Posted by: Jim | November 25, 2008

Why I am no longer a Christian – Part 1

I am going to write several posts that outline the reasons I left my faith. There were several monumental reasons, and it was such a dramatic change that my loss of faith has truly been the “defining event” in my life.

 

My story begins in the early 1980s.

 

Of all the members at my church, I was considered among the most ardent and faithful. My church was a progressive but fundamentalist Pentecostal church in the San Fernando Valley, California. At the time, it had over 5,000 members. At 22 years old, I was a key leader of the college group. I led worship, taught a Bible study, and was frequently delivering “words from the Lord.” I truly believed that I was filled with the Holy Spirit. I could look strangers in the eye and understand deeply spiritual issues they were encountering. I attended church most days for some reason or another—church on Sundays and Wednesdays, bible studies were held in my apartment on Tuesday nights, and there was usually some other event that would take me to church another day or two every week. I listened to only Christian music, and tended to read only Christian books. In short, I was completely immersed.

 

I hadn’t just jumped into the water, either. My parents became born again Christians when I was nine, and in an effort to fit into the family, I gladly joined in. From that point on I was a believer, and my fervent drive to get “closer to God” led me deeper and deeper into the ways of the church. By the time I was 15, my step-father had graduated from Bible College and was beginning his career in the ministry as an Associate Pastor. I was, by definition, a model son, and was already showing signs of being an effective minister myself. My parents encouraged me to join the ministry, and I decided to go to the same Bible College and join the Lord’s work. After all, with all the encouragement and acceptance I was getting, coupled with the fact that I knew practically nothing else, why shouldn’t I?

 

By the time I was 22, I prayed, read the Bible, and wrote a spiritual journal every day without fail. There were few people who could defend the gospel better than I could.

 

But I was filled with anxieties and doubts.

 

The first doubt I had was this: Why would God create me with urges that I could never overcome, but ask me to overcome them anyway?

 

I would combat my sexual urges every day, but continually found myself returning to “sinful” activities. These defeats not only discouraged me, but kept me in a state of ongoing “repentance” and insecurity. This syndrome kept me eternally needy of the reassurance, acceptance, and “grace” offered by the church.

 

I was taught that God loved me so much that he let his son be killed for me. Yet, I knew that if I were to love someone, I would not create them with built-in conflict that guaranteed unhappiness on some level. If I were to give into my sexual urges, I would be sexually happy but spiritually distraught. If I were not to give into my sexual urges, I would be spiritually happy but sexually frustrated. I saw animals (who I believed God also created) roaming free with a single purpose in mind—to fulfill their nature. They were not conflicted to behave against their nature. Indeed, it would have felt cruel for me to deny any animal its natural needs—and yet I was to believe that God’s denial of my natural needs was out of love.

 

Christianity offers an explanation for this—that my nature was sinful, and that I differ from the animals because I have a soul. I was told not to question God’s ways, because “there is a way that seems right to a man, but the end thereof is the way of death.” I was also told to “lean not unto my own understanding.” I was told to just trust The Lord. My nature was evil, and The Lord had created a way to redeem my nature. The entire theory of salvation became extremely convoluted, with little branches and secret compartments to explain away all the various lapses in logic.

 

It was a story that I bought for two decades. I continually tried to put away my own deductions that things were not as I had been taught. This constant repression of my logical mind put me in a state of “Cognitive Dissonance.”

 

Cognitive Dissonance is a serious form of stress. A person must constantly choose between one of the two dissonant ideas. I consistently chose the idea that Jesus was my savior, and that I needed to bend to his will. After all, the Bible said that if I knew the truth, then the truth would set me free.

 

If TruthàThen Freedom.

 

I took a logic class right around this time, and learned that, given the above statement, then the following is also true:

 

If Not FreedomàNot Truth.

 

So logically, since I wasn’t free, I must not have known the truth. This concept set my mind on a whirlwind of doubt. I will get into the next set of doubts in my next post.

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Responses

  1. Jim, I find some similarities between you and I even though we are on different ends of the spectrum on this issue. I’m not clear on what you mean by ‘sexual urges’ and sinful activity’. Do you mean regular reproductive sex? I have always found the Bible to be rife with sexual reference in areas where I didn’t really find it relevant. I do not, however, use it to discredit the Bible or allow it to cause me anxiety.

