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Stormbringer

To Be A Christian Or Not To Be A Christian

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I'm writing this today in an effort to share my personal thoughts and beliefs. Something which I rarely do except with those close to me.

It has been suggested on here that if one does not fully believe in the bible and the christian dogma then one is not a christian. Personally I believe that if one identifies oneself as a christian then they are regardless of what others think. I however have taken this into consideration recently. For a while I have been doing some in depth soul searching and study, I have gone where God has led me and I believe he is leading me in new directions. There are things in the christian faith, dogma, and in the bible that I cannot reconcile with my personal beliefs and reason. I cannot reconcile the hatred, jealousy, and vanity of the God in the bible with how I view my God. As I have said before My God cannot be limited or contained in one book. Yet I see the truth of my God reflected in the teachings of Jesus. However I also see such truth reflected in the teaching of Buddha, Krishna, Lao tzu, and others.

I don't believe God will condemn others to eternal suffering for merely not believing the bible. I also don't think he would condemn homosexuals for being what he made them or love them any less then he loves us. I see god reflected in others here that follow the christian path but I also see him reflected on here by those who don't. I also don't think he would choose one people on this earth over others. While I view Jesus as my teacher and I think his message is eternal I just can't believe the mythos surrounding him. From interactions with christians on here and elsewhere I've found that I just don't believe the way they do or necessarily fit in at all with them. Another reason why I have always embraced the ULC is that it looks at who you are and not what you are.

As God has led me to christianity I don't think he intends for me to stay there. I have learned immensely from it but I also don't view it as the only way. Therefore I have decided to follow God and god alone wherever he may lead me. Instead of trying to define God I'm going to let him tell me whom He is.

I am shedding the christian label and am accepting another. One that does not define what I believe but reflects it. I am now simply a Deist. I will continue to learn from christs teachings and also continue learning from the teachings of others as I always have. However first and foremost I will let my God given reason tell me what is right and wrong and not a book written by men. Perhaps if we all chose to listen to god and look at how he reveals himself to us every day and stop looking for him in books but focus upon his great creation we would all be a little better off in the end. Perhaps not. We would all probably have a better understanding of one another at least.

I just thought I would share for a change what I have been pondering and how my path has been going. I hope it may help shed light for others.

I thought I would leave you with two little pearls of wisdom from my friend and mentor Brother Devon when I discussed this with him.

We are not supposed to define God. God defines us.

Allow yourself the gift of an open mind. God is not concerned with those who question. Only those who think they can define.

Have a good day and God Bless.

Edited by Blackthorn

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The way I see it, a questioning mind should not be denied.

I can't begin to tell you how many times I've flip-flopped, alway convinced that the new way was the right way. It's all kind of blended together for me now, and there are really only two things that I hold "sacred" (for lack of a better term); 1) this is a world of wonder in which nothing is more extraordinary than the ordinary, 2) everyone matters, so I should always try to approach life from a perspective of compassion. (I'll be the first to admit that I still need a lot of work, especially on #2)

You seem to have both of these bases covered already.

Good luck in your search, wherever it leads ... even if it's back to the fold of Christianity.

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If you haven't already read it, there's a book assembled by a slightly famous Deist of a mere couple of centuries ago, who sat down with a couple of bibles, some scissors and a pot of glue. "The Jefferson Bible," by Thomas Jefferson of Virginia.

My own teen-aged crisis of faith was brought about by being with Baptists, and the very intense reading that it resulted in -- in the attempt to convince myself that Christianity was where I belonged -- finally forced me to reject it.

I simply did not have enough of the right kind of hypocrisy in me to be a "good Christian." I learned that Christianity's dominance in Europe was not due to its "superiority as a religion," but to the superior willingness of its followers to kill or enslave any peoples who would not willingly convert and submit. I learned too many other things to put in such a post as this thread.

Good hunting in your seeking, and may your path contain only those rocks and brambles that Deity intends to help you learn.

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Congratulations for having the courage to leave the herd and seek a path that resonates with your whole being!!!!

It is not for those of herd mentality

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As I too have learned, there is a reason why God gave us a brain to think with. As you continue on your spiritual journey, it is a great step to discard the formalism of religiosity and focus on the Creator. If our desire is to truly know God and if we trust Him, He will direct our paths. He even said, "I will never leave you or forsake you."

For me, brother, I travelled different Christian paths (catholic, baptist, fundamentalist, and a few cults here and there). All in all, it was the teachings of Christ and my belief in Him as Savior that kept me traveling through the various types, stopping for a while, but moving on (by the will of God). In each I learned something, positive or negative but always enriching my Faith.

