The Funk of it All

September 24, 2009 at 11:27 pm 98 comments

I put the phone back on the receiver with a hesitant click. Did I really almost end the message with “In Jesus’ name, amen?” Could I seriously be praying too much?

Glancing to the other side of the room I once again fell back into my mind. The thoughts haunted like an itch on the brain that you are desperately trying to scratch, but cannot. Flooding in were the doubts, the questions, the wondering at my every action and thought. Was it a lie if you had honest intentions at the time? Did you need to confess it?

An erection during church service. The horror. Every small slit of cleavage told a story of a young man’s temptation. Except for Mrs. W… I hope God doesn’t put me with a woman like her. How does her husband do it… do her. But God probably will. God knows best and often what we think is best for us is not what is best. Doubtless I would end up with an ugly woman, just so God can teach me how to be thankful for what I have. I wonder if it is all the same in the dark. I wonder what a vagina looks like. What do you call a vagina anyway? I know on men it is called a penis, but dad only explained to me what an erection was and didn’t tell me what sex actually was. I’ll bet I could find a picture of a vagina in the dictionary if I knew what it was called.

Flipping the pages one by one, each one falling with a thump that was only matched by a beat of my heart. Thump. Thump. Thump. B. r. e… a… Jesus wouldn’t want this. Jesus is watching me. Oh, how I love you Jesus, but I am dying of curiosity. A footstep upstairs. What if I was caught with my erection up and my hand on a picture of a naked woman? Lust is sin. Slide the dictionary back onto the shelf, Josh. There, Josh. Thank you Lord for helping me resist temptation.

But what about my dreams? Oh, the dreams. I imagine the smooth skin, the red lips… the… kissing. Oh to kiss a girl. But kissing can lead to lust, and some have said that kissing should be saved for marriage. Marriage. Like jail with sex. All I have to do is wait, then I can know how to complete my fantasies. God, if you are so wise, why did you make our bodies so that they did not know to wait until marriage? Why are our hormones so independent of your decrees? Why have you not provided a way to get rid of this… desire… before we are allowed to fill our lover according to your righteous ways?

The guilt. Condemnation. I had lusted. Lust is like adultery. Lust is sin. Oh, why can’t I just be happy like everyone else? Why the constant, endless… the endless, monotonous torment. What can take this away? Is this my lot? Is this what it means to suffer for Christ? Why are my friends so relieved of this torment?

“Josh, you think too much.”

“Josh, just trust.”

“Josh, you are normal.”

Normal.

The elders solemnly stand at the end of each aisle. Each one a testament to what the Lord can do in someone’s life. Somber smiles told of inner joy mixed with contemplation that each one of us was responsible for the death of Jesus Christ, whose blood and body we were soon to symbolically drink. Closer and closer the plate passed, and with each foot it traveled my mind sunk deeper and deeper into an odd despair that would well up into panic.

Had I confessed every sin? Paul said that some men had died for not confessing every sin. Why is everyone else so… non-panicky? We could die if we take the body and blood of the Lord in the wrong manner.

I slowly approached the preacher, the teacher, the elder, the one who was indwelt with the Holy Spirit… desperate for the water to quench my spiritual thirst. How can I know that I am saved beyond a shadow of a doubt? My guilt and condemnation welling within me, the thoughts racing like cars around an infinitely simple track and they just do not stop. Just because I say I believe does not mean I am saved. So I could think I believe yet still be going to hell. But I cannot be saved by my works, only by faith. So I cannot look at my life to determine whether I am saved, I have to look at my beliefs. But how can I know I am believing the right things? I could think I am believing the right things and still be going to hell. But I cannot look at my works…

“Pastor, I am having doubts about my salvation…”

“Joshua, but you believe that Jesus Christ died for you, right?”

“Yes, I do.”

“Then that means you are saved.”

“But how do I know that I am believing enough?”

“Well, we all struggle with doubts… [secretly I wanted to punch every Christian who ever said this. Yeah, buster. Do you have doubts so strong you want to commit suicide? Are those the types of doubts you have?]… but you can know that you truly believe by looking at your life. Do you do things to please the Lord? Have you been spending time in the word? Have you confessed any sins in your life?”

“Yes. Yes. Yes. But works do not save us.”

“This is true. But Joshua, I believe by all the evidence in your life that you are a Christian.”

The words were like dry water to my tortured soul. All the confidence of another man – all of my own confidence – were not enough to convince me that I was saved. Judas probably thought he was saved. Maybe I am like Judas. Where is the promise of the Holy Spirit? Why does it seem like no one has an answer for me?

Hours spent in prayer. Crying. Pouring over the Word – in desperation – looking for answers. Am I alone? God, I will wait for you. Waiting. Save me, Jesus! Eyes dry as a bone.

“Joshua, your dad and I think your problem is that you are arrogant.”

Yeah, that helps.

Maybe I am mentally ill. But if I was mentally ill, I wouldn’t know it. I’d better not tell my parents about the voices in my head, they will probably not know what to do. Would they send me to a psychiatrist or accuse me of just wanting to get attention? Maybe they would call in a pastor to pray over me. Maybe they would just tell me I need to get more sleep again. But I can’t sleep. I lie awake at bed every night, rehashing the days events… looking desperately for any unconfessed sin, hoping that I find the one that God is holding against me so that I can get some peace. Visions on my bed. Is that Satan? Ominous pictures enter my mind. Why can’t I just enjoy life like everyone else?

It’s not fair! I am trying harder than anyone I know to live the Christian life… to know I am doing things right, and I suffer far more than anyone else. I suffer torment in my mind like no one can imagine.

I laughed in church. Anthony looks at me with surprise. “Josh, you haven’t laughed like that in a long time.” What is wrong with me? Why can’t I just relax? I can’t relax because I might be going to hell.

Maybe all this torment is Satan attacking me because I am such a good Christian. Josh, don’t you dare think such an arrogant thought! Arrogant? But what if it is true! Maybe God is having me go through all of this so that I can help others some day who are suffering the same things at the hand of Satan. Yes, this must be it… I am being prepared by the Lord for something special. A feeling of pride wells up in my chest. I am special. My suffering is special. Or maybe I am suffering such doubt because I am not saved at all.

How can I know?

- Josh

To this day I struggle quite a bit with being caught up in my mind. The voices are gone. The fear of death is almost completely obliterated, but I still struggle with the habits brought on by years and years of incessant rehashing of the unanswerable problem that is Christianity in my mind. These questions and the downright flippant and awful answers given by my “brothers” in the faith lead me to depression that I even now do not know how I survived. I think the only thing that kept me from suicide was fear of hell. Yet, ironically, if I had never believed in hell in the first place I probably would not have been depressed.

Entry filed under: Josh. Tags: , , .

A caveman could figure it out (The Gog Monologues) seek and ye shall find…. but what?

98 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Joshua  |  September 24, 2009 at 11:56 pm

    God, I don’t care if you think I’m arrogant. This is damn good writing if I do say so myself. Not really sure where it came from, though. Just sort of rolled right out of my heart.

  • 2. 1minionsopinion  |  September 25, 2009 at 7:37 am

    Wow. What a horrible way to go through what should be the great days of one’s life. Makes me downright glad I never caught the faith train, if that’s what the journey can be like.

    Thanks for sharing that and I’m sorry you had to go through it all in order to do so.

  • 3. writerdd  |  September 25, 2009 at 10:25 am

    Fantastic post, Josh. Thanks for sharing.

  • 4. Philip  |  September 25, 2009 at 12:40 pm

    Hell…add a few lines about uncertainty over which church is the “correct” one and you’ve basically covered my junior and senior years of high school. Good show.

  • 5. Joshua  |  September 25, 2009 at 12:44 pm

    Good show.

