Jump to content

Exiting The Righteous Path?


Recommended Posts

I was taken by unbelief in July of 2013. (That is to say, I chose to leave Christianity. I could no longer believe the things that I had been taught over the years since "coming to Christ" and "surrendering my self to the Lord" and such.)


What really happened was that I finally realized that I was talking to myself. All of the prayers were baloney. All of the long nights of Bible study were hooey. I couldn’t stomach another Christian contemporary song on the radio and I just realized that I could no longer go through with passing myself off as a Christian anymore.


I was not raised in the church or anywhere near it. Both of my parents had bad experiences with the church as children and were mostly non-religious as I was growing up. My grandmother was religious, but that mostly amounted to her reading her worn NIV Bible at night and nothing more. As a child, I went to Vacation Bible School and never went to church on a regular Sunday. I had some vague notions of God, Jesus, sin, and the Bible, most of it gleaned from years of avid television watching and reading. That was about it.

 

When I was 13, my family moved to another state and my mom suddenly became a Christian. She started attending a church. I was expected to attend youth group and services on Sundays. I didn’t care much for it, it was boring and I didn’t see the point in it all. At 14, I voluntarily withdrew from the whole shebang. After that, my mom quit attending and we went back to our heathen ways.


I suppose that I should mention that my mother went through several spiritual journeys during my childhood. She is an old hippie, very much into New Age type stuff. My father is of Native American ancestry and she has some such thing in her background as well, so she explored Native beliefs on and off throughout my formative years. She was also into Tarot readings, palmistry, I Ching, dowsing, astral projection, dream interpretation, angel communication and a lot of other weird things.


As a kid and a teen, I loved exploring new things with her. We would go to the library and research different things. I got really into Tarot and palmistry and we also became very deeply connected to a form of Neo-Paganism based around our Native heritage. We never practiced it though, only talked about doing it. As I got older, I lost interest in it and moved in between Atheism, Deism, various forms of Neo-Paganism and Satanism.


At 22, I went through a lot of things in my life (graduated college, took a crappy job, had a fuckton of family drama, some health issues, a nasty break-up) and found myself becoming involved with a local church. It was an Emergent Non-Denominational Hipster church. The pastor played video games, wore band tees, was a Star Wars fanboy, and used the Brick Testament to help us picture certain scenes from the Bible during his sermons. Everyone there was really down-to-earth and friendly.


I became very close with a woman who worked at the church. We exchanged emails weekly, sometimes more often and she began to teach me a lot about the Bible and Jesus. She was a lot older than me and came from a fundie 80s background. She really convicted me about a lot of my lifestyle choices, such as partying, drinking, smoking pot, and being involved in a string of one-sided lesbian relationships. At first, I didn’t mind her pointing out my flaws. I knew that I needed to stop drinking and get out of the party scene I was involved with. But pot? No way, I wasn’t giving that up.


Well, 3 years later, I did give up smoking pot. That’s when I began to question whether I wanted to be a Christian. Living the Christian lifestyle put a lot of undue pressure on me. I was the only believer in my close-knit family. I was also the only Christian amongst my group of friends. I had not taken to the church community, mostly due to my work schedule. I worked nights and weekends mostly, which cut into the amount of time I could devote to socializing with the church crowd.


Giving up pot made me realize how empty I was, how depressed I was, how stressed I was. I struggled to confront a lot of my issues and I also saw that I hadn’t really been changed by Jesus. Despite all of the time that I had spent alone with my Bible, and all of the prayers, I didn’t really have a relationship with Him. And it crushed me like a ton of bricks. My mentor told me not to lose heart and we began doing a Bible study based on the gospel of John.


I did not want to give up on God. I sincerely believed and I had been baptized by this point. I had been through the ringer personally, with family drama and the struggles of trying to de-gay myself over the years as I was convinced that lesbian=shitfuck, I’m going to Hell no matter what! My mentor assured me that I could live a new and improved life in the light. I didn’t need marijuana; I had the Holy Spirit! My lesbian sickness could be healed through Jesus! Pray more, study more, stay away from old habits!


And so I tried. And tried. Until one day I hit a wall while driving to visit a relative in a remote part of the state. As I drove along the twisted roads and passed all of these tiny buildings with big signs advertising “Jesus Gospel” and “New Covenant” and “The Lord’s Chapel” and “88th Baptist Congregation of Nowheresville”, I began to question whether or not I wanted to be a part of it all. Did I really want to be a cell in body of Christ? Did I even want to be an atom of it? My mind rushed to and fro as I pulled into a Family Dollar parking lot. I needed something to drink, maybe an offbrand snack of some sort. I ended up purchasing a cheap air freshener and some awful flavored tea, Jamaican Rainbow Surprise or some shit.


I couldn’t shake the feeling of not wanting to be part of the body, of the church, of Christ. The feeling haunted me for awhile. I stuck it out through the Bible study and confessed to my mentor that I was in a dark place, having doubts and asked to pray with her. She grew tired of my doubt roller coaster and decided to start pressing me about attending church on a more regular basis. I needed fellowship, I needed friends, I needed to trust God, I needed to quit being such a headcase.


