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Sent in by Caleb C

 

I have enjoyed reading some of the testimonials on this site. I concur with so many of the thought processes shared. I myself, cannot imagine that the God of the Bible and Christianity is for real. I do believe in Karma or at least some kind of "spirit force." I mean, I've at least experienced at times in my life the old adage, "what goes around comes around."

 

Coming out with my doubts and disbeliefs now is hard for me for several reasons. 1. All of my friends are devout Christians... I don't wanna lose them. 2. I've been programmed my whole life to believe in the God of Christianity. 3. I am a former youth pastor and non profit ministry director where I preached so passionately about the truths of God and Jesus Christ. We saw hundreds saved!

 

None of it makes sense anymore though. There is no rhyme or reason to the truths of the Bible. None of the guarantees work, and the history is not very credible at all. I have such a problem with how the canon of scripture for the Bible was compiled too. I mean, all of those "saints" with all of their agendas, deciding on what the sacred text should be. Seems so political, and godless to me. I mean, aren't they the very kind of men that the modern Christian Faith's founders dissented from?

 

My wife started having these feelings first. She came out to me about her disbelief several years ago. She was raised in church, and was programmed to belief in Jesus as God since birth. It just never became real to her.

 

Anyway, I guess my biggest problem is making the decision to leave it all behind. I'm scared to close that window, because I could be wrong. I almost feel that if I never formally make the decision to leave Christianity behind, I can still go back to God if I need to. Isn't that lame? It is all just fear on my part. If I'm right, and the God of the Bible does not exist, we are screwed. I mean, we just die and that's it! That is a scary proposition to me. Anyway, I guess I am writing this to hear advice from anyone that may have had, or is having an experience like mine. Thanks for reading.

 

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I can relate to your fear of leaving your friends and the only way of life you have ever known. I'm going through all of that now. The whole 48 years of my life were spent in the church. Leaving means much more than not believing anymore. Your whole life changes. My close friends have taken the news pretty well. None of them tried to talk me out of it and all said they still wanted to be friends. It's still strange to be around them though. It reminds me that we are very different now. When I start thinking of what it would be like to go back, I get this ludicrous mental image of millions of animals on a big boat with the whole world covered in water and remember that to go back to my church, I would have to say that I believed that really happened! Brings me back to reality every time.

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I am going through what you are going through for awhile now. Yes it does get better. It is slow adjustment. The feeling o freedom is great but takes time to adjust to a different mentality. You do start to think much clearer though. You start to see the Bible in a different light. You start to see all the contradictions and how so much of it is telling you that you better believe (don't thingk for yourself). It is kind of a programming to keep you there. I am with you though. it seems life has little meaning if this is all there is. Real depressing if you thinik about it. I love life and I hope there is something out there. The Bible just doesn't seem to have the answers. At least I have never know God to talk to me. I believe now that if there is a God wh created me then the onus is on him to let me know not some guy dressed up on Sunday telling me to believe his theology.

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I am going through what you are going through for awhile now. Yes it does get better. It is slow adjustment. The feeling o freedom is great but takes time to adjust to a different mentality. You do start to think much clearer though. You start to see the Bible in a different light. You start to see all the contradictions and how so much of it is telling you that you better believe (don't thingk for yourself). It is kind of a programming to keep you there. I am with you though. it seems life has little meaning if this is all there is. Real depressing if you thinik about it. I love life and I hope there is something out there. The Bible just doesn't seem to have the answers. At least I have never know God to talk to me. I believe now that if there is a God wh created me then the onus is on him to let me know not some guy dressed up on Sunday telling me to believe his theology.