    Let’s make a horror movie.

  • 6. GeorgeZ  |  September 25, 2009 at 1:04 pm

    Gee whiz, boys.

    Why all the confusion?

    News flash!!!

    The Bible states “Satan is the author of confusion ! ! ! ”

    Get it?

    Read the book of Romans. Get your doctrine (right belief) on straight. Read the word, think aout it. Meditate as you are told to do. The Bible also states, “A wise man contemplates his death.” Not suicide, but knowing he can go at any moment. Old age in not a guarantee for any.

    One thing is guaranteed, death, and after that the judgement. But, that was just Jesus saying that, maybe it had no weight.

    Jesus told the Jews, “If you do not believe I am the messiah, you will die in your sins.” Jesus stated that would be a major problem, an eternal one.

    So Josh, keep thinking. But, at some point, just start reading the word. You seem to be all over the map.

  • 7. Joshua  |  September 25, 2009 at 2:17 pm

    The Bible states “Satan is the author of confusion ! ! ! ”

    He is apparently winning, then.

  • 8. Joshua  |  September 25, 2009 at 2:18 pm

    But, at some point, just start reading the word.

    I have. read it probably 10 times. Some books I’ve read probably 40-50 times. I’ve nearly memorized entire books.

    The bible doesn’t make sense.

  • 9. Joshua  |  September 25, 2009 at 2:22 pm

    Try this one:

    If sons are not supposed to be put to death for the sins of their father, why did God explicitly put David’s baby to death for his sin?

  • 10. Joshua  |  September 25, 2009 at 2:22 pm

    Zing!!

  • 11. Joshua  |  September 25, 2009 at 2:25 pm

    If Satan is author of confusion, did he write the Bible? Because I sure am confused as hell by that contradiction.

  • 12. Anonymous  |  September 25, 2009 at 2:37 pm

    Are you kidding me, Josh?????

    It makes perfect sense. Please explain the nature of man to me, the fallen side first.
    Explain Israel from start to present.

    Explain why no one could produce the body of Jesus Christ.

    Explain the progress in this generation of knowledge. Everything required to complete Biblical prophecy could not have happened in any other time period than ours.

    China, 600 mil man army
    Atomic weapons
    Polution of the oceans, global warming
    ISRAEL back in her land
    Muslims calling for the destruction of Israel
    Science claiming there is no god
    Europe combining the nations, one curency
    Russia pacts with Syria and Iran
    Israel at peace with Egypt and Jordan
    The complete lack of leadership in the world
    Jerusalem going to be called the international city owned by the world, no one state.
    Islam seeking to dominate world affairs
    Western nations in financial collapse, it will worsen.
    The United States forcing Israel to a two state solution…..

    There are many more…………….

    Just for fun, read up on Alexander the Great. Find out why he did not destroy Jerusalem. See why the prophecy of Daniel stopped him. As you may know, Alexander believed he was the son of Zeuse, not humanly conceived.

    The Bible makes no mistakes, zero.

    And you say the Bible makes no sense. The deeper you go, the Bible will take you deeper into the truth of who you are, and where you are headed.

    You are entitled to your own opinion, but not your own facts.

  • 13. Joshua  |  September 25, 2009 at 2:39 pm

    You are entitled to your own opinion, but not your own facts.

    That’s why I use the same Bible you do.

  • 14. Joshua  |  September 25, 2009 at 2:41 pm

    Everything required to complete Biblical prophecy could not have happened in any other time period than ours.

    Sure it could have. It would have just involved more spiritual fulfillment than physical fulfillment.

    The Bible makes no mistakes, zero.

    The BiIble can’t make mistakes. It is just a book. But humans do make mistakes. And they wrote and copied it.

  • 15. Anonymous  |  September 25, 2009 at 2:47 pm

    The sin of David was not visited on David’s son, but on David.
    This is why I am so concerned about you, Joshua.

    You and I are men. We think as a man.

    God has more info than you and I. Death is going on every moment on this planet. Somewhat of a big deal to man.
    Not to God.

    David was deprived the child, but Solomon followed. Look what happend to him, and David’s other children.
    King David has been gone for about 2750 years, roughly.

    David’s son that was taken never had to suffer this life as a member of David’s household. This son was delivered, free and clear. The baby being allowed to die was a gift.
    But, punishment to David.

    Death is complete in every generation. I have a daughter who died at 2 days old, my mother died at 99, both died.

    The Bible clearly states, “death is no respector of persons.”
    Think what you will about death, but the child that Bethsheba bore was with God at his death. No penalty there, my friend.

  • 16. Anonymous  |  September 25, 2009 at 2:48 pm

    Zing, zang, zing……………….

  • 17. Anonymous  |  September 25, 2009 at 2:50 pm

    Satanic Verses, remember?

    http://www.waliedshoebat.com

    1.3 Billion and growing

  • 18. Joshua  |  September 25, 2009 at 2:53 pm

    The sin of David was not visited on David’s son, but on David.

    “And Nathan said unto David, The LORD also hath put away thy sin; thou shalt not die. Howbeit, because by this deed thou hast given great occasion to the enemies of the LORD to blaspheme, the child also that is born unto thee shall surely die.”

    Seems pretty explicit. Even more explicit when you realize that according to the OT law which David supposedly loved with all his heart (Psalm 119) said that David should have died twice over.

    And yeah, I know you are concerned about me. I know the feeling. Perhaps you need to realize that being that concerned about me extends from fear on your part, and perfect love is supposed to cast out fear. So why are you afraid on my behalf?

  • 19. Joshua  |  September 25, 2009 at 2:56 pm

    Somewhat of a big deal to man.
    Not to God.

    Yeah, it’s pretty obvious it isn’t a big deal to God. Which is why it is easier to say God was invented by men to solve man’s problems – which explains the diversity of God’s and the diversity of views of even the Christian God.

    God is the ultimate tool wielded by the hands of men. In fact, if men did not believe in God, the entire Middle East conflict would vanish. Think about that for a while. Ever heard of a self-fulfilling prophecy?

  • 20. Hubert  |  September 25, 2009 at 3:18 pm

    Nope—the conflict would be about oil, not God—there would be no Islamic unity, so there would be a free-for-all. Man’s greatest weakness is not God, it’s greed.

  • 21. Joshua  |  September 25, 2009 at 3:22 pm

    Nope—the conflict would be about oil, not God—there would be no Islamic unity, so there would be a free-for-all.

    I am particularly talking about the conflict that George addressed: the battle for Israel. That land would not be so precious if all three sides did not consider it a holy land.

    That’s all I am saying. Problems would not vanish in general, just there would be no reason for the conflict over the holy land to exist at all.

  • 22. Joshua  |  September 25, 2009 at 3:22 pm

    Silly tag.

  • 23. Anonymous  |  September 25, 2009 at 3:32 pm

    Hold it there, Josh. Nathan, pointing his finger in David’s face, telling him that God was going to spare his life is not the issue.

    The issue was the penalty you stated was placed on the child. My point, well taken by me, not you obviously, is so simple, a cave many can understand it.

    The baby died. A brief moment in history. Not punishment on the child. In human terms, it seems like it, but that is just stemming from our limited understanding of death.
    Yes, I am concerned about you. Not from fear for myself.

  • 24. Anonymous  |  September 25, 2009 at 3:38 pm

    Ever heard of self-fulfilling prophecy?

    Ever heard of prophecy being fulfilled?

    The oil is more about the west. The battle over Israel is from Islam.

    youtube…..walied shoebat……listen to him speak to this issue

    also on youtube, what the west needs to know about Islam

  • 25. Joshua  |  September 25, 2009 at 3:46 pm

    Sigh, well alright… have it your way.

