Knott

Trying to understand

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Hello, first time thread starter with questions. I'll start by saying what I have been reading, I have enjoyed. I haven't read a lot yet but most conversations I read were very intriguing. I've been a Christian for 30 yrs and know the brutality of it. I don't go to a building, but I'm born again. So what I'm curious about is: when you left whatever you left, was it because of all the man-made dogma junk, and being used like a piece of meat in structured religion. 

I was involved for 8 years,  that and a mutitude of other things drove me nuts.

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Welcome to Ex-C.

 

To be clear, I am an Ex-Christian, not an Ex Church Goer. The congregation and pastor I was involved with were blameless and knew no better. The premise of the religion and it's source material, the Bible, are another story. The religion fails on its own and doesn't need to be sabotaged by the people promoting it.

 

That said, I realize there are a few people who had issues with people and organizations and therefore left, but the real reason to leave the belief system is the belief itself; it is without any foundation in reality.

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Welcome, Knott!!

 

I am an ex-Christian who became an Atheist/Agnostic while I was in a Bible-believing minister's school working on a Master's of Divinity degree, with the life goal of becoming a conservative Christian minister and professional Christian apologist.

 

For me, the issues were (1) The Bible is filled with errors and self-contradictions, (2) Christian apologetics is a complete failure and is very intellectually dishonest. There were other factors, such as Jesus failure to answer prayers, hypocrisy of Christians which got worse as you climbed the pyramid (preachers were more phony than church members, preachers at big churches were more hypocritical than preachers at small churches, etc). But the Bible and apologetics were the main reasons. 

 

I've created YouTube videos that describe many of these issues in detail. My channel is:

 

https://www.youtube.com/user/freethinkersbooks

 

I wish you every success in your search for truth. 

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Hi, I am an ex-believer after 30 years of ardent faith. I did encounter a lot of issues in church, but my underlying faith always held firm until the day came when I needed an answer from God to a question. I spent weeks fasting and praying. When I got silence, I started looking at my previous decade of belief, examining it to see if I had gone off somewhere. I revisited why I first believed and re-examined several more inconvenient questions I had mentally shelved over the years, though I squirmed emotionally since it was "doubt" (in reality it was my mind double-checking to see if I had been tricked). I began to realize that my decision to believe was based on childish fears, and that the scriptures were actually non-historical and certainly not eyewitness testimonies. After a year of mulling things over, I realized that I was no longer a believer. The questions and life stories on this website helped seal that realization.

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I was a Christian for 33 years.  I left because I would not be part of the religion that blamed the 2010 Haiti earthquake on the people of Haiti.  That was unacceptable.  However at the time I still believed much of the religion and still felt commited to my promises.  I also continued to attend Church with my family.  So I tried to make it as some kind of deist.  That was empty and didn't hold up to examination.  I finally realized there is no god when some bad life choices, choices I had made because of Jesus, came back to bite me.  I had ruined my life because I had allowed my imaginary friend to plan everything.  And that is why my life looked like nobody had planed it.

 

Now I vigilantly watch over my parents as they decline in health.  I've saved their lives several times but they mostly thank Jesus for my efforts.  Unlike them, I understand there are no angels watching who will step up.  I teach my children to put safety first.  Both my children are atheists.  They are bound to make some mistakes in life but it won't be due to brainwashing.  I am no longer afraid of demons, devils or ghosts.  I no longer worry about invisible people spying on my or plotting against me.  I'm learning to not feel shame or guilt for no reason.  Most of all I take an active part in all the decisions in my life so things are better now.

 

@Knott something you should know.  I am a strong atheist or a hard atheist.  That is somebody who thinks there is enough evidence that gods are imaginary so it is safe enough to assume all gods are imaginary.  (I don't claim to know because omniscience is impossible)  However the vast majority of atheists are the soft/weak type of atheist who are practically agnostics.  They see no evidence that demonstrates gods are real so until some evidence turns up the soft atheist isn't going to waste time on gods.  Please keep this difference in mind.  Please treat the soft atheists the way you would an agnostic.  If you want to ask questions specific to hard atheism be sure to put the "hard" or "strong" part in the question and one of us will be happy to answer to the best of our ability.

 

 

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As others have noted once Christianity is examined from a historical, scientific, rational, & logical perspective it falls apart like a house of cards.

