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WIS0320

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

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But we are taught that the wisdom of the bible is timeless. There's even a hymn, Ancient Words, that I once thought was lovely. It's either a product of its time or it's timeless. It can't be both.

 

Why the heck not? Ifind that claim especially puzzling on a Classical homeschooling board.

 

Most great works are both. The Odyssey reflects the values of it's time but also contains themes that humanity has identified with through the ages. Ovid, Shakespeare, Austen - all of their time and timeless both.

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:iagree: And how cool that your name means moon goddess!

 

 

 

Interesting. I remember hearing someone suggest that the Vatican has a gospel written by a woman (Mary Magdalen?) but that that and some of Jesus' teaching as related to women are being kept under lock and key because they are a threat to patriarchy.

 

There is a gospel of Mary but that doesn't mean it was written by a woman or even a Mary. From a secular or moderate-liberal Christian perspective the Gospels likely weren't written by any of the apostles but by later communities who attributed them to certain apostles. Mark was likely the earliest, still written after Paul's letters, and John was probably the latest at around 120 AD or so.

 

Generally these gospels aren't canonical not simply because they came about much later then those in the Bible and they were generally written by Gnostic communities which were "out there" in comparison to regular Christian communities. John is probably the most gnostic of the canonical gospels. Anyway, they didn't represent mainline Christian churches and it's no surprise their gospels aren't included.

 

Another reason for the church not being so hot on other gospels is that many were just not that good. They were a list of sayings attributed to Jesus or a rehash of previous gospels.

 

ETA: I'm not going on about this stuff because I'm trying to convince anyone one way or another...It's just that I have a geeky appreciation for the Bible and will babble on for hours. It's much the same with knitting.

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:iagree: I don't think the Christians involved in this thread realize how much some of us are holding back. I don't believe religion (any religion, not just Christianity) should get a pass, but I hold my tongue even IRL because the people involved are people I care about.

 

I couldn't have said this better. I find myself clenching my fists and curling my toes. I bite dang near through my tongue to be polite. See, it comes down to the fact that I respect others' beliefs. I support their right to believe what makes them happy and fulfilled. But, Christians have recruiting and "saving everyone" built into their instruction manual, The Bible. I hate being cornered. I've had to drag my kids off the playground because missionaries were wandering around bugging everyone. It's irritating.

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Why can't it be both? Isn't that why we study the classics because they are timeless? Yet they are also products of their times. They teach us things about ourselves and humanity, including our faults and foibles.

 

 

Why the heck not? Ifind that claim especially puzzling on a Classical homeschooling board.

 

Most great works are both. The Odyssey reflects the values of it's time but also contains themes that humanity has identified with through the ages. Ovid, Shakespeare, Austen - all of their time and timeless both.

 

I guess I wasn't clear. I meant it in the sense that the bible is used - to tell us how to live. Do Christians really follow instructions that no longer apply to today's world? Do they think it's okay to stone people who work on the Sabbath? How do they treat their slaves? (And don't try to change "slaves" to "employees" when the bible clearly meant slaves.) There are plenty of things I can find in the bible that we would *never* think is okay today. Why is it okay to pick and choose which things are applicable to today's world and write off others as being from a different time?

 

Yes, it's timeless as literature. Christians don't treat it as literature. In that sense, it is either timeless or a product of its time.

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:iagree: I don't think the Christians involved in this thread realize how much some of us are holding back. I don't believe religion (any religion, not just Christianity) should get a pass, but I hold my tongue even IRL because the people involved are people I care about.

 

I used to frequent an atheist board. I got an excellent dose of what you're holding back quite regularly. :D

 

It was a great place to hang out though. The occasional rabid something or other intent on telling everyone the error of their ways (atheist and religious) but generally just a bunch of fun people who liked to talk about logic, science and even the Bible (serious secular Biblical scholars at that board).

 

Anyhow, it was a great experience and now has me cringing and holding my tongue when many Christians attempt to rebut atheism or sell Atheists or their true brand of Christian belief.

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I guess I wasn't clear. I meant it in the sense that the bible is used - to tell us how to live. Do Christians really follow instructions that no longer apply to today's world? Do they think it's okay to stone people who work on the Sabbath? How do they treat their slaves? (And don't try to change "slaves" to "employees" when the bible clearly meant slaves.) There are plenty of things I can find in the bible that we would *never* think is okay today. Why is it okay to pick and choose which things are applicable to today's world and write off others as being from a different time?

