Thursday, May 27, 2010
As mentioned before, the level of my religious experiences could fill many pages. So, while there is much more to be said, most is going to be skipped for now. I am just going to touch on a five main areas of why Christianity lost its hold on me.
1.The age of rocks on the Earth and the amount of time it takes for light to travel through space couldn't be rectified with text in the Bible. The best answer I received was, “God put all the things there when he created The Universe.” This seemed like a very poor answer. I never accepted it. There are other Christians that have issue with the reality of “light flight” and the Bible. Needless to say, you cannot reasonably believe the Sun is nine light minutes from Earth and that the Earth is 6,000 to 12,000 years old. These two facts are totally incompatible with each other. Please read The Greatest Show on Earth for a much better explanation of this idea.i One could always use the improper translation answer. That the word translated as to mean an indeterminate amount of time. This could work for some people, but the legions of literalistic adherents cannot have a day any more or less than 24 hours long. I really wanted to learn Ancient Greek, Hebrew, Latin and Aramaic at one time in my life. I was certain that if I learned those languages, I would be able to know the true scriptures and not have to deal with translating the text into English.
2.There was also the “Bible” answer; in Psalms 90:4. The verse says, “A thousand years in your sight are like a day that has just gone by, or like a watch in the night.”ii This is one I liked a lot. It gives a believer basically any amount of time they wish. Prior to hearing about Creationism and Intelligent Design, I figured that the Earth was about 12,000 to 15,000 years old. [Don't ask how I figured that out.]
3.Followers of Jesus just didn't seem to get the idea to follow Jesus. It was amazing how someone, including myself, would know what to do, according to the Bible, and darn well not do it. The Bible has all sorts of rules and plans that you can use to guide your life so you can feel good about being a follower. Inversely, they can know something not to do and darn well do it. The knowledge that forgiveness of sins was just a prayer away can be a good way out of doing what one thinks is sin. There was a sermon that I recently heard where the pastor was saying that prior to being killed in prison, Jeffery Dalmer converted to Christianity. He went on to say that there were both Christians and secular people that decried his conversion since he had lived such a heinous life. He said that there shouldn't have been any problem with a person like Dalmer becoming a Christian since God's love could forgive all sins. I told him that I thought his sermon was giving people the license to do anything evil and use god as a way to justify it to themselves. He couldn't understand the relationship and said I was missing the point of his sermon, which I wasn't. He just failed to recognize that it is moderate preachers like him that help radical adherents who “whorenize” the Bible to people that they would otherwise have no concern about these radical issues what-so-ever.
4.In the past, I had participated in many door to door evangelical missions. I even led people to Jesus. [Sorry everyone.] What was so hard about following Jesus was trying to obey the seemingly impossible rules that were provided for a good godly life. It was truly a conflict with my human nature to try to follow these archaic rules. Of course, volumes have been written about this. One book I read many years ago was Hinds Feet in High Places, by Hannah Hurnard. But there are others and they are easy to find. The amount of Christian fiction fills several rows in just about any bookstore in America. Most of the stories make the point that “we” cannot know God's will and that it will all work out in the end. The worse part was to see the opportunity come and the adherents let them slip on by. This didn't have the effect that many presume. Instead of seeing it as a lack of faith or a weak spirit of the person, I saw it as the weakness of God's Holy Spirit to do what the Bible says it can do. Eventually, I began looking back over the areas of the Bible where I gave latitude in the inconsistencies. A world wide flood? Oh really? All people at one time all spoke the same language? What was that language and how do we know this for sure. When did this happen? Plus, what happened to that tower? So, the Earth stood still and then started up again just because someone raised their arms? Let me get this right? Just his arms? These must be some huge arms. I can only think about all the havoc it cause on the entire face of planet. Walls fell down due to the acoustic sounds of trumpets and people yelling? I don't think so. Walking on water? Turning water into wine? Healing the blind with mud? Dying for sins of others? Two of every animal on Earth on your boat?
5.This was a big deal in my escape from religion: If we are governed by freewill then God is either impotent or vindictive and cannot or will not help man. If there is no freewill then He is a liar, an antagonist, a provoker, arrogant, manipulative, sadistic, petty, uncaring, sexist, racist, murderer that should be the first to suffer the ills that the Bible claims are from his, so called, creation. Why? Because He creates humans with the full foreknowledge that he will be rejected and will torture us knowing we are helpless to fight His will. If not that, He is totally powerless to influence our lives as to the reality of His existence. In this case, He is not worthy of worship any more than a piece of dirt. Look, we have enough fairy stories that we can enjoy without them controlling our lives. We don't need to continue to look upon these fables as anymore real than Peter and The Wolf , Cinderella , The Iliad, Paul Bunyan, Hazel and Gretel or any other of the thousands and thousands of work of fiction. If faith means to believe in ridiculous stories, in spite of the real world evidence, that they are not real, then there is really nothing to believe in.
These are just five areas that touch on some of the topics I found that faith in the supernatural had lost any meaning to me in reality. I hope that if you still believe in God that you would think about these things so that you can move from the land of fantasy to the wide Universe of reality.
xi Chapter Four: The Greatest Show on Earth Evidence for Evolution By Richard Dawkins ©2009 Free Press
xii International Bible Societyhttp://www.tniv.info/bible/passagesearch.php?passage_request=Psalm%2090:4&tniv=yes © 2009 International Bible Society