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WIS0320

If You Were A Christian And Now You're Not...

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What happened to change your mind? Did you simply lose faith in God altogether, find another religion, something else?

 

:bigear:

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I refuse to call myself a Christian anymore because I have gotten so disgusted by the Christians I know. They are especially gifted at tearing apart their wounded around here. I am enjoying a few people from the New Age type community though and have started going to a few things with them.

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Many life events happened that were part of it.

 

I made several observations about traditional Christian believers (current and historical) that were a part of it.

 

I realized that my approach to the Christian Bible was not compatible with traditional Christianity.

 

Many life events continued to happen.

 

The "mysteries of faith" and "seeming dichotomies and inconsistencies" were no longer assuaged by platitudes.

 

The absurdity of it: that the Christian story was to be believed but other stories were myths.

 

Sin, "fallen", need of a savior? :confused:

 

I should add that I didn't "find another religion" but felt more liberated and comfortable in accepting my quirky version of one. I think I still believe in a greater spiritual force.

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What happened? *snort* Christians happened.

 

Between their irrepressible glee at the idea of non-Christians burning in hell, their blanket condemnation of any ideas not straight out of the ol' King James, and the constant use of fear tactics to bring in converts, I became disillusioned with it all back when I was in my teens. I didn't see any of the love they all profess to feel so much of.

 

They all liked to say that becoming a Christian "changes your heart." Well, thanks, but no thanks. I'd prefer to remain a loving, compassionate, non-judgmental person.

 

(But the straw that broke the camel's back was when they tried to teach the youth group that knights killed off the dinosaurs in the Middle Ages, and Satan was obviously speaking through me because I didn't agree.)

 

ETA: I should note that I realize not all of them are like that. But, sadly, the Christians I've described above make up the majority of those I've met.

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This happened to my husband. After 50 years of being raised in, schooled via, married into, only associated and worked with his sect, he was exposed to the rest of the world. Mainly history and science. He now says he wishes the story of the world he was taught when he was young was true, but he thinks it probably isn't. The lynchpin in the system is that he no longer accepts an all-powerful and loving deity would allow such suffering, nor eternal punishment.

 

After being together 12 years, I finally asked him about his religious beliefs this weekend. I'd suspected all this, but never asked him. He was raised Adventist.

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I was raised in a Christian household (went to church, taught sunday school, etc.) but I never felt that wonderful, transcendent feeling that other people did...so I went seeking for it in other religions as a young adult. I very much liked the idea of faith, but I couldn't shake the feeling that the most I ever felt in any religious ceremony was a mild glow of camaraderie. I secretly thought perhaps there was something wrong with me, that I tried and didn't seem to be able to connect with God (or whatever other name I could it).

 

For a while I just sort of drifted away from religion, in an agnostic kind of way. Then, as I began serious scholarship for the first time in my life--filling in all the gaps of my public school education--I began to be able to put religion into a truly historical context, and I began to understand how the natural world works from a scientific perspective. Before, where I thought, "There is so much we don't understand! There HAS to be a deity to make everything do it's thing!" now I learned just how this big universe works and what principles keep it in place. Studying neuroscience and evolutionary psychology also played a role on my journey. After a long time of fearing the stigma associated with the word, I finally accepted that I was an atheist.

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I was born into it and it never made sense to me. So I searched through several different sects and none of them made any sense.

 

So then I sat down and read the bible not from a, "I have to have faith!" perpective but as a historical document. And as I read it that way, I noticed that many of the fables in the bible occur in many other stories around the world And I also realized how very violent most of the stories were. And then I realized the bible had as much significance to me as Grimm's Fairy Tales.

 

It's got sea monsters and talking animals and sons from virgin goddesses and so on and so on. It's a good story written and edited by hundreds or thousands of different people. But it's not "holy" to me.

 

And then I attended a music festival for women and met THOUSANDS of people who rejected organized religion and embraced science and technology and stopped worrying about life after death and if god was watching me touch myself in the shower. :001_smile:

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What happened? *snort* Christians happened.

 

 

I understand this as I left Christianity for a solid 12 years because I was so disgusted by the actions of the Christians that I knew. I couldn't reconcile the religion with the practitioners of the faith. Ignorance seems rampant in Christianity - and I am saying this gently. Christians tend to want to cherry pick the Bible to support their already preconceived notions of life and the world and how people should behave.

 

I converted to Catholicism in 2009 and I still find that most people want their Christianity to conform to their current life and have little interest in it transforming their life. I hope that makes sense.

