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I'm an atheist who understands christians


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#1    Bling

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Posted 08 September 2012 - 11:59 PM

I now regard myself as an atheist but my experience with the christian faith was once a huge part of my life, so I can totally understand the views and morals christian follow. I no longer believe there is a god but for a good few years I was extremely devoted and evangelical, so much so that I got caught up in a cult in my quest to be the best christian I could be. The group I got mixed up with believed they were the one true church of the bible, the church that was set up by jesus' disciples, and not part of the false religions of this world. I was convinced I was going to hell if I did not repent of my sin, be baptised by full immersion, receive the holy spirit and follow the church and bible without question. I was brought up by christian parents who were in the baptist church, so I was indoctrinated from a very early age - I just believed it to be true. So when this group came along I praised god for bringing me into his true church, I had been searching for years for a church who followed the bible fully. I was baptised into this church by full immersion (in a baptisimal tank) within the week of hearing the word of god, and was told that I must receive the holy spirit in order to be saved and be a member of the church. The sign of being filled with the spirit was to speak in tongues, and everyone, even the children who had received the spirit spoke in tongues. I was desperate to be saved from armageddon and hell that I automatically accepted all I was told and within a few weeks I was speaking in tongues. I attended the meetings every wednesday evening, twice on sunday (with a break for dinner inbetween) and every friday with the young peoples group. I told everyone I knew that they had to be saved and if they didn't they would go to hell. I knew the bible like the back of my hand and got great comfort from it as I have had more than my fair share of tough times. I had to break off friendships with anyone who didn't follow the church, including family, and was pushed into speaking gods word whenever I could. I was not popular at work because I was seen as a jesus freak, but that just fed my inner martyr so I talked about things even more. I prayed in tongues twice a day, on my knees, and read the bible scriptures that god revealed to me while I was praying. I believed firmly that jesus was to return soon to this earth after a world nuclear war, started by the russians, and I as I was one of the saved I would be taken up to be with him. Then I would join jesus in the huge task of judging every human who ever lived and once the unbelievers were cast into hell with satan, I would live in a new heaven and earth with the lord. All this I was told was backed up by passages in the bible, so to me it seemed unquestionable. I felt special, I was told I was one of an elite few of true christians who was separated from the false religions of this world. I judged people by the word of god and felt justified in doing so. I was a saint.

However, I'm had a nagging doubt and soon began to question the interpretation of some of the scriptures and after much emotional struggle I left the church. Afterwards I was haunted for 7 years, believing I was going to hell and bad things would happen to me, so much so that after a 7 year break I joined the church again! I was so brainwashed, scared, lonely and vulnerable that I saw no other way to live my life. After a further 2 years of constantly resenting the fact I was called by god to be in his true church, and questioning my faith daily, I once again left. As soon as I did I realised to myself just how deluded I had been - I had believed all these things without ever seeing, hearing or experiencing one piece of evidence. Over the years I have accepted that religion is not for me and that actually I don't believe a word of it now. Even if it was true I wouldn't want to follow god as I can't stand the 'love me or I'll kill you' attitude the god of the bible has. It's all fairy tales to me now, and I am no longer scared and waiting for the end of the world, I can enjoy life fully without fear of doing or saying the wrong thing. I feel liberated from the chains that my faith bound me with.

So if any christians on this forum ever think I am disrespecting their opinion, I'm not. I'm just never going to agree with any christianity ever again, or any other religion. I don't believe the bible is the word of god, I don't believe god exists because if he did he would have heard my heartfelt prayers and not let me suffer, and I don't believe in a god who can turn his back on his creation for so long, day after day, with the promise one day he'll sort everything out once he feels mankind has suffered enough. The whole thing just sounds ridiculous to me now!

Feel free to ask me any questions as there's loads more I could say!