    I was also raised, not ‘in the church’, but attending church every Sunday. I have read the entire Bible many times over, not in order, and not as a project, but as a source of reference. I realize that this alone does not make me a Christian. Ever since I was a wee lad, I was taught that when you accept Christ into your heart, and acknowledge that Jesus died for our collective sins, then you are a Christian. I was always looking for some sort of tangible validation, like a certificate, or proof that I had done this.

    Here we find common ground.

    I also do not believe that logic and faith are mutually exclusive. There are many things in this life, on this Earth, that defy explanation, and are not bound by any known laws, yet they still exist. For years, folks thought the Earth was flat. There were those who believed that the Earth was the center of the universe, and everything revolved around her. Back in those days, they could not prove it until navigators sailed the ocean blue and mapped what they saw, and Galileo, at risk of committing heresy, asserted his theory of heliocentrism.

    Times, they change.

    I think you are a good man, Jim (I’m not judging you, I just think you’re pretty cool), and that is all I try to be. A good father, a good husband, a good MAN. I do not live to please others, or even consciously to please the Lord, but for my own peace of mind. Conflict between real life and the written Word do not cause me anxiety, but I was never in your shoes.

    One thing I would like to know though, is what your parents were like before they became Born Again. Was there a difference in them before and after? How do you think this changed you – I mean, what do you think would have happened if you weren’t immersed so deeply in your faith to begin with?

  2. Jim, I understand what you went through. For me, it was very much the same, although I came to have doubts about my faith through other conflicts. I was taught to not use my brain to seek knowledge, but to seek to perfectly follow the word of God. But I couldn’t accept that I had a perfectly good brain that I couldn’t use.

    It was worse when I started researching Christian history and found much of what I had been taught was outright wrong or misinterpreted. Maybe if I hadn’t been brought up with such a literal interpretation my reaction wouldn’t have been so strong. But it ended up leading to a complete loss of faith. I’m happy where I am and I wouldn’t change how I feel now. I feel free. It feels good to be myself for myself, and not for other people. And I feel like I’m a better person, overall.

    I look forward to the rest of your story.

  3. Todd,

    Thanks for your reply, and thanks for the kind words. One thing I fear about the new blog format is that Christians of all sorts might feel as if I’m judging them personally for their faith. That’s not a way to nurture healthy dialog–and it’s not really where I’m coming from.

    I think Christians are collectively contributing to a harmful world view–this message is the overall goal of this blog. However, I also believe that collective Christianity is comprised of mostly good people!

    You asked:
    “One thing I would like to know though, is what your parents were like before they became Born Again”

    They were roughly the same, with two differences:
    First, my Step-dad stopped drinking. Second, they both began enforcing a Christian world view in the household. They did this by believing anything and everything they were taught–as long as the source was Christian.

    Basically, one addiction was traded for another.

  4. Ordinary Girl–welcome! Stand by for more of my story.

  5. Tempted as I am to leave a “response”, it seems that the rest of the story might be critical to any legitimate comment. Clearly there is a bitterness in your soul that has to have come from something more than just your own questioning of yur parents God. I’m eagerly awaiting the rest of the story.

  6. Does bitterness invalidate a conclusion?

    Wouldn’t you be bitter if you had been persuaded to live a lie for 33 years of your life?

    While I hope I’m not bitter, I might be. I also hope that I’m not motivated by bitterness. I kept quiet about my deconversion until recent years, and my motivation for speaking out has not been bitterness (since that hasn’t changed). What’s changed is how I’m learning about the ongoing destructive influence of Christianity on our culture. It needs to be stopped; that is my motivation.

  7. Hey I’ve known Jim for practically his entire life, and I can tell you that he is one of the LEAST bitter people I have ever encountered. And I know a thing or two about bitterness.

    I find it rather interesting that, when (many) Christians spew vitriol toward those who don’t believe, or those with different morals or personal orientations (i.e., atheism, homosexuality, et al), then somehow the aforementioned vitriol is justified as some sort of righteous indignation or something — akin to Jeremiah or Moses screeching at those pesky Israelites. However, when the other side responds in kind, suddenly it’s all about ‘bitterness’.

