Originally posted by badkitty
(Raphael - here's the thread - let's talk)
I have to admit - Christanity is a very powerful cult. I was literally afraid for my eternal soul when I began to question it. I was even afraid to
question. To this day (I am 38 years old) I have not told my father that I don't believe because he would probably begin an exorcism immediately. But
what a relief it was when I finally realized and belived it was false. I felt like a weight was lifted from my solders. Christianity is all about fear
- now it is gone.
First allow me to say, I do understand exactly how you feel. I do not call myself Christian because that is the religion I follow. I do not believe in
Religions, I believe in God. I believe there is one God. I believe there is one Truth. I believe there is one Way.
Christianity should not be all about fear. Now that the fear is gone, perhaps you can learn it is all about love.
There are many people who teach things which are not love in the name of Christianity. Religion requires a religious leader, Christianity requires
One thing I must know, do you still believe in God? That is not to say "this God or that god", but rather the concept that one thing that put all
that we see in motion? Or, at least accept the possiblity. This is the one thing I cannot teach, I do not know how. I know god exists because of my
own experiences, and these experiences I would wish on no one. It was not something I was taught with words. And no words I can use can teach it.
People find God in many places. While looking at a tree, in the eyes of a child, and yes, even in dreams. Why is this so? Because all is a creation of
God, God's love is reflected in all natural things.
There wasn't one particular thing but rather it was a culmination. Though I had disputed it for years, I finally admited to myself that there
really are contradictions in the bible. There is also a lot of violence, murder, incest, rape and savagry. Many Christians say they don't "follow"
the old testament or "the old testament" doesn't apply to us. But the whole basis of Christianity is the belief that Jesus is the messiah predicted
by the Jews of the old testament. It is the fulfillment of the Old Testament. So I believe it is hypocrytical or dilussionary at best to think you can
accept the new testament and reject the old. And while I still believe that Jesus taught some wonderful things that are basic truths of life - if I
cannot accept the old testament how can I accept the fulfillment of it?
Christians look at the words in the old testament and wonder "how can this be my loving God?" Words are used to describe an event or a concept.
Sometimes what we perceive as events, also teach a concept. Hebrew is a very visual language, it paints a picture in one's mind.
But that wasn't the final straw. I then started thinking about the thinking. Yes, thinking. Why would God give us reson and intellect (the
primary thing that makes us different than other animals) then require that we completely suspend the use of these in order to get to heaven. I mean,
the bible teaches that the only way to get to heaven is "by grace through faith". So, forget using the brain you were given - just believe whatever
the pastor/priest tells us? Huh?
With all my heart I believe what I believe. Summarized as simply as I can this is "God is. Love God. Live God."
These are but words to describe a concept.
Are believing these words enough?
Not at all. I must also be able to explain to my children "why?" these are true. Without understanding why these are true, my children will be left
with questions. Questions without answers lead to confusion. Confusion leads to doubt. Doubt leads to rejection.
Children inevitably ask these questions. It is the nature of a child. They seek to understand, and they do so with an open mind.
How important is this idea in the bible?
There are two types of sins-- sins against God and sins against man. (I'll come back to this in the future)
The 10 commandments fit into these two catagories.
The first "sin against man" is not "Thou shalt not kill" it is "Honor thy mother and thy father."
Why is this more important than not killing?
Because it is the parents that first teach the children of their beliefs. If you do not honor mother and father, you cannot accept what they say.
What is the most important thing they could say? The answers to "why?" they believe as they do.
This is not the only place the bible shows this truth.
God requires you to THINK. Not for his sake, but for your own sake and the sake of your children. Who is better at teaching a child than his
This is why we can all reason and think. Not only to understand ourselves, but to explain why we understand to our children.
