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I saw this post one of my relatives shared. While the author does not explicitly make the claim, he basically summarizes the reasons people leave Christianity. 

 

 

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@TinMan,

 

You post containing the video of people having experiences that made them turn back to (or to for the first time) Christianity, and now this post where an author is informing those who are in the process of enlightening themselves of why they are falling and and how to stop it and turn it around, make me think you your whole purpose for posting on this site is to bring us breath'n heath'ns back to xanity.

 

True?

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Whatever the motivation might be the arguments both pro and con never change. I have no doubt the preachers arguments resonated with his audience because they don’t critically analyze his arguments or the Bible.

 

Christians are basically sheep. They simply follow their leaders and believe what they’re told and never question anything. Those of us that are ex-Christians regained our critical thinking skills and began thinking for ourselves.

 

Therefore the sin argument the preacher presented as the reason for people leaving the church is not true. Logic, reason, common sense, and evidence is what motivated us to leave religion. Christians reject all of that and blame our apostasy on their imaginary Devil because they are too brainwashed to come up with anything else, and that is truly sad.

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1 hour ago, MOHO said:

@TinMan,

 

You post containing the video of people having experiences that made them turn back to (or to for the first time) Christianity, and now this post where an author is informing those who are in the process of enlightening themselves of why they are falling and and how to stop it and turn it around, make me think you your whole purpose for posting on this site is to bring us breath'n heath'ns back to xanity.

 

True?

 

I can understand why you would think that.  TinMan will surely respond to this for himself, but since it’s the middle of the night in Korea, I wanted to chime in that I think his posts here over the past year have been the sincere thoughts of a man going through the deconversion process.  That process is not always smooth sailing.   Sometimes there are setbacks, especially when there is still a lingering fear of Hell.  

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6 hours ago, TinMan said:

I saw this post one of my relatives shared. While the author does not explicitly make the claim, he basically summarizes the reasons people leave Christianity. 

 

And what are your thoughts? 

 

 

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1 hour ago, TABA said:

 

I can understand why you would think that.  TinMan will surely respond to this for himself, but since it’s the middle of the night in Korea, I wanted to chime in that I think his posts here over the past year have been the sincere thoughts of a man going through the deconversion process.  That process is not always smooth sailing.   Sometimes there are setbacks, especially when there is still a lingering fear of Hell.  

 

Fair enough.

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@MOHO I can see why you might interpret my posts as some kind of underhanded apologetic move, but that is not the point I was after. If I had returned to Christianity, I would have stated as such. For all intents and purposes, I am an atheist.

 

I share ideas and arguments in this thread because if I have these videos and articles coming across my social media feed from family and friends, so does everyone else who has either deconverted, or is in the process, and I want to hear what others have to say about it. I have had other members reach out to me because they are struggling with the fact they fear they may be wrong for leaving the faith and they are going to pay a steep price for it. I want everyone to have a good response when evangelist and apologist throw out these arguments because they can cause a lot of doubt for those who decided religion does not match reality.

 

Arguments made by those in the faith are rarely ever based upon empirical evidence, but philosophy, ad hoc arguments, and "biblical" responses that are not easily investigated, nor falsifiable. This is where the fear factor comes into play. Take for example number 10 on old boys list of Satan's plan to destroy you. If an apologist/evangelist were to tell any one of us that God is now letting Satan run our lives and we are living under a delusion, then pulls out some Bible verses to support that claim, what is really the best way to 1) respond, 2) not cause the ex-christian to do a tailspin of self-doubt? These were the arguments I used to make to non-believers and former believers, so they still make me pause at times and make me wonder if I am completely missing something, or if there is a way to systematically think about Christianity that would place it into the realm of reason. As of right now, I have not found that to be true, but I am humble enough to admit I am limited in knowledge and I know I have not considered every single variable.

 

My response to this preacher would first of all tell him his list is an afterthought of a lot of assumptions. Where I would first bind him would be my flat our rejection of this notion of Satan as defined by Christians. I find that Bible character a complete piece of nonsense. Matter of fact, the preacher unknowingly admits that Satan is an agent of God, much as we see him in the Old Testament.

 

To provide context of what I mean, your standard Christian is going to say God is all powerful, all knowing, and the rest of the typical maximums. Holding them to that standard, I then say if that were true, then Satan is unable to operate without the explicit or implicit permission of God.

 

What they want to be true is somehow God is not responsible for any of the atrocities we see playing out on a daily basis and somehow Satan is to blame. Well, if God is a maximum being, then Satan merely exists within the domain of all things controlled by God. This is normally where I see people start to short circuit. In their mind, they were somehow able to separate the two beings into this cosmic bad and good, but separated them from the rest of their theology.

