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2 hours ago, WalterP said:

When a new Christian shows up perhaps it would help to direct them here?   https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Burden_of_proof_(philosophy)  A few words of explanation from us might help too.  So that they realize that when they make a claim they become the Holder of the Burden of Proof.  If they begin to disagree at this early juncture, then we will know from the outset what to expect from them.  Imho, discovering their position re the burden of proof like this, from get go, is surely better than doing so painfully and at length, as happened with LmtO.

 

Yeah, that would be best. Cut to the chase. 

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I was thinking along these lines too.  I was raised in a toxic faith, so I tend to go grizzly bear when someone’s evangelistic efforts start to get annoying.  It would be nice if the evangelists had some advance warning.  (I don’t mean about me in particular . . . .)  A modest proposal:


Some notes for believers visiting ex-christian.net:


Who we are
We are not poor, wayfaring unbelievers; we are ex-christians.  Some of us were ordained ministers; some of us can read the bible in its original languages.  We have heard the sermons, we know the arguments.  And our reason for being here is not to argue with you; so sometimes visitors with evangelism on their minds do not get the welcome they expect.
Most of us thought long and hard about giving up our faith, and an emotional appeal is not going to bring us to the altar.
Some of us experienced religious trauma and have very negative opinions of christianity in particular, and religion in general.
And some of us still believe in god, or gods, and have our reasons for having left christianity for another religion.


How it works
From the forum guidelines:  “These forums exist for the express purpose of encouraging those who have decided to leave religion behind.  It is not an open challenge to Christians to avenge what they perceive as an offense against their beliefs.”
We are not here to convert you; and if you are here to convert us, the burden of proof rests on you.  When you assert that god exists, or that the bible is true, we are going to ask for objective evidence, and we will subject your assertions to reasoned argument.  And many of us can and will give you many reasons why we do not believe in god or the bible.  Please note that your conviction that god exists is not evidence.  And before you start endlessly prolonging an argument while innocently professing to enjoy discussing christianity, please look up the definition of an internet troll.


And do you really want to go there
“For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted the heavenly gift, and have become partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, if they fall away, to renew them again to repentance . . . .”
Hebrews 6:4-6


https://www.ex-christian.net/guidelines/
https://www.ex-christian.net/forum/29-frequently-asked-questions-and-topics/
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Burden_of_proof_(philosophy)
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Internet_troll

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13 hours ago, WalterP said:

I do wonder if we could let people like LmtO down a bit more gently when it comes to issues like burden of proof. 

One of the beautiful,  and indeed powerful, aspects of The Lion's Den (and this website as a whole) is that we each tend to play to our strengths when engaging in discourse.  My strength, for example, is straightforward common sense, often couched in witty phrases, and generally reduced down to little more than short quips or, for lack of a better phrase, "sound bytes."  You, on the other hand, tend to produce longer posts, which are more measured, articulate, and eloquent.  Your application of logical principles is more formal, mine more earthy.  Were I to write one of your posts, using the exact words, phrases, and even fonts, as you, I'd somehow still come off sounding sarcastic. 

 

We play to our strengths.  If you feel it warranted to encourage christians to research burden of proof in your opening parlay, then it would certainly be within your purview, and in keeping with your strengths, to do so.

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  12 hours ago, WalterP said:

When I was deeply committed to evangelical Christianity I certainly had no idea that if I made a claim, the onus was upon me to substantiate that claim with evidence.

 

Even the Bible states it plainly:

 

I Peter 3:15- "to sanctify the Lord God in your hearts and be ready always to give an answer to every man that ask you a reason of the hope that is in you."

 

That, they do not do.

 

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You'll get no argument about this from me, Florduh.  I willingly hold my hand up and say, 'Mea culpa!'.  I did that.

 

Yes, when I was a Christian I knew about and thought I understood this verse.  But I didn't.  For me that verse meant always have a bible quote ready as an answer.  Which, of course, isn't giving a reason but giving a circular argument.  And a circular argument is not a reason, it's a failure of reason and reasoning.  All such logical fallacies are failures of reason.

