Breaking the Matrix

Flubber
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Breaking the Matrix

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

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

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

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

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

The seed was planted.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Little did I know that this my first obsessive episode.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How can I stop fearing hell?

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

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

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

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


latincanuck
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Flubber wrote:On an

Flubber wrote:

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

Is atheism materialism? No, just the non belief in gods/deities beyond that I know of a few atheists that believe in a soul or ghosts, etheral plane, etc, etc, etc.

Is materialism depressing? No I don't view it that way, I understand how much of my everyday experiences happen, sunrises, seeing the northern lights, etc, etc doesn't take away the wonder of seeing them or experiencing them.  Much like love, even though love is a chemical reaction and interaction with the brain itself, doesn't take away the feeling and desire/care for others that I love. Once you knew (and I was taught this by my father when I was 6) that the rainbow is just a prism like effect due to water suspended in the air and sunlight refracting through those water drops, never took away the amazement and wonder of rainbows for me, nor that of the northern lights when I lived in the NWT, knowing (at 8 ) that the aurora borealis is an effect due to solar wind interacting with the magnetic/atmosphere of earth, never took away how much I loved to watch them at night. Knowing it wasn't magic or a deities doing never takes away the wonder for me.

Personally I find it sad those that state that if god didn't exist all the wonder of the world would not exist. That type of knowledge for me is fundamental to expand that wonder, for me at least, than just thinking that it is due to some deity or magic. 

As for the morality part, well we are social creatures and we learn our morality from the society and our experiences. It is the reason why morality even amongst religious believers differ from sect to sect and from individual to individual. For the most part we share common moral traits, basically against murder/harming others within our own society. Beyond that the treatment of people/animals differ greatly from culture to culture.

[edit] spelling errors


ex-minister
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Holy Crap

Flubber wrote:

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

 

I didn't have an immediate de-conversion. When I left the ministry, which upset my parents and grandmother, I felt loads of guilt and shame. My wife was quite unhappy with my decision. I became a blue collar worker which was good for me. In time my wife became acquainted with a couple who felt god was leading them and basically them alone. The guy thought God has specially blessed him as a teacher of the Word with right understanding. My wife started saying I need to meet them and do bible studies. I did and started to feel I had gotten back to the gospel and was once again in gOD's favor (just screwing with all the caps for holy words). Things seemed right again. I liked what Ktulu wrote above

Ktulu wrote:

You can be 'talked' into theism because it appeals to your emotional self.  You can't be 'talked' into atheism, you have to rationalize it for yourself. 

It was at an emotional level that I became satisfied that I had re-found goD or as a Christian would say gOd had re-found me. One of the things this teacher told me is I have to separate from my parents because of their false cHristian beliefs and so I did.  They really were quite upset, but I stuck to it. I was "happy" now. However, I couldn't sustain it. Emotions go up and they go down. If I am a tad crazy (yes) I would hunt for the highs to feel right then I will naturally hit just as strong an opposing low. When you get the high you say oh no here comes the check that I must pay. There is an addictive quality to being a fundie. Well, time went on and my new found teacher talked about what happened when you died. Here is where I hit a major wall. I could not agree with him. We went round and round. Eventually he told me "Look I cannot stand with you as a brother anymore", which was a biblical reference to Paul who told the church (I think Corinth) to cast out a man that was sleeping with his mother. I was floored. I wasn't doing anything as vile I just could not agree on theology with him on this one point. He could have given me time and put it aside, but doG was speaking in his ear and he knew and I had to submit. I actually broke down in tears and begged him to not do this, we had work to do, Christ needed us to spread the gospel so He could return and I wanted to be apart of that. He stoically said he washed his hands of me and I was essentially excommunicated. (Holy Je-Zeus this is embarrassing now). My wife then sided with him and I was told to leave our apartment. I had two young kids, two and six. This was so incredibly painful. I would go to work, close the door and stair out my window for hours. My spirit was entirely crushed. I did move out and then worked even harder on myself-suppressing all doubts. I lost a ton of weight. Hours of lost sleep and much wailing and praying to this god who apparently had rejected me through his f*cking servant. At one point I went to the leaders apartment. There was an open field near it and I felt to the ground crying and praying to God to save me from my sin (read the book of Psalms in the bible. It was a lot like that).  In about 3 or 4 months, I had learn to entirely suppress the "EVIL" part of me. I painted a wonderful face and lo and behold I was accepted back into the fold. I moved to a new place with my wife and kids and ALL WAS RIGHT once again. But you know what I could not kill my spirit (sin-stubborn sinner I was), the thing that longed to be itself and free of the shackles of others. If there was a god surely he didn't intend for me to be this miserable and self-hating, but that I didn't believe. Anyway the walls came crashing down and I was once again on the outs. I was so damned depressed, but my wife wanted nothing to do with me because I was bound for hell. She greatly feared my influence on our children. So, she told me to take her 4 states away to be with her parents. I obliged and drove her there with the dearest things to me and that was my kids. All the stuff was packed in a U-haul and we went. I was so out of touch with who I was I had a smile on my face and was joking and laughing. Psychotic. After 18 hours of driving we arrived and unpacked. Her parents said go lay down and take a nap with the intention of me spending the night. I laid down and stared at the ceiling. Reality hit. In 1/2 hour I was maniac and said I had to leave. Said goodbye and drove straight back another 18 hours. I developed a blister on my heel. No cruise control. I made frequent stops and ran around the car to wake myself up. Finally when I entered the house, now empty, I fell to the floor wailing so strong I thought I was going to burst. I began speaking in tongues. I was desperate. Seeing my children's empty room is the most painful thing I have ever experienced. I get choked up even now after all these years.  My life was at the bottom all because I believe in a one doctrine different than our 'great leader'. Honestly, I didn't want to live anymore. I had a few Non-Christian (a buddhist, a couple of atheist) friends at work who helped me not go there. One day I plopped open a phone book on the therapist page and found a remarkable woman who helped me through all the bullshit of my life.  One of the things she said I could do was to envision me going and shooting the leader which I had been fighting. Thoughts are not sin, they are allowed. I was blown away by such a permission. I came to accept that it was OK and processed the feeling and it went away on its own. I was sick emotionally and first had to get that addressed. She said I would some day be better. I said I didn't believe her but for the moment would trust her for that. This was like 20 years ago. Free thought. It took me forever, but it was so worth it. I honor everything I think and feel now and savor it actually. It teaches me so much. 

Today if the leader had tried all that shit I will tell him he is simply another man just like me, entitled to his opinion, but not allowed to hang hell over me. I gave my power to him. Not anymore.

So how is that for some road-blocks? How's that for affecting family members? And I know I am not alone.

I have some Christian friends and I see the pattern repeating. It blows my mind to watch it over and over. I had one Christian friend who told me more than once I was going to hell. Of course he was not saying that, but God was, you know, take it up with Him. I really hate that. Well, I lost contact with him but through a common Christian friend I found out he was fired from work for looking at porn on work computers and his wife left him. I told our common friend "Hey remember he used to tell me I was going to hell? Well, it looks like he is in hell now" and laughed. Of course this guy didn't like that and told me the guy has changed. I like having contact with some Christians just to see all the shit that happens. Meanwhile they have a happy face plastered on and are being persecuted for Jesus' sake.

Religion kills!

Religion Kills !!!

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

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


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Man, minister, that

Man, minister, that sucks.

 

But it is so true.  The reality of it is the monotheistic religions are massively reliant on suffering.  They take things we literally cannot avoid and call them sins, creating a cycle of guilt and ego destruction that leads good, honest, sincere people into a world filled with pain.

The Christian world is a world where *thoughts matter more than actions*, and worse, half our our biological instincts are sins.  Think about that for a minute Flubber.  Really think about what that means.  It sets up a situation were 'sin' is unavoidable, and it also sets up a situation where how we act, how we treat each other, isn't the most important thing.  Everything in life is secondary to whether or not we feel personally reconciled with an imaginary friend.

