Inconsistent beliefs within Christianity

June 15, 2007 at 12:48 am 13 comments

ScalesIn my last post, “Modern Christianity: Believe in a loving God in spite of the Bible,” I made reference to the inconsistent beliefs within Christianity.

Here’s a discussion on HeIsSailing’s most excellent post “My Miraculous Hangup.”

Neo2 began the discussion by making the following statement:

The messages often times contradict themselves. For example one Sunday the message was about how your relationship with God is not built upon how much money you give or the amount of ministries you are involved in. A month later the message is if you are not serving in ministries or giving enough money than you need to ask yourself ”Are you right with God”? Please pick one, which one is it?

HeIsSailing responded:

In other words, are we saved by faith, or by works as evidence of our faith? Most Protestants will insist we are saved by faith alone, but the Bible forces the issue to be unsolvable. For instance, James 2:21 says that Abraham was justified by his works in that he offered his son Isaac. But Romans 4:2-3 says the opposite – that Abraham was justified without works, but by faith alone. OK – which is it? Christians are forced to harmonize these two concepts together. As a result, church pastors can teach any position, even contradictory positions, and still be backed by Scripture.

Karen added this insight:

That gets back to the most basic contradiction of all: When you first get saved you’re told that “all you have to do is believe” and accept god’s free gift of salvation and nothing else is required of you! The yoke is easy, and the burden is light – right? Then, as you get involved in the life of the church, you find – whoa! The burden is very heavy: Rules of behavior, events you must attend, limits on your speech and ideas, regulations about how you spend your own hard-earned money. It goes on and on, with the yoke getting more and more difficult and shaping more and more of how you live your life. Pretty far from the “free gift” you originally received.

There are so many other inconsistent beliefs we can discuss. Of course the big one for me was the reconciliation of God as the loving, caring, compassionate Father in heaven with the genocidal, murdering, vengeful maniac portrayed in the Bible.

For new readers to the blog, here’s the link to an early post on the blog on the subject of Jesus’ view of family values vs. what is considered the family values of Christianity:

WWJD Series – Jesus and Family Values

What are some of your issues with Christian beliefs?

- The de-Convert

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

I still have beliefs, do you? A Confession – I Want to Believe

13 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Mike  |  June 15, 2007 at 8:32 am

    I was at church one evening a few years ago. The pastor had decided to preach on Hell. During his discourse he highlighted the horrors of burning eternally. He then told the people seated in the pews that their destiny would certainly include burning forever if they did not accept Jesus. (You know, the whole Hell as THE motivating factor sermon). I’m not even joking here, his next sentence was literally, “And if you come up here and receive Jesus because you are afraid of Hell, what is that? What is that?” The implication was that if you decided to become a Christian based on the fear of Hell then your decision was not a genuine one.

    Hell is horrible, you’ll burn forever if don’t accept Jesus!

    Don’t accept Jesus if you’re afraid of Hell.

    It is interesting that most of the inherent contradictions or inconsistencies are actually centered around the idea of things being, “genuine”.

  • 2. superhappyjen  |  June 15, 2007 at 10:42 am

    I always thought that if Christians really believe that I am going to burn eternally because I don’t believe what they do, they should try a little harder to covert me. Could it be that most of them don’t truly believe all this nonsense?

  • 3. societyvs  |  June 15, 2007 at 11:43 am

    The problem for me is not the bible itself – actually I rather like the book. The problem for me begins with dogma and making that bible try to say something it is not – or playing around wuth a variety of verses from all over the bible to make a cohesive doctrine (which always betrays context). This is where the problems start for me – namely interpretation.

    I have my problems with the doctrine of hell – as most of us do – as far as eternal or ‘here and now’. I think the tithing thing was a Torah value and is horrendously mis-interpreted for current contexts. The ‘us and them’ mentality so flourishes that it is sickening. The positions within the church are based upon a system of power-mongering more than a community based system (kinds like he’s the leader, you’re the followers). They consider music worship and spirituality ( as term) in charasmatic circle does not resemble biblical spirituality (definition). This list can go on and on to be honest.

    But I think all those things are solveable. If error upon error built the wall – then removing error upon error will also break the wall down. I guess I am the ultimate positivist – I see a pick-axe where some see just the wall.

  • 4. Heather  |  June 15, 2007 at 11:57 am

    I remember reading a passage from Paul where he encouraged his readers to remain celibate, and only marry if they couldn’t control themselves. But celibacy was best, because it allowed one to totally focus on the lord. If someone married, then the focus shifted to wordly things, and pleasing his/her partner. (This is from 1 Cor 7). Now, Paul does advocate marriage to help people avoid random ‘fornication.’ But this message really seems to contrast against what the religious right says about marriage and family.

  • 5. agnosticatheist  |  June 15, 2007 at 11:59 am

    societyvs,

    It seems as if you’ve found a way to be a Christian without clinging to the dogma of Christianity.

