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Getting On : Faith

Start trembling

from AA - Friday, May 21, 2004
accessed 2034 times

Discern for yourselves

This document is simply to try and break down the controversial subject of The Family belief system on "once saved, forever saved". It is likely most Family people have mostly only heard their translation of the Bible. Especially if they were born and raised in the group and were taught it in the same way children learn math.

The Family’s belief is this.

1.Once you have prayed the Salvation prayer, then job done. You automatically go to heaven, no matter if you choose to follow a Godly life or not. They believe those who are saved and do good works, i.e. Family people serving the Lord on the missionary fields doing good works will get more rewards then people who do not serve the Lord so much. But they believe you go to heaven either way even if after praying the prayer you are a thief, murderer or sexually immoral person or even if you commit suicide. This is a "once saved, forever saved" doctrine.

Their scriptural reference for this doctrine may include the following:

Romans 10:9, 10, 13 "That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved." "10": For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation" 13": For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.

Anti family people (also known as the Church) believe all the above verses but claim that the Family has misinterpreted them. They claim the Family has not studied other parts of the Bible, which prove that once you pray the salvation prayer it is simply a washing of your sins and a time when God’s grace enters your life. They claim that God’s grace is something that you need to grow in. That it is by God’s supernatural power of Grace that you can start to live a holy life becoming more like Jesus everyday as it grows within you. They claim that Christians who have prayed the prayer and believe in Jesus but who do not stop doing sins such as thieving, idolatry, murdering, lying, adultery, fornication etc. etc are Christians who have not grown in the supernatural grace of God and therefore if they die in their iniquity will not be going to heaven.

Why do they believe this? Well let’s see what the Bible has to say about it. The Apostle Paul told a bunch of Christian believers from Corinth and Rome who had all prayed the prayer to watch out that they weren’t deceived into thinking that people under grace could still go to heaven if they continued sinning.

1 Corinthians 6:9 ¶Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God. Romans 6:15 What then? Shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid.

So the Bible is here stating that when you pray the prayer, and are washed clean and grace enters your life and the Holy Spirit you need to put away all the above-mentioned sins. Otherwise you will not inherit the kingdom of God. The whole point of Jesus Christ coming to Earth was to redeem us from our sins by his grace. Not so that once redeemed we could continue in sin, but by his supernatural grace we could live holy lives growing in his grace as we cast off sin and drew nearer to him.

2 Peter 3:17-18 Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own steadfastness. But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever. Amen.

There is one other section in the Bible, which completely annihilates the theory that all believers go to heaven. The section also states that believers who, although they believed on the Lord Jesus Christ and called him their Lord, but did not put away iniquity from their life will find Jesus basically telling them heaven is not for you. Get away from me!

Matthew 7:21 ¶Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

Family people will vehemently argue the verse; Acts 16:31 And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house. Matthew 7:21-23 clearly shows that salvation can be lost by not casting away sin/iniquity from your life. Odds are probably stacked heavily in favor of the concept that Matthew 7:21-23 is found nowhere in any Family literature ever published and yet they claim their belief systems are based on the Bible.

With the once saved forever-saved doctrine comes a sense that you don’t need to work out your salvation. That you don’t need to fear if it is okay to lie, cheat, steal, commit adultery or any other sin because all it will mean is a lack of rewards when going to heaven but you’ll still get there after all. The next verse seems to contradict this mindset quite scarily. Philippians 2:12 b, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.

