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Thread: Origins of unbelief

  1. #1
    MacG
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    Default Origins of unbelief

    God-Free,

    I really am curious about the origins of how you came to unbelief.

    With great respect,

    MacG

  2. #2
    God-free
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    MacG,

    I want you to know I'm not ignoring you. I promise to get to this ASAP.

  3. #3
    God-free
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    It isn’t possible for me to pinpoint exactly when I stopped believing. My questioning began when I was a child and several more times throughout the years. I’ll try to condense this, as best I can, by only talking about four of my most vivid memories. This will take two to four posts. So, please don’t reply until I’m finished.

    Memory 1:
    As a child, I attended Sunday School. It took place in the lower level of the church while the adult services were held in the upper level. As you’d expect, I was taught the usual child-appropriate lessons and we’d sing songs and whatnot. From the cl***room, I could hear the music coming from the choir upstairs. I’ve always liked music and, at home, I loved hearing my mom singing in harmony to the music on the radio. So, it should come as no surprise to anyone that I wanted very badly to be in the room from where those beautiful sounds were coming. One Sunday morning, I think I was about 6 years old, I decided to skip my usual lessons and sit-in on the adult service. I knew I was taking a chance and that I might be sent back downstairs but, to me, it was worth the risk.

    I walked into the room along with everyone else and took a seat a few rows back from the pulpit. Needless to say, I made sure to stay quiet and be on my best behavior. No one questioned my presence. Success!

    Out comes the pastor; there’s a prayer and the sermon begins. It was about the sinful nature of humanity. I’m pretty sure this was the first time I’d heard the story presented without the “fluffiness” that children usually get (in fact, this is the first memory I have of hearing that story, period). When I heard the pastor say that we deserve to be punished for Adam’s & Eve’s actions, my first thought was (keep in mind, I'm only 6 now), "Hey! That's not fair! I didn't have anything to do with that. I wasn't even born yet."

    I don’t recall anything about what my parents and grandparents told me when I questioned them about this. I only know that I did and, even though I was unsatisfied with their answers, I trusted that they wouldn’t deceive me. And so I continued to believe “Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so.”

    And, by the way, the choir was GREAT! No regrets on that front. I didn’t even get into trouble for going to the adult service instead of my usual Sunday School cl***. At least, not that I remember.



    Last edited by God-free; 08-14-2014 at 09:55 PM. Reason: spelling

  4. #4
    God-free
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    Memory 2:
    By the age of 16, after attending church and having been involved in church youth programs, I realized that everything I knew about God/Jesus came from sermons as well as from selected or ***igned p***ages from the Bible. I decided that if I were going to call myself a true Christian, I should at least read the entire Bible. So, I closed the door and started reading. It wasnít very long before I began to think, ďThis canít be right. I have to be reading it wrong.Ē I would read p***ages over and over just to see if I misread something. Eventually, I chose to put it down because of the thoughts and feelings it provoked in me. I was afraid God/Jesus would judge me harshly. Although, I was still a believer, it was about this time that I stopped attending church regularly, and several years would p*** before I would attempt to read the Bible again.


    Memory 3:
    In my early to mid 20s, I had finished school, was working for a living, and enjoying time with my friends. One of those friends was a musician, a psychology student, and a very religious fellow. During one of his visits to my home, he noticed my Bible on a table which I had, once again, started reading. I had made more progress this time but I was still somewhere in the Old Testament. He said, ďI see youíre reading your Bible. Good.Ē Then he picked it up and, without asking, removed my bookmark and placed it at the beginning of the New Testament. He said, ďThis is all you need to read.Ē He went on to give me his reasons (a mini sermon, if you will) but I couldnít hear what he was saying -- I was flabbergasted that he would take that liberty and think it was okay becauseÖJesus.
    Eventually, I did manage to read most of the Old Testament and then I knew why my friend didnít want me to read it. The God of the Old Testament is a Ö well, letís just say heís not the loving, all knowing God my church pastor wanted me to think he is. But, I still held on to my hope that Jesus is my salvation.

  5. #5
    God-free
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    Memory 4:
    Another twenty-plus years p***ed and then 9/11 happened. I’m sure I need not elaborate on the events of that day.

    Upon learning the reasons given for the attack (holy war) and finding out that three years before the attacks
    "Al-Qaeda released a Fatwa, stating "We -- with God's help -- call on every Muslim who believes in God and wishes to be rewarded to comply with God's order to kill the Americans…", I couldn't help wondering how they could possibly believe the things they do.

