Confessions of a Former Christian

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You know, this morning, I realized something while reading a reply in my Escapist inbox. I am no longer Christian.

I grew up in a catholic family, in the bible belt USA. We have over 40 churches in this town. I was baptized as an infant and attended mass semi regularly. But, it seems unlike a-lot of Christians, I was never taught to dislike or judge anyone. My mother taught me to be accepting both of other cultures and other sexuality. (Although, she did have a bias against Bisexuals which I've overcome with time)I also accounted for biblical hate as the biases and hates of that time, as the bible was both written and complied by mortal men.

I was never confirmed into the Catholic faith because by that time, I realized I wasn't in agreement with much of their doctrine. I began to classify myself a 'non-practicing catholic'.

After much debating over intelligent design versus evolution, I made a compromise. I began to think of God as an Architect, my chosen profession, which in my mind truly meant "Intelligent Design". But, that also dis-involved the deity from life, which also made sense to me. The whole argument of why God lets bad things happen was solved because God wasn't truly involved anymore. There was no point in prayer or even mass, because worship wasn't required.

The whole loss of Christian occurred months ago, but I just realized what I had accepted in my own beliefs. Someone had recently went on a mission trip, and I asked them if people who didn't know about Jesus went to Hell. They only replied that's why they needed to go and help these God-forsaken people acknowledge Jesus, so they could be 'saved'.

It was at that moment that I began to think of Jesus as a man with good ideas, really great ideas that most people don't follow. So, now here I am. A passion for knowledge, always learning and in cooperating ideas. I have all sort of inklings, with a strong pull towards Buddhism because of the peace it gives me. Maybe I'm a Deist now, I don't know, I'll have to do more research.

Maybe I'm wrong, completely wrong, but that's okay. If I go where I go, that's okay. My friend once told me she wished that we all had a personal paradise, whatever you believe that's what you got. I hope she's right.

If you read through all of that, thanks. I just felt the need to get it out, come out of my own closet.(For lack of a better phrase)

Well, I hope you find or create a philosophy you can live with.

(I will refrain from plugging my favorite cults, it seems tacky right now.)

Why follow any religion? You don't HAVE to join a religion to be considered a human or something. You can learn about other religions and what not but just live your life the way you want to.

That's what I tend to do, and really, if any deity out there is truly all loving and forgiving surely they wouldn't hold you or I in contempt for that right?

Or, if you just feel more comfortable with being part of a religion, why limit it to just one? Align yourself with a few. Like the ideas behind Buddhism AND Judaism? Why not follow both? May seem like cherry picking though so I can see why you wouldn't.

I felt in a pretty similar boat back when I attended my christian primary school. These days I am an atheist (blindingly obvious on these forums, like: the light, it burns). My school wasn't catholic, but pretty much same story.

Whatever you choose is good so long as you don't fell like it is conflicting with your logic or morals and you do not force it on anyone.

And it is good for the mind to let these things out, I remember that for two years I couldn't when I REALLY wanted to, which may have jaded me ever so slightly.

EDIT: forums feel deserted atm. My science thread is sinking :( And this only has 4 replies. All you lurkers, grab accounts and start posting!

I am still a Christian. I am having a harder and harder time calling myself a Catholic, though. There are just so many things the Church seems to be so clearly wrong about, and it just seems like the Church is more focused on protecting itself and increasing it's political power then in actually either bringing people closer to God or helping people in the world. I don't even want to donate to the Church anymore because I don't know trust them to use the money for good causes, instead of using it to cover up child molesters or to convince people dying of AIDS in Africa to not use condoms.

And if I don't think that I can trust the church with ten bucks, why am I trusting them with my soul?

Lucem712:
Maybe I'm wrong, completely wrong, but that's okay. If I go where I go, that's okay.

Nobody in their right mind could blame you for having trouble with Christianity. For me it was the hypocrisy in how they interpreted the bible that did it in. One part is read, the other is not, when it's convenient, people get condemned and persecuted because they violate the bible, when it's not convenient, it doesn't matter.

For one thing that totally annoyed me was preaching women should obey their husband. The bible however says that's only the case if her husband loves her like Jesus loves the church (in the context of his followers) and that's impossible.

Not that I'm saying that literalism is better mind you, but the hypocrisy was too much.

