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Lost my Faith once and for all


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So about a year or so ago I dumped everything and reconverted to non-denominational, evangelical Christianity.  That was the second time in my life that I had done such a thing.  I've always had a spiritual side, and dabbled in neopaganism and other alternative spiritualities prior to getting "saved" by the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  Well, being the only Christian in my family created quite a bit of tension.  I mean, some family and friends claimed to be Christian, but what they meant was that they believed in the good teachings of Jesus, loving one's neighbor, and the other general beliefs of liberal mainline Protestantism.  Certainly not the bible-believing literalism that I adhered to.

There was a problem though: the doctrine of Hell.  I was required to believe that the people I loved were going to be tortured by God (indeed, Jesus himself was God) for all eternity unless they turned from the their sins and put their faith and trust in him as their personal savior.  Believing this caused a lot of dissonance within me and worsened my depression. That was the first crack in my faith.  The second was caused by beginning to research the origins of Christianity, who wrote the books of the New Testament and when, and comparing Christianity to other religions that were active in the region at that time.  I devoured every YouTube video I could find on these subjects, from both Christian and atheist perspectives.  I totally deconstructed my short-lived faith and ultimately dismissed Christianity as a very man-made religion with a very outdated worldview that I simply couldn't believe anymore.  So a month ago I left Christianity once again.  This time for good.  And I thank God (lol) that I got out before I was in too deep.  

Now, of course, the friends I made in the church believe that I'm going straight to hell.  Nothing I say can change their minds.  Talking to people who have believed this stuff since childhood is like talking to a wall.  I will say this though...during my time in the evangelical church I was never told that my mental illness was due to demon possession or sin or anything like that.  At least in the church I attended I was treated like a normal person.  These were and are very good people and I have nothing but love for them.  Also I want to say that I really hope my post doesn't offend anyone who happens to be a Christian.  This is just my story and I've felt a need to share it with someone.

 

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I understand how you feel I think.  I am doing better in life than I ever have but I have family that believe that none of it matters unless I go to church.  I'll go to hell otherwise.  I always try to do the best I can in life and try to be the best person I can be.  That's the best I have to offer.  If there is a god we are both going to have a long conversation about this whole life and this whole world anyway.  I've done my best.  If I'm not good enough for him oh well.

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I’m not a Christian and I don’t read the bible but I do believe in a God. I guess there are many people like that since we live in a multi-religious society, it’s hard not to compare. One thing I believe in God is his kindness and mercy and love and that He can see the hearts of everyone, so I believe as long as we do our best to do good, He sees that and His kindness, mercy and love will put us in a better place after death. Our family also believe it’s wrong to say that that person will go to hell. Cos God’s love is above all that and as long as our heart is pure and good and we have serious desire to change, He will forgive us.

There are of course debates about God’s love but each person have to come up with their own understanding based on their life experiences I guess. That’s my belief anyway, because I still believe there’s a reason for everything that happens, and that belief helps keep me going. Hell is there like how prisons and rules and regulations and laws exist on this earth, so that people will know that there are consequences to their actions.

Anyway, there are different beliefs about God. And I can’t say anyone is wrong about it cos I haven’t died to see what really happens after death. I hope you do find a belief that you are comfortable with to help keep you going. 

Edited by Depressedgurl007
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I could be wrong, but I think any set of beliefs or philosophy of life can degenerate into a fanaticism if one finite element or set of elements is taken out of context, if any part is removed and absolutized.  

Sometimes I suspect we need to sort of leave something in some sense order to recover it at a higher level.  Wish I knew how to explain myself here.

Maybe an example?  When I was very young I was taught elementary arithmetic.  At some point in my math education I had to go beyond that.  I was taught Algebra. Algebra both expanded and deepened what I learned in arithmetic.  Then came Calculus, Probability and Statistics, Set Theory and so on.

I don't think there is anything wrong with arithmetic but I sort of needed to go beyond it in order to recover it at a higher level, a level appropriate to my age and maturity.

If I refused to go beyond arithmetic I would in a sense feel that I was saying "no" to growing towards a greater understanding of truth.  Now I study Modal Logic but it both preserves and goes beyond arithmetic.

Sometimes one gets stuck in a stage of life and both want to stay there because of the comfort of the familiar but at the same time wants to keep on growing and developing. 

Leaving behind elementary arithmetic can look on the surface like an abandonment and a rejection of it but can just be part of a growth process where one loses something in order to regain it later at a higher level.

