Sunday, July 2, 2017

The Many Phases of Our 'Faith' Journey- A Brief History of Moving out of the Christian Faith Slowly. Not out of Bitterness but out of Education and Growth.

Introduction: I was not going to publish this post, that has been sitting in my drafts, but my husband challenged me on it. He responded with, "That is a pretty tame and compassionately told story. Plus, it's your story. Why can't you talk about it. We get to hear about Christian perspectives and beliefs ALL the time. We generally sit politely through those we love because WE love them. Why wouldn't your friends do the same?" To which I replied, "I just don't want the very people who have supported me with my other differences like autism or physical illness, to feel I am judging them or attacking the core of their souls." To which he replied, "If they love you and know you - they know that this post is more of a quick overview directed at an internet audience. They also know how you treat them in real life and how patient, considerate and compassionate you are even when outspoken. Those who love you already know most of this stuff and those who don't know, who proclaim to love you, should maybe hear it at least once and have their own selves stretched. Post it."

*Also, I know many educated Christians, though unfortunately they are a minority or only one sphere of living at times, but so are a lot of non Christians.*

Thus, it is with great trepidation that I post this. I don't like causing hurt and I shy away from speaking about religion or politics or most hot topics because I wish for my focus to be on bettering the world, personal stories, and love. I WILL engage if I am addressing a crime or unjust circumstance against any people group but I try to let most things be fought in subtle ways. But my husband also countered that with, "Sometimes that is speaking about the hot topics for a brief moment- especially if you usually do not...not with the expectation of having others conform but to challenge conformity itself. Not wishing for those to be like you because I know you would hate that- you love your individuality- but having them know that sometimes there are stories that are also allowed to take up space and give a different perspective."

In the past, I have deleted numerous drafts about philosophy, faith, being a morally good person without faith (something most Christian doctrine and theology argue against), Spinoza, Nietzsche and other favourite philosophers, and sometimes posts about some of the ironies in many christian beliefs. Most I don't end up publishing because I realize at the end of writing, that people will still believe what they want to believe. Most people will read the research they wish to read and ignore the literature that counter balances (if it is too stretching.) It is natural to immerse oneself in the language of home and the same goes for the home of the soul. Most people (emphasis on MOST) will surround themselves with the majority of people who believe similar patterns and attend similar minded services or clubs, or social conventions that call for a bit of growth but do not stretch beyond reason.

I have realized if I am going to challenge it, I have to ask myself 'Why?" Why would I do the same that has been done to me and presume my way is the 'right way'? There are a million different ways to live a good, ethical and wonderful life. Live and let live is a mantra I try to remember. There are exceptions to this that involve circumstances where personal rights are being ignored.

Sometimes I need to write my counter balances or challenges of how I grew up or I would go INSANE. I am surrounded with a majority I do not live similar to. I have many christian friends who respect where I come from and I respect them and I am lucky to have two friends who understand my perspectives and are sometimes appalled about the small treatments, that seem ordinary to those in the faith, but damaging to those outside of it... Once I write out my strife I usually delete it because I simply needed to get the toxic mess out of my system, so that I can gracefully engage once again with those I love, who may not agree with most of my choices. Or all of my choices. This is also a lesson for me to ALWAYS read counter balancing material. Lucky for me, I spent decades in the faith I slowly grew out of, and have the counter balancing philosophies, theologies and verses constantly running in my head. I also tend to have a minority stance in most of my views on life so the counter balance is a little easier to come by, simply because I live with it surrounding me. But it's still good for me to look around at the myriads of minds stuck in a set way or box, and remind myself not to be complacent in this area.

The recent post I decided to forgo was our response to people asking to pray for or with us. I realized that I don't need to address that publicly unless someone specifically asked for me to elaborate out of a need for a game plan on that issue themselves. Plus, the conclusion was typical in that it is a contextual case by case sort of issue. I grew up constantly talking about faith, having to put everything back to god, and believing that only good came from God and no good can come from anything seemingly separated from god. I LOVED my faith and my God. My parents were considered "liberal" by most standards surrounding us, although now, are way more conservative than I am. But I liked their approach to faith. I still respect their approach by not talking about mine. It's mostly a non issue as we focus on other aspects of life which feels respectful to both sides...most of the time.

Most people assume we grew out of the faith out of bitterness or because we felt 'abandoned by god.' I remember thinking that anyone who chose not to believe in God after knowing the Bible and all the answers, was a fool or worse than wolf in sheep's clothing. I remember thinking it was pure rebellion or they must have had something horrid happen to them from one of THOSE Christians that were too strict and caused bitterness and if they only knew God/Jesus/ My Redeemer like I did, they would never have left. And then I found myself here, ironically looking back at that me, and realizing it's not like that at all, in our case at least. And I was a bit presumptuous and slightly self righteous in an innocent sort of way before to think that. In our circumstance, the journey from living and breathing christianity every day, to barely thinking upon it except when issues arise in our circles, was a slow simmer of questioning and education in one of the best times of our lives. Yup, one of THE BEST times. We had our normal struggles of course but it wasn't in reaction to anything. It was a chosen action. The reactions came LATER.

