that we can't know.

I reject that position, and say yes we can know. (Whether or not there is a god or gods).

You and I are not so different, you're not convinced one way or the other,

you reject both sides. I only reject one. Some might say that makes atheism a religion unto itslef,

a bit of rhetorical nonsense that any honest observer of atheism knows is incorrect.

 

I was told that Jesus Christ is the one true God.

In support of this claim, I am offered only the strength of people's beliefs, and the bible.

("THE" Bible?? Which one? There's like 50 versions).

I am not the one making the claim, I simply grew to reject it due to lack of valid evidence,

it's violation of logic and reason, and it's violation of physical law and properties of the universe

and it's functionality that I've come to understand through a scientific education.

So when you say we CAN'T know, I completely disagree. Respectfully, but I disagree.

 

Peace, -Greg FNA

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but then you'll have to live with that nagging feeling you already have

that you're living a lie.

 

But, I don't.

 

I'm not a Christian - that's why I'm on exChristian.com. I'm a former Christian who has broken away from dogma and allowed myself to make my own decisions, based on my experiences.

 

It always kind of makes me smile to myself when people say, "I just wish people didn't have to live with a lie to make themselves comfortable", no matter who it comes from. It's always just another way of saying, "I can't understand how people can be happy when their beliefs aren't the same as mine!"

 

It's perfectly natural - something makes us comfortable, we believe that it must be universal and therefore it's right for everyone. But isn't that just fundamentalism in another form?

 

I love dogs to the extent that I really do regard them as my children rather than my pets. I admit that whenever I meet someone who purses their face and squeals "EEEEWWW, I hate slobbering messy dogs, get them away from me" at the sight of my little darlings, I can't understand how they could possibly feel that way. Dogs make me so happy and give my life a big boost in meaning. I just don't get how anyone couldn't like them. But you know, I accept that dogs don't work out for them. What I believe and feel about them isn't neccessarily the right thing for that person.

 

So, if a person is happy in their spirituality - there's nothing wrong. As long as they're not writing letters to their Republican congressmen urging them to impose upon the law their "Judeo-Christian heritage" and spitting at women walking in/out of abortion clinics, and aren't chopping off the heads of infidels and any woman who flashed an ankle, what does it matter? The world is no worse off. Really, I don't think it is.

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Hi again! Thanks for responding; while I mostly agree with your reply,

(I'm a big dog lover too :grin: )

I can't help but feel that the fundamentalist crap that leads to all that hartred

and intolerance is one inevitable branch that will always grow from the main stem of the overall religion.

If you don't get it by the root, it'll grow back.

Granted people don't need religion to be full of hate or ill will towards others,

for whatever reason, but religion sure makes it seem official and sanctioned.

It also removes the responsibility from them, "God told me to do it!". (In a nutshell).

 

If I came off too strong there, I apologize. I'm simply being me, participating here as who I am.

And I and not going to hide it, I am very anti-religion and in particular I am against christianity

for innumerable reasons. Sorry if that offends anyone but there it is.

Most of the severity of my objection to christianity is not based on what it "did" to me,

it treated me fine aside from a little brainwashing, but rather what it does to others,

and what it's doing to the politics and educational system of the USA right now.

If I had been born muslim and received the same education and opportunities to actually explore the "big questions" that I had here, I'd likely be picking on islam as much as I do christianity now.

It's the religion I'm most familiar with, and as such the one I am most equipped to analyze.

The fallacy of the christian religion is abundantly apparent to me and many others,

and the danger it's core belief system poses to the liberty, safety and happiness of many groups even within the United States is very evident as well. Women. Homosexuals. Those of other faiths,

and worse, those with none at all.

Atheists like myself are treated with far more open hostility by American christians than are

American citizens of other opposing religious beliefs.

There's more tolerance for other worshipers of other gods,

directly against one of their Ten Commandments,

then there is for someone who rejects all the various gods, including the christian one.

