Author Topic: Atheist Burger Joint Owner becomes Christian  (Read 9925 times)

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Offline Nick

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Re: Atheist Burger Joint Owner becomes Christian
« Reply #29 on: July 18, 2013, 09:06:37 PM »
You must be a very special person in God's eyes.  Too bad He does not treat the rest of us that way.
Yo, put that in your pipe and smoke it.  Quit ragging on my Lord.

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Offline Justin Obriecht

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Re: Atheist Burger Joint Owner becomes Christian
« Reply #30 on: July 18, 2013, 09:13:06 PM »
I'm willing to accept Justin experienced something.  By something, I mean a kind of natural mental breakthrough, akin to what yogis and zen masters describe.  It is a natural and repeatable experience  that can be achieved through discipline and practice.  By his own admission, Justin was practicing those techniques already and in fact was meditating when his "epiphany" happened. 

But I see no evidence to suggest, let alone conclude it was jesus H christ.  He has done what people who have experienced something profound have done for thousands of years - attribute a natural but undefined process to the supernatural.  And he attributed it to the myth he was most familiar with, the one that permeates the culture in which he lived.


From Justin's link

Quote
Now many people ask me how I can be so sure that it was Jesus Christ. I tell them that the biggest reason and strongest reason is the feeling that I had in my heart. It’s an intangible feeling that I can’t describe.

translation: I have no idea whether it was jesus H, Tiamat, or Thetans.
OR
I grew up catholic, so all that jesus stuff was already in my background.  I was primed for xianity.




edit - read some more of his blog.  It's a rare level of crazy.  Not quite Wayne Harrposon level, but approaching it.  This post has all sorts of nutty, devil riddled conspiracy theories to explain why Obama didn't do exactly what Justin wanted him to do.
http://justinobriecht.com/2012/10/30/votes-ii-the-miscalculation/#more-125
(It was the Debil!)

It also gets into his man-crush on Rand Paul and the weirdness libertarians have about the fed and gold standard.


I don't mean to be impersonal but I think bullet points will best help us stay on the same page while addressing all of your thoughts.

1. In what other ways would you expect my "natural mental break through" to affect my life moving forward?

2. It's important to understand that I'd only been meditating at that point for about two months. No master of anything here. Really just searching for truth the same way I have my entire life.

I no longer have the ability to meditate as yogis and zen "masters" do. The way they meditate and the way I used to meditate cleared my mind and I zoned out in a way. Now, that's no longer possible. Now I'm very in tune with my surroundings when I meditate and feel a connection, peace and warmth that I've never experienced in my life until I was Born Again.

3. The issue with simply attributing it to the "myth" most prevalent in the culture is that all of my experiences since then have been tangible and causally related and congruent with the Bible.

4. While the feeling in my heart was the biggest reason it was and is far from the only. As I said in my testimony I called my mom and without any other discussion she described the same experience. An experience I was never aware of bc I spent my entire life telling my mom how crazy she was and how she needed a crutch.

5. While catholicism was in my background (I never thought of it after the age of 15 and before that I went through the motions as a kid, I'm 36 now) you have to understand that there was nothing I was more sure of on this planet then there not being a God. I was an anti theist through and trough. Sending out emails, riding my friends and unlike most atheists it was all done from the goodness of my heart. I wasn't mad at God, I didn't like the devil, I just simply saw the world as black and white and theism as a mental disorder and the church as the worst thing on the planet. I currently despise catholicism (not catholics, they're well intentioned deceived people), it's a cult no different the mormon and jehovah witness church.

6.I don't care about Obama, I don't care about politics. Please consider reading the blog closer. Politics is a joke. We have no representatives. I don't think  I even mention Rand Paul in the blog. I know nothing about Rand Paul and couldn't care less about him. I rarely think about the gold standard or the fed.

Thanks for taking the time to read my testimony and for the comments.

Offline Justin Obriecht

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Re: Atheist Burger Joint Owner becomes Christian
« Reply #31 on: July 18, 2013, 09:19:27 PM »
Had the chance to read the testimony... put away my popcorn.  Same old magic stuff I have heard and recited myself for years before deconverting.

Justin, if you'd grown up Hindu or Muslim, it would not have been jeezus blinking that light.

I wonder if your previous "intensely atheist mind" attributed odd events to magical deities as well? For example, I get up every morning and there is a newspaper at the end of my driveway. I never have seen it placed there by anyone and I do not subscribe to the paper, yet there it has been year after year every week day in a city where you must pay to receive a paper. Think jeezus/zeus/mithras/allah puts it there or could I explain it another way?  At times, I have had intense feelings and once a dizziness thinking it could be aliens. Your thoughts, as a former staunch atheist?

I hope you stop back by...

1. Can you tell me about your story so I have a frame of reference here Donny? (I know I'm new but I have to take Lebowski quotes when I can, no offense at all)

2. Nothing I've experienced over the past 1.5 years has been congruent with any other religion and has been perfectly congruent, causal and tangible with the Bible and Jesus Christ.

3. My previous intensely atheist mind didn't attribute anything with God, or any deity or magic or ghosts or anything supernatural or unexplained by science.  If you couldn't prove it or it wasn't in front of me it didn't exist.

Again sorry for the impersonal bullet points.

Offline ParkingPlaces

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Re: Atheist Burger Joint Owner becomes Christian
« Reply #32 on: July 18, 2013, 09:24:45 PM »
Jason

As someone who has been an atheist longer than you've been alive, I'm wondering why you think it is that your god touched you (while you were an atheist) but has never done the same to me or the others here on the forum. I've never even had any sort of experience, with or without the warm fuzzies, that hinted at the existence of a god.

Plus, you need to realize that generic statements like you just made in your last post, ("Every sign, signal, and prompting I've ever received, I've acted on, and every single one has not only been congruent with the Bible but has had a tangible and causally related outcome. ") contain absolutely no specifics and tell us only your interpretation of these generic and non-detailed events and nothing else. Hence we see them as quite unconvincing.

I am an atheist because I have never seen one single sign of a god. I am an atheist because the bible stories are exactly like all other stories of all other religions, full of tall tales and boastful doings and power tripping/blame placing/misplaced hope. Were I not told otherwise as child, I would not have been able to see any difference in the veracity of the christian bible vs. the stories of greek gods. I was told they were different when I was young, but I figured out they were not as I got older. And again, devoid of inexplicable warm feelings, I remain an atheist because I have no reason to think otherwise. Personal testimony is cute and all, but a god who cheers you up with personal contact and stays away from me for a lifetime seems a bit too fickle for me to get excited about. Even if he is real. But since I assume he is not, his fickleness is not an issue.

You are telling us that you have had concrete experiences that you can only attribute to a god. When telling us those things, you need to go into specifics if you are going to have any hope of impressing any of us.

I am impressed with your drive, your success, your good works and anything else you've done to make our world better. If I lived near you I'm sure I'd be eating at one of your restaurants regardless of what you believe. But this christian trip you are on does not impress me unless you can find a way to convince us it is something besides wishful thinking and a vapid reassessment of life events is involved.

I have a friend who swears that it hardly ever rains at her house. She knows it rains all around her house whenever storms come through, but she says that most of the time the rains miss her place. I've been at her house many dozens of times over the last two decades while it was raining, but each time she swears it is an anomaly, and that normally it doesn't happen. I've asked her neighbors if they've noticed any such difference, and none of them have. She is otherwise a sweetheart and this is of no consequence to her life or mine, but her interpretation of reality does not match what I see, which means that at least one of us is making something up. I'm guessing it is her. It could be me. It could be both of us. And the question now is, between you and I, which one of us is making stuff up. Not maliciously. Not egregiously. Just plain making things up and thinking we are right. Thinking that we each have the truth, and acting accordingly. Again, in this case, we might both be wrong. But there is no way we can both be right.

