Couldn't Bring Myself To Believe Anymore

sent in by Don

Grab a snack and a beverage and settle in. This might take awhile.

I was baptized and brought up as a Roman Catholic. My first three years of education were spent in parochial school. Here I first learned about Christian behavior when the nuns thought they had a right to administer corporal punishment.

We moved to the suburbs and I started attending public school. This meant I had to attend Catechism, or CCD, we just called it "catecrap". The curriculum was heavily influenced by what I call the "1970's Folk Mass Crowd". I was b-o-r-e-d. At home, I was given the Baltimore Catechism to study.

This of course, showed me that anything I may enjoy is a sin; and lead to feelings of guilt over the human emotions and drives that "God" gave me. That I was to avoid all the books and movies and "immoral associations" where I could encounter differing ideas.

I took all the sacraments, (except marriage) for the laity: baptized as an infant, first communion, and was confirmed.

I was also an altar boy.

I would like to stress very strongly that I was *never* sexually abused by any member of the clergy. I dated a woman who thought she was at times possessed by evil spirits. While I didn't believe it, I thought having her talk to a priest would help. This priest dismissed both the idea and us. (Even if he didn't believe in a case of demonic possession, couldn't he have tried to help a distressed and troubled young woman?)

I went on religious retreats and on one occasion a deacon of our church revealed that one of the priests was an alcoholic.

Whoa! Didn't Jesus help the troubled? Isn't there something about not being a talebearer? I was in my late teens, and for the first time, my eyes began to open to the hypocrisy present in our church. If "A good tree does not bear bad fruit...." where was this coming from?

I tried to keep myself in a state of grace, fearing to go to hell. I went to confession regularly, but never seemed to be able to certain desires. If the sacraments didn't strengthen my ability to resist sin, what good were they? I was beginning to fall away, but tried desperately to hold on to my faith.

Then, in my early twenties, my father died. My mother said the priest at the hospital told her that it was St. Joseph's day as a means of comfort. How inept could you be? After the funeral, there were no visits from clergy, there were no parishioners stopping to comfort her. Just collection envelopes the Parish never bothered to remove my father's name from. I saw how the church took our money and gave nothing in return.

I looked for solace at the church where I attended college and found only emptiness. I read the bible and found atrocity. I studied history and found that the cruelest forms of torture were inflicted in the name of a "Loving God". The neatly packaged message, couched in pious talk, was becoming unraveled. I stopped going to church, but still struggled to reconcile what I knew from the bible and history with the idea of a perfect, loving and merciful God.

As the years passed my mother's health declined and she stopped attending church. Again, no call or visit from clergy, no interest on the part of parishioners. When she died a eulogy was delivered by a priest who knew her not at all.

I also met a man who was turned away when seeking charity at the rectory. These same priests that mulct the congregation for their hard earned money so the "Princes of The Church" can live in luxury, could not help Simone in need.

After reading the bible, and seeing how the Christianity operates, I cannot believe in Christianity, or in Christianity's god. Like many who have posted here before me, I cannot reconcile the doctrine of hell with a perfect Deity. This character of Christ contradicts himself in the gospels. A church who marginalizes women, who denies birth control as a means of population growth, who sets itself up as inerrant when speaking "Ex-Cathedra" on faith and morals while priests abuse innocent children is not worthy of my belief and respect.

The protestant faiths are no better. Saddling their flock with guilt, threatening them with hellfire, sowing, at the least, condescension and at the worst hatred in the minds of their congregations for other faiths, and growing rich in the process.

I am thankful that I have few scars from being a Christian. I still have insomnia from being told that the day of the lord was coming like a thief in the night, and that I was going to burn in hell forever if I was not in a state of grace when that happened. I know now that it is an irrational fear, but I still have trouble sleeping nights. It's gotten better since I abandoned my beliefs - but I don't know if I'll ever be able to shake it altogether.

At this point, I am seriously thinking of writing the Archbishop in my area outlining my beliefs on the church and asking for ferendae sententiae excommunication. Having a formal acknowledgment from the church that I no longer belong to them in any part of my mind and body could well give me the healing I need. To know that I will not be listed as a member of an organization that has wrought so much evil in the world.


Windsor
CT
USA
Joined at: About 3 Months
Left at: Twenty-seven
Was: Roman Catholic
Now: Pagan
Joined because: My Parents baptised me into it.
Left because: Hypocrisy of the members and the doctrine of Hell

44 comments:

Jaku said...

Dear Don,

Have you watched "The Da Vinci Code"? I've watched it and I feel sorry for that poor Silas for having to wear the cilice and to whip himself a number of times in order to prove his commitment to Roman Catholic church.

Anonymous said...

Good for you! I enjoyed reading about your journey in self discovery, and am happy that you were able to find out the truth. Good luck in life mate :)

gshand said...

Welcome to the worls of reality! I attended mass once with a friend out of curiosity. Not knowing the ritual, when it came time to kneel and pray I was pushed to my knees by a parishioner from behind! My father always railed against the pomposity ot the Catholic religion, practiced in its gilded cathedrals by priests in gaudy raiments. I grew up and am still an atheist. I derive my spirituality from nature, which mankind, made in the image of god, is doing its best to destroy.

Anonymous said...

Yes, I have read and watched the DaVinci Code. While I recognize it as fiction, I believe that the underlying character of the church is such that the antagonists could behave in such a fashion.

I was never a part of Opus Dei, but I have visited both their official website and ODAN, (Opus Dei Awareness Network), I believe that Opus Dei is a fundamentalist subset of the Catholic faith, and should be monitorred closely.

