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Sinners From The Day We're Born?


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I'm not an X-Christian. I've never been an anything - other than a normal person trying to navigate their way through life. Now that an old friend I've renewed contact with, did a 180, has become a Reverend is trying to 'save me', I find myself on a quest to understand.

 

'To Err is Human' and I guess to sin must be human too. For those of you who know the Christian way - are you told that from the first time you move 'you become a sinner'? Have you learned that it is impossible to live life without sinning and therefore you are going to 'rot in hell' if you don't accept Christ into your life? So I'm trying to rationalize that by making mistakes and learning, we all will become sinners? I know that none of us is perfect, but trying to live by the 'Golden Rule' always served me well. When I didn't, I believe I got my comeuppance. I've learned plenty of things the hard way but I have learned.

 

I don't believe that I need to be 'forgiven' for being human. If I'd done some unforgiveable things in my life, I guess I shouldn't expect to be forgiven.

 

I've known many people who call themselves Christian and have done things far more hurtful and hateful than I have, but because they have accepted Christ into their lives, they will be saved and I will not?

 

Since I have been in contact with the Reverend, he has been praying for me. I feel the tug and the threat of how crucial my decision is. I just want to be who I've always been. A good person who cares about others, is sympathetic and empathetic, and tries to follow the Golden Rule. Now suddenly, I'm slated for eternal damnation if I don't surrender myself for my terrible sins. This is just too hard for me to fathom, but I'm trying to understand. Is it black or white? Is there no grey area? I want to feel peace in my heart and life IS tough. Have others seen people who 'believe' be far happier than those who don't. Can you choose to be a 'quiet Christian' without having to sell it to others, under the guise of saving them? Do you get into a mindset that makes you worry about your loved ones (and others) 'going to hell' and feel a desperation to save them and you have no choice but to go on a lifetime quest to do this? And most of all - since you are X-Christians, do you believe that had it not been forced upon you, you might look at it differently - or is that impossible for you to know?

 

Thanks for any insight into these perplexing questions ...

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Hello and welcome. I'm confident you can learn a lot here.

 

There are almost as many versions of Christianity as there are Christians. The ones who will bother you are generally "evangelicals." They think they have a special insight and relationship with the One True God and feel obliged to share this with everyone. They believe that the original sin of Adam has tainted every generation since. You were born in sin, and because God is so holy and perfect, mere mortals can't possibly meet his standard. Unless you accept Jesus as atonement for your sin, you will end up in Hell.

 

I know, it's crazy, but many believe it.

 

There are less obnoxious interpretations of Christianity, and they usually aren't too intrusive.

 

You might mention to the "reverend" how arrogant it is to pray for someone. He is implying that you are wrong, lost, and bound for Hell while he has special knowledge, the only correct view, and is favored by God.

 

Good luck!

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I'm not an X-Christian. I've never been an anything - other than a normal person trying to navigate their way through life. Now that an old friend I've renewed contact with, did a 180, has become a Reverend is trying to 'save me', I find myself on a quest to understand.

 

'To Err is Human' and I guess to sin must be human too. For those of you who know the Christian way - are you told that from the first time you move 'you become a sinner'? Have you learned that it is impossible to live life without sinning and therefore you are going to 'rot in hell' if you don't accept Christ into your life? So I'm trying to rationalize that by making mistakes and learning, we all will become sinners? I know that none of us is perfect, but trying to live by the 'Golden Rule' always served me well. When I didn't, I believe I got my comeuppance. I've learned plenty of things the hard way but I have learned.

 

I don't believe that I need to be 'forgiven' for being human. If I'd done some unforgiveable things in my life, I guess I shouldn't expect to be forgiven.

 

I've known many people who call themselves Christian and have done things far more hurtful and hateful than I have, but because they have accepted Christ into their lives, they will be saved and I will not?

 

That is exactly it. It's something that was very hard for me to stomach, even as a Christian. In fact, my former faith (Roman Catholicism) allows any of the "faithful" to baptize a baby if the child is in danger of dying soon. They believe that unbaptized babies (including aborted ones) are bound for hell. Currently, there is a new theology which states something to this effect: we may have some reason to hope that God, in his grace, will save the unborn, unbaptized babies. There's also a (again, fairly recent) belief that if someone doesn't ever learn about Christ, that person will be judged on his/her actions and intents, and whether s/he repents of his/her wrongs. But if a person does hear about Christ and doesn't believe, then that person is bound for hell (because "refusing to accept the good new" is a sin).

