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Kat34

Voices from the past

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There’s a great article by Valerie Tarico about getting God’s self appointed messengers out of your head and I wondered if anyone else struggles/ struggled with key phrases/ ideas that were drummed into them? These are going round and round in my head at the moment and causing me to keep questioning myself and leading to feelings of guilt, fear of judgement and thinking maybe I’m just a selfish, fallen being after all. Most of these come from my mother, some also from Christian authors and speakers. Anyone identify with this?

 

- Human history is the story of people trying to get things right without God and constantly failing. 

 

- People don’t want to be obedient to God, they want to do things on their terms and they set themselves up as god of their own lives. 

 

- God has sacrificed for us and we are just so undeserving, I’m just so in awe and so thankful (said with great emotion and on the verge of tears)

 

- One day every knee will be forced to bow and tongue confess that Jesus is Lord.

 

- People will be dismayed at Judgement Day to find out they were wrong.

 

- People easily find other things to fill up their lives and set up other things as gods in their lives.

 

- If people continue to reject God then he will give them their wish (ie Hell)

 

- We will all be accountable before God, he is watching and knows our every thought, word and deed.

 

- Our keen sense of right and wrong and fairness points to the fact that there is a god. 

 

- Every time we ignore God’s call we harden our hearts and end up further and further away from him. 

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That stuff fades away with time. I found it most helpful to study the origins and evolution of both the Bible & the Christian Faith from a purely historical perspective.  My study and research convinced me it is all man made. There is nothing holy or divine about the Bible. 

 

Dr. Bart Ehrman is a good scholar to read for this information. He has a number of books available, or just put his name in the search engine for YouTube. He has a lot of videos too. You might also check out Dr. Richard Carrier.  He has a number of YouTube videos as well.

 

Education is definitely the key to get that nonsense out of your head. 

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1 hour ago, Geezer said:

That stuff fades away with time. I found it most helpful to study the origins and evolution of both the Bible & the Christian Faith from a purely historical perspective.  My study and research convinced me it is all man made. There is nothing holy or divine about the Bible. 

 

Dr. Bart Ehrman is a good scholar to read for this information. He has a number of books available, or just put his name in the search engine for YouTube. He has a lot of videos too. You might also check out Dr. Richard Carrier.  He has a number of YouTube videos as well.

 

Education is definitely the key to get that nonsense out of your head. 

I’ve watched a lot of Bart Ehrman’s videos and interviews with him, I like him. Though I note he says it wasn’t his scholarly research that led him to lose his faith but the problem of suffering. Carrier I feel more wary of, but probably only because he’s the kind of atheist I’m used to hearing being spoken about very negatively. 

 

Thoughts I’m trying to hold onto are that we can’t ultimately help what we believe (and if our capacity for thought and reason come from God then how can we be at fault if they lead us not to believe), there’s a lack of evidence about Jesus outside of the bible (as well as lots of other problems with other biblical content), the numerous different denominations and interpretations of the bible don’t support the idea of God wanting to reveal himself to us and the fact that I’ve always found God to be silent - so even if I was willing to accept subjective experience over reason and evidence, I can’t because I’ve not really had any.

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8 minutes ago, Kat34 said:

the numerous different denominations and interpretations of the bible don’t support the idea of God wanting to reveal himself to us

 

They also don't support the concept of the Bible being the absolute unabridged word of God - otherwise it would be CLEAR! 

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16 minutes ago, MOHO said:

 

They also don't support the concept of the Bible being the absolute unabridged word of God - otherwise it would be CLEAR! 

 

Very true, though to be fair most Christians I know don’t take this approach (I’m in the UK and we don’t suffer from fundamentalism in the ways you guys do in the States). Of course though, that in itself begs the question of which parts are to be taken literally and which metaphorically. 

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28 minutes ago, Kat34 said:

 

Very true, though to be fair most Christians I know don’t take this approach (I’m in the UK and we don’t suffer from fundamentalism in the ways you guys do in the States). Of course though, that in itself begs the question of which parts are to be taken literally and which metaphorically. 

 

I'd say none of it should be taken literally.  Dr. John Dominic Crossan, a former Priests,  advices the entire Bible should be read in the context of book length parables. 

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As an aside and because we’ve made a couple of comments about the bible, this might help to illustrate some of the differences between what many of you might have been taught about it and what most Christians I am acquainted with believe about it. 

 

http://aoc2013.brix.fatbeehive.com/articles.php/1087/what-is-christianity

 

Section 3 explains how the Church of England views the bible (interesting that here the former Archbishop of Canterbury refers to Adam’s rebellion, whereas earlier on he instead talks about the “first humans” and has subsequently said or at least implied that Christians don’t believe in a literal Adam and Eve. He accepts the theory of evolution). 

