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Open letter to Christians

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posted on Dec, 20 2013 @ 05:04 PM
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Dear Christians,

This letter is not meant to antagonize, bash, or ridicule your faith. This is only meant to be a desire for unity between Christians, those that they persecute, and those who persecute them. That being said, I am going to step on some toes, I'm sure.

I grew up in a horribly abusive Christian household. I was forced to go to church on Sunday, a private Christian school, and any other church activities that occurred throughout the week or on holidays. My parents lived by two books: the Bible and "To Train Up a Child". Needless to say, I grew to resent the Christian faith and its followers. For many years, I wandered aimlessly through life cursing the faith that sent me through hell when it promised me salvation.

More recently, I found that it's not the Christian faith that I hate. It's the use of the Christian faith as
a weapon. This clip from the movie "Saved" is a perfect illustration to my point:



While this clip may be a bit of an exaggeration, it's not that far off. I remember at one point in my youth, a Christian screamed at me and told me I was going to hell because I don't believe in Jesus. Where is the love? What about compassion and charity? You call yourselves Christians, or followers of Christ, but many of you act like Pharisees and Sadducees. You hold yourselves to such a high moral standard that you end up looking down on everyone else. Do you think that's what Jesus had in mind when he said, "Love your neighbor as yourself"? What about the gospel, or good news? Is telling people they're going to hell really "good news"?

I'm going to be completely upfront and honest with you: a lot of you can be extremely abrasive at times. This not only makes your entire faith look bad, but it also pushes people away from you -- people that you could have shown love to. Then, you tend to push people ... and when they push back, they're persecuting you.

So here's my proposal: If you guys stop this war against everything, and start holding people to Christ's "no one's perfect, but I love them anyway" standard, people will grow to respect you. Instead of preaching at people, get to know them. Stop looking at people as moral inferiors, but as human equals. I would like to get to know you ... not as the Bible on tape, but as human beings.

In the end, this letter really goes out to everyone. The more we strive to look past petty differences and embrace what we do have in common, the better off this world will be.

Thanks,

Scolai




posted on Dec, 20 2013 @ 05:25 PM
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scolai
The more we strive to look past petty differences and embrace what we do have in common, the better off this world will be.


Yup. To that end, everyone should be a comparativist.




posted on Dec, 20 2013 @ 06:06 PM
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reply to post by scolai
 


Op I understand where you're coming from. I was forced to attend a private school, attend church every single day before the start of school, and was even an alter boy for 4 years. I was preached numerous stories about "Purgatory" and how you will burn in hell if you didn't attend church regularly. I was disgusted at seeing priests living high on the hog while devoted poor Catholics would drop their hard earned money every Sunday in the collection basket.

When you witness priests having their own personal cook, feasting on lobster and steak, owning Cadillacs, cottages and boats, you kind of walk away from that disgusted knowing that the people they're preaching to are living pay check to pay check and own nothing of the sort.

I would also witness some of these same "church goers" outside of church being judgmental, verbally and physically abusive, and just plain mean. My mother was a perfect example. These people would always put on a fake facade when out in public, but change their demeanor with family, friends and co-workers.



posted on Dec, 20 2013 @ 06:10 PM
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According to most Atheists, it's always atheists who know how a "true Christian" should act, while Christians are horribly misguided brainwashed bigots who use their beliefs as a weapon to demonize the beliefs of others. Being a Christian simply means that you believe that Jesus is the son of God who died for your sins. It does not mean that you will go to Heaven, it does not mean that you are no longer a sinner, it does not mean that you automatically behave the way that Jesus calls his followers to behave. It's true, Christians claim that the Holy Spirit of Christ resides in Christ's true followers so that they can spread his love and light up the world, but that does not mean that the Holy Spirit resides in all Christians. OP, do you have any qualms with the doctrines of the Bible and Christianity itself, or just with some of the people who claim to represent it? It seems like you could have been a pretty good representative. Psalm 37:4 - "Take delight in the Lord, and he will grant you the desires of your heart." So can you honestly say that you took delight in the Lord?



posted on Dec, 20 2013 @ 06:14 PM
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WeRpeons
reply to post by scolai
 


Op I understand where you're coming from. I was forced to attend a private school, attend church every single day before the start of school, and was even an alter boy for 4 years. I was preached numerous stories about "Purgatory" and how you will burn in hell if you didn't attend church regularly. I was disgusted at seeing priests living high on the hog while devoted poor Catholics would drop their hard earned money every Sunday in the collection basket.

When you witness priests having their own personal cook, feasting on lobster and steak, owning Cadillacs, cottages and boats, you kind of walk away from that disgusted knowing that the people they're preaching to are living pay check to pay check and own nothing of the sort.

