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? for those who have left Christianity...

post #1 of 94
Thread Starter 
Hi, I have a question for those who have left, or distanced themselves from, Christianity...

How much, if at all, did the violence inherent in the Jesus story/ NT influence your looking for another spiritual path? By violence I guess I mean, among other stuff: the beheading of John the Baptist, the arrest and torture of Jesus, the Crucifixion, the martyrdoms, and basically all the focus on blood, and all the scary stuff in Revelation.

(disclaimer: I know there's lots of violence in other religious texts including Torah, but this issue has been on my mind)

thanks for your input, I'm very curious to read it.
post #2 of 94
I think the violence had a lot to do with it.

Wasn't the crucifixition the ultimate in child abuse? How is that to teach us to love?

X-tianity sucks. I don't have anything to do with it anymore. Had it forced down my throat as a child. Tried it more than once as an adult and still didn't like it.
post #3 of 94
No- I think it is more the ongoing violence, disrespect of living humans that has kept me from organized religion. I was raised Catholic but with the sex abuse issues, the sexism, and the homophobia, I stay home on Sundays and talk to my creator one-on-one. But I do miss community.
post #4 of 94

nope

violence had nothing to do with it. mostly it was the implausibility and the stup[idity of the whole thing. Also a big part of why i dislike xians is how they act.
post #5 of 94
no, the violence had nothing to do with me distancing myself from Christianity or any other organized religion, it was more a matter of the way such religions have been used and misused to opress the people they claim to serve. It was more a matter of the fact that the more I learned about Christianity, in particular, the less I agreed with it. Violence never really bothered me until after my first child was born.
post #6 of 94
No it wasn't the violence that geared me away from christianity. I stopped believing what christians believe, and followed my heart toward what felt right for me. But when I look back now on the violence (crucifixion, etc.) in the bible, it makes me very uncomfortable. I don't want to feel scared into believing in something, I want to feel at peace.
post #7 of 94
That violence had nothing to do with my leaving either other than as part of the bigger picture. It was the ongoing problem I had/have with dogma in general and that the more I looked at it, the less sense it made.

As time has gone on and my perspective has widened, I agree that the whole concept does not speak of Love to me either. If LOVE is the point, why require a sacrifice? How about the deity practicing the same forgiveness that we humans are apparently expected to practice? Too late now btw, that ship sailed about 2000 years ago....
post #8 of 94
nah, not the violence. But then again I went atheist, not to another religious path.
post #9 of 94
The violence
The absurdities
The contradictions
The sexism
The cruelty

The idea that a loving god could send most of his created beings (human) to hell, allow a horrifying creature such as Satan to roam rampant on the earth, tempting us weaklings and tricking us into serving him so that we would burn for eternity.

Bleh

And this:

Absurdity--

God was lonely. He created the entire universe with our little earth as its crowning acheivement. In fact, he made the tiny sun and moon just for us, to light our ways!

Then he created "man." In his own image. Unfortunately, this image was full of sin. God then repented and decided to kill off every one of his children except for 8 of them.

But we were still wretched.

So god waited some "4000" yrs and killed another "special" image of himself to save his first image from the hell-worthy sins he knew we would commit.

Amen.
post #10 of 94
I won't say that I've rejected Christianity, but I'm certainly questioning it.

If LOVE is the point, why require a sacrifice? How about the deity practicing the same forgiveness that we humans are apparently expected to practice? Too late now btw, that ship sailed about 2000 years ago....

My thoughts almost exactly. (I had to chuckle at the ship sailing comment!)

And Darylll, I won't cut and paste your post, but it hits the nail on the head. (Or would that be on the hand? )
post #11 of 94
That would actually be wrist. A nail through the hand cannot support the weight of the body.

Leonardo da Vinci was the only Rennaissance artist with enough understanding of anatomy to know this and depict it accurately in his works.
post #12 of 94
I have heard "hand" all my life. Thanks for the correction.
post #13 of 94
He could have had ropes around his wrists and nails through his hands. I think that is how St Mel depicted it.

off to puke now!
post #14 of 94
I'm not really sure if I'm an ex-Christian, or what I am, but I don't believe in Jesus as the Son of God in the traditional sense. For me, it wasn't the violence. It was my dh's 9-year-old cousin asking me "why do you believe Jesus is God?" And I didn't have an answer beyond "that's what I've been taught." So I did some research, and found that Jesus never said he was Divine, and that the issue wasn't even "settled" in the early Catholic church until about the year 400.

