From Depressed Christian to Happy Atheist

sent in by Matthew

I am not sure where to start. I have never been creative at writing, but I will try my best. The first time I remember learning about Christianity was in a Southern Baptist church when I was about 7 or 8 years old. And I also went to my mom's friend's church (which was charismatic). They would talk about things that I could not possibly understand such as "Israelites" or "Canaanites", etc. But, when I started going to Sunday School at the Southern baptist church, they would teach me generalized things about Jesus. You know, the colorful drawings of Jesus healing someone or preaching to people. They never showed the negative side of Jesus (that wouldn't help their indoctrination process). They didn't tell me the major doctrines of Christianity (Jesus is God almighty, the trinity, the rapture, etc). They just told me that Jesus was a unique person who lived and he died for me. That was the concept I had (which was enough). It was just enough to make my rather peaceful nature embrace sympathy for Jesus. This was the first step to my conversion. Then when I was about 8 years old, I was deeply affected by Christianity in a way only a pervert could know. We had next door neighbors who were a single mom, a son and daughter. The mom worked during the summertime, so the kids were left alone all day. My mom was supposed to be keeping a eye on us all. Anyway, I would go over to their house and we would play. And one time, the boy (about 12 years old) wanted to play a game, where we would play with each others private parts. I didn't think it was wrong or anything, so I began to do it. Then it got more intense as summer passed. We were in the basement one time, and I remember, we had anal intercourse (I was the assee, he was the poker). It kind of felt good, but I didn't know what it was. Then, one time, were were all naked (including his sister) and either his mom or my mom found us doing it. Then it stopped abruptly. My mom took me and my brother to counseling at the YMCA. We had to describe what happened and everything. The reason I say this was part of my growth as a Christian is, that this boy who molested me went to CATHOLIC school. And the only reason I can guess he molested me was because a priest did it to him.

The next step was when my mother changed churches. I was 11 years old, and she began attending a large Assembly of God church. It was about 5 times bigger than the church we had been at before. And I saw something I never saw before. I saw people lifting up their hands when they would sing songs. I didn't understand why they did it, it seemed weird. Then when I turned 12, I was old enough to join the youth group (even though I was still in 6th grade). I went to the Youth group on Wednesday nights and the 2nd time I went, the pastor offered people to accept Jesus in their heart. I went up front, and received Jesus. A few weeks later, I was baptized in front of the church. Soon after my conversion, I was encouraged to preach the gospel to kids at school. I felt guilty like I wasn't ever doing enough for the bible-god. So, I got some Christian t-shirts to wear to school. And rightfully, kids made fun of me. I had started to read the bible, but not a whole lot. I just believed in Jesus that I was taught at church. A loving, compassionate Jesus. Then, I forget when, I started to get taught the doctrine of hell. They told me Jesus died to save me from hell (but I never realized that God created hell in the first place).

As I was involved in church, it became my life. I tried to be friends with the kids in the youth group and we would hang out at church and go out to eat afterward. But, I felt left out when they would not invite me to places they invited other kids to. I realized, it was a Christianized version of high school. There were times when I wanted to be popular, so I would try to get involved in helping with the Wednesday night services. I really was a sincere, loving Christian kid. I turned the other cheek when the kids at school would make fun of me for wearing Jesus t-shirts. At the time, I felt this proved I was really a good Christian, since the bible says I would be persecuted for Jesus. However, the persecution was self-inflicted (the kids would not have mocked me if I had not worn the Jesus shirts). I think that is what most Christians do. They create a situation in which they realize they will be mocked, and do it anyway (and it further confirms their belief of persecution). It was also when I started realizing that a loving God who creates hell for most people to go to cannot be all loving.

Anyway, I had always been bullied in school (even before Christianity). I had a few school friends, but nothing that lasted. I was a strange kid. But, I began to feel more rejected by these "loving" Christians I had learned to trust. They seemed to look down on me if I didn't do what they wanted. We would all go to Youth crusades and camps and get emotional fixes of "the Spirit". They really pushed speaking in tongues on me. I thought tongues were proof of my commitment to Jesus. Anyway, after enduring the suffering of rejection in the youth group, I eventually got tired of going to church and seeing these kids who hurt me. And I began to get tired of believing in God, yet I still did. I couldn't take the bullies at my public school.

So, in the middle of 9th grade, I transferred to a Christian school called Bible Baptist. They were a fundamentalist Christian school. The kids were basically Christians for appearances. They were worse-behaved than the kids at public school. They made fun of me worse than the kids at public school I think. It made me even more hateful of Christianity. And the teachers were no better. Legalists to the nth degree. For example, you couldn't have a beard in school. You had to be clean shaven. You couldn't have long hair, unless it was combed back. Basically, it was a cookie cutter school. Creating religious robots. Now, I was a charismatic kid, in a fundamentalist school. They often times made fun of charismatics and I became tired of them. I began to get depressed, because I felt like I had no hope in life. I hated God, I hated my school, I hated the kids who made my life hell. I only made 1 friend there.

Anyway, I stopped caring about the bible, and pretty much began listening to secular music (which is a no no in Christianity). Anyway, near the end of 10th grade, I forgot to shave a couple days, and my facial hair grew pretty fast. So, the vice principal who also was a teacher put me in the suspension room. He told me I could not attend class until I shaved. I told him I would do it the next day, but he said it was no good. He left the room and went to get me a razor. I started to panic and paced around. He came in while I was walking around. He asked me why I got up and I started cursing at him. I told him he let the other kids get away with horrible things, but such a pathetic rule as not shaving I could not get away with. I told him what I thought about him. I then stormed out of school and drove home. I was told I could not return to school and was expelled. Some of my teachers felt bad for me, so they let me pass, so I wouldn't have to repeat 10th grade.

And so, I went back to my old public school. But, something changed. My younger brother (2 years younger) began hanging out with the very kids who bullied me before. At first I was bothered by it. But, then they accepted me because of my brother. I almost became a bully from this merger. They were known as the burnouts (smoked weed all the time). I partied with them, but wasn't really into it. They were cool with me not smoking weed. I felt more acceptance from these "heathen" people than I had ever felt from Christians. Anyway, I really didn't feel like I belonged anywhere. Then, I spent the next year just cruising by.

Then, the next summer, we moved to another town. So, my senior year was going to a much bigger school with complete strangers. I would hang out with a few people during lunch, but never developed any friendships. But, it was during this time, I started going back to church. My pastor was very good friends with Grant Jeffreys, who was a bible prophecy teacher. He was nationally known by many Christians. Anyway, he was speaking at the church for 3 days, so I decided to go. He was a very well spoken person. I bought his book "Prince of Darkness" which was the same old dispensational stuff (proof prophecy is coming to pass). I believed it, and this convinced me that God was real and I began to explore Christianity again. My memory is fuzzy on many of these experiences, so they might be out of order, but to the best of my memory.

After high school, I didn't go to graduation, but one day, I had a horrible panic attack and outburst. I broke my car door by kicking it really hard. My parents sent me to a hospital for about a week. It was basically group therapy for mental people. While I was there, my old youth pastor stopped by to talk to me. He convinced me that "God is there for you". By this time, he was promoted in the Assembly of God denomination, and ran the entire youth program for Pennsylvania and Delaware. He ran the youth camps they had. He asked me if I wanted to go, and I said sure. So, I went there and hung out with other kids from all over the state. And the emotional bullshit that went with the evangelist service. I got "spiritual" all over again. Then the pastor asked me if I wanted to earn a few bucks by staying at camp and working in the kitchen. I said no problem. I moved my shit to the staff cabin. It wasn't too bad, but hard work though.

Anyway, after this time, I started to go back to my old church. But this time, it was the young adults group. It was basically a youth group for adults. I met a few chums who were "spiritual". One of them was insane with legalism. He said "let's go driving and see where the spirit leads us". We ended up going to this obscure Christian bookstore. This was one of the only stores which sold Jack Chick publications. They were owned by a fundamentalist, KJV only church. I rented a video there about new age bible versions. This began my journey into fundamentalism. I also bought some books which had eye appeal. One of them was written by Texe Marrs. After I read it, I wanted to read more (because it seemed to be exciting and unique). I began to believe what Texe Marrs said. I also got all the chick tracts and comic books. I was in fundy heaven! Anyway, I wasn't formally at any church, although I went searching. I kind of enjoyed being a "loner". Like the whole world vs. me.

