Ok guys, here are my two main posts from Jenn's discussion, please repost at minimum your latest reply to me when you join...Thanks!
Congratulations to you and your husband!
I am new to this thread and I admit that I did not read all of the comments up to this point, but if it is not too late, I would like to encourage you in you rrelationship with Rachel.
First, a little bit about me: I grew up in the south and the traditional church and rejected Christianity around the age of 12. I spent the next ~ 10 years pursuing Atheism in the sense of being a LaVeyan Satanist http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Satanism#LaVeyan_Satanism (as are many Athiests whether they know it or not) until I was almost 22. I was completely anti-christ and anti-religion. I sold drugs and threw parties...among other things. After wandering through spiritual darkness for many years I had come to realize that I was in a place Jesus called Hell. I made some spiritual decisions and decided that I was rejecting Christianity even though I knew so much about it having grown up in it, but there was something I felt like I was missing. Something I did not understand and to me, the highest form of ignorance is rejecting that which I do not understand. I decided to submit myself to the teachings of Jesus Christ and that is what I did. I came to realize that what He teaches is so far from what the church as a whole teaches. Over the last 8 years since I gave my life to the mystery of the Christ within us and found my place as a Son of the Most High God, who is simply Life and Love. Now, I am a registered nurse and will be a doctor in less than two years :) In the last 8 years of studying scripture, seeking wisdom, and serving and loving people through the anointing (literally: the Christ) in me, I have come to learn many things. A few of those things, I would like to share because I think they might help.
1) The teachings of the church and many of the dogmatic doctrinal ideas of most Christians are not what Jesus taught. They are fueled by the demonic spirit called Religion and they keep our Father's children from truly entering into a relationship with Him. Jesus taught us simply 1) to love God (God = Love, Love= God, God = Life, Life = God, etc) and 2) to love others as we love ourself. He commands us to heal people, to feed people and to simply serve others in selfless love. He DOES NOT command us to build his church or to convince others to become Christians. He does tell us to spead the word of the Kingdom of heaven which He says twice in scripture is a spiritual place here among us right now. This means to let people know that they are truly all children of the Most High God, children of Life and children of Love. We are commanded to tell them that they can, in fact, have a personal relationship with the force of Life that permeates the entire universe. I say this all to point out that your friend Rachel is probably sick of religion as are many people. This is key to understand. Jesus tried to minister to the "Christians" of His day...they were called the Pharisees. He soon came to turn the focus His ministry on the "Atheists" of the day...the Gentiles. My point is that Jesus didn't push religion...he didn't even like religion...He pushed Love and Freedom and Service and Healing etc, etc...
2) I have been in ministry (service) for the last 8 years and I can tell you that it was a while before I came to realize that, although I know many awesome christian brothers and sisters that really do love me, I have many people in my life that are atheists, wiccans, hindus, etc that have loved me regardless of my life path and have always been there for me. These are my true family. I share this to point out that it is your love for Rachel and your acceptance of her no matter what and this attitude is what is going to win her and keep her as your close friend in this situation. You well know that the manifestation of the Spirit of God in and through you will reveal itself as love, joy, peace, patience, faithfulness, kindness, goodness, self-control in your relationship with her. This is what we are called to sister...not religious ideas and dogmas. To point, would any of those (love, joy, peace, etc) push Rachel away if you expressed them to her? No. Would religious ideas about Jesus? Yes. The religion would, but the true Spirit of Christ will not push away or destroy relationships...even more evidence that religion is not what Jesus is about for He would never push any away from Himself. With that said, my friends know that I love our Father and have found my path via the teachings of Christ and I do have opportunities to talk about those teachings on rare occasions, but only when they bring it up. The church tells us that we have to beat people up with evangelism, but I am here to tell you to NOT feel guilty for not pushing Jesus (the religious Jesus) on her. I have come to understand that for me to say I have to "convince" someone to become a Christian, is to say that I do not have any confidence in the power of the Holy Spirit to do His job. It is the presence of the a pure Spirit of Love in one's life that brings them to repentance, not clever arguments and convincing. Loving her is more powerful than any sort of convincing that your words could ever do...this is the presence of the Spirit within you operating in her life. (I do understand that you will miss the fellowship with her and that is expected, but do not give up hope and control yourself when the urge comes to discuss Jesus-stuff with her. I actually, have learned many ways to talk about spiritual things with those that despise Jesus including words that are non-offensive etc. It is nice to be able to have an entire conversation about Jesus and important spiritual things without saying "Jesus" or other trigger words. If you are interested and think it might be useful to you, I would be happy to share some of that with you :)
3) I want to briefly address the Hell issue. I don't know about heaven or hell after this life and I am sure you have your own ideas. However, I want to encourage you to not concern yourself with whether or not Rachel will go to hell when she dies, but rather be concerned that she may find it here on Earth before then. Continue to be a source of grace and mercy and unrelenting love to her and your light in her life will be a constant beacon if she should begin to find herself traversing into the deeper layers of the underworld. I have seen the depths of hell...maybe even as deep as Tartaros and I can say that the only way I found my way into the kingdom, into complete freedom, was because I had faithful people in my life daily praying for me and loving me regardless. Pray constantly and faithfully.