The whole thing is so messed up.  It should be illegal to indoctrinate children into religion.

 

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


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 Wow, ex-minister that was

 Wow, ex-minister that was some experience you had...  I have a young family and I feel for you.  I'm glad you're better now, how is your relationship with your kids?  If I'm prying you don't have to answer, just curious.

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


ex-minister
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repaired relationships w/o Jesus

Ktulu wrote:

 Wow, ex-minister that was some experience you had...  I have a young family and I feel for you.  I'm glad you're better now, how is your relationship with your kids?  If I'm prying you don't have to answer, just curious.

My ex-wife (about a year later after we separated) started to see how hard it was being a single mom and was glad I would take them for the summer, christMas and sometimes eaSter. My ex-wife went to be near her family in hopes of bringing them into the fold. That turned out not to happen and I cannot even type the sick things that went on. You would puke. Her siblings wound up splitting down the middle against each other and she stopped talking to her parents. She will now and again see her mother but never her father. Religion is tied up in some of this, but not entirely causal. Sometimes you wish there was a hell.

Meanwhile, getting my head on straight I developed a very good relationship with my kids. In fact the older one never wanted to leave me. They, as adults, even told me they thought I was a good dad. They even wound up moving nearer to me as adults. My ex-wife is planning on moving back here sometime next year. She still is involved in Christianity and we are fine being in each other's company. At one point she joined the Catholic church and had our marriage annulled. Lets see we had two kids and were already divorced. Sorry I don't get that one. She bounces from church to church. I don't ask too much about it.

Oh, my ex-wife lost touch with the leader and his wife. I imagine they still live not to far from me but have no desire to seek them out. My wife and I have never talked about them. She knows I am an atheist. My kids know the same. 

Stepping  back in time. Another painful time for me was when my youngest in her early teens. Her, my oldest and I were relaxing and chatting. Religion is a hot button for me and I can easily be triggered on that. The subject came into the conversation and for the first time I said in front of my youngest I no longer believed in Jesus. My oldest knew this already but as I talked she kept glaring at me. I was wondering what she was trying to tell me. Then all of sudden my youngest began to sob hard. I shut up and was stunned. Her mother had been taking them to church and of course they heard that if you don't believe in Jesus you will burn in hell. My youngest left and my oldest reprimanded me. I felt horrible.

But time progressed and both of them went on to college and beyond. We all now talk openly and they both accept evolution. My youngest even wrote an article in a university publication on it. I feel like my parents must have felt when I was going to college. I hardly understand what she is studying and writing about these days.  I sense if I really understood I would be quite impressed. Both are probably atheist. The oldest for sure and pretty sure the youngest is.  I love them and enjoy being around them. We all have a good time together. 

I did remarry and have a great relationship with my wife. It is by far an open and honest relationship. Real versus fake like the first one.

I did re-establish my relationship with my parents and we have/had an OK relationship. My father passed away a year ago. My father was very much god and country. My mother firmly believes he is in heaven waiting for her and visits her in spirit. She talks to him.  They have shared a very touching story with others before he passed. When his father was in poor health he flew up to Ohio to be with him. He was there for like 3 weeks before my mother came up on a train. He was waiting patiently at the railroad station. When she stepped down off the train their eyes met and they ran towards each other like a romantic movie. My mother said she got the best hug ever from him. That is what they talked about before he died. They would do that again but in heaven. I nod and appreciate the sentiment. No reason to object. She longs to be with him and misses him terribly. 

Sometimes I throw out anti-religious sentiment to my mother and she gently disagrees with a quiet laugh. But I do my best not to go there. It really isn't that necessary. She isn't trying to shove it down my throat as she did when I was a kid.

Don't know how to end this and cannot believe I let all this out. I find it somewhat embarrassing by how gullible I seemed, but what the hell. 

 

Religion Kills !!!

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

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


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I can't believe religion can

I can't believe religion can do that to people.  I can't believe that people actually alienate family members and behave so hatefully in the name of wishful thinking.  I feel even luckier that I was born in a time when there were books and resources and that I wasn't indoctrinated heavily.

What a journey.


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 Nothing to be embarrassed

 Nothing to be embarrassed about, I'm glad you found peace in the end.  You had a very emotionally eventful life, a person less reasonable would have drawn different conclusions regarding god.  The reason I asked is because I believe relationships that we have with our kids are extremely important.  If there is one thing I would like to be remembered as; it is a good parent.  I find little else matters.  Morality is a subjective and complicated matter, on this particular point however (children), you can take an objective approach.  

I think I rambled on about this in a previous post, I was not sober then, however, and made little sense.  I think of morality as a pool of water, perfectly still.  Any moral act that you perform has a positive or negative influence on the pool.  I think of it as a ripple from a pebble dropped in water.  This 'effect' influences other people and adds on to their own moral acts.  The waves that they create are influenced by the waves that you have created.  In this sense a sort of objective observation can be made of the moral value of a given act.  Objective relative to the overall wave value of the pool.  

I think if you look at your moral impact in this way, it is easier to judge the consequences of any given act.  Ultimately, not doing well by your children goes against evolution.  I think at some deep level we understand that even if we justify our actions differently.  You'd want to protect your genetic investment so that your DNA may replicate.  To do otherwise would be 'unnatural' Smiling  

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


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Thanks for sharing that

Thanks for sharing that ex-minister.

I had thought that I had gone through some really tough times with my deconversion from Catholicism and the loss of family and friends as a result.

You walked a harder path than I did.

It took a hell of a lot of courage to go through all of that and a whole lot more to share it.

I got a whole lot out of reading it.

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


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Flubber wrote:   And, what

Flubber wrote:

   And, what is love?  Is it pure or simply a chemical state that you could replicate on ecstasy or something?

Even if love was indeed a chemical state, like all other human emotions, it would not take away from it's power and it's value, in my opinion.

To answer your question, I would say that love means many different things to many different people.

I can say this, since there is no belief in ultimate purposes or eternal life in my own personal belief system. I see everything that we do here and now as the thing that matters. It is all the more reason to be good to those that you care about and value friendships very highly.

Granted, because of the power of certain emotions, it is common for many people to assume that those feelings and emotions must come from some sort of "spiritual place". But truth to be told, our brain is the source for everything. How we perceive things and what we feel comes from the brain.

When you really think of the complexity and the power of the human mind, when you read a little bit about the biology of our brains and all of it's functions, there is far more awe-inspiring wonder in biology than in any god belief.

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


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harleysportster

harleysportster wrote:

Flubber wrote:

   And, what is love?  Is it pure or simply a chemical state that you could replicate on ecstasy or something?

Even if love was indeed a chemical state, like all other human emotions, it would not take away from it's power and it's value, in my opinion.

To answer your question, I would say that love means many different things to many different people.

I can say this, since there is no belief in ultimate purposes or eternal life in my own personal belief system. I see everything that we do here and now as the thing that matters. It is all the more reason to be good to those that you care about and value friendships very highly.

Granted, because of the power of certain emotions, it is common for many people to assume that those feelings and emotions must come from some sort of "spiritual place". But truth to be told, our brain is the source for everything. How we perceive things and what we feel comes from the brain.

When you really think of the complexity and the power of the human mind, when you read a little bit about the biology of our brains and all of it's functions, there is far more awe-inspiring wonder in biology than in any god belief.

 

That makes sense.  The more I read about evolution, the suckier Adam+Eve sounds, when I read about the rainbow, thinking that a deity put it up to remind us that he'd never commit genocide again isn't quite as beautiful as the tiny droplets reflecting a prism of colors.

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

For the first weekend in months, I am anxiety free, thank God for atheism!

I'm reading through the Koran and Bible at the same time and realize that they share a lot in common.  Christians like to call Islam violent and their deity a sociopath (both are true), but their holy book is just as violent and hateful, its just been watered down. 
 
