Posts Tagged ‘Church’

I enjoy philosophical riddles, and I spend far too less time working on them. The reasons do not matter. I am confronted with one riddle in particular day in and day out… Why have I not or cannot kill myself?

I have gone through my fair share of suffering, and for most of my life battled with the will and desire to no longer be alive. I have many times and still want to die. I do not want to exist. So why at this moment with how I feel and have felt I must ask myself. Why am I breathing and writing this?

This has been a philosophical puzzle that has plagued and tortured me. I have come up with many theories, reasons, and excuses for why I have not.

No point in running the list. What I came up with and I feel so blind for not figuring this out. Its our primal directive to survive. Its ingrained within us and drives everything. This directive is so powerful that I cannot overcome or find the courage to end my suffering.

To me logic and reason would dictate that ending suffering is the only thing that makes sense. Every other theory I have ever had about why I am still alive stems from this roadblock.

How can this override clear logic and reason of not wanting to suffer? How can this seed allow us to self deceive ourselves against the logical course of action. How and at what point can this will be broken down?

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I don’t want any of my regular readers to freak out but I am going to think like a Christian for a moment. I have always pondered on when, why, and how our country started falling apart. I am pondering this question and some verses from Proverbs stuck into my head. This got me thinking about God, and the role he played in peoples lives many years ago. The people who founded this country were religious God fearing people. Although they believed there should be a wall of separation between religion and the government; most of them were still god fearing people. Our ancestors passed on this love and worship of God unto their children, and they passed it onto their children. Using God as the foundation for our nation and everything she stood for is what made us great. We lived by the commandments of God, and followed His teachings.

“The light of the righteous shines brightly, but the lamp of the wicked is snuffed out”

Proverbs chapter 13 verse 9

Years ago a population of our people were not happy that God was still in our government and in our schools. They believed this impeded on their 1st amendment rights to religious freedom. The people demanded the wall of separation between church and state be enforced. Many were unhappy prayers were still going on in schools, while others were unhappy religious principles and such were used in government. I have always thought this was one of the greatest things to happen, but in looking through the eyes of a Christian I can see how this decision has altered our country.

“If you forsake the LORD and serve foreign gods, he will turn and bring disaster on you and make an end of you, after he has been good to you.”

Joshua chapter 24 verse 20

We as a nation have turned our back on the Lord by throwing him out of our government and our schools. This got me thinking about two verses in Proverbs. In the book of Proverbs it gives many lessons on how to live a just and righteous life. I compare Proverbs to the Tao Te Ching because of the philosophical and moral guidelines it gives the reader on how to act and behave. I do not remember every single chapter and verse but there are two I remember which are pertinent to this post the first is Proverbs chapter 14 verse 34 “Righteousness exalts a nation If righteousness causes a nation to be powerful and right in the eyes of the Lord then surely unrighteousness will destroy it.

“But rebels and sinners will both be broken, and those who turn their backs on the LORD will perish.”

Isaiah chapter 1 verse 28

There are many out there who believe the origin of the downfall of this nation started when we turned our backs on God. We were once a God fearing nation, because of this we were the greatest nation in history. I am trying to view this conception through the eyes of a Christian and to be honest with you I can see some truth in this. In this mind frame I am apt to believe the separation between church and state is the work of Satan. Thinking this way I can see how Satan has infiltrated our country. I also he infiltrated our churches by changing the Sabbath from the seventh day to the first day. In doing this we are breaking one of the commandments on a weekly basis. I think this is another way Satan has deceived us.

“If you seek him, he will be found by you; but if you reject him, he will reject you forever.”

Chronicles 1 chapter 28 verse 9

Have we written our own death sentence by turning our back on the Lord? Have we led our children into a life of sin, by keeping God away from them? There was a time when America had the best schools; since we have restricted the worship of God they have gone downhill. If we continued to teach our children about God, would we have had school shootings? We were once the mightiest nation in history, but could our downfall have to do with throwing God out of our government? There are many countries that have a separation between the church and the government. I would like to point out one that does not; Norway. I ask you this; when was the last time you heard about the moral decline of Norway. Have we allowed our people to become not right with God? If they continued to teach the Bible when I was in school would I be the cynic I am today? Would I be consumed with mental illness if I had someone or something to turn to? Have we taken the hand of the deceiver and allowed him to lead us astray? In the Bible it has many lessons for the glory the righteous will receive, and for the torment and despair the unrighteous will experience.

