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7/22/2007                                                                                       View Comments

If the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed

By George D

I sat yesterday in traffic in front of the Third Baptist Church waiting for the interminably omniscient red light to grant mercy by letting me free from yet another delay. I was running way behind schedule. Seemed like every "Sunday driver" was out in force, conspiring with slow moving construction vehicles and endless red lights to make my day typical of one in hell -- if such a place exists. The sign read, "If the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed." I couldn't figure out if the church secretary, who no doubt posted the sign, was thinking of the red traffic light, encouraging motorists to pray for a light change and experience first hand the power of freedom through prayer, or if the words, taken from the lips of Jesus allegedly 2,000 years ago, were to be applied only to more esoteric matters, like taking that one-way drive through Hades and its countless red lights. I was hoping it was the former, not the latter.

As a former fundamentalist, I once thought the words were supposed to be applied to my life on an everyday basis. I was taught that if Jesus set me free, I would be free from personal hang-ups, free from psychological anomalies, free from life-dominating sins, free from prejudice, free from low self-esteem and free from debt. That I would be free from God's judgment, free from my sin nature, free to love my fellow man and free to become anything, (in Christ, mind you), I wanted to be. Coupled with this verse was also parroted the fact that I “would know the truth and the truth will make me free." Neither of these verses, in my thirty five years as a Christian, ever turned out to be an actual experience in my life. In fact, as I looked at the lives of my fellow believers it was not true for them, either. I saw personal hang-ups by the truck load: in fact, I began to realize people are drawn to the faith because of their hang-ups, not in spite of them. "Church should be a hospital for the soul-sick and weary," pastors often proclaimed. Boy was it ever. I saw psychological problems of every variety, largely unsolved as the sufferer was waiting on God for the miracle of "being set free."

I knew a grown man who wept like a third grade girl for weeks because a teenage boy he had "nurtured" through the years was going off to the Marines instead of Bible School. The man's wife could only look on in helpless puzzlement. I saw prejudice of every stripe and variety: especially against those who didn't quite believe the same doctrines, or prayed to a statue of a woman with her heart hanging on her chest instead of in it. And I met people who couldn't handle money, so steeped in debt they would never see daylight, praying for a financial miracle while faithfully dropping their tithe in the offering plate as a "seed" for God to work with. (As if he needed any seeds...didn’t he once say all the seed-bearing fruit was given to man, not to give back to God, but to eat?)

Most important, though, I never found that all-elusive freedom so often promised by Jesus and his followers in my own experience... until I left the faith. Then I found freedom from an oppressive code of conduct, from an all-frowning God, from a nit-picking, backstabbing, critical people and from my own condemning conscience. My advice is this: don't believe every church sign you read. Especially if they're planted at red lights.

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16 comments:

Bill said...

"so steeped in debt they would never see daylight, praying for a financial miracle while faithfully dropping their tithe in the offering plate as a "seed" for God to work with"

Great article. One of the greatest and successful cons of Christianity is the line I heard in the many Jerry Falwell sound bites after his death.

"The best time to tithe is when you are at your at your worst financially."

Then they panned to that fat fuck hopping on a private Gulfstream jet.

Even when I believed, and my finances were in good shape I would tithe around .5% tops. If I was having trouble paying the bills I would tithe O%. How the fuck can people be such idiots?

xrayman

John of Indiana said...

"so steeped in debt they would never see daylight, praying for a financial miracle while faithfully dropping their tithe in the offering plate as a "seed" for God to work with"

Ain't that the freakin' Truth.

Here I was, trying to keep it together with a wife and new baby, fighting to keep the damn gas and electric turned on, only to find that my dear Pentecostal wife (who cheated on me. I guess Gawd told her it was OK) was dropping 10% into the plate for the preacher who drove a new Sedan DeVille.

Sometimes, I'd be less than $20 short of keeping the gas on. Go Figure.

Bill said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bill said...

