ExPCA

Feeling sucked back into Christianity

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Recently, I’ve read Jordan Peterson’s book, “12 rules for life.” His references to psychology, biology, and philosophy has gotten me to a point where I am considering attending church again... I say this with the caveat that I am still so angry and utterly upset about my past experiences in the church that it is hard to foresee my return to regular attendance.

 

That being said, I attended a nondenominational church today and I walked out halfway through... granted, the last church I attended regularly was PCA.

 

Fuck me until the cows come home,

 

ExPCA

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51 minutes ago, ExPCA said:

Recently, I’ve read Jordan Peterson’s book, “12 rules for life.” His references to psychology, biology, and philosophy has gotten me to a point where I am considering attending church again... I say this with the caveat that I am still so angry and utterly upset about my past experiences in the church that it is hard to foresee my return to regular attendance.

 

That being said, I attended a nondenominational church today and I walked out halfway through... granted, the last church I attended regularly was PCA.

 

Fuck me until the cows come home,

 

ExPCA

 

Could you expand more on how Jordan Peterson's influence is making you consider church attendance, and I assume the god belief and belief in Jesus that may follow church attendance? 

 

 

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Whether or not one can return to the religion depends on why one left it in the first place.

 

A bad congregation, lousy pastor and Christian hypocrites is situational. If one leaves because they have thoroughly investigated the religion's claims, the history and the Bible and concluded it's bunk, well, you can't just decide to unlearn that information.

 

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5 hours ago, Joshpantera said:

 

Could you expand more on how Jordan Peterson's influence is making you consider church attendance, and I assume the god belief and belief in Jesus that may follow church attendance? 

 

 

 

For the two years after I left the PCA church I attended, I have experienced episodic panic attacks. Please understand that I am a grown ass man, I work full time, and I am (for better or for worse, in regards to increasing my panic) a doctor. For all of the mental and physical strength that I know I have, I am a weak person against the fear of death and the anxiety it produces from my religious past.

 

Jordan Peterson’s 12 Rules for life has somewhat pried open my eyes to presuppositional apologetics in historical, philosophical, and psychological truths. He addresses Jung, Freud, Rogers, Nietzsche, and others and makes many good points about the universal symbolic nature of man. I suppose I can only recommend reading or listening to his book to totally understand where I am coming from.

 

I can assure you that my “faithful attendance” at church today was motivated by anxiety of being myself, the fear of death, and eternal pain in hell rather than belief in jesus or god.

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5 hours ago, florduh said:

Whether or not one can return to the religion depends on why one left it in the first place.

 

A bad congregation, lousy pastor and Christian hypocrites is situational. If one leaves because they have thoroughly investigated the religion's claims, the history and the Bible and concluded it's bunk, well, you can't just decide to unlearn that information.

 

 

I wish it were that simple. I am unsure why I came to Christianity, why I stayed in Christianity, and why I continue to be haunted by Christianity.

 

While I would love to grasp onto many anti-Christian systems of argument that I have encountered, I have found it very difficult to severe the ties... particularly the fear that I am going to eternal torment when I have a heart attack in less-than-or-equal-to 40 years... interestingly even when I was a very devoted attendee of Christian events, I was still very fearful of dying and going to hell because I was a church outcast and always shamed for my questioning of church elders in bible studies. I was always mocked from the pulpit during sermons for my outspoken nature amongst ‘friends’ and in ‘confidential’ bible studies.

 

Perhaps I really do need to investigate more into how Christianity is completely fucking bullshit. Hence, the importance of full deconversion that has been stated in this website.

 

Any help would be appreciated.

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This probably is a bit pointless telling a doctor this, but it seems to me from what you have said that the only reason you are considering attending church again is because of these panic attacks?

 

The key then would be to find the underlying cause and deal with that.

 

Would that be an accurate summary or am I off beam here?

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4 hours ago, ExPCA said:

 

I wish it were that simple. I am unsure why I came to Christianity, why I stayed in Christianity, and why I continue to be haunted by Christianity.

