Rethinking My Beliefs about God Apart From Traditional Christianity

It’s Time To Put This Puppy To Bed

In Everything Else on November 6, 2011 at 3:06 am

I guess this is a goodbye of sorts but a happy goodbye, at least for me. I’ve used this blog, Unravel, to work my way out of the Christian religion for the last four or five years and well, I’ve finally made my way out of it.

After challenging, questioning, debating, blogging and incessantly thinking about the Bible, God, Jesus and Christianity for the majority of my 42 years of life, I have concluded, brace yourself, that all of it is nothing more than a human mythology. And this includes God which, I now believe, only exists in the human imagination.

How did I arrive at this conclusion? To make a long story short, it was through logic and reason, at least as far as I was able to utilize them.

To explain a little further, the last tumultuous step out of my faith began when I realized that there is virtually no convincing historical evidence to support the Bible. The gospels were written decades after their supposed events using word-for-word quotations and terminology. It would be impossible to record the exact words of angels, King Herod, wise men, Mary, Joseph, Jesus and a host of other characters even if they were written down at the time they happened. This led me to believe they were fictional stories made up at the time of their writings, a common fraudulent occurrence, even though they innately claimed to be actual.

The stories may or may not have been based on a literal Jesus (yeshua) or perhaps a composite of more than one. They may have also been based on real historical events with sensational details added such as angels, miracles and resurrections. But stories they are, with no written eyewitness account of them in a literary era where everyone was writing about everything else. You would think someone would have bothered to document it when King Herod killed all the baby boys, multitudes “from the surrounding regions” were healed, fed and forgiven, or there was an earthquake and darkness over the land when Jesus died, or when there were supposedly 500 witnesses of his resurrection….

But nope. We don’t have one single document to validate the gospels other than the gospels themselves. They are based on pure hearsay with fictional-like outrageous claims.

Researching further I found that there is also a lack of non-conflicting archeological evidence to support the rest of the Bible as well. In fact, the Bible is mistaken on quite a few geographical and historical details. Looking in the realm of archeology, it’s as if the nation of Israel didn’t even exist.

Sure, Christian sects existed at least several centuries after Jesus supposedly walked the earth. A violent and political institutional church also existed. We can thank them for the Bible as well as for the entirety of the Christian religion we have today.

Facing what the Bible actually says, I don’t think we will read a story of good news but of horrific evil. God cursed his creation, destroyed most of the population in a flood, demanded worship and animal sacrifices, commanded the brutal slaughter of women, children and animals if they weren’t his chosen race, ordered the murder of all the heathens except for the virgin girls who were taken to be forcibly raped and married, used endless warnings and threats through the prophets for his people if they did not worship him above all other gods, and then sent his son to be tortured and crucified because in all of his perfectness, he created a world filled with objects of wrath.

Jesus didn’t preach good news. He subtly glorified himself, preached God’s wrath, made endless unverifiable promises, used threats, manipulation and demands, pronounced impending judgment for all people or destruction for the world except for his devoted disciples. Jesus promised to return with a vengeance toward his enemies. If you don’t believe me, just read the Bible without ignoring or explaining away all of the scriptures our entire civilized world has been conditioned to avoid.

Studying ancient mythology, I found too many parallels between God, a messiah son, forgiveness through sacrifice and even human resurrections to believe that the God of the Bible is any different than any other god/savior legends. They are essentially all the same.

The gods have been used throughout history as fillers to explain the mysteries in life and as superstitions to find favor with life events that were out of human control. Now that science is progressing we know that things like sickness is caused from a virus and not from the punishment of the gods. A god is about mythology and enslaved god worship. I’m not sure how I ever thought otherwise, but weekly brainwashing can make us believe anything as long as we abandon reality for a fairy tale that we really want to be true.

With all of this said, I can understand why people would want to embrace a religious faith. Even if it is a myth, it can be an escape from suffering in reality. It can also relieve our fear of death and the understandable dread of nothingness after we die or reincarnation as a beetle in our next existence…. The Bible can provide a sense of security and purpose when we might otherwise not have them.

It can also be severely psychologically damaging to allow our entire religious reality to come crashing down.

In fact, I wouldn’t advise anyone to give up their faith unless they are in a stable position in life with a strong support system. I’ve used a Star Trek analogy to explain just how detrimental it can be to wake up.

Imagine being born into a family and community that was devoted to the Star Trek series. The subculture in which you existed centered around key figures, icons, themes and everything Star Trek. You were taught that all of the characters and events were real. You believed it was real and you became a part of the ongoing story.

You called yourself a Trekkie, you attended conventions every week, studied and memorized the scripts and adhered to worship rituals surrounding Star Trek philosophy. Those who didn’t believe in it were considered ignorant fools and you avoided these unbelievers so that they would not influence you in the wrong direction….

