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I'm an atheist who understands christians

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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.

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

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.

You deliberately, or in error misdefine purpose. Purpose is a construct of human level sapience. It exists because we create it. Even if there were not a single other sapient entity in the universe, as long as humans existed we have purpose and we construct purposes for our world our galaxy and our universe. Why on earth assume we are going to "die off"

We have many options, from self directed evolution into another species( or species) through simple enhancement of ourselves. We have the imagination and capacity ot become level 1,2, or 3 galactic civilizations. Measured by the amount of energy we use (a level one civilization uses all the energy available on earth including incoming solar radiation. A level 2 akl the available energy from our suns output and other solar sytem sources and a level 3 ALL the energy available in our galaxy Transforming our solar system and even our galaxy is quite feasible. Given enough time we can transform/reshape the unibverse and move beyond it to alternate ones. Nothing is imposible.

The universe will proceed after me but it willl be a dfifernt universe because i lived within it and changed it for my life span.

A child i educate today or save from starvation, might be the one who discovers star drives or matter transmission or human immortality, or how to make humans into other life forms by genetic manipulation. And if not them then one of their children or grandchildren. And even if none of those things happen, I have changed lives and the direction of the future for many people. I have already shaped the future of the universe The difference is, that I know i have, and consciously set our to do so from childhood, first by changing myself. My father showed me how to imagine and dream, how to shape, plan, and construct realities for those dreams and imagination, by the use of resources and energy, and how to produce a concrete end result from imagination and directed effort.

The ultimate purpose of entities like humans is to prevent entropy from destroying the universe and to bring about a different, more constructive, outcome. That's a big ask. But we are making the first step, right now, towards this goal.

Edited by Mr Walker
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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!

I can so relate! I was raised in a fundamentalist christian house and it was HELL! The suffering is something which many believers will either deny or downplay. It's just in their programming. I lived in a small toen in Texas that was majority SDA's...they tried to control everyone right down to not being allowed to mow your yard on Saturday. Itwas like the stepford wives!very oppressive and judgmental and abusive.

I am so glad you made it to freedom! It can be lonely and it hurts to still see loved ones so destroyed by religious abuse....but I wouldn't trade my freedom of thought now for ANYTHING.

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

*hi five*

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I would just like to add this......

In my quest to 'find god' I attended Church of England, Roman Catholic, Methodist, Quaker, Spiritualist, Pentecostal, and Baptist churches. So I know quite a bit of how they all operate. By the time I got sucked into the cult I was so desperate and confused I just went with it, however I wasn't enamoured with any of the denominations, they all had major flaws. I am not an atheist just because I had a bad experience with a cult, I'm an atheist because I have opened my mind to other possibilities and learnt more about science. I questioned the whole story behind the christian faith, the bible and historical events and realised more and more that what I was believing had no concrete evidence and was interpreted so many ways it could never to true. I was looking for something to make sense of my existence but now realise that I wasn't created by a omnipotent being but simply by years and years of evolution. I am part of the human race and that's all I need to concern myself with now.

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In the end it does not seem you understand Christians at all. You might believe you do but you don't. Unless you believe that the dominant narrative, the popular theme used in describing them, is accurate and the only way to describe them. You simply switched from a view a few have to one that most have but neither is the total truth but both are parts of truth. To think one is a lie and the other is fact is a false dichotomy.

You don't even understand the purpose of tongues except to believe it is mumbo jumbo. Not how it works psychologically. The academic who wrote the book I mentioned before wrote he was not fully convinced they were just making it up. Although he did note that in some instances such as when used in Voodoo ceremonies, glossolalia only occurs once the spirit enters them and that in other places it would seem the person would be making tongues up as a way to enter that very psychological state of possession.

I can understand if just observing the latter group one would get the sense they are just making it up but the altered psychological state of possession that ensues is a separate component.

What is important here is that you did not feel Christianity, or at least that type, was working for you. So now you have something that hopefully does work. But Christianity worked for others. Ultimate truth is not based just on how you or I feel or if it worked for either of us. If you truly understand Christianity you would respect how it works for others and what actual science has to say about it. You understand others who define Christianity a certain way, that is clear, but you hardly understand Christianity.

