I'm on the verge of Deconversion

simmo
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I'm on the verge of Deconversion

Hello everyone. 
I had written out a longwinded post here about my journey from true believer to my current state of what I would call semi-decoversion, however before I could post it I hit the wrong button at the wrong time and lost it all. The Christian side of my brain tells me that God didn't want me to post my comments, therefore I lost them, whereas the rational side of my brain tells me I'm just an idiot. But I am going to try again, albeit in a shortened point form. I am looking for comments from atheists and theists to try and help me make sense of things.
- I have always gone to church and had a 'born again' experience and belief as a teenager.- I have been reading many things recently cause me to question the truth of a historical Jesus, particularly the lack of mention of him by historians of the time and the similarities of the Jesus story with prior Egyptian gods.If he did not ever exist as a living person who lived, preached, performed miracles, was crucified and then rose from the dead, then everyting about Christianity changes.- I am still skeptical about there being no creator 'god', as the intracasies of life, the world and the universe seem difficult to imagine happening by chance, so at this stage I'm still with the watchmaker people.- The idea of God answering prayer seems to be an increasingly unlikely thing to me. The number of people who cry out to God for healing and don't get a yes is incredibly high, with the number of genuine healings not  easily explained as having been medically or naturally induced is extremely small.- Despite the negativity of many towards Christianity, I see much to like about it's effect on the world. Much of the humanitarian work throughout the world is done in the name of Christ, and the selflessness that is displayed by many (and should be by all) Christians makes the world a better place. - The teachings of Jesus and Paul in the new testament  are in general great guidelines for life. - The moral codes that Christians generally seek to live by are positive ones.
So at this point I am having severe doubts about the validilty of Christianity yet still see that living a Christian life as being the best way to live. Does that sound confusing to you? Because at the moment many things are confusing me, so I would appreciate your feedback. I hope this makes sense - my original post was far more eloquent than this one, but I was not going to attempt it all again lest I lose it asecond time. If this post doesn't go through perhaps I will take it as a sign from God that I was not going to post it (not that any of you will see it) or perhaps it will just be confirmation that I am truly a moron. 


Fateless7
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Cpt_pineapple

Cpt_pineapple wrote:
Fateless7 wrote:

For example, Hitler was a Christian. He simply disagreed with the other branches of Christianity.

There's a problem with your observation. Hitler didn't do it because he was Christian. He derived his motives from Nazism, not Christianity. He equated Jews with Communists for example.

No, there's no problem with my observation. Hitler was a Christian. Christians killed other Christians. That was my observation.

And if you want to debate about his motives, I'll post the quote once again so you can read it this time:

Quote:

"Still a member in good standing of the Church of Rome despite detestation of its hierarchy, he carried within him its teaching that the Jew was the killer of god. The extermination, therefore, could be done without a twinge of conscience since he was merely acting as the avenging hand of god..."

Yes, Hitler viewed communism and jews as twin evils, but you can't say he wasn't motivated by Christianity. He was influenced by the teachings of his church.


Fateless7
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Quote: What's most

Quote:

What's most interesting is when the heroic age stopped and when the Church itself converted into being a form of Roman imperial culture, after the conversion of Constantine in 312. That's where you get the incredible efflorescence of the cult of the martyrs. Martyrs' shrines, bits of martyrs' bodies, liturgies being written to the martyrs. There's an incredible energy involved in worshipping at the tombs of the martyrs after the age of martyrs have ... has stopped. And I think that's, in a way, Christianity's effort to reclaim its own heroic history after it had already become an arm of government, itself, and was, of course, persecuting other Christians. More Christians were persecuted by the Roman Government after the conversion of Constantine, than before. The difference is that's it's a Christian government who's persecuting the other Christians.

(Exerpt by Wayne A. Meeks, Woolsey Professor of Biblical Studies Yale University)

Exactly my point.


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simmo wrote: - I have

simmo wrote:

- I have always gone to church and had a 'born again' experience and belief as a teenager.
Frankly, in my experience, most people who have undergone this are beyond saving. They not only believe, they also want to believe. Their brains are trying to rationalize what they experienced, and the only apparent rationalization, is god.  
Quote:
- I have been reading many things recently cause me to question the truth of a historical Jesus, particularly the lack of mention of him by historians of the time and the similarities of the Jesus story with prior Egyptian gods.
Skepticism is a virtue of man, and required in science. I promote you to be skeptical of everything, even Evolution.   
Quote:
If he did not ever exist as a living person who lived, preached, performed miracles, was crucified and then rose from the dead, then everyting about Christianity changes.[/quoteChrists second coming can be refuted easily, by scriptures. Not sure how christians missed this though.
Quote:
 - I am still skeptical about there being no creator 'god', as the intracasies of life, the world and the universe seem difficult to imagine happening by chance, so at this stage I'm still with the watchmaker people.
Imagine shuffling, and then handing out a deck of cards to 4 people, 13 cards each. You can look at each hand, and say "amazing! We could shuffle and hand out cards for all of our entire lives, and still not get the same hands in the same order that we have now!" And, naturally, you would be right.  However, you have already handed them out in that order, with the exact same cards. This shows how something completely improbable, can still happen. 
Quote:
 - The idea of God answering prayer seems to be an increasingly unlikely thing to me. The number of people who cry out to God for healing and don't get a yes is incredibly high, with the number of genuine healings not easily explained as having been medically or naturally induced is extremely small.
When you consider, that most modern miracles occur on people who do not believe in that particular god which the miracle is credited for, its a laugh. Youd think if god were to hand out a miracle, he would do it on a believer, as a reward, instead of a skeptic, or better yet a competitor.
Quote:
 - Despite the negativity of many towards Christianity, I see much to like about it's effect on the world. Much of the humanitarian work throughout the world is done in the name of Christ, and the selflessness that is displayed by many (and should be by all) Christians makes the world a better place.
Are you talking about the many christian funds and charity networks? Cause you wouldnt really think they were good, if you knew the truth.For one, are you telling me those people would never consider doing charity work if they werent christians? Are you telling me that those people are only doing charity work because they are christians.Secondly, When you way the good and bad of christianity, it clearly topples over to the bad. Who is the largest saint youve ever heard of in your liftime? Mother Teresa. Yet, even she was horribly evil. Her donation fund was a laugh. There were hundreds of millions of dollars unaccounted for. Furthermore, she befriended many repressive dictators, including Indira Ghandi and Enver Hoxha. And what about her Hospitals she funded? Wait, what hospitals? Mother Teresa funded houses that allowed people to "lay down and die", and rightfully named the place herself, as the "Houses of the Dying". She also sponsered cafeterias for the poor. Yes, she did, but they required very little money to operate, and one former chef working there stated that they had over 50 million in the bank to spend on foods, yet was still required to pledge for donations. And Teresa? She refused a free cataract surgery from the St Francis Medical Center estimated at 5000$. Well, thats nice. However, she decided to receive the same surgery, a year later at the St. Vincent's Hospital in New York, for about the same amount. Well, she sure is a saint!  
Quote:
- The teachings of Jesus and Paul in the new testament are in general great guidelines for life.
Yes, i agree. I never know when to stone my children, or when to kill false prophets.
Quote:
 - The moral codes that Christians generally seek to live by are positive ones.
I totally agree with this one as well. I mean, faggots obviosly deserve to go to hell. And abortion clinics deserve to be pipe-bombed to smithereens.  
Okay, some might say im being unfair. The fact is, im not. Im just stating the facts. What part of being truthful, is unfair? Respect is earned, not automatically gained.

I'm infallible. I don't know why you can't remember that.


Cpt_pineapple
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Fateless7

Fateless7 wrote:
Cpt_pineapple wrote:
Fateless7 wrote:

For example, Hitler was a Christian. He simply disagreed with the other branches of Christianity.

There's a problem with your observation. Hitler didn't do it because he was Christian. He derived his motives from Nazism, not Christianity. He equated Jews with Communists for example.

No, there's no problem with my observation. Hitler was a Christian. Christians killed other Christians. That was my observation.

 

 

The point is even if you can point to Christians that killed other Christians, I can point to atheists (Stalin, Hoxha) that also killed Christians.

 

Quote:
 

 

And if you want to debate about his motives, I'll post the quote once again so you can read it this time:

 

Quote:

"Still a member in good standing of the Church of Rome despite detestation of its hierarchy, he carried within him its teaching that the Jew was the killer of god. The extermination, therefore, could be done without a twinge of conscience since he was merely acting as the avenging hand of god..."

Yes, Hitler viewed communism and jews as twin evils, but you can't say he wasn't motivated by Christianity. He was influenced by the teachings of his church.

 Hitler hated Jews as a race. His motivations strive form Eugenics.  (Hitler conviently forgot Christ was Jewish).

 

 

The main point is any group has experienced persecution at one time. Bringing in the politics (Rev saying Christians are persecuted, you saying Hitler was Christian etc...) changes nothing as to whether or not the beliefs are true.

 

Christians being persecuted doesn't prove Christianity. 