From what I am able to gather the cilice and the "discipline" are ment to enforce the idea that one should focus on heavenly rewards and deny the flesh. A ludicrous doctrine considering that God gave one a body to begin with and then told us not to enjoy it.

This to me is about as cruel as making a fresh steaming batch of tollhouse cookies, putting them on a low table and telling a four year old you will beat them if they so much as touch one cookie.

Corporal mortification *was* encouraged on a low level by my parents and local church: fasting and not wearing jewelry during Lent, "kissing up to god" various discomforts as atonement for sin, etc.

You should have seen the looks I got from my friends and my parents when I told them I wasn't giving up anything for Lent. Instead, I told them I was going to do *more*. I was going to try to be nicer to folks, to be more charitable, not just with money, but with my time. Because I wouldn't give something up, I was "selfish". Yeah, like going without chocolate for 40 days was going to feed one hungry person.

For anonymous: Thank you! I have a pretty nice life. There is a wonderful woman whom I love and loves me, my job sucks out loud but there you are.

I just need help getting to sleep some nights is all. Compared to other testimonies I've read here, I know I'm very, very lucky.

Don

Jim said...

Believe me when I say there is no need to feel guilt over what is no more than fraudulent biblical mythology. It's all a bloody farce. It amazes me that people will read novels etc exposing the bible, then label is as fiction, but they wont spend time reading reliable bible dictionaries when on analysis you can find just how fraudulent the chuch has been and has become. We find for example that hell (which many fear) was an invention of fourth century Arian formularies. So hell never existed prior to the fourth century. Why people cannot do their own homework is beyond me. Sometimes I wonder if they really want to know truth, because truth does require a little bit of study, in some recorded Christian history that can be heavy going. I believe that it's heavy going approach is to deter people from getting engrossed in it. Cheers all. Jim Lee

Don said...

Jim:

I din't know that about the doctrine of hell. I do know that the biblical cannon was set at the council of Nicea.

Do you have some sources to post where I could track them down?

I think it would be helpful in ridding myself of the programming the church put me through.

xrayman said...

I remember my Catholic childhood buddies going to the CCD bullshit, while me and the non-Catholic boys were out playing and having fun. When I was dating my wife while she was still in high school her father would often make me take her to Catholic mass on Sunday's in exchange for him allowing her to go out with me. I used to just look around at all these seemingly intelligent people going through all the silly rituals. I just couldn't get how they all bought into it. I did believe in God at the time, but never bought into the organized bullshit. I saw right though that. The Catholic Church was all about controlling the sheep. Thankfully my wife is no longer invloved with the Pope's organization.

Why the fuck would you even give the Archbishop the time of day? Maybe if you saw him in person look at him and grab your junk, but don't waste your ink in writing him a letter. Let it go and enjoy your life. Don't give the church the time of day.

Anonymous said...

Hell is in hello.

Anonymous said...

Hi Don,
I have similar experiences to yours, however, perhaps not as involved though since the biggest reason my folks, who being of Italian heritage yet for the most part, agnostic/atheistic desired their brood to have some knowledge of Catholicism. As a child being placed in parochial school in the 4th grade after having been educated in public schools, immediately I could see the contradictions between 'church' school and public, especially as regards the creation story. I too was baptized as an infant, had my first communion, the confession, and then years went by, our family moved, I fluctuated between my own kind of deism and scientific agnosticism/atheism. As a young woman I was looking to 'ritualize' my 'coming of age' and ties to my Mediterranean Heritage. To be sure, I went along with my age group to church functions as a way to socialize and meet guys not realizing that 'in this day and age' yes, there are people that literally believe the myths of church whether it is in a Catholic setting or a Protestant setting. Seeing the commonality between the two and since it seemed like the 'girl' thing to do along with my friends who were both Catholics and Protestants I thought of myself as a Christian first and a Catholic second. I went ahead and went through the confirmation training. I will never forget approaching the priest after one of those confirmation catechisms and looking up into a clear starry sky and asking him how he knows for certain that God exists. He paused and it was obvious to me that he too did not 'know' he offered a comment, that doubts are a part of faith and persisting in the mystery even though one doubts is what believing is and then he shrugged. I went through with the confirmation and felt that even though I thought it was all a fairytale, I felt I had ritualized my identity as a young adult with ties to my Italian heritage. I knew that the range of beliefs of modern day Catholics was broad and that there were others with my viewpoints who didn't take any of it literally, instead, it was like being initiated into a 'club' which conferred identification.

As time wore on, I had some personal tragedy in my life, illness and death of others and observed the passing of those whom I only knew of in my school, young people dying of cancer or accidents. It made me think, I also went through my 'dark night of the soul' period and sought after religious literature and wanted to know the truth about the origins and histories of the literature of the Judeo-Christian Bible. I also bought my fair share of skeptic books, historian books and psychology books. I wanted to prove to myself 'the truth about the Bible' and the spirituality and cultures around it. Eventually I learned alot and let me tell you, knowledge dispels fear as does keeping an open mind to people who have had what are known as 'near death experiences' which apparently are not all bad, in fact, they reinforce the unity of existence with no gods, angels or devils whatsoever. I even found information online with one of my favorite resources being http://www.infidels.org where I found the following excellent information which I used in a recent rebuttal to someone who posted on craigslist.
I think it will help dispel those fears which currently disrupt your sleep and hope you keep learning by keeping your mind open and as the saying goes, 'not so open your brains fall out!'
------------
http://www.craigslist.org/sby/rnr/164384166.html

Wakeup re:The Amazing Bible/Forgery in Christianity and Truth (los gatos)

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Reply to: pers-164384166@craigslist.org
Date: 2006-05-24, 5:59PM PDT


Whomever wrote the post 'The Amazing Bible' needs to open their mind to some education about religious history which is sorely lacking in schools these days.

