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How Many Christians Truly Believe?


Guest celsusthepagan
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Guest celsusthepagan

I have a theory about Christians vs. ex-Christians - I think that many people who become ex-Christians are actually not all that different in practice as the standard "Christian" - the only difference is that those who become ex-Christians (or never become Christians) have a much lower tolerance for cognitive dissonance than those who call themselves "Christians".

 

One of the things that led to my deconversion was the observation that many Christians live lives that are not much different than anyone else (save for some jargon and Sunday morning worship attendance). After years of struggling to live consistently with my faith, I realized that most everyone else was drifting along with lifestyles that were not much different from the world - and doing just fine with it.

 

A few cases in point. . .

 

I thought that if I believed people were really literally going to suffer for all eternity, I needed to be active as an evangelist and witness, to pray fervently for the salvation of souls, to give lots of money to missionary endeavors. Then I realized I was nearly alone in that passion - most Christians do not share their faith, do not give much to missions, and pray quite infrequently, despite all the hype.

 

I thought that if I were to base my life on the teachings of a book, I should study that book. I pored over it, commentaries, expositions, etc. Then I realized that many Christians have not read beyond the book of John and a few Psalms.

 

I thought that if I were to follow someone who spoke witheringly of the dangers of material wealth, that I should do all I could to pare down my lifestyle of all nonessentials and give the rest to missions and the poor. Then I realized that most Christians pursue the American Dream just as much as their neighbors, only being careful to stick the Jesus Fish on their Mercedes.

 

I thought that if God looked inside at the heart rather than outer appearances, then I should really not think as much about physical fitness and outward appearance. Then I realized that most Christians spend just as much time and money on being fit and looking good on the outside as nonchristians.

 

I thought that if everything I had belonged to God, a tithe is the absolute MINIMUM I should give to his work. Then I realized that most Christians give less than 2% of their income to ANY spiritual activity.

 

The list goes on. My point is that I really doubt that many "Christians" believe or frankly care what the Bible says. . .it is really to them just all about having the comforting thought of an invisible buddy watching out for you and the hope of living forever in bliss.

 

The common thread I see running through many "eximonies" is that the people who took it the most seriously to begin with are the first ones who walk away, for they lean everything on it and find it to be false. Most "Christians" have so little actually invested in it that they will never be forced to find whether it was true or not.

 

Thoughts?

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Right on, Brother! Preach it! You echo thoughts that I have had from time to time. Most Christians believe up to the point that their comfort zone is threatened. They believe if it's convenient to do so. It is inconvenient to witness, so most Christians don't. It is inconvenient to pay tithes and give to missionary efforts, so most Christians don't. And so on... If I really believed that there was an eternal flaming torture chamber awaiting every nonbeliever, then I would spend every possible moment that I could witnessing and imploring people not to go there. That tells me that most Christians don't really believe that there is a Hell and that their "unsaved" loved ones could end up there...

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I can understand the plight that unbelievers and those that have turned their backs on the Lord can feel with Christianity today. I've called it once before, and it's secular Chrisitanity. It was on a term paper for my Engl and Comp with Liberty University. I see the church divided into two types of Chrisitans, with the world mainly seeing the secualr Christians vice Biblical Chrisitans. I pray that we will once again be able to show the world that the true Chrisitanity remains, and that the hatred spewed by people like Fred Phelps will not turn others away from the truth.

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I agree. You could put me in the category of "the usual Catholic." There were a few times I stumbles into church on opium and would sit, stand, and kneel with the most delirious smile on my face. The rationalization was that I was young and God would forgive me when I straightened up. Oh, and my grand plan for getting right with God was live my blasphemous life and then once 50 came I would become more religious. Oh but hey, I always knew in the back of my mind no matter how bad a child I was there was still a place for me in heaven because I simply believed.

 

Then my boyfriend scared the shit out of me with his non-denominational YOU NEED TO BE SAVED TO GET INTO HEAVEN!!!!! :eek: So what's a person who is scared of Hell fire to do? But of course that didn't last long enough for me to read more than a few selections in the bible.