I couldn’t bring myself to forgive, forget and move on. My doubts were eating me and it became impossible for me confess the faith or even pray in His name. I no longer viewed Christianity as healthy and productive and the key to all success as I had before. I no longer cared about having my sins forgiven. I couldn’t deny that I was gay anymore. I couldn’t pretend to believe that God intelligently designed an Earth where I’d have to deal with the health issues I’ve had since age 13. I grew tired of waiting to see if He was going to heal me or my mother, who also chronic health issues. I was sick of beating myself up about every single thing.


See, even though my former church was great and pretty liberal compared to most churches...it was all a sham. There was a lot of pressure to turn away from secularism, to not be “of the world”. We were being set apart, to be a light on a hill, to show others Christ through our powerful love, to do great things in our little suburban hamlet. You didn’t have to give up everything, just everything that you really enjoyed.


For me, that meant giving up music. That was a hard road for me. It wasn’t about content; it was about spirit. Music was from God, but Satan could and would pollute the believer’s mind with deception and lies through music. Mature believers could get away with listening to some secular music but a young believer? No way, not if it could be avoided. I swapped out my beloved rock and punk for worship songs and lame Christian alternative music. I muscled through it and eventually gave up on music altogether and switched to talk radio and podcasts.


Even that wasn’t safe. It needed to be Christian. Christian news, uplifting, life-affirming, positive! Then came the editing of television. I gave up on HBO shows and Adult Swim. After that, I quit watching everything except for a few reality shows. I entered a deep depression after I sold my DVD collection on Craigslist. It was all in the name of the Lord though, so I could follow Him. Yippee!!!


I was depressed and there was no end in sight. It didn’t seem to matter how much time I devoted to Bible study and prayer. I became increasingly cynical and started obsessing over one the remaining tv shows that I was watching at the time, The Amazing Race. My mentor suggested that I attend a course sponsored by Focus on the Family held at my church to get me back on track. Anything to get me back in the church was a-ok with her.

So I went. It was a clusterfuck of bus-throw and pseudo-science. Carl Sagan was their whipping boy, followed by Charles Darwin. The purpose of it was to help the non-critical thinking Christian develop an appropriately critical worldview. The worldview taught in this course is a narrow-minded, science-skeptical, and right-wing slanted one. I expect nothing less of a Focus on the Family sponsored course, but I wasn’t expecting to have it shown at the church I was attending.


It was the next-to-last straw for me. The classes were nothing more than propaganda for a worldview that I did not share. No one with any sort of critical thinking ability and a grain of scientific knowledge in them would swallow the hot load of shit that was being passed off as “truth” in that course. I told my mentor as much, as well as an acquaintance who had attended some of the sessions with me. My mentor was shocked and hurt and we didn’t talk for about a month after that confession. My acquaintance was nicer about it, but I don’t think that she really wanted to say too much that was critical of it since she had recently been promoted in the church hierarchy.


I began slipping further and further away. I began to think more and more about what I believed, what I had experienced. I read about history and science and spent more time writing. I began to listen to music again. I quit doing Bible study. I was happy for awhile, until I had a crisis of faith. I was going too far into the enemy’s territory, I was sure of it. I was scared that I might lose faith, become an unbeliever.


So I hit the prayer deck and decided to stop writing. And listening to music. I had a revelation that I wasn’t a lesbian, I was supposed to be married to a man, blah blah blah. I was supposed to be living this awesome Godly life, I needed to go to church! But every time I would plan on going, something would happen. Couldn’t find my keys even after praying to locate them. My dog ran away during her morning walk and I had to go look for her. Overslept.


Surely it was the enemy keeping me from church? My mentor said it was just me being lazy and scared. I wasn’t really a Christian, was I? My morale was pretty low and I finally did make it to church. Just in time to hear a testimony from a family whose son had survived a rare form of cancer. Everything was so “fantastic”, “blessed”, “miraculous”, “awesome”! No one else could see just how much bullshit their story really was. There was nothing special about it. The Lord had not healed him; modern medicine, science and the ability to access and afford high quality treatment had!


After I left church that morning, I drove past an empty field and thought of all the kids who died in the world. Kids die every day. I was feeling morbid and I wanted to tell these people that their son was not special, he was not chosen. He was just lucky. The odds had been in his favor. And he wasn’t out of the woods yet. Cancer is a quiet disease. It can be sneaky and the treatments themselves can be quite damaging.


Mostly I just wanted to shake them and make them see that God hadn’t done jackshit to save their little boy. And if He had done something to save their boy, then why not the little kid who got shot in the head downtown that night? Or my cousin after a drunk driver mowed him down two blocks from his house and left him to die on the sidewalk? Was that really just part of His divine plan?


