Church for an agnostic

In 1991 I was 16 years old and I was what is known as “born again”. I got saved. I was introduced to what it is like to be a independent fundamental baptist at the age of 16. By the age of 22/23, I was 100% a baptist and fully brainwashed  into one of the sub-sections of the IFB churches – which was First Baptist Church of Hammond Indiana. Before 1991, I was not religious nor did I consider myself even “spiritual”. Before 1991 – I considered myself just a teenage girl. In 1987 when I was 12, I questioned whether I believed in gods. It was when I was 12, when I told myself that God could be a woman if he wanted to be. I asked “Why does everyone say that god is a he? Why do all these people say that god is a “he” Don’t they know how to think for themselves?”

Between the age of 16 through 21 I was slowly brainwashed.  Enter age 22 and I decided to go to a right winged baptist bible college. I was in a baptist prison for 4 years. For three years of those four, I desired to be there.  My 4th year –  age of 25, I magically woke up to the nightmare that I had put myself into. I thought I wanted this life of being 100% submissive to a husband and being told what to do – when do it, and why to do it (or not to do it). I had had enough of being told that I could not wear boots that go up to just below my knees on a cold day with 2 feet of snow outside that had 5 feet snow drifts. I was tired of being told that I couldn’t tap a a dude should just to get his attention.

By the time 2001 rolled around I left Hyles Anderson College around June 1st. It was the same year that Jack Hyles died. I was tired of hiding my bisexual curiosity and I was tired of pretending to be something that I wasn’t.   My values did not match that of the baptist church that I was in.

I came back home to Southern California in June 2001 and I was confused, angry and alone. By the time 2002 came around, I was introduced to bars, drinking and dancing. Sometime before May 2003 I had blown a rod through my oil pan in my Sentra. I think it was Jan 2002. I had no money to get a rebuilt engine for $700. I had alcohol at home and I started to drink coffee with alcohol daily. I did that for 6-12 weeks. I slept in to 9am or 10am daily. I’d lay on my bed all day long.

By 2003 I was smoking marijuana every week (every day if I could get my hands on that much money for the month or week). I was in a bad car wreck in May 2003 and I was on my way to work. I had just gotten hired as a temp on Friday and Monday was my car wreck. I was not high when I was driving to work. My car went out of control and my car was totaled via landing in a ditch. I had no money to get a new car. I did have access to my mom’s car.

I was still attending a baptist church during the entire time. It was not until 2008 that I started to question what my values were and where I stood in the area of religion. I was 33 years old in 2008. But that’s when I started to question things. And question things I did. I became a full fledged atheist in 2013. I had came to the conclusion after all of my anger outbursts (those were between 2007-2011) to this “god” that “loved me and died for me” — was full of shit. I was watching many many videos on Youtube from a group of athiests that had a radio show. Now, I can’t remember the name of the show.  It was not a radio show. It was a TV show based out of Texas and they’d have callers – call in and discuss why they believed in a god or why they – didn’t believe in a god.  Most of the time it was Evangelical Christians that would call in and state their case of why they believed and why everyone else should believe too.  But it didn’t work with this group.  The group kept on saying “The burden of proof is for you to prove to me that your god really does exist” and what the atheists were saying – made complete 100% sense to me.  Everything they said was logical.  And they also didn’t put down people saying things like “Well, your an asshole for believing in god” or “Your a dick since you can’t prove to me that your god exists”.   They’d used sound “Judgement” (for lack of a better word) in telling people that since they were a Christian, they must prove to atheists (and anyone else that does not believe in their god) that this god does indeed exist.  Christians on the show – would just site bible verses over and over again.  It got so freaking old. I had to decide If I believed in this god or if I was on the side of “evidence” is what is needed to prove that any god exists and the logical stance for me in 2013 was – to declare myself an atheist.

