A Personal Relationship with Jesus?

September 23, 2007 at 5:25 pm 41 comments

Me and JesusWe’ve all heard versions of the phrase: “You can have a personal relationship with Jesus.” or, “I have a personal relationship with the Lord.” etc.

Here’s a slightly long version of it that I read recently:

“The point of a personal relationship with Jesus is that Jesus is specifically concerned with the details of every person’s life. If a friend came to you and said “You know, I’d just like to go get some coffee and spend some time with you and talk about what is going on in your life” would you be selfish to accept? Not if the person is truly sincere in that they want to know. So that’s how I see it. Not as something selfish, but in fact as responding to an invitation to spend personal time with Jesus. Because He loves each one of us, both as a body of believers, and as individuals.”

At some point in my de-conversion process it struck me that this idea is bunk. I’ve had friends offer to sit and talk over a lunch, but I’ve definitely never done lunch with Jesus.

As I thought it through, I realized that the whole “personal relationship/ revelation/ experience” jag is just another delusion.

If you told me that you had a personal relationship with the President of the U.S., I would take that to mean that you talked to him face to face, or maybe by phone, from time to time; that you probably had dinner with him sometime, or maybe played golf or went jogging with him; that you’d been to his house; and so on.

Now suppose you told me that you had a personal relationship with the President, and upon my asking for more details, you told me that you wrote him a letter and he wrote back. Then you pull out the letter and show it to me. Upon reading the letter, it’s clear to me that it’s the same sort of form letter that anyone would get if they wrote to the White House. It just says something like:

“Thank you for your letter. Your issues are very important to me. Your concerns, and those of others, help to inform me and my cabinet about what is important in the lives of all Americans. We will keep them very much in mind as we make governmental decisions. Please continue to let us know your concerns and thoughts. Sincerely, GW”

Now am I going to believe you’ve got a personal relationship with the President? Of course not. And if you insist that you do because “He said that he’ll remember what I wrote and his whole cabinet will hear about it.” I’ll think you’re a bit nutters won’t I?

So what have you got in a “personal relationship” with God? You send up any amount of prayers and you get no response. If you want God to “talk back” to you, you turn to the Bible and say, “Look here. It says He knows me. It says He hears my prayers. That’s a personal promise to me.” …… Yeah, to you and x-billion other people who can read the same “form letter”.

C’mon. It’s not a personal letter to you (and x-billion others). They aren’t promises to you. Sheesh! Talk about being egocentric.

When God shows up, in person, on your doorstep (No, the “angels unaware” tack does not count.), or when God cures a lifelong paraplegic before your eyes, or when God catches you after your parachute fails, and sets you down gently and audibly says, “Be more careful now.” then you’ve got something personal.

To use the example I cited at the top; when a friend asks you out for coffee and a heart to heart talk, you’ve got a personal relationship. No doubt about it. I know of no one who has been asked to tea by Jesus.

Sorry, but it’s not a personal relationship. Heck, it’s even less than getting a letter from the President. At least there’s a small chance that you might actually be able to meet him and shake his hand.

- LeoPardus

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Fahrenheit 451 Why Do You Believe What You Believe?

41 Comments Add your own

  • 1. jesusthechrist  |  September 23, 2007 at 6:46 pm

    One of the reasons I didn’t have my ghost writers put the phrase “personal relationship” into their books was simply because it wasn’t a good description of the relationship I wanted to have with mankind.

    It’s unfortunate so many people seem to give up the brain I gave them when it comes to me. That was never my intent.

    Good post.

  • 2. sandie  |  September 23, 2007 at 7:25 pm

    Seeing as you are guessing about who has a personal relationship with God,or even what it is,then you are writing out of content and context.Since you’ve never attempted to engage in a personal relationship with God,how would you know how to explain it or discuss it with anyone else?On the other hand I am sure if you do not desire a personal relationship with him,then fear not, because I’m positive he doesn’t desire to talk to you either!

