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”

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Secular Liberal Author Doesn’t Think A Woman Choosing to Be Celibate is A Form of Feminism – Especially if Motivated in Part by Religious Convictions

Secular Liberal Author Doesn’t Think A Woman Choosing to Be Celibate is A Form of Feminism – Especially if Motivated in Part by Religious Convictions

This is another one of those posts I didn’t want to write.

Previously, I blogged about this:

(Link): I’m a 32-Year-Old Virgin, and I’m Living the Feminist Dream by K. Bryan

This editorial by Bryan, which was originally published on The  Washington Post, did not sit well with writer Aimée Lutkin over at left wing feminist site Jezebel. Lutkin spends much of her post summarizing Bryan’s editorial.

Here are excerpts from Lutkin’s piece,
(Link): Purity Culture May Get You What You Want, But That Doesn’t Make It Feminist

Being happy and fulfilled and a woman at the same time does not automatically make one a feminist.

….Considering Bryan’s scholarly pursuits and her immersion in purity culture, it seems likely that her choices are influenced more by her Catholicism than the fight for equality between the sexes.

But hey, if Bryan feels free to disregard the needs of men to pursue goals like learning to scull on the Potomac and working a job she says is the best she’s had in her life, perhaps she has achieved her idea of equality through sexual abstinence.

In a world that frequently feels like it specifically wants to make women miserable, feeling some measure of happiness as an independent woman is a triumph. But although equality is a kind of triumph, triumph is not necessarily equality. Bryan says:

…Personally, my feminist dream definitely includes lots of consensual, joyful, sexual congress outside of marriage, without shame or religious condemnation, but we’re all dreaming a different dream.

Regarding this comment by Lutkin:

But hey, if Bryan feels free to disregard the needs of men…

I’m sorry, but what? Since when is sex a “need,” and who of the female sex cares if men are going without sex? Women are not obligated to give men sex to meet their supposed “need for sex.”

I thought feminists fought against men objectifying women to be used as sex objects? I thought feminists at Jezebel like to say, “Men, we don’t care about your boners.” Now, here we have a feminist writer at Jezebel telling women that they really need to care about men’s boners.

I note that left wing feminists are arrogant enough to think they alone get to determine and define for other women what feminism is.

Continue reading “Secular Liberal Author Doesn’t Think A Woman Choosing to Be Celibate is A Form of Feminism – Especially if Motivated in Part by Religious Convictions”

The Rebel Virgins and Desert Mothers Who Have Been Written Out of Christianity’s Early History by A. Mar

The Rebel Virgins and Desert Mothers Who Have Been Written Out of Christianity’s Early History by A. Mar

(Link): The Rebel Virgins and Desert Mothers Who Have Been Written Out of Christianity’s Early History by A. Mar

Excerpts:

I. From Silk Robes to Hairshirts

When Jerome, the Catholic priest and scholar, arrived in Rome in the middle of the fourth century, he discovered a circle of noblewomen living in elaborate homes on the Aventine Hill who were nothing like their neighbors.

They’d given up their silk clothes and pearl earrings, the hairstyles and rouge and musk, even bathing, as signs of vanity, and were now wearing coarse robes made of goat’s hair. They stayed almost entirely in their houses, fasting and praying, discussing Scripture; in secret, they might visit a nearby basilica or martyr’s tomb.

They never allowed themselves to rest on couches or cushions of any kind, and at night they slept on thin mats on the floor— though they hardly slept, spending those hours, instead, crying and praying.

Most importantly, these women—some of them widows, some only recently of marrying age, all converts to Christianity—had each taken a vow of chastity.

…Many of the female leaders of Christianity—in the Catholic Church in particular, with its 1.25 billion followers around the world—are barred from being fully ordained and are closely overseen by men. But this was not always the case. Scores of early Christian women—like Marcella, the desert-dwelling Susan, or the scholars Melania and Paula— embraced radical lives, helping the young religion fan out across the Roman Empire and beyond.

Continue reading “The Rebel Virgins and Desert Mothers Who Have Been Written Out of Christianity’s Early History by A. Mar”

Remarried couples should abstain from sex, Philadelphia Catholic church says

Remarried couples should abstain from sex, Philadelphia Catholic church says

Are they serious? Are they on crack cocaine?

