Ask Richard: Atheist Besieged by Family Illness Feels Old Urge to Pray

Note: Letter writers’ names are changed to protect their privacy.

Dear Richard,

After rolling through many years without major crises, my family seems to have gotten our bad luck all at once in the form of some mutated cells. My grandfather and pet both have cancer, my boyfriend’s aunt just died of it, I’m scheduled to get a mysterious breast lump checked out, and my father just had a painful biopsy with less than promising conclusions. As I wait for results of various tests and procedures, I’m shocked to find myself actively fighting the urge to pray. I was raised Christian and was a devout child but have been an atheist for about 7 years (I’m 23). I thought I was comfortable with my decision, but faced with the possibility of losing beloved family members, I catch myself with clasped hands, asking God or the universe to influence fate in a way that I know in my head is impossible. I’m somewhat shaken and ashamed at my behavior. Am I a fair-weather atheist? Am I still religious and just didn’t realize it? I consider myself a rational, logical person, and perhaps I just need to learn how to deal with these huge, life-changing problems without the false comfort of prayer. What do you think I should do the next time I feel this way, and is this a normal struggle for atheists?

Thank you for your help,
Rachael

Dear Rachael,

I think the first thing you should do is to forgive yourself for being human. The second thing is to move beyond forgiving yourself, since there is nothing wrong with being human.

To be human is to be continually pulled between your reason and your emotions. It is unavoidable that at times you will be inconsistent and conflicted between these two parts of your nature, especially during stressful or worrisome situations.

Faced with the possibility of losing family members as well as a threat to your own health, it is very understandable that you would experience impulses from your younger years. Yes, your struggle is a very common one for atheists, especially for those who were taught comforting religious beliefs as children.

As I have said in a few other posts, the process of letting go of childhood religious beliefs is two-fold: The intellectual part tends to be much quicker than the emotional part. A person’s rational mind can conclude that religious comforts and assurances are false, but years later they might still feel grief for the loss of that comfort and assurance. In very difficult times the desire for it can become very insistent. The child we once were does not cease to exist when we become adults; it just takes a back seat. Under certain conditions, it can temporarily return to the forefront.

You wonder if you are still religious and didn’t realize it. You don’t sound like you are. You sound like you are the same rational, logical person you have been for seven years, and you’re facing several daunting challenges all at once. The child you once were has returned temporarily to the forefront, and so has her training. Clasping your hands and appealing to a god or the universe is the old way that you were taught to comfort your valid emotional needs. At different points in our lives, we all have different ways that we “hug our teddy bears.” Giving ourselves that child’s comfort is not at all shameful; it’s legitimate. It’s human. Allow yourself whatever helps. It doesn’t mean that you will lose your grip on rationality.

You say you are “somewhat shaken and ashamed” by your behavior, and you ask if you are a “fair weather atheist.” This sounds as if you think you are supposed to live up to some kind of standard of atheist rigor. No, you’re not. You only have to answer to yourself about this, and I suggest that you give yourself the same understanding, patience, and compassion that you would give to anyone else who was in your situation.

For your grandfather, your pet, your father, and for you, I offer you my best wishes for recovery, health, and long life. Those wishes come from my human need to express my empathy and compassion, and they are offered for your human need to know that others care about you. Knowing that can help a little to keep your morale up and to fend off despair. This is why you should share what you are going through with a few close friends.

But wishes are basically like prayers, except that the latter also imagines a deity. What will help you much more than wishes or prayers are the rational things that you and your family are already doing. Diagnostic procedures and medical treatments are founded in rational thinking, and they offer all of you the best chance for good outcomes. Give yourself permission to do whatever helps you to maintain your emotional health, so that you will continue to pursue the most rational path for your and your family’s physical health.

Richard

You may send your questions for Richard to AskRichard. Please keep your letters concise. They may be edited. There is a very large number of letters. I am sorry if I am unable to respond in a timely manner.

About Richard Wade

Richard Wade is a retired Marriage and Family Therapist living in California.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=542253344 Shannon Hagan Dooley

    Richard, thank you for this. 

  • Nena

    Once I had a conversation with a christian coworker wherein I asked, “So if you believe that god knows best and will not change his actions based on your prayers, why do you pray?”

    He answered, “If you know that when you’re sitting at home watching your favorite team play football on TV that it won’t help, why do you cheer?”

    That was the most reasonable answer I’ve ever gotten from a christian. And I think that if you think of it like that, prayer can be a reasonable response to stress, particularly if you were conditioned to do it at a young age.

    I agree with Richard; you shouldn’t feel bad about your urges to pray. As long as you don’t start relying on them and shunning reason in their favor, they do no harm. Best wishes to you and your family. I’m sorry you are going through so much.

  • Anonymous

    I agree. Don’t beat yourself up and cause yourself even more stress. Just think of it as being like a placebo. There’s no real medicine in a placebo, but it can relieve some measure of pain. You’ve been conditioned from an early age to rely on prayer when faced with stress. Your brain will react accordingly. There are other methods, but it’s probably not the best time to learn them. Go with what makes you feel better, even though you are rationally aware that there’s no one listening. You lose no integrity by employing what works.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jessica-Jones/100000175481467 Jessica Jones

    Don’t beat yourself up for wanting to pray.  I fight it during times of stress as well.  Heck, just this morning, my 5 year old daughter fell on our stairs and had to go to the er to have a large cut in her mouth looked at.  I couldn’t go with her.  It was stressful as hell.  I felt powerless and when you feel powerless your brain tries to give you something, anything to feel as though you have something to contribute to the situation.  It also goes back to deeply ingrained training.  Don’t worry about it.  If it makes you feel better even though you know no one is listening, do it.  You aren’t letting anyone down or betrying atheism by following a human instinct.  Right now, you just need to survive the situation.

  • Johannsone

    I would think it could be akin to writing your thoughts in a journal, saying them aloud or quietly in your head.
    Whenever I feel that pressure to return to what I knew as comfort as a child, church rituals & family, I remind myself that my own humanity brought me to weakness of mind and spirit, it can carry me through it.  There is no shame in feeling out of control, grasping for anything familiar. I would suggest finding a friend or support group to talk with, no one should walk what you are going through alone. Praying won’t relieve that ‘alone-ness’, just amplify it.
    To me praying ended up being just like drugs. Temporary comfort with a reality hangover.
    I hope you find solace.

  • Anonymous

    The hijacking of our natural human reactions by some belief system and our urges to deploy its terminology and interpretation as a result of our earlier indoctrination doesn’t invalidate our natural human reaction.

  • Annie

    I still say the rosary sometimes.  I find comfort in holding my grandmother’s rosary beads in my hands, and find the monotony of reciting the long ago memorized prayers very soothing.  A Christian friend once questioned me about this, as she knew I asked for the rosary to be brought to the hospital when my daughter was in the PICU.  She thought this was proof that I really did believe in a god, but to me, it was just proof that the ways we were taught to soothe ourselves as children often work well in crisis as adults. 

    • Kevinw

       Annie,  your post is analogous to a picture I had of my wife when I served in the Army.  In times of stress I would gaze at the picture and it would bring up fond memories of the relationship we shared and good feelings of home.  Don’t discredit or belittle your relationship with God as a childhood stress tactic.  Isn’t it obvious that your soul still yearns for the Father?  That in times of crisis you are unable to pull anything from the vacuum of atheism to console you, to  resolve or better your plight?  Our Father who is in Heaven wants desperately to talk with you again. 

