Redemption

March 6, 2007 at 2:36 am 56 comments

Redemption
[Art by Jim Huger from Dead To Rights, a parody of Jack T. Chick's tract]

Somewhere along my journey, I remember thinking “I’m not sure about the reality of Christianity, but the plan of redemption does make sense.” Of course, I was viewing things from the perspective of what I was taught as a child.

My friends in sales joke about creating a problem then selling the solution to the problem. If you think about it, redemption is the Biblical solution to the problem of original sin- which is perpetuated by the Bible itself. If I do not believe in original sin, from what do I need to be redeemed?

The popular hymn, “Amazing Grace,” contains lyrics that summarizes this perspective:

T’was Grace that taught my heart to fear
And Grace, my fears relieved

I understand the need for a new start. I love 01 Jan each year because it gives me an opportunity to start over and make some changes. Redemption gives people a chance to start over and leave in the past a lot bigger ‘sins’ than eating too much during the holidays. It’s a chance to feel like you’re starting over with a clean slate.

However, many times, these ‘redeemed’ individuals then go on with life as if nothing has happened in the past. Wouldn’t it be a better plan to deal with the past mistakes and then make a new start? That, of course, is a much harder endeavor. It’s a lot easier to say “Jesus forgave me. It’s in the past. I’m a new person now.”

- The de-Convert

Entry filed under: The de-Convert. Tags: , , , , , , .

In the beginning man created God….. With sincere apologies to the ladies

56 Comments Add your own

  • 1. marymags  |  March 8, 2007 at 3:55 am

    Precisely. And why would you want to take this opportunity away from people. Many of these individuals would never change if not for the salvation experience.

    You all focus on the negatives of Christianity without acknowledging the millions of lives it has saved.

  • 2. skywhale  |  March 8, 2007 at 4:55 am

    The cartoon assumes that “sin” is something for which one is either punished or forgiven. Things take on a different slant if we consider sin as meaning “error about the true nature of the Universe.” What if Christ’s “sacrifice” refers to a willing decision on the part of that soul to incarnate here and suffer in order to challenge our false assumptions about reality, and to model the process by which we can come to truth? The word “sacrifice” takes on an entirely different meaning. So I would say that the cartoon does a good job of ridiculing the false interpretation, but it’s a mistake to use the foolishness of one interpretation as evidence of the truth of any other interpretation (such as the nonexistence of God or the utter falsehood of Christianity).

  • 3. elentari1  |  March 8, 2007 at 4:11 am

    Righto, Marymags. Religion saved me. It saved me from being the woman I should have been allowed to be from a young age. It saved me from the real world that I found later to be far less judgmental. It saved me from the nasty reality of science that proves that the Bible is just one more piece of literature, not the word of an all powerful god.

    In short, religion saved me from my highest potential, good-hearted people and reality. I’m sure there are millions of other people who want to be saved too.

  • 4. Simen  |  March 8, 2007 at 12:34 pm

    I don’t think it’s used as evidence of the falsehood of Christianity, but rather the absurdness of its doctrine.

  • 5. skywhale  |  March 8, 2007 at 2:21 pm

    Well, I think it depends on the person. Some people say “all this God stuff is nonsense” based on these obviously absurd interpretations. Others have a need to prove over and over again that the doctrines are absurd — I’m not being disrespectful to those people, but I am trying to point out that there is at least one interpretation of this stuff which is both internally consistent and grounded in a loving God. It might be worth really taking a look at it . . .

  • 6. Rusdy  |  March 9, 2007 at 12:05 pm

    Thanks for sharing this cartoon, it’s really funny and hit the nail! This certainly teaches those hypocrites who is on the right at the end of the day (i.e. death)! :D

  • 7. augustrose  |  March 10, 2007 at 4:44 am

    elentari1 — I have to side with marymags. Unfortunately, you were introduced to religion and not relationship. You’re angry. But there’s a HUGE difference between the real thing and what you were taught.

    skywhale — yes, it is really worth taking a look at but not unless you’re really willing to give it a shot. If someone is going to superanalyze everything, they can’t/won’t experience the true reality of it all. It is experienced by believing even what you don’t see. Why would you need faith if you only operate on what you understand or what you see? Sorry, guys. Not how it works.

    God/Jesus/Salvation has the ability to revolutionize any life. Any person. While some representatives of Christianity have been poor examples, we all came from the same background. Sinner. We all came from the same world.

    Both groups (Believers and Non-Believers) have good representatives and bad representatives. If you’re looking for perfection you’re never going to find it and if someone has implied we are perfect (and you’re not) they have merely forgotten (or never discovered) the true meaning of salvation.

  • 8. skywhale  |  March 10, 2007 at 11:01 am

    augustrose,

    Yes, it’s only worth looking at if one is open to the possibility that it might be true. Because while it’s intellectually tight, the ultimate confirmation comes not from the cerebral cortext, but from the resonance with intuitive knowing, and the experience of personal grounding and growth.