I also came to a point where a placed the bible on the table and told God that in order to know Him truly, I would dispense with the scriptures (all or some) as a means of doing so, if it were His pleasure. He told me to keep the book for that is where His promises are written.

It has been said that we are the sum of our experiences. IMO, that applies to spirituality also. The Kingdom of Heaven (to me) is like a carnival. Some are on the carousel (round and round), some are on the ferris wheel (round and round but with high and low points) and some on the Tilt-a-whirl, but all are supposed to have a good time and, I think, enjoy the other rides and attractions too. Admittedly, after trying the different rides, we tend to enjoy one more than the others and return (and not everyone enjoys the same rides).

Thanks for sharing and God bless your journey.

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The way I see it, a questioning mind should not be denied.

I agree - God gave us a thinking, questioning mind that is superior to other animals on Earth. If He did not intend us to us it, He would not have given it too us.

Edited by Rev Ed

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Good post Blackthorn,

Honest, objective and heartfelt. For myself as I've said many times "I claim no religion for to claim one is to discount the others" (most likely a good description of what the Buddha had in mind lol)

Om

Shanti

Music

Edited by musicman153

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It is nice to know that you will let the Beloved One guide your spiritual path. I am sure that the Blessed One will guide you with Freedom, Understanding, Love, and Compassion. May you always be true to yourself! :)

Hermano Luis

Moriviví Hermitage

Edited by emalpaiz

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I'm writing this today in an effort to share my personal thoughts and beliefs. Something which I rarely do except with those close to me.

It has been suggested on here that if one does not fully believe in the bible and the christian dogma then one is not a christian. Personally I believe that if one identifies oneself as a christian then they are regardless of what others think. I however have taken this into consideration recently. For a while I have been doing some in depth soul searching and study, I have gone where God has led me and I believe he is leading me in new directions. There are things in the christian faith, dogma, and in the bible that I cannot reconcile with my personal beliefs and reason. I cannot reconcile the hatred, jealousy, and vanity of the God in the bible with how I view my God. As I have said before My God cannot be limited or contained in one book. Yet I see the truth of my God reflected in the teachings of Jesus. However I also see such truth reflected in the teaching of Buddha, Krishna, Lao tzu, and others.

I don't believe God will condemn others to eternal suffering for merely not believing the bible. I also don't think he would condemn homosexuals for being what he made them or love them any less then he loves us. I see god reflected in others here that follow the christian path but I also see him reflected on here by those who don't. I also don't think he would choose one people on this earth over others. While I view Jesus as my teacher and I think his message is eternal I just can't believe the mythos surrounding him. From interactions with Christians on here and elsewhere I've found that I just don't believe the way they do or necessarily fit in at all with them. Another reason why I have always embraced the ULC is that it looks at who you are and not what you are.

As God has led me to christianity I don't think he intends for me to stay there. I have learned immensely from it but I also don't view it as the only way. Therefore I have decided to follow God and god alone wherever he may lead me. Instead of trying to define God I'm going to let him tell me whom He is.

I am shedding the christian label and am accepting another. One that does not define what I believe but reflects it. I am now simply a Deist. I will continue to learn from christs teachings and also continue learning from the teachings of others as I always have. However first and foremost I will let my God given reason tell me what is right and wrong and not a book written by men. Perhaps if we all chose to listen to god and look at how he reveals himself to us every day and stop looking for him in books but focus upon his great creation we would all be a little better off in the end. Perhaps not. We would all probably have a better understanding of one another at least.

I just thought I would share for a change what I have been pondering and how my path has been going. I hope it may help shed light for others.

I thought I would leave you with two little pearls of wisdom from my friend and mentor Brother Devon when I discussed this with him.

We are not supposed to define God. God defines us.

Allow yourself the gift of an open mind.

God is not concerned with those who question. Only those who think they can define.

Have a good day and God Bless.

Blackthorn, you have just given us an astonishingly good post.

Thank you.

You have "left us" two beautiful pearls.

I only hope that you have not "left us".

Your friend,

Hex

Edited by Hexalpa

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Blackthorn,

You have put in a post what I believe in my own heart. I hope you do not mind, but I wish to copy it and keep it on my computer. I believe we all have a different path to follow to lead us to our own Salvation. God gave us the ability to think, to reason, to challenge, to debate and compare. Would he not give us such a gift if we were not intended to use it? We are not merely little toy soldiers put here on this Rock to just be here. Some of us were given higher powers; some were not. Yet somehow we all find our own way; our own path; leading us to our own ultimate conclusion. Whatever our own concept of Salvation might be...

