Category Archives: Religion

An Interesting Post on One Man’s Rejection of Christianity

This post is re-printed from the ‘Top Stories Forum’ on Topix. We have only re-produced a snippet here. If you want to read all four parts (and I reccomend you do), follow this link.

Why I’m no longer a Christian, Part One

I was raised from my infancy by deeply religious people, surrounded by a family full of Baptist preachers, deacons and missionaries. I myself was baptized, as well as I can recall, at about the age of ten.

I can remember being struck by the fact that everyone around me at the time – and I do mean everyone – kept telling me that what I had just experienced was the most important event of my life, and that everything else I would ever do would shrink to insignificance alongside it. I was receiving the power of the Lord. It was a special time for me.

Well, I enjoyed all the attention, as any kid would, but I remember wondering: Why don’t I feel any different, myself? I thought about my attitudes, my perceptions, the circumstances of my life, and I couldn’t think of a single thing that was any different, now that I was one with Jesus. No matter how hard I tried to find something new and meaningful, there was nothing. It was a hollow, empty, and lonely sensation, and surprisingly so. It was not what I had expected at all.

I concluded after a time that I must not be doing something right. Everyone around me seemed so confident and secure in their faith and mine so tenuous in comparison, I felt left out. The shortcoming, I decided, must be mine. I must be missing something.

I resolved to try harder. I devoted myself to Bible study and prayer. I sensed that everyone around me would be horrified if I were to express any of these reservations I was feeling, so I kept them to myself. I suppressed them, and did my best to forget them altogether.

The years went by and I attended services regularly but somehow I never quite shook the uneasy sense, in the back of my mind, that I had never truly felt the presence of a transcendent being – Jesus, God, or anyone at all.

I remained outwardly compliant, but inwardly I began to feel isolated and as much as I tried to banish this feeling, it persisted. As I reached adulthood it intensified until I became aware that, despite my best efforts, it was not going to go way. More troubling still was the bulk of doubts I began to feel about matters of doctrine. I began to doubt, among many other things, the true value of grace.

Visit Topix at this link to read the rest…

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For These Christians, Everything is Okay as Long as You Pay

This one is from my very personal life files.

My brother-in-law (I’ll refer to him as Jim) attended an Episcopal church in Western New York (emphasis on ‘attended’ – past tense).

A few weeks back he was pulled aside after services by his pastor. He was told they needed to chat.

The pastor explained that he noticed Jim was only attending services every other week and asked why. Jim explained that he was splitting time between two parishes. The Episcopal parish was his wife’s old parish and a 45 minute drive away, so they decided to attend some years back to join the Wesleyan church closer to home. He gave the pastor several reasons for this.

Evidently, this arrangement wasn’t satisfactory in the eyes of the pastor.

He explained to Jim that the issue of splitting time wasn’t really the issue, and that it was more an issue of finances. He said that people worship where they will, but if his parish let everyone attend part time, it would render the parish “financially nonviable.” With that, he simply told Jim he would need to choose a parish.

Jim was perplexed.

After all, his wife and he collectively were parishioners for over twenty years! He performed free electrical work at the pastor’s home, volunteered, attended whenever he could, contributed to collection, brought in new parishioners, etc.

Not good enough.

Jim was forced to choose, and given gas prices, the drive, the commitment, and the cavalier attitude of this pastor, he chose to go.

When I heard this, I was overcome with laughter. This scenario represents everything that is wrong with religion.

Since when is there a price on God? Who made the rule that there is a financial threshold for worship. When does the ‘bottom line’ surpass the right of spiritual salvation and inner peace with your God – whoever that God is?

Anyone who has read my posts or other works knows I’m no fan of the Catholic Church, but not once have I heard of anyone being asked to leave a parish based on the weight of the collection plate.

This built-in, seldom talked about, embedded hypocrisy of mega-churches and those who aspire to be mega-churches, is the black fly in the spiritual wine. Christians nowadays aren’t concerned with the savior, or everlasting life, they worry about raising funds for the new ‘compund gym/daycare facility.’ They worry about image. They need to make sure there is a Starbucks in the church lobby, and valet parking during service. They worry about the Jones’…

When are people going to wake up?

