7/20/01                                                                                       View Comments

Why I Am A BIBLEBELIEVERNOMORE

by Harry

Hi Everyone!


I became a 'born again Christian' early in life, being baptized in an evangelical American Baptist (ABC) church in 1974. I became very active in it- youth group, volleyball, choir ( no, I can't sing, but I was in it anyway!), the clown ministry to nursing homes, retreats, etc.


I went to contemporary Christian concerts ( Andre Crouch and the Disciples, Larry Norman, Petra, Phil Keaggy, Steve Taylor, etc, etc.), an inter-denominational group with a weekly singing and Bible study- we also went to concerts, retreats, and so on.


I went to Christian coffeehouses, other events, and other churches for fellowship and teaching-to 'fellowship' and learn, not to church hop.


Anyway.


Skipping ahead a bit- I tried to convert LDS/Mormon missionaries at the ripe young age of 17, but after an extended period of time, I was baptized as a Mormon at the age of 18, in 1981 after going through the missionary discussions twice, film strips and talks with other Mormons/LDS. That lasted for a bit over 2 years. I went in it because I brought up 'critical liturature'/ born again 'anti-Mormon' or anti-Mormonism material, and they answered it to my satisfaction, and I didn't know of many of the Bible verses that they use, so they caught me off guard. I did go to other Christians about it- a meeting with a Bible study teacher at my then home church, First Baptist, which included two LDS/Mormon missionaries, a friend who is still in it- 'J' , and the guy whose house I took the missionary discussions in, 'Jack'. There was another meeting I had with an area minister who I already knew for years, but it was too late and I didn't think he had the better positions all in all. I also was at a meeting for my friend, 'J', a Christian who he knew from his former church, 2 missionaries (I think 1 or 2 were the same ones at the other meeting with my former Bible study teacher at my former church, First Baptist), and 'Jack'. This was at his former Assemblies of God church and was an effort to keep 'J' out of Mormonism.


It didn't work.


'J' and a friend I knew for many years were baptized before I was! 'J' is still in it, as far as I know (I haven't heard from him in a few years now), and the other is out. both were in bornagainism before joining Mormonism.


After I was baptized and started to go ( I didn't tell my parents for a few months), I was very active in it for 2 years and 2 months (as my memory serves me on my time in it). I went with the Mormon missionaries to a number of their appointments when they were with 'born again' Christians, went to many events like dances, a weekend 'mini-mission', general conference broadcasts, and quite a number of other events. I read and studied it, and believed in it with both mind and heart. I sought to convert others to it as well.


When I eventually saw that their answers were not as solid as I thought, and saw the foundations of Mormonism fall, I left. I never had a negative experience in it. I also never danced so much before or since! I *have* danced since then, however!


After I left, I went right back to my born again faith, and the church I left. I was again active in it, and other activities and studies in bornagainism.


Everything was fine until the mid-1980s. A friend of mine, 'G', who was in bornagainism at the time had met someone who was in the Boston Church of Christ, and was invited to a Bible Talk . We decided to go, and talked to those there afterwards. We were not influenced by the Bible Talk at all. The only reasons I called the Boston Church of Christ/International Churches of Christ person was to find out where my ex-friend was- he couldn't be directly reached where he lives at the time, so I had to leave a message where he works or ask the BCOC/ICOC member to see if he heard from him. I did this a few times at least, and then the Boston Church of Christ member asked if I wanted to 'study the Bible' with him. Well, you know what that means! Carefully crafted lessons that the member gives to potential converts. At the time, all I knew of the BCOC/ICOC was that it had the baptism problem, and later that it had a lot of younger people in it.


I went along with it- my interest was to research and reach those I thought were in false religions, i.e.- not agreeing with what I believed to be the one, true born again faith. Well, it took them a bit of time and effort, but I was baptized in to the Boston Church of Christ in 1987. Keep in mind that the reasons that I joined any of these other groups was that I thought that they were closer to the Bible then what I already believed. I knew what I believed. I didn't join either the Mormon Church or the Boston Church of Christ/The International Churches of Christ because of the love-bombing, the mind control, etc.


I was shown, by someone who was in the Boston Church of Christ at the time (and who got into trouble for being independent & keeping his convictions) that the New Testament (NT) taught that water baptism is essential to, and was the point of, 'salvation'. Their position is that a person is 'saved' by faith, but it is at the point of water baptism by immersion. That's what I thought at that time, anyway. There are still some interesting points to the position. The came from the mainstream Churches of Christ/'Campbellites' and from one of their schools of preaching. He went into the Greek, and I brought up the Greek and other points in books against the doctrine. I joined from what I saw then as proof of what was in the Bible, not emotions, nor subjective reasons. The same with the Mormon Church. I was never told that the Boston Church of Christ had incorporated authoritarianism and the controlling Shepherding/discipling practices into its system. I knew about and disagreed with that junk with the Ft. Lauderdale teachers, etc. I wasn't unlearned in the existence of authoritarian, but on the other hand, I didn't know the first thing about mind control at the time, or what the BCOC/ICOC was all about.