    Are you a Christian in the sense of you follow the teachings of Christ (as this site is laying out http://www.thejesuscult.com ) or are you a Christian in that you believe God came down as a man and died on the cross for your sins because he needed a spotless blood offering to himself (which only he could give himself) so that he can forgive humanity of sin and you’ve now accepted Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior. Amen?

    aA

  • 6. Justin  |  June 15, 2007 at 2:38 pm

    societyvs says: “The positions within the church are based upon a system of power-mongering more than a community based system (kinds like he’s the leader, you’re the followers)”

    I find that too often we lump all Christians, Atheists, Americans, Whites, Blacks into one big category and then develop our opinions (and thus, arguments) towards those groups. This is pretty much setting up a straw-man.

    I love this site because there is a variety of opinions flying from every which direction. However, I read some arguments against, say, a fundamentalist approach to Christianity and it doesn’t really phase me in any way…because that is not my approach to the faith.

    I think that it would serve this website well if we were more explicit with our definitions. What HIS knows and can’t come to terms with in his Christianity may not be the same Christianity as aA…or not the same as what that I know in my heart.

    I guess the short of what I’m trying to say is let’s get specific and not do the injustice of categorizing all Christianity (or Atheism) under one umbrella.

    God Bless,

    Justin

  • 7. Rose  |  June 15, 2007 at 3:03 pm

    Good one Justin, I totally agree with you!!!!

  • 8. Heather  |  June 15, 2007 at 3:58 pm

    **I find that too often we lump all Christians, Atheists, Americans, Whites, Blacks into one big category and then develop our opinions (and thus, arguments) towards those groups.**

    I think much of this comes from encounters with the most vocal part of a certain group. I know many Christians who are tired of being painted in the same light as the Religious Right. The problem is that Christianity is often synonmous with the RR because the RR is so vocal and almost ‘in your face’ about it. It’s not a balanced presentation of Christianity.

    I do think the moderates are starting to get more vocal, though. Brian McCleran (sp? He’s the writer of books like ‘A Generous Orthodoxy’ and a pastor) would be one such example.

  • 9. societyvs  |  June 15, 2007 at 8:26 pm

    “Are you a Christian in the sense of you follow the teachings of Christ (as this site is laying out http://www.thejesuscult.com ) or are you a Christian in that you believe God came down as a man and died on the cross for your sins because he needed a spotless blood offering to himself (which only he could give himself) so that he can forgive humanity of sin and you’ve now accepted Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior. Amen?” (Aa)

    I think I agree with the Jesus Cult page – well the scriptures presented there – since we can make up our mind as to what they are saying by careful contemplation of them – which seems to be the Jewish idea anyways.

    As for the Torah being fulfilled in Christ (Jesus) I would say I have no reason as of yet to disagree with that assertion – since none of the disciples writings seem to marginalize that idea. Was he the 2nd exodus in some sense – that passover lamb – that atonement figure – I have very little problem with that since it is where we take this idea that changes it all. Do you need to ‘believe’ this event in order to find this faith? I am not sure – I did – but as for others – maybe not so (does not change that event in time whatsoever). What I chalk the faith up to is basic ethics and values – these are important as the common denominator – but that’s all of our choice to make as far as what we will do with we see as ethics and values.

  • 10. Luther  |  June 22, 2007 at 4:45 pm

    The problem I have with most Christian religions is that most of them teach heresy and non-orthodox doctrines. The Roman Catholic Church is so full of themselves they put tradition above that of the Word of God. The only thing they get right is the Holy Trinity, like we Lutherans believe in. Many other Protestant denominations teach things that are so anti-biblical. The only church that comes close to what true Christianity is – Lutherans (except for the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America – they will be punished for allowing women and homosexuals to become ministers).

    Martin Luther must be rollng in his grave right now, because before Pope John Paul II died, he reinstated the selling of indulgences. Seems like no one learns from history…

  • 11. HeIsSailing  |  June 22, 2007 at 6:52 pm

    Luther sez:
    “Martin Luther must be rollng in his grave right now, because before Pope John Paul II died, he reinstated the selling of indulgences.”

    Not that I agree with the pope regarding indulgences, but I think this was a one-time deal for the Jubilee year of 2000. Also, I don’t think they were being ‘sold’ (well, not officially anyway, heh heh), rather it is the confession of sins to a priest where works are prescribed for the forgiveness of sin, the work must be done with the right attitude of heart, then Eucharist must be performed on the same day.

    Again, not that I agree with any of this, but it is not quite “reinstating the selling of indulgences”.

    Luther claims:
    “The only church that comes close to what true Christianity is – Lutherans ”

    Really? By golly all this time I thought it was the Nazarene Church who was closest of all. What was I thinking?

  • 12. agnosticatheist  |  June 22, 2007 at 7:10 pm

    HIS,

    Actually it’s the Church of Christ, the church Jesus actually founded. No kidding. That’s what they say.

    aA

  • 13. Luther  |  June 22, 2007 at 9:17 pm

    Indulgences are indulgences – anti-Biblical.

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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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