I began to listen to a new show on the radio called "The prophecy club". It was a radio show where they had a commentary by the owner of the club and then they would play audio of their meetings. They were based in Kansas, but would have different Christian speakers travel all over the country and meet at convention centers (hotels). They had these every month. One meeting was about 40 miles from where I lived. So, I began to attend there. I met some people I knew from church or from other places I knew. It was a conspiracists' fantasy land. They had tons of videos and books on several subjects. I wanted to get involved, so I volunteered to help sell videos and books. It also kept me from paying the cover charge to go. I also borrowed the videos they sold and made my own copies. It was more of Disneyland for me, than a spiritual growth seminar. They claimed to be preaching the "gospel" of Jesus using bible prophecy, but nobody ever "converted" to Christianity from it. But, they were making plenty of money ($25 for a 2 hour video).

After a few months, I started seeing the hypocrisy of this movement. They were about making money. And as a Christian, trying to be humble and honest, i could not participate anymore. While I was involved with the Prophecy Club, I began to attend a Jewish Messianic church. I really had an interesting experience. They went to church on Saturdays. It was in a converted house. Maximum attendance was probably 30-40 people. They would usually have bread after service and sometimes have a luncheon. I remember feeling welcome and realized they were more family oriented. Even though almost everything they preached was bullshit. They were an interesting breed. They were basically disobeying the law of Moses by worshiping Jesus (they were just evangelicals in a wanna be Jewish church). Most of them were "non Jews" and even the rabbi was a non-Jew. And even in this small group, there was dissension. One of the regulars was very confrontational over the dumbest things. He would argue for 2 hours over how he believed the new testament was written entirely in Hebrew. Yet, he gave no proof of course.

It was after I left this group that I kind of took a break. I began to catch up with my school chums from private school. They were still living in the area, and we all went bowling every Tuesday night when the bowling center had a special price. We all had fun. The one friend (who I had remained close to) was still a church going fundamentalist. The other guy was not really a Christian anymore, but they weren't really into religion. My close friend was very political (pro life republican). He showed his "Christian compassion" by being a racist and mocking poor people on welfare. It was only recently that I stopped talking with him (about 2 years ago) because he was just so political (and as a Christian I couldn't stand the hypocrisy). So, about 2001, I began to chat online in Christian rooms. I began to do research on Christianity and to find the "true" beliefs using the bible. I had met some 7th day adventists who convinced me that Dispensationalism was false (the belief in the rapture) and they had scripture to back it up. I noticed that people would almost kill each other over disagreements over bible prophecy (pre trib versus post trib). It almost seemed like they enjoyed arguing. It is tempting to have conflict and feel like you win a conversation. I did my fair share as well. I had this pride thing going.

I began to see that the bible taught that God is sovereign and that is when I began to embrace Calvinism. It was at this point that I began to change my loving attitude. I began to hate people (like I did after being hurt in Christianity). I justified it because I thought God hated people too. I treated other people like garbage. But, I realized I had no right to brag. I was being a hypocrite. I then started to learn about the doctrine of hell (www.what-the-hell-is-hell.com) It was a Christian universalist website. And then I went to its sister website which was www.tentmaker.org. It was run by a very nice person named Gary Amirault. I felt welcome and not judged for disagreeing. They really had a lot of tidbits I was not aware of. They said Jesus was the Savior of the world (and that means what it says). That God would universally save everyone. I think it was a way to make an excuse for the lack of compassion in the bible and the lack of a perfect world. However, they were very loving toward me (unlike most Christians I had met). This convinced me that there was something good about it. This was my last stop prior to leaving Christianity.

But, for some reason, I couldn't explain the evil things in this world if God was going to save everyone anyway. I mean, if God is going to force people to change into saints in the future, why make them go through all these horrible things in the first place? Then I realized, that people make the bible say whatever they want. The free willers have proof for their beliefs, the Calvinists have proof for their beliefs and the universalists do as well. That is because the bible is so contradictory, you can justify any belief with it. I then realized, it wasn't all those denominations and theologies that were wrong, it was the source they all used...the bible. The bible was the problem, not those who read it.

It was then, that I realized I was deceived. It was so simple, so how could I have missed it? I had to let go of my "friend" which I called Jesus. Christians tell me "see that proves Jesus is real and you left him". Actually, it was similar to what happened in the movies Castaway and A Beautiful Mind. In Castaway, Tom Hanks' character is isolated on an island for 4 years. He finds a volleyball and draws a face on it. He begins to talk to this volleyball since he was isolated. Then after a few years, he thinks the volleyball is talking back to him. After he attempts to get off the island, he brings his friend "Wilson" the volleyball with him. He continues to talk to Wilson and while out in the ocean, Wilson falls off the raft and floats away. Tom Hanks tries to rescue Wilson, and he can't because the volleyball is too far away. He says "I'm sorry Wilson". Then, he lays on the raft and cries like a baby because his "Friend" was gone. Another example is in a Beautiful Mind, John Nash talks with 3 people, and then finds out they are figments of his imagination (due to schizophrenia). He learns to let go of them, even though they seem real to him, he ignores them. That doesn't mean they were real, it means his brain is convincing him they were real, when they were not.

My point is, that for a few weeks, I felt like Tom Hanks did when losing his friend Wilson. But even Wilson was a real object (a volleyball). That doesn't mean Wilson was a real person, it was invented by the imagination of Tom Hanks. But, to him, it felt like he was losing a friend. That is what it felt like to me to "lose" Jesus. But, then I asked myself, "what kind of friend (Jesus) would threaten me to burn in hell for not believing in him?". So, I then realized I shouldn't feel bad about letting go. I was letting go of depression, misery, frustration, hate, and superstitions. I have gained much more in 4 months of atheism, than in my 18 years as a Christian. I realize that I am the person I am because of those bad experiences, so I would not wish to have changed them. I can only focus on here and now and the future.

I'm still going through bouts of depression (not nearly as much though). The depression usually goes away after a good cry. I just look at the good things in my life and that gives me strength to keep trying. I am content with my life. I am thinking of ways to make a difference and leave the world a better place than when I first found it. I'm still figuring it out. But, the pieces of the puzzle continue to come in.

Mechanicsburg
PA
USA
Joined at 12
Left at 29
Was: Assembly of God, Southern Baptist, Fundamentalist, Charismatic, Messianic
Now: Atheist
Converted because: Emotional reasons
De-converted because: Rationalization
email: brad_religion at yahoo dot com

53 comments:

Piprus said...

Matthew:

Thanks for joining in and posting your fascinating testimony. Very interesting, the journey you had through the bizarro-world of xianity. Congratulations on your decision to leave it behind you, with all its strange beliefs. You've done so for all the right reasons.

I hope those periodic depressions aren't affecting you too badly. If so, you know there is help and support available for you. You'll certainly find a lot of acceptance and support here, at least for your choice to leave the christcult. It's a great place to "grow" in your unbelief.
All the best,
Piprus

Tim Simmons said...

great testimony! Sounds as if you tasted some of each dish before deciding to eat elsewhere. Good choice!

Keep your head up. Bad things will keep happening throughout life but try to focus on the good. No sense beating yourself up anymore.


tim

GoneNsane said...

Wow, you went through the gamut of denominations, didn't you? You hit the nail right on the head--it's their common source (the bible) that's flawed.

Keep your chin up, the journey away from religion can be tough but it is so worth it! I'm 2 1/2 years out now and haven't looked back. The bitterness still creeps up on me once in a while, but not very often anymore. It gets easier. Read all you can about why Christianity is false, vent all you want in the forums here, and take comfort knowing you are out of that box and never have to go in again.

Anonymous said...

Congrats on your realization of the deception of Christianity. I'm glad you were able to leave it all behind you without any regrets. It is very painful when it becomes obvious that everything you believed is not true. And there is a time of mourning like any other significant loss. Hang in there, it does get better, but don't hesitate to get some professional help if necessary for your depression.

BaconEating AtheistJew said...

Good post. Just wait until you realize that Jesus didn't even exist as a historical person. It took me 43 years to find that the assumption Jesus lived was wrong.

Steve said...

Hi Matthew,

That was really interesting. The best part is at the end, where you say you are now thinking about how to make the world a better place. That was precisely how leaving Xtianity affected me.

I am not surprised that you are dealing with some depression. You were in the religion for so long and so deeply, and you were diligently seeking the answers in that bullshit. The pain that comes from knowing that you were manipulated and lied to is a pretty natural thing, I think. I hope you will not be hard on yourself, though. They sucked you in at an early and vulnerable age, like they usually do. It's not your fault, so don't ever let your mind take you in that direction.

I am so happy for you.

Steve

emptycan said...

Matthew, your story is good and wonderful. And it's good that you are still young after all the difficult experiences you had. I think those will be a guiding light for your life.

Ian said...

Wow Matthew, you posted one incredible story there. I'm sure you've learned a lot from your experiences and that it's made you a better person because of it. Because I was once a christian myself, it helped me appreciate beliefs that are different from christianity and how they can be much better in many ways.

michelle said...

Matthew, my heart goes out to you...so many of us have had similar experiences of mourning and grief after leaving...It's hard to come to grips with...especially when it has been such a part of your whole identity.A part of ego dies.

