Rethinking My Beliefs about God Apart From Traditional Christianity

Archive for the ‘Relationships’ Category

I Really Only Have One Problem With The Christian Religion… The Rest Is Seriously No Big Deal

In Controversial Books, Deception, God, Good and Evil, Life, Relationships on June 26, 2011 at 3:57 pm

With all of the discussing and debating that goes on between myself and advocates of Christianity, I thought it would help to narrow it down to one primary issue. This is when I realized that all along there had only been one reason important enough to disagree out loud. And it was the one reason that had been unwittingly driving me.

So, what is it? It’s not a wrong doctrine or theology. It doesn’t concern a law being broken. It isn’t about the exclusivity or the heartless division that might characterize Christianity… Well, it might concern some of those things but none of those things can sum it up.

It’s about the value of the human soul.

This is the one thing that ticks me off enough to speak out against a religion that may have plenty of other redeeming qualities. I believe this one issue, however, is at the heart of human suffering. And while I think pain is part of life, I would still like to see it end in this manner for as many individuals as possible.

Because I think it affects our entire eternal lives, and our lives affect the entire world. Read the rest of this entry »

Can You Really Tell The Difference Between Good And Evil?

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 »

To Remove God Is To Finally Accept God – Wow

In Life, Relationships on May 15, 2011 at 12:17 pm

I think the idea of removing God from our lives would probably scare the crap out of some people. I would have resisted it myself not too long ago, but I’m at a different place in my life now – not a place of Atheism, but a state of more peace as far as God things are concerned, than where I was before.

Allow me to explain.

After a thirty plus year relationship with Christianity, I decided to exit it. But a Christian can’t just say goodbye and walk out the door. The teachings and doctrines I heard and studied are still very much a part of at least my subconscious blueprint called the mind. I’ve had to come to terms with these beliefs just to let them go.

Thus, the incessant Facebook statuses and blogging on my part. I’ve had to talk a lot (re: complain a lot) about Christianity just to get past Christianity, and for a while it seemed that it was never going to go away. I realized that the only way for me to get untangled from its sticky web was to accept it. And reconciling my soul with what I believe are some very soul-damaging doctrines has not been an easy battle. Read the rest of this entry »

How Do You Relate To Someone Who Is Not There?

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:

Shock

Pain

Anger

Sadness

Acceptance

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 »

The Whole Point Of Being Brainwashed Is That We Don’t Know We Are Being Brainwashed

In Freedom, Life, Relationships, The Bible on March 6, 2011 at 7:20 pm

One day as I walked out of class, I felt like crying. What the heck was wrong with me? It wasn’t that time of the month. I wasn’t overwhelmed with the material covered in class. Well, actually I was, but that wasn’t why I felt so depressed. I was simply going to miss my instructor who I had for my last three courses which I completed. We had something, her and I. And I’m not talking about a lesbian relationship.

During my first day of my first college course, I remember thinking that this particular instructor didn’t know everything but she knew a lot more than I did in the field of web design. If my non-expertise was going to get anything out of her expertise, I needed to listen and connect to what she was teaching, whether I understood her or not. After challenging her with a few of my ignorant questions (which she kindly welcomed) I could understand better the whole subject matter, at least from her experience and perspective.

She continually reiterated that she has her own manner of writing HTML/CSS code and us students needed to find our own style too. She also kept saying that it wasn’t possible to cover everything in class that we needed to know. We still needed to go home and build our own websites. Read the rest of this entry »

How Religion Kills Love

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 »

Why I Fight

In Church, Life, Relationships on February 26, 2011 at 2:14 am

A few years ago, at the end of my 30 year saga with primarily the Evangelical branch of Christianity, I thought maybe I just hadn’t found the right church. So I began trying out different churches and even denominations in order to find a place that I could call my Christian community.

I found myself attending a different church every week for about three months:  Presbyterian, Lutheran, several different Baptist denominations, community churches, seeker-friendly churches, reformed churches and grace-focused churches. Over the course of my entire church relationship, I had also attended a Catholic mass, an Assembly of God college, and one visit to a Four-Square church was all I needed to know about Pentacostalism for the rest of my life. In addition to visiting churches, I researched the Eastern Orthodox denomination, Messianic Judaism, the Methodists, Anabaptists, Brethren, Quakers, emerging house churches and Unitarianism.

I can’t remember exactly when reality hit me, but I finally knew that I wasn’t going to find a church where I fit because they were all essentially the same religion under a different package. And I just couldn’t understand how a genuine community of friendships could thrive under the control of any organized religion. Read the rest of this entry »

You Can Take Your Guilt And Shove It Where The Sun Don’t Shine

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 »

Loving The Christians Without Conforming To Religion

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 »

How Deep Is The Love Within An Institutional Church?

In Church, Fundamentalism, Life, Love, Relationships on February 15, 2011 at 1:40 am

How deep can friendships go within the confines of a church institution, or any systematized hierarchical institution for that matter, such as a public school or prison facility?

Personally speaking, although not so black and white, I think we might as well ask how two people can make love in an airplane lavatory. It’s entirely possible as the mile high club might testify. It’s just not very convenient or conducive, as that is not the primary purpose of a toilet.

Now that I’ve got your mind on sex, I’m going to be really cruel and change the subject….

Even though I couldn’t presume to define love and its infinite expressions, I think I’ve had some glimpses of friendship love here and there within the church institution, but especially outside of it. Imagine my shock when, thanks to the invention of social networks, I became closer to people I met online within a few short months than to those I had known for decades at my church. How is that even possible? Read the rest of this entry »