Jesus on Religion (A Christmas Sermon)

December 24, 2008 at 1:09 am 65 comments

Christmas is a time when Christians celebrate the birth of Jesus. I’d like to pay tribute in my Christmas sermon by listing a few of the teachings attributed to Jesus in the Gospel of Matthew that frame my view of religion.  If only Christians could read and live by these scriptures.

Thoughts on the judgmental nature of Religion

1 Stop judging others and you will not be judged. For others will treat you as you treat them. Why worry about the speck in your friend’s eye when you have a log in your own? How can you think of saying, “Let me help you get rid of that speck in your eye,” when you can’t see past the log in your own eye? First get rid of the log from your own eye; then perhaps you will see well enough to deal with the speck in your friend’s eye.

Thoughts on the divisiveness of Religion

2 Beware of those who come to divide. You can detect them by the way that they act, just as you can identify a tree by its fruit. A healthy tree produces good fruit, and an unhealthy tree produces bad fruit. Yes, the way to identify a tree or a person is by the kind of fruit that is produced.

Thoughts on the greed of religious leaders

3 Why do the teachers of religion, by their traditions, violate their commandments? For instance, the commandments says, “Honor your father and mother.” But they say “You don’t need to honor your parents by caring for their needs if you give the money to God instead.” And so, by their own tradition, they nullify their commandments.

Thoughts on the many ritualistic laws within Religion

4 Listen to what I say and try to understand. You are not defiled by what you eat; you are defiled by what you say and do. Anything you eat passes through the stomach and then goes out of the body. But evil words come from and evil heart and defile the person who says them. For from the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, theft, lying, and slander. These are what defile you. Eating with unwashed hands could never defile you.

Thoughts on leadership in Religion

5 You know that in this world there are tyrants and officials lord it over the people beneath them. But among you it should be quite different. Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant. I came here not to be served but to serve others.

Thoughts on the legalistic nature of Religion

6 The religious teachers crush you with impossible religious demands and never lift a finger to help ease the burden. They enjoy the attention. But those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted. 7 How terrible it is for the teachers of religion who are careful to tithe on even the tiniest part of their income but they ignore the important things- justice, mercy, and faith. They strain water so they won’t accidentally swallow a gnat; then swallow a camel.

Thoughts on the hypocrisy of Religion

8 How terrible it is for the teachers of religion who are so careful to clean the outside of the cup and the dish, but inside they are filthy – full of greed and self-indulgence! They try to look like upright people outwardly, but inside their hearts are filled with hypocrisy. (taken from Matthew)

- The de-Convert

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

My Conversion and De-Conversion Story Reasons why I can no longer believe: 4 – God is not trustworthy

65 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Lucian  |  December 24, 2008 at 6:44 am

    Hi, guys! :-)

    Here and here are two Christless Christmas Carols just for You! Enjoy! :-)

    Happy Holidays! :-)

  • 2. Yurka  |  December 24, 2008 at 12:03 pm

    This may come as a shock to you … but Christmas is not mentioned in the bible. Perhaps you could correct your imbalanced opinions by concentrating on Easter instead.

    I’m surprised as always at the dishonest way you attempt to go about excusing your own bad behavior by pointing to the behavior of others who claim to be Christian. Kind of like a murderer or thief who thinks he will be let off by citing examples of corrupt judges or police officers. Do you really buy into this? Who did such a number on you that you buy into this kind of thinking?

  • 3. The de-Convert  |  December 24, 2008 at 12:09 pm

    Huh? The birth of Jesus is mentioned in the Bible. Christmas is a celebration of that birth.

    LOL… I bet I’m a better Christian than most Christians :) What “bad behavior” are you talking about?

    BTW, those are primarily direct quotes from Matthew and probably represented a pure view of Jesus’ thoughts on Judaism. Problem is those same quotes can now be applied to the religion centered around him. Funny how that cycle goes.

  • 4. Quester  |  December 24, 2008 at 12:38 pm

    Nicely gathered, DC. Definitely food for thought.

  • 5. SnugglyBuffalo  |  December 24, 2008 at 1:11 pm

    Where, pray tell, does The de-Convert claim that Christmas is mentioned in the Bible? What bad behavior is he trying to excuse? He’s pointing out the hypocrisy in religion during a time of year when religion tends to be emphasized more than usual, nothing more.

    I can never really understand why some people feel the need to read far more into writings they disagree with than what the author intended. Perhaps your criticism of The de-Convert is really you trying to excuse your own bad behavior?

    The only one being dishonest here is you, Yurka, trying to extract far more from what was written than what is actually present in the writing, in a rather poor attempt to discredit the author.

  • 6. LeoPardus  |  December 24, 2008 at 2:48 pm

    Yurka seems to be one of those all too numerous “Christians” (in quotes ’cause we know he’s not a “real” Christian) :) who goes on the attack anytime he doesn’t like something. Really helps give a good reputation to the faith doesn’t it? Wonder if Yurka likes people attacking him. Wonder if he’s read the Bible and seen the “Golden Rule”. Wonder if he’ll show “Christmas spirit” by spewing all over me for this post.

  • 7. orDover  |  December 26, 2008 at 6:36 pm

    If Christians followed even just the first two points gathered here, I don’t think we’d have a need for sites like these.

  • 8. Elian  |  December 26, 2008 at 8:01 pm

    Jesus himself stated that he came to divide and Jesus himself also violated the law, he at one point said he did not come to judge then in another scripture said he did come to judge and even taken within context the statements are contradictory, so when he says beware of those who ‘divide’ people or don’t judge or follow the law(s) he was so obviously betraying what he truly was which is a liar and a deceiver.