BTDT said...

Hi Matthew -
Thanks for sharing your story. I felt your angst as I read it. I could relate and remember going through the same evolutionary journey away from belief. I am so happy to see yet another person reach the place where they realize life can truly be far more peaceful and joyful without the toxin of Christianity constantly poisoning the mind and emotions.

I loved your 'Wilson' volleyball analogy to finally saying goodbye to your invisible buddy Jesus. I remember being really touched by that part of the movie where he lost his only friend the volleyball. As you so aptly point out - that doesn't mean the volleyball was ever anything more than what his mind created for himself.

One of my biggest frustrations as an ex-christian is the perception of others that discarding the Christian mythology of an eternal life in heaven with Jesus = a depressed and negative worldview full of despair and anger. As soon as someone hears I don't believe, I am labled a negative person. I am hard pressed to think of a more deeply negative and destructive world view and view of fellow humans than the one Christianity offers.

Good luck with your journey to a place of good emotional health. I hope this forum is a breath of fresh air for you.

Edward T. Babinski said...

I found a passage in a Sufi book that stated, "Religion is like a garment. One has to know how it fits before one can take it off." The key was to study it very deeply until one knew exactly how it fit in one. When clarity is reached, one does not have to even take it off, it falls off.--Will Bagley, "Reflections on a Christian Experience," a chapter in Leaving the Fold: Testimonies of Former Fundamentalists

~~~~~~~~~~

Hi Mat! I read your testimony. Well put. I'm the editor of Leaving the Fold: Testimonies of Former Fundamentalists. See my testimony, which is one of the chapters in that book. (I'll email you the chapter as an attachment.) Calvinism and universalism were also my final two stops on the way toward "apostacy" as Christians call it. I explored universalism but left the fold before I ran into Gary's (universalist Christian) tentmaker website, but he and I have been friends for a while, and he's published some of my sayings about "hell" in his collection of quotations on his site, as well as published an article I wrote on the "Good Old Days" on his blog.

Come by sometime and visit my website: edwardtbabinski.us or the blog of apostates like ourselves, a blog titled, "Debunking Christianity."

Cheers, Ed

Anonymous said...

What a testimony! Your experiences of Christianity ranges from Catholicism, Baptisticism, Calvanism, Adventistism, Charismaticism, etc..

I wonder whether has God revealed Himself to you before. Have you seen or experienced miracles and provisions? Were you born again?

Atheism is just another religion. You certainly cannot find your answer there. Look to Jesus and not at man.

Eternity is more important than the present.

freedy said...

Annoy#,... infinity x infinity.
All religions have claims of born again experiences,miracles and providentual stories of god's many blessings.I could go on and on myself of personal experiences ,...this proves nothing,nada,zilch!! Except SHIT HAPPENS!,.. (some good, some bad,..period)!Grow up and face facts,...there is no god that we as mere humans could ever understand.
There is more true humility,love ,and justice in atheism than in all of churchianity and religion combined!

Slave said...

I'm glad you found atheism.

I applaud you for your courage. To reject God in such a suffocating environment must have been a struggle, and I'm happy you pulled through.

Khalstead said...

Matthew,

I am so sorry for all of the hurt you have been through as a result of people of certain faiths...notice I said people, it is them that have failed you NOT JESUS! I urge you to read the Bible yourself from front to back ( I don't believe you've done this) and then make a decision for yourself based on that. If I based my beliefs and feelings on how others have treated me I would be a bitter, depressed, hard person to be around! I have been in and out of churches and have never really found my niche.......but I have found God and Jesus and realize how important they are in my life. I too attended churches with people that "claimed" to be christians and I thought they were until I got to know them on a personal level......but it's their flaws not God's that turned me off!!! They are sinners too!!! I really wish you would open yourself up to Christ....with or without a church full of people behind you. Do it for yourself....I will DEFINITELY keep you in MY prayers!!! God Bless You (even if you don't want it)

Kristina Halstead
Sewell, NJ

.:webmaster:. said...

Of course Jesus didn't fail Matthew. Because, Jesus is dead, if he ever existed at all!

J. C. Samuelson said...

"I urge you to read the Bible yourself from front to back..."

In my not-so-humble opinion I don't think doing so is possible without reinforcing one's doubts. Between the multitude of contradictions, the inaccuracies, and the revealed character of the god depicted therein, one must turn a blind eye to the Bible's contents in order to remain a believer.

I rather suspect that it is you who needs to read it front to back, Kristina, and supplement your reading with a little research. Impassioned pleas to read the Bible by Christians are often prompted by ignorance of what's really in there.

boomSLANG said...

Miss Halstead said : "God Bless You (even if you don't want it)"

Awwww...that's aDORable. Thank you so much, young lady. Consider though, that most of us here lead pretty normal and comfortable lives. I mean, we obviously have computers, right? Yeah, so it's pretty safe to say that none of us are homeless, starving, or have botflys living in our eyes, ears, or noses...isn't it? Yeah. However, as you sit on your sweet little ass and minister to all of us?... there is, IN FACT, tens of THOUSANDS of people who suffer this second with all of the ailments I just mentioned, and meanwhile, your "God" sits on it's ass right along with you, doing N-O-T-H-I-N-G.

God 'less.

David said...

Let's not fail to mention that boomslang however sits on his ass for the good of all mankind. While God and KHalstead sit on thier asses and do nothing for those who suffer boomslang sits on his ass and does nothing for those who suffer with a chip on his shoulder.

Dave

boomSLANG said...

Hello Davey. I've done my share, friend. I've adopted two girls(sisters) 7 and 8, whose bio-sperm donor left them because he found something more important to him---elsewhere. I'm no hero, however, if I sat around and just "prayed" that they be "blessed" by a "God", jack-shit would be accomplished for them.

Now that we've covered a little background---if you have evidence for the existance of your "blesser", we'd all love to see/hear it---not that if you had it, he/she/it wouldn't still be a lazy son of a b*tch.(pun)

David said...

I was going to acuse you of having two chips on your shoulder but instead I will say that I am glad you did adopt. My wife and I adopted a girl that was removed by the state and was going to be put in foster care.

Beyond that you are still sitting on your arogant ass. There are a lot more suffering needlessly out there.

Dave

boomSLANG said...

' Nothing "arrogant" about me, Dave. I merely hold a postition of neutrality as I wait for you, Sybil aka "Goldy", Miss Halstead, or any other believer to provide objective evidence that their Biblegod exists.

Yes, I may sit on my ass sometimes, yet, when I want to get something done?... I know that the only way it'll happen is if I get off my ass ....not ON my knees = )

Anonymous said...

Believe me I have had my beefs with God over the years myself...I haven't led a perfect life...I was molested as a child I've experienced having a child die, etc. etc. I have too turned from God in light and of and because of these horrible things that happened to me, but along the way I realized that God didn't make them happen or just sit by while they happened TO me!! Nowhere in the Bible does it say that God will NEVER allow anything bad to happen to you....he only says that if you believe in him he will see you through your difficult times and that is what he has done for me! I can't say that you're a bad person for not believing anymore I only feel BAD for you and I'm not trying to "minister" to you!! I am FAR from perfect and I certainly don't believe that I am ANY better than ANY of you...in fact I'm sure I may actually have more flaws. I don't blame God for taking my son...after all he belonged to God long before he ever belonged to me...and frankly I think Satan has had a little more to do with my "bad times" than God has, but because of God I have been able to put them behind me. I expect more trying times in the future too, not because God is not with me but because my faith in him will undoubtedly be tested by Satan as all of yours have been but I will never turn from God again...I was more miserable having NOTHING to believe in!!! God Bless you all


Kristina Halstead
Sewell, NJ

Never Going Back said...

To David: You said "I then realized, it wasn't all those denominations and theologies that were wrong, it was the source they all used...the bible. The bible was the problem, not those who read it."

I couldn't have said it better myself, friend!

Also: I loved the examples of Wilson the volleyball and John Nash's dillusions to explain what it felt like to lose your "friend" Jesus. Your post was so sad. I too never felt like I belonged in the church or in the world. Of course, the Christians would claim I was suffering from a classic case of "lukewarm" Christianity.

To Kristina Halstead: I am sorry for your loss, but it's a sad fact that Christians have to explain everything as God's will. If a baby is born with defects, it's God's will and He is in control. He has a plan for the child's life even if that child is little more than a vegetable. If the same child had been born to a sixteen-year-old girl out of wed lock than that child would have a curse on it because of his/her or mother's sin. The people dying in Africa? Well, hello, everyone knows that they are all a bunch of heathens. If we could just get enough missionaries out there to convert those wretched heathen God could start sending down the rain or sending food and medical care to them. Is that correct? Lets see, what else?.... Now if members of the church are poor it's because they are not tithing or there is some other hidden sin in his/her life, correct? If a member of the church is driving a Hummer it's because they are blessed by God, correct? If my best friend who works for the homeless ministry of the city's largest nondenominational church becomes homeless herself, there is no financial help for her even though the pastor and wife live in a MANSION and drive $40,000 vehicles. Well, we can't speak against God's annoited now can we so there must be a good reason they can't provide for their own parishoners, after all they have their car payments to make and their mortgage to make.... Trying to explain away the evils of the world, the randomness of it all, by saying it is God's will is insulting to any rational human being over the age of 5! And how comforting is it that God will see us through our difficult times? How is that a comfort to a mother in Africa who is rocking her child to eternal sleep in her arms? How comforting is it to a Christian teenage boy wrestling with self-loathing and guilt over being gay who then hangs himself considering it would be better to knock himself off than live in "sin"?

