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Goodbye Jesus

Question For Theists


Anakin

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I know not everyone here is atheist/agnostic. So this is a question for those who

are theist/deist/pagan, etc. I hope this makes sense.

When you left christianity and adopted your new beliefs, did you have any problems

with the transition? In other words, did your expierence with or thoughts of christianity

make it difficult to find your new spirituality? Did christianity leave a stain that hindered

your progress? I guess I'm curious how one decides a particular faith/religion is hokey

and is able to find peace in another. I am seriously curious. Please don't take any of this

as sarcastic.

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When I left the cult officially this past June, I had a lot of softening-up from a near-deconversion in Sept '04, when I began to study Deism seriously. Everything I read about Deism made sense, and as a Xian, I was sure there was a god of some kind.

 

Today, I am still a Deist, as I believe there must have been a Creator. Of course, the nature of that Creator is quite different from how I defined it as a Xian. To me, whatever Creator or Creators are responsible for the universe's most basic beginnings don't require or need worship, aren't all-knowing or all-powerful and probably not all-present, most likely don't know a heck of a lot of human goings-on and probably aren't too wound up about it, and likely caused other sentient life to form on other worlds, so we are not the only sentient beings in the universe. In other words, the only "higher power" I acknowledge is one that created the basic building blocks of life in this universe and gave them that little "push" that got it all going - otherwise, life and all things in this universe developed according to the ways which science has discovered and is discovering. I suppose this is reconciliong Creationism and Evolutionism - why can they not go together? Were it not for that conviction, the conviction that there must be at least one Creator responsible for beginning this universe (even if that Creator somehow does not exist anymore), I'd be Agnostic or Atheist.

 

As for having trouble with a new spirituality, hah! The problems that Xianity had with its spirituality only helped me as I embraced a different outlook. I used the flaws and absurdities of Xianity to propel myself into discovering and adopting new, saner ways of looking at the universe. I realized, much like SereneAspiration, that I was free to study and appropriate whatever I found in any religious text, as none are necessarily more worthy than the rest. Truth and Reason are the only guides I needed, and to this day I believe that more strongly than ever.

 

I do find much inspiration and many truths in Heathen religions, and consider myself Heathenish as well as Deist. The religions that developed naturally from the indigenous culture of various peoples, especially those to whom I am racially related, possess much wisdom to me, even if they have some screwy gods. Any religion that celebrates the passing of the seasons, for example, is a religion that instinctively realizes that we are a part of nature also, not beings separated from it, and this simple wisdom I think could go a long way in improving our planet and how we treat it. But that's going off topic somewhat.

 

Xianity didn't make things difficult - hell, I was so eager to realize that I had all the justification in the world to drop Xian absurdity that I couldn't wait at times to jettison bits and pieces of Xian-style thinking. Xianity's stupidity only helped my conversion to Reason.

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Christianity didn't really make anything hard for me. I'm not going to let something that isn't true affect me.

The problem I have is that whenever someone says "God" or even "god" people automatically think I'm talking about the Judeo-christian omnimax God. I don't believe God is omni- anything.

The weirdest time I've seen this assumption come up is when someone said Thomas Paine was a Christian :twitch:

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I am open to other religions because they offer different ways of seeing the world. Of course, there are some I am more open to than others. I will never become a full convert to any religion because of my experiences and insights into Christianity, but I feel free to explore other ways of viewing morality as long as I keep reason, as the others here have mentioned. Exploring other faiths, for me at least, does not mean that I start believing that Mohammad is the messenger of God or that the Buddha showed the only way to enlightenment or that Shiva actually controls what goes on in this world, it just means that I explore what they have to say about human nature and see if there is anything I can learn from it.

 

I think as a Christian, I used to call this cherry-picking. LOL I am not a theist, however... so perhaps what I do is not really what you are talking about.