People may try to guilttrip you over this though.

Lucem712:
You know, this morning, I realized something while reading a reply in my Escapist inbox. I am no longer Christian.

I grew up in a catholic family, in the bible belt USA. We have over 40 churches in this town. I was baptized as an infant and attended mass semi regularly. But, it seems unlike a-lot of Christians, I was never taught to dislike or judge anyone. My mother taught me to be accepting both of other cultures and other sexuality. (Although, she did have a bias against Bisexuals which I've overcome with time)I also accounted for biblical hate as the biases and hates of that time, as the bible was both written and complied by mortal men.

I was never confirmed into the Catholic faith because by that time, I realized I wasn't in agreement with much of their doctrine. I began to classify myself a 'non-practicing catholic'.

After much debating over intelligent design versus evolution, I made a compromise. I began to think of God as an Architect, my chosen profession, which in my mind truly meant "Intelligent Design". But, that also dis-involved the deity from life, which also made sense to me. The whole argument of why God lets bad things happen was solved because God wasn't truly involved anymore. There was no point in prayer or even mass, because worship wasn't required.

The whole loss of Christian occurred months ago, but I just realized what I had accepted in my own beliefs. Someone had recently went on a mission trip, and I asked them if people who didn't know about Jesus went to Hell. They only replied that's why they needed to go and help these God-forsaken people acknowledge Jesus, so they could be 'saved'.

It was at that moment that I began to think of Jesus as a man with good ideas, really great ideas that most people don't follow. So, now here I am. A passion for knowledge, always learning and in cooperating ideas. I have all sort of inklings, with a strong pull towards Buddhism because of the peace it gives me. Maybe I'm a Deist now, I don't know, I'll have to do more research.

Maybe I'm wrong, completely wrong, but that's okay. If I go where I go, that's okay. My friend once told me she wished that we all had a personal paradise, whatever you believe that's what you got. I hope she's right.

If you read through all of that, thanks. I just felt the need to get it out, come out of my own closet.(For lack of a better phrase)

You should look at Deism before you make up your mind to become (I assume) a negative atheist.

Also fyi, the Pope has already recognized evolution, and the Catholic church rejects creationism.

Volf:

You should look at Deism before you make up your mind to become (I assume) a negative atheist.

Also fyi, the Pope has already recognized evolution, and the Catholic church rejects creationism.

I suggest you read a bit on Deism before you compare it to "Negative atheism", Deism does not accept any books as holy doctrine or the word of God, they also reject religious dogma but accept that there is a God. I assure you there is not a single Atheist that believes in God.
I'm not a Deist, I don't know enough about it to accept it as a personal description.

I never said that Catholics reject evolution, I said I struggled with my own thoughts on it and made a compromise.

I'm proud that the Catholic church has a division of scientists and that they have even won Nobel prizes.

Thank you for your concern though :)

brandon237:
I felt in a pretty similar boat back when I attended my christian primary school. These days I am an atheist (blindingly obvious on these forums, like: the light, it burns). My school wasn't catholic, but pretty much same story.

Whatever you choose is good so long as you don't fell like it is conflicting with your logic or morals and you do not force it on anyone.

And it is good for the mind to let these things out, I remember that for two years I couldn't when I REALLY wanted to, which may have jaded me ever so slightly.

EDIT: forums feel deserted atm. My science thread is sinking :( And this only has 4 replies. All you lurkers, grab accounts and start posting!

I feel really comfortable, I guess talking it does help :P

And lordy no, I doubt I'll even reveal IRL. Not 'cos I'm afraid of backlash or anything, but Hell, when I use to tell people I was Catholic, they use to ask me why I wasn't Christian. I hate to see their heads try to turn around more complex terms, haha.

Lucem712:

Volf:

You should look at Deism before you make up your mind to become (I assume) a negative atheist.

Also fyi, the Pope has already recognized evolution, and the Catholic church rejects creationism.

I suggest you read a bit on Deism before you compare it to "Negative atheism", Deism does not accept any books as holy doctrine or the word of God, they also reject religious dogma but accept that there is a God. I assure you there is not a single Atheist that believes in God.
I'm not a Deist, I don't know enough about it to accept it as a personal description.