Khalstead said...

I completely agree with you 100 % on just about every single one of the points you make. I don't have all the answers and I think it's just as awefull about people in Africa suffering (though I don't think they're all heathens)...I don't pretend to understand why everything happens I only know that when I try to figure it out the only thing that makes sense is that there must be an intelligent being bigger than all of us that has control!!! I can't believe for a second that we became what we are because we evolved from an amoeba or some monkeys or something!!! That's even crazier than believing there's a God!!! If you all are atheist......then how did we all get here....hey maybe you all can enlighten me, I'm a very intelligent and objective person...of course I have my own beliefs but I"m not about to push them on anyone else. For me personally....it was hard for me to imagine that God is all I need until I got to a point in my life where I realized that God was all I had!!! Sure I was brought up with religious beliefs but we never once attended church (that I can remember) I did this on my own as I got older and found much of the same things you all talk about...which is the main reason I don't attend church now!! I have never in my life found a church so far that wasn't full of hypocrits...however I believe the Bible and take it as it's presented as "The word of God" and hey, I might wind up dumbfounded when I die and realize that I was wrong and I spent a lifetime worshipping a God that doesn't exist and all there is for me is to cease to exist and if that's the case, I would have lost nothing, but would have gained a tremendous amount of comfort during my lifetime. However if I choose to deny God and the sacrifice I believe Jesus made for me, then when I die and am faced with judgement I certainly couldn't say I didn't know, or I wasn't told...I would have no excuse and would have an eternity to pay the price. What if I'm wrong??? What if you're wrong????? We probably can't ever say for sure until we're dead, but then it's too late!! Believe me the idea of hell doesn't scare me nearly as much as the idea of living in eternal paradise is appealing to me! I'm not a christian because I'm afraid of not being a christian...I am what I am because of the life I've led and the decisions I've made and every question I've ever asked has always led me right back to God, so that's where I plan to stay. I'm not on here to convert anyone, that's rediculous...I don't think that's my job anyhow...you all obvious are familiar with the word of God...that's the only job I have is to make people aware of the gift they've been given...it's God's job to convert them!! When I initially commented on this board I didn't even realize what the website was...I only commented because I related soooooo much to Matthew's story...only mine ended with me returning to Christianity and his stopped when he fell away from it..that's all! Hope I haven't offended any of you. God Bless

Kristina Halstead

boomSLANG said...

Khalstead said: "I only know that when I try to figure it out the only thing that makes sense is that there must be an intelligent being bigger than all of us that has control!!!"

Please---why "MUST" there be? Seriously, if you'd take an OBJECTIVE look around, you'd see that there is way more evidence that random chaos dictates effect, than there is that some "Divine intelligence" is in "control" of everything. Firstly, a being who is presumably both "omniscient" AND "omnipotent"...i.e..."God", is a blatant contradiction. If a God is in "control" and "wills" everything based on what said God wants to happen, then we can conlude that God is a mass murdering insensitive tyrant, certainly NOT worthy of my worship. Yours? I mean, do you find comfort in worshipping a being who lets children be raped, beaten, and starved 24/7...365@ yr? BTW, if your God "wills" everything, then he/she/it OBVIOUSLY has the ability to make choices, right? Right. So if your God can make choices, then he/she/it cannot know the future, and hence, cannot be omniscient. If your God IS omnscient(knows the future), then he/she/it cannot CHANGE the future, therefore, cannot be omnipotent. Conclusion: Your God is either, A) A ruthless tyrant, or B) a being who knows what's going to happen, but can't do jack about it...i.e. the equivalent of a paperweight. Please, put your obvious "lookist" mentality aside for a second, and think hard about it.

Khalstead said: "I can't believe for a second that we became what we are because we evolved from an amoeba or some monkeys or something!!!"

Yet, you have have no problem believing that all races of people are esentially the " great-great-great-great grand-children" of a caucasian couple who were made out of dirt by a invisible "spirit". The same couple who later had a conversation with a talking snake. Perfect. Think.

Khalstead said: "I believe the Bible and take it as it's presented as "The word of God" and hey, I might wind up dumbfounded when I die and realize that I was wrong and I spent a lifetime worshipping a God that doesn't exist and all there is for me is to cease to exist and if that's the case, I would have lost nothing, but would have gained a tremendous amount of comfort during my lifetime."

Pascal's Wager. Well, it says three things: 1) That you're not very secure in what you believe, 2) That if you're going to believe "just in case", then you could very easily be heading straight to hell for not worshipping the right God, and 3) That you're willing to risk wasting the life that you KNOW for sure you have, believing a lie.

Khalstead said: "I'm not on here to convert anyone, that's rediculous."

Yes, that would be ridiculous. Because on the contrary, you're actually making it obvious that our decisions to leave the "Faith" was the right and logical thing to do. Thanks again.

Khalstead said: "...the only job I have is to make people aware of the gift they've been given...it's God's job to convert them!!"

If you respond, would you mind stating your age? Anyway, WHAT "gift"? A "gift" is something that is given WITHOUT conditions. "Here, please accept my 'gift' of love, and if you don't?....



....I'LL INCINERATE YOU!!!!!"

That's not a "gift"......that's coersion.

Khalstead said...

boomslang......I would be happy to respond, I'm 28 yrs. old....and I like to think I'm somewhat intelligent...according to you not very ...but anyhow : ) I do believe that all races came from Adam and Eve, I'm not however convinced that they were caucasion...judging by the fact that the garden of eden was probably in the middle east like most of the happenings in the Bible...I highly doubt they were caucasion. I do believe in adaptation not evolution...I do believe that people that live closer to the equator have over the years darkened do to the high exposure to the sun, just as I believe that most people in England are pale as ghosts because they rarely see the sun...an adaptation of your surroundings...same reason people in Florida think it's cold when it's 70 and others think that's hot! Also, I don't believe in God because I"m afraid NOT to believe. That's what I meant when I said I'm not a christian because I'm afraid of not being a christian...guess I worded it kinda funny..sorry. Anyhow the gift I'm talking about (I'm sure you know anyhow and were just being a smartass ) is the fact that Jesus died in order to save us from the sin that will ultimately lead us as you so nicely put it be incinerated! I happen to believe that we all would be incinerated if not for that gift. Not...take the gift or else....the or else would have already happened...the gift is a sort of get out of jail free card! God knows that once he gave us free will we would screw up.....actually we proved it over and over again....the fact that none of you believe the Bible...makes my explanation worthless to you...but I do believe it...and I think that everyone who died before Jesus came to the earth went to hell...because we've always been sinners. I believe that you will be judged by your life...I think the hipocrytic christians who accept the gift and just sit around and do nothing to help anyone else...yeah they might end up in heaven.....but I believe those christians who through their faith go above and beyond normal humanity will be rewarded once they get to heaven...and I believe it because the Bible says it. Maybe I'm ignorant for that...obviously you think I am. I do find it interesting however that all of you and all of humanity once they start to think about where they came from.......always end up in search of something...some kind of fulfillment...I mean look at every corner of the earth, different looks, different religions, etc...all in search of something......God!! That's why all of you went in search and at some point must have come up empty handed and decided there was no God. I didn't come up empty handed...there is a God!! I don't believe that God sits around and watches people getting raped and murdered and likes it.......I as a mother don't watch my children fall down the stairs when they're learning to walk and laugh at them.....but I do put a gate up on the third step and let them figure the steps out in a safer way. I think God protects a lot of us some of us undeserving...would you be more likely to protect someone who loves you or someone who hates you??? God will always take us back though...no matter how far away from him we run...if we turn around and go towards him he will always take us back....we're his children!! My children do things to make me so angry I could spit...but not for one second do I stop loving them!! God still loves you, and would accept you back with open arms too...but then again you are very knowledgeable about the Bible so I'm sure you already knew that. As for trying to put human likenesses onto God about if He can will things than he can't change things and so forth......God is not Human...Jesus was! Jesus was God in Human form he was the only one bound by the rules of humanity not God...God is capable of anything and everything He desires. God Bless