 

Historical evidence confirms the Bible is literature (a collection of mythical stories) it is not a historical record of anything.

All the authors are unknown. The historical evidence proves the text has been altered, redacted, edited, and in some cases completely rewritten an unknown amount of times. 

 

There are no original copies of anything & historians know for certain that no one named Matthew, Mark, Luke, or John wrote one word of the gospels. The Carholic Church attached those names to 4 of the most popular gospels, of the 40+ that existed, in 367.  They wanted to give the impression those 4 gospels were written by eyewitnesses but they were't. 

 

There are no known eyewitnesses to anything written in the Bible, because none of the stuff written about actually happened. Christianity is built on lies, fraud, and misrepresentations. That is why they have to brainwash people into believing such nonsense. 

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Hi Knott,

 

I think the key moment for me was when it sank in that the world works exactly as it would if there were no God - loving or otherwise - in control of events.  The fact that Jews, Christians and Muslims all seem to have prayers answered at about the same rate.  The fact that humans and animals alike suffer and die in natural disasters that could not possibly be blamed on anybody's free-will.  The fact that all supposed miracles in modern history can be just as easily explained by other means.

 

Of course I can also point to the discrepancies in supposedly God-breathed scripture; the jarring disconnect between the Old Testament and Christianity; the monstrous cruelty of Yahweh in the OT; the evolution of God through the OT from one of several tribal gods into the one and only god; the evolution of the concept of "Satan" as the OT progressed; the rise of Islam more than six centuries after Jesus had supposedly made everything clear; the continuous splintering of Christianity into denominations, sects and cults.  I could go on...  But at the end of the day it was the realization that what makes sense of everything is the idea that it's all stories created by humans to try to explain the world.  Once I stopped making excuses for God and concluded that nothing like Him exists, the sense of relief and peace was dramatic.

 

 

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Knott,

 

I have not read over everyone else's responses (yet), so I am so sorry if this is similar to the answer of another. There were a variety of reasons, however I initially lost faith as I was personally striving to be a "better" Christian. I wanted answers to my own questions so that I could answer them for others; I eventually discovered that I could not do so. I also remember the moment it clicked for me that many Christian republicans (I'm in the bible belt part of the US) were often the most selfish, greedy people I knew. I wanted to give to those who needed it, but also felt a drive for financial self-preservation and got mixed signals from "the Lord." I couldn't reconcile my conservative desire for financial gain with Christ's call to give everything I possessed to those who needed it. I am still more financially conservative and believe in working hard to meet my financial goals, I just no longer feel like I'm disappointing God with "greed," by working hard and making smart decisions. 

 

At the end of the day, I do not believe I have "sinned against God," I do not believe that "God is all powerful entity that cannot escape his own forgiveness/justice prison where he can't control what offends him or waive the blood sacrifice requirement for forgiveness of sins (his own blood?)," I don't believe the Bible is the written word of a deity by ANY stretch of the imagination....and when you consider the contradictions of the bible, the intolerable behavior of many Christians I know, the complete lack of ANY communication from this god who loves me so much......it was only a matter of time for me.

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5 hours ago, florduh said:

 

Thank you for the welcome.

Wow I think I'm at a loss for words, thank everyone for responding, I read through it all. 

Different scenario's but most came to the same conclusion. I was looking at it from a way different view of my experience. No so much the error of the bible or being written by man, but the way it is interpreted by man as being the short coming. The way people believe and leading to selfishness so on. I want to respond to each post but I have been working and I dont have the energy right now. I like writing so hope to be able to do more soon.

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14 hours ago, Knott said:

Hello, first time thread starter with questions. I'll start by saying what I have been reading, I have enjoyed. I haven't read a lot yet but most conversations I read were very intriguing. I've been a Christian for 30 yrs and know the brutality of it. I don't go to a building, but I'm born again. So what I'm curious about is: when you left whatever you left, was it because of all the man-made dogma junk, and being used like a piece of meat in structured religion. 

I was involved for 8 years,  that and a mutitude of other things drove me nuts.

 

Hi Knott

 

So what is "born again" to you. I was born again as well... but then when I stopped believing was I born again as an atheist?

 

So why did I leave? Ok pure and simple, what was told by religion doesn't match reality. There is a huge mismatch that requires significant levels of cognitive bias to maintain the belief. Except in my case if a belief doesn't match reality I just stop believing.  