Wow. Very impressive Soor. And I think you have it so absolutely correct at the end there, that if God really want me to believe in him, then it is only him, and no one else, that could convince me of his existence. That's the same thing how we know people around us. I don't pretend to communicate or believe there is someone called Bob that know my name and is secretly helping me through events around me, and my only knowledge about him is through my neighbor. We don't normally behave that way, but when it comes to religion, we tend to let so much junk through, in the name of "belief" (i.e. gullibility). And again, I'm impressed Soor, and I'm glad that you're sticking around. :)

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The OP relayed by Dave has elicited some poignant responses from 4truth and soor. Based on those replies, I can say congratulations on your thinking. Especially to Soor:

 

It is kind of a programming to keep you there. I am with you though. it seems life has little meaning if this is all there is. Real depressing if you thinik about it.

Is it really so bad, if this is all there is? Consider: A baseball game is nine innings. Your object is to play the best you can in those nine innings. When it's over, it's over. If you played the best you could, whether your team won or lost, it doesn't matter to you personally. The game is over after nine innings. If you've done the best you could, there is nothing more to say. You can leave the game knowing that you played it to the max. That is life. And it is not depressing at all, if you focus not on the endpoint, but what happens on the journey. Think on that.

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There is no rhyme or reason to the truths of the Bible. None of the guarantees work, and the history is not very credible at all. I have such a problem with how the canon of scripture for the Bible was compiled too. I mean, all of those "saints" with all of their agendas, deciding on what the sacred text should be. Seems so political, and godless to me.

 

See, the issue here is that anyone who has been raised in the church has developed this hyper-sensitivity to biblical criticism. After all, god wrote the book, and it is his holy inerrant word, so it must be perfect in every sense, right? Our expectation have been set so high that when we discover true contradictions, or when we learn the truth about authorship, copying, and canonization, we become completely disillusioned. Or worse, we attack the scholars who bear the message and lebel them as heretics and satan's minions. I got through this "dark-ages" thinking in a couple of ways. First, I read everything I could about the history of scripture and biblical scholarship. I started with Marcus Borg's "Reading the Bible Again for the First Time", and then read some of Bart Ehrman's books (such as "Misquoting Jesus"). I'll admit that I even read two books by John Shelby Spong - "Sins of Scripture" and "Jesus for the Non-religious". In the end, it finally got through my skull that the bible is just a book - an anthology of tribal, human writings which chronicled their search for purpose and meaning. It just turns out that the central character happens to be God, and since there are 40 different authors, they each talk about this god in a different way. Once I humanized the book, I put it on the same plane as other significant human works such as Homer, Shakespeare, and Origin of Species. All of these human works are significant and impactful in their way, but none of them have a hold on me. And I dont tear any of them apart anymore looking for contradictions or inconsistencies. I know they're there, and I accept them. Now, when I read the bible, it has an entirely different effect on me.

 

I almost feel that if I never formally make the decision to leave Christianity behind, I can still go back to God if I need to. Isn't that lame? It is all just fear on my part. If I'm right, and the God of the Bible does not exist, we are screwed. I mean, we just die and that's it! That is a scary proposition to me.

 

There's a basic flaw in this thinking, and what you are stating is a sort of inversion of Pascal's Wager. Pascal's wager states that if I believe in God and I'm wrong, I have lost nothing. But if I don't believe in god and i'm wrong, I will be punished for eternity and lose everything. The flaw in this thinking is the "either-or" thinking. It's like the difference between a heads-up poker game and a full table. The wager assumes that there is only one "bet" to call or fold, when in fact there are many competing belief systems (xtianity, islam, hinduism, greek polytheism) as well as varieties of christian dogma. Specifically what would you need to believe in order to call the bet and make the wager? Whose god or dogma is the correct one, and how do we discover for certain that we're wagering on the correct one? Most christians are atheists with regard to all those other gods, but Pascal's wager makes no such assumption; there are thousands of bets on the table, and you have to wager on the right one. It's an impossible situation, and the best action is to fold.

 

I'll be blogging about Pascal's Wager soon on indyfreethinker.blogspot.com

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You hit it on the head when you said that you were programmed your whole life...

 

That sort of programming isn't something that rational thought can immediately erase. Being a christian was a big part of you, and though you have moved on rationally, you haven't yet moved on emotionally.

 

In other words, give it some time, and try not to worry about it. We all went through it.

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