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Hi Anakin ~

 

When I came out of the cult almost a year ago in March, I embraced deism. However, I was so deep into bible literalism before that (I never did judge outside the church though so maybe I wasn't fundy?) that when I came out I was angry and bitter because I had spent so many years trying to please the god of the bible. I wanted NOTHING to do with spirituality. I struggled between Deism and agnosticism for a long time....now and as of just a few weeks ago, I was completely comfortable as an agnostic/atheist. I am an atheist to all gods, from all religions..however, I don't know whether or not FOR SURE that there isn't a higher power although I quite highly doubt that there is.

I think this is the nuts and bolts of it. When I deconverted I was angry and bitter. I tried to

embrace my own form of paganism or theism. But I kept coming full circle. Always came

back around to agnostic/atheist.

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Eh, yes and no. In a sense I already had most of my current beliefs while I was a christian. I never stopped believing in the possibility of spirits/ghosts/fortean creatures. I have always loved that kind of stuff. Likewise I was continually interested in ancient religions and nature-based spirituality. My experience as a pagan before being christian was what actually helped me de-convert. In a moment of frustration I called upon a completely different God than the one I had been speaking to for years. (Gods actually) After which all my struggling seemed to come to a breaking point and I suddenly felt free of the fear and guilt of my christian beliefs. I attributed it to a specific diety because he began appearing everywhere in my life afterwards and he represents destruction/change. And now I'm on my way to becoming a Kemetic (The Ancient Egyptian religion) after discovering that there was a fairly good sized group of people who had similar experiences to me. Although I am not planning on becoming an Orthdox. I just like the community aspect of it. I believe that there are many valid faiths but that alot of it is metaphorical for a 'bigger truth'. Paganism appeals to me because of the variety. I dont think it makes it any less valid at all, it's a great big universe out there.

 

It has been hard because the fear of hell still creeps into me occasionally. Mostly this is because of my Christian fundy friends who argue with me about my beliefs. It's also hard to move onto another form of religion because it is an illogical belief. And it's no better than being a Christian, technically because I am basing my beliefs on subjective experiences which is the same reason I was a Christian. I am in no rush to immerse myself into a fundamentalist belief system, no matter what faith it is. I just like to keep an open mind and explore everything, and learn everything I can. I also wouldn't necessarily say I worship any Gods, more like I'm in a mutually beneficial relationship with them. And if Bible God exists I do not believe he is THE God. The way he acts is contradictory, selfish and immature. Not exactly Ruler of the Universe material. If I'm going to pick a religion it's going to be one that makes me happy, since I do not believe anyone has all the answers. Christianity thinks it does have all the answers and it obviously doesnt, that's why I feel it is 'inferior' as far as spiritualities go. There is very little room for growth.

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When you left christianity and adopted your new beliefs, did you have any problems with the transition? In other words, did your expierence with or thoughts of christianity make it difficult to find your new spirituality? Did christianity leave a stain that hindered your progress?

 

No, no, and no. ;)

 

But then, I was a German Lutheran before - which pretty much translates into "lukewarm christian wannabe" in US terms :fdevil:

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I know not everyone here is atheist/agnostic. So this is a question for those who

are theist/deist/pagan, etc. I hope this makes sense.

When you left christianity and adopted your new beliefs, did you have any problems

with the transition? In other words, did your expierence with or thoughts of christianity

make it difficult to find your new spirituality? Did christianity leave a stain that hindered

your progress? I guess I'm curious how one decides a particular faith/religion is hokey

and is able to find peace in another. I am seriously curious. Please don't take any of this

as sarcastic.

 

 

Hmmm, this is a hard question for me right now as I'm going through the transition.

 

I've always believed in an afterlife and a sentient force(whether it be god or energy or something). I'm very into new age spirituality which deals with the afterlife from the perspective of credible mediums and etc... I also believe in reincarnation, miraculous occurences(not like the virgin mary sightings or anything) among other things. So, spirituality still holds a place in my core. My beliefs now are nothing that I've been taught...I just believe that the afterlife is much more intriguing than the idea that we will die and goto heaven and sing hymns for eternity(that would be hell!)...

