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Archive for April, 2022

by Jim Gordon

In our world today there seems to be a lot of talk in the Christian world of standing up for our beliefs and doctrines. It seems we feel this is the best way to show our devotion to God and be a witness for Him.

I am not so sure we are going about this in the correct way. As Christians we are getting to be known more for what we are against and being unloving rather than showing the love of God to others.

As Christians, many people go to a church building on Sunday to sing and smile and listen to a sermon. By doing so, they think they have fulfilled their duties for the week. All day they are feeling good and close to God and think everything is good.

Then Monday hits and off they go to work with a frown on their face and feeling down. They may be in a bad mood and snap at fellow employees trying to make them feel as bad as they do.

It seems we forget that Christianity is not a religion or a one day a week life. As followers of Christ, we are to let Christ live through us in the strength of the Holy Spirit. We are to let his love flow out of us to touch those we come in contact with throughout the day.

Rather than try to win people to God by our words, or by pointing out their mistakes or condemning them, we should allow the love of Christ to touch them by actually being loving and kind in the way we treat them.

While Jesus lived in bodily form on earth, he constantly spent time with those the religious crowd would not even think of being around. He spent time doing things that the religious leaders’ thought were wrong and against their religious laws. They could not even accept him as the messiah because he was so different from them and what they thought was a godly way to live.

Jesus accepted people for who they were, just the way they were and did not show condemnation toward them. As followers of Christ, we are to do the same. It is not our job to be the judge of others, pointing out their sins and mistakes and treating them like second class people. We are here to be Jesus to all people, loving, accepting and treating everyone with love and respect no matter who they are or what they believe.

In our world today, with all the discrimination and unloving ways of the world and even of the church, we are to allow the Holy Spirit to love through us. We are to let the love of God touch others and let them know they are accepted and cared for. We are to remind them that in God’s eyes they are loved beyond measure. Love is the way of God because God is love.

Stop the unloving and condemning attitudes and let those you come in contact with each day know they are loved and accepted. Do not do this in word only, but in actions and good deeds.

Jim Gordon and his wife left the institutional church after spending over fifty years within the system. Jim wanted a way to express his thoughts and concerns about the religious system and why he and his wife decided to leave the institution but not their faith in God. Jim can be contacted by email at: jimgordon731@gmail.com

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By Mike Edwards

Spiritual leaders and politicians say we must turn to God as a nation. But believers and unbelievers in God don’t share their understanding of truth and God. Moral truths can be pursued through one’s understanding of natural law or God, depending on their beliefs. Natural law truths are inherent in nature. Godly truths are inherent by understanding God. Truths are not based on one’s personal feelings or one’s understanding of God through a Book such as the Bible. Truths can be pursued by open debate and common moral sense, not canceling different opinions.   

Believers in God must appreciate that God doesn’t force beliefs on others

If God imposes beliefs on others, why doesn’t God annihilate immediately those who oppose God by choosing evil? God hasn’t. Why would God’s love be any different than human parenting love. Parents bring children into the world hoping their children freely reciprocate their love for authentic relationships. God doesn’t assume or seek to impose beliefs. I am convinced that is how politicians must communicate who choose to represent all their constituents. They may share their personal beliefs but not communicate to imply God commanded a new world order.    

Don’t natural and godly principles have commonality? 

Do you know any rational being who doesn’t accept we should treat others like we want to be treated? Certain behaviors are universally immoral to all rational beings such as physical or sexual abuse. Criminals often deny not justify their actions. We seem to have an inborn sense of good and evil, whether believing in a God or not. Political views such as health care, taxes, immigration, etc. are often not black and white and demand questioning. Those who don’t believe in God must stop demonizing by moralizing their personal opinions. God-followers must stop claiming their view is morally superior according to their personal interpretation of a Book such as the Bible.

Assumptions God believing folks make for all

Well-meaning people passionate about God say in the public arena “we need a biblical worldview.” Are they unaware that their understanding is according to their interpretation of a Book? See here.  Those with different interpretations or doubts about God aren’t rejecting morality. Politicians and citizens can speak of God in their personal lives without implying God forces beliefs on others.

