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RetroGamer87
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06 Dec 2015, 3:36 am

I was out with some acquaintances and they said afterwards I should come to church with them. I said I don't like churches because I find them scary. They asked me why and I said because they're too religious. They said their church wasn't religious at all. They said religion was when people make a loud spectacle of worship and they didn't do that.

Shortly afterwards I found myself in a room full of about 200 people, all of whom making a spectacle of themselves, competing to see who could worship God the loudest. It sounded very strange. It was a bit scary.

I usually feel confused about life. I feel a lot of pain and anguish. I feel like I can't accomplish my goals because I don't know what they should be.

They said they once felt confused about life. They once felt pain. Let me tell you that I left that church feeling much more confused than before I went in.

They delivered a sermon about a man, a former member of their congregation. He was dying from cancer. They prayed for him and then a miracle occurred. The doctor said he biopsy revealed the cancer had totally disappeared and that the man was in perfect health. He said the next day but he died in perfect health. I didn't think that was a very impressive miracle.

When they found out I don't believe they took me into a small room with the priest. He asked me why I don't go to church and I said it's because I don't want to offend anyone there with my nonbelief, because when I go to church I feel like I don't belong there.

I told him I didn't want to debate the existence of God with him because I was worried I might offend him. Yet on the other hand, I didn't want to say I believe in God because that would be lying.

We read from the Bible and I didn't understand it. It was mostly a lot of stuff about ancient kings with strange names. We would read about three sentences, than flick ahead 500 pages, read three sentences, then flick back 700 pages. This made it hard for me to understand the story. I didn't know who these ancient kings were or what their motives where. I couldn't understand what they were doing with only three consecutive sentences at a time. The priest said reading the Bible would solve my problems but the ancient kings in it seemed to have totally different problems than mine. I didn't understand how these ancient kings had anything to do with my personal life.

I said they were nice but how could I know they're true. He said that was an excellent question and he would present me with evidence for the existence of God. He said first I must have faith. I said I have none. He said I must have at least a tiny seed of faith. I said I had none at all. He said there are many things science doesn't understand. I thought that is true but that doesn't mean the gaps of science contain his religion when they might contain anything. I didn't say it though. It seemed like a rude thing to say to a priest and I don't want to turn into one of those militant atheist stereotypes.

The priest said because they were Pentecostal, they place great stock on speaking in tongues. They said it was the only form of worship God accepts. He said that speaking in tongues was a supernatural event and proof of God's existence. I didn't see how this was proof of anything. I think all 200 of those people had been faking it.

He said if he prayed over me I would start speaking in tongues. He prayed for about a minute and I didn't feel any compulsion to start speaking in tongues. He said that I wasn't trying hard enough. He asked me if I prayed at least twice per week. I said I did not. He acted surprised and said that if I don't pray at least twice per week that means I don't belong in his church. I had already told him I was an atheist so why was he surprised that I don't pray at least twice per week? Does he think all atheists pray?

They had a guest speaker who said he used to work in an abattoir and that the sheep were the most calm docile creatures. He said they offered no resistance as he carried them to slaughter. He said we should be like sheep as God carries us. But he just said that sheep are carried to slaughter. They had a sign in the lobby saying "Submission".

He said Jesus sacrificed his own life so that I could have eternal life. I pointed out that Jesus came back and said it would be an even bigger sacrifice if he stayed dead. The priest said I had a point. I knew of many other arguments against God but I thought I had already gone to far. I don't want to be a militant atheist.

He said I could have eternal life. He asked if I like living. He said I could do that forever. I tried to explain that since I suffer from depression, I sometimes don't like living but I couldn't find the words. He said I cannot find God without faith. Before he said he prove the existence of God. What happened to his proof?

The priest talked about the Holy Spirit a lot but I had trouble understanding how the Holy Spirit was different from God, even after I asked about it and he attempted to explain the difference to me. He said I should read the Bible. I asked which version I should read. He said he used the King James version but he realized it had it's critics. He said the King James version was the oldest English translation. I said that there were several earlier English translations. Another man agreed with me and said he knew of an English translation that was a hundred years older. I was very surprised that a priest would make such a basic mistake about the history of the Bible. Don't they teach the history of the Bible at the seminary?

On the way out I met a very nice man who bought me a slice of cake at the church cafe. He told me how the Pentecostals were the only true demonetization. I wonder if every denomination says that. He said he was convinced Armageddon was less than a year away. What will he say a year from now? He said that the war in Syria was the war predicted in Revelations. 12 years ago someone told me the war in Iraq was the war predicted in Revelations. Every part of history has wars in it. Every year has a war in some part of the world. Why is 2015 any different for having a war?

When I meet Christians I don't say I'm an atheist. I don't say anything but if they ask I say I'm "not religious". I don't like to call myself an atheist because I feel like the term has become associated with militant atheists who spew vile hatred at believers. I want to respect people's belief's but I don't understand why they keep wanting me to share them.

Why do people act so disappointed when I won't go to church with them? I tell them I'm scared because church is too "religious" but I should say I'm scared of church because I feel like I don't belong there. More than any other place I feel like I don't belong there.