 

On that note I am having a difficult time breaking away from Christianity as I am surrounded by it. And I have to constantly listen to family and friends who feel this insasitable need to testify and talk about T.D. Jake's latest sermon.

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On that note I am having a difficult time breaking away from Christianity as I am surrounded by it. .

I can understand that. It is hard to let go when it's all around. The community I live in is

only 14 sq. miles. Off the top of my head I count at least 22 churches. Not counting the

little groups that meet in homes and call themselves a church. And there are only

5 bars (they suck too). :grin:

Good luck with the transition. I hope you find peace.

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I know not everyone here is atheist/agnostic. So this is a question for those who

are theist/deist/pagan, etc. I hope this makes sense.

When you left christianity and adopted your new beliefs, did you have any problems

with the transition? In other words, did your expierence with or thoughts of christianity

make it difficult to find your new spirituality? Did christianity leave a stain that hindered

your progress? I guess I'm curious how one decides a particular faith/religion is hokey

and is able to find peace in another. I am seriously curious. Please don't take any of this

as sarcastic.

I completely rejected Christianity and the book it was based on entirely. I think this was a necessary part of my path that I had to take in order to find meaning in it later. I don't think that I could have ever found any meaning in it if I hadn't rejected it totally. Kind of ironic...

 

I had to investigate other religions and spiritual paths until I understood (in my understanding) the essence of what they were saying before I could look at the bible again.

 

Now, I don't know what I would call myself other than spiritual. I find meaning in the religions I am familar with. I even once thought about getting a charm braclet that had icons from different religions! :HaHa:

 

I think that when the writers of the bible, and probably other religion's texts, went to write it down, they didn't understand the essence of the message either and imposed their own understanding on it which was more of an outside force instead of an indwelling force. So, this makes several areas meaningless unless there is still some hint of the meaning in there somewhere.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I know not everyone here is atheist/agnostic. So this is a question for those who

are theist/deist/pagan, etc. I hope this makes sense.

When you left christianity and adopted your new beliefs, did you have any problems

with the transition? In other words, did your expierence with or thoughts of christianity

make it difficult to find your new spirituality? Did christianity leave a stain that hindered

your progress? I guess I'm curious how one decides a particular faith/religion is hokey

and is able to find peace in another. I am seriously curious. Please don't take any of this

as sarcastic.

 

Hi Anakin,

 

I just came across this thread. I am a theistic seeker (although I sometimes wonder if God really interacts with us, so perhaps I'm headed towards deism after all). You ask a number of interesting questions. I will try my best to answer them.

 

1) Did I have problems with the transition? Well, I've only been calling myself "ex-Catholic" for about a month or so, so I've only started acknowledging my issues with the system. B/c of this, yes, I can honestly say that I *am* experiencing difficulties. The thing that makes it easier is the knowledge that our Creator needn't be *anything* like the Christian one. I believe in God mostly b/c I feel the universe needed a first cause. To me, that makes the most logical sense. But, can I prove the *characteristics* of this creative force? No, I cannot. So this means that it *is* possible for there to be a deity other than the Christian one- one who is far more compassionate. So, this thought has been helping with the transition.

 

2) Re: your second question: see my answer to the first.

 

3) Did Christianity leave a "stain that hindered progress"? Well, I believed for 23-24 years, so it *has* had a huge influence over things. But most stains can be washed out. I'm still in the process of cleaning up the mess left behind, and acknowledge that it may take a while. But I think I'm progressing.

 

Your main question seems to be how people can go from one religion to another, and find peace in the new one. My answer is this: peace can only be found by being honest with oneself, and from listening to one's conscience. When you investigate multiple systems, and one of them seems to "add up" for you, then I think that *this* is the point that security is acheived. And yes, it does involve beliefs in things unseen, to an extent. But truthfully, there is really no proof for *any* theological position. And the way I see it, just b/c you can't see it doesn't mean it's not there.