  • 3. LeoPardus  |  September 23, 2007 at 7:36 pm

    Sandie:

    Before making such a response, you really ought to take a moment to try to find out a little about the person you’re talking to.
    If you go to the top of the page and look under “Navigation”, you’ll see that you can click on “Forums”. That will take you to the de-conversion forums site. Look for the Introductions part of the forums and find the “Greetings” thread listing me as the author. There you’ll find my story. It’s also the latest article posted over there right now.
    If you’ll take a few minutes to look at it, you’ll see that your statement, “Since you’ve never attempted to engage in a personal relationship with God” is a bit out of context.
    Regarding your comment at the end, “On the other hand I am sure if you do not desire a personal relationship with him,then fear not, because I’m positive he doesn’t desire to talk to you either!” That is an odd thing to read. I always heard, read, and even said to others that God does want a relationship with everyone; that He loves them; and so on.

  • 4. writerdd  |  September 23, 2007 at 7:58 pm

    There’s also nothing in the Bible about having a personal relationship with Jesus.

  • 5. LeoPardus  |  September 23, 2007 at 9:24 pm

    writerdd:

    I think Jesus already dropped in to make that point in the first response. :)

    Of course you’re right. It’s not in there verbatim. You do have verses like Rev 3:20 though. There’s some room for the idea in the Bible. ….. But then is there any concept that someone hasn’t found verses to support?

    At any rate, the concept of a “personal relationship” is very prevalent. I’d even go so far as to say that it’s a pillar of the Faith for most adherents.

  • 6. mewho  |  September 23, 2007 at 10:52 pm

    The “personal relationship with Jesus” is a little like those “Dungeons & Dragons” games they had in the eighties. For the game to be interesting, you had to absorb yourself into the “world” of “Dungeons & Dragons”. If you came out of the fantasy, the game wasn’t as fun. If you were really into it, though, you could imagine the orcs and the warlocks and the spooky caverns the Dungeon Master was taking you through. It’s really not that hard if you want to play and have fun. The same is true with Jesus. You have to keep up the fantasy or you lose it.

    *Note* As a child of Christian parents, “Dungeons and Dragons” was really taboo. There were reports of players living out the fantasies. My parents said it was because it was demonic. I think it’s just an example of how easy it is to live a fantasy life, if you really want it to be true.

  • 7. Scavella  |  September 24, 2007 at 8:23 am

    You do have verses like Rev 3:20 though.

    Revelation 3:20 was addressed to a specific first-century church, not to all proto-believers. Its use as an evangelical tool has always been suspect, in my opinion.

  • 8. angel & devil  |  September 24, 2007 at 11:53 am

    hi there leo,

    I follow this link from Jon’s Post Christian journey. Been browsing along for some time. I didn’t realize that there are so many de-converted Christians like me out here.

    I agree with mewho… I’ve had a personal relationship with Jesus, (I was your typical pentecostal, tongue speaking Holy Ghost baptised Christian) and yup – I’ve never had lunch or dinner with Jesus since I presume he doesn’t need to eat :) But I did have many lunches and dinners with pastors and church leaders and it is from them that I learnt about Jesus and the Bible.

    Jesus is as real as my mind conjures Him to be based on the person of Jesus I was taught by the church through the Bible.
    Years of church life can indoctrinate the mind. I wrote about being indoctrinated in my blog, thankfully I still retain some part of my own :)

    I had ‘life-changing’ experiences upon receiving Christ
    (but then on further exploration I believe that it’s my mind and heart seeking for love and acceptance – at that moment when preached upon I do feel a sense of love washing over me, was it really Jesus or was it just me?)

    After de-converting – voila, I still have many life-changing experiences where I felt great joy, great love and being renewed… without Jesus.