I just couldn’t do it anymore. I haven’t been back to church since. I still listen to sermons online and every once in awhile, I study the Bible. I am very critical of it now, especially the New Testament. Mostly it is a response to stress and a need of mine to resolve some issues within me. I just can’t with Jesus anymore. I don’t think he’s real, no matter what you call him. I can’t stand Paul either. Revelations is just weird. The gospels don’t do anything for me. The OT is brutal, but at least it’s cohesive and occasionally entertaining.


Another big factor lately is that another Christian friend of mine keeps suggesting that I attend a Messianic Jewish Bible study with her. She and I have exchanged some emails about it recently. I did my own research and I’ve concluded that Messianics are deluded. I think that the movement should be renamed “Judaic Christianity”. It’d be a more accurate description of what they actually believe.


That’s all for now.

~seven77

  • Like 7
Link to post
Share on other sites

  • Super Moderator

Welcome seven.  I enjoyed your story tremendously as you have a unique writing style.  I'm glad you are here and I hope things will start to get better for you now.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Welcome seven77! yellow.gif

 

First off, congrats on escaping and congrats on finding this website! I am sure you will find many resources here to strengthen your unbelief. 

 

Second off, thank you for sharing your extimony. I like reading these because they truly come from the heart of the people who write them. They are often sad, heart-breaking stories, but they are beautiful because they tell of a journey to a realization that religion isn't all it is cracked up to be. (Insert virtual hug from me to you here.)

 

I wish you the very best as you continue this beautiful journey and find yourself. 

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Hey 7 - Welcome to the journey. I know it's hard not to get cynical but I would encourage you to look for positive input whenever possible. I found that Ted Talks helped me tremendously in the early days and they have become part of my regular intellectual diet. 

 

I also found that non-religious books were a huge help to me. Two that I really enjoyed were Cosmic Quest by Heather Couper and The Ethical Brain by Michael Gazzaniga. These allowed me to learn something new and interesting while all the other stuff related to my beliefs were churning in the background.

 

Glad to have you here. Keep us updated please!

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Welcome!

Link to post
Share on other sites

Welcome!   So appreciate your story and that you have joined us.   I have a friend also pushing the "Christ-Judaism" stuff.   I am not saying christianity but rather just "christ" because these types usually reject "historical" christianity as created by the man-made "church".   In the end all as nutty as the rest.  Stay free - don't bite.   They try to play off your frustration with christianity like they offer something different.   In the end it is all still - "wwwoooo".  (fill in ghostly accent)   

Link to post
Share on other sites

Welcome seven! that is quite a journey. Sit back, relax and have a read of this site and post whenever you want/need to.. You are not alone. I wish you all the best in you recovery from christianity. :)

Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for all of the encouragement.

 

I was going through some things I had written and came across some emails. I thought they'd make a nice addendum to my extimony. Personal details have been left out.

*******

 

THIS devotional piece is what started this catfight of sorts between my mentor and I. It was the last time we talked, almost a month ago.

 

The following are excerpts from an email that I sent to her in response to the devotional piece.

 

The Distraction of Antipathy that is referred to in the devotional piece is one that assumes that all persons stay away from God, church, His leading, etc solely because they find it distasteful. It's a harmful, shameful opinion that keeps a believer from wanting to deepen their relationship with God.

 

I do not believe this is true. Some of us have reached plateaus and others are simply tired of the life of devotion. Perhaps they know God and are satisfied with their current level of devotion, not desiring to draw closer to God for whatever reason floats their boat.

Of course, floating your own boat is egotistical, selfish and not of God. That sort of thinking is what Oswald is speaking against in the devotional piece. If you love God, if you're in love with the Lord of All, you should correct this desire to please yourself. Your standards are not high enough, you are slipping, you are sinning. Yet you shouldn't care about the world, or the cares of this life. So how does one go about correcting such an error if you are not supposed to care in the first place?

 

Perhaps I am taking things too seriously here, but I wanted to share what was on my mind as I read this Oswald. I have doubts. I don't go to church anymore. I choose not to devote much energy to the Word or living a Godly life these days. Faith is fine, but I no longer define it according to the same standards as [name of church removed] would seem to indicate. Am I even really a member if I don't attend services and have serious doubts in regards to the Christian faith as a whole?

I have stayed away because I know how toxic these thought patterns are to those who are on the fence, or are struggling. It is not encouraging to most to hear of the struggles of one. I have no desire to hinder the walk of another, as I believe that sort of thing interferes with the free will that God has given us. I keep my opinions and my doubts to myself for the most part, choosing only to discuss these sorts of things with mature believers such as [names of people I trusted in the church removed] and occasionally with nonbelievers that I respect.

 

Some things that I have within me are too dark to share, so I write them out instead. I frequent an online community for skeptics [was lurking here and WWGHA and another forum for writers that has a lot of skeptics on it] and have been for quite some time. A lot of what is said there resonates with me. I used to feel bad about this, but I no longer do. I think that it is healthy to have questions and doubts and even fears when it comes to one's faith or lack thereof and not finding any sort of resolution in the Bible [as a Christian], one must come to terms with them or go crazy.

