And This is Why I am No Longer a Christian

I was raised Methodist in Maine, which means we never got carried away by zealotry. My mother was a lay minister in our church. When I was 18 I left Christianity behind.

And as much as I complain about the out of control zealotry and hypocrisy of right-wing fundamentalist evangelical “christians.” (note the quotes), that’s not why I left. I have known some good, decent Christian human beings who tried to embody the teachings of Christ, not just in church, but their everyday lives.

For me it came down to the mechanism at the basis of the Christian Faith.

Joshua Duggar (and family and their supporters) claim that because he is “christian” and has prayed for forgiveness, he has been forgiven by God so we should all shut up and forgive him too (despite the fact he that he got away with it for over a decade without paying the price demanded by our society/justice system and is a massive hypocrite claiming the be about “family values” who preaches that homosexuality and homosexuals harm children). This is at the basis of the Christian faith: Because Jesus died on the Cross, he paid the price for our sins, so we are forgiven for ours.

How does that work exactly?

I get the Jesus was an incredibly nice guy who was wise and wanted to help people and wanted people to be good to each other and help one another. And it *sucks* that he was persecuted, tortured and killed for basically showing how corrupt the major sect of Jewish faith had become at that time. (All major religions seem to fall into stagnation and corruption and then have a major upheavals to get them back on track. Jesus was the kind of the Martin Luther of his time.)

And maybe he was was the son of God, or maybe his followers just thought so (was he really saying “believe in me as a person,” or “believe in what I am teaching,” after so many translations from witness accounts, who can be sure?), or he was saying we all are children of God, or maybe he was slightly off his rocker. Genius, madness, thin line. You know. But I don’t know either way.

But even if he was the son of God, how does he dying 2,000 years ago forgive me of my wrongdoings now? I don’t get how that works. The mechanism of it.

If I were to, I don’t know, steal a candy bar. Doesn’t the responsibility for the righting that wrong fall on me? Shouldn’t I make amends (pay and apologize). Isn’t it the store owner/person that I wronged’s forgiveness be the forgiveness that I should be seeking? The forgiveness that actually matters? He/she’s the one I hurt, not God (or does an omnipotent God get personally harmed by someone stealing a candy bar?), so why does Jesus come into it at all? How does him dying 2,000 years ago mean I am absolved of any wrong doing for stealing a candy bar?

So as wise as I think Christ was, and as well as I know my scripture, and as nice as I know many Christans to be, I am not a Christian because I don’t believe in the core of the faith: That Christ died to forgive me of my sins. It’s something Christians take on faith, but I can’t have faith in that because it just does not make sense to me.

And as for Heaven/the afterlife, we only have control over what he do here and now, so isn’t *that* the most important thing to care about? Isn’t making this world the best it can be matter more than something we really have no control over, what may or may not happen to our souls after we leave this world behind?

(I do believe in souls. Any question I had about that was answered when I watched my father die. He did not just stop, he changed. Something about the way his physical body looked different. Something was missing. The being he was had fled.)

And as for the fundamentalist belief that all human beings are inherently sinful. B.S. Maybe the fundamentalists are, but I don’t think most people are. I don’t think we’re all inherently saints, but we aren’t all inherently bad either. As we have seen with the Duggar case, it’s just a rationalization fundamentalists use for doing wrong. “We’re all sinful, so you shouldn’t judge me! Excuse me while I go judge this gay couple.”

Y’know, these people. The ones that treat Jesus as a “Get Out of Hell Free” card:

Coffee with Jesus

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Well, One More Thought

Islam is about 1400 years old.

When Christianity was 1500 years old, it underwent the Protestant Reformation. Now, that Protest Reformation was not the earliest criticism or even the earliest outward rebellion against the Catholic Church. There had always been “heretical” sects the Church put down. The Reformation was just the first one that found legs.

And it only found legs after the Popes could no longer focus discontent outward at the Muslims through the Crusades. The external pressure was off and people started to look at the real problems they had and the real reasons for them.

I can’t help but wonder if the Western powers just got out of everyone’s hair in the Middle East, took off the external pressure, Islam would go through its own reformation, tossing out all the pre-Islamic tribal shit they have enshrined in various forms Sharia Law. Most Muslims I know don’t agree with it’s more extreme sexism, xenophobia, murderous punishments, etc.. Much of that stuff is just not in the Qur’an.