Kristina H.

boomSLANG said...

Khalstead said: "I do believe that all races came from Adam and Eve, I'm not however convinced that they were caucasion...judging by the fact that the garden of eden was probably in the middle east like most of the happenings in the Bible...I highly doubt they were caucasion."

My response: Then you've obviously have never seen any of the classical renditions of the "Garden" with Adam and Eve clearly depicted as caucasian, and complete with navals, no less. And yes, you can sit there and say that it's "just someone's rendition...after all, Boomslang, no one was there to actually see it."......and then I will say to that--Y'know what, Miss Halstead?...you're right, no one WAS there to see ANY such thing, so why should READING someone's "rendition" have one ounce more credibility? The point---the bible wasn't written by a "God"...it was written by man---MAN: proven over history to be fallible; proven time and time again to let his emotions guide him erroneously.

Khalstead said: "I do believe in adaptation not evolution...I do believe that people that live closer to the equator have over the years darkened do to the high exposure to the sun, just as I believe that most people in England are pale as ghosts because they rarely see the sun...an adaptation of your surroundings..."

My response: So, let me guess, you don't believe in "gravity" then, right? How about "Atomic Theory"? These are both, not ONLY theories, but they are fact, as well. The difference is "change" vs "conviction". The bible's "explanation" was not, and IS not, subject to change...i.e. a conviciton. If you adhere to the book of Genesis for your "scientific data", then you believe what?...that over a few generations whole ENTIRE races of people "adapted" to the sun's rays? If not generations, then what?...over the span of a few hundred years this all happened?...thousand? Ridiculous. BTW, our sun, a "star" that was presumably created JUST for us, and is allegedly the "perfect" distance from Earth, kills thousands of people anually. By your logic and time-line reference, we should have already "adapted" to it, but yet, we haven't. Think.

Khalstead said: "...the gift I'm talking about (I'm sure you know anyhow and were just being a smartass ) is the fact that Jesus died in order to save us from the sin that will ultimately lead us as you so nicely put it be incinerated! I happen to believe that we all would be incinerated if not for that gift. Not...take the gift or else....the or else would have already happened...the gift is a sort of get out of jail free card!"

My response: Miss Halstead, you can shake it, bake it; slice it, dice it....mix it up ANY way you want---this "gift" of "salvation"--the one where Jesus had to essentially kill himself(considering the Trinity)---is ONLY "given" on the contigency that it is accepted, and if it is not accepted?... you will "burn in a lake of fire" for all of eternity. Um, this is per YOUR Holy book; YOUR god. So yes, I think the word "incinerate" applies.

Khalstead said: "....the fact that none of you believe the Bible...makes my explanation worthless to you."

My response: Correct. The same way that the Holy Q'ran is useless to you.



Khalstead: "I believe that you will be judged by your life..."

My response: No, you absolutely DO NOT believe that. You believe that we will be judged on whether we accept the bible as the word of God. If I'm wrong, then you don't believe, and/or know, what your Holy book actually says, thus, you'll be burning with us heathens.


Khalstead said: "I do find it interesting however that all of you and all of humanity once they start to think about where they came from.......always end up in search of something...some kind of fulfillment...I mean look at every corner of the earth, different looks, different religions, etc...all in search of something......God!!"

My response: Please---speak only for yourself. Being in search of the truth means accepting the results even if you don't like them. It's called beijng "objective" in the search. You're obviously NOT ready to be objective in your search, because your only source for "truth" is the holy bible---a book of unproven nonsense that requires one to suspend logic in order to believe. All religion is subjective--and yes, Christianity IS a religion.

Khalstead said: "I think God protects a lot of us some of us undeserving...would you be more likely to protect someone who loves you or someone who hates you???"

My response: You have GOT to be kidding, right? This is undoubtedly the most ignorant thing you've said so far. Are you suggesting that your God "protects" mostly Christians?...i.e...those who "love" him, and only a few "undeserving"? Can you make it clear and provide evidence for this?... without putting your self-rightous foot in your mouth? Waiting.

Khalstead said: "My children do things to make me so angry I could spit...but not for one second do I stop loving them!!"

My response: How 'bout setting them on fire?...or maybe drowning them, because it "repented" you that they have imperfections after you went and brought them into the world. ' Sound absurd?





Khalstead said: "God is capable of anything and everything He desires. God Bless."

My response: Then he must not really "desire" to have EVERY single person join him in "Heaven", because "HE" created Hell, knowing ALL along that he would be sending the majority of his "creation" there to burn. Ahhhh...such "compassion".

God 'less.

J. C. Samuelson said...

"Not...take the gift or else....the or else would have already happened..."

Ms. Halstead, it is take the gift "or else!" Accept Jesus, or burn in hell. Take up your cross and follow me, or burn in hell. On what basis are you claiming that the "or else" would have already happened?

"...and I think that everyone who died before Jesus came to the earth went to hell..."

Not that I expect (or feel) compassion for those who died 2000+ years ago, but doesn't this strike you as the least bit unfair for a God who is allegedly just?

"...all in search of something......God!!"

Yes, most of us at one time or another have sought answers to life's persistent questions; why are we here? Is this all there is? However, the mere search for answers is no indicator that there is something else 'out there,' or that there is some divine purpose for our lives.

We all would like to touch the divine in ourselves and others. That does not mean it exists as the Bible describes it.

"My children do things to make me so angry I could spit...but not for one second do I stop loving them!!"

We (God's children, right?) do one thing that makes God so angry that he'll cast us into the lake of fire to be tortured for all eternity; we choose not to worship him.

Your children may someday choose to leave the Christian church and never come back. As a result, God will throw them into the lake of fire I mentioned for all eternity. This is biblical. How do you feel about that?

For myself, if it turns out I'm wrong and God exists just as portrayed in the Bible, I will gladly stand at the throne of God and say "Wow! You exist after all! Kindly toss me into the lake of fire because I don't associate with vain, insecure, mass murdering deities who can't even write a decent book."

boomSLANG said...

Quote: "For myself, if it turns out I'm wrong and God exists just as portrayed in the Bible, I will gladly stand at the throne of God and say 'Wow! You exist after all! Kindly toss me into the lake of fire because I don't associate with vain, insecure, mass murdering deities who can't even write a decent book.' "

S'laaaammm!!!!!!!

Khalstead said...

the or else I speak of.....as written in the Bible...is the fact that before Jesus came to earth people were cast into hell...that's what I was talking about, it's because of his sacrifice we can avoid what would have been our ultimate demise (being that non of us are or ever have been "perfect" and without sin) I wasn't trying to minimize it by stating that God wouldn't cast you to hell if you don't accept his son...I absolutely believe that that's exactlly what will happen if you deny Jesus Christ!!! These people on here know that and they know the word of God and they will have no excuse when they face God...a simple Wow..I was wrong isn't going to do a thing for you once you die!!!

Never Going Back/Tiffanie said...

Ms. Halstead, there are too many absurd statements made on your part to respond to them all one by one, but I will attempt a stab at a few of them.

Your "gift" is not a gift at all. If it is a gift "after the fact" than what sane person or "spirit" burning in Hell would consciously tell Jesus "No, fuck off you damned Jew! I like roasting in this fiery abyss while the worms eat my eyeballs for the rest of eternity" It is not an after-the-fact gift or he would offer it to us AFTER THE FACT! This "gift" you speak of being the death of Jesus on the cross for our sins is only one of many gifts given by so-called dying saviors. Are you aware of the other man-gods who were around before Jesus who were claimed to have been born of virgins, died on a cross, performed miracles, were half man and half god, were visited by wise men or shepherds, were called "The Light", "The Way", etc., were part of a triune diety, had twelve disciples, and resurrected from the dead? Which dying savior's gift should we accept? Please study up on Mithras and other so-called "dying gods" who required we take part in a Eucharist.

Regarding the redundant use of Pascal's wager you presented...If I am going to believe any religion's claims JUST IN CASE, then I would carefully weigh my options and decide on one that has the worst consequences for my unbelief. This then would lead me toward Islam since, as far as I know, boasts to having a worse Hell than Yahweh's. You state that you believe that all people born before Christ are in Hell since we are all sinners, but early Hebrews did not even believe in such a place. God punished Adam and Eve with DEATH, not HELL! Early Hebrews believed that when we die we are aware of NOTHING! Check the Book of Ecclesiastes for reference. I guess Solomon didn't know what he was talking about. And they call him "wise"! Did it escape you that the doctrine of Hell was not taught until after the Jews came in contact with the Zoroastrians who brought to the Hebrews a belief in only ONE God (the Hebrews were polytheistic NOT monothesistic), a devil, Heaven, Hell, and angels? I'm sure you are unaquainted with the origins of the Hebrew and Christian faiths so I will excuse any ignorance on your part. The church doesn't teach it's members the true origins of their faith.

