Posts tagged ‘freethinking’
Heather, a frequent commentor on this site, once made the following comment to one of my articles:
“…another thing I’ve found interesting about conservative Christianity in general — discouraging members from reading books that promote opposing viewpoints. Or just reading books on those opposing viewpoints that are written by conservative Christianity.”
So several months ago when Heather made this comment, I put my memory cap on, and I sat about thinking about what books I have been discouraged from reading, what movies I was discouraged from watching, etc. I tried to remember everything that I was explicitly warned about by clergy or my parents, for strictly religious reasons. Were they trying to protect me? Were they trying to hide something from me? Were they trying to keep me from falling into sin, or challenge God with questions?
I published a long list about 7 months ago on my old website, and I thought I would re-publish them here. Maybe some of the readers here can relate to this.
When I was a very young boy I was told, by either the church or my mother, to dispense of, not watch, or pay no heed to the following items:…
The other day, while browsing some Kent Hovind videos on YouTube, I caught an interesting remark. Hovind, a notorious young earth creationist, claimed that dinosaurs lived as recently as 5000 years ago. Our legends of fire-breathing dragons come from our memories of dinosaurs, and that those dinosaurs breathed fire. Now, where did Hovind get these ideas which have no historical or scientific support? I believe it to specifically be a reference to Behemoth and Leviathan, two creatures mentioned in Job 40 and 41. Since Behemoth has biblical reference outside of this passage, I thought I would look into Leviathan, and see what the Bible says about this creature, and various ways in which it can be interpreted. Let’s look up some of the Biblical references to Leviathan. Some Bibles interpret the Leviathan of Job 41 to be a crocodile. This was the view taken by my old church when I was growing up. Ken Hovind believes this to be a dinosaur. Let’s take a look at the description of this beast as given by YHVH in Job 41:
The Lord (YHVH), in expresses his power and might to Job thusly:
“Can you draw out Levi’athan with a fishhook, or press down his tongue with a cord? Can you put a rope in his nose, or pierce his jaw with a hook? (vs 1,2)
Implying that YHVH can do these things to Leviathan, and poor mortal Job cannot…
Did you know many people in Iceland believe in elves? It is true. Polls consistently show the people of Iceland believe in these humanlike creatures that live in rocks. This innocuous urban legend is simply an assumed part of their Celtic culture in which some Icelanders believe and some do not.
In South Korea there are many people who believe if an electric fan is left running in a closed room it will suck away all of the oxygen in the air and suffocate those in the room or that the fan slows the person’s metabolism so much that she or he dies from hypothermia. This urban legend is so strong that every electric fan in South Korea is sold with timer switch to shut it off after the person has fallen asleep.
Urban legends are funny things because this phenomenon shows how the human mind is often willing to believe something completely outrageous even in the face of fact and logic.
When the people of South Korea were told that no one outside of their country believed in death by fan, there were excuses given as to why this trend affects only the South Korean physiology. Sometimes people will believe what they want to believe regardless the validity of the facts staring them in the face…
It is the evening of September 11th, 2007 – the sixth anniversary of the terrorist attacks on American soil by Islamic Jihadists. I am driving home from work, listening to the ceremonies and tributes paid on NPR. I am nearly home. Just as I round the corner to an adjacent street, I see this new message on the church marquee:
You are reading that marquee right. The good folks at Skyline Baptist Church have seen fit to place this threat of eternal fire to the heathen and the promise of eternal paradise to the saint to commemorate this anniversary…
I hate clichés, especially – “Don’t throw the baby out with the bath water!”. When I began to publically explore my de-conversion journey, I cannot begin to tell you how many times I heard that one. With each step, I would stop to determine if maybe I had gone too far and thrown out the baby. However, I would quickly realize that the next step would be a piece of cake, so I took it. There were times I took steps backwards only to determine that I’d been there, done that, and quickly turn around.
Early in my journey, it was extremely frustrating because I kept shooting for the moon when I tried to develop a set of consistent beliefs in order to save my faith. Since I began to clearly see the contradictions and inconsistencies of the Bible (I know guys I’m beating a dead horse here), I focused on what I determined were Christian actions which would speak louder than words. I kept my fingers crossed and, with hope against hope, believed I could discover the ever illusive light at the end of the tunnel. However, at the end of the day, I failed miserably…
I have recently been reading a couple books on addiction, grief and loss. I am doing this because of what I see as the lack of books, support groups, or programs which deal specifically with De-Conversion or Apostasy from Christianity. I have found several books which help one recognize when you are in a dysfunctional or manipulative religious cult of some kind or another, and they have been somewhat helpful. But how does one deal specifically with the loss that accompanies Christian apostasy?
And there is loss. I have been a Christian for my entire life, as far as I can tell. And while I truly am at peace without the threat of eternal damnation looming over humanity, I cannot go that that many years as a devout Christian and not feel a some kind of vacuum left over in my soul.
I don’t think that vacuum is the absence of God. Rather it is the loss of my weekly Bible study, the camaraderie, always knowing when your Christian brothers and sisters will be there…
In response to my previous post “Rejecting the Obvious Truth of the Gospel,” pj11 said:
Words such as “believe,” “submit,” and “bow” indicate to me that an action is required on your part to be saved. While you may not “feel” like you’ve willfully rejected Christ by doubting the truth of Scripture, it appears that your refusal to take the appropriate active response to the Gospel is a rejection of Him.
pj11, thanks for your response. You replied exactly as I would have a couple of years ago before I left Christianity. The reason I wrote the referenced article is because of the conception Christians have regarding their ‘truth’ of the Gospel. The issue for me is that the ‘Truth’ of the Bible is not at all apparent. I am not asking for a systematic proof that the Christian Gospel is true. I regard faith, wonder and mystery to be central to the creative being, and a natural part of who we are. There is room for faith, and I have never had a problem with that. I do not need proof! However, when much of the Christian Gospel, the Christian Scriptures, and the Christian Worldview is just *wrong*, and can be shown to be wrong, there is room for much doubt and ambiguity.
If God is who he says he is, and if he truly loves each and every one of us, I believe he should make himself sufficiently well known to us that we truly have no excuse if we were to reject him…