I would also witness some of these same "church goers" outside of church being judgmental, verbally and physically abusive, and just plain mean. My mother was a perfect example. These people would always put on a fake facade when out in public, but change their demeanor with family, friends and co-workers.


Catholiic priests living "high on the hog?" What are you talking about? Priests are barely even paid a living wage, and are not allowed to take anything more than what they are paid by their diocese, especially from Church funds. My great uncle is a Priest, I was born and raised Catholic, I attended Catholic school pre-school through high school, I was an altar boy until age 13 or 14, and I and my family knew two priests very personally. They often came to our house for dinner. They were humble, wise men who had no care for the material world and were definitely "poor" in terms of their paid wage.



posted on Dec, 20 2013 @ 06:17 PM
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WeRpeons
reply to post by scolai
 


Op I understand where you're coming from. I was forced to attend a private school, attend church every single day before the start of school, and was even an alter boy for 4 years. I was preached numerous stories about "Purgatory" and how you will burn in hell if you didn't attend church regularly. I was disgusted at seeing priests living high on the hog while devoted poor Catholics would drop their hard earned money every Sunday in the collection basket.

When you witness priests having their own personal cook, feasting on lobster and steak, owning Cadillacs, cottages and boats, you kind of walk away from that disgusted knowing that the people they're preaching to are living pay check to pay check and own nothing of the sort.

I would also witness some of these same "church goers" outside of church being judgmental, verbally and physically abusive, and just plain mean. My mother was a perfect example. These people would always put on a fake facade when out in public, but change their demeanor with family, friends and co-workers.


I don't think that a single thing you said in this post was factual. Personal cooks? Cadillacs? Lobster and steak? Poor Catholics paying more than they can spare to the Church? Being threatened with Hell for not going to Church? Cottages and boats? All complete bull#. Sorry, but this post is just ridiculous. I doubt you were ever affiliated with Catholicism in any way.



posted on Dec, 20 2013 @ 06:20 PM
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reply to post by scolai
 

Dear scolai,

It would be easy to find fault with the opening post. Perhaps it may come to that. But for now, I'm willing to set that aside and try to respond in a kindly and gentle manner to what I will assume was an well-intentioned post.

You condemn, as do I, the failure of some Christians to live Christ-like lives. You are willing to criticize the actions of people who do not live up to their group's standards. What people do live up to their group's standards? Chesterton said the Church isn't a museum for saints but a hospital for sinners.


I'm going to be completely upfront and honest with you: a lot of you can be extremely abrasive at times. This not only makes your entire faith look bad, but it also pushes people away from you -- people that you could have shown love to. Then, you tend to push people ... and when they push back, they're persecuting you.
Those identical words can also be said of gays, abortion supporters, "Al Sharpton" blacks, Muslims, and several other groups that come to mind.


If you guys stop this war against everything, and start holding people to Christ's "no one's perfect, but I love them anyway" standard, people will grow to respect you.Stop looking at people as moral inferiors, but as human equals.
Why do you think that happens? I know that many Christians have no problem with the idea of loving the person as another Child of God. But they also feel the need to speak out against actions which are sinful and could sentence that person they love to eternal damnation.

Under your proposal, would Christians still be accepted for marching up and down calling out that abortion or homosexual sex is wrong? Since your letter is described as one intended for Christians, could you tell me what petty differences you were thinking of, that they should be looking past?

There is, obviously much more that could be said about your post, but let's try to meet half way and see what we can build.

With respect,
Charles1952



posted on Dec, 20 2013 @ 06:40 PM
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Even though I'm an Atheist, on some level I fervently hope all the Christians, and associated adherents to the Abrahamic cults/mythologies get zapped up into some Jesus spaceship where they'll forever be happy as slaves to their god.

Of course, in my version of science fiction dreamery, ALL of them, and everyone that wants to get zapped up into big glowy showy promised land Jesus Spaceship get got.

Everyone is happy and gets what they want.

The world can go on spinning happily away without any more fanaticism and everyone left behind is left behind because they want to be.

If if such a place as Heaven actually existed, from all the descriptions, I really wouldn't want to have a thing to do with it.
It sounds like a place full of empty headed zombies divorced of any and all free will where slavery and forced worship is compulsory for membership.
A golden cage is still a cage.