You stated that your kids piss you off, but you would never stop loving them implying that God will never stop loving his children. Wouldn't throwing your child in Hell for all of eternity send a message of "I don't love you anymore"? I can't even believe you attempted that argument. What a waste of your breath! My kids could never piss me off enough for me to send them to an eternity of Hell fire as a punishment for finite sins. In fact, NOONE could piss me off that much. It doesn't make any sense!

You said "I believe that you will be judged by your life...I think the hipocrytic christians who accept the gift and just sit around and do nothing to help anyone else...yeah they might end up in heaven.....but I believe those christians who through their faith go above and beyond normal humanity will be rewarded once they get to heaven..."

You do not believe that we will be judged by our lives! You believe that we will be judged simply for believing or not believing in your god-man. Period. End of story. You believe that the epitome of piety is BELIEF, not goodness, love, self control, generosity, chastity, prudence, or mercy, because even if one possesses these wonderful qualities he/she will still roast in Hell simply for the sin of UNBELIEF. On the other hand, a lying, thieving, adulterous man who BELIEVES in the atoning death of Jesus will go to Heaven no matter how many times he fucked other women, beat his children with the rod of discipline, lied on his taxes, beat off to Internet porn, etc. etc. Right? You believe that only Christians who rise above the rest of humanity will be rewarded? Ghandi was not a Christian so he's roasting in Hell despite the fact that he rose above the rest of humanity? Buddha is in Hell despite the fact that he rose above the rest of humanity and taught almost word for word many of the same things that Jesus did and taught these ideals LONG before Jesus? Does that make ANY sense to you? How can Buddha be in hell for not believing in Jesus when Jesus had yet to be born, preach his message, and die his sacrificial death? How can ANYONE be in Hell if they didn't even have a chance to accept or deny this "free" gift? Would you send your oldest child to Hell simply for being born and dying before he/she was able to accept, reject, or even HEAR a message that you gave to his siblings born long afterward? Do you read what you write before you submit it? Do you have any idea how fucking ignorant your beliefs are?

You said that you believe we are all children of Adam and Eve. Are you aware of the fact that there are civilizations older than the Hebrews, namely, the Sumerians? Have you ever read the Epic of Gilgamesh that records the story of a world wide flood in which there was one man and his family saved out of the whole world that were told to keep two of every animal, blah, blah, blah? Are you aware that the Epic of Gilgamesh is presumed to be the oldest known work of Literature in the world? ARe you aware of how influenced Hebrew literature was by the writings of the Sumerians, the Babylonians, etc? Please do read the flood account in the Epic of Gilgamesh for reference. Why should we believe the Bible's account of a flood when the Sumerian account is older?

Girlfriend, PUH-LEASE educate yourself before you call yourself intelligent and objective.

You said: "If you all are atheist......then how did we all get here....hey maybe you all can enlighten me, I'm a very intelligent and objective person...of course I have my own beliefs but I"m not about to push them on anyone else"

1. If you are a Christian then how did God get here if everything has to have a source? Please enlighten us. We are very intelligent and objective people.

2. The very fact that you believe we will roast in Hell as a punishment for not believing your book's claims PUSHES YOUR BELIEFS ON US! I know that these things make sense to you. They made sense to most of us once too. Your ignorance is forgivable because it is just that...ignorance. You are only a few years younger than me and yet you are completely unaware of the origins of your religion. You have a lot to learn. I offer you a challenge. Go begin conducting some true objective research into the Hebrew and Christian religions. Pretend you are completely ignorant to the Bible's claims and go into it presumming to know nothing (This is the only way you could be truely objective) Do a comparative study of world religions. Find out how the Hebrews and Christians recycled stories from other cultures around them. Dive into the Near Death Experiences of people from around the world. ARe only the NDE's of Christians the "real ones"? Find out for yourself, just how the books of the Bible were chosen and just how many other books were left out at the council of Nicea. Ask yourself why Constantine changed the Sabbath, the calender, and then introduced tons of pagan traditions into Christianity. Read the writings of your precious Martin Luther, the reformationist who was a disgusting bigot toward Jews and women. STudy up on the origins of the Hell doctrine, the "rapture" doctrine, etc. If you can come back here and and honestly state that your once cherished beliefs are not beginning to crumble and can STILL make an argument FOR your God, than I will offer your God thoughtful consideration. Until then, don't play with fire unless you want to get burned (pun intended)!

boomSLANG said...

Mind-reader Kristina Halstead says:

"These people on here know that and they know the word of God and they will have no excuse when they face God...a simple Wow..I was wrong isn't going to do a thing for you once you die!!!"

LOL! Miss Halstead, you sound like a broken record. Three or four of us have thoroughly dismantled your ignorant non-sensical belief system. There ARE no "Gods", Miss Halstead, except in your head. When you die, you simply cease to exist. Tell me, do you have memories of floating around in the clouds BEFORE you were born? According to your holey(wrong spelling intended) hand-book, your "soul" existed prior to that. So?...do you remember anything, Miss Halstead?...HELL no, of course you don't, and there's a good reason for that. THERE'S NO SUCH THING as a "disembodied consciousness"...i.e...a "soul". And when you die?...you DIE.

So, the only people saying "wow", will be the people saying..."Wow.....Kristina Halstead wasted a good portion of her life believing in mythology....how sad".

Either provide something new to the discussion---hopefully something in the way of OBJECTIVE evidence for the veracity of your slobbering bigoted religious convictions---or please, get lost. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

http://thenewcall.org

here is some non religion that makes sense.

Anonymous said...

Hi, wow life's experiences, very tough. I'm a Christian and have had the opposite experience in reference to a potential agnostic/atheiest... my father. I do "get it" what your saying, it's totally life although it seems some people get to slip thru the cracks and not have to suffer so hard .. no matter what their orientation is. I was always interested in ancient history and was/am facinated with aligning archeological findings with biblical reference ... and did not consider myself a holy roller in the least, I wanted to connect with my father along the lines of history but for some reason he told me not to dump my Christianity on him. Which I didn't think I was because he's just as interested in all that ancient stuff. Then watching a news debate regarding the diVinci code, the woman was claiming to be a decendent of Jesus, basically in theory and conducted herself gracefully but it turned out the Christian news man made a total fool of himself, afterwards my father rants, raves, screams and swears about the Christian and takes it out on me. Where as I was in perfect agreement that the conduct of these two people was such that the Christian was an emotional nut case, not listening to the context at which she was meaning. In other words he was a bad "active listener". As a Christian still ..I believe we can all be idiots, there's a thousand cases in the bible about how in general we can just all fall short of perfection. I think we all get everything messed up, look at the world. I don't think we can blame things on any one sect but we do. Christianity definitely can be hard but I believe it's meant to be a mirror to show that we're not perfect nor living in a perfect world so that we can be aware of our actions as to try not to contribute to making it worse and realizing that there's something better but it's seems to be beyond our understanding and so we're called to do our best to have "faith" that our maker knows better than us and try to be obedient, yet we do fall and then love is suppose to be the answer. But love is difficult for all of us since we have to deal with so much and then guilt is no fun, but Christians are just as guilty and flawed as anyone else and they can screw up stuff sometimes it appears more so. But some Christians seem to have it "goin' on" just like it seems alot of other beliefs seem to have it "goin' on" ... like witch craft ... but I think it's a matter of having a faithful relationship with God and that He steers us. But if we're not in contact, like talking to a friend on the phone, how are we to know what's going on? the Thief on the cross next to Jesus said, remember me in paradise. As for hell I think that's a very tough issue for anyone. I don't know if we have all that straight or not but what we go thru here on earth with murder, suffering and death isn't all that cool either. So I think it's all about believing the creator of the universe in the sense that His intelligence and ways exceed anything we can fathom at any point. But things are just scary sometimes and I think that's what messes us all up and always has. We're looking for peace, but sometimes we look at the reality of things from our perspective, it's not peaceful. War, aids and autopsies are not peaceful and they're not biased to any belief.

stronger now said...

What?

boomSLANG said...

"What?"

Lol! I second that.

lregist@yahoo.com said...

What an enlightening discussion: very intellectual, historical, and thought-provoking, but very sad. All of you atheist sound so angry, depressed, and unhappy, and if this is all there is....... What would be the point? It would be hopeless. I can't imagine a life without faith, as simplistic as that sounds. My faith has gotten me through many a tough time and gives me great peace. I have experienced miracles, revelations, and God's silence. I certainly do not have all the answers, and I would not even try to convince you of a loving God because the God I serve respects your free will and your choice to be an atheist and so do I. I can only speak for myself, but faith in Jesus Christ is a life worth living. Lee Anne