Reader's comments on this article

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from Joe H
Monday, May 24, 2004 - 13:00


People who argue theology with cult members remind me of one of Solomon's proverbs: "Answer not a fool according to his own folly, lest though be like unto him." It sounds to me like 2 rednecks arguing over what color the alien spaceship was, while every smart observer knows that the alien ship never flew overhead, and that both the rednecks are idiots. Yet, the rednecks still stubbornly insist on arguing these trivialities, and it doesn't occurr to them that a) there might not have been a spaceship, and b) who fucking cares anyway? It's not like they're getting probed.
(reply to this comment)

Tuesday, May 25, 2004, 10:14

Amen, PTL, Joe, the Lord has showed me that you really need some correction in your life. You are so off the track, twisting the scriptures. You really should know better, because you were given the truth, that it's "lest *thou* be like unto him," not "though." (reply to this comment
From The Top Alien
Monday, May 24, 2004, 13:37

Unless they know someone that got probed, right? Or unless someone brainwashed them to think they saw a spaceship. And maybe they were brainwashed to be rednecks as well. There are thousands of possibilities here...(reply to this comment
from exister
Monday, May 24, 2004 - 09:17

Average visitor agreement is 3.5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 3.5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 3.5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 3.5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 3.5 out of 5(Agree/Disagree?)
I have worked out my salavation. God is dead, and by affirming his demise I have saved myself from the bondage and cowardice of fearing him. The world has enough fearmongers. Why don't you grow a pair instead of perpetrating fear.
(reply to this comment)
From Wolf
Monday, May 24, 2004, 10:10

I seem to recall you accusing me of trying to be a tough guy … honest atheists just say “God doesn’t exist and never did”. All this “God is dead” (implying he was once alive) and “his demise” shit is just a lame way of trying to prove you’ve got a hefty “pair”.(reply to this comment
From exister
Monday, May 24, 2004, 12:15

I have never aspired to be an atheist, much less an "honest atheist." I find the term to be trite and fairly useless. What is curious is that you concluded that I am an atheist based on what I have said. Perhaps you should scrutinize the line of reasoning that led you to this specious conclusion.(reply to this comment
From anovagrrl
Monday, May 24, 2004, 11:55

Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5(Agree/Disagree?)

The phrase "God is dead" goes back to the 1960s, when many of your parents were creating a Revolution for Jesus. The phrase was made famous in a a 1968 article in Theology Today by Calvin B. Marshall called, Living on the Left Hand of God. Here is the quote:

"The black militants are saying that there is no church on the right hand of God. Many within and many without this nation, who have opposing theological and political ideologies, are saying that there is no church on the right hand of God. Some are even saying that God is dead. Others are saying that he is not dead, but that he is a prisoner in the church which lives on his left hand."

When I studied this stuff in theology school, the idea that "God is dead" was discussed as follows: The concept of a supernatural Father-God who sits on a throne in heave like a mideastern potentate dispensing favors to the elect and punishment to the heathens doesn't fit the experience of people living in a 20th century liberal democracy, particularly a culture that is informed in large part by scientific explanations for physical and social phenomena. There are concepts of God based on the Bible that are dead.

Salvation theology--and all the attending debates it generates--is based on a set of assumptions about the human condition that are scientifically unsupportable. You have to get into evolutionary theory and the social sciences to understand how the assumptions that support a need for eternal salvation are highly suspect (at best) and largely irrelevant for people whose worldview is informed by science. For that reason, a god who saves humans from eternal damnation or redeems a church for eternal life is also a dead god.

This position is not the same as saying there is no God. It's saying that certain Bible-based conceptions of God and orthodox theologies don't work for a lot of people. (reply to this comment

From pharmaboy
Tuesday, May 25, 2004, 00:22

Horror or horrors! 'god is dead' a 60s phrase? It was Nietzsche that coined that term in the late 1800s.

*me avoids nasty comment about someone's lack of culture*(reply to this comment
From anovagrrl
Tuesday, May 25, 2004, 07:26


I've worked hard to overcome the crippling effect of a mispent youth in the COG, but there are still times when I fall into intellectual laziness and succumb to quick and easy answers. I appreciate correction. I read Nietzche back in the early 70s, btw, during a hippie sojourn with a bunch of hedonist Yalies. That was immediately pre-COG, as I joined TF in New Haven, Conn. Considering the fact that I was a serious weed smoker at the time--it's been my drug of choice for as long as I can remember--it's not surprising that I can't remember a lot of things, like the source of foundational concepts in post-modern philosophy. What appears to be a lack of culture is probably an artifact of drug culture. Unlike Bill Clinton, I inhaled and exhaled, and inhaled ...(reply to this comment