  • 9. Modusoperandi  |  December 26, 2008 at 8:55 pm

    Ellan; yes, but God can do what He wants, apparently. Those laws were for Man, who has to follow them perfectly, and upon failing to be perfect need a Savior to save them from being the imperfect beings that God made perfect, but the original prototypes disobeyed Him, making His perfect creation imperfect with their imperfect perfection. Believing in this perfect Savior allows imperfect Man to be cleansed of the imperfection of Sin, perfectly, until the imperect nature at the base of Man again intrudes on the again imperfect Man (whose base was perfect until it wasn’t, then it was cleaned perfectly, but it’s perfection was again sullied by its imperfect nature), necessitating further something something something…

  • 10. The de-Convert  |  December 27, 2008 at 8:29 am

    Elian,
    Sadly, you are 100% right. Other statements attributed to Jesus in the gospels contradicts every verse posted above. However, as any preacher does in preparing his/her sermon, they pick out the ones that make their point. Since this was my Christmas sermon, I did the same :) BTW, I got the idea to do a Christmas sermon from looking at our blog stats. There’s been hundreds of hits from folks searching for “new years sermon” and finding this: http://de-conversion.com/2008/01/01/the-de-conversion-new-years-sermon/ . So I figure I’d write something that will get some hits next Christmas.
    Paul

  • 11. Anonymous  |  December 27, 2008 at 10:41 pm

    Elian, please see: here if you really consider the statements re “judging” contradictory. You seem to come to the texts in a hostile frame of mind, determined to find contradictions. Please keep an open mind.

    And Leo – I just think it is salutory for you all to jerk you back because you all seem to fall victim to this tendency. You should be like Jeff and at least keep an open mind.

  • 12. Yurka  |  December 27, 2008 at 10:46 pm

    That was me #11.

    #5. I don’t mean to read in extraneous things – I just feel that people here may be falling into the trap of using people such as Benny Hinn and Joel Osteen to cement their will to disbelieve.

    Happy holidays (I actually wish secularists good luck with this- how well have tacky nativity scenes and houses covered with lights helped Christianity over the past several decades?)

  • 13. SnugglyBuffalo  |  December 28, 2008 at 3:06 am

    Bullshit. You accused The de-Convert of being dishonest and excusing bad behavior he never mentioned; you said absolutely nothing about “using people. . . to cement their will to disbelieve.”

    Do you accuse Jesus of cementing his will to disbelieve when he pointed out hypocrisy in others? You might not have intended to read in more meaning than was there, but it’s certainly what you have done, now matter how you try to spin it.

  • 14. Not a Church Goer anymore  |  December 30, 2008 at 3:49 pm

    Folks, learn your history. Christmas and Easter are of Pagan origins and was adopted into Christianity. The bible does not say to celebrate the Birth or resurrection of Christ. Christ wasn’t even born on the Winter solces (Dec 25). And Easter is from the pagan fertility God. Learn your history about the farce of Christianity.

  • 15. Ken  |  January 13, 2009 at 12:55 am

    At 14, Christmas is the celebration of Jesus Christ’s birth. Whether it was on December 25 or not. I would also ask you to prove to me that is was not on December 25th. Easter, again, is the celebration of Christ’s resurrection from the dead. Maybe the Easter bunny is of pagan origin, but the celebration of Christ’s resurrection and as a result, the redemption of mankind.

    At all, it makes me sad that you have such a bitter and sour taste in your mouths towards Christianity. But more so than that, a resentment and disregard for Jesus Christ. I do share your sentiments toward religion. It is a worthless institution, but what SHOULD be different is the manifestation of a person, intimate, and loving relationship with Jesus Christ, who has sacrificed his life and also conquered death to be the propitiation for our sins. It isn’t about religion, which unfortunately, many people fall into.

    I’m so sorry that many of you are so critical of Christianity. I’m sorrowful that you have encountered those who have caused these thoughts. There are many, many people who are dedicated to following Jesus Christ and His commands.

  • 16. Josh  |  January 13, 2009 at 1:39 am

    Looks like Ken has some reading to do :)

  • 17. Not a Church Goer anymore  |  January 15, 2009 at 5:51 pm

    Ken, study Greek Mythology, Roman History, oh and by the way Babylonian history and Eygyption History (in which took place before Christ) and you’ll find some quite disturbing stuff and it will also answer your “prove them to me” comments about December 25th and Easter. And when I speak of the farce of christianity, i’m not hitting on Christ, but of the man-made religion that came from his name. I can’t remember who quoted this, but it goes as such “To institutionalize the teaching of Christ is to truly Kill him forever” His teaching were not meant to established an organized church but to be the lifestyle of the Church (The individual believer)…either way, Christianity is a Farce and I wish folks would just seek knowlege and ask the question. By the way Ken, Why would God Create the Human Race, knowing that more than half is heading to the Pits of Hell? one of many rational questions that puts the F in Farce.

  • 18. Ken  |  January 15, 2009 at 5:56 pm

    Okay, well how does that prove that Christ wasn’t born on December 25th. You’ve just pointed out different civilizations. If we believe in what Christ taught, then we also need to believe what the apostles wrote in the New Testament. Which includes the church as a body of believers, gathered together to grow in knowledge of God, then go out and be the Church.

