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The more I search, the less I find


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Hello all, I have been reading this forum for some time and decided to share a post too. I will try to expose my views about life and not give so much detail about my life story but rather share my thought process about religions and how I navigated through that and lastly, why I think in a particular way about things.

 

First of all, I have been interested in Christianity for the last 3-4 years. I was born in an atheist family and was never exposed to religions until I took an interest in Christianity as an adult. I considered myself to be a Christian during these few years and understood an enormous amount of the concepts of Christianity over a very short period of time.

 

It is very important to mention that I know what it means to be a Christian in case some Christians read this post. The reason is very simple - many Christians have a theory that if someone in the faith suddenly disbelieves, it means they were never converted in the first place.

 

Ironically, this is one of the reasons why I know now that Christianity is not true. Noone knows how I felt, what I thought except for me during this time. I took such a genuine interest in this whole thing and prayed so much that I will find the truth about life that eventually I did.. but this truth was different from what I expected. In the end, I do not know anything for sure and I understand that human knowledge is so limited. At least I know now that world religions are man made systems. However, I do think there is a God and that this God is outside of the world religions. Perhaps the closest description of my world view then is an agnostic. 

 

I am very passionate about the truth. I have no fear of asking different questions and I certainly have no fear of hell as Christianity teaches there is an actual hell. Why? Because I believe that the ultimate virtue is to search the truth without putting any limits or fears on oneself. I have the courage to break all the prison bars of human propaganda and ask the questions one might dare to ask. 

 

Such questions can be why are we here, what is our purpose in life and so on (basically many of the questions covered by Christianity discussions too). However, what I found out to be problematic in Christianity is that it closes the loop in the same cycle over and over again. Basically, all the questions are answered in the same way - Jesus is the answer.

It wasn't long after that when my personal life conflicted with the set of rules imposed by religion (obviously a topic covered so many times in the Bible). Of course, at this point I wanted to know if what I believe is true since it puts limits on how I live. The obvious one rule was sex and choice of a life partner. I realised that religion puts a very definite limit on who you can marry. So wait a minute here. It is not only the control of what I believe and think but also what another person thinks or believes which is obviously beyond my control since I cannot program another person's worldviews! Red flags started right here at this point.

 

What I believe now is that sin exists. I believe envy, murder, corruption etc etc all exist and we are all committing sins in one way or another. However, living to the standard of a Christian living is near to impossible because of its so many rules. If Christianity is true, it proves impossible to follow with these many rules! This was a contradiction for me because I genuinely tried this living and it did not work in the end! I know I tried! 

 

In fact, I do not hold anger towards Christianity (which perhaps is strange because anger is natural in case of oppression as in the cases of others in this forum). The reason I do not hold anger is because I genuinely sought for existential answers to life and I was naively committed to what I believed was true. By simple logic, I know that the truth is somewhere else because if it was true, by my genuine personal commitment in the past, the Christian God, wouldn't have left me here. If Jesus was this God as described in the Bible, He would have helped me in my sins since I asked for this specific help so many times!

 

Here is the contradiction - if I am created with sexuality, how is it that I am expecting some God to remove this from me? Obviously, we are sexual beings and we have religions telling us to oppress that unless we are married. At the same time, I am not 'allowed' to marry someone I love because he is not a Christian. So what is my choice exactly? Separate and have no sex?

Okay. Ironically, this is exactly what I did!!! I did what is so hard for a human to do, break up from someone and I totally denied myself as in the Christian description. The irony comes there that after my personal denial of the self, there was an absolute silence. Nothing. I felt no connection with a higher being or whatsoever. After many months passed, I knew I was simply one of the victims of religion. All the world religions are the same, Islam, Buddhism, Christianity..they have a closed loop of beliefs and explanations to all of the questions that are closed within this very same loop. The release comes only when one's life circumstances prove to be in contradiction within this loop and one starts to ask logical questions. The release especially comes when one has genuinely sought for answers within this system of beliefs and hasn't found them. Then one knows there is only one possible explanation - one believed a lie.

