Saturday, October 30, 2010

Asking Questions and Keeping Quiet

Let me make clear that it's not my intention to leave Christianity behind. I may be asking the same questions that atheists use to discredit Christianity, but that's not my goal. My goal is to go deeper, to ask every question, look under every rock. I want to meet God. I want to understand the depth of this thing called faith.

One of the hardest things is that it's impossible to talk about my spiritual revolution-in-progress without my friends becoming sincerely worried about me. This is no small matter - I don't want them worried (they have enough of their own stuff to worry about).

And besides, there's nothing to worry about.

So I think I just have to keep my mouth shut for the time being, at least until I "settle" somewhere. Keeping my mouth shut is not my strength.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Christians Don't Have a Clue About the Bible

Now that my eyes have been opened, I'm SHOCKED  at how little most Christians understand the Bible. The teachings - in churches, in books - are so, so shallow, literally never scratching the surface.

Christians aren't taught the history of how the bible came into being. They don't study the differences and contradictions, especially in the gospels, that could teach so much. Instead they pretend they all say the same thing.

It seems to me that if we were truly serious about studying the Bible, we'd study more about its authors. Like with any non-fiction book, we first uncover who the author is, their background, in order to understand the book. Even if we did this with just the authors of the gospels, our understanding of Jesus - his life, message, and significance - would be totally revolutionized.


Saving Jesus From the Church - Robin Meyers
Jesus, Interrupted - Bart Ehrman
Misquoting Jesus - Bart Ehrman

No More Christian Music

I can't listen to Christian music anymore, and the worship music at church grates on my ears. It's all "we praise you Jesus" and "Me me me... this is what you've done for me." And never what it means to follow Jesus. It's shallow, one-note, no real exploration, no depth, all emotion.


It's amazing how recently I actually liked it. Now it turns my stomach.

Friday, October 15, 2010

I Could Lose My Job Over This

I've built my career since 2003 in the Christian world, and they'll kick me out if they learn how my beliefs have evolved.

Ha! They already kicked me out once - I was fired from a job back in 2005. (Long story.)

I was able to build my career back up, fighting and clawing, as it were. Now that I've been honestly seeking God and seeking truth, and what I've found has led away from the beliefs I once held, they have reason to kick me out again.

Shhhhh! Don't tell! I actually like my job. And need the income.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Letting Go of my Christian Identity

I think the hardest part of letting Christianity go is that I found an identity there. I was a "person of faith" surrounded by other people of faith. I loved being surrounded by other seekers of truth and God. For so many years, I'd been seeking to belong, somehow. To be a part of something larger. And I found it.

But it turns out that this group only accepts you if you toe the line - but if your honest seeking takes you beyond their boundaries, you're no longer welcome.

Guess I don't want to be where I'm not wanted.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Look What God Did!

God is not an interventionist. Certainly one of the most frightening things to contemplate. It’s the ultimate recognition of our powerlessness.

That's why I'm reading about Buddhist approach to prayer. They're atheistic (no concept of God as a Being) yet prayer and meditation are vital to their spirituality. I wondered, what the heck is that all about? Who do they pray to, then? And do they expect answers?

The answers are fascinating.

What drives me crazy lately is "Let's watch what God does!" Or "it was amazing what God did."

Or the kicker, "God is good," only spoken when the baby DOESN'T die, or the job isn't lost, or the biopsy is negative.

Makes me want to scream, "Lots of times the cancer isn't cured... does that mean God isn't good?"

People are so blissfully unaware of how tightly they (we) hold to certain beliefs purely for the "opiate of the masses" effect, that is, just so we can cope without going completely round the bend.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

No More Bible Reading

I kind of feel like I don't want to read the Bible anymore. Sign of a true heretic right? There's just so much cultural/contextual stuff to wade thru, and about 95% chance of misunderstanding and/or misinterpreting every bit of it. The more I study, the more I see that the interpretations taught in the typical women's bible study are shallow at best, often just plain boneheaded.

Ugh sometimes I really wish I were smarter. Just a few extra IQ points would make it so much easier for me to understand this Borg/Crossan book (about Paul). As it is, about 50% of it is over my head. The other 50% is revolutionary for me and I love it.

But I hate coming up against my own intellectual barriers. I suppose if I really slowed down and studied this much more carefully, I'd eventually get it. Right now I'm too impatient... I'm in devour mode, not savor mode.

Reading "The First Paul." Parts of it, especially the first part, are just clear as a bell. But some parts get too deep into theological/historical nitpicking for me, and I don't understand it, although I want to.

Reading books like this one is what makes me feel hopeless in reading the Bible, because I can't possibly know all this historical, contextual background and so I can't possibly interpret scripture correctly, that is, how it was intended to be understood. I started thinking yesterday that with the Bible, I feel like I either need to study it in-depth (with teachers like Borg and Crossan) or leave it alone, because any other kind of reading is just a recipe for shallow and/or wrong interpretation. I think it's more helpful for me to read other authors these days instead of the Bible. No Sola Scriptura for me!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Challenges to Atheism

Last night I made pretty quick work of "The Dawkins Delusion" and "God and the New Atheism," both Christian challenges to Dawkins, Harris and Hitchens. (Also, both very short books, and I skimmed much of them.) They're pretty good, pointing out the many errors in logic in Dawkins book, the vast generaliza-tions, and just plain misinterpretation of scripture. Most importantly, they emphasize Dawkins apparently extreme aversion to admitting that anyone could possibly disagree with him without being a complete idiot (an attitude that is abundantly clear in The God Delusion.)

Still, my reading so far has brought me to a place of believing that there are many "valid" "religious per-spectives, and atheism is one of them; but that it's not okay to belittle or invalidate others personally be-cause of their beliefs. Christians, atheists, and people of all persuasions do this.

One of the things I liked in The Dawkins Delusion was the emphasis on the fact that nature itself lends itself equally well to an atheist perspective or a religious/spiritual/God perspective. Nature (the world around us) doesn't demand to be seen in either God or non-God terms but can be understood equally well either way. I like that.