How to discover counterfeit Christianity?
My former pastor had a favorite anecdote to share on why his flock should not look beyond the teachings of his faith camp in their studies. He relayed that the individuals who are responsible for discovering counterfeit money do not study the different counterfeits in order to learn about counterfeits. They ONLY focused on the real thing so when the counterfeit came along, they would immediately know it was not real. If they also studied counterfeits, they would be too confused as to what is real to be effective in their job. This admonishment was aimed at keeping the flock in subjection to his teachings and to discourage them from listening to those who were critical of the message of faith.
In response to the chaplain’s post Christian Education or Indoctrination?, Karen made this comment:
Education teaches people how to think; indoctrination teaches people what to think. All the religious instruction I went through as a child was distinctly of the latter variety. Even as an adult, I was warned not to educate myself about other religious beliefs. As I was questioning Christianity, I looked into Buddhism and Judaism and bought a couple of books on those topics. My husband objected that I was bringing evil spirits into our household and he did not want them physically “tainting” our home! The only way to learn about other religious beliefs “safely” was to take a course on world religions that a missionary group offered at our church. Of course, you can imagine how “objective” that course was – all other religions were presented as deceptions of Satan! There was absolutely no objective presentation of religious beliefs outside of Christianity.
HeIsSailing gave this example:
Back in high school, oh… nearly 30 years ago now, I brought Hermann Hesse’s novel about the Buddha, ‘Siddhartha’, into my Baptist High School to read during lunch break. Holy smokes, that got me into a lot of trouble!!
I just found your blog yesterday and am enthralled. I am a pastor’s kid that went to a Christian grade school, a Bible College, pastored a church for five years, and am now finishing up a Seminary degree.
This prompted the blogger at In Defense of the Gospel to write the post Is There Genuine Concern for “The Heretic in Me”? In the post, the author states:
This is, in my opinion, a more serious concern. Jeremy has discovered, linked to from his blog, and begun participating at a blog that has an unfortunate reason for its existence. The blog Jeremy has linked to and commented at is titled, de-Conversion The blog’s subtitle is: “Resources for Skeptical, De-Converting, or Former Christians.”
The Heretic in Me article and note at the de-Conversion blog should raise genuine concern among those who are close to Jeremy. IMO, any pastor/teacher who might have some influence in Jeremy’s life, has a genuine concern for him and senses the danger of where he may head doctrinally, should sit down with Jeremy and find out exactly what direction he is headed.
Well Jeremy, please feel free to continue to participate in our discussions. Our goal is not to de-convert anyone but simply to share our questions, stories, and experiences in a hope to help others who are on a similar journey to ours.
– The de-Convert