  • 9. Elentari1  |  March 10, 2007 at 2:07 pm

    augustrose, I’m afraid you have it all wrong. I grew up in church, was completely in love with god, followed him for the better part of 35 years, and even served as a missionary and minister. So you see, I did in fact have a relationship, which is why it hurt all the more when I realized that God was the reason for most of the trouble I have had in my life.

    It comes down to this. If the Bible is God’s word, then God is sexist, cruel, a murderer, and so many other very nasty things. I know what you all will say. “God is God and he can do whatever he likes.” And that is exactly why I do not serve him anymore.

  • 10. skywhale  |  March 10, 2007 at 2:31 pm

    So, Elentari1, what I hear — correct me if I’m wrong — is that it was very hurtful when you evolved to a point where the interpretations you had been carrying and teaching to others just didn’t hang together for you. Maybe a sense of betrayal, humiliation? “How could I have been such an idiot?”

    What Pathwork would say to you is “don’t take it so hard. We’re all confused — we’re all learning. As a first step out of that morass, try being a little kinder to yourself and a little more open about your beliefs. Just flipping the switch over to rejection is emotionally perfectly natural, but it’s a phase. Try to recognize that while you’re in that place of emotional reaction, your judgment might be a little clouded by your feelings, and that you might be forming a new set of beliefs which are also flawed, albeit in a different way. Try to allow yourself to really experience the hurt and the shame in a raw, unfiltered way — just surrender to it, without involving your mind. Let that experience heal you, which it will if you are willing to “be” in that painful place for a while without resistance. Then see what how your perspective has been altered by that experience . . .”

    Does that resonate at all on any level?

  • 11. augustrose  |  March 11, 2007 at 6:19 am

    Elentari1, I summed-you-up in a statement and I apoligize. Life is far more intricate than my simpleton statement. Again, sorry.

    I’m responding to your post. And this time you have it wrong about me. I’m not going to sit here and say God can do whatever He wants. He is God, but He gave a lot of power and responsiblity over to mankind. And we have a knack of messing each other over pretty good.

    I know nothing about your background, but it sounds like God gets credit for all the bad in the world. Can I ask if you’ve always believed He was the only source of all good and all bad?

    You obviously believed God was the grand orchestrator of your misery and pain, so you ditched Him. Would it matter to you if that wasn’t true? Would it make a difference to you at all?

  • 12. Thor'Ungal  |  April 26, 2007 at 3:05 am

    First time to post on these but I bring forth a premise. I am an athiest in that I prefrence a belief in no god because of the absence of need to believe in one. I don’t proclaim that those who believe are wrong just that I do not number amoung them. I do however see wisdom in many of the things said in the bible and so still as one could say “follow christ” in the things I do. From this perspective I act very much like a christian should (or at least try to) but don’t share their metaphisical description of the universe. If for interests sake I find myself at the pearly gates thinking “dude waddya odds, they were right” would I still qualify or would I default out under the clauses most christians proclaim apply?

    The flip side to this cartoon still applys, it may not be a sufficient requirement to “believe in christ” but is it even a nessisary one.

  • 13. Dan Barnett  |  April 26, 2007 at 10:45 pm

    I apologize. I just saw how long my comment was. Forgive for the length.

  • 14. Dan Barnett  |  April 26, 2007 at 10:45 pm

    Augustrose,
    First let make it clear that I love God and serve him as well as I can. I’m not perfect as many would expect a Christian to be, which is why so many reject us.
    Let me clarify a little on what God can and can’t do, as well as what is the source of good and evil.
    John 1 says that nothing came into being apart from Him.
    Daniel 4:35 says, “all the inhabitants of the earth are accounted as nothing, and he does according to his will among the host of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth;
    and none can stay his hand or say to him, “What have you done?”
    There is one thing and one thing only that God cannot do. He cannot sin. To sin would be to deny himself. Apart from that He can do all He desires according to his perfect will. We can get into predestination and freewill, but the bottom line is he is sovreign over evrything, and therefore can do as he wills.
    Though God does not harm, kill, steal, etc, nothing touches us but that which has passed through his hands. Look at Job when Satan comes to God and gets permission to attack Job. Look at when Jesus tells Peter that Satan has asked to go after him. Though God doesn’t carry these things out, he does allow them to bring more glory to himself, which is his ultimate purpose.
    Many on this site and elsewhere are not arguing these points, they are rejecting God based on them because God’s chraracter is foreign to them as it was to us in the past. When you stop seeing God for WHO he is, and focus on the thing he allows to happen you’re bound to walk away.
    I challenge anyone on this site to read through the Bible and see what it says about who you are, how God sees you, and who he is. If you do that, and truly seek those answers, tell me you don’t see it a little differently.
    Nebbukunezar(pardon my spelling) knew who God was, and knew that God was all-powerful, but rejected it and focused on his own pride. He looked out over Babylon, and said look what I’ve built. I’m the king of the world. And while he was still saying those words, God fulfilled his promise and tore the king’s kingdom to the ground. After 7 periods of time(years maybe?) his eyes were finally opened to who he was in relation to God. He knew now the difference. That is what we need to see along with who God is and who he sees us as if we accept Christ’s death and resurrection as our only way to salvation.

