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Henry

The Cracks Widen And The Truth Flows In

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Hello, my fellow ex-christians.


 


I was born the year before the attack on Pearl Harbor and the beginning or World War II. What I remember best during those years were the family times; we would regularly go to the Drive In Movies where we would watch Bob Hope, Bing Crosby and Esther Williams in some of the good old family classics.  At home, we would sit by the radio and listen to  "The Green Hornet", "Amos 'n Andy" and other shows;  my father usually was there with his beer and his cigar or pipe.


 


After the war my parents became quite active in our little non-denominational fundamental evangelical congregation.


 


Oddly enough, my parents never pushed me to "get saved".  However, everybody else in the church felt it was their duty to warn us kids about the Rapture when all the "saved" people would be taken to heaven; that scared me to death.


 


So at age 9, I responded to the alter call at a kids evangelical meeting and went down front.  A few days later, my parents congratulated me for "getting saved" and I thought I was done with that stuff.  However, then came the horribly embarrassing ritual of Baptism where you quoted a bible verse and were then dunked into a tank of water built into the stage at the front of the church.


 


The church didn't believe in going to Movies, smoking and drinking.  So no more family fun time at the Drive In Movies.  My father quit drinking and smoking…at least in public.  He attempted to hide his evening drink from me but being a young boy, I noticed everything and I knew what was going on.


 


My father did not have a drinking problem.  He never came home drunk and beat my mother or me.  He simply had a drink in the evenings, much like I do now.  But I was confused; furthermore, because he hid it from me, I felt like an idiot.  My self esteem and self worth fell through the floor and I still have problems with those issues.  Years later my father and I reconciled but I knew that it was pressure from the church that actually caused those issues.   Of course, I completely forgave him.


 


Other than being a little rebellious, I was a good little Christian.  I did 3 years in the Army, went to college, go a job and married a wonderful Episcopalian girl.  We got married in the Episcopal church and later on I became a confirmed Episcopalian.


 


I sometimes reflect that those little cracks of doubt which happen to our "faith" gradually widen into large fissures which begin to let the truth flow into our life.  I was never a staunch, bible thumping Christian, but I still believed in some of the basic doctrines. However, some of those doctrines began to crack when I was about 50.


 


Because of my self worth problems, I decided to go to a Christian counseling center  where I met with a  psychologist who recommended two books.  One was a book about discovering your inner child and the other was a book by Matthew Fox titled "Original Blessing".  He warned me that the second book was somewhat heretical, but I paid it no mind.  Interestingly, when I called to make another appointment with the same psychologist, I was told that he was no longer associated with the clinic.  I guess he was a bit to heretical for them.


 


In the "Original Blessing", Matthew Fox countered the "Fall-Redemption" view with what he called "Creation Spirituality".  The "Original Sin" was replaced with the "Original Blessing".   In other words, we weren't condemned to Hell at all.  It all made sense to me and I totally bought it.


 


So, if we weren't condemned to hell, then why the need to be "saved".  Why did Jesus have to die, rise again and become like God.  No hell, no rapture…the crack had widened and the truth started pouring in.


 


We moved to Colorado in 2000 and started attending a small Episcopal church.  The Rector came to visit us and in the course of our conversation, he said that he had written two books about a fictional religion professor who had sought out a Native American Shaman or Medicine Man to help enlighten him about  the Spirit.  Those books had a profound effect on me; I loved reading about the spirits of men and animals being able to commune with the "Great Spirit".


 


So here's how it went:  there was no original sin which pretty much invalidated the whole christian argument of "getting saved", etc.  So god sent his son? BS, the god of the bible was mean, vindictive and arbitrary.  Good riddance.  Heaven and hell were antiquated ideas that dated back thousands of years.  Get real!  What about prayer?  Exactly to whom do we pray?


 


After all those years of christianity, I found myself all alone in the universe; no personal god, no one to pray to.  However, I began to realize that there was some kind of order in the Universe;  not a predestined path that could not be varied, but more like a huge ever changing web that connected all things together.  The universe provides us with life, sustenance, intrigue, hope; all the things that bible god was supposed to provide but could not.  I could write more, but I am running out of space; maybe later.