 

So, you pretty much hit the nail on the head. I mean, I left the fold because I missed doing drugs. It would be hard to find a weaker Christian than I was.

 

Oh wait but I have a friend who used to invite me over to get drunk. She'd get into conversations with herself about why people should have faith (I would check out of the conversation within a few words). She would do this practically every time we would hang out alone. But hey I couldn't just stop coming over, she has a hot tub :woohoo:

 

Oh also I think she leads a much more blasphemous life than I. Alcoholic, $40,000 in debt (mostly from clothes and Crate and Barrel purchases), and cheats on her taxes.

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I can understand the plight that unbelievers and those that have turned their backs on the Lord can feel with Christianity today. I've called it once before, and it's secular Chrisitanity. It was on a term paper for my Engl and Comp with Liberty University. I see the church divided into two types of Chrisitans, with the world mainly seeing the secualr Christians vice Biblical Chrisitans. I pray that we will once again be able to show the world that the true Chrisitanity remains, and that the hatred spewed by people like Fred Phelps will not turn others away from the truth.

Hi KalEl

 

Welcome to the forums, and I hope you have fun.

 

Just out of curiosity, what would a true Biblical Christian look like?

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I can understand the plight that unbelievers and those that have turned their backs on the Lord can feel with Christianity today. I've called it once before, and it's secular Chrisitanity. It was on a term paper for my Engl and Comp with Liberty University. I see the church divided into two types of Chrisitans, with the world mainly seeing the secualr Christians vice Biblical Chrisitans. I pray that we will once again be able to show the world that the true Chrisitanity remains, and that the hatred spewed by people like Fred Phelps will not turn others away from the truth.

I am not in a "plight". I am glad to be free of religion! I have not turned my back on "the Lord". I have turned my back on an absurd and absolutely false system of belief. God is a myth and so is the Jesus of the bible. I no longer base my life around mythology. I base it upon REALITY as it is.

 

Which of the thousands of denominations is "true Christianity", in your opinion? What must one believe or do in order to be a "true Christian"?

 

Fred Phelps is hateful, but he is being biblical in his attitude towards homosexuals and his treatment of them.

 

Christianity is not "the truth". Christianity is a false religion built upon lies and myths.

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One of the things that led to my deconversion was the observation that many Christians live lives that are not much different than anyone else (save for some jargon and Sunday morning worship attendance). After years of struggling to live consistently with my faith, I realized that most everyone else was drifting along with lifestyles that were not much different from the world - and doing just fine with it.

I totally agree. They only have degree's of covering it up. They all struggle with the same human issues that we all do. I have YET to meet a Christian that is "perfect as God is perfect in heaven." As is evident by how many of their hero's are constantly caught with their hands in the cookie jar, when they conveniently say “he is just human after all” or “don’t look at X – look at Jesus.” Yeah sure, he is no more of an inspiration!

:vent:

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I can understand the plight that unbelievers and those that have turned their backs on the Lord can feel with Christianity today. I've called it once before, and it's secular Chrisitanity. It was on a term paper for my Engl and Comp with Liberty University. I see the church divided into two types of Chrisitans, with the world mainly seeing the secualr Christians vice Biblical Chrisitans. I pray that we will once again be able to show the world that the true Chrisitanity remains, and that the hatred spewed by people like Fred Phelps will not turn others away from the truth.

Hi KalEl

 

Welcome to the forums, and I hope you have fun.

 

Just out of curiosity, what would a true Biblical Christian look like?

 

 

Think of the teachings of Christ. Jesus was one who loved everyone. Look who he hung out with. He wasn't snobbing his nose up at anyone. He hung out with the "scum" of society,so to speak. However, he did remind them of what they needed to do in order to go to Heaven. That didn't stop him from loving them. He presented the truth to each individual who asked, and also delivered the message to the masses during his sermons. Can you find fault in any of Christ's teachings? Not too many can, since his was one of love. Granted, there was a bit of fire and brimstone in his message, but it was more towards the Pharisees.