  • 26. Frreal  |  September 25, 2009 at 4:00 pm

    Btw David’s baby wasn’t just taken in a poof. He suffered a few days. I’m sure that was pleasant. But of course we can’t deduce God’s character from the things we read in the book he “inspired”.

  • 27. Joshua  |  September 25, 2009 at 4:04 pm

    Nathan, pointing his finger in David’s face, telling him that God was going to spare his life is not the issue.

    Since when do you get off as the one able to point out the “issue”? It is an issue for me, so deal with it.

  • 28. George  |  September 25, 2009 at 4:07 pm

    Don’t give up. Sigh.
    Are you going to check out Walied, yes or no.

    Also, caroline glick on youtube. Read her bio
    http://www.carolineglick.com

  • 29. George  |  September 25, 2009 at 4:10 pm

    Why is it such an issue? What is your point? That the Bible is not consistent? Exactly what are you trying to say.

    I gave you what the point is, consistent with the life story of King David. What his kingdom was to become, and why.

    comon Josh

  • 30. Joshua  |  September 25, 2009 at 4:34 pm

    Are you going to check out Walied, yes or no.

    Listening to him now.

    Why is it such an issue?

    Because there is no way I can make sense of it without placing God in an untrustworthy category or shattering hundreds of years of Christian theology – including other Scriptural principles.

  • 31. The Nerd  |  September 25, 2009 at 4:50 pm

    I actually thought this was going to be erotica at first. :D I like your writing. It really hits home the evils of the doctrine of hell.

  • 32. Joshua  |  September 25, 2009 at 5:09 pm

    “I actually thought this was going to be erotica at first.”
    :)

    “I like your writing. It really hits home the evils of the doctrine of hell.”

    Thanks!

  • 33. George  |  September 25, 2009 at 5:29 pm

    Yeah, the name Walied sounds erotic…..

    Still worried about you.

  • 34. George  |  September 25, 2009 at 5:29 pm

    Josh, did you read the comment by Societyvs?

    What say you?

  • 35. Joshua  |  September 25, 2009 at 5:43 pm

    Still worried about you.

    Don’t be. There is no real threat involved, and even if there was – it is in your best interest to figure out how to best communicate that threat in a way I can understand – not by just expressing your concern.

    I do not trust the Bible is inspired. You’ll have to figure out a way to convince me that it is. But I don’t trust prophesies, unless they are unambiguous, specific, and could not possibly have been written or reinterpreted after the fact.

    Nothing but cold, hard reason will turn me around. But you should be okay with that, because if Reason extends from the one true God, then it should be able to bring Him glory by pointing me to Christ, right?

    I’ll have to pay more attention to what societyvs said. Get back to that later.

  • 36. Roy  |  September 25, 2009 at 6:24 pm

    Joshua,

    For whatever it is worth, I’m not worried about you. I think you are headed in the right direction. The search for truth is a noble one. Continue onward with an open mind.

    George,

    Don’t worry. What would Jesus do? He certainly would not worry. He told you not to either.

  • 37. George  |  September 25, 2009 at 6:29 pm

    What is the Bible to you? I do not believe it is possible to dismiss the Jews and Israel, ignoring the history and prophecy of the Old Testament. The claims are quite specific.

    The nature of man, you seem to also disregard the corruptness of society from recorded time. How do you account for the evil of man, not just the Hitler’s of the world.

    Do you not believe Jesus Christ was here, crucified by the Romans? Even the Jews do not protest the fact.

    What if you are wrong? What if the cave man could figure it out ? No one can prove the existence of God, nor disprove it.

    If God is not powerful to the point of having communicated the plan of salvation through the Jews, as he claims to have done, there is no God. At least not the God of the Bible.

    Blood sacrifice is the keystone of the Bible, Old and New Testament. This is either truth, or fiction. Black and white.
    At Nicaea in 310AD the New Testament books were selected.

    If God was not in control of what became scripture, the entire process is false. Given the fact that I understand how easy it is to attack the process.

    The acid test will be the prophecy and historical record of the Bible,which claims to be inspired. I believe the Bible has stood the test for centuries. Still stands today.

  • 38. Roy  |  September 25, 2009 at 6:37 pm

    George,

    It’s great that you know what the Bible is to you. Why are you so worried about Joshua?

  • 39. Philip  |  September 25, 2009 at 7:23 pm

    George… You’re jumping all over the place, but I think I see what you’re aiming for here. I just wanted to insert a couple thoughts here.

    I deconverted in part because over the course of a decade starting in the late 90s, I dedicated myself to studying the bible and found that biblical prophecy doesn’t work in the way that you’re saying it does. The prophetic texts, though able to speak to situations outside the intended, still need to be rooted in the basic context if it’s to mean anything at all. And when a text is written between 500 BCE and 100 CE, it’s safe to say the proper context is NOT 2009 CE.

    What you’re doing – removing these words from their historical contexts and trying to make them apply to some time in the future – doesn’t work. It’s the functional equivilent of God saying “Oh, I screwed up the past 3000 years, so let me try to recreate things so that I won’t be made a liar.”

    The prophecies in Daniel were supposed to apply to Antiochus IV Epiphanes. The fact that they followed the development of the fractured Hellenistic empire up to the desecration of the Jerusalem temple before going off into la-la-land suggests not that God just stopped in the middle of prophecy to wait 2200 years to fulfill it, but rather that it failed to predict what it said would happen. God didn’t take control, the Maccabeans did.

    The natural response shouldn’t be to try to make the Bible inerrant and just shove problematic texts into the future. People have been doing that with prophecy since before the Bible was codified. That doesn’t make the Bible right, it makes it unfalsifiable – it makes any talk of it being “right” or “wrong” completely meaningless.

    I do respect that you’re at least holding that prophecy has to be fulfilled in this world to be meaningful, though. I have believing friends who believe that Jesus’ second coming was in 70 AD (in a spiritual sense) who apparently did take what the gospels and Revelation said seriously enough to keep it in its proper timeframe, but deny the physicality of it. Frankly, that bothers me more.

    But every era of history has someone who says that the end times are approaching (read up on the Millerites, or Muenster Rebellion, or just the history of millennialism in general), and each time they are proven wrong.

    If you want to maintain that the Bible tells us about the future, I don’t see any other options besides those two. If it’s impossible to do either, as it was for me, God comes off as a failure of cosmic proportions and the Bible becomes nothing more than an early form of historical fiction.

    But you’re not asking Joshua to simply read the Bible – you’re asking him to adapt your vision of reading it, precommitted to the axiom that the Bible is true, and thereby be saved. And if you believe what you’re saying about the immanent end of the world, that’s understandable. That form of reading is already ruined for pretty much everyone here, though, and is horrifying circular besides. You have to do better than throw out random statements and claiming it’s the truth.

  • 40. George  |  September 25, 2009 at 8:46 pm

    What you’re doing – removing these words from their historical contexts and trying to make them apply to some time in the future – doesn’t work. It’s the functional equivilent of God saying “Oh, I screwed up the past 3000 years, so let me try to recreate things so that I won’t be made a liar.”

    Philip,

    Thanks for the challenge.

    Daniel, as I believe you know, saw four kingdoms, Babylon, Medo-Persian, Greece (by Alexander), and Rome. The fourth was for the time of the end. The revived Roman empire would be the last before God would take control. No more human government.

    When Daniel asked to know when these things would be, he was told to close the book, they were for the time of the end.

    Therefore, the term End Times, as you have heard often.

    But every era of history has someone who says that the end times are approaching (read up on the Millerites, or Muenster Rebellion, or just the history of millennialism in general), and each time they are proven wrong.

