What if the Prodigal Son wasn't a washout? What if he went on to be...happy?

sent in by Tim

Imagine for a moment, if you will, the following:

There was a man who had two sons. The younger one said to his father, 'Father, give me my share of the estate.' So he divided his property between them.

Not long after that, the younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant country and there squandered his wealth in wild living.

(The Gospel of Luke 15:11-13)

What if the son didn't squander his money? What if he went to college and gained his own reasoning? His own ideas? And realized he'd always had questions that had been tidely swept under the rug by those that were supposed to be his spiritual teachers?

I grew up in church, from the time I was about 2. Around the age of 11 I began to take it quite seriously, and the more time that passed the more serious about being a Christian I became.

I didn't date for most of high school, not that I didn't want to, but I didn't want to be tempted, and after all, the Lord would show me to my future wife when the timing was right wouldn't he?

I intended on going to a secular college, finishing my general education requirements, then transfering to a Chirstian college so that I could become an ordained minister, and eventually a missionary to Japan (after all, I had been to Chicago, Atlanta, and Caracas, Venezuela on mission trips as a teen to help save "the poor lost souls").

I originally signed up as a Religious Studies Major (at a secular college this consisted of studying the formation of, history, and cultural impact of various religions, without ever teaching one or the other to be "right" or "wrong").

My very first college class ever was Introduction to the New Testament. I figured it would be great, after all, the instructor was a former minister. Key word: former, I would find out why soon enough.

I learned a lot in that class, specifically that almost everything I had been taught as a Christian could not have been further from the factual truth.

Crisis of Faith, Step 1) The four Gospels were not written by the actual disciples of those names. In the biblical time period it was quite common to use someone else's name as a pseudonym to give your text more relevancy. Under the best of circumstances only Mark has the most weight...and it was more than likely written by a disciple of Jesus' disciple Peter.

Crisis of Faith, Step 2) The Gospel of John, "For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son...yadda yadda yadda" What could quite possibly considered the most recognizable verse in all of Christianity is actually from a book that is socio-historical commentary (translation: "John" wasn't there...in fact none of the book was written anywhere near the time period Jesus lived).

My personal favorite example of this comes from John 9. Christ heals a blind guy on the Sabbath, is therefore working on the Sabbath, and people proceed to lose their shit over the whole ordeal.

John 9- 20"We know he is our son," the parents answered, "and we know he was born blind. 21But how he can see now, or who opened his eyes, we don't know. Ask him. He is of age; he will speak for himself." 22His parents said this because they were afraid of the Jews, for already the Jews had decided that anyone who acknowledged that Jesus was the Christ[a] would be put out of the synagogue.

Here's the major problem with that little section, yes the Jews did in fact threaten to more or less disown those Jews who proclaimed Jesus as the Messiah...and it was written down when this decree was made...circa 80 AD. How is it that the parents are afraid of a law that wouldn't be made for at least 50 years? But...I digress.

I proceeded to go through college finding all sorts of other problems within Christianity, and it didn't help that 90% of the Christian scholars (i.e. my professors) had been asked to leave their pulpits, churchs, what have you, due to work they had done, or were doing, that opened up a brand new fallacy in the divinity or Jesus or exposed a hole, called "logic" in the belief that the Bible is inerrant.

When all was said and done I knew that there was no way I could consider myself Christian ever again...there are jut too many questions that they as a religion refuse to even acknowledge.

I did meet some people who I consider to be true Christians throughout my college years, two individuals who knew that I had been raised Christian, and had turned away from Christianity. They respected my decision, they showed me Christian love BECAUSE I had walked away from Christianity instead of living a double life and becoming just another hypocritical "Christian", not in spite of my leaving Chrisitanity.

I also realized that the religions that even attempt to answer any questions one has against that religion does so by openly admitting that they don't have all of the answers.

Even Judaism, which I converted to for a short while, openly admits 1) That there is no Satan (which means there is nothing to be saved from, which is why Jews don't try to convert you), and 2) Therefore, the story of Job is just that...a story, a parable...nothing more.

Joined at 11
Left at 19
Was: I was hardcore Assembly of God
Now: Spiritual Seeker
Converted because: Raised by choice.
De-converted because: I realized there were more questions in Christianity than Answers

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