    If all (or at least most) Christians were as loving, tolerant, forgiving, selfless, and kind as their actual doctrine instructs them to be, then few would be hostile toward them or their religion. It’s the 2000 years of ugly, often brutal, behavior on the part of Christians, plenty of which continues today, that gets unbelievers all riled up.

    Also, in the case of the topic of this particular blog, when you are dealing with folks who were force-fed Fundamentalist dogma before they were old enough to even think for themselves, and later they realized to their horror that they had been raised to live according to half-truths, misinterpretations, and downright lies, some of them are bound to get just a teensy bit snarky about it. And quite rightly so.

    * * *

  8. Hostility abounds.
    I did not say Jim is a bitter person…not even remotely. I suggest that he seems to have a bitterness in his soul that comes from something more than just questioning his parents’ God.
    And he himself pretty much agrees that such a bitterness exists.
    That’s not any kind of judgement on who he is, or what kind of person he is.
    I point blank said that I prefer to wait for the entire story before drawing any conclusions.
    Seems like screeching with your own righteous indignation is okay…?

  9. Deb, you’re obviously a narrow-minded, nasty little person. Or, rather, you’ve got narrow-mindedness and nastiness in your soul. But, of course, I don’t mean that in a judgmental way.

    Get it? See how insincere and stupid that sounds?

    If you say that someone — whom, by the way, you know nothing about — has ‘bitterness in his soul’, you are calling him BITTER. And that is a JUDGMENT.

    Hell, if you wanna judge people, I don’t give a shit — I do it all the time. Just be friggin’ HONEST about it and don’t play this bullshit game where you slam somebody and then get to feel good about yourself because you pretend not to be judgmental. They have a word for that. It starts with HYPO and ends with CRITE.

    * * *

  10. I’m not reading Deb’s comment as you are, Bri. Admittedly, saying that she’s reluctant to comment until she gets the whole story — but not so reluctant that she she doesn’t comment after all — is a bit disingenuous, and she’s ascribing an emotional state to Jim’s “soul” that feels more like a personal judgement to me than a conclusion derived from what he’s written. But I got the sense she’s trying to keep an open mind and was merely encouraging Jim to say more. I don’t think she was judging him or calling *him* bitter.

    I could be wrong, though. It happens. Rarely.

  11. This complete immersion you talk of, and then emerging from it, it reminds me of my own experiences of love, where love replaces the world outside, until the connection is so total that even the slightest speck is noticeable. From that point, the love is under a continuing assault as the world gradually returns and love finds itself outside, a neat and usually heart-breaking reversal.

    From that point, I wonder, do you say it’s over and walk away, or do you say, this is a cycle that can now repeat, and if you have reached this point, each act now can begin to erode this distance and let love renew itself.

    With that in mind, what happened to you, with regard to how you experienced this breaking apart of your faith, did you find yourself vindicated, finally, because you were able to love more of humanity with more genuine feeling, once you were released from these biblical shackles?

    This could, in my opinion, be a worthwhile thing to post on.

  12. Jim,
    Thanks for your honesty and your openness in your posts. I find it very interesting and I do not judge you in the slightest.

    I thank you for even going out of your way to mention that you are not judging Christians for their faith.

    I am also looking forward to the rest of your story.

  13. Jim,

    One sincere question that I have so far is “do you think that you really loved Jesus and knew him personally, or do you think that you were more immersed in the “church” with all of it’s problems and inconsistencies?”

    I ask this because the “church” and “organized religion” has a history of problems and inconsistencies that do not necessarily espouse the true heart of God.

  14. Ted asked:
    “do you think that you really loved Jesus and knew him personally,”

    No I didn’t Ted. I *thought* I did, just like you think you do, but I didn’t, and neither do you.

    I loved the *Idea* of Jesus (as you do, I’m sure) and my experience was as genuine as anyone’s. That is, as genuine as “self-deception” can possibly be.

    Next question:
    “Do you think that you were more immersed in the “church” with all of it’s problems and inconsistencies?”

    I was, and so are you. Ted if you try to justify faith by saying “you can’t base it on the faithful.” I welcome you to show me any other tangible, physical, provable evidence that a true “relationship” with God is possible. (I warn you, I’m going to test your evidence against the rigors of critical reasoning.)