My time in the Boston Church of Christ lasted 7 months. My motto on this is: "In & out in 87' "!! I was in the old 'Outer North Zone'. This was before sectors, etc., were added. They came out with their exclusivistic 'Remnant Theology' doctrine in the Sunday bulletin while I was in. ( i.e.-They are the One True Movement of 'God' today. It developed more since the 'Remnant Theology' Sunday bulletin came out in 1987). I saw "Upside Down" ( a musical presentation they produced based on Acts in the 'New' Testament of the Christian Bible) when I was in, and went to the old Boston Garden weekly to hear Kip McKean say "Ameeeeen?!!" every 7-10 words ( give or take!). They now go to the new Fleet Center a few times a year, I think, but am not sure. They mostly meet in different smaller groups on Sundays and at other times.


My first 'discipler' was the person who I first met and called when I was looking for my friend. My first discipler and his wife came from the mainstream churches of Christ, but he and his wife once thought their baptism was valid in their former church, and the Boston Church of Christ accepted that. I have heard that they have been re-baptized in the Boston Church of Christ, sometime after I left . My second 'discipler' helped me pick out some new clothes ( I guess that was 'making the gospel attractive', as they like to do !!) , but the discipling wasn't spiritually enhancing. I wonder ( actually more than wonder!) about the divine guidance of their choice on that one, since I don't believe in it now and there wasn't a lot of spiritual/religious stuff in it! ( He has since left the Boston Church of Christ, and I think he is still out). While I was in, I was in a single adult household in my area. There were about 10-11 people in it! It was one of the biggest, if not the biggest, in the church, I think. Since that time, 7-8 from that household group have left the church!!


The problems began when they tried to separate me from the only other friend who I hung around with, a Christian who, of course, they said wasn't because he didn't submit to their definition (which consists of more than just being 'saved' by faith at water baptism. They interview the potential convert to see if they are 'repentant and submitted enough after taking their canned 'Bible studies', confess, as a 'non- Christian' to someone else who they deem a true Christian, go to regular meetings, etc. See the old Acts Class studies, the new studies by Randy McKean, and an article in one of their old Discipleship or Upside Down magazines- I forget the reference right now. It is quite similar to an inside publication by the Jehovah's Witnesses' leadership- I think its called Our Kingdom Ministry newsletter. I don't have the documentation handy. It's somewhere downstairs!). They first wanted me to 'bring another brother' when we got together. This was OK- 'Christian influence'. Then they moved to, "Well, you could be using that time to bring people to the truth", and tried to draw me away from being with him. I didn't agree with this, and disagreed with how they used the Bible to do this. I don't know the order of all of this, but another issue was that I disagreed with something a leader said in a speech (Grant Henley), so when I brought it up that I had these issues, a meeting was set up with the zone leader and house church leader in the single adult household I was in. The household leader was present at the meeting, but didn't say anything. I was asked to write down my questions for this meeting, which I did.


The meeting started, and when we couldn't agree with what the speaker said, instead of going on to another question, they dug into me. They were trying to break me down into submission under the umbrella of 'rebuking'. Gee, does anyone here relate to this?!


Can I hear an 'AMEN', someone?!


NOT!


The meeting lasted for 3 hours. I know that most of the time was digging into me- emotionally trying to break me down into submission. The zone leader claimed that the part of the meeting that dealt with me only lasted about 45 minutes, I know that is bogus!! That evening was the house church Christmas party! I certainly not saying ho ho ho at the party!


NOT a party animal that night!


I was quite bummed out, to tell you the truth. I cried at that party- not from conviction, but from the emotional beating I got. A girl I knew, who has also left since, asked me what was wrong, but I didn't respond. I just cried.


I recovered by the next morning. An ex-member told me that I was lucky to recover that quickly. At that time, or after that, I got some information from Buddy Martin, a mainstream Church of Christ /'Campbellite' preacher who was in Massachusetts at the time, and worked against the BCOC/ICOC. I even read it in the household! I got a copy of a Christian debate with Jerry Jones (used to be an elder in the Boston Church of Christ, left it and is now back with the mainstream Churches of Christ) in it. It was an evangelical program. It was given to me by a member of the BCOC / International Churches of Christ! All of these things lead me away from the Boston Church of Christ / International Churches of Christ movement.


It was not emotions in or out. It was what I discovered as the evidence against what I was into. I could not compromise what I found. When I left, I decided that the church I grew up in was not giving me the 'spiritual food' it should. The sermons were lacking in depth for me, and so on. I went to a Southern Baptist church that a few people I knew went to. They were at a Bible study I went to. One of them was the study teacher. He gets into trying to reach and educate others and churches on Mormonism, JWs, etc. from a conservative Christian perspective (history, teachings, why he believes they need to be converted to keep them from hell, etc.). He does less of speaking in churches now, I assume since he is getting older. I went right back to my former born again, evangelical beliefs. I didn't believe I had reason to dump it all, so I didn't. I believed in it with both my heart and mind, as I did during my time in it before and since this time.


