Breaking the Matrix

Flubber
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Breaking the Matrix

Hello y'all, I am a high school freshman who has the misfortune of living in the Bible Belt.  I am trying to deconvert, but have a major roadblock that I'd like to get rid of in order to do so successfully.

When I was seven or eight years old, my grandmother took me to the book store and bought me my own bible.  It was written in simple English but it did not hold back on the delicious violence.  Excited to finally read the Bible, I went into my bedroom and started flipping pages.

I began at Genesis, and got through Adam+Eve story unscathed for the most part.  I was a bit afraid of the scary illustration of the serpent, but I read on.  Next was the story of Cain killing his brother Abel, a nice bloody story for all of the youngsters out there.  It got worse as it went on, talk of burning animal sacrifices, an evil picture of Cain, and so on until I finally got to the nitty gritty.  Cain got into a jealous fit of rage and bludgeoned his own brother.  The good book described the murder detail by detail, from the blood of Abel's that soaked the ground, to the wails of the dying boy, and it even had a nice picture of Abel as he lay dying. 

That was terrible.  I broke down in tears.  I ran straight to my mother in the next room.  I sobbed and I sobbed as my mother consoled me.  We agreed to save the book "until later".

If I had regarded that book as fiction, there would have been no further problem, but the "Bible" was really true.  That bloodshed really did happen.  God really was angry at me for someone else's errors.  I really was related to a murderer.

The seed was planted.

I lived the next three years of my life happy, continuing to see god as a sort of "Santa in the sky".  I became curious about the Bible once again and read yet another version of it.  I was mature enough not to get riled up over violence, and I simply compartmentalized it or rationalized in a way such as "the Egyptian children were all part of the bigger picture".  What really got me scared was the fact that I was going to hell, and so was my family and friends.  None of were Christian at the time.

I began to explore Christianity a bit more.  I sifted the web for answers and I prayed every night for God not to do evil and for him to reveal himself to me.  I spent weeks  obsessed with this.  It scared me. 

My anxiety was only worsened by the fundamentalist sites I read on the web who pushed the image of a sadist God, those evil bastards.  I tried to rationalize this through some of the nicer Christian denominations who said that the Bible was written by men and not literally true, but the fundamentalists had scripture, so they won.

I really did not want that God to exist, he was just so mind numbingly scary.  This whole experience brought back the bad memories of the past, a sort of root to this whole fear.

Not wanting a deity to exist, I looked to see if there really was a god.  I read "God is Imaginary" and their proofs won me, half way.

At that point, I was actually doing what the apologetics say all atheists supposedly do, which is deny god by saying he doesn't exist.

I was not a true atheist, but a sort of maltheist.

Little did I know that this my first obsessive episode.

I'd have many more episodes concerning religion among other topics throughout time.  I'd become scared that God really did exist, and what if I was secretly denying him as some of the apologetic hate sites had claimed.  I always managed to quell my fear by lying to myself (it was a lie at the time to me) and saying god didn't exist.

In the middle of my obsessive rumination of the topic, I began reading about theology.  It wasn't until a month ago that I seriously decided to find out once and for all honestly if God does or doesn't exist.

Two weeks ago, I was at true peace with the idea with the idea of my mortality and the enormity of the cosmos for the very first time.

Just a week ago, after having studied evolution a bit, that there was no creator god, no Yahweh in the sky, and I believed it, no I knew.  For the first time, I saw through the haze.  These people around me were crazy, no deluded, worshipping a mythical carpenter from 2000 years ago.  Wow! 

A day ago, I worked up the courage to ask my mother for a copy of the Bible.  I had a pit in my stomach, because until that time, I had been scared to see anything religious.  I had an aversion to holy scripture of any modern religion, chruches, and crosses.  These aversions left me as soon as I genuinely stopped believing.  I felt liberated for the first time in two years.  Free!

But, now I've run into some problems.  I am having trouble reading the Bible for no other reason than bias.  Bias for the sake of the Bible.  My subconscious has me convinced that the Bible is true and overlooks the attrocities, absurdities, and straight up BS in the Bible.

It is like an instinct not to read your own holy book in the same light as others.  I can laugh at Koran or Zend Avesta for its silly tales, but my myths are real damnit!

This leads me to my first question:  How can I read the Bible like any other book?  Picking it apart?

The thinking led my Pandora's Box of a mind led me to respawn my repressed fear of hellfire.  Let's face it, regardless of what sort of semantics the Bible and apologetics play on bastardizing morality, their God is pure evil.  For the first time in my life, I can honestly say that I'd rather go to hell than worship it.  Its just too mind-numbingly evil. 

Still, the fear of hell is one of the things that keeps me from being able to fully see Christianity as bs.

How can I stop fearing hell?

I ask my next question:  What are the best sites that refute the bible?  I want certainty.  Only once I see it as a myth, will I be able to overcome my fear.

This religion has given me two damn years of grief.  I lost two years of my childhood in fear.  I will not lose anymore.  I refuse to repress my fear or live in uncertainty.  I am confronting my anxiety and killing it.  I want out of the matrix of amorality, fear, guilt, and forced love.

I want to stop simply hating the Yahweh character and become confident that he is as real as Thor, so that I can live my life without anxiety.

I know this rant has been long-winded and melodramatic, but my only wish is to be liberated from the shackles of religion.  Thank you.


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 Well, one thing that might

 Well, one thing that might help would be to read some of the more skeptical commentary and get a good long look at some of the stuff that can't possibly be true. When you get a good dose of that in your head, that will go a long way to breaking the spell.

 

Start with the skpetic's annotated bible:

 

http://skepticsannotatedbible.com/

 

Also, there is the encyclopedia of biblical errancy. The guy who did that work was really long winded but he makes some great points.

 

Anyway, as you read those, you should come to see that the veracity of the bible is just one damned problem after another. Pretty much none of it has much merit.

 

Now, you might also want to read a few books by Bart Ehrman Phd. Start with “Misquoting Jesus” and “Lost Christianities”

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Hello Welcome Aboard.

Hello and welcome to the forum.

As a deconverted former Catholic, who had one of those deeply religious childhoods and early adulthoods I can relate to much of what your talking about.

If you get a chance at your local library or bookstore, I would definitely grab a copy of Godless by Dan Barker. The former evangelical minister who is now one of us.

Fear of hell was one of the things that kept me believing for quite some time. Here is a video of why most scientists do not fear hell and why no one else should either. :

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wbrQI0r1B7w

There are plenty of people on here that are pretty well versed in the Bible and plenty of information on these blogs that pretty much debunk the Bible as any source of information. Check out these blogs :

http://www.rationalresponders.com/silence_screams_no_contemporary_historical_accounts_quotjesus

 

http://www.rationalresponders.com/god_the_ironworker_and_why_the_freewill_defense_fails_version_2_0

 

http://www.rationalresponders.com/the_gospels_are_anonymous_works_and_none_are_eyewitness_accounts

 

And this one is where Hambydamit expressly addresses the fear of hell for new Atheists :

http://www.rationalresponders.com/escaping_threat_hell

Dan Barker's website :

http://www.ffrf.org/about/getting-acquainted/dan-barker/#org

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“It is proof of a base and low mind for one to wish to think with the masses or majority, merely because the majority is the majority. Truth does not change because it is, or is not, believed by a majority of the people.”
― Giordano Bruno


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Hey Flubber

 

Getting over this stuff is a process that takes time. I'm the child of a fundy preacher and a missionary. Growing up sucked. It took me until my late 30s to get over most the fear implanted in my first 12 years and it's been replaced with anger. Not ideal, I must admit.

You need to work on improving your thinking and then start plugging in some well proven facts. If you fall over every time some twerp says: "Well where did we come from then?" you'll never get any peace whatever. Needless to say, the answer to that question is that the process of abiogenesis is not fully understood but that life is a demonstrable natural process relying on biochemistry operating in this reality. Most the christian claims in relation to where we came from are fallacies of complexity (we can never know) or appeals to ignorance (no one's ever proven there was no god) or journeys to the outer limit of sense (if we could prove there was god he would not be god).

Once you are thinking straight, the place to start is by trying to establish what can be proven to be adequately proven to be true. Why don't you start by thinking about what knowable proof there is that this particular book is real and not just a bunch of assertions made up by some priests who got a feed every time some one threw an unblemished lamb on their BBQ, I mean altar? The bible is riddled with error, groaning with assumptions and mythology. It's one of the silliest books ever written.

The best thing you can do is stick around here and commune. You'll get advice, support, reading tips and you'll not fail to remake a position based on things that can be proved rather than ad hominem fallacies (original sin) and threats of hell (fallacies from force), all of which are classic failures of logic. There's no magic fix. You just have to strengthen your mind against the poison of religious dogma.

P.S. Gene is right - plug the Skeptics Bible into your favourites. It will change the way you perceive biblical claims. Also research the history of the bible. This will help. This book was made up by human beings who had the same amount of contact with an exo universal deity as we have today. That's right. Zero.

"Experiments are the only means of knowledge at our disposal. The rest is poetry, imagination." Max Planck


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Agree with Harley

 

I have Dan Barker's book Losing Faith and for a person coming from religion to atheism it's excellent. He presses all the buttons you are worried about.

 

 

"Experiments are the only means of knowledge at our disposal. The rest is poetry, imagination." Max Planck


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Welcome to the forum.Flubber

Welcome to the forum.

Flubber wrote:
Just a week ago, after having studied evolution a bit, that there was no creator god, no Yahweh in the sky, and I believed it, no I knew.  For the first time, I saw through the haze.  These people around me were crazy, no deluded, worshipping a mythical carpenter from 2000 years ago.  Wow!

If this happened only a week ago, then I believe what you need more than anything else now is time, in order digest your new perspective of the world. I suggest that you do not tell anyone you know about your atheism for at least another month or two, unless you know someone else who is an atheist or at least fairly open-minded. 

I recommend this article from Hamby as well: http://www.rationalresponders.com/new_atheists_really_all_there

Our revels now are ended. These our actors, | As I foretold you, were all spirits, and | Are melted into air, into thin air; | And, like the baseless fabric of this vision, | The cloud-capped towers, the gorgeous palaces, | The solemn temples, the great globe itself, - Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve, | And, like this insubstantial pageant faded, | Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff | As dreams are made on, and our little life | Is rounded with a sleep. - Shakespeare


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Flubber wrote:That was

Flubber wrote:

That was terrible.  I broke down in tears.  I ran straight to my mother in the next room.  I sobbed and I sobbed as my mother consoled me.  We agreed to save the book "until later".

If I had regarded that book as fiction, there would have been no further problem, but the "Bible" was really true.  That bloodshed really did happen.  God really was angry at me for someone else's errors.  I really was related to a murderer.

The seed was planted.

Probably one of the reasons that I despise religion and god belief so much. I can relate to those feelings and when I think about how many millions of others are filled with this type of thinking it's really deplorable what religion has done with humanity.

Flubber wrote:

[In the middle of my obsessive rumination of the topic, I began reading about theology.  It wasn't until a month ago that I seriously decided to find But, now I've run into some problems.  I am having trouble reading the Bible for no other reason than bias.  Bias for the sake of the Bible.  My subconscious has me convinced that the Bible is true and overlooks the attrocities, absurdities, and straight up BS in the Bible.

It is like an instinct not to read your own holy book in the same light as others.  I can laugh at Koran or Zend Avesta for its silly tales, but my myths are real damnit!

In truth, that is perfectly natural. The Bible was the first "Holy book" for want of a better term, that you were exposed to. It's perfectly logical that you would "feel" some type of connection to it. Had you been born in India or Iran or Japan, and had been raised in any of these three different cultures, you would not be feeling this way about the Bible. It happened to me too. I just could not fully accept that much of my life had been a complete and total lie. It took time to deconvert.