Christians persecuting doesn't dis-prove Christianity. 

 


REVLyle
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Fateless7 wrote:REVLyle

Fateless7 wrote:
REVLyle wrote:

Because what you have written is such nonsense, even this little amount of effort given to it is a waste of my time.  You might want to go back and do a little more study in history.  First, where did the Jews come from?  Did they rise up and power from nowhere or were they enslaved and killed and have they been even in this century - YES?  As far as Christianity. . . let me see . . . were they tortured and killed.  I believe burned at the stake happened.  EVEN TODAY - Christians are killed for their faith.  I would be more than happy to prove this if needed.  It is amazing how you have rewritten history.  Have people done awful things in the name of Jesus Christ - yes they have.  I am ashamed at some of the things that have been done in the name of God, but I do not try to act like it never happened.  You have painted a very unreal picture of Christianity.  There have been centuries of people who have gone to their death simply because they had faith in Jesus Christ.  You are very dishonest in your presentation and you ought to be ashamed of yourself.  Christians have more often been the hunted than the hunter.    You should move up to some grown up history books.

History books grow up? Holy pancakes! You mean I can have a history book as a pet now, feed it, nurture it, teach it tricks and watch it grow up into an adult history book? Where was this going on when I was in school?? I feel so ripped off!

You say Christians have more often been the hunted than the hunter. Then... how did Christians take over an entire country? I suppose the Native Indians just said, "Hey man, it's cool, we'll convert if you tell us to. Our beliefs weren't that important to us anyway!"

I didn't rewrite history. All you're saying is, "Hey! Some Christians died too!" And most of the Christians who did die were killed by other Christians.

For example, Hitler was a Christian. He simply disagreed with the other branches of Christianity.

Quote:

Acclaimed Hitler biographer, John Toland, explains his heartlessness as follows: "Still a member in good standing of the Church of Rome despite detestation of its hierarchy, he carried within him its teaching that the Jew was the killer of god. The extermination, therefore, could be done without a twinge of conscience since he was merely acting as the avenging hand of god..."

There's nothing wrong with my observation of history. All you are saying amounts to this: Christians killed their way to the top-- and then started killing each other.

Quote:

You are very dishonest in your presentation and you ought to be ashamed of yourself. 

Shame is a tool of your religion, used to guilt people into believing a fairy tale. No thanks.

As I've demonstrated, your claims do not contradict mine in any way. I am asking Simmo if he knows how Christianity became the dominant religion. You can say that Christians have been persecuted, but this doesn't change the fact that Christians killed their way to the top.

Cpt is exactly right.  Each group has been persecuted.  I could give you statistics for Christian persecution for this last century but you would not accept them so what is the point.

Nero performed the worst atrocities upon his victims; he did not just kill Christians, he wanted to make them suffer first. Nero enjoyed dipping the Christians in wax, and impaling them on poles around his palace, he would then light them on fire, and yell: "Now you truly are the light of the world." Nero also performed many other kinds of torture, often killing them in the Circus Maximus in front of large crowds of spectators where he did some of his most gruesome murders. Here he would wrap Christians up in animal skins and throw them to lions, or dogs who would then tear these men and women apart in front of thousands of entertained spectators. At other times he would crucify them, and after the crowd would get bored, he would set the Christians on fire.

We have no idea how many Christians lost their life under the Neronian persecution, but Historian Harold Mattingly tells us that Nero's persecution "lasted several years, was not confined to Rome but was practiced throughout the Empire, and cost the lives of a very large number [of Christians]." We also know that Nero's policy of persecution was practiced by many subsequent Emperors such as: Domitian, Valerian, and Dioclesian; who instituted the great persecution which would see thousand if not millions go through the worst kinds of tortures. One very interesting thing is that those Christians who were Roman Citizens did not face the same terrible death as Christians who were not. The Roman Government, by law, could not torture Roman citizens. The Apostle Paul, the most well known of the Christian evangelists, had to be beheaded because he was a citizen, and was therefore saved from much of the pain and torture, inflicted on the others.

FULL ARTICLE AT:

http://www.boisestate.edu/history/ncasner/hy210/nero.htm

Your writings are pointless. 

Let me be a little more clear.  You need to move up to history books for grown-ups.  Come on.  You can do it. 

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.


Cpt_pineapple
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REVLyle wrote: Cpt is

REVLyle wrote:

Cpt is exactly right. Each group has been persecuted. I could give you statistics for Christian persecution for this last century but you would not accept them so what is the point.

Nero performed the worst atrocities upon his victims; he did not just kill Christians, he wanted to make them suffer first. Nero enjoyed dipping the Christians in wax, and impaling them on poles around his palace, he would then light them on fire, and yell: "Now you truly are the light of the world." Nero also performed many other kinds of torture, often killing them in the Circus Maximus in front of large crowds of spectators where he did some of his most gruesome murders. Here he would wrap Christians up in animal skins and throw them to lions, or dogs who would then tear these men and women apart in front of thousands of entertained spectators. At other times he would crucify them, and after the crowd would get bored, he would set the Christians on fire.

We have no idea how many Christians lost their life under the Neronian persecution, but Historian Harold Mattingly tells us that Nero's persecution "lasted several years, was not confined to Rome but was practiced throughout the Empire, and cost the lives of a very large number [of Christians]." We also know that Nero's policy of persecution was practiced by many subsequent Emperors such as: Domitian, Valerian, and Dioclesian; who instituted the great persecution which would see thousand if not millions go through the worst kinds of tortures. One very interesting thing is that those Christians who were Roman Citizens did not face the same terrible death as Christians who were not. The Roman Government, by law, could not torture Roman citizens. The Apostle Paul, the most well known of the Christian evangelists, had to be beheaded because he was a citizen, and was therefore saved from much of the pain and torture, inflicted on the others.

FULL ARTICLE AT:

http://www.boisestate.edu/history/ncasner/hy210/nero.htm

Your writings are pointless.

Let me be a little more clear. You need to move up to history books for grown-ups. Come on. You can do it.

 

That wasn't my point.

My point was to stop bringing politics into this. It is decitful and dishonest. I can name incidences where Christians persecuted others. 

 

Christians being persecuted does not prove Christianity. 


Fateless7
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Pineapple, I agree with

Pineapple, I agree with you. Who killed who doesn't prove the truth of religion. That's not what my original point was. My point was that Simmo should do some research on how Christianity become the dominant religion. This is important because for Simmo, he's caught up questioning if this one religion is based on fact or not, when it would be helpful to realize the reason he is only concerned with Christianity. The popularity of the religion needs to be discounted in the evalution of its "truth".

For example, if you're living in America, why are the majority of its citizens Christian? Because the original inhabitants of the country were murdered by Christians or otherwise forced to convert, followed by intolerance for opposing views and the various branches of Christianity being forced upon children and their children's children, and so on. Then the US Government began to forget the separation of church and state and favor the Christian religion, which of course helped to establish a religious stranglehold. Even now, we have to go to court to try and convince the government to separate church and state.

And Rev, all you're saying is that Christians were persecuted. So what? The fact is, Christians killed their way to top. Now, in modern times, they are using terrorist tactics to scare their way to the top (you better believe or else, when you die... you will suffer!)


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Fateless7

Fateless7 wrote:

Pineapple, I agree with you. Who killed who doesn't prove the truth of religion. That's not what my original point was. My point was that Simmo should do some research on how Christianity become the dominant religion. This is important because for Simmo, he's caught up questioning if this one religion is based on fact or not, when it would be helpful to realize the reason he is only concerned with Christianity. The popularity of the religion needs to be discounted in the evalution of its "truth".

For example, if you're living in America, why are the majority of its citizens Christian? Because the original inhabitants of the country were murdered by Christians or otherwise forced to convert, followed by intolerance for opposing views and the various branches of Christianity being forced upon children and their children's children, and so on. Then the US Government began to forget the separation of church and state and favor the Christian religion, which of course helped to establish a religious stranglehold. Even now, we have to go to court to try and convince the government to separate church and state.

And Rev, all you're saying is that Christians were persecuted. So what? The fact is, Christians killed their way to top. Now, in modern times, they are using terrorist tactics to scare their way to the top (you better believe or else, when you die... you will suffer!)

Not one single time before you entered into the conversation have I talked about persecution.  Again, Pineapple - you didn't have to correct anything I wrote last.  I agreed with you.  Persecution has happened to Christians and they have been a part of it.  I readily admitted that people have done things in the name of Jesus Christ that I am ashamed of.  It doesn't prove anything.  My reason for posting the article about Nero was to prove the point that we could all do that.  We can all talk about how "WE" have been mistreated. 

As far as government goes - let me get this straight.  I want to elect Christian people because I believe that we share the same view of life and the same morals.   You want to elect who??????  People that you agree with how they think and how they view life.  Why is it wrong for Christians to want the same thing?  I have seen on this website that atheists eventually want it to be against the law for me to tell my children about God.  How is that freedom?  How is that separation of church and state?  They want for me to be locked up and to be mentally evaluated because I believe in God?  How is that separation of church and state?  So please do not act like you want freedom for all.  From what I have seen on this website - you want it your way.

