To Christians, from a fellow Christian

From Natasha

I would like the chance to say something, although I am quite aware that this is not a forum for Christians. I hope to echo the letter I read called "In Defense of Dave," but from the Christian perspective. If you are a Christian, and you are visiting this site, then please please please, think about what you are posting.

This is a website, clearly for people who WERE Christians, and now are not. Many of them were hurt by their church, or by Christians in their lives, and many see us Christians as uneducated, and illogical. Let’s face it guys, congregations can hurt people, and Christianity is illogical. It is not your job as a Christian to get into debates with these people who often have been hurt by the church. It is our job to apologize, and be humble. It is our job to admit that we have screwed up, and that people have been hurt. It is our job to hold each other accountable to the Christian beliefs we espouse. It is NOT our job to judge people who don’t even hold to the same beliefs we do. It is NOT our job to argue and hate – you are just proving their point when you do this.

People who are ex-Christians are not people who have never heard the gospel – in fact many of them, from what I have read on this site, are better educated than we are about our own faith. They are not looking for your “insight” and you would be hard pressed to present some argument they have never heard. They are looking for healing, and support, and we owe it to them to do whatever we can towards that goal. We are called to be loving, not judgmental.

If you are a Christian, and you haven’t read Dave’s testimony, then do that before you begin to assume anything about anyone else on this site. Try to see everyone here as a person deserving of your love, not a demon possessed soul in need of your judgment.

32 comments:

John B said...

Why is it that christians always assume that the main (if not the only reason) why we are no longer christians is because we are "hurt" or have been hurt by churches??? Amazing. I do not look upon most christians as uneducated, but the majority of christians I knew and were friends with when I was a christian were very well educated. Yet education means NOTHING.

I principly left christianity because I realized that it was a mind control system, a Cult, and the bible was a series of mind control documents. You'll never see or understand that as long as you are a christian.

Aurelia said...

Natasha wrote: "Many of them were hurt by their church, or by Christians in their lives, and many see us Christians as uneducated, and illogical. Let’s face it guys, congregations can hurt people, and Christianity is illogical."

RAmen!

PerryStL said...

Just a couple passing thoughts:

First: Thanks for asking Christians to practice some of the things they preach, but I’m worried that now YOU will begin to taste their wrath…

Second: I believe you put an inordinate amount of emphasis on the idea that people are ex-Christians because of the evils of the church. I think a very small percentage of folks are here because of what the church has done to them.

For every person that becomes an ex-Christian because of the sins of the church, there are millions that remain Christians despite history.

I think what happens much more often is that when people begin to realize that religion is a fraud, they can look at the church with open eyes instead of just seeing what they’re told to look at.

There’s a epiphany or a EUREKA! moment when you see those pieces start coming together... Often there’s some anger at all the lies you’ve been told over the years… And sometimes there’s some embarrassment associated with the realization that you were a part of an organization that has slaughtered millions of people…

But rarely do people become angry at the church until AFTER they realize the hoax.

Piprus said...

Natasha takes a very narrow view of the reality of things. It seems she just can't believe that once one becomes a believer, a born-again christian, a fundamentalist even, that one can eventually simply cease to believe in it anymore. I was never hurt by the church or christians in general. In fact, I rather enjoyed it. But by studying the bible in the context of history, of human development, and applying some common sense questions, I no longer believed in it, and saw no basis in fact or reason to continue in it. As far as my views of christians now, I don't stereotype them all as uneducated, illogical, rabid-rightwing-fascists, or anything else. But when one lands on this site flinging threats of damnation, accusing us of never being saved in the first place, etc. etc. they invalidate us, and they can well expect to get their cyber-butts kicked, for they only confirm their own foolishness.

jimearl said...

I think Natasha has the problem all wrong. Most here may have been hurt by the church or whatever, but the bottom line is that we found out the truth of christianity and bolted. My regret is that I wasted so much time in the fantasy world. I harbor no ill feelings toward any of the people or churches involved. I am thankful that I was one that was willing to ask questions and seek the truth. Without the willingness to seek, none will find.

SpaceMonk said...

I'd just like to echo what has already been repeated.

In my case it was not being hurt by the church that caused me to dump christianity.
It was the theology itself, the self-contradictory nature of the god it preaches, and the flaws in just about all of it's pre-suppositions.