All that matters for you is that you have found a place of comfort but it is not necessarily the place of ultimate truth for all just for you. So it doesn't matter if you truly understand Christians or not. I just don't think you should claim you understand them but instead perhaps claim you should claim you understand it is not for you. That would allow a sense of authenticity of your self without extending it to others for whom Christianity works for them.

Edited by Chasingtherabbit
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In the end it does not seem you understand Christians at all. You might believe you do but you don't. Unless you believe that the dominant narrative, the popular theme used in describing them, is accurate and the only way to describe them. You simply switched from a view a few have to one that most have but neither is the total truth but both are parts of truth. To think one is a lie and the other is fact is a false dichotomy.

You don't even understand the purpose of tongues except to believe it is mumbo jumbo. Not how it works psychologically. The academic who wrote the book I mentioned before wrote he was not fully convinced they were just making it up. Although he did note that in some instances such as when used in Voodoo ceremonies, glossolalia only occurs once the spirit enters them and that in other places it would seem the person would be making tongues up as a way to enter that very psychological state of possession.

I can understand if just observing the latter group one would get the sense they are just making it up but the altered psychological state of possession that ensues is a separate component.

What is important here is that you did not feel Christianity, or at least that type, was working for you. So now you have something that hopefully does work. But Christianity worked for others. Ultimate truth is not based just on how you or I feel or if it worked for either of us. If you truly understand Christianity you would respect how it works for others and what actual science has to say about it. You understand others who define Christianity a certain way, that is clear, but you hardly understand Christianity.

All that matters for you is that you have found a place of comfort but it is not necessarily the place of ultimate truth for all just for you. So it doesn't matter if you truly understand Christians or not. I just don't think you should claim you understand them but instead perhaps claim you should claim you understand it is not for you. That would allow a sense of authenticity of your self without extending it to others for whom Christianity works for them.

what doesn't really matter is if YOU think YOU understand what SHE understands! got it? good..........LMAO.....

what threatens you about her understanding? because I see a response based on fear......just my opinion so please don't blow a gasket over it...just sharing my observations.

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I got the first part of your statement. It obviously matters somewhat to you what I think she understands so that kind of detracts from your point but I generally agree with your point anyway.

As for the second part of your statement it is interesting that you think (feel) that I am threatened and responded based on fear. Maybe because you disagree with my point has led you to that conclusion? If you agreed you might feel otherwise. So your observation is based on how you feel more than what is ultimate truth.

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This was also a disappointing thread where I though atheists and Christians would understand each other, encourage each other, accept each other, and give each other hope.

I see no understanding here but I understand many have been harmed by their local church even as others prosper in those churches. For the harmed of course they will turn away and might even have a negative view.

The thread title was totally misleading

I prefer a world of mutual acceptance and co-existance. The bashing that goes on is not something I am a cheerleader of.

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This was also a disappointing thread where I though atheists and Christians would understand each other, encourage each other, accept each other, and give each other hope.

I see no understanding here but I understand many have been harmed by their local church even as others prosper in those churches. For the harmed of course they will turn away and might even have a negative view.

The thread title was totally misleading

I prefer a world of mutual acceptance and co-existance. The bashing that goes on is not something I am a cheerleader of.

it isn't utopia anywhere....and some things are so destructive they must be confronted. It's not love and light and everything nice with christianity you know. There are some serious flaws with it. And because some prosper doesn't make it ok for those who have suffered. many plantation owners prospered by slavery...of course not so well for the slaves...but if just propsering is enough to make something alright....well, that is flawed.