      • Annie

        When I want to clear my head before bed, and am too tired to read or reach for my grandmother’s rosary, I recite Wadsworth poem, “Paul Revere’s Ride”, in my head.  I had to memorize that as a child too, and it brings me the same distraction and comfort as reciting prayers.  It isn’t about what I am reciting, but rather the concentration of remembering that frees my mind.  In times of crisis (in the case mentioned above a medical crisis), what I was able to pull from my life was the confidence I have in the processes of science.  Belief in a man-made mythological being would have done nothing to save my child’s life, but the rigorous work of generations of medical scientists did.

        To return to Rachel’s question, it makes perfect sense that a person in crisis would return to irrational notions that perhaps there is something greater out there that could kindly intervene to take all the pain away.  Wouldn’t that be grand?  But I have found that what is even more amazing, is coming to the realization that there is no such cosmic superhero.  Understanding that, and making it through on your own (with the help of loving family and friends), is far more empowering and soothing than any mythological scenario could possibly offer.

        • Kevinw

          A boy was flying his kite one windy day and as the kite flew higher and higher it soon disappeared from sight behind a bank of clouds.  A stranger walking by noticed the boy and asked what he was doing; in which the little boy responded flying my kite.  The stranger looked up and attempted to view the kite but was unable too due to its height.  He then asked the boy, “how do you know the kite is there?”  In which the boy replied because I can still feel its pull.  Isn’t this just like God?  We aren’t able to see him or sense him using tactile senses but we know he’s there, just like the boy and the kite.  I hope that one day you will seek God and place your faith solely in Him only.   

          • http://profiles.google.com/statueofmike Michael S

            A boy was flying his kite one windy day, then god killed him.

            Wow, I’m not so good at this fiction writing thing. I feel better, though.

          • http://profiles.google.com/statueofmike Michael S

            A boy was flying his kite one windy day, then god killed him.

            Wow, I’m not so good at this fiction writing thing. I feel better, though.

          • Annie

            No.  This isn’t anything like a god.  The boy can easily hand the kite string over to the stranger, and the stranger can feel the tension on the line.  Or, he could pull in the kite, and physically show it to the stranger. 

            You’ve stated several times that you are simply here to glean a better understanding of atheism.  If this is truly the case, may I kindly suggest you sit back and just read for a bit, instead of attempting to proselytize with every reply?  

            • Kevinw

              Annie,

              I’m sorry you missed my intent to describe that the metaphoric “pull” of the kite is akin to our Father in Heaven desiring us to return into a genuine relationship with him.  As noted before I am not here to proselytize but again rather to glean a better understanding to atheists.  However, if a question is asked of me isn’t it fitting that I respond? 

              • http://profiles.google.com/statueofmike Michael S

                A boy was flying his kite one windy day and as the kite flew higher and higher it soon disappeared from sight behind a bank of clouds.  A stranger walking by noticed the boy and asked what he was doing; in which the little boy responded flying my kite.  The stranger looked up and attempted to view the kite but was unable too due to its height.  He then asked the boy, “how do you know the kite is there?”  In which the boy replied because I can still feel its pull. 

                Isn’t the kite string and stranger just like you, oblivious to your own proselytizing?

              • Annie

                No, I caught your analogy… I just didn’t find it applicable.  And just as the kite string doesn’t illustrate the presence of a god, saying you’re not proselytizing doesn’t make it true.

                Since you like analogies, I’ll try one:

                Imagine signing up for a group guitar class.  Everyone is there, with guitars in hand, ready to learn.  But I show up.  Every time someone asks a question to the instructor, I butt in and tell them why they should learn to play badminton.  Whenever a student asks for direction or starts to play the correct chords, I interrupt and exclaim how great badminton is and how only those who don’t know better would play the guitar.  That’s what you sound like here, Kevin.  This is a site for atheists.  It’s not up to me, but I am sure most would agree that you are welcome here.  But remember, this is a guitar class.  If you want to talk about badminton every single second, perhaps you would find a more receptive audience elsewhere.

  • Moribund Cadaver

    Aside from what Richard has already said, I might offer that what we call prayer is a simple outgrowth of a human need to connect with the world around us. Because the act of praying has been categorized and associated with specific religious concepts, and a religious concept of personalized sentient deities in the cosmos, it can be easy to “accuse prayer of crimes it isn’t guilty of”.

    A person who stands in a canyon and communes with the natural world is praying, by most definitions of it. Before there were any names for any gods, people prayed. It didn’t matter what they were praying too – it was the act of prayer and its focus that was the point.

    In times of strife and pain, prayer could be seen as a way to offload negative emotions and stress into an external framework – to clear one’s self and focus on what is really important. When a loved one is ill, praying for their safety is focusing on the positive possibility that they will recover, rather than allowing yourself to be paralyzed by the negative possibilities in which they do not.

    An eastern philosophy, as opposed to a western religion, might phrase it loosely like this – “when we pray, we do pray to god, but the god inside ourselves”.

  • Kenneth Dunlap

    When one feels a need to pray, I suggest writing in a journal or meditating. Both give the same comfort of “doing something” and both can act as a catalyst for contemplation.

  • http://www.facebook.com/Stevarious Steve Derrick

    I know where this guy’s coming from – been an atheist for years but you never really get over some of that childhood conditioning.  It gets drilled into you over and over and over and, like scars, it never really goes away.

  • Rwlawoffice

    Very thoughtful answer Richard.  Well done.  As a Christian I would of course believe that these prayers are listened to even if you don’t believe that they are and I would encourage you to continue. 

    I am encouraged by all of the comments here.  Sometimes when a tragedy strikes a community people get together to pray and some here condemn that as being a useless activity.  It is nice to see that not everyone feels that way, even if you believe that there is no one on the receiving end.    

    • TCC

      It depends on what you mean by “useless.” You’re not likely to find an atheist who thinks that prayer will bring comfort from God, but that doesn’t mean that prayer or religious practices can’t have any utility in grieving. It’s not something I would recommend to someone who wasn’t already inclined toward it, certainly, but there’s no reason to berate someone who leans back on rejected practices in a time of weakness.

  • Ndonnan

    What you are all denying here is what everyone else knows as your spirit. Its as natural and real as your physical body,you can ignore it all you like but its in stressful times or really happy times that you physically feel its preasance. Athiest philosopher Jean paul Sartre addmited before he died,”i dont feel im a product of chance,in short, a being whom only a creator could put here,and this idea of a creating hand refers to God. George Bernard Shaw had a similar about face,” the sceince to which i pinned my faith is bankrupt, witness the tragedy of an athiest who has lost his faith” he wrote just before his death.And just last month Sir David Attenborough confessed that there might, after all be a God,on a BBC interview saying he was no longer able to call himself an athiest but an agnostic . Rachael isnt reverting back to “childhood indoctrination”,its her spirit calling out to God.Just as all people have a consceince as to what is right and wrong,no matter what culture or time in history people were in,its hard-wired in us,Richards right,she does need to do everything she can to get physically healthy,but thats only the half of it,she needs spiritual healing as well. Perhaps both religion and atheism are matters of faith, i think it takes more faith to be an athiest than a christian,i will certainly be praying for “Raechel”.

    • Gordon Duffy

      Faith is like a virus and it comes back in force when you are run down.

      • Ndonnan

        so true Gordon,but to me its like a dose of anti biotics

        • Plasticpony256

          Ndonna perhaps you are in the wrong forum. Your harmful religious rants offer no comfort to the still religion suffering Atheist. I really can’t understand why you would want to cause people this kind of harm. Further more I think you’re suffering from a very contagious disease that you seem to not care whether you infect people with.

