The love of the Creator is inside everyone

Sent in by Trish

I was raised as a Christian. My mother's side of the family was Christian, my father never talked about his side, so I don't know what they believed in. My father didn't enjoy church but came if my mother pressured him enough. By the time I was in junior high, he had refused to attend completely.

We attended a United Church every Sunday. I began going when I was about 3. I was a gifted child, speaking and reading at a very early age, with a phenomenal memory. I was very uncomfortable in the building, it seemed cold, empty and unfriendly to me. I remember colouring Bible stories and being anxious because I couldn't understand the contradictions we were told to believe, such as the David and Goliath story. (Thou shall not kill...unless killing is "allowed"?) I was adept at sensing energies and feeling auras and had a number of psychic like experiences that my mother told me I "imagined" and that things like that were of the Devil.

My mother had a thing for the Devil. When I was a kid, she would terrify me by telling me that if I were bad, she would take down my kitten and ballerina posters, and put up pictures of the Devil dragging people down to a fiery Hell. Looking back, I remember feeling panicked and completely horrified, sick to my stomach and fearful that I would somehow "do wrong" and have to spend an eternity there. I couldn't have been more than 6 or 7 then. I would terrorize myself at night with thoughts that the Devil was going to trick me into selling my soul, or that God would judge my imperfect human soul as deserving of eternal damnation. Needless to say, I was a nervous, over sensitive, shy kid.

As I began junior high, I didn't want to go to youth group anymore. Everyone there seemed like puppets, and they all seemed "overly eager" to me. Somehow, it seemed false and fake. It made me keep my distance, because I could not understand what they felt. I used to stare at the front of the church during the sermon, and PRAY to God that He would send me a sign, a feeling, ANYTHING so I could believe and be happy like the rest of them. No sign was given.

I had many friends by now, both religious and non-religious, and I saw from sleep overs how other families lived. Some of them seemed SO happy and loving... but how was that possible when they WEREN'T CHRISTIANS??? My mother had constantly told us that we were "better" than everyone else, that we were "special" because we were Christians. It embarrassed me and I was disconcerted by the idea.

I was a straight A student, a quiet, shy but nice girl, with friends of both sexes and many different races and religions. My mother would criticize my friends behind their backs, making racist comments or judgments about anything she didn't approve. My family life was very abusive, my dad was an alcoholic and severely emotionally and verbally abusive, my mother would have "fits" of rage where she would drag us out of bed early in the morning and force us to clean (no...SCRUB) every inch of the house, while she stood over me in particular, since I was the oldest, and screamed insults and use physical force.

Sick of being threatened with Hell, I refused to attend church by the end of grade 9. I could not believe that God would be so hateful, to torture people for minor sins they committed, why people who didn't know of Christianity would automatically go to Hell...it seemed so unfair and cruel. When I was young, I'd ask the Sunday School teachers questions about inconsistencies in the Bible, or moral dilemmas, and they could never satisfy my question. I realized that they could only tell me what a very, very old book said, and since I had tried numerous times to read the Bible (getting frustrated and confused more often than not) I realized that they COULD NOT give me the answers. I decided that though I may not know WHAT I believe, I certainly knew I didn't believe in the Devil!!

In high school I didn't think much about religion...I was more concerned with getting good grades, dating, partying and working to make extra money. Because of the abuse, I moved in with a girl friend after graduation. I lived there for a year before her sister had to move in, so then I went back home. By this time, I was 18, in college and had a real boyfriend and a part time job. One night, while I was at work, my mother went through my belongings and read my diary. Seeing that I had recently lost my virginity, she told my younger brothers that if I called home, to tell me I was no longer welcome...to come and get my things and be gone. I tried to contact her, but she would not speak to me. I didn't even know why.

So I left, and spent a summer sleeping in my car, at friend's parents place, where ever I could. My car insurance ran out and I went to renew it at the store where my family got their insurance. My mother and two teen brothers (both larger than me) were hiding in nearby stores. As I walked up, I heard a voice yell "Get her!" and as I turned around to see what was happening, my brothers and mother attacked me physically. I screamed and tried to get away (this was all in public...on the sidewalk in front of a strip mall.) My mother's friend was there, telling people who looked like they were going to come to my aid, that I had recently escaped from the hospital mental ward, and was "off my medication." Somehow, I got away from them, and did not speak to my family for over a year and a half. I had declined to press charges, even though my brother had said, while pinning me on the floor INSIDE the insurance store while horrified clerks looked on helplessly..."Mom says we're underage so we can do whatever we want and not get charged." My brothers told me years later that my mother had lied to them and told them I was doing something illegal and that unless I was stopped, my father would have to go to jail, and they would lose their house and comfortable lifestyle. My mother told them that, a woman who claimed (and pretended to all outsiders) to be a devout, modest Christian.

The next few years were very hard on me. Raised in a pretty sheltered existence, then kicked out into the world at 18, I didn't know what to do. I met a guy at my work and we hit it off, and he introduced me to Witchcraft, or Wicca. He said he knew I was really a Witch. He was right, and to this day is still a close friend and beloved person in my life. I studied everything I could on Wicca, and was relieved...there is no Satan or Devil in Wicca!! I had been the type of child who secretly loved to be a Witch at Halloween, and had a deep respect and communion with nature from a very early age (we lived on the outskirts of town so I'd go walk in the paths to get away from my family). I knew that my family would excommunicate me if they ever found out I believed in Wicca, but after the damage they had done to me (for no REAL reason, and never apologizing or even to this day ADMITTING what was done to me) I really did not care.

Somewhere in my early 20's, I began to study theology and different religions and forms of spirituality. I found it amazing that similar myths could be found in distant cultures all over the world. Part of trying to heal, I inwardly forgave my family (they wouldn't talk openly about any of the incidents) and began to see them at holidays etc. I thought things were going well, though emotionally I was a wreck...anxiety, depression, panic attacks, drinking to forget the past...when I took some laundry over to my mother's to do it as my washer was broken. Nobody else was home, she and my dad had divorced by then and my brothers were out. I was folding laundry in my old room when (HONEST...sadly, this is NOT a joke or an exaggeration) my mother came in and physically assaulted me, telling me I was possessed by the Devil and that she was supposed to "exorcise the demons" out of me. She was completely serious...and she looked scary, there was a fanatical glint in her eyes. I tried to get past her out of the room, but she is larger than me, and had no qualms about using physical force to hold me on the bed while she recited strange litanies, garbled Bible verses, and screams of "Satan leave her....I command you in the name of JESUS!"