An oak tree looks very different from an acorn although both might share the same genetic signature.

In a sense the acorn throws off its "acorness" to become a little sprout with a little root.  It becomes different while in a sense staying the same.   Same happens when it becomes a sapling, when it becomes a young tree.

It is absorbing elements from the earth , elements that are not-acorns but it is transmuting these into itself while still keeping its genetic identity.

I have certainly rejected certain religious ideas and philosophical ideas in my life but have found that I was able to reincorporate the treasures in these things at a different level. 

I may today be a student of symbolic logic and that is far removed from arithmetic, but in a sense it goes beyond arithmetic while including it within itself.  Ironically I had to break out of the shell of arithmetic to recapture it at a high level. 

Sometimes one can move from absolutizing one thing to completely losing that thing in absolutizing something else. 

Sometimes one has to go horizontal and not just vertical, if that makes any sense.

It can be helpful to be skeptical but perhaps it is good to also be a little bit skeptical of one's skepticism.  I don't know.

I have studied philosophy and comparative religion for four decades now and yet and I have not found it necessary abandon anything that is true, beautiful and good in my past life. 

Sometimes something gives way but I have found that I can recapture that thing at a higher level by moving not only vertically through life but also horizontally.

Sometimes it is not our faith in a religion or philosophy that we outgrow but our understanding of those. 

I am reminded of a funny saying of Mark Twain:  "When I was a boy of 14, my father was so ignorant, I could hardly stand to have the old man around.   But when I got to be 21, I was astonished how much he had learned in seven years."  Sometimes I suspect we only gain something by losing it. 

This is a paradox.

I don't know where your journey will take you in life.  But the fact that you have a love for truth and goodness in your heart is a good sign. 

It is funny but when you cast a light on the side of a soda pop can it casts a rectangular shadow on the wall although it is not a rectangle. 

If you shine a light from above the soda can it casts a circular shadow on the ground although it is not a sphere. 

Somehow in the cylinder of the soda can is a kind of reconciliation of rectangularness and circularity.  This doesn't mean that squares are circles or that circles are squares.  But it means, perhaps that what is contradictory in two dimensions is not so in three dimensions.

Of course all this is just the opinion of a fallible and somewhat grumpy old man, so perhaps you should not give it too much weight. 

I do hope you keep finding meaning and fulfillment in your life.  Life is sometimes paradoxical . . . like how we sometimes gain more from what we give life than what we take from it. 

I have benefited from every teacher I have ever heard or read.  And in my old age [senility?] I have not found it necessary to completely abandon even what I held onto in my childhood.

  Not sure this would be helpful to you.  Please do not let the ravings of an old man rob you of your peace of mind and joy of living!  I wish you only the very best!!!

 

 

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Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts with me @sober4life, @Depressedgurl007, and @Epictetus.  There are still some issues I'm struggling with since leaving the church.  I feel an emptiness now.  Like an emptiness in my "soul", I guess would be the best way to describe it.  I also just miss having something outside of myself to believe in.  I could never believe in dogmatic religion again, not with what I now know,  but I've always believed in the supernatural .  When I was a kid whenever I looked up at the sky I believed there just might be spirits, or gods in the clouds.  Ghosts, angels, spirits, demons... I've believed in them most of my adult life.  Now I don't even know if there's anything at all.  This is all new and confusing to me.  

Anyway, thanks again for sharing with me.  I really appreciate it.

 

 

 

 

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If you're not confused and not feeling empty then you're not paying attention.

We are all metaphorically EMPTY.

The trick is to not WALLOW in the HOLLOW.

We are not helpless confronting all our mental issues.

I'm not a fan of religion but I'm not smart enough to be an atheist.

I can pretend God exists along with many other things in this crazy mixed up world.

Hang in there. 

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I've noticed in my studies of comparative religion that often people who are adherents of a religion, though holding to many of the same ideas and values, will "prioritize" them differently.   Thus the various forms of Buddhism, Islam and such.

I believe this happens in Christianity too. 

People who call themselves Christians can each want to do justice to what they believe is most important to God which is itself an admirable thing.  They want to prioritize things as they believe God has prioritized them.

I grew up with parents and relatives who belonged to different Christian denominations.  Though they shared similar beliefs, they prioritized them differently. 

One of my parents had a very hopeful form of Christianity.   He believed that some other forms had lost the sense that what Jesus taught was "Good News" and "glad tidings."  So this affected how he viewed the "threat discourses" of Jesus.

