No Longer One Of Them

sent in by S.L. Nield

I come from a family of pure Atheists! My Dad and Mum answered my childish questions 'what happens when you die?' With I believe unashamed and commendable honesty 'I don't know, but you do live on in the minds of those who love you'. 'Does Jesus love us all' 'If he did exist, I suppose he would'. When I got a bit older, I found myself gravitating to Biblegod and all his works! I got involved with some intense evangelical types (Yes, they exist across here) and due to personal circumstance, I reached out and found what I was looking for in them. At 17 I( gave my heart to the Lord, which (honestly)upset my Mum and Dad. My Dad, now dead, lectured me on how it was all pretense, kiddology, as he put it, and my Mum switched the living room light off and said, 'see, that's what happens to us when we die, we just disappear, like that light did'. Even my gentle Uncle shook his head and said, with great regret, 'how can you believe something that has caused so many wars and troubles?' But I had all the answered (I was an obnoxious little snot, superior in my faith, quoting the Bible and looking down at lesser mortals. I became a total bore, bringing everything around to the Lord and his love. My only defence is that it was a bit of teenage rebellion, plus I did feel a bit better plus it was my duty to spread the word)!

My relatives finally came around to my beliefs and once I was clear of their objections and moved into the more rarefied atmosphere of young adulthood I discovered that maybe the Bible wasn't right about everything. The one that got me was how god killed people for not following a coventant that was totally forgotten, made many generations back by a king or group of priests! I thought; Where's free will then? I questioned my Christian elders and they shook their heads, some admitting they didn't understand, others telling me to pray for more faith (I believe, help my unbelief was quoted at me a lot).

But it did not answer my questions; Then I discovered a copy of Bishop John Robinson's 1963 published book 'Honest To God'. I read it in one go and discovered there were other ways of looking at the world, including one that seemed more reasonable to me, the doctrine of Deism. The Deist god created us and left us to it. A bit like planting a seed and leaving it to grow (I know it's a bad anology, but I'm sure you know what I'm trying to say).

Meanwhile, I was now in my mid twenties and across to my early thirties I fought the questions and matured in my faith and was given jobs in the church, like looking after the Sunday School where I made the mistake of telling them, fielding their innocent questions ie 'why does it rain when I want to play out'? Or 'Why did god let my hamster die'? With the Deist philosophy, 'You see, god created us all, wound us up and let us go, and things happen due to nature and evolution, it's nothing to do with god'. I got into such trouble!

Anyhow, fast forward down the years, and the idea that the Biblegod was a cantakerous, grumpy old man, hating people to think for themselves, grew in me, but the fear of eternal damnation, of committing the sin against the holy spirit kept me in line. My questions were shook off, ignored, I was told to grow up, if I was a true Christian I shouldn't question the lord's love, and even my conversion was put in question!

Eventually, I broke off from the church, read the Bible on my own, along with other philosophies, dualism, that god and the devil and equal opposite forces, deism of course, and Unitarian Universalism which says god is one, there is no trinity etc, and even the notion we are all god and god is in us all, ie Pantheism, and it was only Christmas 2004 when I could admit, 'This is all a load of rubbish'.

I was sitting on my bed reading the Bible when it came to me, like a sort of reverse conversion, a god-free revelation;

'The Bible was written by men to keep us in line'!

Not exactly new news, I know, but believe me, the liberation I felt!

Well, the proverbial muck hit the fan! I went to my church and told them what I'd discovered, using my brain and the writings of others. Alright, suppose god does exist. I mean he created the universe and all in it. Would he really care if we didn't give ten per cent of our earnings or decide to have romances with someone of our own sex? I was told I was upsetting everyone, no one wanted to hear my lies, and I could come back to church as long as I could honestly worship god! I was told that I just wanted to live a sinful life, which is a joke as anyone who knows me will know, I live a quiet life and my idea, even now, of an exiting weekend is sitting with the radio on and reading some non fiction!Or if I want a real buzz, I slip in a 'Columbo' DVD and enjoy!

One or two, people I consider true friends, quietly defended me and my honesty, and told me to go out into the world and try my own way.

For the next few weeks, I was telephoned at home, specially on a Sunday, and informed I'd missed the service again, and if I didn't buck my ideas up, I would be off to hell. After all, to forsake such a great salvation left me worse off than I was. Then I was told I probably wasn't saved at all. THEN I was told I'd lost my salvation. I tried to reason but all I was got the equilivant of the schoolkid trick, you know, when you try and talk to them they stick their fingers in their ears and say 'la la la, can't hear you'!

To be honest, one or two were honestly concerned about ME and my eternal salvation, but those were the ones who came around to my going my own way, 'you've got to try doing your own'.

It's been over a year now since I turned it all in, and am still uncertain, shaky about my eternal salvation although about a year back I was making myself a cup of tea when it came home to me, a road to Damascus type thing;

There is no god!

If there is, he doesn't care what you do!

No one will come back and seperate believers from unbelievers!

You have to rely on yourself, cause there is no one else!

To sum up: I didn't give up Jesus because I wanted to live a 'sinful' life, go my own way, I was almost forced into my non belief with great reluctance because reason and logic tells me that if god exists he made everything, or started everything off, and just like a scientist in charge of a lab, he doesn't condemn to eternal punishment those ants who don't waggle their antena in worship of him. If he did, he would be a meglomanic and the other scientists would soon question his objectivity if not his sanity!

Before I close, when I told my Mum she hugged me and said 'welcome back to the real world, love!'

If only my Dad had been around to see this!

All the best.