Since I had the conclusion on god – that god can not= love.  God = Love  was an equation that made no sense to me.   I said to myself “So if someone – lets say 5 kids were raised in a family with no gods, you mean that family has no love for their children? You got to be KIDDING ME!”  That
if love – sometimes hurts…..I couldn’t prove that any gods existed and I certainly couldn’t say that I KNEW for sure that I’d be going to heaven when I die…so since I couldn’t say or even THINK that – I knew that I could no longer consider myself a Christian.  I did a lot of thinking between 2008 and 2013. But I also had a lot of anger between 2008 and 2012. It wasn’t until 2013 – the year of my total hip replacement – that I had a change in attitude. My attitude was keeping people away from me. And it had nothing to do with me being an atheist. I was not positive at all. Everything with me was negative. I don’t think I ever meet anyone as negative as I was. Really. The reason I never meet anyone so negative – as much or more than I was – was because all of those people – also – like me – had no friends.

2011 – It wasn’t until 2011 that I left the baptist church all together. I left since I knew my values were never going to match that of any baptist church. I knew I was bisexual in 2011. I knew it. How could I continue to be going to a church like this and pretend to be a straight woman? So I left. And I told them why too. I started going to a Congregational church in 2011. I went for 8 weeks and then stopped. 2011 was when I started going to a new church (open and affirming- meaning they are open to gays) and I went for all of 2 months.

It was a part of the United Church of Christ, not to be confused with The Church of Christ – which is somewhat very similar to baptist churches with all of the damn freaking DOGMA.  I knew that I had to get away from the baptist churches if I was going to stop my anger

I stopped going to the UCC Church in Riverside sometime in the fall. I didn’t attend any church from the fall of 2011 to fall of 2015.  Fall 2015 I started attending a Congregational Church in town. I was shocked to see someone that I knew. Apparently she was going to this church for about 40 years or more. Her daughter and my high school buddy – does not go. She is an agnostic. I think she also has other things planned on Sunday.

I decided to declare myself an agnostic in 2016 since I knew I could not claim that I know anything about gods. I could not say that I knew for sure that gods don’t exist. I can’t say that there are no gods, since I don’t know if that’s true.  So I started going to this church in fall 2015, BEFORE I declared myself an agnostic. I didn’t go every single Sunday in 2016 since I worked some Sundays in the Spring and even less in the summer.  I started to take care of my mom in the summer of 2016 which made it hard for me to watch any football the entire 2016 football season. Football and church with me – don’t mix.  It’s either football or church. So half the year – I’m in church – the other half – I’m watching football – unless I’m taking care of my mom. Which I take care of her at least 8 hours a week. That’s only cooking her meals and going shopping for her and driving her to doctor appointments.

I have been going to my church for a good 6 months straight every Sunday. The church I go to reminds me of a Catholic church that practices Lent. I never been to a Catholic Mass. Just two Catholic funerals and I suspect the Catholic Mass is similar to a Catholic funeral. But I’eve never been to a church that puts ashes on your forehead. Baptists don’t do that. Re-pending of sins is really not all that much talked about either in baptist churches since we all knew that Jesus washed away all sins when he died on Calvary. And all baptists knew that we all were fine as long as we accept Christ as our Savior. All we baptists also knew that if anyone else was not born again – they were for sure – going to spend the rest of their afterlife  – in a real fire and brimstone hell. We all KNEW IT. Or we acted like we knew it.

The church I go to does not say that anyone must be saved or born again. Yes, they used the name of Jesus Christ. Yes, they love people in the name of Christ. Yes, they do push ashes on foreheads during Ash Wednesday and Lent. I went to Ash Wednesday and I LOVED IT! I loved the message. No, my pastor does not yell when preaching. NO, my pastor does not preach again sleeping with women. No, she does not preach again sex before marriage. She does not even “preach”.  She gives more of a heart to heart talk with us. She encourages us to go and love others  – and she does it in the name of Christ. She would never tell a non-Christian that they are on their way to hell. She knows that she does not know the fate of many man, women or child. She’s too smart to say something like that.  She loves people.