 

Also, I asked because I am genuinely curious and there are very few places online in which fairly reasonable, intelligent conversation about a subject like this can take place. I've had my own long row to hoe in regards to religion and I am certainly not asking in the spirit of finger-pointing and judgment.

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I grew up with non-practicing parents/aunts/uncles, but with practicing (Christian) grandparents. I do believe in the Bible, though what turned me off of Christianity was all of the inconsistencies and contradictions, both in the bible, and in every priest/pastor/etc. I have met. I do not believe in blind faith.

 

I found Islam and its clarity and preserved nature. It is the same religion that I grew up thinking that I was following (i.e. Abrahamic monotheism). That the Qur'an hasn't been corrupted from the original, and that it is still painstakingly preserved in it's original state, both through the written and spoken word. It confirms what the Bible and Torah and Psalms brought. There is no such thing as original sin nor is there a "way out" for anyone who does sin, except for by repenting sincerely to God alone. We are told that every person will be accountable for their actions.

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I just realized science was the best explanation. I had doubted for a while. I belong to a UU church for community in my red area. I am now content. :)

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What happened? *snort* Christians happened.

 

Between their irrepressible glee at the idea of non-Christians burning in hell, their blanket condemnation of any ideas not straight out of the ol' King James, and the constant use of fear tactics to bring in converts, I became disillusioned with it all back when I was in my teens. I didn't see any of the love they all profess to feel so much of.

 

They all liked to say that becoming a Christian "changes your heart." Well, thanks, but no thanks. I'd prefer to remain a loving, compassionate, non-judgmental person.

 

(But the straw that broke the camel's back was when they tried to teach the youth group that knights killed off the dinosaurs in the Middle Ages, and Satan was obviously speaking through me because I didn't agree.)

 

ETA: I should note that I realize not all of them are like that. But, sadly, the Christians I've described above make up the majority of those I've met.

 

 

 

:iagree:

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I love that open and honest conversations are allowed on this forum!

 

I do not judge others choices, or try to 'preach' to those who are not interested. However, I do want to say--'Christians' seem to be the number one reason why people turn away from Christ. This is so sad! As Christians, we should be modeling love. Sadly, this is not the case...

 

"I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ." Mahatma Gandhi

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I am so sorry. True Christianity is not what some of you have described here. I am truly sorry that God and Jesus have been misrepresented to some of you by self-righteous, hypocritcal, sanctimonious, condemning, egotistical hypocrites. For what it's worth, they make me sick.

 

The tough issues and seeming contradictions in scripture need to be dealt with head-on, not avoided by hiding behind some pat answer given in "christianese." That makes me sick too.

 

I really am sorry.

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It is interesting (and sad) that most people were disappointed by other Christians - not necessarily by Jesus.

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As Christians, we should be modeling love. Sadly, this is not the case...

 

Sometimes they are and we just don't like their style. Fear for our eternal ****ation isn't our love language, you might say. ;)

 

I am so sorry. True Christianity is not what some of you have described here. I am truly sorry that God and Jesus have been misrepresented to some of you by self-righteous, hypocritcal, sanctimonious, condemning, egotistical hypocrites. For what it's worth, they make me sick.

 

The tough issues and seeming contradictions in scripture need to be dealt with head-on, not avoided by hiding behind some pat answer given in "christianese." That makes me sick too.

 

I really am sorry.

 

Speaking on behalf of people who agree with me, (;)) you have nothing to apologise for and should not feel you need to.

 

Rosie

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It is interesting (and sad) that most people were disappointed by other Christians - not necessarily by Jesus.

 

I have no problem with Jesus whatsoever. There's a lot of wisdom in the Gospels, and I do think Jesus was enlightened and helped a lot of people find their way to the Divine. The Old Testament and much of what Paul wrote though... eh. I'm not a huge fan. It's like that Whitman quote that's been floating around the internet:

 

"...re-examine all you have been told at school or church or in any book, dismiss whatever insults your own soul, and your very flesh shall be a great poem and have the richest fluency not only in its words but in the silent lines of its lips and face and between the lashes of your eyes and in every motion and joint of your body.â€

 

The idea of eternal ****ation and a God that would order one group of people to slaughter another insults my soul. In Jesus and his God, I find a great deal of wisdom and love.

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I was raised Methodist. Our church was very involved in running a large soup kitchen. My best memories of church are of preparing food, cooking and serving alongside my mother. I liked reading my Bible a lot and the stories inspired me.

 

But... I couldn't really believe in any of it literally. I didn't ever believe Jesus was a son of god. I didn't believe in some omnipotent deity forming everything. I read the Bible like I read books of mythology or fairy tales. I've always felt that they were all the same in veracity and importance. But, I really did want to believe it. I tried to pretend, but I couldn't keep living like a hypocrite and smiling politely during sermons, saying my amens and hallelujahs. I was a fake and I knew it.