I was happy and active in my (now former) born again faith. I also had questions about what others said about the New Testament and Christian usage of the Jewish Bible/Tanack/ 'Old Testament'. Was the Christian 'messianic prophecy' case really that solid, as I thought? Are the NT accounts and defenses of the resurrection of the NT Jesus trustworthy and more so, perfect? These were only what I heard about others' objections and I had no doubts about the Christian Bible before I actually went into studying the issues. I had heard these objections before I went into the Boston Church of Christ / BCC movement (now collectively called the International Churches of Christ), but I thought about it, pushed it aside, and did so off and on for at least a few years. I finally decided to check it out. I checked it out with the NT texts only, checking the context, wording,and so on. I decided to expand the study to include the NT trial(s), crucifixion, and ascension accounts. I also did a good study of the Christian messianic prophecy case. The apologists/Christian 'defenders' of bornagainism failed, even though there were some OK points along the way. I had many more problems after just "let[ting] the Bible speak for itself" ( a popular Christian slogan), than before. Another popular Christian slogan is that "The Bible is its own best interpreter". It sounds great and confident, but I found that both slogans applied shows that the Christian Bible demonstrates itself to be human, rather than divine, in origin (Turning a slogan of Christian Research Institute president, Hank Hanagraaff, around). The Christian apologetics failed, the other side- whether from Jewish or skeptical sources-were not perfect, but they had more than enough to show me where the evidence should lead me. I found that I was not the only one who had found the same problems, either! I found most or all of my problems in the skeptical and Jewish sources!


I went to conservative Christian commentaries, as well as apologists such as Norman Geisler, Josh McDowell, Gleason L. Archer, etc., and they failed on demonstrating that the NT texts are trustworthy (worthy of our trust) and failed on the other arguments to defend the 'resurrection' of the NT Jesus. I went to the other side, including skeptics and Jewish sources ( Jewish sources on the Christian 'messianic prophecy' issue) and I found that they weren't perfect/infallible, but they had more than enough good points against the 2 topics and much/most of it is what I found in my studies before ever reading the skeptics and Jewish material.


Without the foundations of Christianity being sound, I could not follow what I used to. It was very hard, but that was the only intellectually honest thing I could do. I didn't want to, but now I am so glad I no longer believe in the Bible. I wouldn't want to limit myself unnecessarily, think that all are damned from conception because of what 2 people did thousands of years ago because 'God' decided to damn all of humanity for what only 2 people did and now we deserve the eternal torment chamber called hell/ the lake of fire, and have to submit to this 'god's' suppossed love for us by converting to the Only True Faith or be thrown into hell fire from this deity-concept (Matt. 13, 25, Rev. 21, 22, etc.).


I would return if I found that the Christian Bible is truly from a perfect, Christain, deity.


I didn't leave because of emotions, wanting to 'sin', hurt feelings, and so forth.


I left because the essential foundations to believe the crucial doctrines of CHRISTianity are unreliable/ untrustworthy. I tried to find reasons to keep trusting the Bible, and have a real 'reasons for faith', but if those essential areas fall-only one has to go-then there is real reason to admit it and leave bornagainism.


There is no reason to believe in the NT doctrines if the basis of them are shown to be "on sinking sand" ( to use the words of a hymn )-or sunk. The 'messiahship' of the collective NT Jesus ( and the belief that the collective NT Jesus is identical as a historical Jesus), and he being crucified for our 'sins', resurrected "for our justification" and raised to heaven are those foundations. We can believe in the divine without a book of about 1,000 - 1,500 pages of doctrines, taboos, damnation, unneeded guilt (induced through many ways), and other things. That does not mean there is nothing good in it, but I discovered that there are too many problems with it that shows that it is human in origin to make it the basis of my actions, "every thought" and everything about me and my life (2 Cor. 10:5, a NT verse- "Jesus, who IS our LIFE", etc.). That is only one topic of many to consider on what the NT wants us to submit and conform to. Another is that all non-converted are blinded by a Christian 'Satan' (2 Cor. 4:4), spiritually "dead in tresspasses and sin" and "children of wrath" "by nature" until we convert and conform (Eph. 2:1-9), "without Christ" which they equate with having "no hope..without God in the world..strangers and foriegners" before becoming converts/"saints" and part of the exclusive "household of God" (Eph. 2:12-19).


Is the case really worthy of converting to and believing such things and so much more?!


To briefly summarize the problems I have with the Christian Bible and defenses of it:


The case for Christianity with the crucial issues I left over and other topics show that it really doesn't contain a supernatural case origin for the Christian 'New Testament'/Christian Testament- passages are confused and confusing, taken out of its textual context, a human without any supernatural aid could use the Jewish Bible/'Old Testament' as some Christian NT authors use it so why believe it is divine in origin?


