In August, 2010, Anne Rice came out and said, “I quit being a Christian. I’m out. In the name of Christ, I refuse to be anti-gay. I refuse to be anti-feminist. I refuse to be anti-science. I refurse to be anti-life. In the name of Christ, I quit Christianity and being a Christian. Amen.”

I couldn’t have agreed more with her decision. For quite a few years, I’ve spent time deconstructing my own faith and came up with a very similar conclusion.

I can no longer call myself a Christian.

Ironically, I think this is a very “Christ-like” decision, since I don’t think modern Christianity represents Christ and the teachings of modern preachers seem to me very unintellectual, simple, and money and power hungry. I think if “Christ came back” he’d say WTF?!

But, I don’t blame the state of the Church on preachers themselves. I think each individual who accepts the teachings of pastors also has some part in the state of the church. Accepting the state of the church as anti-gay, anti-science, anti-feminist is something I did for years. I became a reverend in that state. I didn’t question the under educated pastors who were passing on terminology and ideas that hadn’t been well-thought out or deconstructed. They hadn’t been doubted by them, or criticized. They just slopped it into my bowl and I drank from it.

I resigned from being a reverend in 2003. I still continued to do ministry until 2005, and there I started attending college. A secular college. The deconstruction of my faith came during my college years, but not necessarily because of them. Immediately after leaving my cult, the slop just tasted terrible. I started recognizing that most of it was b.s. and I’d questioned it BEFORE Master’s Commission, and needed to revert back to that time before I entered into a mind-control environment. It was hard to get in touch with who I was before Master’s and the ministry, but I did it. I found a girl who was guilt-free, lacked a constant condemnation, and thought a lot about everything. That girl was normal (for the most part), listened to secular music, watched Rated R movies, and read all kinds of different books. I resumed my life there.

I’m not a Christian anymore. I didn’t lose my faith. I decided to get rid of it.

My faith was cumbersome to my personal growth, to my well-being as a human being, and to my desire to be a compassionate person who loved the world as it is.

I was wrapped up in fundamentalism for years. Someone said:

“Fundamentalism is a form of organised anger in reaction to the unsettling consequences of rapid social and religious change.”

I don’t believe fundamentalism is representative of all Christianity or all Christians, but what I believe doesn’t coincide with either belief system.

What I believe now is that there is no heaven or hell. Those are scare tactics taught to us by pastors around the world to pressure us into a relationship with God. Sometimes this is for their own “number game.” Sometimes it’s so that they can say their church is growing and the Holy Spirit is moving. Sometimes it’s for the perpetuation of something they learned was “right” and just kept doing without questioning whether it was right or godly or not.

I believe the Bible is not inerrant. It’s complicated. It’s a historical document, filled with interesting stories and myths. Did God create Eve out of Adam’s rib? Probably not. In fact, that’s the exact type of thing I’m talking about. That myth perpetuates the idea that Eve is less than Adam. She also tempted Adam and caused them to get kicked out of the Garden. Those early Genesis teachings are anti-women and reinstate patriarchal power structures that are harmful to male and female alike.

The Bible is also filled with the promotion of slavery, more oppressive language toward women, gays, and it can be a dangerous tool in the hands of fundamentalist Christians inciting violence and war rhetoric (the “army of the Lord” fighting against the “ungodly”).

I don’t believe America is or should be a Christian nation. First, there are a lot of Christians who disagree on things such as abortion, gun control, the environment, etc. I believe the United States is a nation of Jews, Muslims, and multiple other religions, ideologies, and beliefs. America also contains a group of citizens who are anti-theist, atheist who are not “heathens” or “evil” or even wrong. They’re human beings. They’re not going to die and call out to God on their death bed. They’re satisfied with their lives.

I respect science and scientists. I believe evolution is more plausible than any of the other theories of why we exist today. I think it’s necessary to learn and educate ourselves about how we’ve evolved as a biological being and anthropologically.