 

At present, I am at peace with myself and I do not hold resentment towards Christianity because it actually made me think deeper about life. I think as any other thing, it can be positive or negative to an individual well being. In my case, it ended up being negative. However, I believe many of the things Christianity teaches are genuinely good things like loving your neighbour as yourself, but again, these are not things that have to be taught as a set of rules, these are virtues one must seek to have if one wants to be a good person in general. I am a person who seeks to live a good life without harming others and trying to have a balanced life with no extremes like unhealthy passions (alcohol, drugs etc etc)and  I just want to have a normal life where I respect others and live in harmony. I do not need religion to live this sort of live. I do not need religion to be grateful or humble. I believe there is a God,a great designer out there but the more I am curious about this God, the less I know. Does this God even hear our prayers and why if this God is not in the world religions, doesn't answer? I simply do not know but what I know is that I want to live a good life without any manipulation games from other people. And ironically, I will end this post with a bible verse - and then the truth will set you free.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Welcome, Emma.  I am glad you found us.  I really appreciate your approach to the No True Scotsman fallacy; we hear it a lot from the christians who come to pester us in the Lion's Den here.  What they don't seem to realize is that, when we were christians, we were using the exact same evidence, standards, and criteria that they are using; and we were as certain about our salvation.  Yet, somehow, we ended us with different conclusions. 

 

I think it is also good that you have been able to hold on to some positive beliefs.  In the early days of my deconversion, I went through a period of what I call "Gestalt Pantheism."  In essence, "good" and "evil" exist because there is ultimate harmony in the world, resulting from everything having a proper place and function.  "Good" came from all of the things thstcwere in their place and doing what they should; "evil" came from things being out of place.  And the overall harmony thus created was greater than the sum of its parts; therefore it was god.

 

These ideas served to get me over the initial hurdles of leaving behind a lifetime of christianity.  As I grew my own life and came to terms with my own desires, I gave myself permission to believe other things and set my own agenda.  It seems you have crossed a lot of these hurdles already; and that's a good thing.  

 

Make yourself at home here; and if there's anything I can do for you, just holler. 

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Welcome Emma! The last section of your experience reminds me of the balance of Epicurean philosophy. I also find some value in the teachings of Jesus, kindness to the poor and to strangers, generosity, self-discipline instead of arguing over nuances of rules, and mercy. But he also had some vile teachings about lust being a horrible crime instead of a completely natural thing for all animals. Believers waste a ton of energy thinking lust is a demon, temptation, weakness, a failing to be transformed, and the church is only to happy to exploit that teaching to keep people looking for a cure, one that can never really work because it is a natural built-in drive to make more life or at least go through the motions. 

 

Anyway, welcome and I hope you find some good connections here.

 

 

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Emma,

 

I love this post. It is pin worthy I think. A couple times it felt like you were reading my mind. I imagine many of us had/have the same thoughts about the "rules" and short comings of Christianity. 

 

They have the initial hook with sin. Once a person believes the are "born sinful" for whatever idiotic Adam and Eve reason. Then they explain the punishment for that sin "hell". But lo and behold, no need to fear! Jesus loved you and took that punishment so you wouldn't have to! 

 

Ok awesome. Sounds good. So you have the "salvation experience" which is nothing more than a person falsely coming to the conclusion that they are bad and deserve this hell, even tho they have never truly wronged anyone themselves. And then mentally feeling the relief that they are no longer getting that punishment because Jesus took that away for them. This Christian mind fuck is the worst. It sets the stage for the control afterward. Because then the "rules" control comes in. 

 

Sex- no thats sin you can't do that

Popular music- no thats sin

Marriage- not with that person its a sin

Drinking- nope its sin

Watching tv- oh better take care what ya watch. Thats a sin. 

Masturbation- thats lust. Its a sin

Checking someone out that is attractive- lust again thats a sin

Secular friends- oh you don't need those people in your life. They'll lead you astray. 

In some religions the food you eat can be sin.

 

I mean the list goes on and on and on. Yet this God or Jesus can take away the sins initially but can never take away any of the natural desires for all these so called sins? Eh come on. How powerful can this guy really be then? The Bible says that he will make you a new man. So why doesn't he? Its simple. It just isn't true. We aren't "under sin". We aren't "born sinful". Yes there are bad things we can do to each other. And thats it. And it is a good rule of thumb to do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Thats just good sound wisdom. 

 

11 hours ago, Emma said:

Perhaps the closest description of my world view then is an agnostic. 

 

If you like it, you should try out the term "non-theist". I find that term describes me to a tee. Not believing in any religion per se but also believing in something. Kinda frees me up to believe whatever I want without a "label". 

 

I'm glad your part of our little community now. 