There are also:
- issues of translation, interpretation, application and even punctuation

- stretching and straining the texts,

- not enough historical substantiation to support underlying events, sometimes or many times no historical substantiation for claims in the area

- 'how-it-could-have-been scenarios

- 'opinion apologetics/defenses'

- using speculation as evidence when the texts themselves really don't

support the Christian Bible as a perfect collection of documents coming from a perfect deity.

There are more than enough weak arguments and rationalizations.

If there is real evidence to believe that the collection of the Christian Bible was not inspired from a perfect, Christian deity, and/or visa versa, then the texts fail, and 'Bible-based' Christianity falls and is human in origin. It also can then be maintained that there is no reason to believe that the deity that they beleive in exists.

So, I have been an open agnostic since the early 1990s. I am an open, but very cautious, agnostic. Once I thought I may have been wrong by leaving the BCOC,

but upon research, I knew I had made the right choice. Ditto for Mormonism. I truly believe that if people honestly investigated a belief system before they joined, not just the pro-side, but the other side, and had the right questions and information, there would be far fewer people going into error. Most (all?) conversions are not based on evidence, but are emotional/psychological in nature.

I left Bible belief because of conclusive evidence *and* by the *weight of* the evidence. I did not see a divine case that the Christian 'New' Testament is divine. I saw from what I discovered within the Christian Bible itself, that the Bible is human, rather than divine in origin. I haven't seen a case that I could see that I was wrong about this.

U.S. president Abraham Lincoln is quoted as stating:
"My earlier views of the unsoundness of the Christian scheme of salvation and the human origin of the scriptures, have become clearer and stronger with advancing age and I have no reason for thinking I shall ever change them."

- American Rationalist. March/April 2002, pp. 13-14

I am now a member of the Unitarian-Universalist Association of Congregations/UUA. It is a very open association, and draws from Christianity, non-faith, humanism, and other religions and spiritualities.

The UUA (headquarters) site:
WWW.UUA.ORG


One of the UU churches that has a web site is:
WWW.NORTHPARISH.ORG

That is my story.

That is my deconversion testimony.

I plan to have a full web site up about my testimony, and findings, as well as links to other web sites, and more. Let me know if you want to be notified when it is up, and I will try to keep the list of email addresses in my Web Site folder up to date and use it when things are up and running.

I am open to discuss the topics from the Christian Bible that I studied and found that the Christian Bible didn't hold up as the word of deity, as time permits.

I Became a Christian at age 11
I Ceased being a Chrisitan at about 19
I am a guy from Massachusetts
My past labels were Born again Christian, evangelical American Baptist, Southern Baptist, Mormon/Latter-day Saint, International Churches of Christ/Boston Church of Christ movement.
My labels now are open, but skeptical Agnostic & Unitarian-Universalist.
Why I Joined Christianity? I believed the basic message of bornagainism and converted with both my heart and mind.
Why I Left? My study of essential areas of bornagainism (NT accounts of its Jesus' trials to ascension) and 'messianic prophecy' claims of the NT & Followers Failed. Defenses also failed.

TERMS USED in the narrative:

-BCOC/BCC/ICOC- The International Churches of Christ./Boston Church of Christ movement, started with Chuck Lucas and the 'mainstream Churches of Christ/'Campbellites' in Campus Advance, and the mainstream Churches of Christ, but becoming the ICOC/BCOC after Kip McKean took the leadership of the Church of Christ in Lexington, MA., and changing it into the authoritarian, controlling movement it is today. Lucas converted McKean, and since then Lucas has left the 'ministry', or was removed from it, because of "reoccurring sin" (unspecified).
Most, maybe all, of the mainstream Churches of Christ/'Campbellites' reject the BCOC/ICOC, BTW.

The church he had in Florida has since changed and has dropped the Lucas and McKean style-authoritarianism, control, and the other abuses that the movement is guilty of.

I also like to call it: The Boston Church/Intern'l Churches of Kip, the Boston/Intern'l Churches of Crap, and I like to call Kip McKean Pope Kip I/the First, Mien Kip.

-MORMON CHURCH/MORMONISM/LDS CHURCH- The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, commonly called the Mormon Church. I think the former official nickname was the LDS Church. It was used a lot by many, anyway. The present public relations outreach of the LDS Church is not to use either the Mormon Church, or the LDS Church.

-LDS: Latter-day Saint(s), or Mormons.

- NT: The New Testament/Christian Testament portion of the Christian Bible.

-JWs- Jehovah's Witnesses. Organizational name is the Watchtower Bible and Tract Society (Nicknamed by non-JWs as the Watchtower Society).