It is often said God blessed the United States as opposed to other nations, implying God withheld blessings from others. One who claims to be God can’t bless arbitrarily. For Bible folks God blessing Israel was an act to bless all nations (Gen. 12:3). Maybe God’s blessings result from accepting God’s influence personally or by striving to treat others like you want to be treated. See here.

How can God-believers speak of their faith?

In a free country, as opposed to a dictatorship, people should be able to talk about their personal beliefs openly. If you believe your personal view of climate change is natural law, reconsider. If you believe those who don’t agree with your interpretation of the Bible are wrong, reconsider. Open discussions are vital to strive for the greatest good. Politicians represent both God-folks and non-God folks. I am the former but I am offended by all this God and Bible talk by politicians as if the public arena is their private church. Talking about God collectively than your own personal experience fails to represent those who don’t believe in God or may not share your views on God.

Should Politicians Talk About God In The Public Arena?

MikeEdwardsprofilepic125

Mike Edwards has been writing for Done with Religion for some time and has been a great addition to the site. Mike also has his own site where he writes that can be found at What God May Really Be Like  He can be contacted by email at: medwar2@gmail.com

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but not Necessarily Religious

by Jim Gordon

There actually is a difference between being spiritual and being religious, although many people think of the two as being the same thing.

Being religious is basically following the rules and doctrines of a specific organization or denomination, or what we usually call church.

Being spiritual can bring to mind all kinds of strange thoughts and ideas. Yet, when I say spiritual, I am talking about a daily life following Christ and allowing His love to flow through us, apart from the doctrines and teachings of any specific religious organization.

My wife and I are no longer religious. We left the weekly meeting at a local building and no longer follow any particular doctrine. Yet being outside the walls of religion, we are more aware of the spiritual, day-to-day life of following the example of Jesus.

We realize that God is not a being up in heaven, coming down to visit us only when the conditions are right, or when we are in a certain building, or when we have been extremely good over the past week.

God is spirit and He is with us constantly. As a quote by Michael Beckwith states “God is a presence that’s never in absence. This presence is everywhere, so, you would never pray for God to come here, because the presence of God is infinite.”

Or as it reads in 1 Corinthians 6:19 Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own?

I am not sure why it is we have always been taught that God is way up there somewhere. Jesus says that we are one with God in John 17:21 ‘that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me’. God is not somewhere off in Heaven waiting on us. He lives within us and will never leave us.

We seem to think that the Kingdom of God is a place we go one of these days when this life on earth is over. I think this is also a big misconception. God says His Kingdom is within us. That means right now, not some future date. That is what Jesus spent so much time teaching about, the Kingdom of God.

If we could only get these truths in our head and in our spirit, I think we could live a life that would really make a difference. Rather than see religious people who fight and argue over their differences in doctrine and interpretation, they could see spiritual people living a life of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness and faithfulness, all in the power of the Spirit.

Unfortunately, we have been taught by religion to rely on trying to work hard, follow the rules and just survive until we get to heaven. We go from Sunday to Sunday, living life without the power of the Kingdom of God. We argue amongst ourselves over doctrine and belief, and by doing so, people see we really do not have anything to offer them that is meaningful and different.

Jesus was the perfect example of God living in man. Jesus came to show us what God may really be like.

We can be Jesus to the world today. We can show love, compassion, and acceptance to the world around us each day. We are not God, but we are one with God. The Spirit is within us and he will teach us, guide us and give us power to love all people.

Listen for the voice of the Spirit in every situation. Realize God is within you and allow His love to touch those around you every day.

Jim Gordon and his wife left the institutional church after spending over fifty years within the system. Jim wanted a way to express his thoughts and concerns about the religious system and why he and his wife decided to leave the institution but not their faith in God. Jim can be contacted by email at: jimgordon731@gmail.com

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By Mike Edwards

Andy Stanley’s recent series on Jesus on the North Point Community Church Podcast provides a relevant point applicable for Easter. What if the Gospels are historical reliable and telling the truth about Jesus’ resurrection? Were there actual eyewitnesses? I am inclined to believe One that says they are coming back from the dead the third day and does so. Many of us are just as inclined to believe there is a God or Creator. Witnessing the birth of my children convinced me. Some may hesitant to live a life of faith in God because of what some claim about God. They may be wrong! 