P.S. By the way, in your response to screwtape, you mentioned that when you were an atheist, you were not mad at god. I just want to make it clear that atheists can't be mad at god, since he doesn't exist. Many of us are not to happy with the track record of humans involved with religion and doing bad things in the name of their beliefs, but we are not mad at your god or any other. This is normal.



Not everyone is entitled to their own opinion. They're all entitled to mine though.

Offline Justin Obriecht

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Re: Atheist Burger Joint Owner becomes Christian
« Reply #33 on: July 18, 2013, 09:27:55 PM »
Welcome Justin

While I am not so positive that atheists can't become theists, I still wonder. I've been an atheist for a long, long time and have no memory of ever having an "intensely atheist mind". I just don't believe. It is so easy anyone can do it.

My atheist mind is casual, at best. I can argue atheism all day long, but I put much more intensity into my work or my 3D drawings on my computer or into friendships and family. In comparison, my atheism is a blip in my life, energy-wise. I post here for fun, not reassurance, for instance.

Can you explain what an "intensely atheist mind" is? As per your testimony.

P.S. We don't have any Culver's out here in Montana. Do you deliver?  ;D

Thanks for your response,

Well I guess what I mean is I not only didn't believe but I saw it as a cancer. As a psychological problem. As a crutch. And it was a main focus for me bc I couldn't stand to see people I love be so deceived and damaged. I wasn't willing to be a convenient friend (not saying you are), I wanted to help them.

The problem is while I saw the idea of God stealing a persons glory and accomplishment on one side bc all glory goes to God, and stealing their responsibility on the other bc God has a plan/ reason for everything, I never really stopped to examine the person to see if this truly was creating a mess of a person in the middle. I was blinded by my assumptions and the ways of this world, and now that I understand the Bible better and the fact that this world is backwards in almost every way, I've realized that those Christians live amazing (not easy) lives.

I was just in Montana. What an amazing state. No delivery and no Culver's coming there for a spell I'd guess.

Offline Justin Obriecht

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Re: Atheist Burger Joint Owner becomes Christian
« Reply #34 on: July 18, 2013, 09:43:36 PM »
Justin,
I read your testimony. I note that you were extremely ill and afterwards experienced a great number of new sensations. A severe illness can cause changes in the brain due to swelling or other damage. That fact along with your statements about tingling sensations make me wonder if the illness caused some initial damage which was followed by several transient ischemic attacks (TIAs).
Quote from: Wikipedia
Symptoms vary widely from person to person, depending on the area of the brain involved. The most frequent symptoms include temporary loss of vision (typically amaurosis fugax); difficulty speaking (aphasia); weakness on one side of the body (hemiparesis); and numbness or tingling (paresthesia), usually on one side of the body. Impairment of consciousness is very uncommon. There have been cases of temporary and partial paralysis affecting the face and tongue of the afflicted. The symptoms of a TIA are short-lived and usually last a few seconds to a few minutes and most symptoms disappear within 60 minutes. Some individuals may have a lingering feeling that something odd happened to the body. Dizziness, lack of coordination or poor balance are also symptoms related to TIA. Symptoms vary in severity.
Other than the tingling[1], do you recall experiencing any of the other symptoms? Have you consulted with a doctor about those symptoms? Have you consulted with a doctor about the other significant changes to your mind and senses?

Regarding the disappearing red light. You clearly state the red light was small and in your left peripheral vision. Human peripheral vision is largely devoted to sensing motion. Also, objects not in our main focus can disappear from our vision. These facts along with your description point to a quite ordinary situation of the meditation focus causing the light to not register until a slight shift in your body/head causes a shift in the light - implying movement. Since we evolved to react to peripheral movement, your focus was brought back to the light and it reappeared. Once you are comfortable with ignoring the light again and drop back into meditation, the light disappears again until you move and it reappears. And it repeats. Nothing mystical about it, sorry.

I understand the desire for there to be magic in the world. But there is a very real possibility you have suffered minor[2] brain damage which has caused these changes. The worry is that if you don't see a doctor, you could suffer worse - sooner rather than later. If this was Jesus/God reaching out to you then a visit to the doctor - where you describe all your symptoms to him - will only show a healthy brain and body. If the sensation were caused by damage then a visit to the doctor could save your life.
 1. Yes, I did note that you said your whole body was tingling. I'll point out that it says "usually" regarding the tingling being on one side of the body.
 2. hopefully only minor

Thanks for reading and the thorough response. Again please excuse the impersonal nature of the bullet points and quick responses but I want to address everything properly.

1. There are two important things to remember about my testimony. The first is that these sensations happened on three different occasions and the last two were a month after the first and me being sick. The second is that I've had nothing but Biblically congruent, tangible and causally related experiences since.

2. Wouldn't you expect those attacks to affect other areas of my life, behavior or health? Wouldn't you expect them to create some negative affects instead of all being intensely positive? The only symptom I had was the tingling. There have been no other significant changes to my health since the incident. I've been in amazing health and as I explained in the testimony my mental health has never been better.

As the Bible says I have a clear conscience (after sending letters to almost everyone I've ever wronged) and I said in the testimony I've never felt better emotionally, mentally or physically.

3. It started out in my peripheral but as I said I turned and stared at it for about three minutes (and it was still flashing) until the second identical but much stronger tingling feeling happened as did a month earlier. I didn't go back to meditating after I looked directly at the still flashing light.

4. I've never had a desire for their to be magic in the world and I still know there is no such thing.

5. What other areas of my life/health/thinking would you expect this brain damage to affect?

6. What could have brought on this brain damage?

7. I'm in perfect health and as I've said my thinking has never been clearer. My stress and anxiety has never been lower. And it's congruent with trusting our Lord Jesus Christ as the Bible explains.

Thanks again for reading my testimony and taking the time to write that out.

P.S, The illness I had was strep throat. I've never heard of that causing brain damage.
« Last Edit: July 18, 2013, 11:08:22 PM by Justin Obriecht »

Offline Justin Obriecht

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Re: Atheist Burger Joint Owner becomes Christian
« Reply #35 on: July 18, 2013, 09:48:57 PM »
You must be a very special person in God's eyes.  Too bad He does not treat the rest of us that way.

First I want to say that I'm sorry to hear about the apparent pain or suffering you've had in your life. I've had large doses as well.

However, we're all very special in God's eyes and what happened to me is available to anyone who's willing to humble themselves and ask Jesus Christ to come into their life in a sincere way.

There are reasons to numerous to mention for what there is evil, pain and trauma in this world but the refuge (not avoidance) from all of it is only found in Jesus Christ.

Offline Justin Obriecht

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Re: Atheist Burger Joint Owner becomes Christian
« Reply #36 on: July 18, 2013, 10:12:04 PM »
Jason

As someone who has been an atheist longer than you've been alive, I'm wondering why you think it is that your god touched you (while you were an atheist) but has never done the same to me or the others here on the forum. I've never even had any sort of experience, with or without the warm fuzzies, that hinted at the existence of a god.

Plus, you need to realize that generic statements like you just made in your last post, ("Every sign, signal, and prompting I've ever received, I've acted on, and every single one has not only been congruent with the Bible but has had a tangible and causally related outcome. ") contain absolutely no specifics and tell us only your interpretation of these generic and non-detailed events and nothing else. Hence we see them as quite unconvincing.