 

PARAGRAPH REMOVED DUE PERSONAL CONTENT, talked about my homosexuality.

 

Maybe that sucks in your opinion and maybe you think I'm wrong. That's ok. I am no longer hung up on these things. I prayed and prayed for God to change me and at one time, I believed that He would, could and possibly had...until I realized that it's just not going to happen unless I force myself to convert to being straight. Being straight is not a natural state for me. I've tried it and I don't like it, so it's not like I'm dismissing it offhand.

 

*******

 

Her response, very briefly summarized:

  • You're not seeking God.
  • I can't help you anymore.
  • You are unwilling to become what God requires [straight].
  • Repenting is the changing of your mind and obviously you haven't apologized to God...so your apologies are meaningless to me.
  • The spiritual realm [God, Jesus, etc] is supernatural, but it is not magical. Brain explodey time!

There were several emails exchanged between us, but the gist of them was always that I was trying to explain why I had given into unbelief. She never understood that and wanted to claim that I didn't know what I was talking about [wrong interpretation of scripture, misquoting scripture, confused, angry, unrepentant, stubborn, stagnant, lukewarm and all sorts of other things]. Or sometimes she'd change tracks and attempt to accuse me of being judgemental, a Pharisee, jealous, Socialist...

 

And that, folks, is how I ended up here.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Super Moderator

Why do you need to justify yourself to someone else?  Let alone someone else's god?  The simple fact is: you don't.  You are who you are and that is good enough.  If someone else, or someone else's god, can not accept you as you are, then to hell with them.  There is no sin.  There is no need for repentance.  The only need is the need to live your life to the fullest.  

 

I may be wrong, but you seem like a very strong person.  What you may not realize is just how strong you are.  You don't need anyone else's approval; you have your own.  That is enough.

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks, RedneckProfessor.

 

I think that I am a strong person, I've just been through a lot in life. Kinda wore me down over the years.

 

I don't think that I have to justify anything to anyone these days. The whole bs between my former mentor and I was mostly because she just could not accept my decisions. I really wanted her to, because we had grown close over the years and she was/is like a second mother to me in many ways. However, I've come to the conclusion that I don't need her acceptance. It's her loss that I am probably not going to be in her life very much from here on out. Her views, her Jesus...are more important to her than anything else, I think. She's already alienated 3 of 4 of her kids with her OTT Jesus-freak damn-near Jehovah's Witness-like beliefs and her self-righteous Moral Majority judgemental attitudes.

 

I sent her a holiday card yesterday, made me think of her. That's why I was going through old emails, trying to figure out what had happened between us, how I got here, etc. Maybe some things are left in the dark, but facing this, getting past this severed and broken relationship with her, is a big part of my healing process.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Super Moderator

I know what you're saying.  I've all but cut my parents off for the same ultra-jesus-freak behavior.  If it weren't for my son and instilling the value of family in him, I'd have nothing more to do with them.  They've even skipped his birthday to attend church.

 

I'm glad you recognize the healing process you are going through.  When I first left the church, I didn't realize that I would need any healing.  At first I just went about my business as usual.  Then later I started to realize that my perspectives were out-of-whack and that my interactions with others were often skewed and one-sided.  I started to wonder what was wrong with me and finally figured out just how screwed up I was.  It took a couple of years for me to approach anything like normalcy, and I've come to the conclusion that I'm about as close now as I ever will be (which is to say, I'm as close as anybody can be).

 

If you need anything at all, you just give me a hollar.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks, RedneckProfessor.

 

I think that I am a strong person, I've just been through a lot in life. Kinda wore me down over the years.

 

I don't think that I have to justify anything to anyone these days. The whole bs between my former mentor and I was mostly because she just could not accept my decisions. I really wanted her to, because we had grown close over the years and she was/is like a second mother to me in many ways. However, I've come to the conclusion that I don't need her acceptance. It's her loss that I am probably not going to be in her life very much from here on out. Her views, her Jesus...are more important to her than anything else, I think. She's already alienated 3 of 4 of her kids with her OTT Jesus-freak damn-near Jehovah's Witness-like beliefs and her self-righteous Moral Majority judgemental attitudes.

 

I sent her a holiday card yesterday, made me think of her. That's why I was going through old emails, trying to figure out what had happened between us, how I got here, etc. Maybe some things are left in the dark, but facing this, getting past this severed and broken relationship with her, is a big part of my healing process.

 

This is a loss, and as such, you need time to grieve it. You invested a lot of time and energy into your relationship with her, and you thought she cared about you as a person only to find out that she really didn't. Please understand that her behavior has absolutely nothing to do with you. It isn't a reflection on you in any way, shape or form. It's got everything to do with her. I get how painful it is to see people you were so close with, or at least on good terms with, completely abandon you over things that should never have been an issue for them in the first place. Churchies are like that. It's because of their own fears, their own irrationality, and their own issues that they do this kind of thing to those of us who have moved on from religion.