Manchester
England
How old were you when you became a christian? 17
How old were you when you ceased being a christian? 41
What churches or organizations or labels have applied to you? Evangelical Protestant Christian
What labels, if any, would you apply to yourself now? Deist leaning toward Atheist
Why did you become a christian? To make myself feel better about myself and the world around me
Why did you de-convert? Applying reason and logic; It just didn't make sense!
Tammy08 at Hotmail dot co dot uk

35 comments:

Perry said...

"If only my Dad had been around to see this!"

Indeed. Rather saddening that he wasn't. Not just for you, but also Mum and any wider family.

corkjaw said...

S.L., I'm sure your Dad knew all along that you'd eventually come around!
It sure angers me when believers won't respond to honest questions with respect. They have their way with their words, but then they won't listen when you try to say your point.

You said "It's been over a year now since I turned it all in, and am still uncertain, shaky about my eternal salvation" but I can tell you that those thoughts will gradually go away. One thing that helps me is irreverent humor - not to show disrespect to believers, but to think thoughts that show the absurdity about what people believe. It helps me anyway... Thanks for your sharing.

Bill Dearmore said...

SL,

For one who was a devout believer, it may take many years to rid yourself of the doubts, fears, and other emotions. I've been an atheist for 26 years, and I still occasionally find myself shedding tears provoked by the old songs and stories. But I no longer have any doubt or fear of hell.

The Christian stories have lasted so long specifically because many of them are so powerful, awe-inspiring, end even fearful. Eventually, most of it will probably go away; and you'll have the freedom that comes from truth.

Keep on keeping on.

steve said...

Welcome back to reality indeed! So many never find their way.

Interesting comment, that you didn't give up Jesus to live a sinful life. But that is the indoctrination. A life without Christ is full of sin and perverse desires.

In fact, I find incredible altruism and pragmatism among atheists. I suspect that it's because we acknowledge the temporary nature of our existence, and we know there are no second chances. We are not trying for brownie points to appease an angry invisible man. We do the right thing because it's the right thing to do.

I gave it up when I was 28 or 29 (52 now). That decision brought me the peace that they claim accepting Jeezus brings. My brainwashed Xtian friends and family will never allow themselves to understand that.

You made the right decision S.L.

Steve

Anonymous said...

Well, thank you for all the support!
I'm not the kind of person who joins groups. I'm not a 'joiner'! But if it's all right I'll stick around and do my best to try and help others in the same situation as we are. (Since I've just set up a blogspot account, it would be daft to let it go to waste)!
Thank you again.
By the way, my first name is Sarah

Dan (Rationalist) said...

Christianity teaches us to hate this life. Is that not an insult to the power that made us? I think we should rather love this life and live it as well as we can, and then that power will say "well done my child" Well, maybe she won't exactly speak to us in English, but in the end we will know that we accepted the gift of life, with all the mystery of it, and didn't put off living, because we are expecting a better life next time.

I was driving down a country road today. It was sunny, and the smell of spring was in the air. I was feeling well and happy, and soaking up the beauty of nature, as the shadows of the trees fell across the road. (A CD of John Denver was playing, and he was singing about simple things in our natural world, as only he knew how) I felt no quilt for not believing in the Christian death cult. I did at first when I realized that it was no longer comprehensible to my rational mind, but any feelings of guilt or fear have faded into the recesses of my consciousness.

I am sorry to say though that it wasn't long before I started to see in my mind, the images of all the suffering caused by those who have been brainwashed into believing that God wants them to maim and kill in his name.

I know that there are millions of people who understand what I am talking about, but I am also aware that at least a couple of billion more were born into these mind controlling cults, and may never escape.
Dan (Rationalist)

toulouse798 said...

In response to S.L. Nield:

There are a number of areas you discuss in your original posting that warrant further discussion or clarification.

Switching off the livingroom light to disprove life after death? Well, okay. Kind of a simplistic approach, but by that same rationale, look at the caterpillar metamorphosis into butterfly. Can we not then use that to support the suggestion that man will cease to exist in one form, and then be changed into a new form (or as scripture says) a new "glorified" body?

God killing people for not following a covenant? Hmmm. IF (and I'm only saying IF here) there is a God who created mankind, it seems to me that He could do pretty much whatever the hell He wants to do. No? The question that remains, though, would pertain to the nature or character of this so-called loving God. You do have free will (as a matter of fact, this blogsite is evidence of that)... but just like when you stick your finger into an electrical outlet, there is a consequence. You get shocked.

Is it your belief then that electricity HATES you? Or electricity is EVIL? Or mean-spirited? I don't think any of us believe that. The character of God is unchanging and is loving and is everything that HE says He is... if you do not agree, perhaps you need to re-examine your notion of what you consider "loving."

Consider that God has provided you life (let's just say hypothetically), and He has provided you family, friends, the ability to walk, talk, feel, everything. Every damned thing you know and understand and are able to even consider. Let's just say that He has seen fit to provide you these things, do you honestly have any RIGHT to ask anything of Him? Do you consider yourself DESERVING or ENTITLED to anything? What exactly does God - who has given you everything and withheld nothing - what exactly are you saying that He owes you???

You go on to recount how you became disillusioned or distrusting of (what you understand to be) Christianity... and how you read some things that prompted you to question even further. It is not by coincidence that people who walk away from Christianity always seem to find fellow ex'es with whom to commiserate.

The desire to choose for oneself, to just discard everything one understands of God, and opt for self-reliance - this is the oldest pitfall in the book - starting with Adam choosing for himself in direct opposition to what God had spoken.

We have freedom to make that choice, and we also have freedom to reap the benefits or consequences, and we also have the freedom to whine and complain about why a so-called loving God would choose to not spare us those consequences. Considering that we are no more than dirt (according to the scriptures, if you choose to believe them)... boy, we sure do have an extensive laundry list of complaints and demands for the One who gives us life and purpose and dignity.

