Former Pastor Says He Lost Faith After Staff Member Beat Spouse, Faithful Mother Lost Baby – and Some Sanctimonious Christians Are Sitting In Judgement Of This Guy

Former Pastor Says He Lost Faith After Staff Member Beat Spouse, Faithful Mother Lost Baby – and Some Sanctimonious Christians Are Sitting In Judgement Of This Guy

I appreciate this pastor’s honesty in why he’s left the Christian faith.

Some excerpts from his story, which I’ll discuss below the excerpts:

(Link): Former Pastor Says He Lost Faith After Staff Member Beat Spouse, Faithful Mother Lost Baby

Excerpts (written by Leonard Blair):

Jim Palmer, a former evangelical pastor who once served in ministry at Willow Creek Community Church in Chicago and went on to preach the power of faith to hundreds as lead pastor of his own church in Brentwood, Tennessee, is now the vice president of the Nashville Humanist Association, which promotes humanism and a secular state.

Palmer, 53, (Link): told The Tennessean that his journey away from faith in God was triggered about 20 years ago by two devastating events. He said his faith was shaken when he learned that a church staff member was beating their spouse.

It then suffered another blow when a woman encouraged by his sermons believed her unborn child diagnosed with a fatal disorder would live. The mother blamed herself when her child died soon after birth.

“That triggered, ‘How can I preach this stuff?'” Palmer said. “Beneath the appearance and the surfaces of people’s lives there was a level of suffering and brokenness for which my theology did not touch.”

In his journey away from faith, the former pastor also lost his marriage.

I saw this article Tweeted a few days ago on the Christian Post account, and I glanced at a small number of replies to it, as well as to the replies people left under the article on the Christian Post.

As to be expected, the Christians who left comments below the tweet questioned the guy’s reasons for finally rejecting the faith, some of them quite snotty about it, as well.

Continue reading “Former Pastor Says He Lost Faith After Staff Member Beat Spouse, Faithful Mother Lost Baby – and Some Sanctimonious Christians Are Sitting In Judgement Of This Guy”

Critique of Pastor Groeschel’s “I Want to Believe But…” Sermon Series (Re: Unanswered Prayer, etc)

Critique of Pastor Groeschel’s “I Want to Believe But…” Sermon Series

Christian Post recently published this summary of Groeschel’s sermons, and I take strong issue with it, which I will explain below the long excerpts from the page – but if I didn’t blog my criticisms of this guy’s sermon, I was going to go nuts -several of his points or assumptions annoyed me up the wall:

(Link): God Is Not Your Puppet, Says Pastor Craig Groeschel by A. Kumar

Here are some excerpts from that page, and I will comment on this below the excerpts, which is pretty long, so please bear with me:

Pastor Craig Groeschel, senior pastor of Life.Church, has started a new series, “I Want to Believe, But…,” to address difficulties some have in believing in God.

In the series’ first sermon on Sunday, the megachurch pastor dealt with the notion that God should give us exactly what we want and when we want it.
“God is too big to be a puppet of mine,” he stressed.

Some believe in God and others don’t, but there’s “a newer category of people that are saying, ‘I wanna believe in God but I’m struggling to,'” the popular pastor said as he introduced the (Link): series to the congregation on Sunday, the 21st anniversary of the church.

Continue reading “Critique of Pastor Groeschel’s “I Want to Believe But…” Sermon Series (Re: Unanswered Prayer, etc)”

One Foot in Christianity, One Foot in Agnosticism – In a Faith Crisis

One Foot in Christianity, One Foot in Agnosticism  – In a Faith Crisis

November 2016. (There is a moderate amount of swear words in the post below)

Some of the points in the post, in brief (the long explanation is below):