For me – church is essential since it keeps me from being judgmental of anyone and all people that may be a baptist or a catholic or anyone that believes in a god for that matter. When I became an atheist, I was a FIRED UP, ANGRY atheist and I raised my fist to god in anger. That was not a true atheist since If I was – who was I raising my fist to in my rage? I don’t know, but it had to have been the IDEA of a god. Or the people that told me that there was a god somewhere. Or may be I was raising my fist to myself since I was the one that believed all the stuff at the age of 16 and 18 and 23. May be I was raising my fist to the men behind the pulpit and mad at them for acting so male sleazy piggish.  You know what I mean.

So I go to church to keep me loving others. I don’t ever want to fall into the anger trap again where I’m calling people names and “weak” for believing in a god – any god mind you. I don’t ever want to judge a baptist or anyone that has faith of any kind. I used to have a hard time saying or singing the word “GOD” in church when we sang.  I didn’t say that word for 2 years from 2015 and 2016. I just started to say the word “GOD” in 2017.  It’s no longer a big no no word for me. It holds no power over me. And I’m glad I’m not angry anymore.

So may be I’ll see you a First Congregational Church this Sunday. And may be I won’t.

 

 

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What is Lent?

I didn’t know. Really. I’m not kidding. I’m 40 now and I didn’t know what Lent was. Well, I have looked it up before, but I forgot. So I looked it up.  This website says What is lent

Lent is a season of forty days, not counting Sundays, which begins on Ash Wednesday and ends on Holy Saturday. Lent comes from the Anglo Saxon word lencten, which means “spring.” The forty days represents the time Jesus spent in the wilderness, enduring the temptation of Satan and preparing to begin his ministry.

Lent is a time of repentance, fasting and preparation for the coming of Easter. It is a time of self-examination and reflection. In the early church, Lent was a time to prepare new converts for baptism. Today, Christians focus on their relationship with God, often choosing to give up something or to volunteer and give of themselves for others”  

So now I know. However, let me say the reason I don’t know what lent is  – is two fold. I went to a baptist church from age 16 to age 31. Briefly stopped for a few years and went right back to another baptist church at age 34 and did that for 2 more years until 2011.  And as a baptist, we were not told to “repent” before Easter. We were told that repentance happened when one got “born again”. Also, we were not told to ‘Reflect” on our actions ONLY before Easter.  This happened each and every time we had “The Lord’s Supper” and while at Hyles-Anderson College,  “Preacher” (as he was often called) or Dr. Jack Hyles would say “Look at the bread” or “Look at the wine” and then he’d say “LOOK AT IT”. I still remember his voice.  You see, I attended Hyles Anderson College for four long years and I attended First Baptist Church of Hammond for FOUR long years, every single Sunday morning, Sunday night and Wednesday night. I think I missed one semester of the normal church service since I was doing my “service time” with the kids.  I was putting in “my hours” of service.  You know, serving others.

So that’s why I don’t know what lent is. We also didn’t practice Ash Wednesday. We never put any ash on our heads. Baptists don’t do that. So the first time I saw someone was something black on their head (around 2008) it was literally a culture shock for me! I remember tutoring two youth and it became very obvious for me – right away- that this family may have been Catholic.  I know that they do things that baptists don’t do. I’ve been to three Catholic funerals and one thing that is different is the water. Its “holy”. They also have holy steam that they put around the casket.  Baptist don’t do this.  Before 2008 (I must have been about 33 then) I really never saw anyone with ash on their head – sorry.  I mean ash between the eye brows.  It is not placed on the crown of the head.

So now I can explain to my friend why I never understood what lent was and we never celebrated lent or Madi Gras or Ash Wednesday. Repentance was done when one got saved. It wasn’t something we had to do like “Turn from your sins” again and again.

For me now? I’m not going to write out a long post about this. I’m simply put. Agnostic and a secularist. I don’t know if there is a god and if there is one – okay. If I come to that concluding that I feel the need to believe in a god sometimes – I would probably keep it to myself  SINCE I think there are must more important things to address on Earth. Homelesssness is one of them. Poverty. Animal abuse. Gay rights.  Those things are important. Questions like  “Is there is a god?”  or ‘Don’t you believe in Jesus?” Or even “Don’t you believe that Jesus was a real person” are just not that important to me.  I want to focus on issues I can see.  I can see homeless people outside. I can see poverty. I can see how much money I earn and how my income is below poverty level.  I can help myself and then help others once I’m good.  But you know what?