  • [...] a previous blog on Redemption, I posted the following [...]

  • 16. Mistah Bunty  |  July 15, 2007 at 2:53 pm

    I like your Christ. I do not like your Christians. They are so unlike your Christ.

    Gandhi

  • 17. Wandering Burlapin  |  November 24, 2007 at 10:24 am

    It seems to me that, first off, one should take nothing in life at face value. One should know the reality and history of what they take as true. If one says the earth is round because scientist tell us it is so they are correct with a false logic. If one says the earth is round because the horizon curves and (other scientific evidence that one can observe to support the fact) then they are correct with sound logic.

    The bible is actually a compilation of gnostic scrolls that was standardized by the papacy several hundred years ago. It should be noted that while some of the texts may be, in fact, religiously inspired by the divine one it is most likely not true of every text now included in the bible. It should also be noted that among the scrolls that were left out one can find the ‘Book of Bartibus’, a very dark tome outlining the extent of anti-semmitisem that should be practiced by good Christians and taught not to stop short of anything past total annihilation of the Jewish race. In addition you have to keep in mind that the text is translated from an ancient language, and had many part that applied directly to ancient times. A truly devoted Christian, I would think, would want to find images of these texts and try to learn to translate them and understand them first hand before devoting themselves to them fully. Also keep in mind that many parts of the gnostic scrolls were written during times of political strife and some were historical accounts of the various situations of the time.

    I think that sometimes people of any organized religion tend to forget that those who do not follow their beliefs often have their own form of spirituality. I personally am a very spiritual person, with a deep and very close connection to the divine one. I believe that this omnipotent being appears differently to people throughout their lives and that you see him or her (yes, my god is actually a goddess…) the way you need to at that point in your life. I also believe that we are all part of this goddess and that we are here to experience life and gather information for this being, we live life after life learning and growing and in the end we return to the divine one and share all that we know and have become. In doing so we strengthen ourselves, like tempering steel with fire.

    Perhaps the morals of Christianity are good for you at this stage in your life. Perhaps tomorrow it won’t be, remember that you are an ever evolving person and you need to allow your emotional and spiritual self grow along with your physical body.

  • 18. Tom  |  November 24, 2007 at 2:15 pm

    Dan Barnett:
    The things that define who god is are what he does. You can say that god is loving and perfect, but the things he does suggest otherwise. In what way can someone who allows horrible things to be done to innocent people still be loving and perfect? Seeing what god allows to happen and who god is are the same thing.

  • 19. a new agnostic  |  November 24, 2007 at 2:16 pm

    All I see is debate without any shred of evidence. Most Christians will point to the bible as evidence, it is not. The book “A hitchhikers’ guide to the galaxy” is not proof of extraterrestrial life, but it doesn’t mean that I don’t believe there is life on another planet somewhere. I don’t fault Christians, Jews, Buddhists, Islamics, or others for their beliefs based upon the books available, but I do have a serious problem with formalized and organized religion. The Nazis are blasted because of what they did to the Jews, what about Christians during the crusades? I was raised Christian and agree with some of the ideals such as the golden rule and the 10 commandments, but do I believe a Jewish zombie who was his own father saved us from ourselves because an evil spirit in the form of a snake caused a rib-woman to eat a magical fruit? Not really- no. I recently realized I was agnostic, to me it means- I DON’T KNOW- what happens after you die. I would make the argument that everyone is agnostic- because none of you actually knows, so please quit preaching to me and molesting children. I do believe that I am more than dirt and in a form of Karma- what comes around goes around. You will not convince me that the is an all powerful being that controls the universe. AC/DC has a great song- “Who made Who” If god made me, who made god? He made himself, he always existed-BS. I believe I am more than dirt and I believe that there are supernatural forces, but I don’t dare believe that I have the ability to fully comprehend it.
    In summation- I am so sick of people hurting and killing each other over the argument of what happens to you after you die.

  • 20. inkt  |  November 24, 2007 at 2:58 pm

    Well said new agnostic.

    Christians excuse their more unpopular behavior by saying that there are “good” and “bad” examples thereof. I have not yet met any Christian who does not believe to some extent that their way is the ultimate right, and anyone else’s the ultimate wrong. How, exactly, can there be the “unconditional” love of any deity, or representative thereof, if you do not accept that another’s way is just as right? What I am tired of is the incessant clamoring of the “faithful” to take literally any criticism or dissention and spin it to produce the illusion that it is really the individual’s failing, not that of an inherently flawed system.

  • 21. Dave  |  November 24, 2007 at 3:14 pm

    To a new agnostic:

    You’re absolutely right. Every time some brings up something that attempts to “prove” something in the Bible, someone else finds enough evidence that falsifies that “proof”. Until there is a “proof” without contention, there is no proof. And without proof, I will be reserving my judgment.