  • I accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior before I was ten years old
  • I have read the entire Bible.
  • I spent many years reading books ABOUT the Bible (e.g., books about its formation and history)
  • I spent years reading Christian apologetic literature
    – so do NOT tell me that I “do not understand Christianity” or that I was “never a REAL Christian to start with”
  • I currently have doubts about the Christian faith and/or aspects of the Bible
  • I have not rejected Jesus Christ Himself
    (he’s pretty much Christianity’s only good feature or selling point, as far as I can see at this point)
  • I am not an atheist
  • I am not a Charismatic
  • I am not a “Word of Faither”
  • I was brought up under conservative, Southern Baptist and evangelical teachings and churches
  • Even though conservative Christians claim to believe in the Bible, they
    • cannot agree on what the Bible means or how to apply it – this is a huge problem as I see it in the faith
    • they diminish the role of the Holy Spirit or deny Him and that He can work for Christians today, because they are “hyper sola scriptura” and have reduced the Trinity to “Father, Son, and Holy Bible,” (this is also problematic),
      they usually do this because they are hyper-cessationist and paranoid or hateful of Charismatic teachings or practices
    • they teach that most to all of the biblical promises are not for Christians today but are only for the Jews of 5,000 years ago, there-by teaching that the Bible is NOT relevant for people today  (this is also problematic)
  • If you are a Christian, do not act like a smug dick about any of this and immediately disregard any points I have to make about God, the Bible, or other topics, because in your view, I am a “Non-Christian who was ‘never’ really saved” -not to mention, that is not even true.
    I was in fact “truly” saved, and I am / was, a “real” Christian.
  • No, I don’t want to enumerate a detailed list of reasons why I have doubts about God, the Bible, or the faith.If I were to provide such a list or explanation, your average Christian would only want to debate each and every point to argue me back into fully believing. (A witnessing tip to Christians: doing that sort of thing is NOT an effective way of “winning back a lost sheep to Jesus.”)

DETAILED EXPLANATION

I find that people who are both Christian and Non-Christian (and several other categories of people I bump into on Twitter and other sites) get frustrated when they cannot easily box me in.

People seem to be more comfortable with labels, but I’m not sure what label I would give myself these days.

I have briefly tried to explain my current religious beliefs on my Twitter bio, and I explain them a little more on my blog’s “About” page and have mentioned them in a post or two over the course of the last few years I’ve been blogging here.

Here is my background:

I accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior prior to turning the age of ten.

That means: I believed that Jesus took my sins upon himself, he was without sin, he paid the price for my sins, and was raised from the dead three days after having been crucified – and if I believe in all that, if I put “saving faith in” Jesus (as opposed to mere intellectual assent), my sins have been forgiven by God, and I go to heaven when I die.

I read the entire Bible through when I was 18 years old, and afterwards, I read a lot of the Bible in the years after. Prior to that age, I had read portions of the Bible when younger.

Continue reading “One Foot in Christianity, One Foot in Agnosticism – In a Faith Crisis”

Tolerance, Compassion, and Knowing People Personally

Tolerance, Compassion, and Knowing People Personally

I keep running into politically left wing types or touchie-feelie Christians (some of whom may be somewhat conservative, which surprises me) on social media who assume the reason I must oppose certain things, such as–

-Mass Muslim immigration
-Allowing biological men into women’s bathrooms and fitting rooms under transgender laws

is due to some kind of personal animosity towards these groups of people.

The reason I object to, or am concerned about, things such as mass Muslim immigration or transgender bathroom bills has NOTHING to do with personal hatred on my part towards Muslims or transgender people.

I find this so frustrating that this is assumed about me from the start, and this assumption occurs constantly on Twitter and other blogs.

If you bother to get to know me, or read many of my blog posts on this blog, or stop and ask me my feelings about things (instead of JUST ASSUMING you know why I must hold thus- and- so an opinion on a given topic), you would discover I’m pretty laid back about things, more so than the people who yell at me online.

Continue reading “Tolerance, Compassion, and Knowing People Personally”

On Not Filtering Every Choice Through the Bible

On Not Filtering Every Choice Through the Bible

This is one of those topics I’m working my way through right now. Maybe a year from now, my opinion will flip on it. But here is where I am now.

I was first made aware of this post from John Piper’s “Desiring God” web site via someone posting to SCCL Facebook group.

Here it is:

(Link):  How to Drink Orange Juice to the Glory of God by John Piper

Excerpts:

  • I said that one of my reasons for believing this comes from 1 Corinthians 10:31. “Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” I asked, “Is it sin to disobey this Biblical commandment?” Yes.
  • …Some of you then asked the practical question: Well, how do you “eat and drink” to the glory of God? Say, orange juice for breakfast?
  • ….Orange juice was “created to be received with thanksgiving by those whobelieve the truth.” Therefore, unbelievers cannot use orange juice for the purpose God intended—namely, as an occasion for heartfelt gratitude to God from a truth heart of faith.
  • But believers can, and this is how they glorify God. Their drinking orange juice is “sanctified by means of the word of God and prayer.”

Yes, it’s an entire post explaining why and how Christians may drink Orange Juice to the glory of God.