    The end times could not happen without Israel in the land God had promised. May 14, 1948 the clock began again, the Church Age in on a count down. In 1967, Israel regained East Jerusalem. Yes, I agree, many date setters have come along, been wrong. But, that does nothing to change the reality.

    You chose to walk away from your faith because you think the Bible is not inerrant? Seems to me that no one should believe the Bible on any count if it is so simple to disprove.

    There is the time of the gentile, some call it the Church Age, it will end during the tribulation period, the 70th Week of Daniel.

    This is the period where the third temple is to be built on Temple Mount, an event still in the future, but close at hand. It will be a hallmark of a treaty of the Revived Roman Empire and Israel, but as you may know, it will not last.

    The stage is set, Obama is right on time. He is calling for a two state solution. Israel will give up land for peace, again. There will still be no peace, most Jews know it. They are trying to avoid another extermination. The Bible states when they are back in the land, they will be attacked as never before.
    The nations coming are the very ones calling for its demise today.

    God comes off as a failure of cosmic proportions and the Bible becomes nothing more than an early form of historical fiction.

    No comment here, does not require one.

    And if you believe what you’re saying about the immanent end of the world, that’s understandable. That form of reading is already ruined for pretty much everyone here, though, and is horrifying circular besides. You have to do better than throw out random statements and claiming it’s the truth.

    You have missed the most important elements of all. Islam is the major player of end time prophecy. Without the ability of the Muslim states to destroy Israel, the Bible would be discredited, of no effect for mankind. Jew or Gentile. The entire world will gather against Israel, the United Nations will see to it. Eventually, Israel will be told to destroy its nuclear weapons, they will not.

    Every nation in the world will soon vote for the two state solution. Israel will eventually give into the pressure. This will not end the attack against her.

    I am not saying the world is going to end, it will not end. Is world war III on the way? I believe it is. Will Israel be the cause? They will be blamed.

    I appreciate your approach. Thank you.

  • 41. Roy  |  September 25, 2009 at 10:21 pm

    George,

    I commend you for your generosity in appreciating other peoples approaches. Jesus himself couldn’t have done better. Thank you. I appreciate your approach as well.

  • 42. Seabhag  |  September 26, 2009 at 12:07 am

    Joshua, you could have written part of my life story. I too thought too much, read the Bible too much, and worst of all. . . I questioned what it said and tried to make it apply to the real world.

    I didn’t leave the church because I had sins I wanted to commit without guilt. Indeed, I’m a better person (according to my fundamentalist parents) today than I ever was as a believer. Instead, I left because it didn’t make sense. Especially once I got through my 2nd year of college as a chemistry major. Once I realized how much I’d been misled by the church, the Bible, and church leaders, every bit of faith was up for questioning.

    Today? Life has its stresses, but I’m mentally free, happy, and I can laugh about life.

    Keep up the questioning. Don’t give what George says a second thought. His comments read like someone who’s been challenged in his belief because according to his beliefs you and I shouldn’t (couldn’t?) be happy if we left the christian faith. He wants you to be miserable again so that he can feel justified in his belief. Leaches like that aren’t worth giving the time of day to.

    Anyways. Good on ya man.

  • 43. GeorgeZ  |  September 26, 2009 at 12:52 am

    Keep up the questioning. Don’t give what George says a second thought. His comments read like someone who’s been challenged in his belief because according to his beliefs you and I shouldn’t (couldn’t?) be happy if we left the christian faith. He wants you to be miserable again so that he can feel justified in his belief. Leaches like that aren’t worth giving the time of day to

    Your are a real piece of work. I know quite a few athiests that are happy campers, at least for now. You have no clue what I want anyone to feel, a sad commentary from a lost person. I need no one to feel any emotion so I can feel justified about my faith, or any other matter. You talk as a child who is still confused on who he is.

    Leach? Too funny. What a sad statement.

    Casting pearls before swine.

    I am sure your parents love you, no matter how ignorant you have become. I hope you regain your faith, if you actually ever had it to begin with. There is a head belief and a heart belief that changes your life.

    It is sad that people have let you down.

    Well Seabag, you think you have it all together now. The second year of chemistry convinced you there is no God? Read Darwin’ Black Box by Behe, or hundreds of other books by scientists far superior than your chem prof.

    These people are ID

  • 44. stamati  |  September 26, 2009 at 1:54 am

    Josh,

    Thank you for this writing. I recently deconverted and I can completely relate to you! I didn’t hear voices, but otherwise we’re basically identical in thought processes. I was Baker Acted a couple of months ago due to suicidal thoughts and all that stuff due to fear of hell. The Judas thought- I’ve had it. Sucks that this faith can play so easily with the insecure and weak-minded like ourselves. I’m working my side out now, and its coming along fairly well.

    And Christians, because you know what you believe does not mean that it is easily apparant to everyone else. I used to think that way, but having gone through all of this deconversion stuff, I can tell you, life is just more complicated than that; people are more complicated than any of us know. There are serious difficulties within the Bible that any scholar will admit to, even devoutly Christian ones. The only thing we’d appreciate is that you understand that truth.

  • 45. Joshua  |  September 26, 2009 at 2:49 am

    George, give it up. Just relax. So what, we are going to hell. We are enemies of God, right? What does that have to do with you? Shouldn’t you just shake off your sandals and move on to the next blog, like Jesus said?

    You won’t believe me: but I know what you are feeling, George. It is angst, mixed with a small amount of helplessness, anger (“righteous anger”, you hope), jealousy on behalf of your God, and deep feelings of love which you only wish we could begin to comprehend. Because if we saw just how much you truly loved us we would take a moment to listen to what you have to say… to open our EYES to the TRUTH of God and His Word and the destruction that is our future if we just do not turn and repent. Time is ticking and we are the fools.

    That is what you feel. Your feelings are 100% real and understood, and I commend you for them.

    But the threat you see is not real. It is not. If you look on this blog, the only person suffering here appears to be you. You are insecure, raving, upset, unable to control yourself, etc. Think about it. You are trying to convince a bunch of sane people that they are sick and end up raving. You look sick. You look like me in the article above! Whether you believe it or not, I’m in complete control right now. Sorry that I’m sane and happy and I don’t believe what you do. I wish you could be set free from the delusion I once shared as well.

    Everyone else, thank you so much. I hope what I have written can be an encouragement in a small way and help you all on your journey.

  • 46. GeorgeZ  |  September 26, 2009 at 9:41 am

    Stamati, I want to be very careful here. The major thyme of the Bible stands firm. There is no debate that the Old Test claims God is, and that he is the creator of all. Things seen and unseen.

    Debate evolution all you like. Check out Ben Steins movie, Expelled. You can view it on Youtube.

    That is part of your puzzle.

    The Bible makes a simple statemnt, “God created”, either true or false. Science will never disprove the God of the Bible.

    Satan, the Bible states that he is, and the battle is for your mind. Period. How evil works, I do no know. But, just because I do not know how it works, I know it exists.

    Why so many religions? Man has a desire for truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. How many times have we heard that one?

    Truth is the search man is on. But, Jesus stated he was the way, the truth and the life, that no man can come to God but by him.

    Far too exclusive. One way only to God? I have to believe Jesus is God to be saved? I have to believe I am a sinner, in need of salvation, salvation from what?

    Wait. I did not ask to be born, now there is a chance I go to hell, according to the Bible? That is far to simple, obviously made up by man. A fair and loving God, if he even existed would never be that way. What does he gain?

    This God, if he were even there, would not deserve worship. Even the Old Testament is a poor sales job for this loving God who kills at the drop of a hat.

    Look at all the billions of people who have been killed in the name of a god, who ever the battle envolved. Look at the greed in religion. The list is endless.

