1/16/2014 | Share this article: View CommentsBy Joel H. ~
I got a call from my uncle last month asking if it was true I had doubts in Christianity. Yes I replied and we both agreed to sit down and talk about it later that day. Sometime before then, my mom had told him about my situation and translated it as though I was a Christian with doubts, not an Atheist seeking the truth about their former religion. After I told my parents I was an Atheist, I thought my mom would just let me be. When I was reading Christopher Hitchens's God I Not Great, she broke her silent rage and told me what I was doing was wrong. If my uncle could help "bring me back" as if I was going to the doctor to be cured of a disease, then her anger with me would end.
When I got to his house, he invited me in and we began right away. He asked what was my problem. I said I questioned the bible over its many contradictions and why such a loving god would turn around and become evil to others. After this, I wasn't able to get a word in as he literally preached to me why I should come back to Christianity. My conclusion to what he was trying to tell me were as follows.
- Christianity is nothing but a relationship with Jesus Christ to strive to be like him despite being imperfect.
- We can get into heaven if we just believe in him (blind faith), but good works alone won't get you anywhere except straight to hell.
First off, Christianity is a religion as well as it is a relationship with Christ and to be like him. You still have to go to a building like every other Christian once a week to worship god, pray to god, listen to a sermon, collect money for the organization before going home and having to do it all over again the next week. To say it's only a relationship with Christ is a bit farfetched I'd think. Yes belief in Christ is required to get to heaven, but to the people around you it's not right to be a complete jerk your whole life and then say I believe on your death bed.
In contrast, I believe Christianity in this sense is selfish. If spending your whole life to make sure you live forever in a place you never even saw with your own eyes is what you want to do, then so be it. But for me I would rather be spending my time making things better here on Earth with visible results.
After our conversation, he gave me a few books to read to help me "come back to Christ." The book he recommended the most to read was How Good Is Good Enough? by Andy Stanley from which I made the following observations.
- The Old Testament is to be regarded as irrelevant because there are many commandments god gave in addition to the 10 commandments and this is too much to bear.
- The New Testament is to be read at your own risk as there are so many contradictions among the Gospels.
- Forgive those who have done something wrong to you and if it's over a anything you own, be courteous and pay the damages for them.
One, according to Jesus himself in Matthew 5:18-19, he states: "For truly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass the law until all is accomplished. Whoever then relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven." In Luke 16:17 Jesus says: "It is easier for heaven and earth to pass away than for the smallest part of the letter of the law to become invalid." Looks like Andy might be called last in the kingdom of god to me.
Two, the author states the New Testament is to be read at your own risk. Forget the contradictions, I thought most Christians cared about the bible. Now all of a sudden their holy book just doesn't apply to them anymore. In this case, then why still print bibles? Why carry them around wherever you go at all? Why even quote the scriptures in your arguments if they are to be cast aside? This doesn't make any sense Andy, it seems to me all you're doing is losing your material to back yourself up with whenever you come across nonbelievers such as myself.
Third, forgive those who have done something wrong to you and pay their damages. Yes, you can forgive them for what they've done, but what are they going to learn when you take away the consequences of their actions? Nothing, unless the person has already understood what they did. Furthermore, why should this person ask for forgiveness from god when they did not take part? Cut out the middleman and take the direct approach instead.
I still have to have a follow up discussion with my uncle to try and set the record straight of what I really believe. I must tell him this is a serious attempt to disprove Christianity with evidence and "discrediting god" as my mom calls it is not wrong at all. Questioning your former religion is not a disease, but an antidote of reason. I know people will still question my disbelief from time to time and wish I still believed as they do. But this is my life and I can do whatever I want as long as it does not infringe upon the rights of others. I will continue to seek for knowledge in every aspect imaginable whether it's science, history, or economics. To me, they are all important in creating a better world.
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