 

While I would love to grasp onto many anti-Christian systems of argument that I have encountered, I have found it very difficult to severe the ties... particularly the fear that I am going to eternal torment when I have a heart attack in less-than-or-equal-to 40 years... interestingly even when I was a very devoted attendee of Christian events, I was still very fearful of dying and going to hell because I was a church outcast and always shamed for my questioning of church elders in bible studies. I was always mocked from the pulpit during sermons for my outspoken nature amongst ‘friends’ and in ‘confidential’ bible studies.

 

Perhaps I really do need to investigate more into how Christianity is completely fucking bullshit. Hence, the importance of full deconversion that has been stated in this website.

 

Any help would be appreciated.

I didn't mean to imply it is simple. I was just pointing out the two types of deconversion.

 

Extreme indoctrination, brainwashing, takes a toll and people respond differently when overcoming the fear Christianity has instilled. Perhaps if you set out to prove your tormentors correct you will discover you can't. In any event, I hope you find peace.

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On 4/23/2018 at 2:44 AM, ExPCA said:

 

For the two years after I left the PCA church I attended, I have experienced episodic panic attacks. Please understand that I am a grown ass man, I work full time, and I am (for better or for worse, in regards to increasing my panic) a doctor. For all of the mental and physical strength that I know I have, I am a weak person against the fear of death and the anxiety it produces from my religious past.

 

Jordan Peterson’s 12 Rules for life has somewhat pried open my eyes to presuppositional apologetics in historical, philosophical, and psychological truths. He addresses Jung, Freud, Rogers, Nietzsche, and others and makes many good points about the universal symbolic nature of man. I suppose I can only recommend reading or listening to his book to totally understand where I am coming from.

 

I can assure you that my “faithful attendance” at church today was motivated by anxiety of being myself, the fear of death, and eternal pain in hell rather than belief in jesus or god.

 

From what I understand, Peterson's views on Jung, Freud, Rogers and Nietzsche amount to something like you'd get from Joseph Campbell, not anything that going to church would offer you. And none of this actually speaks to the issue of taking Jesus, afterlife, heaven, hell or the church literally, BTW.

 

So what's the maximum value of church? 

 

Knowingly attending a delusion once a week, for the sake of doing it? 

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Hey ExPCA, I haven't read Peterson, but I did get a strong dose of presuppositional apologetics when I was in seminary. As far as I can tell, it's an attempt to take Christianity out of the realm of what can be falsified. But that manoeuvre reduces Christianity's system to a system of pseudo-questions. 

 

Like Florduh, I would wonder whether you think that the propositions put forward by Christianity are true. If you're thinking, maybe they are true, then do they have a solid basis? On the other hand, if you incline to think maybe they're not true, or maybe only some of them but not the system, then will church etc. provide something solid?

 

 

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ExPCA, I think I have watched just about every you-tube on these Ex-preachers and why they left christianity. They have studied history and the bible myths like no others. Start to watch some of these.They will help you immensely. And of course, we have our very own  Bible scholars right here on ex-c who have put in a tremendous amount of time researching the bible to actually become comfortable with the rejection of christianity. Look some of these guys up.

Do not watch the debates. They will only confuse you. Just watch their very own testimonies of why they ended up rejecting the religion of christianity.

 

Hope this helps.

 

 Dan Barker, Jerry Dewitt, Charles Templeton (who was Billy Grahams' best friend), Bart Campolo, John Shelby, Teresa MacBain, Carlton Pearson (who doesn't even preach Jesus anymore in his ''all inclusive'' doctrine), Anthony Pinn, Andrew Johnson, John W. Loftus, Matt Dillahunty and many more...

 

(hug)

 

Here's a start...Dan Barker..... 

 

 

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You'll find the other 3 parts when you click the link on you-tube. Carlton is still into spirituality but he still will show you the knowledge of why the bible is

man-made. He basically has changed so much in the past few years, he only mentions jesus very little now. This testimony is when he first started to question the bible. He is still involved in the doctrine of ''all inclusive'' and believes in a ''source power'' but it's not that bad..... much better concept than literal christianity.