I do not pretend to know what God might have been thinking; do I believe HE can know what I am thinking? If he does...he may have a heck of a headache with 6.2 billion other people's voices ringing in his head. Do I believe that HE is there to guide me when I need it; yes. Do I believe he has been there for me in my darkest hours; absolutely. And it may not be "God" in the traditional sense. Are we not told to see God in all things around us living?? So, is it God in the face of my rescued dog, who was abused and neglected by her owner; whom I saved from a life of horrors and hell on Earth, who now lives in comfort with attention and love; and she shows her love and appreciation for me every day? You better believe it. Is it God that put that dog in my lap when I was in my darkest hours; contemplating ending my life; and having that little dog lick my face; nuzzle my hand and let me know that at least to her, I mattered; and that God brought us together when she needed a home; and I needed a glimmer of hope in my heart? You better believe it. God exists for every one of us in different ways. There is no one way to define HIM; nor is there any one way to believe in HIM.

Stay true to yourself and you can not go wrong!

Just my humble and very mortal opinion.

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~ As you said { & yeah, noticed over the years } you do tend not to be too open. I appreciate your honesty :friends: It can be difficult.

It's a very personal thing, belief.

Religion not quite so. Religion's often trotted-out quite openly actually, huh? As a badge or banner or some sort of descriptive of a 'member'. I don't understand that.

No one can have the exact same emotional or spiritual connection or understanding that another has.

I do wish you strength & wisdom in your path :wub:

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Therefore I have decided to follow God and god alone wherever he may lead me. Instead of trying to define God I'm going to let him tell me whom He is.

You've come a long way, my friend...May you be blessed in your journey!

Connie

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I'm writing this today in an effort to share my personal thoughts and beliefs. Something which I rarely do except with those close to me.

It has been suggested on here that if one does not fully believe in the bible and the christian dogma then one is not a christian. Personally I believe that if one identifies oneself as a christian then they are regardless of what others think. I however have taken this into consideration recently.

Hey Vic,

It may be none of my business, but I have recently, again, become a black sheep in my denomination (however I'm sure this time IS the last) and I think I can relate to some of your thoughts. I hear continually, "Christians should not go (fill in the blank), Christians should this or that." If I were you what I would do is remember what it was like when you first came to Christ and relive that. There was a reason you came to him, and there were things you knew as a result of that. Here's a simple thing; people are the problem; get them out of the equasion. Dogma can be help but it can be a hindrance as well; just drop all of it. Lately the only Bible I study is Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Acts, and Revelation; sometimes James, Jude, Hebrews, 1 and 2 Peter; in that order. The reason for that is the gospels and acts are pure gospel. Jesus did not get caught up in all the cultural issues of his day. Our churches teach gospel with the addition of the cultural likes and dislike of the pastor and the congregation and they respond to cultural tensions. Get back to just Vic and Jesus.

For a while I have been doing some in depth soul searching and study, I have gone where God has led me and I believe he is leading me in new directions. There are things in the christian faith, dogma, and in the bible that I cannot reconcile with my personal beliefs and reason. I cannot reconcile the hatred, jealousy, and vanity of the God in the bible with how I view my God. As I have said before My God cannot be limited or contained in one book. Yet I see the truth of my God reflected in the teachings of Jesus. However I also see such truth reflected in the teaching of Buddha, Krishna, Lao tzu, and others.

I don't believe God will condemn others to eternal suffering for merely not believing the bible.

We all wind up where we do however we get there. I have been spending time in the Zoroastrian scriptures, Buddhist, Hindu, Muslim, and several others and are comparative likenesses, but the contrasts are the things that concern me. None are a simple as the words of Jesus: "only believe," "all things are possible to him who believes," "he who believes will do the works I do and greater than these," the commands to heal the sick, raise the dead, make disciples; I have found this (the words of Jesus) to be the real deal and all else pales in comparison, in fact there is nothing to compare them to.

I also don't think he would condemn homosexuals for being what he made them or love them any less then he loves us.

This is another cultural issue that is causing division; both sides are harming and causing harm to the other and I think the sooner we can be finished with it the better. In fact, I won't even go there with anyone anymore.