 

Yes, it's timeless as literature. Christians don't treat it as literature. In that sense, it is either timeless or a product of its time.

 

Ah. Well, some Christians do approach it in a sense similar to literature though. I went through a four year lay ministry course a few years back where the first two years were just reading the Bible and learning about different hypotheses (one I touched on in that post on the Gospels) and forms of criticism with which to evaluate different books and genres in the Bible. The attitude was that it was an ancient text that spanned several cultures, religions and many authors so to approach it all in one uniform fashion is a mistake. Bart Ehrman is a popular author and Biblical scholar that outlines a lot of what I learned it that course. The Bible as divinely inspired but written and copied by error-prone and biased humans.

 

You're right that many Christians don't read it that way and do read it as some sort of manual. I don't come from that tradition and I don't get it. I'm always puzzled by the opinion that "taking it all literally" is somehow a consistent choice for exactly the reasons you stated.

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In the end, please know, the Christians who try so desperately to convert, they don't hate you. Goodness they don't even dislike you.

 

But they are making it look like they "know the Truth" when I don't. It is rude and intrusive and pompous to those of us who really do have a mind of our own. If a deity, an all-powerful entity, can't convince me, what makes Mary Jo Jones at my door with a pamphlet think she can? The hubris is shocking.

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I couldn't have said this better. I find myself clenching my fists and curling my toes. I bite dang near through my tongue to be polite. See, it comes down to the fact that I respect others' beliefs. I support their right to believe what makes them happy and fulfilled. But, Christians have recruiting and "saving everyone" built into their instruction manual, The Bible. I hate being cornered. I've had to drag my kids off the playground because missionaries were wandering around bugging everyone. It's irritating.

 

There are actually whole denominations, like Eastern Orthodox, that are most definitely NOT evangelical and whose members would never corner you.

 

None of this is to say you're experience is wrong or the Christians you've described don't exist or aren't real Christians. They're a huge group right now. It's just that people tend not to know about the quiet, non-pushy ones because they're well...Quiet and not pushy. :)

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I could have written this.

 

I do actually wonder if there is something to the "religion gene".

 

And I think it codes for something in the temporal lobe. :)

 

Really you should listen to this --about two babies switched at birth. I especially loved how the girl from the chipper and fun-loving family brought a ray of fun into the dour, nerdy family, even as they thought she wasn't the brightest bulb on the tree.

 

http://www.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/360/switched-at-birth

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And I think it codes for something in the temporal lobe. :)

 

Really you should listen to this --about two babies switched at birth. I especially loved how the girl from the chipper and fun-loving family brought a ray of fun into the dour, nerdy family, even as they thought she wasn't the brightest bulb on the tree.

 

http://www.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/360/switched-at-birth

 

I definitely will. I love This American Life.

 

Our house truly is an experiment in nature versus nurture. Both children were adopted as infants.

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Not sure whether I count. I was not raised to be religious but I flirted with Christianity for a while due to attending a Christian school.

 

I found that it was something that looked nice when I knew very little about it (ie Jesus loves us and we should all be kind to one another) but looked less and less appealing the more I learned about. By less appealing I mean both less believable and less, well, nice. By the time I read the Bible from cover to cover for the first time, I realized why certain bits get more emphasis. (God is, by and large, petty, irrational and nasty. And not many sermons are preached about the golden hemorrhoids in 1 Samuel.) Also the more I read about other religions and mythologies, the more I could see that Christianity is just one faith out of thousands; it's nothing special for me. Especially finding out about the many earlier Jesus prototypes; interesting but slightly disappointing that there appears to be virtually nothing original in the Jesus stories.

 

I don't think my experiences with individual Christians has anything to do with my personal beliefs. I think Christians are no better or worse than non Christians: a few might be "bad", however the majority are well-meaning but fallible humans like everyone else.

 

I strongly suspect that some people are inherently more predisposed to faith than others. I tend to be skeptical about nearly everything, whether it's religion, astrology, alternative medicine or the latest diet. (Heck, I never even believed in Santa, so what chance did Christianity have?)

