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So I am new at all this. I am going through a phase where I am unsure if I am still a Christian or not. I don't believe in the bible but I believe in a higher power... I just so happen to stumble across this and was curios. I always thought that atheist were the ones who worships the devil and wore black and danced around at night casting spells on people. That is what I was taught. Boy was I wrong. I have been friends with an atheist for like 10 years and just found out LOL.
Anyways, I have 3 amazing children. They are not baptized because I want them to make that decision for themselves. Yes, it did throw a big rock in the water when I put my foot down on that. But they believe in God and Jesus. When asked how babies are made I told them God took a little of mommies heart and a little of daddies heart and made a baby and put it in my belly. When my nephew died 1 day shy of being 3 months I was asked, mommy why did he die? As hurt as I was I said well sometimes God needs baby angels. So every year we write messages Happy Birthday, Merry Christmas, etc. on balloons and let them go in the sky so he can see them in Heaven.
Now that I am on the fence on if I am still a Christian or not, I have no idea what to do about my children. Do I pull them away from it all? We don't go to church because I don't believe I HAVE to go to a church to praise God. But how do I interfere with what my children believe? Should I just keep doing what i'm doing and let them decided when they get a little older or what? My whole family are Christians and God comes up a lot. My family stays out of religious discussions with me because I always have something to say to contradict what they are talking about.
Davis, It means you haven't reached an age at which your body starts coming apart.
And those Intelligent Design folk think they're onto something. How silly, to believe their designer was intelligent.
I feel it's natural for pack animals--and especially humans shaped deeply by culture to seek role fulfillment that's compatible with a "higher power". That higher power is the pack, or group, mostly for survival purposes, but once one's local culture fulfills its survival needs with cooperative behavior, culture then drives itself to cooperatively seek other goals and idealisms, whether to enhance comfort of living, or to invent and disemminate art and philosophy, etc.. Religion is one of those philosophies invented as an attempt to explain the meaning and purpose of life, every person's "role" in life, not to mention as a means to institutionally control the masses--which developed later, alongside other developments of "civilization". (Civilization in quotes, because it brings out both the best and the worst in human institutions and endeavors.)
That's the long way of saying that I think it's normal for most people take in whatever their culture traditionally reveres and teaches, whether it be art, science, spirituality or specific forms of them or specific forms of religion and/or explanation of higher power.
But how do I interfere with what my children believe?
As a parent of many years ago, my goal was to help my kids develop a logical, reasonable thinking process and not let any other person or tradition interfere with. I didn't even tell them I was atheist until they asked me, in their late teens. I tried to point out how practically everyone in the world just takes in the belief of their local culture, without much skepticism or further research. Instead of putting down our local culture of Christianity, I pointed out how most humans of the world just succumb to the local peer pressure to believe "what everyone believes", completely uncaring about (or oblivious to) what everyone else around the world believes. Most importantly, too much religion is about believing in itself as a matter of faith, even to the point of denial of evidence and evidence-based (e.g. science) methods of learning.
Science relies on skepticism for learning about reality, while religion blocks skepticism in order to perpetuate itself.
Its kinda hard to not have my children in the scene of God. I just tell them they will understand when they get older.
Part of that process for us was to read to them various stories of belief, especially the different creation myths... er, I mean stories! I remember in particular African and Japanese creation stories, even including an annual, live play with costumes in a small town in Japan, with a few musicians playing traditional instruments for background. The people we walked with to the village performance are were dressed up in traditional garb. It was an especially beautiful and memorable experience.
Point being, in addition to enjoying the artful aspects of different traditions, I was hoping to make the impression on the kids that people's beliefs or their recounting of myth can be accepted for what they are, including ones that are local or right next door, so long as we don't choose to belong to one just because of peer pressure.
Hey Savannah! Just out of curiosity, how long did you consider yourself a Christian? (I am a Christian - just so you don't get misled thinking I'm atheist)
"Because we have learned things since then, including to treat women as equal partners. Back then they also believed in a flat earth; now that's not OK either."
Wouldn't it have been better if the bible didn't include so many passages about The inferiority of women?
You can't just make claims that are against your worldview. Either you get your moral inspiration from the bible and word of Yahweh, or you don't. You can't have it both ways.
Dr. Bob, did Jesus masturbate?
With or without lusting?
I went through this at the age of 15. I visited a few pastors and asked them very direct questions.
Me: "Is god Perfect? Without Fault?"
Me: "Then why do natural disasters happen?"
Pastor: "Well...the world is currently in a fallen state."
Me: "I can understand human to human atrocities if you want to use the free-will argument. But animal to human atrocities and natural disasters seem a bit excessive to me. God created natural disasters and disease and ferocious animals which cause a lot of suffering and death."
Pastor: "Well, you have to understand that Christians believe in original sin and that by disobeying god, humans chose this path. They chose an imperfect world."
Me: "How did Adam and Eve know they were choosing anything if they were created without the knowledge of good and evil? For if this is true, then their was no choice, as they wouldn't have known that disobeying god would result in such a catastrophic change in their perfect world."
Pastor: "Well...you have to understand that god is perfect. He has his reasons for allowing Adam and Eve to eat the fruit or not eat the fruit. He specifically told them not to eat of the fruit. Therefore, they disobeyed god and chose an imperfect world."
Me: "So you are basically saying that you cannot respond to my line of questioning and all the billions of humans that have suffered in agony and death, are being punished for something their ancestor did thousands of years ago?"
Pastor: "It is how we come to understand death and suffering that can bring us closer to God. Let us move on to another question and we can come back to this one later."
Me: "One last question on this subject. If I wanted to believe in God and accept Jesus into my heart, and I believed god is imperfect and I was willing to forgive god for an imperfect creation, am I able to do this and still be a Christian?"
Pastor: "No, this is not possible. You cannot forgive God, for he is perfect. If you don't accept God is perfect, then you cannot be a Christian. For only God is sinless and infinitely good."
Me: "Ok. It still sounds like God is obviously imperfect when you look at the world around us. Or allows excessive suffering and death.
soo....Next question. Is masturbation a sin?"
Pastor: "Technically, yes."
Me: "So, when I masturbate daily, I am sinning daily, or I only sin the first time I masturbate."
Pastor: "Well, you sin daily. Of course."
Me: "So by asking for forgiveness for this act, then doing it again...in theory, I may continually engage in the act and continually asking for forgiveness, and that still makes me a Christian?"
Needless to say, after this line of questioning with 3 pastors, I had to start calling bullshit.
But I still wanted to believe...I really did....the idea of Hell was scary.
Well the good news is that sin doesn't exist because there was never a mythological woman named Eve who ate a magical fruit. The story never happened, we all know it didn't happen - Therefore the bibles explanation of sin and the fallen world doctrine falls flat on it's face.
Right, which is another way we know it's not true. An all perfect God would never equate a mass murderer-rapist who raped and killed 100 women to a Hindu monk that devoted their lives to helping people in need.
Christians should be embarrassed to profess such a disgusting doctrine and thank God so many Christians are liberalizing themselves and are shying away from the doctrine of hell.