 


I finish by saying that I am more pleased, happy, content with my spiritual life now than I  ever could possibly have been when I was trying to adhere to the whims of Christianity.


 


May the FSM be with you, ramen.

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Henry! Welcome to Ex-c! What a wonderful, up-lifting post. Thank you for sharing your story.  You sure sound like your OK now!!

 

Henry, when it first hit me that I was not 'born in sin', I thought my head would not stop spinning inside my brain!! This was brand new information to me!! If I wasn't 'born in sin' - then who was I? I have never felt such freedom!! I am good and bad!! Positive and Negative!! Fully human!! yellow.gif

 

I am so glad you joined us! I hope to hear a lot more of your stories! You are a great writer!!

 

Sincerely, Margee

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Guest Babylonian Dream

Welcome! Those little cracks are the wake up calls that we're being bullshitted. Eventually, we've cut through the BS and found ourselves here.Happily broken free!

 

Well written! I'll second thaat.

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Weclome Henry to this site. It's a good place to learn from some very smart people with similar

experiences with christianity. Interestingly, I was born about two years before you. Some of the

experiences you described were familiar to me, particularly listening to the radio. I loved the radio

as it was in my childhood. All of those old programs at night were great. I remember hearing the Jack

Benny show on the night he did the skit with the "robber" who demanded his money or his life. Benny

paused so long that the robber said, "WELL?" Benny said, "I'm thinking, I'm thinking." That became a

classic and I still cannot recall it without laughing, at least to myself. I even remember VE day....

although, of course I really didn't know what it was about. They seemed such wonderful days to such a

young boy who would not learn about what was happening in Poland and the rest of Europe for many years, thank gawd. It's amazing how brainwashed we all were about so many things, particularly Xtianity.

 

But it's great to have you join us. I think you will enjoy the free exchange of ignorance we engage in on a regular basis. Actually there are some really smart folks here who keep things going. And Xtians

visit us from time to time to tell us, site unseen, how we went wrong. Those exchanges are usually very uh, uh--- entertaining. I'll let you select you're own different or additional adjectives. I look

forward to getting to know you better. bill

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Henry! Welcome to Ex-c! What a wonderful, up-lifting post. Thank you for sharing your story.  You sure sound like your OK now!!

 

Henry, when it first hit me that I was not 'born in sin', I thought my head would not stop spinning inside my brain!! This was brand new information to me!! If I wasn't 'born in sin' - then who was I? I have never felt such freedom!! I am good and bad!! Positive and Negative!! Fully human!! yellow.gif

 

I am so glad you joined us! I hope to hear a lot more of your stories! You are a great writer!!

 

Sincerely, Margee

Thank you.

 

I had to leave out a lot due to brevity.  In actuality, I read the book about finding your inner child first and set the "Original Blessing" aside.  It was several years later before I read it.  Not really knowing what the book was about, I picked it up and started reading it.  My mind was blown!  The author, Matthew Fox, was a Catholic priest at that time (they kicked him out and he became an Episcopal priest) and he got into a lot of "spiritual talk" which lost me.  But, I got the general idea.  NO ORIGINAL SIN!  And like the house of cards that it is, christianity began to fall.  

 

The interesting thing is that that book was just what I needed at that time in my life (not years before when I bought it).  That happens to me a lot.  :-)

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Weclome Henry to this site. It's a good place to learn from some very smart people with similar

experiences with christianity. Interestingly, I was born about two years before you. Some of the

experiences you described were familiar to me, particularly listening to the radio. I loved the radio

as it was in my childhood. All of those old programs at night were great. I remember hearing the Jack

Benny show on the night he did the skit with the "robber" who demanded his money or his life. Benny

paused so long that the robber said, "WELL?" Benny said, "I'm thinking, I'm thinking." That became a

classic and I still cannot recall it without laughing, at least to myself. I even remember VE day....

although, of course I really didn't know what it was about. They seemed such wonderful days to such a

young boy who would not learn about what was happening in Poland and the rest of Europe for many years, thank gawd. It's amazing how brainwashed we all were about so many things, particularly Xtianity.