Its strange how I'm having to deprogram my mind when reading the Bible.  I've actually bought a notebook and am taking notes when reading the good book.  I could see how a naive and uneducated person could take it literally and think of God as good because the "Bible says so", but you have to really think deeply.  I think a lot of people shut down their morality during reading the Bible.  It seems as though the Bible induces some sort of faith based trance.

Some times, I'll fall back into it, then I'll wake my mind up. 

Anyway, I'm slowly undoing the programming.  I'll write down any criticisms I have of the Bible or a certain character's behavior and ponder their motives.  So far, I am to Genesis 4 (what a shitty book) and have three pages of notes.  So far, Yahweh seems to be very unintelligent and resembles a deity who is NOT omniscient.

Reading this actually is doing me good.  I feel like I am establishing my own morals and exercising true critical thought for the very first time. 

 


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Flubber wrote: That makes

Flubber wrote:

 

That makes sense.  The more I read about evolution, the suckier Adam+Eve sounds, when I read about the rainbow, thinking that a deity put it up to remind us that he'd never commit genocide again isn't quite as beautiful as the tiny droplets reflecting a prism of colors.

Exactly ! I know what you mean.

Flubber wrote:

For the first weekend in months, I am anxiety free, thank God for atheism!

Glad to hear it.

Flubber wrote:

 
One thing I am curious about is this St. Paul fellow.  Doesn't seem too nice.

Yeah, as our Bible scholar JohnPaultheSkeptic and a couple of others on here could tell you, the insane religion of Christianity is largely an invention of Paul.

 

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


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Flubber wrote:I've noticed a

Flubber wrote:

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

Socrates, Plato or Aristotle, one of them mentioned the quote, which I think is the basis for atheistic spirituality.

"...for wonder is the feeling of a philosopher, and philosophy begins in wonder."

Someone here (Natural?) called it 'inspirituality,' from the word of inspiration, not spirit. That's fine too. It seems to me that atheistic spirituality is rather based on outrospection and intellectual commentary on what is seen. They seem to be explorers of the outer universe, not inner except of the rational mind. All that is of course on top of common human joys. They score low readings on hippie detector, they seem to be very westernized anyway. No neo-hippie global brotha rasta dub synth culture. I haven't ever seen an atheist to like anything ethnic, their favorite culture seems to be the age of enlightenment or something like that, like golden age of philosophy. That is notable, I think.
Their music is with lyrics. Melody is not so important, but these lyrics are preferably telling a rational message. For that purpose there's, rap, hip-hop, rock, heavy metal, or anything with a man or woman singing something. Says disguised neo-hippie.

Flubber wrote:

One thing I am curious about is this St. Paul fellow.  Doesn't seem too nice.

Sure, I think he had a negative prejudices against women. But I very much appreciate some his chapters in Bible. He gives a lot of esoteric messages. Jesus maybe says that babies in Christ may enter kingdom of heaven, but Paul says that only mature heirs can inherit it. Paul tells Christians to grow up, otherwise they're no good for their heavenly father.
If only Christians would understand what Paul means. I got a lot of that on one or two Christian sermons by a famous preacher that I came to admire. He's really living the spiritual life, with minimum worship and mentioned fire and brimstone briefly only once or twice. If all Christians would be like that, there would be no problem with them. But nobody in whole local congregation understood, just me and him.
He told them basically to stop being sheep in Jesus' flock...

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


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Wonderful progress Flubber !!!!

Flubber wrote:

That makes sense.  The more I read about evolution, the suckier Adam+Eve sounds, when I read about the rainbow, thinking that a deity put it up to remind us that he'd never commit genocide again isn't quite as beautiful as the tiny droplets reflecting a prism of colors.

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

For the first weekend in months, I am anxiety free, thank God for atheism!

I'm reading through the Koran and Bible at the same time and realize that they share a lot in common.  Christians like to call Islam violent and their deity a sociopath (both are true), but their holy book is just as violent and hateful, its just been watered down. 
 
Its strange how I'm having to deprogram my mind when reading the Bible.  I've actually bought a notebook and am taking notes when reading the good book.  I could see how a naive and uneducated person could take it literally and think of God as good because the "Bible says so", but you have to really think deeply.  I think a lot of people shut down their morality during reading the Bible.  It seems as though the Bible induces some sort of faith based trance.

Some times, I'll fall back into it, then I'll wake my mind up. 

Anyway, I'm slowly undoing the programming.  I'll write down any criticisms I have of the Bible or a certain character's behavior and ponder their motives.  So far, I am to Genesis 4 (what a shitty book) and have three pages of notes.  So far, Yahweh seems to be very unintelligent and resembles a deity who is NOT omniscient.

Reading this actually is doing me good.  I feel like I am establishing my own morals and exercising true critical thought for the very first time. 

 

I love that about the rainbow. A sign that God will not commit genocide again. However it does need qualification that god won't commit genocide by water. He must keep his genocide options open. Lots of killing fun in the Book of Revelation and of course there is always hell. So the loving almighty god goes from drowning, which isn't the worst way to go to very painful ways like plagues, boils, etc and of course on to fire which might be the worst possible way to go. Isn't he just so wonderful to think of all these things? The mind of god - what a wonder.

That is good you are writing it down. That helps cement passing ideas. It will really ground you.

Reading the Koran and Bible at the same! What a great idea. 

Remember the only person you ever need to convince about this is yourself.  That is what growing up and having self-esteem is all about. Having your own value system as you have written. The more people I see do that the more I am convinced that the human ape isn't evil, but by Nature (not by god) he is loving and caring. Throwing off the shackles of religious dogma that everyone is evil helped me to see this. Sure you have people that are not like this, but the more I look the more I see that is a tiny, tiny minority. And those are generally genetic defects in the brain. There are logical parts and emotional parts of the brain. If these don't grow properly or are damaged the person can be out of the norm socially.

Here is a debate on the source of morality where the atheist addresses this. This is part 1 of 4, you can follow the rest thru youtube. The 2nd and 3rd part are particularly good.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UFU1MtMYbhs

 

Religion Kills !!!

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

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


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I agree strongly with you

I agree strongly with you when you say that humans are moral apes, lazy apes, but moral apes. 

I'll really have to look into philosophy.

Reading the Bible, I can't help but wonder why more believers are not in a constant paranoid state.  I'd go mad if the God of the Bible were real and I had to step on eggshells my entire life.

 


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Flubber wrote:I agree

Flubber wrote:

I agree strongly with you when you say that humans are moral apes, lazy apes, but moral apes. 

I'll really have to look into philosophy.

Reading the Bible, I can't help but wonder why more believers are not in a constant paranoid state.  I'd go mad if the God of the Bible were real and I had to step on eggshells my entire life.

 

Another poster on here named Optionsgeek once put it very correctly about believers :

Optionsgeek wrote:

It is a terrible framework for ANYONE to base their life off. A christian living under the Law will inevitably be one of three things: naive (kids and maybe people who are less smart), repressed (white-knuckling it through life, punishing yourself for 'disobedience', desperately trying to become a better person), or hypocritical (put on the public face of goodness, but being a prick at home, or simply lying - in its worst case you have televangelists / Elmer Gantry types just hawking religious dogma). 

Most people I know living under the Law are in the repressed category, and it is a shitty place to be. Of course, the upside is that you feel like you are part of a tribe, that you feel superior to other people, that you feel special, that you feel you are becoming more 'holy' or a 'better person'. But eventually you crack. Because it is all bullshit, because the Law is powerless to effect life.

I have to say that I agreed with his statement on that one 100%

 

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


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I don't think I've actually

I don't think I've actually ever seen a devout believer who wasn't doing one of the three.

Also, to a previous poster, I liked the book link you posted about the mind of a believer.  The concept of the Bible evolving and winning in the survival of the fittest due to its poetic nature and strict monotheism is fascinating.  Its like the most volitale book survived.  I can literally feel a trance when I read KJV because it sounds like Shakespeare with its "thous and thees" and it makes sure to through in a Psalm or hymn every now and then to wake the reader up from the begat, stone, begat sequence.