It's ironic that you recognize now in your maturity that your behavior toward your parents was perhaps a degree disrespectful, akin to "an obnoxious little snot." Yet do you stop to consider how mankind in general conducts himself before a perfect and holy God? I don't think we're much different in that regard.

The last thing I'd like to touch on is your comments concerning your departure from the faith.. you say "I didn't give up Jesus because I wanted to live a 'sinful' life..." Okay. I'll buy that. But I have to ask you... do you realize that you never STOPPED sinning? Even when you were doing the Christian thing. Even when you were going to church. Even when you gave your life to Christ. Even when you were witnessing to your parents. You do realize, don't you, that - at no point in your life - were you SINLESS.

I am a sinner. You are a sinner. It is what we are. It is what we do.

That is what makes Christianity amazing, that God throughout history extends his love toward us, despite the fact that we are sinners. Becoming a follower of Christ is merely a recognition that you are IN FACT a sinner. It is not grounds to go and hold your head higher than everybody else and pretend to be somehow superior. That is un-biblical, un-scriptural and too often people fall into that misconception.

You are incorrect in your summation that the Bible was written by men to keep us in line. Why do I say that? Because the fact of the matter, as I've already stated (as as the scriptures plainly say), is that WE CAN NEVER BE "IN LINE." We are sinners. We are wholly dependent on God for everything, yet most of deny that He even exists.

Try as I might to live a righteous life, compassionate for my brother man, etc., the scriptures indict me - they state that none is righteous, that all men are sinners and have fallen short of the glory of God.

You have chosen to walk away from Christ. Okay. That is your prerogative. You only further serve to prove the scriptures true, when they read that there will come a time when many will fall away from the church... Anyway... you have the ability to type. You have the ability to breathe. You have the ability to formulate thoughts. You have the ability to make sophisticated arguments. You have the ability to question God. You have the ability to punch holes in my arguments.

And that is as it should be, because God has enabled all these things to be. There will come a day when you will stand before Him and give an account of every word you've spoken against Him. So ultimately your choices are your own, and the consequences therein.

Choose wisely.

Jim Arvo said...

toulouse798: "Switching off the livingroom light to disprove life after death?"

It's an analogy. Not proof, not evidence, but analogy. I happen to think it's a good analogy, as it highlights our propensity to grant independent existence to things that are simply epiphenomena of other things; e.g. shadows do not exist as independent objects, but as patterns amid other entities that do exist. Similarly, I think that god concepts exist as epiphenomena of brains, and not as independent entities.

toulouse798: "...look at the caterpillar metamorphosis into butterfly. Can we not then use that to support the suggestion that man will cease to exist in one form, and then be changed into a new form (or as scripture says) a new 'glorified' body?"

Use it as evidence? Of course not. It too is an analogy. If it has utility, it would be in pointing to similar patterns of reasoning. Feel free to do so. The argument will stand or fall based on the strength of the evidence and the soundness of the reasoning.

toulouse798: "IF (and I'm only saying IF here) there is a God who created mankind, it seems to me that He could do pretty much whatever the hell He wants to do. No?"

No question about it.

toulouse798: "The question that remains, though, would pertain to the nature or character of this so-called loving God."

Or at least our perception of that nature. Call me nutty, but I don't consider genocide, infanticide, rape, torture, etc. to be virtuous behavior, so I see no point it applying words such as "loving" or "compassionate" to a being who engages in those behaviors. I quite honestly do not know what those words would mean if I were to so apply them thus.

toulouse798: "Is it your belief then that electricity HATES you? Or electricity is EVIL? Or mean-spirited?"

No, of course not. Is it LOVING. Is it COMPASSIONATE? Those words are equally absurd.

toulouse798: "The character of God is unchanging and is loving..."

On what basis do you apply that word? How is it "loving" to brutally wipe out countless beings, many of them children?

toulouse798: "...perhaps you need to re-examine your notion of what you consider 'loving.'"

I could say the same to you!

toulouse798: "...Let's just say that He has seen fit to provide you these things, do you honestly have any RIGHT to ask anything of Him?"

That's a nonsensical question. Suppose you are abducted and tossed into a cell without food and water. Then you are tortured for a while. Do you think you have a RIGHT to ask why you are being treated in such a way? Who decides what things we have the "right" to question? If something does not make sense, or offends our sense of justice, is there some additional protocol that we must obey before we dare ask a question?

toulouse798: "Do you consider yourself DESERVING or ENTITLED to anything? What exactly does God - who has given you everything and withheld nothing - what exactly are you saying that He owes you???"

I (we) don't believe in your god, so the question is moot. But if such a being existed, and she expected something of me, then I'd greatly appreciate knowing in advance what she wants. Given that I've never seen a single shred of credible evidence for such a being, I conduct myself on the assumption that none exist. If she does exist, she knows where to find me, and she probably also knows what would convince me.

toulouse798: "It is not by coincidence that people who walk away from Christianity always seem to find fellow ex'es with whom to commiserate."

What are you insinuating? By the way, how do you know that this is "always" the case?

toulouse798: The desire to choose for oneself, to just discard everything one understands of God,....

You are making hasty judgments here. It's not a matter of simply "discarding" a set of beliefs for no reason. What would you say to the person who has critically examined their belief in Krishna, then reached the conclusion that no such being exists. I'll bet you would applaud such an individual. Yet when it is YOUR god that is deemed mythical, that is unacceptable for some reason.

toulouse798: "...do you stop to consider how mankind in general conducts himself before a perfect and holy God?"

