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Archive for March, 2009

I feel a bit playful tonight, and I am burning out with all this thinking. So lets do something fun for a change! Tonight we will start our first Theology For Dummies class — complete with badly drawn graphics.

01We had one of those “why do bad things happen to good people” talks and “if God is God then why does evil exist” lessons the other week. A professor told everyone there that God and Evil co-exist only because Evil exists outside of God.

This by the way is poor theology, and the reason why we are covering this lesson here today.

Anyhoo…

Start off by picturing God. Hard to do? Here is God (pictured above):

02Got it now? Great! Now picture everything. Yes everything. Almost there? Life, the universe… everything. Got it? Everything exists inside of God. This is a pretty basic concept; most people seem to get this one quite easily.

So if everything exists inside of God then what exists outside of God? Nothing exists outside of God. Nothing.

Now that is not to say that outside of God there is a lot of nothing; like there is just a bunch of boring black space or something.

04It’s not like if you could get in a ship and drive it to the edge of God and then break-through him, you would then be driving in the nothing.

Not only would it be boring — it would be heretical.

And mean.

That would probably hurt God.

Oh, where was I? Right, Nothing.

05We are also not implying that there is some-thing called The Nothing (like in The Neverending Story) which exists outside of God that is waiting to eat you when you drive your ship outside of God.

Although that was an awesome movie! That wolf thingy gave me the creeps for like weeks. Um…

No, when we say that there is nothing outside of God we are stating that there is no outside of God.

Everything is inside of God, and there just is no outside of God.

06In order for there to be an outside of God that would mean that God would have to be inside of something; meaning that something would be containing God.

Not to get all “deep” or anything, but you need to realize that a lesser can not contain a greater. So basically 3 could never contain 5, but there are 3 in a 5. Better put — something of a smaller size or value could not hold something of a greater size or value within itself.

So if God was contained within something, this something would have to be another God who is greater than our God, and that would just be silly! Pfft! Two Gods. Ha.

07Now for the statement that evil exists outside of God to be true there would have to be a few factors in play. One of these would have to obviously be that there is an outside of God; which we already think is crazy-talk. The other factors are even more disturbing though.

If there is an evil that is outside of God then it is independent of God. Also, we can all agree that this evil acts in direct opposition to God. Finally, not being within God this evil could have not possibly been created by God.

This would leave us with a Being that would be a God unto himself; able to bring himself into his own existence, sustain himself without God, being totally independent of God, and be on a level or direct and equal opposition of God.

08In closing, Evil exists inside of God, since there is no outside of God. Um, or if there is an outside then God is not really the final God, and he is just a god inside of the God who is the final God. Oh, and Evil would be a god as well.

Everything all clear now?

This concludes lesson one.

This will be on the final exam.

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For more heresy please join me on my new blog at www.evolitionist.com

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Sacred Geometry: The Jesus Fish

Sacred Geometry: The 2 Become 1 (A.K.A. The Jesus Fish)

OK, most believers have to admit that when they came across this scripture in Matthew they got a friend or two together and tried it out:

Again I say to you, that if two of you agree on earth about anything that they may ask, it shall be done for them by My Father who is in heaven.

I did, you did, we all did; and nothing happened.

Maybe you wished for money, or something noble like a loved one to get healed; or just something simple like making a chair float in the air (that would be mine). Either way… nothing happened.

Was there more to the formula than we thought? Or, maybe that “friend” of ours really wasn’t a believer? Did we not have enough faith? What gives!

There are some long-winded theological arguments to explain away this promise in Scripture, but we can boil them all down to the following:

God only does it when he feels like it.

I have heard many a Christian explain away that although it is not in the text, God only answers prayer if and when he darn well pleases to. In fact, they even go so far as to state that he only answers those miracles that he was about to do anyway; this is called praying in (or accordance to) his will.

You would think that such a large disclaimer would have made it into the text.

The other explanations you can get are just as silly. A little bit ago, several people quote this verse to me; professing their superior faith to mine. I pointed out that there was well-more than two of them in the room together, and suggested that they “show me” it in action. They said that they “could do it if they really wanted to“, but that they “did not want to“. I then told them that I could turn invisible when I really want to, but that I did not feel like doing it in front of them either.

