The Lonely Discourse of a Frustrated Agnostic (I Think)

sent in by Smaugfrost

I am a recent deconvert (last day or so) but have been in the transition for years. I will not bore everyone with the years of unquestioning servitude to this religion. I am not erudite in writing out my feelings yet, but suffice it to say, I was driven from the teachings of my faith by the teachings of my faith.

My case is simple:

Christianity presents the following dogma.

1.The path to destruction is wide according to the bible.

2.Paganism is an anathema to god and admonished as evil.

3.No-one comes to the father except through the son.

4.Hell awaits the sinner and Heaven the believer.

5.God is constant and unchanging.

6.Sin requires a blood sacrifice to be made for attonement.

7.Graven images are sinful.

8.No man is to be called father except god.

My dilemma started years ago and grew until I could no longer accept the faith. My doubts stemmed from the following issues among countless others: (check these in reference to the above doctrines)

1.the exclusive nature of the gospels states most humans will perish rather then be saved. Survival of the eternal soul is virtually impossible according to the bible. Stated then the bible is not a guarantee of safety, right?

2.the church accepts Christmas, Easter and Lent as well as the Catholic church acceptance of All Saints Day. These are all ancient pagan holidays adopted by Christendom to aid the conversion of heathens.

3.no other religions or denomination can be saved except the "proper" one. Minor doctrinal differences exist between denominations such as once saved always saved and the necessity of water baptism for salvation. Which ones are right?

4.the doctrine of the grave of the old testament was supplanted by the fiery furnace of hell. Was hell constructed when god decided to burn sinners rather then simply annihilate them in the grave?

5.how is the modern god able to stand the sinners of this day in the church who have accepted all manner of pagan roots and beliefs. False prophets are unquestionable and church leaders are beyond reproach and the fear of wrath is laid upon any who would question them. But god stated his people should not persish fo lack of knowledge and should use discernment in all things to test its validity.

6.Jesus died, spilling blood for all sin but the wages of sin is still death. What changed exactly? Jesus forgives. God forgives. We sin and fail and die in eternal torment still. "Yeah, It is hot down here in perdition, but at least I was forgiven."

7.Again, what about the Jesus Fish, the Cross, and Virgin Mary. No images of heavenly or wordly things was to be crafted. Or fish for that matter.

8.Churches have adopted the following titles:

Padre(Father), Pope(papa), and Father in dealing specifically with their leaders.

My personal dilemma of doubt resulted from this viscious circle of circumlocutionary dogma.

me: I want to understand god and have read the bible several times but I have only contradictions and questions.

christian: You will only understand the bible with the gifts of discernment from the holy spirit.

me: How do I receive that? I have been baptised in water and have asked for the spirit as well.

christian: You must pursue god with all your heart and soul and you will recieve these things.

me: Pursue god how?

christian: You need to read the bible of course!

me: AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH ...

Thanks for hearing my rambles and god bless! (Kidding)

Smaugfrost

Harrisburg
Pa
USA
Joined at: 10
Left at: 36
Was: Charismatic Protestant
Now: Ethical Realist, Radical Cynicist
Converted because: Fire Prevention Insurance
De-converted because: Impossible to afford the premiums on the fire insurance
email: smaugfrost1 at yahoo dot com

23 comments:

Steve said...

Hello Smaugfrost

If I got that wrong, I am sorry. I couldn't go back in my browser to get the spelling right.

Anyway, I would love to hear some of the contradictions and questions you had or have that caused you to no longer beleive in God. Maybe we can have some good conversation about them.

Email me if you would like.

Steve

Marianna Trench said...

Hi! Thanks for posting. I especially like this "Converted because: Fire Prevention Insurance. De-converted because: Impossible to afford the premiums on the fire insurance." I've long thought of christianity as a scam. From now on, I'll think of it specifically as an insurance scam. LOL!

It seems to me that if a perfect, all-knowing god does exist, he or she or it would not have created an imperfect world and then have tizzy fits because his/her creation was inmperfect. Heck, if "sin" offends god so much, why did he/she create it in the first place? And why was it necessary to have someone die (but only for three days, so it was really not much of a sacrifice) to forgive other people for their "sins"? Couldn't almighty gawd just have erased sin in the blink of an eye?