All the while I was quite calm inside, surprisingly, because I think I knew she might not be in her right mind (if she even had one!) Sorry if that sounds flip, my mother was and is a very troubled person and takes many prescription mood altering drugs which she couples with alcohol against doctor's orders. She also was severely abused and deprived as a child by her religious/alcoholic family. I asked her to let me go, told her there is NO demon, I am NOT possessed by Satan, I am not an evil Witch, etc, etc. I didn't want to hit her or hurt her which I figured would be the only way to get away, so I repeated calmly to her the same words. Finally, after more chanting and praying and "televangelising" she let go of me and I grabbed my laundry and left. My mother and I have not had a relationship since then. I've seen her a few times, but she refuses to "remember" any incidents and criticizes everything about me and my life, so I choose to stay away.

Well, I wish I could say these were all the problems I've had with the Evangelical Fundamentalist belief system, but since I am not close with my mother, when my aunt (mother's sister) and cousin moved to my city, and I became close with them. My aunt is a fundamentalist Christian, but she never attempted to force it on me, and seemed genuinely loving and caring, so I tried to believe that my mother was ill and that Christianity wasn't to blame for her actions. Until my aunt, who had become like a mother to me, went online and saw that I had joined a Facebook group about Wicca. She sent me an email saying she would NEVER have me in her life and family because she was "A CHRISTIAN!!!" her emphasis, not mine. Furthermore, I was not allowed to contact my 34 year old cousin anymore as she worked for law enforcement and "cannot be associated with anyone in the occult". I was devastated, but not shocked. Yes, it hurts, because I finally felt like in them I had a family. It hurts to be excommunicated because of WHO YOU ARE and WHAT YOU BELIEVE IN.

I have NEVER tried to force my beliefs on anyone, and I try to accept everyone for who they are, unconditionally, because I know the pain of being rejected. I am against Fundamentalist Christianity because it can DESTROY families. It can tear families apart. I KNOW. I should also mention, that since this last rejection, I have completely come out of the "Broom Closet" and have chosen to start teaching Wicca in my city. I've belonged to two covens in my life, and gone to Wiccan retreats, and I must say that almost everything fundamentalist Christianity says about Wiccans are LIES. Sometimes they get the name of our holidays right, (lol) but that is pretty much all the accuracy they have about us. They deliberately make up lies and distribute hate propaganda about us. And people, like my aunt, brainwashed into believing whatever her televangelists say and quoting a 2000 year old book of uncertain origins, actually believe that I, the niece she loved a few months ago, being a Witch/Wiccan, kill and eat babies, sacrifice animals, worship the Devil, cause malice and strife to loved ones and generally am a horrible, evil person. Someone she loved a few months ago, told everyone what a loving, kind, decent soul I was, now believes I am evil and going to Hell because that's what the Bible (or Pat Robertson, or Jack Van Impe says.) By the way, my aunt is disabled and very ill, and living on less than $800 a month, and she sends these frauds money to keep their hate-promoting agendas going...money she could spend on her health or on food.

I'm sorry, but any religion that won't let people think for themselves is not one I have respect for. I have recently done much research on the history of the Bible, and the authenticity of it, and I have found so many errors and discrepancies, I find it hard to believe that any rational, intelligent person would believe much of what is in there. I will not deny that there are some good spiritual lessons, but the horrific stories and contradictions far outweigh them. The violence and brutality, the way God is portrayed as a cruel tyrant rather than a loving creator, it saddens me. I'm sure this wasn't what Jesus intended, if he really did exist. I am sorry that my family has been brainwashed into fundamentalism, but I am relieved that I was able to make it out, and still be able to love, trust, and worship my idea of Deity. The love of the Creator, (by whatever name we call him/her), is inside of us all and it is through our similarities, not our differences that we can be healed by seeing in all souls part of the Divine, and part of ourselves. Blessed Be.

45 comments:

Joseph said...

Wow, Trish. That is a lot of trauma for one life. While I do celebrate your escape from the emotional and physical abuse that was done in the name of an ancient philosophy gone bad,I can't agree with your concluding prescription. Belief that imagined beings have real power just leaves the door open to new cults. Many of those will be benign and permissive, as the one that you have found. However, that just perpetuates the environment of tolerance fir irrationality that the fundies of all stripes operate in.

Instead of finding a better mythology, let's teach people to discover and reject bullshit. Of course that would produce ungovernable people. But I'm about to start recreating the plot of the Matrix so I'll stop.

Peace and logic.

stronger now said...

Trish,

I must admit I only know one witch but she is the most wonderfull person I have ever met. I like the wiccan "philosophy" much better than any other religion I have looked into. I respect it more, is what I'm trying to say. I am an athiest with agnostic tendancies so I must admit I doubt that the magick works, but I am open to the possibility of it being a natural phenomenon. If it works for you, great. I'd much rather talk to a witch than a fundie christian any day.

I am glad to hear your story and hope to hear more. Family can screw with you like nothing else can. I know from experience that family and christianity are a dangerous combination of mental strife that takes strength to overcome.

You have brighted my cheeks an warmed my heart.

R.S. Martin said...

Trish, I'm not sure how to respond. I'm always encouraged to find out that I'm not the only one who has had to cut ties with family but do you excommunicate me, too? I do not agree with your statement that the love of the creator is inside of everyone. I feel love inside of me but I don't think it is of the creator. I think it is the natural condition of the healthy human being. I also feel sad that a person with whom I feel so much in common would reject me because I disagree that there is a creator. Perhaps you don't mean it that way.

Lorena said...

I agree with pretty much everything that Stronger Now said. Particularly the part about pagans being great people.

As for your choice of beliefs, I have to say that as long as you are happy, it is fair game.

In my view, the purpose of existing is to have a good life, not TO BE RIGHT. That's right. I'll say that again. I DO NOT HAVE TO BE RIGHT, just happy.

