Leaving Christianity – Oh What A Relief It Is!

Oh What A Relief It Is!Although I left Christianity over 20 years ago, it took a long while for me to erase the doctrines that had been embedded within my consciousness for 15+ years. It was not an easy road.

As Stephen Van Eck wrote on the Deism.com website: “Once sucked into the parallel universe of Christianity, [a person] is too intimidated by threats and rationalizations to attempt escape. Even thinking along alternative lines will induce severe feelings of guilt.”

Writing my book helped tremendously because of all the research and reading I did. Learning how and why certain doctrines of the Christian faith (e.g., final judgment, burning fires of hell, Satan and his demons, the end-times) were introduced into the faith was extremely liberating … and removed a ton of guilt and fear.

I also found out some things about the Bible. As many others, I had been taught the Bible was “God’s Word” (even though the interpretation of what “He” said varies considerably among denominations). Through my studies, I discovered that much of what is in the bible is the result of stories, epics, myths, legends, proverbs, etc. that were passed by word of mouth from one generation to another. This is particularly true of the Hebrew Bible, but intrinsically typical of the New Testament scriptures as well. Can you imagine the burden that was lifted when I found out I wasn’t genetically inclined to sin and thus in need of someone to save me from being human??!?

Contrary to what one might think, the many discoveries I made did not turn me into an atheist. However, I definitely do not believe in a supernatural being who lives somewhere “up there,” who can be manipulated by prayer, or who has a “will.” Rather, my image of “God” is far more encompassing and has nothing to do with religious belief. In fact, I’m extremely reluctant to even use the word “god” because of all its connotations.

In any case, I find my life so much more fulfilling now. Truly, what a relief it has been!

Logic vs. Creativity

thinkingThis blog has pretty much been centered around logical thinking because discussing religion from a non-believer standpoint, as well as politics and other topics of the day, is usually the work of the left side of the brain.

But deep inside, I’ve always enjoyed creative writing — although I haven’t done any for several years. Then I read some creative works by a blogger I follow and it prompted me to reinvigorate the creative (right) side of my brain.

The result is my new blog: ChasingTheMuses. It will be a collection of poems, prose, haikus, and perhaps some visual creations. Most of it will be mine, but I’m inviting others to participate as well (see blog for details).

I invite you to visit and become a follower (or contributor) if this sort of thing appeals to you.

 

Facts and Evidence

From a letter to the editor in today’s local newspaper:

[T]here will always be some portion of the population that cannot be convinced of something, no matter how much evidence is put in front of them.

_______________

Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes,
our inclinations, or the dictates of our passions,
they cannot alter the state of
facts and evidence.
— John Adams

The Eternal Question: Is There a God?

questioning
A blogger that I follow titled one of his recent posts, “Is There a God? Any God?” I started to write a comment but then changed my mind and decided to write my own post.

Actually, I’ve started several posts on this topic, but for one reason or another decided against publishing any of them. This time? Well, you’re looking at it.🙂

The thing for me is I simply cannot even imagine there is a god … or even that there “might” be one. To believe a supernatural entity exists somewhere “out there” in some unknown reality? To my way of thinking, it’s simply beyond normal comprehension. Not only that, plain old common sense dictates the inconceivability of such a being.

Many who do believe in this invisible entity often ask non-believers this question: “Why is there something rather than nothing?” My response is, “Why is this important?”

As individuals, we are here on this planet for only a brief nanosecond. In fact, our existence is scarcely measured in the space-time continuum. With such a finite presence, it seems we would be far better served by directing our attention to our own existence rather than that of some unknown and unseen entity.

In other words, instead of using up our time trying to please and/or ask favors of some mute and invisible deity, why not enjoy the beauty of this world and stop obsessing about whether or not it was created by a higher power?

Of course, there’s little doubt the core reason many humans seek the favor of a causal agency is their innate fear of death. None of us want this life to end so we (humans) devise God/gods and give them the power to extend our lives beyond the grave.

Sorry, folks. It’s a pipe dream.

A far better outlook would be to accept our finitude and use the time we do have to touch the lives of others in positive and uplifting ways. But sadly, too many prefer to turn this responsibility over to a “power” that exists only in their minds.

P.S. While I do not believe in any sort of supernatural entity, I do sense a Universal Presence, which I describe in more detail in my book.

Trump? NO! Please NO!

This article is a MUST READ for anyone even remotely considering voting for tRump:

How the Trump Organizations’ Foreign
Business Ties could Upend
U.S. National Security

Be warned … it’s a long article, but contains information that every voter needs to know and think about before heading to the voting booth.

(P.S. I’m hoping this will be my last post on tRump before the election.)

What’s In A Name? Part 2

So in Part 1, we learned how the Hebrew name of Yeshua changed over the centuries to “Jesus,” the name used today in Christian circles for the itinerant preacher who wandered through the hills of Palestine some 2000-plus years ago.

But where did the added name of Christ come from?

Many are aware that way back in biblical days, God promised the Jewish people a mashiach (also spelled moshiach) — a deliverer, a liberator. While this word translates in English to “messiah” and is considered by many to mean “savior” …

The word “mashiach” does not mean “savior.” The notion of an innocent, divine or semi-divine being who will sacrifice himself to save us from the consequences of our own sins is a purely Christian concept that has no basis in Jewish thought. Unfortunately, this Christian concept has become so deeply ingrained in the English word “messiah” that this English word can no longer be used to refer to the Jewish concept. (http://www.jewfaq.org/mashiach.htm)

 The Jewish people saw the mashiach as a future human leader, physically descended from the paternal Davidic line through King David and King Solomon, and often referred to him as “mashiach ben David” (mashiach, son of David).

They visualized this individual as a charismatic leader, well-versed in Jewish laws and traditions, an anointed judge who would make righteous decisions, and a militaristic leader who would win battles for Israel. He was expected to unify the tribes of Israel and usher in a “Messianic Age” (Olam Ha-Ba), a time of peaceful co-existence of all people and a time when the whole world would recognize the Jewish G-d as the only true god, and the Jewish religion as the only true religion.

So the question then becomes … was Yeshua the expected mashiach? Some of the Hebrew people living at the time believed he was. Paul, in particular, was certain he was, and began a crusade to convince not only the non-believing Jews but also the gentiles, the people he believed he had been called upon to reach.

However, since the gentiles had no need for a messiah (deliverer, liberator), they saw Yeshua as nothing more than a Jewish spiritual leader. They could see no reason to acknowledge or worship him above any of their own gods. This meant that Paul had to come up with a way to present him as someone special.

To identify with his mostly Greek audience, Paul removed the Hebrew title of mashiach and began using the Greek word christos (“anointed one”) when referring to Iesous (see Part I). This new title, which translates to the English word Christ, was much more familiar to his intended converts and eliminated any reference to Iesous’s  “Jewishness.”

Paul also knew the gentiles referred to their deities as kurios (“lord” in Greek), so he further assisted his cause by frequently using this title when he talked about Iesous.

As pointed out in Part I, throughout the years as language evolved and changed, Yeshua eventually became known as Jesus. And now, with Paul’s help, he is also referred to as Jesus Christ, Lord Jesus Christ, and Christ Jesus our Lord.

Addendum: There is still a division of thought among Jews and Christians as to the true identity of Yeshua. The former still await their mashiach while the latter are certain Jesus was/is the one who will usher in that magical world of peace and tranquility.