 

But did I know this at that time?  Nope.  And I expect that other Ex-Christians here didn't know it either.  It looks like LmtO didn't and still doesn't.

 

But maybe we can nip this recurring problem in the bud?

 

Thank you.

 

Walter. 

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To JoshPantera and TheRedneckProf...

 

Thank you, guys. 

 

I do believe that I will do as suggested and play to my strengths.  But only for the general well-being of the whole forum.  If I see a newbie Christian struggling with the notion of burden of proof, I think that I'll gently direct them to this link.  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Burden_of_proof_(philosophy)

 

Please understand that I won't be doing this for reasons of seizing control or railroading them in any way.  No.  Just so that they have a chance of understanding what is expected of them in Ex-C.  Or, if another Ex-christian member beats me to the punch, that's ok too.

 

Thanks again.

 

Walter. 

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I was thinking along these lines too.  I was raised in a toxic faith, so I tend to go grizzly bear when someone’s evangelistic efforts start to get annoying.  It would be nice if the evangelists had some advance warning.  (I don’t mean about me in particular . . . .)  A modest proposal:


Some notes for believers visiting ex-christian.net:


Who we are
We are not poor, wayfaring unbelievers; we are ex-christians.  Some of us were ordained ministers; some of us can read the bible in its original languages.  We have heard the sermons, we know the arguments.  And our reason for being here is not to argue with you; so sometimes visitors with evangelism on their minds do not get the welcome they expect.
Most of us thought long and hard about giving up our faith, and an emotional appeal is not going to bring us to the altar.
Some of us experienced religious trauma and have very negative opinions of christianity in particular, and religion in general.
And some of us still believe in god, or gods, and have our reasons for having left christianity for another religion.


How it works
From the forum guidelines:  “These forums exist for the express purpose of encouraging those who have decided to leave religion behind.  It is not an open challenge to Christians to avenge what they perceive as an offense against their beliefs.”
We are not here to convert you; and if you are here to convert us, the burden of proof rests on you.  When you assert that god exists, or that the bible is true, we are going to ask for objective evidence, and we will subject your assertions to reasoned argument.  And many of us can and will give you many reasons why we do not believe in god or the bible.  Please note that your conviction that god exists is not evidence.  And before you start endlessly prolonging an argument while innocently professing to enjoy discussing christianity, please look up the definition of an internet troll.


And do you really want to go there
“For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted the heavenly gift, and have become partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, if they fall away, to renew them again to repentance . . . .”
Hebrews 6:4-6


https://www.ex-christian.net/guidelines/
https://www.ex-christian.net/forum/29-frequently-asked-questions-and-topics/
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Burden_of_proof_(philosophy)
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Internet_troll

 

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Good work there, TEG.  👍

 

As mentioned above, I'll be confining myself to directing them to the Burden of Proof link, should I see the need.

 

Thanks.

 

Walter.

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I was trying to walk our visitor through a lot of these issues. Being introductory and fair with him. Orienting him to the fact that he's not seeing the big picture right now, which, he's not. Letting him know that I and others here were once in his shoes - not seeing the bigger picture. You'll notice that he completely disengaged responding to my fair handed posts. Not wanting to engage issues of subjectivity and wanting to just back out and agree to disagree about subjectivity. 

 

The staff here tends to want christian visitors for the most part. It's not really our goal to bully or send them away as fast as possible.

 

Because without them we face one sided discussions and topics. And it's beneficial to have some christian representation so people reading along can benefit from seeing how these debates and discussions go. The flip side to this is that unless we engage the heavy content in some way, then people can not witness the interaction between us and christian believers. They can not see what happens to poorly framed arguments. Or how people who are not familiar with logical fallacies never have the upper hand over people who are familiar. As with the recent example. 

 

More christian visitors will come, they always do. All we can do on our end is try and apply some of these suggestions. And keep ourselves in the right as much as we can manage during these kinds of discussions. Ultimately that's the sort of take away that I think many of us here would like lurkers to be reading through. 