I’ve seen the people that have the least, give the most.

Religion, Science and Art

I titled this post as such to gain the attention of a certain market. First, I wanted to attract anyone that considers themselves religious – specifically those that  DO believe in a place called “hell”. Secondly, I wanted to attract those that don’t believe in any religion or gods or hell for that matter. I put science in this title since science and chemistry is a part of what this topic is about. It is the crux of how this entire show is produced. (I will be posting a video for you to watch and that video is the “show”).  I put “art” in the title since you can interpret this stuff as a form of art – if you are creative enough.

Now, are you ready for a wild ride? Alright. This post includes a very short summary of Mark chapter 9 from the New Testament.

When I was in bible college we were told a lot of bullshit. Some things were more absurd than others.  I wish I could remember where I heard the theory that our bodies (if one were to go to hell that is) would become, or turn into a snake like creature or a “worm” if you would. This theory is based off the bible verse (Yes, it is in the New Testament. I’m sorry that many of these stories that preachers tell are based on New Testament scripture) that says “Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched”.  I looked it up and it is Mark 9:44.

Now if you look at the entire chapter – the entire chapter builds on this “life after death” thing – and builds upon this “lack of faith”.  In the beginning of the chapter you will see Jesus talking to Peter, James and John. All three men saw Elias and Moses. Then Peter suggested to Jesus that they make three temples – one for Jesus, one for Elias and one for Moses. Then a cloud appeared and the “voice of god” said “This is my beloved Son, hear him”.  So whatever he was going to say was important. After the three men walked down the mountain and after Jesus briefly explained about the “son of man” and how he be disregarded and suffer many things. . .he see’s people arguing with the scribes. Mind you people are all around him since this is Jesus and people want to be healed.  Jesus asked why the scribes were arguing. After a man brought his son to Jesus to be healed and after he told the man to believe (so his son could be healed) and after his son was healed and after his disciples asked why they couldn’t cast out demons, Jesus tells them one must fast and pray to do that kind of act. I’m sure if this really did happen anyone would want flee to another city to be hidden and that is what Jesus did. Of course his disciples followed him. In vs 30 he went through Galilee since he didn’t want anyone to know where he went. He told his disciples (again) that the “son of man” will be murdered and in three days will rise from the dead. But his disciples didn’t understand. Just like in vs 9 they didn’t understand. They didn’t want to ask him what he meant since they were afraid. Jesus asked them why they were arguing (vs 33) and his disciples kept quiet since they were at odds with who was the greatest or best person.  Then Jesus said ” “Anyone who wants to be first must be the very last, and the servant of all.”  Jesus then took a child and said that “if you welcome children, then you welcome me” Basically he was saying one must accept people just as children accept people. Without judgement. Then the disciples told Jesus that they stopped someone from driving out a demon since that person was not in their group. Jesus told them to not stop people from doing that since Jesus claimed that people that do anything in his name, can’t do any evil saying “or whoever is not against us is for us” vs 40. 

now we get to vs 41-45. Since this entire chapter was more about faith than anything else – Jesus talks about hurting his little ones. The children that believe in him. He says in vs 42  that “whosoever shall offend one of these little ones that believe in me, it is better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he were cast into the sea”. vs 43 “And if thy hand offend thee, cut it off; it is better for thee to enter into life maimed, than having two hands to go into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched”. vs 44 says “4 Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.“.  Up until vs 43 most of it is subjective and a parable.

But for a certain amount of Christians out there, this verse about their worm dieth not and the fire is not quenched – it means an eternal literal fire in a literal place called hell. Hell is not a figure of speech for the Christian. It is a real place. This verse for the Christian means that hell is forever. Since the verse says “worm dieth not” means the fire never kills the worm. It also means the fire is never put out. The fire never ends.

Now where did this person (the person preaching this sermon) get the idea that people become worms in hell? I guess he just dreamed it up since I don’t know anything more absurd than a person’s soul (you can’t touch this, you can’t see it)  going to hell and then that person’s soul magically getting a body and that body is in the form of a worm.