Funny thing about where I live is that even though we are in the Bible Belt, we have a small influx of "Mormons".  Mormonism seems to be a sort of hybrid of Christianity, but I really have no idea about it other than that.  Has anyone had an experience with this religion (cult?)  Is it just as much bunk as Christianity?

And, I've read of former believers still having some of the programming caught in their system, how long does this last?  You know, the guilt?  The instinctual belief?  Mine's gone away significantly just in the last two weeks.


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Flubber wrote:I don't think

Flubber wrote:

I don't think I've actually ever seen a devout believer who wasn't doing one of the three.

Also, to a previous poster, I liked the book link you posted about the mind of a believer.  The concept of the Bible evolving and winning in the survival of the fittest due to its poetic nature and strict monotheism is fascinating.  Its like the most volitale book survived.  I can literally feel a trance when I read KJV because it sounds like Shakespeare with its "thous and thees" and it makes sure to through in a Psalm or hymn every now and then to wake the reader up from the begat, stone, begat sequence.

Funny thing about where I live is that even though we are in the Bible Belt, we have a small influx of "Mormons".  Mormonism seems to be a sort of hybrid of Christianity, but I really have no idea about it other than that.  Has anyone had an experience with this religion (cult?)  Is it just as much bunk as Christianity?

And, I've read of former believers still having some of the programming caught in their system, how long does this last?  You know, the guilt?  The instinctual belief?  Mine's gone away significantly just in the last two weeks.

How long varies from person to person and is based on their experiences, you might feel you are going away, but I doubt you have encountered enough scenarios to properly decide that. Some people it can be mere months, others decades, it all depends on how much of a devout follower you were/are and how much religion affects your daily life, some live in areas which they cannot get away from it. Other like many on here, it affects their day to day life very little or not at all.


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Flubber wrote:And, I've read

Flubber wrote:

And, I've read of former believers still having some of the programming caught in their system, how long does this last?  You know, the guilt?  The instinctual belief?  Mine's gone away significantly just in the last two weeks.

Don't know a whole lot about Mormonism, but like any other religion, it is safe to say it is bunk like all of the rest of it.

I do know that many mainstream sects of Christianity label Mormonism as a cult. ( Same old thinking of, my way to god and the way I interpret the bible is the only way or else, hehehe).

The christian feelings of guilt and the inherent belief that human beings were lost without a god took a little bit of time to get over.

However, once I totally put belief in god on the shelf, it did not take me a long time to overcome it at all . 

I was raised in a very strict Catholic home. I used to arise early in the morning to pray, I would head down to the local church and light candles to the virgin mary and jesus almost every day and would spend hours in front of them, kneeling and praying. I would offer up all sorts of sacrifices in the hope of gaining some sort of promise. ( for instance, I always loved playing the guitar, I was just learning when my grandfather with whom I was very close, was stricken with a painful cancer. I gave my guitar away and promised god that I would never play another note again if he would spare his life and of course, my grandfather died and I promised god that I would never play any more music if I was so unworthy that my sacrifice could not save my grandfather).

These same prayers and similiar sacrifices were not answered when my father died. My father and I were on bad terms at that time, I was beginning to hit a somewhat rebellious stage and I somehow decided that it was my behavior that ultimately lead to his death.

My prayers were not answered nor were my sacrifices heard when my closest sister died either.

This all happened during a real bad period in my life. I began to question my faith. I was not an Atheist at that time. But for the first time in my life, I began to ask questions about everything that I had been taught. The responses from most of my family were horror and outrage. They told me that I was arrogant and evil to question something that had given me the gift of life. They told me that I had been a liar all of those years when I prayed to god. They told me that I was disgracing the memory of those that I had loved that had passed away. They told me that those that I had lost were looking down on me in judgement.

They made my life so much hell that I finally moved out. It was a day in and day out thing with them. Nothing I would do at that time was good enough. I had dropped out of high school at that time and started working. All they would tell me is that I wanted to throw away the life that god gave me and that I would be horrifically punished. I even offered them almost all of my paychecks to help around the houses and that was not good enough.

I was constantly told that god was going to punish me severely if I did not COME TO MY SENSES (Their words) .

Well, a whole series of unfortunate things fell onto me right around that time again. My questioning stopped. For the first time in my life, I began to get very angry at god and the church. What had they done for me ? Why was I being punished all of the time ? Had I not suffered enough for my sins ? How much more pain was to be required of me ?

That is when some changes began to take place :

 

 

Hehehehe, here I was, practically a grown man finally experiencing a sort of teenage rebellion. I began growing my hair long. For no real reason, I just wanted to. I looked in the mirror one morning and on a whim, I said to hell with it. I am growing a beard.

I had gone all of my teenage years without being allowed to date. I was not allowed to wear any clothes of my own choosing. I had had to hide the music I listened to for years. I also had prayed to god about that. I actually asked god to remove the desire to keep listening to heavy metal in secret, and felt that I was a terrible sinner for doing so.

I ended up spending a whole paycheck from the dead end job I had to buy black jeans and a Slayer T-shirt. I started to look alot different and started to act a whole lot different. I was told that I would punished for this, but in my anger, I thought "I get punished and punished and punished all of the time anyway. to hell with it,".

I ended up renting an upstairs room from one of the toughest, hard core biker dudes that you would ever want to meet. He sort of took me under his wing.

Earrings and tattoos followed the clothing shortly thereafter for my attire .

Life became one wild, crazy and partying ride. Chicks, beer, bikes and everything else.

I still had that inherent feeling of guilt and that idea of "ultmate purpose ' to life. I did not discuss it with anyone. I still believed in god, but I felt that the church had distorted it.

I flirted around with New Age stuff for a little while, fooled around with Buddhism, fooled around with supernatural ghost chaser types. At the bottom of all of it, I found nothing.

I finally came to the conclusion that god did not exist. When I did, any time I heard someone mention the word god, I would get very angry and very ugly at them. I went through a bit of a dark period at that point.

I've always loved to read and one of my all time favorite authors was Harlan Ellison. I read the introductories to one of his stories one night and he wrote that he was an Atheist. I had never really thought about what sort of world view that an Atheist might have. I had never thought about anything other than the fact that I hated words like god and religion and that was the end of it.  But it got me curious enough to look into more.

I had never really studied science or thought deeply about our natures. But that put me on the right track. I started looking up Atheist websites and authors like Dawkins and Stenger. It lead me on a whole new path. Atheist organizations were pointing out all the things that were wrong with religion and Atheist writers had counter-arguments to so-called "truths" that had been shoved down my throat my whole life. THESE were people that said all of the things that I wanted to say, but never knew how to voice them. These were people that lead me onto a new journey.

The Christian guilt and the feelings of worthlessness evaporated very quickly after that.

So here I am, still enjoying a wild ride through a wild world, but I no longer look at the world the same. Not in any way. shape, form or fashion.

Your on the right track. Those psychological feelings of guilt will pass. If the god of the bible was really real, he would fired a lightening bolt at me a long time ago.

 

 

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


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Flubber wrote: I don't think

Flubber wrote:

I don't think I've actually ever seen a devout believer who wasn't doing one of the three.

Also, to a previous poster, I liked the book link you posted about the mind of a believer.  The concept of the Bible evolving and winning in the survival of the fittest due to its poetic nature and strict monotheism is fascinating.  Its like the most volitale book survived.  I can literally feel a trance when I read KJV because it sounds like Shakespeare with its "thous and thees" and it makes sure to through in a Psalm or hymn every now and then to wake the reader up from the begat, stone, begat sequence.

Funny thing about where I live is that even though we are in the Bible Belt, we have a small influx of "Mormons".  Mormonism seems to be a sort of hybrid of Christianity, but I really have no idea about it other than that.  Has anyone had an experience with this religion (cult?)  Is it just as much bunk as Christianity?

