Sunday, August 25, 2013

Consider 'Job' and suffering

Here is the classical argument: "How long will you say such things? Your words are a blustering wind. 3 Does God pervert justice? Does the Almighty pervert what is right?" And my own answer is,yes. There is no justice in the courts of the Divine, and certainly for those who suffer. If there is justice, it has something to do with humans. It is humans that hold those perpetrators accountable. These are the efforts of humans who fought the NAZI's and who with their lives, rescued the Jews. I do not see heavenly fires strike the guards at the concentration camps where Jews were burnt up. Nor is Hitler dead by lightning. These are possible attributes of the divine. Yet, there is none. In my humble experience, when I was on the Board of Prairie Bible Institute, the entire Bible Department was forced to resigned and the evil man who did this, the former president Ohlhauser thrived for a time. He was invincible. But in the end,he angered the entire town, for he suggested the school should be closed and move to another town. At the account of that, the entire town forced him out, he was not removed by god or gods. He was removed by men and his own action was his downfall. Throughout the entire scandal, I see no hands of god and this is one of the main reasons that I became deconverted. Gods are missing in human affairs. We are and we made what it is. So my own inquiry into Job strengthens my own disbelief that Gods and god are missing in human affairs. In Job, his questions are not answered. His plights are pitiful ad I would lay the blame on the author of this fictitious account, that he too has no answers to daily human sufferings. He has created this book to answer the questions of ageless human suffering but this human author fails at the answer at every turn.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Quoting this man who is an intellectual honest:

Why I Am No Longer a Christian (2003)

Ruminations on a spiritual journey out of and into the material world

Kendall Hobbs

I have found it a rare occurrence to come across a Christian evangelist (living in the United States, evangelists are almost always Christian) who does not have serious misunderstandings of my beliefs and the reasons for them. Typically, they approach me thinking that if only I would read the Bible with an open mind, or be open to God, or experience God the way they have, I would certainly understand. Or, when they hear that I'm a former Christian, they typically conclude that I must not have been a real Christian, that I was not taught the true understanding of God, or that there must have been some sort of tragedy to make me angry at God. Or perhaps I am just an evil person and I have chosen to serve evil. Or they believe that no one can really be an atheist, that deep down I must know God exists, and rather than actually not believing that God exists I must be actively rejecting God and all He stands for. But in doing so, they fail to address me. They are not talking to me, but to their misunderstanding of me. So my hope is that this essay will give Christians, and theists in general, a better understanding of how at least one former theist came to be a former theist.
This is also for anyone who has had, or especially for anyone who is currently going through, a deconversion process, to have a story of someone else who has gone through it. Having gone through it myself, I know it can be an emotionally and psychologically painful process, but I can say that, for me at least, the rewards of my journey have been more than worth it.

My Life as a Christian

I suppose you can call this my "extimony," a term which I should explain for those who may be unfamiliar with the brand of evangelical Christianity in which I was involved. Among the evangelical crowd, having a "born-again" experience of admitting to God that you are a sinner, asking for his forgiveness which he offers through the sacrificial death of Jesus, and inviting God into your life to "create you anew" is crucial: if you have not had such an experience, if you have not so invited Jesus into your heart, you have not truly been "saved," i.e., you are not a real Christian. As the label "evangelical" implies, evangelical Christians also take evangelism very seriously (as in the "Great Commission" at the end of Matthew instructing Jesus's followers to go to all the world and preach the gospel). To evangelize involves "witnessing" to others, i.e., telling them the gospel message, the story (as they understand and interpret it, anyway) of God, Jesus, Heaven and Hell, salvation, etc. One's "testimony," i.e., one's own personal story of one's born-again experience and subsequent relationship with Jesus and of what God has done in one's life, features prominently in witnessing. Thus, as one who used to give my testimony when witnessing to others about how I became a Christian, I call the story of how I became an ex-Christian "my extimony."
So, by "no longer a Christian," I mean specifically no longer a born-again, Bible-believing, evangelical, Protestant Christian. But if you are a Catholic, Anglican, Mormon, or some other form of Christian--or even a Muslim, Hindu, or whatever else--before you conclude too quickly that I was just involved in the wrong religion and that your own "One True Religion" (tm) is safe from my critique, think carefully about how some of my general critiques of evangelical Christianity may likely apply to your religion, e.g., the question of the existence of a theistic god in the first place. Also think about how some of my specific critiques of evangelical Christianity can be easily modified to apply to your religious views, e.g., problems with interpreting and defending your "Holy Book(s)" and your interpretations of them.