1. SubscriberFMF
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    01 Sep '17 02:251 edit
    Yes, I suppose I was, in a sense, "forced" to be a Christian for those 25+ years. The word "forced" is maybe not the first word I'd have thought of using, but it will suffice.

    Yes, I  was, for all intents and purposes, "forced" to be a Christian. I  didn't really have any choice in the matter. My faith was sincere, ever present, empowering. It had a momentum all of its own. It was like a force. Like a kind of force of nature. It carried me with it.

    I had a set of notions and explanations that I subscribed to. They made sense. They interlocked. They were mirrored in people around me. They fed off all kinds of sources of confirmation bias, continuously so. They felt completely irresistible. What choice did I have?

    It was a frame of reference that was comfortable, familiar, constant, normal, natural, intuitive, reassuring. It felt utterly necessary. And obligatory. Not overbearing but not optional either. It was psychologically inescapable. It was like second nature. Intuitive. It was the rightful order of things, a reality imposed on me from outside, not something I had created from within by selecting its components.

    It was not something I chose to do. It was not something, where I woke up each day, and decided, freely, to continue with those beliefs, or decided deliberately and consciously to not stop. For all intents and purposes, I was "forced" to be a Christian.

    It was something similar to my love for my partner and children; it isn't a choice; I can't just wake up one day and use "free will" to decide to stop loving them. The imperative to love them, care for them, worry about them, is like a force within me. It is a reality about which I have little or no volition.

    My Christian life consisted of a complex superstructure of instincts and assumptions and imperatives and carefully cultivated perspectives that created, just as it's supposed to, a spiritual cocoon inside of which I lived for decades and which was all bound up with my identity, my life choices, and my interactions with my human environment.

    I did not choose to create that cocoon. It was just there. It existed. It was real to me. It wasn't a conscious choice.

    It felt to me like it was my innate response to supernatural stimuli ~ realities ~ beyond my control. I couldn't simply choose not to believe them. It was a matter of heart and soul. It felt mandatory and invincible.

    Was I literally "forced" to exist in that mental and spiritual space? Is it the right word? I suppose so, yes. As mindscapes go, it was compelling. It was persuasive. It was required. It seemed like the only alternative.

    So, all this had the effect of "forcing" me to be a Christian. Yes, the word "forced" will suffice. I don't think any exercise of "free will" could have done anything about the fact that I saw myself and the world through a Christian prism. I couldn't have somehow chosen at any given moment to not be a Christian.

    And I don't think any exercise of "free will" or "choice" could have done anything to prevent what happened thereafter.

    I don't think "free will" could have had any effect as I moved gradually through the process of losing that faith.  I don't think "free will" could have had any inhibiting or accelerating effect on the long drawn out process that eventually led to me realizing that all those instincts and superstitions and life-defining assumptions had faded away and disappeared.

    In the end, I was "forced" to admit that I was no longer a Christian.
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    01 Sep '17 02:57
    Originally posted by @fmf
    Yes, I suppose I was, in a sense, "forced" to be a Christian for those 25+ years. The word "forced" is maybe not the first word I'd have thought of using, but it will suffice.

    Yes, I  was, for all intents and purposes, "forced" to be a Christian. I  didn't really have any choice in the matter. My faith was sincere, ever present, empowering. It had a momentu ...[text shortened]... d away and disappeared.

    In the end, I was "forced" to admit that I was no longer a Christian.
    I'm forced to believe you're being sincere.

    Seems you've come full circle. While it appears you think you know the why and wherefore, in reality you never truly believed. If you had ever actually know the risen savior you never would have lost faith.

    You had a false faith. The Faith is predicated on a real God. Your maker. If you had known Him from the start you would still.

    The above statements are made off the cuff. If I had a day to ponder your comments I might well phrase things differently in the hope that you would change your mind and embrace the true faith, be saved and bask in the joy of eternal life.
  3. SubscriberFMF
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    01 Sep '17 03:162 edits
    Originally posted by @josephw
    While it appears you think you know the why and wherefore, in reality you never truly believed. If you had ever actually know the risen savior you never would have lost faith. You had a false faith. The Faith is predicated on a real God. Your maker. If you had known Him from the start you would still.
    Yes, I've heard you say this kind of stuff before and it has no bearing on what my personal experience was, nor how I perceive that experience ~ instead it seems to be more a comment on your own faith. I am not a Christian anymore, and you're still a Christian, good for you.