 

 

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Hi ExPCA. I think I may get where you're coming from. Like you, back when I was a Christian I attended Reformed churches. First it was Reformed Baptist, and then later a PCA church, which I actually helped to plant. My influences included John Piper, Mark Driscoll, Tim Keller, and that whole crowd. And as a "doctor" of something other than medicine, I'm pretty familiar with research and critical thinking. What I'm about to say might just be a projection and an attempt to discuss my own issues, but I hope it's relevant to you.

 

I've been here on ex-C for well over five years, and over the past two of them I've slowly evolved/devolved into a political and social conservative, as I'm sure is evidenced by my post history here (and my explicit statements to that effect). Most recently, I've discovered a new crowd of influential thinkers including Ben Shapiro, Sam Harris, and yes, Jordan Peterson. The ironic thing here is that during my days as a hellfire and brimstone, Bible-believing evangelical, I would have nonetheless identified as a "liberal" in all areas save theology. I say this not because I want to talk politics (I don't), but to suggest that people like Peterson might appeal to a certain way of thinking that also attracts people to Calvinistic philosophy.

 

I have yet to read Peterson's book. But as I've read essays and watched videos by Peterson and others, I'm reminded of John Piper. Peterson has a way of offering you not just opinions on specific issues, but an entire worldview. Most of what he says is self-consistent. And despite that Peterson appears to believe strongly in free will, his worldview seems surprisingly similar to Piper's. As I've made this philosophical journey, I have indeed asked myself: "am I starting to believe in Jesus again?" I was fairly quickly able to answer in the negative. But I admit that I have started to consider the possibility that maybe religion serves some important social function. I suppose I have a bit of a safety net here, since by birth I'm a Hindu, and if I were to fall back into religion at least it wouldn't be Christianity.

 

But I have been forced to ask myself: what is the basis of my rekindled affinity for religion? I came to realize that these feelings weren't for theism itself, but for the philosophical framework in which Calvinist Christianity houses itself. The Reformed faith built itself upon layers of logic and reason. I've recently had to remind myself of why I rejected the foundational premises of Christianity. The New Testament is non-historical. The messianic prophecies are badly translated and very obviously misinterpreted. Jesus says a number of things that betray basic notions of morality and threatens you with eternal conscious torment for intellectual dissent. But saying that Christianity in specific is false is very different from saying that religion is generally worthless.

 

What I came to realize is that what I confused for a desire to be a theist was in fact a desire for self-consistent philosophical framework. And I realized that I can have that framework back without going anywhere near Christianity. For what it's worth, Dr. Peterson himself waffles on whether or not he is a Christian, so he is far from the Bible-believing PCA background that people like us came from.

 

Edited: I noticed an unfortunate typo, "I would have nonetheless identified as a 'liberal' in all areas of theology." This should read "all areas save theology." During my time as a political and social liberal, I was an orthodox evangelical Christian who firmly believed in all points of the historic Christian creeds, the Westminster confession, etc., including a belief that all non-Christians suffer eternal conscious torment in hell upon death. Apologies for any confusion.

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Bhim, what you say reminds me of things I read from people who post on Classical Theism sites, or sites that lean toward Thomism. Some of those people are conservative Catholics, some are Orthodox or Protestant, some are self-described pagan (neo-Platonists and the like), some are not particularly theistic but appreciate Aristotelian ways of viewing the world. Some of them talk about how they became attracted to such world views at some point.

 

I agree that for those trying to construct a unified world view, the Bible is pretty much a non-starter. When I was a Calvinist, one of my secret suspicions was that our system was consistent because it glossed over disconfirming Bible verses. IOW it was consistent and the Bible was self-contradictory! (Let's not even get into the issue of its historical [in]accuracy.)

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11 minutes ago, ficino said:

Bhim, what you say reminds me of things I read from people who post on Classical Theism sites, or sites that lean toward Thomism. Some of those people are conservative Catholics, some are Orthodox or Protestant, some are self-described pagan (neo-Platonists and the like), some are not particularly theistic but appreciate Aristotelian ways of viewing the world. Some of them talk about how they became attracted to such world views at some point.