Thus, there are those of us that really want nothing to do with the mythology at all, even if it actually did exist as a reality.
No amount of scripture, or fear mongering scare tactic, and other proselytizing strategy will ever work on many folks such as myself.
Sure, stick us under the domination of something like the Spanish Inquisition and we'll say the words, go through the motions, and whatever else required to survive, but, in reality, there's those of us want nothing to do with any of it and would much like to be left alone and not bothered by all the fanaticism.




posted on Dec, 20 2013 @ 06:54 PM
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AliceBleachWhite

Even though I'm an Atheist, on some level I fervently hope all the Christians, and associated adherents to the Abrahamic cults/mythologies get zapped up into some Jesus spaceship where they'll forever be happy as slaves to their god.


...ironically, you're not long off getting exactly what you want.
(read my signature)



posted on Dec, 20 2013 @ 07:03 PM
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reply to post by AliceBleachWhite
 


Me too





Well, I dreamed I saw the silver spaceships flyin'
In the yellow haze of the sun
There were children cryin' and colors flyin'
All around the chosen ones
All in a dream, all in a dream the loadin' had begun
We were flyin' mother nature's silver seed to a new home in the sun
Flyin' mother nature's silver seed to a new home

Read more: Neil Young - After The Gold Rush




posted on Dec, 20 2013 @ 07:10 PM
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Awen24

...ironically, you're not long off getting exactly what you want.
(read my signature)


Color me beyond dubious considering the historical precedent already set with pretty much every single mythology that's ever existed since at least the Sumerians.

The Sumerians believed their gods would one day return ... still waiting.
The Mayans had similar prophecy ... still waiting.
Christianity? ... still waiting.
Odinism? ... still waiting for Ragnarok.

The direct intervention/intercourse of 'gods' with humans seems to have near miraculously disappeared from the planet, and only ever existed or occurred as stories even with adherents to the mythologies.
Seems gods and miracles have a hard time existing around science, and especially so with nations that have big red buttons on nuclear devices that won't be putting up with any wrath of god shenanigans without putting up a fight in return.

Still ... still waiting.

Since recorded history, someone somewhere has been waiting for the return of some god.
All for nothing so far.




posted on Dec, 20 2013 @ 07:29 PM
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I'm sorry that the OP left so quickly, I was hoping for a discussion. So, what do you more recent posters think the topic is? I'll admit that I can't tell anymore. If it's "Christians are stupid," OK, enjoy yourselves. If it's something else, I'd like to know.



posted on Dec, 20 2013 @ 07:41 PM
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posted on Dec, 20 2013 @ 07:52 PM
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reply to post by scolai
 


Fair enough, sorry about your childhood and what your parents made you do. However, your message is a good one for everyone to hear..........how about contacting

Contact Us
Feedback

We want to hear from you! If you have feedback for Al Jazeera America please email america@aljazeera.net.


Contact Al Jazeera



posted on Dec, 20 2013 @ 07:58 PM
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reply to post by Belcastro
 

Thank you. Powerful and true. A reminder and a reproach. Justice and mercy. Above all love. Accepted or scorned.



posted on Dec, 20 2013 @ 08:15 PM
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reply to post by scolai
 





I grew up in a horribly abusive Christian household. I was forced to go to church on Sunday, a private Christian school, and any other church activities that occurred throughout the week or on holidays. My parents lived by two books: the Bible and "To Train Up a Child".


You are not alone OP! And, people are becoming aware of the abuse that ubber-religious, and yet ignorant, parents can inflict, causing a lifetime of trauma, distrust and disfunction. I'm curious, were you adopted?


In 2008, Hana Williams was adopted from an orphanage in Ethiopia and brought to the United States where she died at the hands of her Bible-believing American parents. Their notion of Christian discipline required breaking her will, a remarkably common belief among conservative Evangelicals. To that end, they frequently beat her, shut her in a closet, and denied her meals. Ultimately, she was left outside where she died of hypothermia exacerbated by malnutrition. They were convicted ofmanslaughter this month.

In carrying out their obsession with child obedience, Hana’s adoptive parents drew tips from Tennessee preacher Michael Pearl, whose spare-the-rod-spoil-the-child book, To Train Up a Child, has been found now in three homes of Christian parents who killed their adopted children. The title comes from a stanza in the book of Proverbs: Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.

Breaking Their Will

www.abovetopsecret.com...


Children generally have a hard time protecting themselves from abusive caregivers. Children who are made to believe that God is on the side of the abuser and that they deserve to suffer are all the more unable to fend off physical and psychological wounds.


More............


As a child, M. Dolon Hickmon collected bits he’d heard in sermons and adult conversations, trying to understand his fear and hurt. Ultimately he decided the fault lay in himself:

Here are the messages I gleaned from the church of my childhood: that beating children is acceptable—good for them, in fact; bruises and welts are of little consequence; that fear is desirable, as is pained screaming and broken sobbing. I’d heard that kids were to be whipped for the least act of disobedience, with belts and sticks and plastic racecar tracks; on bare skin, and as often as an adult thought was necessary.

