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Immoral And Absurd...


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Hello everyone...

 

I'm new here, and I guess I just wanted to post and see what kind of responses I would get.

 

I guess the first thing I should start of by saying is that I am in no way religious, but have been thinking a lot about what becomes of us after we pass on from this life. And I am afraid I am going to hell...

 

With all the information I have come across regarding the afterlife I've noticed that the Fundamentalist/Evangelical Christians are the ones who believe that they have all the "right" answers, and that it is either their way or the hell way. They are the chosen, and there is no other way.And anyone who deviates from this way is a heretic, or a blasphemer.

 

The reason I used the title I did is because the whole idea of Christianity in the Bible is completely absurd to me. I read on here someone who had said, either you believe, or you don't believe. And I guess I am one of those people who just can't believe... The "God" of the Bible is a completely absurd character in my opinion, and I have no desire to follow or worship such a character. Hence the reason I am scared I am destined for the flaming pit.

 

Does anyone here find a lot of the tenants and teachings behind Christianity absurd? The idea of sacrificial atonement, vicarious redemption, compulsory love and original sin? I just cannot wrap my head around these things... I mean the Bible itself is completely disgusting to me. The Old Testament is horrible... And even then, as horrible as the Old Testament is, the New Testament isn't much better because it isn't until Jesus arrives on the scene that all of a sudden not only must you suffer in this life, but you are also going to suffer after you are dead. Seriously?

 

I mean, who can really read the book of Deuteronomy and not take offense or find it sick and twisted?

 

Another thing that I cannot wrap my head around is the Bible itself. If the Bible is supposedly the word of God, and God's instructions for us then why is it so difficult to understand? Don't you think that it would have been made a lot more simple so every single person that read it could understand it completely? Instead of having to attend a church where the man behind the pulpit has to tell you what it says? Wouldn't it be more clear? And wouldn't it be so clear that no one could possibly twist the scriptures and cherry pick for it to say what they want for it to fit their agenda? It just seems to me that if it really was God's instruction manual then no one should be able to misinterpret any part of it... And yet, no one can agree on what it says. Not even Christians can agree on the simplest of doctrines like how to get saved... Are you saved by faith? Are you saved by works? Are you saved by faith and works? Does anyone actually know?

 

I don't know... I find it all frustrating. Are millions upon millions of people literally going to burn in a lake of fire because they didn't believe the right thing? I just can't wrap my head around it....

 

I just can't bring myself to believe these things... Nor can I bring myself to love a being like the God of the Bible.

 

I don't know much about Progressive Christianity... But I'm sure the Fundamentalists probably think you are all heretics and spout scriptures to you to back up their point.

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Cherishthirdeye, Salutations and thanks for the questions. I cherish the third eye as a center of experience too. Don't worry about the Bible,Hell or death. Enjoy the moments you have on earth and enjoy the transition to beyond the earth and enjoy the beyond. The key word is enjoy. Enjoy the moment and all your questions will be answered on the inside. Salutations to the Divinity within you.

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Welcome Cherishthirdeye,

 

Being in Australia it looks like I'll get the chance to be one of the first to respond to your post. I am probably the least eloquent of the many posters here, so please look forward to better replies than this one.

 

Firstly I want to say that if there is a God, there is no chance (in my opinion) that such a God would be anything like the beast fundamental Christians portray God to be. Like you, those beliefs make absolutely no sense to me. Actually, I should clarify that it does makes some sense to me why some people think like that, but I put that down to indoctrination, misunderstanding, and fear.

 

I grew up in a fundy church but struggled with this God around the age of 20 when I awakened to so much injustice in the world. Around that time I became a police officer and I struggled to synthesize the concepts I had been taught with what I was seeing in the world. I had always been taught that people were non-believers because they deliberately rejected God, or were arrogant toward God, or preferred to live in sin, etc. What nonsense! I saw that people were a product of their environment, of their upbringing, of their social circumstances, and it made no sense to me that God would judge everyone one as though we were the same and had the same exposure to, and understanding of, Jesus.