 

I agree that for those trying to construct a unified world view, the Bible is pretty much a non-starter. When I was a Calvinist, one of my secret suspicions was that our system was consistent because it glossed over disconfirming Bible verses. IOW it was consistent and the Bible was self-contradictory! (Let's not even get into the issue of its historical [in]accuracy.)

 

Yes, I can very much sympathize with this line of thinking! Even my PCA Calvinist pastor used to joke with me (during our weekly meetup at the bar) that "Calvinists don't like their Bibles." Calvinism always struck me as an elegant house of cards built upon a foundation of sand, namely the New Testament itself. I fully share your suspicion that at some level, most Calvinists are aware of the mental gymnastics involved in reconciling the Bible with the more consistent worldviews of men like Aristotle, Augustine, and Thomas Aquinas.

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Here's Peterson giving a talk about The 12 Rules of Life: 

 

 

I'm going over this now. 

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I belonged to a PCA church for many years but have no intention of going back or to any church period. If the bases of Christianity are false ie Yahweh and Divine Jesus, why bother? It's nonsense that we fell for, not to our credit, but it's done. I haven't attended for ten years and have zero desire to return to a fraudulent institution based on lies and fables. The odious teaching of reformed theology is likewise nonsense and sophistry and yes, I used to teach it in Sunday school to adults. Had a large collection of books by Calvin, Luther, JG Machen , Pink, Spurgeon, Boettner, Berkouer, the Puritan classics etc etc..it's all bullshit and offensive. I'd advise you to stay far away from church. You don't need to waste any more time on self-abuse.

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On 4/22/2018 at 8:23 PM, ExPCA said:

Recently, I’ve read Jordan Peterson’s book, “12 rules for life.” His references to psychology, biology, and philosophy has gotten me to a point where I am considering attending church again... I say this with the caveat that I am still so angry and utterly upset about my past experiences in the church that it is hard to foresee my return to regular attendance.

 

That being said, I attended a nondenominational church today and I walked out halfway through... granted, the last church I attended regularly was PCA.

 

Fuck me until the cows come home,

 

ExPCA

If reading Peterson is getting you back to church, I suggest you avoid him. A good philosopher will not lead you to a philosophy of lies and darkness. I'm a bit concerned by your seeming infatuation with Peterson however. Is that indicative of why you fell for other supposed thought leaders like Jesus, Paul, Bible preachers and the others? Listen to the song God by John Lennon, it's an awesome renunciation of placing your faith in doctrines and people outside yourself. To quote the song, "There ain't no guru who can see through your eyes". Find your own truth if you can; it's an ongoing quest. Other people you may be tempted to venerate are testifying to their own lostness if they think they have THE answer. Consider, has anyone who purported to know the truth ever taught you the truth? No.

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On 4/24/2018 at 10:11 AM, Bhim said:

 

Yes, I can very much sympathize with this line of thinking! Even my PCA Calvinist pastor used to joke with me (during our weekly meetup at the bar) that "Calvinists don't like their Bibles." Calvinism always struck me as an elegant house of cards built upon a foundation of sand, namely the New Testament itself. I fully share your suspicion that at some level, most Calvinists are aware of the mental gymnastics involved in reconciling the Bible with the more consistent worldviews of men like Aristotle, Augustine, and Thomas Aquinas.

Please don't put Aristotle in the same league with those other two A's. He deserves better company. Christianity is not just wrong in the details such as the identity of Jesus, it's wrong in it's entire worldview of puny, stinky, loathsome, wicked man and magnificent, powerful, holy Daddy God. Think of this, would you sit and watch a child raped, and buried alive by a fiend and do nothing or even, according to Reformed theology, predestine the event? No? Well that thing we used to call God does that. So he's nothing to worship and he has absolutely no moral basis to judge you for your petty wrongs. Accept the monstrous nature of the fantasy you used to worship and move on to higher ground. You were had by mind controllers.

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The religion factor may contribute to your panic attacks,  but if you want to get to the root conditioning that feeds them, look at your family of origin dynamics.  A competent psychiatrist would probably be more help than any religious guru.  The dynamics of panic attacks can be very complicated, and the fear of abandonment can be involved.