So Trish, if you enjoy your rituals and they aren't oppressing, then I have no problem with it. I would have a problem if (1) it demanded money of you, (2) it made you feel guilty, (3) it made you miserable, (4) you practiced it out of fear.

Sometimes people fail to realize that people--like you and me--with psycho mothers and a shitty life need some sort of a community to hang around with. That, I suspect, is what Wicca does for you.

I prefer to hang out with atheists and agnostics, and to belong to community choirs and such. But that is just my way. If I tried to impose my way on you, then it would be religion.

Keep having fun!

Anonymous said...

I just wanted to say that I am a Christian and I want to truely apologize for the way you were treated. I to having grown up in the Church have seen alot of the falseness in the church, including the hippocracy. I grew up in a church that was more of a social club instead of a church. What is sad is that the falacy of the church has pushed you away from the truth. It also rattles my bones when people twist Gods words to manipulate. I have seen it time and time again. We are all human and we fall short. But God himself is real. I pray that even though it maybe hard to forgive those that have turned you astray, that all of you might truely give God another chance. What is it going to hurt if you ask him to show himself again. If he doesn't you don't lose anything. But if he does you will gain everthing.

Josh
Age 21 Location StL

twincats said...

I also know a lot of pagans/wiccans. They are, in my experience, kinder, more intelligent and much better at living their beliefs than almost any xtian I have ever known. That’s why I became one for a time (solitary wiccan.) The best thing about them, in my opinion, is that their philosophy about the earth is that they are a part of the earth, rather than people with “dominion over” the earth.

After a few years, though, I found that the effectiveness of spells and magick was pretty much the same as that of prayer, so I’m pretty much generally agnostic now. I even told my pagan husband that the other day and unlike the vast majority of xtians I know, he was fine with it!

So, all in all, I gotta say that the pagans are a great group of people who don’t evangelize and believe that everyone ends up in the same afterlife no matter what they believe. Huzzah!

boomSLANG said...

Anony/Josh: I just wanted to say that I am a Christian and I want to truely apologize for the way you were treated.

Aaw, that's a nice gesture, however, what does it really mean to "apologize" on someone elses behalf? Answer: Nothing. Regardless, it is a common misconception that we deconverted because of "other Christians", or "imperfect people". The belief, itself, is far from "perfect". In fact, it is abhorant and barbaric, which is enough reason to dismiss it.

Anony/Josh: But God himself is real.

I'd be happy to have a look at your evidence for this claim.

Anony/Josh: What is it going to hurt if you ask him to show himself again. If he doesn't you don't lose anything. But if he does you will gain everthing.

You'll see, if you read the testimonies, that many of us already wasted huge portions of our lives waiting on an "answer" from "God". I, personally, will not waste another nano-second on such a thing. If "God" exists, and "God" is "omniscient", then "God" surely knows what it will take to convince me of "God's" existence. Furthermore, you say that you know "God is real", right? Right. So apparently, it's perfectly "okay" to KNOW that "God" exists, thus, negating the the need for "faith". So please don't tell me that "God" wants me to have "faith". I want evidence.

John of Indiana said...

Aww, Josh...
"What is it going to hurt if you ask him to show himself again. If he doesn't you don't lose anything. But if he does you will gain everthing(sic)."

Man, that's called "Pascal's Wager", I'll bet Pastor never told you that.
And most of us around here consider it a "sucker bet" because we've asked him to "show Himself" till we were purple in the face.

But you're young, yet. I was young and believed in various imaginary friends too.

Caleb said...

Josh/Anony wrote;
I just wanted to say that I am a Christian and I want to truely apologize for the way you were treated. I to having grown up in the Church have seen alot of the falseness in the church, including the hippocracy.

Hey Josh, What's a hippocracy? Is it some sort of government in hippo culture or what?
(Sorry, that was bad, I just couldn't resist.)

fjell said...

Josh tried: "What is it going to hurt if you ask him to show himself again. If he doesn't you don't lose anything. But if he does you will gain everthing(sic)."

This video is a pretty good summary of our history with asking "Yahweh" to show himself.

fjell

Jim Arvo said...

Hi Josh,

What will it hurt to ask god to show himself? Nothing at all. Here we go: "Hi God, please show yourself if you are there..."

(Ten minutes later.) How long should I wait? What should I look for? Should I phrase my request differently, or do something differently? Please do tell.

To John of Indiana: Josh's challenge, as stated, is actually very weak version of Pascal's wager. Josh did not insist on belief in his deity--only that we put in the request. Of course, almost everyone here as actually made that request (and sincerely too, I might add), but I usually comply anyway. So far, no invisible deities, creators, demigods, or goddesses have decided to contact me.

Bluescreen said...

Josh - So Josh, tell me why your deity wouldn't speak a kind word to a little girl who was suffering so much at the hands of a psychotic mother all those years? What makes you think that your god would answer her *now* when he wouldn't during all that time when her body and mind were in danger? Better yet, tell me, what kind of a god leaves an innocent child twisting in the wind like that? Until you can answer those questions, Josh, the rest of your post is as meaningful as a clanging gong or a crashing cymbal.
-Bluescreen

BulldozerDave said...

Hello Trish,

Thanks for your story. Has a couple of parallels with my own. For years I was scared to death that I was going to die a split second after I had committed a sin, and go to hell. Basically spent my whole life praying to God to forgive me for something, and I'm not exaggerating, by the time I was a teenager, I would say a prayer asking for forgiveness about once a minute.

THE big thing which set me apart from my parents was when I told them I had slept with my girlfriend. It all went downhill from there. I suspect that for most people who escape from a fundamentalist Christian upbringing, sex is THE big thing which causes tension with their family, but is also THE big thing which helps them escape from the cult. It's just a shame that one's first sexual experiences have to be associated with such trauma.

I'm with the others on the whole Wicca thing- don't believe in it, being an atheist and all, but I will defend to the death your right to believe in it. Yah! freedom of expression.

Please don't feel like you have to add a whole lot of disclaimers before you tell people how abusive your mother was. I didn't realise how commonly females can abuse others until I had an abusive girlfriend.

