A letter to a friend who is a fundy and jokingly told me last night I was going to hell...

sent in by Shellie

Dear Rog,

Please note that I fully understand your commitment to religion, Jesus and the Bible and I mean you no disrespect. As I have said, for most of my life I was very much the same way. I took years for me to fully accept that Christianity is (in my opinion) very misguided and well, wrong.

Religion is a personal thing, and you have never once tried to push your beliefs on me, except for last night when you told me to have fun in hell. I just see you in this in-between place (where I once was) and I want you to hear my story. I have a lot of respect for you. You are very intelligent and I often find myself engaging in sophisticated conversation when we are together.

Here goes...

These are the 5 major questions that kept popping up in my head and would not go away.

1. Why are there so many different denominations, who all interpret the same book in various ways, and which one is right? If the Church of Christ-ers are right, then all Presbyterian, Methodist, Catholics (all whom love and worship the exact same god and Jesus from the exact same book) are wasting their time and going to hell. (Prime example: Galileo)

2. Hell! I had a hard time trying to accept that god (who is all powerful) and loves us would create humans (knowing some would not accept Jesus) and condemn them to hell. You would not condemn your children to an endless life of misery, no matter how bad they were. It is evil. So the all loving, compassionate god that I loved so much would send someone he created, that just wasn't a good enough Christian, to suffer for eternity????

3. How is it that god created millions of generations of humans across the planet (such as native American and African tribes) with no way for them to be told about Christ and be saved (years before missionaries arrived) just to exist in a life of sin and be sent to hell.

4. Why, if we are all made in the image of god, are women expected to be submissive? This is the verse I had the most trouble with when Jesus says that divorce is permissible when the wife is guilty of fornication. But what if the husband is unfaithful? Jesus doesn't seem to care about that.
Matthew 5:32 - But I say unto you, That whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery: and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced committeth adultery.
5. We are told to accept that Jesus existed based upon the Gospels of the Bible, yet the Gospels are so poorly written that a logical person is at best left to ponder if Jesus even existed. The Gospels are consistently contradictive, filled with mathematic errors and don't compliment each other on very important details. Why? Why? Why? Why is the holy book, which is inspired by god, full of so many mistakes?

I must have prayed for 2 years straight for god to show me a sign that the doubts in my mind were wrong. Leaving your faith and belief system behind is a very hard thing to do. Much like you, my entire family was very involved in church. I spent every Sunday of my life sitting next to my mom and grandmother in church. I could type for a week on all of my church activities and how involved I was. I loved my church family. I truly did. They were and are still some of the most kind, genuine people on the planet. When my step dad was dying with cancer, if it had not been for the love and support of the people from our church I do not know how my mom and I would have survived.

I even went to a very liberal Presbyterian church where drinking (in moderation) and dancing are allowed. I loved my pastor. He is a graduate from Princeton University, extremely smart and to this day we still correspond in writing and he takes the time to discuss each and every issue I present to him in my questioning Christianity and the existence of god.

In my quest to cling to my 'faith' I began to research Christianity in effort to ease my doubts and strengthen my faith. I began to study and read the bible, and then realized quickly, I knew very little about the book and religion I so avidly defended.

Not only was I rusty on the contents of the holy book, I knew very little of it's history or the history of Christianity all together. This I think is true for most Christians. I think the focus in church, youth group and Sunday school is on warm fuzzy verses (mostly in the New Testament) that deal with love and good works and Jesus' miracles. You even mention the New Testament last night.

I would agree that the New Testament paints are far more gracious picture of god, than the evil, spiteful god of the Old Testament. However, there are still some very disturbing issues presented in the New Testament.