 

 

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13 hours ago, WalterP said:

When a new Christian shows up perhaps it would help to direct them here?   https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Burden_of_proof_(philosophy) 

 

If they don't take the admonition from their own Bible to be ready with an answer, why would they take the advice of Wikipedia? 

 

Every Christian who comes here wanting us to prove them wrong gets informed that the burden of proof is on the one making the claim. They simply do not accept it.

 

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@WalterP, another suggestion might be for you and @TEG to collaborate on creating a thread which would outline your ideas concerning the burden of proof and the respective links.  The thread could then be pinned here in The Den and new christians encouraged to read it.

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  15 hours ago, WalterP said:

When a new Christian shows up perhaps it would help to direct them here?   https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Burden_of_proof_(philosophy) 

 

If they don't take the admonition from their own Bible to be ready with an answer, why would they take the advice of Wikipedia? 

 

Every Christian who comes here wanting us to prove them wrong gets informed that the burden of proof is on the one making the claim. They simply do not accept it.

 

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Yes, I know this Florduh.

 

But even if they are unwilling to accept it, at least by providing them with this info we've covered the necessary bases and can't be accused of withholding vital stuff from them.  

 

 Another benefit of doing it will be that it will expose Christian non-accepters more quickly and easily.

 

So, I'm proposing this idea more for the smooth running of the forum than for any other reason. 

 

Thank you.

 

Walter.  

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@WalterP, another suggestion might be for you and @TEG to collaborate on creating a thread which would outline your ideas concerning the burden of proof and the respective links.  The thread could then be pinned here in The Den and new christians encouraged to read it.

 

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Thanks for this, RedneckProf.

 

I'll speak to TEG and see what he thinks. 

 

Oh and if we go ahead, I suppose we'd better submit the content to you Mods first for approval, right?

 

Thank you.

 

Walter.

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3 hours ago, WalterP said:
  12 hours ago, WalterP said:

When I was deeply committed to evangelical Christianity I certainly had no idea that if I made a claim, the onus was upon me to substantiate that claim with evidence.

 

Even the Bible states it plainly:

 

I Peter 3:15- "to sanctify the Lord God in your hearts and be ready always to give an answer to every man that ask you a reason of the hope that is in you."

 

That, they do not do.

 

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

You'll get no argument about this from me, Florduh.  I willingly hold my hand up and say, 'Mea culpa!'.  I did that.

 

Yes, when I was a Christian I knew about and thought I understood this verse.  But I didn't.  For me that verse meant always have a bible quote ready as an answer.  Which, of course, isn't giving a reason but giving a circular argument.  And a circular argument is not a reason, it's a failure of reason and reasoning.  All such logical fallacies are failures of reason.

 

But did I know this at that time?  Nope.  And I expect that other Ex-Christians here didn't know it either.  It looks like LmtO didn't and still doesn't.

 

But maybe we can nip this recurring problem in the bud?

 

Thank you.

 

Walter. 

As a Christian, my reason would've been very plain, with no logical, well thought out arguments behind it: I believe because I want to go to heaven. 

I suspect it's like this with many, in particular the brainwashed fundamentalists. When it's about emotion and not logic or reason, you completely overlook them. 

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2 hours ago, WalterP said:

@WalterP, another suggestion might be for you and @TEG to collaborate on creating a thread which would outline your ideas concerning the burden of proof and the respective links.  The thread could then be pinned here in The Den and new christians encouraged to read it.

 

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Thanks for this, RedneckProf.

 

I'll speak to TEG and see what he thinks. 

 

Oh and if we go ahead, I suppose we'd better submit the content to you Mods first for approval, right?

 

Thank you.

 

Walter.

 

I just put it out there to see what anyone thinks.  It obviously reflects my own bias.  Any final product should reflect the group mind.

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LOL, what will we do with all our spare time if we dont have all these round-a-bout arguments with christians?

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I must say as far as conversations with Christians went, LMTO was one of the better ones. Whereas Dozer was basically a troll, I believe LMTO was attempting genuine conversation. His replies, though frustrating at times, were long and thought out. He was clearly putting in a lot of effort considering he had something like 7 of us engaging all at once.