 

So, when I no longer lived at home, I no longer went to church. I found other charitable activities that inspired me and I felt a lot better about the world at large knowing that the vast majority of people I encountered didn't care if I was a church-ite. I also realized that I was a better person without Jesus because I was still a good person, but no longer a hypocrite.

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I am so sorry. True Christianity is not what some of you have described here. I am truly sorry that God and Jesus have been misrepresented to some of you by self-righteous, hypocritcal, sanctimonious, condemning, egotistical hypocrites. For what it's worth, they make me sick.

 

The tough issues and seeming contradictions in scripture need to be dealt with head-on, not avoided by hiding behind some pat answer given in "christianese." That makes me sick too.

 

I really am sorry.

 

I don't doubt that you feel actual sympathy, but, you see... this phrase "True Christianity" and the use of it is part of the problem for many people. So many different sects and individual Christians claim to know what "True Christianity" is, yet none of them can agree on hardly anything at all.

 

 

If there was such a thing as True Christianity and it really were this all-powerful inspirational entity, then there would be no such thing as denominations in the Christian faith. There would just be Christians and nothing else.

 

Most often, in my experience, when someone says something along the lines of "if you only knew True Christianity..." they are one of those people who think they've got the one true line straight to God. Those are the problems. They are not at all the solutions they think they are, and they are some of the most off-putting of all Christians.

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I am so sorry. True Christianity is not what some of you have described here. I am truly sorry that God and Jesus have been misrepresented to some of you by self-righteous, hypocritcal, sanctimonious, condemning, egotistical hypocrites. For what it's worth, they make me sick.

 

The tough issues and seeming contradictions in scripture need to be dealt with head-on, not avoided by hiding behind some pat answer given in "christianese." That makes me sick too.

 

I really am sorry.

 

True Christianity would appear to account for less than 5% of those who call themselves Christian, IME. And I still call myself one. Though I don't claim to be a very good one at all.

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I don't doubt that you feel actual sympathy, but, you see... this phrase "True Christianity" and the use of it is part of the problem for many people. So many different sects and individual Christians claim to know what "True Christianity" is, yet none of them can agree on hardly anything at all.

 

If there was such a thing as True Christianity and it really were this all-powerful inspirational entity, then there would be no such thing as denominations in the Christian faith. There would just be Christians and nothing else.

 

Most often, in my experience, when someone says something along the lines of "if you only knew True Christianity..." they are one of those people who think they've got the one true line straight to God. Those are the problems. They are not at all the solutions they think they are, and they are some of the most off-putting of all Christians.

 

:iagree:

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Well, I know you didn't ask me (because I'm still a Christian) but I wanted to say this. I haven't ever lost faith in God but I've certainly questioned (and still do) who is God and what does He want from me? What does it mean to be a "Christian" in both God's eyes and the world's? How could God tell us to love our enemies but then create a place for His enemies to burn for eternity? (I don't believe He did, btw) So many questions... I've questioned God and He has shown up every time. But when I turn my focus on how other people answer those same questions, I'm usually, usually disappointed. Putting God in the right perspective, and people likewise, has given me the answers I need to keep pressing forward in my faith.

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The idea of eternal ****ation and a God that would order one group of people to slaughter another insults my soul.

 

There's that. And I knew I wasn't going to keep faith when it occurred to me that if I behaved like Jesus did in some parts of the Bible, my mother would not have praised me, but kicked me to the middle of next week. This person is perfect but you'd better not behave like him or you'll get a thick ear? Tricky stuff.

 

Rosie

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Well, I know you didn't ask me (because I'm still a Christian) but I wanted to say this. I haven't ever lost faith in God but I've certainly questioned (and still do) who is God and what does He want from me? What does it mean to be a "Christian" in both God's eyes and the world's? How could God tell us to love our enemies but then create a place for His enemies to burn for eternity? (I don't believe He did, btw) So many questions... I've questioned God and He has shown up every time. But when I turn my focus on how other people answer those same questions, I'm usually, usually disappointed. Putting God in the right perspective, and people likewise, has given me the answers I need to keep pressing forward in my faith.

 

The way I see it, if God was small enough to be defined by a single book, he would have come on down and introduced himself in person. I figure all the world's religious texts are just glimpses into something far too complex and mysterious to be defined by human language.

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There's that. And I knew I wasn't going to keep faith when it occurred to me that if I behaved like Jesus did in some parts of the Bible, my mother would not have praised me, but kicked me to the middle of next week. This person is perfect but you'd better not behave like him or you'll get a thick ear? Tricky stuff.