Doesn’t one claiming to be God have to be good?

If God exists even atheists agree God must be morally perfect or a perfect lover. A lesser God isn’t worth believing in. Saying One must be perfectly loving is senseless if we are clueless what “to love” means. Many may argue God can do whatever the hell God wants to defend their understanding of a biblical passage that makes God seem evil. Rationalizations that suggest evil is good sometimes is nonsensical. Is God our role model or not that we should imitate?

We can’t definitively know what God is like according to the Bible

Many interpret the Bible to say women can’t fulfill the same roles as men in the worship or home setting. Personally, I can’t imagine a good God is bias toward men being appointed CEO or to preach. Many scholars who believe in the inspiration of Scriptures don’t agree that a literal Hell is a reality in the Bible. Humans wouldn’t even create such a place to torture their enemies after death. Many biblical claims about God may be false. See here.

What is God really like? 

How would a Creator love? It is only intuitive that a Creator loves the ways their creations feel compelled to love one another. Godly love and perfect human love surely are one and the same. No reasonable human or Supreme being doesn’t respect the compulsion to treat others like we want to be treated. We were born to use our moral sense whether reading a Book or not. Beliefs that don’t seemingly lead to loving others as you wish to be loved if in their shoes may be amiss, because they are contrary to our moral intuitions of perfection.

Are you inclined to believe in a God?

The only God worth believing in seeks to influence to do all the good we can, in all the places we can, at all the times we can, to all the people we can, as long as we can. Such a plan leads to true individual and worldly happiness in the long-run. God through their influence has made me a better man, husband, father, and friend or at least better than if on my own. I have experienced God’s encouragement to continually strive to be better. I got nothing to lose except selfishness and a lousy legacy by living a life of faith in God. Consider what God must be really like!

What Is The Only God Worth Believing In This Easter?

MikeEdwardsprofilepic125

Mike Edwards has been writing for Done with Religion for some time and has been a great addition to the site. Mike also has his own site where he writes that can be found at What God May Really Be Like  He can be contacted by email at: medwar2@gmail.com

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By Mike Edwards

Would we really be better off if God communicated audibly or visibly? We still would have to make choices to do what God advises. Doing is more important than believing. You may believe the stories in the Old Testament. God dropped manna from the sky and separated the Red Sea to escape one’s enemy, but the Israelites didn’t instantly put their total trust in God forever. Jesus’ miracles did not obtain the results some may suggest if God would stop hiding.

God may not speak to us demonstratively out of love

Just because earthly parents sometime know and advise what is best for their older child, such advice doesn’t always work out. In fact, overzealousness can lead to feeling controlled, thus rejecting what is best for one’s own good. God’s awing or overwhelming presence may only lead to fearful obligations to obey. The road traveled of learning, reflecting, and not being pressured may best lead to lasting convictions and more meaningful relationships.

Besides, God can’t make future decisions for you

It is natural to think an all-knowing, powerful God has special insights into future outcomes. But to say God knows the future suggests a predetermined future which makes freedom nonsensical. Not even God knows how current decisions will turn out for you or God. God joins us relationally in a free, unknown future. God’s plan can’t be a detailed blueprint but a general one to set us free to love. God hopes as we do that our actions make a positive difference in the world.

Does God really have to tell you what to do morally?   

A Creator surely doesn’t create their creations to be clueless about love. Rational beings know they should love others like they want to be loved. Many decisions are obvious wrong – murder, abuse, adultery, etc. God doesn’t have to speak. Many decisions aren’t black and white, even for God. Do we speak up about one’s behavior or risk driving them further away? God joins us in considering risks to change the world for better.