“For the LORD loves the just and will not forsake his faithful ones. They will be protected  forever, but the offspring of the wicked will be cut off;”

Psalms chapter 37 verse 28

Okay time to step back into my shoes. I am not a believer in the Bible, and I do not believe the words inside are the Word of God. I still have doubts if my beliefs are correct or not. I have seen shows on the Bible Code which makes me think. My father also tries to get me to read the prophecies to show me these things are coming true. I still find a sense of serenity when I read the word, but like I said before I feel the same way when I am studying the Tao or various other teachings. The seed of fear is still inside of me, that fear of eternal damnation. This was planted in me as a child, and still affects me till today. I wonder if I should be like millions of Christians out there who believe because they would rather be right and live in heaven then be wrong and spend an eternity in hell. I do not think this is the proper motive to worship God. I consider myself a Taoist who studies other religions for fun. In my life I have never felt better and whole then when I am studying the words in the Tao Te Ching. This is what fills that hole which is inside of all of us.  I must say though there are times I read the Bible and question myself on whether I have it all wrong. This doesn’t last for to long… or does it?

Every time I think I can no longer be surprised by my daughters’ mom Melissa Fleury, she proves to out due herself. This is the first time I have used her actual name in a post; as you know I have been lovingly referring to her as Satan. She was supposed to pick my daughter up for their four-hour visit two Sundays ago. It was my wife’s birthday weekend so we were not sure if the change would work or not. I told her I would let her know Sunday morning if we had a change in plans. I texted Satan in the morning letting her know she could take her. I never received a response back so I kept checking with my daughter to see if she had heard from her. It was getting close to the pick-up time so I decided to ask my daughter once again. She told me that her mom text her and can’t see her this week because she was up all night praying and is too tired to visit. Upon hearing this I was a bit shocked, but then started laughing over the absurdness of the excuse.

Melissa is a perfect example of religion gone wrong. She has always been in my opinion lacking normal intelligence. Because of this void of a brain it had been difficult dealing with her in the past, but once religion got a hold of her it totally twisted her up. Throughout the whole time she wasn’t seeing her daughter she often referred to how God was trying to “teach” my daughter a lesson by not allowing my daughter to see her and her sisters. She has referred to how she has been praying that our daughter would just admit that her husband was not mistreating her when in reality he had. It just amazes me how a semi-functional human being can be totally misguided by faith. She has gotten to the point of extremism.  

It is because of these things and others I had to stop them from talking on the phone without it being monitored. When she wrote her final letter to our daughter saying she was no longer going to see her anymore she stated how she had to pray really hard before the answer came (I am assuming from God) to her which was to no longer see her. I am not a Christian, but I am pretty sure God would not condone a mother abandoning her first-born daughter.

Either way this woman is insane. To say you cannot come and see your daughter because you are hung over from praying is just borderline psychotic. She still had to get up and take care of her other two daughters, but couldn’t take four hours out of her day to see her first-born child, which is much easier to care for then her younger daughters. The sad part is my daughter thought this was a normal acceptable excuse. I know she has come to grips with the fact that her mom is not a very good mom, but still. I think part of the reason she wasn’t coming was because there was a Green Bay Packer game on Sunday night. Her husband (Fuck Face) is from Wisconsin so he makes a big deal out of these games. I think he didn’t want to have to watch the girls so he made Melissa stay home. It has been one year and eight months since she has seen her sisters and this would have been a perfect time to allow her to see her them. I know my daughters’ youngest sister was just a baby the last time she saw her, and the other was only two. I am pretty sure they are unaware they even have a sister.

I am on the fence whether she was really up all night praying and was too tired to come and see her. The excuse just seems so out there and unbelievable… which is why I tend to believe it.