 

Rosie

 

:lol:

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I have to snort here, because I don't know which thread (stayed Christian or not) of these threads to reply to. I was raised Christian, but after searching out what I really believe, ended up in what most Christians would call a non-Christian sect, because I don't believe in the Trinity or an immortal soul, or a supernatural fallen angel devil, or for that matter, eternal torture in hell. (the eternal torture bit I find especially disturbing)

 

I'm now a Christadelphian, which holds quite different beliefs than mainstream Christianity. I believe in God, and Jesus as the son of God. I believe that one day soon, Jesus will come back to the earth and set up his Kingdom on earth, just as was promised to Abraham and David, and that those who have believed will live and reign with him.

 

So, the way I see it, I left Christianity, and became a Christian. Others would say I became a heretic and now belong to a cult, which has been said to me, and is mean.

 

What I've been finding really profound lately, is that what I'm looking for in Christ's return is an awful lot like what mainstream Christianity would consider to be the antiChrist. So many similarities. This is something I need to explore more. I might even begin a thread on it sometime soon when I have some free time!

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I gave up Christianity when I went to university and took 3 religion classes. The mystic/magical aspect of the faith I knew was replaced with the societal norms the new testament was responding to. I know the exact time I gave up believing, and I cried that night because I knew what I was losing. There has never been a. single. moment. in the past 25 years when I have doubted my decision.

 

Until a few years ago when he retired, my father was the national head of one of the largest denominations in America so my parents certainty did their part to teach us their faith. Now, two of us are atheist, one is agnostic, and one is a minister in the same denomination. So go figure.

 

Ruth in NZ

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The way I see it, if God was small enough to be defined by a single book, he would have come on down and introduced himself in person. I figure all the world's religious texts are just glimpses into something far too complex and mysterious to be defined by human language.

 

 

But that's the point of Christianity...God did "introduce" himself as a "person" in the "person" of Jesus Christ. Sorry you missed that in your study of Christianity, but this is a very crucial point that shouldn't be missed as it changes the whole idea of God being "out there." He actually walked our soil, and breathed our air. When you look at Jesus Christ, you see the Father.

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But that's the point of Christianity...God did "introduce" himself as a "person" in the "person" of Jesus Christ. Sorry you missed that in your study of Christianity, but this is a very crucial point that shouldn't be missed as it changes the whole idea of God being "out there." He actually walked our soil, and breathed our air. When you look at Jesus Christ, you see the Father.

 

Are you trying to get poor Mergath banned?

 

Honestly! She knows this and she's said it doesn't work for her. I'm sorry you missed exactly what she said in your study of her post. That bolded bit there is very insulting, so if you're not trying to insult anyone, you'll know not to use it again.

 

Rosie

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But that's the point of Christianity...God did "introduce" himself as a "person" in the "person" of Jesus Christ. Sorry you missed that in your study of Christianity, but this is a very crucial point that shouldn't be missed as it changes the whole idea of God being "out there." He actually walked our soil, and breathed our air. When you look at Jesus Christ, you see the Father.

 

See, this is the condescending B.S. that ex-Christians here are talking about. Please stop embarrassing the rest of us nominal Christians by inadvertently agreeing with Mergath that God, is indeed, small enough to have been contained to one book, as evidenced by the Christian belief of divine Incarnation.

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The way I see it, if God was small enough to be defined by a single book, he would have come on down and introduced himself in person. I figure all the world's religious texts are just glimpses into something far too complex and mysterious to be defined by human language.

 

Much of what everyone has said so far has been similar to my situation. My loss of "faith" has happened gradually and for many reasons, but the above quote is similar to something I used to say to my mother when I was a kid. I always wondered why if Jesus were really the son of God incarnate, and he really did all those miraculous things, why wouldn't everyone have believed him? Why wouldn't his "godness" be evident to everyone? And why would God even need to come up with this plan of sending his son down here in the first place? He's God. If he didn't like the world the way it was, why didn't he just get rid of it? None of it ever made any sense to me.

 

Oh, and the part where we are supposed to believe this all because some of it was written down in a collection of writings by men, whom I'm sure would all be diagnosed with psychiatric disorders today if they went around talking about the stuff they wrote down- I always had a problem with that.

 

My faith now is basically agnostic. I do believe that some creating power does exist, but it can't be comprehended by me.

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I grew up Christian in a communist country where we were a small, barely tolerated, minority that had to suffer many disadvantages.