God doesn’t have to speak to influence

Influences in our life don’t have to be audible or certain. My parents aren’t alive, but I still sense their influence. God can’t tell us either that our decisions will work out. God deals with a free world also. God is hoping with us that our decisions will make for a better world. Don’t we sense God’s influence when we have thoughts to be the perfect partner, parent, or friend we desire to be deep down. I sense God’s encouragement to continually strive to make the best decisions I know at the time. God isn’t as hidden as we might think and it may be for our own good.

Is God Hiddenness A Good Thing?

MikeEdwardsprofilepic125

Mike Edwards has been writing for Done with Religion for some time and has been a great addition to the site. Mike also has his own site where he writes that can be found at What God May Really Be Like  He can be contacted by email at: medwar2@gmail.com

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by Jim Gordon

Political life is a pretty big thing, especially here in the United States. There can be a lot of terrible events that happen in the world of politics. So much sometimes, that it makes you wonder if we as Christians should even be involved.

We know the Spirit of God lives within us, and because of that we are spiritually living in the Kingdom of God now. I believe that everything we do is spiritual. Since the Spirit lives within us, we can go out each day sharing the love of God and doing things that are pleasing to God whether we think it is spiritual or just normal daily life.

What we participate in should always be done with the purpose of being ambassadors for Christ. We go about our daily activity doing things in love, fairness, compassion and equality. We do not hate or exclude others, we do not cheat and take advantage of others, we do not discriminate against others.

If we choose to participate in politics, we do so in ways that show the love of God and actions of Jesus. It is hard to find a political party or politician that is truly committed to following the example of Jesus. We often have to choose to support those who are only partially committed and who we feel will come closest to representing what we think is best for our country.

It is hard to support politicians who promote discrimination, exclusion, hatred, unacceptance, and those who seemingly work for their own power and financial gain. And truthfully, it seems harder and harder to find those who are not this way. Yet, there are those out there who really want to do what they feel is good for their country. It is up to each voter to do some homework and find the best candidates available.

We also need to consider the subject of Christian nationalism, which is mixing Christianity and Politics with too much importance. God loves the world, not just the United States or any one particular country. It seems there are some in politics in the United States that have a goal of making this a Christian nation. This should not be. It is against the constitution and against what we are told in the bible, that God loves the world, not just one country or group of people.

We sometimes seem to think that living for God on this earth can only be achieved by politically enforcing Christian values through laws. Many people seem to think we should use this political power to force Christian values on everyone. I for one do not believe we should or can legislate Christian values and morality on anyone. God does not force his love and ways on us, so why should we try to force our values and beliefs on others.

Some people want a country or church that lives a biblical life. That problem is there are so many interpretations of the bible, so many opinions and views that it would be hard to set down specific ways of life that people could agree upon.

The bible can easily be made to say about anything a person chooses, so instead of living a biblical life we should strive to live a Christ-like life. Our example should be the life of Jesus and not the words written in a book.

Here in the United States, it has become a common belief by some that to be a Christian means to be a Republican. That could not be farther from the truth. Our Christianity has nothing to do with a political party, although there are Christians who are Republican, Democrat, Independent, liberal or conservative. Being involved in politics should not mean the political party controls us, but our love of God and love of others should guide us in our political thinking.

I would love to see people stop bringing Christianity down to a political stance. It is not wrong to participate in politics and support the political party you feel is best for the country. The problem is when politics controls the person and the political party is more important than doing what is best for all of the people of the country. We should focus on Christ and loving others no matter which political party they endorse.

Jim Gordon and his wife left the institutional church after spending over fifty years within the system. Jim wanted a way to express his thoughts and concerns about the religious system and why he and his wife decided to leave the institution but not their faith in God. Jim can be contacted by email at: jimgordon731@gmail.com

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by Chris Kratzer Guest Blogger
www.chriskratzer.com/

That’s right, you don’t need it. At all.

You can live and do everything Jesus commanded and modeled without “church.”

In fact, often better.

With a steeple on nearly every corner, if churches are making such a positive difference in the world for Jesus, why do we see an increasingly far less positive world and why do we see increasingly far less of Jesus?