(Link): Remarried couples should abstain from sex, Philadelphia Catholic church says

(Link):

  • Archbishop Charles Chaput also stated that gay Catholics should also ‘live chastely’ in new rules issued after Pope Francis urged more acceptance of others
  • Catholics in Philadelphia who are divorced and civilly remarried will be welcome to accept Holy Communion – as long as they abstain from sex and live out their relationships like “brother and sister”.

Continue reading “Remarried couples should abstain from sex, Philadelphia Catholic church says”

Non-Romantic Nearness, The Billy Graham Rule, and Pope John Paul’s Friendship With a Married Woman

Non-Romantic Nearness, The Billy Graham Rule, and Pope John Paul’s Friendship With a Married Woman

Apparently, Pope John Paul II had a long term, platonic friendship with a married woman named Anna-Teresa Tymieniecka.

First, I will list an assortment of news articles summarizing the former Pope’s relationship with this woman –

And then I will link to (much farther down this page) a really good blog post by a Christian, Dan J. Brennan, who criticizes other Christians who sexualize all male-female relationships or who discourage male-female friendship. He is against the BGR (Billy Graham Rule), which teaches Christian men to sexually objectify ALL women, even celibate Christian women and keep single women at arm’s length.

(Link):  Pope John Paul II secret letters: Pontiff’s deep affection for Anna-Teresa Tymieniecka revealed

Feb 15, 2016

  • Letters shown to the BBC by the National Library of Poland have revealed an intense 30-year relationship between former Pope, John Paul II, and philosopher, Anna-Teresa Tymieniecka. There is no suggestion the late pontiff broke his vow of celibacy with Tymieniecka, a married woman.

Continue reading “Non-Romantic Nearness, The Billy Graham Rule, and Pope John Paul’s Friendship With a Married Woman”

If condoms are OK for Zika, why not Aids, Pope Francis? by B. Ellen

If condoms are OK for Zika, why not Aids, Pope Francis? by B. Ellen

This editorial: “If condoms are OK for Zika, why not Aids, Pope Francis? by B. Ellen is farther down the page.

I have explained before on this blog that I am not Roman Catholic, and that I disagree with their theology (ie, their rejection of sola fide, sola scriptura, etc).

However, I find that Protestant attitudes on topics sometimes parallel what Roman Catholics (specifically, the Pope) says or thinks, so I do occasionally post about sexuality, dating, marriage, etc, as it intersects Roman Catholicism.

There are some Baptists and Protestants who seem to feel that the only purpose for sex is for pro-creation. If I am not mistaken, that is the Roman Catholic position on sex as well – all sex is supposedly meant to create pregnancy, that a person isn’t to have sex just for the sheer enjoyment of the act. I disagree.

Anyway, I found this interesting. Some in the media are framing the current Pope as saying it’s acceptable for women to use birth control rather than risk getting pregnant and having a fetus with Zika.

I find this a bit confusing, as a p_r_o_Life Twitter page I follow, which is Roman Catholic, if I am not mistaken, believes that a celibate woman is just as bad as a woman who gets an abortion.

These types of P_r_o_Life Catholics really feel it is a woman’s DUTY or only value in life to have a baby – it’s absolutely contrary to what the Bible teaches and is incredibly sexist. I have blogged on that before here:

(Link):  Pope suggests contraceptives could be used to slow spread of Zika

  • (CNN) Pope Francis suggested that contraceptives may be used to prevent the spread of the Zika virus, despite the church’s longstanding ban on most forms of birth control.

Continue reading “If condoms are OK for Zika, why not Aids, Pope Francis? by B. Ellen”

Facebook’s motherhood challenge makes me want to punch my computer screen by F. Everett

Facebook’s motherhood challenge makes me want to punch my computer screen by F. Everett

I am friends with people on Facebook who have told me in private that their mother friends – one lady is Facebook friends with a sister of hers who has three kids – are actually terrible parents in real life.

Yet, these same terrible mothers who blather on about how wonderful their children are when they are on Facebook, who post scads of posts of their smiling kids, yell and scream at the kids in real life – or neglect them.

Remember that every time you see posts by parents on Facebook, with their sweet family snaps, who are bragging about their children. They are often times selectively editing their social media to present a glossy, happy version of their life that may not be real most of the time.