 

But it's great to have you join us. I think you will enjoy the free exchange of ignorance we engage in on a regular basis. Actually there are some really smart folks here who keep things going. And Xtians

visit us from time to time to tell us, site unseen, how we went wrong. Those exchanges are usually very uh, uh--- entertaining. I'll let you select you're own different or additional adjectives. I look

forward to getting to know you better. bill

Damn, somebody older'n me.  I was young, but one thing I do remember about those war years: everyone pulled together and we all helped each other.  Fortunately, we lived on a farm and had cows, chickens, pigs and other animals that provided food which was rationed.  We didn't hoard it either, we helped other folks.  

 

Yep and those radio programs were the best, I loved them!

 

Cheers

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Well, what's a year or two, here or there? Cheers to you. bill

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Guest r3alchild

That was lovely to read, thankyou for sharing.

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I don’t know much about the Episcopalian religion but Bishop John Shelby Spong is one of my favorite authors. Like many Christians who become enlightened Bishop Spong notes that he is a mystic or more precisely that he leans strongly in that direction. When Christians come to the realization that Christianity is built on a foundation of myths, legends, and folklore, and the bible, at least the new testament, is probably mostly a midrash interpretation or rewrite of old testament stories then mysticism or gnostism, one of the oldest forms of woship, is about the only option left for those who seek some form of spirituality.

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Welcome, Henry!

 

It is amazing how reading just one book outside the traditional Christian mindset can throw your eyes wide open.  That's what happened to me.  I remember reading lots of Christian apologetics books to help me work through some questions I had when I was a Christian.  Funny, not one of them did much of anything to bolster my faith.

 

The truth really does set you free.

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Welcome to Ex-C, Henry.  I read Original Blessing when it first came out.  At that time (early-to mid 80's), I was a lapsed-catholic-new-agey-spiritual-mystical-deist-agnostic--sorta.  lol.    Back then, Matthew Fox's creation theology was a good fit for me from a spiritual, psychological, and an environmental perspective.  When Ratzinger, in his role of Chief Inquisitor of the catholic church, silenced and/or  excommunicated Fox and over a hundred other catholic scholars, I figured Fox was onto something good.  (Ratz was also the end of any possibility of me ever returning to catholicism.)      But just as you said, if there's no original sin, there is no need for a redeemer and certainly no need for christinsanity.  

 

If I had to be a christian, I'd go the Matthew Fox/Shelby Spong route.   Since they are vilified as heretics by True ChristiansTM , they are still good in my book.      GONZ9729CustomImage1539775.gif

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Thanks for sharing Henry. It's interesting that the first cracks for me were also around the concept of original sin. For me it was evolution that started the crack. If evolution is true then Adam and Eve never existed and original sin couldn't have started that easily. No original sin? No christ either...

 

Atheism has done for us what NO GOD could do. It's taken away our sin! Amazing isn't it?!

 

Welcome to freedom.

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Thanks for sharing your story, Henry -- very interesting!

 

Although I was a child of the 1970s, I was very close to my great-grandmother who found stations that played a lot of the old radio shows. I really enjoyed listening to them, and still recall "The Shadow," "Suspense" and many others. There was also a radio show in the 1970s and '80s called "Mystery Theater" which continued the legacy of the old style radio programs. I loved it, but the stories sometimes cared the crap out of me.

 

I feel a strong sense of kinship with liberal Christians, as well as freethinkers. Those who have rejected the horrors of an eternal hell as incompatible with a loving God, but who still value the strong sense of community and love that the best of Christianity is supposed to engender. Unfortunately, many Christians become judgmental a-holes who vilify anyone who dares to disagree with them or question the validity and inerrancy of the Bible.

 

Fortunately, there are those who are Christians who have rejected the militancy of the faith. I just wish there were more of them and less of the psychotic, raving lunatics who threaten eternal damnation and are obsessed with the rapture.

 

Welcome to this website! Glad to have you aboard.

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Thanks for sharing Henry. It's interesting that the first cracks for me were also around the concept of original sin. For me it was evolution that started the crack. If evolution is true then Adam and Eve never existed and original sin couldn't have started that easily. No original sin? No christ either...

 

Atheism has done for us what NO GOD could do. It's taken away our sin! Amazing isn't it?!

 

Welcome to freedom.