          • Ndonnan

            No im not on the wrong forum,and i dont rant,we have a person at a stressful time who has doubts about their beliefs.,the examples i gave were relivant to her situation. I dont mean any harm nor do i think people are really that fragile,this is your personal winge,which i suspect is your  own infectious disease, anything positive to add to her yourself????no i didnt think so,

            • Bubba Tarandfeathered

               I did add a positive reply.
              And you are in the wrong forum if you think that all roads lead back to your deity.

              Here are excerpts from your rant that you are denying that you are conducting.

               ”Rachael isnt reverting back to “childhood indoctrination”,its her spirit calling out to God”

               ”,and this idea of a creating hand refers to God”

              “Sir David Attenborough confessed that there might, after all be a God”

              “she needs spiritual healing as well.”

              “but to me its like a dose of anti biotics ” (antibiotics)

              “truth is as true today as it was then,nothings changed. ”

              “God isnt super sensitive,go on ,give it a try!!! ”

              Um so not a rant huh? If you want to be a positive supporting member of this forum do not fill your support reply with god spew.

              Say something secular. Like my reply for her to take action, to learn about her situation and bring understanding into her life.

              But as far as I can tell you are just a predator stalking an emotionally distraught member of this forum. Whose sole purpose here is an attempt to reconvert her.

              How disgraceful!

    • http://inmyunbelief.wordpress.com/ TCC

      Unsurprisingly, the George Bernard Shaw story is false: 
      http://skeptics.stackexchange.com/questions/8081/did-george-bernard-shaw-convert-on-his-death-bed

      I can’t find anything except a reference to the June 11, 1982 issue of National Review to confirm the Sartre quote (not that it would matter much anyway, as it is secondhand information from Benny Lévy after Sartre’s death).

      And Attenborough called himself an agnostic in 2005, so I suspect that this post is mostly a copy-pasta from years back.

      At any rate, your notion that spirit is “as natural and real as your physical body” is definitely [citation needed].

      • Ndonnan

        How could it possably be false,i read it in last weeks paper?lol, not years back. second hand dosent mean false either,its like the link youve left after your Shaw statment,what we read it on the internet therfore it is.

        • http://inmyunbelief.wordpress.com/ TCC

          Did you not follow the link? Shaw had a character utter those words; they weren’t necessarily his own beliefs, and they were penned long before he died. (And for the record, I’ve taken atheists to task for doing a similar thing with Hemingway.) Just because you read in a paper doesn’t mean that it’s true.

          I think you have also assumed that these appeals to well-known atheists are going to be at all convincing, which they’re simply not. I didn’t become an atheist because of Attenborough or Shaw or Sartre (in his case, I might have become an atheist in spite of him), and there are plenty of otherwise intelligent people who have yet believed in a god, so these quotes wouldn’t exactly be earth-shattering even if they happened to be true. If you devote your life and hopes for an afterlife to beliefs written in a 2000-year-old text (which I’d bet you claim to be inerrant), then perhaps this kind of thing would be convincing to you. First rule of persuasion: Know your audience.

          Also, could you consider using spellcheck, proper spacing, etc.? It’s just common courtesy to try and communicate using generally accepted conventions.

          • Ndonnan

            Saying i read it in the paper and ending in lol should have given it away that i might have considered it possably un true,like your link and information as well. I also realise im following an athiest site,so im assuming the vast majoritory of my addience if you like are athiests, i dont follow it to convert or annoy or insult anyone,though i somtimes will respond if i have somthing to say,[other than"oh crap"]. And no i dont expect to base your beliefs on what a few men say is true,just as i dont,mine are from 33years personal experience.The teachings of Jesus might be 2000yo,but to me truth is as true today as it was then,nothings changed. Oh and yes ,i am terrable at english,i will “endevour to perseviour” as Abe Lincon told the american indians,[allegedly]

  • Gordon Duffy

    I really don’t get it. I’ve never had the urge to pray since realising I didn’t believe in magic. I am more likely to write a list for Santa than to pray. 

    • Ndonnan

      Its easy Gordon,its having a conversation,same as with your best friend,you can be honest,open, vunerable,angry.God isnt super sensitive,go on ,give it a try!!!

      • Gordon Duffy

        Dear Santa, please can I have a new bike and a playstation 3 with Call of Duty Black Ops?

        • Ndonnan

          sure gordon,youve been a good boy,ive given you a job ,so youve got the money,infact your so blessed, buy the kid next door a bike aswell while your there,hohoho

  • Bevidence

    Religion is the human response to being alive and
    having to die. For
    those who believe in a god, most of the big questions are answered. But for those of us who can’t readily accept
    the “god formula”, the big answers don’t remain stone-written. We adjust to new conditions and discoveries. We are pliable. Love need not be a command or faith a dictum. I am my own god. We are here to unlearn the teachings of the
    church, the state, and our educational system. We are here to drink beer. We are here to kill war. We are here to laugh at the odds and live our
    lives so well that Death will tremble to take us.

    We are here to attempt our best to coexist in good will towards our fellow humans, nature and mother Earth – our wonderful home as long as she’ll have us. Luv-luv to you!

  • http://inmyunbelief.wordpress.com/ TCC

    Oddly, I just touched on this subject recently (with a bit more emphasis on self-questioning and doubt): http://inmyunbelief.wordpress.com/2012/02/18/is-it-okay-for-a-non-believer-to-have-doubts/

    We comfort ourselves in what we are familiar with, and for those of us raised with religion, it serves that function. I just went through surgery a few days ago – and it carried virtually no threat to me whatsoever, as it was non-invasive – and I admit to having existential thoughts about death. (It doesn’t help that my mother and I had talked about the subject earlier in the week, and she was giving me a guilt trip on the matter since she’s still struggling with my coming out as an atheist.) The point is that you recognize those thoughts as irrational and not let them consume you with doubt; if they give you pause to rethink your positions, then that’s not a bad thing. But no matter what, don’t feel bad about it.

  • Bubba Tarandfeathered

    In the absence of satisfaction through comprehensive inquiry the mind resorts to conjecture. (I don’t know who’s quote that is, probably my dad’s since he was good for such quotes.)

    I agree with Richard on so many of his points, but I disagree we the its OK stance, about the usage of old behaviors as a crutch. “Allow yourself what ever helps” I think the line reads.

    Would we tell that to a long clean heroin addict or alcoholic? “Yea go ahead and shoot up if it gives you some comfort from your stress.”

    I think not. I think many of us forget that religion is a disease of the “self” akin to alcoholism and drug addiction and thus should be treated in similar ways. The addict can never use again. One shot, one drink and one prayer will lead us back to active addiction.

    Addicts, Alcoholics and Atheists suffer the same physical and psychological effects of using or relapsing. We will always crave to use again and through rational behavior modification we can recover. We are surrounded by temptations to use religion as a crutch to satisfy our curiosity; about why we are suffering through seemingly random and cruel acts of the natural world. It is through rational inquiry that we will find the answers that we are seeking.

    The “spirit” that one commenter expressed is curiosity. “CURIOSITY!!” (embrace it) We want to know why things happen or how they work but our ignorance to the function and purpose of natural phenomena leaves us feeling empty. No single individual can understand all natural phenomena. There is no expectation for us to understand why. Though this may sound very unsympathetic, “Shit Happens!”