You would think that Jesus and the New Testament would have a different view of slavery, but slavery is still approved of in the New Testament, as the following passages show.
Slaves, obey your earthly masters with deep respect and fear. Serve them sincerely as you would serve Christ. (Ephesians 6:5 NLT)
Christians who are slaves should give their masters full respect so that the name of God and his teaching will not be shamed. If your master is a Christian, that is no excuse for being disrespectful. You should work all the harder because you are helping another believer by your efforts. Teach these truths, Timothy, and encourage everyone to obey them. (1 Timothy 6:1-2 NLT)

In the following parable, Jesus clearly approves of beating slaves even if they didn't know they were doing anything wrong.
The servant will be severely punished, for though he knew his duty, he refused to do it. "But people who are not aware that they are doing wrong will be punished only lightly. Much is required from those to whom much is given, and much more is required from those to whom much more is given." (Luke 12:47-48 NLT)
This list goes on and on. In my quest for answers I found more questions and more reason to be concerned. It has led me to this conclusion:
  • Christianity is one of 100's religions used by humans to explain life.
  • There is no god with whom I can have a personal relationship.
  • We are all left to chance.
  • Not believing in god does not make me a bad, evil or non-moral person. I do not have the urge to lie, steal, cheat on my husband, watch porn, or be "tempted" to do harmful things to my own body (such as smoking, hard drugs) or anyone else just because I do not believe in Jesus.

I feel more free and liberated than I have in my entire life. No more sins and guilt the next morning.

It was hard for my family to accept my new position and they still often question me.

That is my story. It is long. Sorry about that. But, I think you should entertain this idea. I think you are trapped between 2 worlds and I know how hard that can be. If I am way of base, I am apologize and I will never mention it again.

Peace.

S Watts
Cape Coral
FL
USA
How old were you when you became a christian? 10
How old were you when you ceased being a christian? 24
What churches or organizations or labels have applied to you? Presbyterian
What labels, if any, would you apply to yourself now? Non-beleiver
Why did you become a christian? born into it
Why did you de-convert? Couldn't stop questioning.
email: swatts at leegov dot com

10 comments:

Bentley said...

It's a very hard thing to try to convince someone that their indoctrinated mind has accepted the Bible as absolute truth and make them see what you can so obviously see.

Once the brain has accepted the indoctrination as absolute truths, it apparently is stored in an isolated vault somewhere deeply in the brain that has hidden those accepted truths and no one can open that vault except only them and only when they are ready to take an inventory of the stored information, and see that it's all ancient superstitions and man made fables and myths and useless nonsense.

Only their own brain can open themslves to accept enlightment and common reasoning.

Resentment in knowing the truth can make a christian reject common sense and reasoning.

To take away their only reason to live by their make believe fantasy makes them think that their life has no other purpose but to worship man made invisible deities.

They have been told by religious authorities that their only purpose for being born is to worship the Bible God, it was his plan that they were put here on this Earth just to be a witness for the Bible God.

They are evangelical christians, their purpose is to walk in the footsteps of jesus and spread the gospel of jesus christ all over the world, although only a very small percent of them actually leave the USA, so they just go around and spouting the same rhetoric that all the rest of them are spouting the same rhetoric as if we've never heard the same old shit over 10 million times, by repeating it over and over they think some day it will become true and they will look like the king of champions for their make believe god.

It's all for self-righteous glorification, thats what Paul did, he wanted people to think that he had had a devine intervention of inspiration that only a worthy servant of God can experience and spout such spiritual knowledge as him, he had no idea that so many would fall for the insane foolishness so many thousands of years later.

Thanks for sharing! TC, Ben

Lorena said...

Shellie,

I love the letter. I particularly like the part where you mention you have no urges to around "sinning."

Of all the things that christians say in this forum, the one that bothers me most is the implication that non-christians are immoral. So I am glad you addressed that one in your letter.

Be well!

Deamond said...

The problom is, the Bible is like Mark Twain's definition of a classic; "A Classic is a book which everyone praises but nobody reads".

There was another poster, not long ago, a Christian, who kept telling us to sto questioning god and saying that we could ask her any question she liked and she would dismiss them because she has "faith"

I responded by saying, "Translation, I'm a braindead zombie".


Now, seems to me, the only peole who fear being questioned are liars. If it doesn't hold up to scruitiny, it is not the truth. If a witness's testiminy doesn't match the evidence, it's wrong. If a polotician makes speeches which don't make sense, impeach him.

Besides Elijah DID tempt the Lord!
He made a pial of wood, the saananites made a pile of wood for Baal, both groups prayed, Baal's pile didn't catch fire and Elija's did!


