I have to admit, this blog has been long overdue. For many years, I’ve bottled up these words; afraid to speak them, for fear of backlash, judgement, and retribution from loved ones.
My concerns are well-founded. Sometimes, you learn what to say and what to hold back in order to advance the ‘better good’ of your life. There is a time and place for everything – including the act of withholding your belief systems around those who don’t have the ability to accept your viewpoint.
For example, I was once told by a couple that I wouldn’t be a welcome influence in the life of their newborn child. Why? Because I don’t live a “christian lifestyle” – what is that, anyway?
If christianity’s message can be boiled down to “treat others the way you want to be treated” I was a little unsettled by their snap judgement call and harsh words.
Before we begin, I’d ask that you read the entire blog before picking a side (are there really sides, in the big picture?) and casting stones of judgement.
If you want to make an omelette, you’ve gotta break some eggs. In this case, I share the metaphor to discuss the necessity to re-evaluate commonly held beliefs and world views, for the benefit of advancing the overall good of society.
Example: if Jesus could come back and take a look at the state of the church today, would he be:
A.) Thrilled with their performance, applauding their light shows and multimedia sound systems.
B.) Slightly angry
C.) FUCKING angry because there are 350,000 churches in America, while 1-in-5 children go hungry, and 250,000 homeless live on the street.
Hopefully this example speaks for itself. Sometimes you need to rattle your cage in order to be free of it. I use this example to show that sometimes it’s fucking appropriate to use the right words to get your point across.
Background: I spent over 23 years as an astute follower of charismatic christianity. Additionally, I spent several years in a teaching role, mentoring young students and acting as a ‘servant leader’ in local communities.
In my mid-20’s, I began to question the practices that were being taught in the church, as well as their origins.
1.) Where did the bible come from? No. Not ‘who’ wrote the bible, but who decided what books to include, and exclude from the book?
What were their motivations for doing so?
What critical pieces of information went left missing?
2.) Why does christianity exclude other religions, and denounce their practices, when many christians know absolutely nothing about them?
It seemed a bit bold that somebody could say a little prayer and feel they were warranted to cast judgement that all other religions were wrong and hell-bound.
Where did the bible come from? Who put it together? What was excluded?
If you think the bible is complete – think again. Many christians take the bible as literal truth, and believe it to be infallible/without error.
If the bible is infallible and without error, it must also be free from contradictions.
Well, here’s a visual look at the contradictions in the bible (link)
If you’d like to see a few examples, see here:
How can something be infallible, yet contain contradictions? It simply doesn’t make sense.
Would you feel comfortable crossing the Atlantic ocean in a boat that was full of holes in the bottom? Faith doesn’t keep water out, unfortunately.
What was left out of the bible? Who put together the bible? What was their motivation for doing so?
Did you know that before Eve, Adam had another wife? Probably not! The story is a lot simpler when told as Adam only having one wife, rather than being created along with Lilith.
Know anything about her? Probably not.
This is probably a good time to introduce a bible verse.
2 Tim. 2:15 – Study to show yourself approved, a workman that needeth not be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
Back to Lilith. She was Adam’s first wife, and commonly discussed in the very same scriptures the bible was created from, in which they discuss who she was, why she left Adam, and her ‘punishment’ as well as divine rebuttal to god, when he sent angels out to discipline her.
In short, Lilith was banished because she didn’t want to be sexually submissive to Adam.
Hmm – imagine that. A woman who didn’t want to be submissive. That sort of goes against the whole “wives, submit to your husbands thing” so commonly taught in the church.
I’d love to see the moment where the curators of the bible (during the Council of Nicea) decided to exclude this part from the bible…
“Heaven forbid that we show an example of a WOMAN standing up for herself!”
”For shame! A woman who wants MUTUAL SEXUAL PLEASURE.”
“OFF WITH HER HEAD!”
“LEAVE IT OUT!”
Excluding these little details probably has something to do with the off-balance ratio we see in the giving/receiving of oral sex…moving on.
There are many, many other significant stories that are left out from these very same books, many of which partially made it to the modern bible.
For example, we know about the story of Cain and Abel. However, these books go into great detail as to the judgement and trial of Cain, after he murdered his brother. During this trial, it was decided that he would be banished to the wilderness, rather than be executed.
Let’s fast-forward a bit to the New Testament…
Do you know how the stories of Jesus were curated? Well, many of them came from these little ‘pamphlets’ that were handed out at the time. Often, these stories would contain a brief story, similar to a comic book/graphic novel.
Three (included) stories derived from this format were:
1.) Jesus turning water into wine
2.) Jesus walking on water
3.) Jesus healing the blind man
However, what ‘mini-stories’ weren’t included, and why?
Well, I can think of a pretty significant one…
Jesus killed one of his friends.
What!? No! It couldn’t possibly be!
Oh, yes it can be.
See, one of the excluded stories (again, the SAME mini-books that were used to create the stories from the bible) goes as follows:
When Jesus was six years old, he was standing on the roof of his house with a friend. Jesus took the opportunity to push his friend off the roof – killing him.
Yes, you read that right. Jesus pushed his friend off the roof and killed him!
Not to worry – the son of god always has a plan…
Little Jesus scampered down the steps and placed his hands on his friend, raising him from the dead.
