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Old 02-12-2013, 08:02   #41
muscogee
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My worst experience was realizing that I had wasted 41 years of my time, energy, and money believing and supporting a lie. I'll never get any of that back. I assumed the Bible made sense but I just didn't understand it well enough to understand it. The more I studied it, the less sense it made. The more I learned about the life and times of Christ and the Roman Empire, the more evident it became that modern Christianity was invented by the Emperor of Rome to suit his needs. Without him Christianity would be a foot note in history. Pre-Roman Christianity was was even less believable than post-Roman Christianity. What a waste.
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Old 02-12-2013, 08:25   #42
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Originally Posted by Gunhaver View Post
What's the choice I have to make? To believe it before I even read it? How convenient.
There is a reason why most people that convert to christianity do so when they are emotionally vulnerable for one reason or another. There seems to be two types of christians, those that were raised in it and those that converted during a time of turmoil in their lives.
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Old 02-12-2013, 08:37   #43
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There is a reason why most people that convert to christianity do so when they are emotionally vulnerable for one reason or another. There seems to be two types of christians, those that were raised in it and those that converted during a time of turmoil in their lives.
That's why a lot of people with drug and alcohol problems get religion when they start trying to dry out. They go from "get drunk and be somebody" to "go to church and be somebody". They jump from one unrealistic world view to another without passing through reality. In some ways being a religious fanatic fanatic is better than being a drunk. You drive better. The problem is that religious fanatics can be incredibly cruel because they're sure they're right. Since they're doing God's will, how could it be otherwise.
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Old 02-12-2013, 08:41   #44
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That's why a lot of people with drug and alcohol problems get religion when they start trying to dry out. They go from "get drunk and be somebody" to "go to church and be somebody". They jump from one unrealistic world view to another without passing through reality. In some ways being a religious fanatic fanatic is better than being a drunk. You drive better. The problem is that religious fanatics can be incredibly cruel because they're sure they're right. Since they're doing God's will, how could it be otherwise.
AA Actually encourages people to convert to some kind of religion. I think one of the 12 steps is to give it up to a higher power.
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Old 02-12-2013, 08:48   #45
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I am a believer. And I have had many bad experiences with the church via organized religion.

You see, I do not believe the true Church, as started and loved by Christ is in " working order" today, and the posts here are just more proof of that.

Judgmental attitudes have replaced love for the people. Somehow, the church has become a non issue in the world today. Possibly due to it's lack of love and outreach to all people.

It is not our place to judge, your belief, or non belief. It is not our job to bring anyone under conviction, thats what God does through his power.

Yet, the world of organized religion, confuses people, with so many different denominational beliefs and rules. This causes division, judgement, and weakness.

A simple message, to believe, to love each other, and your neighbor, has been drowned out and complicated with denominational divide.
I had years of difficulty dealing with this. I do something's some churches condemn. I use tobacco, and occasionally have a beer.

But I am thankful, someone was sent in my direction to make me understand finally, it's a heart thing. If we take the bible as our standard of belief, then this becomes very clear. Everyone must work out this for themselves. It's about a personal relationship between you and God. Not between the religious bylaws of a denomination.

Atheists? I'm not sure I believe there is a such thing in the purest extent. I think some people have been hurt, or are searching for something to believe in. Bit I'll still extend my hand to you, and not cast judgement on your lack of belief.
Everyone has a choice, a free will, and I cannot judge how you use yours.
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Old 02-12-2013, 09:33   #46
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I appreciate the comment by an earlier poster that atheism is a religion...an observation with which I agree and for which I am usually ignored.

Agnosticism is in my view a more even handed view of the great unknowns of life, as it admits that "I just don't know".

Anyone read Heinlein's "Stranger in a Strange Land" and if so how (if at all) did it influence your views on religion, atheism, and agnosticism?


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Old 02-12-2013, 09:35   #47
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FWIW paragraphs no longer seem to work here, as my above post was written with paragraphs and appeared all run together.


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Old 02-12-2013, 09:52   #48
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Originally Posted by Glock36shooter View Post
AA Actually encourages people to convert to some kind of religion. I think one of the 12 steps is to give it up to a higher power.
In my experience as a Drug & Alcohol counselor, I had to attend 50 AA meetings (and another 50 *A meetings) during the course of my training at the Naval Drug & Alcohol Counselor School. The Higher Power issue comes up a lot. Generally, its considered to be anything an individual gives up their will and control to. Often, that becomes the particular AA group, various religions etc., but I've also seen people choose their family, job, dog, and various other entities. There's criticism of the spiritual component of AA from both sides of the isle on this. If I come across a person that wants to turn it over to God specifically, I'll refer them to a religion based group such as Celebrate Recovery. If a person specifically doesn't want a religious group, I'll refer them to a secular one like SMART Recovery. Middle of the roaders get referred to AA, with encouragement to attend both a secular and non-secular group to see if it fits with their needs. It's far more important to me that they get with a group of like-minded people with similar goals than a specific group that I may endorse.
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Old 02-12-2013, 10:28   #49
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I appreciate the comment by an earlier poster that atheism is a religion...an observation with which I agree and for which I am usually ignored.

Agnosticism is in my view a more even handed view of the great unknowns of life, as it admits that "I just don't know".
These arguments are nothing but word games that give some people the warm fuzzies. "I don't believe you" is not a religion any more than not collecting stamps is a hobby.

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Anyone read Heinlein's "Stranger in a Strange Land" and if so how (if at all) did it influence your views on religion, atheism, and agnosticism?
I read it shortly after it came out. I was still a serious Christian at the time. It has a New Age bent to it that could easily suck impressionable people in. The idea that no one dies, they just go to the end of the line and start over, is very appealing.