    After giving this some thought, I realized that, in order to be able to carry out such a terrible attack, the perpetrators must have had strong and unwavering faith that they were really carrying out the will of their God. But, were they really? Did they really believe God wanted this to happen, or did they blindly take the word of the men who told them that God wanted it done? Shouldn’t I ask the same kinds of questions about the God I believe in?

    Even 9/11 didn’t put an end to my belief in Jesus as my Lord and Savior. It did, however, give me good reason to seriously consider why I believed it.

    So, why did I believe it? Quite simply, it’s what I was raised to believe and, it became apparent that what I believed had a lot to do with geography and tradition as well.

    During the last 13 years, I’ve taken advantage of the wealth of information available on the world wide web and I highly recommend that others do the same. I’ve read nearly all of the Bible and I’ve conversed with lots and lots of believers and non-believers. The result, for me, has been that it no longer makes sense to believe anything on faith (i.e. with no valid evidence to support it). As I said earlier, I can’t pinpoint exactly when I stopped believing, but I did.

    Phew! That took longer than I expected but I got it done in 3 posts instead of 4. I hope it makes sense.


  6. #6
    MacG
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    Quote Originally Posted by God-free View Post
    Memory 4:
    Another twenty-plus years p***ed and then 9/11 happened. Iím sure I need not elaborate on the events of that day.

    Upon learning the reasons given for the attack (holy war) and finding out that three years before the attacks
    "Al-Qaeda released a Fatwa, stating "We -- with God's help -- call on every Muslim who believes in God and wishes to be rewarded to comply with God's order to kill the AmericansÖ", I couldn't help wondering how they could possibly believe the things they do.

    After giving this some thought, I realized that, in order to be able to carry out such a terrible attack, the perpetrators must have had strong and unwavering faith that they were really carrying out the will of their God. But, were they really? Did they really believe God wanted this to happen, or did they blindly take the word of the men who told them that God wanted it done? Shouldnít I ask the same kinds of questions about the God I believe in?

    Even 9/11 didnít put an end to my belief in Jesus as my Lord and Savior. It did, however, give me good reason to seriously consider why I believed it.

    So, why did I believe it? Quite simply, itís what I was raised to believe and, it became apparent that what I believed had a lot to do with geography and tradition as well.

    During the last 13 years, Iíve taken advantage of the wealth of information available on the world wide web and I highly recommend that others do the same. Iíve read nearly all of the Bible and Iíve conversed with lots and lots of believers and non-believers. The result, for me, has been that it no longer makes sense to believe anything on faith (i.e. with no valid evidence to support it). As I said earlier, I canít pinpoint exactly when I stopped believing, but I did.

    Phew! That took longer than I expected but I got it done in 3 posts instead of 4. I hope it makes sense.

    Barbara,

    Thanks so much for sharing your journey. I could sense what you were feeling along the way. It helps me understand more where you are coming from. There are more stories like your but you do not seem bitter as I have seen with others. You have the balance to even acknowledge even the enjoyable music.

    Family's calling. Gotta go but will be back.

  7. #7
    alanmolstad
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    12 men believed in a false religion that some guy invented.

    therefore, all religion is false, and there is no God........

    And if that be true -
    Let us stand with they and be numbered with the ones who mocked,""He saved others but he can't save himself! Let him come down now from the cross, and we will believe in him."

  8. #8
    God-free
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    Quote Originally Posted by MacG View Post
    Barbara,

    Thanks so much for sharing your journey. I could sense what you were feeling along the way. It helps me understand more where you are coming from. There are more stories like your but you do not seem bitter as I have seen with others. You have the balance to even acknowledge even the enjoyable music.

    Family's calling. Gotta go but will be back.
    You're welcome, and thank you for taking the time to read it.

  9. #9
    MacG
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    Quote Originally Posted by God-free View Post
    It isnít possible for me to pinpoint exactly when I stopped believing. My questioning began when I was a child and several more times throughout the years. Iíll try to condense this, as best I can, by only talking about four of my most vivid memories. This will take two to four posts. So, please donít reply until Iím finished.