Remember – the soul is something that you can’t touch. I personally believe we all have a soul. I don’t know if that soul is the same as a spirit or not – and I don’t care to dive into soul/spirit dichotomy or debate right now.  But I do believe there’s something inside of each of us that makes us who we are. And when we die, that essence of who we are lives on somewhere else. Perhaps we take on another body form through reincarnation? I don’t know. But I do know that I do not believe in a literal place with fire called Hell.  I’ve even heard of a preacher say that due to these special fish at the very bottom of the ocean called “tube worms” – I’ve heard of preachers claiming that these tube worms are proof  and evidence of hell fire being at the center of the Earth.

Here is one website that talks about these tubeworms and how religions talk about hell and how they (the religions) describe hell:  http://www.truthcontest.com/entries/the-present-with-religion/hell.html

Another article that shows how these tube worms live in an environment full of hydrogen sulfide (H2S)  (a type of gas) in the ocean and can grow up to 8 feet in length. http://www.extremescience.com/deep-sea-vents.htm

So now we come to science. I know I had to save this toward the end. But it is good shit.  First I need to look up sulfur and where in our world it can be found.  So I consulted Wikipedia and just as I thought. Around very hot places: It says  “On Earth, elemental sulfur can be found near hot springs and volcanic regions in many parts of the world, especially along the Pacific Ring of Fire; such volcanic deposits are currently mined in Indonesia, Chile, and Japan”.

So since Christians believe that hell is a real place and they also believe that this place is a place of eternal hell fire, and they also believe this hell is in the center of the Earth . . .then yes, it would make a good match for one to discover these tube worms – in hell.

In the KVJ Bible, sulfur is referred to as brimstone. If you read the bible, you will see this word “brimstone” everywhere. I’ve been told so many times when I was in bible college that Jesus spoke about hell (the real fire hell that people believe in) more than any other topic.  Now of course the new testament is not too concerned with people in this lifetime, nor too concerned with people as they live out their days on Earth. The NT is more concerned with people’s souls and where that soul ends up (heaven or hell). So I would expect Jesus to talk about hell often since his “purpose” if you will was to direct people away from hell and direct them to heaven. I don’t believe any of this, this is based on what “God” said throughout the new testament and it is also found in the old testament.

But let’s take another turn. Since we can find sulfur in hot areas on Earth and since we can make a wild claim that these tube worm could grow and survive in “hell” – can we put science into it? Take  NH4Cr2O7 with HgSCN. And burn it using a lighter. What happens? Well. . . you get a serpent/snake/worm that is known as “Pharaoh’s Serpent” and it is a firework show.

 

HgSCN is Mercury(II) thiocyanate. When ignited alone it will produce a large serpent, often called “Pharaoh’s serpent” or “Pharaoh’s snake”. When igniting it is breaks down as ” carbon nitride, C2N4. Mercury(II) sulfide and carbon disulfide are also produced”  then “Flammable carbon disulfide combusts to carbon(IV) oxide and sulfur(IV) oxide: CS2 + 3O2 → CO2 + 2SO2″ http://io9.com/5947370/what-in-the-name-of-all-that-is-holy-is-going-on-in-this-video 

and NH4Cr207? That is Ammonium dichromate. Apparently there is more for me to read about HgSCN than NH4Cr207. And from what I have read, you can get a “snake” from burning HgSCN alone. Either way – if you mix it with the other chemical or not, you get sulfur from burning it. So now my question is this:  Could there be a logical explanation of this idea of “hell” connected to “the center of the earth” and  “worms in hell”?

Perhaps (if hell was a real place) hell would be a place so hot – and perhaps one could find both HgSCN Mercury(II) thiocyanate and NH4Cr207. And if “god” supplies the “fire” in hell – magically –  just by him “being god” —  then what would naturally result from this fire (if these two chemicals were found there?) Well, I guess if this fire never went out – since it is eternal fire – then could this create an infinite amount of Pharaoh’s snake fireworks? It is something to think about. Can you imagine being in a hot place seeing a fireworks show and seeing two chemicals come together and doing this forever?  Now of course, according to any Christian, they will tell you that you will not see anything since your body will be on fire and you will be in pain. But some claim that your body will turn into a worm.