The doctrine of original sin appears to be one of the most vulnerable and critical spots on the soft underbelly of christian doctrine.  You might even say that it is the brainstem of the christian mind(lessness). (oooh, this is fun).

 

It is interesting to note that our approaches were from different directions;  mine was spiritual, i.e. the spiritual idea of original sin was invalid, to be replaced with the ideal of original blessing.  Your approach was scientific, i.e. the theory of evolution disproves the existence of the Adam and Eve and hence invalidates the whole story including the idea of original sin.

 

Just shows that any way you approach it, the doctrines of christianity are a CROCK.  (hee hee)

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I don’t know much about the Episcopalian religion but Bishop John Shelby Spong is one of my favorite authors. Like many Christians who become enlightened Bishop Spong notes that he is a mystic or more precisely that he leans strongly in that direction. When Christians come to the realization that Christianity is built on a foundation of myths, legends, and folklore, and the bible, at least the new testament, is probably mostly a midrash interpretation or rewrite of old testament stories then mysticism or gnostism, one of the oldest forms of woship, is about the only option left for those who seek some form of spirituality.

 

 

Thanks for sharing your story, Henry -- very interesting!

 

Although I was a child of the 1970s, I was very close to my great-grandmother who found stations that played a lot of the old radio shows. I really enjoyed listening to them, and still recall "The Shadow," "Suspense" and many others. There was also a radio show in the 1970s and '80s called "Mystery Theater" which continued the legacy of the old style radio programs. I loved it, but the stories sometimes cared the crap out of me.

 

I feel a strong sense of kinship with liberal Christians, as well as freethinkers. Those who have rejected the horrors of an eternal hell as incompatible with a loving God, but who still value the strong sense of community and love that the best of Christianity is supposed to engender. Unfortunately, many Christians become judgmental a-holes who vilify anyone who dares to disagree with them or question the validity and inerrancy of the Bible.

 

Fortunately, there are those who are Christians who have rejected the militancy of the faith. I just wish there were more of them and less of the psychotic, raving lunatics who threaten eternal damnation and are obsessed with the rapture.

 

Welcome to this website! Glad to have you aboard.

Yes, thank goodness for those liberal, progressive christian leaders like Bishop Spong, Matthew Fox and others.  Another that I am familiar with is Robin Meyers, the senior minister of the UCC of Oklahoma City.

 

In spite of the fact that they are still within the framework of christianity,  the ideas that these teachers and preachers espouse serve as gateways out of the demeaning and demanding kingdom of christianity.

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Welcome to Ex-C, Henry.  I read Original Blessing when it first came out.  At that time (early-to mid 80's), I was a lapsed-catholic-new-agey-spiritual-mystical-deist-agnostic--sorta.  lol.    Back then, Matthew Fox's creation theology was a good fit for me from a spiritual, psychological, and an environmental perspective.  When Ratzinger, in his role of Chief Inquisitor of the catholic church, silenced and/or  excommunicated Fox and over a hundred other catholic scholars, I figured Fox was onto something good.  (Ratz was also the end of any possibility of me ever returning to catholicism.)      But just as you said, if there's no original sin, there is no need for a redeemer and certainly no need for christinsanity.  

 

If I had to be a christian, I'd go the Matthew Fox/Shelby Spong route.   Since they are vilified as heretics by True ChristiansTM , they are still good in my book.      GONZ9729CustomImage1539775.gif

Yes, and Matthew Fox was accepted into the Episcopal denomination.  And what about Bishop Spong, the Episcopalians have never booted him out in spite of his extremely liberal views. What about Thomas Jefferson, he was an Anglican (the English ancestor of the Epis. church); he was also a Deist and compiled his own version of the new testament (he removed all references to spiritual and supernatural).

 

I have always said (and still do) that if you absolutely, just gotta, be in some christian denomination, choose the Episcopal denomination;  it has to be the most liberal of the bunch.