4) I did see at the beginning of this thread where you said that you had many Christians telling you that to continuing a relationship with her would mean being "unevenly yoked". I bet you have also heard the one about "what fellowship can light have with darkness?" or something to that effect. Let me tell you now that those people, while having good intentions, are wrong, IMO. The pharisees only hung out with other pharisees and religious christians hang out with other christians. Jesus tried to hang out with the "religious christians" of His day and soon got sick of it. So, He decided to hang out with the godless and the druggies and the crazies and the rejects, etc, etc. He loved those that were free from religion and offered love and acceptance to those among them who could find it no where else. By pursuing her, you are following the example of Christ more than most Christians are and will begin to see Him in places and understand His love in ways that most Christians will never know. So, you keep it up and don't listen to that demonic religious spirit that will try to convince you through others (many of whom you trust and probably have the deepest respect for) to leave her alone. (As an aside, I would love to hear of any other arguments "christians" may try to throw at you in an attempt to get you to abandon her...)
Well, I could ramble on and on as I am rather long-winded, but that addresses most of the main points that I wanted to touch on. Forgive me for the deepness in some areas and some of the spiritual ambiguity in others. I was hesitant about posting such an openly christian response in this forum...thought about sending it privately instead, but I guess the response shall be interesting if nothing else. I am looking forward to hearing how things go and will pray that you and Rachel may both continue to find freedom from religion while at the same time, growing and strengthening your relationship with the Father of all of creation, whose Son is Jesus Christ and whose children are Rachel and Jenn (among others as well ;)
I am not sure how it is you can suppose to know me well enough to attack me so based on a single post of mine. I will briefly address your concerns, however, if you would like to continue this discussion, maybe you could start a new thread so as to not clog up thread with unrelated conversation.
1) "you're religious, wrong and turning the so called bible upside down, you're sure that gentiles were atheists!" - Ummm...yes, I am sure. The word "Gentile" is derived from the latin word "gens" originally meaning "clan or family". It is translated in the English Bible from the Hebrew texts as "Gentile, heathen, nation or people" from the Hebrew word "goy" and from the Greek texts of the New Testament usually as "Gentile, heathen, nation or people" from the Greek word "ethnos". The usage of the word "Gentile" in the greek and hebrew texts refers to people who are non-Jews and typically carries the connotation of a broad sense of the all of the people of the time who did not believe in the God of the Jews (i.e. - non-Jews). There are specific scriptures that carry the particular connotation of a person who is god-less (ie - an Atheist: from "-theist) meaning one who believes in a god and the prefix "A-" negating the following suffix) and likens these "atheist" as Gentiles. It's ok if you didn't know this. One really has to study this stuff for oneself to really pick up on these sorts of things.
2) "Atheism is not satanism" You are correct in that Atheis is not satanism. I never said it was. I understand how someone reading quickly through my post might have misinterpretted this idea. What I said was that many Atheist cleanly fit the criteria for LeVeyan Satanism. Have you read the Satanic Bible written by Anton LaVey? There are many shades of Satanism and there are many Atheists who do not fit anywhere within the a-theistic ideas conveyed by LeVey, but there are many who do...I was one of them. www.religioustolerance.org explains LaVeyan Satanism as a "small religious group that is unrelated to any other faith, and whose members feel free to satisfy their urges responsibly, exhibit kindness to their friends, and attack their enemies." Read the Satanic Bible...you can find a free copy here: www.thesatanicbiblefree.com "A rose by any other name would smell as sweet."
