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 :)
Thanks for the encouragement!
Speaking on this subject, my aunt used this defense a lot during my 'coming out party.' When I asked about past cultures using "god did it" as an explanation for pretty much everything, she said it was because they didn't know much back then. I simply replied, "Exactly" and received a not-so nice glare from my aunt. I didn't really feel like going into the 'god of gaps' argument at the time but now I wish I would've have. It is one of the easiest ones to rip apart.
LOL Dawkins won't even debate Craig.
It's pointless to debate professional debaters with arguments that depend on metaphysics. They don't care about truth. They spend their lives perfecting the art of dishonest wordplay and baffling people with bullshit.
Well, it is encouraging to hear that the personal insults by people who don't even know me are meant to be constructive critisim and not condemnation, though they still feel terribly condemning...lol...but I will try to remind myself of that!
Yeah, it is funny cuz I didn't come here to discuss my beliefs so much as to learn about others'. I love sharing stuff when people ask, but I usually don't even get into all this and I think you can see why lol because my views are so different than most peoples it becomes such a tremendous task to correct people constant assumptions that it just doesn't seem worth it to me.
As an aside...reading these subsequent posts, who is this Craig guy? I want to hear the ridiculousness. I don't care much for debate, but if I am going to debate, I would much rather do it with a "Christian". So many of them have such screwed up views compared to Jesus and at least I can use the Bible as my authoritative source to which they have to submit...
chris, from what i've read, the posts and replies grew more insulting as this thread has progressed because you've been given numerous chances to clearly state your views, and instead of doing so, you've provided nothing but veiled insults to us (stating many of us are satanists and too stupid to realize it) and crazy-talk. you state we are personally insulting you without knowing you, yet claim your goal for being here is not to discuss your own beliefs, but to understand ours. can you see our frustration in that? you are giving us very inconsistent information, and when called upon, you switch and say you are not here to discuss yourself, so we should quit attacking you because we don't know you.
for the most part, we are very happy to answer any question you may have, but the questions you have posed so far have been biased and incredibly loaded.
my beliefs in as concise a manner as i am able:
i am an atheist.
i don't believe a god exists.
i believe science has given us the best answers for life's questions, and with new evidence, my beliefs may change.
i think if you can sum up your beliefs in a clear and concise post, most of the assumptions and confusion will be cleared up.
I have been doing my best to clarify what I believe on various topics when asked about them. You all have not been insulting and my response to anyone who has been was directed to that person alone and not the every single person so do not take it as such. I can see your frustration and I apologize.
to mirror your statement of belief in concise a manner as I can:
I think am a theist, though I do not believe in any deity like zeus or allah in the sense that these are actual people. I also see overwhelming evidence that the majority of the references in the old testament (and some new) are to physical beings referred to as the Elohim. These extraterrestrial beings were looked upon as "gods" by primitive humans and christian theology has subsequently done its best job in explaining this fact away with theological speculative nonsense. Though the ultimate "god" referred to in the bible is the same "god" of man and Elohim aka - the most high god.
I believe that many gods exist but I do not worship them all. Since I believe in a general definition for god in that it is the one thing that overwhelms and drives the thoughts and actions of a person, I believe that if one searches deep enough within oneself, the "god" of that person can be recognized and identified. I worship life as god, I worship love as god and I worship truth as god and to me these are all one and the same yet distinctly different. Clear as mud? lol
I believe that science is the study of the natural and provides us with many of the best answers to many of life's questions and with the emergence of new and or better evidence, my views are also subject to change. :)
I hope that helps and is enough to get you understanding in the right direction.
"So many of them have such screwed up views compared to Jesus and at least I can use the Bible as my authoritative source to which they have to submit..."
and which bible would that be chris? you have made it plain that you don't believe in the final authority of the scripture that the christian uses, so how can you make them submit, as you put it to the bible you don't believe in?
using the word submit tells me an awful lot about your debating style, and reflects the tone you have had in most of your posts on this thread.
I am asking, now directly, for you to tell us exactly what it is you believe in and why you feel so superior to not only christians whom you think don't have the correct revelation of jesus and god, but superior to anyone who calls themself atheist, free-thinker, non-theist or non-believer? so please, help us correct the assumptions and just tell us what it is you believe. we will try to keep up!
Chris you stated "Yeah, it is funny cuz I didn't come here to discuss my beliefs so much as to learn about others'. I love sharing stuff when people ask, but I usually don't even get into all this and I think you can see why lol because my views are so different than most peoples it becomes such a tremendous task to correct people constant assumptions that it just doesn't seem worth it to me. "
If you would like to honestly share information most here are willing to do that, but if your position is Black is White then you will have to explain yourself. You can't have it both ways, we need to understand your position that you are not willing state other than it is different and you don't want to have to explain it.
Chris most of us are willing to debate using the Bible as the source material.