Once you bother to research outside material, and be honest with yourself, there's no going back.

Lee said...

Natasha,

Thank you for your post. It comes across as sincere and genuine. I feel, though, that you may be a voice in a VAST wilderness, no biblical pun intended.

The reason I say that is, though your sincerity may be unquestionable and even justifiable, I'm afraid it's a little naive.

Evangelization is the cornerstone of MANY christian denominations, maybe even yours. I'm sure you're aware of that.

That being said, the christians that come onto this website are merely following the edicts prescripted in their particular version of christianity.

Atheists, for fundamentalist christians, may be the easiest to speak to, in many ways. The burden of conversion is much less difficult when trying to persuade the unpersuadable, yet highly satisfying if the christian somehow manages to crack the armor of atheism and get underneath, even a little. In the tally for souls gained, it's sort of a win-win situation for them. And, never let it be underestimated, the need for conversion by evangelists is paramount. This is by NO means a fringe element in today's christian movement.

There are those christians who feel that evangelization and conversion by those means may be an extreme version of christianity. That is anyone's right to think that way. But, make no mistake, that mindset is, truly, becoming a minority in "The Church," these days.

There's no room for christian moderates, anymore.

Sam Harris, in his insightful works, makes the case that religious tolerance is a very disingenuous aspect of the face of christianity. Religious tolerance is a euphemism, more to the point, a skin deep facade used as a form of political correctness by those religious, when forced to live with a belief system a christian KNOWS to be false. This is, of course, according to the christian.

"We tolerate the catholics (many protestant denominations don't even consider them christian), the muslims, the buddhists, the jews, even though we KNOW they're going to be damned for not accepting christ as their personal lord and savior."--the bible tells them so.

These christians, with whom you plead tolerance, may, very likely, turn and call you such things as to make your christ-loving ears bleed. You are obviously lost, they will say, because you are not winning souls for the cause... you're an un-believer, a heathen, etc.

To make a long post even longer...lol...please consider the fallout when YOU post. The things I have posted here are very possible...and I'm not even a christian...lol

Lee

xrayman said...

Nice post Natasha. I read myself completely out of God belief about a year ago, and have never been hurt by a Christian or a church. One overwhelming fact that the hard core evangelizing Christians just can't seem to grasp is the fact that once we have that "Eureka !!!!!!!" moment, no amout of Biblespeak or Christian logic could ever get us to believe again without evidence. Lack of evidence is the real reason we don't believe, not because of some form of abuse from the church. We could no longer belive in God/Jesus again than we could believe in the Tooth Fariy.

I must say this site would be a pretty dull place if it weren't for the hardcore evangelizers dropping by. The best conversations always include a religious zealot doing battle.

Steven Bently said...

If the Bible is true, then these conditions are real and provable outside of the Bible:

the world is only six thousand years old
dinosaurs never existed
the world is flat and the earth is the center of the universe
the Sun goes around the earth
demons, invisible spirits, ghosts, holy ghosts, demons, angels, exist
snakes, bushes, and donkeys, can talk
virgin birth is possible
god and jesus live in the clouds above
prayer has secret powers over a god
miracles and blessings regularly occur
invisible souls can either be saved or unsaved, depending on what a person decides to
believe in their heart
the heart is the center of all thought and emotion
people can talk to god and jesus with their heart
there is no such thing as a brain
Jesus is alive walking around somewhere
people can be raised from the dead
people can walk on water
water can be turned into wine
5000 people can easily be fed with two loaves and two fishes
only invisible jesus can save invisible souls
bacteria and diseases are caused by demons
knowledge is of the devil
a person can live in the belly of a whale for three days and nights
preachers hate money

RSM said...

I've been duly hurt by the church but Christianity has all the answers about how to deal with hurt--just forgive. For those extremely difficult cases where forgetting is completely beside the point, and where forgiveness is totally impossible, the Bible has all the comfort and guidelines on how to deal with it. The only thing Christianity does not have is logical sense. It proposes a lot of things but never carries through. That is the ONLY reason I left. Even after two years of solid study of the Bible I still don't know how salvation is suposed to work. Nor do the Christians. They pull out the faith card at this point and proclaim that faith does not make sense. Even the most highly educated xians will do that.