    It surely is not attempt by an imaginary force with-in us to seek out an external imaginary supernatural being. Please don’t fall prey to the enablers, the spiritual atheists whose only desire is to bring you back to some twisted, white washed, delusion of religion and spiritually. Atheism is not a state of denial that can be treated with further indoctrination. Atheism is the cure for active religious addiction. Misery loves company, addicts and alcoholics seek out others like them, spiritual atheist do the same, because they cannot bear to suffer the absurdity of life alone.

    So what do we do then?

    Make an honest assessment of your strengths and weaknesses, and acknowledge what you can be thankful for. Inquire amongst your friends and family what you can do to ease their suffering. Take the incentive to serve humanity in some manner i.e. like cooking for your family or doing chores. Seek out ways to satisfy your curiosity. Learn about the process and function of disease and aging. Learn about the procedures and treatments being used. Acknowledge the absurdity of our existence. Acknowledge your powerlessness over disease and aging. Then laugh at that absurdity.

    But if you still feel the need to use religion as a crutch, I will say you have not hit your “rock bottom” yet.

    • Kevin E

       Bubba,  isn’t atheism a religion?  Doesn’t  the faith of atheism, depend on the elements or sacraments of hypothesis and theory for inexplicable events?  Isn’t hypothesis and theory in itself  an act of extreme faith?  With that being said, here’s some facts:  The Bible has 66 books, took over 1600 years to complete, it was written by over 40 different authors and each prophecy to date has come to past.  Not to mention that each book is in agreement with the one preceding it.  These are the facts!  Please attempt to calculate the probability of something like this happening by chance.  You will find that the sum is astronomical.  Don’t allow atheism to harden your heart and blind you to the love of Jesus Christ God’s only begotten Son.  He died for you as well and yearns desperately for a relationship with you.  Regarding your “rock bottom” quote, yes God does at times allow us to hit rock bottom, for us to realize He is the rock at the bottom!

      • http://www.facebook.com/sdorst Stan Dorst

        “Each prophecy to date has come to past.” Please give the evidence for this. To my knowledge the only “prophecies” that came to pass were the ones that were written after the fact. Read about the history of the Bible.

        “Each book is in agreement with the one preceding it.” That is an amusing claim. Many of the books don’t even agree with themselves! Furthermore, to the extent that the books written later agree to some extent with those written beforehand is not surprising. The calculation you propose would only apply if all of the books were written independently, without any knowledge of what the other books said.

        “Isn’t hypothesis and theory in itself an act of extreme faith?” Clearly, you have no understanding of the scientific method. A scientific hypothesis is tested against evidence, and is rejected if the evidence contradicts it. Faith is belief in something without evidence – the exact opposite of the scientific method.

        So, your post displays the fact that you know nothing about the history of the Bible (and haven’t even read it carefully yourself, or you couldn’t claim that the books all agree with each other), that you don’t understand anything about probability, and that you are completely ignorant about the scientific method, and how it is different than faith.  That’s OK, because all of those problems can be fixed by reading. If you want to become less ignorant, I would be glad to give you some suggested reading material (but I’m not holding my breath waiting for you to ask for it…)

        • Kevinw

          Hello Stan, 

          To answer your questions about the Bible not being 100% accurate in all of its prophecies, let’s examine the fortelling of Jesus Christ.  I have added these references for your review.  There are many more but I think this is a great place to start!

          Genesis was written by Moses
          under inspiration of the Holy Spirit (1450 – 1410
          B.C.).

          Gen
          3:15 (The first prophecy in the Bible, Jesus was to be that seed of the woman)

          15
          And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her
          seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel. (KJV)

           

          Gen
          49:10 (The sceptre [scepter] denotes King, Shiloh means Peace; Jesus is the
          King of Peace)

          10
          The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet,
          until Shiloh come; and unto him shall the gathering of the people be. (KJV)

           

          The Psalms were written by King David who lived from about 1037BC – 967
          BC

          Ps 22:all (The entire Psalm 22 is Christ on the
          cross, written 1000 years ahead of time)

           

          Ps 22:1 (Christ’s first words from the cross,
          God did not forsake Jesus, nor was Jesus implying so, but rather, Jesus was
          drawing our attention the this Psalm as He hung on the cross. Below we supply
          the New Testament Scripture were Jesus fulfills this Psalm)

          1 My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? why
          art thou so far from helping me, and from the words of my roaring? (KJV)

          Book of Isaiah written about 600 years
          before Christ was born

          Isa 7:14 (Immanuel in Hebrew means: ‘God with us’. Jesus Christ
          (Jehoshua Christos) means: ‘God Savior’, The Anointed One. These titles are in
          two different languages but are the same thing. Jesus is Immanuel – God with
          us. Below this Scripture we supply the fulfillment of it with Jesus Christ.)

          14 Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a
          virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel. (KJV)

          Be blessed!

