Rethinking My Beliefs about God Apart From Traditional Christianity

Boo! Even Christians Can’t Escape Reality

In Deception, Freedom, Life, Sin, Suffering on July 25, 2011 at 8:53 pm

In my last post I had the gall to say that I think the Christian religion considers the average human soul to be worth about as much as the stuff in a Honey Bucket at a county fair. The wicked human being is valued at less than zero, according to God, and unless one believes (and acts upon) a series of theological beliefs, the soul will be thrown into some mysterious landfill where it will perpetually burn forever. To help us swallow this nasty truth, these souls will somehow be erased from consciousness and memory.

Aside from the inevitable contradictions this idea (as well as annihilationism) leads to, which, strangely, seems to go unnoticed by the average Christian, we’ve got other problems. Along these same religious lines, not only is the non-Christian soul considered shit, but so is life on earth.

Real life starts sometime in the spiritual future when some people get mansions and crowns while others get… uh, that perpetual fire and erasure. So our current, dim reality is just a testing ground which will determine the nature of real, eternal life later. Basically, this is just some kind of a pseudo life where people come and go faster than a good quality restaurant in my corner of town. The real thing happens in some far away place in some far away future, after the cows come home.

Have we been living life for so long that we’ve completely taken for granted its astonishing features of which there are no decent words to describe it? Or have we allowed repetitive rituals (of any kind) to zap the zing right out of it? Or, OR, have we allowed the darkness of it all to drive us to a state of avoidance and ignorance?

A lot of times when we say that someone is living the life, we’re talking about the guy in Tahiti who gets to live like he’s on an endless vacation –  until his Tahitian servant delivers his last French breakfast to his overwater bungalow, that is. But to me, this isn’t really living life and I think there is plenty of evidence from retired people to support this concept. People don’t retire from work; they retire from life.

People, like the average plant, need storms to weather, challenges, adversity and even darkness in order to thrive, even up to the very end. This is because thriving involves growing and growing relies on the energy caused by friction. Maybe this friction comes from the battle between life and death. Since I talk about this idea in virtually every blog post of mine, I won’t go into it here but I’d like to explain how the Christian religion, as well as other similar faulty beliefs can keep us from really living life… at least as far as my experience and understanding goes.

First, let me describe some friends of mine. Some of them struggle with drugs. They always want to quit, yet always seem to go back to them. I can see the drugs in the yellows of their bulging eyes even while they’re carrying on a perfectly normal conversation. I can hear it in the hopeless fatigue of their voice when they’re talking to their kids or in a temper that is ready to blow any second. Sometimes I want them to have a drink or go do their drugs just to keep things temporarily sane and peaceful.

On the other side of the coin, I’ve got other friends who have resorted to the Christian religion. It’s like that exercise workout they don’t really want to do but force themselves to do anyway, to keep the blindness rolling. Their mind alteration might involve what I call snobbism. As they’re praying for their sick and unsaved next door neighbor at their small group Bible study, their superiority complex is disguised as genuine love and care. I can see the isolation in their emotionally detached eyes and hear the desperation for the next haughty religious fix in their voice.

There are plenty of other ways to avoid reality:  money, hard work, sex flings, food, parenthood, and well anything really. One of my personal escapes is music. I can easily lose myself with my iPod into some other dimension where I can shut out everyone and everything except my melodic orgasmic highs and fantasies of the perfect world.

I’m only discriminating by singling out drug addicts and Christians to make a point here and that point is darkness, which is everywhere. Both of my generalized group of friends have been deceived in different ways into thinking the darkness is enlightenment; or at least that the darkness is some sort of escape from the suffering and death we are all so naturally scared and too weak to face. But the thing we believe we have escaped is the thing we have not escaped at all.

The irony becomes even more complex as the darkness goes ever deeper. It surprises me how much and how quickly I can hate someone to whom I had just professed my undying love in a previous breath. What the heck is that and where did it come from? I find that my bitter hatred and its victim is actually something I hate about my own self, but I can continue avoiding it if I find it in someone else and blame them. Blame is a common tool for escapism.

Just when you think things couldn’t get any darker and suckier, murder is added to the bullying – in both the spiritual and physical world. Someone (God? Ourselves?) or something kills us against our supposed will. Underneath the neatly organized institutions and the properly dressed, people are suffering from death – either our own or our loved ones’.