The modern American Christian ideal is a scam, complete with guys like Creflo Dollar and Benny Hinn, who rank in my eyes as some of the greatest con-men of all time. Jim’s pastor is a wanna-be, but he understands the game. There is power in numbers, and greater numbers mean more money, and thus greater power.

Someone should ask Jim’s old pastor – did Jesus preach in a stone and marble tower, or did he preach to the people where they lived and chose to listen to his word?

I wonder what his answer would be?

Read a related story here

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The Anti-Evolution Gang is at it Again – Focal Point is Texas

Opponents of teaching evolution are formulating new tactics after multiple defeats in court.

Over the last decade, creationism has morphed into “creation science,” then later “intelligent design.” All of these curriculum have been banned. The latest defeat was in 2005, when a federal judge in Pennsylvania banned “intelligent design.”

But, the battle is far from over. The new fight will be in Texas, over science textbooks that teach evolution. The new tactic is a change in the curriculum language. The words “creationism,” “intelligent design,” or “creator” will not appear. Instead, the words are “strengths and weaknesses.”

This summer, the Texas state education board will determine the curriculum for the next decade and decide whether the “strengths and weaknesses” of evolution should be taught.

These people don’t hang it up too easily do they?

The phrases may sound harmless, but this new strategy is taking shape across the nation to undermine the teaching of evolution, and its being driven by Christian fundamentalists. These people insist on having religious content written into scientific curriculum. They just can’t seem to accept the  fact that a science class is no place for Jesus, and vice versa. Deal with it. These are different conversations for different forums. Do evolutionists carry their argument into Church? Do they petition to get the bible edited???

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Autistic Child Thrown Out of Church

Reprinted from TheDeeZone

Last week ABC News had a report about Adam Race, an autistic boy, who was banned from attending Church of St. Joseph in Bertha, Minnesota. Apparently Adam had become so disruptive that the church considered his attendance a threat to others. Rev. Daniel Walz claims that accommodations were made or at least offered to the family. Now, a restraining order has been issued preventing Adam from attending services. The Races insists that no accommodations were offered and that the boy was not dangerous. While I am not personally involved, this incident has really bothered me. I have been processing the situation and formulating my response all week.

There is something about banning a person from church that just does not seem right. A church is supposed to be a place of refuge and worship for all. I have worked with teenagers long enough to know that sometimes it may be necessary, however a court order does seem excessive. I am just not comfortable with the thought of banning someone from church. Well, that is really not the point of this post anyway.

Growing up in a ministers home I have attended church my entire life and there as always been at least one disabled person who attended my church. As I reflected on the Races situation I begin thinking about observations I have made from my own interactions with disabled congregants.

Several years ago we had some friends at the church we were attending whose son was developmentally disabled son. Matthew* enjoyed attending church. It was not uncommon to here Matthew loudly proclaim, “Yeah! God!” or to cheer when our pastor came to the pulpit. When was the last time you saw someone be truly excited when the pastor started preaching? Matthew’s favorite place to sit was at the pastor’s feet. He had a desire to worship God. How many times do you are you really anticipate receiving a word from God?

Theo*is a pre-teen at our church who has Autism. Like Matthew, Theo loves attending church. He approaches worship service with much gusto. Theo loves to sing and makes a joyful noise. While some may consider Theo and Matthew disruptive I do not. Actually, I believe that both boys take a scriptural approach to worship. To them church is about God and not doing the right thing, pleasing others or appearing good. I have thought a lot about my own reasons for attending and what I do during Services. Am I really there to have a meaningful encounter with God or have other things gotten in my way?

A church is or at least should be a community of faith. In all communities diversity can or should enhance and enrich the community. It is only through interacting with those who are different from ourselves that we learn acceptance and hopefully learn to see past the differences to person. It is very easy to see only a person’s disability and not the person inside. For more on my thoughts on labels and disabilities read this.

*Names changed

by Dee

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Mid-Day Open Thread – Religion in America

Do you believe religious zealots are hurting America?

Related article on our sister blog Ideas and Revolution …

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