        • Kevinw

          Good Morning Stan,

          A little clarification here, the Bible is 100% accurate in all of its prophecies to date.  I have included 10 recent prophetic events that have come to past with explanation for each.  It’s someone lengthy but I think a good read.
          1. Israel will prevail over its enemiesBible passage: Isaiah 41:12-14Written: perhaps between 701-681 BCFulfilled: late 1900s
          In Isaiah 41:12-14, the prophet said God would help Israel during times of conflict with enemies (if the people have faith in God). Isaiah said this during a time when the northern kingdom of Israel had already been conquered by the Assyrian Empire. And the southern kingdom, Judah, was about to be conquered by Babylon. (The Bible explains that Israel and Judah lost their independence because so many of the residents had turned to false religions). But, since 1948 when Israel was re-established, Israel has been attacked by much-larger countries. And Israel has prevailed in each of those attacks. This prophecy has found partial fulfillment; Christian scholars believe that a time will come when all of Israel’s enemies are destroyed.
          2. The ruins of Israel would be rebuilt
          Bible passage: Amos 9:11, 13Written: about 750 BCFulfilled: late 1900s
          In Amos 9:11, 13, the prophet said that God would restore the land of David. (King David ruled Israel from about 1010 BC to about 970 BC). The land of David – Israel – was conquered and destroyed by the Babylonians, Assyrians and Romans. The land has been in ruins for much of the past 2000 years. The Jews, who had been scattered throughout the world, began to return in large numbers during the past 100 years. Since then, they have been rebuilding many of Israel’s ancient cities. Amos also said there would be continuous planting and harvesting. During the past 100 years, the Jews have been using advanced farming and irrigation techniques to turn barren land into productive farmland. Today, Israel is a source of food for many countries.
          3. Ezekiel prophesied prosperity for modern-day Israel
          Bible passage: Ezekiel 36:11Written: between 593-571 BCFulfilled: late 1900s
          In Ezekiel 36:11, the prophet said that there would come a time when Israel would be more prosperous than it was in the past. The Bible describes Israel as being a prosperous nation during the time of King David and King Solomon about 3000 years ago. But, Ezekiel knew a very different Israel. In Ezekiel’s day (he lived about 2600 years ago), the northern kingdom of Israel already had been decimated by the Assyrians, and the southern kingdom (called Judah) was being destroyed by the Babylonians. In the centuries that followed these destructions, Jews rebuilt the city of Jerusalem, but their homeland was destroyed again, by the Romans, about 1900 years ago. Since then, a majority of Jews have lived in exile. But during the past 100 years, millions of Jews from around the world moved to Israel and they have been rebuilding the country once again. Today, Israel again is an independent nation, as it was in the days of King David, and it is one of the world’s most prosperous countries. In 1999, Israel had the highest per capita Gross Domestic Product of any nearby country, even though the surrounding countries have many oil resources.
          4. Trees again would grow in Israel
          Bible passage: Isaiah 41:18-20Written: perhaps between 701-681 BCFulfilled: late 1900s
          In Isaiah 41:18-20, the prophet’s talk of a future restoration of Israel coincides with an occurrence in modern Israel – the construction of a vast irrigation system to improve farming. The lack of available water, including rain, is one reason why Israel had been a desolate, unproductive land during much of the past 2000 years. But, during the 1900s, when many Jews returned to their ancient homeland, they built a network of irrigation systems. And during the past century, more than 200 million trees have been planted in Israel.
          5. Isaiah said Israel’s fruit would fill the world
          Bible passage: Isaiah 27:6Written: perhaps between 701-681 BCFulfilled: late 1900s
          In Isaiah 27:6, the prophet said Israel would one day blossom and fill the world with fruit. This prophecy has been at least partially fulfilled, literally and symbolically. Today, the land of Israel, which had been barren for centuries, is a leading producer of agricultural products, exporting food to many countries. This prophecy also has been fulfilled symbolically with the worldwide spread of Christianity. Christianity, which began with Jesus in Israel, now has about 2 billion followers worldwide.
          6. Jerusalem would become the world’s most important religious site
          Bible passage: Micah 4:1Written: sometime between 750-686 BCFulfilled: Today
          In Micah 4:1, the prophet said that the Temple mount in Jerusalem would become the focal point of the world. This prophecy has not yet been fulfilled. But, it is interesting to note that Jerusalem is, and has been for centuries, the world’s most important religious site. Christians and Jews regard the city as the world’s most important, and Christians and Jews comprise about one-third of the world’s population. No other city in the world is a religious focal point to as many people.
          7. Egypt would never again rule over other nations
          Bible passage: Ezekiel 29:15Written: between 593-571 BCFulfilled: 1967, etc.
          In Ezekiel 29:15, the prophet says that Egypt would recover from a desolation (perhaps Babylon’s attack about 2600 years ago), but that it would never again rule over other nations. Up until the time of Ezekiel, Egypt had been a world power for centuries, dominating many nations, including Israel. But for most of the past 2500 years, Egypt has been controlled by foreign powers, including the Romans, Ottomans and Europeans. Today, Egypt is an independent nation again. In 1948, 1967 and 1973, Egypt tried to dominate Israel but was unsuccessful each time, despite the fact that Egypt is 10 times larger than Israel. Since the time of Ezekiel, Egypt no longer rules over other nations.
          8. Zechariah prophesied the Jews return to JerusalemBible passage: Zechariah 8:7-8Written: between 520 and 518 BCFulfilled: 1967, etc.
          In Zechariah 8:7-8, the prophet said God would bring the Jews back from the east and the west to their homeland (Israel) and that they would be able to live in the city of Jerusalem again. This prophecy has been fulfilled more than once. About 2600 years ago, Babylon destroyed Jerusalem and took many Jews as captives to Babylon. But many Jews later returned from Babylon. The Jews rebuilt Jerusalem but the city was destroyed about 1900 years ago by the Romans. The Romans killed more than 1 million Jews and forced many more into exile. The Jews did not have control of Jerusalem again until 1967 when the Jews recaptured the city during the Six Day War.
          9. Israel’s deserts will become like the Garden of Eden
          Bible passage: Isaiah 51:3Written: perhaps between 701-681 BCFulfilled: Being fulfilled now
          In Isaiah 51:3, the prophet said that God will restore Israel and make it a paradise, like the garden of Eden. This foreshadows what is currently happening in Israel. The Jews have been irrigating, cultivating and reconditioning the land during much of the 1900s. Many of the country’s swamps, which had been infested with malaria, have been converted into farmland. And water from the Sea of Galilee has been channeled through portions of the deserts, allowing some of the deserts to bloom. Much work remains, but parts of Israel are blooming again. Although it was described as a wasteland as recently as the late 1800s, Israel is now a food source for many countries. And at least 200 million of trees have been planted there during the past century.
          10. Isaiah foretold of the worldwide return of Jews to Israel
          Bible passage: Isaiah 43:5-6Written: perhaps between 701-681 BCFulfilled: late 1900s
          In Isaiah 43:5-6, the prophet Isaiah said that the Jews would return to their homeland from the east, the west, the north and the south. Isaiah lived about 2700 years ago. At that time, the Assyrians had forced many Jews in the northern kingdom of Israel into exile. Those Jews were taken to other areas in the Middle East. Then, about 1900 years ago, the Romans destroyed the city of Jerusalem and killed and exiled hundreds of thousands of Jews. Since then, the Jews have been scattered to virtually every country in the world. But, during the past century, millions of Jews have returned to Israel, from the east, the west, the north and the south.
          From the east: Many Jews living in the Middle East moved to Israel by the early 1900s.
          From the west: During mid-1900s, hundreds of thousands of Jews living in the West (Europe and the United States) began moving to Israel.
          From the north: The former Soviet Union (Russia) is north of Israel. It refused to allow its Jewish residents to move to Israel. But, after years of pressure from other countries, Russia finally began to allow Jews to return to Israel during the 1980s. So far, hundreds of thousands of Russian Jews have moved to Israel.
          From the south: Ethiopia, which is south of Israel, also refused to allow its Jews to return to Israel. But, in 1985, Israel struck a deal with Ethiopia’s communist government to allow the Jews of Ethiopia to move to Israel. On the weekend of May 25, 1991, 14,500 Ethiopian Jews were airlifted to Israel.
          Isaiah’s prophecy was also correct in saying that the north (Russia) and the south (Ethiopia) would have to be persuaded to give up their Jews. Many countries pressured Russia for years before it began to allow its Jews to leave. And Ethiopia had to be paid a ransom to allow its Jews to leave.
          Isaiah’s prophecy was also correct in saying that the Jews would return “from the ends of the earth,” and Isaiah said that many centuries before the Jews had been scattered to the ends of the earth. During the past 100 years, Jews living as far east as China, as far west as the West Coast of the United States, as far north as Scandinavia, and as far south as South Africa, have moved to Israel.

          • amyc

            tl;dr

            Israel exists today therefore gawd.

            • Kevinw

              Yes!  Therefore God!

            • http://twitter.com/butterflyfish_ Heidi McClure

               Also, New York exists today, therefore Spiderman. /nod

      • Grinch

        Two conflicting creation stories in Genesis. Need I say more to discredit you?

      • Ndonnan

        Good answer Kevin,Bubba makes some absurd comparisons so i dont think somone with this depth of denial isnt interested in facts

        • Bubba Tarandfeathered

          I am in denial?

          No, but what I am is as following,

          I a militant atheist who thinks you are a total idiot, who hates you and your religion. Unlike most people here, I am totally intolerant of religion and mostly the American christian versions. As a Militant Atheist it is my role to defend our position of non-belief at any cost, but within the constrains of civil rights and the laws of the land.

          I hold the position that you are suffering from a memetic disease and you are trying to spread your vile memes to others in most mean spirited ways possible.

          I am intelligent enough to know that if I spoke my mind here that the content of what I was writing would be a blatantly obvious Hateful Message which you and your kind are protected against by Federal Hate Crime laws.

          Fortunately you don’t have to subscribe to this forum but since you are maybe you should ignore it.

          Since you so desire to read that I have faith and believe in something then the following is what you get.