And, I've read of former believers still having some of the programming caught in their system, how long does this last?  You know, the guilt?  The instinctual belief?  Mine's gone away significantly just in the last two weeks.

A Classic on Mormon beliefs 

 

Religion Kills !!!

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

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


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ex-minister wrote:Flubber

ex-minister wrote:

Flubber wrote:

I don't think I've actually ever seen a devout believer who wasn't doing one of the three.

Also, to a previous poster, I liked the book link you posted about the mind of a believer.  The concept of the Bible evolving and winning in the survival of the fittest due to its poetic nature and strict monotheism is fascinating.  Its like the most volitale book survived.  I can literally feel a trance when I read KJV because it sounds like Shakespeare with its "thous and thees" and it makes sure to through in a Psalm or hymn every now and then to wake the reader up from the begat, stone, begat sequence.

Funny thing about where I live is that even though we are in the Bible Belt, we have a small influx of "Mormons".  Mormonism seems to be a sort of hybrid of Christianity, but I really have no idea about it other than that.  Has anyone had an experience with this religion (cult?)  Is it just as much bunk as Christianity?

And, I've read of former believers still having some of the programming caught in their system, how long does this last?  You know, the guilt?  The instinctual belief?  Mine's gone away significantly just in the last two weeks.

A Classic on Mormon beliefs 

 

Now CJ I followed your comments on how to embedded the video on another thread. I can clearly see the video in the window before I hit preview. When I hit preview it goes away. I am using Safari.  Hit source, copy embedded code from you tube, paste at botom of source, hit source again, preview.

If you read this, please embedded it and tell if I did anything wrong. TIA. Here is the link

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7q6brMrFw0E

Flubber,

Please watch the video when you get a chance. 

Religion Kills !!!

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

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


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I embedded it for you. For

I embedded it for you. For some reason, the older html code works, while the newer one does not.

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


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ex-minister wrote:Now CJ I

ex-minister wrote:

Now CJ I followed your comments on how to embedded the video on another thread. I can clearly see the video in the window before I hit preview. When I hit preview it goes away. I am using Safari.  Hit source, copy embedded code from you tube, paste at botom of source, hit source again, preview.

If you read this, please embedded it and tell if I did anything wrong. TIA. Here is the link

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7q6brMrFw0E

Flubber,

Please watch the video when you get a chance. 

 

I see Butter has taken care of it.  I don't have permissions to change another person's post, only my own.  My instructions work for me pretty consistently.  I use Firefox version 3.6.13.

And I couldn't watch more than about 1/3 of the video - what a bunch of hooey.

 

Flubber, Mormonism was made up by a couple of guys - Joseph Smith, Jr followed by Brigham Young - in the 1830s and 1840s.  The wiki article has all this but it is obviously edited to be "neutral" - that is, the article tries to not make the mormons look like a bunch of idiots.  Joseph liked lots of young girls - and so he put polygamy in his book.  He said it was dictated by an angel or some such but he went off and wrote it without any witnesses - uh-huh. 

The Mormons have become a very large church for that reason - some guys just like to have all their nooky at home.  To be fair, most Mormons do not practice polygamy now and the main church frowns on it - but not hard enough to discourage all the hard core fundamentalist Mormons.  And the church is large for other reasons - you are encouraged to have as many children as possible.  Families may still have 10-15 kids and if mom can't have more than a half dozen, she may feel very bad about not producing litters of children.  (Octomom?)  Also, everyone is required to tithe 10% of their income, so the church is very wealthy.  (See the Mormon Tabernacle in Salt Lake City for example.) 

The fundamentalists that practice polygamy have been prosecuted in several states for illegal marriages to minors that may have been officiated by a church official, but the girls in the marriage were only 13-14 years old.  One case in Arizona, the guy was in his forties and marrying another 13 year old when the previous "wife" was pushing 20.  These were not legal marriages in the state as AZ law clearly reads that a woman must be 18 to marry without the consent of her parents.  With her parents' consent, she may marry at age 16.  A girl may marry at age 15 if her doctor signs an affidavit that she is pregnant.  I know all this because I grew up in Arizona.  Some 40 year old guy and 13 year old girls - gag.

But as I said earlier, most Mormons are legally adult when they marry and most men marry only one wife.  They are not supposed to smoke, drink any kind of alcohol or do drugs.  Their body is a "temple to the lord".  It used to be they couldn't drink soft drinks or sodas, but since Pepsi built a plant site in Utah, they can now drink Pepsi.  See how flexible they are.  </sarcasm>

Back to my starting point.  Joseph Smith wrote the Book of Mormon without any witnesses then claimed it was dictated to him by an angel.  And we are supposed to believe this?

 

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

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

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


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butterbattle wrote: I

butterbattle wrote:

I embedded it for you. For some reason, the older html code works, while the newer one does not.

 

 

Thanks !!! ????

I guess you and CJ can see it, but I still cannot. I am using Safari. 

I swapped over to my Windoze machine and used Internet Exploder and still don't see it. How odd. However, I do see a white box on my original post.

Went over to my Droid and I don't see it on your post, but do see it on my original post. Now if I only had one more operating system to validate this on. LOL.

Well, I suppose this has been posted enough and covers all the OS.

 

Thanks

 

EDIT: Oh, I see butterbattle you fixed it on my original post. 

Religion Kills !!!

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

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


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cj wrote: Back to my

cj wrote:

 

Back to my starting point.  Joseph Smith wrote the Book of Mormon without any witnesses then claimed it was dictated to him by an angel.  And we are supposed to believe this?

 

I think he dictated behind a curtain supposedly reading the golden plates with a Urim and Thummin or some device. Somebody else wrote it down. 

The best thing to come out of Mormonism was the TV show Big Love on HBO, at least the first season.

Religion Kills !!!

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

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


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Harleysposter Read your post

Harleysposter
Read your post with great interest. God is never at fault-what a crushing ideology. Your story clearly illustrates that and everyone around joins in like that stoning video posted by AE. No tolerance. They think they are saving you, but it does just the opposite. Religion kills!!!

Religion Kills !!!

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

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


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ex-minister wrote:cj

ex-minister wrote:

cj wrote:

Back to my starting point.  Joseph Smith wrote the Book of Mormon without any witnesses then claimed it was dictated to him by an angel.  And we are supposed to believe this?

I think he dictated behind a curtain supposedly reading the golden plates with a Urim and Thummin or some device. Somebody else wrote it down. 

The best thing to come out of Mormonism was the TV show Big Love on HBO, at least the first season.

 

My question is - where did he get the golden plates?  And who paid for the gold? 

 

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

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

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


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White People Of Course

cj wrote:

ex-minister wrote:

cj wrote:

Back to my starting point.  Joseph Smith wrote the Book of Mormon without any witnesses then claimed it was dictated to him by an angel.  And we are supposed to believe this?

I think he dictated behind a curtain supposedly reading the golden plates with a Urim and Thummin or some device. Somebody else wrote it down. 

The best thing to come out of Mormonism was the TV show Big Love on HBO, at least the first season.

 

My question is - where did he get the golden plates?  And who paid for the gold? 

 

 

Such a silly question, the angel Moroni showed him where they were buried. After Joseph Smith translated them, Moroni took the gold plates to heaven for safe keeping. So, to see them you will have to give your heart to Jesus. But for proof, 3 men signed a paper saying they had seen the plates, one said he visited the moon, the other a thief and the third Joseph Smith ultimately referred to as a dumbass. What more evidence do you need? Don't be hard-hearted now. 

This picture probably isn't to scale because they plates are thought to have weighed 230 lbs. Just a minor detail. Avoid thinking about that one.

 

Who paid for the gold plates? The last of the white people before the non-white people killed every last one of them. The white people were in America originally not the so called "native" Americans. So, when the white people came back to America in 1492 the non-white people got their just desserts. They were savages before and they were savages afterwards, just like all those evil people who occupied the land that God has set aside for his chosen (see the book of Joshua). Genocide was really the only answer. 