A child abuser, on the other hand, is someone who doesn’t love you. A parent who never gives hugs because he is angry all the time. A child abuser is a drinker, a druggie, or at best some kind of wild animal. An abuser has no reasons or explanations. He just burns kids with cigarettes and gives them broken arms.

My abuser loved me and hugged me, and he overflowed with explanations. I once got an hour-long lesson on disobedience for leaving a crayon on the floor. While the belt clapped with the measured rhythms of chopping firewood, I struggled to commit verses to memory and to answer quizzes on the metaphysical meanings of the word honor in scripture. . . .

I tolerated being degraded, because that was what I thought a Christian child was supposed to do.




edit on 20-12-2013 by windword because: (no reason given)



posted on Dec, 20 2013 @ 09:06 PM
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reply to post by windword
 

Dear windword,

Maybe I'm getting mentally slow in old age, but I'm having more and more trouble following the jumps that some posters are making. The OP says, as you point out:

I grew up in a horribly abusive Christian household.
Here, I steel myself for gut-wrenching scenes of Christian abuse (not being quite sure how Christian child abuse is different from any other kind). The horrible abuse begins with blood-curdling depictions of having to go to church on Sundays, attend a Christian school, and take part in church activities.

At this point, I wondered if it was all a big joke. It certainly seemed like it, but maybe it was preparation for the really frightening abuse. Then he says that his parents lived by the Bible, and I'm becoming even more convinced that the OP is just laughing at us. So far he's described what many people now, and almost everybody a couple of generations ago, would consider ideal.

Then he says his parents lived by "To Train Up a Child." And he stops right there!

Where are the descriptions of this horrible abuse? Nothing that the OP says shows he was abused. He never explains what happened to him, or whether his parents misinterpreted the book. The New York Times reported that there were problems with the book when carried to extremes. But isn't that true of any book? There isn't even a claim from the OP that his life was brutalized to the extent of "horrible abuse." I know that if even if he claims it (and I expect he will, now), there is no way to prove it one way or the other.

So, how did you reach the point where you accepted the idea that:

You are not alone OP! And, people are becoming aware of the abuse that ubber-religious, and yet ignorant, parents can inflict, causing a lifetime of trauma, distrust and disfunction. I'm curious, were you adopted?


It's possible that the OP was abused, but he hasn't said anything that comes up to even mistreatment, let alone horrible abuse.

See why I'm Mr. Confusion?

With respect,
Charles1952



posted on Dec, 20 2013 @ 09:55 PM
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I don't think that a single thing you said in this post was factual. Personal cooks? Cadillacs? Lobster and steak? Poor Catholics paying more than they can spare to the Church? Being threatened with Hell for not going to Church? Cottages and boats? All complete bull#. Sorry, but this post is just ridiculous. I doubt you were ever affiliated with Catholicism in any way.

reply to post by pauladaballa777
 


Sounds unbelievable doesn't it? Well if you think I'm making all this up, search my other posts related to religion, you will find I have reiterated this before. Maybe the priests in your diocese didn't behave in the manner I witnessed.

As far as the lobster and steak, my eldest sister was one of the volunteers who cooked for these priests. Women in the parish would volunteer to cook for them. They would all be scheduled a week at a time. I would call that a personal cook.

I was raised in poverty, and the neighborhood in which our church resided in was surrounded by poor families. I'm 54 years old, and I can assure you, during my time attending a catholic elementary school, kids were slapped in the face by nuns, rulers were used on their knuckles, paddling was excessive and even the priests would also participate in the disciplining of students.

If you ask me or any of the kids I attended school with back than, I would guarantee they would recall the mean spirited and the wicked way they would discipline us. We had a nun as a principal, her name was sister Charlene, kids were all terrified of her. She never smiled and when kids were sent to her office, they came back with tears in their eyes. How about holding a sheet of paper with your nose against a wall making sure your toes were a foot away. Stand there for an hour, don't make that paper fall or you're in for a harsher punishment like being paddled.

I don't know how old you are, but I'm sure things have changed since than. Having said that, I find it rather disturbing that religions will preach tolerance, forgiveness, and leading a life like Jesus Christ, but from what I experienced, they didn't do what they preached.

As far as the big cars and owning boats and cottages, as an alter boy, we would watch as these priests would pull their cars out of the rectory garage. Since we were alter boys, we got to know these priests at summer camps for alter boys and they would talk about their possessions. Out of the three priests that resided at the rectory, two had big cars and the one did own a Cadillac. Us kids would stand their marveling as we watched the one priest pull his Cadillac in the garage.

