Jump to content

"'Twas Blind, But Now I See!"


Checkmate
 Share

Recommended Posts

From "Cat's Story" -

So how did I loose(sic) god if I was so wrapped up in belief that I was unable to see all the things I see so clearly now?

Cat's question stirred me to write this post. Thanks, Cat!

 

 

Of all the questions that exist, I believe that THIS one is of the most interest to believers and apostates alike.

 

How is it that a few people, who were JUST as “into” Christianity as any other, manage to one day wake up and see the falsehoods with crystal clarity, while others remain deceived? How does that happen? What makes apostates different? It’s not like we’re not all human or something. We’re all wired the same. We all received the same conditioning and training.

 

So, what gives?

 

I think the answer has something to do with HONESTY and HUMILITY. Honestly “seeking the truth" and having the humility to admit that we were wrong.

 

Time and time again, we read posts from Christians who claim to be SEEKING the truth. And time and time again, I refute this lie from Christians. They are NOT “seeking” truth. Christians claim to have "found" the Truth™ already. Their vaunted “quest” for Truth™ has ended in the form of “Jesus Christ”.

 

True Christians™ are “dead to self”, but “alive in Christ”. And to be “dead” is to no longer THINK, DOUBT, QUESTION, or GROW. The “dead” seek nothing, particularly not Truth™. The “dead” are very “comfortable” with conditions as-is.

 

And THIS is the reason I think that some escape, while others remain. It has nothing to do with intelligence or knowledge. It has everything to do with being HONEST and seeking Truth™.

 

Opening our eyes and not living in compartmentalized denial is how we escaped. We quit pretending to be (brain) “dead” to self. We quit hating our “flesh” in some deluded effort to “please God”. We dared to actually seek the Truth™ and be made free. (Just as “Jesus” told us to do! How’s THAT for irony?)

 

How many times have we been frustrated in our efforts to get Christians to HONESTLY examine their beliefs and faith? They won’t do it. To question and doubt is to be “alive” and “carnal”. This is SIN. Christians, to remain in God’s grace, MUST remain “dead”, unthinking, unquestioning, unmovable.

 

How did WE see the light, while others cannot? Honesty and humility, I suspect. Rather than PROUDLY and arrogantly claim that we held the corner market on Truth™, we doubters swallowed some humble pie, confessed that we have been victims of a scam, and we worked to extricate ourselves from the trap.

 

True Christians™ won’t make this effort. Their Pride won’t allow it.

 

Christians have this habit of claiming that “I once was blind, but now I see!” This popular refrain comes from John Newton’s hymn “Amazing Grace.” It is supposedly indicative of sinners coming out from the darkness of “sin,” and into the light of God’s grace.

 

However, I believe that I have made a case for the opposite to be true.

 

It is the Christian who walks around blinded by faith, who cannot see the truth.

 

As former Christians, we PROUDLY (foolishly) walked around in darkness, with eyes closed and blindfolds over our eyes. We bumped and stumbled through life getting hurt, yet convinced that this was the normal way of things.

 

Until one day, some of us got fed up with this condition. We stopped to remove the blindfold. We opened our eyes. We turned on the light in the room. And we SAW for the first time! We saw all the obstacles that we were bumping into and hurting ourselves. And now we can navigate around them with the confidence of those who can SEE.

 

Meanwhile, the Christians remain blind. They continue to stumble and tell themselves “all is well.” They even pity us for not having “faith” to walk in the “light” of God’s Truth™. Convinced that we are being “rebellious”, they even implore us with tears to return to have blind faith in “Christ”!

 

We, apostates, look at them with incredulity. Why don’t they wise up and remove their blindfolds like we did? Why don’t they open their eyes? What are they AFRAID of? Do they fear HONESTY?

 

Partly.

 

I believe what Christians fear most is to HONESTLY admit or confess that their entire life has been wasted in believing a Lie. How many “intelligent” and “proud” humans do YOU know who are eager to admit that they’ve been a gullible idiot for decades? It isn’t easy to remove even a false foundation. It’s costly. Much easier to re-enforce the foundation with patch-work cement and pretend that you’ve “solved” something.

 

No. It’s much easier to keep pretending that the Emperor is wearing new clothes, rather than admit you were taken in by the scam.

 

Only those of us willing to admit that we’ve been “had” are HONEST enough to examine the facts and CONFESS that we were once deceived. Is it costly? You bet. But in the long run the benefits pay better dividends.

 

So, in the final analysis, it is Honesty, and the Fear of Honesty that separates the apostate from the believer. Honesty and Humility are how we apostates were able to escape the cult. Dishonesty and Pride is what keeps others trapped.