Not agreeing is not equal to bashing. Criticising a bad idea is not bashing....if you cannot hold your beliefs to scrutiny in a free marketplace of ideas because you think YOU have the ultimate truth.......well you are right......this is no place for you. I welcome full scrutiny of everything I say....If I am wrong I aim to change...if a christian says a doctrine is wrong...they are a heretic

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You deliberately, or in error misdefine purpose. Purpose is a construct of human level sapience. It exists because we create it. Even if there were not a single other sapient entity in the universe, as long as humans existed we have purpose and we construct purposes for our world our galaxy and our universe. Why on earth assume we are going to "die off"

It exists because we create it, yes... we create our own purpose... however, there is no purpose for us to be alive, other than the purpose that we set out for ourselves. We are merely a species

We have many options, from self directed evolution into another species( or species) through simple enhancement of ourselves. We have the imagination and capacity ot become level 1,2, or 3 galactic civilizations. Measured by the amount of energy we use (a level one civilization uses all the energy available on earth including incoming solar radiation. A level 2 akl the available energy from our suns output and other solar sytem sources and a level 3 ALL the energy available in our galaxy Transforming our solar system and even our galaxy is quite feasible. Given enough time we can transform/reshape the unibverse and move beyond it to alternate ones. Nothing is imposible.

I can agree with you - however, I believe that there are creatures in the universe that are much more technologically advanced than what we are.. much, much more. By millions, perhaps a billion years ahead of us.

The universe will proceed after me but it willl be a dfifernt universe because i lived within it and changed it for my life span.

It won't be a different universe, because the impact that you have on the universe as it stands is quite insignificant. You can have an impact on your planet... however, in astronomical terms... no. We live. We breed. We die. Between living and dying, we find more ways to screw ourselves over....

A child i educate today or save from starvation, might be the one who discovers star drives or matter transmission or human immortality, or how to make humans into other life forms by genetic manipulation. And if not them then one of their children or grandchildren. And even if none of those things happen, I have changed lives and the direction of the future for many people. I have already shaped the future of the universe The difference is, that I know i have, and consciously set our to do so from childhood, first by changing myself. My father showed me how to imagine and dream, how to shape, plan, and construct realities for those dreams and imagination, by the use of resources and energy, and how to produce a concrete end result from imagination and directed effort.

Human immortality is already quite plausible, and is expected to become a fine reality within the next ~50 years. Everything else that you have mentioned is already being actively pursued and worked on...

The ultimate purpose of entities like humans is to prevent entropy from destroying the universe and to bring about a different, more constructive, outcome. That's a big ask. But we are making the first step, right now, towards this goal.

If history is any indicator, our civilization will fall, just like every other one. I believe if we are to do anything, it will result in the demise of the universe.

You're deluding yourself.

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it isn't utopia anywhere....and some things are so destructive they must be confronted. It's not love and light and everything nice with christianity you know. There are some serious flaws with it. And because some prosper doesn't make it ok for those who have suffered. many plantation owners prospered by slavery...of course not so well for the slaves...but if just propsering is enough to make something alright....well, that is flawed.

Not agreeing is not equal to bashing. Criticising a bad idea is not bashing....if you cannot hold your beliefs to scrutiny in a free marketplace of ideas because you think YOU have the ultimate truth.......well you are right......this is no place for you. I welcome full scrutiny of everything I say....If I am wrong I aim to change...if a christian says a doctrine is wrong...they are a heretic

I agree with your first paragraph. Many of these churches need to grow and can seem immature because they believe they have the ultimate truth and all should bow to it. Further they should be able to grow at their own pace. I disagree with your second paragraph because it seems you want a license to bash and would desire them to bow to your vision of the world. One can certainly point out a flaw and that does not equate to understanding because they also lack acceptance. Point out a flaw and accept them, that does not mean accept their ideas if you disagree but it does mean allow them to grow at their own pace. An adult screaming at a child because they are not acting like an adult is futile, children are also immature and should be allowed to grow at their own pace. This is no different.

Many switch from one system to another system and believe their second choice is the more superior. Perhaps it is better for their own life but the move was totally parallel when comparing systems if they just switched from one side that bashes, Christians bashing the world, to the other side, the world of people who bash Christians, which is not the whole world, or even the best part of the world where people have their beliefs and allow others theirs.

Edited by Chasingtherabbit
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I agree with your first paragraph. Many of these churches need to grow and can seem immature because they believe they have the ultimate truth and all should bow to it. Further they should be able to grow at their own pace. I disagree with your second paragraph because it seems you want a license to bash and would desire them to bow to your vision of the world. One can certainly point out a flaw and that does not equate to understanding because they also lack acceptance. Point out a flaw and accept them, that does not mean accept their ideas if you disagree but it does mean allow them to grow at their own pace. An adult screaming at a child because they are not acting like an adult is futile, children are also immature and should be allowed to grow at their own pace. This is no different.