I never said that Catholics reject evolution, I said I struggled with my own thoughts on it and made a compromise.

I'm proud that the Catholic church has a division of scientists and that they have even won Nobel prizes.

Thank you for your concern though :)

I don't think I made myself clear, I'm saying that before you declare yourself an atheist(which I assume would be negative atheism), you should look at Deism as an alternative to theism.

Volf:

Lucem712:

Volf:

You should look at Deism before you make up your mind to become (I assume) a negative atheist.

Also fyi, the Pope has already recognized evolution, and the Catholic church rejects creationism.

I suggest you read a bit on Deism before you compare it to "Negative atheism", Deism does not accept any books as holy doctrine or the word of God, they also reject religious dogma but accept that there is a God. I assure you there is not a single Atheist that believes in God.
I'm not a Deist, I don't know enough about it to accept it as a personal description.

I never said that Catholics reject evolution, I said I struggled with my own thoughts on it and made a compromise.

I'm proud that the Catholic church has a division of scientists and that they have even won Nobel prizes.

Thank you for your concern though :)

I don't think I made myself clear, I'm saying that before you declare yourself an atheist(which I assume would be negative atheism), you should look at Deism as an alternative to theism.

Ooh! I referred to Deism in my post and am currently researching it. I'm sorry if I reacted in a hostile matter.

Lucem712:

Volf:

Lucem712:

I suggest you read a bit on Deism before you compare it to "Negative atheism", Deism does not accept any books as holy doctrine or the word of God, they also reject religious dogma but accept that there is a God. I assure you there is not a single Atheist that believes in God.
I'm not a Deist, I don't know enough about it to accept it as a personal description.

I never said that Catholics reject evolution, I said I struggled with my own thoughts on it and made a compromise.

I'm proud that the Catholic church has a division of scientists and that they have even won Nobel prizes.

Thank you for your concern though :)

I don't think I made myself clear, I'm saying that before you declare yourself an atheist(which I assume would be negative atheism), you should look at Deism as an alternative to theism.

Ooh! I referred to Deism in my post and am currently researching it. I'm sorry if I reacted in a hostile matter.

...again I think you misunderstand, I'm not saying your definition of Deism is wrong, but that I didn't compare atheism to Deism. I merely purposed Deism as an alternative to atheism.

Volf:

Lucem712:

Volf:
I don't think I made myself clear, I'm saying that before you declare yourself an atheist(which I assume would be negative atheism), you should look at Deism as an alternative to theism.

Ooh! I referred to Deism in my post and am currently researching it. I'm sorry if I reacted in a hostile matter.

...again I think you misunderstand, I'm not saying your definition of Deism is wrong, but that I didn't compare atheism to Deism. I merely purposed Deism as an alternative to atheism.

I'm afraid I'm not sure what you are trying to inform me of. I'm not declaring myself an atheist, so I'm not looking for any alternatives. I'm not exactly sure what you are trying to communicate, but I might just be a little slow right now.

Lucem712:

Volf:

Lucem712:

Ooh! I referred to Deism in my post and am currently researching it. I'm sorry if I reacted in a hostile matter.

...again I think you misunderstand, I'm not saying your definition of Deism is wrong, but that I didn't compare atheism to Deism. I merely purposed Deism as an alternative to atheism.

I'm afraid I'm not sure what you are trying to inform me of. I'm not declaring myself an atheist, so I'm not looking for any alternatives. I'm not exactly sure what you are trying to communicate, but I might just be a little slow right now.

lol, never mind.

Anyways, just hope that you take a serious look at Deism if you ever are looking for an alternative. Best wishes.

I used to be Christian to. I just stopped after I examined things closer and just couldn't rationalize things. Ironic, seeing as how my current world view is just as silly by normal Western society standards, if not more.

If you still go and do Christian-ish things like mass and stuff, then I say you'd still be a Christian regardless of having those beliefs. If you don't, however, those are far enough away from what is usually considered Christianity to not bother with saying you are one. Being part of a religion usually falls into either practice, worldview, or both. When neither occur, you aren't that religion. A similar thing can happen with atheism; when you realize you're views are either some very small minority of atheists or barely even fitting under the term anymore, then you may as well not refer to yourself as one anymore. Deism too. Gnostic and agnostic as well.