From pharmaboy
Wednesday, May 26, 2004, 07:22



I meant no snobbish offence, I was rasied most of my life to exclude ungodly culture and knowlegde, and I frequently experience embarrassing situations with non ex-fam friends, on subjects ranging from pop culture to world history. Thank god :) for! (reply to this comment

Tuesday, May 25, 2004, 04:45

Yes, this was already cleared up by ex in a post below.(reply to this comment
From pharmaboy
Tuesday, May 25, 2004, 00:42

Nietzche used the phrase 'God is dead' to mean that we are evolving as a species, reason and science have explained the natural phenomena which used to frighten our ancestors which they attributed to God(s). He does not limit his philosophy to ralionalism though, here is a brilliant piece of "Thus Spoke Zarathustra":

"I teach you the overman. Man is something that shall be overcome. What have you done to overcome him?
All beings so far have created something beyond themselves; and do you want to be the ebb of this great flood and even go back to the beasts rather than overcome man? What is the ape to man? A laughingstock or a painful embarrassment. And man shall be just that for the overman: a laughingstock or a painful embarrassment...
Behold, I teach you the overman. The overman is the meaning of the earth.Let your will say: the overman shall be the meaning of the earth! I beseech you, my brothers, remain faithful to the earth, and do not believe those who speak to you of otherworldly hopes! Poison-mixers are they, whether they know it or not. Despisers of life are they, decaying and poisoned themselves, of whom the earth is weary: so let them go.
Once the sin against God was the greatest sin; but God died, and these sinners died with him. To sin against the earth is now the most dreadful thing, and to esteem the entrails of the unknowable higher than the meaning of the earth...
What is the greatest experience you can have? It is the hour of the great contempt. The hour when your happiness, too, arouses your disgust, and even your reason and your virtue.
The hour when you say, 'What matters my happiness? It is poverty and filth and wretched contentment. But my happiness ought to justify existence itself.'
The hour when you say, 'What matters my reason? Does it crave knowledge as the lion his food? It is poverty and filth and wretched contentment.'
The hour when you say, 'What matters my virtue? As yet it has not made me rage. How weary I am of my good and my evil! All that is poverty and filth and wretched contentment.'

"Man is a rope, tied between beast and overman--a rope over an abyss...
What is great in man is that he is a bridge and not an end: what can be loved in man is that he is an overture and a going under...

"I say unto you: one must still have chaos in oneself to be able to give birth to a dancing star. I say unto you: you still have chaos in yourselves.
Alas, the time is coming when man will no longer give birth to a star. Alas, the time of the most despicable man is coming, he that is no longer able to despise himself. Behold, I show you the last man.
'What is love? What is creation? What is longing? What is a star?' thus asks the last man, and blinks.
The earth has become small, and on it hops the last man, who makes everything small. His race is as ineradicable as the flea; the last man lives longest.
'We have invented happiness,'say the last men, and they blink. They have left the regions where it was hard to live, for one needs warmth. One still loves one's neighbor and rubs against him, for one needs warmth...
One still works, for work is a form of entertainment. But one is careful lest the entertainment be too harrowing. One no longer becomes poor or rich: both require too much exertion. Who still wants to rule? Who obey? Both require too much exertion.
No shepherd and one herd! Everybody wants the same, everybody is the same: whoever feels different goes voluntarily into a madhouse.
'Formerly, all the world was mad,' say the most refined, and they blink...
One has one's little pleasure for the day and one's little pleasure for the night: but one has a regard for health.
'We have invented happiness,' say the last men, and they blink."
(reply to this comment
From frmrjoyish
Monday, May 24, 2004, 15:20


So, you're saying that the phrase "God is dead" in the context that exister is using it means the ideas and belief structures are dead? If so, then that makes much more sense to me. The idea that people could suddenly decide that there was a God, they used to believe but now he's dead so they don't believe in him anymore, has always confused me.