Here you go, just paste the links into your browser and get educated!

Forgery in Christianity:

http://www.infidels.org/library/historical/joseph_wheless/forgery_in_christianity/

Truth About Jesus (a parable with facts):
http://www.infidels.org/library/historical/m_m_mangasarian/truth_about_jesus.html


The Amazing Bible

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Reply to: pers-164045787@craigslist.org
Date: 2006-05-23, 7:39PM PDT


Infidels, with all their assaults, make about as much impression on this book as a man with a tack hammer would on the Pyramids of Egypt.

The hammer of the infidels have been pecking away at this book for ages, but the hammers are worn out, and the Anvil still endures.

If this book had not been the book of God, men would have destroyed it long ago.

Emperors and popes, kings and priests, princes and rulers have all tried their hand at it; they die and the book still lives.

A thousand times over, the death knell of the Bible has been sounded, the funeral procession formed, the inscription cut on the tombstone, and the committal read. But somehow the corpse never stays put.

No other book has been so chopped, knived, sifted, scrutinized and villified.

What book on philosophy, or religion, or other classical works have have been subject to such a mass attack as the Bible? with such venom and skepticism?
With such thoroughness and erudition? upon every chapter, line and tenet?




no -- it's NOT ok to contact this poster with services or other commercial interests




164045787




no -- it's NOT ok to contact this poster with services or other commercial interests




164384166


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

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Piprus said...

Hi, Don:

Thanks for sharing your testimony. I knew very little of catholicism in the years I was part of Xtianity, I was a Baptist. I was taught that Catholics were idol worshippers. In the end, though, it's the same thing. Chicken fried or chicken baked is still just dead chicken. My only question in response to your compelling and well written testimony is, why would you want to request excommunication from the church you no longer believe in? Haven't you already excommunicated yourself? If you need to offer your testimony to a church official that's one thing, but to request severence from your church's sacraments would suggest that there is still some connection within you to the collective. Perhaps then you do need to do that after all. Whatever compels you, best wishes on your choices.

doug said...

Hi Don,

I respect you for sharing so honestly and cannot deny the soundness in what you have written. I do believe in Jesus, yet freely admit the Bible is indeed complicated. If I were to have written the Bible as an English paper, thesis or whatever, it would be torn apart for inaccuracies, condradictions and its blood-stained content within the context of a loving and merciful God.

You and I have two differences. First, I have been blessed in being part of a church that is truly friendly, loving and supportive. We are not blind to condemnation, but do not focus on it because our energy is focussed on the majesty of Jesus -- the Good News. We are not threatened every week with hellfire, damnation, sinfulness and the like. It is what it is; no one is perfect. We teach about love, forgiveness, friendship and are active in community outreach. And shame on all church leaders and my fellow Christians who burden people with judgemental threats of intolerance and subjugation.(Sorry, I'm off on a tangent).

Secondly, it boils down to who Jesus really is. He is either the biggest narcisistic con-artist of all time, or He is God. I believe He is God because I believe what is written about His performing healing miracles; that's what it comes down to for me -- the miracles of healing.

Yet I completely respect you and others who do not believe. I understand how non-believers look at Christians and people of other faiths and just shake their heads in dissmay and amusement. We are told to live our daily lives according to Christ's teachings and put our eternal state of well-being into His hands -- someone who lived two thousand years ago on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean. It's hard -- in know. But in the end, I do believe and have peace. But sadly and embarassingly, all too many of my Christian bretheren, do not respect non-beleievers. If they did, I doubt there would be a website such as this.

And so Don, I say hello, thank you for your heartfelt sharing, and am hopeful to communicate with you again. I believe you have a lot to teach me and am eager to learn. In the meantime I'm going to a picnic and have some beer. Right on.

Doug

Don said...

Doug:

I appreciate your comments and I am happy that you have peace and comfort in your church.

For me, I believe that Jesus was a myth. For my reasons please see http:/nobeliefs.com and the piece "Did a historical Jesus exist?" They make the case better than I ever could.

I refuse to bend my knee to a God that will punish forever those who cannot believe. I have met too many thoughtful, loving, kind, Athiests, Hindus, Bhuddists, Jews and Moslems who do not deserve to burn forever because they tried to live well but did not buy into one way of relating to Diety.

"Bring forth mine enemies and slay them before me." I don't know what chapter and verse it is - but for a supposed divine personage to say that, gives the lie to the idea of a "Loving God".

I can only thank Christianity for 39 years of fear. I can only thank Catholicism for neglect and usury. I will be truly free when the lies told by a controlling religion have been purged from my mind.

That said, I will not interfere with the religious, (or irreligious), practice. Just leave me out of the Christian fold, and I will leave you to what gives you peace.

Please don't over-indulge, I would hate for a misfortune to happen to you or for you to have a run-in with the police.

Don

Don said...

Excuse my typo - I meant to say the religious or irreligous practice of anyone.

Thanks,

Don

Don said...

To Piprus:

Although I never suffered from sexual abuse, my mind set about being set free from that institution is well expressed at this site: http://www.priestsofdarkness.com/excom.html

To me, it would be a "writ of manumission". THEY would know that I have rejected them utterly.

An act of defiance? Yes. Juvenile? Perhaps. To me it would be acknowledgement that my relationship with them is forever sundered.

Knowing that they have declared me to be outcast from their community, would oddly make me feel better. When one condemns you who you despise, you must be doing something right.....

As to idol worship, I actually think that the charge may be correct. I know a number of Catholics who revere statues and relics more than they care for their fellow humans. One of the reasons I left.

SpaceMonk said...