This is a part of Christianity that I am glad to leave behind. In my faith crisis of the last few years, there have been some advantages to ceasing turning to the Bible as an authority in decision-making in life in every area.

Continue reading “On Not Filtering Every Choice Through the Bible”

Leaving Christianity gave me the fairy-tale ending I always wanted / Divorce and pre-marital sex destroyed my relationship with Christianity by T. Sheehan

Leaving Christianity gave me the fairy-tale ending I always wanted / Divorce and pre-marital sex destroyed my relationship with Christianity by T. Sheehan

Even though the details of my life and situation are different, I sure did relate to this lady’s story.

My eye brow did raise at one or two points of this essay, such as her claim that people at her church encouraged her to get an abortion when she became pregnant out of wedlock, and from the way she discusses her church, they sound pretty conservative and legalistic.

Perhaps she is telling the truth and that really did happen, it’s just that most conservative Christians are pro-life, not pro-choice, so I am having a hard time picturing any of them advising a pregnant woman to get an abortion.

With possibly a few wacko Protestant church exceptions, (Link): like this one, where the church’s preacher allegedly encouraged the women members to get abortions. But then, of course, there is information such as this: (Link): 2015 Poll: 70% of American Women Who Have Abortions Identify As Christian

By and large, though, most churches are pro-life, not pro-choice.

At one point in this essay, Sheehan says that although she and her male friend were not having sex, that due to being constantly suspected and accused of having sex by Christians at her church, is actually what in large measure drove her and her boyfriend to become sexually active with one another.

Major irony there. Or maybe not…

As I have said time and again at my blog, most Christians, just like secular culture, just blindly assumes that celibacy is impossible for anyone over the age of 25 or so, and that it is impossible for men and women to be platonic friends.

It is entirely possible for men and women to remain friends, and it is entirely possible for an adult to stay celibate for months or years at a time.

I have also explained before, in previous posts, that one reason there is so much fornication among Christian singles is precisely because most Christians have such low expectations: they expect that single adults will, or have, had sex outside of marriage. It becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy quite often.

The couple discussed in this post were expected, assumed to be, and suspected by their fellow congregants of sleeping together; this couple got tired of being falsely accused, so they figured, well, we might as well have sex, since everyone is already assuming we are and harassing us over it.

I also notice that one reason this woman’s husband, who was a Christian at one time, but is now an atheist or agnostic, began losing his faith over how miserably his grief (over the death of his father) was mishandled by Christians.

Oh yes, I relate: after my family member’s passing a few years ago, rather than receiving love, empathy, and encouragement from Christians in my family or churches I went to, I instead received judgment, criticism, platitudes, or indifference. This in turn is one of several things that caused me to partially leave the Christian faith.

One of a few things that caused Sheehan to leave the faith is over how one church she attended mishandled her abusive marriage – her priest told her to stay with the abusive husband.

This advice is also usually given in Baptist or Protestant situations. Christians often put keeping an (abusive) marriage before the welfare of the two persons who comprise the marriage.

Abused wives are usually instructed to stay with the abusive spouse and submit to the abuser more, or just pray about things. None of this resolves the situation but actually prolongs it.

I am not surprised in light of all the insensitive treatment that she and her husband endured at the hands of other believers, that they both developed major doubts about Christianity and walked away from it.

There were a few supportive comments to the woman who wrote this, in the comments area under the essay, but there were also a lot of hateful, judgmental, or naive posts left to her by Christians.

There were also a few annoying posts by atheists who were just there to say “all religion is idiotic, there is no God” to any of the well-meaning, yet naive Christians who were telling her to hold on to the faith, in spite of the Christians who had been mean to her at her prior churches.

Honestly, I wish those types of atheists would refrain from posting under articles like this one by Sheehan. I find their opportunistic, anti-theism drivel and rants to be about as bad as the nasty posts by the Christians who scolded Sheehan for leaving Christianity.

(Link): Leaving Christianity gave me the fairy-tale ending I always wanted 

  • Divorce and pre-marital sex destroyed my relationship with Christianity by T. Sheehan
  • My family has always been part of the Catholic Church, including being actively involved in fighting for those beliefs in Ireland and France through the centuries. It is all I knew and I never imagined a life without it. Even in today’s permissive society, divorce is still a huge don’t in the Catholic Church.

    When my priest advised me to stay in an abusive marriage rather than lose access to the Catholic religion, I stayed — until my husband left me for one of the many women he had been seeing.