I started having doubts because of the suffering question : why does god let bad things happen to good people? No minister has ever been able to help me figure this out. But:

 

I remained Christian until I moved to rural Missouri and encountered self-righteous, pushy people who wanted to shove their specific brand of Christianity down my throat. I was shocked when, in my first year here, I had Christians tell me that the commandment "Though shalt not kill" does not apply to killing Muslims because they are the infidel. That my husband was supposed to have authority over my conscience. I had Christians tell my 5 y/o daughter she will go to H*ll for wearing pants. I had a public school teacher ask DD "what? You do not believe in God???" I have encountered positively medieval attitudes and a lot of hate and intolerance. Not to forget the anti-science stance.

 

I do not wish to associate with this kind of Christianity. I do not have a problem with God - I have a problem with the institution Church and with the large number of self-proclaimed Christians who want to force their beliefs on others.

I am sad about it. I managed to keep my faith when it was subject to persecution; with the same faith that got me in trouble back then, I am not "Christian enough" for this area. Thanks, I'm done.

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I changed my mind when I read apologetics, and more specifically Mere Christianity. I read it a couple times, the first time I wondered (and he said it was nearly universal) that he defined Christian belief with prerequisites that were the result of human logic rather than God’s word. Then I read it again and decided to take his advice to consider whether a religion made people not necessarily good but better than they would be if they were not members of that religion. So, as far as religion goes, I am a Buddhist. Theologically, I’m an agnostic theist. Divinity is almost by definition bigger than we are—so how can we understand precisely what it is—what we actually see or feel of it is a part of us which we are projecting.

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I really don't know what I am anymore. I was raised in a family where my parent never attended church, but both were religious. I grew up as a religion mutt, attending every VBS I could but never feeling as though I fit in. I was "saved" several times as a child and teen. In high school I began to study religion and theology and converted to Catholicism, but quickly became non-practicing. I found that studying Christianity was the fastest method to cause me to lose my faith all together. After my daughter was born I tried to get back into the Catholic church, but just couldn't.

 

I've studied Islam and agree closest with it, but just can't seem to fall into the day to day practice. I believe there is a G-d and that he has had many prophets, some of which we know of and some we do not. I don't believe people are inherently sinful or need to be redeemed by another actions.

 

I don't believe that much of what is now presented as Christianity is anything like what Jesus intended. I think Paul changed the early church in vital ways that were not in accordance with Jesus's teachings.

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I was raised Baptist and then went to a Catholic high school (figure that) where we went to Mass every Friday. To be honest, it just never made sense to me. I find it odd that the Bible is considered "fact" no matter how preposterous things in it might be (swallowed by a whale?), but other religious books are considered "stories" and "myths." It seems insulting to approximately 70% of the world who aren't Christian. We're right and you're wrong. The fire and brimstone and d**nation of anyone who doesn't believe is also a bit wacky IMO. If God is so forgiving, then what's that all about? Believe or you will be punished? Seems to go against the whole love and charity bit. If some God came to me and said I'd have to kill one of my children to prove my faith, I'd have to go with thanks but no thanks. How is that loving? I know that according to the Bible God stopped it, but still.

 

I don't doubt that Jesus was a real person who was kind and loving and had a good heart, but I do not believe he is the son of God. Muhammad, Siddhartha, Confucius and a whole host of other founders of religion were also real people who had almost the same message, so what makes them wrong? That's not to say that I necessarily think they're right as I'm not religious, but if that's what their followers believe, who am I to tell them that Christianity is the only way?

 

There are also many Christians who turn me off of the whole deal. There are loads of Christians who think along the lines of 'love everyone except those who don't agree with me or fit the ideas of Christianity.'

 

This is not to say there aren't many, many wonderful people who are Christian. They are kind and generous and accepting of everyone, which I think was the message that Jesus, the man, was trying to get across. I don't think all Christians should be painted with the same brush.

 

Honestly, people can believe whatever they want. I personally don't care as long as they don't try to shove it down my throat or use their beliefs condemn and take away personal civil rights of people who are different. Let me live my life and you live yours and let's just coexist. If it gives you comfort to believe and pray, then by all means, do so. I don't mind.

 

ETA: If a person now came along and said they were the son of God, most people would think he's insane. If a person proclaimed that God led them to write a book that should be included in the Bible (The Book of Joe Schmo), he would be laughed at. If a person told everyone he'd been swallowed by a whale but was not digested during that time, what would people think? If someone killed their child and said God told them they had to do it to prove their faith, they'd be arrested and likely put in jail or in a mental institution. Why is this considered acceptable and reasonable 2000 years ago, but not today? It simply doesn't make sense.