 

Ironic how that works out, isn’t it? Considering that Christianity promotes Honesty and Humility as virtues, while counting Dishonesty and Pride as “Sins”?

 

I’d laugh if it weren’t so sad.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

great topic Grinch!

 

I have a bit of a theory of my own & would love to hear some comments. I think religion in the form most of us know/remember (fundementalism, I'm excluding the less radical varieties) is built like a house of cards. I'll grant that it's an awfully strong house of cards in that it's a little bit more difficult to topple, but once it goes...

 

The problem I see with fundementalism is that when you have your whole life built on something that has to be black & white, wrong or right, or good or evil, is that all it really takes is one major life-event that shows the blatant error of the thought process and then one of three things happen.

 

1) that carefully constructed house of cards just collapses utterly. Think about it ex-fundy's. Did the descent to non belief happen after a trauma of varying intensity, or did you just wake up one morning enlightened?! Everyone I have known has had something major happen, one event that put such a big chink in the belief that everything just fell to peices. Once this big chink forms, then you begin to see the other zillion things you had been blind to previously. We generally start studying like a sonuvabitch trying to figure out where we are wrong, but we just can't ignore it anymore. This is why most of us ex-c's have more knowledge of the bible than most christians; it usually starts out with our trying to figure out why we're wrong, then turns into reinforcing what we know is right, but all those years of brainwashing takes a LOT of reinforcing.

 

2) you squeeze a square peg into the round hole. You alter what you have been taught to think in order to rationalize something you know isn't true anymore. Sometimes this will entail changing our interpretation of god, moving to a more liberal flavor of X-ianity; sometimes (most often with folks on this site probably) we try to switch religions. Face it, we've been taught that you can't be "complete" without a god. An example of this is a gay person who chooses to ignore what the bible has to say about homosexuality and hangs onto his religion anyway, he just chooses to re-interpret what the men who wrote the bible pretty clearly spells out. I look forward to the day they are able to conclusively prove that homosexuality is genetic. That will be the wind that topples a lot of peoples card houses, but they will adapt (I have a few theories on how, but that's for another thread).

 

3) you ignore it, throw yourself totally to faith (and screw reason), and become a stronger X-ian than you ever were before. To go back to the homosexuality analogy; eventually science will conclusively prove that gay-ness is genetic with no margin for error ...and this person still won't believe it. Facts no longer make any difference in this person's life. Young-earth creationists' are a classic example of this type.

 

I think this little theory accounts for why most X-ians (like Ruth & Sadie on here) just can't accept our deconversions and think something must have really hurt us for us to have turned our backs on god. What hurts a little is that, in a way, they are correct. It did take something pretty traumatic to jolt most of us into reality; what they can't accept is that doesn't make us wrong! Kind of like saying when a person goes into shock, it's better to let them stay there than slap them to get them back into the real world.

 

I see a lot of people still full of anger on here, and for good reason. It generally hurts like hell; like finding out your best friend has been screwing your wife every day since the day you met her, only worse! ...your trust has just been splintered. I lived with that anger for years, and still fall into it every now & then. We need places like this if for no other reason, than to just try to get past the anger. It hurts our cause with X-ians because we then fall into that nice little stereotype that we are all pretty familiar with from the old days, "god was just testing us, and we failed" (conveniently ignoring the fact the bible says god will never throw something at us we are unable to bear). Not to mention the fact that very anger generally keeps us from moving on with our lives.

 

I'm sure there are some exceptions, but I'm curious to see how folks here feel about my thoughts on the matter.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think the answer has something to do with HONESTY and HUMILITY. Honestly “seeking the truth" and having the humility to admit that we were wrong

 

 

Perhaps there are some here who were once apologists who could enlighten us further on this issue. I think you are right, it has something to do with honesty and humility. I personally cannot fathom why people struggle to hang on to their faith in light of evidence against it. I personally cannot fathom why people just "need" their faith to be accurate because of some sense of self-rightousness. I was a strong believer for the first 20 some odd years of my life, but I wanted the truth. When I started to see things in church that were obviously just not right I started asking questions. Questions begat questions and I wanted and prayed for answers. I prayed for wisdom and truth and I determined to be a student in life, not a teacher. The process was tough, but I felt that if my beliefs were true they would withstand my honest questions.

 

Frankly I cannot imagine ever coming to a website like this as a believer and arguing with those here. Had I done so I would have been shocked at their answers and would very likely have deconverted much earlier and at a much more rapid rate.

