By Bill J
Some Christians believe the church should resort to the old ways of the New Testament. They believe the church needs apostles, prophets, teachers, missionaries, pastors all working together in some spiritually accountable system. They fail to see outside of their own belief system. Belief is truth and if they just believed or established the true church everything would fall into place. They put their belief before evidence.
Does this remind you of other religious systems? They are desperately trying to establish what they believe is the right way or method to usher in the Kingdom of God. An old friend of mine from California, who wanted me to take over his church when I was a practicing Christian, is under this type of delusion. His life's work is tied to his vision of establishing an apostolic ministry so the true Kingdom of God can be ushered into the church. I'm sure he believes that once this is done all the signs and wonders will really accompany the church and people will really see the truth of Christianity and the church will finally act as it should and so one. He can’t really see how fractured Christians are in their beliefs.
There is no way Christians will ever agree and behave with unity and peace. The evidence is clearly against him. Even the early Christians disagreed with each other and established their own versions of Christianity. Some even killed rival groups. I call his vision a delusion, because delusions are false beliefs that do not go away with logical or accurate information
I think the other reason people struggle with confronting their beliefs, values, faith, or spiritual leaders is often rooted in fear: Fear of rejection, fear of damnation, fear of isolation, fear of losing meaning and purpose. You name it; it's possible to fear it. God even commands people to fear Him. Most of us probably find ourselves motivated by fear more times than we care to admit. I completely understand how crazy the duality of God’s love verses damnation appears now that I am out of the Christian church. How can anyone really follow God honestly if the alternative is death and damnation without reprieve?
Even in my youth and zeal to served God, I was always mindful of the alternative. I was lucky in one way. I came from the evangelical camp that believed in “once saved always saved.” It didn't, however, ease all my doubts. I still felt I had to prove my worth, you know, "I’ll show you my faith by my works" stuff.
I think de-conversion involves confronting the beliefs that motivate us. Leonard Pitts wrote, “Forget what you want to believe. Seek the truth and have the courage to believe that”. Seeking the truth to me means letting go of our security blanket called religion and having the courage to see where we land.
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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)