And the crazy thing is that part of us seems to invite this death. This might be a good thing because in all of our tactics of avoidance, there is no escape from it. Those tactics only make reality that much more bitter when it hits us, but hit us it will.

Contrary to popular Christian belief, Christians are not immune to suffering and death. Although the religion promises blessing and eternal life while the rest of the world will suffer and die, all evidence points to otherwise. No amount of faith can keep Christians from colliding with accidents, getting sick, divorcing, emotional pain… and death. The faith is only used as some kind of avoidance until reality forcefully breaks through that wall in some form or another.

And again, I am no different as much as I’d like to think so. I’ve got at least a few realities I am personally avoiding. One of them might be that both the addict as well as the religious hypocrite are me. The things I despise are often the things that I fear. And the things I fear control me as much as it might appear differently. As much as I attempt to cut myself off from them, they are ever more an aspect of me that I am avoiding. Sin used to scare me. Now it’s the Christian who is scared of sin that scares me. Complex irony.

How do we break the downward spiral? Well, that’s the problem. Escaping isn’t always bad; sometimes it’s vital. But in this case, it only continues our avoidance issue.

Maybe it’s time to face the devil… which is within. By facing it, I don’t mean battling it but accepting it. Embracing it, even. Okay, so this world is fucked up in a lot of ways. So are the people in it. So are you. So am I. So is religion. There exists some excruciating ugliness and darkness. And God created it.

But we want to cover up the trash, or remove ourselves from some relationship, or send that awful thought to some landfill as quickly and painlessly as possible. We want to leave it and then go somewhere else and hide. I get that. I so get that.

I’ve got all kinds of things I’m hiding behind, including a blog or a social network. I can keep my fears at a virtual distance here. This is especially true for my overcompensation of the “she’s pretty and therefore stupid and easily manipulated” label that has been thrown upon me for much of my life. I’ve got this relentless drive to prove that I’m pretty and smart and no one is going to knock me down this time.

Of course I’m always secretly hoping that someone will love me enough to see through the bad ass facade, but more than that, I want that knight in shining armor to be me. Somehow I’d like to gather enough courage to face the darkness within and keep going without retreat. Instead I put up the smokescreen and rely on deceptive blame even if it’s a faceless enemy. I’ve got ways of hiding from my own landfills.

So what if, instead of waiting until some desperate situation forces us to take a look at that landfill, and the contents within it, we take a trip there? Like a vacation except it’s not a sleep-inducing vacation but an adventurous one? Where we face our repulsions and worries and find out just how evil they really are? Can those things damage our already dying soul as much as we fear?

This might come in the form of willingly moving to the bad part of town in a disease-infested third world country but I’m thinking it will be so much closer to home. What are we avoiding? What do we hate and how is it associated with the darkness in our soul? How can we enter into the scariness instead of avoiding it? How can we accept suffering and the growing friction it was meant to accomplish? How can we get close enough to uncomfortable people to identify with their darkness which is also our own?

How can we find out for ourselves if the darkness is really as bad as we think?

To me, this is living life. Night time is a good time to sleep but it is just as much a part of living as the day time. Instead of attempting to throw the devil, his demons, and evil human souls into a far away state of non-existence, can we face reality instead? Darkness is part of this God-created life. It’s you and me, and I believe there is an intense value there waiting to be lived.

When we sleep, things don’t go away. In fact, some people hypothesize that we are more spiritually awake when we are physically asleep. Either way, our natural world proves that sleep and death do not have the power to stop life. Instead, it deepens it. So why are we afraid of it?

In my view, Christianity both directly and indirectly teaches that sin which is associated with death is an ominous entity that is much more powerful than the human soul. We must be afraid of it. We must somehow escape it. Never mind the fact that we won’t escape it.

From Christianity’s perspective, a good God created a good world but then the shit went down when we disobeyed him. This is when we gave sin and death more power than God. And I’m not sure we realize just how true that is, at least in our own deceived minds.

I no longer want to believe that suffering and death are more powerful than goodness and life. I want to believe that ALL things are part of life, even the people (me) that make me want to run and hide. When Christ conquered death, he didn’t escape it, nor did he make a way for you to escape it. He showed that the path to life is through it. Life comes through death – all kinds of death. Personally, this death has come in the form of realizing how much I actually like my drug addict and Christian friends. It means moving aside my fear to see their human beauty, which results in an expression of my own human beauty.