Don't pick Buddhism without actually studying one specific sect and intending to practice in some way. You be interested in the various philosophical viewpoints without being any of the religions. I just warn because a lot of people have a very idealistic view of Buddhism.

Yosarian2:
I am still a Christian. I am having a harder and harder time calling myself a Catholic, though. There are just so many things the Church seems to be so clearly wrong about, and it just seems like the Church is more focused on protecting itself and increasing it's political power then in actually either bringing people closer to God or helping people in the world. I don't even want to donate to the Church anymore because I don't know trust them to use the money for good causes, instead of using it to cover up child molesters or to convince people dying of AIDS in Africa to not use condoms.

And if I don't think that I can trust the church with ten bucks, why am I trusting them with my soul?

Here's what I find funny about the whole Protestant thing.

If you look at the history of the church, the whole hellfire thing really came into being with the Catholic church, and that itself was really just an extension of the pagan concept of Hades.

Protestantism is about doing away with the accumulation of rituals that the Catholics created, and forging a true and more authentic Christianity.

But they actually ended up with a lot of the same basics. They largely used the same bible that had been curated by Catholic scribes, including the book of revelation, and they largely held onto the same beliefs of sin and redemption with hell nipping at your toes.

On a side note to this side note, if anyone is a fan of Asimov's foundation series, notice how the foundation resembles the Catholic church very much? You could say that the Roman empire is preserved to this day in the catholic church, which I find kinda neat.

Nibbles:
If you still go and do Christian-ish things like mass and stuff, then I say you'd still be a Christian regardless of having those beliefs. If you don't, however, those are far enough away from what is usually considered Christianity to not bother with saying you are one. Being part of a religion usually falls into either practice, worldview, or both. When neither occur, you aren't that religion. A similar thing can happen with atheism; when you realize you're views are either some very small minority of atheists or barely even fitting under the term anymore, then you may as well not refer to yourself as one anymore. Deism too. Gnostic and agnostic as well.

Don't pick Buddhism without actually studying one specific sect and intending to practice in some way. You be interested in the various philosophical viewpoints without being any of the religions. I just warn because a lot of people have a very idealistic view of Buddhism.

I think I'm just going to stick with in-cooperating various ideals and such, just building invisible walls anyhow. Always more research to do, always things to re-examine, I must admit that's my favourite part. Learning, there's almost more to learn :) (Haha, if I actually tried to dive whole heartily in Buddhism, I think I'd pick the Japanese 'okay with materialism' sect thoug I'd have to do ages more of research into that particular doctrine :P )

Nibbles:
If you still go and do Christian-ish things like mass and stuff, then I say you'd still be a Christian regardless of having those beliefs. If you don't, however, those are far enough away from what is usually considered Christianity to not bother with saying you are one. Being part of a religion usually falls into either practice, worldview, or both. When neither occur, you aren't that religion. A similar thing can happen with atheism; when you realize you're views are either some very small minority of atheists or barely even fitting under the term anymore, then you may as well not refer to yourself as one anymore. Deism too. Gnostic and agnostic as well.

Don't pick Buddhism without actually studying one specific sect and intending to practice in some way. You be interested in the various philosophical viewpoints without being any of the religions. I just warn because a lot of people have a very idealistic view of Buddhism.

Yes. People sort of project onto Buddhism their liberal humanist values system, when in reality Buddhism has plenty of tribal conquest built into it. It is a human institution after all.

By that same token, you can't really blame Christianity or any religion for all the ills of the world. Religion is just a language, and people who feel a certain way at a certain time will express these feelings in religious language.

Lucem712:

brandon237:
I felt in a pretty similar boat back when I attended my christian primary school. These days I am an atheist (blindingly obvious on these forums, like: the light, it burns). My school wasn't catholic, but pretty much same story.

Whatever you choose is good so long as you don't fell like it is conflicting with your logic or morals and you do not force it on anyone.

And it is good for the mind to let these things out, I remember that for two years I couldn't when I REALLY wanted to, which may have jaded me ever so slightly.

EDIT: forums feel deserted atm. My science thread is sinking :( And this only has 4 replies. All you lurkers, grab accounts and start posting!