    It would be nice, though, if people would stop forcing their religious views upon others. I don’t mean discussions like this one… no one is forcing anything upon anyone here, we’re just having a discussion in a gentlemanly or ladylike manner. These discussions are necessary to get to the truth behind the matter. But involving people who have no desire to discuss theological matters is immoral and, obviously, “involving” them includes causing them harm.

    That’s all I ask of the theological evangelistic community. Limit your actions to people who have come looking for you.

  • 22. anair  |  November 24, 2007 at 3:26 pm

    Wandering Burlapin –

    Your first paragraph is pretty good. Paul says in 1 Thess. to “test everything; hold fast to what is good.” But, then you turn around and state many claims that if tested would be thrown out.

    On what authority do you rely for the claims you make?

    In 1 Peter, Christians are instructed to “in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect.”

    Many Christians fail at this, but likewise I ask what is the reason for the hope that is in you?

    Tom –

    How do you define “horrible things” and also “loving and perfect”?

  • 23. anair  |  November 24, 2007 at 3:30 pm

    Dave, isn’t your desire that other people would not force their religious views on others a view of religion that you would like to force on others?

  • 24. Osidon's Indenture  |  November 24, 2007 at 3:52 pm

    Christianity is nothing more than a historicized myth. There is scant evidence that any of the remarkable claims of the bible are true. Of course the Bible, as a historical document, is accurate about people and places more or less. But we can only know this about the Bible through corroborative evidence., and even the corroborative evidence is controversial, especially when it comes to questions about Jesus’s divinity.
    As far as the remarkable claims go, it is more logical to be undecided than any other position, or at least it is more charitable.
    Indecision is a difficult position for a Christian to hold because the very nature of most monotheistic religions is to profess various ultimate truths that one must adhere to in order to reap all the benefits the religion has to offer.
    Claims of ultimate truth are very difficult to prove. Even a rationalist is hard pressed to explain where the axioms of reason came from. If anything, claims of absolute truth are useful and convenient, but they require one stop questioning, stop wondering which is contrary to the spirit of seeking truth, if there is any that is.

    But let’s not get too deep into metaphysics, since it often just becomes a matter of semantic games. At best, rationality is useful. Its axioms are convenient but at least they are universal in their application as long as the person wielding them actually understands what an axiom is–a truth that can only be disproven by relying on the very axiom one attempts to disprove. Radical skepticism may be the only option for some.
    Nowadays any rational person knows there are no virgin (human) births, there are no resurrections from the dead, nor are there any God-Men walking the earth who can heal the blind.
    At best these miraculous events attributed to Jesus in the Bible are either metaphoric, exaggerations, errors one might expect from the ancient world.
    And how many other religions claim to follow miracle workers? Oh but those miracles are of the devil, or they are inferior to the miracles of Jesus right? Why Noah’s serpent gobbled up the Egyptian Pharoah’s magician’s serpents. So the Judeao Christian miracles are more powerful right and therfore truer?! Hmm that’s convenient. First you believe it, then you set out to prove it. Why bother? Just believe it, it’s proof enough.

    During the time of Jesus, the general populace accepted the ‘reality’ of miracles. But if you think about it, all miracles either have a rational explanation, or one must remain undecided about the matter until more evidence is available.
    To just accept a miracle because someone told you it happened is not a very rational approach at all. Why one scientists won’t even accept the claims of another until they can recreate the experiment. Perhaps that only leads to some collective hallucinations then right?
    Of course if you’re one of those people who think that rationality is limited in light of esoteric and mystical truths that transcend the finite and limited constructs of the human mind tainted forever by sin and folly ,well I guess you overlooked the fact that such a position is in itself a truth claim. That is why the axioms of reason are considered to be reliable. You must rely on them to disprove them.

    To just blindly accept the word of Christ’s disciples that Jesus was born of a virgin, that he raised people from the dead, that he created food out of thin air, that he turned water into wine, that he walked on water, that he was able to save people from eternal damnation, that he died and rose from the dead, that he calmed storms, and that he ascended up into the clouds promising to return possibly thousands of years from that point is just silly.
    I mean c’mon how old are we people? When is the last time you saw any evidence of that these sorts of things actually happen? Do you believe in these sorts of things because some little old lady at Church told you that Jesus healed her of cancer? Or do you believe it because a missionary claims that Jesus sent him money just when he needed it? Or do you believe it just because a drug addict of 30 years stopped using drugs within the context of a religious conversion experience called ‘being born again’? Or do you believe it because someone nearly died but they happened to pray or be a christian and then they lived so therefore it is a miracle?
    People change, there’s nothing miraculous about that; it can be pleasant or unlikely but it is not a miracle.
    Cancer goes into remissions sometimes. People send other people money anonymously sometimes. Everyone has a near miss from time to time.
    I mean what is this oh-so-human need to believe that there are hidden powers at work behind the scenes? As long as they are hidden and unexplainable one cannot question their reality. Is that right?
    (It is very consoling thinking that a an invisible man up in the sky watches every move I make jotting down whether I’m naughty or nice. Plus he helps me out when I’m in trouble, defends me against ‘evil’ and, in the end, gets to decide whether I fly or fry FOREVER! That is how much he loves me! Oh and he could use a little extra cash as well. )
    No, it means that these hidden powers behind the scenes are merely unfalsifiable. Nobody knows for sure if they are real or not. That is not a ‘reason’ to believe in hidden supernatural powers. It is a reason to say ‘I don’t really know. There is no way for me to tell for sure’. And that is the most charitable position one can take on the supernatural, since we all know, being the diligent seekers of truth we all are, that there is plenty of evidence of how many religious-based claims have rational explanations.
    Not only that, but the world view of the Ancient Hebrews is not a universal or eternal view. In those days, people believed the earth, for example, was just a big hunk of rock that God transformed violently with storms earthquakes etc to punish and reward humans. Of course we all know now that the earth is a dynamic system following natural laws and cycles.
    They used to believe the earth was flat and that the universe revolved around the earth. We know these positions are not really true either yet somehow the good lord had no problem going along with the errors of the good old ancients. Strange eh? And why is it the God seems to have so many human attributes? You ever wonder about that?