I am an atheist because I have never seen one single sign of a god. I am an atheist because the bible stories are exactly like all other stories of all other religions, full of tall tales and boastful doings and power tripping/blame placing/misplaced hope. Were I not told otherwise as child, I would not have been able to see any difference in the veracity of the christian bible vs. the stories of greek gods. I was told they were different when I was young, but I figured out they were not as I got older. And again, devoid of inexplicable warm feelings, I remain an atheist because I have no reason to think otherwise. Personal testimony is cute and all, but a god who cheers you up with personal contact and stays away from me for a lifetime seems a bit too fickle for me to get excited about. Even if he is real. But since I assume he is not, his fickleness is not an issue.

You are telling us that you have had concrete experiences that you can only attribute to a god. When telling us those things, you need to go into specifics if you are going to have any hope of impressing any of us.

I am impressed with your drive, your success, your good works and anything else you've done to make our world better. If I lived near you I'm sure I'd be eating at one of your restaurants regardless of what you believe. But this christian trip you are on does not impress me unless you can find a way to convince us it is something besides wishful thinking and a vapid reassessment of life events is involved.

I have a friend who swears that it hardly ever rains at her house. She knows it rains all around her house whenever storms come through, but she says that most of the time the rains miss her place. I've been at her house many dozens of times over the last two decades while it was raining, but each time she swears it is an anomaly, and that normally it doesn't happen. I've asked her neighbors if they've noticed any such difference, and none of them have. She is otherwise a sweetheart and this is of no consequence to her life or mine, but her interpretation of reality does not match what I see, which means that at least one of us is making something up. I'm guessing it is her. It could be me. It could be both of us. And the question now is, between you and I, which one of us is making stuff up. Not maliciously. Not egregiously. Just plain making things up and thinking we are right. Thinking that we each have the truth, and acting accordingly. Again, in this case, we might both be wrong. But there is no way we can both be right.

P.S. By the way, in your response to screwtape, you mentioned that when you were an atheist, you were not mad at god. I just want to make it clear that atheists can't be mad at god, since he doesn't exist. Many of us are not to happy with the track record of humans involved with religion and doing bad things in the name of their beliefs, but we are not mad at your god or any other. This is normal.

Thanks for the thoughtful response.

1. I believe God touched me for the same reason He touches anyone who's been Born Again. I humbled myself to the fact that I didn't have it all figured out when at the hight of my anti-theism I said those two Our Fathers. In addition, I searched for truth in a humble way my entire life. Every time I found another kernel no matter how it didn't fit into my life I embraced it. Up until this experience I'd never had any warm and fuzzies of any sort either, hence the anti-theism. It's all about sincerely humbling yourself and apologizing to Jesus for pushing Him away all these, asking Him to come into your life and thanking Him for not giving up on you.

2. I'm not trying to convince anyone and God doesn't care if you believe or not. Even the devil believes. God's looking for a loving personal relationship with each of us through His Son Jesus Christ. That's what I've been experiencing for almost two years. There's no mistaking it or misunderstanding it. If you read more of my blog you will see endless examples of causally related experiences.

3. I was an atheist for the same reason. The thing you should consider is that lack of proof of something doesn't mean it doesn't exist. Think about when we thought the world was flat. Another question to ask yourself is what kind of proof would you expect from God? Your comments about the Bible being the same as anything are way off. It's important to understand that the demonically deceived powers that be have a vested interest in keeping the truth about Jesus Christ from you. No other topic has more disinfo on the net about it then Christianity. What I've done my life as far researching is I always set out to prove my self wrong.

4. There's no convincing people to have a personal relationship with God. There's no amount of proof or intellectual gymnastics that will move someone toward Christ. I appreciate the kind words but it's important to understand that I'm not here to impress or convince. I'm just telling about my experience and what I've learned about the Kingdom of God and the Bible.

5. No one is making stuff up. We can both be right about our experiences up until this point. I was in your shoes two years ago. All I can tell you is if you sincerely want to know the truth about Christ He will show it to you. Search for info that will prove your current beliefs wrong. Go to church a couple times. Read the Bible with an open mind. No one can prove that the Bible isn't true, and no one can prove that God is real, so I would encourage everyone to have a very open mind to the most important issue in the world.

6. Many proclaimed atheists are very mad at God. I knew that when I was one.

I enjoyed reading your point of view and your tone.

Offline neopagan

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Re: Atheist Burger Joint Owner becomes Christian
« Reply #37 on: July 18, 2013, 10:30:42 PM »
Had the chance to read the testimony... put away my popcorn.  Same old magic stuff I have heard and recited myself for years before deconverting.

Justin, if you'd grown up Hindu or Muslim, it would not have been jeezus blinking that light.

I wonder if your previous "intensely atheist mind" attributed odd events to magical deities as well? For example, I get up every morning and there is a newspaper at the end of my driveway. I never have seen it placed there by anyone and I do not subscribe to the paper, yet there it has been year after year every week day in a city where you must pay to receive a paper. Think jeezus/zeus/mithras/allah puts it there or could I explain it another way?  At times, I have had intense feelings and once a dizziness thinking it could be aliens. Your thoughts, as a former staunch atheist?

I hope you stop back by...

1. Can you tell me about your story so I have a frame of reference here Donny? (I know I'm new but I have to take Lebowski quotes when I can, no offense at all)

2. Nothing I've experienced over the past 1.5 years has been congruent with any other religion and has been perfectly congruent, causal and tangible with the Bible and Jesus Christ.

3. My previous intensely atheist mind didn't attribute anything with God, or any deity or magic or ghosts or anything supernatural or unexplained by science.  If you couldn't prove it or it wasn't in front of me it didn't exist.

Again sorry for the impersonal bullet points.

Hello again. Sorry, I doubted your return (no pun intended).

Let's keep with the bullet points:

1. Never saw Lebowski, but my story as it is would be here -

http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/forums/index.php/topic,24916.0.html

- I'm pretty new here, having been a xian for over 30 years and finally shedding all of that 6+ months ago - no pain, no trauma, no hating god, etc. just facing up to my doubts and thinking critically after a long sleep.

2. I really have no idea what you mean by that phrase you have used numerous times "...perfectly congruent, causal and tangible with the Bible..."  It sounds like a $6 burger, but it really has no meat until you explain what you mean by it.  If you are saying your experiences square with the bible - well, I'd expect a xian to say that.  My personal version of god was always strangely like me too in my theistic days.  He liked the same music, believed the same theology, planned out the same eschatology and darned if he didn't share my version of soteriology as well.

3. I don't see that as an "intensely atheist mind" you had there - seems more like a rational mind.  Essentially, you gave up rationality for "faith" - sorta the opposite, right?

Thanks for your response and I'd be frequenting your burger spot too, were they here in god's  zeus' hermes' cattle country (Oklahoma)

If xian hell really exists, the stench of the burning billions of us should be a constant, putrid reminder to the handful of heavenward xians how loving your god is.  - neopagan

Offline neopagan

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Re: Atheist Burger Joint Owner becomes Christian
« Reply #38 on: July 18, 2013, 10:40:51 PM »
Justin,

Many of the regulars here will tell you in much more specific terms than I that preaching to us here will NOT garner you much favor.  If you assume you are talking to a bunch of god hating folks who've never darkened the door of a church or cracked open a bible, you'd not only be hopelessly wrong but downright condescending.

Many were "true" christians for many years (like myself) and many, I would wager, have forgotten more about the bible than you have learned at this stage in your journey.  I and many here have read that holy book cover to cover - many times.  I know your lingo and I know you think you are dealing with people who have never heard or considered what you are saying.  I'd urge you to read some posts here - not just this thread (although it may run you off when you see what you are going to be up against).

Good luck


If xian hell really exists, the stench of the burning billions of us should be a constant, putrid reminder to the handful of heavenward xians how loving your god is.  - neopagan

Offline ParkingPlaces

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Re: Atheist Burger Joint Owner becomes Christian
« Reply #39 on: July 18, 2013, 10:50:58 PM »
Justin, thanks for your response. We continue to disagree but both of us prefer that over having one of us forced to believe something we don't want to.