One of my earliest beginning points in deconversion that helped me, was the realization that there are thousands of sects of Christianity, none of which can agree on the "proper" way that the bible needs to be applied. It hit me that the version of christianity that I was buying into truly did not have any more validity than any of the others. The only reason that I was buying into mine was because of my original exposure to it. The Catholics were saying one thing, the Lutherans were saying another, the Baptists were saying another , the Pentecostals were saying something else, etc. All of these denominations claimed to have the monoply over the afterlife and over the will of god, all were exclusionary to all other opinions.

The more that I dwelled on this, the more I realized that all of my ideas about god came from what the priests, the experts and theologians were telling me. These people had no more clue as to what were awaiting them on the other side than I. Once I realized that, I also realized that all of the "experts" and the theologians were always and forever picking and choosing which parts of the bible to base their opinions on and ignoring the parts that did not suit their needs.

When I posed questions about the contradictions of the bible to priests and such, they always fell back on the argument that god was a mystery when confronted with something that did not conform to their belief system. They always championed "faith" as the virtue above all others. They seemed to always be so self assured that god was on their side and never appeared concerned about anyone else.

If you were to ask a Baptist, A Catholic, and a Pentecostal what you have to do to get into heaven, all would give different answers, all would claim their answers to be the only correct ones, and all would tell you the bible is very plain about this. NONE would admit that their "faith" could be in error.  Ask yourself whose claim is more authentic and why ? If you think about it, NONE of them have any real proof of what they are asserting.

Meh, you'll have alot less stress when you lose those notions of hell and those doubts in my opinion.

Grab some good books on evolution and the origins of life if you want my recommendation. Once you start seeing how much of this nonsense pales in comparison to all of the mounds of actual scientific proof out there, I think it will help you along nicely.

If the Bible and bias is bothering you too much right now, I would reccomend putting that thing on the shelf and not worrying about it.

Rest easy tonight. The god of the bible is just as fake as any other god that any culture of people invented to solve their problems. There is no hell.

 

“It is proof of a base and low mind for one to wish to think with the masses or majority, merely because the majority is the majority. Truth does not change because it is, or is not, believed by a majority of the people.”
― Giordano Bruno


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I'm glad to be free of the

I'm glad to be free of the taint of religion.

Another question I must ask concerns the "lobotomy".

People say that you are happier when you go to church and are religious and what not.  I've noticed that with both my peers and my teachers.  Classmates will randomly break into chatter about "cool" stories in the Bible and how awesome god is.  They'll go to social bible study and tell the unconverted how "god loves them"

They look happy.  They don't stop smiling.  Literally.  Its like a trance like sort of state.  No self awarness, no deep thought, nothing outside of a bubble.   It is almost as if they aren't even real people, like a deep thought hasn't passed through their minds.

It is even worse with my teachers.  All of my teachers have the preacher's voice roll.  They'll talk about God and Adam and Eve at random during class.  They'll make jokes about God, not too funny of course, or God will do things...  They look like they're in a trance also.  They don't stop smiling.  

In an extreme case.  My art teacher has an entire bulletin board dedicated to pictures of heaven and different prayers.  She has a quavering voice and literally does not stop smiling.

Oh, but if you get them angry, they don't behave like human beings.  They'll snap, start yelling, a full emotional orgasm.

This isn't to complain about my classes or cliques.  I'm curious to know, is this healthy (a preacher would say it is a sign of accepting Jesus) these people just sort of scare me, have you ever experienced this, and are they really happy (they don't even seem fully aware that they exist to me)

The voices I hear when I talk to these people are not normal.  Its like a sort of static enters my mind when I communicate with them.

It honestly does make me uncomfortable when it feels like everyone else has been lobotomized in a way. Its scary.

I'd imagine that if you believed the Bible word for word like they did, that you'd be paranoid, not in a state of lobotomized "bliss"


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Chuckle

 

Flubber wrote:

I'm glad to be free of the taint of religion.

Another question I must ask concerns the "lobotomy".

People say that you are happier when you go to church and are religious and what not.  I've noticed that with both my peers and my teachers.  Classmates will randomly break into chatter about "cool" stories in the Bible and how awesome god is.  They'll go to social bible study and tell the unconverted how "god loves them"

They look happy.  They don't stop smiling.  Literally.  Its like a trance like sort of state.  No self awarness, no deep thought, nothing outside of a bubble.   It is almost as if they aren't even real people, like a deep thought hasn't passed through their minds.

It is even worse with my teachers.  All of my teachers have the preacher's voice roll.  They'll talk about God and Adam and Eve at random during class.  They'll make jokes about God, not too funny of course, or God will do things...  They look like they're in a trance also.  They don't stop smiling.  

 

I've been to many bible camps just like this. As if everyone has been smoking tea. And they all say to each other: "Love in Him" when they go off to bed in their sandals to snuggle up in their sleeping bags with their guitars. I think the lobotomy is contrived but I also think there's a solid chance most christians are not completely human. They've never really been humbled by the universe. They face anthro god instead, who apparently longs to spend his tedious eternity listening to teenagers singing rounds of "We are Climbing Jacob's Ladder, Ladder" while the oldies sit in a circle drinking milo with sugar and talking about the sicknesses they used to have before the rapture and all the many treatments they then required.

God's future is going to suck dogs' balls. 

 

 

"Experiments are the only means of knowledge at our disposal. The rest is poetry, imagination." Max Planck


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 The matter of being happy

 The matter of being happy is kinda subjective, are they happy, or is it a front, like a group response type of idea? If one is going to follow who is happier, then buddhists tend to be the happier of the religious folks (although not all buddhists believe in a god or deities) and tend to recover from heart attacks with the lest complications on average (now if I could find that study again damn it, here is an article http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/3047291.stm but trying to find the study about heart attacks) However I know many atheists that are happy as well, and well tend to live in secular majority areas (more non religious/atheists), but I guess that also is due to the fact that they are not the minority, but the majority or at least equal to theists. 

The best example I have I guess is myself and my former best friend. After he became a born again christian, I noticed that he would claim that god/jesus made him happy and he would give all these things that he had done in the past (smoked lots of weed, blew a lot of money on strippers, etc, etc, etc) and that god made it all go away after he started to believe in jesus. The reality is that he is an OCD type of person, everything he did, he went in all in and there was no stopping him, video games, he was buying a new one every week, comic books the same if not worse, drinking until he couldn't walk, weed 3 times a day, strippers every day for 2 months straight, everything he did was over the top including the religious thing. No matter how many times I told him this was bad, and tried to help him, it was jesus that helped him, not the fact that his attention got changed from one thing to another and he focused it all on that new thing now.

We had this discussion about happiness, god and religion on night, and he claimed he was all happy now and it was blissful when he was in church. But the reality was, anytime he was discussing god/jesus, if you did not believe the same way he did, or worse was an atheist (he tried for years to convert me....never came close) he would get agitated and angry, it got to the point that he tried to get physical after a very long (7 hour) debate with me one night. The reason being I was calm and at times laughed at his points (evolution is ONLY a theory, a guess, a hypothesis). This complied with the fact that I simply wouldn't try to believe in jesus (as I retorted why doesn't he try not to believe or believe in one of many other gods), he got extremely pissed off at me and grabbed my arm, at that point I remained calm, told him what happened to the new happy man that jesus supposedly helped out to make oh so happy and blissful? He let go, I got up and just said if you can't accept me for who I am, then where not friends, and that was 8 years ago that we last talked. You see he was only happy with others that believed exactly like him. From personal experience most people are like this, but more folks that believe in religion I find to be more like this, and the more hardcore believers they are the more from one extreme to the other they swing to. 

I must say that I have been on the average a happy atheist and I have been an atheist for the majority of my life (believed as a kid but more on the santa clause level than actually believe in god). This said, i know theists that are right out miserable, as I do know atheist in the same vein. If your in the majority, everyone tends to let your beliefs be more reinforced and therefore less doubt or worry that your following the wrong belief system. That said you leaving religion behind and of course the mental state or beliefs associated with your religion can take years to overcome and get rid of, and some people never truly get over the whole hell part, not to say you can't. but be aware that this will take time, some take years if not decades to be deprogrammed regarding sin and hell. I will say I was lucky to never be part of that, I grew up with christians and jews but I never believed in and the fact that my father didn't believe (something I found out later in life, in my early 20's) probably helped out as we didn't attend church except for a special occasions, and religion wasn't really discussed, my father and mother wanted me to make up my own mind. However it seems I come from a family that does not like religion or the church, my grandmother didn't care for the church and my great grandmother straight out hated the church, to go as far as to insult priests on the street when they crossed her path....or where across the street. Again stuff I learned much later in my life (late teens early 20's)

Well that's enough of my soapbox time.

 


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Flubber wrote:I'm glad to be

Flubber wrote:

I'm glad to be free of the taint of religion.

Another question I must ask concerns the "lobotomy".

People say that you are happier when you go to church and are religious and what not.  I've noticed that with both my peers and my teachers.  Classmates will randomly break into chatter about "cool" stories in the Bible and how awesome god is.  They'll go to social bible study and tell the unconverted how "god loves them"

They look happy.  They don't stop smiling.  Literally.  Its like a trance like sort of state.  No self awarness, no deep thought, nothing outside of a bubble.   It is almost as if they aren't even real people, like a deep thought hasn't passed through their minds.

It is even worse with my teachers.  All of my teachers have the preacher's voice roll.  They'll talk about God and Adam and Eve at random during class.  They'll make jokes about God, not too funny of course, or God will do things...  They look like they're in a trance also.  They don't stop smiling.  

In an extreme case.  My art teacher has an entire bulletin board dedicated to pictures of heaven and different prayers.  She has a quavering voice and literally does not stop smiling.

Oh, but if you get them angry, they don't behave like human beings.  They'll snap, start yelling, a full emotional orgasm.

This isn't to complain about my classes or cliques.  I'm curious to know, is this healthy (a preacher would say it is a sign of accepting Jesus) these people just sort of scare me, have you ever experienced this, and are they really happy (they don't even seem fully aware that they exist to me)

The voices I hear when I talk to these people are not normal.  Its like a sort of static enters my mind when I communicate with them.

It honestly does make me uncomfortable when it feels like everyone else has been lobotomized in a way. Its scary.

I'd imagine that if you believed the Bible word for word like they did, that you'd be paranoid, not in a state of lobotomized "bliss"

Theists have often put forth the notion that god belief is somehow healthy or leads to better living. I had copies of studies bookmarked, and can't seem to find them, that pointed to the fact that this is not true at all. I remember one study that was manipulated to say that people who prayed got better in hospitals than those that didn't. The actual results were something a little bit different.

In my own personal experience growing up in the church, people often put forth the semi-maniacal feelings of happiness to be there and put up a front that Jesus was doing so much in their lives, but this was generally all show. The church was filled with people that had alcohol and drug problems, marital infidelity problems, and all the other problems that communities in general face.

There is a quote (I can not remember who once said it) that a fanatic is a person that overcompensates doubt.

Of course these people demonstrate an emotional fervor about god. They are putting their faith into something that they can not see, hear, touch or taste. They have no other way of demonstrating that something like that is even remotely real. Thus, the emotional fervor.

Group settings and rituals are known to have powerful effects on the mind, Flubber. The limbic system of the brain gets quite stimulated and gets a very distinct "connected" feeling when people gather together and do that.

People in church are feeling that, I used to feel that when the mass would chant the liturgy, sufi dancing muslims feel it, buddhist monks are feeling it during meditation.  It is no different than the type of mass enthusiasm that a crowd can get at a football game or a concert. It's the same part of the brain that is stimulated during these types of activities. There are perfectly logical explanations for why people 'FEEL" the way that they do. It does not prove anything other than the psychological stimulation of being around other people.