    I went back to my priest for help but instead found myself without a church.

    Confused and directionless, I ended up seeking help at a Word of Faith Christian Church in Texas.

    Although the church and I both believed in Jesus, the similarities ended there. Everything was so different from what I had grown up with, it made the transition very difficult.

    They kept trying to break down my identity by using scripture to suggest that everything about me, from Catholicism to my Irish culture, was evil and against God. It was like going through spiritual boot camp as they attempted to rebuild me into a person that could gain access to heaven.

    During my time there, I met my current husband. He was also having a tough time as his father had died suddenly the year before, causing him to question the church he had been raised in and even the existence of God due to how they handled his grief.

    We became really good friends who spent hours talking as we each struggled with our sheltered worlds collapsing around us, no matter how hard we tried to fight to keep the walls intact.

    The damage in our lives, caused by blind devotion to a religion, forced us to question all the truths we had been raised to believe.

    Continue reading “Leaving Christianity gave me the fairy-tale ending I always wanted / Divorce and pre-marital sex destroyed my relationship with Christianity by T. Sheehan”

Unanswered Prayer and Diversity of Doctrine and Biblical Intepretation (podcasts)

Unanswered Prayer and Diversity of Doctrine (podcasts)

I was going over some of the other broadcasts of the Christian apologetics show “Unbelieveable” when I saw at least two topics that I’ve addressed on my own blog before.

A couple of problems I’ve been having with the Christian faith, among several, are unanswered prayer and the fact that Christians cannot agree on what the Bible says, how to implement what it says.

I wonder what the point is in having a book that is supposedly written by God, if those who say they believe in that book (and who say that they believe in that same God) never- the- less do not agree on what the book teaches, and that some of them use that book to justify abusing people (financially, sexually, emotionally, physically).

You would think if God wrote a book (through men or otherwise) that he would make all of that book’s points abundantly clear so that his followers would not mess things up and get into prolonged disagreements about what the book means or how to carry out that book’s teachings.

I also note that Christians who defend prayer try to “explain away” what the biblical text says about prayer.

Jesus does in fact say in one or more of the Gospels that what ever you ask for in his name he will do – but as quasi-Christians like myself point out to the true believers, many times, your prayers will go unanswered, to which they reply, well, Jesus did not REALLY mean to say that whatever you ask for in his name will come to pass.

Here are the links to the podcasts:

(Link):  Does prayer make sense? David Wilkinson vs Ed Atkinson – PODCAST

(Link):   Can Christianity be true if Christians can’t agree on doctrine? Andrew Whyte vs Nabeel Qureshi – PODCAST

The ex-Christian guy who is on that show who argues that the conflicting interpretations of the faith and the Bible are problematic for Christianity, or may imply that Christianity is false, has a You Tube channel where he makes videos on this topic. Here it is:

After listening to both those podcasts a couple of days ago, I was not completely satisfied with the responses given to the skeptics by the Christians.

It seems to me that some Christians really under-estimate how damaging some of these particular doubts or criticisms of the faith really are.

Despite that, both shows were still interesting to listen to, and I related to what the ex-Christians or the skeptics were saying.

—–

Here are previous posts I’ve blogged about these subjects before:

Diversity of Interpretation:

(Link): Christians Who Can’t Agree on Who The Old Testament Is For and When or If It Applies

(Link): More Musings about Applicability of the Old Testament, Via One Man’s Testimony About Jeremiah 29:11

(Link): Christians Once Again Trying to Explain Who The Bible’s Promises Are For – TGC Article

(Link): Pat Robertson Contradicts Himself On Healing and God’s Will

Unanswered Prayer:

(Link): Critique of Pastor Groeschel’s “I Want to Believe But…” Sermon Series

(Link):  How to Deal with Unanswered Prayers via Pastor Bil Cornelius 

(Link): Christian Viewer Expresses Disappointment in God, Wants To Know Why, In Spite of Years of Service, God is Not Helping Him

(Link): Joanne The Widow Lady Wants to Know Why God Didn’t Answer Her Prayer to Keep her Husband With Her

(Link):   When All We Hear from God is Silence by Diane Markins

(Link):   Gordon Robertson’s Quasi Insensitive or Lacking Advice to Cancer Patient / Unanswered Prayer / Christians should just sometimes admit They Do Not Know

(Link): Blaming the Christian for His or Her Own Problem or Unanswered Prayer / Christian Codependency

