Rethinking My Beliefs about God Apart From Traditional Christianity

To Judge Or Not To Judge, That Is The Question

In Freedom on February 18, 2011 at 7:20 am

Moving right along now in my progress of detaching from the Christian religion while accepting it as simply just another vital part of this God-created world…. Even with all of its possible deceptions and all of the harm it may cause, I’m beginning to think that Christianity isn’t anything special – either by way of worshiping it nor by way of tearing it down.

For every truth will end up with a lie attempting to overshadow it. But if we overcome that lie we now have a deeper, more solid experience and appreciation for the initial truth.

And then the truth and the lie can now be friends, accepting the purpose of one for the other.

In order to get a better understanding, I think it helps to apply this principle with a less threatening analogy. Let’s think about a child being born into this great, unknown world – a child such as you or me. If we were not aborted in the womb, we awaken to all kinds of vulnerability. We are immediately dependent on some sort of caretaker in order to survive, for we cannot feed and clothe ourselves.

If we end up with at least one loving caretaker, our chances of survival as well as health will increase. Yet, this world seems to be made up of challenges to our survival even with the most loving of parents. While learning to walk we might fall down and crack our head open. Our loving parents might then rush us to the hospital where a caring doctor can mend our broken skull, and we learn how to care for ourselves along the way by observing.

If our loving parents really care about us, they teach us how to care for ourselves by allowing us to face more and more of these dangerous challenges on our own. Gradually given the freedom to ponder controversies and slay dragons at the risk of getting hurt or even death appears to be the natural way to grow and develop responsibility. Strength and ability are necessary for that day when we move out of our parents’ house, where we continue to further develop our unique personality, talents and contributions to the world.

Since my own parents were mostly absent from my life mentally and emotionally, my new caretakers became – you guessed it – the Christian church. Now whatever priority our “spiritual” family is supposed to have in our lives, I can testify that it makes a very poor caretaker (physical, spiritual or otherwise) for anyone (physical, spiritual or otherwise.)

The reason is because it promises care but fails to fulfill it except in some kind of mythological imaginary sense. Its teaching must be true largely through a blind faith. We believe whatever we’re told, without any tangible way to really prove it. It’s a world where God creates the earth in 6 days, floods wipe everyone out, rods turn to serpents, large seas divide in half and you have to believe our interpretation… just because.

In some far away heavenly realm, we are taught that we are kings and queens and rulers over who knows what; while those who fail to adhere to this invisible God that controls this invisible world shall be punished or annihilated forever. And then the knight in shining armor rides off into the sunset with his new bride into some empty utopia where no one will ever have a problem or shed a tear again. If that sounds a little fairy tale-ish to you, that’s because it is, at least in my opinion. I tend to think the “kingdom of God” is a little more down to earth.

But while this particular spiritual caretaker called the church authority demands more and more allegiance, it also generally fails to provide the freedom necessary to actually grow. We need some independence in order to learn how to face reality out in the tangible world.

For people who have loving parents, they might not fall into this over-dependence upon a church. But for anyone who did not have a perfect upbringing, this means Christian followers might not relate very well to anything outside of their church. This might also explain why conversations between a Christian and a Non-christian might be very awkward.

But the spiritual caretaker which calls itself the church authority explains this as the natural consequence for earning our reward in heaven, or it might even be persecution. Either way, come closer to our pulpit where we will protect you and promise you a greater reward after you die.

Back to our child who was just born. If we had no primary caretaker at all, there is still some chance for survival. A civil government might step in or some caring strangers might help us here and there. Overall, this child must learn to live independently in the world on our own at an age when we might not have yet developed any sense of ability to care for ourselves.

And so we makes a lot of mistakes, falling down plenty, getting hurt plenty more and eventually we develop a keen skill for avoiding pain. Although our lives might look completely different from a social norm perspective, the child without caretakers has the possibility of growing up healthy just like the child with loving caretakers, give or take some very different circumstances.

Because of the natural law of cause and effect as well as random events in our world, it is quite possible for children with two contrasting backgrounds to end up in the same place, or to even switch places. While we like to feel comfortable with human formulas and predictions, the fact remains that life just doesn’t always work out that way. Anything can happen.

And so, while chance percentages may increase or decrease, in reality, any background, upbringing or lifestyle has the potential to benefit or destroy us – or both. And maybe that is how we all learn and grow no matter what lot falls upon us. Those who have fought greater dragons only develop a greater depth to their soul, so I’m not sure we can complain about the dragons so much.

But the fiercest dragon of all is the one that does not look and act like a dragon, but a caretaker. This is because it can use its deception to take its victims captive, and to remain captive upon our own willing accord, while having no idea that there is any problem whatsoever.