BTW, the title of your post would be more accurate with just a slight proofreading change. How about: "The Lonely Discourse of a Frustrated Agnostic. I think." I also think; that's why I'm an agnostic, too! (And thinking can indeed be lonely when you're surrounded by people who don't.)

Dano said...

Smaugfrost,
Now that you no longer believe in Biblical mythology, you can proclaim to the world: "I know as much about God, as any man or woman living today, or who has ever lived, and most likely any one of our species, who will ever live, and believe it!"

All of the Jewish history stuff is just that, Jewish history and nothing more.You could debate ancient Jewish history from now till the end of the world and you wouldn't know any more about God than you do now.

The average six year old today knows more truth about man and the universe than any one did 2000 years ago.
Dan (Graduate of "God" school)

dwilliams said...

You are used to legalism because the cult encourages it. None of the reasons you listed are the reason you left the faith: so lots of people broke the rules, so what?

The reason you left the faith is it is ridiculous to believe the world is run by a giant invisible man with magic blood who will kill you if you don't believe there is a giant invisible man with magic blood.

Steve said...

To shed somme light on some of your comments, none of this is how God intended for it to be. In an effort to not create "robots," God gave his most prized and loved creation, humans, the gift of reasoning and choice. He warned Adam and Eve that choosing rebellion agaist Him will surely bring death not only to them, but to every generation.

Well, ladies and gentlemen, was He right or wrong? Has that choice brought death and destruction to the world? Whether you believe in God or not, we can all agree that the world is seeing alot of death and destruction right now, as it has in all of history. Not only literally through wars, but also personally so many people deal so heavily with anger, emptiness, and feeling "dead."

Some will say that religion has brought about that death and destruction but that is faulty reasoning-there are plenty of places where there is NO religion, God, or whatever and they are still filled with people who lie, cheat, steal, and think of themselves first-"religion" didn't make them that way because their socitety doesn't have it. You think God LIKES to see His creation and world like it is today? Nope. The caretakers of his creation, us, have chosen to rebel against Him and He, being a perfect God who keeps his word no matter what, has held back His hand and kept the promises He has made to not destroy the world until the appropriate time-the time when the world can hear the unchanged good news and have a chance to decide for themselves-and that day is fast approaching. And, with the choice of rebellion comes the consequence. Every action has a consequence-humans collective action to rebel against our creator has had some definate consequences.

But thankfully it does not end there-He gave us a chance at forgiveness and to be reconcied with God-Jesus Christ-Himself in flesh, modeling for us a perfect life, teaching us and showing us what God is like, then ultimately giving the sacrafice that would give us forgiveness for our collective choice to rebel against God our creator.

Christians are not perfect. Pastors are not, and many will have a lot to answer for. Many well intentioned Christians who unfortunately try to give answers without Biblical backing can do some pretty bad damage. The "survival of the eternal soul" as you put it is NOT virtually impossible. Truth of the matter is this, Christianity stands up to any amount of scrutiny, provided there is sound research.

Believe me, I have been there. And let me tell you folks, you have not experienced freedom until you have experienced a life-giving relationship with Christ. I know that one is going to get some comments from some people-but I have lived without God and thought life was pretty good until He changed me!

Please don't delete my comments, Smaugfrost. I am sorry that you have had these experiences. I am interested in your thoughts on my comments.

Steve

Jim said...

This supposedly all loving God blaims the entire people of the earth for the sins of Adam and Eve.

Steve M said...

Smaugfrost...

I just want to say that if you were in it for Fire Insurance than no wonder you dont get it...i have stood in the presence of God himself and there is know way that i could ever deny Him because its not just about answers to questions its to have a relationship with Him...he doesnt want you to follow rules he wants you to know him...if it was about the rules the Pharisees would be in Heaven but sorry they didnt know Him even when He was standing in front of them...

i am always questioning why i follow Christ...that is not a bad thing...Job did it...he questioned God, Jacob wrestled, God sees it as the right way to act...

and the closer i get to Jesus the more i see why i need to be like Him and act like Him...not to follow rules but that is what is the right way...kindness, mercy, and yes justice...

i am not perfect...i fail more often than i should...but grace has been extended to me because of His sacrifice...that lasted 3 days because God is sovereign and thats how long he said it would be...

and of course a child today knows more about truth than anyone else...hello...childlike faith...can you remember at time when you saw a child lied to for the first time and the disappointment on their face...