I feel really comfortable, I guess talking it does help :P

And lordy no, I doubt I'll even reveal IRL. Not 'cos I'm afraid of backlash or anything, but Hell, when I use to tell people I was Catholic, they use to ask me why I wasn't Christian. I hate to see their heads try to turn around more complex terms, haha.

It will, keeping things in leads to lots of unnecessary annoyance :P

I haven't revealed, my mother would have a heart-attack. It is just that I am no longer in a school that is so christian. Unfortunately for me, here in South Africa everywhere is somewhat crhsistian, only degrees vary.
On the bright side, seeing them try to figure you out would be very amusing if ever you do :P

EDIT:
Just got the whole be nice and type I Agree in the box code of conduct page.
"Offensive Posts
Please read what you wrote before you post it and think if anyone else could find it offensive"
Escapist, somewhere there is someone who finds my mere name offensive. lease rephrase this one to be less... inclusive of everything ever.

Lucem712:
The whole loss of Christian occurred months ago, but I just realized what I had accepted in my own beliefs. Someone had recently went on a mission trip, and I asked them if people who didn't know about Jesus went to Hell. They only replied that's why they needed to go and help these God-forsaken people acknowledge Jesus, so they could be 'saved'.

For me, this is the biggest indictment of the Abrahamic faiths. Ignoring all the miracles and the mumbo-jumbo, there's a big moral hole in what God expects of humans by stressing belief as an essential quality. No rational entity, even mildly intelligent, let alone all knowing, would judge people based on their belief in the supernatural. Belief isn't even something you can choose; you either accept the arguments and evidence for something or you don't. Depending on your flavour of Christianity, this is sometimes even the sole basis of judgement, going above all the superficial factors like, you know, being a good person. And, as you say, damning somebody to eternal torture who may have gone through life without even hearing about what turns out to be the correct religion... that can only be the actions of a malevolant deity.

But now, do you have a real need to define yourself? You don't need to fit in a particular catagory. Nobody does that anyway; terms like "Christian" and "atheist" mean different things to each of us. You don't need to attach a label to yourself in order to have a clear world view. If you're worried what to say if questioned on it, then I suppose Deism is a good one to use; it doesn't really mean that much if you look into it. But I guess you don't want the nutjobs trying to reconvert you whenever you let slip that you're actually undecided.

Captcha: other worldly ^^

I strongly recommend that if you've already taken the step of examining your belief critically, you should try digging deeper, and considering why you hold the belief at all... Just sayin'.

If I could give you a bit of advice, it would be to avoid working too hard to put a label on yourself at this point in your journey. I don't know if you're at all like me, but I've been tripped up in the past by being very uncomfortable not being able to say "I'm a ..." and grabbing onto labels before I was sure they actually fit me.

Float around a little, read about different approaches and different religions, don't feel you need to make a commitment to anything-- maybe say "for the next year, I'm just going to take in information", and see where you stand after a year. I'd also look at philosophical schools of thought outside of Christianity, like Neo-Platonism and Stoicism. Humanism on the more Atheist side of things. UU and Gnosticism on the Christian end, maybe John Shelby Spong's books. Deism, of course. If you're ever interested at all in anything Pagan, I'd be happy to make recommendations for that. Basically, think deeply about what inspires you about your religious past, and what disturbs you, then read and explore.

Good luck!

Lucem712:
You know, this morning, I realized something while reading a reply in my Escapist inbox. I am no longer Christian.

I grew up in a catholic family, in the bible belt USA. We have over 40 churches in this town. I was baptized as an infant and attended mass semi regularly. But, it seems unlike a-lot of Christians, I was never taught to dislike or judge anyone. My mother taught me to be accepting both of other cultures and other sexuality. (Although, she did have a bias against Bisexuals which I've overcome with time)I also accounted for biblical hate as the biases and hates of that time, as the bible was both written and complied by mortal men.

I was never confirmed into the Catholic faith because by that time, I realized I wasn't in agreement with much of their doctrine. I began to classify myself a 'non-practicing catholic'.

After much debating over intelligent design versus evolution, I made a compromise. I began to think of God as an Architect, my chosen profession, which in my mind truly meant "Intelligent Design". But, that also dis-involved the deity from life, which also made sense to me. The whole argument of why God lets bad things happen was solved because God wasn't truly involved anymore. There was no point in prayer or even mass, because worship wasn't required.

