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[ Testimony ] How I left the faith

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You can not have any absolutes without absolute reliability. You've thrown me on that one. Maybe I've misunderstood what you were getting at?


I, for one, am interested in the mechanisms for a person's departure from 'the faith' as some call it. ("Departure from 'the faith"?, man, is that an oxymoron or what?). I am a firm believer that nothing is outside of the will of God. ('Certain events, while displeasing/angering, are yet within His tolerance according to His wisdom, love, mercy and patience', or in other words, according to His will.). Your presence here might destabilize some already failing foundations. Maybe these faults need to be exposed. I'm not in a position to say.

In order for this discussion to have any value to at least some of those who are involved in it, those persons need to be seeking Truth. That's why several are curios of your purpose here. What is it that you are hoping to accomplish here?

Hopefully you are seeking Truth here (as we are). Otherwise, all this is merely vanity.
Man's "truth" is unreliable as our Lord declared that every man is a liar. The Lord's Truth is pure and is, therefore, absolute. This makes it absolutely reliable.
 

T. E. Smith

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Man's "truth" is unreliable as our Lord declared that every man is a liar. The Lord's Truth is pure and is, therefore, absolute. This makes it absolutely reliable.
Unless he lied in writing the Bible. Hey, just throwing that out there. Yes the Bible says God cannot lie, but what if he was lying when he wrote that?
 

christian1724

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Man's "truth" is unreliable as our Lord declared that every man is a liar. The Lord's Truth is pure and is, therefore, absolute. This makes it absolutely reliable.
Hey daninthelionsden,
I know it looks like I was responding to your post, but it's actually a response to Thomas (T.E. Smith). If you "click to expand" you'll see what I mean. Sometimes I try to provide some kind of context to my comments so that people don't have to jump around to see what it's about. Unfortunately, it can cause confusion as to who I am replying to. (Others have made the same mistake but weren't so pleasant about it as you were). Take care.

By the way, my concept of Truth is: That which is reliable. That comment is an extension of a conversation about Truth that Thomas and I started when he first joined the forum.
 

hawkman

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If all men are liars, how can we trust the men who wrote the Bible? "If a man says he always lies, is he lying or telling the truth?"
I am not trusting men but I am trusting God !
2 Timothy 3:16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:

You said , "If a man says he always lies, is he lying or telling the truth?"
If a man is a liar that does not mean he is always lying . Another way to look at it is when you say " all men are liars " is " all men are imperfect " . Make sense ?
 
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T. E. Smith

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I am not trusting men but I am trusting God !
2 Timothy 3:16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:

You said , "If a man says he always lies, is he lying or telling the truth?"
If a man is a liar that does not mean he is always lying . Another way to look at it is when you say " all men are liars " is " all men are imperfect " . Make sense ?
If everyone is imperfect, how is the Scripture perfect?
 

hawkman

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[Copy-pasted with very slight modification from several other places on the internet. My point in posting this is not to disparage believers, but to share my personal story and to help people understand the thought process of at least one person who has de-converted. I attempt to show a respect for the Bible and Christianity.]

My whole life I have continually talked to God and asked him many things. I heard from many Christians that God does listen to prayers and that he responds to us in our hearts. But I never felt anything, ever. Not even many years before I even began to doubt my faith.

My parents and pastor told me I needed to be convicted of my sin. But I believed in my sin, that wasn't the issue. When I asked them what my sin was, they told me that only God knows. I asked them how I could find out what my sin was, if I was unable to ask God to convict me. They could not answer.

A Sunday school teacher told me I probably didn't have enough faith, so I asked him how I could get more. He told me to ask God for more faith. I said, "How can I ask God for more faith if I need more faith for him to respond?" He could not answer me. To date I have not found answers to these questions.

Why don't I believe? There's a logical and emotional side to it. First, the logical side. When I was taking a dual-credit college class in high school on world history, the teacher was speaking of the rise of Islam. He said, "The best way to learn about the Koran is to read it." Agreeing with that sentiment, I read it through. When I was done I thought, "That was in a lot of ways similar to the Bible." Then I thought, "Islam is the second-largest world religion. Many many people believe this to be the word of the one true God. But I have never even considered Islam. Why not? Why am I a Christian and not a Muslim?"

Mark Twain's words rang true, "The easy confidence with which I know another man's religion is folly teaches me to suspect that my own is also." I realized I only believed because my parents had taught me to believe. That wasn't good enough for me. If I had Muslim parents, I'd be a Muslim. I needed a real reason to believe.

I read biblical apologetics books and counter-apologetics, and found the apologist case to be severely lacking. I saw through most of the holes before even reading the rebuttals. At this point in time, I was also reading other holy books (the Hindu books, the Dharma from Buddhism, and the analects of Confucius). I began to see the Tanakh not as a Christian "Old Testament" but as the Jewish scriptures. Reading these books opened my mind to other religions, and I saw that Christianity's morality was not unique. Much of it was taught elsewhere.