That type of thing can be a bad or good  thing . Look at the overzealous crowds of the Hitler rallies in the 1930's. Those people were reacting to the same part of the brain that I feel when I have front row seats to a Rolling Stones concert or people in a  bible camp can have when singing a jesus song.

The reason that you are feeling disconnected from them and often frightened by them, is because you don't share their irrational belief system so the group dynamics is not working on you.

It can be a very tough thing to be surrounded by people with the god belief when you do not have it. Many times, I had to question my sanity until I found explanations and answers.

That is one reason that I like places like this so much. It's a welcome beacon for people that have shed the god belief and are surrounded by those that are still active in their "faith".

 

 

“It is proof of a base and low mind for one to wish to think with the masses or majority, merely because the majority is the majority. Truth does not change because it is, or is not, believed by a majority of the people.”
― Giordano Bruno


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Welcome Flubber.

Flubber wrote:

I'm glad to be free of the taint of religion.

Another question I must ask concerns the "lobotomy".

People say that you are happier when you go to church and are religious and what not.  I've noticed that with both my peers and my teachers.  Classmates will randomly break into chatter about "cool" stories in the Bible and how awesome god is.  They'll go to social bible study and tell the unconverted how "god loves them"

They look happy.  They don't stop smiling.  Literally.  Its like a trance like sort of state.  No self awarness, no deep thought, nothing outside of a bubble.   It is almost as if they aren't even real people, like a deep thought hasn't passed through their minds.

It is even worse with my teachers.  All of my teachers have the preacher's voice roll.  They'll talk about God and Adam and Eve at random during class.  They'll make jokes about God, not too funny of course, or God will do things...  They look like they're in a trance also.  They don't stop smiling.  

In an extreme case.  My art teacher has an entire bulletin board dedicated to pictures of heaven and different prayers.  She has a quavering voice and literally does not stop smiling.

Oh, but if you get them angry, they don't behave like human beings.  They'll snap, start yelling, a full emotional orgasm.

This isn't to complain about my classes or cliques.  I'm curious to know, is this healthy (a preacher would say it is a sign of accepting Jesus) these people just sort of scare me, have you ever experienced this, and are they really happy (they don't even seem fully aware that they exist to me)

The voices I hear when I talk to these people are not normal.  Its like a sort of static enters my mind when I communicate with them.

It honestly does make me uncomfortable when it feels like everyone else has been lobotomized in a way. Its scary.

I'd imagine that if you believed the Bible word for word like they did, that you'd be paranoid, not in a state of lobotomized "bliss"

 

            Lobotomy is a good word for it. Brain washed and brain dry cleaned are other good words for that trance like state,  btw it is a trance. Survivors have described that same look of the faces of suicide bombers just before they set off the bomb.  Those wide-eyed wonders you describe would no doubt set off bombs in the name of jesus if some wacked out Rev ask them to.

 

 

              The only way to cure brainwashing is to get the victom to think;  This is not your job but if you can throw a question or comment their way it might help them snap out of it.   One boring method is to ask them to describe Heaven and what they are going to do there, the biblical answer is basicly 'sit there and stare at jesus --- for ever and ever and ever ---'   get them to say it on enough occassions and they will eather think or just leave you alone.  They might get inventive with an answer but it is only their invention the bible says only that you live with gods grace and worship his brat for ETERNITY.

 

 

               Tell them to go 'drink some kool-aid',  I wouldn't expect someone your age to know the reference,  but sooner or later (while thinking it over) they will ask an adult; when they get the answer they wont like you very much.   The reference is this;  A religious cult called The Peoples Temple with nearly 1000 members went off  to live in a South  American jungle. A U.S. congressman from California was investigating them,  He and his enterage were gunned down at the airport. 

 

 

              Meanwhile back at the compound the wide-eyed wonders were told Jesus  is calling them and in their trance like state they mixed cyanide with kool-aid and drank it in the largest single mass suicide in history.   Do your classmates sound like these people?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

"Very funny Scotty; now beam down our clothes."

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Thanks for the support

Thanks for the support guys!  Great answers.

@Jeffrick:  I believe that if the right charismatic con-man infiltrated their church, over half the kids in my school would gladly join a Heaven's Gate cult or kill non-believers to "love Jesus" or "do God's work".

Its really sad that the haze has this kind of effect on people.  But, I really can't blame the kids too much, they're so heavily deluded.

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

I just read Genesis, and it is the must poorly written, unscientific dribble.  How can people take this seriously.  Reading it actually makes Native American creation myths sound scientific!

I have two things that I really am curious about.

Firstly, I read "1984" a few months ago, and it really seems to relate to religion more than politics.  Big Brother loves you.  Big Brother is always watching.  Do what the invisible authority figure says.  Ignorance is strength.  Freedom is slavery.  War is peace.  2+2=5?  Do the group activities, don't ask questions.  Keep that blank smile on your face. 

Has anyone else noticed this?  I'm really surprised no one brings this up, the lesson seems to be in your face.

Secondly, every once in a while, some loony will go off about how the "Holy Spirit" spoke to her and what not.  Of course, there is no physical evidence of such an entity existing, so I am inclined to put it in the same category as demonic possession and ghosts.  Seeing as many of the posters on this forum have spent a long time in various denominations, can you explain this holy spirit thing to me.  Why do people blabber on about it?  Is it anything concrete or is it just the crazy people who talk about it?


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Hey, welcome! Just give

Hey, welcome!

 

Just give yourself time.  Keep asking questions at places like this, but more importantly just remember to be skeptical, not just about religion, but about pretty much everything.  Do that and you'll be on the road to a lot of neat knowledge.

 

 

As for the Bible, just read it from the beginning.  By the time you make it to the New Testament you'll realize what a load of shit it is.  Don't worry about apologetics just yet, that will just confuse you.  To a Christian apologist you can't just read the Bible, you have to read the Bible and a million commentaries and at least half way know Hebrew and Greek and have an (Internet) degree in ancient history before you can "really" understand what the the hell the Bible is talking about.  If the Bible is really anything mystical, it will stand on its own, right?

 

Everything makes more sense now that I've stopped believing.


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Flubber wrote:I just read

Flubber wrote:

I just read Genesis, and it is the must poorly written, unscientific dribble.  How can people take this seriously.  Reading it actually makes Native American creation myths sound scientific!

I have two things that I really am curious about.

Firstly, I read "1984" a few months ago, and it really seems to relate to religion more than politics.  Big Brother loves you.  Big Brother is always watching.  Do what the invisible authority figure says.  Ignorance is strength.  Freedom is slavery.  War is peace.  2+2=5?  Do the group activities, don't ask questions.  Keep that blank smile on your face. 

Has anyone else noticed this?  I'm really surprised no one brings this up, the lesson seems to be in your face.

Secondly, every once in a while, some loony will go off about how the "Holy Spirit" spoke to her and what not.  Of course, there is no physical evidence of such an entity existing, so I am inclined to put it in the same category as demonic possession and ghosts.  Seeing as many of the posters on this forum have spent a long time in various denominations, can you explain this holy spirit thing to me.  Why do people blabber on about it?  Is it anything concrete or is it just the crazy people who talk about it?

Well, it isn't about either really, it is about control.  Desire for control is something both religion and politics frequently share.  And yea, it is something that gets discussed fairly often, especially regarding 'memes'.

 

As for the Holy Spirit, well...some people are mentally ill, but the majority just have a random thought or feeling and because of their theistic culture they attribute it to the Holy Spirit, or angels, or a saint, or whatever.  Since they usually experience positive feedback from the community (often from a very young age) this behavior is reinforced.  The only way out of this trap is knowledge of psychology and confirmation bias combined with an attitude of skepticism that leads to questions and objective testing, both of which end up showing the reality behind these claims.

The same goes for speaking in tongues, TV preacher 'miracles', alien abductions, ghosts, etc.  Possession is a bit different because there is a non-trivial amount of mental illness involved, although a lot of it is the same.

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

 

Hmm.  Hey people, do we have a list or a stickied non-public editable post somewhere that just lays out a introductory list of forum essays/discussions and articles/books?  If we don't, we should.  People like Flubber could really use it.

Everything makes more sense now that I've stopped believing.


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Flubber wrote:I have two

Flubber wrote:
I have two things that I really am curious about.

 

Firstly, I read "1984" a few months ago, and it really seems to relate to religion more than politics. Big Brother loves you. Big Brother is always watching. Do what the invisible authority figure says. Ignorance is strength. Freedom is slavery. War is peace. 2+2=5? Do the group activities, don't ask questions. Keep that blank smile on your face.

 

Has anyone else noticed this? I'm really surprised no one brings this up, the lesson seems to be in your face.

 

Well, on that one, it is all too common that politicians will use the tactics of religion to manipulate the people in general. They may not even be aware of what they are doing. Still, it is a powerful thing and hey, who ever said that politicians would not aspire to be able to do powerful things?

 

Hitler built his nation with that tactic. Ditto Stalin and Pol Pot. North Korea has a system called Juche that holds that “dear leader” appeared unborn on a mountain top.

 

By any chance, have you seen “Apocalypse Now!”? There is some reason to suspect that the tribal religion seen at the end of that movie may have been the work of a CIA spook by the name of Tony Poe.

 

Past that, do you really think that we are not seeing the same damned thing playing out today with the religious right? Politicians are courting that voting segment. The fact is that politicians go for whomever they think will vote for them and it is little different from courting the black/latino/gay voting segments. Whatever gets the votes is what matters.

 

Does someone who id daft as a brush like W. or Palin actually believe that stuff? In those cases, the probability is fairly high but there are probably many politicians who don't buy into the specific ideas so much as they are shopping for votes.

 

Flubber wrote:
Secondly, every once in a while, some loony will go off about how the "Holy Spirit" spoke to her and what not. Of course, there is no physical evidence of such an entity existing, so I am inclined to put it in the same category as demonic possession and ghosts. Seeing as many of the posters on this forum have spent a long time in various denominations, can you explain this holy spirit thing to me. Why do people blabber on about it? Is it anything concrete or is it just the crazy people who talk about it?

 

Well, I am not sure what the definition of “crazy” would be here. Still, I have no problem with the idea that lots of people have delusions that they are able to see crap that other people can't see.

 

I know that I spent several weeks in my 20's as a baptist fundie. During that time, I thought that I had some sort of power to know right from wrong. One bit that I remember from that time was that before I got into it, I would “look at a woman with lust in the eyes”. During that time, I somehow got into the frame of mind where I could look at a woman and acknowledge that she was easy on the eyes, without thinking about getting into her pants.

 

So if it is possible to completely short circuit normal sexual response, then how hard is it to think that you have met with the holy ghost?

 

Let me leave you with a bit that I got from some guy in the Hell's Angels:

 

He's so neat, He's so cool,

He just walked 'cross my swimming pool.

 

Has anybody seen JC?

 

Palestine, So divine,

Changes water into wine.

 

Has anybody seen JC?

 

Now if you run into

A five foot Jew

Covered with thorns

 

Changin' wine...

Changin' bread...

Raisin' people from the dead...

 

Virgin Mary, she's the most,

She got laid by the holy ghost,

 

Has anybody seen JC?

 

 

NoMoreCrazyPeople wrote:
Never ever did I say enything about free, I said "free."

=


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Flubber wrote:Firstly, I

Flubber wrote:
Firstly, I read "1984" a few months ago, and it really seems to relate to religion more than politics.  Big Brother loves you.  Big Brother is always watching.  Do what the invisible authority figure says.  Ignorance is strength.  Freedom is slavery.  War is peace.  2+2=5?  Do the group activities, don't ask questions.  Keep that blank smile on your face. 