Now – I’m not sure how to explain this in terms of getting this Pharaoh’s snake – and making a connection with the tube worms found in the bottom of the ocean. I have no idea what some crazed bible thumping Christian would say about trying to prove that the worms in the bottom of the ocean are “gateways” to hell or proof that these tubeworms lead to hell or are even a part of hell. I also don’t know what a bible thumper would say about these tube worms showing evidence of hell. But I know I have been around baptist preachers in the past that claim all of this is true. Imagine. It could all be some simply chemistry and chemicals mixed together.

Lucifer’s Squid as art?: I’m not sure about this one. You probably wouldn’t want to touch it since mercury is toxic. And you can’t purchase these two chemicals from your local chemical store. But I guess if you could do is as a science experience in a high school, perhaps one could look at it as a piece of art.

http://fineartamerica.com/showmessages.php?messageid=2385135

You want a video of this grant performance don’t you? Sure you do. But don’t call me a witch doctor. Be sure to not do this at home. You must do it in a safe area outdoors and you must dispose of the mercury properly. You can not flush any of the mercury or the “snake” which is also made of mercury down the tiolet. Mercury is highly toxic. The 2nd video is over 10 minutes long and you will see an amazing reaction in about 7 minutes in.

http://youtu.be/UU6NDH-KOME

http://youtu.be/PC3o2KgQstA

 

Dysthymia and The Optimism Bias

Dysthymia, What is that? It is a fancy term for chronic low grade depression. Chronic, meaning it lasts for over 2 years. It is not major depression. It doesn’t have all of the symptoms of major depression. The person is able to function daily. Just because the person is able to get out of bed, shower, get dressed, put on make-up and brush hair and drive to work each day and keep their job  – does not mean that the person see’s the world out of rosy colored glasses.  Quite the contrary.

There is a book out that I’d love to purchase or at least rent. It is called The Optimism Bias and (I’m sure) in one paragraph or perhaps in one small chapter summary it explains how “our brains” are naturally wired to see the world in this pink – rosy color. We are wired to see things in a more positive light.  Example:  If you are told the chances of the “average” person getting cancer (any kind) is 30%, you’d think  to yourself “Oh that’s 30% for most people, but not me. I’m healthy. For me, my risk is only 15%”. Your brain normally and naturally paints a more rosy/happy/positive/optimistic view of your own life – even if you are told that statistically – everyone has a X% of risk for XYZ.  There is a video of this book on TedTalks. You can view the lecture here at this link:

http://www.ted.com/talks/tali_sharot_the_optimism_bias?language=en

Now, at one point in Tali Sharot’s speech, she says (and I’m paraphrasing here) —If we all were honest with ourselves about the world around us and honest with how our world affects us we would all be just slightly depressed since we’d know that the true case of the world and the realities of this world affecting us–

Ah, mild depression Tali Sharot? Well, I believe 100% that I am more honest about the world and how it affects me. I believe I have looked at the world with eyes that see a little more reality and LESS optimistic color to them. I’ve been TOLD from others in my life that I’m just TOO honest with other people, and I’m too honest for my own good. So it seems being honest with oneself CAN hurt you? You get mild depression from it.

So what are the symptoms of this Dysthymia? “Poor appetite or overeating; insomnia or excessive sleep; low energy or fatigue; low self-esteem; poor concentration or indecisiveness; and hopelessness” from : http://psychcentral.com/lib/advice-for-coping-with-chronic-depression/0003

According to Jane Collingwood, some people are treated with both drugs and psychotherapy. She does add in “Due to the long-term nature of dysthymia, a non-drug treatment is ideal.”