We stayed in the closet of un christianity for years. We knew how to play the game so it was easy to walk the walk on the outside. We didn't know how to be different at that point and still didn't know what life would look like, without attending church or without having support that we thought we needed, so we went through the motions while taking years to figure out how to start again. We were scared and unsure. But on the side, secretly together, my husband and I began exploring all sorts of denominations and observing the behaviour of believers in these circumstances. We went to every church surrounding us and observed the differences and similarities in both communion and hypocrisy.

The largest turning point, when we decided we wanted to be more active in pursuing another lifestyle came after we attended the "Truth Project." We gave it three sessions but it was so manipulative with fear mongering images and music. It sat wrong with us. It presented atheists as silly and picked ridiculous people for the atheistic viewpoint and solid people for the christian viewpoint. We were turned off and we were hardcore Christians, even if we had begun questioning and observing things, at that point. In that group we heard the attendees solidify each other in their own faith stances. It was supposed to be an evangelizing tool but they were simply validating each other in their own righteousness. This also began a niggling feeling in the back of our minds.

We heard them vehemently speak about an author called Brain Mclaren, which made us want to read him. We did. Looking back it was stretching for us. It does not come close to stretching us now and we find it funny how much it was. We thought we were going straight to hell sometimes. It was scary but we powered through because we needed to know. We wanted to challenge ourselves. I am grateful for the counter balancing material. Now hell isn't even a threat. If the concept of hell ends up being true, which from a doctrinal standpoint if we decided to be full fledged Christians doesn't actually fly if one is educated in the historical and ancient texts, but just for speculation sake, let's say it IS true that there is a loving God who because of his deep love, can not abide sin, so sends more than half of the world's population to hell to live in eternal burning torture...Even if this was true, we would rather choose to live how we are living now and choose ethically wise and non judgmental, open lives, and risk that chance. I no longer live in the fear I used to live. I would have even be afraid of reading an article like this. I was afraid for my friend's souls. This 'loving' doctrine ruled my life and I thought it was so grace filled. I also used to be the one who emphatically believed this was a doctrine of love. I wept for friends who did not share my beliefs.

Let me state, I understand, because of my history, how this belief system is sacred to the heart of one who believes. I have letters I wrote to my Father in Heaven. I have poems from an early age and into my twenties that are beautifully heartfelt in love for my Divine maker. My life WAS my spirituality and in a way it still IS, but has morphed into something else entirely. Previously, I would say phrases like, "I'm spiritual not religious." or "My form of Christianity is a lifestyle not a belief system." or "I love Jesus, and Jesus is not his followers, who may give it a bad name. You don't need to give Christianity a chance but give Jesus one..." I went from liberalized believer, to fundamentalist and partially Calvinistic for the first few years of meeting my husband. He was strict at first and I followed but it never sat well with me. Then we were Charismatic for awhile, Emergent and an Anam Cara sort of Irish Christianity and lastly Anglican/ Catholic. In all phases, we believed we were thirsting after God and had the right way...Until we became educated in more. I understand DEEPLY the need for faith and also the safety and love factor of such faith, but I do not share the sentiment anymore. I empathize and wish to be considerate about the beliefs involved but I do not hold myself to the same guidelines. I can see the merit without coming back to the 'heart of worship.' I also firmly believe that Christianity has a lot to give to the world and I am thankful for it's large part in my life. It IS a part of me and always will be, in both good and bad ways. I also think Jesus is a solid example...He's right up there with Ghandi and Mother Teresa or even heroes of fictional literature as well, for being an advocate for love, justice and bringing into awareness stories of morality.

