Facebook debate with close theist friend...
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30-04-2013, 04:20 PM
Facebook debate with close theist friend...
Awhile back one of my closest theist friends (we're not so close now that I've come out as an atheist, however) posted some of his nature photos on Facebook for all to see. One of them, a picture of a flower, was captioned "wonder what kind of brush God used to paint this beautiful bulb?". I replied "A Darwinian 42?" with a smiley face. He asked what that had to do with creation, and I responded that it must've come from the "evolution" section of the store.

Then I got a private message from him, and as you'll see from the following, we got into a short debate:

His first message:
Quote:I'm really surprised at your approach to atheism. You're a non-conflict type of guy in all other parts of your life except when it comes to God. I find that very interesting.

You used to give me advice on how to peacefully get dumped. :>) I remember you telling me I shouldn't write things to a girl that I wanted to say after getting dumped. You said it was best to just wish her farewell and move on. So that is what's surprising to me with the way things turned out for you and "the church". Instead of saying farewell peacefully and moving on with your own beliefs, you're now waging war.

If you don't believe in God, why are you making it such a big deal? I don't believe in space aliens but you don't see me spending time reading and posting articles about space aliens. I feel sad for you that this is all clearly based on bitterness. If it wasn't, you wouldn't have all of your hang-ups with God.
My response:

I'm bummed that I wasted my life believing in a fairy tale, and I'd rather live a hard truth than a comforting lie. I don't have "hang-ups" with god, because there is no god to have hang-ups with. However, I certainly have issues with religions and churches that continue to push myth as reality and prejudice as divine right.

Sure, you don't post about space aliens, but you and many other of my Xian friends post about things that are even more fantastic, like creationism, prayer, and a god who sends people to eternal hell because a talking snake convinced two naked idiots to eat a piece of fruit.

And that's my issue with religion. Ending a romance is one thing, but a faith based on falsehood and guilt is another. We are being held back as a species by superstitious nonsense that denies reality, rationality, and science in favor of fantasy, magical thinking, and supernatural hogwash.

I'm simply doing my part to "witness" for the real truth, just as you are. I respect all my friends' right to believe what they want, and I answer all of them reasonably when they post rebuttals to my wall. But I also reserve the right to post my responses to their articles and statements, and so far I've done so reasonably and with humor.

The world is changing, my friend. I have changed as well, and as a result I am taking a side for what I believe is right. I'm sorry we're on different pages, but that's the way the ball bounces. Take it or leave it - either way, I wish you well

His 2nd response:
Quote:Sounds like you've become certain that God doesn't exist. Did you all of a sudden find that something to know with 100% certainty that God doesn't exist? You can't be that bold and claim no god when you don't have 100% evidence to show me. Why weren't you debating this stuff when you were at Multnomah?

I know you've told me that line about wasting your life in Christianity, but I'm not sure how you "wasted" it. What was so horrible about YOUR experience? Did it help you be a better person or did it force you to do horrible things? How did it ruin YOUR life?

I'm glad you did notice that it was the "church" that made you bitter and not God. The church has some messed-up people in it, that's for sure...just like your atheist group.

Yeah, I know you're likely to have the same view as your atheists buddies on this, but just wanted to make sure you threw in a book into your reading queue that was different than an anti-God book...

http://www.amazon.com/The-Case-Creator-L...B000ION2HG

My 2nd response:

Of course I can't be 100% sure there is no "god" of any type, any more than you can be 100% sure there isn't a tentacled monster orbiting Saturn. But after much thought and research (including what I learned at Multnomah, which turned out to be pretty one-sided), I'm 99.9% sure there isn't a god like the one we worshipped in church.

The church was part of my deconversion process, but there are other things that drove me away. First, scientific: no evidence for a Flood or an Exodus, while plenty for evolution. Second, philosophical: all this suffering and hell because two nudists ate some fruit? Not a lot of justice and love there (not to mention logic or common sense).

As for Strobel, I've read his stuff, and he's pretty bush-league when it comes to apologetics. Keep in mind that while your hobbies were art and photography, mine were reading and writing - so over the years I read tons of Xian books. Frankly they don't hold up well when compared to the works of Dawkins, Hitchens, Harris, and Sagan.

Christianity didn't ruin my life (although it was a waste of time basing my life on a falsehood). I had good moments and met good friends like you. And yes, there are atheist jerks and weirdos - people are people in any context. But as a belief system Xianity doesn't hold up under the weight of reality, logic, and critical thinking. I've always sought the truth in my life, and i've come to the conclusion that it's not in the Bible or any other religious book.