(Link): On Prayer and Christ’s Comment to Grant You Anything You Ask in His Name

(Link): Gary Habermas joins Janet to discuss dealing with doubt in the Christian life (Re: Unanswered Prayer)

(Link):  When you show God you don’t want it, that’s when God will give it to you – according to Joel Osteen – I disagree

Additional:

(Link):  Gallup: Record Low 24% Believe Bible Is Literal Word of God (May 2017)

Some of My Thoughts Regarding ‘Why do evangelicals lose their faith?’ – Podcast by Unbelievable

Some of My Thoughts Regarding ‘Why do evangelicals lose their faith?’ – Podcast by Unbelievable 

The other day, I posted this (part 1 to this post):

I have re-listened to the podcast this evening and wanted to comment on some of what I heard.

In the program, there is a guy named Rodney who was once a conservative Christian, who drifted into liberal theology, and who now says he has a “deistic philosophy” and he says he is “agnostic about most religious questions.”

He says he has same sex attraction, and was put off to Christianity for (among other reasons):

How American conservative Christianity tends to over-identify with, or promote, the Republican Party (right wing American party), and that some preachers are too condemning of homosexual persons.

Rodney also says he does not accept the notion of an eternal Hell.

A few times, Rodney mentions that he has a deist- like view of God. He thinks all of us humans are rats, the earth is a big laboratory, and God is a scientist in a white lab coat observing us all but not intervening.

Rodney thinks if God is involved with human life, that God should do things like cause all members of ISIS (terrorist group) to drop dead of heart attacks. He does not believe that God helps people to pass school tests, find parking spaces, or cures diseases.

The show had a Christian author and guest on named Os, who replied to some of Rodney’s points.

_Some of my thoughts on the show and the topics Rodney raised._

1.) Politics and Liberal Vs Conservative Christianity

I am right wing politically and have been a Republican (GOP) my entire life.

I have very large misgivings about the GOP the last few years, though, so I’m not totally sure where I stand politically, though I do not ever see myself becoming a liberal or a Democrat.

I do agree with Rodney that too many conservative Christians conflate Christianity with the Republican party.

But then, a lot of liberal Christians or liberal Christian denominations entwine a lot of liberal beliefs and causes with the faith too, (such as support of abortion, the Democratic Party, liberalism, and homosexual marriage).

Continue reading “Some of My Thoughts Regarding ‘Why do evangelicals lose their faith?’ – Podcast by Unbelievable”

A Prayer for When You Are Waiting on the Lord by C. Fox

A Prayer for When You Are Waiting on the Lord by C. Fox

Minor Blog Update:

  • I am not sure how much blogging I will be doing from here on out. I have some things going on.
  • I had something kind of crummy and stressful happen a few days ago, and something stressful may be coming up for me in a few months time, though I’m not sure about that.
  • I am not sure how often I will be on my Twitter page ((Link): About My Twitter Page). I might be able to Tweet more than I blog, I don’t know, since Tweeting doesn’t usually involve as much effort as posting a blog page.

Anyway. I just saw this page.  Most of this was pretty good.

(Link): A Prayer for When You Are Waiting on the Lord by C. Fox

Here are some excerpts:

  • Are you currently in a place of waiting? Perhaps you are waiting for a job, for healing, for restoration in a relationship, or for wisdom to know where you should go next.That place of waiting is a place we are all familiar with.
  • It’s a place we find ourselves in often over the course of our lives.
  • Though it’s a familiar place and one we know well, we can often grow wearing in our waiting. Sometimes our hearts grow heavy with worry and doubt. Sometimes we might wonder if God has forgotten about us or given up on us.
  • The Psalmist knew that place of waiting as well. His cry of “How long, O LORD? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me? (13:1) is one that resonates with our own heart. The Psalmist cried out to God in (Link): prayer and so should we. If you are in a place of waiting, this prayer is for you.
  • Father in Heaven,
  • I come before you with my heart filled with so many different thoughts and feelings. I am tense and uncertain about what I should be doing and where I should go. I feel weak and helpless. Powerless. I am worried about what happens next and whether I have the strength to handle it. Deep down I wonder, how long will I be here? Will I be stuck in this place of waiting forever?
  • And why am I here to begin with? What’s happening, Lord? But most of all, I wonder, where are you? Why haven’t you responded to my cries for help?
  • But even as I pray that, I know you are right where you’ve always said you would be. You’ve never left me and you will never forsake me.

Continue reading “A Prayer for When You Are Waiting on the Lord by C. Fox”