The reason why Brian Mclaren ended up staying in our library was because we saw a response in him we were not seeing in most of the people around us, when it actually came down to the daily gritty aspects of accepting others. It was compassion. His words were healing and directed towards loving all people. His message seemed more on track to a Jesus we wished to know. We preferred reading him to hearing fear mongering, manipulative threats, and veiled insults to 'ignorant sinners who were not of THE way.' Or even random ignorant comments about minority groups or other's who were of differing denominations in the faith ( and the petty fights over scriptural differences), or the blatant hate towards LGBT peoples or Pro choice advocates. When it came down to it, people could never really go further into the why's and how's of the deeper issues and that bothered us. After Brian, we started to read Joan Chittister, a catholic nun who wrote beautiful books about living out the daily in a Benedictine sort of way. We still keep her books in our library too, even though it differs from current stances in some ways, we still learn and have grown from her literature. Naturally after that we hesitantly read some Buddhist material and branched out from there to other Religions and Non religious stances. We delved into morally sound Atheists and then to actual History which wasn't washed out in a winning Christian perspective. I realized my education purposefully left out certain people, philosophers, sociologists, psychologists and basic science. THAT is when we went through our angry stage. It came as a direct result of the injustice of one perspective being forced on every facet of our life BEING during our development. Even in a liberal, loving way. We felt we should have had differing perspectives to either test our faith or give us choice within our faith. Surrounded by the same beliefs, in the same people, in church, school, weekend life and extra curriculars were similar to a cult upbringing. Eventually we had to make peace with this too, but it was a legitimate phase. Sometimes this anger is still triggered if we are met with a particularly bigoted, prejudice or self righteous christian thought. I know many Christians who also feel the same in this regard...it's not exclusive to a non christian standpoint.

On the flip side, Christianity has many interesting moral and ethical teachings to consider. Many good people have chosen Christianity as their religion. Just like many have chosen to be Atheists or any number of other belief systems. As a whole, it is worthy of study. We expose our children to the Bible just like we do to Greek myths or other Historical and Sociological texts that have shaped the culture of humanity. There are some great stories to consider. We are not anti christian. We are anti closed mindedness and judgment in the name of any religion. Since we grew up in Evangelical Christianity for myself and Missions orientated Christianity for my husband, we will focus more on what we know. That is natural. We will also find little ways to counter balance the communities we find ourselves in. We often will empathize with the libertines and so called rebels simply because we know what it is like to be labelled as such. We are also anti "only a belief in god can redeem a person or make them worthy of knowing or belonging." This feels soul destroying on so many levels, in the name of being soul building.

Most of my friends are varied forms of Christian. Some are Atheists, a few are other religions and one is more like me (which is impossible to explain and is more for one on one conversations with deep trust bonds.) If I had to pick a soul twin philosopher in this regard it would be Baruch Spinoza and you can learn a bit more at an easier level about that HERE.  Listen to Podcast 164 and 165 of the Partially Examined Life for more. HERE. Most of my christian friends have ethics similar to mine. Most are kind, compassionate and non judgmental...and when they are judgmental they are mostly unaware of how they are coming across to anyone outside the faith simply out of innocence of never living that way themselves. That is the reason I bought the plaque in my house years ago that says, "Grace to Accept." Ironically it was to accept the phrases said in a benign way to me, in my own home, that were somewhat unthoughtful, inconsiderate or demeaning. Phrases, that are well intentioned but condescending. I had to realize most were spoken from a deep well of concern and love. I also had to learn that sometimes well intentioned can be challenged, depending on the relationship...and that many atrocities in our human past were "well intentioned." I'm sure many call to mind phases in history where "well intentioned or righteous thought" subjugated, destroyed or shunned people who were different. It was "well intentioned" for the benefit of all. It's akin to the the segregation issue currently in Australia where there is talk of wanting to separate Autistic children to a different classroom to "improve education for both Autistics and Nuerotypicals" (CLICK HERE for more.) There are times these need to be gently or firmly addressed for our culture to grow and benefit all.

Our 'faith' journey will continue to morph and grow or change until we die. It is often natural for those who have gone out of their faith of childhood to go back when they need comfort. It's basic brain science. Akin to going back to our mothers when we need nurturing in adulthood if they provided nurturing when we were young. If that happens, so be it. I am unconcerned about coming across wishy washy. I believe life happens and we can not predict how we will respond in the future. Growing up christian there were some very safe and nurturing aspects. But it was also abusive and unjust in some circumstances. And oh so ironic to be told you can't watch secular shows like Sesame Street that teach about sharing and kindness because of a speculated difference in sexual orientation in some of the characters, but yet the same child can go to church that Sunday, and is required to attend Sunday School, where on the flannel graph there was a lovely depiction of a heroine driving a stake into a man's head, shows of adultery, or the story of a bag of the tips of a man's anatomy held up in victory. The irony is fine as long as it is acknowledged but too often it was asked of us to blindly accept it without question. In the end, I suppose that is what we "rebelled against."

It was also a confusing and heart wrenching few years, that I would not recommend for most people...especially if they are fragile. It almost broke us to be a minority in EVERYTHING in our close circles until we built a few new ones and kept some of the old ones. It was truly horrific at some points and contradictory ...it was like going through addictions therapy to an addict...there was a phase that made us literally sick because of how hard it was leaving behind the safety of what we knew and challenging it at such an opposite level. It was NOT easy. It took bravery and guts. It also took us fusing together which is why we took the journey together. IF we did not take it together we would have divorced, as it is that kind of difference that would not easily work in a marriage otherwise. We are lucky we at least had each other.