One then said that they could do it if they wanted to, but that the bible says not to put the Lord to the test.  So basically, we are told that it is against your faith to exercise your faith.

Up until recently this, and many other scriptures, bothered me greatly. The disclaimers revealed a weak, missing, or even worse — dead God, or it reveals a dead church.

There is hope though! For you see, this verse does not mean what we think it means; it may be better to even say that it has been misinterpreted greatly.

It is not that “if the two of you agree“; it is if the two agree, or when the two become one. This verse seemed cryptic to the translators, and so they paraphrased it the only way they could make sense of it — as fundamentalist Christians. However, if you look at the verse as a Gnostic Christian it makes perfect sense in its original form.

During that day-in-age the popular belief, especially in the Gnostic circle, was that the human consisted of 2; the lower self and the higher self. You could equate it to our concept of flesh and spirit.

So when the 2 become 1is the point where the believer (initiate) unites with his higher-self, transcends all, and becomes one. He becomes divine-human, a Christ, a Buddha, a god-man. It is in this state where anything that he wills will become granted to him. The verse is not saying that if two Christians simple get together and make a wish it will come true. It is pointing out that when you become perfected, hit nirvana, become the Christ — then wondrous miracles follow.

Nowadays we think of man in the form of Trinity; a being of body, mind, and spirit; so this dualistic view escapes us a bit. This triune theory was already becoming popular back when this verse was written as well; some people believed in the 2 and others in the 3, and that is why in the next verse it goes on to talk about “the two” or “the three“.

The author is not saying “sometimes it takes 2, and other times it requires 3”, he is saying that if you believe the human to be composed of 2 then the 2 need to be 1, and if you believe in the human trinity of 3 — the 3 need to become one; whatever floats your boat. Which is pretty open-minded of the guy. Fundamentalists would have had a council meeting on if 2 or 3 was the right answer, voted on it, and the losers would get burned at the stake for being heretics.

Read their history, they killed people over less.

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Faith Without WorksI have been considering this one for a while, so I thought I would share it with you all. For most Christians, it seems that the pinnacle of their belief centers around the concept of faith; having faith, claiming things by faith, asking for more faith, losing faith, gaining faith, acting on faith, or believing things on faith.

However, in the early church they would have laughed at such a concept; for to them faith was seen as just the preliminary step that the immature took on their way towards real maturity — or knowing. The word for this knowing was gnosis.

The desired end result of faith was to move into this knowing, not to simply have faith in-and-of itself.

I am sure that the early founders would find it even more humorous that today people take great pride in who can blindly believe the greatest number of things without ever knowing them or experiencing them to be true; yet we regard these people and refer to them as our Giants of the Faith.

Real knowing or gnosis is the real life application, as in working knowledge, of the item that was at first taken on faith. So the desired sequence of events should be broken down like this:

Knowledge (not gnosis) > Faith > Knowing (gnosis)

Just so there is no confusion, let us explain the difference between knowledge and knowing (gnosis). It is the difference between knowing something as purely factual information, or on here-say, and having the revelation of experiencing this knowledge in real life. Kind of like knowing the bible says you can raise the dead verses actually going out and raising one from the dead. You can have knowledge, and have all the faith you want, but until you do it — it’s dead; literally in this case.

I like to look at it in terms of our knowledge of outer space. I know it is there, I read books on it, had lessons in class, and I have the general idea as to what it may be like up there; I have knowledge on weightlessness, and understand it to the best of my abilities. This is knowledge.

An astronaut however has gnosis. He (or she) was in outer space, and was weightless. They know the thing better than you or I ever could. This is the working knowledge of gnosis. You can read all the textbooks or watch all the sci-fi you want, but you will never know weightlessness or space travel as they know it.

When the bible states that “faith without works is dead” it does not mean that your religion means very little unless you do good deeds (although some more good deeds would be greatly appreciated); it means that faith without coming into the fruition of works, gnosis, a working knowledge is nothing, dead, or useless.