Through this belief, my theory is that I will no longer be a slave to the things I work so hard to avoid… which I ultimately cannot avoid anyway. And this is living life – entering in to the darkness and eternally living and growing through it. Don’t let an unquestioned religion or any other belief conditioned into us by society make you cower from “wrong.” That only makes us slaves to an illusional world that will fall apart at the first touch of reality.

  1. It’s easy to get a bad taste in your mouth when fundamentalists are shoving placards down your throat of dead babies and other nasty things. It’s hard to be loving towards those who wish to tell you you will wind up in a burning, horrid place. But not all of us are like that. Not all of us share those beliefs, yet we consider ourselves Christians because we strive to follow the tenets that Jesus shared while he was living here on earth. It isn’t about putting anybody down, or leaving anybody out. There’s ample scripture text if one is into that to convince us that if we believe in a perfect God, he did not create 3/4 of his children to burn in hell. Perfection would only create a loving relationship with all creation, hence, we need to take the fear and angst out of this equation. I’m not saying there aren’t nasty people who deserve consequences for awful behavior. I’m just saying there isn’t a special group who’s better than all the others. We all struggle, we all fail, and we all succeed at some things. I wish I could go back and parent better. I can’t. But I can attempt to love my neighbor as the 2nd commandment tells me to, and I can revel in the fact that my children have forgiven me of my faults and short comings. And they aren’t Christians, and that doesn’t bother me a bit!! How many people have you ever met who are nicer than co called Christians you’ve been exposed to???

  2. Hi Elizabeth! I have read several of your blog entry’s and receive your emails. With all your obvious intellect, passion and drive you seem to take on some things that are over our pay grade by quite a bit. I must confess I have done and sometimes still do the same on occasion.

    For a poor and quickly thought up example. Its a little like a 12 year old getting very upset that their “loving” parent won’t let them take a friend out on a date, using the family car and credit card. Also letting you know they are sure they are more than mature enough to try some varied consensual sex maybe even a 3 way or more, on their proposed date. When you voice your concerns, they throw much of your own blog logic at you. Out of context as it may be. Still they find it extremely useful cannon fodder for their strongly felt theory’s, “beliefs” wants, self professed rights and out right “needs”.

    I believe within Christianity there are churchians and true followers of the true living and intimate Christ (Tares amongst the wheat), also souls that are moving in or out of both groups. Some are true and honest imperfect truth (freedom) seekers.
    Truth fly’s on 2 wings. You must sit on the ground if you only have or are willing to use one of the truth wings, Also you can fly in fairly small circles not really going anywhere if you use only one of the wings of truth. We also don’t have to understand much of the laws of physics and flight to be able to fly in the freedom truth brings. Much knowledge is more than often much grief! Right?
    Truth is also a lot like a shattered mirror scattered, she who finds a piece often thinks she’s found a whole. The creation it self irrefutably testify’s of a super creative creator, so as to make it for almost all humanity, without any and I do mean any adequate excuse to miss His existence and thoughtful dynamic creativity/creation. Right?
    The dynamic tension on each end of the cords of truth requires the intimate involvement of our true non skitsofrantic, super loving secure Creator. Free will————– His sovereignty Calvinism—————- Armenia-ism Grace & Love————–Judgment and Holiness Etc etc…

    I do have real relationship with HIM. With all my slowly fading wort’s, some have and are fading faster than others and some appear to be gone completely. I Praise Him for every good and perfect gift comes from Him. Even the ones that cause temporal suffering. He knows what He’s doing all the time”Father Knows Best” In my opinion and other non churchians/ true believers. I am a very regular and ordinary self employed person and yet I have asked, received and exercised all the gifts and fruits of the Spirit in the course of my relationship with our Creator Jesus Christ. Words of knowledge and wisdom, supernatural healing’s physical and even mechanical, tongues and interpretation of tongues and others.Visions and dreams, that have brought true leading, direction and deliverance to myself and others. Love, joy peace, long-suffering, temperance, meekness, patience and self control. Do I function in these gifts and fruits perfectly and continually? even though for the most part I put forth my best effort, no way! not even close. That is why I’m always learning to rest in His completed work, I do for the most part my dead level best and rest in the fact and promise the He takes care of most of it and the part I don’t or can’t yet. Thank God for His Son Jesus’s redemptive sacrifice through His death on the cross, the stripes He took for me and all humanity and His Resurrection!… I also thank Him that His goodness, patience,mercy and grace calls me to repentance with thankfulness and that the huge respect and out right fear of His awesome Holiness, Righteousness and completely fair and right Justice also challenges and encourages me not to try play games with His grace and Mercy. Its a whole lot like a loving, fair, and yet strict earthly father and mother. You know that you know that they love you unconditionally and always and they care enough about you to give you fair and right rules and boundaries with some rewards and hard yet fair consequences if they are bent or broken. What are children like left to their own devices, with little or no rules and parental guidance with reward and disciplinary consequences? are they sweet, nice, agreeable, giving and selfless for the most part or selfish, demanding, unreasonable, and unhappy?

