A question for former believers on here
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04-06-2015, 12:08 PM
RE: A question for former believers on here
Back in the second grade in my catholic school, the nun that was our teacher was really into the virgin mary and she would tell all kinds of stories about her and how she loved us so much, and loved us and watched over us... At the time, I do recall feeling like there was someone watching over me and caring for me. At the time, it was a good feeling. I also recall that those feelings passed in the third grade when the next nun, didn't drill us daily with the same crap. In short, I can see how people might "feel" they have a relationship with god and have no idea that it is all in their heads.
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04-06-2015, 11:17 PM
RE: A question for former believers on here
I am very much like you.

But from the most religious person of a person, semi close to me in age I really know, being my oldest sister. She definitely has these personal experiences she can't proclaim to be anything other than gods hand. Which is foolish when unquestionably these are ticks of the human minds desire to seek answers and cognitive tricks. She proclaimed how she once had a guy talking to her on the train and got a weird vibe from him so she didn't know if she should trust him, then she closed her eyes and prayed or something about it, then she opened her eyes and noticed a sign on the wall that said Danger so she stayed away from the guy. It convinces her she ought to feel bad and she has plenty other stories of that flimsy nature.

"Allow there to be a spectrum in all that you see" - Neil Degrasse Tyson
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05-06-2015, 06:23 AM
RE: A question for former believers on here
For a large segment of my life I modeled my walk on Tevye from fiddler on the roof. Talk to Jesus enough every day and it's not hard to believe he's there with you and sending you messages through the words you read and events you experience through the day as well.

Give me your argument in the form of a published paper, and then we can start to talk.
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05-06-2015, 07:11 AM
RE: A question for former believers on here
(03-06-2015 07:29 PM)Rkane819 Wrote:  I grew up Catholic but was bored most of the time in church and the moment I wasn't required to go anymore I stopped. After college I started looking into whether this whole Catholicism was legit and came to the conclusion that I didn't believe and never really did.

When I talk to theists I usually get the response that they have a personal relationship with God/Jesus and they feel their presence. I never came remotely close to having an experience like this which is probably why it was so easy for me to walk away.

For any former believers on here did you ever feel like Jesus was present in your life/God answered your prayers? Obviously you walked away from your faith so what do you think it was you were feeling in those moments when you truly believed? I remember getting really excited as a kid thinking about Santa and the Easter bunny. This is the closest I can come to the feeling believers claim they are experiencing. Any thoughts are greatly appreciated.

The comparison with Santa is a pretty good one, that is about what I felt at the height of my religiousness. I had convinced myself that I believed and that I could feel Jesus. Funny thing was that the only time I "felt" Jesus was when I was in church around everyone else "feeling" Jesus. At the time it seemed totally normal, but now it seems pretty transparent that is was a group-think mentality.

Being nice is something stupid people do to hedge their bets
-Rick
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05-06-2015, 08:34 AM
RE: A question for former believers on here
I really appreciate all the replies I received for this. I should've mentioned this in my initial post but the main reason I've asked you all for your opinions is I have a friend who did not grow up religious but recently became a Christian in his 30s and claims he now has a personal relationship with God/Jesus. He suffers from depression and claims the church has helped him with this. My feeling is that because he's in a welcoming environment with lots of singing he's just experiencing happiness not God. Does anyone have any experience with born agains in this sense?
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05-06-2015, 08:41 AM
RE: A question for former believers on here
(05-06-2015 08:34 AM)Rkane819 Wrote:  I really appreciate all the replies I received for this. I should've mentioned this in my initial post but the main reason I've asked you all for your opinions is I have a friend who did not grow up religious but recently became a Christian in his 30s and claims he now has a personal relationship with God/Jesus. He suffers from depression and claims the church has helped him with this. My feeling is that because he's in a welcoming environment with lots of singing he's just experiencing happiness not God. Does anyone have any experience with born agains in this sense?

The placebo effect can generate real physiological and neurological benefits.

Also, people tend to have an issue separating causality from correlation (we are pattern-seeking animals). So, when one's depression (like any other illness) gets severe, people tend to act and attempt to make some sort of change in the hopes it helps. It could be that if they did nothing to change their routine, they would get better (like for a virus for instance, your immune system will eventually win) but because they did something (like crystal healing or homeopathic remedies or those stupid copper-infused products) they attribute it to that when it had no actual impact.

It would be hard to tell what your friend really benefited from. Community offering an opportunity for social engagement? A sort of counseling provided by someone in the church through religion? If your friend were severely depressed (or depressed at all) then they would have benefited from therapy of almost any sort. But some forms of treatment aren't long-lasting.

There probably isn't anything you'll really be able to point out to your friend that would give him reason to think on it critically.

Being nice is something stupid people do to hedge their bets
-Rick
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05-06-2015, 10:17 AM
RE: A question for former believers on here
(05-06-2015 08:34 AM)Rkane819 Wrote:  I really appreciate all the replies I received for this. I should've mentioned this in my initial post but the main reason I've asked you all for your opinions is I have a friend who did not grow up religious but recently became a Christian in his 30s and claims he now has a personal relationship with God/Jesus. He suffers from depression and claims the church has helped him with this. My feeling is that because he's in a welcoming environment with lots of singing he's just experiencing happiness not God. Does anyone have any experience with born agains in this sense?

Theists prey on vulnerable people like your friend. If you hear Dan Barker talk about when he was an evangelist, he would see someone on the bus that looked troubled and say something like "I feel that you are troubled..." and the person would be surprised. He would then quip in with "the good news is..."
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05-06-2015, 10:33 AM
RE: A question for former believers on here
Great post beardeddude. Interesting stuff.

If you can think back to when you were a believer...How does one "feel" Jesus in a church anyway?

Is he there invisibly walking around? Is he casting a spell on all of you? What if there is another congregation 100 miles away at the same time? Can he go to both? Or is he up in space looking down at all the churches sprinkling dust so everyone gets the feeling?

Believers always make grand statements but never actually think about how its actually happening.

How you did you think you got that Jesus feeling at the time? How did you see it in your mind?
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05-06-2015, 10:57 AM
RE: A question for former believers on here
(05-06-2015 10:33 AM)TheStraightener Wrote:  Great post beardeddude. Interesting stuff.

If you can think back to when you were a believer...How does one "feel" Jesus in a church anyway?

Is he there invisibly walking around? Is he casting a spell on all of you? What if there is another congregation 100 miles away at the same time? Can he go to both? Or is he up in space looking down at all the churches sprinkling dust so everyone gets the feeling?

Believers always make grand statements but never actually think about how its actually happening.

How you did you think you got that Jesus feeling at the time? How did you see it in your mind?

It is a group mindset. Like a pep rally in high school. When everyone is participating and is into it, you get into it to. Even if you don't give a shit about sports.

Being nice is something stupid people do to hedge their bets
-Rick
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05-06-2015, 10:58 AM
RE: A question for former believers on here
Hell, I would still get a little emotional if I were to go to one today because of the emotion around me

Being nice is something stupid people do to hedge their bets
-Rick
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