Dear Previous Self,
cross and sky
I love you, chica. You’re delightful, passionate, curious, and charmingly sardonic. And whatthehell, you’re me; of course I’ve got a soft spot. But oy, you have got to break out of that slump of blissful ignorance you’ve been stuck in since that first felt storyboard in Sunday school. There are some things that must be said. They may not convince you or influence you, but what kind of Future Self would I be if I didn’t try to knock you upside the head?

1) You were not born a Christian. No matter what your family is or was culturally, you are only a member of a religion once you choose to be. Unfortunately, parents don’t trust their children to think and learn on their own, and the word “indoctrination” should be used for what inevitably follows.

2) You have been cowardly. Do you remember sitting in those two philosophy classes and feeling afraid to truly consider what the writers were positing? That was a sign. Your faith was not stronger or more admirable because you did not believe them–in fact, your character flaws of stubbornness, making decisions based on fear, and assuming that your learned-by-ear beliefs were true became more pronounced.

When your college roommates came back from India wondering why God would send those amazing, faithful, lovely people to hell, you should not have tried to influence their curiosity with your Jesus-only teachings. Shame on you for being too afraid to even consider another position, a more flexible theology.
And furthermore:

3) Stubborn faith is not admirable. In the words of Richard Dawkins, “Faith is the great cop-out, the great excuse to evade the need to think and evaluate evidence. Faith is belief in spite of, even perhaps because of, the lack of evidence.” You have been taught that a person full of faith is admirable above a person full of reason and flexibility of mind. Don’t ever brag about being intellectually dishonest.

You believe your strongest spiritual gift is faith, since you’ve never doubted the existence of God, even in the face of grief, tragedy, inconvenience, or Christian hypocrisy. You are not pushed to unbelief or insecurity because of what happens to others or how others act. And although I’m pleased that you are not so easily swayed by those things, your confidence in your rock-solid faith is going to fail you in a few years time. You are much too proud of something that has no reasonable basis–just your determination to stick to it in the face of all opposition. What will you do when it fails you?

4) It’s not your fault. Your father did not die of cancer because of your lack of prayer and faith. Faith is not quantifiable, nor is it a commodity or a payment method. You’ll need to hear this over and over again. Even if a deity existed who listened to individual wishes, it would still not be your or anyone else’s fault that sad things happen in the world. Anyone who teaches and preaches “blame the victim” deserves all the wrath of their supposedly loving god.

5) Not knowing is okay! No, really. Just be willing to learn and discern the answers if they’re available!

Does anyone have any other points to offer?

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18 thoughts on “5 Things I should have known about faith”

trekkerguy · April 15, 2009 at 1:42 am

Question everything. Even the Bible itself says to challenge it's words. Do so, it will certainly help you to see the light. Those feelings of discomfort with it are natural. But why should you be uncomfortable questioning something if it's absoloute truth? It shouldn't be an issue. Just think for yourself.

    godlessgirl · April 15, 2009 at 1:58 am

    This is such great advice to our past selves!

trekkerguy · April 15, 2009 at 1:42 am

Question everything. Even the Bible itself says to challenge it's words. Do so, it will certainly help you to see the light. Those feelings of discomfort with it are natural. But why should you be uncomfortable questioning something if it's absoloute truth? It shouldn't be an issue. Just think for yourself.

    godlessgirl · April 15, 2009 at 1:58 am

    This is such great advice to our past selves!

MarkPogue · April 15, 2009 at 1:49 am

I agree with all 5!

Christians always insist that there must have been a creator. I ften ask them "Why must there be a Creator?"

    godlessgirl · April 15, 2009 at 1:59 am

    That usually gets the thinking ball rolling, doesn't it?

MarkPogue · April 15, 2009 at 1:49 am

I agree with all 5!

Christians always insist that there must have been a creator. I ften ask them "Why must there be a Creator?"

    godlessgirl · April 15, 2009 at 1:59 am

    That usually gets the thinking ball rolling, doesn't it?

MarkPogue · April 15, 2009 at 2:03 am

I just submitted this article on Redditt.

    godlessgirl · April 15, 2009 at 7:55 am

    Thanks Mark. Not sure it'll hit that special reddit crowd 😉 but it's much appreciated.

MarkPogue · April 15, 2009 at 2:03 am

I just submitted this article on Redditt.

    godlessgirl · April 15, 2009 at 2:55 am

    Thanks Mark. Not sure it'll hit that special reddit crowd 😉 but it's much appreciated.

jesuspoet · April 15, 2009 at 4:24 am

1. That was on of the things that really stood out for me when I first started to looking in Atheism. The way that Dawkins labeled religion child abuse and really made me think about the fact that we're all born atheists… Very interesting.