We still stand up to certain circumstances where it is asked of us or our children to blindly go along, singing songs or praying prayers that are not aligned with our souls in the first place. We would not ask most believers to sing, "Highway to Hell" or any Eminem song (though I did when I was a Christian! ha.) But most would feel that those songs did not portray their inner core and would refuse. So why would we sing songs about praising the lord, giver of man? Our inner core's should not be ignored or trampled on and this directly disregards our freedom. Which is worth fighting for even if it is meant to be harmless or unthinking. We respect faiths. In our home we allow for anyone of any faith to do their own blessing before a meal but we will dig in quietly in the meanwhile. In another's home we will sit through their traditions whether it's prayer or an Irish blessing or a Wiccan ritual. As long as it's not about harming others. We draw the line at abuse, cruelty, and crime.

But the general concept of love within any stance or belief system? Our youth in Christianity has served us well in those aspects and translated into other area's of life. I'm not bitter about it. I am exceedingly grateful for most of it. Our world has both good and bad and each situation has a bit of both...even the one we are consciously choosing right now has some downsides and some good sides.

I suppose in a way this post is "My fight Song" in the sense that I haven't said many of these aspects of my life. This is my fight song in the fact that I AM strong in what I am, and I don't care what anyone else believes, because I am HAPPY in my stances. I have read more than a library full of arguments, philosophy, theology...heck I was even in a dissecting and arguing bible text class for a semester in Bible school.  Plus, I attended a Christian School from k- 12. I had the ENTIRE Bible memorized at the end. It was my favourite class. I studied on the side. I was one of those kids...I know both sides and can argue for BOTH. I played on that chess board. I have no intention of going back, at this point, as my personal freedom has turned for the good. I am happier now than I ever was, in the way I believe and the rest of life. We have our issues of course but I have never lived my life in more love and less fear than I do today. Which I know is hard for people to hear. I also would like to emphasis, that I TRULY do not believe this path is for everyone.

I want my Christian friends to stay christian if they are loving versions. I want them to be challenged sometimes but I don't wish for them to be carbon copies of me. I believe the world NEEDS many different stances to be balanced. I also believe that we all handle life differently and need different thoughts to be healthy. I have one friend in particular, whom I am thinking of right now, who is the most innocent, sweetest conservative christian. She reminds me of how I was but without my INFJ personality. In fact, she is a Guardian, which means that it would be almost impossible for her to take the journey I did. She is not Intuitive and more Sensory based and in need of a concrete belief system. She lives her life beautifully. I admire her and would NEVER want to change her. So when she brings up faith issues, I try to cause the least damage by smiling and changing the subject or listening and maybe giving some of my differing thoughts on a matter like LGBT life, but not too stretching and not in a pushy way. Because I know she has no intent to harm. She is truly living out her best life. She is beautiful and I do not want to destroy her with information she may not be able to handle. Searching is not for everyone. Just like adventuring is not for everyone. My adventures are of the imagination, soul and mind. But some people like to travel the world. That would destroy me at my very core. So I don't stretch much in this area. Sometimes I try little ways of challenging myself, but I know my limits. Those who love me do not push for me to travel either. This is how I approach faith in others. If I see their personality, how they are in the world, and what they can handle is not at my level of exploration, I drop it. Each circumstance and relationship is different. My approach is not one size fits all. My husband has a bit of a different swing on this and his ENFP personality is more of a pot stirrer. Which the world also needs. I like to meet people where they are at or not at all. I also like peace but if I get unjust actions against those or whom I love, I WILL be a spitfire.

Years ago, we had to FIGHT just to be our version of ourselves. When we walked out of church all hell exploded in a sense. I had anonymous phone calls. I had men calling me and telling me what a harlot I was and how I was misleading my husband and like a wolf leading sheep to the slaughter, I was causing damage and was taking my husband down to hell with me. Yup, I am not exaggerating that one but it was from a fanatic few. Other versions of this were more subtle but with a similar, yet "kinder" approach to the same message. Over a few years we were constantly challenged, called on our personal decisions, and asked to comply. So yes, we did fight back. In small ways and big ways.