(Link):  Facebook’s motherhood challenge makes me want to punch my computer screen by F. Everett

(Link): Mommy Blogger Confesses in Blog Post that Mommy Blogging is a Bunch of Fake, Happy-Clappy B.S. – Kind of Like Most Christian Adult Singleness Blogs

  • Of course it’s meant to be a bit of fun, but this smug club fetishises motherhood, and creates a new way to measure women and find them wanting
  • There are certain phrases that make my heart sink. After “Can I be really honest?” and “Mind if I join you, ladies?” the latest to engender a sense of creeping misery must surely be (Link):Facebook motherhood challenge.Of uncertain origin, this viral “challenge” demands that mothers post a series of pictures that make them “proud to be a mum” and then tag other women who they think are “great mothers”.
  • Many of my friends have done this, bouncily posting shots of themselves with interchangeable babies, all of whom look like glow-worms in padded snowsuits, and tagging whole lists of other “awesome mums” inviting them to do the same.
  • And while I fully understand that they have no intention of hurting anyone, that they are simply happy to have their wonderful children, #blessed, #lovinglife and so on, I still want to punch the screen of my computer in whenever a new one pops up.
  •  The most offensive aspect of this is the idea that it’s a “challenge” at all.
  • A challenge is coping with grief when you wish you were dead, or pushing your mind and body to the limit in a feat of superhuman endurance. It’s not posting a few snaps of your toddler and waiting for your friends to type “aw gorgeous hun xxx” underneath. And it’s unclear whether the challenge in question is to prove what a great mother you are, or merely to challenge your friends to prove that they are too.
  •  This insidious idea of (Link): motherhood as a beatific vocational calling began with the Virgin Mary, and reached its peak with the Victorian notion of “the angel of the hearth”, when mothers who didn’t have to work, and had nannies and housekeepers and nursery maids rushing about looking after their children, were depicted as celestial beings radiating goodness, their sole purpose on Earth to gather little children to their rustling taffeta bosoms and gently instruct them.

Continue reading “Facebook’s motherhood challenge makes me want to punch my computer screen by F. Everett”

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”

Christian Publication Seems To Take Stance Against Uterus Transplants

Christian Publication Seems To Take Stance Against Uterus Transplants

This page appears on Christian news site, World.

(Link):  Will uterus transplants eventually violate all natural boundaries?

  • The Cleveland Clinic this month (Link): announced it would begin a clinical trial of uterus transplants—taking uteri from dead women and transplanting them into healthy women in their twenties and thirties who have ovaries but lack a uterus (an uncommon problem accounting for 3 percent of female infertility).

I would take it that the publication is against the idea of women getting a uterus transplant. It is again, a Christian magazine.

I have no idea why Christians are so hypocritical on this matter, that they pressure and shame women into having children, yet, if a woman has problems conceiving, they condemn her for availing herself of medical technology to help.

I wrote of this topic more here, in an earlier blog post:

(Link):  Hypocrisy: Conservative Christians / Catholics Pressure Women To Feel Their Only Worth is in Becoming Mothers, But If Women Try to Use Medical Technology to Get Pregnant, the Women Are Condemned by The Same Groups

———————–

Related:

(Link):   Marriage, Parenthood, Judgment by Christians and Non Christians – You Can’t Win No Matter What Choice You Make

(Link): Praying for a Child – The Catholic Church makes life impossible for infertile women.

(Link):  A Woman’s Fertility is Her Own Business, not Everyone Else’s by L. Bates

(Link): Baby Making Fixation at Christianity Today Magazine Online – Shaming Women For Not Procreating, or For Delaying Motherhood, or For Limiting the Number of Children

(Link):  Hypocrisy in Christian Culture – Those who idolize parenting chide infertiles for trying to have kids

(Link):  “Who is my mother and who are my brothers?” – one of the most excellent Christian rebuttals I have seen against the Christian idolatry of marriage and natalism, and in support of adult singleness and celibacy – from CBE’s site

(Link): Pro-Life, Yet Anti-Celibacy, Anti-Childless Christian Site Tweets Story about Mother Who Slit New Born Infant Son’s Throat to Save Her Sex Life (Christians equating single or childless / childfree women to women who murder their babies)