 

Maybe we all should read A Manual for Creating Atheists to refine our styles? 😀

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I tried to create a poll but it didn’t work.

 

As an ex-christian, what is your opinion of christians who actively try to spread their faith in the ex-christian.net forums?  (Multiple choices allowed.)

 

They are intruders who should be discouraged.

They have the right to spread their faith, as long as they are not abusive.

I would like to try to convert them.

I enjoy arguing with them.

I do not care what they do.

I have no opinion.

Other (feel free to reply):

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11 minutes ago, TEG said:

I tried to create a poll but it didn’t work.

 

As an ex-christian, what is your opinion of christians who actively try to spread their faith in the ex-christian.net forums?  (Multiple choices allowed.)

 

They are intruders who should be discouraged.

They have the right to spread their faith, as long as they are not abusive.

I would like to try to convert them.

I enjoy arguing with them.

I do not care what they do.

I have no opinion.

Other (feel free to reply):

 

I've created the poll here. It will be good for it to have its own thread. Let loose.

 

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A well-written proposal, TEG. 

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On 2/8/2020 at 1:10 PM, Lost_more_then_Once said:

To Crazyguy123,

I like the idea of suspended doubt and suspended belief towards the things that we don't have enough information to form an opinion on.  With regards to religion this approach resembles the agnostic position about God.  Unsure if He really does exist or not, and not commuting to a stance to believe in Him (or in any other gods) or to disbelieve entirely.

 

What I mean is that while having a standpoint of looking for red flags is good to search out if something is off, what it can only do is say "this is possible" instead of actually pointing out what's true and what isn't.  Concerning whether I'm right and you all missed something, or that I'm mistaken, if I don't set off any alarms for something being off, then all that says is tgat it might be possible that I am right.  (Or at the very least, that the points I have might hold merit).

 

Well, it really only makes sense to suspend belief towards unsubstantiated claims. If something hasn't been demonstrated to be true to the extent that it is acceptable to believe it, then the correct thing to do is doubt it as much as it is possible to do so. If it can't be demonstrated to be true, then there is no reason to believe it whatsoever. There is of course the possibility that you are right, yes, but possible doesn't get us to the truth of the matter if assertions is all you have.

 

I could also make the claim that an invisible dragon lives in my basement and that it will burn people to death with fire if they say bad things about him. While there is always the possibility that I am right, do you think it would be reasonable to suspend doubt (which to me is the same thing as believing that it's possible) if I can't demonstrate that the dragon exists? If I told you about it, took you into the basement, and you saw no evidence of a dragon whatsoever, doubt would be the automatic response that you would have (I hope), due to my claims not being substantiated. I could give you personal experiences of the dragon making itself visible to me, but those should never be enough to convince you, until you have the experience yourself.

 

On 2/8/2020 at 1:10 PM, Lost_more_then_Once said:

The problem of evil is a hard one.  I don't know why one person is born and another aborted; one person is wealthy and another starving; one person is happy (or at least happy most of the time) and another has depression and suicidal thoughts.  Nor why there's such a thing as serial murderers, serial rapists, and oppressive governments that kill their own people.  I have no answer why evil is allowed to exist.  Some things like my head injury could be considered something to shape my life with and give empathy like you said.  But the question of evil is bigger then that.  I don't count my head injury of an example of the evil in the world.  And I can't explain God's mercy on me based on anything I've done.      Nonetheless, I know from my experiences the mercy and love that God has.

 

Have you heard of natural evil before? These would be things that are not caused by someone making moral decisions, but are rather things that happen in the natural world that result in suffering. Perhaps your head injury could fit into that category? If it was caused by the actions of another human, then maybe not, but perhaps if it was an unintentional result of something they did, it could be.

 

The mercy of God (as Christians commonly view it) is only given to people who believe, but the people that are not convinced instead get to be burned alive in the afterlife. What other explanation could there possibly be for why Yahweh might show mercy to somebody?