    Funny how God thinks something and then that thought becomes reality. Isn’t it amazingly similar to how humans thnk there is a direct correlation between thought and action? Of course this correlation is not a bad model, but it doesn’t always work that way. The human body for example is just full of automatic processes which we have no control over. Now if we are made in the image of God, then it seems that God also has little control over himself yet lives under the illusion that so many humans believe that there is always a direct correlation between thought and action.
    So perhaps God’s wrath was not really a conscious decision of his but a result of some built up tension in his neck from a millennia of repressing his indignation over Lucifer’s betrayal?
    I mean if you are going to say that God is angry, or God is love, or God speaks, or God does this and that, then why not take the metaphor to it’s logical conclusions? God doesn’t know why he did something. God is confused? God is puzzled. God is sleepy. God is hungry. God is bored. God quits! God gets cancer from being too angry and ends up sick in the hospital.

    Here is another absurdity inherant in the anthropomorphisization of God. Take, for example, the one story of Adam and Eve included in the Old Testament. First God creates everything, and then he tells his creation that they can’t eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil? No why not? Why because he created it that way(they’ll ‘die’). Now since He created this awful little temptation which had the potential to taint humanity for all time until a reasonable sacrifice was made on our behalf (mainly a man named Jesus), don’t you think He knew how pointless it was to tell Adam and Eve not to eat from the tree? He already knew they would eat from it. God is everything! He knows everything, sees everything etc. So why on earth was he surprised or angry when Adam and Eve ate of the tree? And why was he surprised and angry at the serpent (who he created) when it tempted Adam and Eve? Didn’t he know the serpent would try to tempt them? Of course!
    So when God curses Adam and Eve he basically knew all along that they were going to cause the fall, he knew what would happen. I mean I don’t see why God is limited to all these human perceptions when he knows exactly what he is doing, what is going to happen, what we are going to do. Think about it.

    So now that Adam and Eve are cursed and kicked out of the Garden of Eden how do they make children? They have sex, they give birth to a boy and girl and then the brother and sister commit incest and Walla there’s where the whole human race came from–incest. Now why would God set up condition to sabotage his creation, and then put them in the position to commit incest in order to propagate his chosen people?
    The story is just way too far fetched to swallow if you look at it historically. From a metaphoric or allegorical point of view it is a completely different matter.

  • 25. a new agnostic  |  November 24, 2007 at 3:55 pm

    no anair- he asked politely, and I don’t see asking someone to keep their beliefs to themselves and to stop try to convert others as a religion…

  • 26. God  |  November 24, 2007 at 4:03 pm

    anair – “Dave, isn’t your desire that other people would not force their religious views on others a view of religion that you would like to force on others?”

    Hahahahahahahaha…….shut up! You could twist that little word spiral around and around forever.

    Now go kill some lambs for me or I might flood your crops! Do it!

  • 27. anair  |  November 24, 2007 at 4:32 pm

    Dave said “That’s all I ask of the theological evangelistic community. Limit your actions to people who have come looking for you.”

    If the theological evangelistic community has the Word of God and the only key to salvation. Asking them to not reveal that to everyone possible is directly contrary to their beliefs. Either you are okay with people spreading the gospel or you are not. It seems that some of you are not okay with it, and that is a dogmatic position you hold. And, yes, it is great that Dave is polite about the position he holds.

  • 28. Chaodyn  |  November 24, 2007 at 4:37 pm

    You people are all silly bagels.

    Dan Barnett up there says God’s ultimate purpose is to bring glory to himself. (paraphrase)

    Are you kidding me? Playoffs?

    Just revel for a while in how utterly ridiculous that notion is. Please, Christians, don’t try to tell us the logic behind God’s actions. Why? Because once we are allowed to use logic to analyze God’s decisions, pretty much everything in the Bible becomes the most outrageous load of tomfoolery.

    You’re much better off sticking to the old “no one can understand God, stop questioning or you’ll burn in hell infidel” line. You could even make a rap song out of it.

    Anyway, thanks for the concept of creating the problem to fix, that at least was interesting.