For me to say "I believe" something, it has to make sense in my brain. That we can go to heaven because Jesus died makes no sense. That is the ONE and ONLY reason I deconverted. If, indeed, I ever truly believed. I trusted that "when I got older" I would understand. "Older" presumably meant the age of my mentors at the time. That age has come and gone and I am none the wiser as to what they believed. I do know that my own sisters all of whom are younger than me believe and say the things these "older" people used to say. IT MAKES NO SENSE.

Time to move on.

Telmi said...

Christianity is full of inconsistencies and contradictions. And some people [or many?] have left Christianity after reading the Bible in their adult years and finding it ridiculous to continue believing in such trash. These people were apparently Christians from birth or childhood and were simply following the religion of their parents.

Unknown said...

The thought that bible itself is a major cause for ditching the Christ cult rarely enters the cultists minds.

homer said...

natasha, i know this might be painful for you to think about, but i wasn't really hurt by the church or by people in the church--at least not in any way more than i was ever hurt by people outside the church. i separated from christianity for the clear and simple fact that it is not true. i feel it necessary to point this out, because when you say that i (or anyone) leaves their religion because of the other practitioners, you are implicitly accusing us of either emotional or intellectual immaturity--that we either aren't smart enough to know who represented the religion well or are unable (like all current christians) to bear the 'hurt' inflicted on us by people who don't represent the religion well.

for you and for others who continue to promulgate this untruth about ex-christians, i would ask this: do you think i have never been hurt by classmates? do you think i have never been hurt by co-workers? do you think i have never been hurt by my family? if you think i have, how can you explain that i didn't drop out of school, or that i don't quit my job (or all work for that matter), and why don't i erase contact with my family? because i am a reasonably intelligent, emotionally healthy person--and these are the same qualities that led me away from untrue superstions.

beanheel

Dan ( Rationalist) said...

Natasha,
Did you ever say, on this website, whether or not, you are a bible believing Christian? Do you believe the bible is the literal word of God?

Are you a nice person because you are a Christian? Do you have a set of theological axioms by which you live your life?

Please state your (creed) if you will.

I am an agnostic, and have been hurt very little by Christians, because for the life of me, I never could take the incredulous propositions of the Bible seriously.

I find that most people who call themselves Christians, have such a murky idea as to what their belief is all about, that any serious discussion as to the sensibility of it makes them feel squeamish and uncomfortable.

I have no problem at all saying: "I don't know what God is, or if there is an intelligent creator of everything" I can say it with ease, because I am confident that no one else does either.

In fact I have always felt a little sorry for people who can buy into the massive inanity of the "Faith," and its practices.

I am amazed by all the time and money spent on religion, and question whether or not it couldn't be spent better teaching ethics and morality. Biblical morality is soooooo outdated.

I mean. Do we really need to be taught that God created heaven and earth in six days, or the Noah story? Isn't that insulting to whatever gave you a brain?

Dan (Just curious)

Trancelation said...

Amen, as they say. I, too, left Christianity not because of the actions of any chirch nor of any Christians, but because I read the Bible. Twice. From front to back. I always knew that people, in all walks of life, are hypocrites from time to time. With Christians, it just happens to be moreso. And that affected me very little. The way I saw it, at one point in time, Christians were to be pitied because they had so much hope for what they were buying into, they never saw the wool being pulled over their eyes. I actually saw Christians as victims, and treated them as such. In a way, many Christians ARE victims. But that all serves to point out that my deconversion had nothing to do with the actions of people nor of a collective of them in the modern day "church".

Natasha, like most Christians, wants to believe that those who left were hurt by people, not by the supposed Words of The Christian God (TM). Natasha wants to think that WE failed to see the innate beauty of these scrumptious teachings, of the baked and sugary goodness that was to be found within the Eternal Cookie Jar, that we somehow came to think the chains connecting us to that jar were somehow good, though we knew they were not.

They want to believe these things because the eotional reason makes it easy. They want to believe our anger is directed at people, not the Good Book, because that means their are people that find a flaw with The Rules. and to acknowledge that means that there MIGHT be something wrong with the Bible.

Natasha said...