Don: "Knowing that they have declared me to be outcast from their community, would oddly make me feel better. When one condemns you who you despise, you must be doing something right..."

It would also keep them from ignoring you.
They may like to forget that someone had the fortitude to turn their back on their twisted values, to escape their carefully constructed psychological control mechanisms, and just continue on in ignorant bliss - but at least you can bring it back to their attention once more... and maybe then others will start to think, "Hmmm... What is it that gave him the courage?"

Jim said...

Hi Don. Jim Lee responding to your question re hell. Hell came about through Hades which is Greek mythology meaning Lower world, home of departed spirits.Hell also means the abode of departed spirits. State of wickedness or misery. Christian writings also took the word Gehenna from the Old Testament which was an everlasting rubbish dump that burned 24 hours a day, which did exist and was used for the disposal of all waste matter and included at times dead bodies from those who had been punished by impaling to the stake etc or had been stoned to death. The end result became the Christianised Hell in the 4th century. Much information can be gleaned from Christian history which does require a fair amount of study, that most folk don't have the time to research. A great source of information can be obtained from a well respected book among Christian circles. This book is The New Bible Dictionary by Intervasity Press. I have had my copy now for about 12 years. This book is no easy read and requires diligent reading, page turning, note taking, to finally analyse and come to a conclusion.
My days of Christianity are now a long way behind me and I'm now as free as a bird from all church or religious dogma. My research into Christianity would have to be one of the greatest things I have ever done in my lifetime as it set me free. Christianity though, is well ingrained in society and it would not matter how must truth was revealed, believers would not believe truth when it is presented to them. So they remain Christian. Sad to say. Cheers all. Jim Lee

Jim said...

Hi Don. I have decided to add a couple of my essays here when I was still in the agnostic stage before I became a full fledged atheist.
GEHENNA / HELL
"Gehenna" (Latin), "Geenas" (Greek), is the word used for the Hebrew "Valley of Hinnom." This name appears 12 times in the Christian Greek scriptures known as the Bible, and many translators take the word "Gehenna" and translate it as "Hell." A number of modern translations transliterate this word from the Latin "Gehenna."
The "Valley of Hinnom" lies outside of ancient Jerusalem. Judean kings Ahaz and Manasseh carried out idolatrous worship there, which included human sacrifices by fire to Baal. 2 Chronicles. 28: 1, 3. and 33:1, 6. Jeremiah. 7:31, 32. and 32: 35.
God expressed repugnance for such practices saying it was "A thing that I had not commanded, and had not come up in my heart" Jeremiah. 7:31, 32:35. God decreed that the "Valley of Hinnom" would serve as a place of mass disposal of dead bodies. Jeremiah.7: 32, 33. 19:2,6,7,10,11.
Biblical evidence concerning "Gehenna" in New Testament, shows that the "Valley of Hinnom" (modern day Wadi er-Rababi ) was used as a fiery place for the disposal of waste matter from the city of Jerusalem.
It was a loathsome place, where they discarded their unclean things and carcasses, and the fire was burning and smoldering continuously.
"Gehenna" was not a place of torture, but rather a place of complete destruction, and the dead bodies of criminals, who’s punishment was a death sentence, were thrown on "Gehenna." These bodies were usually of those who had been impaled and hung on a stake to die, which was a common form of punishment under Roman rule.
The Romans had their own executioners who were responsible for the impaling, (This was a Roman form of punishment) and also for the disposal of the dead bodies by throwing them into the fires of Gehenna.
Matthew 5:30, Jesus speaking. " And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off, and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members (limbs) perish, than for your whole body to be thrown into hell."
The correct Greek Translation for the word "hell" that is used in this verse is "Gehenna" the fiery rubbish dump outside of Jerusalem.
What Jesus was saying here, if I may paraphrase, is that, if you commit a sin, which may be regarded as a crime, and the Romans crucify you, then your dead body will end up in "Gehenna."
P.S. If you are a person who is serious about understanding God’s word, every time you see the word "Hell," use your Concordance to locate the scriptures containing the word "Hell" and check back through the centre column reference points in your study bible. May I also suggest that if you are serious about God’s word then you also need to have an understanding of the culture of the day.
Jim Lee. 8/1999.
Hell.
Commenting on the use of the word "hell" in Greek / English translation bibles, which is the bible that is found in most peoples homes. We need to understand that the word "Hell" is a mistranslation.
The word "Hell" is not the place of eternal torment, which has held Christians in bondage for centuries. The teaching of the Church is such that any person, who does not accept Jesus as their Lord and Saviour, will burn in "Hell" for eternity.
First of all we need to be aware that in the Tanach (Hebrew bible) the Greek / English translation call it the Old Testament, the word "Sheol" means the common grave of mankind. (Oxford dictionary) This Hebrew word appears 65 times in the Masoretic text, developed 500 -950 c.e. In the Catholic Douay Version, 1609 -1610.c.e. The word "hell" has been substituted for the word Sheol 63 times, and once only as pit, and once as death. In the King James Version, 1611 c.e. "Sheol" has been translated as "hell" 31 times, as the grave 31 times, and 3 times as the pit
Regarding the word "Sheol" this word appears often in The Psalms and in the book of Job. It refers to the place where all dead people go. It is represented, as a dark place in which there is no activity. So "Hell" in biblical writings is not a suitable word and needs close investigation.
Collier’s Encyclopedia Britannica, "Sheol" in Old Testament times, referred simply to the "abode of the dead."
The word "Hell" that is used today is not an appropriate translation.
It was Greek teaching on the immortality of the human soul that infiltrated religious thinking. The bible record shows that "Sheol" refers to mankind's common grave. The New Testament writings use the word * "Hades" as well as "Hell" and the Oxford dictionary describes *"Hades" as (Greek Mythology) lower world, abode of departed spirits. This is not an accurate word for common grave.
If one does a serious bible study, seeking out centre page references notes you can see that *"Hades" and "Hell" are inappropriate words. Whenever you see the words "Sheol" *"Hades" or "Hell" think of the common grave.
Some believe such as Jehovah witnesses, that "Hell" is not a place of fiery torment, but spiritual death, and on the Day of Judgment some to be raised to everlasting life, and some to everlasting death. "Gehenna" (Latin) "Valley of Hinnom" (Hebrew) may also be referred to as "Hell." in Greek / English bible translations. "Gehenna in New Testament was a place outside of Jerusalem, which was a smoldering fiery rubbish dump, for the disposal of rubbish and carcasses.
The I.V.P. bible dictionary, page 279, under the heading Descent into *Hades, says " Although the doctrine of the descent of Christ into hell is firmly embedded in the early Christian creeds, it first appeared in 4th century A. D. Arian formularies."
* Hades. Greek Mythology. Pluto was the Greek god of the underworld and the dead, Pluto was also known as Hades, and his underground kingdom was also called the "House of Hades."
Jim Lee.