I'm not saying these priests we're mean, they all had human faults. One definitely had a bad temper, and a few of us heard him cuss several times.

Are you going to ignore the cases of molestation among Catholic priests? That's hard to believe too, isn't it? But it's happened many times! What's worst, is these priests would be moved around to other parishes to cover-up their criminal tracks on orders from the bishops.

I don't want to rain on your parade, but Catholicism or any other religion for that matter have a lot of skeletons in their closets. Just because you haven't personally witnessed abuse or that the current state of Catholicism is not the same as it was in the 60's, doesn't mean my experience didn't happen.

There's a reason why the number of people attending church has dwindled across the country. A lot of people have taken notice of the hypocrisy and the ridiculous notion that the faithful have this uncanny ability to know who will go to hell and who will make it to heaven. Not to mention the notion that there is a place between heaven and hell called Purgatory. (I remember being taught if we said 10 Hail Mary's and 10 Our Father's a soul would be released from Purgatory, lol). I wonder how they found out about that?

Here's another ridiculous thing we were taught, if you die wearing a scapular around your neck, you have a straight path to heaven. Don't pass hell, don't collect 200 dollars, you have a free pass to heaven.

The catholic religion also believes that the wine actually changes to the blood of Jesus Christ during the words of consecration during the Mass. It's not a symbolic gesture, but a belief that it actually has changed. Ask anyone who has drank from the cup during communion, I can guarantee you everyone will agree it tastes like wine.

No, I was never affiliated with Catholicism, I was just baptized, educated up to 6th grade in a private Catholic school, been confirmed by the bishop, served as an alter boy for 4 years, confirmed and married in the catholic church. I received enough sacraments except for priest hood, lol.


edit on 20-12-2013 by WeRpeons because: (no reason given)



posted on Dec, 20 2013 @ 10:11 PM
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reply to post by charles1952
 




Charles
So, how did you reach the point where you accepted the idea that:

Windword
You are not alone OP! And, people are becoming aware of the abuse that ubber-religious, and yet ignorant, parents can inflict, causing a lifetime of trauma, distrust and disfunction. I'm curious, were you adopted?


Charles,

Apparently you doubt the sincerity of the OP, because he hasn't delineated the kind of abuse that elicits images that matches his/her passion on the subject. That's why I linked the article. The methods of this particular group of Christians have become notorious. But there are many others too.

I said that he wasn't alone, because there are many posters here on ATS, including myself, that considered ourselves survivors of religious abuse and damaging religious upbringings.





You wouldn't expect the victim of rape to recount the fear, anger, shame, self loathing and confusion that arose from the ordeal, in order for you to believe that someone was really violated. Religion can be used as weapon, that is just as painful and emotionally damaging, and that violates innocence just as deeply as any assault.

I have posted some of the nightmare examples of religious abuse in my upbringing, but it's not something that I wish to recount over and over, in thread after thread, that address the pain and damage that religious wackos can and do inflict on their kids.

I believe the OP. It may be hard to explain how being forced to go to church is abuse, but when your abuser is supported by the religious community and "God", the sense of betrayal of the "Church" becomes acute, and there is no escape from your abuser's authority and justification.



edit on 20-12-2013 by windword because: (no reason given)



posted on Dec, 20 2013 @ 10:25 PM
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Catholiic priests living "high on the hog?" What are you talking about? Priests are barely even paid a living wage, and are not allowed to take anything more than what they are paid by their diocese, especially from Church funds. My great uncle is a Priest, I was born and raised Catholic, I attended Catholic school pre-school through high school, I was an altar boy until age 13 or 14, and I and my family knew two priests very personally. They often came to our house for dinner. They were humble, wise men who had no care for the material world and were definitely "poor" in terms of their paid wage.

reply to post by pauladaballa777
 


So because you have not experienced or witnessed what I have, means I'm making all this up? LOL. Do you think all clergy are honest and humble. There are bad seeds in any profession, including priesthood.

"They are not allowed to take anything more than what they are paid by their diocese, especially from Church funds". They're not allowed but some do. Do don't know about your church, but do you have any idea the kind of money churches raise from dinners, festivals and basket collections? I don't care what the diocese pays them, if you don't think some priests are not tempted to dip into money raised from these fund raisers your being naive. They're human just like the rest of us. They put their pants on one leg at a time just like everyone else.

How many priests have been caught doing things they shouldn't be doing? With all the royalties the Vatican has in its possession, to think these men of the cloth have no temptation to possess materialistic things is just plain silly.



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