    Memory 1:
    As a child, I attended Sunday School. It took place in the lower level of the church while the adult services were held in the upper level. As youíd expect, I was taught the usual child-appropriate lessons and weíd sing songs and whatnot. From the cl***room, I could hear the music coming from the choir upstairs. Iíve always liked music and, at home, I loved hearing my mom singing in harmony to the music on the radio. So, it should come as no surprise to anyone that I wanted very badly to be in the room from where those beautiful sounds were coming. One Sunday morning, I think I was about 6 years old, I decided to skip my usual lessons and sit-in on the adult service. I knew I was taking a chance and that I might be sent back downstairs but, to me, it was worth the risk.

    I walked into the room along with everyone else and took a seat a few rows back from the pulpit. Needless to say, I made sure to stay quiet and be on my best behavior. No one questioned my presence. Success!

    Out comes the pastor; thereís a prayer and the sermon begins. It was about the sinful nature of humanity. Iím pretty sure this was the first time Iíd heard the story presented without the ďfluffinessĒ that children usually get (in fact, this is the first memory I have of hearing that story, period). When I heard the pastor say that we deserve to be punished for Adamís & Eveís actions, my first thought was (keep in mind, I'm only 6 now), "Hey! That's not fair! I didn't have anything to do with that. I wasn't even born yet."

    I donít recall anything about what my parents and grandparents told me when I questioned them about this. I only know that I did and, even though I was unsatisfied with their answers, I trusted that they wouldnít deceive me. And so I continued to believe ďJesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so.Ē

    And, by the way, the choir was GREAT! No regrets on that front. I didnít even get into trouble for going to the adult service instead of my usual Sunday School cl***. At least, not that I remember.



    Your 6 year old instincts were right, that would not be fair to hold someone accountable for another's sin. You knew it then, but have you found on your read through the bible where he was mistaken?

  10. #10
    MacG
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    Quote Originally Posted by God-free View Post
    Memory 4:
    Another twenty-plus years p***ed and then 9/11 happened. Iím sure I need not elaborate on the events of that day.

    Upon learning the reasons given for the attack (holy war) and finding out that three years before the attacks
    "Al-Qaeda released a Fatwa, stating "We -- with God's help -- call on every Muslim who believes in God and wishes to be rewarded to comply with God's order to kill the AmericansÖ", I couldn't help wondering how they could possibly believe the things they do.

    After giving this some thought, I realized that, in order to be able to carry out such a terrible attack, the perpetrators must have had strong and unwavering faith that they were really carrying out the will of their God. But, were they really? Did they really believe God wanted this to happen, or did they blindly take the word of the men who told them that God wanted it done? Shouldnít I ask the same kinds of questions about the God I believe in?

    Even 9/11 didnít put an end to my belief in Jesus as my Lord and Savior. It did, however, give me good reason to seriously consider why I believed it.

    So, why did I believe it? Quite simply, itís what I was raised to believe and, it became apparent that what I believed had a lot to do with geography and tradition as well.

    During the last 13 years, Iíve taken advantage of the wealth of information available on the world wide web and I highly recommend that others do the same. Iíve read nearly all of the Bible and Iíve conversed with lots and lots of believers and non-believers. The result, for me, has been that it no longer makes sense to believe anything on faith (i.e. with no valid evidence to support it). As I said earlier, I canít pinpoint exactly when I stopped believing, but I did.

    Phew! That took longer than I expected but I got it done in 3 posts instead of 4. I hope it makes sense.

    "TRADITION! tradition!" When I read your story I see a ball on its' course freely rolling along and along comes another which strikes a glancing **** and alters the course it was on.

    The internet is full of truths. Be sure to avoid the religious tradition of proof-texting (eisogesis) to support your truth/sensibilities and exegete well (draw out of a text to inform) for meaningful learning.

    MacG

  11. #11
    God-free
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    Quote Originally Posted by MacG View Post
    Your 6 year old instincts were right, that would not be fair to hold someone accountable for another's sin. You knew it then, but have you found on your read through the bible where he was mistaken?
    If youíre asking if Iíve discovered that the pastorís interpretation of the story was mistaken then, in a word, no.
    Mentions of God punishing/holding responsible the children for the sins of the fathers are made in several places in the Bible.

    There are also places in the Bible that say the sons shall not be punished for their fatherís sin and that everyone is responsible for their own sin. This, to me, represents a contradiction and itís one of the evidences against the Bible being the product of a divinely perfect being.