In the Old Testament, God makes threats but sometimes "changes His mind" and does not carry out the threat.  So this parent of mine believed that the threat discourses of Jesus fell into the tradition of the Old Testament Prophets.

The point of the threat was to wake someone up but not to predict the future.  So he viewed the "hell" discourses in this light.  The prophets in the Old Testament were not like other ancient prophets.  They were not fortune tellers. 

They announced a possible future in order to change people in the present. 

The idea was not to foretell a future written in stone but to wake people up like when a physician tells a smoker:  "If you don't stop smoking, you could ruin your health or shorten your lifespan." 

The point is not about fortune telling.  It is about concern in the present for a person's health.

Perhaps the threat discourses of Jesus are along these lines.

But this parent of mine believed that ultimately God desires the salvation of all people and that nothing is impossible to God.  So he had a very hopeful form of Christianity.

Another relative of mine held to a very dark form of Christianity such that the Good News was basically Bad News, at least for most of humanity.

I have a very hopeful view of Christianity which prioritizes the idea that God is Love, that He desires the salvation of all people and that with Him nothing is impossible.

So for me, the deepest "heart" of Christianity is found when Jesus was on the Cross and  prayed "Father forgive them for they don't know what they are doing", prayed for those causing him agonizing and excruciating pain. 

One ancient Roman historian wrote about crucifixions. 

He told of how criminals being crucified uttered hateful words towards everyone, vile curses, blasphemies, threats of revenge and cruelty. 

But Jesus didn't say anything hateful on the Cross.  He did not even curse the thief who taunted and insulted him.  And after the resurrection when he saw Peter again, he did not scold Peter for disowning him.  He wasn't even really harsh to Thomas who disbelieved.

Jesus not only preached love of enemies but He loved His enemies while they were torturing and taking his life. 

Even some hard headed philosophers have wondered  if a human being must be more than a human being to do that. 

So I actually love Jesus although I could certainly love him more.

Now I can certainly understand that many people will think I am a heretic, or a fool, or an idiot or a bad person. 

I know there are people of other religions who might even want to do me physical harm.  I know there are agnostics and atheists and anti-theists who would probably prefer that people like me not exist.

Since I went through a period of agnosticism, atheism and actual anti-theism, I know how that feels.  As an anti-theist I had all the arguments memorized, I had the thoughts and the feelings on a very visceral level.  So they are not exactly foreign to me.

As a logician, I know It is easy to derive conclusions with certainly in short logical arguments where the axioms, premises, and statements are close together like a=a thus 2+2=4. 

In complex situations where there are many premises and many propositions and many and long chains of argument, it is not always easy for people to arrive at the same conclusions. 

People don't always agree on what is self-evident and axiomatic or which propositions are true and false. 

And even people who might agree on a set of true propositions might not agree on how to prioritize those:  which are more important?  Which are less important?

Sometimes Christians could be happier in their Christianity than they are.  I think this is true of all religions and philosophies. 

Since I worked in a university philosophy department, I worked with people with very different and very opposed viewpoints and beliefs. 

This did not stop us from having coffee and donuts together in the morning.  It didn't stop us from being kind and civil to each other and even caring deeply about each other. 

I rode the elevator each day with an anti-theist or at least on most days.  He was a very nice man. 

One of my best friends in the philosophy department was a Buddhist woman. I felt a kind of bond with a Marxist philosopher and when he died of cancer I cried. 

Many people want to find the truth and hold fast to it.  That itself is a hopeful thing.

Being a logician makes one a bit of an odd person.  In my field I often find arguments that undermine the very ground they stand on. 

For example, people who say that truth does not exist and yet hold that that statement is true.  Or people who say that everything is impermanent and yet the law that everything is impermanent is permanent.

I once was in a debate with someone who maintained that human beings are just beings driven by selfish genes.  People held whatever opinions they held because of their selfish genes and therefore there was no such thing as objective truth. 

At the same time, this same person maintained the the proposition:  "all humans are driven by selfish genes" was an absolutely objective truth.  So to me he seemed to undermine his philosophy by sneaking truth in through the back door so to speak.

My debate partner said he renounced all Judeo/Christian values.  But then he quickly added:  "But of course I try to be an honest man, a good father and neighbor.  I do charity work and so on."

So it seemed to me that perhaps he had not really renounced the values he said he had renounced. 