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Dan Barker, a former evangelical preacher: “I do understand what love is, and that is one of the reasons I can never again be a Christian. Love is not self denial. Love is not blood and suffering. Love is not murdering your son to appease your own vanity. Love is not hatred or wrath, consigning billions of people to eternal torture because they have offended your ego or disobeyed your rules. Love is not obedience, conformity, or submission. It is a counterfeit love that is contingent upon authority, punishment, or reward. True love is respect and admiration, compassion and kindness, freely given by a healthy, unafraid human being.” Such a god holds no power over me because he does not exist. It would be like having Trump as god, and just as chaotic.

 

I suppose that my own deconversion went smoothly. When I realized I'd been lied to, and had been tricked, I felt chagrined, but then felt the blinders fall off and the "spiritual warfare" went silent. All of the doctrines became defined as lies to me. Emotionally, there were still things to work through, because programming at that level takes some time to undo experientially. I had dreams where I had to confront old fears and work through them as a non-Christian. I still find songs popping up in my head until I recognize the song and the disgusting groveling words that go with so many Christian songs.

 

I know from several postings that other have a much harder time letting go of the programming. Some have even re-converted just to make things seem easier emotionally. The human mind is evolved enough to survive on Earth, but not necessarily to make rational decisions all the time. Sometimes the low-level survival programming gets exploited by religion and is tough or impossible to overcome for some.

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6 hours ago, Fuego said:

Dan Barker, a former evangelical preacher: “I do understand what love is, and that is one of the reasons I can never again be a Christian. Love is not self denial. Love is not blood and suffering. Love is not murdering your son to appease your own vanity. Love is not hatred or wrath, consigning billions of people to eternal torture because they have offended your ego or disobeyed your rules. Love is not obedience, conformity, or submission. It is a counterfeit love that is contingent upon authority, punishment, or reward. True love is respect and admiration, compassion and kindness, freely given by a healthy, unafraid human being.” Such a god holds no power over me because he does not exist. It would be like having Trump as god, and just as chaotic.

 

I suppose that my own deconversion went smoothly. When I realized I'd been lied to, and had been tricked, I felt chagrined, but then felt the blinders fall off and the "spiritual warfare" went silent. All of the doctrines became defined as lies to me. Emotionally, there were still things to work through, because programming at that level takes some time to undo experientially. I had dreams where I had to confront old fears and work through them as a non-Christian. I still find songs popping up in my head until I recognize the song and the disgusting groveling words that go with so many Christian songs.

 

I know from several postings that other have a much harder time letting go of the programming. Some have even re-converted just to make things seem easier emotionally. The human mind is evolved enough to survive on Earth, but not necessarily to make rational decisions all the time. Sometimes the low-level survival programming gets exploited by religion and is tough or impossible to overcome for some.

 

Yes I like the last sentence of the Dan Barker quote especially. I’ve not read his books so I don’t know the context of the quote and to what degree fear was part of his experience but it was a central part of mine - probably more because of my personality and tendency towards anxiety and therefore the way I interpreted and internalised certain messages. My friends who are Christians are not fearful but full of peace and happiness. 

 

I can definitely understand the idea of coming back to Christianity in order to feel safe, particularly because I have two young children so really it’s mainly for them that I worry about being wrong. One of my main fear triggers at the moment is thinking about highly intelligent people that are Christians. There are people that are very intellectual and well educated, people who are aware of biblical difficulties and can harmonise them at no cost to their faith and there are people that are aware of confirmation bias and of the psychology of belief etc yet still believe. It makes me wonder if I’m missing something after all. 

 

Re the songs - I constantly have hymns and Christian songs playing in my head these days. Sometimes I’ll realise that this soundtrack has been playing and not know when it began!

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1 hour ago, Kat34 said:

My friends who are Christians are not fearful but full of peace and happiness.

 

I always pretended to be when evangelizing. Privately, and in my experience with many others in prayer meetings, the story is quite different.

 

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1 hour ago, Fuego said:

 

I always pretended to be when evangelizing. Privately, and in my experience with many others in prayer meetings, the story is quite different.

 

 

Mine genuinely are... while most of my friends (like most of this country) are non Christians, I have two very close friends I grew up with who are Christians. Neither of them really focuses on the hell stuff (and they also might have more moderate views on what hell is than what many members of this site would’ve been taught). I think Christianity gives them a sense of being looked after and they derive comfort from it, as well as lots of friends and a community. I’m almost envious of them but I just can’t make peace with its key teachings. I don’t see a lot of good news in it.

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One of the main ideas that I still struggle with is that less bad things will happen to you and your children (especially your children) if you follow strict moral rules or religion. 

I’m slowly working through the rules and learning to think for my own damn self. It takes time. 

What has helped me most in my very brief Ex-C existence has been the help and support of people who love me and care about me as I change and become who I am. They are like the training wheels as I learn to be a free thinker and find my own balance. 