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I understand Peterson's influences, and have a pretty good idea of what he means when he's being shifty. And Peterson is very shifty. 

 

 

Now as to Jesus, he knows he has to take an agnostic position straight away to hold any credibility, and so he does. Again, this is not the background and language of a christian believer but one of a mystical heretic. This is not, 'hey, Jordan Peterson speaks of orthodox, exoteric christianity, so let's get our asses to church next Sunday,' type of material, at all.

 

So, why Peterson doesn't go to church. I wanted to look at that as well: 

 

 

Again, this seems like a stretch. He doesn't go to church. But he's apologizing for church goers at the same time. Trying to look at it from the non-orthodox perspectives. Having a community center, focusing on ethics at least once week. Saying it's better to have that focus for an hour a week than not at all. It's not too bad of a thought, but obviously doing so at a community center founded on the delusion of taking mythology literally, I'd question as ethical in the first place. And perhaps attaining some type of ethical focus on your own, at least one hour a week or with like minded people, may be much better anyways. 

 

 

 

 

 

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On 4/23/2018 at 10:23 AM, ExPCA said:

Recently, I’ve read Jordan Peterson’s book, “12 rules for life.” His references to psychology, biology, and philosophy has gotten me to a point where I am considering attending church again... I say this with the caveat that I am still so angry and utterly upset about my past experiences in the church that it is hard to foresee my return to regular attendance.

 

That being said, I attended a nondenominational church today and I walked out halfway through... granted, the last church I attended regularly was PCA.

 

Fuck me until the cows come home,

 

ExPCA

 

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Matt Dillahunty provides a somewhat wordy but useful video about his discussion with Jordan Peterson. For those who don't know of Matt, he is on The Atheist Experience, runs a call-in show, and has had debates with various Christian apologists and others who lean toward Christian ideas. The points of his conversation with Peterson begin at 10:53.

 

 

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I can't tell you how many times I got sucked back into Christianity, how many times I went back to church and walked out half way.

I thought "I'm sure I can make this work for me" Maybe Jesus is this or that, or Christianity really works if I do this and that. But it doesn't, it really doesn't.

 

 

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5 hours ago, ficino said:

Matt Dillahunty provides a somewhat wordy but useful video about his discussion with Jordan Peterson. For those who don't know of Matt, he is on The Atheist Experience, runs a call-in show, and has had debates with various Christian apologists and others who lean toward Christian ideas. The points of his conversation with Peterson begin at 10:53.

 

 

 

I've spent some time pouring over Peterson in dialogue with atheists, including Sam Harris. The points brought up here are very concise. Peterson has a very odd mystical oriented christian bias which appears to blind him to sound logic and reason. He keeps harping on this fallacious idea that morality is not rational, as his main reason for disputing atheists. His critique of atheism seems to come down to this straw man that Matt picked right up on. Obviously it is rational, it doesn't rely on a god in order to exist, and furthermore, church doesn't really play into it. My views on Peterson have degraded quite a bit after listening to a lot of what he has to say. He's just another confused christian who's still very torn in his own mind. Him trying to lead out others is clearly a case of the "blind leading the blind, further along into the darkness," if we take darkness as a metaphor for ignorance. 

 

Ignorance with credentials, is still nothing more than ignorance....

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Although I’m only on the second chapter of Peterson’s ‘12 Rules’ book, his defense of theism and Christianity and his rejection of atheism don’t bother me much as yet.  I’d rather not let the Perfect be the Enemy of the Good and I’m hopeful that Peterson’s philosophy will provide an alternative to more fundamentalist flavors of religion.  Yeah, I’d prefer if everybody reasoned their way out of theism completely but I’m not naive enough to think that’s going to happen anytime soon.   Atheism is just a bridge too far for most people. So while I’m personally closer to Matt Dillahunty’s approach,  I think Peterson’s philosophy is a useful major step away from Christianity as most of us knew it.  And I suspect his rules for living may prove valuable even to the totally godless among us. 

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