I see god reflected in others here that follow the christian path but I also see him reflected on here by those who don't. I also don't think he would choose one people on this earth over others. While I view Jesus as my teacher and I think his message is eternal I just can't believe the mythos surrounding him. From interactions with christians on here and elsewhere I've found that I just don't believe the way they do or necessarily fit in at all with them. Another reason why I have always embraced the ULC is that it looks at who you are and not what you are.

The deconstructionism surrounding the demythologizing of Jesus was a cultural issue brought on by modernity and is not going to help you believe what Jesus said; in fact it will create a major hindrance to that. Jesus is the real deal and I think you know that; let him be Jesus. I like the ULC as well, but if your intent is to be a disciple of Jesus, you are probably going to have to go outside the ULC group to get what you need.

As far as deism goes, I don't think you are going to find what you are looking for there, being that you know Christ you have a huge measuring stick now. I do not have any cute sayings or mystical jive to tell you other than draw closer to Christ. Sit in his presence first thing in the morning or whenever you can get some quiet time for a half hour or so and dump these concerns on him and then just listen. He speaks, as you know right into your spirit and soul. Shut it all off and seek him. Pray for me as I will be praying for you.

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Hey Vic,

It may be none of my business, but I have recently, again, become a black sheep in my denomination (however I'm sure this time IS the last) and I think I can relate to some of your thoughts. I hear continually, "Christians should not go (fill in the blank), Christians should this or that." If I were you what I would do is remember what it was like when you first came to Christ and relive that. There was a reason you came to him, and there were things you knew as a result of that. Here's a simple thing; people are the problem; get them out of the equasion. Dogma can be help but it can be a hindrance as well; just drop all of it. Lately the only Bible I study is Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Acts, and Revelation; sometimes James, Jude, Hebrews, 1 and 2 Peter; in that order. The reason for that is the gospels and acts are pure gospel. Jesus did not get caught up in all the cultural issues of his day. Our churches teach gospel with the addition of the cultural likes and dislike of the pastor and the congregation and they respond to cultural tensions. Get back to just Vic and Jesus.

We all wind up where we do however we get there. I have been spending time in the Zoroastrian scriptures, Buddhist, Hindu, Muslim, and several others and are comparative likenesses, but the contrasts are the things that concern me. None are a simple as the words of Jesus: "only believe," "all things are possible to him who believes," "he who believes will do the works I do and greater than these," the commands to heal the sick, raise the dead, make disciples; I have found this (the words of Jesus) to be the real deal and all else pales in comparison, in fact there is nothing to compare them to.

This is another cultural issue that is causing division; both sides are harming and causing harm to the other and I think the sooner we can be finished with it the better. In fact, I won't even go there with anyone anymore.

The deconstructionism surrounding the demythologizing of Jesus was a cultural issue brought on by modernity and is not going to help you believe what Jesus said; in fact it will create a major hindrance to that. Jesus is the real deal and I think you know that; let him be Jesus. I like the ULC as well, but if your intent is to be a disciple of Jesus, you are probably going to have to go outside the ULC group to get what you need.

As far as deism goes, I don't think you are going to find what you are looking for there, being that you know Christ you have a huge measuring stick now. I do not have any cute sayings or mystical jive to tell you other than draw closer to Christ. Sit in his presence first thing in the morning or whenever you can get some quiet time for a half hour or so and dump these concerns on him and then just listen. He speaks, as you know right into your spirit and soul. Shut it all off and seek him. Pray for me as I will be praying for you.

Hmm....You know Coolhand, while I appreciate your take on all this, all I can say is SOMETIMES, just SOMETIMES people out grow Christianity.

I think a lot of it has to do with contraditictions built into the Bible it's self. You speak of him getting "just with Jesus"..Have you thought he MAY have allready done that and Jesus more or less said that parts of the Bible really don't reflect what he thought?

The fact is the Bible has been redacted, as can be seen through the Old Testament as well. I have had people say that to me, that I just need to ask God with a sincere heart and that God will reveal that what they are saying is true. The funny thing is, when I DO ask God (a.k.a The Force), more often then not the impression I get is that God agrees with me STILL!

So what if he does as you say, Coolhand, and after reading the Bible and talking to Jesus, Jesus says "You know Blackthorn, many people have seriously misquoted me and put words in My mouth. Here's the real deal son; I inspired ALL these books, but because I am God, and you are just a puny human with a puny human brain, NONE of you have it totally right and that includes you, Coolhand AND Lord Occultis. I gave you a mind to understand, a heart to feel and logic to question. I never intended for ANYONE to uncritically take My words without thinking it through. It's no mistake there are so many religions here, BlackThorn: That was by MY DESIGN. I intended to use them to help you eventually reach a day when you and I can relate on a more personal level, one on one, where you won't NEED any holy book because we will talk face to face. Untill that day comes, please take it all with a grain of salt, and most of all, trust the mind I gave you to think and the heart I gave you to feel"?