    And to answer the question of why God would create the human race, that’s a good one. I’m not going to pretend to know the answer. But I know that He did and that there are many that have been saved by Christ’s redeeming blood. So whether or not you are a fan of Christianity, the fact remains that Christ’s teaching reflect the opposite of many of these blogs.

  • 19. orDover  |  January 15, 2009 at 6:15 pm

    Okay, well how does that prove that Christ wasn’t born on December 25th.

    You, Ken, have the burden of proof. Is it unlikely that Christ was born on December 25th because that happens to also be the “birthday” of many God of various religions, and is considered an important date across cultures because it is the winter solstice. No, that doesn’t prove that Christ wasn’t born on Dec. 25th, but what information do you have that he was? That’s you job: to dig up the information and prove your point.

  • 20. Ken  |  January 15, 2009 at 6:17 pm

    If you are disagreeing with something that is widely accepted, it is your job to disprove it. Not the other way around.

  • 21. VorJack  |  January 15, 2009 at 6:18 pm

    @Ken – “I would also ask you to prove to me that is was not on December 25th.”

    Remember Luke 2:8? “In that region there were shepherds living in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night.”

    December is the rainy season in the region. You wouldn’t have your flocks out at night. If the shepherds were grazing their flocks, it was most likely spring.

  • 22. BigHouse  |  January 15, 2009 at 6:19 pm

    orDover, don’t forget that Christians don’t like the ‘burden of proof’ nor understand that extraordinary claims deserve extraordinary evidence. Remember, it’s all about faith ;-)

  • 23. BigHouse  |  January 15, 2009 at 6:19 pm

    Case in point, Ken brings us #20 :-)

  • 24. orDover  |  January 15, 2009 at 6:20 pm

    Oh, right. Thanks BigHouse. Sometimes I forget and attempt to apply the accepted rules of a logical argument.

  • 25. Ken  |  January 15, 2009 at 6:26 pm

    you guys are pretty funny.

  • 26. BigHouse  |  January 15, 2009 at 6:27 pm

    It’s not funny, sad, really.

  • 27. Ken  |  January 15, 2009 at 6:28 pm

    oh i find the insults amusing. But yes I agree, very sad how so many people aren’t willing to even have a conversation and immediately result to insults.

    i’m out.

  • 28. BigHouse  |  January 15, 2009 at 6:31 pm

    I see no insults, Ken, I see us shooting gaping holes into your flacid arguments. That you take it personally is not our fault.

    Sorry to see you go, I guess you weren’t actually interested in “saving’ us, so much as proving your intellectual superiority. It didn’t work out that welel though, did it?

  • 29. Ken  |  January 15, 2009 at 6:37 pm

    Haha, that was an insult. And I can’t save you. I don’t have that authority. I had no arguments, just asked for the proof for the claims and I haven’t seen. Also, I had no desire to prove any intellectual superiority, just to be the voice of those who were being criticized. Christianity isn’t supposed to have the message of “turn or burn!” The only time Christ mentioned hell was when he was speaking to the Pharisees. Paul also never mentioned hell in his epistles. Christ’s love is what compels us, not religion. No intellectual superiority in that. It’s not meant to be religion, but a relationship.

  • 30. Ken  |  January 15, 2009 at 6:43 pm

    We would be able to argue coincidence, disputed facts, and scientific and mathematic probabilities for the rest of our lives, but ultimately what Jesus Christ has done for me, in my life is not something that can be debated. So I sincerely hope that you would not be so close minded, if indeed you are close minded to the power of Jesus Christ in our lives. I honestly respect your intelligence, even if you don’t respect mine.

  • 31. BigHouse  |  January 15, 2009 at 7:03 pm

    but ultimately what Jesus Christ has done for me, in my life is not something that can be debated.

    Then why are we doing this?

    So I sincerely hope that you would not be so close minded, if indeed you are close minded to the power of Jesus Christ in our lives.

    Now this is insulting, given the nature of people who post on this blog. Perhaps you should read the posts marked with the big red exclamation point to get a better idea of who you are talking to.

  • 32. BigHouse  |  January 15, 2009 at 7:09 pm

    Haha, that was an insult.

    See, I don’t get where this is coming from. Your arguments were attacked, not you personally.

  • 33. Ken  |  January 15, 2009 at 7:10 pm

    I know who I’m talking to. And you’re proving my point that you are coming to this table in a combative position. just wanting to criticize what you may not understand.

  • 34. LeoPardus  |  January 15, 2009 at 7:19 pm

    Ken:

    I would also ask you to prove to me that is was not on December 25th.

    It can’t be proven or disproven. Most likely Dec 25 is the wrong date as sheep wouldn’t be kept in open fields in the winter months, and it’s unlikely that lots of people would travel (for the census count) in the winter, but that’s just guestimating and the actual date one celebrates really doesn’t matter.

    it makes me sad that you have such a bitter and sour taste in your mouths towards Christianity. But more so than that, a resentment and disregard for Jesus Christ.

    Actually some of us are quite happy with all that we learned and experienced in the faith. It makes up a part of who and what we are. I still like the beauty of the Divine Liturgy. As for the late JC, nobody’s got a beef with him. He’s just a dead guy. Now some of his supposed followers engender negative feelings……..

    intimate, and loving relationship with Jesus Christ,

    Go to blog archives; see article “A Personal Relationship with Jesus?”

    I’m so sorry that many of you are so critical of Christianity.

    We’re sorry you’re uncritical and credulous.

    I’m sorrowful that you have encountered those who have caused these thoughts.

