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My Ex-christian Friend Wrote This.


mick
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The position you are in as a christian is an awkward position.

Perhaps more so than you realize because you have faith, which clouds

your reason and judgment. Here is why I say this:

As a Christian, you are committed to the idea that there is absolute

truth; right is right and wrong is wrong. The idea of moral or

factual relativity is both threatening and incorrect to you if the

idea is applied on the large scale. Now, while there is a lot of debate

about truth these days, lots of people, myself included,

can agree that there are things which are absolutely true.

However, concretely, you believe that

what's true for you (for instance, without Jesus you'd be going to

hell) - since you believe this is true for you, you believe it must

be true for everybody. Therefore, in taking the stand that you do for

absolute truth, what you're doing is taking a stand that there is a

truth (the gospel) which is true for everybody. People must either

repent or perish. Yet - you cannot prove this truth. You have to

accept it by faith. So, you have taken the information available to

you, conclude d it must be true (and many, looking at the same

information feel there's more than adequate reason to dismiss it). If

there was enough evidence to know for sure it's true, faith wouldn't

be required. So you are believing something without enough evidence

to know if it's really true. You're taking a step of faith. Then - on

top of that - you're claiming that you must be right in thinking your

step of faith is right, and since what you're having faith

in "claims" that everyone else must have faith in it also, you're

claiming (despite insufficient evidence, and despite the fact that

you yourself had to take step of faith to believe it) that it MUST be

true for everyone - everyone must believe or perish.

This is unstable ground to stand on. Perhaps you feel like there is

enough evidence to be sure. If so, that's a minority view. Most

published apologists acknowledge that you can't "prove" christianity

is true conclusively. Anyway, once you've taken this step of faith,

no matter what information is presented to you that demonstrates it's

questionable and you may have been wrong, you rationalize and defend

and become obstinate.

The thing I really wonder is, what do you think of what Paul says in

1 Corinthians? He says if Christ isn't raised from the dead, we are

of all people most to be pitied (speaking of Christians). Do you

agree with that? If it turned out that Christ wasn't raised, if it

turned out the bible was not inspired, would you still think it's

good to believe most of the world are going to perish in hell, or

that even some of them would (not just criminals, anyone who doesn't

believe in Christ)? Would it still be good to believe that God would

have his people slaughter infants on a few occasions as it says he

did in the old testament? Would it still be good to send missionaries

to places where they'd die for the faith? To have people with limited

income sacrifice a significant portion to their churches when they

are already having difficulty making ends meet? Would it still be

good for families to be broken up over religious differences? (Jesus

himself supposedly said that he would divide families, and that he

came not to bring peace but a sword- yet he's also called the prince

of peace). Perhaps you never counted the cost properly? You see, the weird thing about Chris tianity (one of the weird things anyway) is that it's only good if it's true. Not all beliefs are like that. Some do not lead to harm, cost lives and so on, so they could be ok whether true or false, but Christianity happens to be one of those things that, if it's false, it's actually horrifically terrible.

You look at proofs for something like the resurrection, and you think

that a fair case is made that it "could" have happened, you think a

fair case can be made that "there isn't a better explanation" for where the body went - Yet somehow you must kno w in your gut that it is after all four gospel accounts written twenty or more years after the fact - you can't be sure that just because they claim this story happened, that means it did. The ancient world is full of similar stories, with supposed

eyewitnesses, and people dying for mystery religions and so on. I

mean, it is possible that Jesus didn't rise from the grave yet

somehow these stories caught on o ver tw enty years and the religion

developed -- even though you don't want to admit it, it's possible that there's a natural explanation for how your religion developed just like everyother myth, martyr, and miracle claim. But see, part of

what I'm also saying is that when you weigh the evidence, are you

realizing the additional cost? If it's not certain that the

resurrection's true, do you realize that families and peoples lives

are at stake also? You are actively becoming an assistant and propogator of this myth. So you share responsibility for the damage it does to humanity. Yet there's a fear factor for you - eternal hell if you don't believe. God loves you but he will torment you for eternity unless you believe Christ is risen - does that influence how you look at the evidence? I submit that you can know that Christianity is false. I submit that deep down, you may even want to know that. Subconsciously, you know that a God who creates people, then slau ghters almost all of them in a flood because they're evil, can't be good. Subconsciously you find the story a little rediculous.