A Few Quotes:

"Let us read the Bible without the ill-fitting colored spectacles of theology, just as we read other books, .......... Most of us possess discriminating reasoning powers. Can we use them or must we be fed by others like babes?"
Luther Burbank

Without a divine case of a supernatural origin for the Christian Bible from a *perfect* Christian deity- the unconverted are safe in staying unconvinced and therefore unconverted.
- Harry/Biblebelievernomore 2/8/2002

" For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that .......he who does not believe is condemned already .....and the wrath of God abides on him."
John 3:16,19,36 NKJV The dark side of Christmas

"...if the Biblical record can be proved fallible in areas of fact that can be verified, then it is hardly to be trusted in areas where it cannot be tested."
-Evangelical Christian defender, Gleason L. Archer, Enclyclopedia of Bible Difficulties, p.23

"Question unquestioned answers."
-Harry/Biblebelievernomore 7/23/2001

"Don't be fooled by those who would argue against the axioms of logic. Trying to do so with logical arguments is inherently self defeating; and doing so without logical arguments is meaningless."
-Java's Paraphrase

"Emotions don't negate facts."
- Harry/Biblebelievernomore. 7/30/2001

"I prefer unanswered questions over unquestioned answers."
-Harry/Biblebelievernomore 7/20/2001

1/1/01                                                                                       View Comments

My Testimony from Christianity.

Jim. Lee.

New South Wales

Australia. Aug. 99

I have walked a long road in just under three years. From Christianity, to Messianic Judaism, gave Orthodox Judaism some thought, and from there to agnostic belief, and today January 2001 I would have to say atheism. During this walk I rediscovered that you do not need religious dogma to have principles, ethics, or morals, after all religion is only a theory as to the nature of man, a man’s place in the universe, and religion has been and still is used as a form of control to guide human actions. There is not a man on the face of this earth today whether he is a Minister, Pastor, Bishop, Cardinal or Pope who can prove to you that heaven or hell exist, except by faith. "Faith" is merely someone’s assumption that something is true without evidence to support it. "Faith" is a blind belief in something unknown and unseen. This testimony remains ongoing, as I slowly lost sight of God. So let me begin…….

My wife Gloria and myself became Christians in Nov.1987, at an Assembly of God, Pentecostal Church in Toowoomba, Queensland, Australia. A few weeks after that we moved to Ballina in the Northern rivers area, Northern New South Wales. We were Baptised in Shaw’s bay a few weeks after our arrival there. We gradually became more involved into Church activities. We would usually attend all services, participate in ministry training courses, mid week meetings, bible study classes, both within the Church and within the home, early morning prayer meetings, as well as prayer walks around the community etc, as a regular part of our life. We were water baptised, Spirit filled (spoke in other tongues) "born again" believers in the true sense of the word.

Gloria also became involved in the Music ministries, as well as leading in Bible study groups for women, K.Y.B. (know your bible,) and scripture readings in old peoples hostels, and playing an active role within the Church. We were also involved in combined Church services committee meetings, trying to encourage unity among the various denominations. This was short lived for us, (approx. 14 months) as it meant we had to compromise on what we believed in. We believed that from Genesis to Revelation was the inspired and infallible word of God, (fundamental) and many Christians in our opinion went to Church on Sundays and spent the rest of the week in the world, many liberal Christians do not believe what the church teach. So for the sake of unity and harmony we resigned from this role.

Gloria and myself built up quite a considerable library within our home as we studied God's word. We obtained Concordances, Bible Dictionaries, Greek and Hebrew Lexicons, Study Bibles of most translations, study books on Spiritual warfare, Exorcism, and Christian counselling. It was our life and we loved it. Every one of our friends were Christian, We never associated at all with non-believers with the exception of our family members. Two of our five children were also Christian and still are, it was this conversion of two of our three sons who were teen-ages at the time, which brought both my wife and myself into Christianity. They encouraged us to go to church with them and we did, and at the second service my wife and I went down to the altar and gave our hearts to Jesus, and we never even queried what we were doing, just took the pastors word for it. As new Christians we had no knowledge of the bible, or of its origins nor of the history of the Church. Here we were as new believers, we had chosen to base our entire life on the contents of a book, which we knew nothing about. It is a long story, which I intend to write about one day, but to speed up this testimony a little, it mainly started about two and one half years ago. One Sunday morning after the service at the Baptist Church in our home town, a lady from the congregation approached me, and asked me what my views were on Israel and the Jews. It was something that I had never given much thought about, so I said to her. "As far as I’m concerned the Jews have had it, they rejected Jesus and the Christians adopted him." I then went on to say, " That if a mother neglected her child, and put her child up for adoption, then the foster mother who raised and cared for him, would have sole rights to the child." And that was the end of the matter, or so I thought. My wife and I were driving home from the service, when I sensed something within me saying. "You were wrong about the foster mother, because the life force is in the blood, and that it is this force that binds the child to the natural mother for life, adoption or no adoption." This had a powerful effect on me as I began to understand that the mother of Jesus, would have been a Jew, and that made Jesus a Jew. I kept trying to put it out of my mind but my soul was not at peace. Eight months went by as I struggled with this issue and I just knew in my heart that I could defer this issue no longer. I said to my wife Gloria, "I feel that I have to learn about Israel and its people and that we should become involved in a prayer group that focuses on Israel, the Jewish people and their culture, as I believe that God is trying to show me something." She did not want to go at first but as I’m very deaf, she said that she would come with me to take notes etc. It wasn't long before Gloria also started to look forward to these weekly meeting the same as I did.