    Icewind Dale 2. Go play it.

  • 29. a new agnostic  |  November 24, 2007 at 4:59 pm

    “If the theological evangelistic community has the Word of God and the only key to salvation” – anair

    That’s the kind of thing I’m talking about. The word of god? That implies there is only one god, what if I believe there are many? And where do you get the word, from a book written by several different humans who saw hallucinations?

    The only key to salvation? What if your screwing the word up, and I end up in hell? Shame on you. And why is there only one key? If I’m right, from the bible John 3:16- if you believe in Jesus =you go to heaven. So, I could be a morally corrupt killer, molester, cannibal, but….If I believe a that a guy who was his own son performed miracles and killed himself, I’ll still go to heaven, when an very nice, polite, caring atheist, (or agnostic) is doomed to go to hell? I don’t think so.

    I quit believing in Santa Clause a long time ago, quit trying to tell me he is real until you bring the fat man in front of me and PROVE he is the real deal.

  • 30. msbeazswachs  |  November 24, 2007 at 5:29 pm

    Lets start with the prejudice of “original sin” aka “fallen nature”, also referred to as being “desperately wicked”.
    Pile on that the requirement to believe in the supernatural, and ignore – even discount reason (“trust not in your own understanding”), and endure an eternity of torture, and you have the the makings of the most misanthropic, hateful and bigoted doctrine imaginable. Spread that hate with manipulative rhetorical techniques and ostentatious trappings and you inevitably produce the divided world we live in today. Get real; If god is love, cut out the middle man and get down to the love.

  • 31. bdug  |  November 24, 2007 at 6:02 pm

    God is ancient man’s vehicle for rectifying the imbalance created by the dawning of our own evolution’s intrinsic self-awareness and the realization that we are actually alone in the universe at day’s end.
    Religion, on the other hand, is humankind’s attempt to control the masses using our greatest strength and also our greatest fear against us…self-awareness.
    Both God and religion are, in themselves, essential for the continuation of our species until a point can be reached in our own evolution and self-awareness process where we finally realize that the underlying PRINCIPLES of behavior, cooperation, and interaction between each other, which are taught by the purest form of the God/religion mechanism, are REQUIRED to live as an intelligent species in harmony. The problem is not so much the past when the God/religion machine was in full swing and almost everyone on Earth believed, but rather now where, in the past couple thousand years and the foreseeable future, we wil grow with evolution from our own psychological need for a belief system crutch to the acceptance that such principles as “love others as yourself” are mandatory to continue the species further. This time we are in now is the most dangerous in history because we are, as a collective intelligence, moving from one level of self-awareness to another, more self-sufficient one. I think great minds of the past, such as Jesus, Buddha, Mohammed, Confuscious, et al ALL understood this to some extent. It is only now that we are beginning to catch up with them.

  • 32. Anonymous  |  November 24, 2007 at 6:06 pm

    This cartoon and this blog are effective because there is here a potential for common ground among people on either side of the equation to loosen their frantic hold on their cherished beliefs. If hell exists it starts here and now among those who fear what they have been taught to fear in an afterlife. The mystery will be solved for me when I die. That’s all I need to know.

  • 33. msbeazswachs  |  November 24, 2007 at 7:07 pm

    As with the golden rule, “love others as yourself” suffers from the reality that those who regard themselves as “desperately wicked” will welcome the sort of oppression prescribed by misanthropic religions. In that frame of mind, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” justifies the subjugation of the human spirit. As a secular humanist, I recognize the quandary that bdug mentions, and suggest that reasoned enlightenment, progressive education, and honest recognition of the damage wrought by religiosity is a crucial first step toward world peace. One of the most useful first lessons is the fact and role of metaphor in literature – including texts regarded by some as doctrinal.

  • 34. anair  |  November 25, 2007 at 12:39 am

    msbeazswachs wrote:

    “Lets start with the prejudice of ‘original sin’ aka ‘fallen nature’, also referred to as being ‘desperately wicked’.
    Pile on that the requirement to believe in the supernatural, and ignore – even discount reason (”trust not in your own understanding”), and endure an eternity of torture”

    The inverse of this is thinking man is perfect, that nothing supernatural is possible, that man’s reason is always trustworthy, and that man is not accountability for their wrongdoings.

    —–

    Also, the fault with your analysis of the golden rule is that Christians do not view themselves as currently “desperately wicked” they view themselves as cleansed from their wickedness by the sacrifice of Jesus.

    The irony here is that if someone were to try and follow the golden rule who was not a follower of Jesus, then they could act it out in the way you say.

    The Christian is the one who is more consistent. The secular humanist acts out morality different than they believe it to be.

  • 35. anair  |  November 25, 2007 at 12:48 am

    besides the golden rule is usually said in this way “do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

  • 36. Rosito  |  November 25, 2007 at 1:24 am

    Evangelical Christianity does not have exclusive rights to the creation of positive life change; not even Christianity as a whole has these rights. Many religions, including godless Buddhism, claim to be able to dramatically change people for the better.

