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I'm an atheist who understands christians

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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!

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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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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.

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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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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
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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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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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.

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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.

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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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I have no problem with organized religion what I have a problem with is people who don't think about it. Some things when I think about though are if you are doing good things for other people only because your scared of being damned or going to hell does that really make you a good person? If the only purporse you do something is only to save your soul wouldn't that make the whole point of being selfless turn it in to being selfish? Really seems like you can relate it to a child learning not to stick his hand in fire because it hurts.

If you really think about it I can see why they are pushing people to do good things because of the fake it until you make it psychology. I started out volunteering when I was younger because of the idea of not being punished but even as I left the church I continue to do so because I now like the experience.

People are sheep so I wouldn't be surprised that somebody wrote the bible to steer people to doing good things and try to give them an idea on how things got started; almost like doing the world a favor. Like everything though after the original founders had passed and other people stepped up and the good intentions became lost and twisted along the way.

Like the tongues what Alienated Being sounds pretty good and makes sense but with people it gets twisted so situations like Bling Zombie said become the truth of it. (Not trying to offend btw)

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The fact that one denies a people's desire to organize into a single spiritual whole has nothing to do with religion or atheism. It is simply ignorance my friend. You exist and so will people's desires to live as one, even if they don't know how.

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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.

Oh come on. I never felt useless or puposeless as an atheist. Like my dad always said to me "You've got a brain . Use it!" So i did; to create purpose or to serve other purposes which I saw as constructive for self or community.

Religion may serve a purpose, but in itself it is not a purpose. Humans join religions for as many reasons as there are humans but generally they join to gain the benefits religions confer on them, on top of the benefits spiritual belief confers. eg practical business related reasons; reasons of social place and status; or just to belong to a group. For social reasons and because they actually believe in the religious principles of a religion among many reasons. I suspect most humans join religions because belief and belonging make them feel better and actually be healthier and longer lived. It reduces stress grief and the pains of life, even in a modern age

Edited by Mr Walker
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I can sympathize with your story! I have very similar experience. Good to see another fellow ex-Christian atheist!

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I can offer another view of tongues from someone who is a scholar although it is his own view. If interested let me know because I won't waste time transcribing it from a book: Magic Power Language Symbol by Patrick Dunn

In one part he mentions that glossolalia is cutting off one stream of thought, that of our regular selves and every day speech, cutting off all they represent, and letting another part of our own minds surface or even the possibility to allow something from outside in.

Also that a word like the has little information but a word like banana has much more but there is a limit to how much information we can process. If we walk into a crowded room where everyone is talking then that is a very rich information environment. Imagine the universe talking to us. It might sound like static. In either case if we can't make sense of the crowded room because of the chatter how can we possibly even grasp a part of the universe?

I also agree partially with Mr. Walker. Mileage varies. If someone is not stable, if they feel they have no purpose, they will not feel purpose in any church or under any system. The fact some people tried atheism and then switched to faith and in cases where the reverse occured all point to the fact that how we feel has more to do with us than with any system we adhere to at any given moment. Those are all aids and symbols that allow deeper parts of ourself to surface and give us a sense of purpose and will to go on.

Edited by Chasingtherabbit

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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.

Well, speaking in tongues and the penetecostal ,movement IS a rather dramatic aspect of christianity. Iv'e attended a number of their services over the years and they scared the pants off me. I'd never surrender control of my mind or body like that. Ive attended and studied over a dozen forms of christianity and, outside of snake handling, speaking in tongues and being knocked down by the power of the holy spirit Is about the most dramatic form of religious ceremony i know of (well maybe some south american and phillpine flagellants go a little further and those who actually crucify them selves. But otherwise, No, pentecostal services are pretty out there.

Two mainstream creeds I am familiar with are catholic and anglican. I also am familiar with the baptist lutheran and other groups (presbyterian?) which formed what is called the umiting church in AUstralia Take the anglican. I t is traditional and preaches a social gospel of good works and good governance. While the catholic is a little more mystical in some sections/aspects it is also a practical based church.

The churches i associate with, run schools, factories, printing houses, shops, nursing homes, retirement villages and charities as well as employment agencies under goct contracts. They provide services to people because they see that as part of a christian duty. The most radical aspect of my local anglican church is its annual strawberry fete where fist fights occasionalyl break out among octogenarians over whose sponge cake is the best.