 

I'm sure you've heard it all: There are huge problems with the bible, contradictions within it, logical problems when you sit down and think about what is actually being claimed.

 

It all boils down to there is not sufficient evidence to warrant the extraordinary claims made in the bible... or any holy book.

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I was raised in a very conservative, fundamentalist, protestant Christian home. I was indoctrinated, and I believed completely and utterly. I was a young-earth creationist.

 

I studied physics and math in University, and I began to realise that some of the things I'd been taught simply could not be true. The young-earth thing was first to go. This was followed by the ideas of biblical inerrancy and literalism. This left a festering question: if the bible requires interpretation, then how can we know that our interpretation is the correct one? No one has ever been able to answer this question. It took me a long time to realize that it wasn't just me who couldn't be sure, and that none of the pastors, elders, worship leaders, really had any more of a clue than I did. But when I did realize that, it was a small step out the door.

 

There were, of course, lots of other significant questions as well, and precious few answers. But that one was the most significant to me though. It seems to me that Christianity is, at base, a claim to know the mind of God. That's a significant claim. It requires significant justification. The bible was supposed to show us the way. But it requires interpretation. So who is qualified to do this interpreting, and what qualifies them? The only answers that I can see are "no one" and "nothing". This is quite telling, in my opinion.

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9 hours ago, LogicalFallacy said:

 

Hi Knott

 

So what is "born again" to you. I was born again as well... but then when I stopped believing was I born again as an atheist?

 

So why did I leave? Ok pure and simple, what was told by religion doesn't match reality. There is a huge mismatch that requires significant levels of cognitive bias to maintain the belief. Except in my case if a belief doesn't match reality I just stop believing.  

 

I'm sure you've heard it all: There are huge problems with the bible, contradictions within it, logical problems when you sit down and think about what is actually being claimed.

 

It all boils down to there is not sufficient evidence to warrant the extraordinary claims made in the bible... or any holy book.

 

Hi logicalF, I'm still like a kid with a new toy posting in here trying to get my thoughts together. It reminds me alot of when I was throw put of religion (thank god). Kind of of new found freedom to express myself.

 

To answer you I see born again as a literal birthing. The seed of god (christ) birthed in the believer. It was something I came to on my own from reading the bible. It didn't fit any of structured religion, Christian or other wise. It leaves the believer with nothing to do with being who they are, hence the rejection in religion.

I have met many Christians worldwide that have came to the same conclusion, basically the same way on their own.

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Should read "thrown out of religion" I'm looking for an edit button

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1 hour ago, disillusioned said:

I was raised in a very conservative, fundamentalist, protestant Christian home. I was indoctrinated, and I believed completely and utterly. I was a young-earth creationist.

 

I studied physics and math in University, and I began to realise that some of the things I'd been taught simply could not be true. The young-earth thing was first to go. This was followed by the ideas of biblical inerrancy and literalism. This left a festering question: if the bible requires interpretation, then how can we know that our interpretation is the correct one? No one has ever been able to answer this question. It took me a long time to realize that it wasn't just me who couldn't be sure, and that none of the pastors, elders, worship leaders, really had any more of a clue than I did. But when I did realize that, it was a small step out the door.

 

There were, of course, lots of other significant questions as well, and precious few answers. But that one was the most significant to me though. It seems to me that Christianity is, at base, a claim to know the mind of God. That's a significant claim. It requires significant justification. The bible was supposed to show us the way. But it requires interpretation. So who is qualified to do this interpreting, and what qualifies them? The only answers that I can see are "no one" and "nothing". This is quite telling, in my opinion.

Hi Disillusioned, seems my story and yours is the norm, parents knowing whats best for their kids when their on the verge of drinking the koolaid. I know it has helped me not to be a freak with my kids. If they smoke pot, drink, live under a bridge man they can choose, I have a hard enough time keeps my stuff together. And they have so they can learn or whatever like we all do it seems. I'm not running their lives their grown ass people. My mom thinks anyone that has a drink has a disease, weird so no one trusts her, they dont tell her nothing and when I say anything to her they tell me " oh that's the way she is" well that's the way I'm, you don't want me to confront your bullshit don't bring it up.

