As promised, I am going to attempt to respond to Guy from Heresy Today ‘s egregiously long response to my “Dormant Christian” post. So after much hesitation, mainly due to the fact that because of the schedule I am on at my job is screwing with my head (No one else is seeing the pink elephants?) and making it incredibly difficult for me to even sit down and read a comment very well, much less respond to it coherently. So I will do my best here…at 4:30 in the morning.
Regarding the podcast mentioned below, I am listening to that finally now as I write this, I may make responses to bits and pieces of it here, but we might have to save it for later…another debate perhaps. Guy really should consider manuscripting his podcasts! 72 minutes!
Keep reading for more:
As you read this, notice that Guy is quoting my original post, so if you see “you said” he is quoting me, just to make sure it stays clear and easy to follow.
“Guy is proposing that because I was at one time a devoted Christian (Saved, if you will) then technically I am still a Christian.”
It is a generalized description, I think a better description for you specifically would be… “A dormant disciple of Christ.” I would surmise that you would take issue with “Christians and their Christianity”, which could have played a part in your religious apostasy.
I did take issue with so called Christians, I have said before that we are very similar on the stand point of what makes a Christian a Christian, you call “True” Christians Disciples of Christ, I went through a stage of calling myself simply Xtian, it was really the same goal, separating myself from all the bad things that Christians do and say that would be applied to you and I as a result of gross generalizations. I wanted the very most of God, you kind of question this in your podcast…”He says he was a Christian, but I don’t know if he was a Disciple of Christ,” well, to answer that, I think the only way to describe “my Christianity” was that I wanted, above all else, to know God, to feel God, to see God, to experience God, and to please God…with every fiber of my being I desired and longed for God…how else to describe that I can’t suffice…but I think it certainly qualifies me.
However, my apostasy was a result of seeking God and trying to decipher what you call the “Word of God”, as opposed to being influenced by failing Christians. By the time I got to THIS point I had fairly well cut off all connections with “The Church” at least four years prior to my complete deconversion.
As for your “religious apostasy”? I support that! That is a bold move, it is that very renunciation of your former “religion” that brings you all the closer to Christ! What you are going through now is the “middle ground” between “religion” and “discipleship”. You have abandoned everything that “man” has taught you about God, and you need to go through the detritus of darkness left in the wake of such heresy, before you can reach the light of truth. Now is the time to allow God to “speak for Himself”, let Him teach you about Himself. Trust not in mans wisdom, only God’s.
Essentially, exactly what you describe here was my desire that got me to this point. I have quite a few friends that had attempted the same thing, wholly giving it all up to God, that ended up taking paths that depart from “Orthodox Christianity”. Most of the time we apostates require more of the persona of the God we have learned to love after we begin to try to understand that love. When we try to salvage God from the evils of BibleGod it usually leads to either rejecting God entirely (like me) or some sort of Universalism that really is nothing more than guesswork and hoping for a better God than the one you are afraid to understand. For instance, when I was in the ministry, part of Theophostics (a type of counseling ministry–google it) was allowing God or Jesus to reach out to the individual that is being ministered to and dispose of any lies or pains that are in that persons life or past. As a person whom saw this occur countless times, and saw people actually improve from severe mental and other problems…THAT version of Jesus was wonderful, everything I expect of a deity..loving, caring, healing, ministering, setting people free…that was the God that I knew and experienced. At some point I had to face biblegod though—my view of the Bible previously made excuses for YHVH being the malicious tyrant that he was…it was facing this that made him fall apart…in both the ways that I loved him, and in the ways that I hated him. God spoke for himself quite clearly on this one….I had to decide to reject him.
(just heard Guy say he voted for Barr in the last election on the podcast—good job Guy, I voted for Ron Paul, then Obama after Paul dropped out…but good job nonetheless on voting for Barr)
Proverbs 2:6 (Gods mouth, not man’s)
1 Corinthians 1:19-24
1 Corinthians chapter 2
1 Corinthians 3:19
James 1:5 (Ask God, not man)
But how is He going to “teach” you? You claim He does not exist, ergo there is no one to do the teaching!
I am familiar with most of these verses, most having to do with God being our teacher and rejecting “Mans knowledge”. You are correct that there is no one to do any teaching here, these are just verses of a book…it means nothing to me any more…all I see here are books leading one to gnosticism…requiring one to trust in the books and then in the supposed author of them…I don’t think we need to go over the fallacy of the Bible any further…if you have read it then you know it fails at perfection, which is my requirement for it.
He is there. You see Him probably every day, what has changed is that you are no longer looking for Him.
I am not looking for him at all any longer, that burden lies on God to provide me with his evidence. I don’t see it, he knows it, he fails to provide the evidence that I require, and therefore HE chooses the end result. Freewill? nah
Ignore man’s religion! Man’s religion has nothing to offer!
Sola scriptura (”by Scripture alone”)
The Bible, and only the Bible is God’s official standpoint on everything that was, that is, and that will be. Anything from the mouth of man is flawed by default.
Man’s religion is the only religion that exists…Where else would it have come from?
Also, the Bible is a book full of errors and myths, if god chooses to speak through a book that can’t hold any water then he can’t hold any water either. Men wrote the Bible and therefore it fits the very description of man’s religion you use.
Let me ask you a question…
Take out every “Christian”, and the religion of “Christianity”, leave God all alone, with His word, (the Bible) Assume that there are no Christians on this planet, and that the “religion” of Christianity never existed. Would you have LESS negative feelings towards God & the Bible alone?
I would have the same feelings about god—Like I have explained before (before this post even), Christians can’t be blamed for who I am now…God and God alone has to answer for this, since he doesn’t exist of course he cannot–(I am speaking in terms assuming that he does, as you are). My negative feelings toward the Bible come from studying it, My negative feelings for god come from my understanding of him.
