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#1 of 94 Old 01-26-2005, 06:59 PM - Thread Starter
 
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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.
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#2 of 94 Old 01-26-2005, 07:15 PM
 
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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.
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#3 of 94 Old 01-26-2005, 07:19 PM
 
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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.

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#4 of 94 Old 01-26-2005, 07:23 PM
 
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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.
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#5 of 94 Old 01-26-2005, 07:41 PM
 
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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.
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#6 of 94 Old 01-26-2005, 07:50 PM
 
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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.
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#7 of 94 Old 01-26-2005, 10:59 PM
 
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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....

"What will you do once you know?"
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#8 of 94 Old 01-26-2005, 11:02 PM
 
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nah, not the violence. But then again I went atheist, not to another religious path.

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#9 of 94 Old 01-27-2005, 12:06 AM
 
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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.
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#10 of 94 Old 01-27-2005, 01:14 AM
 
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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? )
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#11 of 94 Old 01-27-2005, 04:02 AM
 
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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.

"What will you do once you know?"
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#12 of 94 Old 01-27-2005, 12:26 PM
 
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I have heard "hand" all my life. Thanks for the correction.
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#13 of 94 Old 01-27-2005, 12:30 PM
 
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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!
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#14 of 94 Old 01-27-2005, 01:18 PM
 
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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.
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#15 of 94 Old 01-27-2005, 01:43 PM
 
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wasn't the violence for me either. there are sooo many other reasons.
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#16 of 94 Old 01-27-2005, 01:44 PM - Thread Starter
 
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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.
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#17 of 94 Old 01-27-2005, 01:44 PM
 
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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.
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#18 of 94 Old 01-27-2005, 06:27 PM
 
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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.
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#19 of 94 Old 01-28-2005, 01:06 AM
 
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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

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#20 of 94 Old 01-28-2005, 01:11 AM
 
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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.


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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.

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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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#21 of 94 Old 01-28-2005, 01:17 AM
 
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no, not the violence. Mostly the hypocrisy and most of the other reasons my sagacious mdc sisters have stated!

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#22 of 94 Old 01-28-2005, 01:20 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChasingPeace
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.
This is beautiful, thoughtful and moving CP. ITA and I am a believer in the Gospel of Christ as well.

I know this thread isn't for me though so sorry to jump in uninvited.

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#23 of 94 Old 01-28-2005, 01:26 AM
 
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I think that is how St Mel depicted it.

Did you see the movie? I am just curious. There is absolutely no way on earth I could ever sit through that film. I can't watch violence, even if it is part of an important story. I've never seen Schindler's List, Saving Private Ryan, and all those other movies I'm supposed to see, because I cannot handle the violence.
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#24 of 94 Old 01-28-2005, 02:20 AM
 
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Hotmamacita, you are always welcome .

Verity, I didn't see the movie either because of the violence.
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#25 of 94 Old 01-29-2005, 05:57 PM
 
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(not totally a "former" xtian, but do have one foot out the door) violence was a lesser reason than the pessimistic view of humanity in the old testament; sexism & abuse in the RC church, lack of forward thinking and community, but now that you bring it up, I think that violence is such a part of our lives that every major faith tradition has violent elements. Islam is even far more violent as I understand it. and Judism (without the redeemer like xtianity) is as well. (no happily ever after!)
about the crucifixtion. I have no doubt Jesus lived and died as was described in the

Bible and corroborating historical documents of the Romans. I love Jesus, what a person to suffer through the torture and die along side 2 criminals, his crimes having been compassion and inclusiveness in a closed society. But SO many others in Aushwitz, South Africa, Guatemala, El Salvador, Sudan, China, and on and on. they have endured the same pain without recognition. They, too, are martyrs.
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#26 of 94 Old 01-29-2005, 08:31 PM
 
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Well, it wasn't just the violence anyway. It was a bunch of things really. As another poster stated... the sexism, the homophobia, and the "our road is the only right one" crap. I left Christianity for another path, but I kept my relationship with Jesus.

"The true measure of a man is how he treats a man who can do him absolutely no good."
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#27 of 94 Old 01-30-2005, 06:34 AM
 
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None of those things, really; I just honestly don't believe it. When I began examining my religious feelings, in high school, I just really couldn't find anything that I honestly *believed*. The fact that so many religions have so many of the same stories just reinforces, for me, that it is simply something that people made up to explain the unexplainable.