 

Dark Bishop

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Welcome!  Like you, after years of study I decided I am agnostic.  We just can't know, with the evidence we have now, how we got here, and I'm not sure we will ever know, at least in my lifetime.  It is hard for me to believe this enormous universe just "happened", but I am sure it didn't happen like the bible says it did.   It is no longer important for me to know how we came to be.  We just are.  The important thing now, is where do we go from here?  And the study of the history of gods and religions led me to believe they were all fabricated by humans.  And the Bible is so filled with contradictions and illogical stuff, it can't be inerrant. And it is no longer important that I know all the answers.

 

I think you can be a good resource here.  Most of us were born into Christianity, but you can give a different perspective.  Jump right into the swim!

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On 1/31/2021 at 2:58 AM, Emma said:

I believe there is a God,a great designer out there but the more I am curious about this God, the less I know. 

Hello Emma,

 

From what you've expressed, I'm thinking that you might find yourself to be a deist. It often gets lost in the shuffle, but if you're curious you can take a look here:

 

www.deism.com

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On 1/31/2021 at 4:58 AM, Emma said:

All the world religions are the same, Islam, Buddhism, Christianity..they have a closed loop of beliefs and explanations to all of the questions that are closed within this very same loop. The release comes only when one's life circumstances prove to be in contradiction within this loop and one starts to ask logical questions. The release especially comes when one has genuinely sought for answers within this system of beliefs and hasn't found them. Then one knows there is only one possible explanation - one believed a lie.

 

Welcome. 

 

You say you've read around here for a while. Have read where myself and others speak of "presupposing" that god exists?

 

It's the very basis of the closed loop you're referring to in the above. God isn't something that's proven, it's presupposed by these religions. It may or may not be true, but they presuppose that it is true. This creates the closed system that then loops around and around. The first presupposition leads to another, and another, and another, until an entire religion based solely on presuppositional beliefs emerges. 

 

They have to assume that a god exists. Then assume that the god must be the god of christianity. And assume that the bible is word of this god. And then assume that they're denomination or beliefs have the correct interpretation of this god and it's bible. 

 

It's one big closed loop of circular logic. 

 

If you refrain from presupposing anything and realize that you don't know or can't know the truth with certainty, then you've broken the closed loop of circular logic. I'm pointing this out in case getting completely out of the circular loop is where you're heading. 

 

 

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Hello.

 

       Well, in my version of Christianity there was never that idea of once saved always saved. That s a more specific protestant thing. In Orthodox Christianity it is considered you can be a sincere believer and then " derail". There are stories of saints doung that. 

      Also a book explained that the rules are SPECIFICALLY made to be humanly impossible so that one reaches humility and existentially understands that without God he cannot be good. That is kind of the lesson to be learned apparently. Also they were impossible because they were, many times, more like ideals, targets in a direction than things you can actually do. Like with sexuality. Totally subdue it might prove impossible but trying to control does yield better and better results. And the whole removal of sin hapoens only after the Last Judgement so I did not have THAT logical problem with sexuality.

And anyway sexuality is something, like all urges, that needs to be controlled or suffering appears ( std, unwanted pregnancy, rape, adultery, etc). Also I was very focused on the afterlife. So the fact that I had to separate from some people was to be expected. Jesus warned about thst himself. I did not expect true fulfillment in this world, I thought that desire was in itself sinful. Friendship with the world is enmity toeards God and that bunch.

        But I did run into the uncertainty problem and devised the Toith Fairy test. Replace God with the Tooth Fairy in every case and see if the logic still stands. That means it is probably a closed system structure and it functions as well with any element. It is like replacing the colour of a steering wheel. The car still works with a red one as well as with a blue one.

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As a side point. Idk, but my feeling is many people do not become or stay religious because it is true or they want to find truth. But because of emotional fulfillment. The feeling of order,  safety, somebody that loves them and will eventually punish the bad guys. A good reason to form an in group. Etc.

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7 hours ago, Mrjukes21 said:

Hey Emma what do you think about the Illuminati conspiracy theory about celebrities?

 

Please don't hijack another member's topic with something unrelated.  Feel free to start your own topic about this.

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Hi all, thanks for your replies. 

 

I have a comment about the Orthodox Christianity as someone mentioned that too. I am actually well familiar with both Orthodox and Protestant denominations. Again, this was an extra reason why the whole message failed for me.

 

Funnily, many Orthodox Christians think that Protestant Christians are not saved or not Christians at all and vice versa. Some Christians from both groups believe that the other group is still considered a 'family' but is slightly lost while misunderstanding certain aspects such as  the communion service and the conditions on salvation. Of course, each group eagerly prays for the other group to find its way back to the flock..