          My position of non-belief includes these facts that:

          There is no god.
          There are no supernatural beings.
          There are no supernatural powers.
          There is no immortal beings.
          Deities are myths.
          Jesus did not perform any miracles.
          The bible is full of misrepresentations and lies and contradictions.
          Most world religions are exceptionally damaging to the freedom and civil rights of humanity. Most especially women.

          I also hold these positions to my personal opinion that:

          American christians are arrogant high and mighty snobs, who to easily become immature brats that cry out in temper tantrums when someone snubs their beliefs.
          American christians do not follow the teachings of their mythological prophet.
          The American christian tenet to spew hate and expressions of bigotry against others is a new virtue that they think brings them closer to their deity.
          The American christian role reversal to “innocent victim,” when called out on their expressions of hate and bigotry is another new virtue that they think brings them closer to their mythological deity.

          So I have to ask.

          Why do you hate us so much?
          Why can’t you embrace our difference?
          Why do you think you can change us?
          Do you really think you can pray us away?
          Do you really think that the “safeguard verses” have any meaning to us other than proving that your religion is a complete joke?
          Why can’t you accept that we are here to stay, that our ranks are growing and there is nothing you can do to change that?
          Why can’t you grasp that belief in mythological beings has no place in the modern world and that such beliefs stifle the progress and growth of a society?

          I am fairly certain at least within this forum that most every, if not all, Atheist subscribers here agree with me on those points.

          I come to this forum to support my fellow Atheists, who are sometimes suffering from the after effects of religious memes, to share in my community, to offer advice and hopefully strengthen our shared position of non-belief. All that despite my obvious militant stance.

          So Kevin and Ndonnan, Why are you subscribed to this forum?

          P.S. I also hold the position that your oft used parting meme, “that you are
          going to pray for us and that your mythical deity loves us” is
          absolutely the most hateful of the expressions you can make.

          • Kevinw

            Good Morning Bubba,

            Good question!  Why are we subscribed to this forum?  I can speak for myself only, I am subscribed to glean some understanding to Atheists.  I didn’t come here to convert anyone and as my recent post detailed, if an opportunity arises for me to plant a seed then I am dictated by my faith to do just that, so that our Father in Heaven may water it to flower.  With that being said, why do you find it hateful when I tell you that God loves you?  Also, do you find it hateful when I say the same?  Because I do love you and it is my desire that you do enter into a relationship with Jesus.  It is not my intent to anger you nor deride you for your thoughts but if you wish that I no longer end my comments with “be blessed” or any other closing that wishes you well then I will indeed be more careful.

            • Bubba Tarandfeathered

              Why do you desire that I share your delusional thoughts? Are you so unfeeling of a person that you actually desire to spread you memetic disease to anyone you can, totally disregarding whether they are open to the proposition or not? Would you like it if I sneezed into your face a gave you the Swine Flu? You like Ndonna are predators hunting for weak ignorant minds to spread your vile memes as far and wide as possible. You are totally rejecting the evolution of a free thinking society for a desperate pursuit to infect as many people as possible with your hateful, bigoted, prejudice, religious, and delusional memes.
              You really should go see a doctor about this “issue.”

              • Kevinw

                Bubba,

                Your thoughts are your own, my only desire is that you enter into a genuine relationship with our Father in Heaven.  You have said, that you would  not.  I have accepted that and wished  you well.  As noted before I am not here to convert you.  My intent was to glean a more complete understanding of atheists nothing more.  Even though you call me predatory, hateful, etc.  I still wish you well and again thanks for the allowing me to dialogue with you.

                • Bubba Tarandfeathered

                  Your thoughts are your own but what you write here is public domain and open to criticism. My only desire is that you genuinely seek medical attention to address your psychological problems, as a first step in curing your self of your religious affliction. Apparently you don’t want to address that issue. That is unacceptable because the longer you remain deluded the greater the chance you may harm someone. I do you hope now that you see that we Atheist don’t put up with religious BS. Your welcome.

                • Kevinw

                  Dear Bubba,
                  I have never attacked you verbally and thought that up to this point our dialogue was cogent and sincere.  Should I reply to your verbal attack with scripture from psalm 14:1; 1 The fool says in his heart, There is no God.”
                  They are corrupt, their deeds are vile; there is no one who does good.
                  Bubba, if you wish to continue our dialogue I am more than willing. However, it would be helpful to restrain ourselves from conjecture about the other.

            • Parse

              Kevinw,
              If you’re looking to glean some understanding to Atheists, then listen to them, don’t preach at them – and yes, trying to ‘plant a seed’ counts as that.  What you consider subtle seed-planting, isn’t.  Take a look at your first comment here; you said, “Meaning He wants you to again depend on Him, to trust in only Him and to again have a relationship with Him.   Don’t allow your heart to be so hardened and your trust in atheism blind you to the truth that God is.  I don’t know you but God does and He earnestly desires a relationship with you.  You’ve tried nothing so far and your results are just that nothing!  Isn’t it time you give God a try?”  If you consider that subtle, I’d hate to see what you consider blatant preaching.  (For a better example of what to emulate, see Rwlawoffice’s comment.  He gives his views and his beliefs, but he doesn’t include the ‘come-to-God’ call that your comment does.)As to why some consider it hateful when you (as a random stranger on the internet, on the streetcorner, or knocking on doors) say “God loves you” or “I love you”?  I don’t see those particular statements as hateful, but as unwanted emotional manipulation.  In either case, the reaction is because the context of the quotes provides an unsaid, second half: “God loves you, therefore you should think like I do.”  ”I love you, therefore you should do what I say.”   You want us to enter “a relationship with Jesus”, but it’s a relationship whose behavior and interactions are defined by your interpretation of the Bible and your religious doctrine.  

              • Kevinw

                Hello Parse,

                I am unable to mimic/emulate what Rwlawoffice deems as an appropriate response.  His response is based on socioeconomic conditioning that may differ from mine.  So how he responds to posts is unique to him only.  Also, not once did I say or infer that anyone  should think like I do.  What I did say is Jesus loves you and I love you.  I never once mentioned joining a Church or converting to a particular denomination.  I only wanted to illustrate that God is love and as a follower of Christ I am compelled by His love in me to exude that love to my fellow man, whether they receive this love is their choice.  As noted earlier to bubbatarandfeathered, if you have made your decision to deny Christ.  I accept your decision and wish you well. 

              • Bubba Tarandfeathered

                To glean information and understanding requires curiosity which Kevinw denies. No questions what so ever about who we are and how we came to be this way. Just blanket statements about spreading his viral infection. I feel sad for this person whose mind is so closed that he has lost the basic instinct of curiosity. Absolutely no desire to learn outside of the box. But then this shows how debilitating the disease is.

                • Kevinw

                  Dear Bubba,

                  To glean information doesn’t always require an interview with the subject.  Observation has always been a reliable tool to base a hypothesis.  And I’ve witnessed quite a bit while in this forum. 

      • Bubba Tarandfeathered

         Thank you for replying.

        First question. Is not Atheism a religion? Short answer no, it is not. What is the the definition of a religion though? One may say that relgion is a consensus of beliefs. Atheist’s lack any substantial beliefs. Even in scientific fact since all facts are subject to change and evolution. The definition of religion also requires ritual, a consensus of tenets, a hierarchy of authority, ceremony, adhering congregants, and most importantly a central authoritative figure of either mortal or supernatural existence. Which for the bulk of that answer Atheism does not have.