 

I rejected all that at 20 and left Christianity & God behind. But about 20 years on I had a relapse and suffered severe anxiety about hell for about 9 or 10 months (I recognise now that I was suffering anxiety for the first time in my life for a bunch of unrelated reasons and that this is no less a normal medical occurrence than say the measels). At times I felt I was going insane and I even thought about suicide (although suicide of course would have brought on hell all that much sooner!). Thankfully I sought help from a psychologist and read furiously, and all of a sudden a new world opened up.

 

I learnt many things about Christianity and the bible which helped me put words to what I intuitively knew at 20. The likes of Spong, Borg, and Crossan helped me understand how to look at the bible through a different lense - that is to say righteous, hell-believing Christians look at the bible one particular way which is relatively new to Christianity actually, and when you can get past that you can see how the bible is a man-written collection of texts and letters written within many a different cultural contexts and times. In a nutshell I came to understand that each author was simply trying to put across what they thought was God based on their understanding of the world and their circumstances. It doesn't mean they are/were 100% accurate. I intuitively felt this at 20 but didn't know half of what I know now to discuss the point.

 

It is clear to me that the God of the bible has changed faces time and time again. Not because God has changed but because the authors were from a different generation.

 

There is a lot to read out there concerning understanding the bible and God differently to how Hell-believers do. This forum is an excellent place to discover and ask questions to. Although, as I am slowly finding out, so many people here have been through similiar experiences or come to those different understandings, that much of what you ask will likely be already addressed in previous posts (there's an amazing number of excellent posts archived here).

 

Finally I'd like to say that just like you, I couldn't 'believe' those things you mentioned either. I think it is true that you either believe in something or you don't. It's not a choice. You don't get to decide what you believe or not. Sure, you can rationalise, consider, debate within yourself, weigh things up - but at the end of the day your mind makes a choice concerning what to believe, or not. That's the main reason why I can't imagine a God who's going to chuck you on a junk heap for not believing.

 

Could I also just say, I don't know how scared you are but please know that whatever the case, time will see you through. For me there were really dark days but at some point I came through it and am better for it IMO. Even if there was a God sitting on a throne waiting to judge you - I just can't imagine that God saying "too bad" if you were to explain your case. That's not just or fair.

 

We are asked to try and keep posts short here, so I hope I haven't gone on too much, but I really want you to know that if there is a God, that God would want you to know that you are very special and should not be afraid of death. I am certain of that.

 

Cheers

Paul

Edited by PaulS
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Welcome Cherishthirdeye,

 

I;m on the road so i will be brief. You are in good company here and in time i would be so bold to say will discover that in reality there can be no separation between yourself and God except perhaps in your thinking. You are sustained and exist by that power some call God and when you have shed the conditioning the church system has put in you, that inward knowledge and peace will surface in you as you focus on love of others and yourself which is founded and grounded in your creator.

 

Joseph

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cherishthirdeye, rather than responds to any of the particular matters you raise and questions you've asked, I will suggest you just spend some time browsing and reading some of the many discussion threads already in the forums. Using the search option will bring up many relating to the various points you mentioned...to even try to begin to respond to so many points and questions you raised in your post would take a book to write, anyway, lol. As to asking them of us "just to see what we'd say," you'll find an abundance of what many here have to say on those points to be found in the forum discussions. You'll get a much better and more comprehensive overview by doing that, than by anyone here trying to addresss the particualr matters one by one here in this post.

 

I hear your frustration at so much you mentioned, and can understand it. I hope you find your way to work through these things to an understanding that brings you peace.

 

Jenell

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Hi Cherish the third eye.

I think you have found the right place to be. If heretic is reserving my own right to question and think as I feel is right then I would wear the badge with pride. In my opinion Christianity lost its way when it became political during the Roman era and free thinking about ones experience with God got change to right thinking according to Rome. Anyone else was either forced to comply or driven out for fear of being killed. Then to cement that relationship heaven and hell was invented. I say invented because Jews do not believe in heaven or hell and Christianity started off as a jewish sect. Sure there is a belief in an after life but the focus of Judaism is on right living with God rather than salvation or eternal hell.