We joined a local prayer group in town, where we are still living. This group came together once a week, in a private home, mid week to pray for Israel and the Jews and to assist with finances to help the Jews living in foreign lands to return to their homeland. This group consisted of about twelve to fifteen people from various church denominations around the local area. We would start at 7:00 PM until 10:30PM and then have supper and have discussion time.

Both Gloria and myself decided to learn Hebrew and study Tanach. (Jewish bible) There is no New Testament in this bible, as believing Jews do not recognise Jesus as the messiah, and they do not recognise New Testament either. We purchased these books from a Jewish bookstore in Melbourne. We had been informed not to buy the Tanach from a Christian bookstore, as they were Christianised and was not of original translation. I must admit this came as a shock to us, our first awareness that something was amiss. We now understand why.

As I mentioned earlier I’m extremely deaf even with a hearing aid, and I have always struggled at prayer meetings, not knowing what other people are praying about. This had its funny moments though, as I would sometimes pray for something that was the opposite of what someone else had prayed for. During this time of meditation, (and that is what it was like for me, most of the time.) I started to see scriptures like I had never seen scripture before, I started to see scriptures in New Testament that were in contradiction, so I would go home and the next day pour over the Word. I started delving into various bible translations, using concordances, and bible dictionaries, I started seeking out early church history, and found that there was much error in New Testament writings. I started to share what I was finding out, with this group of faithful prayer warriors, but it only brought conflict. They just did not want to know about it. This prayer group was becoming uneasy and restless.

Even though at this stage my wife and I were still deeply involved within the church, and Jesus was our life. We still believed the New Testament was the inspired and infallible word of God, but there were serious questions just about to surface. I would call out to God and ask Him. "What are you trying to do to me"? We became convicted about the food we were eating, and so we began to change our dietary habits in accordance with old testament scripture, ( Tanach) and also the Biblical Sabbath, I could never understand how Christians could justify doing away with the fourth commandment, no matter how hard I tried. So we began to observe Friday sundown to Saturday sundown, and we would spent this entire time apart from normal sleeping, focusing on God. This was in addition to our other commitments within the Church. We would on most occasions attend both morning and evening services on Sundays, and whatever was going on mid-week as well. It was during these biblical Sabbath observances that Gloria and I would pray to God that He would bring people across our paths, who’s thoughts were similar to ours. Then within a couple of weeks, one day in a shopping centre we meet a woman that we had known years before, in another Church in another town. She shared with us that she also had a burden on her heart for years, to pray for Israel and the Jewish people, and that she had left the Church years ago. She said that she now belonged to a group of people, who met in private homes on a monthly basis and that they were a messianic group. She said that Jesus was a Jew and that his name was Yeshua, and that he was never a Christian but had a sect of Judaism called "The Way." We were excited because we still felt this way as well, and this was confirmation to some of the thing that I had been discovering.

We joined this group and found that they kept the biblical Sabbath, and followed the ways of Jewish law and dietary habits. We did not understand it at the time but this group became a stepping stone for us. By this time, we had already left the Church, but still believing that Yeshua was the Messiah. Our weekly tithes we now let accumulate and as it built up we would give wherever we felt led. We were still involved with the weekly prayer group for Israel, and as I started to share with them this new direction in our lives, it brought about the closing down of the prayer meeting of this small group of people. May I also mention, that this prayer group had not been sanctioned by any of the churches, and the leaders of this prayer group were asked by their church minister to please explain the purpose and direction of this prayer group. They were troubled by this as they thought that they may be asked to leave the church and they decided to close the prayer group down, and I was also becoming a thorn in the side that they could well do without. I felt sad about this, as I still believed that God was trying to show all of us something, but the sound from the pulpit was overshadowing the voice of God. Within a couple of months this prayer group reformed, those who had been asked for a please explain never returned to this prayer group, and needless to say both Gloria and myself were never invited to meet with them in prayer.

The teacher of this messianic group where we began attending, was an ex pastor from a Christian Pentecostal Church who had begun to see things in a new light. She was well educated in Middle East religions, having studied such at universities, and had been asked to step down from the pulpit because of her change of attitude and beliefs, and she now runs small messianic groups. This lady was a great help to us at the time as she was sharing about early Church history, and how the New Testament had been misunderstood. The pagan influences that had crept into the early church, such as Easter, Christmas, communion, and the trinity.