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I just don't believe in Christianity anymore. It's a combination of life experiences and a lot of study, but I don't believe in Christianity. I find the idea of a "one true faith" to be absurd (everyone's faith is a personal journey) and there are so many contradictions when taking the bible literally that I simply won't. I just don't believe. I've had the opportunity to read the Instruction of Amenemope (aka Proverbs), and various other "bible" works that appear elsewhere. I question too much. How do we know how Jesus was born? Who told the story to the apostles? Did they hang out at Mary's house and look through his baby book? Why were books left out? Why not added back? Why do the translations continue to move farther and farther from the original language? Who lived in the cities, and why was Cain afraid of them? Wouldn't they all be his brothers and sisters, since his parents were the "original ones"? And how come they didn't live near their parents? Why weren't they mentioned first, only Cain and Abel were? How were Cain and Abel established tradesmen (farmer/shepherd) when the need for such organized farming wouldn't have happened yet, and with only 4 people? Why do Christians justify angry and hurtful actions with the bible, when it tells them that above all they should treat others as they should be treated? Why are children so often the brunt of it? How did "rod" translate to "open hand spanking"? Why was the word for adolescent stricken and replaced with child in these verses? Why is alright to have blind faith, but not alright to observe what God has given you the ability to see and make sense of? Why does science have to be a contradiction to faith? Why? Why? Why?

 

 

I was not very welcome in my religious ed classes. :D I'm just not very good at following orders and leaving things up to "God's will", when God could very well be laughing her head off at how we've perverted any teachings.

 

For right now I believe that all philosophies/religions have a common bond of wanting to teach right from wrong and basic human decency. I just also believe that Christianity in particular falls short of that goal in day to day living and teaching. There is more of a focus on divisiveness and superiority - preaching, but not living.

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I'm afraid my honest answer would make for a closed thread, and that's rather depressing, lol.

 

I suppose I can say my reasoning is along the same lines of why anyone else rejects any or all of the other belief systems or stories out there.

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I was raised in a Christian household (went to church, taught sunday school, etc.) but I never felt that wonderful, transcendent feeling that other people did...so I went seeking for it in other religions as a young adult. I very much liked the idea of faith, but I couldn't shake the feeling that the most I ever felt in any religious ceremony was a mild glow of camaraderie. I secretly thought perhaps there was something wrong with me, that I tried and didn't seem to be able to connect with God (or whatever other name I could it).

 

 

 

I could have written this part. I tried and tried to read, study, find "religion" and feel the pull. Not happening. I truly admire people (the none judging ones) that stand firm in their faith because THEY feel it and not because they are guilted into it or do it because they were told that is the way.

I was raised Episcopal and went to church every Sunday. I can recite much of Rite 1 and 2...but it means little to me. Choir, youth group...all of it, but I still feel nothing. I think like some have said, it has been Christians that have driven me off. Prime example is my neighbor. The "good Catholic Woman" who calls the cops and makes false claims against all of us around her. The woman who throws her "perfect" children up in people's faces yet turns her ear to what I know to be the truth about what these 2 kids do out of her sight. The same woman who goes to confession and then goes home and watches the Playboy Channel.(DS was friends with the son for a short time and got quite an education one day when the mom wasn't home:glare:) I mean really? Ok, whatever.

There are so many of these people who walk one walk yet talk another talk and it hasn't helped.

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I agree with so many of these posts that multi-quoting would get get ridiculous. :)

 

I'll add that when I'm in church, I believe more than when I'm not in church. IOW, when I was a member of the church, I was surrounded by many people who believed. That made it easier to believe because I got caught up in the positive energy around me. But when I wasn't a member of the church, my faith faltered as I was left on my own and my thinking took on a serious note.

 

There is just so much that doesn't make sense and I really don't like that I'm supposed to accept faith blindly. In the Bible, God made appearances but modern day doesn't see that. At least, if someone says that God spoke to him, he would be seen as mentally incompetent. So where is God today? IMO, he's only in a book.

 

The funny thing is that I still talk to God. I'm 100% honest with him too. I tell him that he would be more accepted if he just made himself a real part of the world right now. I've told him it seems rather silly that there are so many denominations that profess they are the only true way to him. I ask him how one is supposed to believe when it's not clear exactly what we are to believe. Is the whole faith just to believe that Jesus was the son of God? Even that story has little going for it.

 

I can't say I'm a Christian because I cannot accept that only one man in the history of the world was God's son and that his life is supposed to affect people 2,000 years later. But of course it does for some people, and really, I'll be honest in saying that I envy that kind of faith. I ask God to speak to me, and I haven't heard much yet. I need constant holding, so something must either be wrong with me or wrong with God. Either way, I'm a mess. It shows just how strongly we can be indoctrinated by a religion. I was told I should feel guilty if I don't believe in everything the Bible says, and I do!