  12. #12
    God-free
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    Quote Originally Posted by MacG View Post
    "TRADITION! tradition!" When I read your story I see a ball on its' course freely rolling along and along comes another which strikes a glancing **** and alters the course it was on.
    Thatís an interesting way to look at it. I know you probably donít agree but I see that change of course as a good thing.

    The internet is full of truths. Be sure to avoid the religious tradition of proof-texting (eisogesis) to support your truth/sensibilities and exegete well (draw out of a text to inform) for meaningful learning.

    MacG
    I do the best I can, which is all anyone can do, but itĎs good advice and I thank you.

  13. #13
    MacG
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    Quote Originally Posted by God-free View Post
    If youíre asking if Iíve discovered that the pastorís interpretation of the story was mistaken then, in a word, no.
    Mentions of God punishing/holding responsible the children for the sins of the fathers are made in several places in the Bible.

    There are also places in the Bible that say the sons shall not be punished for their fatherís sin and that everyone is responsible for their own sin. This, to me, represents a contradiction and itís one of the evidences against the Bible being the product of a divinely perfect being.
    It has been said that contradiction is two mutually exclusives both of which cannot be true at the same time. If I were to tell you that I ran a red light entering Kansas City at 12 noon today and had a close call and then we met another friend of mine and he said "Hey! I saw that close call you had you when I was at lunch today when you were leaving the City but I have to tell you you did run the light, be more careful Man!" Is there a contradiction or two in our statements?

  14. #14
    MacG
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    Quote Originally Posted by God-free View Post
    Thatís an interesting way to look at it. I know you probably donít agree but I see that change of course as a good thing.
    I completely agree with you that you see it as a good thing

    I do the best I can, which is all anyone can do, but itĎs good advice and I thank you.
    You are welcome and thank you three.

  15. #15
    God-free
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    Quote Originally Posted by MacG View Post
    It has been said that contradiction is two mutually exclusives both of which cannot be true at the same time. If I were to tell you that I ran a red light entering Kansas City at 12 noon today and had a close call and then we met another friend of mine and he said "Hey! I saw that close call you had you when I was at lunch today when you were leaving the City but I have to tell you you did run the light, be more careful Man!" Is there a contradiction or two in our statements?
    Yes, I see a contradiction, but it isnít in the same ballpark as the ďsins of the fatherĒ contradiction. Youíre talking about eyewitness testimony, whereas Iím talking about Godís contradictory rules concerning punishment for someone elseĎs sin/iniquity.

  16. #16
    MacG
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    Quote Originally Posted by God-free View Post
    Yes, I see a contradiction, but it isnít in the same ballpark as the ďsins of the fatherĒ contradiction. Youíre talking about eyewitness testimony, whereas Iím talking about Godís contradictory rules concerning punishment for someone elseĎs sin/iniquity.
    It goes to the ability to distinguish between a contradiction and an apparent contradiction. Both of the 'testimonies' are true and in fact not a contradiction - how can that be?

  17. #17
    God-free
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    Quote Originally Posted by MacG View Post
    It goes to the ability to distinguish between a contradiction and an apparent contradiction. Both of the 'testimonies' are true and in fact not a contradiction - how can that be?
    After a closer reading, I now see that there might not be a contradiction in your traffic incident story. I’m still wondering what that story has to do with God’s contradictory rules concerning punishment for someone else’s sin/iniquity. Regardless, you asked me if I “found on [my] read through the bible where [my pastor] was mistaken.” I haven’t. The pastor’s sermon was biblically accurate.

  18. #18
    MacG
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    Quote Originally Posted by God-free View Post
    After a closer reading, I now see that there might not be a contradiction in your traffic incident story.
    With a little discovery effort you can become certain there is no contradiction. However you could decide it is not worth your time or call BS and move on but remain misinformed. You could ask "Where did this happen?" I could tell you "West 39th Avenue and State Line Road." Unless you know the area you would not know that I can be in two different Kansas Cities, each in a different at the same time, entering one and leaving the other. It is only a detail which someone with an interest in the subject would do, say someone astute enough to have noticed such a 'contradiction' in the first place.

    I’m still wondering what that story has to do with God’s contradictory rules concerning punishment for someone else’s sin/iniquity.
    As with my traffic incident story there are statements which appear to be contradictory at face value but are they really contradictory? It would take a bit of effort by someone who was interested in the subject...