 

On 2/8/2020 at 1:10 PM, Lost_more_then_Once said:

The punishing of four generations, I've thought about a bit.  Have you ever looked at concepts like: "like father like son?" And wondered about the sinful patterns taught from one generation to the next?  It's just a thought but would you look at sin differently if you knew your actions now might result in your kids, grandkids, and great-grands, might struggle with the same mistake you make today?  It's just a thought.

 

That is an assumption that the kids will inherit the behaviors and thought patterns of their parents. Sometimes they turn out better, but other times not, it depends on a lot of factors. The problem still remains that you believe in a god that will actively punish people for the actions of their ancestors, rather than anything they themselves are doing. If they do repeat the actions of their past relatives, then getting punished for things they themselves did seems a little more understandable, but that isn't the problem here.

 

Also, I wouldn't look at sin differently, to be honest. Sin is essentially the things people do that allegedly pisses off gods. If I find someone's particular idea of a god to be abhorrent or unbelievable, for what reason would I care about the sins they claim I am committing against that god? The time to care about these things is when the theist's claims are substantiated, not before.

 

On 2/8/2020 at 1:10 PM, Lost_more_then_Once said:

As for our thoughts, they matter.  From our thoughts are what lead to what we say and what we do.  Harboring some thoughts encourage other thoughts of the same kind, hardening our hearts to continue in that line of thought.  You can look at this from that observation, as well as see God letting your heart be hardened as a testimony of the evil on those thoughts.  In this way, your actions (even your thoughts) have consequences and are made from your choices.  Yet God is still in contol,  even in your ability to make your own choices and have the consequences result from them.

 

But if someone has thoughts that are irrational and based off of bad information (or a lack of information entirely), the moment they realize that they were in error, they would change their way of thinking and their actions would change as well. Why then would it make sense for God to harden their heart to prevent them from making this change, when they would do so if they weren't forcefully trapped in an irrational way of thinking against their will?

 

The justification for it that you seem to have come up with is this: If someone uses bad reasoning and they make bad choices as a result, then the consequence is that God will forcefully trap them in that line of reasoning, so that they repeat those bad choices again. Am I misunderstanding this?

 

On 2/8/2020 at 1:10 PM, Lost_more_then_Once said:

About God being Jealous.  Do you have a wife or kids that you love?  If so how would you feel if your wife cheated on you?  Or your kids cut you out of their lives?  Would you be jealous?  Move it to the next degree and think that your wife cheated on you and left you for some one that was no good and harmful in her life; or the same with your kids cutting you out of their lives and filling it with a drug addiction.  Wouldn't your jealousy burn from loving them and be out of concern for their lives?  This is what it's like when people turn away from God to anything else.  Compared to God, everything else is a bad influence on our lives.

 

I don't currently have a wife or kids, so anything that I say about this is only hypothetical. Using your examples, let's say my wife cheated on me and my kids cut me out of their lives for some reason. For me, the first thing I would do is see if there was something I did wrong that caused this (which is a possibility that I have to consider because I'm not a narcissist). If it turns out to be the case that my wife cheated on me because the other guy had a bigger 🍆 and my kids cut me out of their lives because of a drug addiction - my first concern would be the kids (the wife would be irrelevant at that point).

 

Since the kids cut me out of their lives for reasons that will hurt them in the long run, my only concern would be their safety, but I wouldn't be jealous about it. I would do everything in my power to help them every chance I got, but that is not at all the same as what your god would do in that type of a situation. The jealousy of Yahweh is the same level of jealousy that a narcissist would experience if someone didn't pay attention to them. Using my hypothetical scenario, the only way my reaction to both of those would be the same is if I burned inside with rage and obsessed over the fact that my wife and kids were putting something else ahead of me, right up until I decided to hunt them down and beat the shit out of them for doing so. If that was my reaction, then your comparison would be completely accurate.