I haven’t checked the replies to this for a while – and I’d like to reply, but it’s a long post. Sorry about that. Firstly, if it helps you understand me at all, I did leave the church for a while, so even though I may not completely understand where many of you are coming from (each person’s story is individual, I realize that), I do have at least a small glimpse of life outside of the church and "churchianity."

I did not mean to imply that the primary cause of people leaving the church was anger, or being hurt, I was merely trying to say that even if one person left for that reason, ever, then my responsibility as a Christian is not to condemn them, but to love and support them - not because I want to "get them back in," but because that's what I believe true Christianity is all about. – love. Obviously there are others with a different "brand" of Christianity who may disagree with me, and I don’t mind dealing with a fallout if it were to happen. I am fully aware that there are other logical reasons (including the Bible, lack of evidence, the fact that it doesn't make sense) for leaving the church, and that the majority of people leave for those reasons. That’s why I left too. I’m sorry I wasn’t more clear about that in my post – it’s so hard for me to realize how things will sound to other people, especially electronically.

Yes, my particular denomination is evangelical, and we don't deny it, but personally I see it slightly differently than many. I believe Christ asks us (me) to spread the Gospel - by making sure that it is heard in all of the nations of the world. That doesn't mean that I have to convert people, because I don't believe I could. I agree with the statement posted - " One overwhelming fact that the hard core evangelizing Christians just can't seem to grasp is the fact that once we have that "Eureka !!!!!!!" moment, no amout of Biblespeak or Christian logic could ever get us to believe again without evidence." I totally agree, which is why I don’t choose to debate myself. I hope my postings don’t come off that way, I am just trying to explain myself, since I wrote that original post, and it was read and responded to.

Dan, I am not a nice person because I'm a Christian. I know there are nicer people who are not, and less nice people who are. I am a Bible-believing Christian, but I believe that it needs to be studied in historical context. I do believe that Jesus died and rose again, and I do believe in eternal life. I believe God is just, but I can’t begin to explain His justice. I am a youth minister at a Lutheran church. I know some of you feel sorry for me, and maybe you don't think I should get a salary for "indoctrinating" the youth, but all the money doesn’t just go to teaching about six days of creation (I think we have discussed creation once, but I allowed anyone to voice whatever opinion, as long as I got to join in on the conversation). I think there is a place for teaching creation, and noah, but only in context, with the understanding that we don't necessarily understand! (yeah, I know it’s the faith card, and I know that probably sounds naive to most of you)

My youth spend time each week talking about morality, and I ask them to listen to what I have to say, but I also want to hear what they have to say - which often is not the same. My youth spend much more time talking about how they see things than I spend telling them how I see things. I like to think of it as an open forum - so we do talk about ethics and morality from many points of view, and we spend a lot of time doing things that I think anyone would agree benefit society - refurbishing the homeless referral service’s building, rebuilding houses in New Orleans, etc. We don’t do this to make converts, or to earn a good place with God, but because – as I said before, I believe it is the Christian thing to do, show the love we believe God first showed us.

dano said...

Natasha.
The ideal thing would be for you to keep your love for mankind, and get rid of all the Mythology that you have rattling around in your head.

A theoretical God could, theoretically do anything it wants, but refuses to fix all of the bad stuff here on planet earth.

Maybe if some of us go about life demonstrating goodness, compassion, empathy, and blind love, instead of blind (cultish), faith, she will take another look at us, and deem us worthy of surviving "religion."

Maybe we can, crawl out of our caves, and stand tall, without all of the Pagan baggage of Blood sacrifice, inherited sin, fiery hells, angels, demons, etc.

If we can get rid of some of the religious opposition, to things like stem cell research, and science in general, and survive as a species, we could theoretically live much longer lives, free of some of the pain and suffering we experience now.

Dan (Feeling sorry for all the victims of Faith)

webmdave said...

Natasha,

Your expressed ideals are commendable. I don't see why someone needs to believe in Jesus or any god to have those high ideals.

In reality, I haven't really known any Christians who lived the ideals you subscribe to, so I don't see how a god, or a Jesus, or a Bible has anything to do with it at all.

Just my opinion. And, I'm not a youth. Not even close.

truthandfiction said...

Webmaster, how sad that people have never met a Christian like Natasha! That is exactly what Christians are supposed to be. That is what I strive to be every single day. I wonder why people don't see more Christians like her, or rather, where all the Christians like her are hiding!