  • 9. Lisa  |  September 24, 2007 at 12:41 pm

    LeoPardus,

    I took the time to read your bio (my “scientific/cerebral profession” theory seems true here, also). You say if there is a God, he is invited to come into your life at any time and make himself known to you. My friend, he already has. Find me a scientific explanation for that power of love you feel for your wife and children. :)

    …I imagine a bond like that involves more than instinct!

  • 10. karen  |  September 24, 2007 at 12:45 pm

    The “personal relationship” I had with Jesus turned out to be all about me, myself and I. There was a voice in my head “talking” to me, but there was no Jesus initiating it – it was all from within my own brain.

    How liberating to know that I had been there alone all along, providing my own comfort, support, encouragement and instruction from my own very capable resources of morality and intellect! I didn’t need to rely on an imaginary friend to do that for me once I recognized that I was a grownup.

  • 11. LeoPardus  |  September 24, 2007 at 12:50 pm

    Scavella:
    You probably know that there are a few ideas as to just who may have been addressed by those “letters to the churches” in Rev. They may have been to particular churches, or the churches listed may have been illustrative types of churches. Given the highly analogistic nature of the whole book of Rev, an analogistic understanding of just who those churches were would fit well.
    Like you though, I think using Rev 3:20 for evangelism is not right. The passage does seem to be directed toward believers.

  • 12. mewho  |  September 24, 2007 at 1:21 pm

    There is something to be discussed here concerning the old saying “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably isn’t.” Think of all the wonders people of faith confess. Believers look forward to a blissful eternity, with no pain, tears or sorrow. They have a special power called prayer. Some talk in “angelic languages”. They believe they will see many of their loved ones again. All the unfairness of life will be solved. All of the evil will be repaid. Christians think God speaks to them, and guides them, and sometimes heals them and performs “miracles” in their life. God loves them more than anything else in the universe. Humans are the climax of all creation and are “made in the image of God”. They have a “Personal Relationship with Jesus” and God’s presence always with them. Muslims believe they will get 72 virgins and Mormons think they will rule over their own planet. Doesn’t this all sound great! Maybe too great?

    The most interesting part is that NONE of this can be proven. The believer lives in the most FANTASTIC FANTASY that has ever been woven. They GET IT ALL, INCLUDING…A NEW CAR!!

    It is for this very reason that maybe, just maybe, people of faith live a happier, though dishonest, life. I am an atheist after many years of being a Christian. I no longer believe any of these dreams to be reality. However, I know what it feels like to believe all of these things, and it does make a person feel good. Ignorance is bliss, they say.

    I think there is a need to fill the space left by a loss of faith. Everything was going to work out SO PERFECTLY, but now you’re an atheist, and reality isn’t as consoling. What do you do? When you wake up from your dream and you can’t fly anymore, what will keep you content? I think something has to replace all of those imagined hopes that kept you going. A new philosophy can be difficult to find, however, when the religious dreams were so fantastic.

  • 13. LeoPardus  |  September 24, 2007 at 4:10 pm

    Lisa said: Find me a scientific explanation for that power of love you feel for your wife and children. I imagine a bond like that involves more than instinct!

    You may well be correct. That bond may be something transcendent or spiritual. I don’t know. My position relative to faith is agnostic with a lean toward atheism. The usual label for it is “weak atheism” if I recall aright.

    Since you asked directly, I will set forth a scientific explanation of the sort you seek. Be aware that I do not set it forth as certainly the answer. It’s merely an answer to your request.

    The essential driver for all creatures, according to evolutionary theory, is propagation of the species. To do that a creature must eat, grow, survive, reproduce, and then make sure that the progeny do all the aforementioned. These needs drive the development of speed in cheetahs, height in giraffes, strength in bears, large litter size in rabbits, camouflage in chameleons, and so forth. It also drives behaviors such as running away amongst small game animals, playing dead among opossums, and fierce defensiveness of the young in many species. There are also species of animals that mate for life and have been known to pine away to death following the death of their mate.
    So behavior, even emotion can be simply a product of the drive to survive and propagate. If you look at it in that light, human love makes perfect sense. It drives us to seek a mate, to keep our mate secure, to protect the offspring, to work hard to provide for the family, and so on.
    Of course this explanation doesn’t go down well with anyone. It’s totally unromantic and makes all our love into mere pragmatism. But then what did you expect when you asked for a scientific explanation? Certainly not “Penny Serenade”.