    Religion, in whatever form, is hardly the cause of all positive forms of life change. In fact, there is no proof that it is even the cause of the best forms of positive life change.

    The task of all health professionals is to improve people’s lives. Those working in the mental halth areas seek to change personalities and social behaviour. So do social workers, welfare officers, surrogate parents, child carers, youth officers and many others.

    Changes in personality and behavior brought about by religion are confined to the educational, social, cultural and dogmatic background of the persons who the convert takes as his or her model of the behavior which “god” wants. The result is not particularly startling when compared against changes wrought by other means. It is ironic that nations and States with the highest percentage of populations with religious/fundamentalist/evangelical beliefs also have the highest crime rates, prison populations and deaths by violence.
    No version of “god” provides a consistent moral model or a consistent conversion result. If “god” were not human-made then this would not be the case.

  • 37. bdug  |  November 25, 2007 at 5:10 am

    By using “love others as yourself”, or “do unto others..” I intended to imply not so much a lofty goal as the idea of a forethought to actions which is consistent with truthfully honest and active members of most religions, albeit there are exceptions. The fact that earnest members of organized religion will be likely to weigh the consequences of actions in advance (ie: ‘What Would Jesus Do?’) against the anger or disapproval of their deity may aid in giving rise to an orderliness as individuals that can aid the advance of society as a whole. This can be, but doesnt have to be, lacking among secular society, where individuals have only criminal, social and ethical barriers between themselves and the consequences of their actions. I believe if you look at the track record of the collective consciousness that our species represents, you can see a tendency to reign ourselves in through fear of disapproval or punishment by diety in our earlier incarnations rather than by an attempt at enlightenment, as you might find in the modern day (ie: Save The Children, Greenpeace, etc.) . In a diety-needy society, which I equate to a parental-guidance-needy child, behavior may be based on factors outside the individuals own realm of understanding; however, as that child grows to, hopefully, maturity, more and more weight is placed on intrinsic knowledge and the values of self, rather than on outward guidance. Of course, as in all equations that include the natural world and its chaotic beings, there will always be, as expected, those elements that will not fit in, but for the major portion of humankind this evolution to the ‘adult’ (no offense meant to the religious, use ‘next phase’ if it offends) is simply the natural order and progression of the psychological revolution that MUST accompany any technological, scientific, agricultural, intellectual, etc.and etc. revolutions such as the ones we have toted in the past few hundred years. The fact that we HAD to try and catch up with our own selves as a species is simply inevitable. Indeed, this psychological revolution we are in the misdst of is the most dangerous birth we have attempted. It is the fulcrum of the future and the past inside our own selves, some rushing forward, others hanging back. It makes the religious, as well as the athiestic, necessary. It also renders the entire discussion relatively moot, as it becomes clear that it is simply a necessary progression. If we make it through this time, THEN we can be a successful species……

    Please note that I have NOT singled out any specific religion, although I did use common examples, but simply the concept of religion and diety as a whole. Also, in accordance with international law, these concepts have not been tested on animals. ;)

  • 38. Ken  |  November 25, 2007 at 3:34 pm

    We should not be picking on the god-inistas. They aren’t very smart so it just seems mean.

    When they tell you that the solution to complex questions is “magic” just smile, pat them on the head and move on.

  • 39. from the state of missouri  |  November 25, 2007 at 9:44 pm

    show me !

  • 40. Ben  |  November 26, 2007 at 3:08 am

    In order for a consensus about logic, spirituality, and composition of the Universe, a set of rules that everyone agrees with has to be found.

    Since there are many viewpoints in the world, with regards to how the Universe is constructed (spiritually and/or scientifically), it is a challenge to find that one set of rules that everyone agrees well. A challenge so great, it has never been accomplished as-of-yet.

    One persons view point, about how “bad” a religion is, is another persons source of faith in said religion. If the view point about how “bad” the said religion is, is used against a person who follows said religion, the person’s faith in that religion will strengthen and hold fast.

    It’s difficult to disprove emotion with logic, as well as disprove logic with emotion, there is no “one” argument that will convince a person that the religion that he or she follows is “wrong”.

    I suggest that we all try to not to follow the “right” religion, but be able to live with and accept others who follow a different religion from ourselves.

    That’s my opinion- it’s up to you to decide if it makes sense to you.

  • 41. Truth  |  November 28, 2007 at 3:55 am

    Have any of you been checking out anything on the internet? We have aliens living on this planet, interacting with our governments for whatever reason, without telling us. What I’m hearing, seeing, and reading is not giving me a good feeling about it either.

    Everyone does have the right to believe in whatever they want, but that’s the problem. The people of this world have been divided so much with so many different beliefs that no one really knows what’s going on. It would be nice to think that there is one God or Gods that are here to protect us and save us, but what if there is not?

    Wake up people and realize what’s really going on! Don’t let your fear enforce these illusions we’ve been fed. And look at it like this; if there is a God, you will not find out until your dead. In the meantime do some research and ask questions!