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Monsterfeets- I came to realize several years ago that if something (anything) is worth believing, then it's worth questioning. If it can't stand up to questioning, then it just isn't true. Doesn't matter what I WANT to be true. If you've even scratched the surface on all the things you can question about christianity... then you know as well as I do that Biblegod is about as real as Santa.

 

Do a little reading on how "the bible" came into existence... who decided what went in... take a look at what was left out. Here's some interesting reading: www.earlychristianwritings.com

 

I'd also reccomend Steven Hawkings "A Brief History of Time". It's an easy read, and gives you a little more detail on the "big bang theory" that christians are always ridiculing. It's not so much the theory that I found interesting as how it was formed.

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Has anyone else had similar experiences of wanting to return to Christianity or suddenly experiencing doubts after a period of being sure you made the right choice?

 

No, but my deconversion was intellectual rather than emotional. I lost belief because it quit making sense. As I continued to investigate, it made les and less sense, until I eventually lumped it in with leprechauns and martians.

 

You will never lose your doubts unless you undrstand why you believe/don't. It sounds like you've made some headway toward this, but still need some help.

 

What is it that makes you think any of it might be true? Be specific so we can assuade those fears.

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Monsterfeets- I came to realize several years ago that if something (anything) is worth believing, then it's worth questioning. If it can't stand up to questioning, then it just isn't true. Doesn't matter what I WANT to be true. If you've even scratched the surface on all the things you can question about christianity... then you know as well as I do that Biblegod is about as real as Santa.

 

Do a little reading on how "the bible" came into existence... who decided what went in... take a look at what was left out. Here's some interesting reading: www.earlychristianwritings.com

 

I'd also reccomend Steven Hawkings "A Brief History of Time". It's an easy read, and gives you a little more detail on the "big bang theory" that christians are always ridiculing. It's not so much the theory that I found interesting as how it was formed.

 

Thanks and I agree. Honestly I don't believe any God could be like Biblegod. But it's my irrational and emotional side that nags at me. It doesn't help that I fell into belief at a very rough spot in my life and it was a crutch that got me through some hard years. I think it will be more about me learning to find an entirely new way to think about things. For a long time my thought process was completly irrational. Even though I've always loved science and history. It is probably a result of being brought into the christian mindset at such a young age. Even though I left christianity for a period of time i dont think I ever really stopped believing. I just ignored it.

 

Thanks for the link, I will check it out .. and I've been meaning to read that book :)

 

 

 

What is it that makes you think any of it might be true? Be specific so we can assuade those fears.

 

I think the problem lies in that I was taught that it wasn't supposed to make sense. That God is higher than reality and logic and we puny humans cannot understand him so therefore he is under no obligation to make sense. And in fact that he specifically set it up for it NOT to make sense so that we would have to believe in him by faith, and not rely on our own devices. I know it sounds nuts, but that is seriously what I believed and what all my friends still believe (and I assume what many Christians believe)

 

It's creepy how air tight the Christian idea of the universe is once you're inside, because it's not based on logic and tells you that you can't trust your brain or heart, and that the only truth is somewhere outside yourself and that you must constantly doublecheck every action against the Bible to make sure it's right. God really is a scary bastard in that worldview.

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"A Brief History of Time". It's an easy read

 

Great book, but the fact that you call it an easy read makes me feel rather thick. I struggled with parts of it, rereading and rereading to try and understand the points. I tend to struggle with physics though so...

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Monsterfeet There are a few people on this site who don't feel its all just black and white - ie your either Christian or atheist All do agree that the literalist Christian thinking is wrong and damaging - period. But does that mean ANY sense of belief or spiritual meaning is also bunkum? That all we are is matter lucky enough to have evolved a mind to think for ourselves?

I am not saying its right but its a question that i have to try and answer because it feels like i am being honest with myself in doing so Just like I was being honest in deciding literalist Christianity was deeply flawed

 

Anyway if you feel you want to pursue this train of thought there are few discussions in the Colliseum forum you may want to check out

 

Good luck :grin:

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