For such an action to make the least bit of sense, one FIRST needs to consider whether such a being exists. I see absolutely no credible evidence for invisible conscious entities of any variety, hence I have no belief in such beings. Consequently, the wishes and desires of such a being are (to me) precisely as meaningful as the wishes and desires of elves and unicorns.

toulouse798: "...do you realize that you never STOPPED sinning?"

The whole "sin" argument is a ruse; it's only meaningful with respect to your purported deity. To claim anything about sin is to unilaterally grant it, and by extension your deity, existence. Nice try.

toulouse798: "That is what makes Christianity amazing, that God throughout history extends his love toward us,..."

I do not understand your definition of "love"; it seems to include murder, torture, deceit, etc. What relation does this divine application of "love" have with what we mortals show one another?

toulouse798: "You are incorrect in your summation that the Bible was written by men to keep us in line. Why do I say that? Because the fact of the matter, as I've already stated (as as the scriptures plainly say), is that WE CAN NEVER BE 'IN LINE.'"

By the same reasoning, there are no books on law written by men. Why do I say that? Because men will always break the law.

toulouse798: "...God has enabled all these things to be."

We don't believe in your god, so that's a vacuous statement.

toulouse798: "There will come a day when you will stand before Him..."

Another vacuous statement about an apparently imaginary being.

toulouse798: "Choose wisely."

I base my views on an honest appraisal of the evidence, to the best of my abilities. I believe I have been "wise" to consider both sides of the argument in great detail, for that is the only way (imho) to reach a rational decision.

.:webmaster:. said...

My cat is my property. He eats my food, lives in my house, is warm and dry, gets visits to the vet.

He was a stray kitten that wandered onto my property one day, and in my compassion, I took him in.

I am his sovereign lord. I am the master of his fate.

That's why, yesterday, when he threw up on my carpet, I decided to grab him by the tale and throw him into my blazing BBQ pit. I was not only within my rights, but I was acting justly -- he was, after all, my property.

He is my cat.

I have every right to do whatever I want to him.

My wife took a vow to live with me for better or worse, to love and to cherish me. I decided I wanted to make love this morning, but she refused me. Imagine, me, her husband, having my affections rejected!

I warned her. I told her that I lived my life for her, would gladly lay it down for her, had sacrificed more than she could ever know. I explained to her that my love was beyond comprehension.

Nothing worked. I made my moves toward her and she pushed me away.

So, I told her that if she continued to refuse my offer of love that my anger would be kindled, and she would suffer the consequences of her actions. I warned her.

Still, she kept her legs together and would not let me in.

I beat her, not as a punishment, but as a chastisement. My love is beyond measure and because I love her, I want her to enjoy my presence and my love.

She still refused.

So I tied her in the basement and will torture her forever.

She was my wife and she had broken our covenant. My judgment is just.

You see Too-loose, we would expect a god to see things differently that we do. We should expect that a god would have a different perspective, a different viewpoint.

But we would also expect that this god, with those different outlooks, would deal with every situation in a superior way to a human.

Humans know that torturing animals is wrong. Some do it anyway, but most of us have more compassion than to torture an animal, even an animal destined for slaughter.

Your deity, however, seems to be lower than the basest sort of human. He sees no problem with the most hideous torture, when it's directed against a human who doesn't love him.

Your god has no love for his creation, he is possessive.

I am possessive about my wife, my kids, and my cat. If they displease me, then I will just have to be like your god, and torture them -- forever.

Humans have a higher regard for justice than your god.

Sin you say? Sin?

The punishment should fit the crime. Temporal sins visited by eternal punishment -- something is wrong with that picture. That is not justice, that is sadistic.

Yahweh and Allah must belong to the same social club.

toulouse798 said...

response to webmaster:

an interesting analogy concerning your cat/wife/etc... BUT (you knew there was a "BUT" coming, right?) there are a few important items missing from the equation:

1) In compassion, you take a stray cat into your home. Fair enough. You are not, however, CREATOR, of said cat. You do not have a plan for this cat's eternity. The CAT was not created specifically for a purpose in serving you.

2) There is no ENEMY within your home, is there?, attempting to steal your CAT away from you, attempting to DEVOUR your CAT.

3) You may not stick your CAT on a BBQ pit, but I'm pretty darn sure that if the CAT sticks his tail in the electrical outlet, he/she will fry.

4) You seem to be alluding to HELL in your analogy, but there are a few key things you are forgetting. According to the scriptures (which I assume you do not believe), it is God's desire than none should perish. Period. Also.. Hell was not made for man. Hell was made for SATAN and his evil Spirits (I beleive that's Matthew 14.) The fact that HELL does exist is consistent with the notion of God being a just God, a God of justice.

Consider if you were CREATOR of your cat, and you doted on your cat, and made every provision for your cat (mind, body, and soul - do cats have souls?)... and then provided said CAT with the ability/desire to WORSHIP. If said CAT turns from you, i.e. WORSHIPS someone else who YOU KNOW will lead said CAT right down to the pit of Hell... this analogy still isn't really working, because of two other elements you're neglecting:

First of all, a CAT is probably not the best choice for this analogy because the disparity is not wide enough between CAT and MAN. Consider, instead.. the distance between MAN and, I don't know, amoeba... no, actually that doesn't work, either.

What you're failing to capture in your analogy is the DISTANCE/MARGIN between GOD and man... it's inconceivable. I heard one guy put it this way, the distance between a man and an army of maggots infesting a carcass lying on the road.

Anyway, the other (and maybe most important) item is that - as SOVEREIGN LORD over this CAT of yours, you would have to be willing to take the place of your CAT in death, in pain, in suffering - as Jesus Christ did for every single one of us (according to scripture).

I know you don't believe this stuff, but I'm just trying to elaborate on your analogy... GOD has gone to great lengths to save said CAT from the pit of Hell.