But you obviously ran with the wrong atheist crowd. Again, I'm not the least bit mad at your god, or any other. Non-existent entities are sort of hard to get pissed at. And I think that most atheists on this site would agree. Right folks? Your claim otherwise makes us a bit suspect about your claim of atheism. Might it be more accurate to say you weren't a believer because you didn't like the guy, not because you didn't believe in him. Which is not atheism, but rather rejectionism or some other differently-labeled belief.

However, that is speculation on my part, and I don't pretend that it is accurate. But I assure you, we actual atheists aren't the least bit upset with your deity.

In the meantime, if you could explain how one can be mad at something that doesn't exist, that would be appreciated.

And until a god shows up that isn't big on playing hide and seek, I'm pretty sure I won't change. I'm not the least bit interested in asking for any sort of salvation. Nobody has found a way to convince me that it would be a good idea or a realistic goal. Or even interest me in the church potlucks. So methinks we'll have to agree to disagree.

When I was a child, I was told there was a god and I believed it simply because I had no reason not to. I went to church and everything. That would have been a great time for your god to show himself to me in some meaningful way. If he is real, he missed his chance. As an omnipotent dude, he could have done something noticeable by me as a child and I might have reacted to the stories very differently. He would have to come to my house and have dinner now to convince me that he exists.

He's welcome any time. Or he can choose some other path to me. But whatever he does, it has to be more than merely implying that he exists. If I am important to him, he can overlook his silly rules and do something proactive for my soul. Because he squandered his chance to get me back in the 50's. His bad.

Unless he isn't real. Which I am as sure as one can be that is is not. And I even have proof. He could cause me to die before I finish typing this sentence, or before I press "Post", and for a brief second (if he were to allow it) I would know I was wrong. But he didn't do it during that sentence, nor during this one, or before I pressed "Post". I invite him to do it. I give him my complete permission to do me in with a heart attack or some other quick (and I don't care how painful) death or disability that would prevent the posting of this response.

If he is real, he's a pussy. Afraid of being seen, afraid of being "known", whatever. He's a pussy. I could respect that if he weren't simultaneously so demanding. But in fact, it is the humans that invented him and the humans that carry on in his name that do the demanding, and like I said, I'm not too happy that I share the planet with the worst of that crowd. But your god is too incompetent to get my attention. He should be ashamed.

Excuse me while I live long enough to post this. One last chance god. Stop me now.
Not everyone is entitled to their own opinion. They're all entitled to mine though.

Offline Astreja

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Re: Atheist Burger Joint Owner becomes Christian
« Reply #40 on: July 19, 2013, 12:23:43 AM »
I'm begging each of you from the bottom of my heart to continue searching for truth in this world. Track it down, never stop researching. Keep an open mind to everything until it's proven impossible to you personally. If you do this with an open mind you will end up at the cross as I did.

Justin, I think My mind is reasonably open.  I've practised or dabbled in multiple religions since I was a kid, going though a final short burst of Ásatrú (reconstruction of the old Norse beliefs) before settling into a comfortable agnostic atheist position.

Christianity just doesn't resonate with Me.  It never has, and I've known the Bible stories for nearly 50 years now.  I don't like the narrative and I don't like the characters, but I especially don't like the theology.
  • I'm not willing to pretend that I was born evil and fit only for the flames of Hell, and I certainly can't view other people in that light.
  • Neither can I wrap My mind around the oft-mentioned idea that a god cannot tolerate imperfect beings, cannot associate with them, and must bar them forever from its presence.
  • Finally, the idea of substitutionary atonement through a blood sacrifice is absolutely, unconditionally abhorrent to Me.  I cannot and I shall not accept the purported sacrifice of Jesus.
My road to truth doesn't lead to the cross; quite the contrary.  If for some reason I do end up there, I'll be the One who shoos away the Roman legions, rescues the young rabbi and the two thieves and bandages their wounds, then smashes up all the crosses and sets them ablaze so that we can roast marshmallows and make S'mores for 5000.  8)
« Last Edit: July 19, 2013, 01:32:28 AM by Astreja »
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Offline Astreja

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Re: Atheist Burger Joint Owner becomes Christian
« Reply #41 on: July 19, 2013, 01:52:48 AM »
Justin, I noticed the discussion of your illness with the strep throat and the tingling, and another possibility could be post-infectious encephalomyelitis (breakdown of the myelin sheaths in the brain due to an infection).

It may be a one-off event, but it would be a good idea to rule out early multiple sclerosis.  If you get tingling sensations, fatigue, dizziness, muscle spasms, unexplained jabs of pain  or have problems with your vision, please get referred to a Neurologist and have an MRI of the brain and cervical spine to make sure it isn't something more serious.

(Disclaimer:  I am not a Doctor but I do work for Neurologists, including MS specialists.)
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Re: Atheist Burger Joint Owner becomes Christian
« Reply #42 on: July 19, 2013, 08:02:54 AM »
There is only one God who created man and the universe. He loves us all and only wants a loving relationship with each of us.

So what's stopping him?

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He created a perfect atmosphere for Adam and Eve and had a perfect relationship with them until they severely damaged that relationship by sinning in the form of disobeying God.

OK...

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This created a separation from God for all future generations.

If so, then it's only because he wanted things to be that way.  (Remember, he's omnipotent; it isn't even possible for something to be any way other than the way he wants it.)

And by the way, why are so many billions of people being penalized because two people ate a piece of fruit?  Even if you hold that eating fruit is evil, shouldn't the only people who get punished for it be the ones who actually eat the fruit? 

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In order to restore that relationship God sent His only Son Jesus Christ to die on the cross for our sins.

Why?  Why didn't he just use "Cosmic White Out" or something and erase the mistake that Adam and Eve had made?  Remember, again: talking about an omnipotent being, here.

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On the third day Jesus rose from the dead and appeared to about 500 different people over 40 days.

Citation needed...

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God's only requirement for restoration and eternal life (as Jesus experienced as the first example and proof of what we can expect) is that we believe that He sent His only Son to die for our sins in our heart of hearts.

Why have a requirement at all?

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In order to give no one an excuse, He gave us the Bible, personal testimonies, our conscience, the obvious proof of creation, and periodically exposing most of us to the Gospel throughout out our lives.

Obviously, there are excuses.  The bible does not emanate any kind of divine influence or inspiration, personal testimonies are meaningless, conscience is largely a product of evolution, there is no evidence that the universe was created, and as far as reading the gospels go, well... it may interest you to know that when I finally sat down and read the entire bible cover-to-cover last year, it served only to cement my rejection of Christianity.  If what you're saying is true, that shouldn't even be possible, should it?

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For the people who choose not to believe He will simply respect the decision we made here on Earth and allow us to continue on to hell.

You cannot "choose to believe" something.  (If you doubt this, try "choosing to believe" that I have a pet unicorn in my closet.)  That being the case, Yahweh's salvation test is even more unjust than it would appear at first glance.

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I'm begging each of you from the bottom of my heart to continue searching for truth in this world. Track it down, never stop researching. Keep an open mind to everything until it's proven impossible to you personally. If you do this with an open mind you will end up at the cross as I did.

Most of the regulars here are former Christians, and they weren't casual about it.  They came to their atheism largely by pursuing the tracking and researching and open-mindedness that you are begging them to embrace.  Just saying.

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May the peace of Christ rule in your hearts!