After Moses freed the people of Israel from Egypt; they sailed off into the sunset, embarking on a journey through the desert. They walked and walked and walked until they arrived at Mount Sinai. Moses took a trip up said mountain and was gone for forty days and forty nights. Upon his return he came down the mountain with the Ten Commandments carved into stone by Gods own finger. These Ten Commandments would become the list of religious and moral imperatives for those of the Jewish and Christian beliefs. The list is quaint yet eloquent. I have met people who believe the only laws God gave us were the Ten Commandments. This is not the case; God also gave us the “Book of the Covenant” which contains many more specific laws God gave us. I think the Ten Commandments became more popular among man because they were easier to remember and follow. The word “commandments” is mentioned numerous times in the Bible, and I do not feel they are just referring to the ten most popular ones. My father is the only person I have ever met who follows all of Gods laws; but I digress. My concern in relation to this post is how we consistently break the first Commandment. I am not talking about just those who believe differently, I am talking about those who follow the Christian and Catholic faiths.

The Ten Commandments are mentioned in Exodus 20:2-7 and in Deuteronomy 5:6-21. The first Commandment in Exodus 20:3-5 reads as follows:

3.Do not have any gods before me. 4. You shall not make for yourself an idol, whether in the form of anything that is in heaven above, or that is on the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. 5. You shall not bow down or worship them; for I the Lord your God am a jealous God.”

First I would like to point out the verbiage in this passage. It says no other ‘gods” before me. I take this as there being the possibility of other Gods out there. Which would make sense since the Tao gave birth to God, which means she could have given birth to multiple Gods. I was a bit offended by the lower case “g”.

To me this Commandment is pretty cut and dry. We should only worship and pray to one God. We should not construct any idols to worship. This is how God wanted us to be; but do we actually follow this? The answer to that question is a huge NO. Catholic churches pray and bow down to the Mother Mary, and many different Saints; where those of the Christian and Catholic faiths worship and pray to Jesus Christ. In every church I have ever been to (I didn’t start on fire after walking through the door) there was always a huge cross with Jesus perched upon it somewhere in the building. I don’t know about you, but to me this is worshiping a false idol. Not that Jesus was false, but that we have created and turned him into an idol we pray and worship to.

Matthew 15:9 “But in vein they do worship me, (Jesus) teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.”

I think what Jesus is saying is we would eventually get to a point where Christianity becomes more about Jesus than it does about God himself. There is a story somewhere in the Bible; I think in Exodus about two men who constructed this golden calf so they could use it as an alter to make sacrifices to God. Moses became angry and told them to step off of the golden calf because that constitutes worshiping false idols. I ask you this; what is the difference between this golden calf and all those Jesus, Saints, crosses, and Mother Mary’s statues in our churches? To me this sounds like worshiping false idols.

I tend to get confused a bit when reading the New Testament. I get the feeling that Jesus puts himself on an equal playing field as God, and insinuates he is one and the same. One of the many examples is in John 14:15 “If ye love me, keep my commandments.”  This was taken from a conversation with a man where Jesus clearly says the commandments are his commandments. There are other examples throughout the New Testament that brings up this strange concept. I understand Jesus is the son of God, but is by no means a God himself. An opposite example is in Mark 12:29 “and Jesus answered him the first of all commandments is hear, O Israel the Lord our God is one Lord.”  Jesus is telling this man that there is only one Lord, yet throughout the Bible Jesus is referred to as the Lord. I think this confusing duality is put to bed nicely in Revelation 14:12 “Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the Commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.” When it comes to this conundrum I have been speaking about this chapter and verse point out that God is supreme and his commandments should be followed, and we must also have the faith of Jesus in our hearts. Correct me if I am wrong but I believe before Jesus was Jesus he was the Word. If this is true and not a part of my imagination than these types of duality comments would make more sense.

For those of you out there who are of the Christian belief I ask you to sit down and meditate about this post. Ask yourself if we have gotten to the point where we have created false idols. If the answer is yes than you must reassess your beliefs a bit. If the answer is no; then at least you got fifteen minutes of quite time.

