Thursday, January 09, 2020

Christianity and Some Very Tough Questions

After being raised a fundamentalist Christian and serving as a Southern Baptist Deacon for many years, by the time I reached my 40's I simply could not find the belief reasonable any longer. Since that time I have become aware of how we allow our conditioning to completely control our thinking and beliefs and that these beliefs keep the vast majority of the populace trapped in various 'blind leading the blind' religious organizations. Let me make it clear at this point that I believe in God, that He is love and have no doubt that we are each crucial in His plan and that there are no lost souls.
However, it has become obvious to me that reasoning or logical thinking always takes a back seat to our conditioned minds. Either our upbringing or some other event has initiated a belief that attracted us to a particular orientation or religion and then repetition ingrained it to the extent that we no longer question it from a standpoint of reason. Not only do we not question it, but we completely shut out anything to the contrary so any reasoning becomes hopelessly buried under shallow but deeply ingrained beliefs. We become like the bridled pony pulling the wagon straight down the road with the blinders firmly in place and completely oblivious of any other realities along the way.
The result we see in our world is a myriad of religions and beliefs, each convinced that they are the only "true" reflection of what God expects of man and that it is their duty to convert others to their way of thinking and to defend that belief against all others at any cost. The consequence of which is a world of conflict, confusion, intolerance and narrow-minded arrogance. I'm reminded of the quote, "everyone is going to hell according to someone's religion."
The thing that is really astonishing is that even the slightest reasoning will reveal the absurdities in any of these beliefs if one is able to swap his shackles of conditioning for truly objective reasoning. What makes this so difficult for the majority is the fact that their religions have them convinced that it is "dangerous" or an affront to God for one to question his belief. Would God not expect us to use our reasoning and questioning in regard to our deeply held beliefs in the same manner we do to evaluate any other of life's crucial decisions?
In this series of articles I will focus primarily on Christianity because that is the religion most prevalent in the English speaking world but I believe the contradictions that will be discussed apply to the other religions as well.
There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that Jesus was completely misunderstood and that if he was to reappear today he would be saying similar things now to the church that he said then. "You guys have it all wrong. That is not at all what God is about. He is not in the punishment business. You were indeed made in His image and likeness. You are co-creators with Him. You create your own reality. You create your own heaven or hell." How many different ways did he say something to the effect that we create as we believe? "As you believe it will be done unto you". "All things are possible for him who can believe." "Heaven is within you." "Heaven is at hand."
The Disciples were completely bewildered and confused about what Jesus was all about. Jesus expressed his frustration at their lack of understanding. The Jewish Gospel writers simply misinterpreted his mission in the traditions of their Old Testament heritage.
My Christian friends will say that I am distorting or taking the sayings of Jesus out of context to make them say what I want. However, I tried my best to make sense of the Christian viewpoint to begin with and could not find them at all consistent even with the belief itself. Further, I believe that it is obvious from the inconsistencies that exist in the New Testament that we have no accurate account of just what his statements were but have to view his mission more from an overall perspective of reason. Let me point out that many brilliant Biblical scholars both past and present have a much more reasonable interpretation of the Bible than the traditional Christian belief reflects. The articles that follow will take up that subject as well as some of the other contradictions and issues that trouble the Christian belief.
My point here is not to stir up ill feeling or controversy but to provoke deeper thought. It is my belief that if we can shed the chains of conditioning and be more objective and considerate of other beliefs, we will begin to tear down walls of separation for a more tolerant and appealing world.

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