 

This reminds me of someone I thought I could trust at the last church I visited regularly. I think I may have mentioned her in passing here before, but I called her Julie. I really looked up to Julie, I admired her so much. I wished I could be as devout as her. I wished I could be like her. She seemed so sure of herself, and I wanted that for myself too. We'd talk periodically, and she was someone I thought I could turn to since none of the others there could be bothered, even though she was a gossip junkie. Julie was the first one I told about what happened in the church basement a year and a half ago, and I'm sure she spread it around. Julie and I got to talking after church when my great-uncle died that summer, and I was a major wreck over it. I know in hindsight Julie was only there to talk out of coincidence, but at the time I didn't think of it.

 

Moral majority worldviews? Ha! That's something Julie would know about in spades. In fact, I think I mentioned how Julie bragged about how she went apeshit at a clerk over the way something was worded on a form about marriage or something like that. It didn't sit right with me even back then, and that was just before it all unraveled.

 

I understand the feeling behind sending her a card. Boy, do I! It's so heartbreaking to see people you thought you could trust completely abandon you once your worldviews are no longer an exact carbon copy of theirs. I saw Julie at a mall I don't normally go to a few months ago, and she ignored me. She just walked right past the table I was sitting at, not even looking at me. I thought about how we'd talk periodically after church, how I sat in on a church thing for her since she had to be elsewhere, religious programs on the radio or on TV, that kind of thing. It crushed me deep down, knowing how trustworthy I once considered her.

 

FWIW, I'm also here if you want someone to talk. I'm never more than a PM away. :)

Link to post
Share on other sites

First off, welcome! I'm glad you're here and out of Christianity! Second of thank you for sharing your testimony it was very well written. Third off, echoing what Professor said give yourself time to heal. Leaving is often a healing process and more often than not we can't just leave.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 2 weeks later...

Hello seven77! Welcome to the site. Your story was very moving.

 

 

I know how it feels to lose someone due to different religious conclusions, or "current beliefs" since sometimes people change later, and it is very painful and frustrating.

 

It sounds like you are "on your own path" now, and feeling much better about that. That is pretty outrageous about the study where they beat up on Sagan! He is one of my "apostles", more important than Jesus to me! He was without question real, and recorded his message of wonder, skepticism, and critical thinking in both writing and video! You would really think that if Jesus/bible god were supernatural and all they could have done something miraculous like predicted DVD players or maybe even USB thumb drives and would have made video of their commands and the true ways of behaving and made them available to all who believe. (That would be a kind of funny spoof now that I think about it, kind of like Jesus Christ Superstar).

 

Actually, even that would just be a half measure. Why not just not create people different from each other in the first place? Is it really the truth that the reason some babies are miscarriages and the reason some mothers die in childbirth that "satan did it"? Sounds fishy to me. How about when doctors realized they should wash their hands after autop sies before delivering babies? Why couldn't god/Jesus have figured that out centuries ago?

 

Anyway, I digress! I find it also interesting that you mentioned the whole "being not of the world" thing. That really is a misguided teaching isn't it? Let's think about it for a bit. If someone withdraws into their own bubble world, then how can that person actually bring others "to Christ" anyway? What's more, if the physical world crumbles because of lack of attention and lack of funding for long term goals to keep the "human habitat" livable, then aren't believers not submitting themselves truly to God anyway? Wouldn't God rather a larger number of people live well enough that they can bring themselves to believe in him and be saved, rather than worrying about getting enough to eat or whether the planet will even be livable in a few generations? The whole moral majority ilk and others in "rapture ready" camps are in their own little self-serving world's just waiting for Jesus to take them "up" to heaven (in the sky), and leaving the rest of us to handle the dirty work here in the messy real world.

 

Now to be fair, sometimes I heard it as being "in the world but not of it" or something like that. That was a little more acceptable because it recognized the need to "engage" with the "broken, fallen world" in order to repair it. That seems to be where a lot of religious people draw inspiration to participate in community service to lessen the real, physical here-and-now burdens of ordinary people independent of what those people currently believe about Jesus (or the Quaran or any other holy text). It also motivates larger world missions that bring relief to poor and developing nations. Now, I don't agree with the proselytizing aspect that comes along with many of these efforts, but I appreciate the inspirational aspect of their communities that spurs them to engage in the relief and restorative work. Personally, this is where I seek common ground with others: in serving others in communities, without regard to metaphysics!

 

Recently I learned on the Wikipedia page for Christian atheism that there is even a movement being championed by some Christian theologians to recognize this as a reality. That is, they recognize the god-as-miracle-worker-and-prayer-responder paradigm is untenable! As such, they want to recast following Jesus as being more explicitly IN THE WORLD (and maybe even "of" it?) Here is a story about a movement that started all the way back in the 60s!

http://www.emory.edu/EMORY_MAGAZINE/autumn2006/feature-god.htm

 

Anyway, you are among friends here who accept you as a human being just like the rest of us! Welcome!