    Not so much encountering people as simply accepting reality.

    There are many, many people who are dedicated to following Jesus Christ and His commands.

    Or at least their personal wild-eyed guess as to what those might be.

  • 35. LeoPardus  |  January 15, 2009 at 7:24 pm

    Mi>The only time Christ mentioned hell was when he was speaking to the Pharisees.

    Don’t believe what you’re told from a pulpit. Read the Bible for yourself.

  • 36. BigHouse  |  January 15, 2009 at 8:51 pm

    I know who I’m talking to.

    Then you are the one being combative, no? Or you just didn’t understand what you read. Either way, assuming close-mindedness on a group of formerly devout Christians isn’t giving me much reason to respect your intelligence.

    And you’re proving my point that you are coming to this table in a combative position. just wanting to criticize what you may not understand.

    You really aren’t good at this debate stuff, are you?

  • 37. Servant  |  January 16, 2009 at 4:23 am

    This is the common mistake Christian believers do. Yes, they are armed with the Jesus that lives in their heart, and that is indeed a encouraging thing, but still God doesn’t automatically correct their behaviour and their thoughts once He starts dwelling inside. So I would suggest Ken to read Exodus again, and to find out why did God choose Moses to be His man for the job. Because of great wisdom&beauty (actually it’s hard to find those two qualities together in person even today :) )? Because of His eloquence and good manners? No, because he was as humble as you can get. And having that in mind, true christian should have a cheek as thick as concrete, and even most painfull insults should not stick to it. Only thing that gets hurt when someone insults you is your ego, and christians should have none.

  • 38. Servant  |  January 16, 2009 at 4:28 am

    oh yes, regarding birth of Jesus, I’ll use mathematic logic. :) Jesus died is spring (March/April) after 3,5 years of service to mankind. And he started his service at the age of 30. That means he is born in autumn. Dec 25 is indeed pagan festival from the earliest history, and was “christianized” by the religious leaders at that time, who falsely believe that just if you call something “christian” it doesn’t make it immediately right.

  • 39. Not a Church Goer anymore  |  January 16, 2009 at 6:54 pm

    Servent, you did your research, that’s all I asked Ken to do; was research. I was a minister of Christianity, and I began to ask “God” for truth because stuff was just not adding up and I began to question things that did not feel right and that began my path. I didn’t realize how unhappy and in bondage I was until I found truth and left the organization. I learned some very disturbing truths in reference to the faith. Ken a few questions for thought. How did the Bible come together? Are there other Gospels? If they are why are they not in the bible? Why does the Catholic bible have different books than the KJV bible? Why are Paul’s epistle different from the message of the gospels? when were the gospels written and from what sources? Why did the vatican admitt to adding and deleting text of the bible? Just some food for thought, just a few of the many great questions of the man-made christian faith.

  • 40. LeoPardus  |  January 16, 2009 at 7:08 pm

    Re post 38:

    Where DO you come up with your shit?

  • 41. orDover  |  January 16, 2009 at 7:23 pm

    Jesus died is spring (March/April)…Dec 25 is indeed pagan festival from the earliest history…

    As if Easter isn’t also a pagan holiday! HA!

  • 42. brambonius  |  August 3, 2009 at 11:08 am

    I read this now, and as a christian I say amen to this. Thanks for reminding me to stick to the message of Jesus and not to the circus christian religion can be. Your criticism are so valid am affraid, or should I say jesus’ criticisms of the pharriseism of his days are still valid today on the religian named after him?

    shalom

    Bram

    ps: I don’t see any need to de-convert… But still the daily need to convert myself…

  • 43. Karlos  |  March 30, 2013 at 9:32 am

    Yes I do Many feel or believe that finidng a treasure of great monetary value is best, but to me? Finding treasures that give me wisdom, discernment and knowledge are of the greatest advantage. And I imagine one of the if not THE wealthiest humans that ever lived this Earth felt the same way, since when God asked him what was of most value or what he wanted he chose wisdom ” I want the treasures that give peace .. No earthly wealth of any kind can do that, and if one came close? It would be passing away We know exactly where spiritual treasures can be found. God’s word, like a treasure map, points us to the precise place where we will be able to find the treasures that God promised. Referring to the Christ, the apostle Paul wrote: Carefully concealed in him are all the treasures of wisdom and of knowledge The Watchtower July 15, 2009 page 3

  • 44. cag  |  March 30, 2013 at 2:25 pm

    Karlos, where is this “god’s word” to be found? Should you reply “the bible”, then I can safely assume that you have no answer. The bible is filled with so many errors, beginning with the earth being created before the rest of the universe. Only a completely senile god would make such a mistake.

  • 45. Alban  |  March 31, 2013 at 3:53 am

    Inside every single human being including you cag. That is where you can find it. Jesus did not make that a mystery and Paul could not unconceal!

    Tragically the early catholic church wanted to keep all the treasures concealed. So were the ability of all the people to be SHOWN the treasure by a succession of teachers one at a time, endowed with the same treasure of wisdom and knowledge to to inspire and to reveal…and continue inspiring the people to keep renewing their treasure within. This is neither religion or woo.

  • 46. cag  |  March 31, 2013 at 1:09 pm

    Alban, you have not established the existence of god or jesus. Until you or any other person on earth does so, the word of god is just another product of human imagination. So what you are saying is that all people who do not adhere to any Abrahamic religion have the word of god inside them? Must be a very compelling message if only those indoctrinated by their parents, grandparents, guardians and other authority figures can interpret the message. This is another case of having to believe before the message can be found. Do you understand the meaning of “Confirmation bias”? What you are describing is classic, believe the nonsense so that the nonsense makes sense.