(End of exchange)

After my 2nd response I never heard back from him. It's kind of sad because we were really close friends for a number of years, even after he moved up north to pursue a better life back in 2001. But once I left the faith things became strained, and I knew it was a a matter of time before this kind of discussion took place.
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30-04-2013, 05:35 PM
RE: Facebook debate with close theist friend...
I thought your replies were inspired, well thought out, non-confrontational and very compelling. Well done.

BTW, I've been to Multnomah Falls in the Columbia River Gorge, beautiful place.

"The larger the island of knowledge, the longer the shoreline of wonder.” ~ Ralph W. Sockman
“I am quite sure now that often, very often, in matters concerning religion and politics a man's reasoning powers are not above the monkey's." - Mark Twain in Eruption
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30-04-2013, 05:48 PM
RE: Facebook debate with close theist friend...
I have nothing to say. I avoid confrontations on fb. I'm sorry tho you've lost a friend (or seems so).

It's hard.

Christians tho in general see nothing wrong with posting their belief in god...

But in general if we post one thing in a thousand posts about disbelief we're the bad people persecuting and taking away their religjon.

Wind's in the east, a mist coming in
Like something is brewing and about to begin
Can't put my finger on what lies in store
but I feel what's to happen has happened before...


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01-05-2013, 10:29 AM
RE: Facebook debate with close theist friend...
Thanks for the encouragement Smile

It's tough having a long-term friendship deteriorate, especially since we went through a lot of stuff together and had fun hanging out. We exchanged tons of emails over the years, did a couple of vacations together, and I used to go up and spend a weekend at his house from time to time in order to commisserate over our aging singleton status and enjoy Seattle and/or Canada.

But my leaving the faith has pretty much put the kibosh on all that. Again, a tough deal, but I'm not going to hide my atheism or walk on eggshells around the guy every time we hang out. That doesn't mean I rubbed his nose in my deconversion, but I had no more interest in attending his church or doing any Xian events, and it was tough having deep conversations about our lives because of his faith-based approach vs. my rational one.

With all that in mind, I'm grateful that I never got married while I was a Xian, because as much as I'm bummed about losing this friendship, I'd be a lot more miserable dealing with a believing wife and having kids trapped in the midst of our philosophical divide. That would be a truly tough row to hoe...
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01-05-2013, 10:38 AM
RE: Facebook debate with close theist friend...
(01-05-2013 10:29 AM)Atheist_pilgrim Wrote:  Thanks for the encouragement Smile

It's tough having a long-term friendship deteriorate, especially since we went through a lot of stuff together and had fun hanging out. We exchanged tons of emails over the years, did a couple of vacations together, and I used to go up and spend a weekend at his house from time to time in order to commisserate over our aging singleton status and enjoy Seattle and/or Canada.

But my leaving the faith has pretty much put the kibosh on all that. Again, a tough deal, but I'm not going to hide my atheism or walk on eggshells around the guy every time we hang out. That doesn't mean I rubbed his nose in my deconversion, but I had no more interest in attending his church or doing any Xian events, and it was tough having deep conversations about our lives because of his faith-based approach vs. my rational one.

With all that in mind, I'm grateful that I never got married while I was a Xian, because as much as I'm bummed about losing this friendship, I'd be a lot more miserable dealing with a believing wife and having kids trapped in the midst of our philosophical divide. That would be a truly tough row to hoe...

That last bit. Yes it's true. I'm lucky, I guess my husband and I were always kinda on the same page when it came to religion. Well, not always on the same page but we were at least reading the same book just on different chapters.

I was always kinda looking....he'd decided it was bullshit.

Finding out it was "ok" was a huge catharsis.

Wind's in the east, a mist coming in
Like something is brewing and about to begin
Can't put my finger on what lies in store
but I feel what's to happen has happened before...


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03-05-2013, 08:57 PM
RE: Facebook debate with close theist friend...
(30-04-2013 05:48 PM)Momsurroundedbyboys Wrote:  Christians tho in general see nothing wrong with posting their belief in god...

But in general if we post one thing in a thousand posts about disbelief we're the bad people persecuting and taking away their religjon.

This, very much. It seems to be that theists take it personally when you don't agree with them, but atheists usually don't take it personally (probably because the evidence is on their side).