 

Myself, I have friends of all persuasions. Homosexuals have asked me how I feel. I stated that any sex outside of marriage is a sin, and I left it at that. We still remain friends, and I harbor no ill will towards them and the same remains with their feelings to me. I hope this answers your questions. God bless.

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Think of the teachings of Christ.

 

Okay, I'm thinking about the supposed words of Christ written down decades after his alleged life by anonymous men.

 

Jesus was one who loved everyone.

Except the Pharisees and the Samaritans, as I recall.

 

He hung out with the "scum" of society,so to speak.

Allegedly. We don't know much about the historical Jesus, assuming that he lived.

 

go to Heaven

Heaven is a myth.

 

He presented the truth to each individual who asked, and also delivered the message to the masses during his sermons.

Stories written down decades after they allegedly took place. The miracle accounts are obviously mythological in nature.

 

Can you find fault in any of Christ's teachings?

Yes, I can. I would call the morally reprehensible teaching of Hell a pretty large fault.

 

Granted, there was a bit of fire and brimstone in his message

A bit? It actually makes up a significant part of his supposed teaching in the gospels.

 

but it was more towards the Pharisees

And billions of other good, decent, moral non-Christian people who according to your evil religion are destined to be barbequed forever.

 

I stated that any sex outside of marriage is a sin

Sex outside of marriage is just that. There is no such thing as "sin". Sin is a mythological concept taken from a Book of Myths.

 

I harbor no ill will towards them

Your god does.

 

 

 

Again - Which of the thousands of denominations is "true Christianity", in your opinion? What must one believe or do in order to be a "true Christian"?

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Again - Which of the thousands of denominations is "true Christianity", in your opinion? What must one believe or do in order to be a "true Christian"?

 

 

I don't believe in denominations and think the division within the church is another example of man's sinful pride. I believe in the catholic church, but not the RCC.

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Think of the teachings of Christ. Jesus was one who loved everyone. Look who he hung out with. He wasn't snobbing his nose up at anyone. He hung out with the "scum" of society,so to speak. However, he did remind them of what they needed to do in order to go to Heaven. That didn't stop him from loving them. He presented the truth to each individual who asked, and also delivered the message to the masses during his sermons. Can you find fault in any of Christ's teachings? Not too many can, since his was one of love. Granted, there was a bit of fire and brimstone in his message, but it was more towards the Pharisees.

 

Myself, I have friends of all persuasions. Homosexuals have asked me how I feel. I stated that any sex outside of marriage is a sin, and I left it at that. We still remain friends, and I harbor no ill will towards them and the same remains with their feelings to me. I hope this answers your questions. God bless.

Hi KalEl

 

Thanks for you reply, but that wasn't my question. I didn't ask about Jesus, I asked about what makes one a true Christian.

 

Still curious ...

 

:grin:

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I can understand the plight that unbelievers and those that have turned their backs on the Lord can feel with Christianity today. I've called it once before, and it's secular Chrisitanity. It was on a term paper for my Engl and Comp with Liberty University. I see the church divided into two types of Chrisitans, with the world mainly seeing the secualr Christians vice Biblical Chrisitans. I pray that we will once again be able to show the world that the true Chrisitanity remains, and that the hatred spewed by people like Fred Phelps will not turn others away from the truth.

 

Fred Phelps doesn't turn others away from the truth, if anyone is the least bit intellectually honest. While emotional despondency can be the first step in deconversion, I would hope that people disavow Christianity on an intellectual level rather than an emotional one.

 

Since Christianity as it stands is fallacious, there is no reason to use what other people believe as an explanation for why someone left, or doesn't believe.

 

Think of the teachings of Christ. Jesus was one who loved everyone. Look who he hung out with. He wasn't snobbing his nose up at anyone. He hung out with the "scum" of society,so to speak. However, he did remind them of what they needed to do in order to go to Heaven. That didn't stop him from loving them. He presented the truth to each individual who asked, and also delivered the message to the masses during his sermons. Can you find fault in any of Christ's teachings? Not too many can, since his was one of love. Granted, there was a bit of fire and brimstone in his message, but it was more towards the Pharisees.

