Jesus is the way!
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07-08-2014, 01:02 AM
Jesus is the way!
Hi. Now that I have your attention. I'm just going to tell my story real quickly. I became a Christian in 2008. I have attended mostly Calvary Chapels and Baptist Churches. I at one time was a Calvinist. Since the time of my conversion I had always had doubts ranging from God's existense to whether or not I was actually saved. Calvinism played a deep role in making me feel insecure in my salvation. Calvinists like to play head games. They believe that before the creation of the world God chose or predestined those whom he elected to salvation while he let's the rest of humanity go to hell. So the Christians are the chosen ones. Now here is the bitch of it all. How do you know if you were elected by God? By your obedience...usually according to the Calvinists standards. If you fell by the wayside or backslid the Calvinists would say you were probably a false convert and didn't even know it. So it would start for me a vicious cycle of depression and repentance. While I would grovel in my self loathing I would often get thoughts and doubts. I mean I'm not that horrible of a person. Why doesn't God give me peace or let me know I am good enough. Much to my embarrassment in the times I was "holy" I was judgmental and mean...even to those close to me. I questioned others salvation to make myself feel better about my own insecurity. My slow descent into skepticism started because I don't want my two children to have the same psychological damage happen to them due to fear. A God of love would not make me fear him or feel that he hates me. I also read the bible thru for the first time and was bothered by much of it. I have read much on the topic of Christian apologetics, both evidential and presuppositional, and while I find some of the arguments compelling theres this overwhelming sense that I haven't really listened to the other side. So who am I? I am a weak believer in God that is on the verge of deconversion. I just need some help sorting through things.
John
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07-08-2014, 01:35 AM
RE: Jesus is the way!
Welcome to the forum! First thing's first some complimentary doughnuts...and second of all there is a whole lot of great, smart and experienced people here you can talk to if you have questions or just want help with your situation. We would be happy to help sort things out and get you in the place you need to be but we can only do so much, the rest will be up to you. Thumbsup

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07-08-2014, 05:11 AM
RE: Jesus is the way!
(07-08-2014 01:02 AM)MrSkeptic Wrote:  Hi. Now that I have your attention. I'm just going to tell my story real quickly. I became a Christian in 2008. I have attended mostly Calvary Chapels and Baptist Churches. I at one time was a Calvinist. Since the time of my conversion I had always had doubts ranging from God's existense to whether or not I was actually saved. Calvinism played a deep role in making me feel insecure in my salvation. Calvinists like to play head games. They believe that before the creation of the world God chose or predestined those whom he elected to salvation while he let's the rest of humanity go to hell. So the Christians are the chosen ones. Now here is the bitch of it all. How do you know if you were elected by God? By your obedience...usually according to the Calvinists standards. If you fell by the wayside or backslid the Calvinists would say you were probably a false convert and didn't even know it. So it would start for me a vicious cycle of depression and repentance. While I would grovel in my self loathing I would often get thoughts and doubts. I mean I'm not that horrible of a person. Why doesn't God give me peace or let me know I am good enough. Much to my embarrassment in the times I was "holy" I was judgmental and mean...even to those close to me. I questioned others salvation to make myself feel better about my own insecurity. My slow descent into skepticism started because I don't want my two children to have the same psychological damage happen to them due to fear. A God of love would not make me fear him or feel that he hates me. I also read the bible thru for the first time and was bothered by much of it. I have read much on the topic of Christian apologetics, both evidential and presuppositional, and while I find some of the arguments compelling theres this overwhelming sense that I haven't really listened to the other side. So who am I? I am a weak believer in God that is on the verge of deconversion. I just need some help sorting through things.
John
lutherspurgeon@gmail.com
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Welcome, View some podcasts, read some threads, read books, I can recommend many...take your time, enjoy the freedom reason and logic gives to your life.

"Belief is so often the death of reason" - Qyburn, Game of Thrones

"The Christian community continues to exist because the conclusions of the critical study of the Bible are largely withheld from them." -Hans Conzelmann (1915-1989)
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07-08-2014, 05:41 AM (This post was last modified: 07-08-2014 09:12 AM by EvolutionKills.)
RE: Jesus is the way!
(07-08-2014 01:02 AM)MrSkeptic Wrote:  Hi. Now that I have your attention. I'm just going to tell my story real quickly. I became a Christian in 2008. I have attended mostly Calvary Chapels and Baptist Churches. I at one time was a Calvinist. Since the time of my conversion I had always had doubts ranging from God's existense to whether or not I was actually saved. Calvinism played a deep role in making me feel insecure in my salvation. Calvinists like to play head games. They believe that before the creation of the world God chose or predestined those whom he elected to salvation while he let's the rest of humanity go to hell. So the Christians are the chosen ones. Now here is the bitch of it all. How do you know if you were elected by God? By your obedience...usually according to the Calvinists standards. If you fell by the wayside or backslid the Calvinists would say you were probably a false convert and didn't even know it. So it would start for me a vicious cycle of depression and repentance. While I would grovel in my self loathing I would often get thoughts and doubts. I mean I'm not that horrible of a person. Why doesn't God give me peace or let me know I am good enough. Much to my embarrassment in the times I was "holy" I was judgmental and mean...even to those close to me. I questioned others salvation to make myself feel better about my own insecurity. My slow descent into skepticism started because I don't want my two children to have the same psychological damage happen to them due to fear. A God of love would not make me fear him or feel that he hates me. I also read the bible thru for the first time and was bothered by much of it. I have read much on the topic of Christian apologetics, both evidential and presuppositional, and while I find some of the arguments compelling theres this overwhelming sense that I haven't really listened to the other side. So who am I? I am a weak believer in God that is on the verge of deconversion. I just need some help sorting through things.
John
lutherspurgeon@gmail.com
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The question is, are you ready to be quelched or tempered? Do you want to slowly wade in, or jump in head first?