 

I would make a lousy atheist, but I know that others would have a difficult time believing in God. I can respect that.

 

Keep seeking. Regardless of where you end up, you'll be glad you looked.

 

Peace to you,

Rosa

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I think I dodged a bullet. Neither of my parents are overtly or devoutly religious, so my version of Christianity was the "get the baby's hair wet and give it a Gideon in Grade Five" variety. By the time it dawned on me that some people actually thought this Bible thing was true, I had already developed a healthy skepticism. So there was very little Christian residue to wash out.

 

The spirituality that I eventually developed came partly from reading old polytheistic myths (initially, the Greek ones) and partly from reclining on my bed after school when I was eleven. The gods in my life are, like me, subject to the ravages of time and entropy. None of them are eternal or invulnerable. And the universe is a shared mystery rather than something that gods can explain to mortals.

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I was always a very big reader growing up, and I have no doubt a lot of my subjects of interest would have been flat out shunned by my christian peers. I could never see or accept the notion that knowledge was sinful. So for a long time, I had a duality going on. I believed in the creation story....yet I believed the science of evolution was how everything came about. I held a lot of completely contradictory beliefs in my head (unsurprising, christians excel at that....look at the free will/predestined argumet with Subby).......until I kinda sat myself down and said, "Hold up.....quit diddling and figure out what you believe......because every damn time anyone asks you, you are spending way too much time explaining yourself. Which makes you appear to others as though you know less than you really do."

 

I found I disagreed with MOST of christianity when it came down to it. The realization frightened me.....so I hit the books again. Including the Bible, which had more gratuitous violence in it than I recalled from any group discussion. I took a college course on religion, and learned that the events in the bible is based on were documented in prior materials from "pagan" beliefs!

 

Well, I wanted truth dammit. But there was no truth to be had. That was hard too.

 

Deism simply fit. Religion was bollocks. Spirituality was a highly personal experience that only ego-whores would try and push others to "follow". I believe there is a god. As for this being's level of participation in the "project"....I can't say. I just flat don't know that.

 

I just feel there is "something".

 

But ultimately there is so much to do that doesn't directly tie in to the "big unanswerables", and I'm not twiddling my thumbs. I want to travel, I want to learn. I want to fill myself up with ideas, thoughts, impressions, and experiences. I want to know where we've been. And I have a hard time believing that all that accumulated energy from a life would just dissapate in the end. Seems like that would be a waste, and so far the evidence suggests that the universe wastes nothing.....so as for the big "after".....we'll just have to wait and see.

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Thanks for the responses. I guess for me as time goes by and I more and more let xtianity

go, it will become easier to get into something new. For now I'm pretty much agnostic. I guess

how it affects someone depends on how deeply they were involved.

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I didn't really have any problems at all within myself. In fact, the only problems I had were from militant atheists who couldn't get their heads around the "God-without-Christianity" concept and still insisted on calling me an idiot.

 

The problem I have is that whenever someone says "God" or even "god" people automatically think I'm talking about the Judeo-christian omnimax God.

 

I have that same problem. When you tell someone in the Western world, tons more so in the US, that you believe in God, the first image they have in their head is of the giant old white-haired guy in the sky with a Bible on his lap. I see God as something totally different, indescribable but not in a sort of ecstatic way.

 

I like to say that the no. 1 problem God has is that too many people associate it with religion.

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I have to admit taking a certain amount of sick joy out of telling people I am Taoist, because no christian has any fucking idea what that is. Seriously, I some I've talked to have never even heard the word.

 

I'm really not sure if I would qualify as a thiest (and to tell you the truth I'm not sure its an identity I even want to claim) The Tao is a completly impersonal force (it also has no need of worship or blind faith) ...so i've never really felt if God is a good term for it.

 

Besides I rather tell people I follow the Tao and let them wonder.

Just as other mentioned, God is automaticly assumed to be the xian God by most people, and I'll be damed if I'm gonna let anyone think I follow that SOB. :grin:

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