You see once a person feels they risk the after life by challenging what the church has to say you then silence independent thought and individual experience. Fundamentalism has grown strong in the last hundred years by using this same tactic and now it gives the impression that this is the way it always has been but fundamentalism first grew out of a counter reaction to liberal theology some hundred years ago. . see:- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fundamentalist_Christianity

 

I think Bishop best describes the situation :- http://uk.video.search.yahoo.com/play?p=spong%20on%20hell&tnr=21&vid=4841635542663341&turl=http%3A%2F%2Fts2.mm.bing.net%2Fvideos%2Fthumbnail.aspx%3Fq%3D4841635542663341%26id%3Db7fe389e960355b66f8a5a8487a5d9c3%26bid%3DupLACHyU39DytQ%26bn%3DThumb%26url%3Dhttp%253a%252f%252fwww.youtube.com%252fwatch%253fv%253dQCO-g_S8STA&rurl=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.youtube.com%2Fwatch%3Fv%3DQCO-g_S8STA&sigr=11a9cllf7&newfp=1&tit=John+Shelby+Spong+Rejects+Hell

 

Your questioning nature is very Welcome here my friend. We all question things too.

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I think fundamentalism is, at least in part, a reaction to rapid social change. The fact that it arose again in different places and religions (Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, etc.) at about the same time suggests to me some common cause. When the times they are a changin', it is, IMO, an attempt to hold on to that which is certain, concrete and unambiguous.

 

George

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  • 2 weeks later...

All you need to believe is that God is the Supreme Being who is all just and all merciful. Judgements cannot be made by man. The only judgement that counts is that of God and it is made when we die and see him face to face.

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All you need to believe is that God is the Supreme Being who is all just and all merciful. Judgements cannot be made by man. The only judgement that counts is that of God and it is made when we die and see him face to face.

 

And if this is the case cherishthirdeye, then you have nothing to worry about. There is no justice in eternal punishment and true mercy means total forgiveness, no matter what. Should there be a God waiting to see you 'on the other side', when you see him face to face it will be for him to say "welcome home, glad to see you're away from that mess"!

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I just don't understand the concepts... It all seems so unrealistic. Like if there really was a God, he couldn't come up with a better plan than that? I'm speaking strictly the story of the Bible.

 

I don't understand how you are supposed to fear someone, but also love that same being.

 

I hate the idea that we are some kind of broken creation and that we can't possibly be fixed. We are told we are filthy, unworthy, and undeserving of anything, and yet it is somehow our faults that we were made this way?

 

And yet the arguement being that we were once created perfect and through our disobedience we are now vile and imperfect creatures. And now that we are imperfect we now need someone to save our souls... We've all heard it before God hates sin but loves the sinner and the path is narrow and few will actually make the cut.

 

I've also grown sick with the way people try to justify hell. By saying that God is so perfect and holy that he can't be in the presence of the wicked so they must be separated from him. And since God is infinite crimes against him are automatically infinine too. Really? This makes no sense because if God is omnipotent then how could anyone ever really be separated from his presence?

 

I also can't understand why God can't just forgive us if he is all powerful... Why does he have to send down some bloody sacrifice to give us some get out of hell free card?

 

That is another thing that I hate... How the devout make you feel guilty if you don't believe what they want you to...

 

''God loves you so much that he sent his only perfect son to die for you so you could have eternal life. He sacrificed everything for you.''

 

There is so much wrong with that statement... How much of a sacrifice was Jesus really? Granted he came down and suffered being crucified but think of how many other people on earth have endured way worse tortures. Plus if the Bible is the truth Jesus was raised and ascended into heaven. That isn't a sacrifice! A sacrifice in my mind is losing something forever... Right?

 

So many of these doctrines just make me ill thinking about them. Like how unbaptized babies and aborted fetuses are burning in hell. What kind of sick f*ck could say such a thing? That makes God look like the worst terrorist of them all. I wouldn.t wish everlasting torture for my worst enemy let alone some innocent little baby. That is just disgusting...

 

Is this really how it is? Could the Bible really be how it is? Is that really what God is all about? If it is, it almost makes me wish I was never born because it's all just too f*cked up to even want to be a part of it.

 

I'm sorry I'm ranting... I'm also sorry if I offended anyone.