Those who begin to think that something is not quite right and go unlawfully snooping around make no sense at all to those who are enjoying their captivity. In order to keep the peace, the skeptics are, everyone is told, the real dragons.

Maybe this is why debates between Christians and anyone who does not see Christianity from the same perspective can just be a game of “It is to” vs “it is not.” Basically, what I see is not what you see, and no amount of exchanged verbiage is going to change that fact.

While it might benefit some people who are growing discontent from their current position in life and are searching for a new one, overall there seems to be a balance between sharing our perceptions and giving people a lot of room to make up their own minds.

For me, I’d like to see the benefit of my or other’s captivity in any form. I think this will help me to let sleeping dragons lie (pun not intended) as well as understand that the majority of my life was not pointless, nor did it mean I had sold my soul to some devil (dragon) in disguise.

Who are the devils anyway? Perhaps ourselves? Or a mistaken view of ourselves? Just like it would be too easy to blame a dude with a pitchfork for all the evils in the world, so it might be all too easy to blame a religious institution. And the fact is, that whether Christianity is Jesus or the devil, truth or a lie, there was some natural longing or desire within me that caused me to wander off and check it out in the first place. Maybe Adam and Eve could relate.

Sure, I can remember all of the horrors of forcing myself out of bed every Sunday morning and coming home from church feeling stressed out or exhausted. But just as well, I might think of the discipline I was taught to exercise. I could grieve with regret for all of the brainwashing I endured, or I can be thankful for all the scriptures I was forced to memorize which can now contribute to a semi-intelligent conversation about the Bible. I can lament all day long about the tragedies, or I can see how suffering opens people’s eyes to the depth of life.

Changing our view of our past abuser is not an easy feat. It means no longer accepting their abuse in our lives while at the same time seeing the benefit of their continued abuse of myself and others. Most people would sue. Or at least have the abuser locked up where they could no longer harm people. But there is something amazing about being able to allow the predators that kill and destroy people… to roam free, and to allow them to roam free without fear of them.

What about judgment? Is there a place for it? Is there a righteousness judgment? Can it be right or wrong like anything else, used to either benefit or destroy us? I can’t believe how judgmental I used to be as a Christian. My judgment was directed toward sinners, which included well, everyone. It was justified as righteous indignation, defense of the “truth” or being careful not to “condone sin.” Looking back, I can see how I used the excuse of judgment to hide my own insecurity. I regret it because it damaged all of my relationships – all of them.

I get accused now sometimes of being judgmental toward Christians in the same sense. There is probably some truth in that since that kind of conditioning doesn’t disappear overnight. But there is something else at work here. In order to let go of my damaging judgment, I must first be freed from the religion that taught me to be judgmental. And the only way to let go of this attachment is to see how damaging it is… thus, the judgment.

Although it’s most often directed at a religious system as opposed to the individuals within it, the line between the two is often fuzzy. Christians understandably take it personally and never mind the fact that the system requires individuals to carry out its purposes in order for it to even exist.

It’s back to the issue of two different perspectives. I don’t have a problem with Christians going to church. But I have a real problem when a Christian tells me I need to go to church in order to ensure my salvation or grow “in the Lord.” I not only disagree with this belief about church, it makes me mad because the statement, and many others like it are innately abusive. It heaps loads of condemnation upon me if I don’t go to church. So I stand up for myself, making a point that it’s not okay to threaten me with those kinds of comments.

What appears to be judgment from one perspective is a standing in my freedom from another point of view. Who’s right and who’s wrong? Well, I’m right and everyone else is wrong, of course. Just kidding. But really, our own perspective will appear to be right most of the time, because it is what is right for us at any given point in our journey. Absolute truth is always shifting in that sense, depending on our circumstance.

I’m forced to face the dilemma that, if I was deceived once before, how do I know I’m not deceived once again? In reality, given the amount of how much we all don’t know, there’s a majority chance that I am mistaken, except with different issues this time. And that is all part of learning and growing… for all of us.

So, right and/or wrong really doesn’t make a huge difference anymore. The judgment of good and evil concept becomes pointless when two people have two different perspectives, but judging where I want to go next, with what beliefs and with what attitude might be an example of better judgment.

So this might describe the current battle with my personal dragon/caretaker from my personal perspective. Never do I want to forget the damage, but ever do I want to allow the damage to do its part. This way I might rebuild my life, and this time with eyes a little more open, and with a little more strength to stand on my own.

  1. Straight from the heart!
    From my own personal perspective, I’ve been down many roads, walked many paths – an incredible journey – but so far they’ve all led back to freedom in Christ.

  2. Well written. Well said. Thanks Eliz.

  3. One of the big advantages of starting in a “cold” legalistic, harmful environment, is you won’t stop until you reach “hot”: a universe of Love, Grace and innocence.

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