 

Find fault with is teachings? Yes.

 

Of course he was snobbing his nose up at people. By spending time with the "scum" of society, he was trying to show everyone else how much better he was than them.

 

"Look at me, I sit with homosexuals and prostitutes, ain't I such a great guy?!"

 

Why wouldn't he want to hang out with them? These are the people that society has rejected, and because he hung out with them, they felt like they belonged and that things would get better after this life if they just listened to Jesus. He had a hungry audience of easily-molded minds of people who had hit rock bottom, and they flocked to his message.

 

"The meek will inherit the Earth"

 

This is control of the populace at its' finest. You see it in politics too. Typically the areas of higher wealth and prosperity tend to vote conservative, because they don't want things to change. Middleclassmen will tend to vote more liberal, because they tend to be progressive, always looking forward to see how much better we can make society. The areas of greater poverty tend to flock towards those such as the NDP, who tout social programs to help those people who don't work, and have no means to get themselves educated and healthy.

 

Jesus is the Jack Layton of the Biblical times, and Heaven is the NDP of Christianity.

 

 

Jesus isn't special. His teachings aren't either.

 

I didn't ask about Jesus, I asked about what makes one a true Christian.

 

Still curious ...

 

:grin:

 

He did...."Jesus".

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And this is where I become lost. Jesus was a good person but he is God, who does bad things. Jesus is damned by God, and that's not the same thing as saying that God damned himself because Jesus was his own personality, but still God. Jesus didn't do wrong doesn't make sense to me. He's God.

 

Oh and by the way if a certain fig tree could talk I think it wouldn't have such a high opinion of Jesus.

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Again - Which of the thousands of denominations is "true Christianity", in your opinion? What must one believe or do in order to be a "true Christian"?

 

 

I don't believe in denominations and think the division within the church is another example of man's sinful pride. I believe in the catholic church, but not the RCC.

The division within the church just demonstrates how contradictory the bible is, and how many different ways it can be interpreted. It's also an example of unanswered prayer, according to the bible:

 

"And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to thee. Holy Farter, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are." (John 17:11)

 

According to the bible, god didn't answer his own prayer! The Sky Him didn't answer the prayer of the Flat Earth Him! Is that incredible or what? Glory!

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"And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to thee. Holy Farter, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are." (John 17:11)

 

According to the bible, god didn't answer his own prayer! The Sky Him didn't answer the prayer of the Flat Earth Him! Is that incredible or what? Glory!

 

I love that one; it just proves the Holah Babble is basically a fabrication of human brains, and sick ones at that. The cruelty, illogic, and downright silliness found in the Scripchahs is enough to revolt any person thinking independently, but the contradictions really hammer it home.

 

And I am hardly in a "plight" nor misrable because I am an ex-xian. I am actually happier now that I realize Biblegodzilla and his Hellfire Breath are just fiction, and I don't have to worry about roasting for all time just because I didn't appease some tribal spook. I am much happier with my Deistic outlook, and I rather enjoy discovering truths by myself instead of trusting some holy roller to hand them to me. What can I say, I like to think.

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Guest celsusthepagan

KalEl - Your comments on Fred Phelps demonstrate the truth of my original post.

 

If anyone today lives consistently with the spirit and message of the Bible, it is Fred Phelps.

 

For starters, the Bible in no uncertain terms describes homosexuality as a particularly heinous sin. In the Old Testament, it is called an abomination. In the New Testament it is cited as the sign par excellance that someone has rejected the true God. Though Jesus says nothing specific about homosexuality, he preached in general against sexual immorality, lust, and as a first-century Jew would almost certainly have considered homosexuality a perversion.

 

The New Testament makes it clear that unrepentant homosexuals are certainly headed for an eternity of torment for rejecting the true God.

 

Given this Biblical foundation, what Fred Phelps is doing is actually the most loving thing a person could be doing who claims to believe the Bible in its entirety - he spends his life railing against homosexuality in the hopes that it will cause at least a few homosexuals to rethink their ways and not go to Hell.