And I could not really understand how if we are unfree and totally determined by our selfish genes, how could  one group of people, geneticists, still be free and capable of objectivity?

Of course I could be wrong about all this.  I have often been wrong about things in my long life.  There are so many impediments to objectivity, o hard to reduce one's prejudices and biases to objectivity.  I try to maintain intellectual  humility but it can be so difficult.

I do not know what will be the ultimate outcome of your search, AloneGuy.   Although I am not in your shoes and do not want to trespass on the uniqueness of your experience, I think that perhaps in a little way I know what it is like to have family members who do not support one in one's beliefs.

I think it is good that you question things.  That to me is a virtue.  I also think it is admirable that you love the truth.  That to me is also a great virtue.  There is greatness in you and I think good things will come from you wherever you finally end up in your life journey! 

You are certainly an inspiration to me and I think you will be an inspiration to members here and those who follow these Forums.  Best wishes!

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On 8/6/2022 at 7:02 PM, sober4life said:

I understand how you feel I think.  I am doing better in life than I ever have but I have family that believe that none of it matters unless I go to church.  I'll go to hell otherwise.  I always try to do the best I can in life and try to be the best person I can be.  That's the best I have to offer.  If there is a god we are both going to have a long conversation about this whole life and this whole world anyway.  I've done my best.  If I'm not good enough for him oh well.

Hi Sober.  And you could never be good enough.  That's what I was taught and what I believed.  The kindest, most charitable people in the world are deserving of hell unless they have faith in Christ and live a life devoted to him.  Like 90% of all the people that have ever lived are burning for all eternity.  It's absurd, isn't it?

Yeah I'd want to have a word or two with that God as well if he existed.

 

 

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On 8/6/2022 at 10:22 PM, Depressedgurl007 said:

I’m not a Christian and I don’t read the bible but I do believe in a God. I guess there are many people like that since we live in a multi-religious society, it’s hard not to compare. One thing I believe in God is his kindness and mercy and love and that He can see the hearts of everyone, so I believe as long as we do our best to do good, He sees that and His kindness, mercy and love will put us in a better place after death. Our family also believe it’s wrong to say that that person will go to hell. Cos God’s love is above all that and as long as our heart is pure and good and we have serious desire to change, He will forgive us.

There are of course debates about God’s love but each person have to come up with their own understanding based on their life experiences I guess. That’s my belief anyway, because I still believe there’s a reason for everything that happens, and that belief helps keep me going. Hell is there like how prisons and rules and regulations and laws exist on this earth, so that people will know that there are consequences to their actions.

Anyway, there are different beliefs about God. And I can’t say anyone is wrong about it cos I haven’t died to see what really happens after death. I hope you do find a belief that you are comfortable with to help keep you going. 

Hi Depressedgurl.  The loving God that you believe in is one that I would believe in as well, if I could ever believe at all.  He's definitely not the God described in the Bible (especially the Old Testament), and that's a good thing.  

I'm glad that you do believe in something and that it helps you in life.  You believe that everything happens for a reason, and that's something that I really miss about being a Christian.  I found it very reassuring to believe that whatever happened to me, it was part of God's will for my life and therefore for my own good.  

Thanks, I do hope to be able to believe in something again someday.

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9 hours ago, Oscar K said:

If you're not confused and not feeling empty then you're not paying attention.

We are all metaphorically EMPTY.

The trick is to not WALLOW in the HOLLOW.

We are not helpless confronting all our mental issues.

I'm not a fan of religion but I'm not smart enough to be an atheist.

I can pretend God exists along with many other things in this crazy mixed up world.

Hang in there. 

Very well said Oscar.  Thanks for that.  

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9 hours ago, Epictetus said:

I've noticed in my studies of comparative religion that often people who are adherents of a religion, though holding to many of the same ideas and values, will "prioritize" them differently.   Thus the various forms of Buddhism, Islam and such.

I believe this happens in Christianity too. 

People who call themselves Christians can each want to do justice to what they believe is most important to God which is itself an admirable thing.  They want to prioritize things as they believe God has prioritized them.

I grew up with parents and relatives who belonged to different Christian denominations.  Though they shared similar beliefs, they prioritized them differently. 

One of my parents had a very hopeful form of Christianity.   He believed that some other forms had lost the sense that what Jesus taught was "Good News" and "glad tidings."  So this affected how he viewed the "threat discourses" of Jesus.