3) "and I was called antichrist but I didn't have anything to do with the devil" I am sorry you were called anti-christ. One can be against (anti-) Christ and not be Satanic or have anything to do with the devil. I believe you. There are many names for spirits that are against Christ...one is Satan, which literally defined, means "the false accuser" Have you ever been accused falsely? If so, then you experienced a Satanic spirit operating through whoever was falsely accusing you. I have encountered him on more than one occasion...even recently I might add :)
4) "and you must have a ton of latent guilt from religion because you're so called wild demonic trip is having fun maybe too much which is constrained by religion and you went to what you know as repenting." I see how you might assume these things, though I can assure you that I am completely free from all guilt. I have been forgiven for everyone I have hurt and every offense I have ever committed. In fact, I have found a place where I live under a pouring rain of perpetual or constant forgiveness. In staying in this place, it allows me to immediately forgive others when they offend or hurt me :) Proof = The fact that I forgive you because your response to my attempt to encourage Jenn was a little hurtful but it is ok, I still love you and would do anything for you and I don't even know you :)
5) "Prove to me you know squat about you're old atheistic ways and state great points that turned you into an atheist." If you would like further proof, please start a new thread and we can discuss it as much as you like. It might be good to give the others who will assuredly attack me a ready avenue to do so without clogging Jenn's thread. Looking forward to talking with you more :)
I think I understand what you are saying. For instance, it would be like saying that Babe Ruth is a baseball god. Correct?
Just to make sure I understand, I looked up superlative. www.merriam-webster.com A superlative "adj - of, relating to, or constituting the degree of grammaticalcomparison that denotes an extreme or unsurpassed level or extent". Since this is an adjective, we can't use it in place of a noun.
The noun is:
1) What is the difference between the common noun "god" and the proper noun "God"
I think you're looking for the difference of a deity and god here. I never talked about common noun or proper noun. I never said anything about common & proper nouns.
I said you used god as an adjective, rather a superlative to describe your feelings about life & love. The way you constructed those statements would suggest that you value life & love very highly, so highly that you might worship life & love. God, as most people understand it, is someone or something that created the universe and/or has some control over what happens in the universe. The way you used god in that sentence doesn't reflect those qualities onto life & love, so its common sense to think that it must have been used as a superlative.
How would you explain the Hindu gods
I wouldn't. Its all a fairy tale, just like the Greek, Norse, Roman & Egyptian gods.
and how this all relates to our discussion?
Context. Read my original reply & then see what context I used it in. I just mentioned it to show how many man made gods there are.
I will attempt to take the lead on this. Is there something in particular that you are expecting me to define that I have missed? If so, tell me what it is and I will do so.
One catches bees with honey, not with vinegar. If you want to have an honest discussion, then let us. Otherwise, take care.
1)"Latin and subsequently English translators selectively used the term gentiles when the context for the base term 'peoples' or 'nations', Hebrew, גוי (goy) and נכרי (nokhri) in the Hebrew Bible and the Greek word ἔθνη (éthnē) in the New Testament, indicated non-Israelite peoples or nations. The termgentiles is derived from Latin, used for contextual translation, and not an original Hebrew or Greek word from the Bible." A gentile is a non-jew, meaning a Christian is a Gentile because he is not a Jew, an Atheist is a Gentile because he is not a Jew, a Pagan is a Gentile because he is not a Jew, a Muslim is a Gentile because he is not a Jew, and so on and so forth.
2) By your definition, since we're being general, the majority of the human race mostly fits into the label of LaVey Satanism. Humans naturally are compelled to satisfy their urger. They are kind to their friends. They are hostile towards their enemies. Fail. Next...
3)There are many names for spirits that are against Christ...one is Satan, which literally defined, means "the false accuser" That's all dandy, but now you're just playing with words. If I say someone is obnoxious, that means they are an annoyance, correct? Oh, but look, ob means against and nox mean to harm. That doesn't mean someone who is obnoxious is against the act of harming. Please don't butcher etymology.
4) I see how you might assume these things, though I can assure you that I am completely free from all guilt. I have been forgiven for everyone I have hurt and every offense I have ever committed. Well that's good for you, except for the fact that those you have hurt most likely haven't forgiven you. What your God forgives is meaningless compared to the addict you might've gypped when dealing and now has it out of you.