Your perspective is a little skewed, I'm afraid, with regard to God's stated truths concerning Hell as the consequence for sin.

If I know that the natural consequence for someone I love who wants to stick their finger in the outlet will be pain and suffering, I will warn them. I will warn them repeatedly. I will warn them forcefully. I will do everything I can to avert this tragedy from happening.... But GOD does not bend our will to His... he does not force us to serve Him...

A more accurate picture of your wife, who continually rejects your advances, and who continually locks her knees against you, would be not that you torment her for eternity... but rather that she finds herself alone.

If your entire life on Earth you reject GOD, why on earth would you want to spend eternity with Him? If you insist on rejecting God, He will ultimately grant you your wish - separation from Him. Now, that probably sounds good to you (your prerogative) but you were made/designed to serve, to worship, so in REJECTING God, you may not think so, but you are in fact choosing to serve someone else... and it is that someone else with whom you will share your eternity.

Choose wisely.

toulouse798 said...

In response to Jim Arvo:

"I (we) don't believe in your god, so the question is moot."

It is because of the above statement that you made that I will not debate you. The above line of reasoning can be used in response to absolutely everything I say.

If you were about to get hit by a truck, and I tried to warn you, and your response to me was "I don't believe in the truck," or "I don't see any truck," what more can I do? If you get hit, you get hit.

So I wish you well. Enjoy the choice you have made.

Dan (Rationalist) said...

toulouse798,
God could have made us perfect if he wanted to. Why did he create in some of us these propensities to not worship him and serve him?

If he is looking for intelligent monkeys to worship and serve him and only him forever, why doesn't he just eliminate the opposition? (I.E. Satan)

He could have given all of us the same indefatigable talent for finding verses in the bible to explain his motives that you have.

No! He creates in some of us the skepticism to question everything in the bible that can't be proved by verifiable evidence, and indeed every claim of miracles and magic made by all religions.

He even goes so far as to create in some of us so much incredulity about the Bible that we have come to see it as one of the worst books of fiction ever written.
Dan (Rationalist)

.:webmaster:. said...

"But GOD does not bend our will to His... he does not force us to serve Him..."

No, he just throws everyone in the hell he created to suffer eternal torment. He doesn't FORCE us to go to hell, we could just do what he says -- simple.

And the rapist says to his victim, "Accept my caresses or you will suffer for it."

The victim refuses and is killed.

"I warned her of the consequences of rejecting my sweet embrace."

The judge and jury at the trial finds the rapist not-guilty.

You worship a mean son of a bitch.

CHOOSE WISELY!!!!

.:webmaster:. said...

"what more can I do? If you get hit, you get hit."

Yes, and my little children, when they play in the street, I talk to them - I tell them it's not safe.

Oh well, if they get hit, they get it.

Too bad.

I love them.

So sad.

Bloody mess.

Oh, and did I mention that I put cake and cookies in the middle of the street and bought a truck and hired the driver and told the driver to run them down if he saw him in the street?

See, your god made the devil, made hell, set up the whole senario -- your god is a sick sadistic peice of shit.

CHOOSE WISELY!!!

boomSLANG said...

'louse ten-fold made an analogy about a truck, or some shit? Like, comparing an >>observable<< object to an invisible "object"? My God Jim, that is BRILLIANT!!! LMAO!!

.:webmaster:. said...

God has gone to GREAT lengthssss..... to save "said cat?"

So-called "GAWD" created the people with a propensity toward rebellion, then made sure that there was temptation and a tempter right in their faces, knew what they would do, knew it would relegate most of humanity to the horrific torture of a HELL that HE created, then punished them for doing exactly what HE KNEW they would do!

Then, he kills himself, to appease himself, so that he can rescue a few of his "children" from roasting in a fire pit that HE made! But he's not really dead!

The illogic of this system is obvious to everyone except a mind-numbed cultist, like yourself.

It just don't make sense bud.

Well, I didn't create the cat, but I did create my children. They came out of me, so I suppose if they rebel against my will, then I have every right to torture them.

Your god is sick.

freeman said...

Hey all,
Great story I must share!
My 11 yr old daughter's class has to do a report on someone who changed the world.

My daughter, Katy, asked her friend who she was doing her report on? Her friend replied Abe Linclon. Katy said, "Oh, I thought you would want to do it on jesus! Her friend said that it was a thought. Katy replied that jesus was not a real person so she couldn't do it on him! Her friend said that he was real! Katy replied in a stern voice, "There is NO historical evidence that he was real"!

I must be doing something right!

Anyway, SL welcome to freedom!!!

FatherTyme said...

Jesus was the front man of the Biggest Hoax and Fraud and Con the world has ever seen, called Christianity, with the exception of Mohammad and Allah, called Islam.

It's called Religious Idenity.

What is lacking in a persons life is personal idenity. I remember when I was little, I could hardly wait until I was 16, so I could drive a car and look sporty:-), then I could hardly wait until I was 18, so I could drink a beer or smoke a cigarette and look and act like an adult, I never realized that it was the adult nonsense that I was wanting to mimick, I was looking for my identity, my own identity! But!!! People classify religion as an identity, as long as you believe in the same nonsense, you're in! You're one of them, like Sarah said. Instead of having your own idenitiy, it's so much easier to claim Religious Identiy, it's safe, it's accepted as normal, sheep mingle with sheep.

Saul/Paul wanted recognition as having religious identity, therefore he embellished and expounded his writings to make him look like a religious authority, he had no education, taught himself to read, and had no identity, but he had religious idenitity, but that is all he had, he took up an offering to give to the poor but it never got to it's intended destination, sound familiar?