 

What was a big contradiction for me here was that the Orthodox church boldly claims it is the true, original church, the one ultimate truth about life. If one experiences its worship service, one quickly sees it is full of rituals, accessories and a lot of gold.

 

At one point I could not connect the dots how the big questions about the entire universe fit within the frame of these buildings.. all of them.. Orthodox, Protestant, Catholics.. the big questions about life were incompatible with the atmosphere of these traditional buildings which were essentially just buildings.. one with the excessive decorations inside, and the other one with its contrasting plain white walls and a central multimedia screen...

 

At one point it was all so apparent for me that the history, traditions and culture are the elements that determined how all of these bizarre differences in religion formed. The religion made a bold claim on something so definite while it did not present itself as anything that looks stable or unchanging. 

 

If I am to open a telescope image right now on the internet from what has been explored so far from the space and I compare this piece of information against the physical contents of these churches, how do I make a sense of the two together as an evidence of the same truth? I simply can't. One of these looks like a tiny part of a human breakthrough, a document capturing the vast universe while the other one shows a human made item such as an icon, a piano, or a Bible sitting on a bench. Yes, the telescope is a man made item too but it shows us an image of something barely explored that is truly out there. Perhaps the other items serve us in a spiritual way like a good melody played on the piano or a wisdom message about life extracted from the Bible but these are simply items to serve our other emotional or spiritual needs, they are not a scientific proof of anything. If they were such a proof, I can also write an entirely new book myself right now, create a new religion and claim likewise that it is the one and only truth about life.. I can now understand why some people say all they believe in is science (which is essentially saying they believe in an actual evidence shown so far).

Once I was a believer, I could not get their mind exactly, I thought they were simply lost, not being able to feel or understand there is a God.

 

Faith in Christianity describes itself as something that is not based on evidence (one must simply believe) and I can conclude that Christianity basically leaves you with this - just believe, follow orders and ignore the fact that this same religion is split in three other main religions where one  of them honours Mary, another one a Jesus no. 1 with its interpretations of the Bible, and the last one - a Jesus no.2 with its third set of interpretations of the whole story. Then, we also get a Jesus no.3 in islam (perhaps he is a figure in other religions too but I am not familiar) and the story goes on and on..

 

I am so tired of all of these stories and in fact, I think they prevent one from developing brain analytical skills. In other words, these stories make you stupid. I am interested to read more about philosophy now but I have a zero interest in conspiracy theories as this is just the other side of the coin of religion.

I am up for philosophy and science as these are the mediums where one explores while I conclude that the rest is just silliness and speculations. Same closed loop.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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2 hours ago, Emma said:

...

What was a big contradiction for me here was that the Orthodox church boldly claims it is the true, original church, the one ultimate truth about life. If one experiences its worship service, one quickly sees it is full of rituals, accessories and a lot of gold.

...

 

 

 

 

 

Tribalism, xenophobia and kin selection (among other similar behaviors) are prevalent in most species of life on Earth, homo sapiens included.  Sources of these behaviors are (i) genetics and (ii) memetics (akin to learned behavior).  Many (most?) human religions encourage, expect and exploit these behaviors.  Christianity, in its numerous forms, is one such religion.

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Hmm,

 

            The form of expression of Christianity is diverse, because of a long and diverse history and spread. Most of modern official Orthodox rituals are a form of worship canonized, in the late Byzantium age, with few addons. I think you can connect those dots about universe and the rituals if you think about semiotics - the study of signs. Those objects are signifiers that point to a certain meaning. In the same way, mathematics uses signifiers - numbers of letters , to refer to another meaning. Our species is a very semiotic one. Most societies discovered have developed complex cultural semiotics. So I do not see this as a problem in itself. One could probably make a dance describing the movement of atoms. 

           Also, the Orthodox church has a pronounced aesthetic and synesthetic feel - altough this was highly repudiated by early monasticism. Those rituals also have the role of transporting you in subtle trance states. 

            I do agree with you though that I have often encountered the attitude of shut, listen and obey and the heresy of filetism - exaggerated nationalism ( I mean officially declared a heresy by Orthodox councils)

      I am in a constant process of redefining the religious phenomena , indeed, the human phenomena in general. One of the things is that religion is actually such a vast thing that it is really hard to say what it does or does not at this point for me. I think it does however have to to with our extraordinary capacity for symbolic thought somehow.

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