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The way I see it, if God was small enough to be defined by a single book, he would have come on down and introduced himself in person. I figure all the world's religious texts are just glimpses into something far too complex and mysterious to be defined by human language.

 

Oh my! That puts into words a lot of what I think! Thank you

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Many life events happened that were part of it.

 

I made several observations about traditional Christian believers (current and historical) that were a part of it.

 

I realized that my approach to the Christian Bible was not compatible with traditional Christianity.

 

Many life events continued to happen.

 

The "mysteries of faith" and "seeming dichotomies and inconsistencies" were no longer assuaged by platitudes.

 

The absurdity of it: that the Christian story was to be believed but other stories were myths.

 

Sin, "fallen", need of a savior? :confused:

 

I should add that I didn't "find another religion" but felt more liberated and comfortable in accepting my quirky version of one. I think I still believe in a greater spiritual force.

 

:iagree:

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so something must either be wrong with me or wrong with God.

 

Or wrong with the gossips.

 

:grouphug:

Rosie

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I don't think I ever was Christian. I simply don't believe there is a deity. I can't make my brain believe it. I might have believed so as a kid, but I also at one time believed there was a Santa Claus so it was kind of like that. As soon as I was old enough, I just couldn't make myself believe.

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But that's the point of Christianity...God did "introduce" himself as a "person" in the "person" of Jesus Christ. Sorry you missed that in your study of Christianity, but this is a very crucial point that shouldn't be missed as it changes the whole idea of God being "out there." He actually walked our soil, and breathed our air. When you look at Jesus Christ, you see the Father.

 

Thank you for so succinctly illustrating the point many of us who have turned away from Christianity have made over the years on this board.

 

astrid

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I still consider myself a Christian, so maybe I shouldn't be replying here. But I feel the need to explain myself, so here goes --

 

As said, I consider myself a Christian, a follower of Christ.

 

But I have serious doubts about too many things that most churches believe and do to align myself with organized religion.

 

I believe there are way too many direct contradictions and unanswered questions in the Bible for it to be considered inerrant. The Cain/Abel/who were the other people and where did they come from thing already mentioned is a great example of this.

 

I don't understand why, if the Bible is supposed to be the living word of God and all we need to guide our lives, it's so darn hard to understand (and so full of those contradictions and unanswered questions mentioned above).

 

I don't understand why organized religion fights for the right to pray in public when Jesus clearly said that prayer should be done in private.

 

I don't understand why churches focus so much on the Ten Commandments, wanting to hang them in so many public locations, and focus so little on the Sermon on the Mount and the Beatitudes.

 

I don't understand why the teachings of Paul are given such weight when many of those teachings are in direct contradiction to what Jesus said and did, and given that Biblical scholars today are almost positive that Paul didn't author many of the books attributed to him and in fact may have had no direct connection to them at all.

 

I don't understand why so many churches require so much to join (statements of faith with dozens of things listed, attending classes for months, etc.) when Jesus made it so simple. Jesus was inclusive, today's churches seem to try hard to be exclusive.

 

That's just a drop in the bucket and a simplification of the things I have issues with. And yet I find the story and teachings of Jesus to be so powerful that I don't think I could ever say that I don't believe in Him and what He taught.

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This is not an answer to the original question. At the moment I am still a Christian. However, that doesn't mean what it did to me 15 years ago. That is why I feel I have something to add to the conversation.

 

I truly believe Christianity is going through a great upheaval similar to what happened during the reformation, but we don't see it easily because we are in it. I think globalization and the internet have sparked this upheaval, similar to what the printing press did at one time.

 

We now have the research information and thoughts of experts and charlatans at our fingertips. It is so easy now to see where and when traditional religion goes wrong. And when it does, it turns our world upsidedown. We need time to process what is right with religion as well as what is wrong. In spite of its faults, I believe there is still a role for Christianity, and other religions, just not the role we once thought it had.

 

My biggest beef with Christianity has been the lack of education in the history of religion and the Bible. It is very ironic because the churches I've attended have blasted other religions for not allowing their members access to information that would change their minds and lead them to "the truth." Yet, for years, I felt like I was being held back from learning what I wanted to know.

 

Five years ago, I knew nothing about modern Bible scholarship and the uncensored history of religion. I understood that I knew nothing and it bugged the heck out of me. Since then, I have made it a kind of mission to educate myself. In spite of what I have learned, or maybe because of it, I still believe in God. However, the God I believe in does not look like the stereotypical Christian God any more. And what a relief that is!

