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 :)
Thank you so much for this reply. For some reason, a longer reply for this came through in my email, but it isn't showing on this thread. I would like to respond to you. Should I repost the text here and respond or is it meant to be private? If private, I can send you a message :)
"(as are many Athiests whether they know it or not)"
This comment is so unbelievably incorrect it pains me.. You are incapable of making this statement truthfully and knowledgeably.. You are projecting your personal experience with an exceptionally egocentric atheism onto others who share a very minute similarity to LaVeyan Satanism mainly a disbelief in god..
Upset not quite... But to make an observational claim so blatantly false is ridiculous and should have never been said especially in a forum where such a comment would have obviously been construed as insulting.. You were digging for an attack on yourself to show Jenn that a majority of us are "satanists".. Your childish game of rile up the atheist is nothing more than pathetic.. You are guilty of bad form.. You were an atheist and an egotist and now you are a Christian and an egotist the difference in your satanism and your Christianity is nothing more than the belief in "god".. There is no need here for your bad medicine..
Good day Sir..
What I seriously hate is that he is giving Jenn false information and wrapping it up in a bow made from her personal faith.. This is information that could lead her to believe that there is a higher probability that her friend is a egotistical hedonist and I wont stand for it..
Your assumptions towards me and my heart/mind/life are simply that. If you would like to be able to speak to the nature of my character, would you please take the time to get to know me first. :)
I never said or even eluded to the fact that Rachel is probably an "egotistical hedonist". You missed the point of the entire post. I didn't even suggest it. To be honest, I am not really sure how you got that out of my post.
I didn't say that the majority of Atheists are Satanists. I said that "some" are. I know some Atheists who are wonderful, giving and loving people. Have you ever read the Satanic Bible?
I said that "some" are.
Technically, you said that "many" are.
That is fair. It is just a matter of perspective and semantics. I have met "many" though in the grand scheme of things, these are truly just "some". I apologize for the confusion :)
No, I have not read the satanic bible but taking into consideration your personal experience with atheism was is completely based upon the tenants of LaVeyan Satanism.. Why don't you sit around and free think up some personal philosophy based upon the humanist (not egotist) mind set? Then you can come back for another swing at us when you are a little bit more enlightened about the majority of atheists.
I would be more than happy to discuss Atheism and life in general with you from a humanist point of view. Ethical situations, reasoning through the mysteries of the universe, and ideas of equality for all in the form of justice are favorite topics of mine and I would be more than happy to discuss them without reference to spiritual or religious ideas.
For the record, when I was an atheist, I didn't even know what Laveyan Satanism was. It wasn't until fairly recently in my life that I came to realize that what I personally came to know as my form of Atheism was closely related if not the same as LS. I am not naive enough to believe that all Atheists have had the same experience as me...or even close.
Unfortunately, what you initially witnessed, was my response to a person who has a paradigm that is founded on spiritual and religious ideas. So, naturally, you interpreted what I was saying through a filter that my conversation was not designed for in order to be properly understood. I am going to use different language and different approaches when talking to a Math major vs an English major. I am sure you can understand.
As far as "taking a swing" at you, that was not my intention at all. I have no desire to fight or argue or upset anyone.
Having said all of that, and hopefully putting your disdain for me aside, I would like to understand what your view of humanism is and how it guides your actions and thoughts in daily life. :)
So far you have done quite a bit of backpedaling and it seems as though you think the "spiritually discerned" speak a different language than yourself.. I see that as being a very egotistical comment indeed..
Maybe your (as are many Athiests whether they know it or not) comment was an unintended Freudian slip of your true intentions.. To claim this would be quite the logical fallacy though.. So the comment is made but don't take it to heart, But what I basically hear in that comment is that you think that we are ignorant of ourselves.. Though I'm sure most of us would say quite the opposite..
Please explain your true intent in those two comments and I will chose weather or not to continue with a discussion on humanism based upon if I think you are a completely lost cause at that point..
Jacob, I wish I could apologize for my view that people of varied paradigms speak different languages, but that is what I know to be true in my experience up to this date. I do not see it as a good or a bad thing, it just is. If it comes across as egotistical, then so be it...I am not sure what to say to that...other than it is not my desire to be egotistical. If you would like to share how you see error in that or that not being valid, I would love to listen.