You assume, as those who tell me to ask God, that Jesus or God or whatever you trerm the Divine will answer them in the way you see it, and that if God dosen't their misled. Can't God, being the Divine Omnipotent, Omniscient, Omnipresent One do as He pleases? If God wants BlackThorn to believe as you do, it seems to me that God can make it PERFECTLY CLEAR to BlackThorn that what you say is indeed the 100%, unvarnished Truth (with a capital T).

Fact is, even your own Church disagrees with you, Coolhand. Now, are they right or are you right? If their right, then why resist "the Truth". However, if you are right, then why do they (who seem to be sincere, honest people) disagree with you? Could it be your BOTH RIGHT? Could it be that NEITHER of you are wrong, but that in one of those classical pardoxes it's Both/And not Either/Or?

In the end, speaking now from my religious perspective, The Force is too great, transcendent and wonderful for us puny humans to even CLAIM we totally understand it. A person could spend a billion lifetimes contemplating The Force, and even THAT would not be enough! In the end, The Force is ineffieable. I take your meaning of "God" to be synonymous with The Force. Can you claim to know the mind of God, Coolhand? Does God call on you when he needs to make a decision? Are you God's counselor? Of course not!

I respect BlackThorn and wish him well on his voyage of discovery.

Edited by Lord Occultis

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Hmm....You know Coolhand, while I appreciate your take on all this, all I can say is SOMETIMES, just SOMETIMES people out grow Christianity.

I think a lot of it has to do with contraditictions built into the Bible it's self. You speak of him getting "just with Jesus"..Have you thought he MAY have allready done that and Jesus more or less said that parts of the Bible really don't reflect what he thought?

The fact is the Bible has been redacted, as can be seen through the Old Testament as well. I have had people say that to me, that I just need to ask God with a sincere heart and that God will reveal that what they are saying is true. The funny thing is, when I DO ask God (a.k.a The Force), more often then not the impression I get is that God agrees with me STILL!

So what if he does as you say, Coolhand, and after reading the Bible and talking to Jesus, Jesus says "You know Blackthorn, many people have seriously misquoted me and put words in My mouth. Here's the real deal son; I inspired ALL these books, but because I am God, and you are just a puny human with a puny human brain, NONE of you have it totally right and that includes you, Coolhand AND Lord Occultis. I gave you a mind to understand, a heart to feel and logic to question. I never intended for ANYONE to uncritically take My words without thinking it through. It's no mistake there are so many religions here, BlackThorn: That was by MY DESIGN. I intended to use them to help you eventually reach a day when you and I can relate on a more personal level, one on one, where you won't NEED any holy book because we will talk face to face. Untill that day comes, please take it all with a grain of salt, and most of all, trust the mind I gave you to think and the heart I gave you to feel"?

You assume, as those who tell me to ask God, that Jesus or God or whatever you trerm the Divine will answer them in the way you see it, and that if God dosen't their misled. Can't God, being the Divine Omnipotent, Omniscient, Omnipresent One do as He pleases? If God wants BlackThorn to believe as you do, it seems to me that God can make it PERFECTLY CLEAR to BlackThorn that what you say is indeed the 100%, unvarnished Truth (with a capital T).

Fact is, even your own Church disagrees with you, Coolhand. Now, are they right or are you right? If their right, then why resist "the Truth". However, if you are right, then why do they (who seem to be sincere, honest people) disagree with you? Could it be your BOTH RIGHT? Could it be that NEITHER of you are wrong, but that in one of those classical pardoxes it's Both/And not Either/Or?

In the end, speaking now from my religious perspective, The Force is too great, transcendent and wonderful for us puny humans to even CLAIM we totally understand it. A person could spend a billion lifetimes contemplating The Force, and even THAT would not be enough! In the end, The Force is ineffieable. I take your meaning of "God" to be synonymous with The Force. Can you claim to know the mind of God, Coolhand? Does God call on you when he needs to make a decision? Are you God's counselor? Of course not!

I respect BlackThorn and wish him well on his voyage of discovery.

Well alright then. Looks like we agree that we should encourge our brother to seek God on the issue and let God speak. Will you also agree to join me praying that Vic (Blackthorn) will have absolute clarity?

Edited by Coolhand

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