In Hell, Jesus, Life, Love, Suffering on August 2, 2011 at 4:38 pm
During a 7.0 earthquake in 1989 while I was living in Santa Cruz, CA, I remember a very strange feeling. It revolved around the idea that things such as solid floors, walls and even the ground are not as solid as we would hope. Things that aren’t supposed to move were suddenly knocking things down.
22 years later, living 2 states away from my entire (wonderful but dysfunctional) family and having pretty much lost my life-long Christian community, my world continues to prove its instability. Last week I talked about bravely facing the darkness we can’t escape anyway; and my world just recently got darker.
When my brother had life-threatening health issues 5 years ago, I took in his youngest son and he became one of my own kids. But 10 year old Brian has always missed his dad and now it’s time for him to go back – next week. Read the rest of this entry »
In Deception, Everything Else, Freedom, God, Jesus, Love, Universalism on March 27, 2011 at 10:30 pm
I’ve heard the annoying phrase, “Don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater” so many times that I’d like to not only throw the baby out, but torture and annihilate it too. But for purposes of considering opposing viewpoints, I’d like to take an honest look at what some people consider to be the baby.
If I understand correctly, people are generally warning me to throw out religious wrongs yet hold onto Jesus, as far as Jesus might pertain to the true spirit of true Christianity. When I talk about the Christian religion in a negative light, somehow this worries people, and they want to make sure that I don’t throw my belief in Jesus out altogether because of “a few Christians who may have hurt me.”
At first glance, this appears to have a very kind and loving intention behind it, as well as a loyalty to some real faith that might exist out there somewhere. But I see that deceiving tendency of religion written all over it, and I will explain why. 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?)
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.”
Read the rest of this entry »
In Heaven, Hell, Jesus, Love, Suffering on December 31, 2010 at 11:47 pm
This is a question I’ve been grappling with lately and just to warn you, I am not going to have a conclusive answer for you by the time you finish reading this post. But I have discovered a few surprising elements about this thing called love – however we might define it.
My dilemma begins with my 30 year belief in a Utopian type of heaven where tears have been wiped away and suffering is a thing of the past – forever and ever and ever. This is where love reigns and evil has been smoked out of existence and, apparently, even memory.
The problem with this concept of heaven is that it seems to be void of all reality. I’ve been coming across Christians who are discovering the love of God for the first time in their lives as they exit the church institution. This is a beautiful thing, except that they are so heavenly minded that they seem to be oblivious to the idea that suffering still exists.
While religion tends to detach us from the real world, I would say that discovering truth (or following Jesus – however you want to call it) should engage us more and more with reality. Our eyes are being opened. The veil is being lifted – not the other way around. Read the rest of this entry »
In Jesus, The Bible, The Trinity on November 14, 2010 at 10:50 pm
I can’t find any scriptures where Jesus claims to be God but I can find plenty of scriptures that indicate otherwise:
“yet for us there is but one God, the Father….” ~ 1 Cor 8:5-6
For there is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus. ~ 1 Timothy 2:5
“For I did not speak on My own initiative, but the Father Himself who sent Me has given Me a commandment as to what to say and what to speak.” ~ John 12:49
“…for the Father is greater than I.” ~ John 14:28
“When all things are subjected to Him, then the Son Himself also will be subjected to the One who subjected all things to Him, so that God may be all in all.” ~ 1 Corinthians 15:28
“Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and whoever loves the Father loves the child born of Him.” ~ 1 John 5:1 (NASB)
I will surely tell of the decree of the LORD:
He said to Me, ‘You are My Son,
Today I have begotten You.’
~ Psalm 2:7
“Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” ~ Romans 1:7 Read the rest of this entry »