    By the way … you’re not Ted Haggard are you?

  15. Kingfelix,

    I think the experience of heartbreak and loss of faith are similar in some ways, but very different in another.

    It’s similar to heartbreak because you are supremely disappointed in something that was the most important area of trust in your life. But what happened to me was actually more of (ironically) a “rebirth” … where I finally found the courage to think critically, and start from a blank slate and only write things on the slate that were unarguably true. The slate has all kinds of stuff on it now, but nothing about God or religion.

    It’s not the sort of thing that is a cycle. But I know of many “Christians” who have left their faith due to cognitive dissonance, but quickly returned to it because they were too terrified of a godless universe. So for them it is a cycle.

    I think there will be lots to post on this subject. I hate to sound like a religious fanatic, but for as much as Christians say that a “True” convert will never leave the faith, I would also say that a true de-convert will never go back. Because when you truly de-convert your mind obtains a shape that can no longer fit into that hole again.

  16. Jim,

    You said ”
    Ted asked:
    “do you think that you really loved Jesus and knew him personally,”

    No I didn’t Ted. I *thought* I did, just like you think you do, but I didn’t, and neither do you.”

    Then you said ” Next question:
    “Do you think that you were more immersed in the “church” with all of it’s problems and inconsistencies?”

    I was, and so are you.”

    Isn’t that awfully presumptuous of you? Don’t know where the hostility came from. I just asked a simple question.

    Are you so sure of the world around you that you are absolutely positive about how the world works? You are saying that you have the answer to the meaning of life? You seem to know so much, even what I think and feel and know in my own heart? Wow.

    This is a side of you that I have not seen. I don’t know who Ted Haggard is and I am not him.

  17. Perhaps my response was too strong, I apologize. I just felt defensive when you told me that I don’t love Jesus and that I am immersed in the “church”.

    Since you don’t know me, it feels aggressive.

  18. Ted, you’re reading hostility where there isn’t any. Well, I don’t have hostility toward *you* … but I have extreme dislike for the deception that you and people like you are under.

    I’m only stating facts. You don’t have a relationship with a man who died 2,000 years ago. I know you *think* you do, but you don’t.

    However, I’m open to being wrong–but only in the face of evidence. If you think you do, then show me evidence.

  19. It’s similar to heartbreak because you are supremely disappointed in something that was the most important area of trust in your life. But what happened to me was actually more of (ironically) a “rebirth” … where I finally found the courage to think critically, and start from a blank slate and only write things on the slate that were unarguably true. The slate has all kinds of stuff on it now, but nothing about God or religion.

    When I say “cycle”, I want to be clear, I do not mean it begins again from zero, each cycle contains more and more from the previous cycles, call it bitter experience, wisdom, etc. The point is this sort of drawing in and then the being drawn back out (against the will, strange, as the falling in love may feel like it’s against the will, too).

    As for the blank slate, isn’t it more of a palimpsest? I am not somebody idealistic enough to think that throwing off one set of engrams/programs/beliefs/conditioning etc is sufficient to think that the rain has passed and things are pristine again.

    What I was getting at, and I am not connecting this to heartbreak, but, for me, the breakdown of my Christian programming was hastened by the fact that Christians do not appear able, in the main, to love as many people as you might expect for people ready to proclaim that “God is love”, so, for example, I can love homosexuals, etc, without reserve, just as I would extend my love to those being slaughtered in the Middle East, and so on, while Christians appear unwilling to tread this path. Therefore, for me, Christianity is a constriction, and no better than anything else that stands in the way of feeling.

    That was my extended thought.

    As for Ted, please, please, get rid of him, he is not contributing a single damn thing but dissonance.

  20. Jim,
    I understand that if you think that the premise of my faith is bad or wrong or evil – then you would think that I am deceived. You don’t hate the person who is deceived, but you hate the institution that is deceiving millions of people.

    This is very similar to hating the sin and not the sinner. You say some Christians are good people but are harmful to society. What they are “doing” is dangerous because they could deceive others and so on.

    A Christian may say the same thing about a homosexual or an atheist. Some homosexuals are good people but are deceived. They may be harmful to society because they spread this belief and they may deceive many others into thinking that this is a healthy lifestyle.