Has anyone else noticed this?  I'm really surprised no one brings this up, the lesson seems to be in your face.

I've definitely noticed it.

Personally though, I don't think George Orwell was really addressing organized religions like Christianity. But, it is a about a totalitarian state and the control by and worship of such governments is very much like a centralized religion. 

 

Our revels now are ended. These our actors, | As I foretold you, were all spirits, and | Are melted into air, into thin air; | And, like the baseless fabric of this vision, | The cloud-capped towers, the gorgeous palaces, | The solemn temples, the great globe itself, - Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve, | And, like this insubstantial pageant faded, | Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff | As dreams are made on, and our little life | Is rounded with a sleep. - Shakespeare


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As was already recommended

As was already recommended here, Skeptic's Annotated Bible is a wonderful online resource to get rid of religious sentiment and attachment to the text. There are these handy markers and comments for every absurd or violent verse that will wake up your front brain lobe, every time you get into faith hypnosis during reading.

Many non-religious philosophers and mystics confirmed, that it is possible to achieve happiness and bliss without climbing deity's ass or becoming a borg drone. I don't mean only the secular star-gazers, wonderers and wonderists, who look upon external beauty around. For example, I don't worship anything, and even my understanding of God is just a philosophic idea based on fundamental laws of physics. But I independently achieved exactly what Christians claim for themselves. I experienced bliss, love, the feeling of being loved and watched for, and many other wonderful states of consciousness. These feelings exist within us naturally and we can awaken them through non-religious means, through a path individual to every type of personality. This is a reality of internal happiness, independent on lack or abundance of external resources. I have once been in rather bad job, the body suffered, but the heart jumped with ecstasy. Search within your consciousness if you discover the same thing.
I don't say it works all the time, but often enough to live a decent life. Hours, days, weeks, who would count it...

Dunno how your fear from hell is going (away). Maybe it will help, my information is, that the concept of hell is merely a copy of greek Tartaros, that was edited into Bible some time in 6th century. The real Jews in the time and place of Biblic descriptions were strongly influenced by mystical sects like Essenes, Saducees and Pharisees. These mystical sects often believed not in hell and heaven, but reincarnation. There are remains of quotes in Bible which suggest, that even Jesus himself (or those who created his character) was acquainted with the idea of reincarnation, just like his disciples and people who lived there. It probably came there with the traders farther from the east.
Furthermore besides certain Christian saints (Origen) and Jewish mystics, also certain muslim saints, buddhists, hindus, all believe in reincarnation. This idea is not proven, but it's much more original, just and logical than hell and is or was a part of every greater world's religion. I believe that hell is a lie for scaring people. Nobody right in their mind will believe it, this is why children must be indoctrinated when they don't yet have developed critical thinking.

Hell does not give any sense, every person going to hell - almost all of them, if not all, is a proof of God's failure to design an efficient soul-saving system. On the other hand, reincarnation would eventually save everyone. If you look at "creation" through Christian eye, you will see, that it is pretty complex and therefore could not be "created" by the stupid and psychopathic god of Bible, or any other barbaric god of barbarians. Therefore, you're safe from every hell made up by every single exclusive hell-having religion there ever was.

 

But not only reading will help you to laugh at dogma. I really RECOMMEND the Youtube channels of DarkMatter2525 and NonStampCollector, they ridicule Yahweh and some other gods and faiths like gods of ridicule themselves. Well, DarkMatter2525 is more about ridiculing, NST rather shows the absurdity of religion like a kid saying "emperor is naked." I think this audio-visual spectacle will be even better against the fear of hell than just reading. If you associate DM2525's Yahweh animated character with Bible, you will laugh instead of fearing when you read it Smiling They're both really great, I love their work. Then in my subscriptions there is QualiaSoup, but his videos are more intellectual, rather animated academic lectures than religious satire.


I regret that their videos are not dubbed in my language, because all these christians around me don't understand english.

Beings who deserve worship don't demand it. Beings who demand worship don't deserve it.


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Flubber wrote:Firstly, I

Flubber wrote:

Firstly, I read "1984" a few months ago, and it really seems to relate to religion more than politics.  Big Brother loves you.  Big Brother is always watching.  Do what the invisible authority figure says.  Ignorance is strength.  Freedom is slavery.  War is peace.  2+2=5?  Do the group activities, don't ask questions.  Keep that blank smile on your face. 

Has anyone else noticed this?  I'm really surprised no one brings this up, the lesson seems to be in your face.

Right on !

Writer George Orwell, (one of my favorite writers ) once made the statement that all totalitarian regimes were theocratic in nature.

To which theists always wish to rebut with statements like "WAIT A MINUTE ! HITLER/STALIN ! THOSE ARE ATHEIST REGIMES ! " Nonsense.

First off, Hitler's Mein Kampf includes the word God in his dedication. Hitler had every officer swear loyalty and duty to both god and the fatherland. Hitler was known to mention that Jesus was one of the first people to attack the jews and therefore the first freedom fighter. I can provide some links and info to back that one up if need be. Alot of theists will also try to point to Darwinism and try to claim that Hitler championed Darwinism, therefore Darwinism=Fascism. More nonsense. Darwin, Nietzsche and alot of the names that have been distorted and twisted to fascism were not fascists or racists. Nietzsche renounced Anti-Semitism. Darwin pointed to the absurdity of racism. Theists will often try this on you when mentioning Hitler.

As far as Stalin is concerned. Stalin was not interested in destroying private worship. Stalin WAS interested in usurping all control and pointing it in his directions. For instance, peasants were known to ask Stalin to bless the crops, people were known to try and touch Stalin so that he may bring some sort of healing properties to them. Stalin was taking the type of mentality that is fueled by religion and using it for his own ends. He was replacing himself with a type of religiousity.

Thus, the reason why Orwell stated that all dictatorships are theocratic in nature. Two examples, but the ones that theists will throw at you most often when trying to make a case that Atheism in politics = Dictatorship. I always point out to them the studies that show the high rate of agnostics/atheists/non-religious in many European and Asian countries that are known to be hospitable to people, have very humane practices and lower crime rates. The United States is just a bit of an anomaly on religion. We were a nation that got founded by overzealous people that wished to leave the Christendom of Europe behind and practice their religion here. Which is one of the reasons why possibly, the presence of so much religion is apparent here.

So yes, your correct, Orwell was very critical of religion, totalitarianism and fanaticism.

Flubber wrote:

Secondly, every once in a while, some loony will go off about how the "Holy Spirit" spoke to her and what not.  Of course, there is no physical evidence of such an entity existing, so I am inclined to put it in the same category as demonic possession and ghosts.  Seeing as many of the posters on this forum have spent a long time in various denominations, can you explain this holy spirit thing to me.  Why do people blabber on about it?  Is it anything concrete or is it just the crazy people who talk about it?

This is not a peculiar trait to only the Christian religion. It is in fact present in every culture and religion. Cultures that are known to don masks and attempt to call a deity down into themselves. Cultures where gods/goddesses are allowed to take over followers bodies to experience earthly religions. Shamanism in native American cultures being a good case in point of these types of activities.

Comically enough, Christian sects are often divided on the speaking of tongues. To give you an example, here is one Christian trying to refute speaking in tongues cause it is "not Christian" . Guess how he comes to that conclusion ? The Bible, hehehe.

http://www.pbc.org/files/messages/5866/0043.html

LOL. Now, if you don't mind some really bizarre sound recordings and music meant to "frighten you to Jesus" check out this bunch of Christian nutcases that claim that tongue speaking is "EVIL",

http://www.jesus-is-savior.com/False%20Doctrines/Speaking%20in%20Tongues/demonic.htm

If I had to venture a guess, it is the same type of mentality that gets people swept away in that large crowd psychology that I was pointing out earlier. Kinda like people that can go to a Marilyn Manson concert, jump over into the mosh pit and get beaten up, but are so wired that they will not feel it until the next day. Notice the similiarity in tongue speaking and how the preacher always does it on cue. Notice the way the people who usually "get the gift" are caught up in the fervor of all the music and the shouting.

The mind has immense capability of tricking itself and succumbing to all sorts of things. I'll see if I can find some more information about this for you.

For more information about it, you can look at this on Wikipedia. (Note, this is wikipedia and some of the info that you find on there might not be that accurate. I have found some misinformation and mistakes on Wiki more than once) It is called glossolalia.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glossolalia

Again, to demonstrate how divisive and unagreeable that Christianity is, even the Pentecostals fight with each other over what "TRUE" speaking in tongues even is.

 

“It is proof of a base and low mind for one to wish to think with the masses or majority, merely because the majority is the majority. Truth does not change because it is, or is not, believed by a majority of the people.”
― Giordano Bruno


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harleysportster wrote:Hello

harleysportster wrote:

Hello and welcome to the forum.

As a deconverted former Catholic, who had one of those deeply religious childhoods and early adulthoods I can relate to much of what your talking about.

If you get a chance at your local library or bookstore, I would definitely grab a copy of Godless by Dan Barker. The former evangelical minister who is now one of us.

Fear of hell was one of the things that kept me believing for quite some time. Here is a video of why most scientists do not fear hell and why no one else should either. :

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wbrQI0r1B7w

There are plenty of people on here that are pretty well versed in the Bible and plenty of information on these blogs that pretty much debunk the Bible as any source of information. Check out these blogs :

http://www.rationalresponders.com/silence_screams_no_contemporary_historical_accounts_quotjesus

 

http://www.rationalresponders.com/god_the_ironworker_and_why_the_freewill_defense_fails_version_2_0

 

http://www.rationalresponders.com/the_gospels_are_anonymous_works_and_none_are_eyewitness_accounts

 

And this one is where Hambydamit expressly addresses the fear of hell for new Atheists :

http://www.rationalresponders.com/escaping_threat_hell

Dan Barker's website :

http://www.ffrf.org/about/getting-acquainted/dan-barker/#org

 

good links, thank you.

"Don't seek these laws to understand. Only the mad can comprehend..." -- George Cosbuc


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This is just a quick reply,

This is just a quick reply, as I have to head out soon. I'll check up on this thread later.

First: Congratulations on gaining freedom of thought! Pat yourself on the back, you deserve it. No joke.

The first link is an illustrated book of Genesis by famous illustrator Robert Crumb (http://www.amazon.com/Book-Genesis-Illustrated-R-Crumb/dp/0393061027 ). I guarantee it will do the *exact opposite* of what your kiddy bible did. It will show the exact same violence and depravity, but it will show you just how absurd it really all is, and how the book was clearly written by deranged, psychotic, religious demagogues.

Flubber wrote:

I was not a true atheist, but a sort of maltheist.

Cool word. Never heard that one before.

You speak of your anxieties and obsessive episodes. First, don't be afraid to bring up these issues with your doctor. The brain is an organ just like any other. It's allowed to get sick too, and there's nothing shameful in that!

Along those lines, read The Mind of the Bible Believer, to learn how the Bible literally makes people crazy: http://www.amazon.com/Mind-Bible-Believer-Edmund-Cohen/dp/0879754958

Also, read Why I Became an Atheist, by former fundamentalist John Loftus: http://www.amazon.com/Why-Became-Atheist-Preacher-Christianity/dp/1591025923

His blog/site: http://debunkingchristianity.blogspot.com/

Quote:
How can I stop fearing hell?

Watch these!:

Gotta go! Good luck!