In the Old Testament, God makes threats but sometimes "changes His mind" and does not carry out the threat.  So this parent of mine believed that the threat discourses of Jesus fell into the tradition of the Old Testament Prophets.

The point of the threat was to wake someone up but not to predict the future.  So he viewed the "hell" discourses in this light.  The prophets in the Old Testament were not like other ancient prophets.  They were not fortune tellers. 

They announced a possible future in order to change people in the present. 

The idea was not to foretell a future written in stone but to wake people up like when a physician tells a smoker:  "If you don't stop smoking, you could ruin your health or shorten your lifespan." 

The point is not about fortune telling.  It is about concern in the present for a person's health.

Perhaps the threat discourses of Jesus are along these lines.

But this parent of mine believed that ultimately God desires the salvation of all people and that nothing is impossible to God.  So he had a very hopeful form of Christianity.

Another relative of mine held to a very dark form of Christianity such that the Good News was basically Bad News, at least for most of humanity.

I have a very hopeful view of Christianity which prioritizes the idea that God is Love, that He desires the salvation of all people and that with Him nothing is impossible.

So for me, the deepest "heart" of Christianity is found when Jesus was on the Cross and  prayed "Father forgive them for they don't know what they are doing", prayed for those causing him agonizing and excruciating pain. 

One ancient Roman historian wrote about crucifixions. 

He told of how criminals being crucified uttered hateful words towards everyone, vile curses, blasphemies, threats of revenge and cruelty. 

But Jesus didn't say anything hateful on the Cross.  He did not even curse the thief who taunted and insulted him.  And after the resurrection when he saw Peter again, he did not scold Peter for disowning him.  He wasn't even really harsh to Thomas who disbelieved.

Jesus not only preached love of enemies but He loved His enemies while they were torturing and taking his life. 

Even some hard headed philosophers have wondered  if a human being must be more than a human being to do that. 

So I actually love Jesus although I could certainly love him more.

Now I can certainly understand that many people will think I am a heretic, or a fool, or an idiot or a bad person. 

I know there are people of other religions who might even want to do me physical harm.  I know there are agnostics and atheists and anti-theists who would probably prefer that people like me not exist.

Since I went through a period of agnosticism, atheism and actual anti-theism, I know how that feels.  As an anti-theist I had all the arguments memorized, I had the thoughts and the feelings on a very visceral level.  So they are not exactly foreign to me.

As a logician, I know It is easy to derive conclusions with certainly in short logical arguments where the axioms, premises, and statements are close together like a=a thus 2+2=4. 

In complex situations where there are many premises and many propositions and many and long chains of argument, it is not always easy for people to arrive at the same conclusions. 

People don't always agree on what is self-evident and axiomatic or which propositions are true and false. 

And even people who might agree on a set of true propositions might not agree on how to prioritize those:  which are more important?  Which are less important?

Sometimes Christians could be happier in their Christianity than they are.  I think this is true of all religions and philosophies. 

Since I worked in a university philosophy department, I worked with people with very different and very opposed viewpoints and beliefs. 

This did not stop us from having coffee and donuts together in the morning.  It didn't stop us from being kind and civil to each other and even caring deeply about each other. 

I rode the elevator each day with an anti-theist or at least on most days.  He was a very nice man. 

One of my best friends in the philosophy department was a Buddhist woman. I felt a kind of bond with a Marxist philosopher and when he died of cancer I cried. 

Many people want to find the truth and hold fast to it.  That itself is a hopeful thing.

Being a logician makes one a bit of an odd person.  In my field I often find arguments that undermine the very ground they stand on. 

For example, people who say that truth does not exist and yet hold that that statement is true.  Or people who say that everything is impermanent and yet the law that everything is impermanent is permanent.

I once was in a debate with someone who maintained that human beings are just beings driven by selfish genes.  People held whatever opinions they held because of their selfish genes and therefore there was no such thing as objective truth. 

At the same time, this same person maintained the the proposition:  "all humans are driven by selfish genes" was an absolutely objective truth.  So to me he seemed to undermine his philosophy by sneaking truth in through the back door so to speak.

My debate partner said he renounced all Judeo/Christian values.  But then he quickly added:  "But of course I try to be an honest man, a good father and neighbor.  I do charity work and so on."

So it seemed to me that perhaps he had not really renounced the values he said he had renounced. 

And I could not really understand how if we are unfree and totally determined by our selfish genes, how could  one group of people, geneticists, still be free and capable of objectivity?