To alot of people, religious idenitity is the only possession they can acquire, it's cheap, it's free, common as raindrops, there are no strick requirements, as long as you are breathing and can talk you can boast your religious identity, it's carries no value, only to the person that thinks that they have something of value that they can force on you and make you become as one of them, if they can convince just one other person, in their lifetime, that their religious identity is valid, then this validates them and they are not the only fool with their insane religious identity.

rhinefels said...

Toulouise,
I can tell in your words that you are very intelligent and rational, which means deep down, you know this god of yours is much, much more evil then you are.

Right now, while you are reading this, there are 200 to 300 dogs treading water at the bottom of a well, they are scared and they will die. There is thousands of animals (right this moment) laying next to the road severly injured. I have been to Africa many times. If your god really does exist---In the name of goodness---I say fuck him---fuck him--fuck him

Jim Arvo said...

toulouse798: "It is because of the above statement that you made that I will not debate you. The above line of reasoning can be used in response to absolutely everything I say."

Well, you are correct in one sense, but you have managed to completely miss the larger point. The part that you are correct about is that there is a CLASS of statements for which "I don't believe in your god" is a perfectly legitimate response; that class consists of statements that simply ASSUME THE EXISTENCE OF YOUR GOD. For example "god does X", "god feels Y", "god wants Z", etc. All such statements ASSUME there is such a being that does, or feels, or wants. If such a being does not exist, then clearly those statements are completely meaningless, so the question of existence is preeminent.

Now, I occasionally indulge in a bit of "what if" thinking anyway; e.g. your statements concerning god's "love" for mankind. While the more fundamental question is how you know such a being exists in the first place, your burden does not end there. Even if you could clear that enormous first hurdle, you must then reconcile your god's presumed behavior with what we commonly understand as "love". In my opinion you have come nowhere near clearing this second hurdle either.

toulouse798: If you were about to get hit by a truck, and I tried to warn you, and your response to me was 'I don't believe in the truck,' or 'I don't see any truck,' what more can I do? If you get hit, you get hit."

As with most of your analogies, this one can be more aptly used to demolish your own position. What you continually miss is that statements in isolation carry little to no evidentiary weight, no matter how firmly you believe them. If you tell me I'm about to get hit by a truck, while I am safely seated at my computer in my office on the third floor of a building, I will simply roll my eyes and wonder what you've been smoking. Similarly, if I tell you that you are in danger of going to Hell if you do not accept Allah as the one true god, you will likely dismiss my words as pure nonsense. Unless there is a reasonable foundation for such a statement, each of us is acting rationally in disregarding them as nonsense. Of course, this does not imply that we should stick our heads in the sand and ignore everything that initially strikes us as nonsensical, so please don't accuse me of taking that absurd position. What I'm saying is that statements lacking any foundation are to be doubted; there is no reason to accept something as true unless or until there is some EVIDENCE to support it.

toulouse798: "So I wish you well. Enjoy the choice you have made."

So I guess that means you have no intention of responding to my other points. In particular, it seems that you are either unable or unwilling to establish any foundation for the existence of your chosen deity. Well, I can echo the above sentiment: Enjoy the fantastic story that you have chosen to accept as truth.

Dan (Rationalist) said...

Not all fundamentalist Christians that post on this website are Simi-illiterate, don't know how to form a complete sentence that has substantive meaning, and don't know how to use spell check. There have been some who have superior intellectual faculties.

I always read the comments by the "smart ones," who attempt to be even handed and reasonable. A lot of the more erudite attempt to be vague and don't come on real strong as born again, bible thumping believers. They start off as reasonable understanding, and instructive.

As soon as I start reading the cool level headed comments of one of these "teachers" I always dig in, and start looking for the first quote from the bible that is invariably forthcoming. I am rarely disappointed, because I and every person here who has become an ex- (fill in your religion), knows what the person who comes to witness to us about their belief, doesn't seem to understand. You can't debate the existence of an imaginary deity, it's heaven, or it's only legitimate male child. You either, just believe it and accept it, and share fellowship with others who have done the same, or you don't.

You can't just say; "I believe in a biblical God, and his son Jesus, and will prove all of my points with a quote from the bible" If you do that, you are in the wrong place. You should be at a Christian website. You shouldn't be here, where no one believes in anything "Make believe"

Most of us state flatly that there is no God, or that we are positive no one else knows what God is. We don't believe in the Bible because it is full of illogical, mystical, imaginary crap, (to name a few of the reasons)

There is not one person here who, if Jesus would appear on the nightly news, and explain a few things, would not become a believer overnight, but so far God and his boy are "no shows"
Dan (Rationalist)

Anonymous said...

Wow! I've been away for a few days and well, I've missed a lot!
First of all, toulouse798 I didn't CHOOSE to give up my faith. The other, older(more mature)ex Christians, Dan(Rationalist), Webmaster et all, have told it better than I could. But you say I'm still a sinner, I always was, and god owes me nothing and I've got fellow ex Christians to commiserate with well I believed all that (bar the ex-Christians who were pariahs, remember 'don't mix with unbelievers'). But. . .and here is another point. . .if god really made us and loves us and wants to save us from sin, instead of putting it in a book written by falible men thousands of years back, why doesn't he just TELL US? It says that when Jesus returns he will be seen with every eye. Well why can't Biblegod set up a massive PA system(I swear I'm not being sarcastic.) and broadcast to the whole planet that he loves us, we are all sinners and will go to hell if we don't follow him? The analogy of warning someone not to walk into the road to avoid being hit by a truck is a good one, bu, thousands of years hence,if you found a book on the ground called 'The Highway Code', and you'd never seen any evidence of trucks, no one came up to you and said 'hey, don't walk in t' road', as we'd say where I come from, why follow a book? If god is really caring why doesn't he just TELL us physically to avoid walking into the road? If he can do anything and cares about us?
Thanks for commenting, anyhow.
All the best.

toulouse798 said...

in response to S.L.:

Why doesn't God broadcast on a P.A. system? I don't know. It is a valid question. It is also a very old question. The Israelites saw signs and wonders and spectacles (fire from the sky sort of stuff) and they believed.. for a while.. and then they rebelled.