“Church” doesn’t work, that’s why. Not with a “gospel” of belief-dependent salvation from a torturous god-designed hell. Not to mention, sin-management, conditional love, a codependent god, reaching the so-called “lost,” and converting and colonizing the so-called “world.” That’s a gospel that is no Gospel at all. It makes people worse, not better; more fearful, not at peace; more self-centered, not humanity-serving. In fact, it’s evil. Anti-Christ to the core.

95 percent of Christianity… anti-Christ.

There, I said it.

Church was never the invention of Jesus, you are the invention of Jesus. You are the church. Each one of us, individually. The mind of Christ is within you. Enough Love to change the planet is within you. Everything of the Universe is within you. Yet, so often, “church” blinds, poisons, restricts, distorts, and kills this Light that is within all humanity. A blackhole to all that is good, holy, and right. It exchanges individual, spiritual freedom for communal conformity; divine affirmation for organizational condemnation; and hope and peace for tribal shame, fear, control, and human abuse. More often than not, “church” is the disease, not the cure. And we wonder why the world doesn’t get any better, especially Christians.

You don’t need “church” to find “like-minded” people.

You don’t need “church” to validate or authenticate your faith.

You don’t need “church” for spiritual growth and maturity.

You don’t need “church” to maximize your impact through a “team.”

You don’t need “church” for accountability or support.

You don’t need “church” to find and live your life with joy, significance, and purpose.

If church is a place you go, a service you attend, a creed you follow, or a people you gather with, you’ll never get there, you’ll never find it, and you’ll never have it.

Instead, church is you; you loving neighbor, selflessly serving the world, feeding the hungry, freeing the captive, welcoming the stranger, mending the brokenhearted, defending the least-of-these, and proclaiming the unconditional divine favor, affirmation, equality, and inclusion of all into All.

It’s you taking care of the needs in front of you. It’s you resisting and undoing systems of injustice, violence, greed, and oppression. It’s you being you in ways that honor Love and authenticity. It’s you disconnecting from a self-esteem that’s shackled to personal performance and production. It’s you closing the Bible searching for a perfect thread, answer, defense, meaning, truth, or justification and, instead, opening the Light within you revealing the perfect One, Mind, Spirit, and Universe.

That’s the Church we need.

It’s you. You, and only you.

You are the renewal God is bringing to the earth.

The church we need can’t be contained in a building.

The church we need can’t be confined to a creed.

The church we need can’t be conformed by fear.

The church we need can’t be caged into the Bible.

The church we need can’t be compromised by racism, greed, power, and hate.

The church we need can’t be coerced into judgment, pride, supremacy, and ignorance.

The church we need can’t be controlled by leaders.

The church we need can’t be chaperoned by patriarchy.

The church we need can’t be converted through guilt.

The church we need can’t be calculated in numbers.

The church we need can’t be commissioned by vision.

It needs no defense.

It needs no pastor.

It needs no committee.

It needs no membership covenant.

It needs no budget.

It needs no conferences, books, or celebrity.

It needs no light systems, branding, or worship choruses.

It needs no gathering of the like-minded.

It needs no team-work to make the dream-work.

The church we need is… you.

Everything else is the “church” we don’t need. Everything else is the “church” that isn’t Church at all.

In fact, for far too many, “church” is the crutch and disguise that keeps them from actually following Jesus. It’s the spiritual pacifier of the spiritually restricted and resistant.

For what does most every church and church leader hate and fear the most?

The revelation and reality that you don’t need “church” at all. That you can live and do everything Jesus commanded and modeled without “church.” In fact, often better. And very likely, not until you’ve walked away from all of it.

It’s true. You don’t need “church,” and God doesn’t either.

Your move.

Grace is brave. Be brave.

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By Mike Edwards

God views you as scum and is pissed

I only know what a loving God may be like according to how a parent should love their child. I figure God didn’t create us to be better lovers than God. My kids weren’t always saints but I hated their behavior, not them. Participating in bullying activities disgusted me. Does one passage in particular really claim we are born evil in God’s eyes? See here.