Good article. I can relate. I always wondered why people continued to give when people like Falwell lived in mansions, flew in private jets and drove expensive cars. What's up with that? I thought the apostles demonstrated that Christians should live to serve God not themselves. Please, how does living like a rich SOB show that one is serving God. Even Billy Graham and his son made/make more a year then I will ever make as a public servant. The name it and claim it stuff is even worse. What a load of junk. I remember seeing this preacher on TV from LA talking about how the apostles were rich from their businesses. That was why they were able to serve God and not have to work. While he was preaching, he talked about his $800.00 hand made shoes.

Anonymous said...

someone once told me that the reason i was losing faith was because i was looking for god in my own selfish situation instead of looking around at the divine proof surrounding me. I read the bible and it says delight yourself in the lord and he will give you the desires of your heart then I look around and see children praying fervently that their dad won't beat up on them. Who gives them the desire of their heart?
And how about this promise they that seek the lord shall not want any good thing. tell that to a million starving christians.
Even as I write this I have a tinge of fear that I am blaspheming the spirit by using the bible against 'god' see how christianity stuffs with people offering false hope then false fear it sucks.

Nvrgoingbk said...

Ah yes, those black billboards with bold white writing meant to humble and humor us at the same time are lost on me. How about the "Don't make me come down there...-God" sign that is meant to put the fear of His holy retribution in us. What a load of shit!

If there is a God, I wish to Jesus his ass WOULD get down here and right all that is wrong with this world, but he's too busy worrying about what people "believe" to do anything about the Jeffery Dahmers, Stalins and Hussains of the world. He's too preoccupied with how much we're dropping in the offering plate to send a little rain on Ethiopia or stop the genocide in Sudan. I mean, who's got time for AIDS, Ebola, and Cancer when there are so many HEATHEN out there not believing in his only begotten offspring?

SpaceMonk said...

"...an all-frowning God..."
he he, that's another one to add to the list of omni's

jimearl said...

Hi Tiff.

Just read your comments and wanted to add a little.

You mentioned Jeffery Dahmer and what a coincidence. I was just thinking about him yesterday on a bike ride I was doing. My thoughts were about how he was saved before he died in prison so now he must be in heaven enjoying his evening meals with the same boys he ate while on earth. I wonder if he would comment something like, "Oh, fancy meeting you guys here, small heaven, huh."

Just the thought of that would show any reasonable person how stupid someone has to be in order to accept what the bible teaches.

SpaceMonk said...

Maybe he only converted in order to get seconds?

webmdave said...

i can't help but think you just went to a not very good church. it doesn't sound like the one i go to

webmdave said...

Aren't you Ted? Ted Hitler from Bowling Green, Kentucky? Son of Ona Mae and Landis P. Hitler? You're the Ted Hilter who gave that conference entitled "Jews, Jesus and Armageddon?" Yes? I recall your opening line: "Let me introduce myself. I'm Ted. Ted Hitler. Me and my two sadistic, ADD brothers...Well, we like to sneak off to the local zoo for days at a time and sleep with the monkeys and torture penguins with fireworks." If you are not Ted, Ted Hitler, son of Ona Mae and Landis P. Hitler from Bowling Green, Kentucky, I will be very disappointed.

webmdave said...

Guest, I can't help but think you didn't go to a good school. You apparently do not understand the meaning of EX-Christian.

webmdave said...

I don't think those are all the same person, BP. My Inner Geek suspects it's a whole group of people using the same proxy server, and Disqus just sees the one IP address.

webmdave said...

I wondered if it was possible that this "Guest" profile was that of more than one person. But I didn't know how that would work. Thanks for the info, Ms. Geek Goddess. ;-)

webmdave said...

Any time, BP. I don't do IT professionally any more (found a day job that was more fun and a heck of a lot less stressful), but all that ├╝ber-techie data is permanently burned into My neurons.

webmdave said...

deleted

(moved)