Of course I could be wrong about all this.  I have often been wrong about things in my long life.  There are so many impediments to objectivity, o hard to reduce one's prejudices and biases to objectivity.  I try to maintain intellectual  humility but it can be so difficult.

I do not know what will be the ultimate outcome of your search, AloneGuy.   Although I am not in your shoes and do not want to trespass on the uniqueness of your experience, I think that perhaps in a little way I know what it is like to have family members who do not support one in one's beliefs.

I think it is good that you question things.  That to me is a virtue.  I also think it is admirable that you love the truth.  That to me is also a great virtue.  There is greatness in you and I think good things will come from you wherever you finally end up in your life journey! 

You are certainly an inspiration to me and I think you will be an inspiration to members here and those who follow these Forums.  Best wishes!

Thanks so much for the kind words, you sure know how to make a person feel good.  You're one of the good ones Epictetus.. don't ever forget that.

It's interesting what you said about the man who said he renounced Judeo-Christian values only to not really reject them at all.  I wonder if the core values, the truly good things to be found in Christianity or any other religion, have been a part of humanity all along.  I mean, I don't think any religion, God or prophet came up with the ideas of being good to one's neighbor, the "golden rule", etc.  I think these things just come naturally from being a human.  Christianity teaches that humans are basically bad.  They are inherently sinful and in need of redemption.  But I've seen way too much good in people to believe that.  The doctrine of "original sin" was an easy one for me to jettison.  

Anyway, lots of food for thought in your posts.  Thanks again.

 

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You're most welcome.  My father belonged to a Christian religion that believed people were basically bad but my mother belonged to a Christian religion that believed that people were basically good. 

An interesting thing I discovered in my study of Buddhism is that Buddhist sects surprisingly mirror Christian sects.  There are Buddhists who believe Buddhism is a psychology, others who believe it is a philosophy and still others, the majority that believe it is a religion.  Some Buddhist sects are quite pessimistic while others are quite hopeful.  Even sects of Buddhism have sub-branches.  Both Mahayana and Hinayana Buddhism have their sects.  Some sects believe that it you merely believe in the Buddha, you will be saved.  There is even one sect that believes that just saying the name "Buddha" is salvic.

I have found comparative religion to be a very interesting subject. 

What do you know about the Baha'i religion?  If so, do you find it interesting?

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Posted (edited)


@Epictetus - Buddhism is fascinating, for sure.  I think even atheist Sam Harris practices some form of it.  

I have indeed researched Baha'i.  To me it's just another manifestation of the old Judeo-Christian belief system but with a different prophet. 

Yeah comparative religion is very interesting.  I never took a formal course of it in college, but did history of religion as well as some philosophy.  Fun stuff for sure.

 

 

Edited by AloneGuy
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Hey everyone, so I won't be posting about this topic on the forums anymore (maybe my old blog).  I realize that faith is very important to many members on DF and helps them with recovery.  Some things I say might be hurtful to them, and I really don't want to hurt anyone.  

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  • 2 weeks later...

I am a Christian. I was raised Catholic but abandoned Catholism when I discovered the grace and forgiveness of Jesus Christ when I was 19. Although my life has definitely not been easy, I have never regretted my decision (I am now 67).  In spite of seeing the absolute worst of the evangelical community as well as being a victim of spiritual abuse from the church my family and I attended for over 30 years, I realize people are imperfect and part of becoming a Christian is recognizing we are all sinners in need of a Savior. It also means recognizing that heaven and hell are indeed real. As hard as it is to accept, we all have been given free will and the choice to either accept or reject God's free gift of salvation and eternal life - personally choosing heaven or hell. I am not responsible if someone I love makes the wrong choice.

When you read the Bible, did you study eschatology (prophecy) much? I have spent many years deeply studying and researching this topic - it's my favorite thing to discuss. If you are familiar at all with Biblical prophecy, you must be aware what an exciting time it is for evangelicals  to be living in!!! Most Biblical prophecies have already been fulfilled and almost daily we are witnessing others being fulfilled. If I wasn't such an old lady I would have done cartwheels when the leaders of Russia, Iran, and Turkey recently met - how far off is the Gog- Magog War?! For me, personally, I believe I am living in the end times. Everything is happening as predicted by Old Testament prophets centuries ago! I didn't know anything about prophecy when I made my decision when I was 19 years old. The more I learn and study, the more excited I get. 