Now let’s get real. Has psychotherapy helped me? I’d say having more friends has helped me more than psychotherapy.  As social beings we all need friends. We all need to be around people. Now of course I do fell good when I go to a therapist that actually listens to me instead of them just talking.  The other part of this is a little more deep.   The point of going to therapy is to change something. Make some type of goal. It could be couples counselling and to change the way you talk to your spouse. It could be counselling with your child and you learn how to communicate your needs to your child without making your child feel like you don’t love him and you want to do the dishes – yet he feels like a slave when he does the dishes. But you are just trying to teach him some skills that he will need when he is on his own. Maybe he feels like he doing “mom’s job” when doing the dishes. So the therapist can help both parent and child to look at the situation through different eyes. What if the parent is a little over controlling or may be the parent is not setting down any boundaries at all and allows the child to do whatever. Change.  That is the real reason people go to therapy.

Now the big question. Did I change from going to therapy? Parts of me did change. Parts of me did not change. And I’m still seeing the world through grey colored glasses. I can see a difference in my outlook now if I compare it to how I was 10 years ago. I can see how my outlook was almost always negative. I remember in my late 20’s I’d say “if you look for the bad in people you will find it”. I think I picked that up from Bible college since I was told so much that “tv in sin” and “dancing is sin” and “everything is sin” and that I didn’t agree with any of that. I told all of the people that were telling me all of this that – if they see the world through sin then everything will be sin to them.

Sometime between 2001 and 2008 I began to look for the “bad” in my life and guess what I got? I got more “bad” stuff into my life. What I focused on is what I got. I remember before 2003 I had “visions” of a car accident. Visions? They were daydreams. I was daydreaming. What car? My car. I owned a 1992 Nissan Sentra. Before May 2003 I would daydream of a car accident. I got into a car accident in May 2003 while going to work. It was my 2nd day of work. I started on a Friday and I went into work Monday. I didn’t make it to work. I drove 99% of the way to work. About 2 miles before I got to the office, my car went out of control.  No one was around, no parking lot was build – yet. My car went off of Jefferson Street and hit the curb and flipped once and landed on all four tires with the motor still running. I don’t know how fast I was going since my speedometer was not working. I know other cars were passing me just before my car went out of control. (I didn’t have anti-lock brakes and I put the brake on and it fishtailed). I even remember hitting a small 3 foot wooden survey post. I didn’t black out.  I remember it all.

My “vision” was always a red car. I used to say before my car accident “Who is the owner to that car in my visions?” Or “Is that my car”? Or “Why are my visions always a red car?”  Hello? I was daydreaming of my own car accident. Some may say I’m nuts for saying that by daydreaming about it, I created it.

What you focus on, you get.  The only thing I need to ask myself now is – what do I want to focus on? My life used to be full. I used to think of positive things. Well, most of my thoughts prior to 2004 was on what I thought “god” was at the time. Is ignorance bliss? Some say yes. But I can’t answer that question for you. You must answer that one for yourself.

http://www.lef.org/magazine/2007/10/report_depression/Page-01

 

 

What is an Independent Fundamental Baptist anyway?

In 2011 I had just left a church that was either a part of the IFB or a part of General Baptists. The important thing to remember is that these two are the same: they are all baptists, all view the bible as the actual word of “God” and that these words came from a man’s mouth – and this man is in the sky and he rules supreme. They both view that Jesus is the only “begotten” son of “God” and that this Jesus was born when Mary was a virgin. (Some baptists will go into how Mary didn’t stay a virgin and had other children, some will make a point that Mary said to “do whatever my son says” especially if the baptist church wants to convert Catholics over.

I’m going to post a link in this and it will take you to another site that will fully explain what an IFB is an how extreme their beliefs are. This post is to educate the world what an IFB person is and to show how deep I was into this movement/group or dare I say: Cult.

In 1991 I became “born again” and that started my journey into this life:

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/johnshore/2013/11/the-foul-toxicity-of-the-8-million-strong-independent-fundamental-baptists-headed-by-bob-jones-university/

Please be aware – I haven’t been an Independent Fundamental Baptist since 2008. I didn’t agree with everything they taught. I certainly didn’t think being gay was a sin. I stopped going to all baptist churches in the summer of 2011 Then after much self inquiry (which acutely started in 2004) in 2011, I  started to question the bible as a whole.  I became a skeptic in 2013 that the god-man Jesus really lived on earth with special powers.