boomSLANG said...

Iregist: What an enlightening discussion: very intellectual, historical, and thought-provoking, but very sad.

Yes, I would imagine---like, similar to when a spouse divorces a mentally and/or physically abusive husband, you'd think it should be a completely "happy, never-look-back day". But unfortunately, for said divorcees---and for those who deconvert from the cult of Christianity---naturally, there is the potential for feelings of sadness, considering the YEARS of wasted time, the threats, the lies, and the guilt for leaving the "relationship".

Iregist: All of you atheist(s) sound so angry, depressed, and unhappy, and if this is all there is....... What would be the point? It would be hopeless.

What seems "hopeless" to me is those people who think that if they didn't have a belief in "God"; if they didn't have their little secure place in "heavenly eternity", that their earthly family, friends, pets, aspirations, acheivements, etc., would all of the sudden have no "point". To me, that's not only "sad", but it disgusts me.

Iregist: I can only speak for myself, but faith in Jesus Christ is a life worth living.

But... are you really "only" speaking for yourself?..or are you implying that my life isn't worth living because I hold no belief in your "Jesus"? Hmmmm...I wonder.

See B. G.? This why I care.

lregist said...

Dear boomSLANG,

I can imagine a physically abusive husband because I had one. My life has not been perfect, and I am sorry if I led you to believe it has. (I do not feel guilty for the failed marriage.)

Thank you for the correction of atheist(s). What I meant about "hopeless" was my own feelings, certainly not yours. Every life is valuable and worth living. Life is precious. I want to live a long full life. I am not a Christian for eternal life. I am a Christian because of the fulfillment it gives met in this life. I am sorry my words disgusts you, certainly not my intention.

What I really don't understand is why the personal attack on anyone who chooses to believe? And why do you think the worst about what a believer says? Why can't my words be just that- my words?

Do you have any Christian friends? I do have friends of different faiths and those who are nonbelievers, and I value them all. I am not saying this flippantly or for a gold star or for your critisim. I thought this site was open for personal opinions.

As I stated before, I do respect your opinions. You are very articulate and extremely intelligent, but apparently "so called" Christians have really hurt you deeply.

I am only speaking for myself. I apologize if my poor choice of words made you think I thought your life was any less valuable than mine.

Lregist said...

Dear BoomSLANG,

"met" should have been me

"critisim" should have been spelled, criticism

Sorry for the sloppy writing.

stronger now said...

lregist said...
"... if this is all there is....... What would be the point?"

Well, to answer that let me take a quote from my favorite poem if by Rudyard Kipling:

"If you can fill the unforgiving minute with sixty seconds worth of distance run, Yours is the earth and everything that's in it...."

The point is to live this one and only life to the fullest.

boomSLANG said...

Iregist said: I can imagine a physically abusive husband because I had one. My life has not been perfect, and I am sorry if I led you to believe it has. (I do not feel guilty for the failed marriage.)

Dear Iregist,

It's unfortunate that you had to endure abuse on ANY level. On the other hand, I can use the fact to hopefully illustrate my point even better for you.

Since I presume you are now an "ex-wife", I think I can safely assume that if any person were to tell you things like, "you didn't try hard enough"; "give 'Him' another chance"; "it was 'tough love'... for your own good"; "there's no such thing as an 'ex-wife'"; "you were never really married", etc., etc., etc, that you'd take issue with it. No?

If you can't see the parallel/analogy, we, as ex-christians, hear these SAME things on a regular basis. The point is, a person's experiences are their OWN experiences. If you agree, then great, but unfortunately, the bulk of Chrisitans don't see it that way; they think that, either, "once a Christian, ALWAYS a Christian"...or worse, "you were never a 'real Christian'".

I'm here to tell you that both notions are utterly absurd. Christianity is one of millions of life-philosphies....a "belief". People choose beliefs; beliefs don't choose people. One can decide they no longer believe Christianity is valid, just like anyone else can decide if something else is valid, or not. Just like YOU can choose if the love between you and your ex is valid, or not. It's not for anyone else to decide. Period.

Notwithstanding, again, if your "belief" works for you?..that's great. But unfortunately, with Theists, it rarely ends there.... namely with Christians. Most are here to minister, proselytize, and quote scripture, failing to grasp that many of us have a better understanding of what the bible says, then they. As I just pointed out in another thread to one Theist, we as ex-christians came to terms that we could no longer pretend to know what we didn't know. It is only logical to conclude that no one else "knows" Christianity is a Universal Truth either, because not one drop of objective evidence has ever been put forth to substantiate ANY of it's claims.

Face it---all we have to go on is personal experience, and the "Holy bible". If one reads the bible objectively, that is, accepting what it says at face-value, then one can plainly see that it was not authored or dictated by any ALL-loving, ALL-knowing, ALL-powerful "God". Repeat--I'm not saying that your "belief" hasn't, doesn't, and won't continue to work for you. Placebos work wonders in medicine, yet, they only work provided the patient doesn't know they are actually taking a chunk of sugar.

Iregist: I am not a Christian for eternal life. I am a Christian because of the fulfillment it gives met in this life. I am sorry my words disgusts you, certainly not my intention.

It is the over-all Theist/Dualist mindset--the premise that this life is "hopeless" if there isn't an eternal life to follow--that disgusts me. If I understand correctly and you don't fall into this group?... then great. After all, if one cannot make "existance" in this life "hopeful", I don't see how existing perpetually will change anything.

Iregist: What I really don't understand is why the personal attack on anyone who chooses to believe? And why do you think the worst about what a believer says? Why can't my words be just that- my words?

Your words are just your words. When did I imply differently? And I don't have an issue with those who "choose to believe", provided, it ends there. It's when one's belief is promoted as a Universal "one-size-fits-all" Truth that I take issue. It's when threats of bodily harm are incorporated, either implicitly, or explicity, that I take issue. It's when the beliefs of one, turn into the beliefs of a group, and then that group's "belief" affects my well-being/safety. The men who flew jet-liners into the Trade Centers had a "belief". They believed their belief was true with all the fervor and conviction that you believe yours is true.

By the way, FYI, both the "Holy" Qu'ran AND the "Holy" Bible condone the killing of non-believers, even if they should happen to be family members. If you'd like me to provide the exact verse, I will.

Iregist: Do you have any Christian friends? I do have friends of different faiths and those who are nonbelievers, and I value them all. I am not saying this flippantly or for a gold star or for your critisim. I thought this site was open for personal opinions.

I not only have Christian friends, but immediate family members. So? I value THEM, not necessarily what they believe. And this site IS open for discussion, who said differently? Surely, you first recognized the fact that this is an EX-christian website before you posted, yes? If we can have a diplomatic discussion then that's great--but it's rare.

Iregist: As I stated before, I do respect your opinions. You are very articulate and extremely intelligent, but apparently "so called" Christians have really hurt you deeply.

What on earth do you mean by "so called Christians"? I have certain family members who are self-professed Christians, just like YOU are a self-professed Christian. My family members did what they were TAUGHT to do, and that is to indocrintate other people..i.e.."spread the Word". So? That is perfectly in accordance with being a "True Christian".

The point is, I find the belief, along with it's holy book, abhorant--but that's just my opinion. What's NOT merely "opinion", is that there's no unbiased evidence to back it...ANY of it. So yes, my family members unknowingly lied to me...just like someone lied to you.

Peace.

lregist said...

Dear stronger,

What a beautiful quote! I totally agree with the message.

What I meant by ... What would be the point? Very bad choice of words. I should have said how sad, if this life is all we have because it is but a flicker compared to eternity.

I also love Kipling's quote:
"I always prefer to believe the best of everybody, it saves so much trouble."

Have a great day.

boomSLANG said...

Iregist: I should have said how sad, if this life is all we have because it is but a flicker compared to eternity.

So if I understand correctly, it is "quantity" of life, not "quality", yes? So, if a person lived to be 102, they had a more meanful and purposeful life than a person who only lived to be 50? Explain. Please explain the concept of "eternity" too, and how one can exist in an atemporal realm, when to exist..i.e.."to live", is something that takes place IN time. If you feel up to it, of course.

Peace.

lregist said...

Dear boomslang,

I am a ex-wife. I do understand your analogy, and I agree with a person's own experiences are their own experiences, and a person chooses their belief system. My faith is a personal experience. I understand your placebo theory, but I have experienced answered prayers about people, places, things, and situations, that would be utterly impossible for me to control with my finite mind, but I am not writing to convince you about what I believe. It is real to me and I don't feel it is my mission in life to convince others.