Subconsciously you know it doesn't make sense because what did the

flood accomplish? Nothing!! God "realises" (!!??) after the fact that

people are evil anyway, so he decides he won't destroy the world with

a flood again? He accomplished nothing except mass slaughter - the

world once again fills with evil. Moving on a little, He later rescues his people Israel from Egypt how?

By slaughtering first born egyptian sons (so me innocent babies). When

Israel fears that they'll be left to die in the desert, he grows

angry (and there's massive casualties) yet in the end HE DOES leave

them to die in the desert. Their fears are actually validated. Moving on from the atrocities of the old testament, are things better in the new? This God will send most people to hell. This God's problem with humanity is that we reject him, so his&nbs p;solu tion to the problem is to become a man so that we can reject God again, this time as a man, and kill him? Somehow that makes it better? Because of the substitutionary atonement, you answer - he died for our sins - That's God's justice - the innocent dies for the guilty. If God's justice was so flexible that he could tolerate an innocent man dying in the place of the guilty, then why require justice at all? It's one thing to say justice must be satisfied, but if you can let someone off the hook as long as an innocent person suffer s in his place, the issue is no longer justice, since that's a patently unjust scenerio - the innocent suffering for the guilty. The issue then is not rationally justice (though the bible calls it that) but satisfaction, or propitiation. God receives satisfaction as long as someone suffers for your sin. But if he can't forgive without satisfaction, then in what sense is it really forgiveness? Love forgives all thin gs as Paul says in 1 corinthians, but apparenlty God can't forgive. Not without the shedding of blood. And even then, faith and repentence are required. Do you need the shedding of blood before you can forgive someone? The price must be paid - the gospel says, the good news is Jesus paid the price - but then, if the debt has been paid, there's no need for forgiveness. If you owe me and I forgive you're debt, you no longer owe me, I don't get payment. If I get paid, I can't forgive you. Even if someone paid me in your place, I still couldn't forgiv e you. If you owe me $100 and someone else pays your debt, I cannot come to you and say, your debt's paid, but I still want you to pay may $100. If I no longer owe the debt, I have no grounds to claim I still have the right forgive you. So since God has supposedly been paid by Christ on the cross for believers, they don't need his forgiveness, the debts paid, he can't claim to forgive sin ce he has no right to claim there's anything left to forgive if the price is paid.

 

You can know that the scriptures contradict themselves, and deep down I think you probably already know that the way God is depicted in the old testament is quite primitive and unenlightened for the most part. Even the enlightened ideas in the old testament are not so great that they couldn't have been made up by men. You must cringe a little when you read prophecy quotes in the new testament, and then read the same passage in the old, and realize that they're taken out of context. I'm sure you also cringe when you

read the explanations offered by biblical scholars who try to defend

it. Not always, sometimes there are good answers, but sometimes, it's

clearly a misuse of scripture and some contradictions cannot be rationally denied (Though opologists have obstinately denied, but not rationally - read their works for yourself and decide for yourself). Doesn't the cognitive dissonance get to you? You read in James three that blessing God a nd cur sing men ought not to come out of the same mouth, yet Jesus blessed his father and cursed the pharisees and scribes, and also pronounced woes on various people in the sermon on the plain in Luke. Paul also blesses God, yet says anyone who denies is anathema (cursed). Yet you'll look for an