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1 hour ago, PurpleLilac said:

One of the main ideas that I still struggle with is that less bad things will happen to you and your children (especially your children) if you follow strict moral rules or religion. 

I’m slowly working through the rules and learning to think for my own damn self. It takes time. 

What has helped me most in my very brief Ex-C existence has been the help and support of people who love me and care about me as I change and become who I am. They are like the training wheels as I learn to be a free thinker and find my own balance. 

 

Matt 5:45 - He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.

 

So..... no.

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On 11/22/2018 at 5:58 AM, Kat34 said:

 

Yes I like the last sentence of the Dan Barker quote especially. I’ve not read his books so I don’t know the context of the quote and to what degree fear was part of his experience but it was a central part of mine - probably more because of my personality and tendency towards anxiety and therefore the way I interpreted and internalised certain messages. My friends who are Christians are not fearful but full of peace and happiness. 

 

I can definitely understand the idea of coming back to Christianity in order to feel safe, particularly because I have two young children so really it’s mainly for them that I worry about being wrong. One of my main fear triggers at the moment is thinking about highly intelligent people that are Christians. There are people that are very intellectual and well educated, people who are aware of biblical difficulties and can harmonise them at no cost to their faith and there are people that are aware of confirmation bias and of the psychology of belief etc yet still believe. It makes me wonder if I’m missing something after all. 

 

Re the songs - I constantly have hymns and Christian songs playing in my head these days. Sometimes I’ll realise that this soundtrack has been playing and not know when it began!

I would recommend Dan Barker's book, I could really relate to it.

 

Some people find it harder to leave the fears behind, I likely found it easier than most. All of it came down to the fact I don't believe in original sin or anything in Genesis, and there's no need to examine anything else after that is debunked. That and the fact that I will not worship evil.

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5 hours ago, PurpleLilac said:

One of the main ideas that I still struggle with is that less bad things will happen to you and your children (especially your children) if you follow strict moral rules or religion. 

 

No. I have seen terrible things happen to people who follow strict rules. In fact, those strict rules and beliefs are now causing them untold suffering, such as believing that their own children are in hell.

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4 hours ago, florduh said:

 

Matt 5:45 - He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.

 

So..... no.

 

28 minutes ago, TruthSeeker0 said:

No. I have seen terrible things happen to people who follow strict rules. In fact, those strict rules and beliefs are now causing them untold suffering, such as believing that their own children are in hell.

I’ll be more specific (and vulnerable). I wore a True Love Waits ring,dated one guy before I met my husband (and I was too afraid to do anything other than kiss). And my first kiss with my husband was at the altar (super awkward). 

Meanwhile, I see my extended family member has kids,no wife (never married) and so much heartache. 

My fears and new,baby logic fight each other as I watch my tween daughter get taller. Purity shame toxic garbage hurt me in all kinds of ways emotionally and mentally. I just started wearing leggings *last month*. But somewhere down deep I still feel like all that crap kept me safer physically. 

And I know date rape can happen to the scared,insecure virgin who follows all the rules. I know the good girl can end up marrying a terrible person. But that didn’t happen with me. I wake up next to a really good man every morning and sometimes I think “would I have been able to find a good man if I wasn’t a Christian back then?”

Im being vulnerable so y’all can tear this shit down. It runs deep though. 

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9 minutes ago, PurpleLilac said:

 

I’ll be more specific (and vulnerable). I wore a True Love Waits ring,dated one guy before I met my husband (and I was too afraid to do anything other than kiss). And my first kiss with my husband was at the altar (super awkward). 

Meanwhile, I see my extended family member has kids,no wife (never married) and so much heartache. 

My fears and new,baby logic fight each other as I watch my tween daughter get taller. Purity shame toxic garbage hurt me in all kinds of ways emotionally and mentally. I just started wearing leggings *last month*. But somewhere down deep I still feel like all that crap kept me safer physically. 

And I know date rape can happen to the scared,insecure virgin who follows all the rules. I know the good girl can end up marrying a terrible person. But that didn’t happen with me. I wake up next to a really good man every morning and sometimes I think “would I have been able to find a good man if I wasn’t a Christian back then?”

Im being vulnerable so y’all can tear this shit down. It runs deep though. 

Right, well I hear you, all the way through. I dont know how or when I will completely rid myself of that kind of "logic", but when a woman grows up with it, it's very difficult to throw away.

The purity shame and all the rest of it hurt me as well. I still struggle with the anxiety over the unpredictable in the dating world, and the deep ingrained fear I suffered as a result of being told what the world was like, and the people in it. I know that there are good people, specifically guys out there, but it makes me so wary to date. I at least I didn't have to follow the strict modesty rules in dress, but I dealt with the whole "women are responsible for the reactions of men around them shit", and luckily I saw it for the shit it was in the church, and didn't swallow that.