 

Since I have been in contact with the Reverend, he has been praying for me. I feel the tug and the threat of how crucial my decision is. I just want to be who I've always been. A good person who cares about others, is sympathetic and empathetic, and tries to follow the Golden Rule. Now suddenly, I'm slated for eternal damnation if I don't surrender myself for my terrible sins. This is just too hard for me to fathom, but I'm trying to understand. Is it black or white? Is there no grey area? I want to feel peace in my heart and life IS tough. Have others seen people who 'believe' be far happier than those who don't. Can you choose to be a 'quiet Christian' without having to sell it to others, under the guise of saving them? Do you get into a mindset that makes you worry about your loved ones (and others) 'going to hell' and feel a desperation to save them and you have no choice but to go on a lifetime quest to do this? And most of all - since you are X-Christians, do you believe that had it not been forced upon you, you might look at it differently - or is that impossible for you to know?

 

I remember that growing up this apostolic action ("make a friend, be a friend, bring that friend closer to Christ" -- please, gag me with a spoon right now) was always one of the harder things. I'm not cut out to be an evangelical or a salesperson (with the except of girl scout cookies -- but everyone likes those anyway). I don't think I ever got further than "make a friend, be a friend" (IMHO, that part is good advice for anyone and everyone). I tried to focus more on phrases like "preach the word of god. If necessary, use words" and "actions speak louder than words." But it was always very hard.

 

My freshman year of college, I actually met and became close friend with (for the first time) atheists. Atheists who had grown up without religious instruction, atheists who were happy, confident people. It was so hard every night praying for them, desperately begging God to save them, to give them a sign that they might believe (thankfully, I truly believed that God had to make the first move -- my job was to answer questions and help with the journey once they started). God didn't. I started to wonder why, and allowed myself to actually question. That's how I lost my faith. So, in answer to the question "Do you get into a mindset that makes you worry about your loved ones?" Yes. Emphatic yes. I almost went crazy with fear for my dear friends.

 

You asked if I've seen believers to be happier than those that don't. That's a difficult question to answer because I do see many people who are very, very happy with their belief. On the other hand, I see many people who are unhappy despite/because of(?) their belief. I can say from personal experience that I am much, much, much happier not believing. The immense, daily guilt is lifted from my shoulders (to a degree, at least -- it's difficult to overcome 18 years of conditioning). I don't live in fear of death anymore. I don't have to worry about confession. I'll never again go to confession, do my penance, and then hope that the car crashes on the way home before I have a chance to sin again. I don't have to try to punish myself for my sins, and punish myself to atone for the sins of others. I don't have to filter all of my thoughts. And, I don't view myself and other humans as scum of the earth. (Well, there are the environmental issues, but it's not quite the same...).

 

I don't know how I would view Christianity, Catholicism, apostolic action, etc. if I had not been raised in a Roman Catholic household. I'm not sure there would be a net effect, really. Living in the church for 18 years, I saw the good that it can do and also the bad. I doubt I would have seen either as deeply without that background.

 

I hope this helped explain things. If you'd like the perspective of someone who is currently a christain, you can post in "The Loin's Den" and some of them will reply. Of course, the ones we get here tend to be a bit more devout/batshit insane than the general christain population, so you'd want to keep that in mind.

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Yep, that's how they get ya!

 

Hand you a problem you never had then sell you the solution. Marketing 101.

 

Hope you don't fall for it.

 

You might want to read the God Delusion, God is not Great, and God the Failed Hypothesis before you give the Reverend his in.

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I find the whole "everyone is evil" argument insulting and hateful. This is one of the reasons I'm not a Christian anymore.

 

I get up, go to my job (I work in an office and approve electronic forms all day), and go home. Nothing "evil" there except maybe squishing a bug at work, if you happen to be a PETA extremist or something.

 

When I get home, I play World of Warcraft. Nothing "evil" there either. I go to bed, rinse and repeat all week. I did much the same when I was Christian, except it was single player video games because WoW didn't exist then. The only law I ever recall breaking is the speed limit, and I once got a moving violation traffic ticket for driving on the shoulder. I paid it.

 

But by their definition, every normal law abiding citizen is evil merely for existing, and just as evil as Saddam Hussein or someone like that.

 

By their assumptions also, someone in a foreign country, let's say India, who is harmless and maybe even works in a medical profession, such as a nurse and takes care of sick people all day and never hurts more than an insect in their lifetime and dies a Hindu, is evil merely for existing and being Hindu instead of Christian.

 

I don't buy that intolerant argument anymore and I hope I never, ever do again.

 

I don't believe that I need to be 'forgiven' for being human. If I'd done some unforgiveable things in my life, I guess I shouldn't expect to be forgiven.