See doesn't religion just simply things so well. Stop thinking and relax in the gentle arms of Jesus.

Religion Kills !!!

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

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


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ex-minister

ex-minister wrote:

 

Geronimo, yeah? 


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Reading parts of the Book of

Reading parts of the Book of Mormon, it gets me in the same sort of faith trance as the Bible.  I'd imagine that would be because the Book of Mormon plagarizes the KJV Bible.  Surprisingly enough, the Koran seems to have little to no effect on me.  It seems to be about punishing unbelievers from the get-go.

Thinking about this faith trance, I'd imagine that that goes a long way coupled with ignorance in gaining followers.


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Flubber wrote:Reading parts

Flubber wrote:

Reading parts of the Book of Mormon, it gets me in the same sort of faith trance as the Bible.  I'd imagine that would be because the Book of Mormon plagarizes the KJV Bible.  Surprisingly enough, the Koran seems to have little to no effect on me.  It seems to be about punishing unbelievers from the get-go.

Thinking about this faith trance, I'd imagine that that goes a long way coupled with ignorance in gaining followers.

I think some of the faith trance from which you are referring to also comes from what exposure your environment gave you originally. For instance, even now, I feel some sort of weird connection when I see stained glass windows and cathedrals with medieval architecture, hear Gregorian chants on television movies, etc.

I realize that is nothing more than the fact that the Catholic Church was the first exposure that was given to me during my childhood.

If I had been born in Iran, I would probably have that feeling about the Koran and such.

If I had been born in India, I would probably feel that connection in front of statues of Shiva and such.

If I had been born in China , I might feel that connection when seeing Buddhist Temples and such.

The faith trance feeling is perfectly explainable by science and psychology. I know no longer believe or accept any of my original faith, but I distinctly remember what it was once like to be a part of it for instance. If I had been raised in a militaristic Communist Country, those feelings might manifest during say, a patriotic rally or in a military march.

I understand where your coming from about that particular feeling, but we have perfectly logical explanations for those feelings.

I think your right about the ignorance factor. Alot of Christians and other theists mistake those feelings as being supernatural in nature, when in fact, those feelings could not exist outside of the faculties of the human mind.

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


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Exactly what Harley said.

Exactly what Harley said.  Cultural relativism.  The Koran doesn't have as much impact because the culture is foreign.  The book of Mormon is less than 200 years old, written by a white American.

 

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


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faith trance

 Also agree with Harley.

AtheistExtremeist said in one thread recently that in a real sense he still is a Christian because he can feel all those things that it meant to be one. I was grateful to read that. I thought my goal was to remove every vestige but if I did that I would not be me anymore. I had many challenges in my past as you have read and I wouldn't throw any of them out because it defines me and because I stood up to and processed them I am a better person today. It is my story plan and simple.  My ex-wife getting an Roman Catholic annulment of our marriage really brought this home. We were divorced with two kids. I didn't want to wipe that out at all. It was all quite silly and can cost $$$$ to get it done thru the church.

I actually like looking at church structures. Had the pleasure of being in Europe and saw many of them including Notre Dame. I stopped at a smaller church in Austria and walked around. I came upon their cemetery. They had statues of WWII german soldiers near a collection of graves. It was creepy for me, but here in the south we got all kinds of monuments to confederate soldiers so it really isn't any different (Heritage Not Hate-LOL). But going into those church and looking at what man did to honor his mythical god is very interesting to me. It is the same as ruminating around man's sacred scriptures. The flash backs for me come when I go to small fundie church and the smells are similar to my past. That is more visceral. 

 

 

 

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

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As a life long atheist, I

As a life long atheist, I myself still find looking at churches or places of worship with abject wonder and amazement, but mainly for the architecture and history of the buildings, its because they are not your everyday building per se, I don't go to church or temples of worship, and many of the old buildings have designs that we don't normally see. The designs vary from gothic to the abstract and some are really beautiful and can be mesmerizing to looking at. But then again I find any old architectural design beautiful from old homes and castles to government buildings, all depends on the designs. St Patrick's cathedral in New York I just love going to see the inside, it's so damn huge inside, and they are designed in that way, more grandiose more larger than life usually and they do have some amazing art work at times, just do to the fact that churches/temples did/have money to spend on art.

 


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harleysportster wrote:I

harleysportster wrote:

I realize that is nothing more than the fact that the Catholic Church was the first exposure that was given to me during my childhood.

If I had been born in Iran, I would probably have that feeling about the Koran and such.

If I had been born in India, I would probably feel that connection in front of statues of Shiva and such.

If I had been born in China , I might feel that connection when seeing Buddhist Temples and such.

The faith trance feeling is perfectly explainable by science and psychology. I know no longer believe or accept any of my original faith, but I distinctly remember what it was once like to be a part of it for instance. If I had been raised in a militaristic Communist Country, those feelings might manifest during say, a patriotic rally or in a military march.

What about all these electronic musicians who love to play Buddhist, Hinduistic, Arabian or even african tribal music? They're all white Americans, Canadians, Englishmen, Frenchmen, Dutchmen, Germans... I understand them, there's something stirring in me, when I hear Indiand or Arabian chant in just right musical key. And I'm also chalk-white european guy born and raised in post-communistic evangelical Christian place. Maybe it was the incense sticks smoke that I accidentally breathed in as a baby. Or maybe fumes from homa agnihotra ritual. But where did the other guys get their style? They quote vedas and recite mantras, not Testaments and psalms. Some of them started setting their mixes on the beach of Goa state and suddenly all Yahweh-influenced upbringing and western traditions lost their power. Similar effect occured, when the Beatles used sitar on their famous album.

There must be also a psychological phenomenon of people who mentally never quite fit into their culture, but subconsciously choose to associate with another cultures halfway across the globe. That's not just India, I've seen a local guy much into Balcan traditional music. Those who know me, surely know what's on my mind right now: people of other cultures reincarnated into our culture are longing for their exotic homeland Smiling

Btw, from what I observed, communistic people were not necessarily entusiastic about marches (much less military) or putting flags into windows and other rituals. They liked it for a few years after WW2, but that was just after-war "we survived it" endorphine rush and also 300 000 most intelligent people of the nation just died in concentration camps. A survey on popularity of communism was definitely made impossible in 1968, when Soviet Union stopped Dubcek's attempt to make the politics more sane and filled the country with Soviet soldiers and  tanks which remained there for 21 years.
The popularity of communism basically depended on whether you wanted to use your brain or not. Thinkers were persecuted all the time, and non-thinkers were satisfied with the simple ideology which they didn't understand anyway and social benefits, like miners having much bigger salary than university professors.

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


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Luminon wrote:There must be

Luminon wrote:

There must be also a psychological phenomenon of people who mentally never quite fit into their culture, but subconsciously choose to associate with another cultures halfway across the globe. That's not just India, I've seen a local guy much into Balcan traditional music. Those who know me, surely know what's on my mind right now: people of other cultures reincarnated into our culture are longing for their exotic homeland Smiling

Hehehe, well you know I am going to be skeptical of that particular claim. Even though I have heard that particular claim before about people who are fascinated with other cultures.

However, I understand what you mean about being drawn to other cultures . For instance, I have always been extremely fascinated with anything to do with the Renaissance and the Middle Ages. Always been fascinated with Middle Eastern music and sounds as well. The same could be said for Celtic music. Although I am half-Irish, there was no special meaning attached to that during my childhood, but I have always liked the sounds of the bagpipes and such.

I guess you could say I was one of the people that did not fit into my own culture. I ended up rejecting my childhood faith and becoming an antithesis of the neighborhood that I was raised in. I am Italian on my father's side for example. I really don't have any particular attachment to it like some of the fellow Italian -Americans that I grew up with.