        Second question. (and I have to ask how did you derive faith from your first question?) Doesn’t  the faith of atheism, depend on the elements or sacraments of hypothesis and theory for inexplicable events? Short answer Atheism does not require faith. But what is faith? Is it a confident belief in some event or ability of humanity and nature? Surely this could not be the answer because despite all the confidence in the world chaos still rules the day. Faith is an assumption which is intirely based upon chance. We assume that the light will turn on when we flip the light switch, but since chaos rules there is the possibility that it will not. Atheist have no faith because there is not 100% proof that their position is correct. To be ever more precise there is not any evidence to suggest that any aspect of nature is 100% provable fact. As I said earlier fact is subject to change and because nature is is a state of change from what seems to be a constant into chaos. Light bulbs burn out, switches break but there is no evidence so far that gives proof that there is not at least one light bulb in existence that is still functioning after tens of millions re-illuminations. So it is 99% provable that all light bulbs will eventually burn out.

        Continuing with the second question. Upon Sacraments of hypothesis and theory (WTF does that even mean.) Hypothosis and therory are two useful tools used in the development of an understanding of natural events. Which are a part of the generalized term Scientific Method. In short, there are no inexplicable events. There is an answer for all natural phenomena. but referring back to the 99% position ,we may not at this time have the tools available to us to properly study all natural phenomena, but 40,000 or more years of observation, of the natural world, by humanity it proof enough that there is no supernatural phenomena in existence.

        Let us now move on to your claims about the bible and I know something about this since I was once a confirmed Methodist Minister.

        First the the bible is riddled with inconsistencies. Here is a few for example.

        GE 17:1, 35:11, 1CH 29:11-12, LK 1:37 God is omnipotent. Nothing is impossible with (or for) God.

        JG 1:19 Although God was with Judah, together they could not defeat the plainsmen because the latter had iron chariots.

        GE 22:1-12, DT 8:2 God tempts (tests) Abraham and Moses.

        JG 2:22 God himself says that he does test (tempt).

        1CO 10:13 Paul says that God controls the extent of our temptations.

        JA 1:13 God tests (tempts) no one.

        GE 50:13 Jacob was buried in a cave at Machpelah bought from Ephron the Hittite.

        AC 7:15-16 He was buried in the sepulchre at Shechem, bought from the sons of Hamor.

        MT 5:1 – 7:29 Jesus delivers his most noteworthy sermon while on the mount.

        LK 6:17-49 Jesus delivers his most noteworthy sermon while on the plain.

        I am sorry but your facts about it are now subject to change, thus not 100% proof of truth but a 99% possibility of being false. Plus, and many of you xians claim this as the truth, the bible was written and copied countless times by fallible men interpreting (and too often just filling in the blanks of their knowledge) the word of god. Thus the inaccuracies could be immense. A great analogy to use is a rumor circle. One person tells a rumor to another which is passed by word of mouth to another etc., around a circle of people, by the time the tale has reached full circle it is a completely different story all together. Calculate the chance of this happening. You can.

        Any collaborating historical record of a person named jesus is scant at best, the name and subsequent attachment to the title christ was not commonly used in the bible for nearly 600 years after the supposed crucifixion story. Though the word christ does exist in the jewish language prior to its attachment to the mythical jesus figure. The Romans kept great records of the persons they crucified but rarely the persons name or families name. For example a record would read “A theif or barn burner was crucified on such and such day.”

        Lastly I see that you are very sick and I am sorry for you, but have hope there is a cure for your illness and very qualified doctors who are willing to help and proscribe medication to cure you.

        • Kevinw

          As the questions that you have are many please check out this site to address your concerns about alleged contradictions in the Bible.  http://www.bringyou.to/apologetics/bible.htm#1 
          http://usminc.org/images/136BC.pdf

          Be blessed!

          • http://twitter.com/butterflyfish_ Heidi McClure

            You didn’t even read what he wrote, did you? He said he was a Methodist minister at one point. I’m pretty sure he’s heard all your apologetics.

            • Kevinw

              Good Morning Heidi,  I did read where he wrote that he was once a Methodist minister.  There are instances where people do fall away from the faith.  The Bible teaches us in the example of the Prodigal that God is a loving and forgiving God and welcomes back those who do “fall away”.  Also, did you know that Albert Einstein once thought that gas and light were the same?  If a man of Einstein’s intellect can make a mistake, aren’t we all capable of making one?  Be blessed!

              • http://twitter.com/butterflyfish_ Heidi McClure

                What Einstein may or may not have thought about light and/or gas is pretty much irrelevant here.

                My point was that since he is pretty well versed in religion, sending him to an apologetics site to read what he’s already studied, seems like a waste of time.

  • Kevin E

    Dear Rachael, I am sorry to hear about your pain and the lost of your loved ones.  In answer to your question, is it okay to yield to the temptation of prayer?  Yes!  The Bible teaches us that God allows us sometimes to hit rock bottom, to allow us to realize that He is the rock at the bottom.  Meaning He wants you to again depend on Him, to trust in only Him and to again have a relationship with Him.   Don’t allow your heart to be so hardened and your trust in atheism blind you to the truth that God is.  I don’t know you but God does and He earnestly desires a relationship with you.  You’ve tried nothing so far and your results are just that nothing!  Isn’t it time you give God a try?  

    • Clieder

      I think Rachael would appreciate not being love-bombed and preached to. “You’ve tried nothing so far and your results are just that nothing” this smells like blaming Rachael and saying that god is punishing her for being an Atheist.

      You would have more credibility if you didn’t use someone’s vulnerability as a conversion tool. So what about all of the Christians that suffer from cancer, financial problems, etc., are they guilty of trying nothing? You would think that if prayer and god are effective, like you are asserting, Christians wouldn’t be afflicted with such things. :) You make absolutely no sense with this crap.

      • Kevinw

        Hello Clieder, as a Christian not of any particular denomination but the God in me compels me to love her as He loves her.  I don’t mind “love bombing” someone because that is my sister who was created by our Father in Heaven as we all were.  Regarding conversion, the Bible teaches us in 1 Corinthians 3:6 that I don’t have the power to convert anyone.  However, I do have the power to plant a seed and God will take it from there to allow that seed to flower.  Because I have a genuine love for her I would be lacking indeed if I didn’t testify to the power and love of our Father in Heaven has for her and for us all to include you, if we only seek Him. 

        • amyc

          He doesn’t know that “love bombing” is a phenomenon found in cults where a new attendee is showered with praise, love and friendship in order to get them to stay and make a commitment to the cult.

          You said “god allows us to hit rock bottom so we may see he is the rock.” Tell me Kevinw, why would it be ethical for god to kill her boyfriend’s aunt (or give her grandfather or pet cancer, or herself and her father health problems) in order to teach Rachel a lesson? That’s just morbid and terrible, and I wouldn’t worship that god even if it did exist.

          • Kevinw

            Hello Amyc, 
            The Bible teaches us in  Isaiah 55:8-9 that we as mere mortals created by Him, have very limited understanding to why God allows certain things to happen. However our faith and trust in Him gives us peace in knowing that whatever He allows or purposes is for the ultimate good. Isaiah 55:8-98 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD. 9 “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.   For further clarification on the “ethics” of God, please read my reply post to Bubba Taredandfeathered.

    • LeftSidePositive

      So “God” is sabotaging her grandfather, her father, her pet, AND her breast to make her suffer so much that she turns back to him?  This doesn’t sound like a benevolent sky-daddy, this sounds like a classic domestic abuse scenario–”threaten people close to the victim, make the victim feel isolated & dependent on you…”

      You know what, when a guy “earnestly desired a relationship with” me just by stalking my Facebook page, I didn’t put up with that shit and I didn’t think it was love.  Anyone who tries to coerce someone into a relationship by hurting their loved ones is a fucking monster.