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 We each find our unique

 We each find our unique way to a conclusion, the path there is always different in my experience and the conclusion is different also.  I grew up in an atheist society, started reading theoretical physics and theology at a young age and sort of 'thought' myself into some sort of theistic approach to life similar to Luminon's.  In my mid teens my family immigrated to Canada.  It took me over a year to become fluent enough in English and then started reading more into it with better material available.  I guess I was lucky not to deal with the sort of baggage that you're dealing with.  I read Greek mythology before I read the bible so I took all that information at face value, namely, a story.  I mentioned this in an earlier post but if I had to point at ONE thing that helped me see the absurdity more then anything else, it would have to be the poem 'Self Pity' by D.H Lawrence.  

Quote:
 

I never saw a wild thing

sorry for itself.

A small bird will drop frozen dead from a bough

without ever having felt sorry for itself.

To me, it hints at how self centered we are as humans.  The last bastion against rationality was my own self importance.  Once you realize you're no more special then anyone else around you it becomes a lot easier to accept everything else that goes with it.  From there I was free to approach my own sense of morality.  I don't want to bore you any longer but my point is, it will be different for you than anyone else, and it will take time. You can be 'talked' into theism because it appeals to your emotional self.  You can't be 'talked' into atheism, you have to rationalize it for yourself. 

The fact that you're questioning is 80% of the battle, good luck on your path no matter where it takes you and welcome to the forum.

 

"Don't seek these laws to understand. Only the mad can comprehend..." -- George Cosbuc


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Science saved my soul

 

Is the best...despite that gooey, triumphant music at the end...

"Experiments are the only means of knowledge at our disposal. The rest is poetry, imagination." Max Planck


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Two Qs

I read some of the links I was provided, and I really enjoyed them.  I also enjoyed the DarkMatter videos.  Thanks for all of the input, I'm glad that I finally started exploring.

A question or two though.  I've heard this fact (or not) mentioned as a proof for the bible and creationism.  Why are there so many different flood stories that seem to share a common theme?

www.talkorigins.org/faqs/flood-myths.html

Also, why is it that the best that the Christian websites can come up with to prove their fairy tales is "magic" and "God is all powerful, he can do anything.  Our mortal minds are not created to understand his ways."  How is this fair?  This sounds like a cop out to me.


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Flubber wrote:I read some of

Flubber wrote:

I read some of the links I was provided, and I really enjoyed them.  I also enjoyed the DarkMatter videos.  Thanks for all of the input, I'm glad that I finally started exploring.

A question or two though.  I've heard this fact (or not) mentioned as a proof for the bible and creationism.  Why are there so many different flood stories that seem to share a common theme?

www.talkorigins.org/faqs/flood-myths.html

Also, why is it that the best that the Christian websites can come up with to prove their fairy tales is "magic" and "God is all powerful, he can do anything.  Our mortal minds are not created to understand his ways."  How is this fair?  This sounds like a cop out to me.

Well, most humans live near water sources or in valleys where there are flood plains.  They are resource rich areas.  If you're a bronze age goat herder and you see a hurricane, you might be tempted to call it the wrath of God.  If nature is 'random' then you are powerless, and that is the scariest thing of all.  So you come up with a reason...we didn't do the right sacrifice, we had sex with the wrong person, we should go kill those people, we should change the way we act, etc.

 

In areas with lots of volcanic activity, you get lots of volcano related mythology.

 

So, environmental.  A big part of religion is using it as a placeholder to explain things we don't understand.  It stands to reason that common and ill-understood and scary events frequently pop up in religion.  Lighting, floods, eruptions, earthquakes, disease, war, death, mystical experiences, mental illness, etc.

 

You don't usually see, "And lo, the earth shaketh, but it was just a tremor and people went about their lives." or "Lo, we slaughtered their tribe because of a trade dispute concerning figs."

Everything makes more sense now that I've stopped believing.


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mellestad wrote:You don't

mellestad wrote:
You don't usually see, "And lo, the earth shaketh, but it was just a tremor and people went about their lives." or "Lo, we slaughtered their tribe because of a trade dispute concerning figs."

Lmao. 

 

Our revels now are ended. These our actors, | As I foretold you, were all spirits, and | Are melted into air, into thin air; | And, like the baseless fabric of this vision, | The cloud-capped towers, the gorgeous palaces, | The solemn temples, the great globe itself, - Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve, | And, like this insubstantial pageant faded, | Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff | As dreams are made on, and our little life | Is rounded with a sleep. - Shakespeare


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Flubber wrote:Also, why is

Flubber wrote:

Also, why is it that the best that the Christian websites can come up with to prove their fairy tales is "magic" and "God is all powerful, he can do anything.  Our mortal minds are not created to understand his ways."  How is this fair?  This sounds like a cop out to me.

Ah, an attempt at a cop out on the part of theists when they do that. A total contradiction that is easily refuted. Here's some good examples :

When theists tell me : God is outside of our own minds, their is no way that we can know him.

I answer : Then how is it that you know so much about him if he is outside our minds ?

Theists will say : God is above logic, therefore you can not use logic to question god.

I answer : Yet, you try to use logic to explain your god to me and when you can not , you fall back on the mystery statement. That is when I tell them to describe one aspect of their god that is above their own logic that they do not know about.

Theists will often say things like : But who can truly know the mind of god ?

I answer : That's funny, since your trying to tell me everything that god thinks about. It's funny how god's thoughts are identical to your own. Sure your not just making this up ?

Theists will usually begin alot of statements with : "Well god wants us to ---,".

I ask them : You agree that god is a mystery, god is above logic, god is above our understanding, so how do you know what he wants from us ?

Here is a really comical way of demonstrating that Noah's Ark is nothing but a myth : 

 

 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I225Vcs3X0g

 

And here is the creationist's worst nightmare. His computer screen name is AronRa (This guy is great at overturning everything the creationists say):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XpeHrkbx9LU

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZFrkjEgUDZA&feature=related

 

 

 

 

“It is proof of a base and low mind for one to wish to think with the masses or majority, merely because the majority is the majority. Truth does not change because it is, or is not, believed by a majority of the people.”
― Giordano Bruno


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Flubber wrote:I read some of

Flubber wrote:

I read some of the links I was provided, and I really enjoyed them.  I also enjoyed the DarkMatter videos.  Thanks for all of the input, I'm glad that I finally started exploring.

A question or two though.  I've heard this fact (or not) mentioned as a proof for the bible and creationism.  Why are there so many different flood stories that seem to share a common theme?

www.talkorigins.org/faqs/flood-myths.html

Also, why is it that the best that the Christian websites can come up with to prove their fairy tales is "magic" and "God is all powerful, he can do anything.  Our mortal minds are not created to understand his ways."  How is this fair?  This sounds like a cop out to me.

 

The Egyptians don't have a global flood story and no record of anything like one in the tax records archeologists have found.  Neither do the Chinese.  And both of those civilizations had written records during the supposed flood time of the bible.

There were massive floods in the Pacific Northwest where I now live.  See

http://www.glaciallakemissoula.org/

There was more than one flood.  None of them covered all of Washington or Oregon state, just what is now called "channeled scablands".  The last one was towards the end of the last ice age - about 12,000 years ago.  If you look at the pictures, you can see that there is a distinct difference between the flooded areas and what we would consider normal areas.  None of the scablands look anything like the Grand Canyon in Arizona.

When I point these facts out to most creationists who try to get me to buy into the Noah flood, they go away and don't pester me anymore.

 

-- I feel so much better since I stopped trying to believe.

"We are entitled to our own opinions. We're not entitled to our own facts"- Al Franken

"If death isn't sweet oblivion, I will be severely disappointed" - Ruth M.


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harleysportster

harleysportster wrote:

Theists will often say things like : But who can truly know the mind of god ?

I answer : That's funny, since your trying to tell me everything that god thinks about. It's funny how god's thoughts are identical to your own. Sure your not just making this up ?

 

Harley, Harley, Harley.  Of course they know god's mind - he tweets them twice a day. 

 

-- I feel so much better since I stopped trying to believe.

"We are entitled to our own opinions. We're not entitled to our own facts"- Al Franken

"If death isn't sweet oblivion, I will be severely disappointed" - Ruth M.


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cj wrote: Harley, Harley,

cj wrote:

 

Harley, Harley, Harley.  Of course they know god's mind - he tweets them twice a day. 

 

Haha. I forgot god has twitter and facebook accounts these days. It must be why I was having that problem with spam in the yahoo account for  a bit. God was punishing me via the electronic computer waves.

“It is proof of a base and low mind for one to wish to think with the masses or majority, merely because the majority is the majority. Truth does not change because it is, or is not, believed by a majority of the people.”
― Giordano Bruno


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Ah, so the flood myths were

Ah, so the flood myths were nothing original, kay.

I have two last questions to ask, and then I'll be on my way exploring the essays, videos, and SAB.

Firstly, how do I go about reading the Bible.  The default mindset for me is to believe everything in it is true, because, well, the Bible says so.  Any errors or stuff suspiciously human like is rationalized or ignored.  The Power of Faith.

The mindset I force myself into is to act as though I'm not reading a real holy book, but a myth, like a Native American myth (in fact, the Creation story reads so much like a Native American creation myth, that I can't even rationalize it if I tried).  This makes the Bible so much more understandable.  Knowing that it was written by ignorant little brown men and not the Almighty.  Is this the right mindset, or do I need to apply more or less faith?  (Christians always say that people who read the bible and don't believe simply have not opened their hearts to dah Lawdy.  This sounds a lot like "you're not reading it right unless you force yourself to believe it.  It only sounds true once you think its true.  Have you ever heard this?)

My second question is, how do I rid myself of naivety/irrational thoughts?  I've never had a concrete, scientific mind.  I didn't dissect the Santa myth when I was six, I kept believing until I was told otherwise.  I thought pro wrestling was real even when I heard wrestlers themselves say it was scripted (It was real, just kept underground so the authorities and government wouldn't suspect anything, if course.)  How can I adjust my mindset to a more rational one and get rid of cognitive biases?  I honestly believe that I'd give credence to snake handlers and faith healers if I hadn't done research (in fact, my mind still wants to default to believing in these, so my logical mind has to overrule the whole process)  It really is frustrating when your subconscious tells you one thing and cognitive biases feed it, yet your logical mind is screaming.  Is the key in more education?  Conscious thought control?  Meditation?


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cj wrote:There were massive

cj wrote:

There were massive floods in the Pacific Northwest where I now live.  See

http://www.glaciallakemissoula.org/

There was more than one flood.  None of them covered all of Washington or Oregon state, just what is now called "channeled scablands".  The last one was towards the end of the last ice age - about 12,000 years ago.  If you look at the pictures, you can see that there is a distinct difference between the flooded areas and what we would consider normal areas.  None of the scablands look anything like the Grand Canyon in Arizona.

When I point these facts out to most creationists who try to get me to buy into the Noah flood, they go away and don't pester me anymore.

I can hardly believe the coincidence, but today I picked one older issue of the podcast Skeptic's Guide to the universe, and this is exactly what they were talking about. Change of climate caused huge flood over Canada and northern America that swept a lot of sweet water into Atlantic. (edit: Pacific, I mean) That changed salinity of water, stopped Gulf stream and brought ice age upon Europe. The rest is history.

 

Beings who deserve worship don't demand it. Beings who demand worship don't deserve it.


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Flubber wrote:Ah, so the

Flubber wrote:

Ah, so the flood myths were nothing original, kay.

I have two last questions to ask, and then I'll be on my way exploring the essays, videos, and SAB.

Firstly, how do I go about reading the Bible.  The default mindset for me is to believe everything in it is true, because, well, the Bible says so.  Any errors or stuff suspiciously human like is rationalized or ignored.  The Power of Faith.