 

At this point, you may be thinking that the sacrifice of Jesus is your god's way of doing everything in his power to help his "kids", but if that is the defense you jump to, then we're going to have to open up a whole new thread in the Lion's Den over that one. The sacrifice of Jesus is not an example of mercy or love: It is the same as a narcissistic parent with a favorite son deciding all at once that they aren't going to beat up their other kids all the time, they're going to beat up their favorite and say, "Because I beat up my favorite on your behalf, I won't ever beat you guys up either, but if you don't love me enough, then I'm going to shove you ungrateful little shits into the furnace and burn you to death."

 

On 2/8/2020 at 1:10 PM, Lost_more_then_Once said:

This goes back to the issue of evil in the world.  One point is that evil exists because of rejecting God, and rejecting what He said.  On a world wide scale this means something drastic and we see the result of it in the world around us.  We live in a broken environment, our choices of being moral isn't going to save us from a community swamped in corruption.  No, instead the evil results one person does has consequences shared by the community around them.  That's the cost of free will.  Nothing you do only affect just you.  With this in mind the problem of evil changes not to just "why is any of it allowed?" to also a question of free will.

 

According to the Bible, we live in a world that is full of evil and all people have a sinful nature programmed into them that causes them to be incapable of being anything but corrupt (unless they allow God to fix them of course). If the Bible is true, then it means that God has set up the perfect environment for humans to develop codependency with him. The people who love him will defend everything he does, no matter how terrible it may seem, and will only view themselves as worthless, depraved, broken, or any other negative adjective they can think of, while the rest get burned alive for thinking for themselves and drawing their own conclusions about things.

 

On 2/8/2020 at 1:10 PM, Lost_more_then_Once said:

When I started to read the bible God had already impacted my life.  This was before I was Christian, while I was searching for God when I started to read the bible, as well as after when I accepted Christianity as being from God, but rejected the Bahai faith as not coming from God.  Let me stress the importance of that point.  My dad's faith, the Bahai faith has a lot of wonderful things in it that I wish I could say are from God in the same way that Jesus's teachings are from God.  The God moments while reading the bible weren't just about reading something and agreeing with it.  It was reading something and a feeling like God was right there beside me while I was reading it.  When I started to read the bible it wasn't to discover if God was real or not.  By then I already had enough experience to know He is real.  What it was about was to see what is from God and what isn't.  Prayer lead me to know tgat God is real, the bible is what lead me to become a Christian.

For those who aren't Christian, I hold out hope for them.  All of them.  For you, for my dad, for my brothers, and for several friends and coworkers.  I hope that God will be kind and merciful to all of them like He has been with me.  I hope that all of them (and you guys included) eventually find God for yourselves and are safe in that.  And I hope that if you don't before you die, you will have at least one more chance of turning to God before the consequences in the bible take effect.  I have loved ones on the line here, I can't help but hope.  Yet it's not up to me, and if not accepting Jesus is the bottom line, then sadly, that's how it'll be. 

 

It still sounds to me like your god experiences only exist in your imagination, but it isn't because I think you're crazy or anything like that, that isn't the case at all. The way it appears from my side is that you read something in the Bible that seemed wonderful and had a positive emotional reaction to it, which made you think that there was a god reading it with you, then you prayed to the Christian god and had more subjective, positive emotional experiences that you thought were god experiences, and decided that your faith was the right one but the others were wrong. Subjective emotional experiences don't demonstrate the truth of anything, but can be very convincing to some people. That used to be the case for me and many other members on this site, but it isn't going to do the trick anymore.

 

On 2/8/2020 at 1:10 PM, Lost_more_then_Once said:

Crazyguy123, it really sounds like your angry at God.  You rejected Him because you couldn't see why God actively punished people or passively allowed evil.  I don't know if this will help you in finding if God is real or not, but I hope it helps with relieving some of the anger.  Consider the book of Jonah. 

 

I don't believe that your god even exists anymore, but I will admit that when I still did believe, yes, I was angry with him, but it wasn't merely because he actively punished people and passively allowed evil; it was much more than that. It was because he actively punished people for purely egotistical reasons (such as killing a man for picking up sticks on the sabbath, swallowing people up in the ground for not agreeing with Moses, punishing people for the actions of their ancestors if they hated him, and hardening people's hearts on purpose just so he could flex his muscles by tormenting them and the people around them over and over again) and because he filled the entire world with evil, merely because the first people to exist disobeyed him due to a lack of understanding about the consequences they were about to face.

