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At 12:10am on April 17, 2015, Aaron Richardson said…

I don't consider six years a short while. I wasted so much time, money, and energy trying to live for an imaginary deity who never existed in the first place, except in my mind. I wasn't raised in a religious household whatsoever. In fact, it was the complete opposite. I was raised in a completely dysfunctional household saturated with abuse and domestic violence. As a child I spent some time in foster homes and a mental hospital before the shit-storm finally calmed down, and I settled down with my dad who was a recovering alcoholic. It was too late by then though. I was a mess and my life became even messier as I became a teenager. My teenager years are nothing but a blur thanks to the abuse of drugs and alcohol. Luckily I graduated HS by the skin of my teeth and managed to escape the hellhole I was living by joining the AF. My troubles and addictions only followed me from there though, and I got very close to getting kicked out of the military. Fortunately they decided to pay for me to attend rehab. During this time I was very unstable psychologically and vulnerable to religious zealots who would want to convert me. And that's exactly what happened. I came across some christians in rehab (and after) who played upon my vulnerability and before you know it I was a baptized, bible thumping, religious crackpot with no idea what I had gotten into. It didn't take long before I was telling everyone I met they were on their way to hell, giving half of my income away, and depriving myself of everything earthly thing I once enjoyed. I became a hardcore street evangelist that carried around obnoxious signs and yelled the "gospel" at everyone that passed by. I spent a ridiculous amount of time praying, reading the bible, and attending bible studies and church. I eventually became one of those people that loved studying theology and church history and found myself adoring people like John Calvin, John Knox, Johnathan Edwards, etc. In other words, I was a "Calvinist." I also eventually finished my enlistment in the AF around this time and decided to move back to NM from Idaho. I wanted to come back here so I could attend school and be closer to family; and so I could witness to them and try to help turn them away from their sins lol. It was hard to leave at first because I had countless christian friends, many of whom were accountability partners with me and knew my deepest and darkest secrets. I still do love a lot of these people like my own siblings but I can’t stand to be around them anymore because they still believe all that bullshit. I forgot to mention this earlier, but my dad also became a hardcore christian after I did and still is to this day. Sometimes I can’t stand being around when he starts trying to preach to me or talk about Christianity. He’s so dogmatic and there is nothing you can say to him that will change his mind. After I moved back down here to NM I didn’t have any christian friends down here whatsoever. To put it simply, I didn’t have anybody down here to encourage me not to question Christianity. Somehow, someway, Sam Harris, Christopher Hitchens, and Matt Dillahunty found their way on to my computer screen, and before you could recite John 3:16 I was a full blown atheist; it literally happened within a few months. Well, that what those six years looked like in a nutshell. There is a lot I left out, but I think you get the gist of it.

At 12:48pm on April 16, 2015, Donna Coffey said…

Joseph,

Thank you for the heads up.  I sure am glad I didn't post my street address.  I wonder if I'll have any interesting mail this week.

Mormons and Muslims -- believe in a book sent by god with the unaltered word for his chosen people.  Same idea, different language.  There are comparative religion books juxtaposing these two that go in much more depth on their similarities than my brief comment.

I'm pleased I feel no attachment to either, well, except that I have family members in both still.  Shari'a might be illegal, hopefully, but not Islam.

Donna

At 1:36am on April 12, 2015, Deidre said…

hey ...hope you're having a good weekend ^_^

At 4:56pm on April 5, 2015, Carla White said…

ha ha...no I was not thinking atheist-like when I mentioned Carolina Rebellion, but I'll bet there will be a few of them there.

No, no Disturbed.  I think they've stopped making music.  They are one of my favorites, but I am psyched about seeing Godsmack (love that name), Chevelle and SlipKnot, not to mention the other awesome groups that'll be there. 

Are you a metal fan?  Meet us there!

I see in one of your pictures you look like you're on your way to work - the badge kind of gives you away.  What do you do?

At 1:46am on April 5, 2015, Lori Anderson said…

Oh, one more thing... my correct zip code is 30393.

At 3:17pm on April 4, 2015, Lori Anderson said…

Hi Joseph. Yes, I live in the northern suburbs, specifically the northeastern suburbs. The suburbs in Atlanta vary greatly when it comes to land land home prices and new urban planning polices.

The older pockets of suburbs can be quite inexpensive to buy a home that includes fair sized grounds or yards (an acre is not unusual). There are lots of trees in those older pockets and neighborhood sections of housing The older Atlanta suburbs were tree happy to say the least.

Of course, older homes require expensive upkeep and these types of neighborhoods are often in decline, though I guess that's basically pretty par for the course, anywhere.

All of the newer developed areas and neighborhoods in suburban Atlanta are VERY expensive, mind blowingly expensive. That's fine and well for people who can afford it, but it pushes many middle class families into deteriorating neighborhoods, with high crime rates. I guess that's pretty much what is going on everywhere, also.

Inner southern suburbs are awful but as you get out further, they are quickly becoming indistinguishable from the outer northern suburbs. I am generalizing and I'm no expert. It's my general impression. It's not something I particularly keep abreast of. ,I could be wrong about what's going on, especially in the southern suburbs. I'm not as familiar with them. I go there only occasionally.

At 9:24am on April 4, 2015, Carla White said…

Yeah....Fayetteville is the pits for many things, except for supposed christians.  So, are you in the Charlotte area?  I will be there soon for the Carolina Rebellion - counting the days.