Finally, regarding Josh, I always find it galling when Christians try to make an apology and then suggest that you try to forgive them/those who have hurt you. They know, and they know that we remember, the old line from the bible, that if you can't forgive others, then God can't forgive you. It is emotional manipulation, pure and simple.

Jim Earl said...

Note to Josh: Could you please ask your "god" why he was silent to Mother Teresa all her life? She died NEVER having "heard" from god.

Never mind, Josh, I KNOW why he is silent. It's simple. "He" doesn't exist. If he did, we wouldn't need faith, right?

Atheist Nurse said...

Regarding Pascal’s Wager…I love to respond to people who say, “What have you got to lose by gambling that there is a god?” by answering, “Okay...let’s assume you’re right, WHICH god should I gamble on, and why ?”(Cite proof here).

Dear Trish, I too left Christianity for Paganism (Wicca) for many of the same reasons you cited, but what I eventually found was that I had merely substituted one god for another. None of whom, as yet, are verifiable. I eventually chose reason over faith, because I didn’t want my life to be based on what I came to see as lies. I sincerely hope that you get what you need emotionally from Wicca, but please keep in mind that it is okay to continue to evolve in your personal beliefs. You may find Christianity appealing again, or you may continue on in Wicca, or maybe you will find that Secular Humanism fits your needs. You may even enjoy looking at Unitarian Universalism, which is sort of an umbrella over a lot of different faiths or lack of. Regardless of the path you choose to follow, I wish you happiness and inner peace.

Ricky said...

Dear Trish,

That's a really horrible childhood you've had to put up with. I'm glad that you've moved on. I guess that to a Christian, you're breaking the commandment of "Honor thy (abusive) father and thy (freaking crazy) mother." It seems like the Christian god always punishes the victim, huh? Oh well, I'm glad that he doesn't exist.

Some people, like Anonymous/Josh say that you have to forgive your family. Well, doesn't even God say that people have to be genuinely sorry for something or else they won't be forgiven? We obviously know that you've always tried to be civil to your family, but they never change and accept any blame. (Those who don't believe this should take a look at the 'The INFAMOUS "God Warrior"' video on YouTube or Google Video to see the kind of person you're dealing with.) Thus, I think that starting a new life, with a new mindset is the most important thing to do. Going back to your family will only cause more pain.

You are more than fully justified if you never talk to them again, and you shouldn't even need to preface your judgements of them by a "Sorry, but..." You don't need to be sorry. They do. But that's the problem, isn't it? You do nothing wrong and yet you feel a bit sorry, and they are completely wrong yet never feel the slightest bit sorry. The best thing for you is that you've moved on. I also think that if you have free time, you should take up some martial art like Taekwondo so that you'll feel less vulnerable.

As for the comments to your post, I most like Lorena's. I'm an atheist, and I am of course for the promotion of science and reason, but I'm happy that you found a belief (Wicca) that is good for you. Because of your tolerant mindset, I don't see you cursing atheists or science or anything, and after all you've been through, it's just good to know that you're finally happy. I wish you all the best in the future.

Anonymous said...

I am a Christian and must admit that I myself am grieved by the lack of tolerance and, more importantly, lack of love within the church today. The number of people who have been abused by supposed "Christians" and who have been labeled off by the church is horrible. Christians are more often than not worse models of righteousness than their counterparts.

Consequently, I've made it a point not to be a Christian because of how great Christians are, but to be a Christian because of how great Christ was.

Although I am a Christian, I sincerely sympathize with what you have and are going through. And I respect the fact that you took the initiative to do your own research on the Bible, as the internet is not always the most reliable place to "rely" upon.

My only question is this: was your research limited to only those authors who were against the Bible, or did you also read respectable authors who defended the Bible as well? I think in ordered to arrive at a balanced decision, both are needed.

With sincere grief over what you've gone through,
~Bridget

fjell said...

Just want to say, thank you, Bridget, for entering the doors of this website very politely and calmly. We entertain the likes of many Christians who, too often, do not, so I feel the extra urge to simply say, "welcome!" You seem like a nice person and I hope that you find something of value on this website.

fjell

whateverlolawants said...

Bridget,

Welcome to the site. You really do seem way nicer than most of the professed Christians who post here! Your question sounds like something I might have asked a few years ago. It does seem naive to me now, though. If you've been raised in the church, you've already heard all of those pro-Bible voices loud and clear. And anyone honestly doing research is sure to look at both/several sides.

On the other hand, I can see how someone might never have read any of the intelligent defenses of the Bible, even though they grew up in a church.

Anyway... wow, Trish. Your story is really compelling and sad, but the ending is encouraging. While I am not a Wiccan (I'm an atheist), I think it's great that you've found something that resonates with you. Wicca seems much more peaceful, natural, healing, and harmonious than Christianity and the other Abrahamic faiths. I hope things continue to go well for you!

Anonymous said...

I havn't expierenced what you have but i do understand it.
I am also raised in a christian family with a wonderfull mother that has always let me g my own way but still always sharing her faith with me.
I want to numerous youth groups as a teen and I was rejected from many of them because I spat at the falsness of it all.
Whe I was 16 I was raped by my youth leaders cousin and started hating the church.
About 5 weeks ago I was at a party and began feeling really strange towards the evening. a normal grown up party with nice food and coctails yet something didn't feel right in me. somewhere around 3 in the mourning my "feeling" turned to horror and anguish and a terrible thought crossed my mind-- had Jesus come and was I left behind.. I called the one person I new would be gone if he really had come.. my mother.
after about 15 minuts she answered her cell phone and I was able to talk to her.
Today I understand that Jesus really does love me. and HE hs NEVER forced himself on me. He has always been there patiently waiting for me to understand who he truely is and today I can finally feel that wonderfull joy of Knowing that I will meet him when I die. The Devil is real but he doesn't seem like the awfull picture we most of the time make him.
He is a lie wih partial truth just to make us be able to exuse ourselves for walking down the wrong path.
I do hope you understand that people and the church are not God and that Jesus never wanted to push you or force you into believing. He is not scared of the devil. Bt he is an awsome God and he loves you and he will patiently wait for you because he loves you.

AtheistToothFairy said...