 

Ultimately, I'm not sure that I even have one particular reason for rejecting Christianity. It's more that I don't see any reason to accept it. Apart from literary and cultural interest (I love the Bible and I like to listen to Christian music all the way from Gregorian chant through to Christian rock), it just doesn't offer anything to me. This is hard to explain to Christian people who are looking out from the Christian perspective. Many Christians seem to feel that people like me hate, oppose, or reject God or Jesus, but it's not really like that. It's more like they aren't applicable. I don't actually care whether Jesus really existed, or if he was a real person, what he really said and did. Of course it would be very interesting to know, but knowing wouldn't change anything for me. Does that make any sense???

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I am truly sorry that God and Jesus have been misrepresented to some of you by self-righteous, hypocritcal, sanctimonious, condemning, egotistical hypocrites.

 

:iagree:

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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.

 

Very well said.

 

Short version of my loss of faith. My mother's dying wish to my father was that I be raised Catholic. (I was a young child when she died.) I tried. I was sent to Catholic school where I used to debate with the nuns until I was sent to the principal's office, the priest was summoned, and my parents were called. Eventually I got it, you aren't allowed to questions, just believe. I struggled with that well into my teens, quietly refusing to say parts of the mass. I eventually married and converted to my DH's religion. It wasn't Catholic, but at least it was religious and more open to interpretations of the Bible in my mind. My father died six years ago. I started homeschooling and the more I studied the bible, religion, and history the more I couldn't believe. Over the last few years I have been letting it go, in degrees, because it was nice when I said my prayers and took comfort in them. It's hard to break habits 30+ years in the making.

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Before you throw rotten tomatoes, understand that the statements below represent my personal beliefs, and I know that many of you may disagree.

 

I almost NEVER post in these threads because I know it can end badly. But I have a quibble about terminology. My belief is that there's no such thing as a "former Christian". Once a Christian, always a Christian. Either you are or you never were. The reason? Whether you become a Christian is your choice, but the actual becoming isn't something you do for yourself--Christ does it for you--so you can't UNDO what you didn't do in the first place.

 

There are many, many people, filling the pews of churches every Sunday, who think that they ARE Christians, but they're not. Unfortunately, they are often the very ones who cause good people to become disillusioned with their faith. What you see in churches is not necessarily Christianity. Take Westboro Baptist Church, for example.

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That's the No True Scotsman fallacy.

 

I've never encountered a test for True Christians as opposed to fake Christians at any church I attended. What made you a Christian was believing certain things and gathering with those who shared those beliefs. There's no demand in the Bible or in church tradition I'm familiar with for potential Christians to be fully-formed perfect people before being allowed to be True Christians.

 

There are bad apples. Sometimes it's individual people. Often it's whole churches. There's nothing in Christianity that makes Christians immune to all the normal crap that afflicts regular folk.

 

I think this whole discussion would go a lot further if Christians (and I'm hesitant to include myself because I don't attend church right now, " For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.â€) simply admitted that we can be awful slimy jerks at times too and stop insisting there's some real Christianity that's immune to all human farts and foibles.

 

 

There is a story about Chesterton ( I think), where someone asks him why he is such a jerk if he is a Christian, and he answeres the individual by saying something like "imagine what I'd be like if I weren't a Christian".

 

In any case, I basically agree with you, but I think that maybe what some people (not all) are trying to say when they talk about being "true Christians" is that there are whole groups and maybe even sections of Christianity which are teaching serious errors, and that some bad behaviors and attitudes come out of that. That is, it isn't just about bad individuals or groups who are inexplicably jerks. But it isn't really accurate to say that those teachings belong to Christianity as a whole.

 

It's pretty much similar way that many Muslims will say that Muslim fundamentalist groups that advocate violence have twisted teachings to the point they are not teaching their faith correctly at all. Whether that is true or there is some more fundamental issue is an in depth question, but I think it is a fair claim to make.

 

There is a sense in which the idea of an abstraction called "Christianity" isn't real - it's a grouping that is useful in many cases, but it really includes some very different perspectives and it isn't really accurate to treat them all as teaching the same thing or being part of the same institution. To use a rather gross example, I wouldn't say the Westborro Baptists weren't "true Christians" because that is sort of a meaningless phrase. But I don't consider them in any meaningful way to be part of my religion. Not just their moral teachings but their basic teachings about the nature of God.