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Welcome, seven77!!!  Oh dear, just reading what you wrote made me want to give you a hug.  You sound like such an intelligent person, I love your writing, you are insightful.  Good luck with everything you're going through.  Keep working it out!

Link to post
Share on other sites

See, even though my former church was great and pretty liberal compared to most churches...it was all a sham. There was a lot of pressure to turn away from secularism, to not be “of the world”. We were being set apart, to be a light on a hill, to show others Christ through our powerful love, to do great things in our little suburban hamlet. You didn’t have to give up everything, just everything that you really enjoyed.

 

Ah, Christianity. So life-affirming, isn't it? We're not asking for much ... just for you to give up everything that makes life worth living. 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Another big factor lately is that another Christian friend of mine keeps suggesting that I attend a Messianic Jewish Bible study with her. She and I have exchanged some emails about it recently. I did my own research and I’ve concluded that Messianics are deluded. I think that the movement should be renamed “Judaic Christianity”. It’d be a more accurate description of what they actually believe.

 

You should tell her that if Jesus was a Torah-observant Jew (which is what I believe these "Messianic" groups believe), then Christianity not only has nothing to do with Jesus, but is in fact the complete opposite of what Jesus would have believed and taught. Which means that "Christianity" has been nothing more than one huge lie for 2,000 years. 

Link to post
Share on other sites

My friend is very hung up on the ideal of Jesus being a Torah observant Jew. Personally, I don't think that was the case. There were several instances in scripture where he did things that were contrary to the Law. Add to that the "facts" that he said he was God, the son of God, and that he could forgive sins...yeah, not making a good case for the whole Torah observant Jew thing, imo.

From what I've gathered about the course and the MJ community that she belongs to, they not only believe that Yeshua >>>jesus.gif was a Torah observant Jew, they also believe that Paul (Saul, as they call him) was a Torah observant Jew and that the mission of the early church was to convert Gentiles to Judaism. Only somewhere along the way, it was hijacked by a group called the god-fearers. The god-fearers were all up in arms about the Jewish practice of circumcision and so many of them split from the early Christ-cults and Jewish groups. Over time, thanks to dear old Paul and his minions, circumcision was dropped from the agenda and the god-fearers took over preaching a message of being saved through faith (believing the mythos, worshiping a dead Jew on the cross, giving all their money to the church) instead of being saved through works (outward actions, observable acts of charity, kindness, etc).

 

It's fairly obvious to me that the whole notion of Paul being a Torah observant Jew hellbent on converting others to Judaism is a big fat lie. Jesus never existed, and the stories and figures that his mythos is based on were probably Jewish. Jesus himself is a mixture of mythos, legends, lies, and slivers of history throughout. It's a good story, but no matter how much lipstick one puts on the pig of the Jesus myth, it will never be true, imo.

 

----

Recently I learned on the Wikipedia page for Christian atheism that there is even a movement being championed by some Christian theologians to recognize this as a reality. That is, they recognize the god-as-miracle-worker-and-prayer-responder paradigm is untenable! As such, they want to recast following Jesus as being more explicitly IN THE WORLD (and maybe even "of" it?) Here is a story about a movement that started all the way back in the 60s!

 

 

Christian atheism is a new concept to me. I will check out those links.

 

Personally, I think that Jesus is a myth as I stated above. His being in the world, of the world, etc, is irrelevant at this point. I believe that if a person wants to do good things, be helpful, kind, charitable, productive, all that good stuff, there is nothing stopping them from doing those sorts of things. A person doesn't NEED Jesus to do the right things and live a moral life. Jesus doesn't need to be real, he need not to have existed in the past and the miracles that he performed were nothing more than party tricks with a few faith-healing scams thrown in. On some level, many adults and some kids know that the stuff in the gospels isn't true or even probable.

 

I think that a lot of people get hung up on what is possible and they think that probability doesn't matter because "With God, all things are possible." To that I say, why, yes, anything IS possible. With or without God, anything is possible. What kind of bullshit saying is that anyway? It would be far more impressive (imo) if the saying were "With God, all things are probable."

 

If God and Jesus and the Holy Spirit were real forces acting upon our world in the favor of those who believe in them or have relationships with them...then being a Christian should improve your chances in life. Christians should win the lottery. Christians should be the healthiest people ever. Christians should be at the top of their classes, the movers and shakers and idea makers of society. We can look around and clearly see this is not the case. In closing, an analysis of the whole Jesus mythos really falls apart when you look at what it ultimately became: a self-help cult with more money than brains and zero interest in improving the world in observable, probable ways. They insist on keeping their heads in their bibles, their hearts yearning for miracles and the vast majority of the body obsessed with the coming rapture, government collapse, and non-issues like gay marriage and abortion.