 

Excellent, it's good to question things.

 

I've known many people who call themselves Christian and have done things far more hurtful and hateful than I have, but because they have accepted Christ into their lives, they will be saved and I will not?
According to their religion, yes.

 

You can try being a liberal Christian if it floats your boat. I attempted that for a year or so and found it too wishy-washy. It was during that time frame I realized I couldn't really believe in any of it at all literally.

 

Just know that you can follow the Golden Rule without being Christian--many Atheists do, too.

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Just know that you can follow the Golden Rule without being Christian--many Atheists do, too.

 

 

The "Golden Rule", much like Christmas is not a Christian "invention" anyway (NOTHING in that religion is original).

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ethic_of_reciprocity

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For a little background, I'm not actually an ex-Christian, I never was a Christian even though I thought I was one at the time [as I was told I was from the age of 5, apparently]. I knew the right things and could recite them on request, but I never believed it. Anything I did was to please the adults.

 

'To Err is Human' and I guess to sin must be human too. For those of you who know the Christian way - are you told that from the first time you move 'you become a sinner'? Have you learned that it is impossible to live life without sinning and therefore you are going to 'rot in hell' if you don't accept Christ into your life?

As others have mentioned, it depends on the denomination. Growing up in Southern Baptist churches this is exactly what we're told, except it begins at conception really (when they claim life begins). We're all. . . blessed with the fact that we are conceived sinners because of Adam and Eve.

 

I don't believe that I need to be 'forgiven' for being human. If I'd done some unforgiveable things in my life, I guess I shouldn't expect to be forgiven.

Nor do I. We have instincts evolved for living in harsh conditions, including things like selfishness (if you don't look out for yourself first, you die). We also evolved to be social creatures, so we have had to learn or adapt to curbing our selfishness for the good of others (which is ultimately self-interested 'cause it improves your standing in the group and ultimately your survival :P).

 

I've known many people who call themselves Christian and have done things far more hurtful and hateful than I have, but because they have accepted Christ into their lives, they will be saved and I will not?

According to Southern Baptists, yes, and as I understand it the Christian doesn't even have to repent of the things after that initial commitment to be saved, though it is of course regularly encouraged.

 

This is just too hard for me to fathom, but I'm trying to understand. Is it black or white? Is there no grey area? I want to feel peace in my heart and life IS tough.

This is something I found rather difficult as well, a variation of which helped push me to realize what I actually believe during a study of Jaguar symbolism (and their mythology, by extension, which I compared to what I knew of the Bible; they have creation myths, how we came to eat Food X myths, etc., and so does the Bible. . .) in various American cultures. I hadn't heard of that new variation mentioned above, but I think it's extremely unfair that people who haven't even heard of Jesus are somehow supposed to know of his existence and what he did for them (this is the essence of what we were told when a missionary the church supported came to visit). There are such people left in the world.

 

Have others seen people who 'believe' be far happier than those who don't.

Well, everybody has their problems, of course. I don't know I have the best view of other Christians. I'm working on it, but I never was the type to make lots of friends naturally, and now it makes more sense considering I didn't have anything in common with them. Anyway, the Christians I know best are my parents. My mom has struggled with depression most of her life and all of mine (and I inherited it, which along with other as yet unresolved things makes me a rather unhappy nonbeliever). My dad, I don't know really what to tell you, I don't know him all that well. I guess one of my zoo friends is Christian (Catholic), but she's very liberal in her views; she seems to be doing pretty well over all. Five others I'm not sure about their state of belief, 'cause we don't talk about it really; everything we talk about seems to have something to do with animals :P. They come volunteer on Sundays (as do I) so they're clearly not very strict in Christian beliefs if they hold any. All of them seem to be doing well as well. I think what it comes down to is your life is what you make of it. You can be happy as a believer or nonbeliever, and you can be unhappy as either one (although you'll be guilted in some denominations [s. Baptist, for one] for not being happy as a Christian).

 

Can you choose to be a 'quiet Christian' without having to sell it to others, under the guise of saving them?

Sure can, though not as a S. Baptist -- then you practically get forced to go out and do things [literally if you're the pastor's kid, which sucks when people scare you and you don't actually believe what you're selling to boot]. If you choose this route, please choose it because you actually believe and not out of fear. (Funny, that's probably what they'd say in S. Baptist churches, then go on and on about all the things that are supposed to scare you 'straight'.)

 

Do you get into a mindset that makes you worry about your loved ones (and others) 'going to hell' and feel a desperation to save them and you have no choice but to go on a lifetime quest to do this?