 

Anyone who was looking to do a real study of Christianity couldn't really accomplish that by looking at it as one system - in the end that could never get a really coherent picture. It would be like trying to get a deep understanding of Buddhist theology or philosophy by just looking at the religion as a general entity.

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Before you throw rotten tomatoes, understand that the statements below represent my personal beliefs, and I know that many of you may disagree.

 

I have a quibble about terminology. My belief is that there's no such thing as a "former Christian". Once a Christian, always a Christian. Either you are or you never were. The reason? Whether you become a Christian is your choice, but the actual becoming isn't something you do for yourself--Christ does it for you--so you can't UNDO what you didn't do in the first place.

 

I know you mean well, but have you read the entire thread?

 

It might help you to understand how and why others are using the terminology they do.

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I never thought it was purely factual either. Even so, much of it wasn't something I could understand or agree with.

 

Something else I didn't mention in my initial post; Christianity left me feeling spiritually motherless. There were no women, no aspect of female in the divine. That just didn't work for me either. A holy trinity of father, son and ...ghost? The idea of a spiritual Father, Mother and son made more sense. I remember being in church as a teen wondering about that and feeling that the "holy ghost/spirit" might have been that of the murdered "mother" (divine feminine). Yeah, even as a kid I spent way too much time in my own head. LOL

 

That's really interesting. I had never considered that before.

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Before you throw rotten tomatoes, understand that the statements below represent my personal beliefs, and I know that many of you may disagree.

 

I have a quibble about terminology. My belief is that there's no such thing as a "former Christian". Once a Christian, always a Christian. Either you are or you never were. The reason? Whether you become a Christian is your choice, but the actual becoming isn't something you do for yourself--Christ does it for you--so you can't UNDO what you didn't do in the first place.

 

What exactly was the point in posting this? :confused:

 

Also, there are several places in the bible that say a Christian can turn away from God and no longer be "saved," or however you want to put it. So it would seem that this isn't true from a biblical standpoint.

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I was raised nominally Christian, but even from kindergarten thought it was nonsense. I was of the "it's all fairy tales" mindset, and by my teens was an outspoken atheist.

 

Then in my early 20s, always the scientist, I decided to try an experiment. I had always read that "if you knock, the door will be opened," i.e. if you want to believe, belief will be given to you. So I started going to church to see if god could change me. I sat in church services, bored out my mind for a good 2-3 years. I chose churches that I thought were beautiful so I would be slightly less bored looking at the icons and paintings, listening to the beautiful chants.

 

I didn't realize this until I'd been attending some time, but the church I finally settled on had a miraculous relic from a deceased Orthodox saint. Of course, I still thought this was nonsense but continued on with my experiment. One day as I was about to give up, I lit a candle in this church and asked for a miracle-- that an atheist would have belief (I guess I had never specifically asked or prayed for this to happen yet, at least not with the candles at the front of the church). Within a week of lighting that candle it hit me-- I believed in god, realized I'd believed in god all along but just hadn't realized it.

 

The only problem was that I still didn't believe in Christianity or Jesus. But just the fact that I believed in god was a HUGE, huge huge change in me. I was a different person from that moment forward. I felt my soul and knew it existed. I saw that other people have souls and we're not just animated pieces of meat stumbling around until the grave.

 

I latched onto a non-Christian religion and was very involved in that faith for quite a while. Some years into it I began to have doubts about having rejected Christianity, or more specifically, the gospels and Jesus. One day I was walking with some friends from this non-Christian religion and one of them made a rather crass comment about Jesus (it was a joke, and not meant in a nasty way, but still was crass).

 

I felt myself hit a physical wall and I couldn't continue walking. There was no wall-- just air-- but I hit something and couldn't keep walking. My friends continued on walking some yards until they turned around and asked why I was standing there. I realized then that I must believe in Jesus on some level to have had that happen.

 

There was one other incident before this when some other people of this religion (people in authority) had also said very unsavory things about Jesus and when I left the building I had another "paralyzing moment," and I had a vision of Jesus standing before the sanhedrin. I thought I was just tired or stressed at the time but by the point I had the "wall" incident, later, I realized something real was going on.