Say a person comes to know the Law in the bible and they are convicted on their errors; here is the desired breakdown of that and the resulting sequence of events:

  1. Person comes into knowledge of the Law; thinks “I should not be doing ______”.
  2. Person comes to the knowledge that through Christ “I do not have to do ______”.
  3. Person does not feel like they can do it, nor have they experienced gnosis; so they act on faith.
  4. Person comes into knowing they are set free, and experience the working knowledge of being healed of this.

Churches these days stop at number 3 — they stop at walking in faith; they will walk in this faith at times for the rest of their lives, and will still struggle with the same problems over and over; never seeing any real results or freedom.

So the next time you are made to feel like you are less of a person than someone of faith for asking for some simple proof (or working knowledge) — don’t. Realize that faith was only meant to be a baby step to get people through into the adulthood of actual works. In any other aspect in life if one were to stay that long in the baby stage, and never reach maturity we would call it retardation; so it is nothing to brag about.

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Respect The Ant

Observation 1: Pop-Up Books In School

I am burning out a bit with school so I doubt this will be too incredibly deep. I find myself knee deep in books; Voltaire, Kierkegaard, Tolstoy, Watchman Nee, Plato, C.S. Lewis, Emerson, Thoreau, Augustine, Calvin, Brother Lawrence, Tozer; as well as my studies on the Bible, The Gnostic Scriptures, Dhammapada, Tao, Benjamin Hoff, The Vedas, Upanishads, The Bhagavad Gita, Thich Nhat Hanh; as well as psychic development/intuition texts by Sherrie Dillard, and healing with Douglas De Long.

Please note that none of the above authors/subjects was I required to read for school; I read all of that for fun. So you can add on top to that all my required reading.

I say none of this to taught my intelligence; reading does not show any capability of intelligence on my part, other that I am capable of reading.

The study of religion is a passion of mine; I wish to to know who God is, and, unlike others in my school, do not pretend to know who he is already. I do not profess to be Christian.

Speaking of my “required reading materials” in bible college they hand me textbooks which can be better equated to children’s pop-up books and wonder why I am not impressed. I take my pursuit of God a lot more seriously than these Christians seem to take it, and they take me for a fool.

Our courses have been edited, dumbed-down, and gone over with fine-toothed combs in order to skip over any of the heresies, hard questions, embarrassing mistakes, or difficult subject matters that we may otherwise blindly stumble upon and loose faith over. We are being told the synopsis of a synopsis of a synopsis, and only those of which co-inside neatly with current church doctrine or philosophy. If I want to really learn what Origen actually taught, know the lives of Abelard or Luther; if I wanted to actually know what the Gnostic’s taught;  to learn of Platonic Christianity (Neoplatonism), or what nominalism was – I would have to read my own books, and on my own time.

They are not preening the next generation of scholars; they are breeding the next generation of idiots. This has been a point of frustration for me.

These poor kids are going to get their heads spun around once they get out into the world and are faced with some actual theological debate, and tough questioning.

Observation 2: Pseudo Intelligent Pastors

On Saturday I had to attend a church service where the pastor decided to talk on what he calls two primary things that you must understand and believe in to be a Christian; the first was a literal 7 day creation as stated exactly in the book of Genesis. Supposedly you can not be a real Christian and believe in evolution or intelligent design.

Personally, I always liked saying that I believe in Uniformitarianism just to be difficult.

He lost the majority of his audience on this topic; I do not think it was a good move to inform the majority of your perish members that you do not think they are really “saved”. His major argument against evolution was the scenario of; what would happen if a fish developed lungs? His answer was that it would drown. Funny enough, his evolution believing congregation pointed out that actually you would get what is called a lung fish. It did happen, and they still live to this day…. not drowned yet.

I took all that with a grain of salt though. I do not actually care if Genesis is accurate or not, and it has no basis for my faith or lack thereof. It does not bother me if this man thinks me to be un-Christian; I don’t even call myself one anyway, but if I ever do I would hope that it be based on who I think the person of Christ is; not my position on the lung fish.

His second point though did really bother me. He got onto the topic of why suffering exists in this world. He said that he was going to answer the great question of how if there was a loving, kind God – there could be suffering and evil in his world. He said that as a Christian you have to believe that “evil exists outside of God”.