Why do they want so much for me to come if I'm not the type of guy they want for their congregation. Is anyone else scared of churches? Sometimes I have to go through mass for weddings or funerals. How do atheists deal with the times when mass is unavoidable? I especially dislike communion. I feel like me taking it is a lie and in some churches I might get into trouble if they find out I haven't been through confirmation.


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andrethemoogle
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06 Dec 2015, 3:41 am

What type of church did you attend?

If it's a Catholic church, it's pretty peaceful and very serene almost. On the other hand, if it's one of the batshit (I have to use that word) Evangelical, Baptist, etc. churches from the States, then that is a different story. They legit frighten me as they take the Bible at face value and are basically fundamentalists, which is never a good thing to be.



Edenthiel
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06 Dec 2015, 3:52 am

The part I don't understand is this. From Acts 4-6:

"And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance. And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven. Now when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together, and were confounded, because that every man heard them speak in his own language."

You see, if these modern people "speaking in tongues" were actually "filled with the Holy Ghost"...EVERYONE WOULD BE ABLE TO UNDERSTAND THEM! And that's the key - they're like some bizarre Cargo Cult version of what they think the Bible says, which tells me they aren't actually studying the thing in any sort of comprehensive, structured manner.


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KagamineLen
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06 Dec 2015, 4:08 am

I was forced to attend a Baptist Church when I was in middle school. This was long before I came out of the closet. I was forced into one of the most homophobic environments imaginable. This church even distributed literature from the WBC. And here I was, terrified every second I spent around these people.

Thankfully, most churches are nothing like that.



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06 Dec 2015, 4:24 am

When people find something that makes them profoundly happy, it bothers them on a deep level when they see someone who finds happiness in a way that is opposite to them. This is why a christian man with a big family would be annoyed by single bachelors that have no kids and especially homosexuals.

Religion is an extreme case of this since they're promoting an extreme ideal of happiness getting to live forever in Heaven. They're probably very dismayed whenever someone shows a lack of interest or is content with Life on Earth.



RetroGamer87
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06 Dec 2015, 4:25 am

andrethemoogle wrote:
What type of church did you attend?

If it's a Catholic church, it's pretty peaceful and very serene almost. On the other hand, if it's one of the batshit (I have to use that word) Evangelical, Baptist, etc. churches from the States, then that is a different story. They legit frighten me as they take the Bible at face value and are basically fundamentalists, which is never a good thing to be.
It was a Pentecostal church.

Serene and Peaceful? Maybe you're right. I've never been to a Catholic mass so I don't know if they're serene and peaceful.

Before I went, this girl I'm antiquated with was asking me to go (I have a small crush on her so I went), I told her church is scary and she said "Don't worry, it's not a Catholic church, I'm an ex-Catholic so I know Catholic churches are scary.

Taking the Bible at Face Value sounds pretty scary. I don't understand the Bible. The parts of it I've read where just lots and lots of ancient kings. Most of the time they were at war with other ancient kings.

They say The Bible is a guide to life and a comfort in times of trouble. I don't see how reading about a 3,000 year old war between Israel and a country I've never heard of is supposed to guide me through life or comfort me in times of trouble. It just doesn't seem relevant to my problems.


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RetroGamer87
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06 Dec 2015, 4:29 am

Edenthiel wrote:
You see, if these modern people "speaking in tongues" were actually "filled with the Holy Ghost"...EVERYONE WOULD BE ABLE TO UNDERSTAND THEM!
They had that covered. After someone spoke in tongues someone else would interprate. I think the interprater was just making up some religous sounding pleasantries about how God would help everone in much the same way the speaker was making up random sylables (not evidence of God's power acting on them if you ask me).

It's a lot like the Oracle at Delphi, how the gibberish of the Oracle had to be "interpreted" by the priests and they would make the prophesy say anything they felt was convenient for them.

I wonder how much of the Bible was influenced by Greek ideas. The Greek culture was very pervasive at the time. Remember that about a third of the Bible was written in Greek. I think perhaps it was written for Greeks, by Greeks, in the Greek language by men who had never set foot in Israel.

I don't think the New Testament could be from Isreal because the ideas in it seem very unjewish. The idea of God becoming a flesh and blood man seems very unjewish. For the Jews, God is entirely separate from man. For the Jews, God turning into a man would be like a fish riding a bicycle.

I think some of Jesus' ideas like turning the other cheek might come from Greek philosophers. Didn't Epicurus say something similar? Perhaps combined with ideas from the Cult of John the Baptist, which was extremely popular at the time.

And Eastern philosophies? Some people say in the "lost years", traveled to India to study under the Buddhists. I think this is a very Eurocentric idea. Why should Jesus go to the Buddhists when the Buddhists can come to Jesus? I've heard there was a Buddhist mission near Alexandria at the time. Did those Eurocentrists think ancient Indians were incapable of traversing long distances?
Edenthiel wrote:
And that's the key - they're like some bizarre Cargo Cult version of what they think the Bible says, which tells me they aren't actually studying the thing in any sort of comprehensive, structured manner.
Yes a cargo cult. Like the natives studying a Jeep or a radio tower, they cannot understand the purpose.