That’s my theory anyway. Thoughts?

Jesus is Not Just a “Get Out of Hell Free” Card

This video is making the rounds on the internet. I will post it here, but I will warn you that it is a 19 year old kid coming out to his parents, being verbally and then physically abused for it, all in the name of  “God.”

Sadly, this is far from an uncomon experience for people in that community.

My (cynical) favorite is when the mother said that she knew that he was gay from when he was a small child, yet he is making a “choice” to be gay.

I think that being homosexual, bisexual or transgender is not a choice. Considering the number of people who know they are gay, bi or trans before they hit puberty, I think it is likely something people are born with. Seeing what people in those groups go through, rejection from their families and sometimes friends, living in a society that marginalizes them, that is trying to deny them not only equal rights to marry and all the rights that come with that, but equal rights to adopt, work, teach, to be in the Cub Scouts for chrissake, it is impossible for me to believe that they “choose” to be gay, bi, trans, etc.. Who would go through all that by choice? Seriously, if you could avoid all that pain and discrimination just by choosing to sleep with the quote-unquote “right people,” wouldn’t you do it? If they are bucking all that crap just to be with someone of their own sex or change their biological sex to fit their gender identity, it is not a choice. This is who they are.

Now, I’m going to speak within the context of Christianity because what puts a burr under my saddle is the screaming hypocrisy of quote-unquote “christians” like these people who have rejected their own child. (I think they have lost the right to be called “parents.”) I am not Christian now, but I was raised Christian and unlike these twats, I know my scripture.

I know a great many Christians who do actually follow the word of Christ and make their best effort to be good people who support and love, even if they don’t agree personally with what someone is doing. Because Christ said this:

      John 15: 9-12 As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love.  If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full. “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.

(And I think by extension, we can include “family” in that.)

      Then there is the “love the sinner, but hate the sin” thing and “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.”
      There is NO Commandment prohibiting being with another of your own sex. Jesus said nothing about homosexuality, bisexuality or people who were born the wrong sex.
In short:
Jesus
      1 Corinthians 13:4-8 Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away.
      According to the people in this video, the “word of God” is absolute, yet they cherry pick in order refuse these commands, direct from Christ and God. They use what they have decided God’s word is in order to be judgemental and jealous of their own reputations. (If you listen, that is what the mother in this video is most concerned about: What her friends will think.) If they truly believed in God’s word, they would love their son and say “We don’t agree with it, but we love you and of course you can stay because you are our son.”  If they had *that* big of issue with it, they can say, “We love you, you can stay, but please don’t bring your boyfriend here.” That is a reasonable compromise between compassion and their own beliefs.
      But if they truly believed in Gods omnipotence, then they would leave judgement to him and not judge others in his name.  They have no faith in God if they feel the need to do his job for him. If they truly believed in Christ they would not turn their back on the compassion he so desperately tried to teach them.  But they make clear that do NOT belive in his Word as they refuse it in one of the egregious ways possible. These people are not Christians. They are worshippers of their own self-righteousness that give real Christians, those who follow Christ’s words of love and compassion, a bad name.
      Matthew 6: 14 and 15: For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.
      If they think they are going to the Christian Heaven after the way they treated their son, by Christ’s own Word, they are in for a very, very, very, very, very, very, very, VERY warm surprise.
      (Sorry about the formatting, I have no idea what happened there.)
      I will also add the public outpouring support for this kids has been impressive and give me some faith in humanity. He set up a GoFundMe account to raise $2000.00 to cover his living expenses. It was closed at $93,000.00 and some change.

Waiting Until the Evidence is In

Doubts Grow Over ISIS “FGM” Edict in Iraq

Stay your rage for a moment. Female Genital Mutilation is mostly confined to Africa where it has a (despicable) pre-Islamic tribal tradition, much like most of the mysoginst crap Shariah law in the Middle East. However, there is little tradition of FGM in Middle Eastern cultures. ISIS maybe filled with sons of bitches who make the trains run on time, and it is possible they did make this edict, but I am holding off on my rant until this is verified.

I will add that it interests me that Islam is now approximately 1470 years old.  When Christianity was about 1500 years old, it went through the Protestant Reformation. I think Islam is due for a similar purge of ideas, and left to their own devices (rather then Western nations presenting Islamic leaders with outside scapegoats to blame) they just might.