2. I know for me that exploration was very strongly discouraged at church. We were taught that there is absolute truth and that relativism leads to immorality. In that respect it was easy to hold onto us. All they had to do was make sure we knew they had that absolute truth ad it was cake.

3. That is the most important thing to me. Discussing faith with a Christian will probably only serve to strengthen his/her faith if he/she isn't ready to open up and actually think. This is why it took me as long as it did to get out of Christianity.

4. Also very important. Once we realize that things aren't controlled by unseen mystical forces we are freed.

5. Terrifying, but true. It's hard not to have the answers anymore, but it's freeing to be outside of the trap of the sin complex.

Thanks for this wonderful post. Great job.

jesuspoet · April 15, 2009 at 4:24 am

1. That was on of the things that really stood out for me when I first started to looking in Atheism. The way that Dawkins labeled religion child abuse and really made me think about the fact that we're all born atheists… Very interesting.

2. I know for me that exploration was very strongly discouraged at church. We were taught that there is absolute truth and that relativism leads to immorality. In that respect it was easy to hold onto us. All they had to do was make sure we knew they had that absolute truth ad it was cake.

3. That is the most important thing to me. Discussing faith with a Christian will probably only serve to strengthen his/her faith if he/she isn't ready to open up and actually think. This is why it took me as long as it did to get out of Christianity.

4. Also very important. Once we realize that things aren't controlled by unseen mystical forces we are freed.

5. Terrifying, but true. It's hard not to have the answers anymore, but it's freeing to be outside of the trap of the sin complex.

Thanks for this wonderful post. Great job.

    Baggs · August 30, 2011 at 1:31 am

    sin complex?
    intriguing

Gregory · April 15, 2009 at 3:06 am

#5 is the single biggest, mostest important, I think. We are such desperate monkeys, aren't we, for certainty? It's like a drug for humans. Still the wisest thing I ever heard, that one — I first really encountered it in a piece by Sagan. "It's okay not to be sure," he wrote, or something to that effect. So stunningly obvious, and yet it was the Revelation of Revelations to me.

Gregory · April 15, 2009 at 3:06 am

#5 is the single biggest, mostest important, I think. We are such desperate monkeys, aren't we, for certainty? It's like a drug for humans. Still the wisest thing I ever heard, that one — I first really encountered it in a piece by Sagan. "It's okay not to be sure," he wrote, or something to that effect. So stunningly obvious, and yet it was the Revelation of Revelations to me.

Baggs · August 30, 2011 at 1:29 am

1) You were not born a Christian.
Even if a person gets indoctrinated, they don’t come out as believers.

2) You have been cowardly.
The problem with philosophy class is that the person is on trial, not the topic.
What I mean is- the strength of your argument is dependent on your personal experience and knowledge base on the topic, devoid of any new arguments that may already exist.
If you had google and hours to spend on philosophical debate, you wouldn’t need to be afraid because eventually you will find that there are plenty of good answers to their objections towards your supposed faith.

“When your college roommates came back from India wondering why God would send those amazing, faithful, lovely people to hell,”
(Wait stop there for a minute, you were a “christian” then, and yet you JUDGED that these people would go to hell?)

1. Everyone will be judged-EVEN THOSE CALLED CHRISTIANS
2. God is a FAIR judge

What most people don’t see in the bible are actually the answers to their questions. I have no idea why…

There is a story in the bible where there was a leper and a rich man.
The rich man left not even a scrap of food for the leper while dogs licked the mans wounds…
When they died, the leper was not in the same place as the rich man…

Notice neither of them prayed the sinners prayer nor joined any bible clubs. -Its in the bible, you can read it for yourself.
(I don’t know if or what kind of bible study groups you attended, but those were never really enough, [read, my opinion on this verse, how about you guys?, alright closing prayer]) – Seem familiar?

And furthermore:

3) Stubborn faith is not admirable.
-Yes I wholeheartedly agree. But faith does not equal BLIND FAITH.
Sadly most unbelievers somehow for some reason think that it is.
If you read the NT, Jesus own apostles asked questions.

(grief, tragedy, inconvenience, christian hypocrisy)-none are related to the existence and resurrection of Christ. So If these were ever a factor when you were a “Christian” then I doubt you were.
Christianity is centered on Christ. If what you believed in was anything other than Christ centered, it was self centered, either for you or the people who forced you into it. -(in short, cult)

By the very name itself, Christianity is about Christ.
Grief, tragedy,- Jesus and all his followers suffered at the hands of people from the “church”-temple people like Saul.
Stephen was only giving away bread and he was stoned to death. Some apostles were crucified upside down, speared, beheaded, fed to animals.