Many switch from one system to another system and believe their second choice is the more superior. Perhaps it is better for their own life but the move was totally parallel when comparing systems if they just switched from one side that bashes, Christians bashing the world, to the other side, the world of people who bash Christians, which is not the whole world, or even the best part of the world where people have their beliefs and allow others theirs.

unlike with christianity I do not scare little kids(or adults) with the threat of hell and eternal damnation if they do not think like i do. I encourage people to think.

Christianity proposes absurd untestable hypotheses and then screams you can't question it! it is divine command! I know because God tells me...lol..........can you NOT see the problem with that? I encourage questioning and talking and analyzing......christianity does not....and it threatens bodily and spiritual harm if one dares stray from its doctrines.

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I have seen people speaking in tongues and I have also seen people in trance. It is the same. I saw it happen in Pagan rituals I have attended They do it in many of the Caribbean religions like VooDoo. You can bring it on by dancing, chanting, prayer or meditation. What is going on in the brain I don't know.

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I'm sorry you had to go thru this. At least you got to choose religion or not religion. I wasn't so lucky. I was wakened at age 8 and forced to attend until i was16 my escape was begging my boss to schedule me every Sunday to work for twelve hours straight or split shifts just to not have to go. PS I drove past a church today it's name was " life is pain" drove past another called end of times church. Yeesshh

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It exists because we create it, yes... we create our own purpose... however, there is no purpose for us to be alive, other than the purpose that we set out for ourselves. We are merely a species

I can agree with you - however, I believe that there are creatures in the universe that are much more technologically advanced than what we are.. much, much more. By millions, perhaps a billion years ahead of us.

It won't be a different universe, because the impact that you have on the universe as it stands is quite insignificant. You can have an impact on your planet... however, in astronomical terms... no. We live. We breed. We die. Between living and dying, we find more ways to screw ourselves over....

Human immortality is already quite plausible, and is expected to become a fine reality within the next ~50 years. Everything else that you have mentioned is already being actively pursued and worked on...

If history is any indicator, our civilization will fall, just like every other one. I believe if we are to do anything, it will result in the demise of the universe.

You're deluding yourself.

Ah youre talking about that "religious sort of purpose some people have. I agree with you on that. NO we werent created for/with a purpose. We evolved one and construct our own

Yes there are, and many which self destructed and some who have not evolved into self aware sapaient beings yet, but will, The universe is teeming with life especially near its centre and in the centre of each galaxy Our here on the rim, we are a bit like a pacific island cut off from european civilization.

who is to judge or an judge insigbificance No human is insognificant although some have a more widepsread influence than others I do all i can and tha tis enough to make a differnce As i said many people would be dead or uneducated or living in extreme poverty if not for me and others like me To them my contribution is VERY seognificant So is it to the thousands of children i have taught, many of who tell me how i have changed their lives. Not bragging just stating a reality. No I am not ghandi or paul mccartney but i change the world just the same. Most peole i knoew dont screw others over thei make a positive differnce to others and to the world animals an the environment I think this is a matter of how we feel about ourselves, as much as anything.

Yes i know all those things are being scientifically studied That s my point. Humans are creators and builders as much as destroyers. Human civilizations dont fall actually, they go though high and lows and new ones build on the old ones.

Deluded ? Perhaps. Time will tell. but at least I am making an effort rather tha sitting back, thinking its hopeless,

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To the OP: I'm sorry you had such an unpleasant experience. However, as others have said, I don't think you can really claim to understand all Christians. The very fact that you used the term 'fairy tales' in your OP shows that. You may understand a lot of the main denominations (although the fact that you drifted from one to another may suggest you didn't truly grasp the message they tried to convey) but you do not seem to understand Christians on an individual level.