Steve

Willem said...

Steve,

Your argument is completely based on an appeal to our emotions. You assume that we believe in the Adam and Eve story, and that God grants us sovereignty only to take it away as soon as we govern ourselves.

You've provided no logical reasoning and have gone about discrediting our experiences when we use humour to cope with all that we went through. For example, fire insurance? Humour, it allows us to laugh at ourselves for believing in the invisible man with magic blood.

Your religion is an explanation for why there are problems in the world, yet it is problematic as it shifts the responsibility to the supernatural. We as humans are responsible and its up to us to solve these problems. We’re doing a fine job of it without religion; check out our democratic society. That is a response from the rejection of religion during the French revolution. Without the statement of religion the human race will gradually move forward.

Well done on thinking your way out or religion Smaugfrost.

Willem

infidel666 said...

"False prophets are unquestionable and church leaders are beyond reproach and the fear of wrath is laid upon any who would question them".
Very well said Smaugfrost. You hit one of the major things that blew me out of the church in a hurry.
P.S Welcome!

Marianna Trench said...

Unbelievable, Steve! Not only does your ALL-LOVING god punish all humans for the "sin" of Adam and Eve, but your ALL-KNOWING god had no idea what would happen when he put that tree in the garden in the first place???? That doesn't even hold up as the plot for a fairy tale, which is what your abusive religion is. There's no need to be born again; just grow up!

Dano said...

Marianna Trench wrote:
"Unbelievable, Steve! Not only does your ALL-LOVING god punish all humans for the "sin" of Adam and Eve, but your ALL-KNOWING god had no idea what would happen when he put that tree in the garden in the first place???? That doesn't even hold up as the plot for a fairy tale, which is what your abusive religion is. There's no need to be born again; just grow up!"

Dano observes:
Hey Trench! You do realize that one of the reasons the evangelicals all talk like Steve is that they are afraid of growing up?

Dan (Who would rather grow up than go through life as a parrot)

Tim Simmons said...

"To shed somme light on some of your comments, none of this is how God intended for it to be."


If that is true, Steve, then God is not all-powerful. Think about it. God couldn't make it happen like he intended it to happen!

Tim

Steve said...

I am very grown up, thank you. I am able to think for myself, function as a normal thinking adult and I can even read! I am a reader, a thinker, and have read your skeptics books, and found them with too many holes. Oh yeah, I was raised in the church and for a period of time quit believing in God-especially the one the church talked about, so I have been a skeptic of the Christian faith in the past. It was my ability to think for myself that led to me the conclusion that God is still working among His creation.

As far as the part about God not being all knowing-He definately took a risk when He created humans with the ability to reason and think for themselves. Giving His creation the ability to choose right from wrong is risky business. But, He did. Did He know what we would do? Very likely He knew full well what would happen. But, for the free will thing to work, there has to be the abilty to choose freely, and then receive the consequences.

My wife and I want to have children someday. That could be pretty risky knowing the world they will grow up in. They will no doubt give me grief at times. They will anger me, hurt me, and say things they probably shouldn't say to me. As their father there will be many things that I know before they do and I can tell you with confidence they will make wrong choices.

However, the possibility to be loved by a son or daughter far outweighs the large amount of risk. God knew going in that we would not all choose to know Him, but to be loved and honored by those who choose Him and have that life-giving relationship with His creation far outweighs the risks He took in creating us.

Lastly, again, there are PLENTY of problems in far away places where there has never been ANY kind of religion. Christianity is not the cause to the world's problems. Take a look at who is feeding the hungry, caring for the unloved around the world and you will no doubt find a person with a relatinonship with God not too far behind. Yes there are some with compassion who care for the needs of the world, but I have been out there and know they are rare. Are there those that claim to be Christian who do not live according to God's will? YES! Are there those that use God to abuse others? Unfortunately yes. But to say Christianity is the cause to the world's problems holds ZERO weight in a strong argument when you look at the facts.

Let's not forget a society that tried to take God out of it. Communism was a great idea, wasn't it? VERY successful. You ever been to Russia? I have and I will tell you first hand from seeing it's effects that Communism was not the best of ideas. It is not SOCIETY that is solving the world's problems. I went to help in New Orleans with the cleanup and a lady there told me (this lady was not a Christian by the way). She told me that it was Christians who were the ones helping people in their city. She told me she was considering finding a church and looking into God because of the love and support she was getting from Christians. It was not society. I would hate to be someone with problems if I had to depend on the collective of society to help me. I'd starve.