    If God is perfect, where did Satan come from? Why is there evil. Most of all, who am I, why am I here, what does it matter if I live or die. I am going to the dust, in the ground, or in a furnace. Over, bye bye.

    This is it? Not even.

    The earth hangs on nothing, all elements perfect to sustain all the life forms in this part of an infinite universe. As far as we know, to this point, we are it. But we are not alone. Never were, never will be.

    Satan is the author of confusion. What I see in this site is the confusion that is typical. People who have worked so hard to disprove the Bible. Want to take hold of anything to escape the God that the Bible presents.

    Sad, first of all, you have to leave your mind at the door to be an athiest. I don’t care if you were Darwin, Carl Sagan, or the current village, Richard Dawkins.

    All of you, down to the last person who supports deconversion, are in a battle, some have already lost, others are well on their way.

    I am telling you this. God, for the ones who are his, that are saved, you will come out of this, you will not be lost. But, many of you who never were saved, may remain lost. Lost, apart from God for the eternity you hope is not there.

    But it is there. You cannot wish it away by trusting in evolution, too many religions, how can there only be one way to God, if he was even there.

    You wish you were God. You could straighten this whole thing up. No disease, death, war, financial woes, murder, rape, no evil. Most of all, tormented minds, trying to discover truth, if there is such a thing. And there is.

    The entire Old Testament is the address of one man, Jesus Christ. From Genesis forward, the Bible is about the messiah.

    Jesus Christ, the only human on this planet that the Bible clearly states you cannot be neurtal about. Eternal life is tied to him, yes, in the Bible. The book you deny, it will be to your shame.

    Evolution? A lie of Satan, fit for people who do not want to retain God in there thoughts. Void of reason. But, there are thousands of scientists world wide who believe in ID.
    We are talking across the board, word wide. But, it is the Richard Dawkins of the world who get the attention.

    In the movie Expelled, Richard Dawkins is the last person interviewed. Again, watch it on youtube.

    Israel, God’s timeclock for mankind and this planet. All the players are in line, you will watch this curtin come down, maybe in your lifetime. I am not a date setter, but I have studied these coming events for over fifty years, here, and in Jordan and Israel.

    If you are so foolish to think that Israel is not the timeclock for man, you are sadly mistaken.

    The Koran??? youtube again, what the west needs to know about Islam. View it.

    Also, Walied Shoebat, look him up on youtube, ex PLO.

    You live in a fallen world. Jesus stated that Satan is the prince and power of this age. Jesus also stated he came to destroy the works of Satan. Either true or not.

    Try to explain the sin that enters your own thought life, yes sin. If you do not know what I am talking about, maybe you are already dead.

    The mind, the thoughts that run through, not summoned, they just come. Most people do not act on the impulse, but others do. Sin. The battle for the mind. Actions follow thought.

    Sin, the oposite of love. Self seeking. Nations can act in this manner, churches, sport teams, doctors for greed, you name it, it is there. Drug dealers, murder for hire, bribes in politics world wide. Man is a sinner by nature. A two year old lying to stay out of trouble. It is from the inside of us.

    This is the sin nature that Jesus Christ came to die for.

    Obama is now going to seek to push Israel into a homeland for Palestinians. Make Jerusalem either an international city, or split it between the Jews and Muslims, maybe a few Christians. This is anti God, anti Israel.

    You say, so what? This is the nation promised to be reborn.
    Nuclear weapons, stronger than all the Arab states, 22 Including Egypt. Israel, home of the Jews. Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and their decendants. Back in the land after 6 mil. deaths. Accident, not on your life.

    Israel, the only nation up for destruction, the UN will eventually come to that decision. You cannot change what the Bible states will happen.

    Satan’s book, the Koran has already been shown for what it is. Satanic verses, remember? Go to youtube, watch for yourselve.

    God in alive in the affairs of mankind. Israel is the key.

    The world is rushing to war, if you do not see it, sorry for you.

    Armegeddon is the event coming, stay tuned.

  • 47. GeorgeZ  |  September 26, 2009 at 10:00 am

    You are insecure, raving, upset, unable to control yourself, etc. Think about it. You are trying to convince a bunch of sane people that they are sick and end up raving. You look sick. You look like me in the article above! Whether you believe it or not, I’m in complete control right now. Sorry that I’m sane and happy and I don’t believe what you do. I wish you could be set free from the delusion I once shared as well.

    JOSHUA,

    i DO LIKE YOU, I FEEL YOUR PAIN, SERIOUSLY.

    Josh, you have seared you conscience with the hot iron scripture speaks to. You still know the truth. You know that you have not settled this in your mind, God’s spirit, the Holy Spirit is not going to allow it

    Conversly, if you were never saved, born again by faith in Jesus Christ death to cover your sin, let me urge you to “come, let us reason together.”

    No Josh, I am not the sick one, I know the truth, you are the one in bondage, and all that are outside faith in Jesus Christ.

    The Bible paints the clear picture of a righteous God who will not, and cannot co-exist with what the Bible calls sin. The oposite of what God intended. Sex in marriage only, sex between and man and a women in marriage, no adultry, fornication, murder, lying, stealing, obey your parents in the Lord, do not covet………..

    Jesus broke sin into three sections, Lust of the flesh, lust of the eye, and pride of life. Yes, our ego, the me first that is in all of us. Some go to prison because of these things, most of us just struggle along with our fallen nature, proping ourselfs up as we go.

    Some, like yourself, get to the place where you take God out of his creation, deny the Cross of Jesus Christ has any purpose, explain away sin be learned behavior. Sad, and you just don’t see it.

    You think I am the sick one ? ? ? ? PLEASE

    Sane, you believe you are sane, why? Because you have discovered God is a lie, he was never there?

    Do not be deceived, God is not mocked, whatever a man sows he will read. If you so to the flesh, you will of the flesh read corruption. God’s word to you, Josh.

  • 48. GeorgeZ  |  September 26, 2009 at 10:02 am

    If you sow to the flesh, you will of the flesh reap corruption.

    Be not deceived, God will not me mocked.

    Don’t like those words, think they are meaningless?

    Time will tell.

  • 49. Roy  |  September 26, 2009 at 10:29 am

    George… Peace, be still.

  • 50. Roy  |  September 26, 2009 at 10:39 am

    Thank you, George!

    Ok, now to further lighten things up……

    I wonder if it is all the same in the dark.

    Yes it is. If you want to leave the lights on, a paper bag works nicely. If she is really ugly, you might want to put one over your head in case hers breaks.

  • 51. GeorgeZ  |  September 26, 2009 at 11:14 am

    Okay Roy,

    The issues are far too great to have peace. A war is raging.

    Not only in your mind, but in outer space. Yeah, the universe.

    The Bible claims there is a war going to happen, Satan will be cast down to earth, this even is comming your way, maybe sooner than even I think.

    There you go, Stupid, right. Deceived??? Am I ???

    But, lets continue to ignore the obvious. Man has never been closer to nuclear war. Do you really believe this will not happen in the future???

    Do you really believe the world is going to allow Israel to keep its nuclear weapons??? Do you really believe Israel is going to play dead???

    Do you really belive Islam is going t allow Israel to exist???

    Come on Roy, get real. Why is Obama on the anti Israel train. trying to force a two state soloution???

    Get a grip, deal with your own mind, stop playing the God never existed game, and there is not Biblical prophecy being fulfilled before the eyes of billions of people.

    Get a grip on it, Roy. You do not want to honor God as God.

    Don’t care much for the way he has handled things so far???

    Well Roy, thank God for free will to deny the obvious.

  • 52. GeorgeZ  |  September 26, 2009 at 11:17 am

    Peace will not come until Jesus Christ returns, then true world peace will happen. Hope you are here for the event that you are so positive will never take place.

    Pray for the Peace of Jerusalem.