Once it mostly blew over, I begged my husband to go off the grid with me. And for the most part we did. I think most people still assume we are a different version of Christian. We like those assumptions if it means peace. We will still occasionally write upon our experiences- it is our story after all. We will fight for our freedoms and our children's. We will ask for perspective and empathy or support from those closest to us. But for the rest of the time? We wish to live in peace. We could argue on many issues because we are actually VERY educated in most stances, beliefs and other aspects of being. For more on this I would just ask you to read my library links and listen to the podcasts and come to your own conclusions. I don't wish to waste my time on arguments. I have been there. Done that. I also have a horrible memory so while I have incorporated most of these readings into my Being I wouldn't be able to talk about them much. My husband can and is willing sometimes but he is a different person. I will only fight when it comes to feeling abused on any level or sticking up for the outcasts or those who are getting an unjust end of the deal, due to people not thinking. We wish to love actively in the ways we can, live passionately and also quietly... We have a fight song. We also have a peace song. But because this post is addressing sentiments I usually prefer not to speak upon too much, I feel that leaving Rachel Patton's song for those who judge us, is perfect. I will also leave Lennon's 'Imagine' and Ozzy Obsourne's 'Dreamer' for those who have peacefully co existed alongside of us. Words are not enough to express my thanks to those who consider, still choose a different path, but respect ours.


If you want to find resources that aid in a journey, read or listen to the links in my library. I would especially recommend the podcasts "A partially examined Life" as well as "Reasonable Doubts", 'Heritage Podcasts' and 'Crash Course.' Click HERE for more and all the links.

Song choices: Fight song- Rachel Platton (CLICK), Dreamer- Ozzy Osbourne CLICK, Imagine - John Lennon (CLICK)
Lyrics
Like a small boat
On the ocean
Sending big waves
Into motion
Like how a single word
Can make a heart open
I might only have one match
But I can make an explosion
And all those things I didn't say
Wrecking balls inside my brain
I will scream them loud tonight
Can you hear my voice this time?
This is my fight song
Take back my life song
Prove I'm alright song
My power's turned on
Starting right now I'll be strong
I'll play my fight song
And I don't really care if nobody else believes
'Cause I've still got a lot of fight left in me
Losing friends and I'm chasing sleep
Everybody's worried about me
In too deep
Say I'm in too deep (in too deep)
And it's been two years I miss my home
But there's a fire burning in my bones
Still believe
Yeah, I still believe
And all those things I didn't say
Wrecking balls inside my brain
I will scream them loud tonight
Can you hear my voice this time?
This is my fight song
Take back my life song
Prove I'm alright song
My power's turned on
Starting right now I'll be strong
I'll play my fight song
And I don't really care if nobody else believes
'Cause I've still got a lot of fight left in me
A lot of fight left in me
Like a small boat
On the ocean
Sending big waves
Into motion
Like how a single word
Can make a heart open
I might only have one match
But I can make an explosion
This is my fight song
Take back my life song
Prove I'm alright song
My power's turned on
Starting right now I'll be strong (I'll be strong)
I'll play my fight song
And I don't really care if nobody else believes
'Cause I've still got a lot of fight left in me
Know I've still got a lot of fight left in me

Songwriters: Dave Bassett / Rachel Platten

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

Absolutely how I feel too. I'm much more about trying to help people here on earth in practical or soulful ways than trying to win souls. It's funny how bubbled religion can be. Meet one decent person with a beautiful heart who is entirely of a different faith and or culture or no religion at all and you start to realize how much of a bubble you were really in. People are just people with their stories and we need freedom desperately to be what we need to be ( no harm or abuse to others) . Anything that stifles that freedom is spiritual bypassing and I can't abide that. This was brilliant. Thank you for sharing xox- G

Anonymous said...

Loved your post. Brave and honest yet respectful towards the Christian faith. I know how hard that must have been with how horrible you guys where treated ( and still are) for questioning and choosing to step away from the belief system. I like to hear these things and perspectives from you because it really opens my eyes to how I can continue to work on being loving and accepting of others without being offensive. If that makes sense.
I know what my relationship is with God and I would never want to assume or make anyone else feel like I am judging them or not accepting who they are ... I have many many thoughts on things... and I could go off on tangents but I won't ( tangents on my fellow Christians 😉) ... anyway. Thank you for being bold and speaking out and questioning and challenging but in a loving and respectful way. 💗You can post my comments on your blog 😉 it's just easier for me to respond here.- MLW

Anonymous said...

