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!

Selling Religion

Yesterday evening when I opened the front door in response to the dog’s barking (aka the doorbell), I came face-to-face with two young, well-groomed fellows standing on our front porch. Before either said a word, I politely told them I wasn’t interested in what they were selling. The “lead” individual smiled broadly and said, “Oh, we’re not selling anything.”

I smiled back and politely responded, “Yes, you are. You’re selling religion.”

Somewhat taken aback, but still continuing his shining smile, he countered, “No, we’re not selling anything.”

I reiterated (with my own best smile), “Yes, you are.  You’re selling religion.”

As he shook his head and opened his mouth to again offer his denial, I looked into the eyes of his partner, then back at him, and assured both of them that … “Really. I’m not interested.”

By now, I could tell he knew that I knew why he was there so he thanked me … and apologized for disturbing the dog. 🙂

I never asked, but assumed they were two-by-two Mormons. Nice-looking, well-dressed, polite. But obviously (at least to me) … on their “mission.”

I feel fairly certain that few believers consider it “selling their religion” when they talk to you about their “God.” But what else should it be called? When they want to offer you something (they think) you don’t have and (in their opinion) you need, is this not a form of selling? No money may exchange hands, but if you accept their offer, a (heavenly) transaction has definitely taken place.

What I think is disturbing to many of us is we’re simply not in the market for heavenly goods. We may have owned them in the past but over time, they lost their value so we permanently discarded them. Some simply have never had any desire to make that initial “purchase.” And some discovered the goods were so fraught with blemishes and flaws that they cursed the maker and vowed never again.

It’s an unfortunate truth, but religious salespeople seem to be everywhere you turn. It almost makes one want to start carrying a sign or wearing a badge that says “No Soliciting. No Exceptions.”

How Trump fused his business empire to the presidency

We all knew this was happening … here it is in print.

Scotties Toy Box

https://www.politico.com/news/2020/01/20/trump-businesses-empire-tied-presidency-100496

He has spent one out of every three days as president visiting one of his luxury resorts, hotels or golf courses. He has leveraged his powerful international platform to promote his developments dozens of times. And he has directed millions of dollars from U.S. taxpayers to his businesses around the globe.

Trump’s early decision to maintain his grip on his sprawling real estate empire — despite his pledge to put his business aside while in the White House — has created a vast web of potential conflicts of interest, accusations about his policies being driven by his business interests and even possible violations of the law, according to documents and interviews.

The intersections between Trump Inc. and President Trump are everywhere: A Chinese state-owned company was awarded a multimillion dollar contract to help develop a Trump golf course in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, amid a U.S.-China trade war. T-Mobile…

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For Political News Junkies

I want to urge … nay, implore … every person who is interested in the political news-of-the-day to read Heather Cox Richardson’s “Letters from an American.”

Ms. Richardson is not a “blogger.” She shares her thoughts through a daily newsletter, which can be accessed here, and uses “facts and history to make observations about contemporary American politics.” She includes links to each and every source she references.

Of all the daily political news sources I read, I’ve found this one the most interesting. She often includes information not found in the regular media, plus she adds her own take on things (which I nearly always agree with).

Wikipedia describes Ms. Richardson as an American historian and Professor of History at Boston College.

Added Note: Her primary distribution source is Substack.com (click Free Publications). She also publishes on Facebook and Twitter. You can receive her newsletters through your email as well, but for the life of me, I can’t remember how to sign up! If anyone knows the steps, please share them in Comments.

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Image by Pettycon from Pixabay

Here We Go Again

Religious Freedom seems to be the topic of the day in many circles (after the impeachment, of course). Especially since our esteemed President signed the recent Executive Order which he said was aimed at “reducing discrimination against people and groups of faith.”

(Ironically, Trump ended his above comment with … “There’s nothing more important than that.” I can’t help but ask … more important that impending impeachment?)

One writer in an article about the EO seemed giddy with excitement:

President Trump acted in the best interests of the American people Thursday when he signed an executive order to bolster and protect the rights of students to pray and discuss God in their schools. The order champions and reinforces the freedom of religion guaranteed to us in the Constitution as one of our most important rights.

He went on to say (undoubtedly without prejudice) …

We’re not looking to coerce or force anyone to accept our beliefs – we simply want government to respect our constitutionally derived right to freely express our own deeply held faith.

Of course the question then arises … WHOSE “deeply held faith” are you referring to, sir? The deeply held faith of the Muslim? The deeply held faith of the Mormon? The deeply held faith of the Sikh? The deeply held faith of the Jew?

Oh wait! His next remark seems to make it quite clear:

My own organization has been encouraging students to exercise their religious freedom by bringing their Bibles to school on the first Thursday of every October. (emphasis added)

Maybe I’m off-base, but aren’t Bibles the textbook for Christians?

He goes on to mention how terribly some (Christian) students are treated because they were …

… prohibited from praying during non-instructional time, denied participation in faith-based student clubs on campus, and chastised for expressing biblical points of view in class assignments.

IMO, his first two complaints have some validity, but that last one? Borderline if you ask me. I mean, isn’t “expressing biblical points in class assignments” an example of crossing that line?

In another article on the same subject, the Rev. Johnnie Moore, a member of Trump’s informal evangelical advisory board contended that …

the “White House isn’t saying whether one should pray or to whom or what they should pray to” with the announced changes but that “they are simply making it clear that in the United States students have First Amendment rights also, and our ‘separation of church and state’ wasn’t intended to suppress a vibrant religious life in America but to facilitate it.”

Sounds good, but if this guy is on the evangelical advisory board, there’s little doubt the entity “to whom” he’s referencing.

It never ends. Instead of allowing people to be who and/or what they want to be, certain groups insist upon molding everyone to their way of thinking/believing.

Doesn’t anyone ever wonder why “God” (who is supposed to the All-Wise One) didn’t design his creations to all think the same way? It sure would have saved us humans a lot of grief!

Is This How You Feel?

From a Politico article:

What I heard from the voters I talked to was mounting angst and indecision. That Sanders and Elizabeth Warren are too far to the left. That Biden is too old. That Pete Buttigieg is too young. That Tom Steyer has too much money. I heard them yearn for a candidate who was just right, squarely in the middle, in the middle of the age range, and of the political spectrum, and of the country itself.

Does this express how you feel?

The excerpt is from an article about Amy Klobuchar, who is running a distant 6th in the polls.

Personally, I like Amy (I like Pete, too). She’s vibrant, outspoken, mature (but not old), and has a fiery spirit that would allow her to stand toe-to-toe with the insults and misogyny remarks she’d undoubtedly get in a debate with Trump.

For me, her “politics” are agreeable/compatible so I could see voting for her.

Regrettably, she’ll most likely never get on the ballot. Even if she happened to move up in the polls, there are still far too many people in this country who are unable to accept a woman president (which is why I have strong doubts that Elizabeth will make the cut). And that’s unfortunate when you consider there are women leaders in other countries who have done quite well (certainly far better than the current U.S. leader!).

Sadly, we’re not there yet.

However, as the saying goes … “You never know.” Besides, a LOT can happen between now and November …