The whole loss of Christian occurred months ago, but I just realized what I had accepted in my own beliefs. Someone had recently went on a mission trip, and I asked them if people who didn't know about Jesus went to Hell. They only replied that's why they needed to go and help these God-forsaken people acknowledge Jesus, so they could be 'saved'.

It was at that moment that I began to think of Jesus as a man with good ideas, really great ideas that most people don't follow. So, now here I am. A passion for knowledge, always learning and in cooperating ideas. I have all sort of inklings, with a strong pull towards Buddhism because of the peace it gives me. Maybe I'm a Deist now, I don't know, I'll have to do more research.

Maybe I'm wrong, completely wrong, but that's okay. If I go where I go, that's okay. My friend once told me she wished that we all had a personal paradise, whatever you believe that's what you got. I hope she's right.

If you read through all of that, thanks. I just felt the need to get it out, come out of my own closet.(For lack of a better phrase)

Hmm I'm not so sure you are not still a Christian, a non-denominational Christian but a Christian nonetheless. Well that is a simple matter to determine, do you believe that salvation can be obtained without accepting Jesus as your savior?

Lucem712:

Maybe I'm wrong, completely wrong, but that's okay. If I go where I go, that's okay. My friend once told me she wished that we all had a personal paradise, whatever you believe that's what you got. I hope she's right.

If you read through all of that, thanks. I just felt the need to get it out, come out of my own closet.(For lack of a better phrase)

When I stopped being a Christian, (I was about 8, the idea of Noah getting EVERY animal on the world on a boat did not impress me back then), my teacher told me I needed to believe or I would go to hell. So I thought `I'm sure God wouldn't send an 8-year-old girl to hell for asking questions`.
Nobody else can tell you what God wants, if you believe in one, you can believe in a God that doesn't care whether or not you believe in them, who's to say thats wrong?

I'm an atheist, have been since then, but dont feel the need to label yourself straight away. You've got time to think it over and decide what you feel comfortable with.

Lucem712:
The whole argument of why God lets bad things happen was solved because God wasn't truly involved anymore.

The answer to the overwhelmingly pervasive 'if God is so loving...' question is very simple: in the garden of Eden, everything was perfect and nothing bad would have ever happened, ever. However, God didn't want his masterpieces to just follow and obey him because disobedience was impossible; in the same way you might want your dog to willingly follow you and not have to be forced every time.

So he created an artificial sin to commit; eating the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. There almost certainly wasn't anything unique, magical or even visibly different about the tree and its fruit; it may have very well just been an apple or orange tree. The one and only thing that made it special, is that God gave it a name and told Adam and Eve not to eat it.
Upon eating the fruit, there probably weren't evil-molecules in it that went into their stomach and into their brain; it was merely the act of disobeying God for the first time that made them realize what it felt like and opened the spirits of greed and sin to their hearts.

So because of that, God's beloved creations had chosen to run away from him and not follow him. Because of this, God took away his gift of a perfect earth, and now only the people who come running back to him are the ones who can get into the perfect heaven.

That's the answer to 'why does God let bad things happen?'

Lucem712:
After much debating over intelligent design versus evolution, I made a compromise. I began to think of God as an Architect, my chosen profession, which in my mind truly meant "Intelligent Design".

The laws of reality dictate--among other restrictions--two things:

1: Everything must have a beginning
2: Nothing can be made from nothing

Therefore:

1: Our universe couldn't have simply always existed, it had to be created at some point
2: But our universe couldn't have been created at all, for there was nothing to make it with

By the basic, fundamental, common sense laws of reality, that reality itself shouldn't even exist. Therefore, I agree with you on some level that something beyond our reality absolutely has to exist, or at some previous point in time did.

Lucem712:
Someone had recently went on a mission trip, and I asked them if people who didn't know about Jesus went to Hell. They only replied that's why they needed to go and help these God-forsaken people acknowledge Jesus, so they could be 'saved'.

Now I'll make it clear now that I have no faith and was raised in a Christian family as well. From the protestant perspective that I have, my answer to your question would simply be that anyone who is not aware of Jesus or God or whatever, is not responsible for being a non-Christian and therefore will go to heaven. So if you die as a baby who was just born, or die as an adult but happened to never hear of the gospel or have a chance to search for it, you will go to heaven.

