Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for September, 2022

By Mike Edwards

We hear all the time to believe in the science (aka “truth”). God folks in the public arena argue we need to get back to biblical truths. The truth is there is less certainty in this world than acknowledged. We must stop assuming our view is superior regardless if your intentions are good. We were told Covid shots would keep us from getting Covid and transmitting to others. It didn’t. We are told God and the Bible condemns gays. Many don’t agree. See here. The truth is we must stop being so damn certain! 

Pursuing scientific truth

The bedrock of science use to be considering hypotheses in an attempt to explain a phenomenon in the natural world. It is an educated guess based on the information we have currently have and could change if we get new information in the future. Drugs are often approved initially, only to be pulled from the shelves later after causing death. Currently, our leaders have led the charge in not abiding by what most use to agree was the course of action in pursuing scientific truths.

Pursuing biblical truths

Religious folks hide behind their interpretation of a Book as politicians hide behind their interpretation of science. Opposing views are said to disagree with God or be immoral. But even if you believe the Bible is inspired by God, the Bible requires interpretation. We don’t all agree if the Bible opposes women priests or preachers or condemns gays. Not all scholars who believe in the inspiration of Scriptures agree that a literal Hell is a reality in the Bible.   

Are there self-evident truths we can agree on?

What reasonable or rational person doesn’t respect the golden rule in relationships? Certain laws are just common, moral sense. Our inborn sense of good and evil, not an ancient Book, tells us sexual abuse or murder is immoral. Most criminals don’t defend their murders or thefts; instead, they deny committing such crimes. We don’t debate many laws, only what is a just punishment. It is a dictatorship not a democracy when we impose our will on issues such as pandemic responses, taxes, climate change, immigration, etc. Benefits and risks exist for most issues.

Can we tell who isn’t interested in pursuing the truth?

One has every right to question when one claims certainty regarding non-self-evident truths. Even evil people don’t think others can violate their rights in ways that they violate others’ rights. A refusal to openly discuss or defend one’s views suggest an unhealthy dependency on “certainty.” If those who claim their views are “truth” make false claims of those who oppose them, without being able to give specific examples, are they really interested in pursuing truth?

Proceeding in uncertainty 

We must first all agree on the end goal by focusing on the most caring decision for all involved Stop demonizing by moralizing. God-followers must stop claiming their biblical view is morally superior among the religious or non-religious. 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. Seek to understand before being understood. Handle differences with physical and verbal civility. God believers want others to consider there may be a loving God. Then, we must “walk the talk” when have differing opinions.

What Really Is “Truth” About Science Or 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

Read Full Post »

by Jim Gordon

Those of us who are living outside the walls of religion and institutional church have found a freedom we sometimes cannot explain. At least we cannot explain it in a way that people who still attend a church building seem to understand.

The problem is those who still attend the traditional church do not accept the fact that everyone is different and sees things in various ways. They usually want to stay away from us or talk about how we have backslidden and fallen away from God because we do not do what we have traditionally been taught was godly.

Nothing could be farther from the truth. We are worshipping and loving God just as much as before, only in a different way. We have not left the Church (Ekklesia) but we have left the building (church). Jesus is building His Church out of ‘living stones’ and not with brick and mortar.

My wife and I left the church because we felt the system was not the way God intended and we became unsatisfied with the way things were going. Yet, we never left the true Church which is made up of all of those who are believers.

Each of us has an equally important part to play in the body, yet no one is the head over anyone else. Each of us are functioning parts of the body and we are all needed and important. Of course, only Jesus is the head of his Church, not a pastor.

Those of us who have left the traditional church are often told we need to attend because we should not forsake the assembling of ourselves together. Yet this verse does not mean we have to be in an organized, pre-planned service led by a pastor and a worship leader. It is saying we need our brothers and sisters in Christ. Whether we meet on a Monday at a café, Tuesday in a home, Thursday at a bar or Friday in a park makes no difference. Jesus said for where two or three gather together in my name there I am in their midst.

For us true and meaningful fellowship happens each and every day when God brings us together with a brother or sister, or when we meet up with another couple for dinner. It also may be a time of one-on-one fellowship online with a brother or sister hundreds of miles away yet bonded closely through the Spirit.