    But I think you're missing the point altogether if you think that this is about me justifying or convincing you of anything with regard to my Christianity in the past. The topic is about how strong and sincere religious faith ~ any religious faith ~ is like a force of instinct that is largely immune to free will.
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    01 Sep '17 03:201 edit
    People are either forced to know God or not know God.

    Plenty who do not know God claim to be Christians at some point in their lives or for their entire lives.
  5. SubscriberFMF
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    01 Sep '17 03:22
    Originally posted by @josephw
    The above statements are made off the cuff. If I had a day to ponder your comments I might well phrase things differently in the hope that you would change your mind and embrace the true faith, be saved and bask in the joy of eternal life.
    Yes, if you could come back later having given my OP some thought, it might be interesting. If you think this is a thread about you changing my mind or you 'saving' me, then you have got completely the wrong end of the stick. Give it some thought. Your off the cuff statements have missed the point. For example, do you think "free will" is instrumental in your feeling of certainty about your religious beliefs? If so, do you think you could set that "free will" in motion in order to stop believing what you believe for, say, a month, or a couple of weeks, in order to demonstrate the strength of your "free will"?
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    01 Sep '17 04:12
    Originally posted by @eladar
    People are either forced to know God or not know God.

    Plenty who do not know God claim to be Christians at some point in their lives or for their entire lives.
    Those who are forced to know God - are those A-christians?
    Those who are forced not to know God - those must be B-christians, right?
  7. SubscriberSuzianne
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    01 Sep '17 04:17
    Originally posted by @eladar
    People are either forced to know God or not know God.

    Plenty who do not know God claim to be Christians at some point in their lives or for their entire lives.
    Said the Calvinist.

    God doesn't "force" people to do anything. But the idea that he does is central to your twisted fault-free theology.
  8. SubscriberSuzianne
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    01 Sep '17 04:211 edit
    Originally posted by @fmf
    Yes, if you could come back later having given my OP some thought, it might be interesting. If you think this is a thread about you changing my mind or you 'saving' me, then you have got completely the wrong end of the stick. Give it some thought. Your off the cuff statements have missed the point. For example, do you think "free will" is instrumental in your f ...[text shortened]... r, say, a month, or a couple of weeks, in order to demonstrate the strength of your "free will"?
    And I don't need to come back later, or even give this another wasted millisecond of thought, to understand that this is just another Christian-attacking thread, just like all the others we've seen too much of from you over the years. At least you are consistent.
  9. SubscriberFMF
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    01 Sep '17 04:24
    Originally posted by @suzianne
    And I don't need to come back later, or even give this another wasted millisecond of thought, to understand that this is just another Christian-attacking thread, just like all the others we've seen too much of from you over the years. At least you are consistent.
    I don't see how this thread or its OP is "Christian-attacking" at all.
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    01 Sep '17 08:491 edit
    Originally posted by @josephw
    ... perhaps you would change your mind and embrace the true faith, be saved and bask in the joy of eternal life.
    Perhaps he is still saved.
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    01 Sep '17 08:51
    Originally posted by @eladar
    People are either forced to know God or not know God.

    Plenty who do not know God claim to be Christians at some point in their lives or for their entire lives.
    If it turns out that what you say here is true, then I would be fairly certain which group you would be in.
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    01 Sep '17 08:54
    Originally posted by @suzianne
    And I don't need to come back later, or even give this another wasted millisecond of thought, to understand that this is just another Christian-attacking thread, just like all the others we've seen too much of from you over the years. At least you are consistent.
    There is absolutely no evidence of that in the OP and you are just being a troll as usual.

    I also note that you have avoided (as I expected) my last comment/reply to you in "the space alien thing" thread.
  13. Standard memberdj2becker
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    01 Sep '17 10:18
    Originally posted by @fmf
    Yes, I suppose I was, in a sense, "forced" to be a Christian for those 25+ years. The word "forced" is maybe not the first word I'd have thought of using, but it will suffice.

    Yes, I  was, for all intents and purposes, "forced" to be a Christian. I  didn't really have any choice in the matter. My faith was sincere, ever present, empowering. It had a momentu ...[text shortened]... d away and disappeared.

    In the end, I was "forced" to admit that I was no longer a Christian.
    If ever I do own a robot I think I shall name it FMF.
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    01 Sep '17 10:28
    Originally posted by @suzianne
    Said the Calvinist.

    God doesn't "force" people to do anything. But the idea that he does is central to your twisted fault-free theology.
    You give people too much power.
  15. SubscriberFMF
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    01 Sep '17 10:35
    Originally posted by @dj2becker
    If ever I do own a robot I think I shall name it FMF.
    You think you might someday own a robot that is an ex-Christian?
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