For the former path, I'd probably suggest an introduction to critical thinking and the evaluation of evidence. Learning and understanding the burden of proof, how to evaluate evidence, the basics of logical deduction and scientific inference. This will help you to better evaluate all truth claims, not just those of religion.

If however you're ready to get thrown right into the deep-end, you could try exposing yourself to some of the works of the great contrarians; Robert Green Ingersoll, Professor Richard Dawkins, and the late, great Christopher Hitchens.

A more middle of the road path would be a little from column A, and a little from column B. Throw in the study of ancient history, and the origins of both Yahweh and Christianity. Expose yourself to scholars like Bart Ehrman, Richard Carrier, Randal Helms, John W. Loftus, and Robert M. Price (to name but a precious few). Don't be surprised that the lay community is literally centuries behind the curve of what constitutes the consensus of mainline biblical scholarship either (e.g. scholars have know Moses was most likely mythical and did not author the Pentateuch for over a century now).

But above all else, learn to embrace doubt. We have a lot of answers here available to you, but there are many more things that we simply do not know; and that's perfectly fine. Intellectual honesty is admitting when you don't know, instead of pretending like you do.

-Best regards, and good luck on your journey.

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07-08-2014, 07:40 AM
RE: Jesus is the way!
Hello, Mr Skeptic

A long time ago I saw this series of videos that I think could probably help you.
It's a series of videos made by a person who is no longer a Christian. The person's profile is https://www.youtube.com/user/Evid3nc3

He first comments on how his life was while still a christian an then goes on to tell how his deconversion took place. The videos are numbered and not all that long to watch.

I actually suggest you start with video number 2.0 Deconversion: The God Concept. It's quite an interesting watch.

And, of course, welcome to the forum
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07-08-2014, 11:38 AM
RE: Jesus is the way!
Thanks for the recommendations guys/gals. I have always been a guy that liked to jump right in. I have God is Not Great by Hitchens and The Christian Delusion Edited by Loftus which I am starting. My main problem is with the Science aspect. I want to learn, but dont know really where to start. It's sad to me to know I have wasted my time with pseudo science, but I am determined and at least of average intelligence so with a little bit of elbow grease I'm sure I could figure it out.
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07-08-2014, 12:44 PM
RE: Jesus is the way!
(07-08-2014 11:38 AM)MrSkeptic Wrote:  Thanks for the recommendations guys/gals. I have always been a guy that liked to jump right in. I have God is Not Great by Hitchens and The Christian Delusion Edited by Loftus which I am starting. My main problem is with the Science aspect. I want to learn, but dont know really where to start. It's sad to me to know I have wasted my time with pseudo science, but I am determined and at least of average intelligence so with a little bit of elbow grease I'm sure I could figure it out.

Lots of science geeks here. In fact there's a whole section just for science. Got a question? Start a thread.

Welcome to TTA.

I think some of the most interesting threads are when we get trolls, but the trolls who have studied their position pretty well, they don't come to save us, they come to make their point. those threads are filled with science, archeology, biblical studies, philosophy, all in one. To watch the arguments get broken down, follow links to studies, opinions of experts in those fields quoted, for me, those are the threads that bring all of this together.


"Life is a daring adventure or it is nothing"--Helen Keller
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07-08-2014, 12:55 PM
RE: Jesus is the way!
Take that long convoluted OP and every time you mention a church or god or Jesus, replace it with Allah and Mosque or Sunni or Shiite, or Yahweh Synagogue and secular or Orthodox Jew, and see if the argument still fits.

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07-08-2014, 01:17 PM
RE: Jesus is the way!
(07-08-2014 11:38 AM)MrSkeptic Wrote:  Thanks for the recommendations guys/gals. I have always been a guy that liked to jump right in. I have God is Not Great by Hitchens and The Christian Delusion Edited by Loftus which I am starting. My main problem is with the Science aspect. I want to learn, but dont know really where to start. It's sad to me to know I have wasted my time with pseudo science, but I am determined and at least of average intelligence so with a little bit of elbow grease I'm sure I could figure it out.

Here are some of my favorite educational YouTube videos. Plus if you have any specific questions, never be afraid to ask.


Critical Thinking by Qualia Soup







The Burden of Proof by Qualia Soup







Why I Am No Longer a Christian [Part 1 of 22] by Evid3nc3

I personally think you'll find this story and explanation of one Christian's deconversion very interesting and relevant, in addition to being one of the most broadly informative and well made series on Youtube. If you watch nothing else, please watch this series.

The complete playlist can be found HERE.








The Foundational Falsehoods of Creationism [Part 1 of 17] by Aron Ra

You can see the entire playlist HERE.







The Arrogance of Being Thick as a Brick by dprjones







How Big is 1 Billion? The Frailties of Intuition by dprjones







Our Origins Made Easy series [Part 1 of 14] by potholer54

The playlist for the series can be found HERE.







An Introduction to the History and Philosophy of Science series [Part 1 of 19] by SisyphusRedeemed

The playlist for the series can be found HERE.








You Don't Have To Go Down in My Basement, Skepticon 4 - Dan Barker by HamboneProductions








Higgs Boson and the Fundamental Nature of Reality - Sean Carroll - Skepticon 5 by HamboneProductions




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07-08-2014, 08:53 PM
RE: Jesus is the way!
Thanks everyone for all the links. I'll check them out for sure and I'll probably got some of you up for book recommendations. It feels like a new world.
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