  • 14. Simen  |  September 24, 2007 at 4:41 pm

    Lisa says:

    Find me a scientific explanation for that power of love you feel for your wife and children.

    What makes you think this is a problem for science? Evolutionary biology has no trouble explaining these. To spread your genes, you need a partner. Ergo: keeping one at hand is good. And, also to spread your genes, it’s nice to have your offspring live up. Ergo: keeping them alive to reproduce is good.

  • 15. The de-Convert  |  September 24, 2007 at 5:00 pm

    The other point to note is that even if Lisa gives “God” credit for the “power of love,” how does she know that “God” is not Krishna? What makes “God” the War-God of a nomadic Middle Eastern tribe from 3,000 or so years ago?

  • 16. samanthamj  |  September 24, 2007 at 5:03 pm

    great post (thanks Leo), and great coomments (thanks all)

    I can’t even comment. I’m still amazed that ” jesusthechrist” actually graced “deconversion” with his post. ;)

  • 17. samanthamj  |  September 24, 2007 at 5:10 pm

    To – Angel/Devil gal –
    I liked your comment:
    ‘After de-converting – voila, I still have many life-changing experiences where I felt great joy, great love and being renewed… without Jesus.”

    Amen.

    I also checked out your blog briefly… but, couldn’t post there as I don’t have a google account. Interesting blog you have there. We seem to have a few things in common. I look forward to reading more from you.

    ~smj

  • 18. tobeme  |  September 24, 2007 at 5:13 pm

    I think that what you describe in your post is a way to get to have a conversation with our self. A way to look in without judgment. Call it lunch with Jesus, yourself or any thing else. In the right context this method can be very helpful to people.

  • 19. Lisa  |  September 24, 2007 at 9:25 pm

    WOW…oh my goodness! Further proof that it’s very hard to express yourself clearly via the written word (or even with a “smiley”)! I’m so very sorry to have upset anyone…honest. I just have a natural curiousity, and I just thought I was asking as politely as possible! Sorry if I offended.

    LeoPardus, I found your explanation interesting, thoughtful and sincere, and I thank you for explaining your point of view. I was pretty sure you weren’t going to give me a “Penny Serenade.” “Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom”, maybe. ;)

    Simen, ouch! That answer seems to be describing nothing more than lust. I do believe there is a definite difference between making love to procreate and having sex to procreate. There are an awful lot of messed up kids around due to the latter. And the former is SO much more enjoyable!

    And The de-Convert…I have left other comments at this site explaining that I have many close people in my life who come from many different backgrounds, religious or otherwise. If I’m not mistaken, I left a comment comparing different religions to a trip from NY to CA. Some people will take a plane, some a bus, some will go by car, and yet others can go by train, bike, balloon, helicoptor…some will even walk. No matter what mode of transportation they use to get there, the only thing that matters to them is that they reach their destination of CA using the mode of transportation that was the most comfortable to them. The point is, their destination is the same, no matter how they choose to get there. That’s the way I choose to view religion, non-religion, spirituality, energy, etc.