Other than that, I've lost friends for the same reasons. Just remember when you lose a friend, you just have that much more time to make another friend who will not freak out when you talk about these things (and accuse you of "waging war" when you just posted a joke with a smiley face).
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04-05-2013, 09:21 AM
RE: Facebook debate with close theist friend...
My friend finally responded with this:

Quote:Just wanted to make sure you saw this article about a Christian contributing in a big way to science...

http://seattletimes.com/html/localnews/2...etxml.html

UW astronomer discovers Earthlike planet, keeps the faith
seattletimes.com
Eric Agol is a UW astronomer credited with discovering an earthlike planet that’s 1,200 light years away. He’s also a man of faith — faith in science and faith in Christianity as he deals with questions such as how the universe was created..

My response:

Sure, there are Xians in the sciences, as evidenced by Francis Collins, head of the Human Genome Project. Here's a Wikipedia entry about his Xianity:

"Collins has described his parents as "only nominally Christian" and by graduate school he considered himself an atheist. However, dealing with dying patients led him to question his religious views, and he investigated various faiths. He familiarized himself with the evidence for and against God in cosmology, and used Mere Christianity by C. S. Lewis[40] as a foundation to re-examine his religious view. He eventually came to a conclusion, and became an Evangelical Christian during a hike on a fall afternoon. He has described himself as a "serious Christian".[22]
In his 2006 book The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief, Collins considers scientific discoveries an "opportunity to worship". In his book Collins rejects Young Earth creationism and intelligent design. His own belief is theistic evolution or evolutionary creation which he prefers to term BioLogos. He appeared in December 2006 on The Colbert Report television show and in a March 2007 Fresh Air radio interview to discuss this book.[41][42] While not outspoken on the subject, Collins seems to hold a pro-life view of the abortion issue. In a 1998 interview with Scientific American, he stated that he is "intensely uncomfortable with abortion as a solution to anything" and does not "perceive a precise moment at which life begins other than the moment of conception".[43]

In an interview with National Geographic in February 2007, John Horgan, an agnostic journalist, criticized Collins' description of agnosticism as "a cop-out". In response, Collins clarified his position on agnosticism so as not to include "earnest agnostics who have considered the evidence and still don't find an answer. I was reacting to the agnosticism I see in the scientific community, which has not been arrived at by a careful examination of the evidence. I went through a phase when I was a casual agnostic, and I am perhaps too quick to assume that others have no more depth than I did".[44]
Collins rejects intelligent design, and for this reason was not asked to participate in the 2008 documentary Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed. Walt Ruloff, a producer for the film, claimed that by rejecting intelligent design, Collins was "toeing the party line" , which Collins called "just ludicrous".[45] In 2007, Collins founded the BioLogos Foundation to "contribute to the public voice that represents the harmony of science and faith". He served as the foundation's president until he was confirmed as director of the NIH.[46]"

Now some Xians take issue with his dismissal of intelligent design, but keep in mind that the Catholic Church also endorses evolution. At first I could reconcile science with Xianity because I felt OK with evolution as a reality (albeit one engineered by God), so I was still able to justify my faith in Christ. However, for me Xianity (and religion in general) ended up falling short in three foundational areas: 1) scientific, 2) historical, and 3) moral.

As time went on, I became aware of the Bible's shaky history (no evidence for the Flood, the Exodus, or various events in the Gospels) and how it fails morally (religious wars, divinely-ordered genocide, Ten Commandments are mostly useless, sanctification failures, Holy Spirit can't seem to do squat, slamming gays and relegating women to second-class status). And frankly, the more I found out about how the universe and life itself don't need a Creator's involvement at any stage, then believing in a higher power became pointless on any level. With all three foundations in tatters, the house of cards crumbled and my faith went with it.

I can't speak for those scientists who still hold to a faith in God. But based on my own experience, perhaps it's because of the good parts of religion such as community, worship, being part of something bigger than themselves, family and friends who believe, and sense of eternal purpose. Unfortunately, all these things can be based on a falsehood, as these benefits are found in all religions - even the ones held in disdain by Xians.
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10-05-2013, 04:51 PM
RE: Facebook debate with close theist friend...
Got this today:

Quote:I’m still trying to figure out your radical change in your view of life and thereafter. Sorry that I may come across blunt in my comments and questions. You know how I can be “brusque” as you put it. I get frustrated that you’ve gone away from what I see as a good thing and you see as a bad thing. You’re the first person I’ve known well that has left the faith so I am really curious on some things, especially since you were in it for so long.