 

----

 

Thanks for all of the positive commentary. :)

Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, we all have our favorite theories. Personally, I think the sects of theosobeis (God-fearers, Gentiles) basically started Christianity. It's the theory that makes the most sense to me. There were no Jews at all, just Gentiles who had been brought up in the Jewish religion. So all the stuff in Paul and Acts about a "Jerusalem Church" and quarrels between the "circumcision party" etc. is just made-up second century bullshit to try to make them look authentic contra the Marcionites and Gnostics. In reality, Christianity never existed in Jerusalem or Galilee in the first century. 

 

There is absolutely nothing in the Pauline Epistles to support that he was "Torah observant." Have they even read Paul? He hates the Law. He hates Jews. He's glad the temple's destroyed, even though that happened after his supposed death. 

Link to post
Share on other sites

I share your opinions about the god-fearers, Blood. It was after having a series of conversations with my MJ friend that I realized that the MJ group at my old church is pretty much full of shit. I mean, it just does not make sense that the early church wanted everyone to convert to Judaism. I pointed out to my friend that there is an official process that a person can undergo if they want to convert. For men, it involves circumcision and this was the real reason why Judaism never took off in ancient times. Since she is a Christian, I didn't even bring up the problems with Jesus not being the messiah and the whole movement being a bunch of stories made up in the 2nd and 3rd centuries. Just that if guys wanted to convert to Judaism, they could and Jesus was irrelevant to the whole equation.

 

It was never about the divine nature of Jesus or Christians hating Jews or whatever. It was about circumcision. Today, it's not a big deal here in the States, since most guys are cut after being born in hospital. So it's really just a matter of do you accept the OT, etc.

 

I think that the original god-fearers were most likely the sons of Jewish mothers with Gentile fathers who were not circumcised as infants or boys. That's why there was all the talk in Paul about circumcision and the heart. After the movement had spread through the synagogues (Paul's stompin' grounds, IIRC), it began to attract a lot of half-Jews who were uncircumcised. They were gung-ho for Jesus, but didn't want to get their penis' mutilated. So there was a need for a compromise and then when the Gentiles co-opted the movement in the 2nd and 3rd centuries, they emphasized the non-requirement of circumcision to gain more recruits.

 

That's my take on the situation with God-fearers and how Christianity split off from Judaism in the early years of the movement.

 

----

 

As for Paul, I don't believe he existed and if he did exist, he was a huge fraud. I've read several articles on jesusneverexisted that presented a strong case in favor of Paul being a fraudulent load of crap. After reading the book of Acts and the Epistles, I came to the conclusion that Paul's story is just as much myth as Jesus' story is. I don't think that Paul was Jewish; if he was, my vote is for him being a member of the half-Jew god-fearer camp, and I highly doubt he was a Pharisee or anything of the sort.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 2 weeks later...

So yet the cycle continues. Received an email from my Messanic Jewish (MJ) friend earlier this week and have been going back and forth with her. Thought that maybe posting some of the replies here would help me work through some things. I don't know.

 

I told her that I had left Christ behind and was an atheist. She claims that she isn't trying to convince me to come back and that she is sad to find out the God and Jesus were never real to me. She asked me some questions that I did my best to answer. There were also a few gems that I commented on.

---

 

MJ: What did you want from God?

Me: I wanted to be at peace, to not have to battle the "demons" of depression, anxiety, and moodiness. I wanted to stop being gay and possibly transgendered. I wanted to be fulfilled by faith. I wanted God to change the things I could not accept or at the very least, to help me accept the things that I could not change.

 

[part omitted]

 

Thinking as if my doubts and insecurities made me unworthy, I withheld myself from the community. I am isolated, introverted and all of those things to an unhealthy extreme. I did not want to put myself out there because I did not want the judgement and the ostracism for being who I am. I hid myself away after [name omitted] left because I realized then that my issues had not "went away". They were still there and I was still struggling, kicking to keep my head above water while God did nothing to help.

 

MJ:"....basically you are calling it [leaving the faith, Christianity] a defeat, like if a friend decided that her marriage was no longer worth the time."

Me: I was never married to Jesus/God/Spirit. That would imply a deep relationship, which I did not have. I wanted it, I tried, but I fell short. If comparisons mean anything...my relationship with Jesus/God/Spirit was more like a casual online acquaintanceship conducted by messageboard posts. I'd leave a message, and wait for Him to respond. He never did and I would become anxious. I couldn't continue to live that life anymore. I was never free as long as I walked with Christ. I repressed everything about me....[part omitted]

 

MJ: "....I've been honest about how real I feel G-d is to me most of the time, and it's not some magical experience all the time with rainbows and unicorns."

Me: As for magic, unicorns and rainbows...Well, unicorns are mythological creatures. Rainbows are real and observable. Magic is the act of creating an impression or imitating a result. Magic consists of things that we don't understand. Once we understand something, it loses its magic. No one can understand a unicorn, because they don't exist. That's how I think it is with God. We can understand rainbows, because we can see them and we can understand the process that causes them. No one has to make up bullshit stories about rainbows. Bullshit stories about unicorns are a dime a dozen, just like stories about God.