Lucem712:
My friend once told me she wished that we all had a personal paradise, whatever you believe that's what you got. I hope she's right.

Ha! Funny; I had pondered the same concept. I want there to be a movie about that; a series of short stories of people with different faiths, and all of their beliefs come true. The Christian goes to heaven, the Muslim gets it on with seventy-something virgins, the atheist simply rots in the ground, and the agnostic doesn't know where or what he is. I'll make that movie when I become a prominent art-house indie filmmaker who wears skinny glasses while I do stuff on my macbook at Starbucks.

Seekster:

Hmm I'm not so sure you are not still a Christian, a non-denominational Christian but a Christian nonetheless. Well that is a simple matter to determine, do you believe that salvation can be obtained without accepting Jesus as your savior?

Absolutely not. It never felt quite right when I heard someone say, 'well if you don't believe in Jesus, you are going to Hell' (or 'accept Jesus') It's just kind of fucked up, in my mind anyhow. :\

Lucem712:

Seekster:

Hmm I'm not so sure you are not still a Christian, a non-denominational Christian but a Christian nonetheless. Well that is a simple matter to determine, do you believe that salvation can be obtained without accepting Jesus as your savior?

Absolutely not. It never felt quite right when I heard someone say, 'well if you don't believe in Jesus, you are going to Hell' (or 'accept Jesus') It's just kind of fucked up, in my mind anyhow. :\

Wait so you believe that you can achieve salvation without Jesus (You said no but gave an elaboration that sounded like you mean to say yes)? If so then yeah you arent a Christian anymore. Still at least your not an anti-theist.

UltraHammer:

Lucem712:
The whole argument of why God lets bad things happen was solved because God wasn't truly involved anymore.

The answer to the overwhelmingly pervasive 'if God is so loving...' question is very simple: in the garden of Eden, everything was perfect and nothing bad would have ever happened, ever. However, God didn't want his masterpieces to just follow and obey him because disobedience was impossible; in the same way you might want your dog to willingly follow you and not have to be forced every time.

So he created an artificial sin to commit; eating the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. There almost certainly wasn't anything unique, magical or even visibly different about the tree and its fruit; it may have very well just been an apple or orange tree. The one and only thing that made it special, is that God gave it a name and told Adam and Eve not to eat it.
Upon eating the fruit, there probably weren't evil-molecules in it that went into their stomach and into their brain; it was merely the act of disobeying God for the first time that made them realize what it felt like and opened the spirits of greed and sin to their hearts.

So because of that, God's beloved creations had chosen to run away from him and not follow him. Because of this, God took away his gift of a perfect earth, and now only the people who come running back to him are the ones who can get into the perfect heaven.

That's the answer to 'why does God let bad things happen?'

Lucem712:
After much debating over intelligent design versus evolution, I made a compromise. I began to think of God as an Architect, my chosen profession, which in my mind truly meant "Intelligent Design".

The laws of reality dictate--among other restrictions--two things:

1: Everything must have a beginning
2: Nothing can be made from nothing

Therefore:

1: Our universe couldn't have simply always existed, it had to be created at some point
2: But our universe couldn't have been created at all, for there was nothing to make it with

By the basic, fundamental, common sense laws of reality, that reality itself shouldn't even exist. Therefore, I agree with you on some level that something beyond our reality absolutely has to exist, or at some previous point in time did.

Lucem712:
Someone had recently went on a mission trip, and I asked them if people who didn't know about Jesus went to Hell. They only replied that's why they needed to go and help these God-forsaken people acknowledge Jesus, so they could be 'saved'.

Now I'll make it clear now that I have no faith and was raised in a Christian family as well. From the protestant perspective that I have, my answer to your question would simply be that anyone who is not aware of Jesus or God or whatever, is not responsible for being a non-Christian and therefore will go to heaven. So if you die as a baby who was just born, or die as an adult but happened to never hear of the gospel or have a chance to search for it, you will go to heaven.

Lucem712:
My friend once told me she wished that we all had a personal paradise, whatever you believe that's what you got. I hope she's right.