Evil exists outside of God? What the heck are you talking about? Your answer to how God can allow evil to exist is that the evil exists outside of God? At first I thought that maybe he just misspoke or chose his words unwisely, but he said it again and again He even brought it up on a PowerPoint presentation; there it was, bold and underlined, evil exists outside of God.

Let’s actually think this through for a moment. A primary theological principle of Christianity is that NOTHING exists outside of God. Nothing. What is outside of God? Nothing is outside of God. All of reality, space, time, existence, and non-existence is held within God. Outside of God there is nothing. Or better put, there is no such thing as an outside of God to be outside of. All is within God.

In order for there to be something outside of God there would have to be a thing/being who was independent of God, did not need God, and was not created by God. If we take this further and say that this being was evil, in direct opposition to God (his will, and his plans) then this being would have to be a God on his own to accomplish such a feat.

To a theology major his discussion was nothing but gibberish, and the worst part was that he is a professor at and is on the board of the bible college.

As a side note however, I would like to point out that with Christianity on the decline in our society I see little logic in further fragmenting it by informing people that they are not really Christian (or Christian enough for you) over such issues. Is there not something more important that truly binds you all?

Furthermore, if I were to speak of 2 major points that people had to “get down” to be in a certain religion I think I would choose something dealing with purpose and passion. People need purpose and passion; passion is contagious, and purpose breathes hope. What is going to truly revitalize your church? You all being on the same page about creation; or you all living with a contagious passion? Agreeing on the dogma of original sin; or living holy lives that inspire others?

Observation 3: A Pound Of Bacon At All Times

My roommates eat meat at every meal; they snack on bacon like Cheez-Its. At all times (I repeat: all times) there is at least a pound of pre-cooked bacon in the fridge; just in case. They are Christians, and they all are over weight. One likes to hunt, and likes to tell funny stories of how he likes to brutalize animals. Everything from shooting coyotes for fun, to sticking fireworks up cats butts and lighting them on fire. My room is right next to the kitchen and I get to wake up every morning to the smell of the next pound of bacon being cooked.

I am vegan by the way. I consider all life to be sacred.

Yesterday I was taking a nap and woke up to a smell so thick and sickening that I ran out of my room and had to throw up. They were cooking up a few pounds of ground beef for dinner. I guess even the smell of meat now makes me sick to the stomach.

Observation 4: We Can Respect An Ant

On Sunday I had the chance to participate in a 6 hour long Buddhist meditation, or Day of Mindfulness. We were told to all arrive early (since being late would be disrespectful to the holiness of the day) and everyone was there early; none were late. It was amazing. Over 20 of us were there; from ages 20 to 60. It was held in a small, cold recreation center of an apartment complex. The floor was cold, hard, and uncomfortable; we sat down and meditated in stillness for hours. Everyone was silent and respectful, for the day this place became sacred. Nobody moved, got up, or made a noise. If your leg hurts you deal with it, if your foot falls asleep then great – you can meditate on that. Got to go to the bathroom? Hold it.

For lunch it was the first time in a long while that I got to eat with other vegans or vegetarians. There was no meat in sight. There still was no talking, it wasn’t an enforced rule, but we simply did not want to ruin the moment with it. However there was community; without rule or speech everyone simply began passing around and sharing their food and drink with the others gathered there.

We noticed that a family of ants had come in from the cold and made their way onto the floor with us. We smiled at them and shared some food with them as well. When it was time to start meditating again everyone was careful where they stepped and sat so as to make sure that none of the ants would be harmed. All life is sacred.

Observation 5: We Can Respect An Ant; You Can Not Respect Your Own Church

Sunday night I went to a different church service with a Christian friend of mine who does not go to the bible college. I actually like this church, and I enjoy their worship services a lot. I appreciate the fact that when they worship I can tell that it is towards an awe-inspiring God instead of them just asking for stuff fromtheir buddy Jesus. They praise the Father for his worth, glory, magnitude, majesty, holiness; and this I can revere and appreciate. I can also join in this with them since I believe in revering a God as well.