If there is or ever was a God, how could he die? And if he died who, what, whatever, would run the world? So that leaves the conclusion that if God could die, he was never God in the first place, at least not the God we were raised to believe in. To me, the subject of the existence of God seems very black and white, there either is a God or there is not and never was. And if there is a God, we have no evidence of his existence so until evidenced otherwise, no assumptions of his existence should be made.

Perhaps there's some underlying philospohical argument that would justify the death of God and I am just not getting it. (reply to this comment

From anovagrrl
Monday, May 24, 2004, 19:17


Yes, it's the traditional Christian ideas about why there is suffering & death and concepts about who God is (if indeed, God is) that are dead for many people. Ideas & concepts are the primary way human beings communicate knowledge. It can be argued that one can only "know" God through ideas and concepts about god. If you follow that logic, God becomes a product of the human mind.

The existential question is this: If the human mind ceases to exist (that is, human beings go the way of the dinosaurs), does God cease to exist? Some of the theorizing and findings coming out of particle physics suggests that what humans call "mind" (or consciousness) is in fact a unified totality of all things that exist. In other words, if the universe ceased existence, God would truly be dead.

This approach to understanding one's place in the universe is much closer to the Buddhist-Hindu apprehension of "God" than that of western theistic traditions like Judaism, Christianity & Islam. (reply to this comment

From exister
Monday, May 24, 2004, 16:05


Your black and white system of logic is easily struck down by Godel's Incompleteness Theorem, my fav! I have copied it from for all to enjoy. Read, cogitate, discuss and be liberated!

The proof of Gödel's Incompleteness Theorem is so simple, and so sneaky, that it is almost embarassing to relate. His basic procedure is as follows:

  1. Someone introduces Gödel to a UTM, a machine that is supposed to be a Universal Truth Machine, capable of correctly answering any question at all.
  2. Gödel asks for the program and the circuit design of the UTM. The program may be complicated, but it can only be finitely long. Call the program P(UTM) for Program of the Universal Truth Machine.
  3. Smiling a little, Gödel writes out the following sentence: "The machine constructed on the basis of the program P(UTM) will never say that this sentence is true." Call this sentence G for Gödel. Note that G is equivalent to: "UTM will never say G is true."
  4. Now Gödel laughs his high laugh and asks UTM whether G is true or not.
  5. If UTM says G is true, then "UTM will never say G is true" is false. If "UTM will never say G is true" is false, then G is false (since G = "UTM will never say G is true"). So if UTM says G is true, then G is in fact false, and UTM has made a false statement. So UTM will never say that G is true, since UTM makes only true statements.
  6. We have established that UTM will never say G is true. So "UTM will never say G is true" is in fact a true statement. So G is true (since G = "UTM will never say G is true").
  7. "I know a truth that UTM can never utter," Gödel says. "I know that G is true. UTM is not truly universal."

Think about it - it grows on you ...

With his great mathematical and logical genius, Gödel was able to find a way (for any given P(UTM)) actually to write down a complicated polynomial equation that has a solution if and only if G is true. So G is not at all some vague or non-mathematical sentence. G is a specific mathematical problem that we know the answer to, even though UTM does not! So UTM does not, and cannot, embody a best and final theory of mathematics ...

Although this theorem can be stated and proved in a rigorously mathematical way, what it seems to say is that rational thought can never penetrate to the final ultimate truth ... But, paradoxically, to understand Gödel's proof is to find a sort of liberation. For many logic students, the final breakthrough to full understanding of the Incompleteness Theorem is practically a conversion experience. This is partly a by-product of the potent mystique Gödel's name carries. But, more profoundly, to understand the essentially labyrinthine nature of the castle is, somehow, to be free of it.