Yet that was not the final starw for me - what really got me going was the fact that the oldest gospel is dates around 70 AD. 70 AD!!! That
means no one thought it important to write down what "the messiah" said until roughly 37 years after he died?!? And the ultimate problem for me - if
Jesus really was God incarnate - I would think he himself would want to make sure that we all knew it and knew it correctly. So, if he was the
messiah, why didn't he write down his words himself or dictate it to a desciple if he couldn't write? If he was the messiah then his life was the
single most imortant event in human history and he surely would know that. So why didn't he make sure that we got it right? That exactly what we
should know was written down, exactly the way he wanted it know? Is God toying with us? I doubt it - I guess this was the final straw for me. There is
no way God would be so obtuse or ambiguous as to send the saviour but leave no record for history other than a few "supposed" eyewitness accounts
lettered decades after his death. No way.
I really do not know how to respond to this. I will say, when
something was written is not that important to me. The words are for the mind,
the lesson they teach are for the soul. When I started searching for answers, I had all the beliefs and questions of an atheist, except I believed in
God. I knew
God is. But I knew nothing else. The first thing I did was consider the nature of God. My words cannot adequately describe my
understanding of Him. And my understanding of Him is not adequate. It's like trying to catch the wind in a plastic bag. Once you catch it, it is no
The first thing I understood is that God is everything and everywhere and everywhen.
He created us with our own minds-- free will (to use a label of Christians)
He doesn't want to force us into servitude. If he did, he would have made us this way.
When I think of the everywhen that is God, and consider your words "I would think he himself would want to make sure that we all knew it and knew it
correctly", I see the answer as plain as day.
If God had wanted to "make sure that we all knew it and knew it correctly and completely", he would not have made us as we are. He would have never
given us the choice. He would have never allowed us this ability to choose. I consider these events in history a nudge in the right direction. Not
enough to override that which God gave us, but just enough to put us on the right path.
I believe that Jesus did live, and that he was a rebel (in a peaceful way) and a visionary and taught many great things. And these people were
looking for a revolution - a political savior. And they thought it would be Jesus, but he failed them politically. So long after his death they got
together and decided they could start their own revolution by hijacking this man's name and teachings and claim he was the savior of the world - and
by the way, they are his heirs and the only link left to God. And there is no doubt that Christianity changed the political landscape of the world
even to this day.
Jesus was a rebel. He took the structure of beliefs and turned them on end. Jesus was not put on this earth to be a political savior, but a savior of
the soul. Things of this earth are not things that we need for longer than we are here. Things of the soul are things we need forever.
The fact that men used this to further there own ends is human nature. They see some goodness and they seek to exploit it for their own ends.
I believe men are capable of many things, I firmly believe that if there was a way to regulate it, men would charge for the very air we breathe.
Matter of fact, you can already go to a store and buy a canister of compressed air.
It is human nature. but this is not the nature of the spirit.
And consider that key biblical stories (ie the flood) are proven to be mere copies of ancient sumariean stories. Now that doesn't mean these
things didn't happen - maybe they did, maybe they are just folklore. The fact is, these were not inspired by God and dicated to Moses as the bible
claims. The bible is riddled with inconsitencies and decpetions. And don't even get me started on the cannonizatoin - that new testament class I took
in college helped me to see the depth of human influence in the bible as we know it. Ever read any of the lost gosples (ie - Thomas or Mary Magdelen)?
I see why they left them out - it would take power away from the church - after all if "God is in us and all around us, not in buildings of wood and
stone" as Thomas says, then what need have we of a church?
Dictated no. Inspired yes. They teach a concept. Will I say that Noah existed and he build an ark so long by so long? And then stuff all the animals
in the world on it for 40 days and 40 nights (longer really since you would have to allow time to collect the animals into the ark and such)? No. I
There is a children's song about noah, one of the verses go "... the smell must have drove poor noah crazy crazy... "
Thinking everything is literal is crazy.
The concept however is simple God wants us to love him. If all the earth did not love him, that is to say if no one was left to teach the children
about him, he could wipe the earth and start again. But, only takes one man to teach his children. His children will teach their children and then
those children their children. If just one of those children teaches another that does not beleive, the whole process starts there as well.
This is the concept taught. I see this reflected in the world. Have you not heard it said "it only takes a spark to get a fire going"? This is a
reflection of what "God knows" as seen in his creation.