I came early, paying this church the same respects I gave to a rec-center just a few hours earlier, and walked inside. On the way there I grabbed a coffee, but I noticed a sign that said that this was a holy place and that we should not bring food or drinks inside. I felt bad and immediately dumped my almost full coffee out and threw it away. I noticed that nobody else was there yet other than the pastor and the worship team. Service time came, and eventually some people started to drift in. Most people wandered in about half an hour late, some totally skipped worship; arriving even later.

They had to be reminded a few times to stop talking, and to make sure their cell phones were off. My friend started to laugh and nudged me to point out a series of people walking in with their cups of coffee; some of them brought in food to snack on as well.

Worship was still amazing, minus the fact that in the row behind me the family had decided to bring in their children’s toys for them to play with. That was a bit distracting. It is hard to concentrate on worshiping even a divine God when a baby rattle is going off behind your ear, or a race car is scurrying across the pew.

The pastor began to preach on the cross, and on the Eucharist since we are nearing Easter. He announced that they were going to take communion that night, but before they did he wanted to church to take a moment of silence and do some real reflection on their lives. He asked the church to be still for just one minute. People started talking. He reminded them to be silent as a cell phone goes off; and gets answered. He pleads with them to be silent before their God and reflect, as the couple behind me loudly starts discussing how their week at work was.

I stood up and I told my friend that I had to leave. I said,

Your people don’t even take this seriously, how am I supposed to?

They can’t even be quiet before their God for a minute, I was with a group of people who were silent for 6 hours before theirs. We treated a rec-center with more respect than these people treat their temples, and we treated an ant with more reverence than these people show to your Lord’s communion. I was offended. I am not even Christian, and I was offended. I guess you are all lucky that you have such a laid-back God who does not expect much from you. If the bar were any higher I do not think the majority of you would still be going there; it would get in the way too much with your busy lifestyles, and petty demands.

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For more heresy please join me on my new blog at www.evolitionist.com

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Plato? Aristotle? Socrates? Morons!So, I had this great analogy I was going to use about Star Wars and the  Church, but seeing how I “blew my proverbial Star Wars load” on the last post, I am going to have to go old-school on you all and bust out with some Plato. Or, as none better than Vizzini puts it in The Princess Bride,

Have you ever heard of Plato? Aristotle? Socrates? Morons!

Let me propose to you this simple series of questions:

Which of us can rightfully say that he or she understands the works of Plato better than Plato himself? Whom among us can grasp the concepts of Platonism better than Plato did? Who can claim to better understands the intent of Plato than Plato?

Granted, you may have been able to memorize his works better than he ever did, and maybe you can quote Plato to Plato til blue in the face; however, can you really ever claim to know his intent better than he?

Sorry, this would have been much cooler using George Lucas as the example.

Anyway, the point is pretty clear: No you can not know Plato’s work (the desire, intent, purpose, reason, point, and passion behind it) better than Plato ever did. That would be impossible.

In Church history we have “built off the knowledge” of certain founders, apostles, preachers, scholars and theologians. The basic idea being that all of them before us thought that they “had it right”, but they really did not have it right. Maybe they had a part that we like and keep, but the rest of it was pure nonsense. They thought that what they had was sacred and unchangeable; they were wrong. However, what we have now is right, is unchanging and infallible.

How can it be that we who are further away from the source (i.e. Jesus) of Christian intent can say that we understand this intent better than someone who was nearer to the source? Would not Jesus know his intent more than any other, followed by his disciples, then their students, and so on and so forth? Yet, we claim to now with our “better and more educated understandings” come to new revelations that Peter, Paul, and the founders of the church simply missed?

It is only in our our pride and ignorance we can say that we know the teachings and heart of Christ better and more than our Founding Fathers.

How can we “build off of” the works of Luther? Either he had it right or he suffered mental illness, was an Anti-Semite and a child molester.

We all know that the New Testament was compiled by men in the church because they believed that the God in the Old Testament and that the God of Jesus in were different Gods; we disagree with them, but we use their bibles.

When people point out that the God of the Old Testament seems a lot different than the God of the New Testament we discredit them; we say that they understand less than we do; yet, our Founders declared that they were different and should not be read as one.

