By Bill J
In my opinion, many Christians do not feel free to be themselves. Christians have a need to present to the world a belief that because they know God, they know peace, joy and the meaning of life and so on. Usually they explain short comings as a result of some personal un-dealt with sin, not being baptized in the Spirit, not reading the Word enough, not praying enough, not going to church enough, not seeing a real Christian counselor, not tithing, not being under spiritual authority and so on.
Sometimes you are led to believe the devil or demons have a hold of you. The reasons for not living the life you are promised in the Bible, or over coming some sin in your life, are many, complex and varied depending on your church, pastor, theology, denomination, etc. It usually drives people nutty if they don’t fall into one of the explainable answers that may or may not provide relief or a solution. I’ve seen many a confused person leave the church after not fitting into one of the explainable answers or getting relief to their particular problem.
In my opinion, a Christian's feeling of failure occurs after their many attempts to rid themselves of some real or perceived short coming and the failure of the church or God to answer their need. I hear this theme in a number of my fellow de-converted brothers and sisters. As an example, a friend of mine was having constant marital problems. After, more then 11 years of attending the same church, the pastor finally told my friend that the church no longer knew what to do for he and his wife. My friend finally took his wife to Kaiser Permanente for treatment. They diagnosed her with a mental health condition which finally gave him an idea of what the problem was and tools to help his wife and save their marriage. My friend, his wife and their children could have avoided 11 years of doubt, guilt and insecurity if the pastor and the church had looked at their issues in a more educated and informed manner rather than some perceived shortcoming in their Christian life.
When we are trapped inside our belief system and it doesn't provide relief from our cognitive dissonance we need to look elsewhere for the answer. Christianity provides limited answers on many issues such as the death of a child, or what to do with a mentally ill spouse.
I could go on and on.
I know the pabulum Christians give as an attempt to answer questions like these. I know because I spent most of my life in church, Bible College and seminary learning them. Those answers never quite relieve the dissonance created by problem. Christians must believe they have the answer because they are vested in their belief. They can't afford to doubt, because what is the alternative? My de-conversion began in this way. I found that my beliefs failed to address personal issues in my life.
When I finally gave up going to church, reading the bible, and praying I finally stopped feeling guilty and ashamed. I finally felt free to be me. I discovered that I loved and cared for people because it made sense. I wasn't compelled because of beliefs and I was no less of a person for not doing all the Christian things I used to do. I was finally free to look at myself and the world without religious colored glasses.
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Online Reading List
- An Outline of Intellectual Rubbish by Bertrand Russell (1943)
- Bible Teaching and Religious Practice by Mark Twain
- God is Imaginary
- Is there an Artificial God? by Douglas Adams (1998)
- Skeptics Annotated Bible
- The Age of Reason by Thomas Paine (1795)
- Which Way? by Robert Ingersoll (1884).
- Why I Am Not A Christian by Bertrand Russell (1927)