And then one day you woke up and realized it was all just a TV series.

All of a sudden your entire world seems ridiculously insane, to say the least. Imagine the insecurity, regret, distrust and even the terror you might feel. Anger, bitterness and grief are part of it. There is a tremendous sense of loss and therefore emptiness. There is no longer anyone to pray to and most of your friends consider you a threat. You no longer have “answers” to the how, what and why of life. And now you’ve got to face cold, hard reality pretty much on your own. Your sense and perception of reality have to be rebuilt from the ground up which is simply stressful. This is why I say to anyone heading this direction to make sure you’ve got support and do not underestimate religious damage.

Overall, I’m happy and confident to be out of the Christian mindset, although I imagine it will always subconsciously be a part of me one way or another. I can be thankful for everything I learned through it and for the beautiful friends I made from that element of my life as well.

It’s nice to be free and to be able to move forward, replacing contradicting mythology with an appreciation for the here and now… no longer grasping for a father figure that wasn’t there but developing deeper relationships with my loved ones instead… rationally and thoughtfully making life decisions instead of leaving it in the hands of faith… and finding hope, purpose, beauty and happiness in this world as opposed to the next which has no evidential basis at all.

As a representative token of my moving on, I started a new blog over at myunravel.com which is in full swing. I still talk about religious issues but I’ve broadened my topics to include politics, current events and other quirky thoughts I still have rambling around in this brain of mine. The blog posts are shorter, written more often and they are more personal. I didn’t want to transfer all of my subscribers from this blog because the new one has a different theme but I welcome you to continue sharing my journey if you would be so inclined.

I’d like to thank all of my subscribers for your support these last few years as well as for your encouraging and challenging comments and messages. I don’t know how I would have made it through this craziness without the rest of you, whether you could relate or not. So thank you and best of wishes for your own life journey.

Sincerely,

Elizabeth

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  1. Welcome to life on the other side! Glad to have such a gorgeous woman in it. Thank you for everything.

  2. Hi Elizabeth.
    Thanks for sharing your journey. I have learnt so much. You have helped my journey too. I will miss your blog. Please write again. Leigh

  3. Hi Elizabeth

    I have not commented to you before other than to say LIKE it. Anyway I was where you are right now and I spurned on myself. I found a wonderful site and Mike Williams and Glen Klein and Jeff Robertson are part of it. Mike Williams has helped me so much with the confusion over this religion called Christianity. He teaches the gospel not Christianity. I would love for you to check out this site. What he teaches is that Yeshua took all of God’s wrath on himself and all the world became New Creations in Him. He expounds on Paul’s writings. He taught me how the New Testament is not scripture but just letters. Even Paul who was taught in the wilderness didn’t hang with the disciples. Paul was an apostle of God not one of the disciples. I strongly suggest you check out his site Gospel Revolution or Mike Williams Ministries and hear what he has to say. He has a live radio show with Glen Klein online every Wednesday night that you can call in and ask questions or make yourself known to Mike and Glen.

    I have enjoyed your blog and I will continue to hear your heart.

    Much love Marjorie House

    • Thanks, Marjorie. I am familiar with Mike Williams and Glen Klein and consider them my bro’s. I held similar viewpoints as them for many years and I appreciate their messages. But I personally concluded that the new covenant of grace was a partial Paulean theme but does not adequately portray the message from God and Jesus, or the Bible as a whole. As much as I wanted grace to be the final point, I felt that I had to ignore and explain away too many other Bible verses. Still love my friends who believe otherwise, though.

      • I Get you Elizabeth. Thanks for replying. I am still trying to figure things out for myself. That can be tiring as well. I have decided to enjoy my life and not feel Guilty about it.
        Looking forward to hearing more in your journey.

  4. Thank you for sharing your journey, Elizabeth. You’re not alone.

  5. Dear Buffy, lol . How things change, huh. When I was living in India for 6 months I prayed to become cold as I felt lukewarm. I went to a Borders bookstore that was going out of business and bought a book that looked interesting. The Jesus Inquest , The case for and against the resurrection of the Christ. I turned my clock back 1 hour last night at 2 am. I wish I could turn it back to 1990’s when I was living in Bonsall. Maybe I would relentlessly persue Buffy Dalhl. Lotta luv always & forever, Luke/Lucas

  6. Thank you for speaking from your heart Elizabeth. I have been on this jourey for 21/2 years and I think I am at the same place you are. Please don’t stop sharing your intermost feelings and beliefs. Really enjoy reading your thoughts. Love and Peace, Sylvia

  7. Enjoy Your Journey.
    Phillip Morris, Georgia.

  8. Live long and prosper…..runningturtle87

  9. Thanks for this … especially the thoughts about the “tremendous sense of loss and therefore emptiness” that one faces when honestly looking at the religion that they’ve based their life one.
    I’m not sure where I am at this time … other than I’m searching and seeking.
    I will be reading your new blog.