However, most of my closest friends are christians, and the group of volunteers I support/work with/admire are some very hardcore Catholics. Like, Catholic Worker Catholics. I *love* them, I admire their movement greatly. We get their newsletter. My dh has decided to do the "revolution through vegetables" thing, and he is designing a tattoo for himself based on the idea. We would love to rent out our house for a while and go work in a Catholic Workers Shelter. If I could actually *believe* in the story of Christ, I would totally be Catholic. I seem to have the same philosophy, except for the belief in God thing.

For a long time I thought that everything was random, and it was all science, but lately I have experienced things that leave me conflicted. One part of me still believes that the universe is truly random. But another part feels that there must be some unifying energy that we share and experience. Mainly I feel this way because of certain births I have attended. Births where things went wrong, but I could look at the infant and know that everything would be okay; births where the mother had a dream about the birth, and it was exactly how the actual birth happened; births where a tragedy was avoided simply by what at the time we thought was bad luck, etc, etc.

I don't know; it is just so amazing, some of the things I have seen, and I can't chalk them up to coincidence. But my brain can't wrap around a divine being, certainly not a "God" in Christianity. I guess, like most thinking people, none of us are stagnant in our beliefs, and even those of us who don't believe still have evolving and growing spirituality and beliefs. Does that make sense?

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#28 of 94 Old 01-30-2005, 10:23 AM
 
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Yes, I saw "The Passion of the Christ." It was gross but I could take it. Actually, even my teenagers watched it with me. We found it ridiculous.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Katiemare
(not totally a "former" xtian, but do have one foot out the door) violence was a lesser reason than the pessimistic view of humanity in the old testament; sexism & abuse in the RC church, lack of forward thinking and community, but now that you bring it up, I think that violence is such a part of our lives that every major faith tradition has violent elements. Islam is even far more violent as I understand it.
It couldn't possibly be more violent than the Bible and Xtian history.

Quote:
and Judism (without the redeemer like xtianity) is as well. (no happily ever after!)
The Jews of the Bible did not have an afterlife belief until the time of the writing of Daniel, 3rd century BCE. But most Jews have believed in an afterlife since then. In the gospels, 1st century CE, the Pharisees (rabbis) believe in a resurrection, the Saducees (priests) do not. The Jews don't need a Jesus-like redeemer per se. They have YHWH and the hope of a messiah with different attributes than Jesus had.

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About the crucifixion: I have no doubt Jesus lived and died as was described in the Bible and corroborating historical documents of the Romans.
There aren't any.
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#29 of 94 Old 02-02-2005, 06:34 PM
 
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DaryLLL: If there aren't any documents proving that Jesus lived and died as stated in the bible, why do other faiths acknowledge his existance?

I am confused. I was under the impression that there was historical proof. I know there have been threads about it...nak...will look later.

Not meant to debate as I realize I am in the wrong thread, I just love learning about others views and further educating myself. Thanks mamas!

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#30 of 94 Old 02-03-2005, 12:43 PM
 
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I think the vengeful & violent tone of the God in the OT compared to the altruistic tone of the God in the NT was a big thing for me. God does not change, and yet IMO he very much does between the two accounts.

God is love, there is no fear in love, fear God. Essentially, It is the contradictions and things that don't add up that lead me away.

That said, I realized I had some internal struggles with the God of the Christian faith when I couldn't bare to show my child biblical children's story books. So many violent depictions and agony and sadness. SO much evil. I thought it was just the one my religion published, but when I went to Barnes and Noble I saw so many shared this characteristic. And yet we're supposed to share this with young, innocent children? "Bring them up from infancy" and all. And they say desensatizing violence happens from the media?

The violence, and sharing that violence with my kids is what initiated my struggle and search. But the contradictions of the bible is what made me turn away without a doubt in my mind.

I don't believe in the bible, the God of the bible, or even a historical Jesus. I have seen no historical evidence of his existance. Some other religions have accepted his existance for the same reason Christians do- hear say, tradition, a story handed down from generation to generation. Many religions share components and characters- it shows that many cultures have touched in various ways over the years- it doesn't make it true. Just look at how many cultures had a santa clause myth of some sort- does it make Santa true or a universal mythical character?
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