Anon said:
"About 5 weeks ago I was at a party and began feeling really strange towards the evening. a normal grown up party with nice food and coctails yet something didn't feel right in me. somewhere around 3 in the mourning my "feeling" turned to horror and anguish and a terrible thought crossed my mind-- had Jesus come and was I left behind.. I called the one person I new would be gone if he really had come.. my mother.
after about 15 minuts she answered her cell phone and I was able to talk to her"
---
Anon,

I fail to understand how this experience made you a sudden believer in god?

You state that something didn't FEEL right at this party you attended, right.
You then tell us at 3am you felt horror and anguish and a thought enters your head that the rapture just occurred....is that correct?
It then takes a long 15 mins (at 3 in the morning....no surprise there) for your almost-raptured mother to answer her phone.

1. What I see here in your story is you weren't feeling well at some party.

2. Feeling ill can easily make us think of some not-so-nice things, as anyone here would surely agree with.

3. So your mind drifts to your mother (which isn't surprising given that you were feeling ill) and you then let your mind drift widely to believe that god's rapture has just happened.

4. For whatever reason, you are SURE he would take your mother and perhaps leave you behind.
You don't say why he would take your mother. After all, if he was real, isn't it up to god and not you, as to whom he takes away?

5. Was the point of it taking a long 15 minutes for mom to answer the phone, just to get the reader all worried that god really took her?

6. In the end, you did reach your mother and she wasn't gone from earth, so obviously this rapture never occurred that night.


You didn't feel well, your ill self craved your mother because you didn't feel well.

You probably got worried what you would do if you felt ill and your mom was no longer around, but instead of viewing her as having died, you instead see her god taking her away to heaven....a much nicer ending for mom in your mind I suppose.

So nothing supernatural occurred in your story. Heck, not even some rare coincidence either.
So then, what exactly is in this story that was so life-changing for you?
I only see you scaring your own self to pieces here and nothing more.
How did this event convince you that god was real and this rapture thing might happen at any minute?


ATF (who once again see's nothing but EMOTIONS in a xtian story)

SEO said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
SEO said...

Really, how do you know that the rapture hasn’t already happen in the - what say – 1940’s? Maybe specifically December 12, 1948? You know, other than the fact that your seemly pious mom is still here.

Or maybe the rapture did happen when you felt it, it’s just that your mom wasn’t rapture because she has a secret life involving a pact with the devil and is into bestiality and S & M. Some of the most seemly pious people can have the darkest, deepest closets around. A closet that you don't have privy to but God does. And He saw that your mom was BAD. That she was a very, very bad girl.

Or maybe there is no such thing as The Rapture because it is a completely intellectually bankrupt concept.

jinkx898 said...

I'm not exactly sure what I believe about the whole "rapture" thing and all those end-times philosophies, but I will say this: relying on emotions to determine what you believe is never a very safe way to go. Of course its impossible to form any sort of belief system without emotions playing a factor -- so I do think emotions play a part to some extent, but they shouldn't be relied upon.

QUOTE: "Your question sounds like something I might have asked a few years ago. It does seem naive to me now, though. If you've been raised in the church, you've already heard all of those pro-Bible voices loud and clear. And anyone honestly doing research is sure to look at both/several sides."

I found that the people in your church are not always the best barometers when measuring how well Christianity can be defended.

For me personally, I only started getting coherent answers to my tough questions when I stopped asking people in my church (who probably don't know much more I than I do) and started reading books by people who actually know what they're talking about. It's a breath of fresh air really -- to find out that there really are people out there who can defend what they believe intelligently!

~Bridget

Tom said...

Why are you a wicca? There is NO SUCH THING as any kind of "God". It is all an illusion.

Atheism is the only right way to be...

AtheistToothFairy said...

~Bridget said:
"I stopped asking people in my church (who probably don't know much more I than I do) and started reading books by people who actually know what they're talking about"
---
Bridget,

And what authors did you read, who you say 'know what they're talking about', pray tell?
I'm sure everyone here would love to know.

ATF

Celera said...

Trish, I had similar experiences in my own childhood. I've been writing about some of them on my blog, although I haven't really gotten to the "fundamentalist years" of my own history. I do know what it is to have your parents praying over you to "exorcise" you from the Demon of Disagreeing With Them.

As you have broken away from the bullying of your family, I hope you will reject the more intolerant messages here as well. I think one can, technically be an atheist and also a Wiccan and/or pagan. Clearly you can be an atheist and still be dogmatic.

jinkx898 said...

QUOTE: "And what authors did you read, who you say 'know what they're talking about', pray tell?
I'm sure everyone here would love to know."

Perhaps I could point you to Lee Strobel. Having once been an atheist himself, he is someone who can particularly relate to the people on this site.

I'm not quite sure exactly what you are looking for though -- whether you're looking for something that addresses Christianity itself or just addresses theism in general. F. F. Bruce has done some amazing analysis of New Testament reliability, and I find it really interesting to read "Does God Exist: The Craig-Flew Debate," considering the fact that Antony Flew converted to a form of theism only a few years later.

In short, I'm not trying to change anyone's views here. I'm just trying to offer some reliable/contrasting sources to take a look at. Personally, I'd really recommend the Craig-Flew debate -- who doesn't love a good debate?

~Bridget

boomSLANG said...

jinkx898: Perhaps I could point you to Lee Strobel.

You could. Have you ever checked this out?

jinkx898: [Lee Strobel]Having once been an atheist himself, he is someone who can particularly relate to the people on this site.

Having once been an Atheist, himself? Um, we were all once Atheists. We were born Atheists---that is, with no knowledge, no "faith", no belief in God/gods. Furthermore, at face-value, a book titled "A Case for Faith" could support myriad other religions, as well. You see, once you enter "faith" into the equation; once you believe something in lack of evidence to it being verifiable, practically anything can be made "believable".

jinkx898: ....and I find it really interesting to read "Does God Exist: The Craig-Flew Debate," considering the fact that Antony Flew converted to a form of theism only a few years later

To the best of my knowledge, Mr Flew converted to Deism. And if I'm right about that, there is no "form" of Deism, for it is merely the belief in a generic non-personal entity. An that, of course, doesn't help the Christian argument one iota.

jinkx898: In short, I'm not trying to change anyone's views here.