.:webmaster:. said...

"Let's not forget a society that tried to take God out of it..."

You left out the United States in your list. The US is NOT a Christian nation:

A handful of Christian arguments and tactics

Click here
America's Real Religion
Treaty of Tripoli

Ask yourself something Steve, would you want to live in a Theocracy? That concept has been tried before... for over 1000 years... it was called the Dark Ages. Today, many Islamic nations are Theocracies. I wouldn't want Stalin's Russia either, that's the other extreme.

Finally, your fatherly analogy breaks down at the point where your children get a mind of their own, grow up, and move away. When they leave you, and all children eventually grow up and leave, will you torture then for all eternity in a flaming lake of fire? Will your anger ever burn so hot against your children that you would consider torturing them at all? No father who loves his children would or could sadistically torture his children, even if the children were to stop loving him. However, the unconditionally loving Father-God will be casting most of humanity into his molten pit of hellish love. "Love me or burn forever! I love you."

Christian Europe for over 1000 years, Stalin's Russia, Hitler's Germany, Ayatollah Khomeini's Iran, God's Heaven: All of these places claim to be Utopia, but all of them insist on the cruel destruction of those who disagree with their utopian views.

J. C. Samuelson said...

Wow. It's a good thing I didn't read this on the weekend. It would've definitely put a damper on my relaxation. This will be a departure from my normal tone, but I feel a bit like ranting.

First, thanks to smaugfrost for posting. It's not your post that's got me riled up. It looks like you reached the same conclusions we had by much the same process - thinking for yourself.

I am curious though, I don't remember "8.No man is to be called father except god." being a fundamental part of the faith. It wasn't for Lutheran, Catholic, or United Methodist (where the bulk of my experiences came from). Which denomination were you?

Steve,

It's obvious you can read, and you did probably do give your ideas some thought. To be blunt, however, you have been blinded by your faith, apparently to the extent that you can't even perceive how you present yourself.

"...none of this is how God intended for it to be."

So we keep hearing. One of the major problems Steve, is that all Christians who come here say the same thing, yet come from a variety of denominations that often differ quite significantly in doctrine.

Of course, we shouldn't listen to them, should we Steve? Yours is the path to becoming a True Christian ™, right?

"Some will say that religion has brought about that death and destruction but that is faulty reasoning-there are plenty of places where there is NO religion, God, or whatever and they are still filled with people who lie, cheat, steal, and think of themselves first-"religion" didn't make them that way because their socitety doesn't have it."

No kidding? Humans are stinkers? Wherever did you get that idea? That's revolutionary!

Look, religion in general (Christianity included) has been responsible directly or indirectly for more death and suffering throughout history than all secular non-religious ideologies combined. People willing to die for their faith are often willing to kill for their faith. To you, that might be a good thing. To us, it's madness.

"Believe me, I have been there. And let me tell you folks, you have not experienced freedom until you have experienced a life-giving relationship with Christ."

Steve, in case you weren't aware this is an Ex-Christian website. We have been there, done that, and burned the T-shirt.

"...i have stood in the presence of God himself..."

Tell your psychiatrist you need different meds. Can't you hear yourself?

"He definately took a risk when He created humans with the ability to reason and think for themselves."

An all-powerful, all-knowing being cannot take risks because by definition the consequences can't affect it, and it knows the outcome already anyway. Ergo, no risk.

To add to what the webmaster said, your analogy of the father/child relationship also fails in the sense that God (if He exists) is not the same as a human father. You do not know what will happen when your child grows up (or from day to day for that matter). An all-knowing deity would. You will suffer the consequences if your child acts against you. An all-powerful deity can't.

And don't bring up the sacrifice of Jesus as the consequence God suffered. The short answer is that if Jesus is exalted and seated at the right-hand of God, he suffered no loss of any kind. No loss = no sacrifice.

Deamond said...