We all call this New Testament divine and as a Church declared it “infallible”, then later removed several books from it that no longer fit with their “new understandings”.

We do not recognize that fact that even further back all Christianity was the Roman Catholic Church.

We quote men as heroes in our religion, as great theologians, who were Gnostic – not fundamentalists – who believed in reincarnation (i.e. Origen), who did not believe in a literal heaven or hell, and did not even believe in a historical Christ; they taught that the entire story of Jesus (birth, life, death and resurrection) was just an allegory (metaphor).

Most of these men we both burned at the stakes and made into Saints.

Either they are the heretics or you are; enough with these “new revelations”, let us go back to the source.

I propose that returning to a true Christianity would result in doing away with the religion of Christianity. I propose that if I were to suggest that there was no literal (historic) Christ – that this would not revolutionary but counterrevolutionary (going back to the source); if I were to teach reincarnation it would not be heretical but historical.

I propose that all religions that seek after One are One.

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Jedi JesusWhen I was a kid I wanted nothing more than to be a Jedi Knight. I blew out the power in the house (and almost electrocuted myself to death) trying to build a lightsaber; I tried the Jedi Mind Trick (sadly, to no avail), and I tried for hours to focus really hard and levitate small objects.

I swear I think I almost “kind of” moved a pencil this one time.

Wanting to help me better distinguish between “fiction” and “reality” my parents tried to explain to me that there was no real Luke Skywalker, but that his name was really Mark Hamill. I said that I understood, and went outside with my lightsaber and begain to pretend I was Jedi Knight: Mark Hamill.

Maybe I did not quite get the point that they were trying to make, but to be fair the lines between reality and fiction had already already blurred. We are talking about a child who was instructed to not believe in Santa Claus anymore, but was still encouraged to put his teeth under a pillow for the Tooth Fairy to collect. Not to mention the fact that he was still under the impression that a super-being built the world in 6 days (then took a nap), and that although a man could live inside a giant fish, he could not possibly climb a giant beanstalk.

Today in bible school I took a survey, and the overwhelming majority of students there would drop out of their pastoral or counseling degree programs in a heartbeat to become a Jedi Knight (or in one case a superhero) if that were an option.

However, seeing that there are no good Jedi Academies in the area I guess that theology is going to have to do for now.

Now it may seem a bit disheartening to some of you that your eternal souls are in their hands, but for me it give me hope; a new hope.  For you see, deep-down these pimply little Christians just want to be the hero. They want to save the damsel in distress, help the orphan, train up the rebellious youth, defeat the big-ass monster, save the planet, save the cute little Ewoks, and watch the scoundrel turn into the guy with the heart of gold.

Yet, if we have no superpowers, and all the Jedi schools are closed then what do we do? I guess the answer for some of us is that we turn to religion. Does that have to be the case though? We think that if we were something greater than ourselves, then at that moment we could do something to practically help people. If I were _____ , then I could do _____ !

Since we are not “super” we consider the next best option: God. Since I am less than adequate to do _____ , I will hope that God can do _____ through me.

The funny part to me is that we think that if could have “power” then we would be a hero and help people practically (in real life), but since we can’t we opt to help them spiritually instead. Is this true though? Is there nothing that you can physically do to help others and your world today? Can you not make a difference in real life? Is there no cause that needs a hero today?

I can think of a couple, and (Who knows?) maybe I am just the man needed for the job.

Now if you will please excuse me, I think its time to stop praying for power and time to start learning how to build that lightsaber again.

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You are a bad kid

Why can't you be more like your brother Jesus!

In psychology we began learning about the effects of childhood guilt, which unchecked later turns into shame. This was spoken in the context of abusive family situations, and led into a long discussion on dysfunction.

I came to find that I suffer from these symptoms of guilt, but I was not “abused”: we just called it being Christian.

It can rightly be said that as a person believes themselves to be – so the are (or act). If you believe youself to be fat, no matter how thin you get you see yourself as fat. If you think you are loser, you tend to behave as one. If you believe yourself to be bad – you tend to behave that way.