In life I am consumed with a lot of “why” questions. One of the biggest whys I think of is “why was religion created.” There are reasons and origins for everything in life, and our sacred texts are no different. Anthropologists and theologians have come up with many different theories for why people created religion. Two of the major reasons for the creation of religion are psychological and sociological. These two schools are different and tend to stand strong to their respective beliefs. I believe these two schools of thought are both correct, I just think psychological is the foundation of religion and sociological is build upon it. I will admit there are times I think sociological reasons come first, but I just can’t move past the powerful human psyche and our need to explain the unexplainable.

Sociological theories are rooted in the belief that religion was created not out of a psychological need, but for sociological purposes. This theory says that society creates beliefs to form the moral force of the human community. All sacred objects, beliefs, acts, and the intense emotions surrounding them, are outward expressions of inward social necessities. We can assume people would agree that murder is bad. Those in power will use whatever is necessary to explain why we should refrain from murder. The sociological theories state because the social necessity to keep everyone safe from murder; religion then creates laws against such actions. For example there are small villages in South America where they believe if you commit murder the soul of the murdered will haunt the murderer for eternity. For these tribes this is how they explain why murder is bad, and gives consequences if you break this community law. My argument is first there would have had to been the concept of the haunting soul before said soul could haunt. These types of ingrained beliefs do not just start overnight they take time to develop.

The psychological theory says that people created religion to fill a psychological need. One of the psychological schools of thought is the anxiety-reduction theories, which I believe is the root for why religion was created. There are two theories in particular I find interesting. The first is the awe theory. The awe theory says religious experience is in the nature of the case touched with intense feelings of the grandeur of the universe in relation to the self and of the vulnerability of the self in relation to the universe. This theory does very little to address the human morality concerns and instead try’s to make us seem significant in such a vast landscape. I think when people contemplate the vastness of the universe we are left with feeling very small and insignificant. Because of our massive egos we need to find justifications for why we are special. There are so many things we cannot begin to understand so we create a higher being that is responsible for such a mind boggling concept.

I do like the awe theory, but feel the confidence theory holds more weight. The confidence theory begins with a notion of mans inward sense of weakness, and especially of his fears of disease or death, of ill fortunes of all kinds and they see religious practices as designed to quiet such fears, either by explaining them away as doctrines of the afterlife, or by claiming to link the individual to external sources of strength as in prayer. I know from experience this theory holds the most weight. I have searched my entire life to find the answers to such fears. I have always said the fear of death and the unknown is at its very core the reason we create and adhere to such beliefs. I wonder how many people would seek salvation for their souls if they were not taught the alternative is to burn in eternal damnation. If we were raised in a society that taught once your journey in this body was complete then you just ceased to exist. If we were able to accept our morality would there be any need for God?  

In my opinion it is the chicken or the egg question. I do not think societal norms created religion, rather religion created the societal norms. Once the belief system is established the people fall in line with the doctrine from which they choose to follow. To prove this point one only needs to look at the Bible. First came God then came His laws.

My father came down to the cities a few weekends ago for a visit. I always enjoy when he comes down because we have some great theological and political discussions. He is one of the most intensely religious people I know. Our belief systems and political opinions are complete polar opposites. We will get into some heated arguments involving these subject.

My father is not your typical Christian. He is 100% against Sunday Christians, because he believes they have been deceived by Satan. He is very knowledgeable of the Word, and can repeat scriptures at the drop of the hat. He is a heavy dope smoker and is losing his memory so he can sometimes quote the same scriptures over and over again; which gets very annoying. He watches hours of evangelists on television finding various different ways to find out how they are not preaching what the Word really says. He will write letter after letter trying to show these churches the errors in their ways. He believes the seven letters referred to in Revelations is describing the major denominations out there. When he is not watching television preachers he is watching Fox News, and has some extreme political views as well with various different conspiracy theories, this also causes some heated debates.

On Saturday night he started to go off on his theory for why society has crumbled from within. He believes our downfall has to do when we threw God out of the schools and out of the government. He called us a Godless nation who has turned our backs on the Lord. Warning if we continue to turn our back on God; God will turn his back on us. I listened to his points of view as I always do. I would try to politely interject and give my views. Most of the times I do not bother because he refuses to let me finish a single thought. He is also completely unable to step out side of his belief system and look at things objectively.