(Link): Pro-Life, Christian Sites that Flirt With Denigrating Singleness and Childlessness In Their Quest to Argue Against Abortion / Re Eric Metaxas etc

(Link): Renting a Womb – Women Reduced to Baby Breeders (editorial from CP)

(Link):  Remaining childless can be wise and meaningful. The pope should know Gaby Hinsliff

(Link): Christians Advise Singles To Follow Certain Dating Advice But Then Shame, Criticize, or Punish Singles When That Advice Does Not Work

(Link):  Why do we still have to justify the choice to be child-free? by H. Freeman

(Link):  Are Marriage and Family A Woman’s Highest Calling? by Marcia Wolf – and other links that address the Christian fallacy that a woman’s most godly or only proper role is as wife and mother

Remaining childless can be wise and meaningful. The pope should know – by Gaby Hinsliff

Remaining childless can be wise and meaningful. The pope should know Gaby Hinsliff

Yes, the pope was at it again, shaming and criticizing people who are childless or child free. Here are one or two rebuttals.

(Link): Dear Pope Francis: Not having kids IS selfish … and that’s ok.

(Link): Remaining childless can be wise and meaningful. The pope should know by Gaby Hinsliff

Excerpts (if you want to read the entire piece, please use the link above)

  • Feb 2015

Christians Who Take the Bible Literally Cannot Agree On Much of Anything

Christians Who Take the Bible Literally Cannot Agree On Much of Anything 

This is a page that touches on a topic I’ve brought up on my blog a time or two.

(Link):  Unpublished: Being Biblical Means Being Doctrinally Tolerant

The author of that ‘Unpublished’ page mentions Roman Catholicism.

As much as I consider the constant Protestant and Baptist disagreement over certain things in the Bible problematic, I don’t think the solution is becoming Roman Catholic and accepting that their Pope’s ex cathedra statements or their Magisterium is the answer.

Catholics, for one, get all sorts of things wrong – they believe that Mary was bodily assumed into Heaven; they believe that praying to or for the dead is acceptable; they believe in the perpetual virginity of Mary; they believe in Transubstantiation; they reject that salvation is by faith alone – all sorts of wrong things.

Then Roman Catholics tack on 3 or 4 books (called the Apocrypha) to the Jewish and Protestant canon to “prove” to the Protestants that yes, they have “biblical” support for some of their weird doctrines.

Although the Vatican tells Catholics that birth control is wrong and bad, and that pro-life is the way to go, I have seen many news reports that American Roman Catholic women get abortions and use birth control.

Several years ago, I even saw websites by American Roman Catholics who say they support the legalization of abortion. Catholics are not in unity – not even in doctrine, so I do wish they’d stop lobbing this accusation at Protestants, as though the RC is any better.

Their Pope and Magisterium can sit there all day long and claim that the official Roman Catholic stance on Topic X is “blah blah whatever,” but that doesn’t mean the rank and file Catholics are going to agree with it, or follow that doctrine or rule. Because sometimes they don’t.

I do by and large still believe the Bible should be taken literally – as opposed to the liberal Christians who treat the Bible with extreme skepticism or who act like it’s okay to treat the Bible as though it’s silly putty and warp it any way they want – but I do acknowledge some of the points raised in this page:

(Link):  Unpublished: Being Biblical Means Being Doctrinally Tolerant

Excerpts:

  • People who claim to literally interpret the inspired and inerrant Word of God do not agree on what the bible says.
  • Christian Smith calls this “pervasive interpretive pluralism.” And this pervasive interpretive pluralism isn’t just found among progressives and liberals. It is found among evangelicals and fundamentalists, among the very people who claim that they are reading the bible very, very literally.
  • Pervasive interpretive pluralism exists among biblical literalists.
  • Which brings us to the problem at the heart of Protestantism.
  • The problem at the heart of Protestantism is that the bible is unable to produce consensus. This isn’t a theological claim. This is an empirical fact.
  • Sola scriptura produces pluralism. The “bible alone” creates doctrinal diversity. Biblical literalism proliferates churches.
  • The alternative is to be delusional, pretending that opening the bible brings everyone to a consensus. Unfortunately, that just doesn’t happen.

Continue reading “Christians Who Take the Bible Literally Cannot Agree On Much of Anything”