    I admit freely that there are several unanswered bothersome question, up on my, to be completely answered when Dad knows I’m ready shelf. I get that you use your God given FREE will and refuse to leave anything on that kind of shelf. One of Fathers most beautiful creations took and continues to take the same view and action. It does not appear that that may be working all that well for you or him, now or in the future. I have seen your blasts on: We see through a glass darkly, we know in part, His ways are higher than our ways as high as the heaven is above the earth, beyond our knowing and other similar Biblical professed truth statements. You seem to blast these and other Biblical truth as a cop out tool employed by the writer even if the writings were inspired by our Almighty Creator God. So because you seem to readily dismiss these Biblical professed truth’s. Please explain the questions below, for most of us apparently over our pay grade.

    1. What is electricity and how does it work? 2.What is Satan’s last name? ( a little levity just for fun! I always say if you can’t have fun why be alive. Right?) 3. What came first the chicken or the egg? 4. How many dimensions are there really? 5. Is time really real or just in our imagination? 6.How can there be 3 in the God head all different and yet the same? (I’ll understand that you probably give little or no credence to this one and therefore leave it unanswered) 7. If God Almighty is truly all-powerful can he create a rock bigger than He can lift? 8.What is the universe made of? 9.What is the biological basis of consciousness? and the last 25 (some repeated) are from some of the worlds top scientists: -How does consciousness arise? -Why the small number of human genes? -What is the universe is made of?
    -To what extent are genetic variation and personal health linked?
    -Can the laws of physics be unified?
    -How much can the human life span be extended?
    -What controls organ regeneration?
    -How can a skin cell become a nerve cell?
    -How does a single somatic cell become a whole plant?
    -How does Earth’s interior work?
    -Are we alone in the universe?
    -How and where did life on Earth arise?
    -What determines species diversity?
    -What genetic changes made us uniquely human?
    -How are memories stored and retrieved?
    -How did cooperative behavior evolve?
    -How will big pictures emerge from a sea of biological data?
    -How far can we push chemical self-assembly?
    -What are the limits of conventional computing?
    -Can we selectively shut off the immune responses?
    -Do deeper principles underlie quantum uncertainty and non-locality?
    -Is an effective HIV vaccine feasible?
    -How hot will the greenhouse world be?
    -What can replace cheap oil, and when?
    -Will Thomas Malthus (who predicted that overpopulation could lead to a global disaster) continue to be wrong?

    Please answer as many as you can. This will be a great help to your blog readers and many, many others. If you are unable to answer them all adequately you may want to acknowledge as truth that the Bible statements about some things being well above our pay grade. Ya think?
    Please for give some of my sarcastic humor and point making and yet me thinks the point is still well made. Right?

    I have been led to some resources that have and are currently really helping myself and many others greatly. “Seven Prayers that Heal the Heart” is one of them.If a prayer is not effective try a different prayer.So often we dig so lightly for freedom truth and then throw the baby out with the bath water, when things don’t happen as we think they should and we may have been told by often self professed experts. I and many have freely received these helps and I will freely share them to those that desire the freedom and real peace that such applied truth has, does & will bring. I testify it to all, that it works! Applied truth sets free and affords real peace. All be it sometimes in the midst of some hairy trials,suffering and storms. Peace, love, hope and real joy in the midst of life’s storms and calm is a reality to all that will search for and apply real truth that is never unBiblical yet very often non religious and defiantly outside church-ee-anity.

    Give-um Heaven
    Patrick Martin

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