I was addressing the cultural ingrainings that happened in my own personal experiences that put my particular faith in a "special" or "unquestionable" place for a long time in my original post. I don't think it was because there was anything spiritual or powerful about my faith, but it was the first faith that I was so heavily indoctrinated with, that I just could not admit that it could have so many flaws to it (even though I kept finding so many throughout my life). I was addressing Flubber's posts about having such issues with the Bible and such and was merely noting that the Bible was where he was first exposed to the idea of god belief, therefore it is perfectly logical to assume that is why the bible gives him "mystical" feelings when reading it and he is not getting that from the Koran.

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


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harleysportster wrote:I was

harleysportster wrote:

I was addressing the cultural ingrainings that happened in my own personal experiences that put my particular faith in a "special" or "unquestionable" place for a long time in my original post. I don't think it was because there was anything spiritual or powerful about my faith, but it was the first faith that I was so heavily indoctrinated with, that I just could not admit that it could have so many flaws to it (even though I kept finding so many throughout my life). I was addressing Flubber's posts about having such issues with the Bible and such and was merely noting that the Bible was where he was first exposed to the idea of god belief, therefore it is perfectly logical to assume that is why the bible gives him "mystical" feelings when reading it and he is not getting that from the Koran.

You're right here, of course. It's the most straightforward way of achieving mystical feelings, for now I'd call it mystical emotional attachment.

Let me ask something more. A believer will be used to regular doses of mystical feelings. Where does he get these feelings after deconversion? Does he stop having them, has less of them, just the same, or more, since there is no fear from Hell? What are the new sources of mystical feelings? I guess, astronomy videos on Youtube for some.

Obviously, our brain is capable of generating these mystical feelings and we enjoy them a lot. It would be very desirable to generate them more easily than through reading a book. I wonder where they come from, when there is no possible source in sight, not a single Youtube astronomy video. I wonder what is happening, when someone lives like that semi-permanently. It would surely create a lot of Christian legends of how Jesus sits in our hearts and loves us. I would describe that as mystical emotional detachment, when there is no necessary source of "mystical" feelings. No holy book, building or person in sight, and yet there is this overwhelming warm and fuzzy feeling of love in cordial area. Surprisingly often, anyway.
I wonder if we should be glad for religion for granting this feeling to some people at least on some ocassions, or angry at religion, because it restricts people from loving everything and everyone. Did I re-wire my brain to squeeze out happy hormones as I want? Am I a junkie with no dealer, is spirituality sort of an immaculate intoxication? Sticking out tongue
If that is so, religion should let people develop a non-specific (therefore non-organized) spirituality, just like parents teach kids to ride the bicycle with still less support and balance aid.

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Luminon wrote:You're right

Luminon wrote:

You're right here, of course. It's the most straightforward way of achieving mystical feelings, for now I'd call it mystical emotional attachment.

Let me ask something more. A believer will be used to regular doses of mystical feelings. Where does he get these feelings after deconversion? Does he stop having them, has less of them, just the same, or more, since there is no fear from Hell? What are the new sources of mystical feelings? I guess, astronomy videos on Youtube for some.

SmilingSmiling I like that, astronomy videos on youtube.

To be honest, that was one of my last holdouts for the notion of a god belief. I was afraid that if my worldview lacked a supernatural type substance of any kind, that I would be robbed of all mystic feelings and awe inspired wonder. I actually wanted to believe in spirits and such things as that. I had high hopes that SOMETHING out there could prove to me that there was a whole lot more to reality than what I perceived.

Now this is only me personally speaking here, but I never found anything in all of my years of looking. It was almost a painful process to give that sort of thing completely up. But one day, I did.

However, I have found that the mystical feelings do not go away because the lack of belief is now there. I still get the feelings when I look at city skylines or stare off into sunsets that I used to get when I was a theist. It all looks that much more amazing for me to look at it without any beliefs.

 

Luminon wrote:

Obviously, our brain is capable of generating these mystical feelings and we enjoy them a lot. It would be very desirable to generate them more easily than through reading a book. I wonder where they come from, when there is no possible source in sight, not a single Youtube astronomy video. I wonder what is happening, when someone lives like that semi-permanently. It would surely create a lot of Christian legends of how Jesus sits in our hearts and loves us. I would describe that as mystical emotional detachment, when there is no necessary source of "mystical" feelings. No holy book, building or person in sight, and yet there is this overwhelming warm and fuzzy feeling of love in cordial area. Surprisingly often, anyway.
I wonder if we should be glad for religion for granting this feeling to some people at least on some ocassions, or angry at religion, because it restricts people from loving everything and everyone. Did I re-wire my brain to squeeze out happy hormones as I want? Am I a junkie with no dealer, is spirituality sort of an immaculate intoxication? Sticking out tongue
If that is so, religion should let people develop a non-specific (therefore non-organized) spirituality, just like parents teach kids to ride the bicycle with still less support and balance aid.

Some excellent points.

Much of what you mentioned was described in the book, Why God Won't Go Away by Newberg.

Doctors are pretty certain what sort of brain chemistry is taking place when people have these ecstatic feelings of connectedness.

My only main issue with that book, is that it veers off into a theistic type agenda to say that religious people live better lives than non-religious people and it is obvious that since our brains seek that feeling, religion should be encouraged and I totally disagree with the writers on that one.

People in church that feel this connectedness, who have no clue as to the biology of it, would probably tend to equate these feelings to something divine and may buy into the delusion that their path is the "ONLY TRUE" path because of what they feel. (Sadly enough, I have had some hard core theists use that as an argument with me in debates. They will say things like : I HAVE FELT THE PRESENCE OF GOD AND IF YOU HAVE NOT FELT IT THEN  YOU ARE NOT SAVED !!!!!!)

What some religious people may not be willing to accept is the Buddhist monks in deep levels of meditation, the Islamic Sufi dancers, the Catholic Masses that are stimulated by the singing liturgy, are all  experiencing the same stimulation in the same part of the brain while they are doing this. Therefore, the belief system is not what is producing the feeling, what is producing the feeling is within the human mind.

The same parts of the brain are stimulated when one is peering off into the sky or just gazing at a river and feeling less of themselves and more of a oneness.

I like your idea of a non-organized encouragement of this type of feeling.  Understanding or learning of the science of it has not lessened it for me.

Comically enough, as an experiment, I tried going for a walk not too long ago. I stopped and stared into the sky at one point, and thought : Limbic System Stimulation. (Almost like a mantra). Damned if it didn't work. I felt momentarily all connected and at peace.  Proof that the mantra matters not, just touching that area of the mind.

 

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


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harleysportster wrote:To be

harleysportster wrote:

To be honest, that was one of my last holdouts for the notion of a god belief. I was afraid that if my worldview lacked a supernatural type substance of any kind, that I would be robbed of all mystic feelings and awe inspired wonder. I actually wanted to believe in spirits and such things as that. I had high hopes that SOMETHING out there could prove to me that there was a whole lot more to reality than what I perceived.

Well, you see, whether the transcendence is supernatural or not, it is indivisible part of our inner workings. Therefore it works whether we're interested in the supernatural or not. Of course, a direct interest and endeavour to uncover these feelings can really help.

harleysportster wrote:
Now this is only me personally speaking here, but I never found anything in all of my years of looking. It was almost a painful process to give that sort of thing completely up. But one day, I did.
As for me personally, I found a plenty of supernatural experiences all the years. I assure you, they are not quite about feelings. A spirit may not be more awe-inspiring than a guy next doors who sneaks into your home. Those who work with such things hopefully get over the glamour and realize, that most of the supernatural is just work like any other. These are perhaps supernatural experiences, but certainly not necessarily transcendental, not bliss-inducing, understand? To find something truly enlightening, you must look inside yourself or get to know for inspiration someone who already found it within himself. 