I still haven’t figured out how you can go from being a Christian and attending bible studies and sermons in church for over 20 years and then come to a point where you're completely against it. I thought you are an intelligent guy who has discernment when you hear bogus stuff or see abuse in the church. With all of the stuff you’re claiming against the church, why didn’t you put a stop to it while you were attending it and witnessing it yourself? Why didn’t you tell me you objected to what you were seeing and hearing? Why did you keep going week after week and year after year if you saw the women being degraded at church and in home bible studies? I just don't get how you could have been in the midst of it all and didn't protest. But now that you've removed yourself from that environment, you are protesting.

My response:

I don't blame you for being frustrated at my deconversion, especially since we went through a lot together as friends and Xians. I'm sure I'd be confused and upset as well if our positions were reversed. But I'm not going to live a lie for anyone, even if being truthful upsets my family or closest friends.

My departure from the faith didn't happen overnight. I took a lot of the issues you mention in stride for most of my life because I thought they were simply par for the course. Perhaps that's because I grew up feeling like an outsider who tended to be bullied and get the short end of the stick, so I was simply glad to be part of something that would have me. Plus, as white male Americans, you and I never directly experienced what it was like to be expected to "submit" to another gender or hit a glass ceiling in ministry despite our talents and gifts.

Even so, I could never stop myself from asking questions about my faith, and it bothered me that no one could provide satisfactory answers (or even got upset at my queries). But I was afraid to go too deep because I didn't want to anger God or lose my friends. Despite my hesitation, as the years went by my questions and the distressing things I saw and experienced built up until I could no longer push them aside. Seeking to go deeper, I began reading the "New Atheist" books by Dawkins and Hitchens. I figured I needed to really challenge my faith and break through to a new level of understanding, and I felt that dealing with what these controversial folks had to say would do the trick. I mean, as a seminary graduate I could surely counter their arguments, successfully defend the faith, and come to a more profound place with God, right?

Except that didn't happen. The deeper I dug, the more my doubts and issues came to the forefront. Going through that mess at Imago didn't help matters much - between Susan and my small group leaders I felt that yet again I'd been led astray and hammered by people who were supposed to be anointed by the Holy Spirit and chosen by God for wise leadership. In addition, my faith was being rocked by scientific, historical, and moral discoveries that ran counter to what I'd learned in the Bible, the Xian books I'd read, and even seminary, which is why I decided to walk the Camino and truly seek the face of God. I hoped that somewhere along this ancient pilgrimage trail he would show up and reveal the truth - His truth.

But he did not. As I walked the Camino and learned more about its history, I realized that religion was just another human construct, like the crumbling churches I saw along the Way, barely attended except by a few old women. I read how the Church crafted the pilgrimage in order to help reclaim Spain from the Moors, how it used the trek as punishment or to provide indulgences for sin, the way it trafficked in the relic business, and how it profited off the suffering of the common folk who walked and died hoping for healing in Santiago.

In addition, I wrestled with the questions and issues I had that boiled over from years of trying to suppress or rationalize them. Why did the Holy Spirit seem so weak when it came to santification? Why are so many pastors and theologians arrogant and end up embroiled in some sort of financial or sexual sin? Why slam gay people and keep women down? Why are our apologetics so lacking in the face of scientific and historical discoveries? Why do I feel like a puppet for every pastor's vision? Why do Xians seem to hurt me the most when they are supposed to be filled with love and the Holy Spirit? Why are the Xian glitterati attractive, outgoing, and wealthy - exactly as you'd expect if there wasn't a Holy Spirit that supposedly looked at the heart vs. the exterior? Why have I not, at the age of 40, become a person who exemplifies the fruits of the Spirit as listed in Galatians? How can there be an eternal hell? Why is there so much guilt and shame involved in Xianity? And so on.

When I returned from Spain I tried to go back to my Xianity, but by then I was running on empty. I didn't really believe there was a God behind the curtain - Imago was just another group of people led by a charismatic man trying to make sense of the world through religion. My small group leaders were yet another collection of attractive people who would naturally have taken the reins in any group situation, and any deviation from their plan was met with active and passive resistance. At that point, I knew I was tired of trying to please this type of people and conform to a faith that I knew was founded on hopes and dreams vs. reality and rationality.

One night while lying in bed, it finally came to me: I can leave Xianity behind because I don't believe it is true anymore. There is no heaven to long for and no hell to avoid. The only thing keeping me in my faith is fear and habit. All I have to do is face my fear of judgment and let go of what I'd taken for granted as truth for so many years. And that's what I did. I said to myself that I didn't believe anymore, and that I would have to make my own way in life without relying on a belief in a higher power. And thus I became an agnostic and bowed out of Imago, my small group, and Ron's dojo.