    And yes, my “mode of transportation” is Jesus Christ. I have been through many disheartening circumstances in my life, circumstances that defied reasoning. No matter what I did, didn’t do, or otherwise, I could not “reason away” some of the things that have happened to me…nor could I control them. In those circumstances, where the only option that seemed “reasonable” was to remove myself totally from the situation (regardless of how I went about it), the truth remained that I was an empathetic individual and I would never do anything to hurt my family. When one is trapped like that, where the only thing they feel is emotional pain every minute of the day, they realize that they need to find something that makes holding on bearable. For me, it was imagining the arms of Jesus holding me tight. Giving Him my cares, and letting Him handle them for me. Although, growing up catholic, I always believed in Jesus, I never realized the “personal relationship” I could have with Him until a few years ago. And no, I don’t speak in tongues, nor do I get up and run around the church screaming “hallelujah”. I go to church to feel a sense of community and most importantly, a sense of faith. This world is WAY too scary to not allow yourself to have hope for something better.

    So…if that makes me a dreamer, so be it. Many “dreams” throughout history became reality (how many people thought that the Wright brothers were insane?)…I don’t really care if anyone renders me unintelligent for “using my imagination.” In those moments, what I feel could not be more real. And yes…I do praise God for it.

    …and by the way…not all Muslims believe in the whole “virgin” thing (perhaps the radicals do, but like Christians who look down upon radical Christians who kill and maim people in abortion clinics, most Muslims do not want to be associated with the extremists). As a matter of fact, although they follow the teachings of Mohammed, they believe that the Messiah will actually be Jesus.

  • 20. The de-Convert  |  September 25, 2007 at 1:25 am

    Lisa,

    And yes, my “mode of transportation” is Jesus Christ.

    I hope you enjoy this part of your journey. I sure did. Lots of great memories.

    Paul

  • 21. Simen  |  September 25, 2007 at 1:52 am

    That answer seems to be describing nothing more than lust. I do believe there is a definite difference between making love to procreate and having sex to procreate. There are an awful lot of messed up kids around due to the latter. And the former is SO much more enjoyable!

    What were you expecting? Science isn’t poetry. From the point of view of evolution (to the extent that you can say an inanimate thing has a POV), the only thing that matters is spreading your genes. That’s not romantic, but it’s true. This is really the explanation we have for every trait that survives over time: it’s either an advantage in that it will likely lead to more procreation, or it’s a consequence of a trait that does.

    The idea of there being any difference between “making love” and sex is very young, seen from the big difference. Too young, I think, for there to be any biological difference.

    The reason I replied was you wrote:

    Find me a scientific explanation for that power of love you feel for your wife and children.

    This strongly implies that you haven’t seen one and don’t think there is one. I’m telling you that there’s no trouble explaining this in scientific terms. But when you ask for a scientific explanation, you will get one on scientific terms, and science ideally is independent on opinion, ideology and yes, romance. It’s dry and it’s ruthless. This is why we have things like ethic committees trying to decide what scientists can do and what they shouldn’t: to maintain the human perspective. This is what you’re doing when you say “I do believe there is a definite difference between making love to procreate and having sex to procreate”.

    From the human perspective, sure. From a biological perspective, not so much, I would think. Do know that these are different ways of looking at things, different frames of reference. There needn’t be any conflict between them, so long as you understand them on their own premises. And it’s part of scientific premises to see things without reference to feelings, unless those feelings can be described in scientific terms.

    This is where I should bring up that quote by Wittgeinstein, “Whereof one cannot speak, thereof one must be silent”. Science must be silent on matters of ethics, because it has no vocabulary for it. Likewise, your religiously influenced vocabulary can’t criticize a scientific explanation for being, well, scientific. That’s unfair. Would you want me to reject your idea of Christ only by virtue of it being religious, stated in religious terms? I think you would call it incredibly dogmatic and unfair.

  • 22. Simen  |  September 25, 2007 at 1:52 am

    Ouch. “Big difference” should be “Big picture”, of course.

  • 23. Lisa  |  September 25, 2007 at 11:06 am

    I’m actually chuckling over here, because I was being hypothetical when I said what I said. And I really wasn’t talking about procreation, I was talking about the powerful feelings of love, not attraction, that one has toward their family, children as well as spouse. And as I believe LeoPardus mentioned, I am also aware that certain animals show signs of depression after losing a mate or an offspring, which could all be scientific. But can I lighten this up a little bit?