    This is neither religion or woo.

    Agree, it is bovine excrement.

  • 47. Alban  |  April 1, 2013 at 4:37 am

    On the contrary cag. What I have written about for a consistent time is to be able to see, hear, smell, taste and feel WHAT has been handed down thru our upline as “IMPOSSIBLE” (in life) to know”. For me, upline wrote me off at a young age because I didn’t buy what they did.

    But then and only then because of intimately knowing what is true within- whether you “believe” in some religious expressions or none of them, the hand me down blind faith rhetoric was seen for what it was and is, hearsay.

    Knowing originates a different type of faith- but believing is not the source of knowing.

    I would suggest you are the one suffering from confirmation bias probably from having to consume your own false declarations, which like religions, are based in hearsay. and often repeated seemingly more emotionally than rationally.

    Believe in God or not believe in God is like a debate between parrots. When someone shows up to restore a level playing field it eliminates hearsay, not for its inspiration or instructional behavioral value, but to differentiate the experience of knowing and believing in the tangible source. This simply restores the innate integrity and overlooked unconditional joy of life.

    It also ends speculation either way. Knowing/directly perceiving has nothing to do with believing or speculating except that if one believe(s) (d), it is and/or was a slightly better guess, but as you and ubi dubium pointed out, not by fact..

    Take heart though cag. My life experience has shown me the more resistance, the closer you are to goal- if you are aware of your goal, but I do not know your goal. I “believe” it is ‘to be’ vs. ‘not to be’.

    i was resistant to alot of generally accepted belief not because I was a rebel, but because I really wanted to know what is, and was unwilling to settle for dogma. Still when my silver platter was placed in front of me, I remained skeptical right up until the first moment it dawned on me. No love I had ever known and felt EVER touched me like this. Then and only then did I slowly back down. It was by no means surrendering. That has never been my nature and my shell of reality as I had learned it, was thick. Something was peeling it back

    I did recognize the love in chunks and my brain finally got it wasn’t external or imagined. It was already there. Every day and in every breath. I never have looked back, but have sought to understand why our race got so disoriented and sidetracked after Jesus (for one, and not the first or last) did his thing.

    In this seeking to understand I advocate for all hand me down Christianity and it’s detractors. The big picture of post Jesus never had a chance and in it’s hand me down conditioning/brainwashing never left much of an opening including conceptually (outside of experientially) to consider or to know intimately what has no beginning and no end.

    And like I’ve said before the outcome for each of us is not about “I told you so/ one-upsmanship. This is about the fulfillment we all are born with, enjoying it, naturally (vs should be) appreciating it and utilizing the perspective that comes with it.

    That is taking responsibility with all personal assets utilized not depending on a superman, a starman or a Savior to save the day. Empowered however with the greatest of all assets- shown to me- received/accepted, known and put into action, we can.

  • 48. cag  |  April 1, 2013 at 2:38 pm

    Alban, I’ve read your sales pitch hundreds of times and I still don’t know what you’re selling.

  • 49. Alban  |  April 1, 2013 at 4:33 pm

    Thankfully cag, I am not selling anything. There is no price on people becoming aware that they are able, if they want, to literally access the place inside where your awareness and the life that sustains, meet.

    Some think of it as a location, some an experience or a union of sorts, using a myriad of colorful depictions. Most Christians have heard the words “Kingdom of God” but are not aware of the possibility of direct access.

    Many of the questions and concerns people have on this website can be answered within themselves, with this access.

    I guess I cannot assume that direct literal access in this regard is obvious, at least conceptually for you. Sorry cag.

    Even turtles peek out of their shells sometimes. I still think it’s devastation over the theft of your innocence as a kid. Losing Santa Clause, the Easter Bunny and the Toothe Fairy can create a wedge in the trust of ourselves and authority figures as well. I get that.

    But I bet you were never told before now that you can see and feel timeless joy inside yourself…as much as you want, for as long as you want? Most of us didn’t know that.. then.

  • 50. cag  |  April 2, 2013 at 12:18 pm

    Alban

    to know intimately what has no beginning and no end.

    The only thing that fits that description is “nothing”. So from that I take it you believe in “nothing”. I believe lots of things based on evidence. I believe that the universe was created before our Sun, that a star exploded to create the elements found on earth, including those that are beyond iron on the periodic table. I believe that the universe as a whole is antagonistic to life, with pockets of habitable areas. I believe that the only place that there is anything supernatural is in the minds of humans. I believe that there have never been any gods, I believe that all religions are false. I believe that education with critical analysis of the bible, koran or any other “holy” book will slowly reduce religion to insignificance, but it won’t happen in my lifetime. These are just a few of the things I believe. I do not believe in anything as vaporous as “what has no beginning and no end”.

  • 51. Alban  |  April 2, 2013 at 2:29 pm

    Interesting Creed.

    Maybe some timeless joy if discovered within yourself, could confirm some of your creed, and help to brighten your outlook.

    Sort of like turning on the hot water spigot. It’s there but if unused, cold showers get old, don’t clean as well and plainly are uncomfortable. The spigot is simple to use. Its warm water makes the shower experience consistently enjoyable.

