I found this argument on an anonymous web site when I tried to research the phrase “don’t use christians to judge christianity.” I was using it as a research side trip after having read “Blame the Individual, Not the Faith.” The web site I found in my research appears to be an email conversation between a Christian and a non-Christian discussing the merits of believing and not believing, each from his own viewpoint. The Christian offers the typical argument used by those who are trying to save our souls. The non-Christian writes:
Consider Matthew 7:16. It applies to Christianity itself. Christianity has brought forth mostly corrupt fruit even if that was not Jesus’s intent. People would be wise to avoid the church and if they are interested in Jesus’s teachings, read them for themselves. I don’t throw out Jesus’s teachings. I throw out the nonsense in the Bible that passes for the word of God. To me it is clear the Bible could not possibly be God’s word simply because it is untrue. (punctuation errors his)
The Christian responded:
When all is said and done you alone are going to be responsible for your own choices in life. Whether you base that on observation of other people’s behaviors and beliefs or on your own quest to find the truth for yourself is up to you. I, myself, wouldn’t hang my beliefs and eternal destiny on other people’s beliefs and actions…
Christians are often told that the Bible is God’s Word and that they must read it daily in order to maintain a close relationship with God. Only God’s Word should be allowed into our minds because Satan will work in what we see and read and will cause us to doubt God. One morning, I came across this article and this article. Both hit me quite hard and got me thinking once again about the nature of scripture. I believe that there are some good passages in the bible, which filled me with purpose and gave meaning to my life when I read them. Other scripture, however, caused me to recoil in horror and I questioned the goodness of God. So what happens when the bible does more harm to your mental health than good?
One can’t help but see that the bible, as a collection of myths, poetry, letters, and prophecies are valuable as literature and we spent many hours discussing aspects of this in university mythology classes. But, the bible, especially the Jewish scriptures, shouldn’t be taught to anyone with regards to morals, much less teach them to our children in Sunday school (and they say television and video games are violent!). These scriptures were aimed specifically at a peculiar people at a critical juncture in history. They tell us nothing really but how Israel set up an exclusive, monotheistic religion after wiping out whole tribes standing in their way with God’s blessing.
I don’t claim to ever have communed with “God,” as stated in my previous blog “Prayer: Communion with yourself,” but I got to know myself pretty well, especially as a woman.
As any woman can tell you, hormonal cycles are part of life and affect much of our thinking (please take note; I’m not arguing biological reductivism here, this is my personal opinion only). Some women are aware of their cycles in more concrete ways than men are and we are also aware of the changes in our thoughts and feelings during such times. We become attuned to such changes and work around them, with them, or against them. I found that my feelings of freedom from patriarchal thought and my feelings of genuine power came during these natural cycles, particularly during menstruation (I can see the men fleeing from the room already!). I slowly began to realize why men are so afraid of menstruating women (or even discussing it), why the scriptures have a lot to say about this natural phenomenon, and why patriarchal religions throughout the centuries have always forced the menstruating woman “outside the camp” during her cycle. They fear our power of life and death symbolized by the shedding of blood…
I have always had a problem with the Christian concept of prayer. I have never really understood how thinking in a certain way about God or even addressing such an entity could somehow put me in touch with a Deity that is supposed to be transcendent in relation to this world. According to Christianity, prayer is “communication with God.” Yet, I cannot seem to grasp the specific workings of it or even muster up the need for it, except in cases of emergency when my will is weakened. Oh, I’ve tried to pray as Christian writers, leaders, and pastors tell us to; praise, petition, thanksgiving, etc. You know the drill.
But in the back of my mind I can’t help thinking that this is all unnecessary if a truly omnipotent and omniscient Being is in charge of things. Such a Being should already know what everyone is thinking about or worrying about without our having to say so out loud or even think it in our thoughts. The more I thought logically about it, the more I could not understand how such an omnipotent and transcendent being could even be “moved” by an immanent and finite being such as myself in the first place. Transcendent by its very meaning, is “completely outside of and beyond the world.” If this is true, then communication with such a being is impossible for the finite and immanent…
Happy Easter Everyone!
(trust me it’s a good one)
I’d like to introduce myself. I’m Mystery of Iniquity and Roopster has graciously invited me to contribute to this blog. I hope I do his intent justice. I’ve more or less “gone fishing” on my main blog and continue to write on the other because I’ve found that My Journey Out of fundamentalism is occupying more and more of my thoughts lately.
Most of us spiritual journeyers are all over the spectrum on the web regarding our religious or areligious outlooks are concerned. I like Mary’s diagram over at her blog about where we may fall in the Theistic/Agnostic/Atheistic scheme of things and I would put myself squarely in the middle. Right now, I don’t believe it’s possible to prove or disprove that God exists. I suppose I tend to float over to the theistic side more often than not because of religious conditioning, but the more I read and study and interact with Christians and atheists, I am seeing the atheistic side in a decidedly more positive light than the Christian side. And why is that?