At first, I thought I might still return to the fold. Perhaps God would reach out and pull me back in if he was there and cared for me. But nothing of the sort happened. Imago and the small group folks faded away like they never existed, and Ron was not happy about my revelation so our relationship was sundered. I didn't get zapped by lightning when I didn't pray for forgiveness after every "sinful" thought, and life continued to unfold as it had before my deconversion, with the typical good and bad stuff that tends to happen to everyone. I got more and more into books and videos about science, atheism, rationality, freethought, skepticism, and so on. I found that I wasn't alone in my deconversion either - other Xians had left the fold and were writing books, starting blogs, and even producing videos. I felt better about myself and my choice, and so here I am: an atheist.

Yes, most folks who knew me back in the day seem to believe that I have gone off the rails somehow, become bitter, evil, or consumed with lust for whatever sin they figure I must love the most. But that's not really the case. I'm still me, just without the baggage or trappings of religion. I don't have to worry about whether or not God is going to chastise or bless me, I can ask whatever questions I want without being told to "let go and let God", and the entire world is opened to me without guilt or shame to limit my discoveries. And no, I don't believe in an afterlife. This is all I have, and once I die, that's it (at least as far as I know, I could be wrong). With that in mind, I need to make this life count, and that's what I'm trying to do. I still have baggage from my time in Xianity, but that's part of life. I feel better than I have in a long time, although I grieve the damage caused to close friendships like ours and feel pain at familial distain for my non-belief.

All of the above is why I'm becoming more outspoken about my atheism. I want other people who feel trapped in their faith to see that they can leave it and find a better life in the secular realm. They don't have to "keep on keeping on" in something that doesn't make sense to them. Frankly, I feel that Xianity and all religions are man-made creations that are founded on a desire to make sense of the world and control life/dominate others. So how can I not speak out against such belief systems? When I felt that Xianity was right, I spoke for it. Now that I see it as wrong, I speak against it and advocate what I believe to be a better way of living. That's how it is!
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11-05-2013, 07:09 AM
RE: Facebook debate with close theist friend...
Wow that is pretty powerful stuff. I find myself hoping it sorts itself out between you and your friend. I think he must be a good friend indeed to continue the conversation. I suspect its causing him some distress, as much as it is causing you some.

I have always wanted to travel the Camino myself, though not as a religious pilgrim since I am a lifelong atheist.

Thanks for posting all this. I find it personally..I don't know the right word.. helpful?
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11-05-2013, 10:59 AM (This post was last modified: 11-05-2013 11:13 AM by Atheist_pilgrim.)
RE: Facebook debate with close theist friend...
His latest message:

Quote:Thanks for sharing more details of your experience. I wish I had an answer as to why God didn't reveal Himself to you when you wanted Him to on the Camino. I could speculate on why but it would do no good.

One thing that continues to be a theme for you is bitterness. Yeah, I know you say you don't have any but it seems pretty evident based on your experiences, especially in the church. Obviously, you've had more issues with people in the church than outside it because that's where you tried to have some sort of intimacy. The more you share with people in a community group, the more vulnerable you become. I'm pretty sure that secular groups you've been part of didn't have that element in them and left very little risk of getting hurt.

With your atheist group, you can feel good in it because you can mutually share with people your bad experiences in the church and other things you have in common such as studying science. You don't need to discuss your sins or to ask for prayer for some struggles you're having. So all you have are feel good moments in these type of groups.

I can say that my photography group is a feel good group for me because everything we talk about is fun and don't have to get deep with anyone. But bible study groups I've attended in the past were a struggle sometimes because I had to share much deeper things that left me vulnerable with the group. I can probably guess that any groups you had a falling out with were ones where they had a higher level of intimacy than your "feel good" groups. I feel bad that you didn't experience the good part of those intimate groups.

I'd be careful of saying that you feel better now that you don't have to deal with the church and some of its whacky members. Just remember what you've told me: "Where you go there you are." There's bad people in the church and there's bad people in your secular groups. You can't get away from them and you can't get away from yourself which is going to leave you in the same or worse place than before your deconversion.

You state that there are all of these scientific discoveries that go against the bible. Which ones have you seen where science discovery proves the bible wrong with 100% accuracy? Again, it's all based on your faith that God doesn't exist.