Next I began to question original sin. It just didn't make sense to me. And once I didn't accept the concept of original sin, the need for Jesus' death to serve as a "sacrifice" to redeem humanity from original sin dissipated. Everything unraveled from there.

That said, the Christian story of the crucifixion and resurrection does have spiritual value for me for a number of reasons. First, at the time of Jesus, it was a common practice to offer animal sacrifices to God. The story of the crucifixion turns the dynamic on its head: The Christian God is offering his "Son" as a sacrifice for humanity. The symbolism of this outpouring of love strikes me profoundly. Second, the crucifixion serves as a metaphor of "dying" to ourselves (the ego, attachments to earthly things), in order to be "resurrected" in awareness of our connection to the Divine. Third, again metaphorically, I find comfort in the idea of the cross as a "dark night of the soul," before the light of the resurrection, or out of great suffering can come enlightenment. Fourth, Jesus serves as the ultimate example of one who submits to God's will. Fifth, the story of Jesus laying down his life for the sake of humanity serves as a great lesson in compassion.
post #15 of 94
wasn't the violence for me either. there are sooo many other reasons.
post #16 of 94
Thread Starter 
thanks ladies for sharing your ideas--

I have also always been puzzled as to why the God who disavowed human/ child sacrifice would then "fulfill" that religion by sacrificing his only son... ? Seems like a huge contradiction to me.

Usually in the Torah (OT) when the Israelites resorted to human sacrifice it was always condemned, but there is the weird passage about Jephthah's daughter (Judges 11) where she died willingly to fulfill the vow her father made.
post #17 of 94
I was questioning in middle school, when going through my confirmation class. Finally the youth minister told me to just accept things or leave. I shut up and got confirmed to make my mom happy. At the time, I couldn't see going home and telling her I wasn't going back to church. I have always believed in God. I felt the Hebrew bible was a metaphorical yet historical account of events. (FWIW, I don't feel that evolution/creation have to be exclusionary. In my mind, God can create through evolution) The Jesus/new Testament just never made sense to me. I could never wrap my mind around it. I think the clincher for me was the verse that says (I'm paraphrasing) the only way to heaven is through Jesus Christ (something about even though you die, you'll still live if you believe in Jesus). I didn't like that. I felt that there are a lot of good, caring people in this world, who deserved to be treated well, whether they believed Jesus was their savior. Violence really had nothing to do with it.
post #18 of 94
Quote:
Originally Posted by Midnight Mom
No it wasn't the violence that geared me away from christianity. I stopped believing what christians believe, and followed my heart toward what felt right for me. But when I look back now on the violence (crucifixion, etc.) in the bible, it makes me very uncomfortable. I don't want to feel scared into believing in something, I want to feel at peace.
That about sums it up for me.
post #19 of 94
i find it strange in retrospect that i didn't consider the violence, because i've always been very sensitive to violence. what really started me questioning were the drag queens that i worked with at a fast food restaurants. they were so honest, so happy with who they were, and so loving...i just couldn't imagine that a just and loving g-d would send them to eternal condemnation for being who they were. so that was the beginning of my journey away from xtianity. other things included the hypocrisy, the petty power struggles, the unquestioning adulation of pastors, the resistance to questioning...a number of other things as well, too much to get into at the moment

post #20 of 94
Quote:
Originally Posted by ChasingPeace
.

Next I began to question original sin. It just didn't make sense to me. And once I didn't accept the concept of original sin, the need for Jesus' death to serve as a "sacrifice" to redeem humanity from original sin dissipated. Everything unraveled from there.
Augustine of Hippo made it up. 5th century CE.


Quote:
That said, the Christian story of the crucifixion and resurrection does have spiritual value for me for a number of reasons. First, at the time of Jesus, it was a common practice to offer animal sacrifices to God. The story of the crucifixion turns the dynamic on its head: The Christian God is offering his "Son" as a sacrifice for humanity. The symbolism of this outpouring of love strikes me profoundly.
This is a "pagan" idea. Tammuz, Adonis, Attis, etcetera.

Quote:
Second, the crucifixion serves as a metaphor of "dying" to ourselves (the ego, attachments to earthly things), in order to be "resurrected" in awareness of our connection to the Divine.
This, to me is the best one. Pauline, Jungian and Campbellite.

Quote:
Third, again metaphorically, I find comfort in the idea of the cross as a "dark night of the soul," before the light of the resurrection, or out of great suffering can come enlightenment. Fourth, Jesus serves as the ultimate example of one who submits to God's will. Fifth, the story of Jesus laying down his life for the sake of humanity serves as a great lesson in compassion.
You have really thought this one through! Coolness.
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