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6 hours ago, Knott said:

Hi Disillusioned, seems my story and yours is the norm, parents knowing whats best for their kids when their on the verge of drinking the koolaid. I know it has helped me not to be a freak with my kids. If they smoke pot, drink, live under a bridge man they can choose, I have a hard enough time keeps my stuff together. And they have so they can learn or whatever like we all do it seems. I'm not running their lives their grown ass people. My mom thinks anyone that has a drink has a disease, weird so no one trusts her, they dont tell her nothing and when I say anything to her they tell me " oh that's the way she is" well that's the way I'm, you don't want me to confront your bullshit don't bring it up.

 

So Knott, you say you believe but don't attend church. You also admit that there's a lot of dogmatic junk. What do you actually believe? Just trying to get more of a feel for where you're at.

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22 minutes ago, disillusioned said:

 

So Knott, you say you believe but don't attend church. You also admit that there's a lot of dogmatic junk. What do you actually believe? Just trying to get more of a feel for where you're at.

 

I'm a Christian so if you know the 101 of Christianity, basically that. Sin nature, the cross, virgin birth, creator so on.

After that I see things alot different from mainline. I see Paul having the message to the born again, I don't see taking 66 books and coming up with a gospel, totally disagree with that. My understanding is the bible is the word of god, it is all for us as far as life application, but a very small portion is written directly to the new creation believer through Paul.

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22 minutes ago, Knott said:

 

I'm a Christian so if you know the 101 of Christianity, basically that. Sin nature, the cross, virgin birth, creator so on.

After that I see things alot different from mainline. I see Paul having the message to the born again, I don't see taking 66 books and coming up with a gospel, totally disagree with that. My understanding is the bible is the word of god, it is all for us as far as life application, but a very small portion is written directly to the new creation believer through Paul.

 

Why?

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1 hour ago, buffettphan said:

 

Why?

 

 

Same reason we were all Christian once.

 

 

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4 hours ago, Knott said:

 

I'm a Christian so if you know the 101 of Christianity, basically that. Sin nature, the cross, virgin birth, creator so on.

After that I see things alot different from mainline. I see Paul having the message to the born again, I don't see taking 66 books and coming up with a gospel, totally disagree with that. My understanding is the bible is the word of god, it is all for us as far as life application, but a very small portion is written directly to the new creation believer through Paul.

I too am curious why you believe in a creator god. What does it give you? Perhaps you believe in one simply because you were taught/indoctrinated into believing so?

 

I left because I chose to examine Christianity, and the Bible, and my belief in god, and when I began to do so, the evidence against them was so overwhelming that I had no further choice in the matter, I didn't believe, and that was that. The bible is nothing more but the record of human civilizations and human beliefs. It contradicts itself in so many ways, and I don't see how the modern day person can get through the Old Testament without being fully disgusted with what it contains, and the god it reveals. Today I hold the same opinion as Richard Dawkins: “What makes my jaw drop is that people today should base their lives on such an appalling role model as Yahweh—and, even worse, that they should bossily try to force the same evil monster (whether fact or fiction) on the rest of us.”

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14 hours ago, Knott said:

 

Hi logicalF, I'm still like a kid with a new toy posting in here trying to get my thoughts together. It reminds me alot of when I was throw put of religion (thank god). Kind of of new found freedom to express myself.

 

Why where you thrown out of religion? Can you please explain this a bit further?

 

14 hours ago, Knott said:

To answer you I see born again as a literal birthing. The seed of god (christ) birthed in the believer. It was something I came to on my own from reading the bible. It didn't fit any of structured religion, Christian or other wise. It leaves the believer with nothing to do with being who they are, hence the rejection in religion.

 

So you believe you have literally been born again? This matches no Christian doctrine I know of, and was the contention Nicodemus had, but he misunderstood the metaphor. So what do you mean literal? What actually happened?

 

 

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14 hours ago, Knott said:

 

I'm a Christian so if you know the 101 of Christianity, basically that. Sin nature, the cross, virgin birth, creator so on.

After that I see things alot different from mainline. I see Paul having the message to the born again, I don't see taking 66 books and coming up with a gospel, totally disagree with that. My understanding is the bible is the word of god, it is all for us as far as life application, but a very small portion is written directly to the new creation believer through Paul.

 

What is that "very small portion"?

 

How do you determine which parts of the Bible are suitable for life application?