I believe that women are not sub-human to men. We don’t need to submit. We are not superior, but equal to men. I disagree with men and women who oppress women using the Bible, political and cultural ideologies, etc. This use of the Bible to promote the “gentle-spirited” woman is harmful for women; it doesn’t consider us individuals capable of being wild; and it’s oppressive to men, promoting the idea of a “manly man” as the only ideal of a godly man. These teachings (explicit and implied) harm people’s confidence in themselves, pervert individual traits, and control sex and gender roles.

On that note, I’m strongly against patriarchal religion. I don’t believe that God or gods are a Father. I don’t think God is a Him, and this language and idea oppresses women and men.

I share all of this with you because I’m ready to come out as Anne Rice did. I’m tired of putting on pretenses that I am someone I’m not. I’m proud of how I’ve evolved into the woman I am today, the relationships I have with people who support me (and a pretty awesome family who loves me through all of this) and like me for who I am rather than what I believe or don’t believe. I’m also really excited about drafting the plans to my own life, following some and discarding others based on what I think is right, not what someone tells me is right (or God’s voice). My life has become a journey filled with heartache, and pain, growth and critical thinking, and embracing the wild and exciting part of myself.

I’m happy with my quirkiness, my ability to make people laugh, and the unique way I form a thought, feel things deeply, and care about people.

I like me.

 

Lastly, in the style of Reddit, please feel free to ASK ME ANYTHING.

Views: 130

Tags: Christian, atheist, secular

Comment by Kevin Harris on February 6, 2011 at 1:16pm

The oppression of gays. Will you indulge me some more on your post? The Scriptures condemn certain sexual acts and attitudes (whether one is homosexual or heterosexual). The Old Testament theocracy had civil/ceremonial Law and moral imperatives. The OT theocracy is no longer in existence. Christ fulfilled the Law and so the New Testament eliminates the civil/ceremonial but upholds the moral imperatives of the OT. We are no longer under law but under grace!

The homosexual person is not condemned in Scripture, but homosexual sexual behavior is prohibited in both the OT and the NT. So is heterosexual sex outside of marriage.

We can take it or leave it. Biblical theology teaches God designed sex with such powerful potential that it requires a "container"! The container is marriage between a man and a woman. This is the only model that Jesus taught and approved. So his followers need to hang with him on this!

Jesus did not condemn sexual desire but did condemn "lust". There is a difference. Lust treats a person solely as an object to be used.


Therefore, a person may be homosexual, for whatever reason (nurture or nature), but according to the Christian Scriptures they are not to engage in that sexual behavior. Neither is a single heterosexual to engage heterosexual sex acts. Both are to remain chaste by the grace of God. Whether society agrees with this is beside the point. It is what the Christian Scriptures teach.

One can only speculate why the Scriptures celebrate human sexuality yet condemn certain sexual activity. I think it's because certain activity (1) is not good for the individual, (2) not good for society, and (3) mocks God's good plan and design.

 

Kevin H

 

Comment by LovelyGirl on February 6, 2011 at 1:27pm

Kevin,

Are you trolling me?

Are you a Christian?

Why do you keep telling ME that I want to be a Christian still? Isn't that a little weird for you to say since you're not me?

Comment by Kevin Harris on February 6, 2011 at 1:28pm

I respect science and scientists. I believe evolution is more plausible than any of the other theories of why we exist today.

KH> Science and Christianity are not at odds. It is not controversial that God used certain evolutionary adaptation, etc. in creation. The controversy is whether Darwinian or any other evolutionary theory eliminates the concept of God and to what extent it can adequately explain the diversity and complexity of life. BTW, I think the best biblical and scientific model is Old Earth. The word for "day" (yom) in Genesis can mean long periods of time. 