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Cherishthirdeye,

 

Everything you say, and I mean every single word, are the exact same thoughts I have had, and I'd hazard a guess that many on this forum have been through similiar experiences.

 

You're right in my opinion, it simply makes no sense. There are so many things wrong with this story that if you hang onto it you'll drive yourself insane! IMO you are right to challenge such doctrine. It is harmful. It is itself, evil. I want no part of it either, which is why I left christianity after being brought up in it for 19 years.

 

I too get angry and I am still trying to learn to let that anger go. It's hard because my parents and sister are staunch fundamentalists. But I am slowly accepting that I can't change them - that's their world and I have to accept that. Just bad luck for me I guess (in that I have little in common with them which detracts from the 'family' way imo).

 

I think the clincher concerning hell for me came when I had children. My boys are 8 & 6 now and the thought of them going to hell one day because they didn't 'believe' sickens me. Not that I think that would happen - what I mean is the fact that somebody thinks that is justice sickens me. I would want to go to hell myself just so I know that I am suffering the same as my boys - with them, even if they didn't know it (some christians like to remind me that in Hell I won't have contact with anybody). Some Christians will probably derogatively call this pride, but I think my preparedness to live in an eternal hell as support for my sons, is way more sacrfice than a God-son that came from an eternal heaven, lived a brief life on earth, suffered severe pain for less than 24hrs, then returned to his eternal glory - mission accomplished! There's much wrong with this picture in my view.

 

I have since revisited much of this and read a lot by the likes of Spong, Borg, Crossan, Phil Gulley, Bart Erhman, Karen Armstrong, and they have helped me see the bible in a new light - one that makes a lot more snese for me.

 

The jury is still out as far as I am concerned as to whether some sort of 'God' exists. Maybe he or she is an entity sitting out of reach there somewhere, but I cannot imagine it. Perhaps God is a sort of force that drives us to live, to love, to laugh. I don't know. That's probably why I am here - I am wondering if there is anything spiritual behind all this, or if it is all just a figment of our imagination. Some people do seem to 'experience' something, and that something seems to allow them to feel comforrtable with some sort of belief in God, although these beliefs and interpretations do vary wildly.

 

I'm content to explore all that, ask questions, debate points, and I do all that usually feeling safe that if there is some old man sitting on a cloud up there waiting to deal with me face to face when I die, he will understand. Just as I would with my children.

 

I hope you find peace with this matter. Read, listen to podcasts, research, visit websites. I think delving deeper and learning beyond that most primitive understanding of the bible, will help you.

 

Cheers

Paul

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I love the questions you pose. I have been thinking about these questions for a long time. I feel it is natural to ask about the meaning of the infinite and the finite that manifests I feel Reality is non-dual in duality. I think Christianity talks about good and evil to explain the relative world we live in with opposing forces both positive and negative. The living experience of unity, which Christians don't talk about except in mysticism seems to abolish the duality of fear, insecurity, and the pride that Christians feel when they talk about evil, God, and Satan. In my experience I have learned to accept rather than quarrel with Christian limitations of good and evil. I accept their limitations, mine and the limitations of language to express what is beyond the mind. In the present moment I get a small view of the balance in nature and non-duality. l am beginning to see all things within pure consciousness or the consciousness of God in the Christian view. I can call this phenomena space-time continuum or actions within a field of consciousness. I know in this field there are a marian number of centers or points of view, which we call my unit consciousness. A tea cup of water floating in an ocean of water just separated by the cup or ego. I feel we are forming enlightened communities expanding to a new consciousness. I don't think it is new so I like to can it Christian Mysticism, which hints that it has always been here and also can act as a bridge for Christians who are willing to open, feel, change and dive deep within the unit consciousness to the collective pure consciousness of the ocean. The collective Christian consciousness has committed atrocities I would not want my children to commit. In our collective consciousness we don't need a Christian form to define who we are, but it is a great service if we can bring others to the ocean of love. We can love people, humans and Christians all together.

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I would recommend reading a couple of books by Marcus Borg

 

"Reading the Bible Again For The First Time"

 

This is a primer on how to read the Bible from a historic metaphoric view. Marcus does not believe that the bible is the word of God but rather is written for and is a snap shot of some early Jewish and Christian communities. If one considers who the bible was written for and what they were going through then the bible tends to make more sense.