I grew up in a "unique" situation, my parents were not Christians and I was not raised in any church or with any particular doctrine. In fact, I didn't become a Christian until my twenties, and my mother was NOT thrilled. I am sure I was overly zealous (probabiy one of those pushy people you have already made reference to). When you truly love your family and friends, you want them to share any life changing event and you want them to find what you found. I hope you can understand what I am trying to convey. I wonder how much damage I did with my arrogant, know it all attitude? Now I try to just live my faith instead of preaching my faith.

You are right, this is your web site and I am the intruder. What in the world did I expect?

I "accidently" got on your site and I found it fascinating. Since it took me so long to discover Christianity, I had never thought about people who were Christians and left dissolutioned and are no longer Christians. I wanted to try to understand why.

To be totally honest, I have been extremely hurt by people who called themselves Christians. They may or may not be. People, places, and things will always disappoint us because we all have free will. When "Christians" hurt us it seems to hurt more because they are saying one thing and doing another, and in my case I trusted them.

I try every day to live a life of excellence,as I am sure you do as well. I am certain, we have more in common, except for our religious beliefs, than we differ. I am glad our lives crossed paths.

Also, I believe in quality of life, but I also believe that life is way too short whether we live 5 or 500 years. Yes, I am tired of explaining my words about this one point.

Thank you for the conversation. It has made me refect on my own life's journey. I think, it is now time to agree to disagree.

Peace to you, too.

Anonymous said...

Everyone has their own free will. Just as you have chosen to be an atheist. I can understand your pain. But truth is not based on feelings, and I believe that truth is Jesus. So it hurts sometimes-that is true. But as you already know-it can't be worse than the pain of Hell. Even although you don't believe in that either, it won't change the FACTS. Yes, some 'Christians' do make you feel bad, but they are not Christ. They are under construction too (just like yourself). So, sorry your feelings were hurt. Hope you can explain it on judgement day.
Peace,
Debbie x

AtheistToothFairy said...

Debbie x said:
But truth is not based on feelings, and I believe that truth is Jesus.

Debbie x,

Where is your evidence to reach this 'truth', that Jesus was real?
I'm fairly sure all the evidence resides solely in your MIND, right Debbie?

>>They [xtians] are under construction too (just like yourself).

Well I sure hope that construction is completed quickly, so they to can realize that the bible-god is not real and only a sad fantasy.

>>Hope you can explain it on judgement day.

I'll give you my explanation to your god, on this imaginary judgement day, even though you didn't ask me.

Well God, you are a brat child who has played hide&seek games with your creation for 2000+ years, so how did you expect those of us who require evidence to believe in you?

Why didn't you provide ALL of humanity with an updated version of your ancient book?

Why did you tell us it's wrong to murder but if we choose to follow in your OT example and murder innocent people, we go to hell?

Why did you have no problem performing all those miracles for ancient people, but suddenly 2000 years ago you decided that it would take away our free will, to continue to do them?

Why didn't you ever teach older societies, like the American Indians, about this required belief in the jesus saviour, so they could go to heaven to?

Why do you let babies and children suffer the great pain of horrible diseases, only to die in the end?

Why didn't you create a new Adam and Eve that wouldn't eat that darn apple, so maybe we all wouldn't be doomed from birth?
It sure seems you have no problem killing-at-will, so why did you keep these two alive?


Face it gawd, it's ALL YOUR FAULT for us not believing in you, so I think you should punish yourself for screwing up with your creation.


ATF (who wonders what excuses Debbie here will provide us with, for her invisible gawd)

Astreja said...

Debbie, get real. And I mean it. There is no proof for your god outside the Bible. None. You are worshipping a being who lives in your own imagination.

And you should be deeply ashamed of yourself for using *your* free will to come to an Ex-Christian site to preach the same vindictive and abusive "Repent or Burn!" crap that we've heard from entirely too many people in our collective lifetimes.

Quite frankly, my non-dear, in the context of your threats your "I'm so sorry this happened to you" bleating is just more of the same pathetic shit. I see no genuine compassion in you, just someone who thinks she has The Answer and wants to use fear to ram it down our throats.

But thank you for yet another object lesson in why your religion is such a complete and utter farce. Every time I see a post like yours, it increases My resolve to move even further away from Christianity.

Sun said...

if everyone is happy where they are - whether they believe in God, heaven, or whether they are athiest - as they claim to be. why is everyone trying so desperately to convince someone else they are happier? happy people dont go online to blog about how happy they are. they have better things to do and enjoy life. because you could talk and debate forever til your last breath about how you are right and they are wrong and you will NEVER convince anyone. so when i see all these long comments going back and forth, i can't help but think, wait whats the point again? christians, you blogging on some website is never going to convert or help anyone. honestly you could spend your time much better trying something else, though your passion is admirable, its really wasted effort. athiests, you trying to support one another is great, but you do come off as super defensive, and if you truely feel happy in your decision to turn away from christianity makes you happy, why waste your breath trying to convince some christian you are right for your choice?

bottomline, i think everyone is lying. no one's happy on this site. happy people go out and have fun. not stay online and blog about whether God is real or not.

so i guess that includes me. we're all miserable and confused.

.:webmaster:. said...

Sun, because people are interested in this topic doesn't mean they are unhappy or wasting their lives or whatever. The very idea that YOU seem to think your opinion is the standard by which all other people should model their lives is rather like the pot calling the kettle black, wouldn't you say?

Now, there are as many different reasons as to why anyone would frequent this site as there are differences in people. Trying to pigeon-hole and label everyone as the same just for posting here reveals a very limited understanding of human beings. We ain't all the same, dude.

However, if you want an answer as to why some hang out here, click here.

Have a nice day.

Keith said...

Hi all,
My name is Keith I am one of those Christian Universalists. I think the Bible is not perfect. But I also get a lot of good out of it. I am lucky that my Christian "Baptist" Parents were not legalistic. So I grew up pretty happy. I used to be an atheist when I was a kid but not as well informed as you people. I have found that the atheists I run into know more about the Bible than the average christian. Ironic. Don't ya think? Anyway I have been down the Calvinism, Arminian road and now I am a Universalist. Who knows maybe I'll be an agnostic next. I don't think I will ever be an atheist. It just seems to me the complexity of the universe tells me there is a creator. Not a GOOD Christian God or a Bible God. But at least a creator. Thank you atheists for challenging christians on our stupid beliefs. We need to be challenged. I am glad we live in a place where Christians are not allowed to burn people at the stake for disagreeing with us. Anyway I thought you would get a kick out of this: I was thinking one day and I made a list of BAD things God made and I don't know why. What do you guys think about christian theodicy? And do atheists have a theodicy? Here is my list. Is is not complete it just came to mind. What do you think?
God Made:
The Devil.
Imperfect people.
Great white sharks.
Maggots.
Feces.
Cancer.
AIDS
Pain
Thorns
Germs
Hurricanes
Tidal Waves
Earthquakes.
Boogers.
Genitalia.
Ugly people.
Conjoined twins.
Retarded people.
Thorns.
Rattle Snakes.
Marijuana.
Cocaine.
Mold and Mildew.
Slugs.
Vampire Bats.
Mosquitoes.
Dinosaurs.
Yeast infections.
Body odor.
Tooth Decay.
Pimples.
Termites.
Electricity.
Flatulence.
Fire.
Volcanoes.
Itches.
Babies cry.
Poison Ivy.
Dandruff
Disaster
Evil

Have a nice day.

Later, Keith

Weetie said...

To the Christians who feel they're being attacked by the Atheists for simply speaking their beliefs:

Imagine for a moment that this blog is a support group for former alcoholics who have stopped drinking & are rebuilding their lives, recovering from the trauma of alcoholism. Now imagine an alcoholic posting on that blog & saying stuff like:
"it wasn't booze that let you down, it was the people SERVING the booze"
"maybe you just didn't drink the right kind of booze"
"I drink booze all day, every day & it doesn't hurt ME at all!"
"booze gives meaning & purpose to my life"
"you can't have meaning or purpose to your life WITHOUT booze"
"If you decided to quit you must not really have been an alcoholic to start with"

Imagine how insulting that would be & how it would seem to make a mockery of the suffering of alcoholics & belittle the courage & strength of recovering alcoholics.

For many of us Atheists, Christianity was a traumatic experience. I know I've got my emotional scars. Additionally, the act of loosing one's faith can be extremely painful. You've heard of stockbrokers who leapt to their deaths on Black Friday back in 1929when the stock market crashed? And they had lost only money! So imagine how it must feel to lose GOD! I suffered through bouts of nausea, panic attacks, insomnia. It's not fun coming to terms with the idea that there's no God & you'll just snuff out when you die. We've gone through a lot to get to the place where we are now.

For you to get on here & espouse your religious views gets our dander up, both intellectually (because to us it's like arguing with adults who still believe in the Easter Bunny or Santa Claus) and emotionally. To cast loose from our religion, rely on our convictions and self-honesty & swim upstream against the giant current of our upbringings, society, & peers takes a lot of inner strength. We're proud of what we've overcome. We just wish you could understand that.

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