I do the same thing. My WIP folder is getting kind of long. Just ain't comfortable doing a proper rant or history on some of the crap I've been through with the church because I don't want to unintentionally offend the religious few who haven't been rude or unreasonable. Even though I believe there is no universal "right" way and it depends heavily on the individual. Not everybody believes that, and I don't have the patience to tell any aggressive peabrains to bugger off. Polite ones I will entertain because they're abiding by the laws of common courtesy and decency, and I just love to collect theories and beliefs, but I have no patience for rude and belligerent people. You're getting a mini novel in this one, but it's an "amen sistah" and "oh, been there and done that too!" type. :D

"Most people assume we grew out of the faith out of bitterness or because we felt 'abandoned by god.'"
Yes! This is so frustrating! I cannot explain this well enough to anybody who makes that same accusation towards me, but, dropping out of church has nothing to do with my private spiritual life. I was in my late teens / early twenties the last time I gave church a serious go, and by as early as ten I was already seriously questioning the fear mongering and other unpleasant stuff. I might have grown out of organized religion out of bitterness, but my faith is just as strong as it was way back when.

"We heard them vehemently speak about an author called Brain Mclaren, which made us want to read him."
I probably would never have researched Dagon, Baal, Catholicism, or Wicca had it not been for the constant "begone, Satanic non-believers!" lectures. :D
On the reverse, everybody was gaga about Joel Olsteen, and it made me dislike him all the more.

"We thought we were going straight to hell sometimes."
Part of the encouragement to do as I please was my first church really was nothing short of a cult, and they were oddly terrified of women. Kept quoting the Fall From the Garden of Eden and the Samson and Delilah stories as proof to why women are evil and have to be controlled. I was convinced for years I was going straight to hell just for being female. Regarding Hell, some of the more interesting theories I'm reading through involve reincarnation and how Earth is actually hell (or maybe life on other planets depending on how spacey you want to get), until we get our spirits all sorted out and get to move on.

"Then we were Charismatic for awhile, Emergent and an Anam Cara sort of Irish Christianity and lastly Anglican/ Catholic." I simply must pick your brains some time. I haven't had the chance to explore those branches yet. :D

"His words were healing and directed towards loving all people." So was my all time favorite preacher. No hate, no fear mongering. Just love, acceptance, and a little gentle pleading. Whenever you did something bad, he looked disappointed rather than eagerly anticipating describing the horrible ways you would be punished.- A

Anonymous said...


"I realized my education purposefully left out certain people, philosophers, sociologists, psychologists and basic science." That is precisely why I won't purposely seek out Christian history or college history. Those two numbskulls are too busy warring with each other to get their crap together and tell it correctly.

"But it was also abusive and unjust ...but too often it was asked of us to blindly accept it without question." Church said we couldn't watch normal television because of how "vulgar" it was, yet church is completely obsessed with sex. We had a Sunday School lesson for teenagers on "how pleasurable sex is after being married several years". Television was too violent, but let's go let the kiddies watch The Passion of the Christ and pass out papers detailing in what order his organs shut down! I never won that argument when I presented it to them, but I made sure they knew how I felt about such blatant hypocrisy.

"Years ago, we had to FIGHT just to be our version of ourselves. When we walked out of church all hell exploded in a sense... So yes, we did fight back. In small ways and big ways." I got punched and kicked by the little brats and the adults told me "be quiet, you don't know what you're talking about" or "you're not allowed to participate in this discussion", so it's not that hard for me to believe your story.

"I think most people still assume we are a different version of Christian." I am terribly curious what you label yourself as. I've assumed some flavor of Christian, since I know many who believe in God as well as things like hell not existing, or even a few throwbacks who still believe in reincarnation even though it's kind of been phased out of Christianity in the past thousand or so years. I've decided on "Christian Taoist" for me. I still believe in the Holy Trinity, but with some very heavy overtones from Taoism and Buddhism. One of my first adoptions was "do not attempt convert others, each must find their own path". Jesus said the same thing, but I guess most Christians like to blip over that like they do about the moral consequences of divorce. According to the many pure Taoists and Buddhists, they are not religions, but more like ways of life, so something like a "Buddhist Christian" by their standpoint is technically correct. (If you don't find some angry zealot who is obsessed with the "there can be only one" mindset.)

"We could argue on many issues because we are actually VERY educated in most stances, beliefs and other aspects of being." Aye, like how your husband is one of the few people that are aware of just how bad an influence Paul was. I've ended up developing a rather passionate dislike of what the Romans did to Christianity. I still think they're an interesting people and like studying about them, just not when it comes to some really screwed up ideas they injected into Christianity.- A

Kmarie A. said...

