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WalterP

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Hello.  My name is Walter.  This is my introduction and I hope you’ll forgive me for the length of it.  Sometimes when I sit down to write at my computer it seems that the words just flow out of my fingertips and I just go on and on and on.  What follows is a good example of me in full ‘flow’.

 

These days I have no place for Jesus Christ in my life and I’m long past the pain that came with breaking with him.  I’ve long since concluded that like other religions, Christianity is an entirely manmade regime of emotional self-gratification and manipulation.  When I look back at my experiences, I can now see that the person I called Jesus Christ was no more than some inner aspect of my own feelings that was amplified, reflected and re-reflected inside the emotional echo chamber that is evangelical Christianity.   His love for me and my love for him were also just aspects of my inner needs that I erroneously separated into ‘him’ and ‘me’.  As such he was no more than an inner expression of my personal need for love, comfort and certainty, shaped into the form described in the bible.  Though I can’t do any more than speculate about it, I strongly suspect that this self-centred process of emotionally-driven comfort seeking applies to other religions as well.

 

The main external driver of my rejection of Jesus and Christianity was my long-term observation of the behaviour of my brothers and sisters in Christ, in my local evangelical church.  Year upon year I watched them claim to be growing strongly in Christ, to be faithfully walking in his footsteps and to being frequently anointed with his spirit.  Many would go off to festivals like Spring Harvest and some would go on retreats to seek him in prayer, fasting and meditation on the word.  They would then return, claiming that Jesus had poured out his spirit upon them and/or that their lives had been spiritually transformed by him.   And yet, something was very wrong.

 

Those who were gossipers would quickly relapse into their gossiping ways, often within days of their return.  The same pattern displayed itself with those who loved to speak first, loudest and longest and hear the sound of their own voices dominating prayer meetings and bible studies.  After a brief period of humility, when they would listen to others, they would fall back into their loud ways.   So too with the doubters.  They would claim that their doubts had been fully and finally dispelled by Jesus.  Yet their doubts would return to them in full force a little while later.   The grumblers would quickly lapse back into their grumbling ways, too. Those with various ailments and conditions would claim to have felt his healing hand upon them and for a brief while it appeared to be so.  But guess what?  Whatever Jesus had ‘healed’ them of soon returned to them, requiring them to once again seek his ‘healing’, all over again. 

   

Eventually, after years of seeing this kind of behaviour repeated in my fellow Christians and in myself, I began to realize that there was an over-arching pattern to it all.  People stayed exactly as they were, even after the deepest times of spiritual renewal, even after the most intense periods of prayer and even after they’d tearfully and genuinely sought out God’s will.  Nothing that Jesus or the holy spirit (supposedly) did for them really changed them.  I gradually became aware that their lives were locked into a cycle of behaviour that God didn’t seem able to break, change or undo.  I also came to realize that it was an unhealthy cycle, driven by their emotions for the sake of their emotions.  They were enslaved, in much the same way as an addict is enslaved, unable break out of their addiction.   The addiction I was seeing in my Christian brothers and sisters wasn’t a physical one, but an emotional one.  They weren’t enslaved to a need for alcohol or cocaine or nicotine.  No.  They were hooked on the emotional ‘hit’ that Jesus Christ gave to them.   Not only were they addicted, they were dependent on him - needing more and stronger doses of him to counteract the pain of the emotional lows in their lives.  And, much as a habitual drug addict eventually gravitates to stronger narcotics, they would also do the same.  When simple prayer and meditation on the word failed to really satisfy, they would seek out new ways of getting the emotional gratification they needed; speaking in tongues, being slain in the spirit, spiritual warfare and so on.   It was a never-ending cycle of trying and failing to fulfill an unfulfillable inner need.  In other words, an addiction.

 

What I was seeing was the behaviour of people addicted to…  intense feelings of euphoria, transcendence, hope, joy, absolution, security, immortality, certitude, purity, purpose, belonging, or superiority.”

https://psmag.com/news/the-god-drug-when-religion-becomes-an-addiction

 

As a Christian I was led to believe that, via the power of the Holy Spirit, Jesus could transform the lives of his children in ways that the world could not explain or understand.  To heal them of their fears and pain.  To change their selfishness and self-centredness into love, kindness and harmony.  The kind of changes seen in the early church in the Gospels, in Acts and in the epistles.  Not the miraculous healings or gifts of the spirit, but a genuine and lasting transforming of the hearts and minds of true Christians as they became more Christ-like.    But this was not what I was seeing, even after years and years of praying and hoping for it to happen in my church, in the lives of my fellow Christians and also in my own life.

 

As I became increasingly disillusioned, I began casting around to other churches and other denominations in my area.  I hoped that what I was seeing was just a local anomaly, a kind of glitch that wouldn’t be repeated elsewhere.  I spent time in other evangelical churches and also in Baptist and Pentecostal churches, but eventually began to see the same patterns of behaviour in their congregations too.  The evidence of my eyes did not agree with what was promised by the bible.