    Your whole premise that Christianity is harmful to society is proof that you are doing the same thing.

    kingfelix is confused. He thinks that Christians are unwilling to love homosexuals or people being slaughtered in the Middle East. kingfelix also apparently wants censorship.

    Our positions are very similar, more similar than you might think. We both have firm beliefs and think that our own positions are “the only way”.

    Atheist’s seem to have an elitist position that doesn’t allow for any dissonance- even more so than Christianity. You are saying that you KNOW that I don’t love Jesus.

    What is love? Can you love justice? Can you love love?

    It sounds like we are going down the path of Is “God real?” if you say that I don’t love Jesus because Jesus isn’t real.

    It appears that you, like so many, put the burden of proof on the Theist. Whether you are an Atheist or a Theist, there is a certain amount of faith and a certain amount of knowledge.

  21. I found this on the internet and I agree with it, so I’ll just paste it here for you to refute if you want to go down this particular path:

    “Causation. God provides the best explanation for the existence of the universe and all that’s in it. (The alternative theory is that “nothing” exploded and resulted in everything that we see.)

    Order. God provides the best explanation for abstract notions such as numbers, mathematical formulae, chemical-based processes, and natural laws. (The alternative theory is that the chaotic first elements ordered themselves into complex information systems.)

    Design. God provides the best explanation for the absolute complexity inherent in cosmological, stellar, planetary, chemical and biological systems. (The alternative theory is that random chance engineered apparent design.)

    Encoded Instructions. God provides the best explanation for the digital DNA code contained in and controlling the functions of all life on earth. (The alternative theory is that complex code, such as binary code running computers, can pop into existence without any kind of programming, testing and debugging process.)

    Irreducible Complexity. God provides the best explanation for fully functioning biological organisms, systems, and subsystems that couldn’t come about through gradual evolutionary process without totally ceasing to exist at lower, evolutionary levels. (The alternative theory is that biological systems took huge, unseen leaps from simple to complex without any guided process or forward-looking instructions.)

    Duality. God provides the best explanation for the separate human functions of brain and conscience (matter and mind). (The alternative theory is monism — only matter exists and the human brain only appears to have a separate subconscious ability.)

    Morality. God provides the best explanation for the existence of love, emotion, altruism, and inherent moral/ethical values throughout the world. (The alternative theory is that unguided materialistic processes evolve higher human consciousness.)”

  22. Ted, regarding the comparison to “hate the sin but love the sinner,” you’re close enough to agree with. 🙂

    We’ll get into the meat of the discussion soon, and address the points you’re making re: the harm that Christians do to society. They are doing it unwittingly, of course (except for some).

    To clarify, I do think it’s possible for you to love Jesus, even though he is an abstraction. However, I don’t think it’s possible for you to have a relationship with him for the same reason. Although I suppose it’s a psychological argument to determine if someone can have a relationship with an imaginary friend.

    And Ted, you *do* have the burden of proof. You are the one who claims that yo have a relationship with something that I see no proof of. If I were to claim that I am friends with a yeti, then it would be up to me to prove that he exists. Trying to prove that something doesn’t exist is called a universal negative–it can’t be done. You can’t prove that my yeti buddy doesn’t exist either.

    And Ted, I’ve asked you not to post long clips from other people’s work. Please link it. Otherwise, you’re getting way off topic anyway with that last post.

  23. Jim,
    I was attempting to show that there are evidences for the existence of God. This wasn’t such a long post, but I understand and will put the links instead in the future.

    There are solid evidences in that post and those are just general. We can get very specific if you want to.

    I was staying on topic because you said that I don’t love Jesus because he doesn’t exist, right?

    We’ll I was pointing to things in this life that can point to a creator.

    You are not disputing the historical Jesus are you? Are you saying that he didn’t exist on this planet?
    Or, are you saying that he was just a man that existed who said that he was God and God’s son but died like everyone else and is now part of the earth like dust?

  24. http://www.godandscience.org/apologetics/atheismintro.html

    There is an interesting link here if you care to look at it.

  25. Ted,

    What you posted were conclusions, not evidence. It may make sense TO YOU that God is the best explanation for each of the things you copy/pasted, but that is a far cry from evidence and it does NOT make sense TO US. Back in the 1600s, floating in water was “proof” that you were a witch. Now we laugh at that “evidence.”