Regarding whether we have a purpose, I refer people to this story http://andrew-ong.com/2008/02/06/the-starfish-story-you-can-make-a-difference/. Ignore the religious introduction, it was just the first version I found :)

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Blimey this topic certainly has got a few people riled up hasn't it?! I don't have to justify myself anymore. I was a christian for over 20 years so of course I understand what it's like to be a christian. I know what it's like to believe in a christian god and live life as a christian. I am not saying I understand every christian because everyone is different, I am saying I understand what it is to be a christian even though I am now an atheist. So chill and don't disrespect my opinion, if you don't like this topic then step away.

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Blimey this topic certainly has got a few people riled up hasn't it?! I don't have to justify myself anymore. I was a christian for over 20 years so of course I understand what it's like to be a christian. I know what it's like to believe in a christian god and live life as a christian. I am not saying I understand every christian because everyone is different, I am saying I understand what it is to be a christian even though I am now an atheist. So chill and don't disrespect my opinion, if you don't like this topic then step away.

Nobody is riled up or 'disrespecting your opinion'. We are simply pointing out that you are making some quite sweeping generalisations. Understanding of some christians does not mean you can state you understand christians (lack of some implying all).

If you aren't prepared to deal with answers that disagree with you, don't start a topic.

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Nobody is riled up or 'disrespecting your opinion'. We are simply pointing out that you are making some quite sweeping generalisations. Understanding of some christians does not mean you can state you understand christians (lack of some implying all).

If you aren't prepared to deal with answers that disagree with you, don't start a topic.

I said I understood what it is to be a christian, I didn't say I understand all christians! I don't mind people disagreeing with me at all, I just think some people need to be a bit more polite and chill out a bit. Maybe you should re-read some posts on here and you'll understand me better. Peace and love!

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I said I understood what it is to be a christian, I didn't say I understand all christians! I don't mind people disagreeing with me at all, I just think some people need to be a bit more polite and chill out a bit. Maybe you should re-read some posts on here and you'll understand me better. Peace and love!

Topic title:

I'm an atheist who understands christians

That may be where the confusion is coming from.

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unlike with christianity I do not scare little kids(or adults) with the threat of hell and eternal damnation if they do not think like i do. I encourage people to think.

Christianity proposes absurd untestable hypotheses and then screams you can't question it! it is divine command! I know because God tells me...lol..........can you NOT see the problem with that? I encourage questioning and talking and analyzing......christianity does not....and it threatens bodily and spiritual harm if one dares stray from its doctrines.

Say rather that some denominations of Christianity propose absurd hypotheses and...

All it takes to be a 'Christian' really is to follow the teachings of Jesus. Given that the only source of these is a book written by men that contradict itself, it is up to the individual in question as to what they feel the real message is. In that way, Christianity can be a very personal faith. Generalisations such as those you mention and throughout this forum are understandable. If people don't make a fuss about their faith and allow everyone else to get on with their lives, it does not make the news or an interesting forum topic. If, however, they try to force them on others or make inflammatory comments, someone will get offended and people assume everyone under that label is the same. It's unhelpful to tar everyone with the same brush. As such, I'd say judge people as individuals not by a label. That goes for any group not just Christians.

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Topic title:

I'm an atheist who understands christians

That may be where the confusion is coming from.

What would you like me to call the topic, bearing in mind I am limited to a certain amount of letters? I really don't think some people are understanding my meaning behind this topic, I was trying to be nice.....

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If you believe this is a topic that riles others up and you have to try to be nice about...that reveals much about your approach but little about the approach of others.

Accusing others of your own disposition will not change that but not everyone is approaching this as you.

This whole topic was meant to put down others. That is not understanding them.

Edited by Chasingtherabbit

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What would you like me to call the topic, bearing in mind I am limited to a certain amount of letters? I really don't think some people are understanding my meaning behind this topic, I was trying to be nice.....

Maybe 'I'm an atheist who used to be Christian'. As that seems to be the only real message to be gained from the topic.

Perhaps you do think you were trying to be nice but the way it comes across is condescending; suggesting that because you have been both a christian and atheist people should just take whatever you say even if they find it offensive. It looks rather like you're setting yourself up to go an a tirade about Christianity so that, when people call you out on it, you can point to this topic and say 'but I used to be one so I understand what's offensive to you better than you do'.

Not saying that's your intention, just how it comes across.

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This thread is also proof that just because one is or was part of something does not mean they understand it.

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