This trinity (3 Gods in one?) was first formulated in 4TH century writing, even bible dictionaries admit this. This excited me as this was added confirmation to my own research. As I started to delve further into Roman and Greek mythology I also became aware of the origins of the Original sin, the Virgin birth, the Trinity, the Resurrection, the Ascension, Hades, Hell, and Satan. Satan of the New Testament is not the Satan of the old, and how it began to influence New Testament writings. Gloria and myself are still pushing ahead, as God is still revealing His word to us. We no longer accept this messianic approach, as it still remains another doorway to Jesus or Yeshua, depending on where you are coming from.

Where does this leave both Gloria and myself? From a Christian concept we are in exile, Our Christian friends have deserted us in droves. It’s hard to understand how all of these people whom we considered as sincere friends could turn their backs on us without ever asking us what brought about this change in our lives. But The Almighty God has put within us a burning desire for truth, no matter what the cost. Hear, O Israel: Hashem is our God, Hashem, the one and only.

Throughout the generations, beginning with the exodus non-Jews have taken the responsibility and become converts. The Hebrew bible (Tanach) speaks of the mixed multitudes (Exodus 12:38) that went up from Egypt with Israel, awed and inspired by Moses.

*The light of the Jewish faith has burned longer than any other. It is the oldest living religious light, and it is this light which challenges us (Gloria and Myself) to seek truth, and to study. * My views on this have changed, as I have become aware of ancient religions.

We now understand, that Jews should never become Christians or Messianic believers, being told that they are now a completed Jew in Yeshua or Jesus. Nor should anyone else for that matter, but we believe the deception that was set up by the early church fathers has been around too long.

Maybe it will take some great historical discovery to be made to bring about a change, and with that change of course would bring devastation for the believers in Jesus, along with economic woes throughout the entire Christian enterprises of the Christianised world. I personally believe that the death knoll of Christianity is already being tolled, and it must change direction or die. To Continue. Jim Lee. Aug. 99

The saga continues. June 2000.

Much water has flowed under the bridge since I put this testimony together in August. 1999. I could not access enough information from local libraries, so I purchased a computer to gain access into religious archives of universities and to equip myself with C.D. encyclopedias. I would have spent in excess of 1000 hours in research, in the last two and one half years. At that point of time we were giving some thought of converting to Judaism and still proceeded to continue doing research into biblical history. We have now turned our back on all revealed organised man made religions.

The Christian Jesus has been the creation of many people, he has been continually reworked by many Christian authors over almost two thousand years. He has been rebuilt too many times for too long a journey. Science, having been suppressed by the Church for centuries is now coming into its own, breaking down barriers and the church can almost no longer serve the needs of the modern man, who's own personal development has outstripped that of his bible. Many Christians no longer believe in what is being taught. They no longer believe that the earth and man are but a mere 6000 years old, according to the bible. Many no longer believe in Adam and Eve. For those who don’t believe in the Adam and Eve story, this alone should pose a serious problem. With no Adam and Eve then there is no Original sin, and without Original sin there is no need for Jesus, who was supposedly born of a virgin to set believers, free from the Original sin.

We are almost space age travelers still trying to move about in the primitive superstition of ancient times. I am quite convinced today that the hierarchy of the Catholic (Vatican city) and Anglican Churches know and believe that many religions lead to the creator God, and the dogmas of Christianity now firmly entrenched in the believer, leave a stumbling block of huge proportions. The new Primate of the Anglican Church of Australia, Rev. Dr. Peter Carnley, Archbishop of Perth made a public statement just recently (April 2000) that he believed that the Islamic and Buddhist faiths also lead to God. He also made the comment that too much emphasis was placed on the resurrection. He also stated that fundamental Christians would not be able to bully him. There are many others in similar position also saying the same. If this is what they believe then where does that put Jesus and the bible.

I have also started to put a lot of my articles to writing they are varied and cover many topics pertaining to Christianity and ancient religions. I believe it is important for all believers of the Christian faith to stop, to think and to question? It is no good seeking your pastor or minister for answers. These so- called ‘learned one’ of the clergy believe different creeds and doctrines, and they dispute each other, a Protestant bishop for example would probably hold the Pope in contempt. If Church denominations cannot agree on doctrine (homosexuality, adultery, and ordination of women are three examples and there are many more) how can you trust these various ministers to guide you into "truth." They themselves know only what they have been taught, and that information is second, third, or fourth hand. Why did God leave the writings of theology to modern uninspired writers, who cannot agree with one another? You must seek for yourself, and if you seek with an open mind you shall find. Today we should be using our knowledge in every direction (including the Church,) we should be testing all opinions by the facts that we know. All claims should be investigated, the object being to separate truth from what is false.

Leaving the addictions of Christianity (deprogramming your mind) is a bit like ridding your-self of an addictive problem such as nicotine. During the withdrawal phase life is hell, you want to stay addicted, but when it’s over you feel so much better, you feel liberated. I would have to say that leaving Christianity would have to be one of the best decisions that I have ever made. It is good to be set free from outdated mythology, superstition and dogmas. Once you can let go you begin to feel comfortable and relieved and you find that everything takes on a whole new outlook.

