Posts tagged ‘worship’

Affirmation of faith and thanks giving

A year or two down the line from my re-birth some things really start to look fantastical as I look back inside the self contained bubble of god-faith. It’s not the big things like heaven, hell, salvation, belief in miracles or fundamentalism – it’s the ‘Jesus is great – he really loves me, and is amazing!’ stuff which stops me in my tracks. I have friends, close friends and family who I love dearly who give thanks to Jesus and attribute ‘grace’ to pretty much every positive thing that happens to them. The interesting thing is that I also know a lot of non-Christians, whose lives are no better or no worse, who aren’t more or less lucky in their day to day. To both sets of friends sometimes positive stuff happens, sometimes negative stuff happens but my normal rational Christians friends attribute the positive stuff to Jesus’ love (incidentally they don’t blame god for the bad stuff, of course… that’s the other guys fault).

I’m coming to the conclusion that this ritual is key. Thinking about the object of your faith at times when good things happen and attributing that positivity to him, gives a strong sense of god being in control, and ‘looking after’ you.

Continue Reading November 19, 2007 at 12:00 pm 10 comments

Today’s Sermonette – on Spiritual Experience and Worship

Freedom of Worship by Norman RockwellWhile most good Christian believers are spending this Sunday morning in their various churches, temples and other places of worship, I thought I would place a sermonette here for the benefit of us heathen Christian apostates. Actually, my heretical brand of theology ought to make easy pickings for Christians and athiests alike.

My favorite Christian blogsite is Carol Howard Merritt’s Tribal Church. She is a Presbyterian minister, author, and wife of Brian Merritt, aka PastorOfDisaster. I find both Christian sites thoughtful, thought-provoking, meaningful, and bring out the best attributes of a liberal branch of Christianity. Even though I am no longer a Christian, they are a breath of fresh air compared to my rigid and unthinking fundamentalist background. Last week, Tribal Church published an article on spiritual experience that I replied to. Can a non-believer in a personal God, or any god for that matter, have a spiritual experience? I think so. I would like to reprint her article and my reply here – and I sure hope that is okay with the original author:

Continue Reading September 30, 2007 at 12:07 pm 40 comments

The Meaning of Life: Part II of II

The fallacy that we all abide by one paradigm (or at least that we should) has led many Christians, both those of the conservative typology as well of the “floundering liberal” (Falwell’s words, not mine), to believe that non-believers have no ultimate purpose or meaning in life. Yet they do not realize that this unfair accusation is no different than the atheist who would also unfairly place his or her paradigm on the Christian and proclaim that a worship of an imaginary being and the subsequent false hope for a life after this one is foolishly nihilistic and deters the “believer” from living a purposeful life.

In my previous post I expressed my wariness with the so-called meaningful Christian purpose. I stopped short, however, of offering my own “secular” meaning of life. The conservative pundit I quoted in the previous part recognized, more or less, that a non-believer is fully capable of living of meaningful life. This meaning, however, is limited to the ontological realm. The pundit could not see an ultimate, or teleological meaning for a secularist’s life. To many Christians, the atheist’s view is that we are born, we live for ourselves, we die by ourselves. Finito. Apparently, if their god is added to the equation, even if the only purpose is to bow before him, at least it is something. I believe that this has led Christians to adhere to a false dualism that is so present in gnostic paradigms: the material is empty, the spirit is where life is found. Yet everything in observable reality tells us otherwise. The lack of evidence for either a god or heaven leads one to wonder how it is that a theist can have such a pessimistic view of the material realm…

Continue Reading August 17, 2007 at 10:00 am 24 comments

The Meaning of Life: Part I of II

alpha2.gifI’m going to be honest. I think that there is one thing that scares humans so much that we make fantasy worlds that flow with milk and honey, worlds that are controlled by perfected beings of enlightened wisdom and ultimate power: the meaninglessness of life. Amongst the fury of passionate arguments in the responses to one of Roopster’s posts, one commenter (#42) randomly proclaimed,

“You are confused yourself Mr. Ape…
Try to understand. Why do you exist? What is your purpose in life? Do you exist to eat, work and sleep? Think again Mr. Ape…”

I shrugged off the comment along with the brutally useless dialogue I had gotten myself into. Yet I have come to understand that this seems to be a core issue whenever religionists of any sort proselytize to secularists, so I bookmarked the comment in my mind and promised myself to get around to it. We all know that the question itself is quite poor from an apologetic standpoint. Christianity, on any level, does not really offer any more “meaning” than any other religious movement. It is, rather, a purely rhetorical device that plays on an individual’s insecurity with who or what they are in the universe. It is used by almost every major religion, almost universally as a evangelical tool, or, at best, an apologetic for belief itself…

Continue Reading August 16, 2007 at 1:51 pm 18 comments

Why I (a Christian) Admire Atheists

Christian Commentary

Simply put, I admire Atheists. You would think, given my religious perspective and convictions, that an Atheist would be considered my “Darth Vader” (like they are to many believers), but such is not the case. I honestly believe that today’s Theist can, and should, adopt some vital lessons from the 21st century Atheists.

Atheism requires a continuous quest for knowledge. As a result, the Atheist often advances their own cognitive condition by subjecting themselves to a wealth of information with an overall goal to progress in their beliefs. Information at the Atheist’s fingertips comes from personal experience, psychology, physiology, astronomy, mathematics, history, philosophy, and countless other sources. The Atheist attempts to maximize their potential through continuous self-improvement. The “church” of Atheism provides a supportive, collaborative mechanism for such progression to occur.

The Atheist is quite admirable…

Continue Reading May 7, 2007 at 1:07 pm 15 comments

Practicing the Presence of God

Especially for those of us who came out of the charismatic movement, “worship” (when a person is suppose to be singing praises to God) was a very integral part of our Christianity. I use quotes around worship because, in reality, it was more about self-gratification than what one would consider true worship. If you think about it worship is really a single-directional event that should not have any expectations of a return. However, we worshiped to receive something from God. For us, it was about the high or the emotions we experienced.him-worship-shot.jpg

These emotions became ingrained within us. Even now, on my de-conversion journey, I could close my eyes and hum one of those worship songs and feel the very same emotion that I did in the past. Back then, my psyche interpreted it as the “presence of God.” Now I know it was just an emotional and conditioned response to a particular stimuli.

This phenomenon is different for different sets of individuals…

Continue Reading April 21, 2007 at 6:57 am 16 comments

Today’s Featured Link

Attention Christian Readers

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

de-conversion wager

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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