I don't know how I will tear all of this down. Time, I suppose, and hopefully someone, someday, who is patient enough to deal with the consequences of a fundamentalist background, among other things. It's also difficult in that I'm surrounded by family now who will take any and all opportunities, if they present themselves, to attempt to shame me.

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On 11/22/2018 at 5:58 AM, Kat34 said:

My friends who are Christians are not fearful but full of peace and happiness. 

 

 

That is what you see. You do not see, or know, their internal state of affairs. One of my Christian friends, on hearing about my exit from the church, told me "I remember how happy and joyful you were." If only she know about the pain I was going through at the time. Why did I not bring it up? Because it would have only resulted in more questions for me about my "state of heart", and lecturing about how I could have my doubts forgiven.

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As I pointed out, the Bible does not say or imply that the goodie-goodie believers who follow all the rules and do everything right will have better luck than anyone else does. Hell, many characters in the Bible who were true believers had a shit life. Sunshine and rain fall on both believer and non believer so I don't know where you got this idea.

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25 minutes ago, florduh said:

As I pointed out, the Bible does not say or imply that the goodie-goodie believers who follow all the rules and do everything right will have better luck than anyone else does. Hell, many characters in the Bible who were true believers had a shit life. Sunshine and rain fall on both believer and non believer so I don't know where you got this idea.

It's a hangover from the "god will protect" mentality. Most Christians are led to irrationally believe that he will protect the faithful. It doesn't really matter how many times you heard the story of Job, and his trials etc. Brainwashing goes deep, and it can take awhile for people to get rid of irrational beliefs. The best thing imo, is recognizing when they are occurring, and when they do, ignore them, and find sources that will strengthen your rational or logical thinking ability.

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1 hour ago, florduh said:

As I pointed out, the Bible does not say or imply that the goodie-goodie believers who follow all the rules and do everything right will have better luck than anyone else does. Hell, many characters in the Bible who were true believers had a shit life. Sunshine and rain fall on both believer and non believer so I don't know where you got this idea.

There a lot of verses in Psalms and Prov about wise men who do such and such have a generally happier,less worrisome life. And also verses about people who follow Gods laws and principles flourishing,finding help and safety,wisdom,longer life etc. For me,those verses spoke louder than the “it rains on the just and unjust” verse. I think religion is a more difficult sell if you don’t get extra heaven-sent help for choosing it. 

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55 minutes ago, PurpleLilac said:

There a lot of verses in Psalms and Prov about wise men who do such and such have a generally happier,less worrisome life. And also verses about people who follow Gods laws and principles flourishing,finding help and safety,wisdom,longer life etc. For me,those verses spoke louder than the “it rains on the just and unjust” verse. I think religion is a more difficult sell if you don’t get extra heaven-sent help for choosing it. 

Also an easy way to write off all the non believers who don't flourish, see, it's just their own fault for not choosing Christ, yada yada.

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8 hours ago, PurpleLilac said:

There a lot of verses in Psalms and Prov about wise men who do such and such have a generally happier,less worrisome life. And also verses about people who follow Gods laws and principles flourishing,finding help and safety,wisdom,longer life etc. For me,those verses spoke louder than the “it rains on the just and unjust” verse. I think religion is a more difficult sell if you don’t get extra heaven-sent help for choosing it. 

So you can just look at reality. Prayers that fail and bad people getting all the breaks. Besides, the NT amplifies and expands on the OT and takes precedence for most Christians; that's why Christians can eat shrimp and work on Saturdays. 

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3 hours ago, florduh said:

So you can just look at reality. Prayers that fail and bad people getting all the breaks. Besides, the NT amplifies and expands on the OT and takes precedence for most Christians; that's why Christians can eat shrimp and work on Saturdays. 

Reality is very new to me. It’s like waking up and still being half asleep and you slowly come to awake and reality as you lay in bed and realize what day it is and what time it is. 

And as a Christian,most of my life,I found my solace in Psalms and Proverbs. I stayed there most of the time and occasionally ventured over to Romans-Jude because I liked those best. The Gospels were mostly dry and boring to me and I felt guilty about that🙄.

 

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33 minutes ago, PurpleLilac said:

Reality is very new to me. It’s like waking up and still being half asleep and you slowly come to awake and reality as you lay in bed and realize what day it is and what time it is. 

And as a Christian,most of my life,I found my solace in Psalms and Proverbs. I stayed there most of the time and occasionally ventured over to Romans-Jude because I liked those best. The Gospels were mostly dry and boring to me and I felt guilty about that🙄.

 

All you can do is look at reality and stop finding ways to ignore it. True Christian believers suffer just as much, if not more, poverty, illness and tragedy as the non believer or those with other belief systems. The reality is very clearly a random outcome. It's just a fact.

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