And when Elijah went looking for God, he went to the very mountain where God had revealed Himself to Moses (again fire, lightning, earthquake).. BUT ultimately, Elijah found God NOT in those things, but in a gentle small whisper.

It is a valid question, S.L. why does God do things on His terms? Show up how He chooses to show up? Reveal Himself how He chooses to?

But another question is... have you looked for Him in just everyday things? The fact that you can breathe on your own, without being hooked up to a machine. The fact that you are still alive today, while not so long ago, so many people were swept away in a tsunami they didn't see coming.

I mean... "why God?" questions are great. They are fundamental and necessary.

But let's discard the hypothetical for a moment - your hypothesis of the man who comes across a Highway Code Book and is unable to make sense of it... that's a fair question. But I ask you.. personally.. you HAVE knowledge. You HAVE been told what the Code Book says.

We can talk all day long about trucks bearing down, or tsunamis, or impending doom, or what have you, but.. the point is.. are you ready for death?

God has provided a means of escape from Hell. It really is that simple. What will your response be to Him when you face Him? that you didn't like His means of broadcasting? that you hadn't read the book? that He should have broadcast on a P.A. system?

toulouse798 said...

in response to S.L.

You wrote "instead of putting it in a book written by fallible men thousands of years back..."

I've noticed in a few comments posted on this site that writers take issue with the authors of the bible. Were they sinners? Yes. Were they fallible? Yes. Were they inspired? Hmmm. There's a question.

There are several people who have posted on this site who will talk about the evils of the church, the violence within church history, the blind indoctrination and intolerance and repression and.. everything history would have us believe is supposed to be the call of Christianity.

But what did Christ say about it???

Fallible men were selected, true... fallible HOLY men were selected to record history and prophesy and all the rest.

But are the scriptures really the wisdom of MAN? History shows us the nature of MAN, how power-hungry he is, how selfish he can be, how complacent and un-concerned with spiritual matters he can be...

Yet the Bible doesn't really line up with this kind of thinking. The Bible teaches man to "deny yourself" and "pick up your cross daily" and "take care of orphans and widows" and "consider others better than yourselves" and that "you are nobody" and that "apart from God, you can do nothing" and that the heart of mankind is "deceitful above all things" and that "there is none righteous" and that "all men have sinned" and that we should "judge not, lest we be judged" and that before finding fault in others, i.e. before we point out the splinter in your neighbor's eye, check out the plank that is in your own eye.

Scripture throughout paints a picture (not very flattering) of mankind, and of a God who wants us to be with Him.

Throughout the ages, fallible men have twisted, exploited, perverted the pages of scripture to suit their own purpose... and when they do, it is usually in CLEAR opposition to what the Bible teaches.

Case in point, take "Reverend" Fred Phelps and this campaign that he is currently waging, where he and his church go to military funerals with signs that read "God hates Fags!" and "God loves weapons of mass destruction" or stuff like that. Now, he calls himself a man of God, but how does what he is doing line up with what the scriptures say?

"Love your neighbor as yourself."

I understand the frustration when I see so many mis-representations of Christianity in the world. But those themes I've just listed are consistent throughout the scriptures. I am not a Bible scholar, but I've read enough of Old and New Testament to recognize there is a consistent thread of God reaching out to Mankind.

I know I'll probably step on a few toes here with this, but I have to say it - there is a lot of whining about what God has not SHOWN us, or has not DONE for us, or has NOT made crystal clear to us... and the fact is... there are some places in China, where people who want to know about God, who REALLY want to know.. but who do not access to enough bibles, will maybe share a bible, or they will meet in secret maybe once a month, or they will tear pages from the one bible they have and they'll alternate, ten pages to each at a time... these people are HUNGRY to know.

In this country, we have Christian TV, we've got Christian bookstores, we've got Christian radio stations, we've got Christian movies...

Why doesn't God use a P.A. system? Are you kidding me???

This country is without excuse.

freeman said...

toulouse798,
"God has provided a means of escape from Hell."

However, your god is the GATEKEEPER!
He is the judge, jury and executioner!

Toulouse 798 if you have any children, please answer this question. What could your child ever do to make you hate it and pour lighter fluid on it and then through a match onto it and watch with a vengeful eye as it burned and screamed in agony as you say "I told you not to do that!"?

freeman said...

toulouse 798 said, "Fallible men were selected, true... fallible HOLY men were selected to record history and prophesy and all the rest."

What history?

There is no evidence for you beloved jesus outside of the gospels which were written by anonymous men and who knows if they were "holy".

Maybe full of "holy shit"!

freeman said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
freeman said...

toulouse798,
"God has provided a means of escape from Hell."

However, your god is the GATEKEEPER!
He is the judge, jury and executioner!

Toulouse 798 if you have any children, please answer this question. What could your child ever do to make you hate it and pour lighter fluid on it and then THROW a match onto it and watch with a vengeful eye as it burned and screamed in agony as you say "I told you not to do that!"?

The word is throw! Sorry!

Dan (Rationalist) said...

Voltaire [Fran├žois Marie Arouet] (1694-1778)
French philosopher and writer whose works epitomize the Age of Enlightenment, often attacking injustice and intolerance.