 

My second point would be 2 Timothy in general. Critical scholars agree 2 Timothy is a forgery, as is the rest of the pastoral epistles. Bart Ehrman and Dr. Robert Price have a few good books discussing the issues with the pastoral epistles. Where I caution skeptics is that they should do their homework before making this kind of argument, otherwise the believer will end up dismissing everything you say.

 

Ultimately one could insist the believer demonstrate why they believe the Bible, or any particular letter in the Bible is inspired by a God, but normally you will not get that, so I like to introduce some doubt by countering why the Bible can be called into question.

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A decent, short and sweet response to most mere assertions from Christians is, "I do not believe you".  This response is accurate and effective.  It states your belief.  It sets a boundary by indicating you will not play in the theists' sandbox.  It does nothing to address their claims, which avoids debate, enabling and codependency.  I could go on.

 

If the Christian continues with more mere assertions, a followup response could be, "I am not interested in your claims".

 

When the occasional angry Christian escalates things to something like, "You will burn in hell for not believing!", you can simply state, "I do not believe you".

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8 minutes ago, sdelsolray said:

A decent, short and sweet response to most mere assertions from Christians is, "I do not believe you".  This response is accurate and effective.  It states your belief.  It sets a boundary by indicating you will not play in the theists' sandbox.  It does nothing to address their claims, which avoids debate, enabling and codependency.  I could go on.

 

If the Christian continues with more mere assertions, a followup response could be, "I am not interested in your claims".

 

When the occasional angry Christian escalates things to something like, "You will burn in hell for not believing!", you can simply state, "I do not believe you".

 

You have a point, I suppose that is a tactic. I always feel compelled to defend my position of disbelief. I am sure part of it is that I start to question whether or not I can completely dismiss their claims and I want to give an answer more for my sake than theirs. Plus it keeps me sharp on my anti-apologetics.

 

Usually whenever I start to have doubts about leaving the faith, it is because I have not been reading up on my critical material and I start to forget some of my reasons for leaving. Whenever I get back into it, such as providing my follow up post, I immediately start to remember how many times I found something absurd about the faith and the doubts for leaving fade away.

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19 minutes ago, sdelsolray said:

A decent, short and sweet response to most mere assertions from Christians is, "I do not believe you".  This response is accurate and effective.  It states your belief.  It sets a boundary by indicating you will not play in the theists' sandbox.  It does nothing to address their claims, which avoids debate, enabling and codependency.  I could go on.

 

If the Christian continues with more mere assertions, a followup response could be, "I am not interested in your claims".

 

When the occasional angry Christian escalates things to something like, "You will burn in hell for not believing!", you can simply state, "I do not believe you".

 

The Bible is all a Christian has and their belief that it is true. My response when they quote scripture as validation for their argument. Sir, historians have proven beyond a doubt that the Bible is not literally true or historically accurate. It is simply a collection of theological myths and allegorical stories.

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...and then their foul reply "Well, you can CHOOSE to BELIEVE that if you want...blah blah blah." 

 

I was pondering this morning how believers in the cult are conditioned to think of non-believers as "rejecting" Jesus, when really nobody gives him any more thought than Thor. 

 

 

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3 hours ago, Fuego said:

...and then their foul reply "Well, you can CHOOSE to BELIEVE that if you want...blah blah blah." 

 

I was pondering this morning how believers in the cult are conditioned to think of non-believers as "rejecting" Jesus, when really nobody gives him any more thought than Thor. 

 

 

 

That is a good talking point. What exactly about Jesus makes it more plausible in the minds of believers than all of the other religions out there? First thing that comes to mind is that Christianity is so ingrained in western culture that it becomes an assumed fact from an early age.

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3 hours ago, TinMan said:

 

You have a point, I suppose that is a tactic. I always feel compelled to defend my position of disbelief. I am sure part of it is that I start to question whether or not I can completely dismiss their claims and I want to give an answer more for my sake than theirs. Plus it keeps me sharp on my anti-apologetics.

 

Usually whenever I start to have doubts about leaving the faith, it is because I have not been reading up on my critical material and I start to forget some of my reasons for leaving. Whenever I get back into it, such as providing my follow up post, I immediately start to remember how many times I found something absurd about the faith and the doubts for leaving fade away.

 

Keep working on it.

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2 hours ago, TinMan said:

Christianity is so ingrained in western culture that it becomes a assumed fact from an early age

Yes, and it is given a default respect instead of default creepy-feeling of a cult. The idea of sin, the myth stories of the magic fruit tree, Noah, Goliath, etc are all way too familiar in our culture. If the religion had been reduced down to kindness, forgiveness, sharing your stuff, feeding the hungry, then it would have been an amazing thing instead of a psychotic blood cult focused on a payment for "forgiveness" and damnation in fire for everyone else. 