You have Christian views forced on you.  I have views that I do not like forced on me.  I do not agree with abortion (we are not going to discuss why) and yet I have to abide by the law of the land AND I have to help pay for them through my tax dollars.  You will scream that it is the right for women to have abortions - but is it their right to do it on my dime?  Evidently so.  So, please don't play the part of the victim. 

I am not sure how Christians are forcing our views on people in the republic of the US.  We go to the polls.  We vote for people that we agree with on many issues (economic, social, foreign policy).  You go to the polls.  You vote for people you agree with on many issues (economic, social, foreign policy).  We are wrong and you are right?????

You want the laws changed - vote in people like you that will change the laws.  I abide by laws that I do not agree with.  So please do not tell me how it is unfair. 

Lastly, we are scaring our way to the top????  Dude, get a grip.  The Bible was written 2000+ years ago and we preach what was written then, but now we are scaring people.  Do you see anyone here scared here about Hell.  You guys don't even believe it exists.  I am trying to warn people about it, but of course you think I am wrong.  Christians didn't recently make up the idea of hell.  This is just like people on this website talking about how we brain  wash people and then they brag about how many people are atheists who used to be Christian.  If we really brain wash people - according to you guys we stink at it so what are you worried about.  It ain't working. 

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.


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Quote: Not one single time

Quote:
Not one single time before you entered into the conversation have I talked about persecution.

Take another look at your views on God. 

I often say that when you can measure what you are speaking about, and express it in numbers, you know something about it; but when you cannot measure it, when you cannot express it in numbers, your knowledge is of a meagre and unsatisfactory kind.


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Quote: Not one single time

Quote:

Not one single time before you entered into the conversation have I talked about persecution.  Again, Pineapple - you didn't have to correct anything I wrote last.  I agreed with you.  Persecution has happened to Christians and they have been a part of it.  I readily admitted that people have done things in the name of Jesus Christ that I am ashamed of.  It doesn't prove anything.  My reason for posting the article about Nero was to prove the point that we could all do that.  We can all talk about how "WE" have been mistreated. 

Stop attacking a straw man. My point is not about people being mistreated. Let me repeat the point I'm making:

Christians killed their way to the top. Christianity is the dominant religion not because of its veracity, but because earlier Christians killed off those of other beliefs, suppressed the freedom to believe in other things (or lack belief) using torture, lethal force, terrorism, and eventually government favoritism, and continued to spread Christianity by indoctrinating their children with and their children's children, and so on.

Therefore, Simmo should discount the popularity of Christianity in his effort to find the truth, and he should examine other religions and myths as equals to Christianity.

That's the point I'm making.

Secondly, how are you going find some obscure comment from another atheist online and say that I believe the same thing? You are going to tell me what I want based on what you've read throughout the website?

Wrong.

Abortion has nothing to do with separation of church and state. Next issue.

Tell me who I can vote for that will get "In God We Trust" off our currency and "One nation under god" removed from the pledge.

Recently, and only recently, do we have one atheist congressman, and he is the first in history. One atheist versus the rest of congress. Do you really think an atheist can be elected president?

Not to mention, how am I supposed to change things by voting if you haven't been able to change your precious anti-abortion law by voting and your beliefs represent that of the majority? Yeah, it's that simple! Just vote and you can change the world! That's why Bush is still in office, because votes really count.

 


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Secondly, how are you going

Secondly, how are you going find some obscure comment from another atheist online and say that I believe the same thing? You are going to tell me what I want based on what you've read throughout the website?

Wrong.

 

And yet you ascribe Christianity to the evils done by Hitler.  Not even close.

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.


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REVLyle wrote: Secondly,

REVLyle wrote:

Secondly, how are you going find some obscure comment from another atheist online and say that I believe the same thing? You are going to tell me what I want based on what you've read throughout the website?

Wrong.

And yet you ascribe Christianity to the evils done by Hitler.  Not even close.

So you admit you were wrong? Great.

I don't. I said that Hitler was a Christian and his ability to kill jews without remorse was influenced by the teachings of the Church of Rome, which taught that jews had killed god, allowing Hitler to believe he was acting as "the hand of god".

Now please tell me how that has nothing to do with Christianity. Next, tell me that I'm ascribing Christianity to the Inquisition and how that's "not even close".


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Quote:   The point is even

Quote:
 

The point is even if you can point to Christians that killed other Christians, I can point to atheists (Stalin, Hoxha) that also killed Christians.

 

 

I can point to black and spanish people that kill Christians.  Your comparing apples and oranges.

 

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simmo wrote: I do know

simmo wrote:


I do know that I serve a just and merciful God and He does what is right.

 


This is one of thethings that I am having great difficulty with. How is eternal punishment truly justice for what we do or do not do during our finite life on earth? If I steal a pencil and am sent to prison for 50 years, is that justice or excessive punishment that does not fit the crime? I am sure you will come back with something along the lines that we are all sinners and are therefore deserving the wrath of God, but honestly, if you really think about this, is it truly justice for those that do not accept Christ to burn in hell forever? How is it right for God to have allowed billions to be born into this world, knowing that they would go to hell for eternity upon their death? That's not the actions of a good and merciful God.

So, I posted this, verbatim, on a messageboard with a bunch of christians, and asked them to answer to the best of their ability. I got 3 answers. One from a dude named Levi, one from a dudette named Christy, one from a dude named Justin.

Levi wrote:

 

So I'm supposed to refute someone else's thoughts of God with my own, non-mainstream thoughts? Ok.

God's gift to us was free will and the choice to believe in him or not to. That's the greatest gift anyone can ever give to you. Methinks, also, that these people have taken too much into the Paradise Lost version of hell, rather than the Hell being a place without God. I have no idea what heaven is like, all I know is that hell is a place I don't want to be, it's furthest from the place I want to be, and that is with God. Thusly, to say "burn in hell forever" is very false. It's not just based on accepting Christ, it's through living his teachings. His teachings weren't to set up a kingdom on earth but to love one another, be good to one another. Honestly, I don't see anything wrong with those teachings. They're arguing that the actions of a good and merciful God would be to negate the whole free will thing and have everyone believe in God rather than them choose to accept Him or not to. The pencil analogy is not only a horrible one as well, you don't need an analogy when the thing you're trying to (badly) compare it to is clearly seen. All you're really asking in your paragraph can be summed up in one sentence, rather than attempting to sound snarky and puffed up. That is: If God is so great, why will some people go to hell/why is there suffering? It's a question that's been asked for ages. My answer to this question (mind you, I'm not saying the answer, just my answer as a human) is because we were given choice to believe or not. Some chose to believe and some chose not to. ALSO: Those actions are not that of a "good and merciful" God. That sentence would be a lot better in summing up your statement The opening "Those" makes an accusation towards the the actions (ALSO grammatically correct) and the quotation marks around good and merciful make it lightly mocking of God. In saying it my way it makes your statement concise rather than just sounding like some whiny brat, which I'm certain you're not being that on a rational responders message board. See, you can also use sarcasm too. I hope this helps.

Christy wrote:

Not all Christians believe that everyone who does not "accept Christ" will go to hell. Some take the view that God judges people based on how they respond to what they know of God's character, not whether they "accept Christ". (For instance, I expect to see Gandhi in heaven; he thought Jesus was wonderful, he just couldn't accept what Christianity had become. For an illustration of this type of view, see C.S. Lewis' The Last Battle, the last book of the Narnia series.) I do not believe it is necessary to interpret the verse in John 3 where Jesus says, "I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." as meaning that no one connects with God except through Christianity. I see no reason one cannot interpret the verse as allowing for situations where people are saved through Jesus, but don't realize that Jesus is real and saving them until after their death.

Then you have universalist Christians. But that's another kettle of fish, and I'm not really familiar with the Biblical interpretation methods used for that position.

Justin wrote:
My take is that if you're having problems with suffering, then you're having an issue with real life, not just a specific concept of God which certain people hold. Not every Christian believes that God initiates hellish suffering for humans; in fact, the Bible even says that hell was not prepared for us, but for the fallen angels. Those who willingly allow themselves to side with the powers that be in this dark world go down with the ship. Now, there are varying degrees of this. There is absolutely no evidence that those who simply fall prey to deception of any kind or do not know how to get out of their self-defeating lifestyles will suffer just as much punishment as Hitler. They may suffer a little and then be released. Hell is, I believe, the outward manifestation of an inner reality. Jung spoke of compensation and how our consciousness will try to compensate for the darkness or suffering within our subconscious. If this outer satiation is removed, nothing is left but the suffering which has been compounded by trying to escape it. There are also different images or feelings to hell, or the different worlds of hell. Jesus provided several different pictures, at least. There is the picture of burning and also that of being tossed out into outer darkness. Obviously these are metaphors meant to express a higher truth, the truth of the soul.

