I am an Ex-Christian.
Although the faithful undoubtedly insist that I must have never been a sincere follower of Christ, I know in my heart that this is not true.
I embraced the Faith early in childhood, and continued well into middle-aged adulthood. I felt intuitively that there was something more to life, and assumed that religion had the answers that I sought.
I don’t feel that Christianity failed me. Within its tenets, one can find a great deal of cohesiveness and belonging. Unlike the proponents of hard-core atheism (which is actually materialism), I never experienced a lack of supernatural presence. Prayer actually works quite powerfully, and there is much more to life then the temporal senses can discern.
My problem with Christianity developed because I continued to ponder several deep philosophical questions, and it eventually became apparent that religion could not provide the answers. Like a character in the Star Trek Next Generation series who breaks through the wall of the Holodeck simulation and discovers a different level of reality, I began to break through layers of circular theological reasoning. Reality suddenly shifted and the landscape looked much different.
Perhaps my biggest shock was the discovery that Christianity is a fabricated, cobbled-together religion, based on a composite mixture of preexisting mystery schools and questionable historical events in 1st century Palestine.
How could we have missed this obvious fact? How could millions of followers live and die for this faith based on falsehoods and myths? The closer one looks at the evidence, the more compelling it becomes. We have been sold a bill of goods.
The answer to how we were misled lies in the pervasiveness of circular reasoning and the sheer weight of centuries of reinforcement. Humans are born with an intuitive sense that reality stretches beyond the physical, and religion appears to fill the gaps in understanding. Many want their answers delivered as a complete package, which they never question.
As stated earlier, I am far from a materialist. Leaving Christianity has only strengthened my embrace of spirituality. And so, another shocking realization eventually dawned on me: Christianity is not particularly spiritual. Not only that, but insofar as we experience the duality of “good” versus “evil” on the physical plane, Christianity often appears to show up on the “dark” side of things. Despite claiming to oppose evil, Christian teaching and practice often embraces violence, fear and many things that spiritual individuals intuitively shun. At the core is the teaching that humans are born sinful, and must depend on a bloody human sacrifice to avoid the angry eternal punishment of a vengeful God.
Satanists are said to practice animal or even human sacrifice. Christians rightly condemn such practice as hideously evil, but such is the delusional power of religion to blind them to the fact that such practice is at the core of their biblical teaching. What kind of a God would be driven by anger and vengeance to instruct his followers to slaughter innocent animals on an altar? What kind of reasoning is behind the mythos of this God finding it necessary to sacrifice his “only begotten son” in order to pardon his children from fiery destruction?
The Old Testament is filled with brutal accounts of genocide and butchery that were supposedly commanded by God. Modern theology contorts into knots trying to reconcile the disparate portions of scripture into a harmonious and consistent belief system. Despite the intense circular reasoning, our innate intuition eventually begins to question the violent nonsense. An archetypal knowing tells us that God is love and light, so how to reconcile the dark, violent brutality ascribed to God in the Bible?
With the violent history behind it, it is not surprising that Christianity has spawned violence on many occasions. Burning heretics and “witches” at the stake are natural outcomes of a belief in an angry, vengeful God. This God not only condones it, but expects and requires it! Modern Islamic extremism only follows along the same logical path due to its common roots with Judeo-Christianity.
So how did God ever get cast as the angry deity that enjoys casting lightning bolts down on hapless people? We must take into account that modern civilization developed in the midst of a spiritually dark and primitive age. Earth has seen many civilizations rise and fall, and some ages in the distant past experienced a much higher level of spiritual awareness. During the present dark age, mankind has forgotten not only our glorious past, but our vast potential as souls encased in human flesh. Our present western culture has developed almost exclusively around the concept of materialism, which has its own problems.
Earlier on, religion filled a human need by promulgating teaching about a powerful deity that explained life in a general way. This deity had both good and evil attributes, to reflect the many contrasts experienced in life. Rain might fall on the crops one year, and a burning sun might scorch crops the next. If God were thought of as all love and light, how does one explain the tragedies and dramas of life?
Political leaders have long seen the value of religion to control the populace. By offering a system of appeasement to the powerful deity in the sky, people can be conditioned to follow whatever rules are put in place. But stray from the straight and narrow, then look out! Then it follows that sinners deserve their punishment, and thus developed the concept of sin and redemption. Follow the rules and abide by the ecclesiastical establishment, and the believer is assured of salvation.
But what if that’s not how it really works…