  • 53. Rick Lannoye  |  September 26, 2009 at 11:24 am

    You’re not alone. I, too, went through a long and sometimes harrowing process of getting Evangelical Christianity out of my system. It’s not easy undoing all that emotional conditioning, and uprooting all those deeply seated fears that they, quite intentionally, instilled in us, mostly, while we were innocent children.

    The good news, real “good news,” is that you can do it, and perhaps you can start by getting rid of the fear of Hell.

    I’ve actually written an entire book on this topic–“Hell? No! Why You Can Be Certain There’s No Such Place As Hell.” Please download the free ecopy of my book that I’ve made available at my website: http://www.ricklannoye.com. It will help you a LOT.

  • 54. Roy  |  September 26, 2009 at 11:32 am

    George,

    The only one here who seems to be at war is you. Several people have asked you to calm down. Yet you won’t.

    You get real, George.

    George, please deal with your own mind and have the courtesy to allow Joshua, me, and others here to deal with ours. I am not playing any God never existed game. Please re-read my comments.

    I have a firm grip on it, George. You know much less about me than I know about you as measured by the length of our respective comments. What do you know about what I honor? Do you really want to know me? If so, please talk less about yourself and what you believe and ask Joshua, me, and others here about who we are and what we believe.

    I’m quite content with the way He/She/It has handled things so far.

    I thank God for free will every day. Right, Joshua? ;-)

  • 55. Roy  |  September 26, 2009 at 11:39 am

    “Peace will not come until Jesus Christ returns…”

    George, peace will not come until the Christ mind is manifested in YOU. And me and everybody else. Please work on your end of the deal and allow us to work on ours.

    Thank you!

  • 56. writerdd  |  September 26, 2009 at 11:52 am

    Peace came for me when Christ became a fiction.

  • 57. GeorgeZ  |  September 26, 2009 at 11:55 am

    Hello Rick,

    Thanks for the website. Watched your video.

    Need to get back to you on this one.

    Your post to be seems canned. Not something you wrote just to me. Is that so??? Does not matter to any great degree.

    I am not trying to get “Evangelical Christianity out of my system.”

    The Gospel of Jesus Christ is the “Good News”. If man has let you down, all the hyprocrites in the churches does not alter the message, man with his fallen nature has.

    You have heard everything I have to say thousands of times, I am sure. You will not convince me of your view, I will not change your mind.

    Time and events will change your mind as you see the nation of Israel play out the roll she has as God’s nation. The Jews, who God has set apart.

    Argue your atheism, and your doctrine of evolution all you wish. It will be destroyed.

    Try Islam, if you want to see the indroctrination of children and a fully Satanic end run. You are deceived, but I stll like you. lol

    Israel is the key, my friend.

  • 58. Joshua  |  September 26, 2009 at 12:32 pm

    (1) The Gospel of Jesus Christ is the “Good News”. (2) If man has let you down, all the hyprocrites in the churches does not alter the message, man with his fallen nature has.

    George. Your first sentence contradicts the last one.

  • 59. Roy  |  September 26, 2009 at 12:33 pm

    Your post to be seems canned. Not something you wrote just to me. Is that so??? Does not matter to any great degree.

    I am not trying to get “Evangelical Christianity out of my system.”

    George, I say this in true Christian love:

    It’s not all about you.

    This is a de-conversion site for former Christians who “outgrew” their religion. He is offering it to all people who are here who might be interested.

  • 60. GeorgeZ  |  September 26, 2009 at 12:37 pm

    Yeah, Roy, I know

    Thanks

  • 61. The Nerd  |  September 26, 2009 at 12:39 pm

    If I happened to be in the market for a new religion, and I read this commenting thread, I’d think “woah, maybe I’d better check out Buddhism. These Christians are completely nuts!” The best thing you all can do for your religion is to stop making illogical arguments, stop talking about crazy prophecies, and stop telling people how “God loves me, but he’s sending you to hell!” Stop talking and start listening, and maybe you’ll get yourself some converts.

  • 62. Roy  |  September 26, 2009 at 12:43 pm

    George,

    It might be less frustrating for you if you left the witnessing here to those of us who have been atheists before.

    Oh and I’ve also been an evangelical Christian before too. Do you need me to witness to you?

  • 63. Roy  |  September 26, 2009 at 12:46 pm

    The Nerd said:

    Stop talking and start listening, and maybe you’ll get yourself some converts.

    Do I hear an echo? George?

    Peace and love!

  • 64. George  |  September 26, 2009 at 1:12 pm

    Nerd, stop.

    You and I both know the drill.

    The God you deny is righteous. Sent Christ. He died for and sins of the world.
    I cannot comprehend the righteous nature of God, but the event of the cross offers you the opportunity, again, you know the claims as well, maybe even better than myself.

    Not one of you, de-conversionists, has even attempted to explain the fact of the death of Jesus Christ, and the claims of the New Testament writers. Do not act as though there were not eye witnesses to viewing the risen Christ.
    The Bible is not the only account.
    Where is the body, people??????

  • 65. Roy  |  September 26, 2009 at 1:15 pm

    To The Nerd,

    I visited your site. I’m intrigued and will return to read more. You are interesting.

  • 66. Roy  |  September 26, 2009 at 1:18 pm

    George said:

    Nerd, stop.

    You and I both know the drill.

    The two of you know one another?

  • 67. George  |  September 26, 2009 at 1:21 pm

    How do you explain the prophets regarding Israel?

    Explain where the body of Jesus Christ is?

    The Jews who killed him, the Romans who assisted?

    They could have stopped this in a day? There would be no need to be talking. The Koran would never have been written.

    You could go on your merry way, not fearing anything.
    Ofcourse, you did away with that. Right? No fear of death, you welcome it. You are so sure there is nothing there to be worried about. As the Bible states, they will be scoffers, people who no longer endure sound doctrine (right belief).

    How convienent for you. Sear your mind with the hot iron of doubt, then full rejection, holding the truth of God, and the Gospel of Jesus Christ. As the Bible states, “Trampling the Blood of Christ under your feet, making the Cross of Christ of non-effect.”

    The dog does return to his vomit.

  • 68. George  |  September 26, 2009 at 1:24 pm

    My question is, why are you even alive? Go today, who cares if you are here or not?

    Seriously, is your only value attempting to de-construct Christians?

    How sad for all of you, and all like you.

    You have a god, it is the one you saw in the mirror this morning.
    A god unto yourself

  • 69. The Nerd  |  September 26, 2009 at 1:42 pm

    Thanks, Roy. :) My BF also has a blog on that site: war-on-error.xanga.com I’m not a terribly good writer, but he has skillz. He’s working on a huge multi-post review of “The Empty Tomb: Jesus Beyond the Grave” that I’m going to be hard-core proofreading for him. He should be publishing the Chapter 1 on his blog within a month.

    OK, no more derailing the thread away from the main topic of Joshua’s story! I know his experience is a common one, because I have felt many of those same emotions myself. It hurts me to think how many people are made to feel shame and guilt because they are normal, healthy, empathetic human beings. Of course, nothing I can say here hasn’t already been said by him in his most excellent story.

  • 70. Roy  |  September 26, 2009 at 1:43 pm

    George,

    Take the Nerds advice. Visit her site and learn more about her. She is fascinating.

    BTW, who are you talking to in your previous two comments?

    In all honesty, you are becoming quite annoying. Ask yourself, George, “What would Jesus do?”

    Answer: He would do unto you as he would have you do unto him.

    Does Jesus want you to preach to him? Does he want you to tell him he’s going to hell? Why do you continue to do these things to these people. Read Matthew 25:40 man. Please stop harassing these people and me. We will stay out of your face with our beliefs if you will stay out of ours. Deal?