    Regardless, you asked me if I “found on [my] read through the bible where [my pastor] was mistaken.” I haven’t. The pastor’s sermon was biblically accurate.
    I have no doubt it was accurate...from a certain point of view...but what to make of those verses you have found which state that we are not held accountable for our fathers sins?
    Last edited by MacG; 08-25-2014 at 01:11 AM. Reason: syntax not Sin-tax

  19. #19
    God-free
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    Quote Originally Posted by MacG View Post
    With a little discovery effort you can become certain there is no contradiction. However you could decide it is not worth your time or call BS and move on but remain misinformed. You could ask "Where did this happen?" I could tell you "West 39th Avenue and State Line Road." Unless you know the area you would not know that I can be in two different Kansas Cities, each in a different at the same time, entering one and leaving the other. It is only a detail which someone with an interest in the subject would do, say someone astute enough to have noticed such a 'contradiction' in the first place.
    Those things occurred to me already and itís why I said there might not be a contradiction in your traffic story. I saw the point you were making without the need to delve into those details.

    As with my traffic incident story there are statements which appear to be contradictory at face value but are they really contradictory? It would take a bit of effort by someone who was interested in the subject...

    I have no doubt it was accurate...from a certain point of view...but what to make of those verses you have found which state that we are not held accountable for our fathers sins?
    I agree with the verses that say a father shall not be killed for a crime committed by his son (and vice versa). My point is that there are many instances in the Bible where God and/or his followers DO kill or otherwise punish innocents for the ďsinsĒ of others. I see, not just specific verses, but the entire Bible as contradictory and not the product of any deity worthy of reverence.

    Do you really think that after struggling with this for those many years, that I havenít made an effort? Really? The only way to make the Bible into a ďgoodĒ book, in oneís own mind, is to completely ignore or reinterpret the horrid parts that make up the majority of it. In other words, it must be twisted William-Lane-Craig-style* and cherry picked.

    * ďSo whom does God wrong in commanding the destruction of the Canaanites? Not the Canaanite adults, for they were corrupt and deserving of judgment. Not the children, for they inherit eternal life. So who is wronged? Ironically, I think the most difficult part of this whole debate is the apparent wrong done to the Israeli soldiers themselves. Can you imagine what it would be like to have to break into some house and kill a terrified woman and her children? The brutalizing effect on these Israeli soldiers is disturbing.Ē ~ William Lane Craig

    Oh, the poor soldiers! Sickening!

     

  20. #20
    MacG
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    Quote Originally Posted by God-free View Post
    Those things occurred to me already and it’s why I said there might not be a contradiction in your traffic story. I saw the point you were making without the need to delve into those details.
    Since you said there "might not be a contradiction" it sounded as if you weren't sure.

    I agree with the verses that say a father shall not be killed for a crime committed by his son (and vice versa). My point is that there are many instances in the Bible where God and/or his followers DO kill or otherwise punish innocents for the “sins” of others. I see, not just specific verses, but the entire Bible as contradictory and not the product of any deity worthy of reverence.
    I am not aware of these innocents. God even put a mark on Cain so no one would kill him but then post flood, orders the destruction of the Cananites. But looking at the Arab Nations vow to push modern Israel into the sea and the utter brutality that Hamas, ISIS et al demonstrates, ain't no one going to talk or reason them into peace. If the Cananites were like these guys it would explain a lot.

    Do you really think that after struggling with this for those many years, that I haven’t made an effort? Really?
    I did not mean to offend.

    The only way to make the Bible into a “good” book, in one’s own mind, is to completely ignore or reinterpret the horrid parts that make up the majority of it. In other words, it must be twisted William-Lane-Craig-style* and cherry picked.

    * “So whom does God wrong in commanding the destruction of the Canaanites? Not the Canaanite adults, for they were corrupt and deserving of judgment. Not the children, for they inherit eternal life. So who is wronged? Ironically, I think the most difficult part of this whole debate is the apparent wrong done to the Israeli soldiers themselves. Can you imagine what it would be like to have to break into some house and kill a terrified woman and her children? The brutalizing effect on these Israeli soldiers is disturbing.” ~ William Lane Craig

    Oh, the poor soldiers! Sickening!

     
    William Lane Craig is only a man who I believe is wrong in this paragraph. Rather contradictory as well as he explains that the people of the time were more accustomed to tribal warfare but then describing the Soldiers as feeling bad about it or being 'wronged'.
    Last edited by MacG; 08-27-2014 at 12:35 AM.

  21. #21
    God-free
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    I wasn't offended; just a little irked.

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