    I think my dogs love me. I really do. And I love them, as well. Obviously, this has nothing to do with procreation, because I can not procreate with a dog, nor would I want to. I don’t think I’m “imagining” what I feel, and I definitely don’t believe that my dogs sit around all day and imagine anything at all (although I do wonder what they dream about)! Basically, all I’m saying is that I feel that love is an amazingly powerful energy, a connection of spirits. I think it goes beyond science. But then again, I believe all dogs go to heaven, so what do I know. ;)

    I’m probably too idealistic for this forum, but it was exceedingly interesting to be involved with! Although the next time I ask a question, I’ll make sure to have a glass of wine on hand before I read the answers! You guys are way too cerebral for me–but fun to read. Thanks.

  • 24. Simen  |  September 25, 2007 at 11:15 am

    You didn’t understand what I said, did you?

    I said that all traits that are genetic are in some way related to the act of spreading your genes.

    So, either your love for your dog is learned, or it’s got some relation to procreation, whether you like it or not.

    You seem to not want to learn. Why, then, pose the question? I was of the impression that you wanted an answer. If you merely wanted a cheap rhetorical point, it would be useless to respond, because the sentence would have no substance.

    Love is not a connection of spirits, it is a feeling, and feelings are generated in the brain. It’s possible, if something weird happens to your brain, to not feel love at all. Pretty damn good evidence that that’s where it’s from.

    If you think it goes beyond science, it almost by definition cannot have any influence on the world. Kinda clashes with the “amazingly powerful” bit, don’t you think?

    If you don’t like having your ideas scrutinized by people with other perspectives than you, you shouldn’t comment on a blog.

  • 25. LeoPardus  |  September 25, 2007 at 11:21 am

    Lisa said:
    Basically, all I’m saying is that I feel that love is an amazingly powerful energy, a connection of spirits. I think it goes beyond science. But then again, I believe all dogs go to heaven, so what do I know.

    You may well be correct. I have a few odd theories about the spirit/soul that would fit with what you said. At any rate I don’t pretend to have THE answer(s). I’m just going with what I find to be the best probabilities. Which is what you’d expect of a scientist eh.

    And dogs do go to heaven. Cats too, regardless of what the Buddhists say. ;D

  • 26. Lisa  |  September 25, 2007 at 10:54 pm

    Dear Simen,

    I’m sorry if it seemed as though I wasn’t understanding you. I was. I just wasn’t totally agreeing with you, although I do think everything you were saying was true. Quite honestly, due to your…um…abrupt response to me, I drew a conclusion about you that was later confirmed when I read your bio. I now understand where you are coming from, and I apologize for not reading it sooner.

    This is an honest question, not something that’s meant to upset you (and this is a public forum, and if everyone always shared the same point of view, it would be pretty boring)…In your bio, it states that you never really had any religion or theism or whatever you want to call it. You then stated in your comment above how “weird” things can happen to the brain that make it unable to feel love. So the question is: Have you ever tried to find out what all the fuss was about concerning God? Or did you always dismiss it, due to the fact that it’s not scientifically proven? Again, this is an honest question. I’m just curious to find out if you ever had a weak moment and wondered if allowing yourself to believe in God was ever an option for you or could allow you to feel certain things that you had never felt.

    I’m not looking for right or wrong…again, I’m just curious. Forgive me, but I find human beings and all their complexities so interesting, and I probably should’ve been some sort of psychologist. I hope you don’t mind me asking. Perhaps there are some people who would ask you that facetiously, and I hope you can tell that I’m not one of them. I genuinely want to know if you ever were curious to go down that path.