At 11:01pm on March 21, 2015, Erica said…
Thank you for the welcome and the information how to not tell my parents. I'm going to wait a long, long time till I tell my parents.
At 10:50pm on March 19, 2015, Christiana Coakley said…

Thank you. It's fixed.

At 10:14am on March 16, 2015, Charles A. Sawicki said…

Hi Joseph, Agency detection is certainly important, but humans also have unique abilities to create mental simulations of other minds which are important in supporting our complicated sociality. I think this plays a part in creation of gods. Chimps have similar abilities, but to a significantly lesser degree. We say things and think about what others are thinking about what we are thinking. This looping can go on to four or five orders. In a sense, we live in a world populated by complex simulations of other invisible intelligences, so it isn't too large a leap to create invisible intelligences in the form of gods and spirits out of nothing to explain things. About 80% of children have imaginary friends which is just this process in action. Apparently most of us forget these friends which often show up before the age of three.

At 9:22pm on March 15, 2015, Charles A. Sawicki said…

Hi Joseph, Thanks for the note! I'm still interested in where beliefs in invisible agents comes from. It's one of a few things that make humans stand out from other apes.    Charlie

At 2:25am on March 14, 2015, Dulce Rubio said…

I was trying to be funny. 

At 8:15pm on March 9, 2015, Rob U said…

Hey, thanks for the question, Joseph.

I was born into an Adventist family and was so convinced of it as a child because my parents taught it to me (seriously, that was my lack of logic) and was a pianist in the church. However, as of 2010, I had my sincere doubts about the faith, and began questioning. After reading Acharaya S's treatise The Christ Conspiracy, I was blown a terrible blow, and then, to confirm my own beliefs, I found an apologist who debunked and tore her apart. To be honest, she was dead wrong. I took this as license to continue my faith. It is an Adventist tradition to select church officers every two years towards the end of the two-year term, and I was selected to lead the Youth Department (AYS, for you ex-Adventists), to be head of musicians, and to be head of religious liberty. I really believed that I was right, all because of what I felt was my calling. i even thought the "Spirit" led them to select me. As of the beginning of this year, however, the doubts returned, and then i realized... we are all practical atheists, buying insurance, and when the church prayed, I saw that the results were left up to randomness, to chance. It spurred in me the impetus to research again. This is when I concluded that I had been so closed minded, been hit with the truth so often, that I didn't want to accept it but the truth was FACTUAL and not FAITHDRIVEN.

So here I am, in a family of 7, and they all are Adventist, and I live with them. I am making moves towards independence, but Im an outcast in my own family. I already know the truth, and when I bring snippets of it to the family, the reaction is willful ignorance or shunning, or the declaration that Im too young to know or that I don't know everything. I cannot wait until I am completely out of this, but out of a sense of obligation, I am still serving as the head of these departments. I will excuse myself when the half-term (one year) evaluation comes, and it is terribly difficult for me to do so, as my patience is running thin. If you have any advice for how to weather this out, I would love to hear it.

Thanks, Rob

At 6:57pm on March 2, 2015, jessica lynn said…

Now i am getting it. I found it. I feal very welcome on this site. Thankyou everyone for the warm welcom

At 10:54am on March 2, 2015, Rosita said…
Hi Joseph,

I was vers pleased that you wrote me a comment. I come from the Netherlands, and grew up in a strict Christian surrounding in a small community. At the age of 19 i became an evangelical Christian fundamentalist. but when i grew older and had opportunity to study life from many vieuws, i luckily had the chance to intellectuality develop myself. Last year i broke entirely with christianity. But it took me 5 years. Now i am struggling with the mindset of my surroundings. I feel sometimes very alone in a world full of religious madness, so i felt the need to meet other people with more of the same vieuw as myself. Hope to find this trough the internet. Whats your story? Greetings!
At 9:51am on February 10, 2015, Ashley Danielle Griffin said…
No monroe is very conservative
At 10:37am on January 1, 2015, Jody Lane said…

I made my escape from evangelical fundamentalism years ago. I've rejected the pat answers as vacant platitudes espoused by the intellectually weak and morally lazy since I was little more than a child. I am searching for answers but not from an all-knowing/all-loving god or any theist who claims to have them, all of them, without errancy.It took a small epiphany recently for me to realize that most of the people in my life are simply horrible human beings. And every one of them is a Christian. I have spent my entire life biting my tongue, not offending and trying to respect the opinions of the faithful and their right to express their belief as they chose. I finally realized that not one of them had ever offered me the same respect. I stopped biting my tongue and cut ties--mercilessly and irrevocably and I am happier for it.  In a nutshell, I'm searching for reason and reasonable people. I know they're out there!

At 8:22am on December 29, 2014, Dawn said…

Hi Joseph, Tampa is much better than other areas of the south that i have lived before (Georgia, North Carolina and Mississippi). However, I work in a rural area north of Tampa (Pasco and Hernando counties) for a non profit organization that includes long prayer sessions at every meeting and I have zero co-workers that are non-believers. This area feels more like Georgia than Florida.

At 12:44am on December 16, 2014, nikki summers said…

lol I have plenty of Catholics on both sides Irish and Italian but the other denominations are very eager to talk about their god and I can only argue to an extent with my family  there's that whole respect for people like my grandmother so I pretty much just have to deal otherwise I'd have no problem returning the favor of arguing what I believe

At 12:09am on December 16, 2014, nikki summers said…

thank you for your sympathy you have no idea everyone in my family loves to shove their religion down my throat and totally dismisses anything I say even if it's a friendly debate 

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