 

So, almost exactly twenty years ago, after twenty-five years of faith, I broke with Jesus and rejected him entirely. 

 

About five years ago, when I began my retirement, I started to become interested in the claims made by William Lane Craig about how the science of cosmology agreed with the biblical account of creation in the book of Genesis.  Since I’ve studied cosmology from my teenage years, I decided to investigate his claims to see for myself if they stood up under scrutiny.  The more I delved into his writings on his Reasonable faith website, the more disturbed and dismayed I became.

https://www.reasonablefaith.org/

 

It has become clear to me that Craig has publicly declared things that not only disagree with the basic tenets of cosmological science, but that are also directly contradicted by observations and experiments.  This troubles me and I hope that it will be possible to discuss and debate these matters here.

 

Now for a small confession.

I’ve been lurking under the radar of this forum since mid-June of this year.  The reason for this is that when I happened upon this site, I decided to perform a number of Searches, using key words such as cosmology, singularity and inflation.  This was to find out if there was any active interest in these things.  At first, I was pleased to discover that there was a member of Ex-Christian.net calling himself BAA.  That is, the Born-Again Atheist.  He seemed like a very interesting chap and I was looking forward to joining up, introducing myself to him and engaging with him in lively discussion about all things cosmological and astronomical.

 

Then I made the sad discovery that he had died in a car crash almost two years ago.  I was very touched and deeply moved by the depth of feeling expressed by the members of this forum at his passing.  It seems that he was very much admired and respected and, dare I say it, even loved by his ‘friends across the miles’.

https://www.ex-christian.net/topic/78125-baa/

 

For the last two and a half months I’ve made it my business to go carefully going back through BAA’s posts and I’ve been very impressed by what I’ve read.  He was very knowledgeable and articulate and was able to make lucid and cogent arguments about a wide variety of subjects.  Once again, please let me state that I’m very saddened to have never met him.  We ‘missed’ each other by just a short while.  Sometimes the world can be a very cruel and indifferent place.

 

I think that I shall draw this introduction to a close here and I thank you for reading it.

 

Walter.

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Hey @WalterP,

 

Welcome to Ex-C! Glad you found us.

 

Your extimoney was an interesting read and provided an intelligent response to, as well as encouragement to question, such twisted logic as Mr. Craig's and the like. The indoctrinated would do well to question and investigate writings such as his as well as those of Lee Strobel. Of course I encourage investigation and questioning of Richard Dawkins, Richard Carrier, Christopher Hitchens, as well as the Bible, Koran, Torah. If one keeps an open mind enlightenment will surely ensue.

 

Looking forward to more posts from you.

    - MOHO (Mind Of His Own)

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Welcome, Tinker :) What's new with you?

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4 hours ago, WalterP said:

Hello.  My name is Walter. 

 

Welcome, Walter. Glad to have you here. 

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I can say, in all truth and sincerity, that BAA had a profound impact on me in such a way as few ever have.  He is, indeed, deeply missed.

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4 hours ago, MOHO said:

Hey @WalterP,

 

Welcome to Ex-C! Glad you found us.

 

Your extimoney was an interesting read and provided an intelligent response to, as well as encouragement to question, such twisted logic as Mr. Craig's and the like. The indoctrinated would do well to question and investigate writings such as his as well as those of Lee Strobel. Of course I encourage investigation and questioning of Richard Dawkins, Richard Carrier, Christopher Hitchens, as well as the Bible, Koran, Torah. If one keeps an open mind enlightenment will surely ensue.

 

Looking forward to more posts from you.

    - MOHO (Mind Of His Own)

 

Thank you MOHO :)

 

I'm glad you explained your handle.  I might have thought you were THE MOHO.   https://geology.com/articles/mohorovicic-discontinuity.shtml

 

;)

 

Walter.

 

 

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3 hours ago, TinkerGrey said:

Welcome. I'm new here, too.

 

Hi TinkerGrey and thanks for the welcome.  :)

 

Same to you!

 

Walter.

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2 hours ago, midniterider said:

 

Welcome, Walter. Glad to have you here. 

 

Hello midniterider and thank you.  :)

 

Walter.

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27 minutes ago, TheRedneckProfessor said:

I can say, in all truth and sincerity, that BAA had a profound impact on me in such a way as few ever have.  He is, indeed, deeply missed.

 

Hello RedneckProfessor.

 

Yes, I see that BAA was indeed very popular and very influential here.  As I mentioned in my intro I'm carefully going through his many, many posts and I'm very impressed with what I've found.  There's a great deal of his material and input that's of interest to me and, if it's acceptable, I'd certainly like to revisit some of his topics.  Of course I'd only do that with the proper respect that he deserves.  As a fellow amateur astronomer I feel duty bound to do right by him.  Thank you.

 

Walter.

 

 

 

 

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Hi and welcome, Walter.... good to meet ya :)

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1 hour ago, WalterP said:

I'd certainly like to revisit some of his topics.  Of course I'd only do that with the proper respect that he deserves.  As a fellow amateur astronomer I feel duty bound to do right by him. 