I have read the Book of Thomas recently because of your mention that he said "God is in us and all around us, not in buildings of wood and
I saw truth in those words. Captain Kirk can relate too. "Why would God need a starship."
God is not in the buildings he is within each of us. God does not teach us to huddle only among those who think the same as we do. He wants us to go
out and spread the word of his love. Why then do we need a Church? Because each of us have questions that require answers. Finding those answers by
yourself is not easy. You don't make your children figure out how to count on their own, add on their own, and multiply on their own. It is also
silly to say that we only learn when in school. Learning happens all the time. Every experience is a learning experience--In school, out of school, it
doesn't matter. So it is the same with God, love God-- in church, out of church, where ever you are. You do not need church, but other people may
need you to understand. If you hide yourself in a closet, who then can ask you to explain what you already know?
I stated I have read the book of Thomas. I find many truths in what he says. But...
Love is found through humility. Sin is found through pride. (in the future I will explain further)
These ideas he teaches, are humble ideas. But they are easily twisted by pride to become something other than what they are intended.
If you understand pride and humility, you can look around and see that men already do this with the other teachings. How much worse would it be if
entire chapters could be twisted in context?
I would not teach these things, as they are presented, to someone who did not know
"God is". Thinking "God is" is not enough to keep the
words from being twisted.
And the whole satan thing was one of the key things that made me question the whole biblical view. I mean, if satan was initially created by
god, and god is all good, and evil did not exist before satan rebelled and was cast out of heaven - then where did satan even get the idea to rebel?
Where did the evil thought come from? Did it come from god? If so, then god is both good and evil. Did satan invent it? If so then god created satan
with all he is capable of so ultimately god created evil? Or, is there another god that has existed as long as the biblical god that influenced satan?
In that case, then there is more than one god out there. Either way, the whole satan idea contradicts the basic premises of the bible, that there is
only one god who is only good that created everything and is the most powerful force in the universe. Some part of this premis cannot be true if the
satan story is true.
The nature of Good and Evil. When I sought understanding of this, it was like trying to catch the wind in a butterfly net. Understanding this requires
a great deal of thought. I hope I can put this concept into words adequately enough for you to understand. There are many lessons here all
Free will is the choice to love God.
In order for you to have a choice, there must be a choice.
To love God or not
Unconditional love is humble.
that which is not
humble is proud.
Think back to the story of Adam and Eve. Eve knows the fruit is the fruit of all knowledge. She recognizes this to be true. God's will was "do not
eat the fruit". She had free will the choices were simply "eat the fruit of all knowledge or do not".
A humble person recognize, "I have the potential to know all that God knows. But God says no."
A proud person recognize, "I have the potential to know all that God knows. But God says no."
Humility would then allow one to think "I can never know as much as God."
Pride would then allow one to think "I can know as much as God."
Thinking is not action. But action comes from thought.
Eve was "tempted by the adversary". The essence of this is that she recognized that she had two paths she could take.
She then chose one of those two actions.
A similar then happened to Adam. The essence of this is that he recognized that he had two paths he could take. In this instance, Eve was "the
He then chose one of those two actions.
Lets go back a little now...
Angels were created with complete understanding. Men were created without complete understanding. (There are other differences but are not important
at this time.)
Angels were created first, Men were created second. Both were created with free will.
When Man was created, God told the angels to bow down to this new creation. Because angels had complete understanding, they recognized they had a
choice. Some did not choose to do what God told them.
One of these angels who chose not do what God told them, appeared to Eve, and tempted her. Why did it tempt her? Because he wanted to prove they were
not worthy of worship, and it had made the right choice.
Why did Eve tempt Adam? Because she wanted to prove she made the right choice.
The essence of "the adversary" is: simply recognizing there are choices. "The adversary" takes many forms. "Satan" is a desciption of this
That is alot to absorb, and I may have given you too much at one time.
If you seek understanding, ask questions.
[Edited on 23-7-2004 by Raphael_UO]