 

I've also learned that religion doesn't have to mean believing in the literal truth of a set of impossible propositions. It can just be a trust that there is something "more" that is part of us, and we are a part of it as we are part of each other. It can be saying, as a philosophical follower of a person named Jesus, "I choose to oppose imperial domination and oppression," and "I choose to work for the radical equality of all classes of people," or "I choose to be a healer of mind and body." Etc.

 

Being a Christian in today's world looks a lot different, too. In fact, so different, that I feel like a wimp when I find out some of the things other like minded Christians are doing with their lives. I don't know if I have it in me to step out of my comfort zone.

 

I highly recommend the scholarship of Karen Armstrong, Marcus Borg, and John Dominic Crossan for anyone who would like to search along the same lines. I've almost exhausted those sources and would love to find others if you have any recommendations.

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I think a key element of "faith" is the desire to believe. If one didn't WANT to believe something, one wouldn't Need faith. People reach to faith to believe something that seems impossible. You have to want to believe something that seems impossible/improbably for faith to be important. ("Substance of things hoped for, evidence of things not seen" Hebrews 11:1).

 

Once I really began to examine my faith, trying to determine if it were true or not--without the end goal of actually wanting to increase my faith or maintain it--truly trying to determine truth, I came up with my answer.

 

I had been an Evangelical missionary for years and dh and I were seeking to raise our children as Jesus lovers, but when I really really looked hard around me, I decided I needed to be certain Christianity was true before really trying to herd our children down the path as they grew older and began to ask more questions.

 

To make a long story short, it was some of my daughter's own questions about the goodness of God, questions she asked me about the Bible (especially God commanding rape victims to marry their rapists) that really brought things to a head for me. I went from believing in perfect divine inspiration of the Bible, to noticing the contradictions and inconsistencies. (Which day was Jesus crucified on? It depends on if you're reading John or Matthew, for instance.) I had dealt with these questions many time before--I had been quite a good apologeticist--but when I had to answer these questions for my own child, I took it more seriously. (I'm sort of ashamed by that.)

 

Really, it all fell apart rather quickly. I went from Christian to agnostic to atheist in a matter of months. I did go back and read my apologetics books during this time and couldn't believe I had so willingly accepted all of it at face-value, again, wanting and needing faith, I even just "trusted" the Christian apologetics books--and the weakness of these books just helped convince me that I had been believing bupkis

 

How did I accept it? After all of the years of evangelizing and understanding that so many Other people just had just committed themselves to other faiths (though I knew they were untrue), I just applied this to myself. I had wanted to believe something, convinced myself it was true with cherry-picking and bias confirmation and other self-deluding ways of thinking, and found myself believing something false--as I once thought every person of a non-Christian did. Hoist in my own petard :)

 

I'm now an atheist, along with my husband.

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I was raised methodist and attend a baptist church on Christmas and Easter and other special occasions. I, like many others, don't really feel the love even though that particular congregation are very sweet people and will help you if they can.

 

I heard this saying at a NA meeting: "Religion is for people who are afraid of hell. Spirituality is for people who've been through it. I am not a religious person."

 

That spoke volumes to me. It helped me to understand that so long as we try to live positively and help one another in times of need, it shouldn't matter what flavor pot our higher power dipped us in. You don't need a book or a building to have faith in something larger than yourself.

 

And I'm not a religious person.

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I was raised United Methodist but my mothers whole family was very strongly Catholic. I went to church every Sunday, participated in youth group, children's choir, was confirmed, the whole works. Looking back, I never really believed things were literally. I thought it was all nice stories giving us guidelines on how to be good people but not historically accurate. I was also a big Science geek but the UMC never left me feeling like that was a problem.

 

As I got older, was exposed to more people I realized that to some people, it was all TRUE and literal and meant to be taken much more strictly than I ever did. I also learned about the supposed conflicts with science, the cross over with various other religions and ancient myths, and the idea that it was the ONLY way. This is when I started really examining what I truly believed and realized that the very bottom line basic idea of Christianity - that Jesus was the son of God, lived and performed miracles - was not one I really believed.

 

Currently, I believe there may be a higher power but that he/she/it is NOT involved in day-to-day life. I'm not sure I believe there is anything after this life but that if there is, it may be different for everyone, and that there are many different paths to "salvation". I'm still searching for somewhere I may fit it but I'm not sure such a place exists and I don't really dwell on it much. Religion is brought into my life on this board more than it is anywhere else.

 

I have one kid who was baptized and confirmed Catholic, one that was baptized United Methodist, and one that was not baptized and never set foot in a church.

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