Posts tagged ‘heretic’
Your lips, O my spouse, Drip as the honeycomb; Honey and milk are under your tongue; And the fragrance of your garments Is like the fragrance of Lebanon. – Song of Songs 4:11
Popular Christianity places an emphasis on believers having a Personal Relationship with Jesus. As a Christian, I proudly proclaimed that I did not follow a religion, but that I had a relationship – a personal one-on-one with the Messiah. Looking back, I have no idea how to Biblically justify the idea of a personal relationship. I am pretty certain it is nothing more than modern Christian pop culture. And on a more practical level, I don’t think Jesus wants a relationship with any of us anyway. As a Christian, I talked to Jesus for years, but never heard a word back from him. That is in no way a relationship, despite all the effort I put into it.
As unsupported as I think this idea of a personal relationship is, there are times when Christians seem to think that a mere relationship is not enough. If it were not so grotesque, I think many Christians would want to change the cliché from personal relationship to intimate relationship. The relationship between the Christian and the Christ becomes so close that Jesus becomes a surrogate lover to the faithful Christian. To be a disciple and even a slave to Jesus means, to some of the most devoted, that the relationship with the Savior Jesus must be the closest relationship that the Christian is to hold. As a proud heterosexual male, this gooey GodTalk gave me the hives.
This weekend my wife and I finally finished moving into our new house. As with any hectic real-estate transaction, this one had its share of tense moments and close calls. Purchasing a new house is always a risky venture. Despite it all, I was surprised at how smoothly our purchase went, and how easily we could have lost everything.
As a Christian, I would have been praying vigorously for God’s guiding hand. Before the purchase began, I would have brought my desire to purchase a new house to the foot of the alter. I would have asked God if moving was indeed in his Will – then I would have waited for an answer.
This filmclip is from the Academy Award winning documentary Marjoe, a film in which evangelist Marjoe Gortner exposed himself as a charlatan. This type of ultra Pentecostalism is the crap that I was raised with during the late 60s- early 70s Jesus Movement. From the looks of it, it was filmed at about 1970 – about the time my mother used to frequent these types of services and bring me along to experience the power of the Holy Spirit. Watch at your own risk – this 10 minute clip includes hyper-emotional preaching, anointed handkerchiefs, speaking in tongues, pleas for seed-faith offerings, and people slain in the spirit. This is truly a pagan freakshow, and I witnessed it all as a youngster.
Salvation, as preached from Christian Pulpits seems very simple to the faithful. Most Christians insist that there is but one Name by which we all must be saved. Pastors generally have it down pat – and it makes sense if you follow the logic of Christian Evangelists and not think too hard about it. The laity trusts the authority of the Church. But if we put away our Four Spiritual Laws pamphlets and Chick Tracts and see what the Bible actually says about Salvation, it gets hairy. It is no wonder theologians have struggled with these issues for centuries.
Here are a few passages that come off the top of my head. Mind you, there are plenty more:
- John 3:16 says if we believe in him (the only begotten Son) we will have eternal life. Simple enough.
- Ephesians 2:8-9 says we are saved by God’s grace and not by works. Cool.
And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil – John 3:19 (KJV)
I was a Christian for most of my life of 43 years. I fell away for one simple reason: I finally found the claims of Christianity to be unbelievable. I no longer believe in presupposing that the Bible is inerrant and divinely inspired so that I can wrap my worldview around it. I do not trust the Christian Church, run by mortal and fallible men just like me, to know my path to eternal salvation. Like the noble Bereans, I had to investigate the Scriptures for myself, and read them without the filter of Church Creeds to interpret them. And the Scriptures, while more fascinating than any Creed could make them, do not in any way hold as an infallible belief system.
But I want to believe...
Reader salahudin has replied to my Harmonization by Omission article with some fascinating perspectives on apostasy. Apparently, there is a small but growing movement among Muslims who seriously question their own faith. As an apostate Muslim from Pakistan, salahudin shares the perspectives of a skeptical freethinker that is a real eye-opener for me. Salahudin is a member and contributor of the blogsite towelianism, which is much like our own agnosticatheism site, but geared toward Islam. Check them out here:
Note how similar the objections to Islam are to the objections to Christianity. Also note how dissimilar it is…