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!

Et Tu, Pew?

Nan:

Questions that will probably never get answered by the devoted …

Originally posted on Class Warfare Blog:

There is a lot of discussion circulating about the latest Pew survey of religious inclinations of Americans. Most of the hubbub is about increasing numbers of people who declare their religion as “none.” At the same time, many of the evangelical sort are insisting that their god did, indeed, come to Earth “in the flesh” and died to “save us.”

And there we sit.

Can any conversation be had?

I have a great many questions about the evangelical world view described above. For example, if Yahweh wanted to come to Earth, why did he not just put on human guise and come. Why did he create another version of himself who had to be born of a woman and live an uneventful life for just a three-year campaign? Does no one question why he chose to waste so much of His time? (I mean He actually “learned” a craft and…

View original 626 more words

Life … and Death

This is an excerpt of a comment I made on another blog. I felt it needed repeating here.

I think the primary reason behind why nearly every Christian believes in God/Jesus is because it’s just too difficult for some people to live in this world on their own. Rather than rely on their own natural-born source of power, they must turn to an invisible “supernatural” being to help them handle life.

The thing is … this “being” is really all in their mind. And if they could/would just recognize and accept that, they might discover the pure joy of living and being part of this magnificent universe … no strings attached.

In addition to those who are unable to face life on their own, many find death even more fearful and must seek solace in an imaginary afterlife.

Certainly, none of us know what’s happens at life’s end, but why does it matter? Why is it so difficult to accept that this is the only life we have? We didn’t know anything before we were born … why must it be different when we die?

Job and the Big Bad Guy

In this post by Siriusbizinus, there was reference to another blog where the writer seems to ridicule what he considers the atheist’s take on the story of Job. I barely skimmed the other blog posting, but it did get me to thinking about the story of Job and how (mostly Fundamental) Christians believe that “Satan” played such an important role in what happened to Job.

If you’ve read my book, you know I don’t believe in the existence of “Satan.” So how then do I explain what happened to Job?

From my book (Chapter 5):

In the prologue of Job’s book, we are told that “Satan” joined some angels (heavenly beings) for a meeting with God (Job 1:6). Surprisingly, it seemed to be a fairly friendly encounter – certainly not what you would expect if this was the Big Bad Guy! It took only a little investigation to discover why. The word used here is exactly the same as the examples cited previously; that is, ha-satan. In fact, there is a footnote in nearly every English Bible that indicates the more literal translation is “accuser.”

*****

However, this still didn’t explain why God allowed ha-satan to wreak havoc on Job’s life. With a little more delving, I learned that this particular “accuser” had a special function in God’s divine court. It was his job to “go to and fro on the earth” and look for any signs of disloyalty among humans and then report on them to his Supervisor. Elaine Pagels (The Origin of Satan: How Christians Demonized Jews, Pagans, and Heretics) describes him as a “roving intelligence agent.”  Several other sources call him “God’s prosecuting attorney.” The important thing to note is that it was not his job to stir up trouble, just to report on it. He worked for God, not against God.

During this particular heavenly meeting, the adversary speculates about Job’s dedication and commitment. He points out that it’s easy to be faithful when someone lives such a charmed life. God disagrees, but decides to allow the accuser to test Job. Important note: the “Satan” in this story is not an independent agent. He is a member of God’s heavenly court and must have God’s permission before he can do anything.

Job is an interesting story and one that many scholars believe is nothing more than a type of folk tale (parable, fable, allegory) written to assure the Israelites living during the terrible times of the Exile that God remained faithful. Fundamental Christians, on the other hand, prefer to see the story quite differently. For them, the story is totally true with Job as a prototype of Jesus (the “Man of Sorrows”) and “Satan” as the supernatural Big Bad Guy harassing a faithful man of God.

Added note: I did see one thing on the other blog that stood out. The blogger wrote (referencing theologian John Gill, 1697-1771):

Satan, although an angelic being, is fallen, sinful, reprobate and so had “no proper business there …”

Of course, my natural question is where in the bible does it say — and don’t reference “Lucifer” in Isaiah because you would be wrong (a posting for another time) – that Satan is a fallen, sinful, and reprobate angelic being?

SCOTUS, Tony Perkins, and Gay Marriage

Referring readers to yet another article that rankles my bones …

Quote by Tony Perkins, president of the conservative Family Research Council:

“The court is not going to settle this issue. In fact, I think it does a disservice to both sides if the court weighs in on public policy like this,” said Perkins on CBS’ “Face the Nation” on Sunday. “The courts are designed to interpret the constitution and the constitutionality of the laws, not create public policy. When they do that, they create division and they erect barriers to reaching consensus on public policy like this.”

He’s talking about the Supreme Court’s upcoming decision on the gay marriage issue.

I can’t help but wonder if SCOTUS was considering the establishment of prayer and bible reading in public schools if Perkins would consider it a “disservice” for them to weigh in on “public policy.”

The Ideal 2016 Presidential Candidate

campaign_2016From: vanderbiltpoliticalreview.com

In an article on Salon.com related to the declared and potential 2016 presidential candidates, the writer (Jeffrey Tayler) bemoans the fact that so many fall into the category of (supposedly) “God-fearing” individuals who believe the answers to many of our ills can be found in the “Good Book.”

He adds … “There will almost certainly be no (declared) atheist or even agnostic among the candidates.”

He then provides some information about those who have already begun their crusade for U.S. leadership, as well as those who are still waiting in the wings.

I have to admit … it’s downright scary.

He ends his article with an “atheist dream” … that perhaps, someday, a candidate (and future president) will make this statement:

“I do not believe in God. I do not believe in a hereafter. I believe we have one life on our precious planet, which floats amid a cosmic void of unfathomable dimensions governed by the unyielding laws of physics. I will follow reason and promote consensus-based policies that will do the greatest amount of good for the greatest number of people. I will work to build up Jefferson’s wall of separation between church and state. Secularism and reason offer us the only way out of our dilemmas. We have to grow up and realize that, barring interference from forces of nature beyond our control, everything we humans achieve, or fail to achieve, depends on us. There is no hope, save in ourselves.”

And to that I say … MAY IT BE SO!