 

The biggest problem of all was the Christian doctrine of hell. Theramintrees had it right when he said that hell is a small idea with a large shadow. It is the most sadistic and terrifying idea that humans have ever come up with and a god who would send people to such a place for finite crimes (especially when the mere act of not loving him is a crime deemed worthy of this punishment) has got to be the most cruel tyrant to ever exist. For someone such as yourself, who still believes, to read about this and not react with anger, makes me think that you have a bad case of Stockholm Syndrome, which I think was the case for me when I was a Christian, until I truly began to comprehend how cruel and narcissistic the god of the Bible actually is.

 

At the moment, because I do not believe in your god anymore, the anger I still have is for the people who teach these horrible things to children and emotionally vulnerable people who then become trapped in a cycle of self-hatred and begging some god to forgive them because they committed some imaginary thought crime. As I said in a previous post, responding to someone else, because I already had a negative view of myself (caused by undiagnosed depression) and the Bible confirmed those negative views as being true, I fell into the emotionally vulnerable category when I finally made the decision to give my life to Jesus (I was about 14 then, I think). There were times that Christianity did serve as an emotional crutch, yes, but at the same time, it also kept me trapped in a perpetual cycle of self-hatred and begging to be forgiven for being human. It was only after leaving the religion that I started to think that maybe I wasn't worthless after all and that led to me trying to get to the root of my problems and trying to fix them, without turning to an abusive relationship with a god who says he's going to torture me if I don't love him. I still have work to do, but I haven't given up yet.

 

If it ever does turn out to be the case that you are right about your god existing and that I was wrong for doubting, then I am happy to say that given the choice, going to hell would be preferable to bending the knee to the tyrant that created it. As much as it would suck to be there, I would at least have the satisfaction of knowing that I didn't give in to the coercive threats of a dictator out of fear of my own safety.

 

On 2/8/2020 at 1:10 PM, Lost_more_then_Once said:

In that book Jonah the prophet is called to preach a message of doom and destruction to an enemy of Israel.  In reality this would also be a warning for them not just a proclamation of doom.  So instead of going to the city filled with evil to the point of being sentenced by God, Jonah goes the opposite direction.  Let that enemy of Israel be surprised by their doom, and have no warning in case they repent and turn from their sins. (You find out Jonah's motivation at the end of the book).  However God did not respect Jonah's decision and eventually Jonah went to the city and preached a message of doom and destruction.  The result?  The city repented, turned away from the evil that going on in the city, this avoiding the punishment sentenced by God.

 

Now consider the impact of that message of destruction.  It may have changed the city for the better and actually saved lives from being murdered in the streets or oppressed in any other way.  With a result like that, can you say it wasn't given out of God's love to save that city?  In the same way the warning to come to God and follow Him might positively affect not just those who hear the message, but also the people that that person is around.  (Because he listened to the warning and is trying to remove the sinful habits and choices from his life, that might stop him from harming another person).

 

Tell me, how is this any different from a dictator deciding to expand the borders of his regime and sending a messenger to the neighboring countries to beg with them to surrender peacefully, so that they can avoid their cities and people getting blown to bits? It doesn't matter what Jonah's motivation was, he isn't the one at fault here. Given everything that has been discussed in this thread (and elsewhere on this site, between former believers who have struggled with the teachings of Christianity and their effects on them), there is no reason to see Jonah as anything but a puppet doing the bidding of a tyrant who wants to control more people, by giving the people in neighboring countries an ultimatum - surrender or be destroyed.

 

Also, I want to apologize for the delayed response. I got caught up in real life things and kind of forgot about this thread for a bit, until I had the chance to get back to it. I noticed that you haven't been around for a while either, so I hope you come back. Despite how significantly we disagree on things, at least you are willing to have honest conversations, rather than just preaching at us and mocking us for not believing what you're preaching.

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