 

Why do you believe in sin, the cross, the virgin birth, and a creator?

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11 hours ago, TruthSeeker0 said:

I too am curious why you believe in a creator god. What does it give you? Perhaps you believe in one simply because you were taught/indoctrinated into believing so?

 

I left because I chose to examine Christianity, and the Bible, and my belief in god, and when I began to do so, the evidence against them was so overwhelming that I had no further choice in the matter, I didn't believe, and that was that. The bible is nothing more but the record of human civilizations and human beliefs. It contradicts itself in so many ways, and I don't see how the modern day person can get through the Old Testament without being fully disgusted with what it contains, and the god it reveals. Today I hold the same opinion as Richard Dawkins: “What makes my jaw drop is that people today should base their lives on such an appalling role model as Yahweh—and, even worse, that they should bossily try to force the same evil monster (whether fact or fiction) on the rest of us.”

 

1) I believe in a creator because I believe it to be true.

I suppose the same reason those that don't believe in a creator because through their study have found it not to be true.

 

2) I can understand why people look at the Old Testament and just shake their head in discussed

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8 hours ago, LogicalFallacy said:

 

Why where you thrown out of religion? Can you please explain this a bit further?

 

 

So you believe you have literally been born again? This matches no Christian doctrine I know of, and was the contention Nicodemus had, but he misunderstood the metaphor. So what do you mean literal? What actually happened?

 

 

 

1) When I came to see Christ as the only life of the believer, it does not fit any mainline theology. I was preach-teach in a Pentecostal denomination.

As many know the best thing to happen to a person is to get the left foot of fellowship out of religion.

 

2) Yes I do believe in a literal birthing in spirit. I see the moment a person believes a birthing takes place. That birthing is the old man out and new man in. My opinion and experience is that is what religion does not see. Most understand if they were involved in Christianity it is a doer religion. This message is full grace with nothing to do to be who you are.

The believer is who they are by a birthing, just as your natural birth and having nothing to do with it

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1 hour ago, disillusioned said:

 

What is that "very small portion"?

 

How do you determine which parts of the Bible are suitable for life application?

 

Why do you believe in sin, the cross, the virgin birth, and a creator?

 

1) If you were to break the bible up in say 5/5's, only 1/5 would actually be written directly to NT believers, and that would be Paul's letters.

 

2) Palms for example, or the Proverbs, lot of good things for life to be gleaned, but there is no life in them. The only life in the written word is the Son. And that life is the only life of the believer.

 

3) as far as sin goes, the only thing we knew about it was it happened, until Paul. Paul describes the sin nature, and he tells the born again they no longer have a sin nature. The sin nature is what Christ killed out at the cross. So without understanding Paul you will have what you have in the Christian religion, a mixed up, confused, self unto-self religion of doing to hopefully get.

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9 hours ago, Knott said:

 

1) If you were to break the bible up in say 5/5's, only 1/5 would actually be written directly to NT believers, and that would be Paul's letters.

 

Ok, but how do you determine which writings are actually Paul's, and how do you know that Paul himself was actually inspired?

 

9 hours ago, Knott said:

2) Palms for example, or the Proverbs, lot of good things for life to be gleaned, but there is no life in them. The only life in the written word is the Son. And that life is the only life of the believer.

 

Ecclesiastes, Psalms, and Proverbs all have some merit as literary texts, in my opinion. But what you say about the Son bears questioning. You speak of Paul as being the only authority here. Why not the gospels? What is it about the writings attributed to Paul that convince you that he alone has the authoritative word on this topic?

 

9 hours ago, Knott said:

 

3) as far as sin goes, the only thing we knew about it was it happened, until Paul. Paul describes the sin nature, and he tells the born again they no longer have a sin nature. The sin nature is what Christ killed out at the cross. So without understanding Paul you will have what you have in the Christian religion, a mixed up, confused, self unto-self religion of doing to hopefully get.

 

Christ speaks of sin many times in the gospels. Much of what he had to say on the topic was confusing, as was most of the rest of what he is alleged to have said.

 

I agree that Paul (or the writings attributed to him) can be considered to be the author of Christianity as we know it.

 

But why do you think that these writings are inspired? What is it about Paul that makes you think he knew what was really going on? He never met Jesus. Who made him an authority on this topic?

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