That's good, because there exists a mind-independent objective truth, and most here have rejected "faith", and/or, revelation, as a means for finding that truth. Been there, done that.

.:webmaster:. said...

Lee Strobel? Are you kidding.

Lee Strobel is the Gospel: CLICK HERE

.:webmaster:. said...

Oh, and here's the scoop on Flew: CLICK HERE

jinkx898 said...

I am quite aware of the myriad of articles circulating the web about these authors, as well as any author that I might mention. Antony Flew is indeed a deist, which is why I mentioned that he converted to a "form" of theism. He outlines all his beliefs here (he doesn't necessarily defend them, merely defines them).

http://www.biola.edu/antonyflew/flew-interview.pdf

It might be interesting for you to do some research on some of the theories, scientific findings, and arguments that Flew says influenced his conversion.

Once again, I respect your views and am not seeking to prove Christianity at all. My only wish is that in your quest for objective truth you would also objectively read literature on both sides of the spectrum, not just those things that go through an atheistic filter.

~Bridget

boomSLANG said...

jinkx898 is back with: I am quite aware of the myriad of articles circulating the web about these authors, as well as any author that I might mention. Antony Flew is indeed a deist, which is why I mentioned that he converted to a "form" of theism.

Okay, Deism and Theism are both derived from the word "god"---so in that aspect, yes, you could say that "Deism" is a related to "Theism", if semantics is the name of the game. However, the two beliefs, themselves, have way more differences than similarities. Furthermore, it was very telling, and obvious, that the interviewer was "leading the witness", so-to-speak, with his particular line of questioning. In fact, it was the interviewer who unceasingly refered to Flew's philosphy as his(Flew's) "Theism", not Flew, himself. Additionally, it was fairly obvious that the interviwer was a Christian apologist....again, because of his blatant "leading the witness" approach. Call me crazy, but that doesn't seem too "objective" to me.

All in all, the strongest arguments for an "Intelligent Designer" I infered from that interview where the Ontological argument, along with the Anthropic Principle(the supposed, "fine tuning" of the Universe). Both rely mostly on intuition; both boil down to the bare assertion fallacy. There is no direct evidence that the Universe is "fine tuned" specifically for humankind.

And again, none of this lends one iota of credence to Christianity---at least, not anymore than it does to either of the other two major monotheistic religions. Also note, that Flew made it crystal clear that he doesn't believe in an afterlife, and to me, that is worth mentioning, because that's why Theists are motivated to be believers in the first place.

From the interview: "I still hope and believe there's no possibility of an afterlife." ~ Anthony Flew.

.:webmaster:. said...

"I'm just trying to offer some reliable/contrasting sources to take a look at."

There are considerably few websites out here on the Internet offering any "contrast" to the myriad sites promoting Christianity.

Regardless, an incomplete story about an octogenarian philosopher that may or may not have changed his views about there being the possibility of some unexplainable force in the universe, coupled with the mention of a failed news reporter who found a popular topic and guaranteed market from which to make an easy fortune is not evidence in support of your religion.

jinkx898 said...

Once again, I was not trying to support my religion, please remember that ATF merely asked me to supply him with a few references. I never made any efforts to prove Christianity, but in fact was agreeing with the person I was originally talking to.

I mentioned Lee Strobel because he can relate to many atheists here. I mentioned F.F. Bruce because I believe he provides the best information about the New Testament based purely on historical fact (he does not try to force his faith, he merely states the facts). ATF, if you really are interested, you can find a copy of his major work online:

http://www.worldinvisible.com/library/ffbruce/ntdocrli/ntdocont.htm

I mentioned the debate between William Lane Craig and Antony Flew because they both are/were major front-runners in their beliefs, and focus primarily on the scientific/philosophical aspect of the debate. In addition, the fact that Antony Flew converted to theism after devoting nearly 80 years of his life to its demise is, to me, something worth looking into.

I apologize if you thought that I was trying to prove Christianity, for that was not my purpose. I was simply trying to provide ATF with some good sources to start off with.

QUOTE: "All in all, the strongest arguments for an "Intelligent Designer" I infered from that interview where the Ontological argument, along with the Anthropic Principle(the supposed, "fine tuning" of the Universe)."

I'm not quite sure if that is exactly what he was stressing, for instance, on page 5 he says, "My own initial lack of enthusiasm for the ontological argument developed into strong
repulsion . . . "

He seemed to stress the importance of recent scientific discoveries ("I think that the most impressive arguments for God’s existence are those that are
supported by recent scientific discoveries"), DNA evidence, and big bang cosmology. Also, he seemed to like the Philosophies of Aristotle and Aquinas as well.

Once again, I'm not looking to debate these ideas. I'm just attempting to provide somewhat of a springboard for further research.

Thanks for your time,

~Bridget

boomSLANG said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
boomSLANG said...

jinkx898: Once again, I was not trying to support my religion, please remember that ATF merely asked me to supply him with a few references.

Yet, you seem to be putting an exorbitant amount of effort into the idea of "God", vs "no-God"...e.g. "Theism" vs "Atheism". Obviously, if a deistic "god" can be established, then it's not too unreasonable to conclude that the Christian posits said god as the Christian biblegod, just like a Muslim posits said god as the Islamic god of the Qur'an. Hence, why you're a Christian/Theist, not a Deist, and hence why the Muslim is a Theist, not a Deist. In other words, it's implicit that you are "supporting" your religion.

In any event, here is the inquiry in question:

ATF: "And what authors did you[jinkx898] read, who you say 'know what they're talking about', pray tell? I'm sure everyone here would love to know."

Jinkx898, did you not catch the skepticism in this inquiry? Yes, of course you did; it's not as if ATF's non-belief is hanging in the balance, or that he's at a crossroads. If it's not clear, we are concerning ourselves with tangible evidence, not "faith". When one uses the word "know", that usually implies some sort of evidence. "A Case for Faith" does not rest on evidence; it rests on "faith", hence, the title.

jinkx898: I mentioned Lee Strobel because he can relate to many atheists here.

He can relate, how? Was he ever a Christian, then not a Christian? Saying that he was an Atheist is a moot point. If I'm wrong on that, please feel free to explain how it's relevant, if you feel inclined.

jinkx898: I mentioned F.F. Bruce because I believe he provides the best information about the New Testament based purely on historical fact (he does not try to force his faith, he merely states the facts).