#2    libstaK

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Posted 09 September 2012 - 12:10 AM

I am curious on this matter of "speaking in tongues".  You have experienced this and apparently did it a couple of times a day you say while praying.  What do you believe about this experience now?  I, personally have always had niggling issues with it and never looked to any church or faith which practiced it so I am interested in the views of someone who did that and then was able to embrace atheism as many evangelical christians seem to cite this as a piece of their proof of God's reality?

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#3    Ashotep

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Posted 09 September 2012 - 12:53 AM

I never did understand speaking in tongues either and I have heard people doing that.  I was a kid at the time and I questioned if it was real or fake.

I was raised Baptist and I still am I just don't go to church.  I absolutely believe in the afterlife after seeing a ghost.


#4    and then

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Posted 09 September 2012 - 02:10 AM

View PostHilander, on 09 September 2012 - 12:53 AM, said:

I never did understand speaking in tongues either and I have heard people doing that.  I was a kid at the time and I questioned if it was real or fake.

I was raised Baptist and I still am I just don't go to church.  I absolutely believe in the afterlife after seeing a ghost.
Acts 2:4 explains all anyone really needs to understand about "speaking in other tongues".  It was on the day of Pentecost when the Holy Spirit first came down to the church.  Many of the disciples and other believers that day spontaneously began speaking FOREIGN LANGUAGES that they did not possess and they were praising God in them.  Many people in Jerusalem from other parts of the world understood these words as though they were being spoken by a native to their own lands.  It was a miracle of the Holy Spirit.  I think the whole idea has been corrupted over time to be some sort of litmus test for some churches.  The few times I've heard such utterances from "spirit filled" individuals it was pure gibberish with no structure....not a language at all.

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  for what could be, the darkest age...

#5    Alienated Being

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Posted 09 September 2012 - 02:29 AM

I am curious as to why anybody would ever agree with organized religion, in all honesty. If you look into history, you will find that religion is responsible for a staggering number of deaths.

Edited by Alienated Being, 09 September 2012 - 02:30 AM.


#6    Mr Walker

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Posted 09 September 2012 - 02:36 AM

I am a christian who understands atheists
I was once an atheist.
With respect, i dont think your rather dramatic personal experience with christianity really allows you to understand ALL christians or the naturee of christianity for most christians  Charismatic and pentacostal chrstians, while experiencing a rapid growth in recent years, are not representative of all chritianity nor all christians.

I have some very good friends highly educated and well balanced successful peole in their 60s who speak in tongues as part of their church experience But i think that is just what it is; like anglican litury or catholic mass/sacrament; an expression of religious faith/belief and bonding.

You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.

Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be, and whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.

With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world..

Be cheerful.

Strive to be happy.

#7    Alienated Being

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Posted 09 September 2012 - 02:37 AM

View Postand then, on 09 September 2012 - 02:10 AM, said:

Acts 2:4 explains all anyone really needs to understand about "speaking in other tongues".  It was on the day of Pentecost when the Holy Spirit first came down to the church.  Many of the disciples and other believers that day spontaneously began speaking FOREIGN LANGUAGES that they did not possess and they were praising God in them.  Many people in Jerusalem from other parts of the world understood these words as though they were being spoken by a native to their own lands.  It was a miracle of the Holy Spirit.  I think the whole idea has been corrupted over time to be some sort of litmus test for some churches.  The few times I've heard such utterances from "spirit filled" individuals it was pure gibberish with no structure....not a language at all.
We have two variables in this equation...

x = Jerusalem, the "Holiest" region of the world.
y = foreigners.

X + Y = Foreigners + the holy city... they would clearly be worshiping Christ in their native tongue...

My question to you is, why are you so quick to discount the possibility that the subconscious mind absorbed the languages whilst the citizens were traveling throughout the city?.. It is a pretty well-known fact that the subconscious mind keeps track of things much on a much more granular level than what the conscious mind does.


#8    and then

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Posted 09 September 2012 - 02:45 AM

View PostAlienated Being, on 09 September 2012 - 02:29 AM, said:

I am curious as to why anybody would ever agree with organized religion, in all honesty. If you look into history, you will find that religion is responsible for a staggering number of deaths.
I think it is a very human desire to need something greater than themselves to believe in.  Some people just need more proof than others.