 

MJ: "the two are not mutually exclusive - one does not believe in God OR science."

Me: You are correct, it is not an either/or argument. Science proves things; God does not. Science will never prove the existence of God and it has already disproved the Bible and the power of prayer. Science explains things; all we get from God is "His ways are our ways". I can't live like that. Kudos to you if you can.

 

MJ: "Sacrifices are a part of human history. Passover and the slaughtering of the lamb were meant to reveal Yeshua."

Me: Sacrifices are a part of human history. Human sacrifices are a part of human history. However, the sacrificial death of Jesus is bizarre. The OT does not speak of human sacrifice, as it was not a part of the practice of Judaism. God does kill a lot of people and other creatures in the OT, though...so what's one more, really?

 
My beef with the sacrificial death of Jesus doesn't have anything to do with that though. I do not think that Jesus ever died. His beating was lawful punishment for crimes against the Roman government (sedition). His suffering was a part of that package. His death was also a part of that package. A sacrifice must stay dead. If the Passover lamb gets up and walks away, don't you have sacrifice another? The point is that the blood symbolizes life and the loss of blood, death. Sacrifice is a "life for a life", the end of one life atones for the continuation of another.
 

When Jesus was resurrected, he ceased to be a sacrifice. He had returned to life, invalidating his sacrifice. If He were God, then God essentially killed himself as well. Suicide and murder, both sins. Passing yourself off as a sacrifice for 2,000 years? Lying, also a sin. Even if Jesus were sinless all along, going along with the scheme meant that he committed sins in the process. Mostly, I am appalled that everyone turns their head and makes excuses for Jesus' non-sacrifice. It is unbiblical.

-----

Link to post
Share on other sites

For some reason, I can't get over this. It's been several hours and I am still upset. I responded to her email and I doubt that she will reply. She will probably tell me that she's been busy like she always does. Then two or three months from now, she'll reply and act like nothing happened. Or I won't hear from her again until I send her a formal apology.

 

I miss having people in my life, friends, whatever you say. I hate that becoming a Christian, living a "new life" and giving up my old life and interests robbed me of a social life, friends, family, partying, music, and all of the other things that I loved. I gave it all for God and now I am left with nothing to show for it all.

 

Pain. Anger. Wendybanghead.gif <<<Me today.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 4 weeks later...

So it's Valentine's Day.

 

I'm alone. Big surprise.

 

I also found out that one of my best friends is pregnant and has been keeping it a secret from me for like 2 months.

 

Not that it's a big deal but it kinda makes me feel like crap that she didn't confide in me or at least let me know before I accidentally found out through the grapevine. Apparently everyone knows but me and has been keeping it a secret because they didn't want his out-of-state parents to find out. Like I was going to post that shit on facebook or something. I don't even have a fucking facebook page!

 

So this leads me to believe that she is just withholding information from me and probably isn't really interested in maintaing our friendship anymore.

 

Can't say it is a huge surprise since she's an active Christian and I've made it clear that I left that part of my life behind...but still, don't friendships have any meaning? We talk a couple of times a month, email quite a bit, so it's not like there hasn't been opportunities for her to tell me.

 

I guess it's just a blow to my self-esteem for some reason. Like I really wanted this friendship to survive because pretty much all of the rest of my friendships have kicked the bucket at this point. Now I find out that she's been keeping something major from me for months and it stings, bad.

 

I'm thinking of getting hammered tonight while I watch the Olympics. Lame, I know. But in the absence of romance or even real life friendships, what the else is there to do on a chilly lover's holiday eve? ezhappydead.gif

Link to post
Share on other sites

 

...MJ: "Sacrifices are a part of human history. Passover and the slaughtering of the lamb were meant to reveal Yeshua."

Me: Sacrifices are a part of human history. Human sacrifices are a part of human history. However, the sacrificial death of Jesus is bizarre. The OT does not speak of human sacrifice, as it was not a part of the practice of Judaism. God does kill a lot of people and other creatures in the OT, though...so what's one more, really?

 
My beef with the sacrificial death of Jesus doesn't have anything to do with that though. I do not think that Jesus ever died. His beating was lawful punishment for crimes against the Roman government (sedition). His suffering was a part of that package. His death was also a part of that package. A sacrifice must stay dead. If the Passover lamb gets up and walks away, don't you have sacrifice another? The point is that the blood symbolizes life and the loss of blood, death. Sacrifice is a "life for a life", the end of one life atones for the continuation of another.

 

When Jesus was resurrected, he ceased to be a sacrifice. He had returned to life, invalidating his sacrifice. If He were God, then God essentially killed himself as well. Suicide and murder, both sins. Passing yourself off as a sacrifice for 2,000 years? Lying, also a sin. Even if Jesus were sinless all along, going along with the scheme meant that he committed sins in the process. Mostly, I am appalled that everyone turns their head and makes excuses for Jesus' non-sacrifice. It is unbiblical.

-----

A bit late on my comment but this was an excellent answer.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.
×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Guidelines.