 

The truth won out and I was surprised. I certainly didn't fight the process though. I fought for it and in the begining I saw it as an idealistic struggle for truth that god obviously would want us to seek. I just don't understand those who do not love honesty or those who do not seek truth in their lives. I will follow this thread for answers because I really can't comprehend a mentality that does not embrace a desire for truth.

 

I get the ones that sit in church on Sunday and hear only one side of the story and haven't yet been exposed to reason. I don't get those who spend a lifetime doing so though and I certainly don't get those who are exposed to serious reason who will go out of their way and bend over backwards to force their own brain to stop asking relevant questions.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've thought about this a lot too. My theory is, as I have seen many people here demonstrate is that we have the ability to intuitivly think. We can imagine possibilities that escape others and draw conclusions based on these thoughts. It's a higher order from of thought process that only 20 percent of the people in the world have as their primary form of information processing.

 

People who are intuitive thinkers can see the entire picture in their mind, flaws and all. We are also knowledge seekers who quest to find answers to our questions.

 

Taph

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hey! I am an ISFJ. ;)

 

I think for a lot of people it is all they have been exposed to, and they are brainwashed as children (or adults) that faith is a legitimate way of seeing the world. Some people just DON'T CARE about reality, they want what makes them feels good or what they feel is right.... can we say cognitive dissonance, anyone? ;) There are also those that convert due to life being too hard for them, and this provides a way to deal with it. Others remain in the faith because they see no reason to "throw the baby out with the bathwater" and some others truly believe society would fall apart without religion. It just isn't a big deal to most people.... they just go with the flow.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

true in many ways . The big point I agree with is christians claiming that they are seeking the truth - uh... no . In christianity a christian believes that they have already found the truth in Jesus Christ and are going to heaven because of it . A christian by sheer definition cannot be a truth seeker unless they are having doubts that they are willing to explore in a non biased light .

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've thought about this a lot too. My theory is, as I have seen many people here demonstrate is that we have the ability to intuitively think. We can imagine possibilities that escape others and draw conclusions based on these thoughts. It's a higher order from of thought process that only 20 percent of the people in the world have as their primary form of information processing...

Fascinating thought. This dovetails with something I said on another forum about a week ago:

 

I am very much a left-brain/right-brain person rather than exclusively one or the other. My spiritual side requires that my logical side also be engaged (just as my rational brain is simultaneously informed by my intuition). So, turning off the logic altogether is not an option for me.

I wonder if the ability to deconvert has a partially neurological base, such as more hemispheric connections through the corpus callosum?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Firstly, sorry about the spelling, it's never been my strongest area...

 

I also wonder whether it's a question about being able to overcome the strong emotions holding you back. Speaking from a personal basis, I found the churning up that occured as I delved deeper into areas of my beliefs that had previously remained untouched highly unpleasant. The very thought to some of even looking into whether god is real or not can induce such negative feelings that many won't even look or contemplate looking. And there has to be a willingness to co-operate with the process, however small, to admit to yourself that you might possibly be wrong for the process to proceed. Because of the whole nature of faith in the belief system, that is strongly discouraged.

I've been reading a book called "The Gospel according to Job" which someone told me would answer all my questions, for example. (I was in a "lets take the blinkers off mood when I agreed to read it.) But it doesn't answer anything, it just goes back to the old "trust and believe even if you don't understand." That can prevent you being open to the process of examining the faith honestly and is may be why so many never move on from doubting to disbelief. The author states quite clearly his belief that part of faith is believing despite contradictions and lack of evidence, which he freely admits are there...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

There are also those that convert due to life being too hard for them, and this provides a way to deal with it.

 

I really think that this is one of the biggest reasons. Some people, by nature, are just not very self-sufficient. One could call them are "weak," but I think that term seems a bit harsh. Some people just need a crutch for when the going gets tough--something to fall back on instead of being able to stand up and deal with the challenges head-on. It's just a coping mechanism.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don't know about you guy, but when I think back, even when I was talking in tongues as a child and everything, I already was stirring up trouble in sunday school and feeling like people were just legalistic bores that didn't believe themselves...partly due to my parents' very open-minded fundamentalism (if you can imagine such a thing). So I think certain people have a proclivity to let reason trump the natural comfort of religion.

 

Cognitive science is now showing that the reason religion is so prevalent is not because it's a crutch or the world is amazing, etc. but rather because, the way our brains have been passed on evolutionarily, it is more difficult not to participate in religious thought than to do it. It is actually quite natural. Then again, so was clubbing your cave-neighbor over the head and taking his chick.