My response:

Dude, you need to get over the "bitterness" thing. You know as well as I do that the term tends to be used to dismiss a person's issues with something or someone in the Church by making it their fault. Perhaps that sort of thinking is based on passages such as Acts 8, where Simon is told by Peter that he is "in the gall of bitterness and in the bondage of iniquity". But then again, we both know that Peter was kind of a prick, so it's not surprising that he would say that. Again, stuff like this is yet another example of how Xians use shame-based ways to keep people in line by putting the blame on them for whatever issues they might have with those in authority. After all, who wants to be known as the "bitter one" causing "division" in an organization supposedly based on love and fellowship?

That said, yes, I still carry some hurt from my experiences in the Church. But one would think that an organization based on love and fellowship, where the people (especially the leadership) have a guiding Holy Spirit and Jesus on the "throne of their hearts", would have a lot less internal strife, conflicts, confusion, back-stabbing, gossip, and "sin" in general. Unfortunately, churches seem to be the worst place for this sort of thing - why is that? Oh yeah, again it is our fault because of sin and Satan. Isn't it funny how God gets a pass for everything? If you pray for something and get it, it confirms your bias that God is good and generous. If you don't get it, He must have something better in mind, is testing you, you've done something wrong, your motivation is bad, or Satan is blocking it. Geez, wouldn't it be nice to have everyone making excuses for your actions (or lack thereof)?

As for the Camino, yes, you could speculate why God didn't reveal himself to me on the Way, but I'll bet you'd end up putting the blame on me and giving him a pass. See how easy that is? No matter what happens, it's never his fault - it's always us. That's a textbook model of an abusive relationship, where the beaten party is only getting what they deserve in order to make them conform to the abuser's rules. Awesome. The real reason that the Xian God didn't show up on the Camino is, in my belief, because he isn't real to begin with.

You're right about my "atheist group" not having to "discuss our sins or ask for prayer" because we don't believe in sin as a concept or prayer as a solution to the problems and issues we do bat around with each other. And no, our interactions aren't just an atheist circle-jerk where we all hold hands, recite the Periodic Table, and praise Dawkins. We discuss morality and ethical actions, and there are plenty of folks who ask for advice on issues ranging from addictions to relationships (I've even asked for advice about my virginity). So yes, we "get deep" about many issues, but within the context of humanism and rationality vs. a deity who doesn't appear to exist, much less care about starving African children, amputees, or burn victims. Yes, we have conflicts and oddballs in the mix - but the most annoying and judgmental people in our "group" tend to be the Xians who drop by and try to convert us through guilt, shame, or junk science. Even so, we still let them do their thing - unlike Xian boards, which quickly ban us and delete our posts. Guess they just can't handle our "bitterness" and annoying questions or inconvenient facts.

"100% accuracy" is a pretty absolute number. Keep in mind that we tend to be skeptics by nature, although there are exceptions, so we are always open to new evidence. If God were to reveal Himself (or Herself) today, we'd admit there was one and go forward with this new knowledge. However, so far there is 0% historical or scientific evidence for intelligent design, Noah's Flood, the Hebrew Exodus from Egypt, or humanity arising from two people in a garden (or eight people after a worldwide flood). Plus, there is plenty of scientific evidence for cosmology and evolution being the reason behind the universe's formation and the proliferation of life on Earth. This has nothing to do with faith, which is based on hope with little or no evidence to back it up. Instead, our belief system relies on empirical evidence, repeatable results using the scientific method, and peer-reviewed rational science.

All that said, I understand where you are coming from because I know you and was once like you in matters of faith. But unlike you, I popped the Xian bubble, looked at other ways of thinking, engaged with uncomfortable truths, and eventually came to the point where I saw that my long-cherished belief system was based on falsehood. So instead of living a double life, I left for what seems to be a better and more compelling truth. If there is a God who values truth and justice, then shouldn't I be justified, at least in motivation? Dude, I challenge you to spend some time on Youtube checking out atheist/science videos from people like Aron Ra, NonStampCollector, and The Thinking Atheist (who used to be an Xian himself). Also, read some atheist books, like Sam Harris' "Letter to a Christian Nation" or Richard Dawkins' "The God Delusion". If God is as real as you say, then what's the harm in looking at other ways of thinking? You don't have to accept it, but you should at least look into it to see where I'm coming from.

Sent this as well in a separate message: PS: Another good book to read is "Deconverted" by Seth Andrews (AKA The Thinking Atheist). He is in our age group and was an Xian for almost 30 years before becoming an atheist.
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