Yes, I went through a similar process of finding nothing, painfully giving things up completely, it just wasn't about anything supernatural. It was about giving up lots of bad habits, serious ignorance and unawareness, and lots of bad emotions from resulting conflicts. Now I hardly have any decent emotions left. To give up old parts of personality is one problem, to acquire new, better ones is another problem.

harleysportster wrote:
  However, I have found that the mystical feelings do not go away because the lack of belief is now there. I still get the feelings when I look at city skylines or stare off into sunsets that I used to get when I was a theist. It all looks that much more amazing for me to look at it without any beliefs.
Interesting. What about a lack of sights of sunset? Would it decrease your mystical feelings? Let's say that you get a job in the winter, you come to work in the morning when it's dark, work indoors, and then go home when it's already getting dark in the evening. The sky is clouded. No sunsets, no skylines.

Some people say, that "when body suffers, soul rejoices," they say it when they need to beat their children for something. But I found out, that the feelings of bliss can indeed manifest even if there is no sight of the sky, the work is hard and dirty, and the employer rips you off on overtime money. Perhaps it's a defensive reaction.

harleysportster wrote:

Some excellent points.

Much of what you mentioned was described in the book, Why God Won't Go Away by Newberg.

Doctors are pretty certain what sort of brain chemistry is taking place when people have these ecstatic feelings of connectedness.

My only main issue with that book, is that it veers off into a theistic type agenda to say that religious people live better lives than non-religious people and it is obvious that since our brains seek that feeling, religion should be encouraged and I totally disagree with the writers on that one.

Exactly. Spirituality, not religion increases the quality of life. Some people can be very religious, very immersed in worship, ritual, organization, ideals and dogma, but not a bit spiritual. Spirituality surprisingly always has an element of progressiveness. It may historically create religions around itself, so that people can have at least something tangible to catch on, but it leaves the shells of religion once they grow too big, old and rigid.

I don't say you should join anything. Quite oppositely, today our thinking capacity and education allows us to become our own teachers, and seek and catch the element of progressive spirituality for ourselves. Then it's up to us personally to unconditioned and always self-developing, so we will keep up the tempo with progressive spirituality. That will make sure we will not get cut off from it, because there will be no organized religion to keep us in the fold.

harleysportster wrote:
People in church that feel this connectedness, who have no clue as to the biology of it, would probably tend to equate these feelings to something divine and may buy into the delusion that their path is the "ONLY TRUE" path because of what they feel. (Sadly enough, I have had some hard core theists use that as an argument with me in debates. They will say things like : I HAVE FELT THE PRESENCE OF GOD AND IF YOU HAVE NOT FELT IT THEN  YOU ARE NOT SAVED !!!!!!)

What some religious people may not be willing to accept is the Buddhist monks in deep levels of meditation, the Islamic Sufi dancers, the Catholic Masses that are stimulated by the singing liturgy, are all  experiencing the same stimulation in the same part of the brain while they are doing this. Therefore, the belief system is not what is producing the feeling, what is producing the feeling is within the human mind.

Correct. I felt and feel all the love, bliss and divine presence that religions promise, but I'm not even baptisted. (thanks mom and dad for keeping me a proud pagan!) I wonder what would fundies say on that, perhaps Satan's work?

But I wonder what exactly causes these feelings. I recently posted a small thread about it... I don't just feel mystical emotions but also a wide range of very strange, downright supernatural perceptions. Many of them seem to be attached to areas of body, which are associated with endocrine glands. Typically, hypophysis and thymus. I have studied some esoteric literature and these processes are described there as natural for a small part of humanity. That group of people, the writings say, works quite differently than other people and none of psychologists or psychiatrists can understand any of that. There is a great emphasis on how various endocrine glands and brain centers learn to work harmoniously in unison. Until they learn it, there is a certain imbalance and discomfort. (and danger of special defects and diseases) So I guess I am a neurologist's and endocrinologists' ticket for Nobel prize. Most of people's systems work on a nature's autopilot. It is safe and relatively healthy, but very inefficient.

I would like to understand more about how brain centers and glands change our consciousness. Perhaps I can find out what feelings are caused by overflow of serotonin, dopamin or acetylcholin. Or if one of these is too low. There are certain "normal" states of consciousness that I'm missing, so I'd like to find out why. Does that book write anything about it?

harleysportster wrote:
The same parts of the brain are stimulated when one is peering off into the sky or just gazing at a river and feeling less of themselves and more of a oneness.

I like your idea of a non-organized encouragement of this type of feeling.  Understanding or learning of the science of it has not lessened it for me.

Comically enough, as an experiment, I tried going for a walk not too long ago. I stopped and stared into the sky at one point, and thought : Limbic System Stimulation. (Almost like a mantra). Damned if it didn't work. I felt momentarily all connected and at peace.  Proof that the mantra matters not, just touching that area of the mind.

LOL Smiling I do the same thing with my favorite music. It gets really trippy sometimes.

 

 

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I'm doing well in my

I'm doing well in my deconversion process.

My mind is slowly starting to learn how to stop rationalizing things.  Innocent children didn't "deserve" to be killed.  Faith healings didn't "work at the time".  And "its all God's plan" is not an appropriate answer.

The only thing that I'm really fixated on is the fear of hell.  It is very irrational, but I worry about the .01% chance that I am wrong.  Sure, hell may be scientifically impossible, but God can find a way, he makes the rules.  Yes, its immoral, but look at God, or Satan (God by proxy)

Also, I kind of do want there to be a god.  Not so that there can be an afterlife or even for personal comfort (prayer, assurance), only to have some order in the universe.  But, desire doesn't make something true.

How long did it take you guys to fully deconvert?  I've read that it takes some people years and some people days.  I can say that I haven't 100 percent deconverted yet, but I am getting closer.


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If you click "login/register" you can see a link to request a new password to be sent to your email address.

Flubber (forgot password) wrote:
The only thing that I'm really fixated on is the fear of hell.  It is very irrational, but I worry about the .01% chance that I am wrong.  Sure, hell may be scientifically impossible, but God can find a way, he makes the rules.  Yes, its immoral, but look at God, or Satan (God by proxy)

Something like this takes time. 

Here's another way to think about it that might help. All of the most basic assumptions in Pascal's Wager are unjustified, right? So, we don't even know that Christians will float up to eternal bliss while everyone else burns. Maybe there is a God that actually likes skeptics and hates religious people, so he's going to send all the Christians to hell and send us up to heaven. Of course, I would not like that either. Any God that tortures so many people for an eternity for something like that does not appeal to me, but that's a digression. Point is, if there is a horrible afterlife, you're not any more likely to go there now than you were before.

Flubber wrote:
Also, I kind of do want there to be a god.  Not so that there can be an afterlife or even for personal comfort (prayer, assurance), only to have some order in the universe.

Depending on how you define "order," there is already plenty of "order" in the universe. Look at snowflakes.

Anyways, there's nothing wrong with wanting there to be a God. I want there to be a nice God too, so this universe wouldn't be so cold and hostile. I find it kind of ironic that so many atheists would prefer that there was a God, considering how often the religious assert that we're just rebelling because we don't want an authority.

 

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


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Flubber (forgot password)

Flubber (forgot password) wrote:

I'm doing well in my deconversion process.

My mind is slowly starting to learn how to stop rationalizing things.  Innocent children didn't "deserve" to be killed.  Faith healings didn't "work at the time".  And "its all God's plan" is not an appropriate answer.

The only thing that I'm really fixated on is the fear of hell.  It is very irrational, but I worry about the .01% chance that I am wrong.  Sure, hell may be scientifically impossible, but God can find a way, he makes the rules.  Yes, its immoral, but look at God, or Satan (God by proxy)

Also, I kind of do want there to be a god.  Not so that there can be an afterlife or even for personal comfort (prayer, assurance), only to have some order in the universe.  But, desire doesn't make something true.

How long did it take you guys to fully deconvert?  I've read that it takes some people years and some people days.  I can say that I haven't 100 percent deconverted yet, but I am getting closer.

 

It took me maybe 5-10 years, depending on how you define 'de-converted'.

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