 

Without going into many more details of my private life :tongue_smilie: since that point I have not been able to find a Christian church or belief that feels truthful to me, so I am essentially a nomad. I still miss the other religion and have thought of returning quietly when the kids are older, but I'm not sure where I'll end up. So I'm not sure if I left Christianity, or if I found it. You tell me!

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But we are taught that the wisdom of the bible is timeless. There's even a hymn, Ancient Words, that I once thought was lovely. It's either a product of its time or it's timeless. It can't be both.

 

 

Well, a lot of Christians would say it is both. Not just the mainline liberals either, but you'd find that in Catholicism, Orthodoxy, some Lutheran and Anglican circles. It's overall been the most dominant view of the Church historically.

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My belief is that there's no such thing as a "former Christian". Once a Christian, always a Christian.

 

There are many, many people, filling the pews of churches every Sunday, who think that they ARE Christians, but they're not.

 

Creepy. Glad I never fell into it.

 

Hmmm. Judge not lest ye be judged. If being a Christian means you have some special spy glasses you can put on and see who really is or isn't a Christian, I'm double glad I never fell into it.

 

I know you to be a kind person ereks mom, and a religion that stimulates good people like you to say such things is one I want to steer clear of.

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I never thought it was purely factual either. Even so, much of it wasn't something I could understand or agree with.

 

Something else I didn't mention in my initial post; Christianity left me feeling spiritually motherless. There were no women, no aspect of female in the divine. That just didn't work for me either. A holy trinity of father, son and ...ghost? The idea of a spiritual Father, Mother and son made more sense. I remember being in church as a teen wondering about that and feeling that the "holy ghost/spirit" might have been that of the murdered "mother" (divine feminine). Yeah, even as a kid I spent way too much time in my own head. LOL

 

This was something I really struggled with as well. Not so much in EO, but it was definitly an issue for me once upon a time. The divine female, motherhood, and feminine aspect were so very important to me.

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I almost NEVER post in these threads because I know it can end badly. But I have a quibble about terminology. My belief is that there's no such thing as a "former Christian". Once a Christian, always a Christian. Either you are or you never were. The reason? Whether you become a Christian is your choice, but the actual becoming isn't something you do for yourself--Christ does it for you--so you can't UNDO what you didn't do in the first place.

.

 

WHAT? I was raised as a Christian by my parents b/c that is what they believe. Christ did nothing to me because I don't believe in him. I have never felt anything when I have been in church and have gone out of a feeling of duty to my parents. I am not a Christian. This is not alcoholism we are talking about. See, again this is coming from the viewpoint of someone who buys into everything Christianity says. Again-your views trying to be pushed on us. Grrrr:glare:

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Creepy. Glad I never fell into it.

 

Hmmm. Judge not lest ye be judged. If being a Christian means you have some special spy glasses you can put on and see who really is or isn't a Christian, I'm double glad I never fell into it.

 

I know you to be a kind person ereks mom, and a religion that stimulates good people like you to say such things is one I want to steer clear of.

 

Thank you

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As I said in my previous post, "There are many, many people, filling the pews of churches every Sunday, who think that they ARE Christians, but they're not. Unfortunately, they are often the very ones who cause good people to become disillusioned with their faith. What you see in churches is not necessarily Christianity. Take Westboro Baptist Church, for example."

 

Hmmm. Judge not lest ye be judged. If being a Christian means you have some special spy glasses you can put on and see who really is or isn't a Christian, I'm double glad I never fell into it.

 

I know you to be a kind person ereks mom, and a religion that stimulates good people like you to say such things is one I want to steer clear of.

 

I do thank you for the compliment, but you only quoted PART of what I said. The rest of it has to be there for the context. Recognizing Christianity has nothing to do with "special spy glasses". The behavior is completely observable, which is why I cited Westboro Baptist Church as an example. My point was that when people see the kinds of things Westboro Baptist Church does, they think they are seeing Christianity at work. And I'm sure that the people in that church think they're "doing God's will." And neither is true.

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Before you throw rotten tomatoes, understand that the statements below represent my personal beliefs, and I know that many of you may disagree.