xrayman said...

Doug Said,

"I believe He is God because I believe what is written about His performing healing miracles; that's what it comes down to for me -- the miracles of healing."

I just don't buy into the hersay of the healing miralces that happened 2000 years ago, because what we constitute as medical miracles today aren't really miracles at all. I take xrays at a large hospital with an ajoining cancer center. In my dozen years of working with thousands of cancer patients I have never met a person who has beaten liver cancer until a couple of months ago. Was this lady's survival from the certain death sentence of liver cancer really a miracle? Not at all. At least not in the true literal sense of the word. It was just a very unlikely senerio that was(no matter how remote), statistically possilbe. That is all any so called medical miracle of today is, a highly unlikely, but statistically possible outcome. I've met many of patients who have proclaimed to me that they are walking miracles, and to themselves they certainly are. Maybe one out of a thousand people will beat advanced pancreatic cancer, but statistically that one person will get his or her personal miracle, but not a True miracle really. Now if an ampute sprouted a new limb, or someone with a severed spinal cord got up and walked, then we could talk about a true miracle in the Biblical sense.

Doug if you do know of any confirmed medical miralces (that can only be explained by the hand of Jesus) of recent time I would love to hear about them. Ususally when investigated all so called medical miracles are bunk, as seen by Dateline NBC's story on the great healer Benny Hinn. When reporters searched for some of his so called cured cancer patients, they were directed to local cemiteries.

Don said...

To SpaceMonk: You understand my motivations perfectly!

To Jim: Thank you for taking the time to post. I will order the book from Intervasity Press.

Thank you all who took the time to post.

Don

Anonymous said...

Faith in man or man-made institution is doomed to fail as man is fallible and errant. God is not found in religion.

"Religion is an opiate of the people" as quoted is rightly stated.

It is an anti-Christ (in place of Christ). It is a false savior with no power to save.

Dave8 said...

Hey Don, glad to see you are out of the dark ages, the torment just continues into the next century under a different religious banner it seems.

You said. "As the years passed my mother's health declined and she stopped attending church. Again, no call or visit from clergy, no interest on the part of parishioners. When she died a eulogy was delivered by a priest who knew her not at all."

I always found it ironic, that clergy spend their days telling people they will be judged and stand the risk of going to hell, but when the same clergy preside over a funeral, they never decry the deceased as burning forever in hell and torment.

I suppose the message is, well, if you follow me and my religious sermons, then of course you're saved and going to heaven. Of course, this means that everyone other than that priests or clergies' followers are "really" the ones who run the risk of hell. Declaring a person is in hell, isn't good for business for clergy :-O)

I see you live in Windsor, I used to live near the Thames River in Groton many years ago, and really enjoyed it - small world. Well, hope your insomnia subsides with time. Its therapeutic to see many of the religious on this site, present christocrisy/hypocrisy... it lets us know, that ignorance is still alive and well in the world, and churches have no problem exploiting ignorance. In the short term, most of us attempt to present some enlightenment, even if analogous to a cigarette lighter amidst a vast cloud of dark ignorance. Take care...

My Foot - Your A$$ - Its a Date said...

Man/Wo-man: "Faith in man or man-made institution is doomed to fail as man is fallible and errant. God is not found in religion."

Phew, that's a load off of my mind. That means, I don't need to listen to your fallible and errant advice, thanks for the loophole, I thought I was actually going to have to take your advice as valuable.

Man/Wo-man: "Religion is an opiate of the people" as quoted is rightly stated."

Friends don't let Friends drive religion.

Man/Wo-man: "It is an anti-Christ (in place of Christ). It is a false savior with no power to save."

Uh, religion is the anti-christ, perhaps, you need to go see your local padre... Religion didn't replace the legendary christ, religion existed thousands of years prior to CE and the Christ character.

Is it possible, that your legendary Christ is "Anti-Religion", and was used to replace religion or be used as a stepping stone, so that a newer religion could be born? Yeah, that makes sense.

Well, it appears if that were the original intent, per Paul, etc., that The Roman Catholic Church ensured the legend of Christ didn't kill religion, they spawned the greates massacres in world history on ensure "religion" would prosper for their benefit.

Anonymous said...

X-rayman, You mentioned Benny Hinn and it made me laugh to recall that a good friend of mine who has not touched a drink in over 20 years was dragged to a Benny Hinn revival meeting and at the height of the revival meeting, in a drunken swagger and in intentional mockery he walked towards the center of the tent, grabbed onto a pole, unzipped his pants and proceeded to urinate all over Benny's tent pole while the cameras were a rollin.' The crowd went wild, Benny immediately resorted to his 'Satan possesses this man' mode and later, my friend's religious friends learned that it's not such a good idea to drag the unwilling to a Benny Hinn tent revival service for a 'healing!'

xrayman said...