  We've cast the world, we've set the stage,
  for what could be, the darkest age...

#9    Alienated Being

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Posted 09 September 2012 - 02:49 AM

View Postand then, on 09 September 2012 - 02:45 AM, said:

I think it is a very human desire to need something greater than themselves to believe in.  Some people just need more proof than others.
I believe that it is a human desire to want to feel as though one has a purpose, instead of feeling useless; which we are, when it comes down to it.


#10    Bling

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Posted 09 September 2012 - 03:05 AM

View PostMr Walker, on 09 September 2012 - 02:36 AM, said:

I am a christian who understands atheists
I was once an atheist.
With respect, i dont think your rather dramatic personal experience with christianity really allows you to understand ALL christians or the naturee of christianity for most christians  Charismatic and pentacostal chrstians, while experiencing a rapid growth in recent years, are not representative of all chritianity nor all christians.

I have some very good friends highly educated and well balanced successful peole in their 60s who speak in tongues as part of their church experience But i think that is just what it is; like anglican litury or catholic mass/sacrament; an expression of religious faith/belief and bonding.

So what do I not understand? What part of christianity did I miss out? I wasn't just involved with pentecostal churches, I mentioned that I'd tried them all and I also went to a cathedral school. And I don't think you need to get personal and belittle my OP by calling it 'rather dramatic', thank you.


#11    Bling

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Posted 09 September 2012 - 03:08 AM

View PostlibstaK, on 09 September 2012 - 12:10 AM, said:

I am curious on this matter of "speaking in tongues".  You have experienced this and apparently did it a couple of times a day you say while praying.  What do you believe about this experience now?  I, personally have always had niggling issues with it and never looked to any church or faith which practiced it so I am interested in the views of someone who did that and then was able to embrace atheism as many evangelical christians seem to cite this as a piece of their proof of God's reality?

I believe now that I spoke in tongues because my mind wanted me to, I wanted it so much. While trying to receive tongues we were told to say hallelujah over and over again, and this then developed into other words. It was all made up, just to fit in.


#12    Fox Mccloud

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Posted 09 September 2012 - 03:38 AM

My gf went to a pentacostal church and she said she spoke in tongue. I told her thats not christian thats like a cult. I think some churches are just bad for you. You know you dont have to go to church to be christian? I dont even read the bible.

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#13    Blueogre2

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Posted 09 September 2012 - 03:43 AM

View PostBling Zombie, on 08 September 2012 - 11:59 PM, said:

I now regard myself as an atheist but my experience with the christian faith was once a huge part of my life, so I can totally understand the views and morals christian follow. I no longer believe there is a god but for a good few years I was extremely devoted and evangelical, so much so that I got caught up in a cult in my quest to be the best christian I could be. The group I got mixed up with believed they were the one true church of the bible, the church that was set up by jesus' disciples, and not part of the false religions of this world. I was convinced I was going to hell if I did not repent of my sin, be baptised by full immersion, receive the holy spirit and follow the church and bible without question. I was brought up by christian parents who were in the baptist church, so I was indoctrinated from a very early age - I just believed it to be true. So when this group came along I praised god for bringing me into his true church, I had been searching for years for a church who followed the bible fully. I was baptised into this church by full immersion (in a baptisimal tank) within the week of hearing the word of god, and was told that I must receive the holy spirit in order to be saved and be a member of the church. The sign of being filled with the spirit was to speak in tongues, and everyone, even the children who had received the spirit spoke in tongues. I was desperate to be saved from armageddon and hell that I automatically accepted all I was told and within a few weeks I was speaking in tongues. I attended the meetings every wednesday evening, twice on sunday (with a break for dinner inbetween) and every friday with the young peoples group. I told everyone I knew that they had to be saved and if they didn't they would go to hell. I knew the bible like the back of my hand and got great comfort from it as I have had more than my fair share of tough times. I had to break off friendships with anyone who didn't follow the church, including family, and was pushed into speaking gods word whenever I could. I was not popular at work because I was seen as a jesus freak, but that just fed my inner martyr so I talked about things even more. I prayed in tongues twice a day, on my knees, and read the bible scriptures that god revealed to me while I was praying. I believed firmly that jesus was to return soon to this earth after a world nuclear war, started by the russians, and I as I was one of the saved I would be taken up to be with him. Then I would join jesus in the huge task of judging every human who ever lived and once the unbelievers were cast into hell with satan, I would live in a new heaven and earth with the lord. All this I was told was backed up by passages in the bible, so to me it seemed unquestionable. I felt special, I was told I was one of an elite few of true christians who was separated from the false religions of this world. I judged people by the word of god and felt justified in doing so. I was a saint.