Of course you would! You may still dislike Him, but it would be a lot less if there was never a “fan club” full of hypocrites “speaking and acting” in His name. Could it possibly be that this “Ship of Fools” could have been the driving force to cause you to turn to being a “religious apostate”?
Sorry, for some that may be true Guy, but not here. Sure Christians have been a thorn in the side of society for a long time, but God easily dismantles himself without any help from Christians at all. The Ted Haggards of this world made me rebel against the church, but drove me closer to my understanding of God…I ran from the church and toward what I thought was God…much like you may think you have done the same thing!
“When I was a Christian my position was strangely similar to Guy’s”
And realizing we are even closer than you had originally thought, when you read more of me? Yes? No?
“I have to look at it from the outside…”
Good! A different POV from what you once had always offers other information to glean from, and the more info you have, the more informed decision you are able to make!
Try this… Get back into the mindset you once had when you were an “active believer”, and what do you see then? Compare the two POV’s, what is different? What is similar?
I do this often, something of a talent I have, seeing two sides and the ability to pretend to feel one way when I feel the opposite. It was what made me pretty good at debating in high school, it is what made me a great apologist. The fact that I have been you or been LIKE you gives me a great advantage in understanding where you are coming from…I hope you recognize that.
When I look at my situation from both sides of this, my former Christian self sees a person that my heart would ache for, a person that rejected a God that is as undeniable as the air we breath…Myself though, Godless me–well, I see a free person, trying to undo the evils I brought upon others by bringing them to Christ–wondering how in the hell I ever believed any of this crap at all.
“and it’s just one of those things that you don’t think about until you hear it or read it like I did when Guy said that…it kind of…caught me off guard.”
Good! I guess you were so used to the “Hellbound Atheist!”, “God is love…”, and getting hit over the head with the Bible, that it was rather “refreshing” to see someone that was interested in you using the mind God gave you, as opposed to you simply shutting up, and doing what the Pastor, and the Church tells you? 🙂
I guess so, maybe. Listening to your podcast I find that you are a fairly enjoyable person and trying your damnedest to not judge people like me, and at least as frustrated with Christians as I was. It’s quite enjoyable to have civil discussion, even though I believe you assume far too much about my religious past. Your effort is commendable and I appreciate it.
What should you as a former slave to religion think?
“Curiosity” to begin with. What do you see now through the eyes of a “Disciple”, that you could not see through the blinders of “Christianity”? Tell me, I want to know! What does “Christians & Christianity” look like to you, now that you are no longer one of them, or it.
Don’t tell me about God, tell me about today’s Christians, and their Christian Church, what do you see? Describe them and it for me…
Silly and wasteful- short answer. I see just what you see to be honest, in Christians.
“that because I once believed I am going to be forced into heaven with a god I abhor.”
Tell me why you “abhor” Him?
Christians out of it.
Christianity out of it.
and everything that has anything to do with humanity out of it.
Then afterwords, ask yourself… “What has God’s ‘Fan Club’ done for Him lately?” Have they helped His cause? Hindered it? What answer did you get the second time you asked this question of yourself?
I abhor him for not existing, when all I ever wanted was to know Him.
“I sought this god out, made him the most important thing in my life”
And for that reason, and that reason alone, you are “Once Saved, Always Saved.” (That, and “Pre-destination”. LOL)
Well, if that is true ( I will get around to reading the books on Armenianism and Calvinism someday) that really sucks. Why should I be forced into this?
“and now that I have come to the understanding that this god does not exist,”
You have come to an “understanding”, not a belief? Hmmm… Lets look at what you continue to say in this sentence…
an understanding as opposed to a “Lack of Belief” in god. I currently understand that God’s existence is unlikely
You continued to say:
“and that if he DOES exist”
“If”? As a “Non-Believer”, that “if” would have NEVER appeared in that sentence.
You may have “come to an understanding” that God does not exist, but you are by no means a “non-believer”.
IF’s are definitely still within my rights. I have said before that I am open to the existence of God; it simply isn’t likely, neccessary, or provable, therefore I do NOT believe he exists, as opposed to Believing he does not exist or Believing that he does. Therefore, I am a Non Believer!
“I really don’t want anything to do with him I still have to tolerate his presence for all eternity?”
I am going to venture a guess here…
Have you been through one or more “Church Split(s)? Yes? No?
HAHA, as irrelevant as it is, I have been through multiple church splits. That has little to do with this as I have explained previously.
“One of the first things a Christian brings up when discussing religion with me is how God allows us to stray from him,”
Stray from His Will, but never from “His Grace.” His grace is unmerited, we do nothing to earn it, and it is [His] to give. Once given, if taken away, it was never grace to begin with. Ergo, His Grace is quite “gracious” indeed!
What about those that he doesn’t provide grace for? Is He still gracrious to them? Or is it all just relevant?
“(yea right, have you read ANY religious texts at all?)”
Yes sir. But are you “Believing the texts” or “Believing man”? There is quite a difference…
The texts speak for themselves do they not?
“Is there a way to get my ticket to heaven revoked?”
Nope, you already gave it to the conductor. You don’t get off the train until it reaches it’s destination.
Can’t I just jump off the train?
“Does anyone understand where I am coming from?”
You tell me… Is your position still strangely similar to mine when you were a “Christian”? Or has it become more similar now that you are not?
Personality wise, we are very similar, however I can’t settle for the same God that you can…so no, we aren’t more the same now…a few years ago we were.
I left a lot of things out of this that I thought were redundant…we are looking at over 2600 words here and most readers wont even take the time to read it…which sucks but it’s true.
Comment folks, Digg, Stumble, and Mixx the post…and twitter it too.