Please do not say things like this.  Most of us are uncomfortable with it at best and highly offended by it at worst.
« Last Edit: July 19, 2013, 08:04:56 AM by pianodwarf »
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Offline pianodwarf

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Re: Atheist Burger Joint Owner becomes Christian
« Reply #43 on: July 19, 2013, 08:36:54 AM »
1. I believe God touched me for the same reason He touches anyone who's been Born Again. I humbled myself to the fact that I didn't have it all figured out when at the hight of my anti-theism I said those two Our Fathers. In addition, I searched for truth in a humble way my entire life. Every time I found another kernel no matter how it didn't fit into my life I embraced it. Up until this experience I'd never had any warm and fuzzies of any sort either, hence the anti-theism. It's all about sincerely humbling yourself and apologizing to Jesus for pushing Him away all these, asking Him to come into your life and thanking Him for not giving up on you.

Most of the regulars here have not always been atheists; most of them are former Christians.  When they felt their faith starting to fade, they were highly alarmed and did not want to lose it.  They desperately prayed and prayed and prayed, frantically begging Yahweh to give them strength or some kind of a sign or something to help them continue believing him.  Yahweh did not answer them.  It's a big part of the reason that they're atheists now.  What do you think about that?

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2. I'm not trying to convince anyone and God doesn't care if you believe or not.

Obviously he does care, considering what he does with people who don't believe.  I have no interest in "Doctor Who" at all, so if someone says that Tom Baker was not the best doctor, I'm not inclined to soak that person in gasoline and throw a lit match on him.  Actually, it's hard for me to imagine doing that to anyone at all, but if I did, you can bet it would be for something I care about a hell of a lot.  No pun intended.

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The thing you should consider is that lack of proof of something doesn't mean it doesn't exist.

I don't think anyone here would think that.  Scientific skepticism entails rejecting a claim until evidence for the claim is provided, which is not the same thing as saying that the claim is false.  One of the reasons we're atheists is that we have seen no evidence that a deity exists.  Should anyone present any, we will examine it.

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Think about when we thought the world was flat.

What about it?

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Another question to ask yourself is what kind of proof would you expect from God?

How about some kind of a healing miracle that cannot be explained by natural processes?  Like, say, an amputee spontaneously and miraculously getting his leg back?

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It's important to understand that the demonically deceived powers that be have a vested interest in keeping the truth about Jesus Christ from you.

Considering that Christ is omnipotent, it shouldn't matter, should it?  It isn't possible to fight someone who is all-powerful.  I mean, if I fill a balloon with water and shoot it point-blank with a .44 Magnum, what are the odds that the balloon is not going to burst?  The odds of winning a fight with Jesus should be even slimmer than that, shouldn't they?

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No other topic has more disinfo on the net about it then Christianity.

Again: shouldn't be possible, should it?

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4. There's no convincing people to have a personal relationship with God.

Actually, there could be, it's just that what skeptics would need to have such a relationship, believers are unable to provide.  For starters, you would have to prove that Yahweh exists, since it is not possible to even contemplate having a relationship with someone if you don't even know whether that person exists.  That, all by itself, is a tall order.

Having convinced someone of the existence of Yahweh, the next step would be to convince that person that Yahweh is not a complete fucking asshole.  Most rational and healthy people would not wish to have a relationship with a mass murderer of any kind, for example, and Yahweh, as portrayed in the bible, most certainly is one.  (Fun experiment for you, by the way... try going thru the bible sometime and adding up all the people that Yahweh slaughters.  Then, for comparison, add up the total number of people killed by Satan.  It's an eye-opening exercise.)

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There's no amount of proof or intellectual gymnastics that will move someone toward Christ.

And that doesn't tell you anything?

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5. No one is making stuff up. We can both be right about our experiences up until this point. I was in your shoes two years ago. All I can tell you is if you sincerely want to know the truth about Christ He will show it to you.

I do sincerely want to know the truth about Christ.  If I'm wrong about his not existing, I seriously want to know that -- I absolutely hate being wrong about anything, and if Christ exists and is omniscient, then he knows that.  So why am I still an atheist?  He knows full well that he would have my approval to correct my error.

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Search for info that will prove your current beliefs wrong.

Which ones?

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Go to church a couple times. Read the Bible with an open mind.

Most of us here have been to church more than a "couple times".  And most of us have read the bible in full, more than once and in more than one translation.  For many of us, it's why we're atheists now.

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No one can prove that the Bible isn't true

Actually, there are quite a few things in the bible that are known to be false.  The exodus, for example, never happened.  Neither did the flood.  The human race is not descended from two human beings.  Snakes and donkeys cannot talk.

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and no one can prove that God is real

Now you're starting to get it.

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so I would encourage everyone to have a very open mind to the most important issue in the world.

Why do you assume that we don't?  Is it simply because we disagree with you?

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6. Many proclaimed atheists are very mad at God. I knew that when I was one.

I find that rather doubtful.  I would need to know specifics, but I imagine that, more likely, they were angry at people who called themselves followers of Yahweh because of the things that those people say and do.
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Offline screwtape

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Re: Atheist Burger Joint Owner becomes Christian
« Reply #44 on: July 19, 2013, 08:51:54 AM »
I don't mean to be impersonal but I think bullet points will best help us stay on the same page while addressing all of your thoughts.

Thanks for responding. I do not mind that at all.

1. In what other ways would you expect my "natural mental break through" to affect my life moving forward?

I've spoken to people who claimed their disciplines would allow them to walk through solid objects, teleport, fly and other amazing powers.  But I give that no credence. They were obviously kooks.  I would expect you to continue to meditate as a way to reduce stress and focus yourself. And I would expect you to continue to be better at it.  Why?  What else should be expected?

2. It's important to understand that I'd only been meditating at that point for about two months. No master of anything here. Really just searching for truth the same way I have my entire life.

Well, then maybe meditation had nothing to do with.  But after having read your testimonial, I am at a loss as to why you would expect anyone else to connect your rather subjective experiences to any supernatural source, let alone jesus H.

I no longer have the ability to meditate as yogis and zen "masters" do.

I cannot be sure, of course, but suspect that is only because you think it is so. 

3. The issue with simply attributing it to the "myth" most prevalent in the culture is that all of my experiences since then have been tangible and causally related and congruent with the Bible.

I find that unlikely.  As with your initial "spiritual" experience, things happen and you just chalk it up to jesus.  Anyone can do that.  A lot of people do.  I could do that, but I find that to be egotistical.  I used to do it, back when I was xian.  But I was just deluding myself.  I think people want to feel special.  And what is more special than being favored by the omnipotent creator of all being? 

The bible has enough material in it, and the human brain is maleable enough that you can match anything you want to it.  In the American Civil war both sides used the bible to justify their respective positions on slavery.  My point being, there is literally nothing that cannot in some way be interpreted as congruent with the bible.

4. While the feeling in my heart was the biggest reason it was and is far from the only. As I said in my testimony I called my mom and without any other discussion she described the same experience. An experience I was never aware of bc I spent my entire life telling my mom how crazy she was and how she needed a crutch.

Sorry.  I don't find coincidences to be even a little compelling.  Sometimes when I walk by street lights, they go dark.  Is that evidence of my arcane powers?  No, unfortunately.  Sometimes I am able to convice weak minded fools to do my bidding.  Is that evidence the Force is with me?  No, unfortunately. 

5. While catholicism was in my background (I never thought of it after the age of 15 and before that I went through the motions as a kid, I'm 36 now) you have to understand that there was nothing I was more sure of on this planet then there not being a God.

That is not what I am talking about and it doesn't matter.  All that matters is you had a framework of beliefs instilled in you at a young age which you fell back on.  I'd be a little more impressed if your experience had pointed you in novel direction, like a religious tradition you'd never even heard of.  THAT would have been something.  "I had a feeling that I needed to [X],[1] so I did, and I felt bliss!  Later I researched it, and it turns out this is exatly what Sufi Mulims do!"