    Like a spigot for a shower, what I’m referring to comes built in standard for each of us. It cannot be added. When ‘subtracted’ you are no more. When accessed, it brings comfort that is incomparable, treasure way past the capacity to imagine. And obvious to the point of exclaiming “how could I have missed that!!!”?

    Spend some time in it and you will understand why someone else way, way back described it as having no beginning and no end along with timeless.

    So investing some time in exploring something built in we all take for granted (in living) is a wise investment. No scriptures to read, nothing imaginary to believe in and no offering to make.Only an offering to take…to accept…to enjoy.

    Get introduced to the rest of you. Warm but hard evidence-the kind that doesn’t need credentials, material proof or explanation. No one else gets to go there inside you. Just you. That’s why it cannot be shown outside. It is more obvious once seen inside, than the spigots in your shower.

    Then you can answer the question. Has “it” always been invisible, or do we each have a significant part in being unable to see “it”?

  • 52. cag  |  April 2, 2013 at 4:26 pm

    Alban, you make less sense than the bible.

  • 53. Alban  |  April 3, 2013 at 1:00 pm

    cag,

    There are some ‘diamonds’ in the bible that are overlooked or filtered out like the gnats in the water from the Christmas Sermon at the top of this page. Unfortunately the ‘camels’ remain. So interpretations of the essence of Jesus’ message lack full perspective. Simplicity is lost.

    The author of the Christmas Sermon didn’t elaborate on the filtering beyond moral (financial) hypocrisy, but I suggest you have at your disposal the same ability as Jefferson to find the simplicity in order to accurately ‘strain’ for the diamond(s) within you.

    Reading the bible or being up on philosophy is not a prerequisite, but check out Jefferson’s filtering of the bible in this quote:

    …The Christian priesthood finding the doctrines of Christ leveled to every understanding and too plain to need explanation, saw in the mysticisms of Plato, materials with which they might build up an artificial system, which might from its indistinctiveness, admit everlasting controversy, give employment to their order…doctrines which flowed from the lips of Jesus are within the comprehension of a child, but thousands of volumes have not yet explained the Platonisms engrafted on them…”

    In the net analysis he filtered out the camel of ignorance and separated the diamonds of truth. Utilizing both structured thinking and an ‘eye’ for truth, he later dissected the entire new testament putting out his own version of the bible in what some called a politically correct but traditionally challenging work.

    We all have that ‘eye’. Not many have the caliber of Jefferson’s thinking, but the perspective of insight, really originates in the ‘eye’. You’ve heard the expressions, “she has an eye for decor”, he has an eye for the ball” etc. Combine the 2 aspects and you have brilliance.

    Allow the ‘eye’ to seek out the greatest desire of the heart and it will filter out and savor the diamonds. Savoring the diamonds is Fulfillment.

    Seems to me brilliance with Fulfillment brings joyful creativity and practicality. Brilliance without Fulfillment is anchored somewhere between accomplishment and disaster.

  • 54. cag  |  April 3, 2013 at 5:43 pm

    Alban, what you call Jesus’ message is actually the message of the various authors, thus the mixed messages. Not compelling.

  • 55. Alban  |  April 4, 2013 at 1:53 pm

    I can see how my sentence structure there was confusing. I was transferring the allegory presented by the authors TO Jesus’ message.

    The message of Jesus beyond social commentary and advice attributed to him, was that people have “The Kingdom of God” within them. He showed it to the apostles and offered it the crowds he addressed.

    The only ones who came forward wanting to be shown first had to able to capture the essence- as a filter stops the debris essentially cleaning the water. Though Jesus was articulate, humorous I’ve read and obviously charismatic, the message did not in the essence I’ve described, get through the filters of most people that listened…even though most came away from his addresses touched in a unique way unlike anything they had ever experienced.

    Any recognition or impact of that message faded a few hours post departure. However there were a fair number of connaiseurs so to speak, whose filters found the essence of the message to be more than subtle in what they ‘captured’. Like a jeweler who may see a diamond in what may appear to be an ordinary piece of coal.

    Then those few had to travel with the entourage in order to keep listening (to hone the ability to receive) as travel was constant for the inner circle. This was a hardship for everyday people who had to skip out on family and responsibility. They placed the importance of accepting/receiving/knowing before everything else, perhaps in many cases jeopardizing all else that meant much to them in life. Most were not gone that long before Jesus showed them the Kingdom within. But they did not know how long it would take when they left. That was a little unsettling to say the least.

    The captured essence was not fleeting or a flight of fantasy for them. The dilemma for many was the balance of risk. The potential decision would have been give up everything I know or give up everything I have ever wanted to know.(?)

    As legend goes in previous much simpler times often those who had captured the essence would live in what amounted to monastic communities hosted or visited by the show-er of The Knowing, waiting years sometimes to be able to receive. Fortunately in this time, I’m not sure if it’s “because” of the darkness or complexity of society, but these type of sacrifices are no longer required.

    So what we see in world religions today as processes, to become closer to a god or divinity have forgotten/ignored the essence replacing it with ritual, celebrating their own legends and justifying that to the point where the majority accept the overall presentation and process as digestible.

    For a purist it’s like what happened in commercial Ginger Ale prior to the return of the real thing. First they watered it down put more sugar in then tried to replicate the taste of the watered down version without any ginger. To this day they still rule in market share, but people who prefer ginger in their ginger ale drink that.

    For purists, capturing the essence was preferable. They tasted what was missing in an obscure brand health food stores sold . Now many enjoy real ginger ale.