The Hebrews believed in Sheol, the land of the dead. There was kind of a fuzzy picture of people who could not really live or speak but were merely lying dead in a pit. In Jesus' day there was a valley where trash was thrown and burned, and this was called 'Gehenna'. It was the birth of the more recent picture of hell. Surely there are various phases of hell, different levels as Dante pictured. Those who betray their friends, for instance, find themselves within the innermost circle.

You also have those, such as Emanuel Swedenborg, who believe that even those who do not openly profess Christianity will go to heaven (like how Christy was saying). In fact, he even said something to the effect of, "God lets far more people into heaven than you or I would." There is no telling exactly what the afterlife is like. To make a pre-packaged answer is to do it injustice. Those who choose to do so (perhaps out of fear of what they may find themselves, or out of the desire to subjugate others) will only repel those who are searching with an open and honest heart, and may be surprised when they finally cross over not only to find it was not what they expected, but that they did not end up where they expected to.

Christy wrote:


Hell is, I believe, the outward manifestation of an inner reality

The Last Battle touches on this too. If this guy is really torn up over the hell issue, he should read it.

Justin wrote:
Yeah, C.S. Lewis had some good things to say about that stuff.

I've thought about signing up on that board from time to time, but I don't know if I really want to or if it'll be really worth it. Maybe later.

Also, post this quote:

"It is a human soul still, and wretched in the midst of all that whisky can do for it. From the pit of hell it cries out. So long as there is that which can sin, it is a man. And the prayer of misery carries its own justification, when the sober petitions of the self-righteous and the unkind are rejected. He who forgives not is not forgiven, and the prayer of the Pharisee is as the weary beating of the surf of hell, while the cry of a soul out of its fire sets the heart-strings of love trembling."
-George MacDonald 


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Thanks for getting those

Thanks for getting those responses Ben. REVLyle, I'm still waiting for your response. Also what do you think about these other opinions? Is Ghandi likely to be in heaven according to your understanding of heaven and hell?


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simmo wrote: Thanks for

simmo wrote:
Thanks for getting those responses Ben. REVLyle, I'm still waiting for your response. Also what do you think about these other opinions? Is Ghandi likely to be in heaven according to your understanding of heaven and hell?
Short answer: No. I don't think any of those are truly biblical representations of Hell. To be fair, there is little in the bible about Hell, but it is never just a place where god isn't, and it is ALWAYS a place of torment. It seems like each of them is simply trying to fit the bible in with their own (liberal and libertarian) moralities, rather than the other way around. Christians generally do this anyway, and those that don't often get quite crazy. I don't have time now, but I can go a bit more in depth later.

Oh, and Levi is a prick in general, so don't be offended by his meanness at the end of his post. 


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REVLyle wrote: 4.  If you

REVLyle wrote:

4.  If you came here for truth - you came to the wrong place.  This place thrives on anti-Christian rhetoric.  When shown that they are wrong - they do not change anything.  Nothing here but fools.

Awww... you're so sweet!  When did 'show' anyone here that they were wrong about what, exactly?

 


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REVLyle wrote: You will

REVLyle wrote:

You will clearly see that Glenn Miller is not impressed with the claims of atheists. 

And I'm not terribly impressed with Miller's loaded, pre-restrictive criteria designed to unnecessarally narrow the domain for the purposes of 'proving' christian exceptionalism.

 Ba-lon-ey.

 


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REVLyle wrote: You tell

REVLyle wrote:

You tell me, why isn't your disclaimer  Not one story of Horus contains even a third of those elements ever seen at the top of these websites? 

Why does that matter?  One should expect that syncretic influences in myth-generation would be broad and multifarious in such a crossroads as Palestine.


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REVLyle, stil waiting on

REVLyle, stil waiting on your response.

Some comments and questions for those of you who may have been Christians in the past and/or continue to have family who are Christians. How do you view the aspects of Christianity (and I'm sure many other religions) that provide people with a hope of a better future, partly here on earth but also in an eternal heaven? I ask this because it would seem to me that this is a very important belief for many and to take that away from them would be devastating. To give an example from my own personal situation, my wife is a Christian and has a strong faith in Jesus Christ. She also has suffered severe illness over many years which at time cause her great pain. In fact it has been her situation that has been one of the main reasons for me questioning my own beliefs. I have heard her on countless occasions cry out to God and plead for him to take away her pain, however he doesn't do it. So either he is saying no, he isn't listening, or he simply isn't there. Despite her situation she retains her belief in Jesus, which for her also means that one day she will go to heaven and be freed from her pain. That is her hope for the future, and so I feel for me or anyone else to try and take away that hope by convincing her that God doesn't exist could have a devastating effect on her outlook on life. I'm sure that this would be the case for many other Christians who have miserable lives in some way or another, so my question is do you think it is best to let them go on in their belief, as it makes them happy and gives them hope (regardless of whether it is a false hope or not) or do you try and convince them that there is no God, which whilst being perhaps intellectually the right thing to do also could cause great distress and unhappiness. I hope this makes sense.


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simmo wrote: REVLyle, stil

simmo wrote:
REVLyle, stil waiting on your response. Some comments and questions for those of you who may have been Christians in the past and/or continue to have family who are Christians. How do you view the aspects of Christianity (and I'm sure many other religions) that provide people with a hope of a better future, partly here on earth but also in an eternal heaven? I ask this because it would seem to me that this is a very important belief for many and to take that away from them would be devastating. To give an example from my own personal situation, my wife is a Christian and has a strong faith in Jesus Christ. She also has suffered severe illness over many years which at time cause her great pain. In fact it has been her situation that has been one of the main reasons for me questioning my own beliefs. I have heard her on countless occasions cry out to God and plead for him to take away her pain, however he doesn't do it. So either he is saying no, he isn't listening, or he simply isn't there. Despite her situation she retains her belief in Jesus, which for her also means that one day she will go to heaven and be freed from her pain. That is her hope for the future, and so I feel for me or anyone else to try and take away that hope by convincing her that God doesn't exist could have a devastating effect on her outlook on life. I'm sure that this would be the case for many other Christians who have miserable lives in some way or another, so my question is do you think it is best to let them go on in their belief, as it makes them happy and gives them hope (regardless of whether it is a false hope or not) or do you try and convince them that there is no God, which whilst being perhaps intellectually the right thing to do also could cause great distress and unhappiness. I hope this makes sense.

 

Hey, Simmo.

 

I know that you were asking for answers from our more theist posters, but this is an important question for atheists as well.  For instance, if everyone were to deconvert (which would make us very happy), what do atheists have to offer in God's place?

The answers to this will be extremely varied and will differ from one atheist to the next. Most replace God with an emphasis on humanism: They ask themselves what they are doing that is important to human relationships or to society as a whole. I think we've already touched on this in responses we've given you previously.

You will also see forum topics and sometimes replies in which some atheists admit that they don't have the heart to try and deconvert certain family members for whom they feel that theism has become a need, a sort of addiction. It almost seems heartless to put someone through the emotional rollercoaster (worse for some than for others) of deconversion from a belief they have held their entire lives (ignoring the presumptuous suggestion that the deconversion attempt would be successful). I can speak from personal experience about this because I am an atheist in that situation. I would discuss atheism/theism with pretty much anyone except for my own parents. They're both in their mid 50's, their lives half over, and they are both devout believers.

I would not be against the idea of their being deconverted. I simply could not do it myself. To me, this only indicates that I care about these people and don't want to put them through any stress.

But it's most likely very true that if a deconversion is going to be successul, it's going to have to offer an agreeable alternative to God belief. I honestly believe that atheism can do that (and the passionate/activist atheists are working to make that even more true), but persuading believers of this is the challenge.

Thanks for sticking around, Simmo. Eye-wink 

A place common to all will be maintained by none. A religion common to all is perhaps not much different.


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simmo wrote: REVLyle, stil

simmo wrote:
REVLyle, stil waiting on your response. Some comments and questions for those of you who may have been Christians in the past and/or continue to have family who are Christians. How do you view the aspects of Christianity (and I'm sure many other religions) that provide people with a hope of a better future, partly here on earth but also in an eternal heaven? I ask this because it would seem to me that this is a very important belief for many and to take that away from them would be devastating.

Perhaps... but think of the gains, of placing all your hopes and concentration of acting for the greater good IN this world, rather than waiting dutifully for an unknown one of dubious beneficience!   

 

Quote:
I'm sure that this would be the case for many other Christians who have miserable lives in some way or another, so my question is do you think it is best to let them go on in their belief, as it makes them happy and gives them hope (regardless of whether it is a false hope or not) or do you try and convince them that there is no God, which whilst being perhaps intellectually the right thing to do also could cause great distress and unhappiness.

Do the right thing, cause a temporary distress... and help them live better, help others, work for a common human good.  Our only tangible immortality may be found in making a positive difference for our families, our community, our society, our world.  Good works live on.  

 


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Simmo, I went through a

Simmo, I went through a similar deconversion.

 

I outline it in this topic here. 

 

It's how I went from Christian to atheist, to my current position. 