But it didn't.  You took it as a sign that the old one, the one with which you were familiar, was true afterall.  As if that wasn't totally predictable. 

I currently despise catholicism (not catholics, they're well intentioned deceived people), it's a cult no different the mormon and jehovah witness church.

While I agree about the cult thing, I categorize all religious organizations as cults.  You are in a cult.  That is because to call a group a cult is a way of delegitimizing them.  It is derogatory.  That is to be expected coming from me.  Coming from you that is hypocrisy and bigotry.

That is not a surprise, though.  I find most protestants are bigots.  I've been to a protestant service where the entire sermon was dedicated to deriding catholicism.  Pathetic.  Love your enemey indeed.  In all the years I attended catholic mass I never heard a single word against protestants. 

You are also deluding yourself with the sola scrpitura approach.  The bible was never meant to be the authority.  It was constructed as a tool by the church.  I generally eschew analogies, but this one works.  If yhwh were a hamburger, the RCC would be McDonalds.  The bible is just the menu.  McDonalds gets you the burger.  They are the experts at that.  They made menu just to help communication between you and they.  Just because you, BurgerMan, have their menu does not mean you can get a burger.  It is not the recipe. You protestants are idolators, worshipping a book, an instrument intended for teaching.

6.I don't care about Obama...

Fair enough.  It appeared otherwise in your blog, but I'll leave it alone.



Also, I removed your preachy post, the one you said was for you.  Preaching is not allowed here.  It is a forum for discussion, not for xians to preach at us. 

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Online jaimehlers

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Re: Atheist Burger Joint Owner becomes Christian
« Reply #45 on: July 19, 2013, 11:20:14 AM »
Justin, here's something for you to think about.  The message of Christianity may sound good to you, a believer, but it is predicated on something that is truly horrendous.  And that is the idea that humans suffer because Adam and Eve disobeyed YHWH, and that they deserve this suffering.  This motif is repeated elsewhere in the Bible - that it's right and just for generations and generations of people to suffer because of the misdeeds of their ancestors, simply because YHWH decreed it.  This is one of the most horrible and vile evils imaginable.

Naturally, if you accept that premise, the message of Christianity, that people can earn redemption and forgiveness by accepting the sacrifice of Jesus, seems reasonable.  But it is not.  Nobody deserves to suffer for what their parents did, let alone their however many times removed ancestor, and a god that would condone such a thing for so long (thousands of years, even if you accept the Christian timeline, much longer if you don't) is not worthy of being obeyed, let alone worshiped.  Certainly not when he sends his 'son' to die in a passion play, as if that makes everything right.

Because it doesn't.

And what makes it even worse is that it's not based on reality, on things that people can prove happened, but based on belief, on things that people think happened because they were written in old books.  We're not talking about natural laws such as gravity or electromagnetism here, or even the principle of entropy, all of which are easily demonstrable.  We're talking about events in a creation myth that nobody can prove happened, and which has nothing to distinguish it from the dozens of other creation myths that people came up with.  Yet, people spread it as if it were the Gospel (heh) truth, acting as if it's true simply because they were taught that it was true.

I'll be the first to admit that I don't have everything figured out.  But that doesn't mean I need to accept someone else's beliefs as true without some serious hard evidence to prove it.  Not subjective experiences that could mean a lot of things, but actual evidence as solid (heh) as the fact that mass attracts mass.

Offline Samothec

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Re: Atheist Burger Joint Owner becomes Christian
« Reply #46 on: July 19, 2013, 11:35:36 AM »
Justin,
Since I referenced Wikipedia in my previous post, I figured it would be obvious that I am not a doctor but I thought I should mention that directly. (Thank you Astreja)

Please note that I did not have time yet to read your replies to others nor most of their comments in return.


Upon rereading about the red light, I realized a couple things.

First, I apologize for my speculation about the red light as you mention the tingling in the second half of the sentence which is what caught my attention. So it made me forget about the reference to you looking directly at it and I reasoned out an incorrect sequence.

Second, since you indicate that you have not gone to the doctor, I more strongly urge you to go. You said you had none of the other symptoms yet the portions I've underlined below suggest you had symptoms of something even if not a TIA.
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I’m also wondering why it wasn’t flashing a minute ago but is now. So after about a minute of staring at this light I get the most intense unique tingling feeling all over my body. Dramatically stronger than the one I felt a month earlier by the elevator. It’s so strong that all of my hair is standing up on end and it feels like I’m getting lifted off the bed. At this point I’m overwhelmed and breathing heavily. This intense burst lasts for a about a minute which feels like an hour and then ebbs and flows for another four minutes.
The blinking light could have been normal to the device but you don't believe it was and if it is not then that becomes another symptom. The hair standing on end is the least of the ones in the quote above. The feeling of weightlessness/lifting happens with curtailed blood flow to the brain. The distortion of time I'm less certain of but I think can also be caused by curtailed blood flow to the brain.

Please see a doctor. An MRI (or whatever the doctor chooses for testing) will let a doctor determine if you have a serious condition or if you are safe.

A radical mental change as you describe does not happen for no reason. If it happens overnight with the events you describe it is an indicator of brain damage. It doesn't matter if it is an atheist becoming a believer or a believer becoming atheist – in a healthy person there are doubts and speculations beforehand. You indicate there were none. If you were being disingenuous to make the change more dramatic then you need to do the honest thing and correct your testimony. If you are being honest about the change then you need to see a doctor.

The following are not in the order you wrote them:
P.S, The illness I had was strep throat. I've never heard of that causing brain damage.
It would be unusual but you need to remember that an illness is a trauma to the body. While it is called strep throat because it mainly manifests in the throat, there is nothing to prevent it from causing inflammation in any portion of the body.  Unfortunately inflammation in the brain is very damaging due to the skull restricting expansion. So, unusual, yes, impossible, unfortunately no.

2. Wouldn't you expect those attacks to affect other areas of my life, behavior or health? Wouldn't you expect them to create some negative affects instead of all being intensely positive?
5. What other areas of my life/health/thinking would you expect this brain damage to affect?
6. What could have brought on this brain damage?
The strep throat seems to have initiated the changes. You have already described several different changes. As for your mind being 'better' – that is a subjective evaluation. I do note that, to partially use an analogy, your mind can no longer function in 5th gear it now functions in 4th (or 3rd) gear. That indicates damage. You may welcome the change. With a car going fast does make corners difficult and catching details one is flying past is also a problem. So subjectively, a slower functioning brain could feel better.

4. I've never had a desire for their to be magic in the world and I still know there is no such thing.
I include divine workings under the term "magic" since they also have no rational explanation.

7. I'm in perfect health and as I've said my thinking has never been clearer. My stress and anxiety has never been lower.
With your mind no longer racing, stress and anxiety would be less. Many people feel as if they are in perfect health until they drop over dead.

1. ... The second is that I've had nothing but Biblically congruent, tangible and causally related experiences since.
7. ... And it's congruent with trusting our Lord Jesus Christ as the Bible explains. 
I have no idea what you mean by this. I don't know if you are saying you can now heal people – if so cool, and you can prove there is at least divine magic in the world. Or are you saying people around you now act as if they are from the area around Jerusalem from 2000 years ago?
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Re: Atheist Burger Joint Owner becomes Christian
« Reply #47 on: July 19, 2013, 12:17:23 PM »
Justin, here's something for you to think about.  The message of Christianity may sound good to you, a believer, but it is predicated on something that is truly horrendous.  And that is the idea that humans suffer because Adam and Eve disobeyed YHWH, and that they deserve this suffering.  This motif is repeated elsewhere in the Bible - that it's right and just for generations and generations of people to suffer because of the misdeeds of their ancestors, simply because YHWH decreed it.  This is one of the most horrible and vile evils imaginable.