However, I'm had a nagging doubt and soon began to question the interpretation of some of the scriptures and after much emotional struggle I left the church. Afterwards I was haunted for 7 years, believing I was going to hell and bad things would happen to me, so much so that after a 7 year break I joined the church again! I was so brainwashed, scared, lonely and vulnerable that I saw no other way to live my life. After a further 2 years of constantly resenting the fact I was called by god to be in his true church, and questioning my faith daily, I once again left. As soon as I did I realised to myself just how deluded I had been - I had believed all these things without ever seeing, hearing or experiencing one piece of evidence. Over the years I have accepted that religion is not for me and that actually I don't believe a word of it now. Even if it was true I wouldn't want to follow god as I can't stand the 'love me or I'll kill you' attitude the god of the bible has. It's all fairy tales to me now, and I am no longer scared and waiting for the end of the world, I can enjoy life fully without fear of doing or saying the wrong thing. I feel liberated from the chains that my faith bound me with.

So if any christians on this forum ever think I am disrespecting their opinion, I'm not. I'm just never going to agree with any christianity ever again, or any other religion. I don't believe the bible is the word of god, I don't believe god exists because if he did he would have heard my heartfelt prayers and not let me suffer, and I don't believe in a god who can turn his back on his creation for so long, day after day, with the promise one day he'll sort everything out once he feels mankind has suffered enough. The whole thing just sounds ridiculous to me now!

Feel free to ask me any questions as there's loads more I could say!
Sounds like you had a bad experience with Christianity, sorry to hear that. But I think your being a little bit hasty to to swear off God altogether.


#14    and then

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Posted 09 September 2012 - 04:05 AM

View PostAlienated Being, on 09 September 2012 - 02:37 AM, said:

We have two variables in this equation...

x = Jerusalem, the "Holiest" region of the world.
y = foreigners.

X + Y = Foreigners + the holy city... they would clearly be worshiping Christ in their native tongue...

My question to you is, why are you so quick to discount the possibility that the subconscious mind absorbed the languages whilst the citizens were traveling throughout the city?.. It is a pretty well-known fact that the subconscious mind keeps track of things much on a much more granular level than what the conscious mind does.
A word or a phrase...sure.  They were using the language like natives...fluency is indicated.  And I wasn't saying that the foreigners were the ones speaking in foreign languages.  It was miraculous because unlearned fishermen were speaking foreign "tongues" fluently, praising God.

  We've cast the world, we've set the stage,
  for what could be, the darkest age...

#15    Alienated Being

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Posted 09 September 2012 - 04:20 AM

View Postand then, on 09 September 2012 - 04:05 AM, said:

A word or a phrase...sure.  They were using the language like natives...fluency is indicated.  And I wasn't saying that the foreigners were the ones speaking in foreign languages.  It was miraculous because unlearned fishermen were speaking foreign "tongues" fluently, praising God.
These phrases that were being spoken "fluently" in the foreign tongues could have easily been picked up whilst walking in Jerusalem. You don't need to be "learned" to subconsciously pick absorb a phrase, or a combination of phrases, either.





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