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simmo wrote: REVLyle, stil

simmo wrote:
REVLyle, stil waiting on your response. Some comments and questions for those of you who may have been Christians in the past and/or continue to have family who are Christians. How do you view the aspects of Christianity (and I'm sure many other religions) that provide people with a hope of a better future, partly here on earth but also in an eternal heaven? I ask this because it would seem to me that this is a very important belief for many and to take that away from them would be devastating. To give an example from my own personal situation, my wife is a Christian and has a strong faith in Jesus Christ. She also has suffered severe illness over many years which at time cause her great pain. In fact it has been her situation that has been one of the main reasons for me questioning my own beliefs. I have heard her on countless occasions cry out to God and plead for him to take away her pain, however he doesn't do it. So either he is saying no, he isn't listening, or he simply isn't there. Despite her situation she retains her belief in Jesus, which for her also means that one day she will go to heaven and be freed from her pain. That is her hope for the future, and so I feel for me or anyone else to try and take away that hope by convincing her that God doesn't exist could have a devastating effect on her outlook on life. I'm sure that this would be the case for many other Christians who have miserable lives in some way or another, so my question is do you think it is best to let them go on in their belief, as it makes them happy and gives them hope (regardless of whether it is a false hope or not) or do you try and convince them that there is no God, which whilst being perhaps intellectually the right thing to do also could cause great distress and unhappiness. I hope this makes sense.

Personally I think I'd have a harder time, if I believed in all that stuff, trying to reason out why god has singled out your wife for suffering and offers no cure other than a happier shinier death. 

I find I'm at peace with the alternative, which is this situation is consistant with the reality that there is no god or no magic cure. Also, with the odds being so great of me never existing at all.. I find myself fortunate that I'm able to experience what I have so far, for the blink that we're here on our tiny portion of the universe.

I'm also reminded in this case of Sam Harris' analogy of the idea of the diamond in his yard:

Quote:
If I told you that I thought there was a diamond the size of a refrigerator buried in my backyard, and you asked me, why do you think that? I say, this belief gives my life meaning, or my family draws a lot of joy from this belief, and we dig for this diamond every Sunday and we have this gigantic pit in our lawn. I would start to sound like a lunatic to you. You can't believe there really is a diamond in your backyard because it gives your life meaning. If that's possible, that's self-deception that nobody wants.

http://www.beliefnet.com/story/191/story_19107.html

 

 

 


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stuntgibbon

stuntgibbon wrote:

 

Personally I think I'd have a harder time, if I believed in all that stuff, trying to reason out why god has singled out your wife for suffering and offers no cure other than a happier shinier death. 

I find I'm at peace with the alternative, which is this situation is consistant with the reality that there is no god or no magic cure. 


That is fairly close to how my thinking is on my wife's health situation. However my concern for her (and presumably many other Christians who suffer greatly in some form or another) is that to take away her hope that there is something better beyond this world would just crush her. Is it better to live with this hope, no matter how unlikely it is, or to see the likely reality that her only existence will be one of continual physical pain?


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I hope your own search for

I hope your own search for reason is not dependant on what your wife believes.  Tackle your own deconversion first and foremost, and try to keep the church off the kids if you have them.  (I wouldn't try to force them either direction, just keep finding answers to their questions.)

There's no real magic pill.  If you're willing to keep asking questions and really reflect on the answers (which it seems you do), if you keep adding up all the arguments, all the evidence, and really want to find the information..  I trust you'll find it really hard to backslide into Christianity (or any theism.)

 

 


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simmo, This might be of

simmo, This might be of help. I am basicly an atheist Jesus, Buddha, Mythology fan and enjoyed alot of it. Kind-of a western Buddhist / Hindu answer to your questions. No dogma or preaching.

This series of audio books by Neale Donald Walsch, where GOD talks, pretty cool ..... 4 AUDIO BOOKS, AND A MOVIE The New Revelations, Conversations with God Book 1, Conversations with God Book 2, Conversations with God Book 3 , Conversations with God - The Movie, and more.

I haven't heard all of it, or seen the movie.
 

UPLOADED INTO YOUTUBE BY, alienx1976. Here they are in correct order. http://www.youtube.com/user/alienx1976

A thoughtful "Cure" for the Christians etc. Maybe my favorite one, "The New Revelations", is here, http://www.youtube.com/view_play_list?p=5DD61EEBFB40D826

You might be lifted by this series. NOTE the male voice of god is actor Ed Asner, the female voice of god is actress Ellen Burstyn, the human "questioner" is the author Neale Donald Walsch.

Eastern ideas are helpful. Some good reading here. http://www.hinduism.co.za/jesus.htm

Michael Benner is pretty cool, he has a radio show and lots of podcasts, can google search him. http://www.theagelesswisdom.com/

Personally, I teach the kids and everyone we are god, as to defeat the god of Abraham. That god word ain't going away so let's fix it I say.

Good luck with everything.


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simmo wrote: Thanks for so

simmo wrote:
Thanks for so many replies so quickly. Firstly on the subject of creation v evolution, I have done very little research on the subject so at this point my stated 'belief' in a creator god is coming from a point of ignorance regarding the scientific complexities of it all. Another issue I have which would be best answered by those that have left Christianity - my family are Christians, my friends are Christians, most of my life is wrapped up in Christian community. And in general I love these people, they love me, and I don't want to walk away from them. As I stated previously regarding what I see as the positive aspects of Christianity, a change in my internal beliefs may have very little effect on my outward appearance to others. I will still endeavour to love others, but with quite likely a very different mindset behind it. To walk away from Christianity is a very difficult thing for me to do.

 

There is only one way to truely form a true undisputable belief in God and the reality of his existance. That is to step out on faith to spend a great deal of time studying what Jesus teaches in Matthew, Mark, Luke, John and implementing his teachings into your life. When you experience the changes in your life that is when you will believe. The reason you were "saved" yet still dont believe is because a church did a very poor job of teaching you what it means to be saved and what it truely means to be a Christian. Being a Christian means being a student of Jesus who lives the way he teaches. Paul teaches we are saved by faith like Abraham, well Abrahams faith can only be seen as following everything that God told him to do and it was only at a point after he started following that God said he truely believed.

You will never believe by hearing what people tell you, that is acceptance of information, not belief. The only way to completely have unwavering belief is to personally experience something. You have to start studying Jesus and implementing his teachings into your heart and life in order to personally experience what it is he can do for you and create true belief in him and God.

Before you read the Bible or anything else religious related you need to pray to God that you feel lost and unsure what is the truth and you need to ask Him to open your eyes, heart, and mind to His truth. Then start reading Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John and dont stop studying them until you have a firm grasp of what Jesus teaches.

If you would like to pm me with any questions regarding the Bible and what it teaches I would love for you too so please feel free. 

 

Stephen

 


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Xposure wrote:

Xposure wrote:


There is only one way to truely form a true undisputable belief in God and the reality of his existance. That is to step out on faith to spend a great deal of time studying what Jesus teaches in Matthew, Mark, Luke, John and implementing his teachings into your life. When you experience the changes in your life that is when you will believe.

So, when you believe, then you'll start believing. So, just believe it and you'll be fine. (I just want to make sure I'm understanding what you're saying.)

Xposure wrote:

The reason you were "saved" yet still dont believe is because a church did a very poor job of teaching you what it means to be saved and what it truely means to be a Christian. Being a Christian means being a student of Jesus who lives the way he teaches.

Okay, let's take a look:

1) Lie to your friends (John 15:15 vs. John 16:12)

2) Threaten people (Luke 3:9)

3) Get members of a family to quarrel with each other (Matthew 10:21)

4) Be divisive (Luke 11:23)

5) Be a nice person and love everyone (with a few exceptions.)

All it takes is a dash of empathy to figure out how to cull this list down to the important things.

Xposure wrote:

Paul teaches we are saved by faith like Abraham, well Abrahams faith can only be seen as following everything that God told him to do and it was only at a point after he started following that God said he truely believed.

So, how does one tell the difference between god talking to you, the devil talking to you, and the voices in your head talking to you?

Or does god not talk to anyone these days?

Xposure wrote:

You will never believe by hearing what people tell you, that is acceptance of information, not belief. The only way to completely have unwavering belief is to personally experience something. You have to start studying Jesus and implementing his teachings into your heart and life in order to personally experience what it is he can do for you and create true belief in him and God.

This can be restated as "just go along with it and you'll see."

Xposure, are you implying that simmo didn't try hard enough or was insincere?

Xposure wrote:

Before you read the Bible or anything else religious related you need to pray to God that you feel lost and unsure what is the truth and you need to ask Him to open your eyes, heart, and mind to His truth. Then start reading Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John and dont stop studying them until you have a firm grasp of what Jesus teaches.

Oh, and talk so as to purposely confuse people you talk to (Luke 8:10)

Xposure wrote:

If you would like to pm me with any questions regarding the Bible and what it teaches I would love for you too so please feel free.

 

Stephen

Xposure (Stephen), could you define the word "god" for me? Also, do you believe that god and Jesus are one and the same (according to your definition of the word "god" )?