As far as Atheists being "ignorant of ourselves", I know that there are many who are not. Is it possible that some are, I think so...do you? A christian parallel is that in my experience, many christians are ignorant of Jesus and his teachings...all they know is what the church teaches and that is often, in bulk, not completely in line with what Jesus teaches, unfortunately. To be honest, in retrospect, I really should have worded that initial statement differently. Live and learn I guess. All I can say is that I will try to be more careful in the future how I word ideas to more accurately reflect what I am intending to communicate.
If I thought this was a forum full of ignorant people, I would not have come here to learn from and with the members of it. We all have something to offer each other. The key is seeking it out. I realize that all of our experiences are different and to me, being truly open minded is not just about saying all ideas are possible, it is not about saying that I can hear another's perspective and even understand it although it is different from my own, but to me, being truly open-minded is about finding the same value in another's perspective that they have found.
With that said, this is why I have asked you about your perspective regarding humanism and what that looks like in your life. :)
I was completely anti-christ and anti-religion. I sold drugs and threw parties...among other things.
Okay well congratulations for getting out of that lifestyle. However your crutch that you used to get out of this kind of lifestyle is typical of any addict. One addiction is traded out for another. Should have tried sex dude, much better than imaginary friends in the sky. But I digress…
Over the last 8 years since I gave my life to the mystery of the Christ within us
Um according the bible god is not in all of us. I think you misread it. In fact it says quite the opposite. “For all have fallen short of the glory of god” and the punishment for that sin (according to the bible) is eternal death (hell). So you’ve got that bit wrong. Next.
They are fueled by the demonic spirit called Religion and they keep our Father's children from truly entering into a relationship with Him
Um. That’s not in the bible either. Moving on.
He DOES NOT command us to build his church or to convince others to become Christians.
Yes he does actually. He talks about being fishers of men in several places in the bible. Mark, Luke, John… Matthew 4:19 for example.
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
Again, no. The Pharisees were the law enforcers of his day. He spent time away from them, mostly because they (like you) got it wrong and were not interested in learning the truth. The Gentiles were ANYONE that wasn’t Jewish. And Jesus flat out talks about how he was unwelcome in his own hometown (A Jewish community) because of the fact that he was preaching AT THEM about how he was god’s son – which is why they ultimately killed him. Blasphemy and all that jazz.
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...
No he pushed the “fact” that he was god’s son. Sheesh dude, did you even read the bible?!
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.
Actually it only takes a weak mind unwilling to learn the truth: science is king. J
I actually, have learned many ways to talk about spiritual things with those that despise Jesus including words that are non-offensive etc.
Well if this is one of them you are failing miserably.
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.
Okay well hell is non-existent though I’m sure your life hooked on drugs was pretty bad. Also, the physical help of one man does more than the prayers of thousands. If you changed it’s because you wanted to, not because of anything anyone else said to any imaginary “god”.
Well I’m only through paragraph 3 of yours and I’m getting quite bored. I will address the rest later. J
To reply to your last post:
"No, what you hope is that this conversation stays on top, that you become the "star" for a little bit longer. What you hope for is attention. You prove it by continuing to post on here and bumping the thread up. I've noticed that every time this thread disappears off the main page, you suddenly have something new to say on it."
I had no idea that my posts "bumps the thread up" on the main page. Thank you for bringing that to my attention. Is there anyways I can be a "star" a little more discreetly so that only those people interested in talking with me in productive conversation can be aware of my responses in this thread and it doesn't populate on the home page? In the meantime, let's get Sirius, if I must be a star can I be alpha canis major or you can be alpha canis major if you want I guess... lmao
I have been intending to respond to your above post anyways from some time ago, so I guess now is as good a time as any...who needs to study anyways...lol...
"Okay well congratulations for getting out of that lifestyle. However your crutch that you used to get out of this kind of lifestyle is typical of any addict. One addiction is traded out for another. Should have tried sex dude, much better than imaginary friends in the sky. But I digress…" Yes, sublimation and altruism are wonderful things. I agree that being addicted to life and truth are much better than being addicted to drugs and sex...yes, I tried the latter and like it very very much :) lol
and "imaginary friends in the sky" <= It is such a silly notion IMO that anyone would believe this idea, but when someone says they do, I just interpret it to mean that they believe in aliens and that they think God is an alien...there is much more evidence for extraterrestrials than an imaginary peep up there floating around in the clouds...