I can also add that my children have been the blessed recipients of 2 medically documents miracles.  

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Posted (edited)
6 hours ago, rainingviolets said:

I am a Christian. I was raised Catholic but abandoned Catholism when I discovered the grace and forgiveness of Jesus Christ when I was 19. Although my life has definitely not been easy, I have never regretted my decision (I am now 67).  In spite of seeing the absolute worst of the evangelical community as well as being a victim of spiritual abuse from the church my family and I attended for over 30 years, I realize people are imperfect and part of becoming a Christian is recognizing we are all sinners in need of a Savior. It also means recognizing that heaven and hell are indeed real. As hard as it is to accept, we all have been given free will and the choice to either accept or reject God's free gift of salvation and eternal life - personally choosing heaven or hell. I am not responsible if someone I love makes the wrong choice.

When you read the Bible, did you study eschatology (prophecy) much? I have spent many years deeply studying and researching this topic - it's my favorite thing to discuss. If you are familiar at all with Biblical prophecy, you must be aware what an exciting time it is for evangelicals  to be living in!!! Most Biblical prophecies have already been fulfilled and almost daily we are witnessing others being fulfilled. If I wasn't such an old lady I would have done cartwheels when the leaders of Russia, Iran, and Turkey recently met - how far off is the Gog- Magog War?! For me, personally, I believe I am living in the end times. Everything is happening as predicted by Old Testament prophets centuries ago! I didn't know anything about prophecy when I made my decision when I was 19 years old. The more I learn and study, the more excited I get. 

I can also add that my children have been the blessed recipients of 2 medically documents miracles.  

Thank you for sharing that Rainingviolets.  My beliefs are still evolving and I have modified them a bit since my original post.

Hell, however, is preposterous.  My non-christian grandparents, for example, were the sweetest kindest people I've ever known.  I know that any God who would torture them forever and ever does not exist.

Edited by AloneGuy
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2 hours ago, bibliotcamea said:

I don't read the Bible, I don't fast, I don't go to church, I don't donate, but at the same time, I believe in God.

That's pretty much how I am now.  I tried being an atheist but I guess it's not me.  

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On 8/19/2022 at 1:01 AM, AloneGuy said:

Hell, however, is preposterous.  My non-christian grandparents, for example, were the sweetest kindest people I've ever known.  I know that any God who would torture them forever and ever does not exist.

I said almost that exact same thing to the person who patiently witnessed the Truth to me for many, many months as I argued and debated her faith with her. There had been others before her that had tried to convince me and I had ridiculed them, also. She was not only patient, but she also attended the Catholic church with me every Sunday so we could discuss everything. I had grown up in an abusive, dysfunctional family. My friend often brought me into her loving, Christian family. They didn't hit me over the head with their Bibles or radically try to convert me. They loved me through their words and actions. I saw something different in their lives that I wanted so desperately.  Not surprisingly, my friend's name is "Joy." Her family bought me the very first Bible I ever owned - at the age of 19 years old. In the quiet of my dorm room, all by myself, I made the decision that completely changed my life. It took me a long time to get there! I fought and struggled! But I have never looked back and never regretted it. A huge part of that decision was recognizing that sin came into the world through Adam and Eve and that is why suffering exists in the world. I recognized that ALL people are sinful - even the kindest, nicest, sweetest men and women I know - are imperfect, sinful people and are unworthy of heaven. God had a super easy, perfect plan for each and every one of us to achieve Paradise and eternal life. It is His free gift to the world. As Biblical prophecy is rapidly fulfilled and the world crumbles around us, mankind should be grasping on to this gift more than ever. I could give you lots of Scripture verses to back up what I've said, but you don't believe the Bible so there wouldn't be much point. The rules of this forum would also object to it. It would surely be exciting to be able to discuss eschatology and all that has come to pass just as foretold by the prophets centuries ago, especially recently. I can't quote the Bible here, but maybe quoting a well-known author is allowed:

"For there to be revival and restoration, there must be repentance. And for there to be repentance, there must be a decision." - Jonathan  Cahn, The Paradigm

Because of my decision I know if I die tonight I will immediately see my Savior in heaven. I also have absolute assurance that if the rapture occurs today or tomorrow I will be taken out of this sinful world and not have to endure the horrors of the Tribulation. Why would anyone choose anything else? 💕

Also, an additional thought about your sweet grandparents. My father was the cruelest, meanest, most narcissistic man ever. He was also a Catholic in name only and was quite an atheist. I won't be at all surprised if my #1 abuser is waiting to welcome me into heaven. Why? We don't know what decisions our loved ones make in their final moments. We have a loving, merciful Savior. Even at the last moment, if someone repents and asks forgiveness, the Lord is waiting with outstretched arms. When faced with the reality of an eternity in a hell they are uncertain exists, would it be too far to consider that there are a lot of last second conversions?