    Dealing with just the first item you posted, Causation, your “alternative theory” is THE accepted scientific explanation and it goes much further toward explaining the universe and everything in it than “God must have done it because that’s what makes sense to me.” That’s no explanation AT ALL, and it’s certainly not proof.

    Clearly, we reject each others’ explanations. The difference is that ours is supported by evidence, yours by faith. If you’re going to play here in the “show me” sandbox with the big kids, you’re going to need to bring something more than “I can’t show it, but I believe it, so I know it’s true.”

  26. Jim, I know I am jumping in late here and may not have the refined skills that seem to be required as indicated by Chuck, however I wanted to state my point of view.

    As for the conflict to wanting to do what I do not do, and doing what i do not want to do and still being secure in my faith, I have an opinion. I dont believe God wanted to create the robots, I know you have heard this before and it seems very simple and maybe not worthy of the “show me” sand box but hear me out. I have kids, two little ones. I love them very much and would in fact die for them if need be. I also had some little part in creating them. My point is that I have rules for them that are meant to protect them and to help them survive and thrive in our world and spiritually. They do not, of course, always follow my rules or desires, I still love them, and I know they still love me although I am sure they get frustrated when the failing to meet all the expectations. In fact I take great pleasure when they learn from their failures or defiances. I feel that God feels the same about us.

    As far as sexual desires, God gave us that, and I thank Him for it. He, as you know, says that we should be with our spouses sexually unless we are taking time out to pray. The desire is there for many reasons I believe. I am married so easier said than done I assume. Again just some thoughts.

  27. “Causation. God provides the best explanation for the existence of the universe and all that’s in it. (The alternative theory is that “nothing” exploded and resulted in everything that we see.)”

    I may as well attribute the fact the apartment was cleaned in my absence to elves (until the cleaning lady and her duplicate key introduce themselves).

    Conclusions extrapolated from simple descriptions prove nothing but your own determination to believe, come what may.

  28. “Morality. God provides the best explanation for the existence of love, emotion, altruism, and inherent moral/ethical values throughout the world. (The alternative theory is that unguided materialistic processes evolve higher human consciousness.)”

    Okay, that could be taken as the existence of God being proven. So why not Allah, why not Yahweh, why not… Why Jesus Christ, Ted? And, if you ever invoke a relativism slant to your “reasoning” here, don’t you dare say that the “choice” of being a Christian is because you come from a Christian culture (unless, oh wait, God created you in a Christian culture out of special love for you that he does not extend to all those he creates in Muslim cultures).

  29. Hi John, and welcome.

    I understand your metaphor and yes I am familiar with it. But have you questioned the source of that metaphor? The very metaphor you use is, in my mind, the most likely source of God.

    Humans, without the ability to answer very difficult questions, placed the most familiar paradigm they knew “over” the one they lived–that of parents and children. When a man sat alone at night–his parents dead–with no one to turn to for guidance, he turned to the sky and fabricated a great parent who could answer his very difficult questions. Why is there no food? Where will the next hunt be? Please protect us from harm!

    It’s so obvious to me. All the things we turn to our parents for when we are children, we turn to an imaginary parent for as adults. That is where God came from.

    But if you take the metaphor further, John, it paints an ugly picture. Your “God parent” created his children with biological and psychological desires–then forbade them from meeting those desires–and unless those children surrender their will over to the parent, they aren’t just sent to their room. They are thrown into *eternal* torment.

    John, I’m sure you are a MUCH better father than the God you worship.

  30. kinfelix, you said “Okay, that could be taken as the existence of God being proven. So why not Allah, why not Yahweh, why not… Why Jesus Christ, Ted? And, if you ever invoke a relativism slant to your “reasoning” here, don’t you dare say that the “choice” of being a Christian is because you come from a Christian culture (unless, oh wait, God created you in a Christian culture out of special love for you that he does not extend to all those he creates in Muslim cultures).”

    If we agree on the existence of God, then we can discuss why Jesus. There are many evidences and proofs, historical, archeological, physical…

    Do we agree?

