With or Without: Does It Make a Difference?

Following is a comment related to this posting by the Closet Atheist:

I’ve believed in God for years and not believed in God for years. It doesn’t seem to make any difference in how my life flows or how I perceive this world. Life is with or without this belief.

I drove by a church on my way to the bike path. I saw people walking into church. I had a thought that it’s weird that people need a man made structure and a man made day of the week to praise their creator. I was driving back from the bike path and watched the same people filing out of the same church. A thought came to me, ‘well, I hope you guys feel better.’ I felt better after rollerblading down the bike path..alive…blood pumping…sound of wind and birds and others smiling and walking. Their little respite from the world is to sit and listen to a preacher talk about God. Mine is different. I hope the way they filled that hour gave them the same joy as the way I chose to spend my hour. People can chose what they want until it becomes an obsession and they affect how others live.

How many of you can identify with this person’s comments?

Why People Leave Christianity – Repost

Someone recently “liked” this post that I wrote back in 2011. Of course, I had forgotten what it was all about, so I took a quick look and discovered the information is as pertinent today as it was then.

I had very few visitors to my blog in those days so I decided to repost it for my “expanded” audience. 🙂

Enjoy!

I just read an excellent academic article from the Journal of Religion and Society  entitled “Explaining Deconversion from Christianity.” I was referred to it by another blog (ReligionandMore.wordpress.com).

Since I rejected the Christian faith several years ago, I was interested to know why others had followed the same pathway.

  • One ex-Fundamentalist said he left because of the ongoing battle within himself between faith and reason. Eventually, he said, reason could no longer be suppressed.
  • Numerous ex-Christians expressed concerns about the doctrine of hell. For them, eternal punishment simply did not fit with their conception of a loving God. One questioned why God would create the human race and then knowing we would sin against him, send us to spend eternity in burning and suffering. Others could not reconcile that God would send their loved ones to hell simply because they did not believe in Christianity.
  • Many had problems with the idea of God’s passivity with suffering, whether individually or globally (tsunamis, earthquakes, hurricanes, etc.).
  • Some mentioned God’s active role in suffering, especially as described in the Old Testament.
  • The bible itself also played a role, both in relation to the many unbelievable stories (see my “Outrageous!” posting), as well as the fact that, scientifically, many of the described events could not have happened.
  • A large percentage of people, while believing in the existence of God, could not understand why he didn’t help them in their time of trouble. In other words, their prayers went unanswered. Some felt that God did not keep his promises (ask and you shall receive, follow me and I will bless you, bring your tithes and I will open the windows of heaven, etc.)
  • Many felt they had done their part – praying, waiting, being faithful – but God had failed them or let them down.
  • Not surprisingly, many left Christianity because of other Christians (hypocrisy, being judgmental). Plus they tired of “pat” phrases (e.g., “God works in mysterious ways,” “God will never put more on you than you can bear,” “It was God’s will”) whenever they faced some kind of crisis and needed moral support.
  • Church leaders also played a role because they could not provide satisfying answers to perplexing concerns. Instead, they would instruct the person to read the bible or pray about it.

According to the article, in nearly every instance the ex-Christians expressed no ambiguity. They made their decisions based in complete certainty and experienced no regrets.

Amen to that!

Here is the link to the original posting if you’d like to read the comments.

Reblog: Church and State: Are there Limits to Loyalty?

Superb essay!

(And it has nothing to do with the fact he praised my book.) 🙂

The Secular Jurist

By Robert A. Vella

The definition of loyalty as unwavering devotion to a person or idea is something of a misnomer.  Whether voluntary or not, people are loyal only as long as the conditions upon which it is based remain in effect.  Marital loyalty is lost when one or both spouses break the vows they had made to each other or the mutual trust they had shared.  Dictators lose the loyalty of their subjects when it can no longer be sustained through coercive or manipulative means.  Ideas lose the loyalty of supporters when exposed as being fundamentally flawed or fraudulent.

Loyalty is a trait highly regarded in human cultures precisely because it is so transient.  Disloyalty is as conversely reviled because it is perceived as being ubiquitous.  Loyalty requires continual conscious effort.  Disloyalty requires only impulsive behavior.  To maintain the loyalty of others, people commonly employ guilt and even fear

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Big G, Little J, and The Other Guy

There’s an active conversation going on over at Ark’s blog that includes a Christian pastor ( a comparatively rare type of visitor for this blog).

Many of the “regulars” have asked him some probing questions and so far, he’s handled them fairly well (considering he’s a Believer).

In one comment, he made reference to the “Trinitarian Theology” — and I asked him if he knew the genesis of this belief. He responded that he had read all the documents leading up to the formation of this doctrine and we would “talk about it later.”

Since the comment section is getting quite long on Ark’s blog, I’m posting the question here — both for “Mel’s” response as well as any others who would like to jump in.

So … how did the doctrine of the “Holy Trinity” get started?