I should say here that agnostic means “without knowledge” as it is related to god. The atheist does not believe that a god exists and believes the burden of proof (of a god) is on that of the theist. I am not sure a god exists (I have no knowledge of a god) and I also think some things are just not meant to be known. My main question is “Why does there have to be a higher power?” “Why can’t there be a different power we don’t understand yet that is not discovered?”

The above link will show you everything you need to know about the IFB and if you can read between the lines you will be able to see how a ex-extremist could fall right back into the same trap of extremism and apply it to another topic.

If you scroll down about 1 inch you will see the topics of breaking a “child’s will” and the part about saying to the child “I am bigger and stronger than you and I will win” (or something like that) . .that was acutely TAUGHT to me (and all of the other young women) when I was in a class taught by Mrs. Cowling at Hyles Anderson College. She told us all “This is what you say to a child that wants to do something else” (This was 1999 or 2000. I have no clue if she is still alive).   At the bottom of this link you will find a storehouse of other links/resources to go to – so you can educate yourself.

Emotional damage from church

I have stated in many different posts that I used to be a Christian for some time (1991 to 2012). Other places on this blog I stated that I used to be an Independent Fundamental Baptist (for a good 15 years).

You’d have to thumb through each of my blog posts under “Religion and the Like” for you to get the full background of how I was damaged from the IFB.  Some may not understand what emotional damage will result from attending an IFB church over several years or from JOINING an IFB church.

If you’ve never been to an IFB church one time, how the hell do you know what it is like? It is very hard to put into words. I just say it is a bunch of “man worship” instead of god worship. I went to other churches that were more so called ‘Non-Denominational” between 2004-2008 and I didn’t see much man worship in them, but again I didn’t stay  long enough to find out!  At most – I’d go to about 4 Sundays and then leave.

I follow several blogs. This one I pay particular attention to since the author of this blog used to be a Pastor of Evangelical Churches and Baptist Churches for 25 years. His name is Bruce and he is an atheist since 2008. http://brucegerencser.net 

This man KNOWS how to blog and blog well! I read his first post below (Part 1 and 2). I have yet to read Bruce’s part 3 on emotional manipulation.  He has a post on sexual abuse that I encourage others to read it. I have read many of his posts in 2013. If you are a former Christian, I encourage you to read his blog. If you are a current Christian (and pastor) I encourage you to read his blog since he is a former pastor and you may be able to learn something from him.

Here is an overview how the basics of church going is all about the pastor (and it could be considered a form of man worship):  http://brucegerencser.net/2013/10/emotional-manipulation-in-the-evangelical-church/   (I particularly like the comic in the middle during the alter call where the pastor, the pianist and the man in the back are looking around when all eyes are to be “closed” when hands are raised. If you have not been to an IFB, you will not understand this!)

This covers emotional damage:

Part 1   http://brucegerencser.net/series/does-evangelicalism-cause-emotional-damage/

Part 2: http://brucegerencser.net/2013/08/does-evangelical-christianity-cause-emotional-damage-part-two/     One  very long quote:  “By far, Evangelical women suffer the most emotional abuse. It is hard to imagine any Evangelical woman coming away from Evangelicalism without being emotionally damaged. . . .Is it any wonder many Evangelical women lack self-esteem and think poorly of themselves? How could it be otherwise? Everywhere they look women are progressing, free to live their life on their own terms.  Yet, the Evangelical woman is chained to an ancient religious text and a religion that demeans her and views her, at times, as little more than property or a prostitute”.

Sexual abuse:  http://brucegerencser.net/2013/10/evangelical-pastors-who-take-sexual-advantage-of-adult-church-members/

http://brucegerencser.net/2014/01/what-evangelicals-mean-when-they-use-the-word-god/

Just know that religious abuse/spiritual abuse is real and it can cause low self esteem for a very long time. .

If you go to a baptist church like I did – and if you are gay or transgendered, you will be told that that part of you is a sin and that you are choosing to go that route.