You make perpetual punishment seem like a bad thing, jaimehlers. But it isn't that bad. Why, in North Korea today if you commit a crime, your children and grandchildren are also put in prison with you, and I think that's beautiful.

Oh wait, now that I've thought about it...  :(

As jaimehlers and I and the other atheists agree (well, probably agree, its not my job to put words in the mouths of others), the Adam and Eve thing is obviously a story constructed by humans for the purpose of a) erroneously explaining the beginning, because the authors hadn't a clue anyway, and b) maintaining some control and/or explaining why people do bad things, because that is what made up stories of that genre are for.

It is impossible to be punished forever by a "loving" god. Not only because there are no gods, but also because a truly loving god would be in a position to set reasonable standards, would communicate clearly and would be capable of being appreciated by people that didn't fear him. A non-existent god, on the other hand, would have to be a bit heavy-handed, because his inventors, seeking power over the local minions, would need to be able to justify fucking the populace. And of course, to make that more likely, they need to keep the average IQ of the people sort of low. So they lie and call it science.

Nope, I ain't taking the rap for a couple of ancient shoplifters. Never have, never will. If you really feel a need to convince me otherwise, christians, I suggest you first give me a pre-frontal lobotomy and then scramble the rest of my brains with a stir-stick. That will make us equals and give you a chance.
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Offline Hatter23

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Re: Atheist Burger Joint Owner becomes Christian
« Reply #48 on: July 19, 2013, 12:35:34 PM »
So Justin, you were an atheist. Think about when you were an atheist and remember that I, as an atheist, don't accept woo, logical fallacies.

Tell me, how do I spererate what you are saying from a mental breakdown or a lie.

You know, evidence. That simple

Tell me evidence that couldn't equally apply to the Grecian Gods using the Iliad.
An Omnipowerful God needed to sacrifice himself to himself (but only for a long weekend) in order to avert his own wrath against his own creations who he made in a manner knowing that they weren't going to live up to his standards.

And you should feel guilty for this. Give me money.

Offline ParkingPlaces

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Re: Atheist Burger Joint Owner becomes Christian
« Reply #49 on: July 19, 2013, 01:02:24 PM »
I suspect he is gone. His preachy post that screwtape removed ended with what seemed like a goodbye to me. He was around early this morning, but he hasn't been since.

Apparently we aren't pushovers.
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Offline Zankuu

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Re: Atheist Burger Joint Owner becomes Christian
« Reply #50 on: July 19, 2013, 01:07:15 PM »
Hi Justin, and welcome.

Every atheist to theist conversion story I have read or heard have all had the quality of being very peculiar. None have sounded very convincing to me because the reasons/requirements for their conversion do not match up with mine. This isn’t to say atheist to theist conversions don’t happen. I believe they do. But I don’t think these people were atheists for the same reasons I am. Did these ex-atheists turned Christian apply rigorous skepticism to supernatural claims? Did they research the history of Yahwism and the origin of Yahweh/El? Were they cognitively prepared to confront the reality of their eventual death? Or did they feel cheated or wronged by god? Did they lose their faith while battling depression? There are both good and bad reasons to become an atheist.

----

I read your testimony and I have a few questions:

Quote
I truly believed that religion was the most destructive thing on the planet and that the concept of God was psychologically damaging for a myriad of reasons.

• What arguments for atheism did you use/find convincing?
• Why did you think Christianity was damaging, and could you list several reasons from that myriad?
• Now that you’re a Christian, do you still think there are aspects of Christianity which are damaging?
• While you were an atheist, did you consider yourself to be a sinner?

You chalk up your February 17th experience as Jesus visiting you, but I think it’s much more likely you were experiencing side effects of taking oral penicillin. Daydreaming, tingling limbs, altered saliva, and a sense of euphoria have all been reported side effects of penicillin. When I was a Christian I felt the presence of a supernatural being. I now recognize that the presence I felt was a high-level release of serotonin causing a self-transcendent state. It's a pretty common experience in church settings, football stadiums, and after ingesting psilocybin, etc. My point is the human brain can be messed with fairly easily and produce "miraculous" effects- from little overactive protein structures in the human body to stimulants and hallucinogens.

• Since beta-lactam antibiotics are known to affect people’s mental states, wouldn’t it be illogical to consider your case as supernatural when it has been observed and documented as a natural phenomenon in countless other cases? At the very least you can understand why I think this is the more reasonable explanation.

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About a minute into staring at it this second time I get another intense tingling feeling all over my body but no flashing. After about thirty seconds of this it hits me like a ton of bricks that it’s Jesus Christ visiting me now, and it was Jesus visiting me the night before and a month ago. So in my heart I knew what had happened but my intensely atheist mind was scrambling for any other explanation.

I certainly wouldn’t describe your mind at this point as “intensely atheist.” Hell, the night before you were saying Hail Mary’s for Christ’s sake. It seems like you had been considering Christianity and looking for a reason to believe. You found Jesus in a hairdryer of all things.

• At that point in your life, was there any beneficial reason to become a Christian? Any friends or love interests at Willow Creek Community Church that encouraged you to fellowship with them?

----

Again, welcome to the forum. Hope you enjoy it.
Leave nothing to chance. Overlook nothing. Combine contradictory observations. Allow yourself enough time. -Hippocrates of Cos

Offline ParkingPlaces

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Re: Atheist Burger Joint Owner becomes Christian
« Reply #51 on: July 19, 2013, 01:46:21 PM »
Good post Zankuu. And I agree. As a dyed-in-the-wool atheist myself, I can't imagine how a physical sensation, no matter how good or bad, would suddenly have me think that Jesus was involved. I'd spend a long time looking for logical/physical explanations, and the JC thing would be far down my list.

But just as it has been shown that many anti-gay men are actually turned on by the thought of gay sex, while most straight men who are not anti-gay are not, it is probably the case that some that call themselves atheists are closet believers. It's not like there is a standard that one has to meet to be an atheist. We just stamp that label on ourselves and poof, we're non-believers. In Justin's case, I tend to suspect he was ostensibly atheist, not actually. Because again, as an atheist, it'll be a cold day in hell when JC is the first thing to pop into my mind when something strange just happened.

Unless of course some white dude with long blonde hair and a halo floats gently into my house and says hello. But even if that happened, it is more likely that I would decide then and there to turn gay.

P.S. I known darned well that if there was a Jesus, he wasn't white and blonde. But many a contemporary painting of the dude looks like that. And you gotta admit, he's often kind of hot looking. As is Mary. Crap, I'm a bi-atheist!
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Offline Samothec

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Re: Atheist Burger Joint Owner becomes Christian
« Reply #52 on: July 19, 2013, 03:42:11 PM »
2. It's important to understand that I'd only been meditating at that point for about two months. No master of anything here. Really just searching for truth the same way I have my entire life.

I no longer have the ability to meditate as yogis and zen "masters" do. The way they meditate and the way I used to meditate cleared my mind and I zoned out in a way. Now, that's no longer possible. Now I'm very in tune with my surroundings when I meditate and feel a connection, peace and warmth that I've never experienced in my life until I was Born Again. 

You should read up on meditation and the phenomenon known as "satori". If you did not experience any physiological damage then this is very likely what you experienced. Your word choices did not initially indicate that to me but the description above of now being 'in tune' with your surroundings when meditating reminds me of what I've learned about satori. After you experience it your perceptions of the world around you are, simultaneously, the same yet profoundly different.