    Similiarily as a race we have overlooked what our essence actually is and accept the many watered down artificially sweetened explanations…or of course, not. That doesn’t eliminate what is there to thoroughly enjoy and utilize.

  • 56. cag  |  April 4, 2013 at 8:05 pm

    Alban, you type of jesus and his message as if they actually happened. What evidence do you have of this? The words attributed to jesus were written by individuals trying to sell their version of religion many years after the alleged message. I have never been presented with any evidence that jesus is anything more than a Betty Crocker (created by a committee). Please provide evidence that is not from the bible or a christian apologist. Personal revelation is not evidence, nor is what is written in an ancient book of fiction.

  • 57. Alban  |  April 8, 2013 at 5:22 pm

    The message before Jesus, the message now and the message in the future will still have the same essence. The outward appearance of the message- the terms, the labels, the customs and the technology of the time will change as it has changed. The essence does not.

    Because this is a living experience, inspired and shown by a living person to living people, there was a great deal of travel required prior to 1998 for the giving party and the receiving ones. The same social and economic challenges have existed for thousands of years in this pursuit. With technology replacing a great deal of the travel complication that existed to receive ‘Knowledge’ it is a much simpler mission to pursue and more private (free-er from judgement) to a great degree. I was often grilled with contemptuous scrutiny, “why are you going there?”

    To answer the next part you don’t have to be a history buff. However ‘Knowledge’ tends to inspire surgical reading of religious writing. When someone- usually one at a time, as I’ve come to understand, states something akin to — what you are looking for, –the meaning and the purpose of life OR something like the kingdom of god, IS WITHIN YOU,… then offers to show it within individuals,… and then does; according to the detail that is much easier to see when you know what to look for in the descriptions, the show is or was on, as the case may be. Those distinctions however, come after the fact

    There are a few savory nuggets left in the new testament that the Nicene Conventions could not edit out or revamp because the subtleties escaped their attention. So there was no committee of Jesus and not several authors of a myth called then “The Kingdom of God”. Just one Giver/Show-er and several receivers, many of whom in their writings are misquoted or what they said, taken out of context.

    The Betty Crocker committee was in effect, The Nicene Conventions. For me, direct observation internally and externally is preferable to group interpretation, legends and distortion of the simplest truth. Then it is easier to navigate in between fact and fiction.

  • 58. cag  |  April 8, 2013 at 7:02 pm

    Nicene Convention: a failed attempt to polish a turd. Nobody can convert superstitious nonsense into fact, especially a bunch of ignorant spin doctors. Supernatural entities exist only in the minds of humans, not in real life. It is all GIGO (Garbage In, Garbage Out).

    Direct observation internally is just another mind game, subject to the same errors as any other unreplicable activity.

    The purpose and meaning of life for an amoeba is survival of the species, for a lion it is survival of the species. Why should the life of a more advanced life form be any different? It certainly is not to be the slave of some imaginary tyrant, even if some people choose to enslave themselves. We are an accident of evolution, no purpose or meaning necessary. Human existence does not require houses or TVs or cars or computers. People that create those and other modern conveniences were not born for the purpose of creating those objects, nor does making such tools give meaning. I find the question of meaning or purpose has neither meaning or purpose other than to keep philosophers from screwing up other aspects of life.

  • 59. Alban  |  April 9, 2013 at 2:56 pm

    If we are “an accident of evolution”, in your assertion, what really makes us more “advanced” than an amoeba or any other organism or creature? Creating/inventing, the complexity of our thinking? It hasn’t led us to get along better with each other than animals. And even animals with longer legs than amoeba- our inferiors, scatter when we get close unless they are sick or hungry. You would agree, we are not in terms of contentment, coexistence and even productivity, ( we can’t feed those who’ve been robbed of or denied their own natural resources) the Crown of Creation-however it happened? Yet the potential is there.

    Would the “accident” suggest for us all to get along or prompt us into calculated chaos, throwing the ‘mud’ of earth up against or down into the rocks and seeing what sticks? You essentially suggest we are merely experimenters. In a world without purpose or meaning, science would win. But when science invented the nuclear bomb, sincere regret and concern was much more apparent than in the small circles of giddy back-slapping scientists. (and government leaders)

    So given the concession of an “accident” for the sake of argument, does our advancement give us the chance amongst ourselves to live in peace and harmony, or does it create an environment where only the strong shall survive and or thrive?

    If yes, that’s no better than the animal kingdom. At least we don’t eat each other now.

    Why then in your world of random good (TVs,cars,houses+computers) amidst the general ignorance and atrocity are many ordinary people so kind, so helpful, so hopeful? Must be random in the book of cag. So yes, in your perspective , no meaning or purpose.

    I suggest there is an ingredient that is much more practical (than magical in a skeptic’s view) that we are all born with. It’s not separate or an addition. When utilized it yields joy and gratitude, a feeling not random but pervasive. From that feeling a perspective of not presently KNOWN VALUE emerges. Our names or labels for that may be inadequate or the vocabulary has no equivalent to use.

    Since it has been historically proven not to be our brain, could it be something else in our nature, in our potential we just don’t see? Not something which is invisible, imaginary or the byproduct of random guesswork. A specific ingredient that if found and utilized could possibly be the most important asset we have overlooked or completely misinterpreted.

    Direct observation is only possible within a constant if the instrument of awareness in this case, the individual chooses to tap into that constant. Many references have been made in the new testament to the limitations of the physically blind and deaf. Chuck belief and or imagination on the following statement. This all pervasive constant can be seen and heard by the physically blind and deaf.