G: I am glad you enjoyed it and thank you. I knew we would be on similar pages. You are the other person who tends to get it. Kindred souls and all that:)
MLW: Thank you so much. Thank you for acknowledging that respect and bravery. Yes there were some horrible treatments but also some good ones...with people like you..Im glad my perspectives help you. It makes sense. You are very non judgemental and I appreciate that so much about you...Lol:) Your welcome and thank you so much. I will post. xoxo

A: Paulinism christianity is so frustrating! Yea my husband is good at those discussions:)
I do have a Spinoza kind of way of thinking about God if there is one...but lean also to Buddhism and Atheism...but shy away from labels as they did not explain fully how I feel but yup, not christian. Tho I am grateful for those roots in a way... I would say listen to podcast 164 and 165 of the partially examined life and you have something similar to mine...Plus I think you would LOVE those podcasts. Very educational on many facets of faith and non faith :http://partiallyexaminedlife.com/2017/06/05/ep165-1-spinoza-bible/

I'm sorry you had to go through some of that abuse too.
Ack I couldn't get through Passion of the Christ but that one other one...about the end times, had to sit through...forget what is was called...but man it's weird what we had to sit through.

Your journey is interesting and I love the diversity! There are many legitimate stances and I am thankful for the part each played in our journey even if we moved onward, we learned good attributes and thoughts and attitudes...I would highly recommend most of the reads in my library on my blog for you as I think you would enjoy many of them...some are christian, some are not, some are agnostic ect.:)

Thanks for your feedback!!! I loved reading it! Feel free to send questions sometimes or ask for sources and Im sure I can hit up my husbands memory! Or get him to respond via email sometimes in his un busy season.
:)

Anonymous said...

Oh wow, all the times I've stared at that header and I don't think I ever saw the Library link. Oh my. X(

If I can ever get some proper time to think, I wouldn't mind talking to your husband and picking his brains on whatever historical nuggets he's found.- A

Kmarie A. said...

A- If you are interested in history I would suggest the Heritage Podcasts ( link in library) as they do a complete historical liberal arts education in podcast form and it's fair and fascinating. Also there are videos from Eugene Webber that are STILL great resources today on history called The Western Tradition. I highly recommend both if you want to delve into history! Yes he would not mind his brain being picked as it is FULL Of memorized material...Sigh. Sometimes I wish I had a good memory. I catch on to concepts quicker than him, absorb information, and can get a point before someone even finishes their sentences. I can also incorporate material into my life and beliefs right away if I wish too....but remembering that information to retell? Impossible for me. My husband jokes that is a good thing because I would be a foe like Galadriel when she was tempted by the ring...LOL. He, on the other hand, takes awhile to process, requires my explanations many of the times at first and metaphors, and needs ample time to incorporate into himself, but he can remember almost all the quotes or passages or things to say...which means he is able to discuss...so yup he is the one to talk to...not me. I am the material...but I could not dissect it or argue for it or present it.

The great thing about the podcasts and videos is that they are all FREE and better than most education one will find in the school systems:)

S said...

Thanks for writing this post. Although my family belongs to a particular faith, we do not follow any rigid norms. Religion has not played any major role in my life so far, nor I was forced to do anything in the name of religion. However, instead of religion, I was more disturbed by our social rules ( which did not have any basis in religion, neither these rules were adopted from religious books ). Social rules are formed by certain groups whenever they feel convenient for social control or dominance and these rules are not the "same" for everyone and these rules creates inequality and hatred and fear in society.
In my life, and in my community also, religion is very private and it is never a collective goal. So, your story is an eye opener on what people can do in the name of religion. However, outside my small community ( in other communities) and in my entire country, religion plays a BIG role in forming public and political opinion. If I was in your place, I would have been angered, confused, and suffocated because certain things are not only beyond my logic of right and wrong, but also beyond my feelings for humanity. Compassion and humanity comes in clash with religious views because in religion, "some ideals" are given more prominence over ordinary human beings. I fail to understand why can people not act out of their own conscience/ feelings without adhering to religion. The concept of uniqueness and the concept of individuality gets lost in religion. Also, religion provides social support but takes away so much. There can be social support without obligation. In fact people, can love each other without the "condition" of religion or religious rules. But people don't do it because they seek an "unity of purpose" without which they feel helpless. I have read somewhere that an "invisible" or "self created" unity of purpose sometimes becomes more important than the love for "visible" individuals, in the case of religious people. Also in today's age and time, religion is used as an instrument to achieve superiority of one community/country over the other because as communities and individuals, people are increasingly becoming insecure and isolated from one another, so much so that they think that only religion can bind themselves together. If this is taken too far, then hatred and violence is also committed against those who are against the religion ( or the core teachings of religion).

Kmarie A. said...