 

As an example, if you thought that an arsonist had set a fire in a retirement home, which would be the more loving behavior: to quietly fret in your own home about how there's a fire and lovingly try to maybe assist an elderly person who is already outside the home to safety, OR to spend all your resources, hire the fire company, run up and down the halls in the retirement home yelling "GET OUT YOU IDIOTS. THERE'S A FIRE. YOU WILL ALL DIE IF YOU DO NOT GET OUT. " and try forcibly to carry people outside. I'd argue that the second approach, given the facts, is what is more loving, and that's just what Fred Phelps does.

 

Of course I don't believe in hell, so I think he comes off looking ridiculous. But most Christians don't have the guts to do what he does not because it is inconsistent with the Bible, but rather because it would be embarassing and inconvenient to appear as intolerant and hateful as he does. Never mind that he doesn't even begin to approach the Old Testament in hate and judgment.

 

I think most Christians would be seriously embarassed if one of the OT prophets appeared in their midst. . .they'd label them as crazy. But somehow time and myth make saints out of crazy men.

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Think of the teachings of Christ. Jesus was one who loved everyone. Look who he hung out with. He wasn't snobbing his nose up at anyone. He hung out with the "scum" of society,so to speak. However, he did remind them of what they needed to do in order to go to Heaven. That didn't stop him from loving them. He presented the truth to each individual who asked, and also delivered the message to the masses during his sermons. Can you find fault in any of Christ's teachings? Not too many can, since his was one of love. Granted, there was a bit of fire and brimstone in his message, but it was more towards the Pharisees.

 

Myself, I have friends of all persuasions. Homosexuals have asked me how I feel. I stated that any sex outside of marriage is a sin, and I left it at that.

So do we take this to mean you follow Jesus' example of hanging out with the "scum" of society, like homosexuals and people of other "persuasions" (whatever that even means)? How very noble of you, I am sure those lowlife homosexuals and other scrapings from the bottom of the barrel of society appreciate a high and mighty Christian such as yourself lowering yourself to their level and visiting them in the gutter from time to time.

 

Anyway I am glad to see that at least you set these nasty homosexuals straight by reminding them that they are evil, vile sinners (because gawd knows homosexuals don't hear that enough!) and unless they repent, embrace celibacy and never have another sexual thought again in their life that they'll be off to hell to be burned alive and tortured for eternity. Of course I am sure you put a nice "loving Christian" spin on it (because we wouldn't want to sound like Fred Phelps now would we?), but all spin aside the message is still the same: "Turn or Burn"!

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Myself, I have friends of all persuasions. Homosexuals have asked me how I feel. I stated that any sex outside of marriage is a sin, and I left it at that.

 

Nice way to slip out of a tough question. Condemned their lifestyle and managed to retain their friendship besides. Nice, smooth Xian doubletalk - what's the matter? No guts to say to their faces that they are abominations in the eyes of the Lard? Can't stand to lose a few friends for the sake of Jesus? Or is it that voice of human reason and compassion within you that prevented you from dishonoring your friends for the sake of a stupid cult? It's hard to fully turn off your humanity, isn't it?

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I have a theory about Christians vs. ex-Christians - I think that many people who become ex-Christians are actually not all that different in practice as the standard "Christian" - the only difference is that those who become ex-Christians (or never become Christians) have a much lower tolerance for cognitive dissonance than those who call themselves "Christians".

 

One of the things that led to my deconversion was the observation that many Christians live lives that are not much different than anyone else (save for some jargon and Sunday morning worship attendance). After years of struggling to live consistently with my faith, I realized that most everyone else was drifting along with lifestyles that were not much different from the world - and doing just fine with it.

 

This is really an excellent post. You are spot on. I've thought the same for years, but had never quite articulated it even in my own mind as well as you did here. As a xtian I was completely frustrated with the lack of committment around me to mission work. At one point I was seriously planning on going into the mission field and was utterly shocked when my parents, True™ believers, met my enthusiasm coldly. I could say more, but I will say you were right on all points and just leave it at that since you said it so well.