Dave8 said,


"I always found it ironic, that clergy spend their days telling people they will be judged and stand the risk of going to hell, but when the same clergy preside over a funeral, they never decry the deceased as burning forever in hell and torment."

I lost three of my best childhood friends over the years whom I guess according to any man of the cloth were destined for the lake of fire. None had an ounce of religion in them and they all lived lives full of sin without repent. Without exception the ministers at their funerals(who were all farmed out by the local funeral homes and never knew my friends for a minute) proclaimed how their souls are now in heaven each and every one of their funerals. Now my friends were all pretty good guys, but certainly not in the biblical sense.


I loved the Benny Hinn story !!!!!

Dave8 said...

xrayman, sorry to hear about the friends, but, seems hell is only a good business while people are still living, not much to be gained once their gone, especially since clergy would be asked to provide evidence of hell if they attempted to make such comments, and we all know the worst thing in the world for clergy, are too many questions :-) Take it easy...

Marie said...

Man/Wo-man: "Faith in man or man-made institution is doomed to fail as man is fallible and errant. God is not found in religion."

>Phew, that's a load off of my >mind. That means, I don't need to >listen to your fallible and >errant advice, thanks for the >loophole, I thought I was >actually going to have to take >your advice as valuable.

I guess that statement comes from your fallible and errant side since I was unaware that I had advised anything. Fallibility and errancy is not a premise to reject everything that comes from human sources. BTW, I'm a wo-man.

Man/Wo-man: "Religion is an opiate of the people" as quoted is rightly stated."

>Friends don't let Friends drive >religion.

Cute!

Man/Wo-man: "It is an anti-Christ (in place of Christ). It is a false savior with no power to save."

>Uh, religion is the anti-christ, perhaps, you need to go see your local padre... Religion didn't replace the legendary christ, religion existed thousands of years prior to CE and the Christ character.

>Is it possible, that your legendary Christ is "Anti-Religion", and was used to replace religion or be used as a stepping stone, so that a newer religion could be born? Yeah, that makes sense.

>Well, it appears if that were the original intent, per Paul, etc., that The Roman Catholic Church ensured the legend of Christ didn't kill religion, they spawned the greates massacres in world history on ensure "religion" would prosper for their benefit.

I said that religion is ~an~ anti-christ, not ~the~ anti-christ. Religion is used a savior, a means to reach Yah through adherence to church doctrines, rules, and regulations. It is in opposition to the heart of the matter.

My Foot - Your A$$ - Its a Date said...

Marie: "Fallibility and errancy is not a premise to reject everything that comes from human sources. BTW, I'm a wo-man."

Ah, so fallible and errant people make statements, and then fallible and errant people, perceive said statements, and then fallible and errant people, make claim that the statements that found their belief is "Absolutely" truer than anyone elses. Okay, which "fallible" and "errant" person are you going to suggest has the "Absolute" truth, or the more true statements, so that we can discern it from the "not so worthy" statements.

Marie: "I said that religion is ~an~ anti-christ, not ~the~ anti-christ. Religion is used a savior, a means to reach Yah through adherence to church doctrines, rules, and regulations. It is in opposition to the heart of the matter."

Lost in translation... However, if you are suggesting that one need no doctrine, rules, and regulations to find Yah, I'd have to ask how you came to know of "Yah" to begin with, perhaps, from doctrine, or people who have read doctrine? Did you come to the conclusion "god" existed as Yah, without anyone telling you about "Yah"?

Is this why you state, that some things have to be accepted by fallible and errant humans? Back to the original comment, how are you able to determine who has the most "certain" truth, in order for you to suggest Yah is the truest god of the thousands of available gods. May Zeus bless you, in your effort to answer these questions.

Anonymous said...

Hi, 'me' again. I'm the one who posted about my Italian heritage based Catholicism and my personal search for the truth about Christianity and its many sects. I just love the knowledge that I have found through my searches and forgot to mention something I did find a long time ago at infidels.org by Richard Carrier such as 'Kooks and Quacks of the Roman Empire' and 'Review of "The Homeric Epics and the Gospel of Mark" (2000)

This is an incredible book that must be read by everyone with an interest in Christianity. Dennis MacDonald's shocking thesis is that the Gospel of Mark is a deliberate and conscious anti-epic, an inversion of the Greek "Bible" of Homer's Iliad and Odyssey, which in a sense "updates" and Judaizes the outdated heroic values presented by Homer, in the figure of a new hero, Jesus (whose name, of course, means "Savior"). His evidence is surprisingly solid and pervasive, and the implications for the historicity of Christ are profound.'

in addition to the works of Joseph Wheless and M.M. Mangasarian. Here is a link:
http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/richard_carrier/

There's much more once you get to the link that this man has written. Enjoy and I think you will find your knowledge as it increases you will be comforted by the fact that your irrational fears will be replaced by the realization that a thinker and knower who honestly admits that he is blameless when there is inadequate information to reach a conclusion is far better off than someone who makes assumptions about reality based on things which science and knowledge are simply impossible.

doug said...

Hi Don,

I hope this message finds you well and thank you for your concern about over indulging. Two beers is my max; drinking and driving is for lowlife scum, and besides, at 41 I can't drink like I used to -- hangover city bro.

I went to the website you shared with me, http:/nobeliefs.com, and was much intrigued with its content. There is an aweful lot to abosrb and so I read only about fifteen percent or so. I must read it and reread it in order to properly reflect on what is being shared. Some good points were made and again, I am not afraid to learn and be challenged. Thak you for directing me to that site.