 

Kevin H

Comment by LovelyGirl on February 6, 2011 at 1:31pm

Kevin,

I don't believe sex is a sin, even from a "biblical" standpoint. I think that a lot of really uneducated pastors push forth a "religious" agenda that sounds Biblical to conservative parishioners and have started a whole movement against gays based on "God's word." It's total bull shit and there's a few ways to look at it.

1. The more homophobic you are, the more you want to be gay and are fighting it. (according to research)

2. If Christ was in today's society, based on his teachings, he wouldn't confront them based on their sex acts, nor would he disallow their marriages.

3. There's a struggle that pastors have these days to maintain their power over people who follow them. One of the ways they do this is to attempt to control the way they think, especially by marrying religion with politics.

Comment by Mo Trauen on February 6, 2011 at 1:36pm
Religion is so focused on sex, in part, because that focus allows the charlatans to subtly shift the believer back to infancy, when controlling one's private parts and obeying the authority figures (and believing anything they told you) was all that mattered.  It also allows religion to turn us all into "bad" people because we all do these "bad" things--or want to.  As "bad" people, we need the charlatans to intervene on our behalf with the non-communicative authority figure so that we won't be punished for being "bad".
Comment by Kevin Harris on February 6, 2011 at 1:39pm
People using faith do not think clearly about the bigger questions in life because they already have all the answers and whenever they have doubts they put god into the gaps.

First, indeed, faith can be reasonable rather than blind (fideism). Faith is not a way of knowing something. Faith is what you do with what you know. One can have good reasons for why one holds a view. One can follow the evidence and make certain conclusions even if the evidence is not exhaustive. Thus, reasonable faith concerning the Big Questions.

Second, the Christian theist need not hold to a "god of the gaps" view. One can argue for God based on what we do know, not on what we don't know.


Comment by LovelyGirl on February 6, 2011 at 1:44pm

Mo,

I totally agree with you. I couldn't have said it better myself. There's a lot of women who left my cult/church who are terrified of the "punishment" they might receive if they have sex before they're married. It makes for a really unhealthy sex life. Also, I've been reading a lot of blogs from women who read books, such as I did, by Joshua Harris that talk about women remaining chaste and pure, etc. Most of these women didn't kiss, hold hands, etc. before their wedding day and they're reporting a lot of really unhealthy sex lives in marriage that are threatening their marriages existence. I think it's really sad that some of these ideas become so oppressive that they control people's lives and thoughts.

 

I tried to "save myself for marriage" until I was 25. I succeeded. Then, I realized it was a really idiotic thing to do.

 

Comment by Kevin Harris on February 6, 2011 at 1:45pm
Are you trolling me? Are you a Christian? Why do you keep telling ME that I want to be a Christian still? Isn't that a little weird for you to say since you're not me?


Obviously I am a Christian (follower of Christ) and I'm just suggesting what it looks like you're expressing. You seem to want to embrace Christ but get rid of the baggage that has nothing to do with being a follower of his. That's all I'm suggesting and that's why I asked for your definitions. Didn't you say "ask me anything"?

Thanks,

Kevin
Comment by Kevin Harris on February 6, 2011 at 1:50pm
Your warfare must necessarily be against people because you have rejected reason. That leaves no means of settling disagreements except by force.

KH> Way to paint with a broad brush! I hold to reason. The Scriptures teach reason (e.g. Acts 17, all of Proverbs, etc.). To reject reason is contradictory. It essentially says "here are my reasons for not needing reasons". Self-refuting!
Comment by Kevin Harris on February 6, 2011 at 2:01pm
2. If Christ was in today's society, based on his teachings, he wouldn't confront them based on their sex acts, nor would he disallow their marriages.

You apparently want the loving Jesus but not the Jesus who holds us to certain moral standards. Jesus taught that there was only one model for marriage. Jesus fulfilled the Law of the OT and upheld the moral imperatives of the OT (Matt. 5). Like it or not, the OT not only condemns homosexual sex in the civil/ceremonial sense, but in the moral sense. Jesus affirmed that.


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