    And LeoPardus…thanks. “The Rainbow Bridge”…a nice little ditty regarding pets and heaven…cats, too. ;)

  • 27. Lisa  |  September 25, 2007 at 10:57 pm

    Oops, sorry! Curiously, I used the world curious an obscene amount of times. I’m curious as to why I did that. I didn’t even have a glass of wine!

  • 28. angel & devil  |  September 26, 2007 at 1:37 am

    smj,

    thanks for browsing through my blog. I’ve removed the setting that requires registration to comment. Feel free to do so anytime.

    btw – beautiful poems :)

  • 29. samanthamj  |  September 26, 2007 at 2:10 am

    angvil (I’m shortening your name.. what do you think? no? okay… )

    Angel & Devil –
    Thank you… I look forward to visiting your blog and being able to comment.
    and thank you regarding the poems… I’m certainly no pro – but, it’s a good outlet….

    =)
    ~smj

  • 30. Simen  |  September 26, 2007 at 6:59 am

    This is an honest question, not something that’s meant to upset you (and this is a public forum, and if everyone always shared the same point of view, it would be pretty boring)…In your bio, it states that you never really had any religion or theism or whatever you want to call it. You then stated in your comment above how “weird” things can happen to the brain that make it unable to feel love. So the question is: Have you ever tried to find out what all the fuss was about concerning God?

    Yes. I tried the whole Christian confirmation thing. Didn’t sit well with me.

    I’m just curious to find out if you ever had a weak moment and wondered if allowing yourself to believe in God was ever an option for you or could allow you to feel certain things that you had never felt.

    Oh, I’m sure I could feel things I’ve never felt if I did believe. The thing is, you can’t just allow yourself to believe. It’s not possible. Doesn’t work that way. I allow myself to believe, but only if I became truly convinced, and I don’t, so, well, I don’t believe. I wouldn’t deny my belief if I had one. It’s not like I have an unfulfilled spiritual hunger that I won’t allow myself; if I had, I would fill it, but I don’t.

    My curiosity does lead me down all sorts of paths. It just doesn’t lead me there blindly (I like to believe). If a path requires me to look away from all alternative ways, to effectively induce tunnel vision, it’s not for me.

  • 31. Lisa  |  September 26, 2007 at 7:57 am

    Thank you for an honest answer. I can respect where you’re coming from.

    The only thing I will say is that not everyone who considers themselves a Christian has tunnel vision, and looks away from all alternatives (I believe that’s what you were saying). As a matter of fact, I feel as if there are many Christians who do just that out of ignorance. After all, if we are supposed to follow the teachings of Jesus, then why do we judge everyone else? According to the bible, Jesus hung out with the worst of the worst. And everyone persecuted him for it. Many holistic practices that I enjoy, such as meditation or yoga, are frowned upon by certain Christians. Some even think it’s “evil.”

    Perhaps I come from a different point of view, being that I was raised catholic and treated like an outcast in my time of need. I am only going to a Christian church because I refused to give one more ounce of my time or money to an organization that’s supposed to be teaching the word of Christ and yet can cure world hunger with the amount of money that they have. So I was not raised “Christian,” as it were. I’m not the “in-your-face” variety. They make me uncomfortable, as well, especially if they don’t practice what they preach.

    That being said, there were times I questioned my beliefs. When my mother succumbed to ovarian cancer, I didn’t believe in anything. If there was a God, how could he take such a great person as my mom at 59? Over the course of the year following her death, certain things happened that I considered (oh dear, Simen, I hate to even mention this to you!) “signs”. And no, I wasn’t looking for them. And they may not have been obvious to anyone who didn’t know my mother. But they were there .

    Eventually, I admit, I did ask for a sign. I needed to know. When you’re standing beneath an oak tree at a grave of a beloved, and you put it out there that if God hears you, he’ll cause an acorn to drop off on your head, and in the instant you say that, a breeze comes along that causes hundreds of acorns to fall off the tree all around you, you start to get a feeling that there may be something to all this “believing” stuff…enough so, that it scares you and makes you run for your car!