The mindset I force myself into is to act as though I'm not reading a real holy book, but a myth, like a Native American myth (in fact, the Creation story reads so much like a Native American creation myth, that I can't even rationalize it if I tried).  This makes the Bible so much more understandable.  Knowing that it was written by ignorant little brown men and not the Almighty.  Is this the right mindset, or do I need to apply more or less faith?  (Christians always say that people who read the bible and don't believe simply have not opened their hearts to dah Lawdy.  This sounds a lot like "you're not reading it right unless you force yourself to believe it.  It only sounds true once you think its true.  Have you ever heard this?)

My second question is, how do I rid myself of naivety/irrational thoughts?  I've never had a concrete, scientific mind.  I didn't dissect the Santa myth when I was six, I kept believing until I was told otherwise.  I thought pro wrestling was real even when I heard wrestlers themselves say it was scripted (It was real, just kept underground so the authorities and government wouldn't suspect anything, if course.)  How can I adjust my mindset to a more rational one and get rid of cognitive biases?  I honestly believe that I'd give credence to snake handlers and faith healers if I hadn't done research (in fact, my mind still wants to default to believing in these, so my logical mind has to overrule the whole process)  It really is frustrating when your subconscious tells you one thing and cognitive biases feed it, yet your logical mind is screaming.  Is the key in more education?  Conscious thought control?  Meditation?

 

Practice...that is the answer to both questions.  Read another holy book while reading the Bible, heck, read all of them, one section at a time and alternate.  You'll quickly see they can't all be right.  For a real trip, read some good sci-fi while you read the Bible and see how much better it could have been Laughing out loud

The same for your second question.  Being rational is about hard work, it is about learning the concepts of logic, rationality and the scientific method and then *consciously* making an effort to apply them.  Try to be skeptical, to ask questions, to find answers.  The more you learn and the more you apply these methods the more natural it will be for you.

The nice thing is now it is so much easier...you-tube, libraries everywhere, the Internet...you can find answers for just about any question in your head.

Everything makes more sense now that I've stopped believing.


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There's very little doubt that

Flubber wrote:

Ah, so the flood myths were nothing original, kay.

that the flood story was lifted from the Epic of Gilgamesh, a Sumerian epic poem that dates to about 2500BC. All the key points are parallel.

Just for your info, Flubber, the hydrosphere of the planet is constant and has not varied since the formation of the earth. And if 12km of water had been added across the entire surface of the planet it would have increased the mass of the earth and pulled us out of our current orbit.

Then there's the silliness fact. Noah's boat would have been the largest wooden ship ever built by 100 feet. The reason wooden ships are restricted to about 350 feet is that when they get beyond this point they do not have the longitudinal strength to withstand forces called wracking and hogging that occur when a vessel lies between swell crests. Both these forces cause them to snap in half. Ships only got beyond 350 feet when they were built of iron.

And noah's boat only had one window and it was 18 inches square. The bible scholars did not know about methane so they would not have realised that bovines produce it in vast quantities and by the end of the first day the ark would have exploded in a huge fireball when Mrs Noah tried to light a fire to make Noah's scrambled eggs.

Stupidly, the bible writer thought there were only a few hundred species. In fact about 2 million are known and it's estimated that 75 per cent of the planet's species have still not been recorded. We discover 15,000 new species every year.

Then there's the fact Noah was the only good man on earth yet he failed to take his neighbours with him when the rain started falling. When they begged for help he ignored them. Noah then, was morally inconsistent, just like the rest of the bible.

The best character in the bible was doubting thomas and the fact the 'creator of the universe' allegedly singled out the bible's only empiricist for a special dressing down underscores the nature of the entire enterprise.

Flubber, the bible is full of shit. It is a morass of silly assertions backed up by accusations of human stupidity and threats of violence if we do not except arguments for which there is simply no support.

Simply put, the bible tells you that your questions are sent from satan, you are too evil to understand, you deserved to die when born and god plans to burn you alive when you die.  That's the logic of the bible message. How does it sound to you now?

 

"Experiments are the only means of knowledge at our disposal. The rest is poetry, imagination." Max Planck


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Easy, Devil made all the

Easy, Devil made all the other flood stories.  The cows were magic.  The boat was magic.  There were only a few species back then.  God held the earth in place and broke laws of reality for flood. 

I see what you're getting at.  It has so many holes it isn't even funny.  If the all-knowing higher power can't create a book that is easily verifiable and understandable, he's a moron.


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Flubber wrote:The mindset I

Flubber wrote:
The mindset I force myself into is to act as though I'm not reading a real holy book, but a myth, like a Native American myth (in fact, the Creation story reads so much like a Native American creation myth, that I can't even rationalize it if I tried).  This makes the Bible so much more understandable.  Knowing that it was written by ignorant little brown men and not the Almighty.  Is this the right mindset, or do I need to apply more or less faith?

Is it the right mindset?

Christians assume that everything the book says is true, dogmatically, even if they haven't even read it yet. That is clearly wrong. So, if we assume that everything the book says is false before we even read it, isn't that also bad? If we do that, we're also in danger of interpreting the book to meet our biases, just like the religious. So, instead of treating it as a myth right off the bat, perhaps we can pretend like someone just gave this book to us, and we don't know what it is and have never heard of it before. In my opinion, that is the best to read it; a very honest, ignorant, open-minded reading.

As an example, see Genesis 1:1-2, "1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. 2 Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters."

Immediately, a multitude of questions might be asked. If this is supposed to be non-fiction, how do we know it actually happened? Who is God? How do we know he created the heavens and the Earth? How did he create those things? Didn't the Earth form from the accretion disc left by the sun? What is the heavens? What does formless and empty mean? Etc. 

Flubber wrote:
(Christians always say that people who read the bible and don't believe simply have not opened their hearts to dah Lawdy.  This sounds a lot like "you're not reading it right unless you force yourself to believe it.  It only sounds true once you think its true.  Have you ever heard this?)

Over and over and over and over and over again. Exactly, all it means is that there isn't any way of justifying it unless you already assume it to be true. Of course, they would never say that way because it is too honest and sounds too bad. They resort to ambiguous, euphemistic metaphors like "didn't open your heart" or "didn't read it with the Spirit of God."   

Our revels now are ended. These our actors, | As I foretold you, were all spirits, and | Are melted into air, into thin air; | And, like the baseless fabric of this vision, | The cloud-capped towers, the gorgeous palaces, | The solemn temples, the great globe itself, - Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve, | And, like this insubstantial pageant faded, | Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff | As dreams are made on, and our little life | Is rounded with a sleep. - Shakespeare


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Yes

 

butterbattle wrote:

They resort to ambiguous, euphemistic metaphors like "didn't open your heart" or "didn't read it with the Spirit of God." 

 

And when you've finally awakened your rational mind, they'll say: "Oh, you were obviously never a real christian".

"Experiments are the only means of knowledge at our disposal. The rest is poetry, imagination." Max Planck


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Welcome Flubber

 I am an former minister as my name says. At your age I was turning deeper into religion and it was largely due to the many fears you speak of. For me it has been a long journey out of the dark ages (named  for when Christianity ruled). If you track my posts here you can see I still am dealing with a residual. I would say for about 15 years I could not read the Bible because it had been so colored for me. It was about that long I was a Christian. Perhaps it takes as many years to undo the delusion as it took to install it, just anecdotally. I had been told what the good book said and couldn't seem to see anything else. For you maybe it is just fine to let it lay and stack a Dawkins or Jerry Coyne book on top. I would have gotten smacked if I put a book on top of the Bible when I was a kid. It might be good for you think about other things, focusing on real science is always worth it.

To undo the damage I focused on myself because fundamental Christianity is all about shame. Did therapy and other things and came to accept that I wasn't this horrible person the Bible told me I was. The book is binary. God is perfectly good and the humans he created are totally bad. How does that not reflect on the designer/creator? I found I cannot maintain a friendship with someone who is always right and I am always wrong. If I do it is one sick relationship and I have had my share. 

Last year I started a blog. I started finding youtube videos on religion and science that interested me. At times I would post about them and also write my own stuff. I have found this quite useful. A few months ago I bought an audio of the NIV Bible. I listen to it when I drive and write notes on a pad of paper regarding things that stand out to me. The audio version is better than reading it for me currently. I get a broader view and hear the sickness of it. I have more notes now that I can ever post on.  As you read the Bible think about what if this god was my real dad and he did these things to me. If I did something he said not to do would he throw me out of the house, hid himself and allow/cause all kinds of calamity making my life a living hell. He sent me a note and told me he really loved me. What person wouldn't find that revolting? Telling it in a human to human relationship makes it quite clear this god is sick and was made up by sick humans, primitive desert people (like people who see UFOs)

One comedian who was really helpful for me was George Carlin. It might have been the first thing I allowed in to doubt religion. Here is a classic.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MeSSwKffj9o

 

Another thing I have studied is the Lost Books of the bible, particularly Gnostic literature. If you google "lost books of the bible" you will find a site dedicated to it. We have a narrow view of what Christians thought was a couple of thousand years ago. Many books were rejected and the whole canonization of the Bible is not miraculous in any way. Also Sumerian, Egyptian and Babylonian literature is very interesting to review seeing where the Jews/Christians got their ideas. Some of the language is indistinguishable. 

Christians as you know cannot be truthful because they must believe in their book and defend it under penalty of frying forever. An interesting wiki article is on cognitive dissonance. I could so identify with the induced compliance paradigm.  You might want to check it out.

You really have come to the right place. This website is wonderful and you can freely state where you are and many will understand. Good luck in your journey. It will be worth it and you will be the better person for it.

Religion Kills !!!

Numbers 31:17-18 - Now kill all the boys. And kill every woman who has slept with a man, but save for yourselves every girl who has never slept with a man.

http://jesus-needs-money.blogspot.com/


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Wow, a former minister. 

Wow, a former minister.  Its interesting to see someone who was so deeply involved in Xtianity on the other side.  Just out of curiousity, do you think that indoctrination is in some way a form of brainwashing (Fundamentalist fire n brimstone style)? 

The god of the Bible sounds a lot like an abuse spouse to me.  "Love me bitch!"  "I'm hitting you because I love you."  "Do what I say or you'll be sorry."  "You're ugly and no one else would ever love you.  Aren't you lucky to have someone like me as a husband?"  I can see how it is hard to reconcile a loving god with a raving lunatic obsessed with foreskins and animal sacrifices (nom nom, goat).  From what I see on apologetic websites, we deserve it, we can't judge god because we are inferior, or we are possessed.

 EDIT:  I read a part of Revelations speaking of hell.  It frightened me a bit.  Is the whole resurrection and judgement thing another plagarism?  Also, I keep experiencing this thing where my empathy will just sort of shut off reading the Bible, but logically, a part of me knows that what God does is evil.  I'll feel numb when if I saw this in real life, I'd be frightened and sickened at the behavior of the deity. 

Reading that makes me understand why this Book is so dangerous. 

How can I keep my sense of morality on??  I notice a lot of Christians keep it off (or more would be appalled at the sound of a loving God who creates hell)


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Flubber wrote: EDIT:  I

Flubber wrote:

 EDIT:  I read a part of Revelations speaking of hell.  It frightened me a bit.  Is the whole resurrection and judgement thing another plagarism?  Also, I keep experiencing this thing where my empathy will just sort of shut off reading the Bible, but logically, a part of me knows that what God does is evil.  I'll feel numb when if I saw this in real life, I'd be frightened and sickened at the behavior of the deity. 

Right off of the top of my head, I know that the Egyptians had something very similiar. At the end of of your life, Egyptians believed that your heart was weighed on a set of scales of Ma'at by the god Anubis. If your heart tiped into the favor of "good" you entered into the fields of Ra for all eternity. If it tipped over to the "bad" side of the scales, you were devoured by the monster Ammut. Almost all christian belief is nothing more than an amalgamation of the other pagan predecessors before it.