Ha! Funny; I had pondered the same concept. I want there to be a movie about that; a series of short stories of people with different faiths, and all of their beliefs come true. The Christian goes to heaven, the Muslim gets it on with seventy-something virgins, the atheist simply rots in the ground, and the agnostic doesn't know where or what he is. I'll make that movie when I become a prominent art-house indie filmmaker who wears skinny glasses while I do stuff on my macbook at Starbucks.

I would love a movie like that. It'd be epic! Your ideas are really interesting, and second comment on the universe reminds me of the Buddhist concept of an everlasting universe, it has no end, and no beginning; it simply is, always was and always will be.

Or, if you believe in aliens, we could always have some sort of alien generated pocket universe within their Universe. (That sounds awesome, how come their isn't a religion based around that?? haha)

The catholic solution for that was that all people that hadn't accepted Jesus, unbaptized, other religions (if they were good enough) went to purgatory. So if you were a good, but lacked Christianity, you went to purgatory.

Seekster:

Lucem712:

Seekster:

Hmm I'm not so sure you are not still a Christian, a non-denominational Christian but a Christian nonetheless. Well that is a simple matter to determine, do you believe that salvation can be obtained without accepting Jesus as your savior?

Absolutely not. It never felt quite right when I heard someone say, 'well if you don't believe in Jesus, you are going to Hell' (or 'accept Jesus') It's just kind of fucked up, in my mind anyhow. :\

Wait so you believe that you can achieve salvation without Jesus (You said no but gave an elaboration that sounded like you mean to say yes)? If so then yeah you arent a Christian anymore. Still at least your not an anti-theist.

I'm not sure if there is Heaven or anything, maybe a cycle of reincarnation? Maybe a temporary kind of paradise, no angels or anything, just a personal 'happy place' then you get booted back to Earth?

Volf:
You should look at Deism before you make up your mind to become (I assume) a negative atheist.

Why? What's wrong with not believing in a creator?

Lucem712:

Seekster:

Lucem712:

Absolutely not. It never felt quite right when I heard someone say, 'well if you don't believe in Jesus, you are going to Hell' (or 'accept Jesus') It's just kind of fucked up, in my mind anyhow. :\

Wait so you believe that you can achieve salvation without Jesus (You said no but gave an elaboration that sounded like you mean to say yes)? If so then yeah you arent a Christian anymore. Still at least your not an anti-theist.

I'm not sure if there is Heaven or anything, maybe a cycle of reincarnation? Maybe a temporary kind of paradise, no angels or anything, just a personal 'happy place' then you get booted back to Earth?

"just a personal 'happy place' then you get booted back to Earth?"

Yeah they call that the internet.

Seriously though sounds like you are somewhere between a deist and an agnostic. I don't have much of a problem with people until they start insisting that God doesnt exist or something like that.

Well I'm glad that you still seem to treat the church respectfully. I'm not going to lie, I've almost turned away from the church a few times (though never even once considered becoming an Atheist or anything like that) but I never actually hated it. Far too often I see new Atheists or Agnostics or anyone else who turned away from the Christian church and say things like, "Yeah! Fuck God and all those stupid pricks who follow him! Screw the Church and Screw Jesus!" Just because someone no longer follows a group does not mean they should make that group their enemy.

Whatever philosophy you stick with, I wish you happiness and freedom from being criticized for your beliefs.

I recommend that everyone watch this.

http://topdocumentaryfilms.com/the-god-who-wasnt-there/

The dude is an asshole IMO. But he gets to what many atheists feel. They really disliked the heaviness of the doctrines placed on them. They are unhappy about how religious right people try to advocate for their metaphysics through the political system in areas like abortion and gay marriage.

And the thing is, in my experience, other Christian sects really don't have answers to the dislikes about fundie Christianity. The mainlines really don't have a solution to hell and the need for salvation, but instead just say, "we don't emphasize those parts of the doctrine". well, hello, they still are there in their bibles, and the book of revelations is still in the bible.

Lucem712:
And lordy no, I doubt I'll even reveal IRL. Not 'cos I'm afraid of backlash or anything, but Hell, when I use to tell people I was Catholic, they use to ask me why I wasn't Christian. I hate to see their heads try to turn around more complex terms, haha.

Say you're a Zen Baptist.

Let THEM figure it out.

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