Well, I guess the people curating the bible didn’t think it was okay to have a messiah that killed his friends, so they left this story out of the bible.
When Jesus was little, he was found playing by the side of a river. Taking mud in his hands, he fashioned little birds, blew on them, and they became live pigeons and flew away.
”This sounds a little mystical, Connie…got anything else?”
”Sure. Let’s use the mini-book where he spits into the dirt, makes mud, and heals a blind man. That’ll be a much easier sell.”
And like that – one story was excluded, while another was included.
Connie, in this case, represents Constantine – the emperor who called together the “Council of nicea” which was responsible for canonizing the modern day bible.
Let’s talk about good ol’ Connie for a moment.
Constantine was a leader in the early crusades, which granted pardons to criminals in exchange for a willingness to conquer the holy land.
The criminals were taught they would be pardoned for executing gods work.
This is the origin of the phrase “god wills it!” Which they screamed as they murdered countless Muslims in Jerusalem.
A common practice of the crusades:
Crusaders would often take a Muslim, bring them to their knees, and demand they convert to christianity. Once converted, they would take their swords and slit their throat to ensure they went to heaven.
More on that at a later time…
Prior to the canonization of the bible, there was a huge divide in the church.
The church was split into two parties (Homoousianism and Arianism) one side – in short – believed that Jesus was of God, but not fully God, or as powerful as God. The other side believed Jesus was fully god.
Rather than have civil discussions, these two sides waged war on each other – VIOLENTLY.
The council of Nicea was far more than a gathering to decide who was correct. It was a coming together of two sides, after which both sides had performed horrific acts on each other.
There’s a famous scene during the council in which Constantine places his fingers over the hollow eye sockets of a man who had his eyes plucked out by the other side (he, of course, was of the side that didn’t believe Jesus had equal power to god).
It was during this council that the formal bible was canonized, put together, and determined to be infallible doctrine, right and perfect.
This council is also responsible for the development of the ‘nicean creed’ often recited in churches.
This isn’t the end. Hopefully, it’s just the beginning for you. I hope this writing helps you begin to more deeply examine the teachings, as well as origins, of the christian religion.
See, I take a look at all world religions as if they are pieces on a stained glass window. When you step very closely to the window, pressing your nose against the glass, all you see is green. Others, purple. Others, green.
However, when you step back, you begin to see that all of the pieces come together to create a complete picture.
I encourage you to take a step back and examine the pane of glass in which you received your instruction. As well as to examine those pieces of glass surrounding it.
You may start to see a more perfect picture…
This morning, I sat down with a pastor and asked him several questions about a sermon he recently preached, where he condemned the LGBT community.
I asked him to show me where in the bible it was wrong to be a homosexual. He pointed to several verses in Leviticus.
Pointing at his suit, I then pointed to other verses in Leviticus which forbade people from wearing clothing of mixed cloth.
”Why aren’t you following these rules”
”You don’t know understand the bible very well” he said.
“Do you know who Lilith is?” I said.
”Study to show yourself approved, a workman that needs not be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” I said.
“I’ve been studying the bible for over 20 years. Please don’t tell me what I do and don’t understand.”
There are so many things that are hiding right underneath the noses of christianity, that simply aren’t taught or preached because of the implications they might have if followed.
To that, I’d ask – why didn’t Jesus say anything about the gay community? I’d venture to say his response would look a lot more like “what’s it to you?” Than picking up a stone and joining the hordes of Israelites, who would gather to stone (murder) their disrespectful children – Deut. 21:18-21
Additionally, I’d venture to say that if you’re looking for Jesus, you wouldn’t find him in a church on Sunday morning.
Chances are, he’d be on the streets, giving love and comfort to the homeless – or found in Mexico, with food, clothing, and shelter for the people who risked their lives to come to a safe home – instead of putting bricks on a wall.
Until then, I think it’s fair to say that ‘love your neighbor as your love yourself’ is simple enough to follow. Additionally, that practice doesn’t require that you go to a church every Sunday.
Don’t you think your money can be better spent giving food/clothing/shelter to the homeless, than to another $2,000 LED stage light, or $50,000 audio system?
”I was brought so much closer to god because of your choreographed A/V system” said nobody. Ever.
Most theology, in practice, can be boiled down to my current doctrine/theology:
Don’t be an asshole.
If your god hates the same people that you do, then it’s a good indicator you’ve made a god in your own image.
Why is this blog titled “Confessions of an ex-christian”? Because often people take for granted the implications that words and associations have on those ‘outside of the club’.
For example, if you’re a native American, you probably don’t see American’s as the proud star-spangled people that patriotism attempts to show. Rather, you’d see ancestors of people that killed, raped, and plundered your people – taking their land for their own.
I don’t need a title to have my own spiritual walk – and neither do you. If you’re afraid that ‘denying’ the title will damn you to hell – I’d advise you to look in the bible:
”For we do not have a spirit of fear, but of peace, love, and a sound mind.”
Even if a cow calls itself a shark, it will never be able to swim in the water. Denying oneself of a title, often associated with murder, rape, and destruction isn’t a shameful thing to do. Rather, it’s a step in the right direction of making the world a better place that can get along with itself.
Look it up.