Also, I saw "Passion of the Crist" last night, didn't suck as much as I though it would. (possibly because I watched it with the "audio descriptive" option. rather than having to read the subtitkles all the time) and there's a scene earlier in the movie where Jesus is in the temple and b

tigg13 said...

Ok, I know its nobody else's business, but I can't help wondering how your friend responded to your letter.

If it is personal or it would break a bond of trust that the two of you have, then please by all means don't share it.

Tiggers just can't help being curious.

Free@last said...

Tigg.... I am a curious person too! Here is the exact reply email. I still havent gotten the "point by point" responce. I doubt I will.

Thank you Lorena for you kind words.

I love this site I have been lurking here a while.

This site gives me hope!
Hey Shellie! Thanks for the well-thought-out and thought-provoking message. Wow, I have never had anyone try to "convert" me to atheism (lol). I have so much respect for you and Joey and I would never discount anything you guys would ever say to me. My problem responding right now is a time shortage at work. I will save this e-mail and give it the due point-by-point response as I see (or feel) it. Thank you so much for all the friendship you have shown me and everything you have ever done for me. You have shown me more about friendship and respect than most anyone I have ever known regardless of religion (or lack thereof). You have given me a lot to ponder this weekend, so please allow some time to appropriately respond. By the way, that "have fun in hell" comment the other night was most definitely in jest and I hope you realized that. The more I thought about it though, I realized that it was kind of a shitty thing to say, especially since you have put so much time and thought into your position.
I'll respond again soon...

Peace, love, and respect...

Rog

Chris said...

Sounds like a good friend. I've exchanged similar emails with a close friend of mine who is still a liberal christian.

JeffXL said...

Hi, Lorena!

"Of all the things that christians say in this forum, the one that bothers me most is the implication that non-christians are immoral. So I am glad you addressed that one in your letter."

Which is another reason of trillions why I love this site: the daily, almost hourly headlines of clergy and paraclergy doing all types of evil. More proof we need Gawd for morality, I say!

JeffXL said...

Hi, Lorena!

"Of all the things that christians say in this forum, the one that bothers me most is the implication that non-christians are immoral. So I am glad you addressed that one in your letter."

Which is another reason of trillions why I love this site: the daily, almost hourly headlines of clergy and paraclergy doing all types of evil. More proof we need Gawd for morality, I say!

tigg13 said...

Thanks Free@last

Nvrgoingbk said...

Great post Free@last. You should send your friend some of the testimonies here so she can see that we were all sincere believers at one time and have come to the inescapable and heart wrenching conclusion that what we once believed is a LIE.

My dear friend is 62 years old and he is deeply bothered by my de-converting. He has always been what I regarded as a liberal Christian. He reads his "Daily Bread" devotional everyday on the crapper and thinks that is reading the Bible. He loves Jesus with all of his heart and attends church everytime the doors are open. I do not doubt his sincerity one bit, but what is so sad to me is that he defends this God and Jesus for no other reason than that he's always believed and has found peace in this God, etc. etc. yet he doesn't even read the Bible which is what Christianity is based on! He's never seen Jesus or heard him speak to him so he's only got the Bible to go on which HE DOESN'T READ! I can't even have an intelligent debate with him because when I mention the atrocities in the Bible he asks if it is really in there. I say, "Kess, I don't lie. You know that if i say it's in your bible that it is"

I asked him the other night to put aside his religious beliefs for one moment and answer me one question. I asked, "If you were God would you send me to Hell?" He admitted that No he would NOT.
I said, "Than neither would GOD!"
I asked him this because he always brags about my upright character and my desire to do the right thing at all times. Since he esteems me so highly than how can God think so poorly of me to send me to Hell simply for comming to the conclusion that Christianity is just another religion.

I don't know how much longer we will be able to maintain our friendship. It's already begun to taper off. I am not the one putting conditions on our friendship which is the irony of Christianity isn't it? I mean, I would never stop loving him and supporting him simply because he believes what I consider a lie, but he will end our friendship for that very reason. It doesn't matter that I have lived my life before him as an honorable woman. It doesn't matter that exemplify "Christian character". It only matters what I believe!

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