Some of the things in the Bible don't fit, with later parts of the Bible. Even when the latter parts of the Old Testament don't fit with the earlier parts of the Old Testament. I wonder if parts of Genesis could be a vestigial remnant of some even more ancient religion.


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RetroGamer87
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06 Dec 2015, 4:35 am

KagamineLen wrote:
I was forced to attend a Baptist Church when I was in middle school. This was long before I came out of the closet. I was forced into one of the most homophobic environments imaginable. This church even distributed literature from the WBC. And here I was, terrified every second I spent around these people.
Wow, if I was gay and going to that church every week, I would have a heard attack.

When I question Christians about the laws of Leviticus that condone slavery, they say that was the old Covenant of Moses, not the law of the New Covenant from Christ. So that means laws from the Old Testament no longer apply? In that case why do the Ten Commandments still apply? Aren't they from the "Old Covenant"? And the same for the laws against homosexuality.

So when I talk about legalized slavery and legalized rape in the Old Testament, they say laws from the Old Testament no longer apply. When they talk about the Ten Commandments and the old law against homosexuality, they say the laws from the Old Testament still apply today. George Orwell would call it double-think.
VIDEODROME wrote:
This is why a christian man with a big family would be annoyed by single bachelors that have no kids and especially homosexuals.
Yes, when I've told people I don't plan on having kids, some people have acted very annoyed by this. They say they enjoyed raising kids. If that gave them joy, good for them. Why does it bother them if I find joy in something different from parenting?
VIDEODROME wrote:
Religion is an extreme case of this since they're promoting an extreme ideal of happiness getting to live forever in Heaven. They're probably very dismayed whenever someone shows a lack of interest or is content with Life on Earth.
Yes, I've had Christians ask me why I wouldn't want to have eternal happiness by going to Heaven. I told them I would want to go to Heaven, if it existed. They don't understand that saying Heaven is very nice doesn't count as proof for its existence.


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0_equals_true
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06 Dec 2015, 5:32 am

I'm not scare of churches, but is fair to say that church architecture of a certain period like Gothic, or during the inquisition.

The word awesome, didn't have it modern meaning.

Awe means an overwhelming feeling of reverence, admiration and fear. Or as a noun the power to inspire fear and reverence. Broadly and as an emotion it is described as something in between fear and surprise.

The architecture of churches of a certain period, the acoustic, music, light and incense were clear designed to give this effect.

I suspect that modern use of awesome came about becuase it was explained to someone. You could say riding large a tubular wave is both awesome in the old sense and the new. So someone hearing that word not knowing what it meant would think it means "cool".



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06 Dec 2015, 10:26 am

Literally scared, as in fearing physical harm?

A congregation of snake handlers would do that to me.

Even with out the snakes, and poison drinking, a bunch of wild Pentacostals speaking in tongues and writhing on the floor would be pretty scary. Though if youre the type of aspie who stims- you might fit right in!

In contrast even non believers tell me that "you should go to a Catholic mass sometime" just for the cultural experience (like going to an art gallery).



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06 Dec 2015, 2:38 pm

VIDEODROME wrote:
When people find something that makes them profoundly happy, it bothers them on a deep level when they see someone who finds happiness in a way that is opposite to them. This is why a christian man with a big family would be annoyed by single bachelors that have no kids and especially homosexuals.

Religion is an extreme case of this since they're promoting an extreme ideal of happiness getting to live forever in Heaven. They're probably very dismayed whenever someone shows a lack of interest or is content with Life on Earth.

*Only* if they've had it drummed into them that their way is the *only* legitimate path to happiness. That's a power grab by leaders and I find it ethically wrong.


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06 Dec 2015, 2:43 pm

you should consider joining a new religion, retrogamer.... or perhaps a new denomination of Christianity....



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06 Dec 2015, 2:52 pm

Try going to an Orthodox church - Greek, Russian, Romanian etc. I don't think you'll find it scary at all. The services are very beautiful and soothing, only the choir sing (not the congregation) and do so quietly, plus there are no pews to box you in.You can stand wherever you like and can arrive or leave whenever you like, go out for a break, it's very informal in that way.


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06 Dec 2015, 3:28 pm

Dear Retrogamer,
Your stance is excellent, and your use of your mind powerful and to the good. I'd say there is a little message for all of us in your writing when you tell of what someone said to you: "He told me how the Pentecostals were the only true demonetization. I wonder if every denomination says that. "

Not every demonianation says that, but nearly all of them do, and they are talking garbage.

Some Christians have a big problem with trying to save the souls of people who don't even think that they have got souls themselves in the first place, and they will persist forever.

I find myself sometimes speaking in tongues, usually alone, and very often when sat on the toilet. There's a very good book about Faith called "Fear and Trembling" by Soren Kierkagaard, and if any God Salesman of a priest tried to discuss Faith with me, I'd give him a copy of that. As a message from the Creator.

For (yea verily), an attempt to talk about Faith is a sure sign of a charlatan.



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06 Dec 2015, 3:42 pm

Don't be afraid of churches, my friends; be afraid of what lurks within them!

Be very afraid ...


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