Can someone please provide for me some links to show all of this evidence you all seem to know about that debunks Jesus and Christianity?

Steven Bently said...

To Natasha and any other Christians!

I have a question, in all sincerity, what would your life be like if you had never heard of God or Jesus?

Without a belief in a God or Jesus:

Would you be so vile and mean that you would find pleasure in pushing crippled people off of sharp cliffs, just to watch them die?

Would you intentionally run over children and animals with your car, just to be mean?

Would you jump up and down and curse people that go to church?

Would you live a life of a cannibal and eat human flesh?

Would you go to a hospital and steal babies and then chop them up?

Natasha: "I believe Christ asks us (me) to spread the Gospel - by making sure that it is heard in all of the nations of the world."

Did you know that millions of people lived over here in America thousands of years, without a Bible or never heard of Jesus?

Where were you? How could these people lived and died without the gospel of Jesus?

There's only one place on this Earth that sin and hell exists, and that is in a book, that was written down by men over 2000 years ago.

Now there over 10 billion people on the earth, so now you have been lead to believe that you have been assigned a great commission to spread the gospel of Jesus, I would be willing to bet that every person in the USA has heard the gospel of Jesus, at least over 50 times each single person in America and that's being conserative, possibly every person in the USA has heard the gospel of Jesus at least 2000 times each since the invention of TV.

So I suggest you get on your bicycle and go over to China and spread your gospel of Jesus, otherwise your belief is not worth the paper it is written on, you're wasting your time here in America.

dano said...

truthandfiction said...
"Can someone please provide for me some links to show all of this evidence you all seem to know about that debunks Jesus and Christianity?"

Dan to truthandfiction:
Christianity is supposed to make you a good moral person, and seek the truth, and be honest. You are on a website where you can find at least a BILLION arguments pleading the case for apostasy.

Time after time young and old professed Christians have come to this website and tried every conceivable kind of witnessing to us, trying to convince us of the "truth." Their arguments have become convoluted to the point of sheer idiocy, but the only evidence they have ever come up with for the existence of God and Jesus is: "I believe, because the bible tells me to."

The intelligent design people have spent millions of tax dollars trying to get I/D taught as science, but the only evidence they have ever come up with is: "God did it"

We don't think Jesus, if he existed at all, was anything more than just a teacher. There is no real evidence to come to any other conclusion.

When Emperor Constantine started calling himself a Christian, he had a lot of the oral and written stuff about Judaism, and the cult figure, called Jesus put together into a rather, poorly written book, which after thousands of translations, became the bible. Every story including the Jesus story was taken from religions that preceded Christianity.

I am not a scholar, but scholars abound on this site, so if you want evidence that debunks Christianity, you will find enough here to keep you reading for a VERY long time.
Dan (There are some threads with pictures, truthandfiction)

SpaceMonk said...

Natasha: "...maybe you don't think I should get a salary for "indoctrinating" the youth, but all the money doesn’t just go to teaching about six days of creation..."

My objections to the indoctrination of youth isn't just about 'Creationism' or 'Noah'.

What I hate is innocent kids being told they are worth no more than clay to the god who supposedly loves them.
That he will dispose of them without a second thought unless they get their life right.

That there is a malevolent devil 'out there', trying his cunning best to make such a thing happen, waiting to drag them to hell - because he hates them so much.

That he is even inside their own mind, tempting and deceiving - and that every time they fail to resist him they are nearer to that eternity of torture in hell, and heaping more suffering onto the burden Jesus bore at the cross.

The guilt and the fear.
That's the indoctrination I hate. Preaching Creationism only serves to make it even more real to them, and the guilt and fear even more inescapable.

Having these invisible characters inside your head, battling for your eternal soul, with all the responsibility on your own self to decide which way you'll fall, heaven or hell - yet human nature and even your own mind betraying every effort - can cause untold mental damage to those who take it seriously, the way they're 'supposed' to.

It's insidious, and turns beautiful, innocent kids into sycophantic god-dependent cowards.

Anonymous said...

Are there any other faiths outside of Christianity that have the historical evidence that Christianity claims to have? (dead sea scrolls, shroud of turin, etc.)? Just curious as to what people think of these "evidences", and also if there is any other faith out there that claims to have the same evidencial strength.
thanks!