 

I almost NEVER post in these threads because I know it can end badly. But I have a quibble about terminology. My belief is that there's no such thing as a "former Christian". Once a Christian, always a Christian. Either you are or you never were. The reason? Whether you become a Christian is your choice, but the actual becoming isn't something you do for yourself--Christ does it for you--so you can't UNDO what you didn't do in the first place.

 

There are many, many people, filling the pews of churches every Sunday, who think that they ARE Christians, but they're not. Unfortunately, they are often the very ones who cause good people to become disillusioned with their faith. What you see in churches is not necessarily Christianity. Take Westboro Baptist Church, for example.

 

I already posted this in this thread but I'm going to post it again:

The members of the WBC are Christians.

 

Most of them are stuck in a bitter paradigm created by the patriarch of the whole mess. They repeat lines fed to them since they were babies. So what do Christians do? We (oh shucks, I guess I do think of myself as one because I couldn't type "they") We turn our backs on them. We reject them. Just like some people here have been rejected by Christians for what they wore or who they married or so on. We can't have anyone think we're anything like them after all.

 

I watched a documentary by an atheist film maker who got to know the family. The startling thing was in the moments when he was talking to them without challenging them they were warm and kind people. When the teenage girls talked about conversing with some (I think Dutch) young men on their phones who were interested, I think, in also making a documentary they were smiling and blushing. When pressed they'd fall back on they're learned lines but underneath they were normal girls suffering under rigid and punishing beliefs. And it was the atheists, the film maker and the boys in Europe who were bringing that out because they simply approached the family with kindness.

 

These people wear an armor of bitterness and hate. Approach them with something else and they might not have a defense. And darn it if that's not something Christians are supposed to do. And darn it if that's something we've mostly rejected in favour of pretending they aren't a part of our community. I would think their claim to be Christian would mean we have an added responsibility to reach out and help them out of the mess they've created. Instead it's a few young atheist men who are behaving more "Christian" then most Christians. If anyone manages to get through to some of those in that church, it will likely be them.

 

So if others see hypocrisy when we talk about love and forgiveness, I'm not too surprised.

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What exactly was the point in posting this? :confused:

 

Also, there are several places in the bible that say a Christian can turn away from God and no longer be "saved," or however you want to put it. So it would seem that this isn't true from a biblical standpoint.

 

The point was that I disgree with the terminology "former Christian". I shared MY personal view. I do realize that even some Christians do not agree with me.

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I already posted this in this thread but I'm going to post it again:

The members of the WBC are Christians.

 

Most of them are stuck in a bitter paradigm created by the patriarch of the whole mess. They repeat lines fed to them since they were babies. So what do Christians do? We (oh shucks, I guess I do think of myself as one because I couldn't type "they") We turn our backs on them. We reject them. Just like some people here have been rejected by Christians for what they wore or who they married or so on. We can't have anyone think we're anything like them after all.

 

I watched a documentary by an atheist film maker who got to know the family. The startling thing was in the moments when he was talking to them without challenging them they were warm and kind people. When the teenage girls talked about conversing with some (I think Dutch) young men on their phones who were interested, I think, in also making a documentary they were smiling and blushing. When pressed they'd fall back on they're learned lines but underneath they were normal girls suffering under rigid and punishing beliefs. And it was the atheists, the film maker and the boys in Europe who were bringing that out because they simply approached the family with kindness.

 

These people wear an armor of bitterness and hate. Approach them with something else and they might not have a defense. And darn it if that's not something Christians are supposed to do. And darn it if that's something we've mostly rejected in favour of pretending they aren't a part of our community. I would think their claim to be Christian would mean we have an added responsibility to reach out and help them out of the mess they've created. Instead it's a few young atheist men who are behaving more "Christian" then most Christians. If anyone manages to get through to some of those in that church, it will likely be them.

 

So if others see hypocrisy when we talk about love and forgiveness, I'm not too surprised.

 

My sincerest apologies for having offended you. I am one Christian who does happen to pray for Westboro BC.

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My point was that when people see the kinds of things Westboro Baptist Church does, they think they are seeing Christianity at work. And I'm sure that the people in that church think they're "doing God's will." And neither is true.