answer, and you'll believe some stretch of logic. And once you have

your explanation, if it doesn't quite fit what James, Paul or Luke

actually wrote, you'll simply ignore that. You don't believe people can be saved by keeping the commandments, even though Jesus actually said it when asked what to do to inherit eternal life. Christianity first and foremost is an atitude. It started when Israel was confronted with a harsh challenge to their faith. The God of Israel, Yahweh, had apparently not helped them against their foes? Why? When an ancient culture was conquered by another people usually interpreted it as an indication that the victor's god(s) was the

greater god(s). Not so, Israe l . The priesthood and school of prophets

determined that if God wasn't granting them victory, it must be on

the account of the sinful people. There we have the beginnings of two

threads that sow the garment of christian thinking. 1) People are

sinful, we're responsible for all that's wrong, and 2) Obstinance. No

matter what, we're right - we'll find an explanation but we'll never

admit we're wrong. These characteristics undergird all christian attitude - it's unavoidable. (Now I'm sure you can admit you're wrong about who won the superbowl in 1969 or some secondary doctrinal issue - but if your thinking is consistant with christian thinking, you're not allowed to actually admit you're wrong about Jesus - christians may tell you it's ok to question, but when you start to think the answer to Jesus is "no", then they'll tell you you're going to far. What's the point in saying it's ok to question in the

first place then?) As I was saying, these two character stics de veloped and by the time of the writing of the new testament they were essentially like virtues. Certainly they're like virtues in christian circles today. On account of them, christians are numb to the horrific violence of the old testament (disobedient children and people who work on the sabbath should be "stoned to death" according to the law - slavery is ok, and it's ok to beat slaves as long as you don't kill them, according to the law of Moses) and "humbly" accept the idea that their fellow brothers and sisters in the human race who happen not to believe the same dogma, are going to burn for

eternity for it . . . a significant amount of the human race doesn't

even deserve to spend a night in jail - though certainly some do -

yet you can somehow be made to believe they deserve eternity in hell?

All this, not based on evidence - you have taken a step of faith -

and because of it you impose your faith on everyone else - "people

are free to believe what they w ant " you say - well, true, you don't

impose it in the fullest sense, but christianity is all about

exerting pressure to convert people - gentle pressure, or strong,

whatever might win someone to christ. And you yourself are under pressure, pressure from fear of hell, pressure from love of what you believe and the Imaginary WHO that you believe in. Pressure from friends and peers in church. Pressure perhaps from family if you're family consists of Christians. Pressure subconsciously to avoid admitting you're wrong. Oh yes, you're in it now. You are under a lot of pressure to stick to your faith. If you try to question, and if you honestly think christianity isn't true, you suffer emotionally. You really fear. Could you be loosing your faith? Do you really believe God would condemn you because of what you believe or don't believe happened 2000 years ago? This is a bad religion. These

are bad doctrines. Get out while you can. Deep down, if you're

experiencing any anxie ty r ight now, any intense emotion, I think it may be because deep down, you know I'm right. You're upset, you want to argue, you want to explain away my objections. But you also know deep down that I'm right. By the way, when you say to me things about deep down knowing

that I'm wrong, or knowing Jesus is the way, or God is real (in the

christian sense) or I'm in danger of hell fire, anything like that, I don't feel a thing but comfort and the certainty that you're wrong, there is no hell, the bible is not infallible and inspired. And I feel sad for you. Family disruption, people dying for faith, loss of money towards spreading dogma that's not even true, a demeaning view of your fellow man, christianity does come with a costly price tag - not just for christians, it costs humanity a lot too. And I'm not even getting into inquisitions, persecution (from and of christians), emotional trauma from fear of hell, anxiety disorders over fear of displeasing God (wh osoeve r is angry has already committed murder? Every sinful thought offends God - christ had to die because you "thought that" - I exaggerate you say, but you can't deny that you believe Christ had to suffer for every sinful thought you had and if you're like most christians, you believe all sin is equal to God). A huge pricetag of human suffering

over something unprovable that you insist is absolutely true because you took a leap of faith - therefore you insist it's not just true for you - it must be absolutely true for everyone.

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