"Um according the bible god is not in all of us. I think you misread it. In fact it says quite the opposite. “For all have fallen short of the glory of god” and the punishment for that sin (according to the bible) is eternal death (hell). So you’ve got that bit wrong. Next." We could go into the greek and I could show you the overarching principles that Jesus teaches and how they are not this western idea of hell and sin and show you why I don''t particularly agree with your interpretation of the texts but oh well. My latest response to Jim and Jenn might shine some light on this.
"They are fueled by the demonic spirit called Religion and they keep our Father's children from truly entering into a relationship with Him
Um. That’s not in the bible either. Moving on." The idea of spiritual powers and principalities is in the scripture, and the idea of identifying a religious spirit at work in a person or peoples is sound and works very well as do most of our functional scientific theories that we base our practice on. I would spend time delving into this more, but I am not convinced that you are really interested enough for me to spend time on that and have it be useful. How would you define spirits and the influence of such spirits in the world today. For example, team spirit, a spirit of unity, a spirit of manipulation, a spirit of rebellion, a spirit of peace, etc...
"He DOES NOT command us to build his church or to convince others to become Christians.
Yes he does actually. He talks about being fishers of men in several places in the bible. Mark, Luke, John… Matthew 4:19 for example."
I understand that the church teaches this principle as such, but I disagree. the church is not something that we build, it just is. Just like in the verse Mark 4:19, Jesus is not talking about building the church. He is talking about people who are faced with a decision to submit to Life and teaching of the kingdom neither of which are the church. There are better scriptures than these you could use that are often misinterpreted to "build the church" but do not mean this. I challenge you to bring me one scripture where Jesus tells us to go out and build his church for him. I don't think you can.
"Again, no. The Pharisees were the law enforcers of his day. He spent time away from them, mostly because they (like you) got it wrong and were not interested in learning the truth. The Gentiles were ANYONE that wasn’t Jewish. And Jesus flat out talks about how he was unwelcome in his own hometown (A Jewish community) because of the fact that he was preaching AT THEM about how he was god’s son – which is why they ultimately killed him. Blasphemy and all that jazz." I have already addressed this concept in this thread, I can't spend the time rehashing.
"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...
No he pushed the “fact” that he was god’s son. Sheesh dude, did you even read the bible?!" I have and that is why I am very confident about what Jesus teaches. Have you read the Bible or any of the other texts that have accounts of Jesus and his teachings that are not in the Bible?
"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.
Actually it only takes a weak mind unwilling to learn the truth: science is king. J" Many of history's brightest minds and greatest leaders understand this truth...and many do not. In my view of things, science is the study of the King (King = Life) and the breath of Life as it drives the universe. Next...
"I actually, have learned many ways to talk about spiritual things with those that despise Jesus including words that are non-offensive etc.
Well if this is one of them you are failing miserably." Well, I will keep working at it and maybe I can get a passing grade on the next assignment...lol
"Okay well hell is non-existent though I’m sure your life hooked on drugs was pretty bad." Yeah, I found myself in the deepest confines of hell and while I don't believe that it is a literal place we go to when we die, I do know for a fact that it exists in the hearts of men and is made manifest on this earth through those men. I was one of them. Do you deny this? Just trying to understand where you are at in your perspective :)
"Also, the physical help of one man does more than the prayers of thousands." I agree completely. Remember, that the prayers of one man can lead that one man to act in the physical where he might have missed his opportunity if he had not focused his thoughts on the physical needs of others. How awesome would the prayers of thousands be if those prayers were leading those thousands to recognize the physical, mental, and emotional needs of those around them...I would say that this would be the beginning of leading this world into a better place...and as a whole, we are already headed there :)
"If you changed it’s because you wanted to, not because of anything anyone else said to any imaginary “god”." I agree. I don't believe in imaginary gods...and I am glad that you do not either! :D
Thank you for your participation...ooking forward to getting to know and understand you better my friend :)