"me: I want to understand god and have read the bible several times but I have only contradictions and questions.

christian: You will only understand the bible with the gifts of discernment from the holy spirit.

me: How do I receive that? I have been baptised in water and have asked for the spirit as well.

christian: You must pursue god with all your heart and soul and you will recieve these things.

me: Pursue god how?

christian: You need to read the bible of course!

me: AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH ...
"


To understand the Bible you must have the Holy Spirit.
To have the Holy Spirit yu must understand the Bible.

Reminds me of cvertain websights I've been to... ah what the hell? they can't sue me if they don't have my email adress... SONIC MY DVD! there, I said it.

Have you ever tried to get tech support from them?

To get support you gotta get registered. But the registration page doesn't work. so it took me ages to find a "contact us" link that actually had email, and my plea for help getting regintered got returned because I sent it to the wrong department.

And then I baught different software from OFFICEWORKS (go ahead, sue me b*%$#) which didn't work at all but I couldn't return it because the box was open.

If I got this frustrated with just software, Smaugfrost must have nearly gone insane.

Anonymous said...

Smaugfrost,

I used to be a raging Charismatic as well and everything you said is valid. You must be because you struck a nerve here in the christians. Don't let them put that old burden back on you. They're taught to accept impossible burdens and expect no-one to help them carry them, because no-one will. Everything is about making the outward appearance clear of sin, but nothing changes on the inside (it actually makes it worse).

J. C. Samuelson said...

"To understand the Bible you must have the Holy Spirit.
To have the Holy Spirit yu must understand the Bible."


Deamond & Smaugfrost,

That was a great illustration of the paradox of the Holy Spirit vs. the Bible. I'll have to remember that!

Dano said...

Posted by .:webmaster:. to Testimonies of Ex-Christians at 5/22/2006 06:30:10 AM

"Christian Europe for over 1000 years, Stalin's Russia, Hitler's Germany, Ayatollah Khomeini's Iran, God's Heaven: All of these places claim to be Utopia, but all of them insist on the cruel destruction of those who disagree with their utopian views"

Webmaster: Dave, is it really being fair to Stalin, Hitler, and the Ayatollah Khomeini, and their regimes, to put them in the same category as Christian God, and his dictatorship?

Dan (Agnosticrationalisthumanist)

MrEusOne said...

Steve wrote:

"My wife and I want to have children someday. That could be pretty risky knowing the world they will grow up in. They will no doubt give me grief at times. They will anger me, hurt me, and say things they probably shouldn't say to me. As their father there will be many things that I know before they do and I can tell you with confidence they will make wrong choices."

And at which point in their lives, as their loving father, will you throw them into the furnace for disobeying you? And obviously, then, you must hold your grandchildren responsible for the sins of their parents, correct? At what point do you throw them into a furnace, as well? Or do you just kill one of your children as a sacrifice for the sins of the others?

.:webmaster:. said...

Dano: Major or minor despots, they're all formed from the same heinous mold. But you have a point. As many millions as these human despots tortured and killed, Bible-God is planning on torturing billions upon billions in his loving pit of hellfire and brimstone. All those Jews tortured and gassed by Hitler are right now being eternally tortured by Hitler's loving Father God. All those Jews had to do was accept Jesus in their hearts and right now they'd be frollicking with unicorns and saytrs, winged angels, and Jesus on his shiny white stallion—poor stupid Jews (insert heavy sarcasm here).

Dano said...

Webmaster: wrote:

"......All those Jews tortured and gassed by Hitler are right now being eternally tortured by Hitler's loving Father God. All those Jews had to do was accept Jesus in their hearts and right now they'd be frolicking with unicorns and satyrs, winged angels, and Jesus on his shiny white stallion—poor stupid Jews (insert heavy sarcasm here).

Dano observes:
Yea and since Hitler was a Christian, before he and Eva said bye, bye, he probably asked God for forgiveness for anything that he might have done wrong, and there fore would have been greeted with open arms in heaven, by any Jews who may have been wise enough to convert when they heard the "hiss" of the gas as it came through the shower head.

P.S. We really shouldn't make fun of God! The people who invented him did the best that they could with what they had to work with.

Dan (Agnostic,humanist,humorist)

carol said...

Ha, Ha, Ha, WM and Dano! Thanks for starting out my day with a smile.

But frolicking with unicorns and angels sounds pretty damn boring.

Which gawd do I have to worship for an eternity of booze and broads? I could get on board with that as long as it doesn't mess up my Sundays.

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