 

I no longer consider myself to be a Christian. Haven't for quite a while. However, having grown up in a Christian household, attending church and Sunday school regularly, attending Christian schools, etc., I truly don't think many people (even non-Christians) would think that what the Westboro Baptist Church does is Christianity at work. I think pretty much everyone can see that what they do couldn't possibly be ordained by any god.

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I never lost my faith. I expanded it. Along the way of that expansion, I stopped needing to believe specifically in the Judeo-Christian stories and ideas, and then I found plenty of logical reasons to let those go without guilt. I understand those beliefs are meaningful to others as they once were to me, and they were a way to some spiritual growth for me, so I have no problem with honoring and respecting the value of that faith for other people.

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My sincerest apologies for having offended you. I am one Christian who does happen to pray for Westboro BC.

 

You didn't offend me.

 

Prayer, well it's good I guess but I think at some point we have an obligation to do.

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Sorry, this sounds very terse and tense and harsh, but I have a mortal fear of being proselytized to. I'm always afraid I'm going to be cornered by a missionary or a true believer and in a panic lash out and reveal my darkest, most disrespectful feelings about the whole matter.

 

This is so dead on. I have been approached many times, both before and after I left the Catholic Church. The vast majority told me when I politely declined and then when pressed said I already have a church home that Catholics aren't Christians. I have done everything from shut the door in their face to telling them it was inappropriate to deride someone like that to making a smartase remark. I am glad I have never gone ape**** on any of them. In my house a ring on the bell is a walk down stairs (townhouse) to even see who it is. I can't understand why people think ringing bells unannounced and uninvited is socially acceptable behavior. Triply so if when you do it, you are trying to sell something besides cookies or a block party invite. If you come to my door without warning, you best have a package or be a girl scout bearing samosa or be someone with an legit community building opportunity or letting me know some of my mail was in your box. This is not a difficult concept.

 

I also had the unfortunate experience of being repeatedly approached by Mormans on mission who I was seeing on my visible drug and prostitution block engage in illegal to say nothing of ungodly activities. I don't care what drugs people do but don't be increasing the demand around my kids' park, ok? Don't leave parenphenalia in my kids' park, period. And don't do that on my street and expect me to like you when you ring my doorbell. I told the first set that if I ever saw them buying again, I would figure out who was in charge of their mission and report them not only to the police but their leadership who I assumed would pass it onto their parents. The second batch, I did just that. Now I see missonaries but our block is much better now. The prostitutes are gone and the dealers have been chased out of the park for the most part. I get that these missionaries were just kids. I certainly assume that my experience was not reflective of the vast majority of Morman missionaries. But I will admit their is something deeply unsettling about having two young men, who are essentially kids, run around and try to change the beliefs of their elders. The whole thing seems extremely rude to me.

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As I said in my previous post, "There are many, many people, filling the pews of churches every Sunday, who think that they ARE Christians, but they're not. Unfortunately, they are often the very ones who cause good people to become disillusioned with their faith. What you see in churches is not necessarily Christianity. Take Westboro Baptist Church, for example."

 

 

 

I do thank you for the compliment, but you only quoted PART of what I said. The rest of it has to be there for the context. Recognizing Christianity has nothing to do with "special spy glasses". The behavior is completely observable, which is why I cited Westboro Baptist Church as an example. My point was that when people see the kinds of things Westboro Baptist Church does, they think they are seeing Christianity at work. And I'm sure that the people in that church think they're "doing God's will." And neither is true.

 

How do YOU know this and not them though? I think this is what was meant by the special spy glass. The same thought went through my mind.

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"True Christians"

 

Just FYI, this distinction is one that is part of what drives some people away. I've heard plenty of "Christian or not" evaluations as a Christian.

 

Regarding baptism, regarding literalness of bible interpretation, regarding tithing, regarding homosexuality, regarding courtship, regarding sex, regarding spanking.

 

Funny, I've never heard that line regarding gossip or overeating. ;)

 

The "you'd feel differently if you encountered real Christians" is only really offered by Christians. It rarely, if ever, holds merit from those doubting, deciding, or not believing.

 

The "the pews are full of people who aren't real Christians" isn't a good evangelistic tool. Or even a tool for retention.

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How do YOU know this and not them though? I think this is what was meant by the special spy glass. The same thought went through my mind.