Some (many?) Christians do. This is why I've been keeping to myself as far as family goes. You should have seen the crisis over my adult cousin (guess he was about the age I am now, 26) having a baby out of wedlock. Can't imagine the fuss that would occur over this. . . not sure if it would be bigger or smaller, but I'd be the one in the unenviable position, so it'd be worse from my perspective.

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I grew up Church of Christ, so I was never taught to believe that we were born into sin or were doomed to burn in hell just by being born. The church never taught me that but I did get the feeling of dread just from having been born--my soul would have been at better stake if I had not been born--try not feeling depressed. All-in-all, I would have to say that I found myself at better peace just from leaving the faith then when I was in the faith.

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The day I was born I shit my diaper and puked on the nurse so of course I was a sinful little fart. How could gawd possibly put up with that kind of behavior? :P

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Thanks to all of you who took the time to respond to me! You've given me plenty more work to do with all the links to read ;) I really appreciate the intelligent, well thought through comments. It seems to me that the people who have been through this have REALLY had to do a LOT of thinking and soul searching before they could get out of the grips of being 'followers'. Independent thinkers - you've become. I guess I've taken for granted that I was one - at least until now - and it may sound strange to all of you - being on the opposite end of the spectrum, that sometimes I wish it were true. That we had a 'guide book' to follow, which was there to show us through this maze we call life. But I do understand that the Bible was written by man for man, and therefore, just as we could all collaborate on a book now - for the future generations to come - would that book be any more than where we are at this point of our journey and just what we see as our truth right now?

 

Much food for thought ...

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I guess I've taken for granted that I was one - at least until now

Hey, don't give up thinking you are now :P, you didn't just cave, you went looking for answers. Whatever you decide you know it'll be because you did the legwork first.

 

- and it may sound strange to all of you - being on the opposite end of the spectrum, that sometimes I wish it were true.

Nah. Not something I would likely think being who I am, but I've seen exes express the same. Given the world we live in, I can see how some (many? all?) would think it -would- be really nice sometimes to just have one thing (book, person, film, whatever) to tell us what's what.

 

would that book be any more than where we are at this point of our journey and just what we see as our truth right now?

That's a really good way to describe it. The world changes over time, and so does our way of thinking, in theory.

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Sueeze,

 

When I was 17, the local minister came calling and gave me bible studies (that's the short of a long story). I was vulnerable, and fell for the bait-and-switch and empty promises of christian evangelical- fundamentalism. As a result, my life became a self-sacrificing circus. Had I believed and followed my gut feelings and listened less to other believers, I would have kept my life on track. Instead, it was derailed. Don't let well-meaning christians feed you their shit. They may be good people, but motives don't makeup for ill effects. I was told the book was sweet, so I ate it up. But It turned bitter when I digested its' content. Good luck.

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After much googling on this topic for personal reasons, I stumbled across this article:

 

http://harvardscience.harvard.edu/culture-...moral-reasoning

 

So I wrote to the author -- Dr. Greene -- and he very kindly took the time to reply, saying that he recommends this book:

 

http://www.amazon.com/Born-Be-Good-Science...7215&sr=8-1

 

I asked admin Dave if this book is available via the exc.net store -- it is, so I ordered two copies. If anybody else has read, or is reading, this book, please post your thoughts on it. Thanks!

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I did get the feeling of dread just from having been born--my soul would have been at better stake if I had not been born--try not feeling depressed.

 

Exactly :( Well, not my "soul" exactly, as I don't even know if such a thing exists, but basically I feel like "existence was forced upon me" (and everybody else) without our permission, yet at the same time we're blamed for it. Blamed for simply being born, and being human.

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for sueeze---------------

 

I have read part of the thread, not all of it because I have time constraints on me. My thing is this---------this "Reverend" person you refer to needs a sudden dose of reality injection from you. Tell him in no uncertain terms that you are not interested in his guilt-tripping bullshit. There is no sky-spook up above to send you or anyone else to eternal torture, simply because you don't honestly believe something! I mean for shit's sakes------how sick is that?

 

That is the subject of an entire other thread-----the notion of the eternal torture of dead people. Wow-----what a fucked up concept. And the purpose of this little nightmare scenario would be exactly what? Just keep asking yourself that question. Think out the story logic-----it really is totally fucked. I mean just what are the mechanics of how one tortures a dead person for eternity? Think about this now----is one issued a new body to be burned over and over again? What body is it? That of a 2 year old toddler who never got baptized, or maybe that of an 80 year old widow who wasn't a Christian to start with?

 

And this makes sense to somebody?

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