By Bill J
The hardest thing about letting go of cherished beliefs is the reality that you are now responsible for your life. There isn't a god trying to guide you toward his/her will. It's very difficult for most people to give up what gave them definition. I would like Christians to understand that every former Christian on this site made a tremendous and courageous decision to leave something very near and dear to them. Most if not all of them studies, prayed and gave their lives to serve god. Then they realized, for whatever reason, and there are many, that Christianity is not real. They began to leave their cocoon and look beyond the subtle and not so subtle brainwashing that had happened to them.
Once you get into arguments about the bible and god you will be tempted to forget that this isn’t just about what you believe. It will become personal and a quest to prove that you could not have been duped or fooled. It is very hard for the Christian to stop and put themselves in the shoes of an ex-Christian. It’s nearly impossible for current Christians to believe that anyone on this site was ever a Christian in the true sense of the word. Yet, we were and we left the faith. We no longer respect or value the former beliefs. Most Christians think we are deluded by the enemy or fooled by our own sin. Or they will simply believe that we were never really Christians to begin with. Whatever the case, I doubt you have the ability to step back and rationally accept us. As long as you hold true to supernatural beliefs and theologies you will never be able to understand us.
However, do me the favor of calling the elders of the church to come forward and pray for the sick. Tell me if the sick are healed. Show me the arm, leg or eye regenerated by god through pray of the faithful. Give me absolute proof like Thomas was given. Most if not all of the proof Christians have of the reality of god is emotionally driven. I hear over and over Christians say, I believe because god speaks to me and impresses me by his/her spirit. I have actually read about a Christian apologist, whom I know personally, claim god spoke to him verbally. It’s hard to refute supernatural beliefs because they can assume any shape to refute the rational person. I saw it happen when I did my student ministry at the Institute for Creation Research The other side of the coin is the fact that belief simply trumps truth. People believe what they want to believe. It takes a lot of cognitive dissonance to undue belief. Some people are just not capable of letting go of what they believe because the fear of the unknown or possible punishment from god is too great.
Most Christians were converted in their childhood and youth. The brain is extremely susceptible to fantastic beliefs in childhood. The ability to think long term and make good judgments doesn’t develop until a person is in their early 20’s. This is a common problem with youth. Can you imagine the power religion has over people when they are converted in their youth? When they become adults they have to fight their natural development to put away childish thinking and keep believing in things they can never prove or demonstrate.
It’s unbelievable the kind of thinking and that goes on in Christian circles today. I know because I was apart of them for decades. I’ve seen everything from casting out supposed demons to praying for paralyzed people 24 hours straight with, of course, no results. I’ve seen families judged by the church because there teenage daughter got pregnant. I’ve seen people abused sexually, emotionally, physically, financially and so on. I’ve witnessed the failure of good people who, even though they were indwelt with the Holy Spirit, do hurtful things to other Christians. I’ve seen the mentally ill treated with contempt for not overcoming their illness or for taking psychotropic drugs. I’ve seen prejudice and hate all in the name of god. The list goes on and on. The average Christian will tell you to look to Jesus but they conveniently put aside the concept that Christians are supposed to be known for their love. Christians don’t turn the other cheek; they support war if they believe it is a just cause. Our president claims to be a disciple of Christ and he started this war in Iraq. Christians often fail to see how there own cultural upbringing influence their beliefs. They become ethno-centric and equate their way of life with god’s way of life. They don’t give their all to serve their god; they give what works for them and forget the rest. They do what makes them feel superior and just.
The truth of the matter is, that for religion to be real and a conduit to the truth it needs to demonstrate universal consistency and rationally based evidence. It doesn’t and there isn’t anyway to do so. There is too much of “us” in religion and no real supernatural, rational, believable god behind it. There is no second coming, no mountains being moved, no arms or legs regenerated by god, no walking on water, no consistency in theology, eschatology, or doctrine and no ability to demonstrate that they, the Christians, have anything even close to proof that their lives are better, happier, purer, healthier, more moral or ethical or anything else that could be used to measure them by. Those cherished beliefs are no more than that. They do not equate to any measurable or quantifiable proof that god exists for indwells the believer.