It wasn’t until he brought up one of our major downfalls was our acceptance of homosexuality. He went on to say God hates the act, and compared our society to Sodom and Gomorrah. I immediately got filled with agitation, and could no longer hold my opinions back. I asked him why God would create a segment of the population he was predisposed to hate. He told me God does not hate the people he hates the act of homosexuality. I refrained my question asking him why God would create a segment of people who are predisposed to commit acts which he hates. His answer to me was people are not born gay; it is a learned behavior.

I had to scoff at this notion for the silliness it is. I tried to point out the existence of blatantly feminine men and obvious butch females. There is no way these are learned character traits. This has to be something these individuals are born with. We started to really get into it. He gave me the typical Sodom and Gomorrah references and said the famous quote “God made Adam and Eve; not Adam and Steve.”  

This is a great example of why I will never accept the existence of God into my life. The fact people can read a book which teaches them to love their fellow man, yet teaches intolerance over something as trivial as being gay is a complete joke. I do not understand why in this day and age we have had such an issue with gay people getting married. The fact we are still debating the don’t ask don’t tell policy in our military is a joke. I could understand his concern if homosexuals were running around ass raping straight men in the streets. This would cause huge issues and a concern to the public. The facts are these things do not happen in the real world. Gay people are not sexual deviants who are a risk to be free in our society. Our world will not be affected in any way if we allowed gay’s to get married. Gay people deserve the right to go die in unjust wars just as straight men do. These things are facts yet because a book has some references to this as being bad; it cause’s our society to tweak out over the subject. How can my fathers claim that God has been thrown out of the government be true when that very same government is making laws based on what the Bible says?

One final thought. The Bible says one of the reasons for the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah was homosexuality was running rampant. God decided he hated this place so much he would rain down fire and brimstone. The question I have is why has he refrained himself from destroying us? The fire and brimstone episode was not the only reference to God destroying his children for naughty behavior. Why are we not being destroyed now? This is one of my arguments against the existence of God.

I know I have expressed strong opinions on organized religion, and many of those opinions are harsh on the God of the Bible. Believe it or not I was not raised an atheist or taught to hate God; in fact I used to have a strong faith in God and his Word. My mother was not a religious woman to my knowledge and my step-father was Jewish, neither one projected their faiths upon their children. My father on the other hand was a devout born-again Christian. When he was around he would teach me His Word. I think because I saw so little of my father the time he would spend with me was the greatest, and if this is what made my dad happy then I knew it would make me happy if I believed and showed an interest in his passion. I would also go to a Baptist Church with my best friends parents on Sundays if we had a sleep-over, and later on when I moved in with them. I would eat up all the lessons they would teach me. I think at my age I was well versed in this religion. I was drawn into believing this religion in part because I feared going to hell, the unknown of death, and the comfort knowing there was someone looking out for my best interest. I never ask a thing from God, I believed in him without needing anything in return.

It wasn’t until I fell into despair and I called out His name, only to hear nothing in return. Things were rough with my stepdad; my father would be inconsistent in my life, and when I was moved around. This did not just happen once; it happened many times. I prayed for protection from my stepfather. I prayed to have my father in my life, and later prayed to be with my mother. As I continued to grow I prayed for reprieve from my mental illness, I prayed for relief from my inner suffering. I finally got tired of asking for shelter, and walked away. I figured either I was not worthy of his shelter, or he did not exist. If he existed and was allowing suffering to go on in my life and around the world; then I did not want to know such a God.

I still feared the great unknown of death; I feared the wraith of God, and being cast into a lake of fire. I started studying other religions; in fact it became an obsession of mine to find the truth. I think because of my rejection issues as a kid I took the rejection from God as the ultimate rejection. The more and more I would read the Bible I started to find holes in this belief system, perhaps it was my lack of faith, cynicism, or anger which turned me into an atheist.