  • 42. msbeazswachs  |  December 2, 2007 at 2:17 am

    anair wrote:

    “The inverse of this [doctrinal misanthropy] is thinking man is perfect, that nothing supernatural is possible, that man’s reason is always trustworthy, and that man is not accountability for their wrongdoings.”

    The “inverse”? Well, the alternative to believing humans are ‘desperately wicked’ is to recognize both their honorable and dishonorable inclinations, not the blind arrogance anair describes.

    As for ‘sinful nature’, christians do not exclude themselves from sinfulness. If anair holds that desperate wickedness is not a post-conversion attribute, I will leave the reader to decide whether racist, prejudiced, hateful and mean-spirited christians may rightly be regarded as “desperately wicked”.
    The philosophy of secular humanism informs us of the negative consequences caused by such attitudes, and therefor obliges us to confront those character flaws when they occur in ourselves and in others.

  • 43. HeIsSailing  |  December 2, 2007 at 2:36 am

    msbeazswachs:

    The philosophy of secular humanism informs us of the negative consequences caused by such attitudes…

    Baloney. I left Christianity because only I know what is best, I am angry with Jesus for forcing me to be monogamous, and I want to be my own God!! :-P

    Sorry, I guess it is getting waaay past my bedtime.

  • 44. msbeazswachs  |  December 2, 2007 at 9:49 am

    You go, girl – er, god!
    Religion IS a bunch of hooy, but the tone here at ‘de-conversion’ seems to be one of suasion and argumentation rather than ridicule. Sweet dreams… and don’t make the bedbugs bite.

  • 45. bdug  |  December 10, 2007 at 8:49 pm

    Jesus said, “I come not to destroy the law, but to fulfill”. He said that we could take all ten commandments and hang them on just two: Love youe neighbor as yourself and love God above all else. When we fight about it we do neither. I say, live and let live……

  • 46. bdug  |  December 10, 2007 at 8:53 pm

    Damnit!! I am sorry for that last comment. If you read post #31 and #37 you’ll find out how I truly feel about it. I am sorry, I am schizophrenic and I haven’t had my medication today. A short prayer: Oh Lord, help me be the person that my psychiatrist medicates me to be. Oh, I am doing it again!!! Sorry, sorry.
    Peace to you all and Happy Holidays….
    :-)

  • [...] inability to have morals and ethics without a divine code and our need for some sort of redemption from our mistakes. The reality is, this is where we need to change the way we think. This is where [...]

  • 48. Happy 1st Anniversary to d-C « de-conversion  |  March 2, 2008 at 10:40 pm

    [...] Redemption [...]

  • [...] they use to peddle their wares. Fundamentalism must first convince you that you are sick before its cure will have much of an appeal. To accomplish this task, it utilizes time-tested methodologies. For [...]

  • 50. The Myth of God’s Unconditional Love « de-conversion  |  October 11, 2008 at 5:51 pm

    [...] love for man. That God, so loved the world, that he gave his only son, to die on a cross to redeem me from my sins and thus restoring me into a relationship with [...]

  • 51. Some guy  |  August 5, 2009 at 12:26 pm

    I’ll say it directly. Religion is a cancer of society, and of the mind, the sooner it’s removed and cured, the better we’ll be without it. Lots will disagree with me, but I don’t care. Taking a wide look of what’s happening around the world, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to work out that half of our problems are caused by religion.

  • 52. Joe  |  August 5, 2009 at 1:10 pm

    And the other half are caused by atheism. Just kidding. :>)

  • 53. Joe  |  August 5, 2009 at 1:11 pm

    Couldn’t resist—you left that one wide open. :>)

  • 54. guitars and pedals  |  January 28, 2010 at 4:42 am

    discussing god is the most earthbound thing you could do.

    go within or go without.

  • 55. Rueben  |  April 25, 2013 at 12:56 pm

    I believe everything said made a great deal
    of sense. However, what about this? what if you were to create a killer title?
    I ain’t suggesting your content isn’t solid., however suppose you added something that
    makes people desire more? I mean Redemption | de-conversion is kinda
    boring. You ought to peek at Yahoo’s front page and see how they create article headlines to get people to click. You might add a related video or a picture or two to grab people excited about what you’ve written.
    In my opinion, it might bring your website a little bit more interesting.

  • 56. Alban  |  May 25, 2013 at 1:57 am

    bdug #31. Like it !! Realization of the self will become the emancipation that it is…(essentially)

    click-credit.De: You probably didn’t catch this site for your sister. Do not worry about other’s approval. You are waking up and it’s your acceptance of what is available or what is speculated by a few on this site that may be Really Good. It is your approval that counts.

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Attention Christian Readers

Just in case you were wondering who we are and why we de-converted.

de-conversion wager

Whether or not you believe in God, you should live your life with love, kindness, compassion, mercy and tolerance while trying to make the world a better place. If there is no God, you have lost nothing and will have made a positive impact on those around you. If there is a benevolent God reviewing your life, you will be judged on your actions and not just on your ability to blindly believe in creeds- when there is a significant lack of evidence on how to define God or if he/she even exists.

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