LadySidhe said...

Ya know, I have to say that that's the most open-minded christian post I've read here to date.

I understand, that on the one hand, people here don't want religious people to "feel sorry for them," etc., etc....However, christians DO come here, and they DO post; that's a given... I think that this post to those individuals is rather well thought-out and exhibits a commendable tolerance.

There is no reason that we, as ex-christians, cannot be civil to those who ARE christians. Though we have a different mindset, different beliefs in general, and have chosen to opt out of adherence to religion's god doesn't mean that we can't have interesting discussions. (I happen to love discussing and debating religion, and some of the best discussions I've had about religion have been with open-minded christians.)

Generally, I tend to agree with piprus in why I am no longer christian, insofar that the reason is that I studied religion and asked common-sense questions. I don't personally have anything against christians or any other religion except when they try to shove that religion down my throat.

So, in that vein, let me say to the author of this post that while I respect your belief, I also respect the fact that you seem to also respect OUR views, and didn't preach at us or try to convert us back, and as a matter of fact, took your fellow christians to task for what is too often a self-righteous narrow-mindedness.

Then again, I also feel that there is no real reason for us to be rabid ex-christians, meaning, it's just as disrespectful for us to bash christians who come here and are civil and truly interested in why we have chosen to leave "the church," as it is for rabid christians to come here and bash us.

True, a lot of religious beliefs are illogical, but I also realize that most people need something greater than themselves to believe in, and I can respect that. If it improves their lives and leads them to be better individuals, and as long as they don't try to force it on others or harm other people through that belief, I think it's a good thing.

It's only when it becomes harmful that I have a problem with it. And by harmful I mean "rabid religion," ie, attempting to force said religion on others through force (which includes passing laws that are religious in nature, like forbidding gays the right to marry), encouraging followers, by subtle insinuation or straightforward command, to harm non-christians, and the like.

Anyway, let me quit rambling and once again say thanks for the open-minded post.

Anonymous said...

One of the many, many reasons why I've left is the christian hell. I cannot believe in such a place. I had to either force myself to believe it, or pretend not to notice it, in favor of the supposed "free ride to heaven" and fearlessness in the face of death that christianity offers, yet I was only fooling myself. I no longer believe that anybody will "burn forever." What kind of God is it that would cause such a thing? Some christians will say that God does not choose eternal damnation for us, that we choose it ourselves, but that is a weak argument. In the first place, God created hell. In the second place, according to the christian church, we "choose hell" when we don't "accept jesus," yet, this also holds no water, when one reads the gospels and sees that it is our sins that get us "cast into hell" and not "denying Christ," according to Jesus himself, and that we've all been going to hell since long before Jesus arrived to "save" us. This concept of "eternal damnation," to me, is absurd and I cannot believe it. I feel much better just admitting that to myself. Since I don't believe in the "damnation," why would I believe in the "salvation?" Meanwhile, the church will tell us that we are all "sinners" bound for hell, and that the only thing that will "save" us is "accepting Jesus," yet that same church will deny the aforementioned facts. One problem with this "doctrine of salvation" is that Christ himself really never taught such a thing, the church interprets certain passages to mean it, when the bible doesn't say anywhere that if one "accepts Jesus" one will go to heaven when one dies and that if one does not, one will burn forever. That particular doctrine of "salvation" is an interpretation of certain select passages that really don't say that at all.
A number of gospel passages also led me to disbelieve. Christ said, for example, that there would appear "false teachers, even in my name," which suggests that many, MANY christian and catholic preachers and priests are telling lies, despite the fact that they have all "accepted Jesus," and should be "sanctified" and "filled with the holy spirit," and therefore should be able to accurately interpret the bible, and shouldn't disagree with each other over it's correct interpretation. With so many denominations of christianity, only one could hold the absolute truth, if any do. The disagreement among the many countless denominations of christianity is another reason to disbelieve. I don't think any of them really understand that book, and I can see why after reading it myself. It's a mess. Christians are fooling themselves when they say that they can accurately interpret the bible. They're not fooling me. I've never met anybody who can explain that book in its entirety and if there are any christians out there reading this who say that they can, then let them speak now! Are there any christians out there who claim to be able to explain the bible in it's entirety? I'd love to ask you a few dozen questions about it.
The christian church may say that the gospel must be spread around the world before the "end" can occur, yet the christian church hardly touches the gospels, from my experience as a christian for about thirteen years and a catholic for about twenty years. There are so many passages in the gospels that the church ignores and cannot explain, yet they won't admit it. Christ's words before the transfiguration in Luke, for example, telling us that if any man would "follow after him," he must "take up his cross DAILY." I don't have my bible with me and I don't recall the exact words. The christian church seems to think that to "follow after Christ" is to go to heaven upon dying for having "accepted him." This "acceptance of Jesus," supposedly, guarantees entry into heaven, and there is no need to "take up ones cross DAILY." The passage in Luke suggests that the "road to heaven" is one that one must walk daily. Throughout the gospels Christ repeatedly defies the famous christian doctrine of salvation, which is absurd, really. God wants you to "accept Jesus," so you can go to heaven. Absurd. Another example is the use of John 3:16 in support of said doctrine, when, according to John 3:19, the "condemnation" of John 3:16, appears to be the "fallen state of grace," and not eternal torment in the afterlife. This, again, according to Christ, not me. The church has always used the threat of eternal torment to strike fear into non-believers and scare them into joining. They've also always used guilt over the death on the cross for the same purpose. That's just plain chicken shit. I wish christians and catholics would just be honest and admit that the bible is a mess. I could go on and on, but I guess I've ranted enough. Thanks for listening.