(reply to this comment
From frmrjoyish
Tuesday, May 25, 2004, 08:38


Ok, I think I may be starting to get it! I particularly like this part:

"Gödel's Theorem has been used to argue that a computer can never be as smart as a human being because the extent of its knowledge is limited by a fixed set of axioms, whereas people can discover unexpected truths ... It plays a part in modern linguistic theories, which emphasize the power of language to come up with new ways to express ideas. And it has been taken to imply that you'll never entirely understand yourself, since your mind, like any other closed system, can only be sure of what it knows about itself by relying on what it knows about itself."

This has significant implications for the sciences as well. As products of the universe, will we ever truely understand the entity we came from and are just a small part of?(reply to this comment

From Wolf
Monday, May 24, 2004, 20:20

This is cute, but certainly not equal to a “conversion” experience. There are millions of similar logic puzzles that lead to dead ends, which only prove that logic is “finite”. If there is a higher power of some sort, he / she / it would necessarily be beyond such clear-cut logic.(reply to this comment
From anovagrrl
Tuesday, May 25, 2004, 07:48

Here is my take on what exister lays out as Godel's incompleteness theorum and what you have characterized a logic puzzle: The function of a Zen koan is to set up conditions whereby the mind can break free of boundaries & presuppositions with which it defines consciousness. If there is something like conciousness with a big "C" (as the Buddhists imply), then it is a higher power of some sort beyond clear-cut logic. But that also means Consciousness (for lack of a better word) is not an "it" and that we do not have conceptual categories with which to communicate about "it."(reply to this comment
From exister
Tuesday, May 25, 2004, 09:33

Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5(Agree/Disagree?)

That's a good analogy, though it tends to stop at the door step of some higher power, which hints at the tendency we humans have of seeking closure.

To me the point of the Incompleteness Theorem is simply that no system of truth can answer all questions. This makes people uneasy so they automatically modify the implication to say that no system of truth "in the human experience" can answer all questions. It's as if we feel unqualified as humans to make broad and bold conjectures about The Universe. This is once again due to some residual "fear of God." Even the supposed free thinkers among us will often feel that they don't know what is out there, but whatever it is they are afraid of it.

I don't claim to be free of this fear, but I will not allow it to prevent me from making the following reckless conjecture: "There is no system of truth that can determine the truth or falsehood of all statments." There, now doesn't that feel good?

Of course a more plausible conjencture would be to say that there is no human devised system of truth that can determine the truth or falsehood of all statments, but since we are all humans I will say that there is no system of truth that is not human devised, which just leads us to conclude my conjecture in the previous paragraph.


God is Truth, Man made God, so Man made Truth and Man is God. We can chase our tails like this indefinitely in innumerable ways.(reply to this comment

From Wolf
Tuesday, May 25, 2004, 10:45

Dude, what makes you think chimps haven’t developed their own system of truth? Or stink bugs, for that matter? Chasing tails can be great fun for dogs, but I prefer to just admit that my capacity for understanding “truth” is limited to human consciousness and leave it at that. Figuring out whether man made (invented) God or God (some higher being) made man is just one more tail chasing activity.(reply to this comment
From exister
Tuesday, May 25, 2004, 12:09

Well then, that's your loss isn't it?(reply to this comment
From Joe H
Tuesday, May 25, 2004, 12:06

Agreed. While I respect all you for your attempts to think deeply and be enlightened, I've long since moved past that. Now I focus on more important things like my career and which shoes define me as a person. Oscar Wilde said "Only the shallow truly know themselves." I know you all will get here some day. In the meantime, I'll let you wonder whether I'm being serious or making a joke. Ta-ta.(reply to this comment
From anovagrrl
Tuesday, May 25, 2004, 09:55


I stopped at the doorstep of some higher power precisely because I do not seek closure. Or perhaps I seek closure, but resist that pitfall for the moment.

My real question is this: What do we make of the "conversion" experience, whether it is framed in the Christian idiom of coming face-to-face with the Risen Lord or the Buddhist-Hindu tradition of sunyata/nirvana?

In other words, can the body/mind enter a space/being that transcends all logical pathways and fear of the unknown? Many humans have claimed to have experienced this. In my own case, I maintain a utilitarian grip on life and the fear of death by hoping that this is within the realm of possibilities. When I think about that hope, I call it "ah," which is not unlike saying "om" or "abba".