S: That is very lucky in that case and how religion should be ideally in families. ..not breaking them apart. Yes unfortunately social rules are usually a HUGE aspect of religion, and if there is no religion, they still manage to find a way to mess up people...you are right as it is often for compliance or dominance. and DO create hatred often.
Most say here it is private but its also collective...its good to hear where you are it differs. Yes, I can imagine it varies greatly depending on where you are.
OH MY WORD!!! THIS!!!!!"Compassion and humanity comes in clash with religious views because in religion, "some ideals" are given more prominence over ordinary human beings. I fail to understand why can people not act out of their own conscience/ feelings without adhering to religion. The concept of uniqueness and the concept of individuality gets lost in religion. Also, religion provides social support but takes away so much. There can be social support without obligation. In fact people, can love each other without the "condition" of religion or religious rules. But people don't do it because they seek an "unity of purpose" without which they feel helpless. I have read somewhere that an "invisible" or "self created" unity of purpose sometimes becomes more important than the love for "visible" individuals, in the case of religious people"

YESSSSSSS! I love that phrase. Wham...exactly accurate...yes we always feel we are secondary to the proposed maybe of heaven and what is in front of them is not even that visible unless they are on the same page...its odd. It's because of fear. Fear of mortality. Fear of the end. Fear of so many things...and yea they could be right, but what if they are wrong? And they wasted all their precious time isolating, threatening, evangelizing, rule enforcing, breaking any relationship that doesn't agree...How is that a LIFE? I am impressed with the few who can believe but also be present and loving and non judgemental on this earth:)
Unfortunately, this hate and violence in many religions is all so true. Christianity luckily is more subversive and does have its radicals but luckily most follow a non physically violent way of life...but yea. In this current world its even dangerous to write a post like this. I feel Like Spinoza when he wrote his little disclaimer in to the powers that be in Tractatus Theologico- Politicus. Sigh. "Imagine all the people living life in peace..." ( yea another person I love and emulate that was snuffed out quickly...tends to happen to many INFJs ...It is speculated Jesus had an INFJ personality too...as did Gahndi....but then we had our crazies too... LOl...but passionate people with messages that tended to confront conformity and that is never a well accepted thing.. I may even eventually delete this post or move my blog again...I debate every week...

Amy said...

K, I so resonated with everything you shared here. It's quite the journey to unravel from when you have been raised in religion? It takes so much time to go through all of the layers. I still need to listen to the 2 podcasts you recommended to me on Espinoza. He sounds right up my alley. I too really resist stepping into any kind of belief "box". I have studied so much as well, and thought I do not relate at all to Christianity alot of it's current beliefs, if I were to lean into that religion, I would be a Universal Reconciliationist, because I too do not buy into the belief that God needs blood and that He/She would send half of His/Her family to hell to be tortured for all eternity. There is so much that I do not agree with that has been translated and taught in the way it was never meant to be. Since we are on the hell topic, the Jews have never believed in hell. It was never a concept that they related to, and Jesus never talked about hell. He was always talking about literal places, or a metaphoric story - but a actual place that is hell, nope. That whole belief came after Constantine brought Christianity into Rome and merged it with Greek Mythology - which later birthed the Church of Rome, which later became the Catholic church. Man, don't even get me started on all that.. ha ha! It's actually fun to go back and remember why I don't believe that stuff anymore. It just doesn't. make. sense.

Thank you for sharing your journey, and thank you for being vulnerable. It was so great to finally sit down and read through your thoughts. I might just do the same thing one day as well.

xo
Amy

Kmarie A. said...

Amy:
It IS quite the journey. Honestly, I think you would love most of the books and podcasts in my library link in the top left page and not just the ones on Spinoza :) But yes you would like that...

It is good to actually READ up on historical and environmental factors that influenced the writers of the bible most take so literally as truth...when a lot of it involves myths of its own, stories, influences of other people and religions and depends on who is writing...it can be an interesting book but how people have shaped their lives around certain interpretation just blows me away...and I was one of them...and it STILL shocks me! ANd I believed some of that even if I was intelligent in other ways - but looking back- and stepping out and hearing the stuff now- even if I DID it- from an outsider perspective just floors me. Floors me.

It really helps to write a bit out and process it. I am looking forward to reading yours some day!

Amy said...

Yes, there is SO much to consider when reading the Bible. It truly was written at a specific time, in a specific culture, with a specific political mindset, and specific customs. There was a over all sacrificial mindset in all tribes when it came to their god/s, so it's no wonder the Jews' god wanted blood too. So much to consider! My hub and I have been talking about this lately as he is hashing out a really deep area within himself - he is still shedding a lot of religion and allowing himself to question things. There is a lot of fear of being deceived that he is working through, but we were literally just talking about this very thing over the weekend.

I started the Spinoza podcasts and my goodness... it's so yummy! I LOVE those kinds of discussions and crave them in my life. Lol! I laughed because all of these guys are sitting in their homes talking from different states.. and I thought to myself, " Yep... that's exactly what it looks like for me too." All of these type of conversations happen online for me. lol! So grateful that you are here and are open to these types of discussions!

I will take a look into your library too! I need to update my blog and include these types of resources as well.

BIG hug,
Amy