I look forward to reading your thoughts.

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Welcome to Ex-C. Yes, BAA left a bit of a void here. Feel free to jump in anywhere.

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Hi Walter

 

Welcome to Ex-C. I hope you find your times here enjoyable. I look forward to seeing more of your posts.

 

I echo what TRP said about BAA. Of all the many wonderful members here BAA made the greatest impact and helped me the most when I needed it. He was ever patient with questions regarding science, and wise with personal questions of which we had many private conversations. I still sorely miss him, and probably always will.

 

We still discuss cosmological topics from time to time so you may find those interesting.

 

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1 hour ago, WalterP said:

I'm glad you explained your handle.  I might have thought you were THE MOHO.   https://geology.com/articles/mohorovicic-discontinuity.shtml

 

I had no idea the section between the mantle and the crust existed or had such a COOL name! :rolleyes:

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My thanks to TruthSeeker0, LogicalFallacy, florduh, the RedneckProfessor and Derek for their kind words of welcome.  :)

 

Also, a quick aside to MOHO.  Earlier you mentioned the 'twisted logic' of William Lane Craig . In my experience that's not entirely the case.  Craig should not be underestimated or disparaged.  However, he has made a cardinal error in his handling of Hawking and Penrose's 1970 singularity theorem.  Maybe that could be a topic for future discussion?

 

All the best.

 

Walter.

 

 

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32 minutes ago, WalterP said:

My thanks to TruthSeeker0, LogicalFallacy, florduh, the RedneckProfessor and Derek for their kind words of welcome.  :)

 

Also, a quick aside to MOHO.  Earlier you mentioned the 'twisted logic' of William Lane Craig . In my experience that's not entirely the case.  Craig should not be underestimated or disparaged.  However, he has made a cardinal error in his handling of Hawking and Penrose's 1970 singularity theorem.  Maybe that could be a topic for future discussion?

 

All the best.

 

Walter.

 

Have you watched the debate between Craig and Sean Carroll? Well worth it if you haven't. Carroll shows how Craig doesn't understand the cosmological principals that he is attempting to argue his case from.

 

I largely agree with that Craig should not be underestimated.

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1 hour ago, WalterP said:

...

Craig should not be underestimated or disparaged.

...

 

 

Yes, WLC should not be underestimated.  However, he should certainly be disparaged for his disingenuousness, lying, fallacious reasoning, gish gallops, presuppositionalism and cognitive bias, among other reasons.

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3 hours ago, MOHO said:

 

I had no idea the section between the mantle and the crust existed or had such a COOL name! :rolleyes:

 

That is awesome. From hence forth, you shall be known as... The Moho. :D 

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12 hours ago, WalterP said:

For the last two and a half months I’ve made it my business to go carefully going back through BAA’s posts and I’ve been very impressed by what I’ve read.  He was very knowledgeable and articulate and was able to make lucid and cogent arguments about a wide variety of subjects.  Once again, please let me state that I’m very saddened to have never met him.  We ‘missed’ each other by just a short while. 

 

Welcome Walter!

 

The cosmological discussions have toned down somewhat. It's just what happened. But I'd like to see them ramp up again. We've hardly been following the latest news from cosmology and you just gave me a kick in the ass to try and stay abreast on the latest from observational and theoretical cosmology. What's new with inflationary theory, etc., etc. Thanks for calling attention to this. 

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Welcome from me too, Walter. And I too miss Born Again Athiest (so he spelled it). A Mensch, and always seeking to expand knowledge.

 

As for cosmology -- I have just begun reading John L. Mackie's The Miracle of Theism. If anyone here would like to respond to Mackie's arguments against natural theology, i'd welcome hearing your thoughts.  

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Welcome Walter! Glad you're here. 

 

BAA was a friend. I'm sorry you never got to meet him. If there are topics raised by him that you want to discuss,  I'm game. Or if there's anything else, for that matter. I always like a good cosmological discussion :).

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I'm always inspired when star-gazers contemplate the forces of the cosmos, while I slowly plod along with my ants and earthworms. 

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11 hours ago, LogicalFallacy said:

 

Have you watched the debate between Craig and Sean Carroll? Well worth it if you haven't. Carroll shows how Craig doesn't understand the cosmological principals that he is attempting to argue his case from.

 

I largely agree with that Craig should not be underestimated.

 

Yes, LogicalFallacy, I certainly did.  Three times all the way through, in fact.  

 

Again, 'Yes', Craig should not be underestimated,.  But not for the reasons you might think.  While he frequently misunderstands aspects of cosmology and theoretical physics, he's on his home turf when it comes to matters philosophical.  When something in science challenges his faith, he'll find a philosophical or epistemological loophole/dodge/workaround that allows him to hold to his faith, no matter what.   So, what you shouldn't underestimate are the lengths he'll go to when it comes to saving his faith.  Just when you think he's contradicted this or that principle or ground rule of science, he'll have a philosophical justification ready for the occasion.

 

But...  he's not perfect and can make mistakes.  ;)

 

 

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