Anonymous said...

The further I get from christianity, the better I feel...

Anonymous said...

A few more problems with christian doctrine:

Christ said that one may not enter into heaven unless one becomes as a child, and that it is harder for a rich man to enter in (whether or not he accepts Jesus is of no consequence here) and that ones righteousness must exceed that of the scribes and pharisees or one will not enter in. So much for the christian "salvation!" According to Christ, christians aren't "saved!" They must DO these things! It's enough to make a christian hate Jesus (LOL!) BTW, there's ANOTHER way into heaven! One may confess with ones mouth that Christ is Lord and believe that God raised him from the dead, and one will be "saved!" Imagine that. There are two ways in. WTF. In the end times, one will be saved merely by saying the name of Jesus! THREE ways into heaven! Perhaps being "saved" isn't what the church would have us believe. It may very well be that being "saved" means being "lifted up" out of the fallen state of grace, which would not only make more sense, it would explain the gospels more clearly and correlate the teachings of Christ with those of other religions (I've studied nine of them.) Anyway, that's just my personal observation. The bible is a mess, really, and christian doctrine is absurd...

ComputerGuyCJ said...

Natasha,

I second the webmaster's thanks and commendation. I too rarely hear a Christian who talks like you. I can only name off one in fact, myself (prior to deconverting). There were times when I was fighting the lone battle like you've done here.

It's refreshing to see someone else who takes the approach of listening first and trying to understand others. Keep it up. The world is a harsh place, so it's good to know that there's at least one Christian out there who thinks responsibly and tries to help out on both sides.

In my case you're partially right about getting hurt. I was hurt, but not by the church or other Christians. I was hurt to have believed in a heavenly father who would always be there for me, but when I needed to feel his presence the most he failed to exist. When I prayed to him asking for bread, he didn't give me a snake, but he also didn't give me bread. He gave me nothing. It turns out he's not my father after all. It turns out that he doesn't exist, and that's what hurts. I'm getting over it though, and looking forward to the day that I can be the father that I never had.

Anonymous said...

I do find it interesting that on a site that is called "exChristian" there are many who have had little experience with the church. But on another note, I have to agree with what someone said about having never been a Christian or been to church. Un-churched people aren't totally evil. Churched people (particularly Christians) aren't totally good. People choose Christianity because they find it to be the best answer. Also, they don't seem to mind the idea of someone else controlling the universe. Does that mean that "Person" controls their lives? In a sense, but not completely.
People who don't believe in God, or more specifically, the "ONE true God" touted by Christians, Jews and Muslims, most often do not believe in Him because they would rather feel in control of their lives. But let's all face it, we're not in control of our lives. None of us. You may be able to make your own choices, but the choices of others still have an effect on your life that you have no control over. It's up to you whether you want to give up that control to someone else, or continue to *think* that you are actually in control.