 

The other book is Marcus Borgs book "Heart of Christianity" This book discusses how to live a life of faith without being tied to a bunch of beliefs that don't make any sense.

 

I think these books will help you answer the questions you ask.

 

good luck on your journey. I am actually sort of envious as I remember the liberation I felt when I realized my faith wasn't dependent on believing anything. And that all the angst I felt about what my traditional church was trying to teach was nothing more than my subconscious (Heart) being able to recognize crap when it sees it.

 

steve

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Does anyone here find a lot of the tenants and teachings behind Christianity absurd? The idea of sacrificial atonement, vicarious redemption, compulsory love and original sin? I just cannot wrap my head around these things...

 

I am reading an article now by a couple of anthropologists ("The Evolution of Religion: How Cognitive By-Products, Adaptive Learning Heuristics, Ritual, Displays, and Group Competition Generate Deep Commitments to Prosocial Religions" by Atran & Henrich) that address this subject from an evolutionary point of view. It is their argument that religious sacrifice actually has selective advantages for the survival of humans. I will try to summarize the proposal.

 

Religion (including sacrifice) is a evolutionary enigma. Why would groups that engage in costly religious practices (materially & emotionally) survive and prosper compared with those that do not? Part of the answer seems to be as a bonding mechanism. Groups that tightly bond, out compete those that do not. And, costly sacrifice is part of rituals that essentially demonstrate that the leaders practice what they preach (by 'wasting' valuable resources). This deepens trust and group solidarity. It has also has been demonstrated in experiments where, "strangers acting in synchrony -- marching, singing and dancing -- cooperate more in subsequent group exercises, even in situations requiring personal sacrifice."

 

This group bonding can be seen today in military training (marching and singing ditties together), fans at sporting events, fraternity/sorority initiations, and, of course, religious rituals.

 

So, it seems that sacrifice in general has a valuable social function and Jesus may well have, by demonstrating the ultimate sacrifice, helped bond and commit his followers. (This is my thought, this isn't mentioned in the article). Jesus was essentially saying, I am not just kidding around about this stuff, I am willing to become a martyr. This is a powerful message.

 

George

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Hello everyone...

 

I'm new here, and I guess I just wanted to post and see what kind of responses I would get.

 

Welcome to the Forum. I hope you have been pleasantly surprised. Had you posted this to many other "Christian" forums, you would have received a very chilly response.

 

. And I am afraid I am going to hell...

 

Fear not!

 

John Lennon said it best:

 

Imagine there's no heaven

It's easy if you try

No hell below us

Above us only sky

Imagine all the people

Living for today...

 

 

 

I don't know... I find it all frustrating. Are millions upon millions of people literally going to burn in a lake of fire because they didn't believe the right thing? I just can't wrap my head around it....

 

I just can't bring myself to believe these things... Nor can I bring myself to love a being like the God of the Bible.

 

Congratulations! You are quite normal.

 

Normal people find the whole fundamentalist Christian blood-splattered theology barbaric.

 

I would say that most Christians merely find the stories of biblical daring-do charming and quaint. Also, without Christianity, we probably wouldn't have half the wonderful classical compositions from the likes of JS Bach, etc. And, the marble! Oy! Were it not for the church pilfering the poor and ignorant, we wouldn't experience the beauty of Chartres.

 

The reason the Bible is such a screwy thing is because it is a Frankenstein-like compilation of various, sundry scribblings from some very disturbed individuals who spent way too much time among only their flocks of sheep.

 

I am Jewish, and according to my Rabbi; it's OK for me to speak for G-d. I DO understand the Almighty's lingual-franca after all. So, as a spokesperson for G-d, I can unequivocally disavow any and all association with the publishers of The Bible - particularly Part II.

 

 

I don't know much about Progressive Christianity... But I'm sure the Fundamentalists probably think you are all heretics and spout scriptures to you to back up their point.

 

Yeah. We're kinda' proud of that.

 

Again; welcome.

 

You are among friends.

 

NORM

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