 

If there were buildings on every corner where people really thought that Spiderman was in charge of reality, and would weep knowing that they aren't being as obedient to his spidey-sense as they should be, all of them striving to be radioactive, and pushing for laws that reflected their beliefs since they ARE REALITY after all, would their beliefs be respected?

 

How about the ones that really think they are part of Star Fleet and dress the part? Not the cosplayers, the ones that really do believe it is real. But if there were millions of them, and had been for centuries, and had sway over the cultures around us...

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On 6/21/2019 at 6:44 PM, TinMan said:

 

You have a point, I suppose that is a tactic. I always feel compelled to defend my position of disbelief. I am sure part of it is that I start to question whether or not I can completely dismiss their claims and I want to give an answer more for my sake than theirs. Plus it keeps me sharp on my anti-apologetics.

 

Usually whenever I start to have doubts about leaving the faith, it is because I have not been reading up on my critical material and I start to forget some of my reasons for leaving. Whenever I get back into it, such as providing my follow up post, I immediately start to remember how many times I found something absurd about the faith and the doubts for leaving fade away.

 

I call that intellectual atheism.

 

Non belief without deep rooted knowledge, comprehension and understanding is one thing. Non belief with very deep rooted knowledge, comprehension and understanding is quite another.

 

And staying active and sharp on anti-apologetic's usually helps most people. I've never found any apologetic's to date that are not nonsensical in transparent and easy to locate ways. I'm giving one of our christian members a hard time about it, but for his own good as far as I'm concerned. He's a smart guy, he deserves to face off with the facts and understand what it's like to be in the hot seat of having to try and defend christian claims. That can be an eye opener for anyone who's interested in keeping it intellectually honest. 

 

Because when you're interested in keeping it honest there's problem after problem, one after the next. Over and over again. Contradictions on top of misinterpretations between writers. To apologize for these obvious things involves a lot of intellectual dishonesty. And poor excuses. Sure, people can still block out reason and accept these poor excuses. But the excuses are still poor. You can always hold the apologist's into a corner because they're wrong. They can't demonstrably establish that the bible is true. It isn't possible. It doesn't start off true. The rest of story line characters speak AS If the scriptures do start out true, but they don't. So the remaining stories all share in the domino effect of the bible starting out "demonstrably false." 

 

Take jesus for instance. He's a story line character built out of diverse writers contributing to the story. The character believes Genesis is literally true. But Genesis is demonstrably not literally true. If it's not literally true, then it doesn't really tell us about the first humans, what their names were, or how they came into existence. If it isn't true, then there wasn't any such "original sin" in the first place, no lineage of literal patriarchs leading to Noah, leading to Abraham, leading to Moses, king David, nor any such jesus from the line of David. Dominoes, right down the line. There's no need for redemption from an original sin that never happened in the first place and can not be demonstrated as true in any meaningful sense of the word. If the story isn't literally true, then human's were not literally immortal, only to digress into mortality, in order strive to restore a previous immortality. Because none of this story is literally true to begin with and we can establish that right from the beginning and see it follow through to the end. 

 

The apologist's have to try and over come this foundational problem. 

 

But all they can offer are excuses. Poor excuses at that. When you understand all of this you can keep apologists against the ropes, back into a corner, and keep them there. They're on the weak side of the argument. And how likely is it to start wondering if they're right when they're against the ropes all the time and stuck in corners that they can't escape from? Keeping the whole thing in focus and in context is a good way of becoming immune to succumbing to any of it in my opinion. 

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     I would have loved to been at those meetings where the devil came up with this 10-point plan.  Seems the devil is always making plans.  Like Wile E. Coyote.

 

          mwc

 

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13 hours ago, TinMan said:

First thing that comes to mind is that Christianity is so ingrained in western culture that it becomes an assumed fact from an early age.

 

BINGO!

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18 hours ago, TinMan said:

 

Usually whenever I start to have doubts about leaving the faith, it is because I have not been reading up on my critical material and I start to forget some of my reasons for leaving. Whenever I get back into it, such as providing my follow up post, I immediately start to remember how many times I found something absurd about the faith and the doubts for leaving fade away.

 

 

 

4 hours ago, Joshpantera said:

 

I call that intellectual atheism.

 

Non belief without deep rooted knowledge, comprehension and understanding is one thing. Non belief with very deep rooted knowledge, comprehension and understanding is quite another.

 

And staying active and sharp on anti-apologetic's usually helps most people.