Astreja said...

Abby said: "People who don't believe in God, or more specifically, the "ONE true God" touted by Christians, Jews and Muslims, most often do not believe in Him because they would rather feel in control of their lives.

Dear sweet uncle Loki, it's yet *another* monotheist who thinks she has mind-reading powers.

I do not worship your god because I do not think it to be worthy of my respect. I do think gods are possible, but think the Abrahamic god (Yahweh/Allah) to be more unlikely than most. And its behaviour, as described in various "holy" books, is truly disgusting.

But let's all face it, we're not in control of our lives.

We do not need to be 100% in control. I'll settle for 51%, thanks.

It's up to you whether you want to give up that control to someone else...

Based on the content of your post, Abby, I'm going to assume that you're trying to say "give up control to my god".

No. Not going to happen any time soon. At least I have a *chance* of succeeding as I blunder along with my human emotions, my mortal body and my less-than-omniscient brain. If I put my faith in an invisible and probably imaginary being renowned for its world-destroying hissy fits, I have no chance at all.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for your response, astreja.

Actually, it doesn't really matter who you give up control to, God, the universe, your uncle Loki... You don't have any control in the first place. Sure you have control over your own body, but only to a point. Even the people you work for have more control over your life than you do.
My belief in God has no bearing on you, or who has control over your life.

But I do believe that if you want to have control over what morals you go by, you are your own "god" or whatever you call it. But that doesn't mean you actually have ANY control.

I do not attempt to control my own life. I make decisions on what I can, like what food I put into my body, where I put my furniture, etc., but I don't have control over whether there is money in the bank to buy that food. My husband is the one with the job that pays the bills. And he could be laid off or get sick, and would not make any money if that were the case. If I have to go out and find a job, the place I apply at have control over whether they hire me.

It's not an atheist thing, this wanting to have control, it's pretty much a human thing. Everyone WANTS to be in control of their own destiny, but none of us really are. Unless of course you commit suicide, but then, what if someone finds you and sends you to the hospital. No control. It's sad how we try and try, and yet fail to be in control of anything. We rely on other people to make the right decisions that affect our lives, and dare I say it, some of us even rely on God to guide those decisions and hope that he has our best interest at heart, because we all know that most people outside of ourselves do NOT have OUR best interest at heart, but their own.

Atheists are really good at attacking Christians without much substance. I really find it sad when Christians retaliate in the same way. I hope I've shown you what I mean about control without attacking your position. Whether you believe in him or not, Satan really does have a lot of control on your thoughts. He is, after all, the reason there is atheism in the world.

Astreja said...

Abby said: "Actually, it doesn't really matter who you give up control to, God, the universe, your uncle Loki...

Actually, I don't give up control to *any* of the Æsir, Vanir, Jotnar, or the gods of any other pantheon. These are not gods that one prays to in the Christian sense of the word; rather, they are archetypes and role models. Their actual existence is possible, but completely unnecessary. I may occasionally turn my thoughts to them when I'm in need of ideas, or raise a glass in toast to them, but in the final analysis it's Me who has to deal with My Stuff.

You don't have any control in the first place. Sure you have control over your own body, but only to a point. Even the people you work for have more control over your life than you do.

That's a horrible, fatalistic and extremely detrimental way to view the world, Abby. And, in my case, an inappropriate analogy. I myself have tossed away two high-paying jobs (executive secretary and computer technician) when they ceased to be fun. Currently I pretty well do what I want, when I want. I'm self-employed as a music teacher, pick up the odd renovation gig, and do medical transcription part-time. All my choices, all fascinating jobs. Life is truly entertaining.

We rely on other people to make the right decisions that affect our lives...

*eep* That's, in my opinion, abrogating your responsibility to yourself.

"Whether you believe in him or not, Satan really does have a lot of control on your thoughts. He is, after all, the reason there is atheism in the world.

Never seen any credible proof of the existence of Satan. (Or of any gods, for that matter, including my own.) For all intents and purposes, all of us attract the virtual presences that we choose to believe in. I believe that if you permit yourself to see powerful adversaries hiding in every corner, you will find them and will have to battle them, because the paradigms in your own mind are setting you up for a fall.

I am not an atheist, by the way. (I call myself an agnostic Buddhist Ásatrúar.)

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