I believe it is healthy to explore different ideas and beliefs. I have become aware that no one changes his mind unless he himself wants to change it. If you don’t want to seek then you don’t want to learn, and in order to seek "truth" the mind must be open to receive that truth.

My wife and I believe in a Creator (energy force), but with no dogmas to follow, just our own intuition, and to love our fellow man and to reach out when there is a need. This creator is a creation of natural processes, which does not make judgments or dispense advice. There is no instruction manual. When all and everything was created the switch was turned on so to speak, and we have been left to our own devices, to follow the direction of our heart until the day when we depart from this life as we know it.

The more I search the more I discover, and am still discovering. There were religions that predated the Israelites, and these ancient religions and history of these people is what keeps me intrigued to this very day.










Agnostic / Atheist? August 2000.
If you have read my testimony to date then you will gather that I have not quite made it to the atheist stage. I guess at this stage both my wife and myself would have to class ourselves as agnostic. We no longer believe in any revealed organised religion as such, and therefore there are no miracles and no point in prayer. The big bang theory may have been the very start of creation as we know it today, still evolving. My wife and I would like to think that the psyche of man could be spiritual in some way but we don’t know and probably never will, after all dead men don’t talk. There is no returning from the dead to spread the news, is there? Even though traveling Pentecostal evangelists talk about all the dead that are raised to life in third world countries?

I now have an open mind, and am no longer held in bondage to any religion and I feel very confident that the Judeo-Christian God does no more exist, than the Greek, Egyptian, or any other culture Gods or Goddess’ that have existed and died through out the ages. That is why I consider myself agnostic today. I have not been everywhere and I certainly do not know all that there is to be known. Even though I believe that the possibility of God is highly unlikely, I do not have all of the answers, and I recognise that the possibilities exists –however slim those may be.

It is impossible to talk of world peace as long as religions exist, and it looks like religions will always be with us, along with their intolerance and hatred of each other. Christians never hesitate to put down other religions. If we look into Christianity’s past and present treatment of those with contrary religious opinions we find that they assail, insult and ridicule their tenets, and it become outrageous for anyone to say that Christianity excels at promoting compassion and humanitarianism. So much for "love your enemy".

Within Christianity itself there is very little tolerance among the various denominations, who cannot agree with each other over biblical interpretation of the bible, Catholics, Protestants and Pentecostal cannot see eye to eye. Each one doubts if the other is really Christian, and some of their offshoots are regarded as cults.

I feel we should cultivate a respect for the universe, cultivate an awareness of human fallibility (mine and yours) cultivate the tools to separate truth from what we would like to be true. I no longer have a fear for my "soul" in the "afterlife", because I believe that neither exists, as portrayed by the Church, but if something does exist then that will be a bonus.

I have no idea where mankind originated from, (I don’t believe it was from Adam and Eve.) and I don’t know what will happen when I die, I’m not perturbed about it either, and I prefer it that way.

Maybe death is the great equaliser? Whatever revealed organised man made religion you belong to, whether it is Christianity, Islamic, Hinduism, Judaism, or all of their various off- shoots, sects, cults, or whatever, I now believe that death may make us all equal.

The people who used to be our Christian friends and also the ones who used to turn up at early morning prayer meetings within the Church (if there were half a dozen we would consider it a crowd). They now say among themselves that we were never really Christian anyway, but there is no question in both my mind and the mind of my wife Gloria that we were sincere dedicated Christians trying to live the Christian life. I started to lose faith by studying the bible after those prayer meetings for Israel contrary to my own desire. Our loss of faith was something that happened to us while doing the things that Christians do, it was heart wrenching for us at the time, we lost many hours of sleep over it, however knowing what we now know it would be impossible for us to return to Christianity.

Freedom of speech is a friend for those who seek change, and freedom of speech is an enemy of the Church who seeks to maintain control.

. I can no longer believe that man is made in God’s image as taught by the Church, but just the reverse. That God has been perceived in the image of man. If man has been created in God’s image then how can we be imperfect? How can a supposed "perfect god" according to the church create anything imperfect? Perfection can only create perfection.

In closing may I say this, don’t be afraid to change. So often we find ourselves following the paths that others have set before us. Perhaps we feel limited by our own beliefs of what we think we can do and what we can’t do. In just a single moment that it takes to commit to change our ways, we can rewrite a new story. Change isn’t always easy, and it takes courage, but with courage comes growth, and with growth comes enlightenment. It is my desire that whoever reads this testimony will seek new ways to grow and to learn to love all our fellow men in all circumstances in the time that lies ahead. Jim Lee. August. 2000.

January 2001. I have finally come to the decision that you have to believe in a god as perceived by man made organised religion come faith movements, or you don't believe in a god. So from this point on I do not believe in a god, so that make me atheist.

Jim Lee. January. 2001.