While penetecostals use modern music and song to attract the young, traditional churches use the old fashioned hymns of praise and glory

Take yourself. If you had gone to a traditional anglican, catholic, or lutheran/presbyterian church as a child , you might have been so bored you left and never went back. You certainly wouldnt have been scared or emotionally challenged. You would have seen very ordinary people doing very ordinary things, except they tended to be more socially aware and responsible than most people.

Edited by Mr Walker
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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.

So you are not aware of what you are saying? There is no revelation in the experience for the individual internally?

I have observed a group doing this "speaking in tongues" (it was quite uncomfortable being the only one there not participating) and what I noticed was that they would all speak "in tongues" and then suddenly go silent and one member would say something "revelatory". TBH I gaped at the speaker on a couple of occassions because the commentary was far from "inspired" imo but it was so long ago I couldn't accurately quote any of them now. It's a fascinating group psychology in my mind, the way they operated like some unified wave that crested then tapered, someone spoke and the whole process started again. I wasn't convinced that it was anything more than a deliberately induced "altered state" like children do when they sing nonsense for ages then get hyper and spin in circles or jump about - although children don't act with deliberation.

I don't mean to insult anyone who has had this experience and gained something personal from it, this was just my perception at the time as an observer who did not participate.

It is interesting that you could recognise in hindsight that nothing "life changing" or spiritually fulfilling came of it for you. I am a christian but of the gnostic variety, I believe the truth shall set us free and truth must be searched for. All that comes before us should be rigourously tested before it can be considered authentic - this requires one to be lucid and minutely aware of what they are thinking, speaking and doing. Speaking in tongues seems to place a soul in the opposite state where they literally have no idea what they are spouting but are being transported by a wave of sensation instead.

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Oh come on. I never felt useless or puposeless as an atheist.

Okay, just because you never felt useless, that doesn't mean you weren't. We are all useless in the grand scheme of things. Our very existence is just as meaningless as the other civilizations in this universe. The only objective that we have is procreation.

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Okay, just because you never felt useless, that doesn't mean you weren't. We are all useless in the grand scheme of things. Our very existence is just as meaningless as the other civilizations in this universe. The only objective that we have is procreation.

Again, come on.!! We define and create purpose. If you want to believe YOU have no purpose, so be it. Its untrue but your prerogative to believe this. In a sense, however, by believeing such a thing you tend to make it more true. if you dont believe you have a purpose or can make a difference, you wont try to, and thus you wont make such a big difference. Believe you can do something and you can, given enough time and resources.

I have many purposes. I change lives for the better. I even save a significant number of them. I make the world a better place for animals. I make the world a better place for humans. I shape the universe (or at least my little bit of it) as i desire it to be. I create increased potentialities in the universe, and I work to defy entropy.

Without me in it, the universe would be a different and lesser place than it is, having had me in it for 60 years. Thats a fact. And I've never procreated, LOL. Life isnt just about procreation. It is about being all we can be, learning all we can learn, and doing all we can do. If we all did that, the world, and eventually the universe, would be a far better place.

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Again, come on.!! We define and create purpose. If you want to believe YOU have no purpose, so be it. Its untrue but your prerogative to believe this. In a sense, however, by believeing such a thing you tend to make it more true. if you dont believe you have a purpose or can make a difference, you wont try to, and thus you wont make such a big difference. Believe you can do something and you can, given enough time and resources.

We create our purpose yes, but as I said many times, we serve no real purpose to the universe. To our own planet, yes.. perhaps; but in the grand scheme of things, we are just another species in this gargantuan universe who will die off.

I have many purposes. I change lives for the better. I even save a significant number of them. I make the world a better place for animals. I make the world a better place for humans. I shape the universe (or at least my little bit of it) as i desire it to be. I create increased potentialities in the universe, and I work to defy entropy.

This is your purpose. Humans, as a whole, serve no purpose in the grand scheme of things.

Without me in it, the universe would be a different and lesser place than it is, having had me in it for 60 years. Thats a fact. And I've never procreated, LOL. Life isnt just about procreation. It is about being all we can be, learning all we can learn, and doing all we can do. If we all did that, the world, and eventually the universe, would be a far better place.

Not at all. The universe progressed along quite well over billions of years without you, and I am sure it will continue along quite well looong after you.

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