I don’t know what kind of Christianity you signed up for, but if these things weren’t part of the orientation, you were probably in a cult.
(Or if you never really seriously studied it for yourself, you never really cared for it and thus never really believed- which brings us back to my previous point)

What Jesus teaches and what they teach seem to be in conflict.
Jesus promised trials, tribulation and the likes..

Jesus is a life saver, not a life enhancer.
Some people use this analogy.
You are in an airplaine and someone offers you a parachute, says you need it because the plane is having malfunctions.
You wear the parachute and notice.
1- it is heavy
2- makes you uncomftable
3- people look at you and make fun of you
a few minutes later a stewardess passes by and spilled hot coffee on you. (christians that hurt you)

Your choice is.
Take off the parachute and say I don’t believe in it anymore.
Keep the parachute?

How does discomfort, weight, persecution or even annoying christians affect your BELIEF -(if you really believe) in the lifesaving power of a parachute?

The same for Christ saving you from your sins. It has nothing to do with what other people think say or do, nor does the suffering of this world.

If anything, the discomfort will make you look forward towards the jump
Just like the parachute, you might actually pray that the pilot announce a plane evacuation soon just to get off of the plane.

If you actually listen or listened to Christian music you would find songs like
“blessings”-what if your blessing comes through raindrops, what if your healing comes through tears, what if a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know you’re near, what if the greatest disappointments, or the aching of this life, are the revealing of a longing that this world can’t satisfy, what if trials in this life are your Mercies in disguise.

One of the most powerful arguments for Christianity is the changed lives of the followers.
Why would His apostles die for a dead messiah? Unless He really came back and proved He had power over life and death?
There had been many failed messiahs before which is why some saducees just said that they should leave Jesus’ group alone, because if they are not from God, they will eventually disperse

-Well they were afraid of death (silliest thing anyone could say now)
-They need religion -They were still Jews, that never changed

“You are not pushed to unbelief or insecurity because of what happens to others or how others act. And although I’m pleased that you are not so easily swayed by those things, your confidence in your rock-solid faith is going to fail you in a few years time. You are much too proud of something that has no reasonable basis–just your determination to stick to it in the face of all opposition. What will you do when it fails you?”

I don’t think it was rock solid faith,

Something that I don’t like about my other friends.
They don’t bother studying theology or chatting with atheists not because they have strong faith, but because they have weak faith.
They are afraid that an atheist will ask them a question that will shake their faith and somehow there won’t be an answer.
I even start chat rooms in online videogames just to discuss these things. There was some funny times, there were plenty of trolls, and there was a guy who asked me to pray for him because he just found out he had leukemia, he remebered that I had been making those chat rooms there.

one guy said he was angry at God because God was a liar.
I asked him why.
Because, he said; God said that adam would die if he ate the fruit.
I asked him. Where is adam now?

4) It’s not your fault.
This section is a very delicate matter, people tend not to like anything said about their loved ones and thus becomes a powerful force field because they know that nobody will speak on those issues.
They could easily just write off the person saying insensitive or unloving or callous and uncaring.

I will address the last part however.
There was a man at the place I used to go to who found out he had cancer too. He was praying to God saying “I know you can answer with a yes or a no or wait”- But instead God put it in his heart “I AM WITH YOU”.

The least is that he understood that God is not our piggybank nor our slave. But the “yes, no, wait” concept is not sufficient in itself.
If we think about it. What options do we really allow for God?
Honestly?

If God heals him. and he gets something else?
Would he stop believing?
In what? How is this a determining factor for his acceptance of his sins being forgiven?
Or is Jesus suffering and dying on the cross not enough for him?
Nor the promise of eternal life without disease, pain or suffering?

Jesus himself said that we need to lay our treasures in heaven where thieves don’t break in to steal nor moth and rust destroy.

But somehow this generation is flooded with denominations that teach
JESUS IS A LIFE ENHANCER
He will make all your loved ones immortal
you will have perfect health for 100 years
or whatever number you’re comfortable with— until you are bored with all the material blessings and pleasures in this life.

wait, what did you say? we are here to love and help the needy and share the knowledge that God forgives them and that they have a second chance to start a new life (born again)
oh no no no, we can’t have that.. We will definitely lose membership and donations
(which is why I dislike religious organizations that have a hierarchical leadership)

(My rule of thumb, I don’t trust any religious organization who won’t spend more than half of their income towards direct charity)

5) Not knowing is okay! No, really. Just be willing to learn and discern the answers if they’re available!
“my people are destroyed for lack of knowledge”
“if they’re available”-even if they were not, I am sure you can
Google it!

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