World War Z sucked me in as well. Well written fiction does that. People who read a lot of fiction realize this, and no matter how good the writing is, they always understand that it is fiction. It's not real and never will be. The Bible is the same way. Unfortunately, it is the only well written fiction some people ever read so they think it is real. The idea that no matter how miserable you might be, you're special because God loves you, and that when you die you will be rewarded for your belief is very appealing. Unfortunately, it's no more true than Stranger in a Strange Land.
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Old 02-12-2013, 10:37   #50
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Agnosticism is in my view a more even handed view of the great unknowns of life, as it admits that "I just don't know".
I don't know from personally investigating the entire moon that Mormon church leaders were wrong about people inhabiting the moon http://www.challengemin.org/moon.html so rather than consider it bs I suppose I should keep an open mind.

I don't know for certain that Atlas is not holding the earth up so rather than consider that story to be bs I will just keep an open mind.

I don't know for certain that Balaam's donkey didn't talk to him so I had better keep that possibility open as well. After all I watched Mr Ed tv show and some Francis The Talking Mule movies when I was a young boy and those animals talked so that provides some empirical evidence to suggest that perhaps the Balaam story really happened.

I don't know with 100% certainty that Maui didn't pull a big fish out of the water and somehow convert that mass of organic material into the rocky North Island of New Zealand so I should probably leave that possibility open.

I don't know for certain that Don Genaro (from the Carlos Castaneda books) wasn't able to make giant farts that would physically push people backwards with a foul wind so I should just consider that reported occurrence as a reasonable possibility as well.

You just never can tell.
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Old 02-12-2013, 10:50   #51
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There are plenty of people that have taken LSD and had similar experiences. If the consciousness (or "soul" if you prefer) is a tangible thing that lies beyond our "physical realm" then why can it so easily be manipulated by psychoactive drugs, neural electrical implants and other sources of stimuli? I would submit that this doctor is simply no longer objective on the topic having experienced powerful hallucinations during a deep coma.
Doctor Alexander considered your hypothesis himself, and rejected it (see Appendix B in his book):

"Endogenous glutamate blockade with excitotoxicity, mimicking the hallucinatory anesthetic, ketamine (occasionally used to explain NDEs in general). I occasionally saw the effects of ketamine used as an anesthetic during the earlier part of my neurosurgical career at Harvard Medical School. The hallucinatory state it induced was most chaotic and unpleasant, and bore no resemblance whatsoever to my experience in coma.

N,N-dimethyltryptamine (DMT) "dump" (from the pineal, or elsewhere in the brain). DMT, a naturally occurring serotonin agonist (specifically at the 5-HT1A, 5-HT2A and 5-HT2C receptors), causes vivid hallucinations and a dreamlike state. I am personally familiar with drug experiences related to serotonin agonist/antagonists (that is, LSD, mescaline) from my teen years in the early 1970s. I have had no personal experience with DMT but have seen patients under its influence. The rich ultra-reality would still require fairly intact auditory and visual neocortex as target regions in which to generate such a rich audiovisual experience as I had in coma. Prolonged coma due to bacterial meningitis had badly damaged my neocortex, which is where all of that serotonin from the raphe nuclei in the brainstem (or DMT, a serotonin agonist) would have had effects on visual/auditory experience. But my cortex was off, and the DMT would have had no place in the brain to act. The DMT hypothesis failed on the basis of the ultra-reality of the audio-visual experience, and lack of cortex on which to act."
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Old 02-12-2013, 11:59   #52
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Doctor Alexander considered your hypothesis himself, and rejected it (see Appendix B in his book):

"But my cortex was off, and the DMT would have had no place in the brain to act. The DMT hypothesis failed on the basis of the ultra-reality of the audio-visual experience, and lack of cortex on which to act."
He doesn't know that. Time has little meaning in a state like that. The entire experience that he remembers could have occured while his cortex was shutting down or when it was starting back up. There is no way for him to place the experience during the time when he was deepest in his coma.
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Old 02-12-2013, 12:26   #53
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I never had a bad experience, I just couldn't believe the stories any longer. The flood and 2 of every animal, talking snake, etc.

The Mrs. on the other hand did have a bad one. She went to Church with a friend when she was 14 or 15. At one point near the end of the service they asked her and a couple of others to come up and be recognized, then asked if they were ready to turn themselves over to the lord, etc. and when she said no they commenced to berate her there in front of the congregation. She left in tears and never went back to any church.

Fast forward 20 yrs. we get a phone call from her father. There were a few folks doing the door to door thing in the neighborhood. They stopped and talked to the my father in law for a while and handed over a pamphlet at which point he recognized the name. So he told them the story about his daughter and explained he would have no problem doing time for giving them the oppritunity to turn the other cheek by stomping the Jesus out of them if they didn't exit the property post haste and never return. Gotta love him.
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Old 02-12-2013, 15:58   #54
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Let me tell you a little secret: The Bible is written mostly for the Saved. This book is not written mostly for the Lost to understand.
If you substitute “gullible” for “saved” and “skeptics” for “lost” and “blindly accept” for “understand”, I’d agree.

And here’s a little secret for you: If an eight year old kid can see the Bible for the absurd crock that it is (and his Sunday School teachers can’t answer a few simple questions about Genesis) that ought to tell you something about the critical thinking skills of the “saved”.
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Old 02-12-2013, 20:14   #55
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From Taki's Magazine

http://takimag.com/article/when_athe...#axzz2KjiP6Ad8


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