Like you stated, what the god of the bible is doing is very evil. But the god of the bible does not exist. The god of the bible is an invention of primitive goatherders that needed justification for their doings.

Flubber wrote:

Reading that makes me understand why this Book is so dangerous. 

How can I keep my sense of morality on??  I notice a lot of Christians keep it off (or more would be appalled at the sound of a loving God who creates hell)

I agree with ex-minister. I had to put the Bible down for a long time and if it is giving you any sort of problems, I would reccomend just putting that thing on the shelf for a little while.

I agree that it is a dangerous book. Look how much harm that it has caused to individuals and society over the years.

As far as morals go, morals really do not come from religion at all.

Morals come from natural evolution and our inter-dependence as a species for survival has enabled us to form care, compassion and altruism for each other.  It is perfectly natural to try and care for each other as humans. It is perfectly normal for people to wish to better themselves and do good things. Religion perverts this in my opinion. It uses primitive and antiquated and superstitious ideas to scorn and frighten  people into "right" behavior, obsesses over people's sex lives, breeds a never ending cycle of guilt and shame, and makes light of this life in favor of heavenly rewards. Religion to me is not moral at all.

 

“It is proof of a base and low mind for one to wish to think with the masses or majority, merely because the majority is the majority. Truth does not change because it is, or is not, believed by a majority of the people.”
― Giordano Bruno


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What to read...

You're right, it might be better to wait a while before reading it.  Meanwhile, should I be reading about other religions (sin), science (sin), and books like the God Delusion (sin) or should I do nothing at all concerning these topics? 

I feel as though the more I learn about science (the grandness of the universe and the complication of the human mind) and the more I work on feeling anxious, the more I'm starting to see through the Bible and its stupidity (sinnity).  The only problem I face now is refuting apologetics (sin?), they frustrate me (sin), so I tend to ignore them for now.

If I had read Revelations even two months ago, I would have spent weeks worrying about the Rapture and damnation, now I'm able to ignore it as a "sadist's fantasy".  I feel proud of myself (a sin) and don't need religion to tell me what's right and wrong (sin).  For the first time in two years, I don't have to obsess over heaven and hell, demonic possession, evolution vs creation, or anything like that.  This site has done much for me.
 

NOTE: Reading Christian forums is kind of disturbing now.  Seeing the avatar of  something cute like a picture of Baby Jeebus Crisp or Snoopy the Dog and then thinking about what they believe and what they're most likely told of church really makes the whole thing feel kind of dark.  How they can have such a happy outside appearance and genuinely believe that there is a torture chamber underground waiting for most of the human population.  Many Christians seem to be wearing a mask.
 


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Flubber wrote:You're right,

Flubber wrote:

You're right, it might be better to wait a while before reading it.  Meanwhile, should I be reading about other religions (sin), science (sin), and books like the God Delusion (sin) or should I do nothing at all concerning these topics? 

I definitely reccomend jumping into science and such. Vic Stenger's : God a failed Hypothesis, Godless by former minister Dan Barker, The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins, God is not Great by Christopher Hitchens are all great. Plus, Dawkins best stuff is not really the God Delusion but his works on evolution. Ancestor's Tale, The Blind Watchmaker, The Selfish Gene are good at understanding where humanity came from and solves alot of mysteries. Trust me, there are tons and tons and tons of information on this and more than enough books to keep you reading and happy for awhile.

Flubber wrote:

I feel as though the more I learn about science (the grandness of the universe and the complication of the human mind) and the more I work on feeling anxious, the more I'm starting to see through the Bible and its stupidity (sinnity).  The only problem I face now is refuting apologetics (sin?), they frustrate me (sin), so I tend to ignore them for now.

Well, just remember, you don't have to refute it all by yourself any longer. There are scores of us on here that debate with theists all of the time. Tons of books that show the absurdity of apologetics. No need to rush. You don't have to refute it all by yourself right away. The more that you read and learn, the more facts and information you will have available.

I know where you are coming from. For a long time I was afraid to debate bible thumpers and theologians. I was always afraid that they would come up with arguments that I would not be able to answer and that would somehow invalidate me. But trust me, just spending time on this site alone, combined with the reading info and the feedback of other Atheists on here, that fear is gone. I am not afraid to debate any bible thumper or theologian. I am not afraid of any of their clever little arguments designed to confuse and intimidate. You'll build up some of your confidence the more that you read and understand.  You've taken a big step just by stepping forward and saying that you can not believe in the insane dogma of Christianity.

Flubber wrote:

If I had read Revelations even two months ago, I would have spent weeks worrying about the Rapture and damnation, now I'm able to ignore it as a "sadist's fantasy".  I feel proud of myself (a sin) and don't need religion to tell me what's right and wrong (sin).  For the first time in two years, I don't have to obsess over heaven and hell, demonic possession, evolution vs creation, or anything like that.  This site has done much for me.

It only gets more and more freeing when you leave all of that stuff behind permanently. The more you get out from under those beliefs, the more liberated that you will feel. I am glad for you. Welcome to a world where superstitious guilt ridden shame no longer has to be a part of your life. 

Flubber wrote:

 

NOTE: Reading Christian forums is kind of disturbing now.  Seeing the avatar of  something cute like a picture of Baby Jeebus Crisp or Snoopy the Dog and then thinking about what they believe and what they're most likely told of church really makes the whole thing feel kind of dark.  How they can have such a happy outside appearance and genuinely believe that there is a torture chamber underground waiting for most of the human population.  Many Christians seem to be wearing a mask.
 

It is a famous question to pose to Christians that they never will answer : What kind of a person could enjoy a heaven knowing so many people are  burning in hell ?

“It is proof of a base and low mind for one to wish to think with the masses or majority, merely because the majority is the majority. Truth does not change because it is, or is not, believed by a majority of the people.”
― Giordano Bruno


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To the best of my knowledge,

To the best of my knowledge, the Christians will either say "hell=GRAVES", "We do not know the will of God", "they chose to go to hell, I don't worry about spilled milk" or "God will wipe our memories clean in heaven and give us new family members"

Thanks.  I'll certainly look into those books, I have God is not Great (should I capitalize 'god'?) and The God Delusion from the library as well as Origin of Species and a book on Lucy (a HOAX!!1).  That should be a good start.

Where do you guys stand on the existence of a soul?   I personally see no reason to believe that an immaterial, immortal soul exists when the brain has been proved to control so much.  I do however use it in the way that Einstein used "god" (Thanks, RD).  I think of what many people call a soul as the brain.  For some reason, it is just simpler to comprehend.

I've noticed a few "spiritual" atheists, not to mock, but what is that all about?


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Flubber wrote:To the best of

Flubber wrote:

To the best of my knowledge, the Christians will either say "hell=GRAVES", "We do not know the will of God", "they chose to go to hell, I don't worry about spilled milk" or "God will wipe our memories clean in heaven and give us new family members"

 

Funny, my sister is Jehovah Witness - now there is a collection of nutcases.  What finally got her to stop pestering me about joining her church was when I told her - "Look, if you have a sister in your earthly paradise, it won't be me.  God may make some person that looks like me and sounds like me so you will feel comforted, but it won't be me.  Because I could never swallow all that stuff." 

Sounds like mind control to me.

 

Flubber wrote:

Thanks.  I'll certainly look into those books, I have God is not Great (should I capitalize 'god'?) and The God Delusion from the library as well as Origin of Species and a book on Lucy (a HOAX!!1).  That should be a good start.

 

I'm interested - though not as a profession - in evolution.  Even when I went to church, trying to believe, I never could believe in Genesis.  I have always believed in evolution.  I like:

Evolution: What the fossils say and why it matters, by Donald R. Prothero and Carl Buell.  Lots of discussion about transitional fossils.

Science on Trial: the case for evolution by Douglas J Futuyma.  Or any other of his books.

Both of these and many more were available in my library, so you don't have to break the bank to read them.

 

Flubber wrote:

Where do you guys stand on the existence of a soul?   I personally see no reason to believe that an immaterial, immortal soul exists when the brain has been proved to control so much.  I do however use it in the way that Einstein used "god" (Thanks, RD).  I think of what many people call a soul as the brain.  For some reason, it is just simpler to comprehend.

I've noticed a few "spiritual" atheists, not to mock, but what is that all about?

 

I don't remember before I was born - I strongly suspect I won't remember after I am dead. 

There has been a lot of discussion amongst the neurology and psychiatric community over what is consciousness and how humans perceive their environment - which includes their perception of what is 'self'.  I don't profess to know those answers.  I too, prefer to think of 'self' as a short hand my brain uses to get me through the day.  Like Brian37 - you will run into him if you hang around - no brain, no thoughts is my view.

I have had people tell me I'm very grounded in my spirituality.  I have no idea what they mean.  "Spiritual" means what you want it to, I guess.

As for capitalizing god, I usually don't - and not christian nor jew nor islam nor bible.  I often refer to god/s/dess and s/he/it/they when debating christians.  Just to rub in that the only difference in our beliefs is that I believe in one less god/s/dess than they do.

 

-- I feel so much better since I stopped trying to believe.

"We are entitled to our own opinions. We're not entitled to our own facts"- Al Franken

"If death isn't sweet oblivion, I will be severely disappointed" - Ruth M.


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I usually capitalize God,

I usually capitalize God, but only when I'm talking about "God", just because in that case it is a personal noun.  I'm a dork though, I use punctuation and proper case even in text messages on my damned phone.

 

It makes me feel like my sentences are dressed nicely.  Too bad I suck at grammar.  Sort of like a hillbilly in a tuxedo.

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

In my experience, 'spiritual' atheists are confused new-age types.  It isn't usually a coherent statement.  Like CJ says though, spiritual means whatever the user wants it to mean.  It might just mean they like yoga and granola bars.

 

Everything makes more sense now that I've stopped believing.


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Hey Flubber, welcome.It is

Hey Flubber, welcome.

It is always great to hear about someone else who has managed to free their mind from the shackles of the religious mind-set.

"the scales falling from your eyes".

I think one of the oldest 'memes' that has pervaded ancient philosophy and persisted way too far into contemporary thought is the idea that 'mere' matter cannot be the basis for all the things we are aware of, up to and including our own minds.

Modern science has shown us just complex reality is, and how truly complex states and structures are dependent on something that can maintain some form persistently through time, and that requires matter.

There is no inherent limit to complexity, allowing for the emergence of the subtle and complex material structures of the brain, which provides the support for the incredibly complex processes which appear to give rise to our conscious thought, as well as all the many processes which take place in our minds and bodies, without intruding into consciousness, to support our existence as conscious creatures.

So an immaterial 'soul', independent of our bodies, makes no sense in this context. This is not unlike the 'vital force' which was once thought to pervade all living things, making the difference between living and dead matter.

This ignorance of the reality of complexity, and the possibility 'emergence' of complexity from specific patterns of simple elements pervades not just religion but much philosophy. There is a strong denial of this, that only a 'mind' can 'design' and construct complex structures.

The reality is the reverse, only the possibility of such structures emerging, with the help of an underlying 'randomness' coupled with some broader version of Darwin's Natural Selection once some form of pattern replication emerges, can allow 'minds' of any form to emerge.

Any model of existence which assumes that something as grand and complex as an infinite 'mind' must have preceded everything has it deeply wrong.

We see that unless we can explain at some level how some entity itself emerged from something simpler, we have not achieved an explanation by appealing to such an entity.

We now see no inherent reason why all we see cannot have emerged from the lowest possible state of reality, something like a 'sea' random energy, a 'quantum foam', which is the lowest and most disorganized state of existence, the closet possible state to actual 'nothingness'. Despite what apologeticists will try to assert, this does not violate any current scientific Laws, such as the Laws of Thermodynamics.

