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!

The Samaritan Lady

waterwell

Courtesy of Stockvault.net

Recently a law was passed in Tennessee that allows mental health counselors to refuse to treat patients based on the therapist’s religious or personal beliefs. Unfortunately, it is just one of many laws, passed or being discussed, that allows the religious to deny service because of their beliefs.

Obviously, as a non-believer, I feel this type of discrimination is wrong-wrong-wrong.

However, since I have a few Christian followers, I’d like to take this opportunity to remind you of a story from the bible related to the woman who came to get some water at the community well. As you probably recall, Jesus was there when she arrived and he asked her for a drink of water.

It’s important to remember this woman was a Samaritan, a race of people the Jews utterly despised and regarded as the worst of the human race. In fact, according to John 8:45, they believed the Samaritans were possessed by demons. The woman obviously knew this because when Jesus asked her for a drink, she commented (John 4:9):

How is it that you, being a Jew, ask me for a drink since I am a Samaritan woman? (For Jews do not associate with Samaritans.) 

There is considerably more to the story (Jesus also discusses the woman’s husbands and a few other things), but the church primarily highlights the moment when Jesus tells the woman he could have given her “living water.” In fact, they use it quite extensively to minister to the “unsaved.”

However, for me, there’s a much deeper message to this story.

Doesn’t Jesus’ ministering to this despised outcast of Jewish society reveal that all people are valuable to God? Doesn’t this indicate that Jesus desires for his followers to demonstrate love to everyone . . . including those who are “different” or who do not share one’s “religious or personal beliefs?”

Hello, Christians. Do you not get the message? In spite of the hatred between the Jews and the Samaritans, this woman was accepted by Jesus. During this brief encounter, he was able to break down barriers between the two groups. And what happened as a result? She hurried back to her village to share her wondrous experience (she even left her water jar!).

Now let’s consider the law passed in Tennessee.

If believers are allowed to deny service to others simply because they don’t share the same beliefs (I don’t think I need to be specific here), isn’t this going against the teachings of Jesus as exemplified in this story?

You may go to church regularly, listen to Christian music, you may even carry a bible around, but if you’re going to proclaim to yourself and those around you that you’re a Christ-follower, how can you legitimately refuse to serve others in your community — whether or not they agree with your religious or personal beliefs?

Which God?

In a neighboring town, the County Commissioners have put up an “In God We Trust” sign in their meeting room. They approved the sign after a public hearing in which 300 residents (town population over 21,000) expressed their support.

According to the article, the opponents to the sign (who pointed out the law of separation between church and state), were “vastly outnumbered.” (I hope they get in touch with FFRF!)

Of special note was one supportive individual who commented, “Trusting God means that we are to respect and love one another.” Well, absolutely! I mean, if we don’t “trust God,” how in the world are we supposed to respect and love one another??!!?

Had I been there, I think I would have been tempted to ask, “Which god should we trust in? Thor? Odin? Zeus? Atlas? Cronus?

Or perhaps Hathor, the Egyptian Goddess of Love since we need to “respect and love one another.”

Of course, if I had expressed myself thusly, the chances of me being  (gently?) escorted out the door are highly likely. (Religious folk have no sense of humor.)

BTW, if you ever need to cite a “god,” you might want to check out the God Checker website. (They even list a “Deity of the Day” — today’s is Shojo, God of Drunkeness.)😀

Atheist Pastor

“I do not believe in a theistic, supernatural being called God,” says Gretta Vosper, the United Church of Canada minister who has led West Hill since 1997. “I don’t believe in what I think 99.99% of the world thinks you mean when you use that word.” Tor her, God is instead a metaphor for goodness and a life lived with compassion and justice.

There is not one mention of God during the 70-minute service at Toronto’s West Hill United church. Bibles are nowhere to be seen. The large steel cross – one of the few remaining religious symbols in this church – is hidden behind a cascade of rainbow streamers.

Can a minister in a Christian church be an atheist?

Atheist Pastor Sparks Debate

Guns in Church?

pistolHave you seen the following headline?

Mississippi Governor Signs Law Allowing
Armed Church Members

It’s called “The Church Protection Act” and the NRA called it a “big win” for gun rights in Mississippi.

Also see this article, which approaches the issue slightly differently.

As I read the articles, I couldn’t help but wonder … What would “God” say about this law?