 

And indeed, I think they are wrong, but not because I don't think them Christian, but anti-social, and we humans are social creatures. Their behavior is maladaptive. We have enough REAL problems without making up more. Why don't they put their energies into literacy, conservation, or health? Or, as attorneys, making sure the wrong people don't end up on death row?

I judge them mannerless, vindictive, shallow, and vain. And honestly, I think there is some perversion (bad sex) mixed into this. But not non-Christian. That isn't my business.

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Oh, here's an interesting thing for the OP.

 

The Clergy Project is an online community for ministers/pastors/nuns/missionaries/monks/priests/rabbi etc. who no longer believe and are either transitioning out, or hiding out because they're afraid of losing families, income etc.

 

It kind of puts the lie to that everyone who leaves Christianity doesn't know anything about Jesus/God/the Bible

 

You might learn from reading some of the testimonials there, but the community is closed for the security of those involved. You can also read at the FB site https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Clergy-Project/203725383030148

 

Albert Mohler of the Southern Baptist Seminary just got his panties in a wad over this study and community. He criticized the project and those who are in community there for being hypocrites. He doesn't seem to understand that there have always been people struggling in the ministry, and that many people who have made a living by their religion can't just dump it 20 years in and find a new career. If a person has only an education in their religion and preaching. . . that's a tough sell if you no longer believe. That's why this group exists, to help those who are stuck, struggling, and disbelieving and feeling guilty, but have no other recourse.

 

Just recently there was an article in the NY Times about either this group or a very similar one. It featured a minister from a small southern town who had lost his faith, but still wanted to stay in his community, and highlighted the struggles he faced.

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Something else I didn't mention in my initial post; Christianity left me feeling spiritually motherless. There were no women, no aspect of female in the divine. That just didn't work for me either. A holy trinity of father, son and ...ghost? The idea of a spiritual Father, Mother and son made more sense. I remember being in church as a teen wondering about that and feeling that the "holy ghost/spirit" might have been that of the murdered "mother" (divine feminine). Yeah, even as a kid I spent way too much time in my own head. LOL

 

I see you weren't raised Catholic! :lol: Catholics very much emphasize Mary's role as the spiritual mother of all Christians. She is considered "blessed among women," sinless, God honors her prayers above all others, obviously she was the physical mother of God incarnate... She's pretty darn important, respected, and called Queen of Heaven.

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I don't understand why Christians get to disavow any Christian who paints them in a bad light, be it a fringe wacko church or pews supposedly filled with the unsaved. I know a lot of true believers who are not very nice people. Just like I know a lot of non believers who are not very nice. You don't get to cherry pick who is a believer and who is not. I know some Christians, both liberal and conservative who are fundamentally good and delightful people. But I also know Christians who have huge issues in their lives and engage in behavior that is hurtful. I am tired of being told who is a believer and who is not.

 

Unless I get to decree that all of the members of the resurging Christian patriarchy (who in my view are cherry pickers of the faith at best) are not really believers, I am not having it anymore. People know their own hearts better than I do. I have no doubt that most in the patriarchy movement truly believe the sexism is Christlike, when Jesus was pretty silent on gender, was financially supported by women and who visited women and spoke to them directly unchaperoned. No church would be anywhere without the women who make up the majority of the active faithful. Yet I hear more and more about messed up gender expectations than I ever did as a child.

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This was something I really struggled with as well. Not so much in EO, but it was definitly an issue for me once upon a time. The divine female, motherhood, and feminine aspect were so very important to me.

This was important for my husband as well. He says that he finally knows that he "has a Mother!"

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I see you weren't raised Catholic! :lol: Catholics very much emphasize Mary's role as the spiritual mother of all Christians. She is considered "blessed among women," sinless, God honors her prayers above all others, obviously she was the physical mother of God incarnate... She's pretty darn important, respected, and called Queen of Heaven.

 

You must have missed where I said I went to Catholic school. ;) Yes I know all about Mary. In no way did the idea of her fill my need for a spiritual mother. A VIRGIN mother? Who can relate to that?

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A VIRGIN mother? Who can relate to that?

 

A man who goes UGHHHHHH at the thought of his mother having sex. ;)

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A man who goes UGHHHHHH at the thought of his mother having sex. ;)

 

:lol: Point taken!

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