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I was scanning "God Is Not Good" and a read up a little on the two trees in the garden that A and E

were not supposed to touch or eat the fruit of. (Let it dangle. I don't give a shit.)Hitchens referred to The Leviathan by Hobbes as pointing out very subtly that the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil and the Tree of Eternal Light were actually inconsistent. A and E, after eating the forbidden fruit,

were to die; but if they ate of the Tree of Eternal Light they would live forever and be like the gods

despite god's having kicked them out of the Garden? It raises some crazy questions, like: What happens if A and E had not eaten the fruit of either tree? Would they have died anyway? If not, would they

have lived eternal life on earth or in heaven even if they hadn't eaten the Tree of Eternal Life?

 

What if they ate of the Tree of Eternal Life first, that is, before eating the forbidden fruit? Would they have died anyway after later eating the forbidden fruit? I have not thought all this through yet, but there are a lot more questions raised. God created quite a tangled web, didn't he? bill

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As an exJew, I have always found the Christian concept of original sin fascinating. The Adam and Eve story is in the Jewish Bible as well, yet Jews interpret it very differently. God gets angry and punishes Eve with childbirth, the snake with crawling on its belly and all humans mortality. Mortality is just that in Jewish tradition. It is simply that you die. There is no specifiic fiery hell. Many Jewis scholars believe that the story is more of a parable. The take home is that Adam and Eve disobeyed their parental figure. Little human children have no concept of nakedness, of sexuality or of mortality. Children defy their parents as part of their growing up and they lese that innocence. Similarly, Adam and Eve gave up the protection and comfort of ignorance by defying god. They lose the illusion that life is forever and that they were made to be attracted sexually to one another. 

 

Similarly, there are 613 laws that a Jewish person is supposed to follow every day. Humans, being imperfect (not sinful, imperfect) are going to screw up. Our biggest obligation is to try harder to get it right on the next. day. 

 

I can't even imagine what it is like to be taught that you are a wretched sinner. How very awful. The god of the old testament is a nasty SOB and there are lots of reasons to  not worship such a creature. (Let's just talk about circumcision, Lot's daughters, killing babies...etc) There are also lots of inconsistencies and outright erroneous information in the Tanach. Plenty enough reason to toss it aside.

 

I just wanted to say to all of the exchristians on this forum that I am so sorry that you were indoctrinated into such a terrble self loathing. I wish I could tell my still Christian friends that they are not wretched sinners, but are wonderful, warm, imperfect people who need no redemption. They only need to make an effort every day to be a better version of themselves.

 

I want to hug you all.

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What a wonderful, refreshing view you have expressed. What a dirty, dehumanizing religion we were taught. Thank you so much for your post. Please post hear more often. bill

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FlorenceHami: What would your take be on the questions I suggested about the Adam and Eve story in #19,

above? For example, do you think the concept in the writer's mind was that A and E would ultimately die

anyway, even if they hadn't eaten the forbidden fruit? bill

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FlorenceHami: What would your take be on the questions I suggested about the Adam and Eve story in #19,

above? For example, do you think the concept in the writer's mind was that A and E would ultimately die

anyway, even if they hadn't eaten the forbidden fruit? bill

According to the bible, god knows all. I would have to assume that he knew that A and E were going to lose their innocence and eat from the tree of knowledge. It would seem that the consequences of eating the forbidden fruit always existed. A and E simply did not know. 

I do buy into the parable that casts god as the parent. As parents, we want to protect our children from the worries of the world for as long as we can. At some point, all parents realize that we cannot protect our children forever. 

 

The writers of the bible stories anthropomorphized the god of their tales. I seems sensible that they would make god-the father just that...a father.

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As an exJew, I have always found the Christian concept of original sin fascinating. The Adam and Eve story is in the Jewish Bible as well, yet Jews interpret it very differently. God gets angry and punishes Eve with childbirth, the snake with crawling on its belly and all humans mortality. Mortality is just that in Jewish tradition. It is simply that you die. There is no specifiic fiery hell. Many Jewis scholars believe that the story is more of a parable. The take home is that Adam and Eve disobeyed their parental figure. Little human children have no concept of nakedness, of sexuality or of mortality. Children defy their parents as part of their growing up and they lese that innocence. Similarly, Adam and Eve gave up the protection and comfort of ignorance by defying god. They lose the illusion that life is forever and that they were made to be attracted sexually to one another. 

 

Similarly, there are 613 laws that a Jewish person is supposed to follow every day. Humans, being imperfect (not sinful, imperfect) are going to screw up. Our biggest obligation is to try harder to get it right on the next. day. 