God hates gay people and is bias against women 

Those who read my blogs often are probably sick of me ranting against those who condemn gays or women in God’s name according to the Bible. Biblical scholars who have a deep respect for Scriptures don’t agree what the Bible says about these and other moral issues. Let’s stop being dogmatic. Since interpretations aren’t infallible, we can use our moral intuitions as well to understand what God is really like.  See here. See here.  

God demands we bow the knee or burn in Hell 

Biblical scholars also don’t agree a literal Hell is a reality in the Bible. See here.  Terrorists demand belief in their God or they don’t even wait to kill you in the afterlife like the God of the Bible supposedly does. The God I believe isn’t a terroristic God. My God gave me a brain to imagine what a loving God does to those who don’t believe while living a short time here on earth.

God only lets Christians into heaven

The majority of people born into the world didn’t have a Bible or know of Jesus. Most people accept or rebel against a certain religion based on the family born into whether it is Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, etc. A child sexually abuse by their father may struggle to accept a God who is most often betrayed as our Father in Heaven. No human or spiritual parent brings children into the world requiring their eternal destination be based on circumstances out of one’s control. A loving God can’t be a God of chance!

God thinks you are ape-stupid if you believe in evolution 

No one was there in the beginning. I don’t have to believe those who insist on a literal interpretation of Genesis, that Adam was a literal than representative of the first human. I don’t have to believe Christian scientists who believe that there is overwhelming genetic evidence that the human race couldn’t have originated from a single couple but through a population of some thousands of individuals. See https://biologos.org/ I can believe God didn’t or did use evolution in the creative process. We can examine all the evidence for ourselves, without imposing our beliefs on others.

God is all-knowing and all-powerful so stand down 

It is natural to think an all-knowing, powerful God has special insights into future outcomes. But to say God knows the future suggests a predetermined future which makes freedom nonsensical. God’s plan can’t be a detailed blueprint but a general one to set us free to love. God joins us in all the pains and joys of an unknown future to risk changing the world for good.

God allows evil and suffering so pray up

Is everything that happens really a part of God’s plan? A good God’s love must be uncontrolling. Love cannot insist on its own way. (I Cor 13:5) A God who allows evil but doesn’t do anything to intervene is no different than a parent who stands by and watches their child suffer. Evil and suffering in the world may be because God can only intervene when there is human cooperation, both by evildoers and non-evildoers. See God Can’t by Thomas Oord. 

God is only known through the Bible so leave your brain at the door 

The Bible can’t be the only guide about God because we disagree what it says about many moral issues including Hell, gays, women’s roles, etc. And even if our interpretations were infallible, we can’t be sure the biblical writers always knew or portrayed God accurately. Those who insist the Bible is infallible also advise we are made in God’s image. Perfect human love must be the same as God’s love, or how can we know God? Our moral intuitions about a good God aren’t the enemy. 

God can answer any prayer so behave

Let’s stop pretending God can wave a magic wand and always heal in a free world. It isn’t that God had the power to do something about it, but chose not to; it’s that God can’t. Divine love limits divine power. Are healings really arbitrary? Various biological and environmental factors are involved such as cells, organs, etc. God may have to account for both human and natural freedom. Healing can happen when God’s uncontrolling love aligns with countless factors known and not known. A truly loving God is doing all they can before asked.

God is going nuclear so up-up we go 

Literal rather than metaphorical readings of the Book of Revelation lead to claims that God is going to end in world with Bruce Willis in the Battle of Armageddon. Descriptions of dragons with seven heads may be a hint. I admit I wasn’t too excited as a believer going up in the air toward heavens not in a plane. That is the Rapture for non-Bible readers. Anyways, another reading of the Bible suggest God wants to help us make this a better world, not look to escape it. See here.

What Are Some Of The Worse Beliefs About God?

MikeEdwardsprofilepic125

Mike Edwards has been writing for Done with Religion for some time and has been a great addition to the site. Mike also has his own site where he writes that can be found at What God May Really Be Like  He can be contacted by email at: medwar2@gmail.com

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