  31. (I tried to submit this as one longer post, but it wouldn’t let me, so I’m cutting it into two posts)

    Jim,

    I’m convinced that God loves you so much and is not finished with you, even if you think you are finished with him. You may give up on him, but he will continually have his arms open for you. I think anger is healthy. Saying to God, “Why did you make me this way if this way isn’t pleasing to you” is good to communicate to God and to others. You are saying that he forces your hand to not believe in him because that doesn’t make sense!

    I can empathize with your situation or “cognitive dissonance”. I’m sure you spent years with this and did your own soul searching and that is why you feel the way you do today. Are you ruling out the possibility that someone in a similar situation could not soul search and have a different conclusion?

    There are a couple of thoughts here (it may be helpful to the discussion as to what your sexual desires were/are [ pre-marital sex, sexual addiction, homosexuality, etc] 1- Did God make you this way? Just because he made you, does it mean that he made you “this way”. 2- If God didn’t make you “this way” is it right to blame him for your situation? 3- By the definition of God, he can’t be wrong and subjected to the rules of earthly logic as we know them. The created thing cannot accurately question the creator, because it is inherent that the created thing would not and could not know what the creator knows.

    If we have a desire to do something or actually do something that is contrary to God’s desires for us, he calls that sin. He knows that we are all subjected to living a life of sin, and rather than leave us in our sin, a loving God chose to sacrifice himself for us.

    God is our heavenly father and the creator of us all. He is the one who created the family unit in the first place and he is the one who gave us the metaphor so that we could better understand HIM.

    Even if our own earthly father’s were not good to us, we understand what a good father is like because of what God has revealed to us. We can understand the concept of us being children and our father being wiser and we learn to trust.

    It appears that your trust was broken probably because of your struggle with your sexual desires. Since you have the background that you say you do (although you said you never really loved Jesus which is another deep aspect of the entire situation) you should understand that your fate of eternal damnation is NOT dependent on your sexual actions.

    The Bible says that if you have faith alone in Christ alone that he was the Son of God who died as a living sacrifice for your sins then you will have eternal life.

    That, according to the Bible, is the crux of salvation. That is so simple that even a child can understand it so that all might be saved. Sometimes we want to convolute that message with WORKS for some reason that we could discuss at another time.

  32. … continuation:

    God gives us instructions and wisdom so that we can live a life that is pleasing to him, not just to ourselves. This is what is meant by dying to ourselves and living in Christ. Most people don’t want to do this because they consider themselves their own *gods* and they want to please numero uno even at the expense of their friends or family or spouse or lover, etc.

    Now, we can argue why did you make me to please YOU? That’s not fair. I don’t like it, and I won’t do it. The EASIEST way to rectify that feeling is to just erase God altogether. Find a WORLDVIEW that suites your own needs and justifies your feelings and created values. This will appear to satisfy, but I submit that by the end of your days you may realize that this does not truly satisfy and that a “God shaped hole or vacuum” still exists in your heart/soul somewhere.

    This is not to say that I HOPE it does. I hope that you find peace and joy in your life. Wouldn’t it be great if really all paths did lead to God or Heaven? Then we wouldn’t have to argue at all! Or in your case if all paths lead to a continuation of random chaos then again, we all don’t have to argue either!

    Who really cares what happens if we are all just a product of random chaos anyway? Why would you create a website against another religion, person, race, sexual orientation, etc.? I could be a Christian, or an axe murderer or a poet. It’s all part of the carnival of life and whether we live or die, there really is no eternal purpose- so live and let live!

    Throw morals out the window, because your morals might not fit with my own.

    Here is a quote from the section: Authenticity, Fate, and the Theology of Mickey Knox

    “The fable of intelligible freedom: Now one finally discovers that this human nature, too, cannot be accountable, in as much as it is a necessary consequence and assembled from the elements and influences of things past and present: That is to say that man can be made accountable for nothing, not for his nature, nor for his motives, nor for his actions, nor for the effects he produces. One has thereby attained to the knowledge that the history of the moral sensations is the history of an error, the error of accountability which rests on the error of freedom of the will…The proposition is as clear as daylight, and yet here everyone prefers to retreat back into the shadows and untruth: from fear of the consequences. (Nietzsche, Human, All Too Human in The Vision of Nietzsche, 66.)”