Self-image tends to dictate all, and is a demon that is very hard to fight. For those who come from physically or mentally abusive situations there is this deep-seeded twisted sense of self that must be broken with a new sense of truth. This truth however becomes very hard to know or fully realize since it is in direct opposition to years of conditioning.

Now I was not beaten, and I was not abandoned. Nobody neglected me, or poked me with hot sticks. However, I realize that I have a very poor self-image: for I think that deep down I am bad, evil, sinful, and worthy of hell. This was the gift of my Christian upbringing, and as I think therefore I am.

As a child I was taught to believe that I was born a sinner, that I was born fundamentally flawed, displeasing to God, and that I was only capable of selfish acts of destruction. From the tender and impressionable age of 5 and upwards this fact was breathed into my soul by my loving parents, my pastor, youth workers, and a Christian school system. In church every sunday, youth group, home, and in our Christian media I was bombarded with the knowledge of my regret for being born as myself.

There was nothing that I could do that was ever right or good. Nothing would ever be good enough to please these people, or my God. I am detestable, and utterly sinful. In fact, even if I somehow manage to do something good – it is really not me doing it, but it is God doing it through me: for I am only capable of evil.

In fact, the pinnacle of this religion is to be as little like myself as possible (since I am evil), and to try to “be” someone else (Christ) who is good. To the degree to which I am not like myself (or dead my self) and am more like another person (Christ) is the very degree to which I am pleasing God, others, can be “happy”, and am to measure myself.

Abuse and dysfunction also relates to kids who were abused by being told they had to be more like their “good” sister or brother. If God is the father, and we are all Christ’s sisters and brothers – then imagine the level of dysfunction we have here.

Recently there was a lot in the news about a couple who named their son Hitler. He was later taken from them by Social Services. However, I think I can one-up them on that one:

I remember vividly a youth group retreat where the youth pastor spoke a very moving sermon to us all on Hitler and other evil men: killers, rapists, child molesters, gays, and um… cannibals. We were told that inside us was the very same evil just waiting to come out. That the only thing stopping it was Jesus, and that without Jesus in our lives we were destined to only hurt other people and ourselves. Quick, run to the altar and repent for being born: detest yourself, embrace the guilt, let the shame we give you control you and bind you to this religion.

It bound me so much that I actually believed it. I have been bound by this religion for so long due to this shame, guilt, and the fear of what would happen if I were to simply be myself (since my self is sin). In fact, I was initiated in this religion at such a young age that I can not think of a moment where I did not have this sense of fear and shame. It controls me, and keeps me in line or bondage to this religion.

Where is the Christian Socal Services to take this poor child away from this youth group? Where is the support group that I may attend as yet another Recovering Christian?

I tried a couple times to break free from it and just be a good person on my own, but I eventually did make some mistakes. It is impossible not to: who do you think I am Jesus? Then, immediately the voice kicks in: “See, you are evil and you are hurting others and yourself. You are a sinner, you are sinning, and you need to come back to the fold”. We hang our heads in shame and do one of two things: we either crawl back to an altar and repent, or we go off and hurt ourselves in self-hate or punishment.

I realized finally that I am not ready to enjoy the freedom of leaving Christianity until I can get over the guilt, shame, and negative self-image that it instilled in me. As long as I believe myself to be bad I am under its control, and I am also more-likely to self-destruct or behave poorly. Simply put, if I think I am going to leave and then be sinful then I most likely will do that (think therefore I am) and I just fall into the trap of self-fulfilling prophecy. Once this happens I am going to only “prove” to myself that I am bad and that I can not exist and be a moral human outside of the guidance of the Church.

As stated earlier self-image tends to dictate all, and this false sense of self can sometimes be the result of years of conditioning. Even if you “know” the truth in your mind it is not real knowledge until it makes its way into your belief system and actions. You very well may “know” now that you are not a looser, but until that knowledge becomes more than just a fact you are sill going to behave as one. That fact needs to break through the conditioning.

So what happens now? What is the first step?

Take a deep breath, and consider the following 5 things:

  1. You were not born evil
  2. It’s OK to be you
  3. You are capable of doing good without a God
  4. In fact there may not be a God
  5. But if there is one He probably likes you just as you are, and I bet He gets a kick out of you

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