There was one part referring to the author of Mark. I had read that Mark accompanied Peter and translated for him for years. When Peter died, Mark realized that what had been shared needed to be put into writing and thus we have our first Gospel. I don't know the website off hand but I will look it up for you.

The concept of whether a man named Jesus actually ever lived or not caused me to reflect. I had written that Jesus was either the greatest conartist of all time, or He is God. The article you shared with me forces me to think more broadly. If a man named Jesus never in fact existed, that means someone else or several others are in fact the greatest conartists of all time -- and I mean all time. Interesting concept and I will research and think more intently.

One thing comes to mind though. Did Paul ever exist. If so, it is written that Paul persecuted Christians unlike any other, then ultimately he became the lead voice of Christianity. This too is powerful and something for all of us to consider.

Xrayman, (I love the name) I too work in a hospital and am known as Reverend Dude. You have challenged me with a powerful question and I won't even try to make sense out of or attempt to defend why so many people suffer. I cannot say I have beared witness to a real life miracle healing by the hands of Jesus, but I also cannot say that I haven't either and just didn't realize it. As a hospital chaplain I meet people during some of life's most intense and heartfelt moments -- as you do also. My job is to give emotional and spiritual comfort to people, and do so in Jesus' name. I serve all people regardless of faith and simply meet people where they are with respect to their theological beliefs. I never talk about sin, and don't force feed Scripture to anyone. People know where I stand, but more importantly, I respect where they are in their beliefs. I appreciate your question and like Don, I am hopeful that we can share with one another. I promise to always be respectful and open to your questions and challenges.

Take care everyone. Go easy!

Doug

xrayman said...

Hey Doug,
I must say you have gained my respect for being a hospital chaplin. I have seen the chaplins at my place of employment be thrust into the worst family tragedies with only a moment's notice. I've also noticed hosptital chaplins tend to be very loose in their beliefs. I've never met a fire and brimstone spewing hospital chaplin.
But working in a large big city hospital was definately a huge catalyst in realizing there couldn't possibly be an all powerful loving God. I work at a level on trauma center and people always ask me how I deal with the blood and guts of it all. Well you do get used to it for the most part, but by far the worst aspect of the job is dealing with kids battling cancer. You can never get used to that. I've seen so many innocent children lose their childhoods to years of greuling treatment, only to succumb in the end. How could any rational human really believe something like a childhood cancer death is part of a loving God's plan, especially with the accompanying devastation to the entire family?
Doug we my differ in beliefs but I really respect what you do. Keep up the good work.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, what would people do at the hospitals if it were not for the hospital chaplin?

Someone in a priest suit going around tell them sweet little LIES, about how wonderful it will be in the next world,(as if they knew themselves)and how God has a plan for them, so don't worry, just go on and die peacefully and het ready to meet Jesus.

Why do we need to here a bunch of friggin lies before we die?

I was in the hospital for one week last year I told no one that I was there, and I never allowed visitors, nor did I get any flowers or stupid cards to throw in the dumpster, when I got out.

What is wrong with people, they make the hospital seem like an amusement park, people are sick, do they feel like pretending they're feeling ok?

When people get sick, everyone wants to get babyfied and spoiled like little children, it's just friggen ridiculous!!!

When I'm sick the last thing I want to see is people!

xrayman said...

Annonymous,
I agree with you for the most part but, it is the hospital chaplin who steps in to pick up the grieving family member off the floor when no one else knows what to say or do. I am so glad there are there. It's not all about religion with them, but about being there to comfort.

doug said...

Xrayman,

Thank you brother for your kind words. My respect and admiration for you and your work goes beyond my ability to put into words. You guys are unsung heroes in the medical field, but rest assured you have my praises. I actually dated an xray tech a few years ago and enjoyed the friendships of everyone in her department.

Like you, I'm also asked how I can handle the blood and guts. I guess I look at this in two ways. Often times people are at their best when things are at their worst. Eustress -- the "rush" human beings experience that kicks us into overdrive so we can meet incredible challenges. That's the physical aspect of it.

Spiritually I reflect on Scripture regarding suffering being only temporary and bliss being eternal. Even if I'm wrong and my faith is in vein and there is nothing after this life, somehow knowing that the physical suffering is only temporary aleviates would could be overwhelming sorrow and depression on my part. That said however, I am completely with you when you asked, "How could any rational human really believe something like a childhood cancer death is part of a loving God's plan?" I don't know brother. I just don't know. Maybe it goes back to use being at our best when others are at their worst. Regardless of theological opinions, we are called to learn from each person's ailment and strive toward conquering diseases while sharing love and compassion with those who are ill. With your line of work, you're in the trenches my friend and I'm damn proud to have met you. I look forward to us keeping in touch.

To our anonymous friend who was in the hospital last year I must say that I admire your strength. The fact that you did not wish to have any visitors and flowers and cards shows me that you're a true survivor. That's cool. You're right about some people wanting to be babyfed -- it can get obnoxious sometimes. I hope this message finds you well and staying out of the hospital. I just want to share one thing with you. As a hospital chaplain I don't tell sweet little lies and make light of people's illness. I meet people where they are regardless of their theological beliefs. People are sick, their scared, sometimes their pissed off and they want to know what's up. I'm the guy they can dump on. I'm the guy they can feel safe with whether they feel like crying or if they feel like telling me to go fuck myself -- not because I'm Doug, but because I'm a chaplain. It's easy for me to see that you're a very passionate person and I admire that. I hope we can write each other again.

Much peace,
Doug

xrayman said...