    That site is http://www.geocities.com/Hollywood/2682/heidi1.htm a discussion about Natural Born Killers

  33. God gives us instructions and wisdom so that we can live a life that is pleasing to him, not just to ourselves. This is what is meant by dying to ourselves and living in Christ. Most people don’t want to do this because they consider themselves their own *gods* and they want to please numero uno even at the expense of their friends or family or spouse or lover, etc.

    Now, we can argue why did you make me to please YOU? That’s not fair. I don’t like it, and I won’t do it. The EASIEST way to rectify that feeling is to just erase God altogether. Find a WORLDVIEW that suites your own needs and justifies your feelings and created values. This will appear to satisfy, but I submit that by the end of your days you may realize that this does not truly satisfy and that a “God shaped hole or vacuum” still exists in your heart/soul somewhere.

    This is not to say that I HOPE it does. I hope that you find peace and joy in your life. Wouldn’t it be great if really all paths did lead to God or Heaven? Then we wouldn’t have to argue at all! Or in your case if all paths lead to a continuation of random chaos then again, we all don’t have to argue either!

    Who really cares what happens if we are all just a product of random chaos anyway? Why would you create a website against another religion, person, race, sexual orientation, etc.? I could be a Christian, or an axe murderer or a poet. It’s all part of the carnival of life and whether we live or die, there really is no eternal purpose- so live and let live!

    Throw morals out the window, because your morals might not fit with my own.

    Here is a quote from the section: Authenticity, Fate, and the Theology of Mickey Knox

    “The fable of intelligible freedom: Now one finally discovers that this human nature, too, cannot be accountable, in as much as it is a necessary consequence and assembled from the elements and influences of things past and present: That is to say that man can be made accountable for nothing, not for his nature, nor for his motives, nor for his actions, nor for the effects he produces. One has thereby attained to the knowledge that the history of the moral sensations is the history of an error, the error of accountability which rests on the error of freedom of the will…The proposition is as clear as daylight, and yet here everyone prefers to retreat back into the shadows and untruth: from fear of the consequences. (Nietzsche, Human, All Too Human in The Vision of Nietzsche, 66.)”

  34. That site is http://www.geocities.com/Hollywood/2682/heidi1.htm a discussion about Natural Born Killers

  35. kingfelix,
    Your post”
    “Causation. God provides the best explanation for the existence of the universe and all that’s in it. (The alternative theory is that “nothing” exploded and resulted in everything that we see.)”

    I may as well attribute the fact the apartment was cleaned in my absence to elves (until the cleaning lady and her duplicate key introduce themselves).

    Conclusions extrapolated from simple descriptions prove nothing but your own determination to believe, come what may.”

    I admit that I do have a strong determination to believe in God, and I have a tendency to want to see things through a Biblical world view. I’m sure that an Atheist as well as a Theist is guilty of this at times.

    What I was referring to was First Cause. ” Atheism contradicts its own worldview by believing the universe has a natural cause despite the lack of observational evidence for such a belief.”

  36. Ok. I’m obviously late on this. I also think my words would be taken in a way that I might be wrong too. I am a Christian. But not the “Christian” you write about. To me, it’s not even being a Christian, its being able to understand what is and what isn’t. I constantly am looking at each view and find it interesting. I, like the U.S. gov’t is, does not make either side “guilty”, or wrong in this case, unless proven wrong. Now I haven’t been able to prove either side wrong, but very ironically, both sides to be somewhat true. Take the big-bang theory. Common of anti-creationist people. However, who said in the Bible that did not happen? At least as far as the earth goes. Humans, however, did not come from whatever it is evolution follows. I presume a one-celled organism. Even crazier, I believe, as the Bible says, we came from the dust. A bigger reason why I say neigh to the one-cell to us theory thing is because of how that supposedly happened. I mean it is something simple into us now, which is capable of producing so many cells that we cannot count. Not only that but that would mean we came from a BASIC design. Is anything around us coming from anything basic? I haven’t seen anything. But that’s how I feel on the start.

    As for the logistics of the Bible and everything, if I truly believe what it says, not what people say it says, but what I find to be true, then how can we begin to even understand who/what made us when we cannot even fully understand ourselves!

    But that is just a little of what I believe. In no way do I think less of anyone on here defending any view posted about. But I would like to hear what others think. It’s not for mere funn or proving anyone wrong, it is for understanding that we should have discussions.


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