      Where the hell did you get the idea that her heart is “hardened”? That’s just your bigotry shining through… She comes across as a very loving, sensitive, thoughtful person who is doing her damned best for her family, but you just see “atheist” and assume her heart must be “hardened”?  One thing I can say, your value system certainly hasn’t done much for your character!!

      • Kevinw

        No God is not sabotaging her or anyone else.  Pain and suffering that produce a greater good sometimes can be brought about
        by no other means. The Bible tells us that trials and difficulties produce
        stronger, better Christians, and we should “count it all joy” (James 1:2) when we encounter them. God brings these about
        for our benefit, in order to refine us like gold in the fire of affliction. The
        Apostle Paul saw his own suffering—beatings, stonings, shipwrecks, hunger,
        thirst, cold, imprisonments—as a means of ensuring that he would be ever
        conscious of his own weakness, would remember always that the power at work in
        him was from God, not himself, and would never be deluded into relying on his
        own power (2 Corinthians 1:8-10; 4:7-12). Against
        nonbelievers, God’s justice is vindicated when He causes pain and suffering to
        them because they deserve it. He demonstrates His mercy to them by warning them
        repeatedly of the consequences of sin. When, through their own rebellion, they
        bring upon themselves calamity, this is just punishment, not cruelty. The fact
        that He lets rebels go on shaking their fists at Him as long as He does
        indicates His mercy and patience, not cruelty.

        • Bubba Tarandfeathered

          You gotta hand it to the authors of this babble, who realized human weaknesses and wrote in all the safeguard verses.  God CEO of the Heavenly Insurance Company of the Universe. No matter what sin you commit we’ve got you covered – even after death.

          Makes me wonder why so many people buy life insurance, if god takes care of all no matter how bad the sin.

          With the exception of denying his existence. If you all say that is not true and not in the bible then you have just proven how much you don’t know about your religion.

          And oh yea its proven fact we Atheist know more about your religion than you do.

          • Kevinw

            I’d like to help clarify what was stated.  The only unpardonable sin today is that of continued unbelief. There is no pardon for a person who dies in unbelief.  John 3:16 tells us, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” The only condition in which someone would have no forgiveness is if he/she is not among the “whoever” that believes in Him. Jesus said, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6). To reject the only means of salvation is to condemn oneself to an eternity in hell because to reject the only pardon is, obviously, unpardonable.
            Many people fear they have committed some sin that God cannot or will not forgive, and they feel there is no hope for them, no matter what they do. Satan would like nothing better than to keep us laboring under this misconception. The truth is that if a person has this fear, he/she needs only to come before God, confess that sin, repent of it, and accept God’s promise of forgiveness. “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). This verse assures us that God is ready to forgive any sin—no matter how heinous—if we come to Him in repentance. If you are suffering under a load of guilt today, God is waiting with His arms open in love and compassion for you to come to Him. He will never disappoint or fail to pardon those who do.

            • Bubba Tarandfeathered

              Being realistic though, there are no unpardonable sins, since sin is an edict of religion and thus not applicable to the Atheistic position. There are of course laws of the land and social norms that I should follow and if I choose not to, some may be unpardonable.
              Part two:
              You are assuming that I have this fear, I do not. To do so would mean that I, at first, must accept your position that your deity actually exists and that it holds some significant value in my life, which it does not, on either point. Other than it’s existance is purely imaginary. I can certainly imagine that supernatural beings exist for example Bat Man or Spider Man but imagining them does not make them real and for me to think that they are, would be humoring a delusional thought. I am pretty certain I am sane.
              It has been shown that people who suffer from the memes of religious indoctrination do humor delusional thoughts that deities are real. An analogy that I have begun to use is similar to a driver talking or texting on a cell phone. The religiously delusional are talking and texting to their imaginary friends so often that they are driving through life with no regard for the safety of others. Some even fly though buildings.
              Why do the religiously delusional want to hurt so many people?

              • Kevinw

                Bubba,

                I assume nothing about you.  Because you doubt God that does not nullify that He is.  If you choose to continue to deny God then that is of course your inalienable right to do so with no malice whatsoever harbored by me toward you because of it.  As for your question, “why do religious people want to hurt so many people?” I have no idea what religious people you are referring to.  If you phrased your question, why do so many Christians want to hurt so many people I can answer as a Christian it is not my intent nor the intent of followers of Christ to harm no one.  We are taught to love our enemies and turn the other cheek.  Are there some who have challenges with this, sure!  But our basic tenets are to love one another as Christ loved us (John 13:34).  I wish you well and thanks again for allowing me to dialogue with you in this forum.

      • Bubba Tarandfeathered

        It’s funny and you are right, that as soon as they see “Atheist” they immediately use worlds like “lost our way,” “hardened our heart,” or that we are so full of hate.

        What they are doing is attempting to solicit a guilty feeling from us. Like we are so lost, hardened and hateful that we should feel guilty for being like that. It’s not honest compassion by any stretch, if they were truly compassionate they would be supporting us and even encouraging us to find our way. Our way. It just bigotry and it is also fear.

        Sorry you guys it doesn’t work for most of us here. Sadly it does for some of the more on-the-fence or fresh out of the closet Atheists, but then that why you and I are here, I hope, to protect the recently cured mind.

  • LeftSidePositive

    Also, “Bargaining” is a well-established stage of grief even for entirely secular people. Kubler-Ross described the model as:

    1) Denial
    2) Anger
    3) Bargaining
    4) Depression
    5) Acceptance

    Our brains, being intensely socially-wired, tend to try to ask for help for things, even when we have to invent the agent.  I was never born religious, but I find myself asking my car to start, pleading with the sky before I get my grades, pleading with my goddamned email!! It’s a trick of our human psychology, so don’t feel bad for your brain working the precise way it’s been honed to work for hundreds of thousands of years!

  • Icaarus

    Rachel 

    As someone who has just been through a hellish year, I understand what you are and soon will be going through. Good luck. Keep those close that you feel the need to keep close. Trust yourself.

    You sound like a humanist, don’t ever loose that.

  • The Infintite Being

    Religion is just another name for mythology. In school we are taught that mythology is how the Ancients’ explained the natural world. If you were to ask a Roman if he had faith in their GODS, he would have said yeah. What is different from now and then? 1,000 years from now (given the human race hasn’t killed themselves) kids will be taught how theology was how we explained the universe. This mythology and theology thing is why I do not have faith in a superior being. Do animals have a Heaven that they go to if they live a good life? NO. Humans are animals. We are all part of this Earth. We are all created from the same basic materials.
    Rational thinking makes me favor sceince. Facts that can be proven. I cannot will myself to put faith in something that cannot be proven or backed up. 

  • Alchemist

    Give yourself some slack! You’re a human being, with all the frailties of the human condition. You’re not losing your rationality, as evidenced by your own worries about you urge to pray!
    If it’s any help think of the instruction in the bible to love thy neighbors as thy self, and remember that any equation also works in reverse.
    I wish you luck. And remember their are others who support you.
    Katie

  • Georgina

    Last summer, late July, there was a terrible storm and I remember looking up to the sky and shouting: THOR! If you exist and are up there, don’t you dare hit the electricity pole.

    Sometimes, cuddling a teddy bear helps.


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