"Let us therefore reject all superstition in order to become more human; but in speaking against fanaticism, let us not imitate the fanatics: they are sick men in delirium who want to chastise their doctors. Let us assuage their ills, and never embitter them, and let us pour drop by drop into their souls the divine balm of toleration, which they would reject with horror if it were offered to them all at once"

Now there was a real smart Frenchman!
Dan (Rationalist)

south2003 said...

toulouse798 said: "I am not a Bible scholar, but I've read enough of Old and New Testament to recognize there is a consistent thread of God reaching out to Mankind."

And that consistent thread is call cannibus.

.:webmaster:. said...

Toulouse, your god created this so-called hell.

He provides a way of escape? He is the one who created the hell and set up the system that would destine most of humanity to suffer in its inferno!

Your god is one sadistic bastard.

south2003 said...

toulouse798 said: "Case in point, take Reverend Fred Phelps and this campaign that he is currently waging, where he and his church go to military funerals with signs that read "God hates Fags!" and "God loves weapons of mass destruction" or stuff like that. Now, he calls himself a man of God, but how does what he is doing line up with what the scriptures say?"

Actually it does line up quite well - fantastic indeed - a straight line!!!

Leviticus 20:13 - If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them.

Do you ever read your bible?

toulouse798 said: "In this country, we have Christian TV, we've got Christian bookstores, we've got Christian radio stations, we've got Christian movies..."

Oh, do you mean the farting preachers on TBN, 700 Club, DayStar, the ones that build air conditioned homes for their pets, the one that call for an assassination, the one that blame homosexuality for a natural event as an hurricane and a terrorist act as 9/11 (how stupid), the one that rip cripples off with his bogus healing tactics. The ones that sell pieces of rags Crisco cooking oil in a bottle, and charms for money, claming they have healing and money powers and on and on.

Do you think your religion is only one that can be viewed in the US or, why should you ASS (ume) that we are from the US. For all you know, I could be in China and still don't give a rats ass about religion or gods - Hey, so what is your point?

Jim Arvo said...

For some reason I was looking back through this thread, particularly at the posts by toulouse798. Back on 3/07/2006 (3:40 PM EST) he found an excuse to not reply to any of my questions; i.e. because "The above line of reasoning can be used in response to absolutely everything I say." The reasoning he was referring to was when I replied that I didn't believe in his god, so the question as to what I think he "owes" me is nonsensical. (Similarly, I don't think it makes much sense to ask what the Loch Ness Monster owes me.)

Well, that was obviously a convenient dodge for toulouse798, especially considering that I went on to answer his ill-founded question as a hypothetical anyway. I also explained to him exactly which types of questions that *was* an appropriate answer to, and why. Nonetheless, he wishes to ignore everything else I've said.

Recently someone here posted a link to A Salvation Story, which is the chronicle of a woman who gradually came to reject Christianity through a long and painful process of asking relentless questions. If I could remember who posted the link to it here, I'd give them credit for finding it. It's a remarkable story--it reads like a gripping novel. I highly recommend it.

I mention the story above because in it the woman is surrounded by (and tormented by) devout believers who seem to be incapable of accepting the fact that she had questions and doubts. They quite literally could not grasp what she was saying, and could not grant her the dignity of a respectful response. It's maddening to read. Well, I see posters such as toulouse798 above as being somewhat similar; in fact, a good many of the Christian visitors here seem to suffer from this. For some reason, they simply cannot even grasp what is being asked.

Take this as an example, from toulouse798:

"God has provided a means of escape from Hell. It really is that simple. What will your response be to Him when you face Him? that you didn't like His means of broadcasting? that you hadn't read the book? that He should have broadcast on a P.A. system?"

First, note that the questions he asks all PRESUPPOSE not only that there is god, but that this god has "provided" something, that he will be judging us, etc. In other words, he simply cannot acknowledge that those presuppositions are precisely what is at issue, despite numerous attempts on my part and others as well.

Now, here is a question that I'm quite certain that toulouse798 would not be able to even parse, and in any case, would completely dodge: "What will your response be to Allah when you face Him? that you didn't like His means of broadcasting? that you hadn't read the Koran?" Same type of presuppositions, but with a different entity in lieu of his version of god. I'm sure the question will strike him as absurd. But why?

toulouse798, feel free to jump back in and answer this, so I don't need to speculate. (Of course, I may as well be talking to a wall, right?)

To all the former devout believers out there, can anyone explain this to me? Why can most believers not even parse these questions? Is it simple cognitive dissonance, or is it something more? (I rejected Christianity are a very young age, so I cannot answer this from my own experience. And I get nothing but silence or non sequiturs from current believers.)

Thanks.

Shannon said...

Mr. Avro,

The presupposed nature of the believers’ faith has their brains so pretzel-twisted, I don’t know how they have any rational, cognitive ability to don and remove socks. Faith and doubt are incompatible. I, mean, you can’t have true faith in something and doubt it at the same time. Blind faith leaves no room for uncertainty. When someone or something interjects with an argument against his or her faith the believer is unable to process it because doubt is not a LUXURY that faith offers.

This is MY opinion. I could be WRONG.

Jim Arvo said...

Hi Shannon. You said "...I don't know how they have any rational, cognitive ability to don and remove socks...."

That's a funny image. Thanks for that. :-)

I understand what you're saying, but here's why I think there is something more going on. If it's the way you describe it, i.e. simply a matter of having faith, and not allowing one's self to doubt that faith, then why can't the believers simply acknowledge that? They could just say, "I have faith, and that's all there is to it. Don't expect me to give you a rational answer." In fact, that WOULD be something akin to a rational answer (and, indeed, some do reply in this way). But it seems the vast majority can't even face the question long enough to understand what is being asked. It's like my question is replaced with "blah blah blah blah". Do they have a real-time filter in their heads that intercepts anything that might pose a problem, and replaces it with "blah blah blah"? I'm truly baffled.

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