I read Thomas Paine's Age of Reason (freely available on the internet) and was convicted of the Bible's lack of integrity. Paine made me laugh and cry as I found my beliefs deconstructed. I became a deist, a believer in a creator God unassociated with religion. I realized that the default position should be non-belief without a reason to believe, and I had only one reason left to believe in God: creation. How could all of this be created without a God?

I knew I had been inculcated in anti-evolution sentiment. If I had abandoned Christianity, I could also abandon creationism, right? Well, first I had to read the case of evolution. I read Darwin's Origin, now my favorite book of all time. I read The Greatest Show on Earth by Richard Dawkins, Why Evolution is True by Jerry Coyne, Evolution by Donald Prothero, Your Inner Fish and The Universe Within by Neil Shubin, a couple of books by Stephen Jay Gould, and finally the more complex book The Red Queen by Michael Ridley. After reading these books, the mountain of evidence convinced me completely. No longer having any reason to believe in God, I became an atheist.

Now the emotional side. Like I said, I talked to God for a long time. Over my deconversion process (thinking about other religions, reading Age of Reason and considering evolution's effect on theism), I actually talked to God even more, even more frantically. It was like when a lifelong friend is moving away, and you try to spend as much time with them as possible. But there was nothing, still. There never has been. I came to the crushing conclusion that I had been dreadfully wrong. I had been speaking to an imaginary friend since I'd learned how to talk. I said goodbye to God.

And then, when I became an atheist, I was suddenly liberated. I realized that the Bible did not have to dictate my morality. I could freely question the Bible's integrity. I could freely question creationism. Actually, I could freely question anything. Atheism has liberated my mind, and I would never go back.
T. E. Smith , where is the story of your conversion from sinner to a Christian ? You have to be converted to be de-converted .
 

T. E. Smith

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T. E. Smith , where is the story of your conversion from sinner to a Christian ? You have to be converted to be de-converted .
As soon as I even understood the basics of what the words "God", "faith", "Christian" etc. meant , I was already a Christian thanks to parental influence/indoctrination.

Tell me where the Bible says that one must have a conversion experience to be a Christian, and that one cannot simply be a Christian from an early age with no conversion experience.
 

hawkman

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As soon as I even understood the basics of what the words "God", "faith", "Christian" etc. meant , I was already a Christian thanks to parental influence/indoctrination.
You find me the Bible verses that support knowing words and influence/indoctrination makes one a Christian .
Tell me where the Bible says that one must have a conversion experience to be a Christian, and that one cannot simply be a Christian from an early age with no conversion experience.
I knew it was going to come down to this .
I have already had a similar experience with another member of the forum .

Nicodemus had questions too . You must be Born Again .

3 Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.
4 Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother's womb, and be born?
5 Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.
6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.
7 Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.
 

T. E. Smith

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You find me the Bible verses that support knowing words and influence/indoctrination makes one a Christian .

I knew it was going to come down to this .
I have already had a similar experience with another member of the forum .

Nicodemus had questions too . You must be Born Again .

3 Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.
4 Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother's womb, and be born?
5 Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.
6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.
7 Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.
Someone I know was baptized and had a conversion story to share. She told me, "I was always a Christian. I didn't have a conversion story. But I knew nobody would believe me. So I made one up."

Do you understand what your view does to people? It makes them think they cannot actually be saved without a concrete conversion story.
You find me the Bible verses that support knowing words and influence/indoctrination makes one a Christian .
"I am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and now, I am sure, dwells in you as well." (2 Tim. 1:5)
 

hawkman

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Someone I know was baptized and had a conversion story to share. She told me, "I was always a Christian. I didn't have a conversion story. But I knew nobody would believe me. So I made one up."
In my early life I did not understand what it meant to be a Christian . But later I understood you HAD to be Born Again to be a Christian !
Do you understand what your view does to people?
The truth is painful sometimes . And Hell will be too .
It makes them think they cannot actually be saved without a concrete conversion story.
Praise God ! If there is not a dividing line between lost/saved in your life you are NOT a Christian . It really is that simple .
 

T. E. Smith

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In my early life I did not understand what it meant to be a Christian . But later I understood you HAD to be Born Again to be a Christian !

The truth is painful sometimes . And Hell will be too .

Praise God ! If there is not a dividing line between lost/saved in your life you are NOT a Christian . It really is that simple .
I see.
 

hawkman

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You find me the Bible verses that support knowing words and influence/indoctrination makes one a Christian .
And you quoted .
"I am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and now, I am sure, dwells in you as well." (2 Tim. 1:5)
Really ? This is all you found ? And it does not support your position .
 

Edward

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Tell me where the Bible says that one must have a conversion experience to be a Christian, and that one cannot simply be a Christian from an early age with no conversion experience.

You've read the Bible, how many times? You didn't see it? That's because it's spread out.

Show me in scripture...Cell Phone. No scripture. Now explain how it's not real.

All that means is that, you were following what your parents said, and that you in your heart, never took an interest in it. So how could you ever have been Christian?
So I believe that you never had a conversion experience. Because it never happened. Geez, you are only just now coming to the age of accountability!
 
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