    Forgive me, but some things just need to be said.

    Please take it elsewhere, okay?

  • 71. Roy  |  September 26, 2009 at 1:53 pm

    Nerd, I’ve been there too, been a complete wreck, completely recovered, and moved on to seek higher truths. We all (including George) have our truths and our personal paths to God (if He/She/It exists) and we all must all be respectful of this. My prayer is that the Spirit that is in George will deal with him about his need to impose his beliefs on others… And that the Spirit that is in me will deal with me about my issues (of which there are many).

  • 72. Roy  |  September 26, 2009 at 2:27 pm

    Joshua,

    I agree with Nerd. Your story and your writing are excellent. Persevere man! Maybe one of these days I will work up the nerve to share my story. :-)

  • 73. George  |  September 26, 2009 at 2:57 pm

    Anyone want to hear my story???

  • 74. George  |  September 26, 2009 at 2:59 pm

    Joshua,
    By the way, read your “Funk” ditty.

    Sad dude. What in the world is up with that ! ! !

    Don’t get it.

    Seriously.

  • 75. Roy  |  September 26, 2009 at 3:10 pm

    Well this is certainly confusing.

    George and GeorgeZ.

    Let me go back and sort this out and I’ll let you know if I want to hear your story. One of these George’s has told us his story over and over and over.

  • 76. George  |  September 26, 2009 at 3:18 pm

    I’m the one signing, “Jesus Loves Me, This I Know, For the Bible Tells Me So”

    Simple little song.

    By the way, the galaxy just discovered? The on 166 mil. light years away galaxy? How are you ever going to get there if you are not eternal?

    I expect to see it up close and personal.

  • 77. Roy  |  September 26, 2009 at 3:20 pm

    Ok George. I would love to hear your story. If it is different from the other stuff you’ve gone on and on and on about. But please understand that if you slip back into your prior mode, I am going to tune you out. Again.

  • 78. The Nerd  |  September 26, 2009 at 3:24 pm

    WAIT! Please, any story telling should be posted on your own blog, and then only the link shared with us, not the entire story.

  • 79. Roy  |  September 26, 2009 at 3:27 pm

    Good! I was just being nice. Thank you!

  • 80. Charon  |  September 26, 2009 at 3:27 pm

    Where is the body, people??????

    Next on CSI Christianity: the hunt for the body of a guy who may or may not have ever existed, and if he did, died two thousand years ago.

    Our only clues: an account of his burial and supposed resurrection by people who lived generations after they supposedly happened, and who were trying to convince everyone this guy was miraculous.

    The puzzle: given such crystal-clear circumstances, how could we possibly have not found the body?! Well, the skeleton, as the body decayed long ago.

  • 81. Charon  |  September 26, 2009 at 3:32 pm

    By the way, the galaxy just discovered? The on 166 mil. light years away galaxy? How are you ever going to get there if you are not eternal?

    Okay… I don’t know the Bible like those of you who are/were religious, but I am an astrophysicist. And this comment is completely insane. It literally makes no sense whatsoever.

    George: there are galaxies much, much farther away than 166 million lyr. That is actually a very nearby galaxy, as these things go. And what in the world do you mean by going there? Who would try to go there? And at (or near) the speed of light it would take… 166 million years. Does not equal infinity.

  • 82. Roy  |  September 26, 2009 at 3:35 pm

    I’m the one signing, “Jesus Loves Me, This I Know, For the Bible Tells Me So”

    Simple little song.

    Yes George, I know it well. He loved the rest of us just as much as he loved you. But he is no longer here in body. We are, so please start letting him love us through you. How about it George?

  • 83. Roy  |  September 26, 2009 at 4:02 pm

    And George, please forgive me if I said anything that might have been insensitive. You are just as much a child of God as I and everyone else here are and equally deserving of respect. Let me know where your web site is and I will be glad to read your story. OR Give me your email address and we can correspond off line.

  • 84. Roy  |  September 26, 2009 at 4:07 pm

    George said:

    Joshua,
    By the way, read your “Funk” ditty.

    Sad dude. What in the world is up with that ! ! !

    Don’t get it.

    Seriously.

    Not to speak for Joshua, but here is my take on it; please correct me if I’m wrong, Joshua.

    He is giving us an inside peek at his thinking back before his deconversion. He is helping others see that whatever they might be going through, they are not alone. He is now mostly over it. Religion can be very emotionally distructive, George. Please don’t be a part of that. Okay?

  • 85. Joshua  |  September 26, 2009 at 5:26 pm

    You’ve got it Roy. That is no longer me, but that was the type of thinking I consistently entertained nearly my entire teenage years.

  • 86. George  |  September 26, 2009 at 5:32 pm

    George: there are galaxies much, much farther away than 166 million lyr. That is actually a very nearby galaxy, as these things go. And what in the world do you mean by going there? Who would try to go there? And at (or near) the speed of light it would take… 166 million years. Does not equal infinity

    Charon,

    Was trying to remember, thought it was a galaxy, but it was one of the new pictures from the Hubble . May not have been a galaxy, but it was 166 mil. light years away.

    My point was that we have a creation beyond our ability to ever get there. But, if we were eternal, we could get there.
    I plan to go.

    It was meant to be light hearted, not a statement to be scrutinized by an astrophysicist.

  • 87. Joshua  |  September 26, 2009 at 5:36 pm

    The dog does return to his vomit.

    What vomit? Many of us were saved when we were so little and innocent “before [we were] old enough to tell the difference between good and evil”.

  • 88. Roy  |  September 26, 2009 at 6:22 pm

    It was meant to be light hearted, not a statement to be scrutinized by an astrophysicist.

    We never know who’s lurking. I understood your light hearted point even though we might not necessarily agree on exactly what “being eternal” means.

  • 89. grace  |  September 27, 2009 at 7:37 pm

    Hey, Josh, it’s me, Grace.

    Thank God you are doing much better. Is it possible that you may have been struggling with a touch of OCD that fundamentalist Christianity was helping to exacerbate? Hope you are not offended by me suggesting this.

    If things are still bothering you, there’s certainly no shame, or harm in getting this checked out, is there?

    Deep peace, and blessings to you, Josh. Thanks for sharing so honestly.

  • 90. Joshua  |  September 28, 2009 at 12:30 am

    Yes, Grace, I was aware of OCD tendencies related to other things in life and I am sure that I struggled quite a bit with it then (related to spiritual things) and a little now. I have overcome quite a bit, for sure.

    I might add (though it is probably apparent) that my idea in this post was to just communicate what was going through my mind – in its rawest form – regardless of mental illness or whatever that may have been involved. I want people to see how the ideas they share can affect someone else in a completely different way than they may affect them. In other words, what may seem like a harmless teaching to 9 children may be devastatingly disastrous to the 10th person. It is therefore essential that we do our best to make sure that what we teach is accurate and true before we begin teaching it and regardless of whether we like it or not, because then the effects in the lives of others are independent of our own claimed authority on the subject.

    Thanks for your thoughts. They are appreciated.

  • 91. Quester  |  September 28, 2009 at 2:17 am

    As a Christian, I knew I deserved hell. Most of the time, I resigned myself to that. I tried for a while to collect all the forms of eternal life insurance I could. I was baptized and confirmed. I said the Sinner’s Prayer. I wore a scapular. I prayed in tongues. That lasted a year or two. Most of my life, though, I just trusted that God would either save me, or I was wrong and would burn. I felt I deserved eternal torment, and left it at that.