-Triften


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triften wrote:Xposure

Hello Triften!

 

triften wrote:
Xposure wrote:


There is only one way to truely form a true undisputable belief in God and the reality of his existance. That is to step out on faith to spend a great deal of time studying what Jesus teaches in Matthew, Mark, Luke, John and implementing his teachings into your life. When you experience the changes in your life that is when you will believe.

So, when you believe, then you'll start believing. So, just believe it and you'll be fine. (I just want to make sure I'm understanding what you're saying.)

Xposure wrote:

 That isnt what I said...I said when you start out with faith not belief, faith doesnt require belief. When you start implementing and you experience the changes in your life that is when you form belief.

The reason you were "saved" yet still dont believe is because a church did a very poor job of teaching you what it means to be saved and what it truely means to be a Christian. Being a Christian means being a student of Jesus who lives the way he teaches.

Okay, let's take a look:

1) Lie to your friends (John 15:15 vs. John 16:12)

Those scriptures have nothing to do with eachother. In the latter verse you post he is merely explaining that there is much more to things but that we dont have the capacity to understand them.

2) Threaten people (Luke 3:9)

The entire Bible is based on the premise that God requires people to live a certain way, this is especially true to the people who have heard his Word but reject Him by not following. That specific passage John the Baptist was speaking to people who were entrusted with correctly giving Gods teaching but we not.

3) Get members of a family to quarrel with each other (Matthew 10:21)

depends on if your family wants to follow God's ways or if they will still support you when you follow. Most wont if they are not followers. The point is that you have to place living Gods ways above all else.

4) Be divisive (Luke 11:23)

actually he created a common unity between many religions. He basically created a division of either you are for him by living as God wants or else you are not. You cant say you are for something when you dont follow it  haha. It was really a statement that points out the obvious natural occurance.

5) Be a nice person and love everyone (with a few exceptions.)

Well yes, that would be part of it. Sounds obvious Im sure....however, most people dont actually do it and the point is living it not knowing that its right.

All it takes is a dash of empathy to figure out how to cull this list down to the important things.

There are many more things that Jesus teaches regarding not loving the things of the world, turn the other cheek, many other things. You just have to study it all to find out what all he teaches that you need to change.

Xposure wrote:

Paul teaches we are saved by faith like Abraham, well Abrahams faith can only be seen as following everything that God told him to do and it was only at a point after he started following that God said he truely believed.

So, how does one tell the difference between god talking to you, the devil talking to you, and the voices in your head talking to you?

Because all you really have to apply is what Jesus teaches by words and action. Jesus taught how to live the life that God approves of, you just implement and follow. You can tell the difference in what you are hearing because if its from God it will be suppored by the foundation He gives us through Jesus' teachings.

Or does god not talk to anyone these days?

Even God says in the OT that he only hears the prayers of people who are righteous of following His ways. With the exception of people praying out of true repentance. And yes, he does talk to people who show their love for Him by implementing his teachings.

Xposure wrote:

You will never believe by hearing what people tell you, that is acceptance of information, not belief. The only way to completely have unwavering belief is to personally experience something. You have to start studying Jesus and implementing his teachings into your heart and life in order to personally experience what it is he can do for you and create true belief in him and God.

This can be restated as "just go along with it and you'll see."

Basically, you are right...you will never know until you try it. Its internal in people, the only way to find it is to try it as Jesus teaches to.

Xposure, are you implying that simmo didn't try hard enough or was insincere?

I know that most churches dont teach the true ways of Jesus or how to follow him and based on him saying he was saved but didnt believe in God then I think he was probably sincere but being lead wrong.

Xposure wrote:

Before you read the Bible or anything else religious related you need to pray to God that you feel lost and unsure what is the truth and you need to ask Him to open your eyes, heart, and mind to His truth. Then start reading Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John and dont stop studying them until you have a firm grasp of what Jesus teaches.

Oh, and talk so as to purposely confuse people you talk to (Luke 8:10)

Yes people will only find the truth when reading with the right perspective of trying to learn to change themselves for God. That was the difference in his diciples he was speaking to as opposed to the others he was refering too in that scripture. Which is why I pointed him to ask to have the Truth revealed to him prior to reading.

Xposure wrote:

If you would like to pm me with any questions regarding the Bible and what it teaches I would love for you too so please feel free.

Stephen

Xposure (Stephen), could you define the word "god" for me? Also, do you believe that god and Jesus are one and the same (according to your definition of the word "god" )?

-Triften

I believe that Jesus was a vessle that carried Gods spirit and allowed that spirit to fully shine better than anyone else ever. I believe that God raised him as a seal of approval that the teachings he left are ligit. And I have implemented them and they have changed my heart and life. Things I fought much of my life to change about myself thru my own abilities as well as Dr's vanished when I TRUELY came to God the way he wants us too instead of just saying a prayer and getting dunked in water and saying Im a Christian. Personally I dont feel the need to try and define the relationship between Jesus and God anymore than what Jesus and God both obviously stated in the Gospels and the OT. I dont have to understand their relationship anymore than what they obviously said and so I choose to not define it with concepts like the Holy Trinity.

What is God? He is the creator of the universe including the earth and all that lives on it. He wants us to be more of a perfected creation by living a certain way. Like a artist he is full of love for the creation that is in process and the creation that is perfected. He gives us freedom to follow His way or not so that we have free will. He is the being who when I decided I would implement His teachings He changed my heart, mind, body and thought process and saved me from myself. He doesnt define Himself because he wants people to search for Him.  That is how he knows someone is sincere and capable of truely loving Him. He provides a road map to find him, people just dont implement it because they dont want to change.

 

 

Man, Im sorry if my post is confusing. I wasnt sure how to make my 3rd tier of quotes seperate so I just made it red. I hope its works ok. 

Stephen


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Triften asked - Xposure,

Triften asked - Xposure, are you implying that simmo didn't try hard enough or was insincere?

Xposure answered - I know that most churches dont teach the true ways of Jesus or how to follow him and based on him saying he was saved but didnt believe in God then I think he was probably sincere but being lead wrong.


Simmo says - Xposure, my Christianity was and to some extent still is very real. However at present I am finding it to be very hard to hang onto my faith in light of the type of evidence that you see presented throughout this website.  I don't want to negate your or anyone else's personal experiences, however when put under close examination it is hard to back up many of the fundamental beliefs of mainstream Christianity. Which then leads to another point - where you state that most churches don't teach the true ways of Jesus, do you know those true ways? How is your way different from the ways of others? There are so many branches of Christianity that disparage others and claim that they know this supposed 'true way'. 



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simmo wrote: Thanks for so

simmo wrote:
Thanks for so many replies so quickly. Firstly on the subject of creation v evolution, I have done very little research on the subject so at this point my stated 'belief' in a creator god is coming from a point of ignorance regarding the scientific complexities of it all. Another issue I have which would be best answered by those that have left Christianity - my family are Christians, my friends are Christians, most of my life is wrapped up in Christian community. And in general I love these people, they love me, and I don't want to walk away from them.
If the reason you have been hanging on to Christianity, is that you don't want to alienate yourself, then no offence, but that's being intellectually dishonest.

 I'm not saying it's a good thing if you do become more distant from family if you do decide to drop Christianity. But truth is not determined by who, or how many people believe in an idea.

Quote:
As I stated previously regarding what I see as the positive aspects of Christianity, a change in my internal beliefs may have very little effect on my outward appearance to others. I will still endeavour to love others, but with quite likely a very different mindset behind it. To walk away from Christianity is a very difficult thing for me to do.
I've been an atheist my whole life, so it's harder for me to understand your situation. But why is walking away from Christianity difficult?

Is it because you'd have difficulty adjusting to a new mindset? Is it that you don't think you know enough?


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Thanks for your comments

Thanks for your comments Apokalipse - I presume from your avatar that you are in Australia, which is good to see because so am I.  As far as my hanging on to Christianity, I think I am in a stage of gradual withdrawal from it, unless something or someone can really convince me that I should return to my faith. As to why walking away from Christianity is difficult, the first section that you quoted from me I think answers that . Most of my life is wrapped up in the church - my family, my friends, so it's not as simple as just walking away. As you have been an atheist your whole life, I don't think you could understand how difficult this is for me and others like me. 
On a seperate matter, as an Australian atheist how well do you relate to the attitudes of other atheists on this forum? What I mean by that question is that I sense that in the United States (where I gather the majority of the forum contributors are) there is a real battle on between the Christians/conservatives and the secularists/atheists/liberals (a very generalised grouping) that causes a great level of animosity that is often reflected here. I don't see this as being much of an issue in Australia - certainly it is a far more secular society and the church do not seem to have anywhere near the same level of political clout that they do in the US.  


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simmo wrote:

simmo wrote:
Thanks for your comments Apokalipse - I presume from your avatar that you are in Australia, which is good to see because so am I. As far as my hanging on to Christianity, I think I am in a stage of gradual withdrawal from it, unless something or someone can really convince me that I should return to my faith. As to why walking away from Christianity is difficult, the first section that you quoted from me I think answers that . Most of my life is wrapped up in the church - my family, my friends, so it's not as simple as just walking away. As you have been an atheist your whole life, I don't think you could understand how difficult this is for me and others like me.
I understand that.