 

I urge you all who can to read "Religion Explained" by Pascal Boyer. Amazing! Despite the Amazon review of it to the contrary, it absolutely pertains to religions including "modern" ones like Xianity.

 

The gist of the book is that it is not all the reasons that impassioned atheists give for those "lesser" beings "needing" God that are realistic, although those things contribute culturally and psychologically, but rather it is our inference systems that tell us there is an animal somewhere, how it will behave, that it has a mind, and all the other inferences that kept *our* ancestors (the ones who didn't bite the big one in the jungle early on) alive in the woods.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...
Exactly. Yes, it does hurt like hell. The realization that "everything I ever knew/believed/trusted is based on a big fat lie" is a bitter pill to swallow. And I am very happy to have found this site. :)

 

Well put. I think that's a lot of it too. People's entire lives are structured around the church, so leaving to them means not only giving up their religion, but often their friends and social activities as well. So not only is the lie hard to take, but giving up their lives is even harder in many cases.

 

Good to have you here too Aqua Kitty!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

When I'm in one of my disgusted moods at fundamentalists I find it easy to think all of the thoughts expressed above and more. When I hear Pat Robertson making sickening statements or Jerry Falwell spouting off or Bush lying through his teeth, I want to think that they are not being honest or humble. I think just like all of you do.

 

However, in my more rational moments (the few that I have :grin: ) I realize that there are many reasons that people remain within the Christian faith (or any other faith for that matter). I think we all have different motivations for our choices and I try to remember that.

 

As to why Christians remain within their faith here are just a few of the reasons I see:

 

1. Those who are in power within the church often remain because it provides them with a place to be powerful. Many people crave power and being in charge of a 'flock' or even a Sunday School class provides power. When I look at creeps like Falwell and Robetson I think that it's all about pwer with them. Also, for the regular Joe and Judy in the pew, it's powerful to think that you're right and going to heaven and others are wrong and going to hell.

 

2. Some people stay because that is where their family is and they can't imagine being on their own spiritually. They think that their family will disown them (and in some cases theyare right) if they leave the church. So it's better to squash their doubts and just keep going.

 

3. Some people truly believe and they haven't yet gotten to a place of doubt. There are many people who truly believe in Christ and the God of the Bible.

 

4. Some people are in the doubting stage but haven't yet gotten to a place where they can no longer believe, so they stay but will likely leave at some point, or at least drift away.

 

5. Some people would rather die than admit they were wrong so they stay out of pride.

 

6. some people are terrified of the idea of death so they cling to their belief as a means of coping with their mortality.

 

7. Some people really like the people in their church community and they stay so that they can continue with those friendships.

 

8. Some people want their kids to be brought up in church so they stay until their kids are old enough to choose for themselves.

 

9. Some people stay because they live in a small community where everyone goes to church and you are basically an outcast if you don't go.

 

10. Some people stay because they don't know what else to do.

 

I think there are probably several hundred more reasons why people stay, but those are just a few I can come up with.

 

I'd like to add one additional thought. Over the years I have discovered that sometimes even though someone tells me something I just cannot see it. It isn't that I don't want to see it, but I just simply can't wrap my head around it. I also know that I am not alone in this. All of us have some areas where we wear blinders and no matter what someone else says, we just don't 'get it'. Then one day a light bulb goes off and we 'get it'.

 

For example, I've been married for 37 years and many times my hubby has told me things and I didn't get them. When I finally DID get them, I'd realize that he had been right and I wondered why in heck it took me so long to see it. That happens in reverse also...lots of times he didn't get things and I did. And I see that with other people too, not just husbands and wives. I think that we all learn things in our own time and in our own way. Each of us must come to that light bulb moment and then suddenly things seem so simple and clear but before that moment they did not seem clear at all.

 

Does this excuse the terrible behavior of some Christians? No it does not. But it may help us understand a little better that just as we don't think things are black and white, that also includes why people stay in the church.

 

I invite your comments on these thoughts.

 

5. Some people

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 

For example, I've been married for 37 years and many times my hubby has told me things and I didn't get them. When I finally DID get them, I'd realize that he had been right and I wondered why in heck it took me so long to see it. That happens in reverse also...lots of times he didn't get things and I did. And I see that with other people too, not just husbands and wives. I think that we all learn things in our own time and in our own way. Each of us must come to that light bulb moment and then suddenly things seem so simple and clear but before that moment they did not seem clear at all.

I couldn't agree with you more. That has happened to me several times lately and it is very enlightening. I live for the Ah-ha moments. :grin:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Guidelines.