    This is one of the items I referred to as being taken out of context (ON PURPOSE) at the Nicene Conventions (there were 2 conventions) The underlying purpose of the conventions was to polish a turd. You are right about that BUT ONLY AFTER eradicating any reference they could find to the direct observation of “The Kingdom of God” within. That is how “the mystery of faith” was created and glorified. Presto. (25 yrs? between conventions)

    Imagine our world now where the possibility of direct observation of what has no beginning and no end within, didn’t have to overcome a fable of resurrection and redemption. Endorsed murder for a “reason” they could not see would not sit well in resulting history fabricated to be absent of any apparent direct access to human beings’ only independent, indestructible asset.

    The implications of this humongous crime/insult to humanity in addition to the (temporary) loss of the biggest chunk of humanity extends into skepticism. Without the fable, many more Christian background skeptics would begin in the challenge of their ability to find “god” vs the challenge of(?)reveling in commiseration of “god” not existing.

  • 60. cag  |  April 9, 2013 at 10:09 pm

    Alban, that was certainly Garbage Out. We are not here for a pre-defined purpose, but we make purpose in our life through our interactions and humanity. The purpose comes after the existence, not before.

  • 61. Alban  |  April 10, 2013 at 1:47 am

    WOW cag, are you a ‘planted’ zealot on this site? That last sentence contradicts everything you have rebutted with religion and the essence as well. Religion puts off the reward of fulfilling purpose until the afterlife. The ‘knowing’ or knowledge I have described, places purpose here and now…forever… if you want to keep it.

    Glad I am sitting down. I never thought for a second…our parents did lie to us as it was custom…it was not to indoctrinate but to keep a ‘magic’ alive that could fan the fire of hope (they not knowing the magic was alive already within inside) Hope is realizable in the ultimate sense. Religion despite its politics has been successful in fanning the fire of hope but delays it unnecessarily. Now is critical.

    Combine focused hope with your high powered microscope and your ‘show me’ intentioned skepticism with a sprinkle of sincerity and voila, there’s some meat to chew on…unless you just got caught up in some nostalgia…or it was a typo…

  • 62. cag  |  April 10, 2013 at 12:59 pm

    Alban, our purpose is to exist so that the species continues. Until we exist we have no purpose. It has nothing to do with any afterlife or religion, both of which are false. Once we exist, then we create our own purpose which for some of us is to make the world a better place now for there is only this life.

    We must exist in order to have a purpose, so purpose comes after existence. Perhaps you would prefer purpose comes after birth.

  • 63. Alban  |  April 10, 2013 at 2:44 pm

    Thanks for clarifying. Couldn’t imagine you ‘coming out’ in religious fervor.

    In order to make the world a better place, the first, the best, most accurate purpose in my opinion, is to know oneself, chiefly the part that is simplicity. Not created. Just the power source which also has dimensions to it that potentially amplify the quality of life, if utilized.

    If that part goes unknown or just rationalized in the many ways we have gotten used to, then our other purpose(s) lack accurate perspective.

    For instance our status quo is tied into planned obsolescence and monopoly ‘money’. We are governed by a limited small picture viewpoint that makes little sense for significant solutions. Not that our created purposes are bad, they are are simply missing a greater perspective providing a greater understanding of the actual value and opportunity of life.

    We have gotten use to settling for less to say the least. “Loss of our humanity” is a more chilling notion in spite of scientific and technological advancement. It may be our last ditch best effort to consider as a race of people what is missing that can turn this whole substandard mentality around. We definitely know what our created purposes have not brought.

    So where is the last most obvious but most ignored place to look? Finding that, our creativity, our other purposes take on promising long forgotten possibilities. Ambition and creativity within the discovered primary purpose opens glorious and fulfilling opportunity.

  • 64. ubi dubium  |  April 10, 2013 at 4:06 pm

    In order to make the world a better place, the first, the best, most accurate purpose in my opinion, is to know oneself, chiefly the part that is simplicity.

    Alban, you are doing the same thing here that the preachers of conventional religions do – presuming to tell other people what the purpose of their lives should be. I will create my own purpose, thank you very much, and I reject the idea that anybody else can or should be allowed to impose a purpose on me.

    If you find your purpose in getting to know yourself, fine. You can find fulfillment in navel-gazing if you want, makes no difference to me. But that’s not adequate for my life. I have other priorities.

  • 65. Alban  |  April 11, 2013 at 11:51 am

    ubi dubium, I have been very careful staying away from the “should” component with its coercive, jump on the bandwagon impetus. There is a huge difference in people being aware of their innate (born with) assets and being herded into a way or a path. There are hundreds of paths we can choose from in the journey of life. And we all have preferred priorities inside or outside those paths. The distinction suggests making use of, at least discovering what is already there in you.

    Most people do not know they already possess an accessible, intrinsic, exquisite timeless component within themselves. (And when I state that, do not just believe yes or proclaim not . Find out for yourself either way.) It is a free ‘rental’ while living. (And the navel’s one purpose is not related to the dual purpose of your 5 senses.)

    I am glad we can be aware that this element exists. Then all the options of what we are endowed with, which does not include add ons such as belief or disbelief, are on the table. That provides a more comprehensive adequacy to set about upon individual paths or priorities…with a more complete perspective. Sort of like an uncommon common sense.

    Unused, it is like the crated Ark of The Covenant (first Indiana Jones movie) sitting in a warehouse of similar looking crates, lost in inventory.

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Attention Christian Readers

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

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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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