I also stop short because this is hard stuff to think about, and I've got more mundane things competing for my time & energy. Nevertheless, it is a true pleasure to exchange thoughts with you.(reply to this comment

Tuesday, May 25, 2004, 10:10

Speaking of "saying 'abba,'" you should see Mamma Mia. "You can da-ance, having the time of your li-i-ife, see that girl, watch that scene, she is the Dancing Queen!"(reply to this comment
From DBD
Tuesday, May 25, 2004, 10:15

Death Before Disco!(reply to this comment
Tuesday, May 25, 2004, 13:03

Life Begins with Disco! Abba Rules!(reply to this comment
From frmrjoyish
Monday, May 24, 2004, 18:00

Ex, darling, I didn't get this the first time you explained it to me and I don't get it now. I will however, make every effort to reread it as well as the website. Maybe one of these days I will understand it! Perhaps one less stats class in favor of a logic class and we would be having a different conversation now. : )(reply to this comment
From Joe H
Monday, May 24, 2004, 15:53

It makes perfect sense to me! I think you're just a flatlander!(reply to this comment
From exister
Monday, May 24, 2004, 12:50

Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5(Agree/Disagree?)

Let me start by saying this one of the more well informed and conscientous responses I have seen on this site.

I would have to disagree with your opening comment though. Regardless of what your Sociology professor may have claimed the phrase "God is Dead" was first proffered by Nietzche, most famously in "Thus Spoke Zarathustra" but before that in "The Gay Sciences."

Your analysis about modern culture metaphorically killing God is pretty right on though. Well put.

I try to sum it up by saying that Mankind collectively created God in its own image then killed him when it realized he was no longer psychologically necessary or expedient.

Our parents and Berg recreated the Judeo-Christian God as a response to the dehumanizing effects of the Modern Experience. Note that this God also was created in their image, overtly sexual, antinomianist, irresponsible, itinerant.

Now, Nietzche pretty much looked at the "Sepulchres of the Church" and said "God is Dead." I look at the trail of pain and abuse left by our parent's God, and say "God is dead, and if not he deserves to be." What I am really talking about is the God that our parents created to justify their excesses and that they still use to legitimize their abuses. He/It/She must die! Once this root is dead the tree will likely topple.(reply to this comment

From anovagrrl
Monday, May 24, 2004, 14:14

Thanks for correcting the source of the statement, God is dead. Nietzche--duh, that makes total sense. I should have checked a little further. I just did a quick google, and I knew from personal history that the God is dead discussion emerged in public discourse during the 60s. Yes, I can be a sloppy scholar when I write stuff off the cuff. By the way, exister, I've often marvelled that a bunch of cult zombies managed to bring someone into existence with your mental acuity and clarity. A powerful mind is a difficult thing to impoverish, even if it was initially developed and nurtured in the equivalent of a fourth world country.(reply to this comment
From exister
Monday, May 24, 2004, 14:53

One of the few things that The Family is right about is the fact that persecution only increases one's fervor and focus.(reply to this comment
From anovagrrl
Monday, May 24, 2004, 18:58


True, but only in some people and under certain circumstances. Persecution--particularly if it takes the form of physical and emotional abuse--can and does destroy the ability to focus in many people. As far as fervor goes, I tend to think that's character trait similar to an affinity for spicey food.(reply to this comment

From Vicky
Monday, May 24, 2004, 14:00


In my own life this is a very current issue, as I have just recently decided that I have absolutely no need for a belief in God. This was a sudden thing, from one day to the next, and in my own mind shows the end of my childhood and my subsequent entrance into 'real life'.

This represents a major shift for me, as I have always considered my faith to be an integral part of my life. It was a complete surprise to me to one day realise that I had no further need to lean on anything other than my own strength, and I went through a period of grieving for the end of my innocence, as it were - I felt like a child who had just figured out that Santa isn't real, there aren't any fairies, and no pot of gold at the end of the rainbow...