    It’s when I began to feel responsible for others’ eternal destinies that I found myself staying up nights, contemplating suicide, feeling useless and depressed, poring over the Bible and Biblical commentaries, going through my theology textbooks, looking at the world around me, and trying to learn everything I could about God and God’s will. There were so many people who did not deserve torment, but I could not figure out how to give assurance they wouldn’t receive it anyway, not with any honesty. My inability to find any clear and consistent message about God’s will near killed me. How dare I call myself Christian, let alone a pastor? It took years before I admitted to myself that there is no evidence for a God, and less for one who wills something for us.

    Josh, I understand the torment you felt too well. I felt it most of my life. Crediting God with every good thing and blaming myself for every bad, how else could I feel? These days, when I find myself following those old worn paths of self-destructive thought, I find putting on some headphones and listening to my favourite music helps a lot. Cheapest and best self-mediacation I’ve found yet. Releasing the fear of hell made a huge difference in my life, but old habits are hard to break. I wish you the best.

  • 92. grace  |  September 29, 2009 at 7:14 am

    Quester,

    It sounds like you were under a terrible burden. Atheism must seem like a huge relief in comparison.

  • 93. Quester  |  September 30, 2009 at 1:01 am

    Grace,

    It is a huge relief to finally admit that no version of the Christian story makes any sense, that this is not a fallen world, that there is no one who is going to make things better if we don’t, and that there is no shame in being human.

  • 94. grace  |  September 30, 2009 at 7:50 am

    Quester,

    I don’t want to come across as an adversary. Please bear with me. But, this is not how I would interpret the Christian story..

    I’m not ashamed to be human. I think we’re fearfully, and wonderfully made, a blessing.

    But, the paradox of this is that in some measure we have also broken, and fallen. It’s not necessary to debate about original sin, I think.

    Just look at the world around.

    I can examine my own life. I hurt the people I love the most without even trying, Quester. We are alienated from each other. Look at how people respond to one another even on these blogs, with scorn, and unkindness. Often, we want to drive people away, and judge them as having malevolent motives for simply holding to other opinions.

    The Christian story, to me, is that God loves us so much that He fully entered into human life, and suffering, that He absorbed the consequence of evil, and sin into Himself, so that we could fully share in His life, and be radically changed, authentically human.

    I am not sitting around waiting for God to make the world better. My faith calls me to participate in His redeemptive work, and in the kingdom in the here, and now. I work in the human service field, Questor, because I really do see people of infinite worth and value apart from their performance. I care.

    IMO, God does not want us to sit around as Christians mired in endless guilt, and feelings of worthlessness. In truth we have a freedom in our unity with Christ. There is no condemnation in Him.

  • 95. The de-Convert  |  September 30, 2009 at 8:26 am

    grace,

    thanks for the spirit of your post. i know you are very sincere in your beliefs as we once were.

    the question i came to ask about the redemption story which you beautifully laid out is WHY?

    as a father of 4 beautiful but flawed children (which is all part of being human), I never felt the need to have them slaughter the cat or dog and spill blood all over the house in order for me to forgive them. they simply had to come and say ‘dad, i’m sorry.’ i could pretty much tell if they were sincere or not.

    i also didn’t feel the need to go become one of my children and then more or less commit suicide to myself and shed my own blood so that i can make the simple decision to forgive my children. remember, god would have created the rules. why make it so bloody and ritualistic?

    the reality is, you’re buying into the bronze age beliefs of a tribe of middle easterners and their rituals and superstitions. i’m sure you don’t believe we have to perform rain dances in order to get rain as the american indians once believed. why do you subscribe to these ancient superstitions?

    however, that being said, the modern day christian god is a lot more like god would be if we created him today vs. 5,000 years ago. he’s a loving father in heaven who loves us, forgives us when we ask, etc. he’s not a tribal war god as yahweh was.

    of course, since christianity is birth out of the superstitions of 5,000 years ago, its creators 2,000 years ago did do a remarkable job of working it out so we elimated a lot of those rituals. the jesus story was the ultimate stroke of genius.

    now if christians just focus on their new definition of god and what they believe about him and eliminate all the history of how he got this definition, it would actually be a pretty decent faith focused on love, compassion, kindness, etc.

    respectfully,
    paul

  • 96. grace  |  October 2, 2009 at 7:49 pm

    Well, Paul, I think God’s revelation, and our knowledge of Him has been definitely progressive over time. No argument there.

    All Christians agree that by the dying, and rising again of Jesus Christ we are put right with God, and with each other. We think that God loves us, and that in Christ, God was reconciling the world to Himself.

    The rub here is that not all people of faith agree concerning the precise mechanics of all this. And, the church through the years has come up with differing analogies, and theories to explain the atonement of Christ.

    It seems to me that all analogies are going to seem incomplete, and crude in comparision to the reality itself.

    I think that part of the difficulty is that we can’t really conceptualize, and fully understand the depth of evil, and injustice in the world that necessitates this kind of drastic action. It’s about something much deeper than simply forgivin your kids because they forgot to take out the trash, or lied about a bad grade at school.

    My view of the atonement is that in some mysterious way our nature in unity with Christ, is being completely changed to reflect His love, and grace. We are being enabled to share in the life of God. It’s about more than forgiveness, although that’s important, too.

    At any rate, I don’t feel that I need to have complete understanding of all this to decide to jump into that “life-giving stream,” speaking metaphorically here, of course.

    Paul, I also want to share with you about this book I’ve recently read by Timothy Keller, “The Reason for God.” Belief in an Age of Skepticism.

    He actually addresses this very issue, and tons of other interesting things. Now not all Christians will agree with his explanations, but I can tell you this, the book provides plenty of food for thought.

    Maybe you would be interested to check it out. Appreciate your honesty, and sharing all your thinking with me, too.

  • 97. Valkyrie0010  |  November 28, 2009 at 9:13 am

    Joshua, my experience was very similar in fact it almost led to a nervious breakdown. Religion is harmful, and to base life on a book that is obviously written by someone with a first-hand understanding of “first” century morality.

    Wives submit to your husband
    I will not permit a women to teach a man

    In the first century and later this was typical and it was sometimes worse
    and now christians have a 4-7%(depending on denomination) higher rate of divorce then agnostic atheists

    masturbation(forbidden in many christian denominations)
    Has been linked to a lowering of prostate cancer in men
    95% of men do it(goes it to show you how insane religion is)
    recommended by the UN for both male and female youths to prevent premartial sex

    Women
    Prevents menstrual cramps
    Stress reduction(both genders)

    for a better explanation

    http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,401722,00.html

    I recently just did a paper on how Christianity developed(haven’t turned it in yet)
    I analyzed the gospel of mark in regards to how Christianity formed
    It encourages credulity which is harmful in just about every way possible

  • 98. Nylus  |  December 28, 2009 at 12:41 am

    I know this feling all too well. You described it pretty accurately.

    Interesting site. Hearing from people who has believed and “left” works better for me than hearing the views of people who never embraced a faith: people who haven’t experienced this kind of abject and irrational terror. Casting aside the dogmas is never easy, but hearing from others who have reached similar conclusions to yours and being able to nurture from their experience and ideas, certainly offers some comfort and strengthens your position. You stop feeling lost and start feeling liberated.

    It doesn’t feel so disturbing when all your doctrine-powered mental alarms start ringing with every step you take away from the absurd picture they draw in your mind.

    Sorry for the rusty english. I read understand it perfectly, but I don’t get to actually use it that often.

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Attention Christian Readers

Just in case you were wondering who we are and why we de-converted.

de-conversion wager

Whether or not you believe in God, you should live your life with love, kindness, compassion, mercy and tolerance while trying to make the world a better place. If there is no God, you have lost nothing and will have made a positive impact on those around you. If there is a benevolent God reviewing your life, you will be judged on your actions and not just on your ability to blindly believe in creeds- when there is a significant lack of evidence on how to define God or if he/she even exists.

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