But still, I do think it is intellectually dishonest to remain a Christian because you have a Christian family. It may be hard


Quote:
On a seperate matter, as an Australian atheist how well do you relate to the attitudes of other atheists on this forum? What I mean by that question is that I sense that in the United States (where I gather the majority of the forum contributors are) there is a real battle on between the Christians/conservatives and the secularists/atheists/liberals (a very generalised grouping) that causes a great level of animosity that is often reflected here. I don't see this as being much of an issue in Australia - certainly it is a far more secular society and the church do not seem to have anywhere near the same level of political clout that they do in the US.

Honestly? I do think my attitude is different, in that the people here tend to care more about religious beliefs. Because they're surrounded a lot more by them.

 

Personally, I don't actually see a lot of religion being thrown around. So a lot of the time I don't really think about it.

Usually, I only think about religion if I actively go looking at it.

 

I think the reason I first started to become interested in religion, ironically, is because I have never really been exposed to it much in my early years. I always saw religion as irrational (even when I was in my first year of school, at an age of about 5 or so, I didn't think the idea of god made sense, or was realistic)

 

And it's because I saw religion as irrational, that I went looking for sites like this.


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simmo wrote:Simmo says

simmo wrote:

Simmo says -  I don't want to negate your or anyone else's personal experiences, however when put under close examination it is hard to back up many of the fundamental beliefs of mainstream Christianity. Which then leads to another point - where you state that most churches don't teach the true ways of Jesus, do you know those true ways? How is your way different from the ways of others? There are so many branches of Christianity that disparage others and claim that they know this supposed 'true way'. 


The main difference is that when you study Jesus and then look at chuch you will see that they look nothing like Jesus nor his own ministry. They do a poor job representing Jesus because they dont teach the same things that Jesus taught. I guess the best way to explain it is they wrap a lot of religion around Jesus and talk ABOUT Jesus....but they rarely actually just teach what Jesus teaches. They stay Biblical and talk about a lot of things in the Bible, but rarely build a strong foundation for people by studying what Jesus actually said. The reason is exactly what you have pointed out, they are building religion and massive organizational structure and that is hard to do based on what Jesus taught. Jesus doesnt have the kind of message that appeals to the masses who just want to show up somewhere and feel like they are now fine without changing. Jesus knew this and even said so himself.

Im not affiliated with a church or denomination, I just study the Bible a lot and implement what Jesus teaches into my life. I actually dont even go to church anymore because the more I studied the harder it was to actually find Jesus at church. My way is basicially like Jesus taught....his lessons are for the child like. You just read what he taught and do what he said...that simple. Most people just dont ever really read it and when they do they usually dont implement it. Lord means master that is why Jesus told a group of people...why do you call me Lord but dont obey my teachings? It is a contradiction because if you make him your Lord then by definition that means to follow his teachings. Most Christians do not do that and when someone truely starts they bring them down because it makes the other look bad like they are not trying hard enough. They try to mask it all by saying well your saved you dont have to actually do what he says blah blah blah. Its just like Pauls said...that the day would come that the people would just surround themselves with teachers who tell them what they want to hear. That is where Christianity is at and it is why it feels so devoid of true substance to peoples lives. That is why I had to get away from church to find Jesus.

Anyway, I know that everyone on this forum doesnt want a full scale religious type discussion here haha. If you want more detailed information feel free to pm me. I have tons of notes that I made while studying the Bible and I started turning it into a small book to give to people who want it. I would be glad to send you a copy....its free. Its geared toward helping people cut through all the religion, rituals, and doctrine to find the heart of Christianity because all of the other stuff is diverting their focus away from the heart of what its actually about.

If your interested like I said its something I give to people for free, just pm me a addy or if you dont want to give me your address I can email it to you but most people find it easier to read in paper form. Up to you.

 

Stephen


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Would you still value "what

Would you still value "what Jesus actually said" as much if you discovered any of these were true?

A) Jesus was a man, but not god

B) Jesus was not a man or a god, but rather a character in a fictional story created in an attempt to keep large masses of people in order

C) Jesus may have been based partially on the life of a real person, maybe a Jewish minister, but the majority of the story was embellished or made up after the fact.

D) Outside of the bible, there are no pieces of historical evidence for a real Jesus that match the stories in the bible (ignoring that the stories in the bible don't agree either). No government papers, no history books, no letters, etc. from the "time of Jesus" outside of the bible that confirm his existance or deeds.

 

I'm just curious, if people think the stories would still be valuable even if the Jesus story isn't real.


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Xposure wrote: simmo

Xposure wrote:
simmo wrote:

Simmo says - I don't want to negate your or anyone else's personal experiences, however when put under close examination it is hard to back up many of the fundamental beliefs of mainstream Christianity. Which then leads to another point - where you state that most churches don't teach the true ways of Jesus, do you know those true ways? How is your way different from the ways of others? There are so many branches of Christianity that disparage others and claim that they know this supposed 'true way'.


The main difference is that when you study Jesus and then look at chuch you will see that they look nothing like Jesus nor his own ministry. They do a poor job representing Jesus because they dont teach the same things that Jesus taught. I guess the best way to explain it is they wrap a lot of religion around Jesus and talk ABOUT Jesus....but they rarely actually just teach what Jesus teaches.

It's a good thing no church actually teaches what the Bible says Jesus teaches

Otherwise, you'd have parents killing their children for disobeying, and you'd have slaughters of non-Christians

According to the bible, you must stone to death anybody who works on a Sunday. 


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Apokalipse wrote: Xposure

Apokalipse wrote:
Xposure wrote:
simmo wrote:

Simmo says - I don't want to negate your or anyone else's personal experiences, however when put under close examination it is hard to back up many of the fundamental beliefs of mainstream Christianity. Which then leads to another point - where you state that most churches don't teach the true ways of Jesus, do you know those true ways? How is your way different from the ways of others? There are so many branches of Christianity that disparage others and claim that they know this supposed 'true way'.


The main difference is that when you study Jesus and then look at chuch you will see that they look nothing like Jesus nor his own ministry. They do a poor job representing Jesus because they dont teach the same things that Jesus taught. I guess the best way to explain it is they wrap a lot of religion around Jesus and talk ABOUT Jesus....but they rarely actually just teach what Jesus teaches.

It's a good thing no church actually teaches what the Bible says Jesus teaches

Otherwise, you'd have parents killing their children for disobeying, and you'd have slaughters of non-Christians

According to the bible, you must stone to death anybody who works on a Sunday. 

 

Actually Jesus doesnt teach anything like that. You are thinking of the religion that Jesus was speaking out against and trying to change.

On a side note the "Sabbath Day of Rest" you are refering to is Saturday not Sunday. That was also part of the religion that Jesus was working to change (the Jewish religion)....not Christianity.

Stephen 

 


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Xposure wrote:

Xposure wrote:
Apokalipse wrote:
Xposure wrote:
simmo wrote:

Simmo says - I don't want to negate your or anyone else's personal experiences, however when put under close examination it is hard to back up many of the fundamental beliefs of mainstream Christianity. Which then leads to another point - where you state that most churches don't teach the true ways of Jesus, do you know those true ways? How is your way different from the ways of others? There are so many branches of Christianity that disparage others and claim that they know this supposed 'true way'.


The main difference is that when you study Jesus and then look at chuch you will see that they look nothing like Jesus nor his own ministry. They do a poor job representing Jesus because they dont teach the same things that Jesus taught. I guess the best way to explain it is they wrap a lot of religion around Jesus and talk ABOUT Jesus....but they rarely actually just teach what Jesus teaches.

It's a good thing no church actually teaches what the Bible says Jesus teaches

Otherwise, you'd have parents killing their children for disobeying, and you'd have slaughters of non-Christians

According to the bible, you must stone to death anybody who works on a Sunday.

Actually Jesus doesnt teach anything like that. You are thinking of the religion that Jesus was speaking out against and trying to change.
Have you read the bible lately?

"Suppose ye that I am come to give peace on earth? I [Jesus] tell you, Nay; but rather division: For from henceforth there shall be five in one house divided, three against two, and two against three." (Luke 12:51-2)

"Think not that I [Jesus] have come to send peace on earth: I come not to send peace, but a sword." (Matthew 10:34)

"...for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword." (Matthew 26:52)

"...and he that hath no sword, let him sell his garment, and buy one." (Luke 22:36)

Quote:
On a side note the "Sabbath Day of Rest" you are refering to is Saturday not Sunday. That was also part of the religion that Jesus was working to change (the Jewish religion)....not Christianity.

Stephem

Does that somehow excuse it being there?