No amount of "historical fact" proves zombies exist, either materially, or as "spirits" who supposedly live in the clouds, or in our cardiovascular organs.

jinkx898: In addition, the fact that Antony Flew converted to theism after devoting nearly 80 years of his life to its demise is, to me, something worth looking into.

Let's review: Anthony Flew did NOT convert to "Theism"; he converted to Deism. I am inclined to think that you are intentionally misrepresenting a man's position to support your own. Theism deals with a supernatural "God"; it deals with an afterlife, and all of the trimmings that go with "Faith". Deism, at least in the capacity that Flew describes it, does not deal with any of those things.

In conclusion, as ex-christians, Anthony Flew's position on "God" doesn't hurt our position one bit, nor does it help yours.

jinkx898 said...

You are right, Antony Flew is a deist. According to the American Heritage Dictionary, "deism" is:

"The belief, based solely on reason, in a God who created the universe and then abandoned it, assuming no control over life, exerting no influence on natural phenomena, and giving no supernatural revelation."

When I describe Antony Flew's beliefs, this is what I have in mind.


QUOTE: "As ex-christians, Anthony Flew's position on "God" doesn't hurt our position one bit, nor does it help yours."

Please remember that I was not seeking to "hurt" your position in any way but was seeking to offer bibliographies for further research. A good defense is best built by studying your attackers. Likewise, if you wish to best defend your beliefs, it is always wise to study those who differ.

Also, keep in mind that I was originally talking to AtheisticToothFairy, who is (I assume) an atheist. Therefore, my primary purpose was not to provide sources addressing anti-Christian sentiments, but to provide ATF with sources addressing atheism.


QUOTE: "Jinkx898, did you not catch the skepticism in this inquiry? Yes, of course you did; it's not as if ATF's non-belief is hanging in the balance, or that he's at a crossroads."

I don't remember saying that he was. He asked for examples, and I provided. Of course I understood that he was skeptical.


QUOTE: (Regarding Lee Strobel) "He can relate, how? Was he ever a Christian, then not a Christian? Saying that he was an Atheist is a moot point."

Lee Strobel was an atheist, therefore he is able to relate to those who hold to atheism on this blog. Considering that I was originally talking to AtheisticToothFairy, it would make sense for me to assume that Lee Strobel could relate to his beliefs in some ways.

QUOTE: "'A Case for Faith' does not rest on evidence; it rests on "faith", hence, the title."

I don't ever remember mentioning "A Case for Faith" in my posts.

QUOTE: "No amount of 'historical fact' proves zombies exist, either materially, or as 'spirits' who supposedly live in the clouds, or in our cardiovascular organs."

If you do not wish to read the book that I offered, that is your choice and I won't hold that against you. If it is any comfort, I don't believe that the book addresses the existence of "zombies" or "spirits" who "live...in our cardiovascular organs." As I said, it relies on historical facts (or "tangible evidence" as you might say).

In summation, please recognize that my original posts (primarily the one to which ATF replied) were written with the intent of showing the importance of personal research and objectivity -- not reliance on emotions. In essence, I mostly agree with your methods of truth-seeking.

If I was misunderstood, I apologize.

~Bridget

boomSLANG said...

jinkx898: You are right, Antony Flew is a deist. According to the American Heritage Dictionary, "deism" is:

"The belief, based solely on reason, in a God who created the universe and then abandoned it, assuming no control over life, exerting no influence on natural phenomena, and giving no supernatural revelation."

When I describe Antony Flew's beliefs, this is what I have in mind.


That may very well be what you had/have in mind---however, my point is, when you unceasingly refer to him a "Theist", you negate/contradict much of that description, and further, since you are admittedly a Theist, it raises an eyebrow. 'That simple.

jinkx898: A good defense is best built by studying your attackers. Likewise, if you wish to best defend your beliefs, it is always wise to study those who differ.

I agree that to be as objective as possible, one must examine both sides of an issue. However, again, where Theism is concerned---and considering that we are former Christians---most, if not all of us, have examined one of the supposed most reliable sources of revelation known to man, that of course being the Holy bible. And what we've concluded, is that while it may have some poetic truths in it's pages, it is not the work/"Word" of any supernatural being, or Creator of the Universe. In other words, we've concluded that Christianity is man-made myth, just like you probably consider all other religions but your own as man-made myth.

Now, as far as Deism is concerned, if there is exists an impartial, impersonal, 'pantheistic' type of entity---the kind as described by Flew---then so what? I don't see any implications for humankind, and if there are any, I'd welcome you to tell what they are, and how you've aquired this knowledge.

boomSLANG: " 'A Case for Faith' does not rest on evidence; it rests on 'faith', hence, the title."

jinkx898: I don't ever remember mentioning "A Case for Faith" in my posts.

No, but you list Strobel as a source, and I thought Strobel authored a book called "A Case for Faith". Either way, is Christianity not a "Faith"?

Let me just ask you, point-blank: Is your Theistic worldview based on knowledge, and hence, empirical evidence that there exists a supernatural personal "Creator of the Universe"? Or do you believe/accept that notion on "faith"?

jinkx898: If you do not wish to read the book that I offered, that is your choice and I won't hold that against you. If it is any comfort, I don't believe that the book addresses the existence of "zombies" or "spirits" who "live...in our cardiovascular organs." As I said, it relies on historical facts (or "tangible evidence" as you might say).

If this author argues for a Divine "Jesus", then yes, he endorses those attributes I mentioned, whether he "addresses" them, or not. On the other hand, if he argues for "Jesus" as merely a historic mortal-man, then again...so what? That certainly doesn't qualify him as "Creator of the Universe".

And yes, I'm fully aware that you were addressing someone else, but this is an open forum, as well.

jinkx898 said...

QUOTE: "Now, as far as Deism is concerned, if there is exists an impartial, impersonal, 'pantheistic' type of entity---the kind as described by Flew---then so what? I don't see any implications for humankind, and if there are any, I'd welcome you to tell what they are, and how you've aquired this knowledge." . . . "Let me just ask you, point-blank: Is your Theistic worldview based on knowledge, and hence, empirical evidence that there exists a supernatural personal 'Creator of the Universe'? Or do you believe/accept that notion on 'faith'?"