Hey Doug I would love to chat with you via e-mail sometime. Drop me a line xrayman@chartermi.net. I would love to talk about religion and hospital life sometime.

Bill

Anonymous said...

Hi Don,

your experiences of the Roman Catholic Church/es in your life have made quite an impression on you and sadly understandably so. Please don't think i am undermining all Roman Catholics as there are some people who really do try to better themselves but if i were you i would give Christianity another shot but at a church that believes in the charismatic gifts. God gives life and life in abundance, it is not about restricting yourself of the fun things in life, it is about never lacking of the things you need. Please don't give up. I know many people on this website have been so discouraged by their and beliefs about Christianity and may disagree with my telling you to not give up. If Christianity is all that it says it is then it is worth your while to give it another try and if it doesn't work out you can say at least you gave it a good parting shot. Go for it one last time and good luck.

Bentley said...

To anon,

A church! And who builds the churches? Some God?

No! A man builds churches and I've never heard of any woman building a church! But I'm sure you have!

Before Columbus discovered America, there was not one single church build on American soil, that must have been such a wondeful time, before Columbus.

If some stupid God wanted worship, he would build the churches himself, after all remember he built the whole universe in just 6 days, churches would have been so easy to construct compared to the solar system.

Man in his fear of death and ignorance, builds churches!

xrayman said...

Great post Ben. I've never heard that point. "If God can build the universe in six days, he certainly wouldn't have much trouble building churches." Great new point I've never seen. Like someone said before who is this all mighty powerful good who is so insecure he needs people to get down on their knees and worship him every Sunday? It would seem this all mighty creator of the universe would be beyond that.


If Don were to try another church, he would still be believing in a fairy tale, just in a diffrernt building. Don't waste your time. Enjoy your Sunday mornings doing other things.

doug said...

xrayman,

thanks for the email invite brother. I'm at revdude7@gmail.com I'll drop you a line later today.

Much peace,
Doug

Bentley said...

Ah thanks xrayman, please click on my name and read for more religious secrets, I promise I wont bite ya!

Good luck with Doug, although he's secretly out to convert for jesus, actually he think's he is jesus or is pretending to be, I would like to see him walk on water, or nail himself to a cross, well not really.

Doug we all here, thought we were pretending to mimick christ, you've said nothing that we've not already heard or repeated our selves, we've been there and done that, get a grip on reality can ya?

doug said...

I'll try to get a grip Ben, but right now I'm too busy walking on water. Just kidding! Much peace.

Jamie said...

Hey Don, sorry about your harsh church experience, I am a Christian, I am not really going to a denominational church, Just a church full of people that love God....I know you dislike the fact that a "God of love" could send someone to hell, my pastor once said, God is bound by his own laws, he cant reverse them, his word stands forever and ever, and even he cant break his word, with this said, us being sinners, were sentanced to death, and were guilty as charged, God is a rightous judge, and every Christian must realize that, before they can say "i am a sinner, a wretch saved by grace" you actually have to believe it, which is why Jesus came down and took the death penalty for us, God didnt just say "your not guilty" because we are guilty, but instead he came down and died for our sin, humbling himself and leaving his glory behind, then overcomming death, that is a God of love, we may not understand it all in this life, but you just have to believe Gods an honest God, but yeah, ive been to 5 different churches, i can say some had some that were there for the wrong reasons, and so on, but i found a church full of people that love God deeply, and in those situations would have had alot more involvement, i am an atheist turned believer, from an atheist agnostic family, some experiences God allowed in my life made me turn my head an realize WHOA IT IS REAL, sometimes you just gotta turn ya head tho, like one pastor said "moses had to notice there wasnt something right about that bush and go over to it before he could speak to God" anyways, my email is jamiehoban@shaw.ca if you ever want to talk, ask questions, hear my testimony, or anything, i hope the best

much love
Jamie

SpaceMonk said...

It stinks to high heaven around here.
Christianity's love is either ignorance or hypocrisy.
True love is a human attribute common to everyone. We don't need no supernatural saviour to experience it.
What's with all the christians around here anyway?

Dano said...

SpaceMonk wrote:

"What's with all the Christians around here anyway?"

TO SpaceMonk from Dan:
Hey Monk! If you read about the true nature of God that Jamie's pastor revealed to him, it will all become crystal clear to you, just like it did for Jamie.

God made us filthy dirty sinners, and sacrificed his son to himself to repair the damage.

His pastor probably went to bible school, so he knows what God is, and what God says, even though the greatest thinkers of all time have never been able to figure it out.

Jamie wrote:
".........., my pastor once said, God is bound by his own laws, he cant reverse them, his word stands forever and ever, and even he cant break his word, with this said, us being sinners, were sentenced to death, and were guilty as charged, God is a righteous judge, and every Christian must realize that, before they can say "i am a sinner, a wretch saved by grace" you actually have to believe it, which is why Jesus came down and took the death penalty for us, God didn't just say "your not guilty" because we are guilty, but instead he came down and died for our sin, humbling himself and leaving his glory behind, then overcoming death, that is a God of love, we may not understand it all in this life, but you just have to believe Gods an honest God,........."

Dan (Who loves a few people)

SpaceMonk said...

Dano,
It's just that guy's like Jamie, explaining the whole christian thing to us, don't seem to understand that this is a site for EX-christians, ie. we already been there and done that.

I'm sick of them doing their best to act all fair and balanced and loving when they are just ignorant dumbfucks who haven't travelled as far on the road of religious experience as the ex-christians here. They try to convince us their way is better, not realising it would actually be a regression.

Of course you already get that.
Sorry for ranting.

I think this site would be easier for them to understand if we called it EX-Dumbfuck.
I know I was one for too long...

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