    Write on!

  10. Hey Elizabeth – Thanks for sharing your journey. I’ve come to many of the same conclusions as you… except for the part about God being imaginary! I’ll agree though that religion has got to go.

  11. What you are walking away from is actually NOT “Traditional Christianity”. It is the Americanized late 20th century version we call “evangelical Christianity”. That is good you are walking away from that, but throwing the baby out with the bathwater? Setting a new record for a pendulum swing?

    And I’d bet you have have experienced only one of the many – even in this country – flavors of Christianity.

    I know Carnegie says to never tell someone they are wrong, but you are wrong. Jesus DID preach Good News. Tragically, that message has been twisted for the sake of power and money and control until virtually nothing remains of the original message. And your Bible “research”, while uncovering some true things, goes even beyond Bart Erhman in its (often) false and misleading conclusions.

    Again, as in a response to a previous post, I refer you to Rob Bell. At least if you want to know what the Good News really is.

    (Posted on one of your other threads just weeks ago)

    I see you wrote this before Rob Bell’s “Love Wins” came out. Have you read it? I think what you are repelling from is not so much the entire Christian faith, but evangelical Christianity, which at its worst is displayed in very troubled characters such as the crazy Calvinist from Seattle, Mark Driscoll. I can’t believe anyone can fall for that preaching of hate. His quote – “God hates you”. Lovely. God hates us? Really? And he created everyone – except a lucky random few – to burn in a (make believe) hell forever? And somehow this is a God of love?

    Almost always, when I hear stories like this, which are not unlike mine, except you are more black and white I think, assuming your bad church experience is representative of all churches, I find that the storyteller only tried “evangelical” Christianity. The big mega-churches, especially places with “star” pastors, like Mars Hill. You probably did not try the mainline churches.(usually small but warm and non-judging congregations) You probably did not try any New Thought churches (Christian Science, Unity, UU) which I would highly encourage you to do.

    A past mayor of the town I live in came to our church one time and said this, “There is one size church that fits everyone, but it is not necessarily the same size” Of course he wasn’t just talking about the numbers, but the philosophy / theology.

    If you only read one book this year on spirituality, make it Rob Bell, “Love Wins”.

    • Thanks for your comment, Jen. If a Jesus religion benefits someone in some way then I have no argument against that personal belief. But for me, it’s not what what people have done with the Bible that turns me off. It’s what the Bible actually says, and this includes the words of Jesus which too often go ignored:

      Jesus made self-exalting, unverifiable (unproven or impossible to prove) claims about himself:

      All things have been handed over to me by my Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him. Matt 11:27

      And then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the SON OF MAN COMING ON THE CLOUDS OF THE SKY with power and great glory. Matt 24:30

      “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, Luke 4:18 (Quoting from Isaiah)

      No one has ever seen God, but God the One and Only, who is at the Father’s side, has made him known. John 1:18

      For the one whom God has sent speaks the words of God, for God gives the Spirit without limit. Jesus speaking about himself in John 3:34

      The Father loves the Son and has placed everything in his hands. John 3:35

      Jesus gave them this answer: I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does. jOHN 5:19

      Moreover, the Father judges no one, but has entrusted all judgment to the Son, John 5:22

      And he has given him authority to judge because he is the Son of Man. John 5:27

      For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. John 6:40

      No one has seen the Father except the one who is from God; only he has seen the Father. John 6:46

      Jesus answered, My teaching is not my own. It comes from him who sent me. jOHN 7:16

      but I know him because I am from him and he sent me. JOhn 7:29

      Jesus said to them, If God were your Father, you would love me, for I came from God and now am here. I have not come on my own; but he sent me. jOHN 8:42

      just as the Father knows me and I know the Father–and I lay down my life for the sheep. John 10:15

      Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; John 11:25

      For I did not speak of my own accord, but the Father who sent me commanded me what to say and how to say it. jOHN 12:49

      Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; John 13:3

      If you really knew me, you would know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him. John 14:7

      Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own authority, but the Father who dwells in me does his works. John 14:10

      He who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me. jOHN 14:24

      In that day you will no longer ask me anything. I tell you the truth, my Father will give you whatever you ask in my name. jOHN 16:23

      Jesus’ disciples said, Well, now you’re speaking plainly and not using figurative language. Now we know that You know all things, and have no need for anyone to question You; by this we believe that You came from God. jOHN 16:29, 30

      For you granted him authority over all people that he might give eternal life to all those you have given him. John 17:2

      Righteous Father, though the world does not know you, I know you, and they know that you have sent me. John 17:25

      Jesus used nightmarish threats against those who did not believe in him:

      His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor, gathering his wheat into the barn and burning up the chaff with unquenchable fire. Matt 3:12

      “But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother shall be guilty before the court; and whoever says to his brother, ‘You good-for-nothing,’ shall be guilty before the supreme court; and whoever says, ‘You fool,’ shall be guilty enough to go into the fiery hell.

      Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it. Matt 7:13

      Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’ – Matt 7:23

      Let both grow together until the harvest. At that time I will tell the harvesters: First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn.’ Matt 13:30

      The Son of Man will send out his angels, and they will weed out of his kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil. Matt 13:41

      They will throw them into the fiery furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Matt 13:42

      For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father’s glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what he has done. Matt 16:27

      So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him. – Matt 24:44

      The master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he is not aware of. 51He will cut him to pieces and assign him a place with the hypocrites, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Matt 24:50, 51

      And while they were going away to make the purchase, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the wedding feast; and the door was shut. – Matt 25:10

      Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. Matt 25:41

      If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter life maimed than with two hands to go into hell, where the fire never goes out. Mark 9:43

      And if your eye causes you to sin, tear it out. It is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than with two eyes to be thrown into hell, where their worm does not die and the fire is not quenched.’ Mark 9:47, 48

      Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. Mark 16:16

      But I will show you whom you should fear: Fear him who, after the killing of the body, has power to throw you into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him. lUKE 12:5

      Once the owner of the house gets up and closes the door, you will stand outside knocking and pleading, ‘Sir, open the door for us.’ But he will answer, ‘I don’t know you or where you come from.’ Luke 13:25

      Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. John 3:18

      Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on him. John 3:36

      Jesus said, “For judgment I have come into this world, so that the blind will see and those who see will become blind. John 9:39

      Now is the time for judgment on this world; now the prince of this world will be driven out. John 12:31

      Jesus promised unverifiable rewards for his elitist secret society:

      But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it. Matt 7:14

      “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. – Matt 7:21

      This is why I speak to them in parables: “Though seeing, they do not see; though hearing, they do not hear or understand. Matt 13:13

      I tell you the truth, some who are standing here will not taste death before they see the Son of Man coming in his kingdom. Matt 16:28

      And he will send out his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other. Matt 24:31

      Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God– John 1:12

      I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life. John 5:24

      For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. John 6:40

      I tell you the truth, if anyone keeps my word, he will never see death. John 8:51

      that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you. John 14:17

      No, the Father himself loves you because you have loved me and have believed that I came from God. John 16:27

      Jesus gave harsh requirements to be his followers and therefore, to receive salvation from God’s wrath:

      From that time Jesus began to preach and say, Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. Matt 4:17

      Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. Matt 10:37

      and anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Matt 10:38

      Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. Matt 10:39

      But Jesus told him, “Follow me, and let the dead bury their own dead. Matt 8:22

      Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. Mark 8:34

      Then he said to all of them, If anyone wants to come with me, he must deny himself, pick up his cross every day, and follow me continually, Luke 9:23

      For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it. Luke 9:24

      Jesus said to him, “Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and proclaim the kingdom of God. Luke 9:60

      Someone asked him, “Lord, are only a few people going to be saved?” He said to them, Strive to enter through the narrow door; for many, I tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able. Luke 13:23, 24

      If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters–yes, even his own life–he cannot be my disciple. Luke 14:26

      Whoever tries to keep his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life will preserve it. Luke 17:33

      The man who loves his life will lose it, while the man who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. John 12:25

      Jesus answered, “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? You must follow me. John 21:22

      And anyone who does not carry his cross and follow me cannot be my disciple. Luke 14:27

      “If you love me, you will obey what I command. jOHN 14:15

      Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me. He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love him and show myself to him. jOHN 14:21

      Jesus replied, “If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. jOHN 14:23

      If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father’s commands and remain in his love. jOHN 15:10

      And yes, I have read Rob Bell’s Love Wins. I like the guy. I don’t like the religious deception that takes on many clever forms.

      • You like Rob Bell. That’s cool. What about the message of the book?

        The long list of Bible quotations above are to represent things you used to believe but not anymore?

        So you question the divinity of Jesus? Not really a problem for liberal Christians.

        So often, as we humans buy into a belief system way too quickly, and then when we discover all the problem areas later on down the road, we think if there are problems with some of what we learned, the whole kit and kaboddle must be defective. But is it really?

        None of these issue you raise are really a problem for Christians who do NOT take the Bible literally. Another thing most folks don’t know – over the course of history, most of Christianity could be characterized as Liberal Christianity.

        Too bad you did not discover it on your way to the book burning party.

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