I have no desire to discuss or prove Christianity on this blog as it is designed for non-Christians.
However, if you truly would like to discuss my personal beliefs, Boomslang, please send me an e-mail. Otherwise, I tend to think that you only wish to get into an argument with me, which is completely unproductive. I like debating, not arguing.

At any rate, I do enjoy discussing my faith in a non-hostile environment. So if you truly want to talk further, please send me an email.

Thanks,

~Bridget

boomSLANG said...

jinkx898: I have no desire to discuss or prove Christianity on this blog as it is designed for non-Christians.

That would be an admirable position to take, if it were entirely true up to this point. The thing of it is, I'm just not convinced it's been entirely true all along, based on some of your previous posts. For instance, if you aim to qualify pop'-christian authors as "examples" of people who "know what they're talking about", then IMO, you are pimping Christianity. And yes, I fully understand that you were asked to give sources, notwithstanding, whatever sources you offer, I would think it implicit that once you enter them, that you are trying to qualify them as "Truth", or else, why bother? Either way, if/when one does enter Christian-based items as a source, it becomes 'fair game' for the very reason that this is an ex-christian site. 'Hope that makes sense.

Additionally, on more than one occasion you've refered to Antony Flew's philosophies as "Theism", and continued to do so even after you were corrected. The interviewer even commits the same fallacy. And I'm sorry, but I don't think that two out of two Christians would commit that fallacy by "accident".

jinkx898: However, if you truly would like to discuss my personal beliefs, Boomslang, please send me an e-mail. Otherwise, I tend to think that you only wish to get into an argument with me, which is completely unproductive. I like debating, not arguing. At any rate, I do enjoy discussing my faith in a non-hostile environment. So if you truly want to talk further, please send me an email.

Who, exactly, has been "hostile"? And are you suggesting that I'm seeking to argue with you just because I haven't fully accepted your representation of this discussion? I certainly hope not.

Honestly, while I appreciate your politenness on the matter, I simply believe you're a being a tad disingenuous, that's all. As far as I'm concerned, this discussion can really come to a close, unless you see a reason to continue it.

Best Regards.

beenuptoolateandamgettingtired said...

I have to say your story was truely sad and I am sorry for all you went through. I myself am personally a Spiritual Satanist, I believe involvement in the "occult" is nothing like what the xian say.
If you open yourself up you can actually talk to the gods and have valuable spiritual friends that will help you. Christians cant claim that or they will just say that they are "demons" or "Satan" or a skitsophrenic (I hope I spelled that right) reaction, or evil spirits.
Good job in breaking free wish you the best of luck. I believe if everyone went back to the more ancient nature loving religions (paganism, spiritual satanism (not the levayian or psycho bullshit kinds), Sumerianism, or anything from before the Jews and xians took over that has not been corrupted by them try to see through the bullshit angels really are the ones behind this.
By the way I have a lot of respect for some of the wiccian practices and I do read books by wiccian authors from time to time. Sorry this is way to long I just love to write.

His Child said...

I'm really sorry so many bad things happened to you. I had some bad stuff happen to me too. I was a witch for a while and I thought I was really happy. When I would get frustrated though I would curse people. It was all candle lighting and well wishes unless I got mad. There was certainly power there but it was destructive. Mostly to me. I went crazy. I had very real spirits in my home moving stuff around and all kinds of crazy crap. God started talking to me after I meet my birth mother, I was adopted. She was a christian and I guess she was praying for me. I would be sitting there doing Tarrot cards or using a pendulum and say stuff like " okay God just know if you really don't like this stuff I'll quit. He called me a liar. It wasn't mean. He just knew that I wouldn't really quit. I acted like I wanted to know the truth. Really though I just wanted to feel power. I read a book and had a few of those conversations with God. Anytime I had tried in the past to read the Bible when I picked it up it would make me physically ill. I was possessed with a spirit. It didn't like the Bible. After I asked Jesus to be my Lord he changed me. I haven't had a "ghost" in my house in 7 years. I am sane I have been healed of a lot of things... My husband was an atheist I prayed for him for a year. God came to him in dreams every night telling him to look up scriptures. He couldn't sleep until he looked up the scriptures. At the end of four months God told my husband that he knew enough to choose and it was his last chance. I think God would have hardened his heart if he had not decided to choose him. My husband and I thank God regularly for bringing us into relationship with him. It's not about religion. It's about relationship. God does love you. He wants to heal your hurts. The devil is the one who steals kills and destroys not God. God didn't take your Mom. The devil took her out. Sin entered into the world with Adam. Sin causes the pain, God heals the pain. Sin destroys God heals. It's not God's fault that bad things happen. When they do he is faithful to help us through them. The Bible is alive. Try reading it. The devil may try to make you throw up or fall asleep but if you ask God to help you to read it he will. You will hear his voice in His words. It may just start with a warm peaceful feeling . The more you do it the more you will like it. There is a war being fought the devil has assignments against you. He hates you and wants you to die. God has plans for you and they are good. Just read the Bible once.I'm sure he will talk to you. He is searching for people who want to know him. He wants you to live with him forever healthy and whole with no sin and no disease. I had asthma and God healed me of it. Before he healed me I had to come out of agreement with some sin. I didn't even know what sin was but it knew how to destroy me! I had the sin of fear I was afraid of being abandoned. I had every reason to be afraid. I had been abandones. Fear was not God's plan for me though which is why it was sin. He wanted me to know that He would never leave or forsake me. The devil is really tricky. Maybe he was telling your Mom some lies that she believed. Maybe he is telling you some lies too. The Bible is truth. God loves you and wants to heal every hurt that you have had. God bless you.

.:webmaster:. said...

His Child:

This is the second time you've posted your cute little testimonial.

It is apparent you are bereft of the ability to think logically and are enslaved by magical thinking. I wish you the ability to eventually free yourself of these delusions.

Astreja said...

His Child, your rambling testimony does convince Me of one thing: Religion is deleterious to clear thinking.

Please, please hook up with a non-religious psychiatrist to help you work through your mental health issues.

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