 

 

 

I think Joshpantera’s concept of intellectual immunity to Christianity, as he’s discussed it here and elsewhere, is very important.  If we can reach that point in our deconversion journey, we can read an article like the one in the OP and shake our head, or laugh, and shrug it off.  I did react that way and I do consider myself intellectually immune to Christianity and other theistic claims.  Not patting myself on the back or anything: it takes a while to get there.  It helped that I am an engineer, so I typically only believe things that are backed by solid evidence and not just because I want them to be true.  Yet for 20+ years I had a walled-off corner of my mind where my Christian faith lived, where the same rules didn’t apply.  Within the past 10 years, when I started to apply reason to the claims of Christianity, it rather quickly started to collapse.  But the part of my mind that gave credence to religious claims for reasons other than evidence, that didn’t go away completely, not for a while.  I had a hunger for books and articles by the likes of Ehrman and Price,  who disagree about some things, like the existence of Jesus as an actual figure in history, but who examine the evidence objectively, not necessarily believing something because it’s in the subset of scripture that made it into the Bible.  As I read and immersed myself in strictly evidence-based ideas, I stopped thinking like a Christian or theist.  Now the Christian clams make no more impression on me than the Muslim ones ever did.  

 

As I said, I can read that article without it bothering me in the slightest.  But somebody in an earlier stage of deconversion could be thrown into turmoil and anxiety by it.  If somebody has concluded that Christianity is not true or valid, but they are affected in this way, I’d advise them to immerse themselves in reason-based arguments by people - like Ehrman and Price - who aren’t invested in a certain outcome.  No human can be totally unbiased, but these guys come about as close as possible, I think.  At some point you will be able to read stuff about Satan and his plans, but only after you’ve reached a certain point.  The part of your mind that believes things because they’ve been repeated over and over again has to be brought to heel.  It’s rarely easy and it can be tempting to turn back, but believe me it’s worth the effort.  This community is here to encourage and reassure.

 

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This is so tedious but Christianity cannot advance from any point to another that is built on the first if the first point cannot be established as true.  Is there some kind of god thing? Maybe but there is no particular evidence for this. Is this god thing a creator god? Possible but less likely because this adds a specific attribute of the unproven god thing. Is there a personal god? No. No Christian group can demonstrate special treatment in response to prayers whether protection from disaster or from disease or whatever. Some are very prosperous for a period of time but they fail also just as chance would suggest. Really this is already the end of the line for Christianity because it needs a personal god as a personal god is central to the bible story. There are many foundational points that are nonsensical. A man 2,000+ years ago is dead for three days (brain matter now liquefied), his dead body disappears, but he soon shows up alive somewhere near by and is supposedly seen by some or many which is recorded exclusively in the bible and then he flies up up and out of sight never to return (not yet anyhow). This sounds not just conveniently unprovable but made up to give the story a supernatural lift (I believe I saw at least 50 years after the fact). Since only 1/3 of earth's inhabitants are Christian then the Christian god was terribly unsuccessful with his human creations or maybe hell was his real interest rather than heaven. If there is a powerful holy (god) spirit that will enter the believer's body why hasn't this amazing wonderful experience spread from person to person like wildfire? Why is Islam the worlds fastest growing religion set to catch Christianity by 2050? Whose side is this holy spirit on? Why does archeology fail to support the Exodus or the flood?

   Here is the best question ever TinMan:  What is the most compelling reason you know that will support claims that the the bible and Christianity are true? If you have something it will be the very first I have seen in my years here on this site but I definitely do want to see what you've found.    

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2 hours ago, DanForsman said:

Why is Islam the worlds fastest growing religion set to catch Christianity by 2050? 

 

Because they pump out babies left & right, count them as Muslims at birth, & then thoroughly indoctrinate them.

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48 minutes ago, Citsonga said:

 

Because they pump out babies left & right, count them as Muslims at birth, & then thoroughly indoctrinate them. 

Exactly to the point. Geography not supernatural powers determine which religions succeed. Another unrelated but significant unsubstantiated "truth" involves everything Christianity promises and spells out about immortality when we have absolutely nothing to indicate that immortality is even a viable concept. Here again Christian dogma races from zero evidence to spelling out every detail of what is nothing more than a concept. Without evidence of immortality every further assertion detailing a specific about immortality becomes just imagination with something close to a zero probability.

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On 6/23/2019 at 1:06 AM, DanForsman said:

Exactly to the point. Geography not supernatural powers determine which religions succeed. Another unrelated but significant unsubstantiated "truth" involves everything Christianity promises and spells out about immortality when we have absolutely nothing to indicate that immortality is even a viable concept. Here again Christian dogma races from zero evidence to spelling out every detail of what is nothing more than a concept. Without evidence of immortality every further assertion detailing a specific about immortality becomes just imagination with something close to a zero probability.

 

Dan, this is a primary example of the sort of thinking that I'm trying to encourage in others. Take these people to task! Do not let them logic leap with you. Hold them in the corner and don't let them out unless they successfully establish and demonstrate their foundational claims. And to date, they can't do it. 

 

The amount of special pleading involved in their arguments is astounding when you finally step back and look at the big picture. 

 

 

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