5) There are plenty of threads dealing with that. Pick one.
1) The Bible was translated to Latin from the original Hebrew and Greek. You are correct, as I originally said, in that the word Gentile broadly means anyone who is not a Jew. It is used in this context many places in the scripture, however, there are references in the scripture that are referring to the non-Jews of that day who believed in other gods or no god at all (atheist). So, while not all Gentiles are Atheists, all Atheists are by default Gentiles.
2) That was not MY definition, it was www.religioustolerance.org's. And, yes...a lot of the human race fits into LaVey's box. It is carnality at it's finest. However, many do not. It really is an interesting read...
3) It is very important to agree on the definition of words and names of spirits reveal their character. You ever heard the saying that "If you know the name of a demon you can have power over it"? The reason for this is because once we know the nature of a demon, we can identify it and once we identify it we can refuse to allow it to have power over us. You may not think this is important, but I do. Maybe we can agree to disagree.
4) I agree with you completely. I have no power over another's ability to forgive me, but I can remain prepared to forgive others. Also, this approach empowers me to strive to hopefully live humbly and in such a way that I do not create offense (or any where near as much) towards others. I am not perfect though...I fail all the time...
5) I am sure. :)
2) Do not post a definition unless you agree with it.
3) It is important in a realistic sense. "If you recognize your flaws and shortcomings, you have the power to correct them."
2) I didn't say I didn't agree with it. Having read a lot of the Satanic Bible, I would have to say that I do. I was intending to show that I was not the only one who thought that. I see how that was miscommunicated. Sorry.
3) Precisely the same principle.
(moved from Jenn's thread)
First, I fixed the broken link in your post. (FYI, I'm one of the moderators here at T|A, which is how I can do that.)
As you have already noticed, you're not receiving the same (mostly) warm welcome that we gave Jenn. There are a few reasons for this. One, your post has several 'red flags' which usually (but not always) signals someone presenting a often fictitious or at least heavily misrepresented story. I am not saying that this is the case with you, simply that when this things are seen (particularly in multiples) atheists tend to get highly skeptical and suspicions that the person is 'Lying for Jesus' are aroused.
1. Claims of having once been an atheist. While not suspicious in and of itself, when it is presented without any background, no reasons on why this decision was arrived at or what led to it, it can be. Without the background, there is no way to tell if the person was an atheist due to skeptical reasons dealing with evidence, emotional reasons such as a tragedy, philosophical reasoning, or simple rebellion. This is particularly important since a common misconception of atheism is that atheists still believe in God, but reject him. In this case, the self-proclaimed atheist would not actually be an atheist, but rather an apostate. You mentioned being a LeVeyan Satanist, which gives some insight into that period of your life, but not to the reason for being an atheist in the first place.
2. The 'When I was an atheist, I was a horrible person' claim. Yes, I know you did not say those particular words, but you definitely implied it. Drug dealing, throwing parties and 'other things', letting people use their imaginations to come up with whatever was so depraved that you did not want to mention it. This is a fairly common tactic, seen in almost every 'Come to Jesus' story. The person makes a point of emphasizing how wicked and horrible they were, how deep in sin, thus making the upcoming redemption so much the more powerful.
3. The 'something missing'. Often referred to as the 'Jesus-shaped hole', the 'spiritual darkness/desolation' and any other methods the tale-teller chooses to use to emphasize how living without God/Allah/etc means that you cannot be a happy, fulfilled person.
4. And of course, the discovery of the truth of Religion X. Be it Christianity, Islam, etc, it is amazing how almost every time the first religion the person decides to learn about is the real thing. It is very rare (although not unheard of) for the storyteller to have examined multiple religions before coming across the one that convinced them. It is also almost always the same religion that they had left previously. What an astounding coincidence.
I am not saying that you are being dishonest. I don't know you well enough to say. I am saying that atheists have run into this same pattern so many times, often by people who have indeed been shown to be lying for effect, that the instinctive reaction is to assume that this is just another lie. Evangelicals do not have a reputation for honesty.
Finally, I should point out that Think Atheist does have a no-proselytizing policy. People can ask you about your beliefs, etc, and you can answer them. That's encouraged. But deliberate attempts to preach, proselytize, etc are not permitted.