    …So that’s where I’m coming from. To me, it’s a sign; to you, it’s a scientific coincidence. And that’s fine; again, if we all shared the same outlook on things, what a boring world this would be!

  • 32. anon  |  September 30, 2007 at 12:20 am

    My friend with whom I occasionally go out for coffee has one significant advantage over these god characters. He exists.

  • 33. LeoPardus  |  September 30, 2007 at 3:53 pm

    LIsa:
    I was raised catholic and treated like an outcast in my time of need. I am only going to a Christian church because I refused to give one more ounce of my time or money to an organization that’s supposed to be teaching the word of Christ and yet can cure world hunger with the amount of money that they have.

    I think I asked this before. What do you do with the same hypocrisy in your current church?

  • 34. Bunc  |  October 2, 2007 at 5:18 pm

    One thing I just dont get about Christians, Jews , Muslims etc etc.
    They all insist they have it right and that theirs is the route to salvation. Now they can’t all be right can they? Apart from being presumptive and culturally superior about the whole thing ( ie ours is better than theirs because it ours) on what basis can one resonably choose between one set of religious beliefs over the others?
    Should I choose the one that promises and delivers the most miracles? The one that breathes the most hellfire and brimstone and scares me most? The one that gives me a nice set of rigid rules to live my life by so I dont need to think? The one that lets me believe in lots of mini-spirits like angels? The one that makes me feel the most warm and cuddly?
    The truth is that there is no rational way to choose – most people just end up with a version of the religion they were brought up with.
    Does that not strike people as strange if there is indeed a god who is trying to give us a message? He’s not doing it very well is he for an omnipotent being!
    The truth is it is all myth and fantasy grown from the need for a fairly clever naked ape to try to make sense of a big sometimes bad world.

  • […] instant gratification. 5. You’re not thinking about the future/afterlife. 6. You never had a true personal relationship with Jesus. 7. You never experienced/received the Holy Spirit. 8. You were “religious” but not born again. […]

  • 36. Grant Dexter  |  July 29, 2008 at 10:24 am

    Is this the one you meant?

    I think your analogy of a letter is a good one. I think you leap to the wrong conclusions for all the wrong reasons though.

    God did send us a letter and it is that letter which provides the evidence for our faith. And a relationship with Christ is based entirely upon faith.

    So imagine the president had sent you a letter detailing a specific time in the future when he would set apart time in his life to develop a relationship with you. Imagine that letter detailed things like where you would live and the things you would be able to do that you cannot do now. Imagine that letter held up a long history of trustworthy reports that backed up such a promise. And imagine that you believed the letter.

    Now, if you believed the president you would not be able to claim a relationship like the ones we claim with family and friends, but you could claim a relationship BY FAITH that would be of far greater value than any other you might have .

    (disclaimer on any given president being capable of replacing any given relationship)

  • 37. Dewayne Avery  |  November 12, 2008 at 11:39 pm

    zu0sax8u5aw6uzdn

  • 38. LeoPardus  |  April 20, 2009 at 7:27 pm

    Now here’s a cutesy little vid to show just what I was talking about in this old article.

  • 39. Joe  |  July 23, 2009 at 4:21 pm

    Rohana—-

    Are you sure you’re not a prince from Nigeria with a lot of money in the bank looking for people to share it with? I sent my ten grand but haven’t heard anything back yet. I like your post/commercial. :>)

  • 40. Rose  |  August 25, 2010 at 1:01 am

    I’m a PK (my stepdad is the pastor) and he’s always taken issue with the “personal Jesus” and “it’s a relationship not a religion!” people – because of just how darned selfish it is. I have to agree – isn’t it kind of missing the point to focus on what Jesus can do for YOU? Isn’t it about helping other people?

    It just seems so fucking self-centered and shallow.

  • 41. Porn Superstar Pov  |  January 30, 2012 at 3:12 am

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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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