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 Freedom, Good and Evil, Life, Love, Relationships, Sin, Suffering on May 28, 2011 at 6:07 am
One of the happiest days of my life was when my ex-husband and I separated. (It was one of his happiest days too.) After I had accepted the fact that our kids would be fine (and they are) a whole new world opened up to me.
Just a year later I decided that all Christian churches were essentially the same and that I couldn’t give any more of my Sundays to the institution. Even though I saw the break up of my family and then I walked away from my church community, I must have been one of the happiest people on the planet.
The freedom was almost overwhelming. Sure, there was some fear. How was I going to support myself? Was it safe out there alone? Will I be able to make new friends? But otherwise, there were so many things to do, places to see, subjects to study and thoughts to think that I didn’t know where to begin. I was like a kid who just found a chest full of treasure.
At first I tried to follow all of my heart’s desires. The only problem was that I didn’t know what those were exactly. I needed some trial and error. I had spent so many years making “God’s desires” my own that I had no idea what was in my own soul. I didn’t know how to connect with it either. Plus, there was always a lurking fear of what I might find. Read the rest of this entry »
In Deception, God, Love, Suffering, The Bible on April 10, 2011 at 8:02 pm
If “the heavens and the highest heaven” cannot contain God, I’m not sure why we would think a single religion could contain him…. The Christian religion might be correct in staking a claim on the representation of God. The only problem, as I see it, is that it claims to be the only representation of God. And that’s just ludicrous.
While the average Christian might not come right out and state such a thing, I wouldn’t be surprised to hear it from the pulpit disguised under some deceivingly subtle undertones. Basically, according to many Bible teachers, anyone outside of “Christ,” or in other words, the Christian belief system, is destined to end with the wretched elements, melting with a fervent heat. What Christians do not seem to attempt to hide is just how hot hell is going to be for us infidels.
But of course, we had a choice during our life on earth and we made the choice to be tortured for eternity – uhhhh, possibly excluding souls aborted in the womb, those under the age of accountability, the mentally handicapped and the tribal dude who never heard of Jesus, that is. 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 Church, Deception, Freedom, Life, Love, Relationships, Suffering on March 18, 2011 at 12:31 am
Grief counselors often give a loose set of stages that a person commonly experiences after a loss. In order to get through grief, it is imperative that persons do not skip any necessary stages. During grief, we want to run and hide. We want to distract ourselves. We want to pretend that things are different, or still the same.
But the only way to get through our grief is to face our emotions, and allow ourselves to actually feel them. If we ignore our soul, I’ve discovered that it will come back to haunt us, and with a vengeance. And we certainly won’t progress past these difficult stages.
These stages can be, but are not limited to:
And then finally, peace.
It’s good to know that those who have suffered loss such as from the recent tragedy in Japan have some sort of light at the end of the tunnel. But there are no shortcuts around the tunnel. The depth of peace can only be obtained through the full experience of the journey. 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 Freedom, Love on February 27, 2011 at 12:32 am
I don’t know if the stars are aligned or if love is highly contagious or what, but I’m meeting more and more people who are awakening to love. I’m not just talking about two persons getting engaged, although it might be that too, but I’m talking about people falling in love with humanity.
This also seems to be why some church-goers are no longer church-goers. What Christian churches generally teach and practice as love for God and others is, some are realizing, nothing more than a ShamWow infomercial. Apparently there is a vast difference between love and religion. Even though the Christ seemed to try to get this idea through people’s heads, somehow his followers got way off track.
The most amazing thing about being driven by love for people no matter what their belief, behavior or sexual preference is that it automatically turns sin into a non-issue. Who cares how many drinks one had when there is a real soul underneath that alcoholism?
This really caught me off guard at first. This is because I had a lot of bad habits to change – not habits of “sin” so much as habits of prejudice. At first it felt a little awkward befriending people I previously would have crossed the street to avoid. But deep and meaningful conversations with them quickly erased any felt need to check over my shoulder to make sure no one from church saw me talking to them. Read the rest of this entry »
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 Freedom, Heaven, Hell, Life, Love, Universalism on February 20, 2011 at 10:50 pm
I love a good debate because it means that at least two persons are engaging their brains and passion in a controversy that might have otherwise gone ignored. There’s something to be said for struggling through challenges together. Somehow we can come out a little more enlightened on the other side, as well as exhausted.
I’ve noticed that some of the issues we often argue about are beliefs that we are trying to convince our own selves to believe. I mean, if we really believed it, couldn’t we simply relax and let the truth keep on being the truth whether anyone believes it or not?
Our avid defense of a certain concept such as say, God, can also be an indicator that we really don’t know what we’re talking about, but wish we did. Not that there’s anything wrong with this, but maybe this understanding can help us to comprehend just what we believe and don’t believe within our soul of souls.
Our real beliefs seem to dwell somewhere in some great unknown, such as maybe our subconscious, or what some people might call the spirit within. We can get glimpses of these mental truths through our words and actions, especially when we’re caught off guard.
Read the rest of this entry »
In Church, Freedom, God, Homosexuality, Life, Love, Relationships, The Bible on February 16, 2011 at 5:55 pm
After writing out my current beliefs in my last blog post I started to feel some empathy toward Christians. Since I’ve been developing my unorthodox beliefs for the last three years (by the sweat of my brow, losing friends as well as sleep along the way) I failed to realize how shocking my new beliefs must sound to the average church-attending pew sitter.
From my perspective, I just wanted to get out of a religion that had entire control over my entire life. My plan was to work through the doctrines I was conditioned to believe and replace them with some kind of non-religious way of thinking. For example, instead of attending a planned church event like a proper Christian might do, I’d rather get a couple bottles of wine and go bowling with my girlfriends. This is what I call moving from a religious ritual to real “fellowship.”
And one beautiful day in my future horizon, the sun comes up and I will have forgotten anything there is to know about Christianity, religion and all things associated with it. I will enjoy my kids, my job, my double/decaf/almond milk/with a dash of cinnamon latte in the morning, and then I will live happily ever after.
But the problem is that I’m not leaving a religion as much as I am simply changing my beliefs about God. Although my beliefs might be a stark contrast from the traditional fundamentals of Christianity, if I still believe in some kind of invisible creator power that I also call God, doesn’t this mean I am still at least somewhat religious? I mean, non-religious people don’t talk about God, do they? Read the rest of this entry »