 

I can't even imagine what it is like to be taught that you are a wretched sinner. How very awful. The god of the old testament is a nasty SOB and there are lots of reasons to  not worship such a creature. (Let's just talk about circumcision, Lot's daughters, killing babies...etc) There are also lots of inconsistencies and outright erroneous information in the Tanach. Plenty enough reason to toss it aside.

 

I just wanted to say to all of the exchristians on this forum that I am so sorry that you were indoctrinated into such a terrble self loathing. I wish I could tell my still Christian friends that they are not wretched sinners, but are wonderful, warm, imperfect people who need no redemption. They only need to make an effort every day to be a better version of themselves.

 

I want to hug you all.

Thank you FlorenceHami, this is great stuff.

 

Consider this: the Doctrine of Original Sin was formulated by Augustine (boo hiss) and adopted as a doctrine of the church in the 5th century.  So, based on what Florence has said, the original christians and Jesus, for that matter, believed the Jewish traditional interpretation of the story of Adam and Eve.  It wasn't until 500 years later that this abominable doctrine was introduced; this demeaning and spirit crushing idea that has done so much harm to countless millions of fundamentalists over the years.  

 

 

>I just wanted to say to all of the exchristians on this forum that I am so sorry that you were indoctrinated into such a terrble self loathing. I wish I could tell my still Christian friends that they are not wretched sinners, but are wonderful, warm, imperfect people who need no redemption. They only need to make an effort every day to be a better version of themselves.

 

>I want to hug you all.

 

You are truly a dear person, Florence, thank you very much.

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Literalizing metaphor is the problem, but any other approach to scripture nullifies its perceived sacredness and therefore its authority. When a supposed sacred text, any sacred text, is exposed as a human creation it loses its sacred status. When that happens it becomes the first in a long line of dominos that begin to fall. When all the dominos have fallen there is nothing left and religion becomes essentially meaningless.

 

Liberal Christians, such as Bishop Spong, clearly aren’t Christians because they don’t accept the Divinity of Christ or the sacredness of scripture. By definition a Christian is someone who is a follower and worshipper of Christ. Once Christ Divinity is stripped away he becomes either just another human being or worse yet a myth.

 

When I discovered the bible was a very human creation I tried to make some form of liberal Christianity work for me but I couldn’t. If the bible isn’t sacred and Jesus isn’t Divine then I could find no reason to wear the name Christian or identify with a religion that worshipped a man or maybe a myth.

Once Christianity has been exposed for what it actually is and essentially destroyed the only spiritual option left would seem to be some form of mysticism or Deism.

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...

When I discovered the bible was a very human creation I tried to make some form of liberal Christianity work for me but I couldn’t. If the bible isn’t sacred and Jesus isn’t Divine then I could find no reason to wear the name Christian or identify with a religion that worshipped a man or maybe a myth.

Once Christianity has been exposed for what it actually is and essentially destroyed the only spiritual option left would seem to be some form of mysticism or Deism.

 

This is where my wife is right now. She knows that if she continues to have 'faith' it'll be in something that isn't real. She's leaning towards being a "Jesus follower" which essentially means a "person who loves others". I'm (gently) trying to point out that she doesn't need faith for this... 

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I think that there is a place for the idea that something pretty important happened when humans moved from verbal and pictoral communication to the written word. What is special about the human era beginning with the Sumerians is that this is when writing was born. There is a fair amount of overlap between the ideas of the various ancients about the origins of the world and the mystery of death. I can understand how many people today can consider that there may have been an inspiration from a greater being. 

Personally, I think that the bible stories are a combination of parables handed down verbally over the years previous to written language, combined with characterizatons of real events through the eyes of iron age people. So much was beyond their scope of understanding. Assigning these events a devine presence was the only way to cope with explaining the unexplainable. We still face things that are unexplainable at our current state of enlightenment. Certainly, the god theory of the universe has been completely disproven in terms of everything from the position of the earth relative to the sun to the creation of humans. It is enough for me to be convinced that the god theory is false.

Perhaps, for people like Vern's wife, she really DOES need faith in her life. I think some people are wired to need that sort of reassurance. 

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