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!
Too bad more “Christians” don’t follow this simple statement:
Love God; Love people. Love, period.
From time to time, I come across articles that I like to share with my blog followers. This is one of them.
5 Arguments Religious People Should Quit Using
The author makes this statement:
As society continues to change at a pace that can often be scary for some people, conflicts will often arise over questions of religion and its place in our secular culture. After observing many of these debates online and in person over the past few years, here are five common arguments that some people of faith often use that really don’t work. They’re not convincing, and don’t appear reasonable to anyone who doesn’t embrace the same ideas about spiritual matters.
Read more here.
Illinois Valley Fire District photo
There currently are a LOT of fires burning in the state where I live (Oregon), as well as in neighboring states (Washington and California). As a result, people in the affected areas post frequently on Facebook with updates, pictures, and other news about the fires in their areas.
Among the many resulting comments to these posts, one word consistently pops up: “Praying …”
Generally, people are directing their prayers to those who have been affected by the fire — either from having to evacuate (or even lose their homes) or, on a couple of occasions, the death of a firefighter.
While either scenario is terrible and one can’t help but experience empathy, the thought that keeps coming to my mind is … isn’t it a little late?
If you’re going to pray, why don’t you do it before the fire season starts … and then continue to do so throughout the entire summer? Pray that your god God prevents lightning from hitting trees during summer thunderstorms. Pray that your god God influences others not to use mowing and weeding equipment on dry grass and weeds. Or better yet, pray that your god God sends buckets of rain during the rainy season to keep the forests wet and less susceptible to fire.
Once a forest fire has ignited, the scene has been set. There is going to be destruction and sometimes loss of homes — and even lives. So prayers to your god God “after the fact” are pretty much next to useless. It may make you feel better because you’ve expressed your sympathy this way, but such prayers have little effect on the big picture.
Therefore, if you truly believe your god God is all-powerful and hears and answers prayer, wouldn’t the time for prayer be better before rather than after?
P.S. The picture above was taken just recently and was happening about 3 miles from where I live.
Greg McCown, SaguaroPictures.com
Saw this picture on Facebook and the question that immediately came to mind was:
“How would a Christian interpret this?”
According to the bible, the rainbow represents a “special promise” from God, while lightning is often viewed as a symbol of punishment from God.
So what’s happening here, do you think?
You can’t convince a believer of anything; for their belief is not based on evidence, it’s based on a deep-seated need to believe.
Couldn’t have said it any better myself.