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20 hours ago, rainingviolets said:

 

I said almost that exact same thing to the person who patiently witnessed the Truth to me for many, many months as I argued and debated her faith with her. There had been others before her that had tried to convince me and I had ridiculed them, also. She was not only patient, but she also attended the Catholic church with me every Sunday so we could discuss everything. I had grown up in an abusive, dysfunctional family. My friend often brought me into her loving, Christian family. They didn't hit me over the head with their Bibles or radically try to convert me. They loved me through their words and actions. I saw something different in their lives that I wanted so desperately.  Not surprisingly, my friend's name is "Joy." Her family bought me the very first Bible I ever owned - at the age of 19 years old. In the quiet of my dorm room, all by myself, I made the decision that completely changed my life. It took me a long time to get there! I fought and struggled! But I have never looked back and never regretted it. A huge part of that decision was recognizing that sin came into the world through Adam and Eve and that is why suffering exists in the world. I recognized that ALL people are sinful - even the kindest, nicest, sweetest men and women I know - are imperfect, sinful people and are unworthy of heaven. God had a super easy, perfect plan for each and every one of us to achieve Paradise and eternal life. It is His free gift to the world. As Biblical prophecy is rapidly fulfilled and the world crumbles around us, mankind should be grasping on to this gift more than ever. I could give you lots of Scripture verses to back up what I've said, but you don't believe the Bible so there wouldn't be much point. The rules of this forum would also object to it. It would surely be exciting to be able to discuss eschatology and all that has come to pass just as foretold by the prophets centuries ago, especially recently. I can't quote the Bible here, but maybe quoting a well-known author is allowed:

"For there to be revival and restoration, there must be repentance. And for there to be repentance, there must be a decision." - Jonathan  Cahn, The Paradigm

Because of my decision I know if I die tonight I will immediately see my Savior in heaven. I also have absolute assurance that if the rapture occurs today or tomorrow I will be taken out of this sinful world and not have to endure the horrors of the Tribulation. Why would anyone choose anything else? 💕

Also, an additional thought about your sweet grandparents. My father was the cruelest, meanest, most narcissistic man ever. He was also a Catholic in name only and was quite an atheist. I won't be at all surprised if my #1 abuser is waiting to welcome me into heaven. Why? We don't know what decisions our loved ones make in their final moments. We have a loving, merciful Savior. Even at the last moment, if someone repents and asks forgiveness, the Lord is waiting with outstretched arms. When faced with the reality of an eternity in a hell they are uncertain exists, would it be too far to consider that there are a lot of last second conversions?

Hi Rainingviolets, I just wanted to let you know I don't mean to be ignoring your comments here and on my blog, but I just have other stuff on my mind lately to deal with.  I'll get back to you though on the blog when I can concentrate better, and I do appreciate you taking the time to comment.  I hope you understand.

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No problem...I became a grandmother (again) late last night to a gorgeous princess so I am immensely happy and all is well in my world.🥳 There is absolutely nothing like being a grandparent- it is the best! Baby Hope (isn't that name great?) is #10. #11 is due later this fall. My life has been difficult, but I am blessed. 💕

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2 hours ago, rainingviolets said:

No problem...I became a grandmother (again) late last night to a gorgeous princess so I am immensely happy and all is well in my world.🥳 There is absolutely nothing like being a grandparent- it is the best! Baby Hope (isn't that name great?) is #10. #11 is due later this fall. My life has been difficult, but I am blessed. 💕

Oh that's awesome, congrats.  Hope is a very nice name.

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I don't read the Bible, I don't fast, I don't go to church, I don't donate, but at the same time, I believe in God. I believe in God, but I don't believe in the church, to be precise. With the help of the Foster Plus program, we received an adopted son. As it turned out, he was from a radical Christian family. It is very difficult to restrain him from his everyday life. And is it worth it? If he is used to living like this and sees his meaning in it, then maybe it's not worth doing his re-education? Do you have any tips related to this? For more information, visit a foster organization online. 

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