It has been a very surreal experience for me, with some questions along the way, such as was I betraying a fundamental part of myself in wiping out my belief system in such an abrupt manner, and would I find myself unable to connect with my emotions if I cut off one of the major areas in which I have always felt something special within myself... etc, etc. I found it unbelievably scary in one sense, but it also felt totally right, and still does.

So yes, in a very real sense, God has died. But He is dead not because of disappointment, anger or secret bitterness against Him, but because He never was alive to begin with. I have witnessed the demise of an Entity whose existence formed the basis of much of my thought process, wielding enormous influence in my life and permeating every fibre of my being, yet I feel no palpable sense of loss. I feel no loss because I lost nothing. (reply to this comment

From exister
Monday, May 24, 2004, 14:50


Excellent! Just when I was about to give up on the content of this site the really good thinkers start to crawl out of the woodwork.

I admit that I felt a similar sense of loss and apprehension when the needlessness of God began to sink in. The primary obstacle for me was the deeply ingrained fear and guilt that the Cult instilled in all of us for purposes of retention and control.

I was lucky enough to find a friend who was a recovering Pentecostal. We basically read and discussed as much blasphemous, secular philosophy as we could in an effort to desensitize ourselves from the paranoia that our parents had passed on to us, and what do you know but that after a couple of years it worked. This partially explains my vehemence at proclaiming the death of God to people because I know that to leave the cult and never make a concerted effort at self liberation is to live on with the parasitic, knee jerk fears that constituted our parent's control scheme.

It seems people are largely motivated by rewards. As if being free from mental bondage weren't reward enough! So here is a token example of my reward for the journey my mind has taken. I can sit in the sun, listen to the breeze, look at the expanse before me and feel overwhelmed by a pure and unsullied sense of beauty. I doubt such things can be so purely appreciated by those who worry about what Jesus/God would do.(reply to this comment

Tuesday, May 25, 2004, 02:14

I feel overwhelmed & thrilled by the beauties which surround me/us...yet I believe...a real child of God can relax...because of the love it f e e l s ...casting all your cares upon HIM...true, sometimes I hold on to some fears &
worries, but when you give it all up in prayer, in the name of's all gone...inner paradise - even in the midst of hardships - in reach, through the tiny "effort" of prayer...
priceless!(reply to this comment
From Banshee
Tuesday, May 25, 2004, 04:47

Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5(Agree/Disagree?)
Me thinks this is to this comment
From Vicky
Monday, May 24, 2004, 15:11


Your last paragraph is particularly interesting to me because it addresses one of the only remaining concerns I had regarding this aspect of my life - I was left with the question, Would I be able to appreciate life and its beauty to the same degree or would it all become just a little more mundane without that Divine Presence to be grateful to...?

Being an unashamedly emotional creature I often find that quite simple things overwhelm my senses, and I am now left wondering how to express my thankfulness if I cannot thank God for His 'blessings'. I suppose the answer is to be grateful to life, grateful to nature, grateful to each of those we share our lives with, grateful for the chance to be.

One of the main things I have gained from this new outlook on life, is an increased appreciation of the fact that one has to live one's life in the moment, making the most of every minute, every hour, every day, because, THIS IS IT. This is the life we have and if we waste it there isn't going to be another one at the end of it.(reply to this comment

From frmrjoyish
Tuesday, May 25, 2004, 06:25

Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5(Agree/Disagree?)

As I gradually began to shake off the mind-fog of my childhood beliefs nature and life in general began to take on an even greater wonder and significance. The fact that our life and the life of the planet that supports us exists and functions under such a limited margin of error, yet everyday life functions, evolves, flourishes, dies, etc. The complexity yet commonality of it all is fascinating to me. The fact that there is no God above controlling and watching over every little molecular reaction makes everything even more delicate and wonderful. (reply to this comment

From sarafina
Monday, May 24, 2004, 16:02

Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5Average visitor agreement is 5 out of 5(Agree/Disagree?)
Yes, but whats sad is it can also have the reverse effect as I have seen happen. Where a person feels the opposite and are left with a feeling of Helplessness. That life has no worth or meaning other then to live it out and bide are time till we die.