This does no mean we know it all, by any means.

We have many, many details of exactly how our Big Bang actually was initiated to investigate, and wonder what if anything may have preceded it.

Someone may still see the absurdities and contradictions of traditional Gods, but still be aware of the mystery and wonder of teh Universe, and feel the same basic emotion that inspired religions in the first place. So a 'spiritual' atheist is not a contradiction, they just don't go the next step that people like the scientist Francis Collins and adopt some fuzzy version of Christianity to 'exlain' that feeling.

 

Favorite oxymorons: Gospel Truth, Rational Supernaturalist, Business Ethics, Christian Morality

"Theology is now little more than a branch of human ignorance. Indeed, it is ignorance with wings." - Sam Harris

The path to Truth lies via careful study of reality, not the dreams of our fallible minds - me

From the sublime to the ridiculous: Science -> Philosophy -> Theology


ex-minister
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God is an abusive husband/parent

Flubber wrote:

Wow, a former minister.  Its interesting to see someone who was so deeply involved in Xtianity on the other side.  Just out of curiousity, do you think that indoctrination is in some way a form of brainwashing (Fundamentalist fire n brimstone style)? 

The god of the Bible sounds a lot like an abuse spouse to me.  "Love me bitch!"  "I'm hitting you because I love you."  "Do what I say or you'll be sorry."  "You're ugly and no one else would ever love you.  Aren't you lucky to have someone like me as a husband?"  I can see how it is hard to reconcile a loving god with a raving lunatic obsessed with foreskins and animal sacrifices (nom nom, goat).  From what I see on apologetic websites, we deserve it, we can't judge god because we are inferior, or we are possessed.

 EDIT:  I read a part of Revelations speaking of hell.  It frightened me a bit.  Is the whole resurrection and judgement thing another plagarism?  Also, I keep experiencing this thing where my empathy will just sort of shut off reading the Bible, but logically, a part of me knows that what God does is evil.  I'll feel numb when if I saw this in real life, I'd be frightened and sickened at the behavior of the deity. 

Reading that makes me understand why this Book is so dangerous. 

How can I keep my sense of morality on??  I notice a lot of Christians keep it off (or more would be appalled at the sound of a loving God who creates hell)

Read through this power and control wheel below. It is how an abusive husband keeps his wife and kids in hell on earth. It is like '1984' in that it was not a comment on religion per se but on human behavior. Then you stand back and go 'Is that you Lord?'. I can see you got a good mind as you are relating Jehovah to sick human behavior already. Doesn't this wheel fit the God of the bible? You probably have heard of the Stockholm Syndrome. If not look it up.

 

As far as brainwashing, absolutely. Fear God and keep his commandments. I recently posted part of my story (poorly & quickly written) which can show how abuse factored into me becoming a minister and how hard it has been for me to shake this shit off. Here's the link

http://www.rationalresponders.com/forum/28392#comment-327752

I really hate horror movies. It really messes up my brain. I do love Twilight Zone's, Alfred Hitchcock stuff, but this modern horror movie stuff really gets inside my head and lives there for a few days. So, I don't watch them. My wife likes them and she will try to sneak one in every now and again. In the past I used to sit and watch. Now I say to her you can continue to watch but I will go do something else. If the bible is having that same affect on you then I suggest setting it aside and reading something truly worth your time.

This whole horror genre I understands comes from the dark ages and is based on Christianity and its view of hell. Someone on this post might be able to back that up, but I have heard it a few times over the years.

The good thing about hell, should it exists, is that I will get to meet all my heros, Mark Twain, John Lennon, George Carlin, Betrand Russell, and on and on. Who wants to be in heaven with the likes of Jimmy Swaggart, Jerry Fallwell, and many the church biddies I have met over the years. The Bible says only the few will be saved and they all will be maniacally stroking God's fragile ego saying his name be praised through eternity. For interesting, honest conversation I got to go to hell.

A book recommendation for you is God's Problem by Bart D. Ehrman. It is an interesting read on how theodicy has changed as you progress through the bible and beyond. When you believe you are god's people and continue to suffer you start to wonder who your god is. The impact of WW I & II on Europe really changed their opinion on the existence of god. It is hard to justify the Holocaust with a loving god in heaven. I think this is another factor why Americans are still slap happy about Jesus as we were somewhat removed from the horrors of those wars.  

The bible (or koran) is only a dangerous book because some people take it literally as the spooky word of god. Other than that it is just a fanciful piece of ancient literature about an insane god. However, that is to be expected by a primitive desert people who have been out in the sun too long.

Religion Kills !!!

Numbers 31:17-18 - Now kill all the boys. And kill every woman who has slept with a man, but save for yourselves every girl who has never slept with a man.

http://jesus-needs-money.blogspot.com/


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God does sound like an

God does sound like an abusive spouse.  He does everything on the wheel!  I really wish the battered housewives would find the power to take the kids and leave.  I wish they could realize that their abusive spouse is simply NOT REAL.  There is no husband wielding a switch...

Exminister:  I like reading about your journey.  I don't know how the site works to well, though.  I clicked on your name and only saw how many posts you made, not an archive.  When your free-thought was evolving, what were the road-blocks you ran into?  Did this effect relations with your family and friends at all?

On an unrelated note, is atheism materialism?  Is materialism depressing and amoral like theistic people can make it out to be?  And, what is love?  Is it pure or simply a chemical state that you could replicate on ecstasy or something?

This place is cool, I'm liking Sam Harris more and more, I'll have to read his books.


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Flubber wrote:On an

Flubber wrote:

On an unrelated note, is atheism materialism?  Is materialism depressing and amoral like theistic people can make it out to be?  And, what is love?  Is it pure or simply a chemical state that you could replicate on ecstasy or something?

This place is cool, I'm liking Sam Harris more and more, I'll have to read his books.

 

Well, atheists have a tendency to rely on empirical evidence.  If that means materialism, fine.  If you mean do we all go out and party and shoot up people and spend too much money - that kind of behavior is found in all kinds of people including the very religious and the atheists.  No one group has a lock on idiocy.

I think not believing in god/s/dess is liberating and the world is more beautiful and interesting without all that religious bs.  Unweaving the Rainbow: Science, delusion and the appetite for Wonder by Richard Dawkins gives a great example.  You can say rainbows are a manifestation by god/s/dess as a promise not to flood the earth again.  Or, you can learn the physics behind a rainbow.  He says and I agree that learning the science behind a rainbow increases its wonder, not decreases the wonder.

http://www.2think.org/rainbow.shtml wrote:

"We can get outside the universe. I mean in the sense of putting a model of the universe inside our skulls. Not a superstitious, small-minded, parochial model, filled with ghosts and hobgoblins, magic and spirits. A big model, worthy of the reality that regulates, updates, and tempers it. A powerful model capable of running on into the future and making accurate predictions of our destiny and that of our world. We are alone among animals in foreseeing our end. We are also alone in being able to say, before we die: Yes, this is why it was worth coming to life in the first place." -- from Unweaving the Rainbow

 

And yes, love is about hormones.  First and foremost - never forget.  There was another thread about this - don't have time to look it up now.  Serotonin, dopamine, and endorphins all play a part in our response to others.  Does this cheapen love?  Hell, no.  Our emotions are a necessary part of our ability to survive and reproduce.  That doesn't mean they aren't enjoyable or pleasurable or sometimes - scary and stressful.  Knowing you are driven by your hormones does not change your feelings - what it does change is your ability to acknowledge those feelings and choose how you respond to them.  As in - lusting is fun, having sex is more fun, but I choose how to respond to those feelings.  I can look and not touch or I can look, touch, and enjoy.  I don't have to feel guilty or remorseful if everyone involved had a good time and would like to repeat the experience. 

Long term love is more than just lust, of course.  I have been monogamously married for 25 years now.  Lust is not as urgent as it was when we first met.  We stayed together because of many things - love and lust, shared feelings and experiences and interests.  All of it is a part of what we call "love" and it is all enhanced by our hormones.  Thank you, hormones.  Nice hormones.

edit: fixing the quotes

-- I feel so much better since I stopped trying to believe.

"We are entitled to our own opinions. We're not entitled to our own facts"- Al Franken

"If death isn't sweet oblivion, I will be severely disappointed" - Ruth M.


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Flubber wrote:When your

Flubber wrote:

When your free-thought was evolving, what were the road-blocks you ran into?  Did this effect relations with your family and friends at all?

On an unrelated note, is atheism materialism?  Is materialism depressing and amoral like theistic people can make it out to be?  And, what is love?  Is it pure or simply a chemical state that you could replicate on ecstasy or something?

 

Heh, I'm a married adult with children and I've still never told my evangelical parents I'm an atheist.  I don't see what good could come of it in my particular situation.  That's a choice everyone has to make though.

 

Is atheism materialism?  Well, usually.  If you don't believe in magic or the supernatural, all that is left is the material, the physical.  There are some special cases, but I don't think they typically know what they are talking about.

 

Depressing and amoral?  Of course not.  Can an atheist be depressed and amoral?  Of course, but so can a theist.  Being happy and moral is about more than our religious beliefs.  I'm far happier now as an atheist than I ever was as a theist.  As my sig states, the world makes a lot more sense now.

 

Love is a chemical reaction, but so is everything, right?  You could replicate it my associating an object with a rush of chemicals in the head, but it would be more complicated than just taking a pill.

Let me ask you this.  Do you understand what a sunset is, why it looks like it does?  Or a rainbow?  I mean, the science behind why they work?  I'll assume you do, if you don't, you can go look it up.  Now, knowing that, are those things less interesting, less moving?  I don't think so.  I actually think it is pretty cool to think about how things work...neurobiology is a total trip.

 

http://www.learner.org/discoveringpsychology/index.html  This has a series of videos about how humans work and think.  Pretty neat stuff.  Just select a chapter and then click the "vod" link.

Everything makes more sense now that I've stopped believing.


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Flubber wrote:I've noticed a

Flubber wrote:

I've noticed a few "spiritual" atheists, not to mock, but what is that all about?

I might be one of those. I don't know what is meant by soul, except in the Motown context. The Christian literature is quite fuzzy and contradictory on the soul. In genesis it says god breathed into man and he became a living soul. Some more spooky made up garbage. God did CPR and man got a soul. 

However,  spirit means something to me, not in the context of something that thinks after death, but the energy of a living person. You can see it. You can see a person burdened down with the weight of the world on their shoulders and also a person who is enjoying his life, someone comfortable in their own skin.

Christianity crushed my spirit. I was quite depressed because I wasn't good enough and was chained to this insane god because I wanted to live eternally in a good place. But with a crushed spirit why would I want to live eternally? I revived my spirit by being honest with myself, throwing off the shackles of religion. I can now breathe better. I don't need anyone else to validate what I think and feel anymore. As CJ says I felt better after I stopped trying to believe. I have written elsewhere "Religion is the thing you put on. In spirituality you are the thing". I have seen my family members with their happy faces on in church but behind closed doors I see their spirit burdened down. Self loathing Christians are everywhere, but you cannot see it in public.

Part of my "spirituality" is I am one of almost 7 billion people on this planet. I don't possess special knowledge of the divine. I can meet other humans on equal terms. I am not arrogant like the poster says "Christians aren't perfect, they are just better than you". If we lived recognizing we are all equal (self-evident) and that we can learn from and respect each other I think the world would be a far better place.  Now I feel like  singing Lennon's Imagine but will refrain.

Religion Kills !!!

Numbers 31:17-18 - Now kill all the boys. And kill every woman who has slept with a man, but save for yourselves every girl who has never slept with a man.

http://jesus-needs-money.blogspot.com/