 

I can understand the plight that unbelievers and those that have turned their backs on the Lord can feel with Christianity today. I've called it once before, and it's secular Chrisitanity. It was on a term paper for my Engl and Comp with Liberty University. I see the church divided into two types of Chrisitans, with the world mainly seeing the secualr Christians vice Biblical Chrisitans. I pray that we will once again be able to show the world that the true Chrisitanity remains, and that the hatred spewed by people like Fred Phelps will not turn others away from the truth.

 

Yes, yes, yes, we know, because you are a True™ believer.

 

Well, I pray (as in hope) that you don't show us what true xtianity is on a grand scale. If there is anything this world needs less of it's more True™ believers.

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I stated that any sex outside of marriage is a sin,

 

On what basis did you call it a sin, the OT?

 

 

. Granted, there was a bit of fire and brimstone in his message,

 

In which unbeliever like me and the jews are gonna suffer?

 

I don't believe in denominations I believe in the catholic church, but not the RCC.

 

isn't your "catholic" church a denomination?

What the difference?Do you have 66 books or 72 books in your bible?

 

and think the division within the church is another example of man's sinful pride.

 

And it is also a example of failure of Jesus's promise?(I hope you know what I am talking about)

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I can understand the plight that unbelievers and those that have turned their backs on the Lord can feel with Christianity today. I've called it once before, and it's secular Chrisitanity. It was on a term paper for my Engl and Comp with Liberty University. I see the church divided into two types of Chrisitans, with the world mainly seeing the secualr Christians vice Biblical Chrisitans. I pray that we will once again be able to show the world that the true Chrisitanity remains, and that the hatred spewed by people like Fred Phelps will not turn others away from the truth.

There is pride in your response KalEl.

 

I also like true Christianity, when I can find bits and pieces of it. The Nag Hammadi Library probably contains some of those early Chrisitan thoughts. But, you see, it really doesn't matter to me whether or not there are true Christians or not because the bible is a myth and as a myth, it is there to help people on their spiritual journeys. It is not there to be worshiped as most "true" Christians think. It is a story that one can relate to their own life and gain insight from it so they can lead a happier life. The problem is, is that myths are supposed to change with the changing ways of the culture in order for people to relate to it. When the Chrisitan myth became the "Word of God!", it was not allowed to change and therefore cannot even serve the purpose it was created to do. "True" Chrisitians killed the myth and it's importance died. I find that horribly sad...

 

Surely, being a student of Liberty, you have studied the purpose of myths have you not?

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Did he break bread with the "lowest" because they were so hurting, or was it that they were actually honest? There are other explanations for what you observe.

 

And I somehow doubt that you have left it at "Any sex outside of marriage is a sin." You don't seem the type, from what you have said here, to keep your mouth shut on your opinions, unless you are a coward that will only say these things if they don't think it will be traced to them.

 

As for the OP, that is an interesting observation. Those who cling most tightly will be the first to let go, I guess. Since so much is invested in the question, people are foolish if they don't look at what they are basing their lives on (and since they asked...)

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I have a theory about Christians vs. ex-Christians - I think that many people who become ex-Christians are actually not all that different in practice as the standard "Christian"

 

Very good post. I was similar to you - I really wanted to take it all seriously - if i was going to do it (Christianity) at all. I wanted actual answers to prayer etc and when it was clear that was not going to happen in any predictable way you either have to

1 - back off and take it less seriously

2 - get out altogether

3 - Kepp banging away and risk your mental health.

 

I think I was starting to verge on the latter :twitch::grin:

 

And now after having backed right off I find that what you say is true and that many Christians are not holding on to all the teachings of the Bible.

I asked a Christian the other day if he really believed in Heaven and hell etc and he said no. So whats the difference between a Christian and a spiritual person?

 

The big difference these days is that people who are willing to talk about their Christianity are the ones who more fundamental - who will preach heaven and hell and redemption etc. The ones who are not so fundamental do not openly speak about it in church because it goes against their chosen religion/their church/ their friends etc. So they just keep quiet I think these people are spiritual and honest within themselves but cannot bring themsleves to stand up AGAINST the church that is such a part of their lives.

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