If you read my book, you will see a lot of poems where even after all the disappointment and unanswered prayers I was still extending my hand to the lord; in hopes he would take my suffering away. Just like all the times before he did not answer me. The Bible says in a few places where Jesus is telling his people “if you ask the Father for anything in my name and it will be granted.” These verses tended to stick with me, and caused me to become angrier at Him.  

The one thing which stayed consistent with me was an indescribable hole inside my body. I no longer feared death and the unknown; I no longer feared hell. Once I was able to shed these two fears it opened my heart and mind to other religions such as the Tao. I could not be more content knowing I have found something to fill this hole. I am grateful I have found the Way.

“I see that you have a book on changes that have taken place in the bible. I’m thinking that you can answer some of the questions that keep me up at night. I am just looking for a short answer truthfully. I have friends that are Jehovah’s Witnesses, and I have been studying with them, but grew up in a community church, so that is the background of the questions.
Obviously, from the question I haven’t read the entire bible and don’t have a huge understanding of it yet…but am working on it. I am just wanting to learn the “right way”
 
 1) is the true name of God Jehovah? And that is what He wants to be called??
 
2) Do we go to heaven/hell when we die?
 
Thanks, Dana

Dana,

Very difficult question which will require a bit of explaining, I will try to keep this as short as possible. I study theology with as much of an open mind as I can, if I were to pick a religion to “follow” it would be Taoism, although I try to follow strictly in a philosophical, moral, and ethical fashion. The “big” three religions Judaism, Christianity, and Muslim all originated from the Old Testament. It is later on they branched out into different religions. I am not a fan of the big three, since they are responsible for many of the bloodshed in human history. During the various inquisitions the Christian/Catholic Churches were responsible for wiping out many of the “savage” beliefs, and it was not always peaceful. They suppressed free thinking by banishment, imprisonment, and death.

I think the issue with the Bible is it has been changed so many times to fit mans needs. The oldest translation of the Bible is the King James Version, since then it has been changed in minor ways for two reasons; they make minor changes so they can copyright it. The King James Version can not be copyrighted, like I said before they made minor changes to fit mans needs. The major change is we are taught we are saved by grace not works, this is simply not true.

I also have issues with the Bible because starting in the early 500 A.D. the Catholic Church ruled supreme next to the Roman Empire; they controlled which books made the Bible and which ones did not, and also controlled translations. The information they were relaying or what we know today may not be the “truth.”  They used fear mongering to make believers out of everyone, and one of the best tactics back then and still used today is the fear of hell and eternal damnation.

There was never meant to be a separation between Judaism and Christianity, many churches base many of their teachings upon the New Testament, and almost make it seem like ok we don’t need to follow the Old Testament, because of Jesus Christ dying on the cross for our sins. Now as far as names go we have two separate names Yahweh (Judaism) and Jehovah (Christianity) Jehovah is mentioned many times in the Bible, but with each translation it has been used less and less and replaced with “LORD.” From what I know of Jehovah Witness, is you need to call God by his true name when praying. I do not think God cares what you call him, regardless he still listens.

 If you read some of Jesus’ teachings, he was not for worshiping in churches, he believed them to be unnecessary and run by charlatans. This is discussed in Revelations and described as the seven letters to the seven churches, or charlatans. These were the churches leading the people away from God (may be a bit off it has been awhile) I believe the seven churches to be the Catholic, Baptist, Lutheran, Mormon, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and Evangelicalism (there are more denominations just using these main ones as examples)

I have read the Bible three times once as a believer, once as a theologian, and the other as a skeptic. I believe if you choose to be a Christian you need to follow the God of the Bible this means you choose no denomination and read and reread the Bible and trust the word. When you do this you will see many things wrong with the way HIS message is being perverted.

I do not believe in hell per say. The Bible describes something like hell, but was not meant to be used as it is today. The Bible says when Jesus comes the TRUE believers will be taken away, it states something regarding all the non-believers will be given another chance to believe and except God into their lives. I also believe regardless of what you believe we all seek the same destination, we just take different paths. These paths lead to the same place.

If you are seeking spirituality I recommend reading many different beliefs until you find the one your heart connects with, it will be then you know you are on the right path. If being a Jehovah’s Witness does not feel right to you, then it is not, and you should move on.