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Apokalipse wrote: Xposure

Apokalipse wrote:
Xposure wrote:
Apokalipse wrote:
Xposure wrote:
simmo wrote:

Simmo says - I don't want to negate your or anyone else's personal experiences, however when put under close examination it is hard to back up many of the fundamental beliefs of mainstream Christianity. Which then leads to another point - where you state that most churches don't teach the true ways of Jesus, do you know those true ways? How is your way different from the ways of others? There are so many branches of Christianity that disparage others and claim that they know this supposed 'true way'.


The main difference is that when you study Jesus and then look at chuch you will see that they look nothing like Jesus nor his own ministry. They do a poor job representing Jesus because they dont teach the same things that Jesus taught. I guess the best way to explain it is they wrap a lot of religion around Jesus and talk ABOUT Jesus....but they rarely actually just teach what Jesus teaches.

It's a good thing no church actually teaches what the Bible says Jesus teaches

Otherwise, you'd have parents killing their children for disobeying, and you'd have slaughters of non-Christians

According to the bible, you must stone to death anybody who works on a Sunday.

Actually Jesus doesnt teach anything like that. You are thinking of the religion that Jesus was speaking out against and trying to change.
Have you read the bible lately?

"Suppose ye that I am come to give peace on earth? I [Jesus] tell you, Nay; but rather division: For from henceforth there shall be five in one house divided, three against two, and two against three." (Luke 12:51-2)

"Think not that I [Jesus] have come to send peace on earth: I come not to send peace, but a sword." (Matthew 10:34)

"...for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword." (Matthew 26:52)

"...and he that hath no sword, let him sell his garment, and buy one." (Luke 22:36)

Quote:
On a side note the "Sabbath Day of Rest" you are refering to is Saturday not Sunday. That was also part of the religion that Jesus was working to change (the Jewish religion)....not Christianity.

Stephem

Does that somehow excuse it being there?

 

Yes I have read the Bible many times. Jesus didnt teach to kill our children for disobeying or anything else. Nor did he teach any punishment regarding the Sabbath. As a matter of fact he was persecuted for "working" on the Sabbath by healing people.

Yes, his teachings cause division in families many times because family members often times dont support eachother through different religious belief changes and that is what he was bringing. 

His quote in Matthew was him repremanding one of his disciples for attacking with a sword out of anger when he hadn't been attacked.

 In addition to give context to your quote regarding his telling his disciples to take a sword. He taught that since they will kill the Teacher they will certainly kill the students. It was a means of self defense if they were attacked by the sword.

 You dont understand the OT. But that is understandable, neither did the Jews. In Jesus' day they were going to stone a lady for adultry and Jesus stopped it. The Jews no longer discipline like that so I suppose Jesus was more correct in his understanding and teachings of the OT than the Jews would like to give him credit for  hahaha. 

 

 Stephen


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stuntgibbon wrote: Would

stuntgibbon wrote:

Would you still value "what Jesus actually said" as much if you discovered any of these were true?

A) Jesus was a man, but not god

B) Jesus was not a man or a god, but rather a character in a fictional story created in an attempt to keep large masses of people in order

C) Jesus may have been based partially on the life of a real person, maybe a Jewish minister, but the majority of the story was embellished or made up after the fact.

D) Outside of the bible, there are no pieces of historical evidence for a real Jesus that match the stories in the bible (ignoring that the stories in the bible don't agree either). No government papers, no history books, no letters, etc. from the "time of Jesus" outside of the bible that confirm his existance or deeds.

 

I'm just curious, if people think the stories would still be valuable even if the Jesus story isn't real.

 

Man i had this real long post typed up and the page messed up and lost it Sad 

Well I had a bunch of info on your A, B, C, D sections. But i suppose what I had at the bottom sums it up and I dont have time to retype it so this should cover things.

 Im just going to answer the last question because in reality is pretty much answers the other questions as well. The only way to have true unwavering belief in something is to personally experience it in some form. I have true belief in God and Jesus' teachings because after implementing them they have changed my life and things about me. Struggles like sexual addiction that I tried to stop nearly my whole life using my own abilities and well as Dr's I was finally saved from. If all I had was just people saying to believe and I just tell myself in my head that I believe then that wouldnt really be believing, it would be accepting information. I dont believe in Jesus because of the glitz and glamor of his miracles and such. I do however accept them and feel they are true, I think with such a radicle message for the time and location that for anyone to follow him or believe him they would have had to experience these miricles.  

Anyway, point being that I dont believe and make Jesus the Lord over my life and live to his teachings because of the miricles. As a matter of fact even if they werent in the Bible to begin with I would still believe in him because of his teachings and the experiences I have gone through because of them.

 

Hope that answers your question!

Stephen


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Xposure - What are the

Xposure - What are the experiences that have changed you, if you do not mind me asking?

 


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Also related to that

Also related to that question, how do you know that these experiences are "Jesus" and not either coincidence or a bit of a placebo effect, like for example.. if you believe Jesus always helps you, whenever you gain you'd just assign that accomplishment to Jesus and not yourself. 

 But yes, you did answer MY question.  I suspected in the face of such evidence you'd remain in the same position.


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A few things, for what

A few things, for what they're worth (and forgive me if I'm reiterating what others have already said):

(1)  Many, if not most, people never reach the point of actually thinking and questioning the received wisdom of others, which is unfortunate.  The certainty that a particular religion is true espoused by so many is both troubling and perplexing.  However, you are apparently beating the odds by listening to your rational side rather than giving in to emotion, and for that I applaud you.  All we are saaaaaaying, is give logic a channnnnnnnce . . . .

(2)  I would like to suggest that your perception of the good side of Christianity is disproportionate to what actually exists - remember that you have to offset the instances of Christians working to improve the lot of others against the instances of "Christians" bombing abortion clinics, forbidding the use of birth control even though it would not just prevent unwanted pregnancies but also save lives, etc.  Consider also the possibility that those working to do good do so not because of their religious convictions but instead because they are fundamentally decent and compassionate people.  As much as I hate posing rhetorical questions to make a point, how many of these people would work to help others even if they weren't believers?

(3)  Thank you, REVLyle, for making so many points for us.  Res ipsa loquitur, no further sarcasm required.


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I think this thread has run

I think this thread has run it's course and so I thought I should make some final comments on it. Since I first posted my thoughts several weeks ago I have been able to obtain so much information from those who have commented on this thread as well as looking through the other discussions held on other threads. Much of it has been pretty heavy and difficult to really grasp (especially some of deludedgod's articles) but they have all really helped contribute to me gaining a much greater understanding of how many things can be adequately explained outside of god. I had hoped for more input from Christians, however they seem to come and go pretty quickly when the questions get too hard. I have been a very regular visitor here over these past weeks, however I am now at the stage when I need to move onto a bit of a different phase in my journey away from god (using little g god now) whereby I will have to work through how I deal with family and friends as I walk away from the church, which is going to be complicated. I have started to read up on things at www.exchristian.net and I will share my story there and see if I can get some good advice from people who have been through similar experiences to me. I'm sure I will still come back to this site from time to time, particularly when I need information to back up an argument, however I thought I should just thank you all for your contributions and assistance. I still not sure how to describe myself at this point - I think to label me a true atheist or agnostic  is probably still not accurate, as I still have this nagging idea/hope that maybe eternal life is possible. But it is going to take something really miraculous to bring me back to being the bible believing Christian that I once was. So thankyou again to all of you, it had been invaluable and most appreciated.


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simmo wrote: I think this

simmo wrote:
I think this thread has run it's course and so I thought I should make some final comments on it. Since I first posted my thoughts several weeks ago I have been able to obtain so much information from those who have commented on this thread as well as looking through the other discussions held on other threads. Much of it has been pretty heavy and difficult to really grasp (especially some of deludedgod's articles) but they have all really helped contribute to me gaining a much greater understanding of how many things can be adequately explained outside of god. I had hoped for more input from Christians, however they seem to come and go pretty quickly when the questions get too hard. I have been a very regular visitor here over these past weeks, however I am now at the stage when I need to move onto a bit of a different phase in my journey away from god (using little g god now) whereby I will have to work through how I deal with family and friends as I walk away from the church, which is going to be complicated. I have started to read up on things at www.exchristian.net and I will share my story there and see if I can get some good advice from people who have been through similar experiences to me. I'm sure I will still come back to this site from time to time, particularly when I need information to back up an argument, however I thought I should just thank you all for your contributions and assistance. I still not sure how to describe myself at this point - I think to label me a true atheist or agnostic is probably still not accurate, as I still have this nagging idea/hope that maybe eternal life is possible. But it is going to take something really miraculous to bring me back to being the bible believing Christian that I once was. So thankyou again to all of you, it had been invaluable and most appreciated.

 

Glad to hear it, Simmo. I wish you the best, and I hope you're able to overcome that "nagging idea/hope" in time.

I suspect it's just a residual feeling from all the years of theism. I've been an atheist for years now and sometimes I'm still surprised to find little bits of "supernatural thinking" floating around in my brain. I can't speak for you, but judging from my experience alone, I think it will evaporate over time.

Lots of luck! 

 

A place common to all will be maintained by none. A religion common to all is perhaps not much different.