Not knowing about satori, it is most likely that (if this was just cognitive) your mind filled in the only spiritual material it knew well enough to 'explain' the feeling – your Christian upbringing. Since Catholicism is negative (overall) and satori is a transcendent experience, your mind would have stripped away the negative elements when referencing the spiritual material giving you a faith in Jesus but not accepting of Catholicism.

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... perfectly congruent, causal and tangible with the Bible and Jesus Christ
You keep repeating this like a mantra.
Faith must trample under foot all reason, sense, and understanding. - Martin Luther

Offline Chronos

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Re: Atheist Burger Joint Owner becomes Christian
« Reply #53 on: July 20, 2013, 12:31:47 PM »
From Justin's link

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Now many people ask me how I can be so sure that it was Jesus Christ. I tell them that the biggest reason and strongest reason is the feeling that I had in my heart. It’s an intangible feeling that I can’t describe.

translation: I have no idea whether it was jesus H, Tiamat, or Thetans.
OR
I grew up catholic, so all that jesus stuff was already in my background.  I was primed for xianity.



That's the prima facie case against these sudden conversions. People who live in Oklahoma and are unlikely to hear about any other religion than God/Jesus are also very unlikely to give testimony to any other religion. Is anyone in Oklahoma suddenly going to find revelations in Muhammad?

Are there burger joints in Iran where owners suddenly find Jesus Christ? Or do they find Muhammad? What about burger joints in Tibet? Do those owners suddenly find Jesus Christ?




John 14:2 :: In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.

Offline Chronos

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Re: Atheist Burger Joint Owner becomes Christian
« Reply #54 on: July 20, 2013, 12:44:10 PM »
Hello all,

My name is Justin Obriecht and I was surprised to see a discussion surrounding my testimony.

While I've read and appreciate all of the differing views of what has happened in my life, I was hoping some of you would take the time to read my full testimony, written by me, soon after the events happened.

I'd be happy to discuss my motivations, my past anti-theistic life, and any thing else, if we can just start from the same position, which is my personal testimony.

You can find it here http://justinobriecht.com/about/

Thanks for not being luke warm and being bold in what you believe. I know from past and present experience it's not easy no matter which side of the fence you're on.

Justin, thank you for visiting the forum and for being willing to post here.

I have not read anything that I haven't read before, elsewhere. While I am glad that you are feeling well, perhaps 50% better than on any other day in your life, I do not attribute such things to mysticism. You found Jesus because the Catholics found you and inculcated you long ago. When you ask 999,999 out of 1,000,000 people in Illinois who they found in their hearts, it's going to be Jesus. Not Zeus, Zorg, Cthulhu, Muhammad, Allah or Buddha. Nope, Jesus always wins the heartland. He doesn't fare so well in Iran, Tibet, Sudan, Siberia, Mongolia, Iraq, Egypt, Morocco ...

Your testimony is solely about being sucked into the trap of your locale rather than any proof of mystical interaction with reality.

That's my $5. I used to give just 2¢ but I've had to adjust my contributions to match inflation.


By the way, call me cynical but an atheist who finds Jesus is a great way to get into a new career. I've thought about doing it myself, but I'm too honest to engage in such blatant manipulation.


John 14:2 :: In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.

Offline Chronos

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Re: Atheist Burger Joint Owner becomes Christian
« Reply #55 on: July 20, 2013, 12:47:07 PM »
While I am not so positive that atheists can't become theists, I still wonder. I've been an atheist for a long, long time and have no memory of ever having an "intensely atheist mind". I just don't believe. It is so easy anyone can do it.

I do not understand what an "intensely atheist mind" even means, Justin. Does it mean you were forcing it upon yourself? My mind looks intensely for facts, logic and rational understanding. If you mean that I have to drop all of those in order to find Jesus, then don't worry yourself. I won't. I can't.


John 14:2 :: In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.

Offline Justin Obriecht

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Re: Atheist Burger Joint Owner becomes Christian
« Reply #56 on: July 21, 2013, 03:52:20 PM »
There is only one God who created man and the universe. He loves us all and only wants a loving relationship with each of us.

So what's stopping him?

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He created a perfect atmosphere for Adam and Eve and had a perfect relationship with them until they severely damaged that relationship by sinning in the form of disobeying God.

OK...

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This created a separation from God for all future generations.

If so, then it's only because he wanted things to be that way.  (Remember, he's omnipotent; it isn't even possible for something to be any way other than the way he wants it.)

And by the way, why are so many billions of people being penalized because two people ate a piece of fruit?  Even if you hold that eating fruit is evil, shouldn't the only people who get punished for it be the ones who actually eat the fruit? 

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In order to restore that relationship God sent His only Son Jesus Christ to die on the cross for our sins.

Why?  Why didn't he just use "Cosmic White Out" or something and erase the mistake that Adam and Eve had made?  Remember, again: talking about an omnipotent being, here.

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On the third day Jesus rose from the dead and appeared to about 500 different people over 40 days.

Citation needed...

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God's only requirement for restoration and eternal life (as Jesus experienced as the first example and proof of what we can expect) is that we believe that He sent His only Son to die for our sins in our heart of hearts.

Why have a requirement at all?

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In order to give no one an excuse, He gave us the Bible, personal testimonies, our conscience, the obvious proof of creation, and periodically exposing most of us to the Gospel throughout out our lives.

Obviously, there are excuses.  The bible does not emanate any kind of divine influence or inspiration, personal testimonies are meaningless, conscience is largely a product of evolution, there is no evidence that the universe was created, and as far as reading the gospels go, well... it may interest you to know that when I finally sat down and read the entire bible cover-to-cover last year, it served only to cement my rejection of Christianity.  If what you're saying is true, that shouldn't even be possible, should it?

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For the people who choose not to believe He will simply respect the decision we made here on Earth and allow us to continue on to hell.

You cannot "choose to believe" something.  (If you doubt this, try "choosing to believe" that I have a pet unicorn in my closet.)  That being the case, Yahweh's salvation test is even more unjust than it would appear at first glance.

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I'm begging each of you from the bottom of my heart to continue searching for truth in this world. Track it down, never stop researching. Keep an open mind to everything until it's proven impossible to you personally. If you do this with an open mind you will end up at the cross as I did.

Most of the regulars here are former Christians, and they weren't casual about it.  They came to their atheism largely by pursuing the tracking and researching and open-mindedness that you are begging them to embrace.  Just saying.

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May the peace of Christ rule in your hearts!

Please do not say things like this.  Most of us are uncomfortable with it at best and highly offended by it at worst.

I'm sorry it's taken me so long to get back here. I've had a chance to read some of the discussion that's taken place since my last visit and it's very thought provoking and genuine, which so encouraging and refreshing.

However I was hoping someone could help me understand why the post that Pianodwarf is quoting above has been removed?

It makes it very hard for me to be genuine and open when the possibility that any of my posts could be removed and in turn not keep everything that I say in context. I also feel that it detracts from the open and healthy discussion that has been taking place so far.

Offline neopagan

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Re: Atheist Burger Joint Owner becomes Christian
« Reply #57 on: July 21, 2013, 04:36:32 PM »
Justin
here is a link to the forum rules:

http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/forums/index.php/topic,21732.0.html

screwtape mentioned removing them for "preaching" which you will see addressed there

I won't won'tc speak for screw.. but my own two cents: I doubt you'd appreciate or find it to be an open and healthy conversation if we started listing a bunch of zeus-worship phrases or quote summaries from the koran.... even if w  hoped with all our heart you would convert.
 That is  preaching
« Last Edit: July 21, 2013, 04:45:01 PM by neopagan »
If xian hell really exists, the stench of the burning billions of us should be a constant, putrid reminder to the handful of heavenward xians how loving your god is.  - neopagan