When you are thought everything you do in life has a purpose, every accident you have is a lesson,every bad thing that happens to you is just a test, every sacrifice you make in the end there will be a reward, everyone loved one you lose you will see again ...for some it keeps them going makes them strive for something cause there are consequences if they don't. Life is full of so much pain and hell that if there wasn't a better place and we were just going through all this pain and suffering for nothing a lot more people probably would just kill themselves. Which is what some people I know have tried.

They have come to the same conclusion that God is dead and life has no meaning everything they were thought was a lie every thing that happens is coincidental and loss of loved ones is unpreventable and irreversible and most of all Final there is no after life, no rewards, no one up there answering their cries for help and they are on their own.

So, as some see it being able to capture every moment and enjoying the beauty of life as it's the only one you get, others see it as having to endure misery and loss and hurt and a pointless reason to live. Not to mention since the fear of a God is gone ending their life has no consequence other then freeing themselves from a unwanted future. I'm sure one of you can explain this all a lot better then I just did.(reply to this comment
From Vicky
Monday, May 24, 2004, 16:48


I think you expressed yourself very well, Sarafina. You're brave to talk so openly and intimately about an issue that still must be very painful for you, and I appreciate that.

You have addressed the unfortunate reality of a life in which our own mental, emotional and psychological state is the making of us - There are some people who for a number of reasons find this world a very difficult place to live in, and for those people the realisation that they are alone in this world can often be devastating. This is why I don't believe that having faith of some sort is always a bad thing. If people need that sense of meaning and purpose then I think they should be allowed to find it in any belief system they identify with. (reply to this comment

From exister
Monday, May 24, 2004, 15:32


But ain't it great?

One's appreciation for any given thing is all a matter of perspective. Life is bound to seem mediocre if one is all psyched up about some pie in the sky afterlife. On the other hand, once you realize that this is it your perspective changes, and you realize that you are in heaven right fucking now. All the joy, pain, acuity and stimuli that you can process is all you get. Do with it what you will, but don't ignore it in the hope of some bullshit afterlife. Seriously, how can religious escapists appreciate the spontaneous wonder of their existence? They can't, and it's their loss!

Gratitude is in my opinion among the most noble emotions, so I won't tell you to discard it. A thankless life is just that, thankless and vapid. I am intensely grateful to so many people and even sometimes to inanimate aspects of reality. These people and things deserve my gratitude for what they have done for me, but there are few things as pointless as dreaming up a deity to chanel your gratitude to. Indeed, this emotional travesty strikes me as simply lazy.

By way of emotional aesthetics I would recommend the thoughtfull sampling of adrenaline, nicotine and alcohol. They put a fun filter on the senses.

For interesting reading concerning amoral aesthetics for their own sake see anything by Oscar Wilde, that naughty boy!

Cheers. (reply to this comment

From Vicky
Monday, May 24, 2004, 15:41


A very helpful exchange, exister. Thanks! (reply to this comment

From Vicky
Monday, May 24, 2004, 10:45


I tend to agree, Wolf. I've always been annoyed when people who say they are atheists actually just seem to be angry at God, because I think it devalues their position on the issue. However, I would venture a guess that Exister (and I know you'll feel free to correct me if I'm wrong, Ex ;) uses this kind of emotive language as a way of getting people's attention and not because he actually believes that God once was...(reply to this comment

from Jedran
Monday, May 24, 2004 - 04:27

I don't agree with your interpretation of salvation but that is beside the point. Speaking of the family's doctrine of salvation just look at the verses they like to quote so much (at the top of the article). Since when does repeating a few lines along with a crowd of 500 school kids and not having a clue what they mean constitute believing and confessing. Chalk up 500 more souls for the Family to add to their million a year, the good fruit of their tree so to speak.
(reply to this comment)

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