In Atonement, Deception, Freedom, God, Life, Suffering on June 20, 2011 at 12:23 am
On the last day of school this year, my 13 year old yelled “Fire!” along with a handful of other students, then opened the emergency door of the bus and they all jumped out and went home. The following email is my response to the school regarding the issue:
Dear Superintendent of Transportation,
Concerning Jonah’s fake fire drill on the bus, I had heard the story from several of the students who were either involved in or who witnessed it immediately after its occurrence. All of their stories matched up fine.
From what I understand, the bus was at a complete stop near a sidewalk landing when it happened and the students knew beforehand that the bus would be unable to move once the emergency door was opened.
I understand why this action is against school policy but I am not sure how the event placed anyone in imminent danger or violated safety precautions. It would help if you could explain this more clearly.
This seems out of character for Jonah who is a continuous 4.0 student and graduated from 8th grade with honors and positive remarks from teachers. Since he is enrolled in a grade higher than other students his age, he has felt tremendous pressure to fit in socially with kids who are older than him. In other words, he might do something out of the ordinary in order to prove himself and maintain his friendships. Think of it as a college fraternity initiation or other possible ways you might be able to relate. Read the rest of this entry »
In Atonement, Free Will, Fundamentalism, God, Good and Evil, Sin, Suffering, The Bible on May 22, 2011 at 2:18 am
According to Bible legend, the first humans were created in goodness and dwelt in a garden of goodness. The interesting factor about this goodness is that in the middle of it, there was an evil tree. There was also an evil snake. Apparently, what God called good also included evil.
Fast forward about four millenia and a prophesied Jewish messiah explains to humanity that God so loved the world. All of the human tragedies of the past which had included a flood, slavery and wars and captivities hadn’t meant that God was angry with anyone. Behind every tragedy, God still loved the world.
For God so loved the world…. God loved the world before the Christ was sent just as much as God loved the world after the Savior died and rose again. But if God always loved the world, why did the world need a Savior in order to restore us to God?
It would appear that humanity misunderstood a few things about God – uhhhh, as if that is any kind of a surprise. Somehow God’s people, the nation of Israel, believed that God was a punisher and not a lover. The majority of the Bible seems to be written from this point of view. And this punisher God mentality seems to be carried on today through God’s other people who call themselves the church. Read the rest of this entry »
In Atonement, Church, Jesus, Life, Love, Relationships, Sin, The Bible on March 3, 2011 at 6:44 pm
In previous posts, I explained the way religion doesn’t relieve guilt but actually causes one to live in guilt. This is because general Christian doctrines and rituals are based upon the premise that holiness must be separated from sin; God is holy while humans are sinners.
Because of this, we feel a continual need to cover our shame, or even blame-shift as in the case of the atonement doctrine. If God must punish sin, then Christ is our substitution. He takes our blame. The only problem is that this idea only perpetuates some apparent need for blame. Whatever was dishing out the blame in the first place, it is still dishing it out every time we believe it has been (hopefully) covered.
For Christians, the need to cover guilt seems to be primarily seen through religious rituals such as Bible reading, prayer and church attendance.
But religion doesn’t remove sin; it only attempts to blind us temporarily to our guilt. The rest of the world can see it loud and clear. “Brainwashed hypocrites” is a common phrase from the mouths of non-church-goers about church-goers. As a Christian a few years ago, I remember thinking, “Hey, maybe that isn’t persecution from the world like I had assumed. They might actually have a point.” (But I wouldn’t be able to fully consider that possibility until after I had stopped going to church for a few years. I mean, who wants to admit they’re an asshole?)
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In Atonement, Church, Free Will, Fundamentalism, God, Sin, The Bible, The Trinity on March 1, 2011 at 6:50 pm
The title of this post is something that has been slowly coming into view for me as I’ve been attempting to understand God apart from the Christian religion. By wrestling through many faith issues which I address in previous blog posts, I’ve currently concluded that Christianity doesn’t lead people to God. Its general nature actually steers people away from God.
So here I am. It feels kind of like going to the doctor for the majority of your life and then realizing the doctor is what has been making you sick. I think I would be so much healthier (have a better understanding of God) had I not seen the doctor at all.
This is a pretty unconventional viewpoint. I mean, just like everybody “knows” you go to the doctor when you need to stay alive, everybody “knows” you go to church in order to grow in eternal life. After three decades of living this kind of eternal life, however, I have to say that this supposed new life is intended to kill.
I was instantly fooled by institutional Christianity’s claim to Christ. Jesus seemed like a wonderful man, no matter who he was, so how could a church go wrong there? Yet it’s surprising to me just how much the love of a man could be twisted to portray not love but hate. Allow me to explain.
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In Atonement, God, Life, Love, Relationships on February 22, 2011 at 6:34 am
Being brainwashed sucks. But the thing that really sucks about it is that we don’t realize, at the time, that our thoughts and desires are not our own. They generally belong to the persons or society that is conditioning us.
I have this tendency to cringe when I drive by a church and see a large flock of people walking through its front doors. I cringe because 30 years of my life was spent being conditioned and used by the institutional church. I was its slave. Yet I thought I was in the center of God’s will. I remember waking up one morning after I had stopped going to church and wondering if I felt similar to someone who had been date raped after someone had given me a roofie.
We are not only brainwashed by sitting under the teaching of a single pastor week after week, year after year, but we are conditioned by our own families, friends, teachers, movies, books, music and anything else that is continually inputing information into our vacuum of a cognitive facility. When we grow up, this conditioning affects how we behave in every area of our lives. Read the rest of this entry »
In Atonement, Church, God, Jesus on January 24, 2011 at 7:03 pm
Did Christ’s death on the cross enable God to finally love sinners? Did God require innocent blood in order to accept sinners into his kingdom? Could people be saved or know God only after the death of Christ and only if they believe in it? I now think these are very grave misconceptions about God and the purpose of Christ’s death. Please allow me to explain.
Where did the atonement, substitutionary death doctrine come from in the first place?
Romans 3:10-12 says,
“None is righteous, no, not one;
no one understands;
no one seeks for God.
All have turned aside; together they have become worthless;
no one does good,
not even one.”
Romans goes on to say in verses 23-26
“for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.”
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In Atonement on November 7, 2010 at 8:40 pm
I’m not sure the atonement idea makes a lot of sense to the Non-jew, westernized Christian today. It certainly doesn’t make sense to me. Let’s say that I committed a crime and somebody else had to be killed for it. I would not only still feel guilty for my own wrong, but I might experience even more guilt for the death that I caused.
I think that is how many Believers feel, or are made to feel, in our day. Guilt remains.
And apparently the sacrificial system never took away sins, evidenced by Israel’s chronic sin problem. One might even conclude that the death of Christ did not take away the sins of the world either since wrong-doings seem to be alive and well even among Believers.
If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. ~ 1 John 1:8
So exactly how does the death and resurrection of Christ atone for sin, if at all?
And if it has to do with appeasing God’s wrath, is God’s wrath appeased if sin remains in the sinner’s life?