We are so conditioned to think of the church building and its scheduled events as the main way of fellowship and learning. We are told in the Bible that when we come together each of us should have a word, or a song, or a praise, but how often does that actually happen within the institutional church? Being outside the walls, my wife and I have found this to be the norm. We all talk, we encourage one another, learn about each other, pray for one another and we support and care for each other. Fellowship is everyone having a part to play and everyone being open and talking about who God is to them. It seems that sitting quietly in a church service does not fulfill what God intended fellowship to be among his children.

A vitally important thing to remember for those of us who have left the church organization is that we should not have a feeling of ‘us vs them’. We need to keep in mind that those who attend church are doing so because they love God and feel they are doing the right thing. We are all children of God, whether we are in the institutional church or out of it. We are all various parts of the Church that Jesus is building and we each need to follow the leading of the Spirit for ourselves.

As people of God, we are to love God and love others. We cannot do that in our own strength but by the power of the Spirit within us. Sadly, it often seems we have a problem loving our brothers and sisters in Christ and an even greater problem loving those who see things differently.

I pray that all of us can keep in mind that we are children of God, saved by grace and living in His kingdom now. Whether we are ‘in church’ or outside the walls, let us focus on our love of God and for one another. The world needs to see the love of God in action among those who follow God. They do not need to see arguing, fighting and the disrespect that is sadly, so familiar among Christians today.

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

Read Full Post »

By Mike Edwards

A majority of people believe in God, but may not have a closer relationship with God because what they believe about God. No one can be certain what an invisible, inaudible God is like. I do know that only a perfect, loving God is worth believing in. Show me the perfect parent, or one close to it, and I suspect that is what God is like. A reason some may believe otherwise is because of what they think a Book says about God. God may be more like you expected!

Is God really that Authoritative? 

Abraham questioned and negotiated with God (Gen. 18). God listened and considered Abraham’s concern. An Authoritative God would have said: “I am God so shut your mouth.” In Exodus, Moses balked when God asked Moses to return to Egypt and liberate the Jewish people. God didn’t say “Do not question my plan or authority!” God was adaptive in working with Moses. The Apostle Paul says love is patient, kind, and does not insist on its own way (I Cor 13). Love puts up with us, has faith in us, and places hope in us. See John Sanders: It Matters If Your God Is Nurturing Or Authoritative!

Is God really that Judgmental? 

Did God create us to remind God how great they are, or we can go to Hell? Doesn’t sound like a God I can get close to. Worse is if you believe Hell is a place for unending torture where pain serves no lasting purpose. Humans wouldn’t even create such a place to torture their enemies after death.  I think the Bible agrees. See here.  Call me a fool! If my kids hated my guts or ignored me and had a genuine change of heart in this life or the afterlife, I am ready to begin a relationship. So is God! 

Is God pissed and views you as a scum bag? 

Do you not give a damn how others feel or how your actions impact others? Color me God then. Your behaviors disgust me. Does God really view us as evil from birth and has to put on Jesus-colored glasses to even look at us? Such an idea could only come from one’s interpretation of a Book. But I could point to verses such as Isaiah 54:10: “…my unfailing love for you will not be shaken…says the Lord, who has compassion on you.” A loving God can only love how an earthly parent ought to love their child. 

Maybe God is kind and relatable like the parent you always wished for 

God’s love surely is the same as supreme parents – other-directed not self-consumed. Love gets excited when we do well and make a difference in the lives of others. Love anticipates, hopes for my success, believes in me. God is pulling for me, even when failing, because I do the same for my children. We doubt God but God still loves. God may worry but still hopes. We are dependent on our children for intimate relationships. God is dependent on us. An all-powerful God would only give us uncontrolled freedom if seeking a partnership and friendship with us.

Our view of God matters!

A belief in a benevolent God makes us kinder. We often treat others the way we think God treats us. How has God’s threats of punishment helped you break away from bad habits or behaviors you long to change? Grace or authoritativeness doesn’t guarantee change, but I believe we best change because of God’s or friends’ love and acceptance. If we think God is hard to please and pissed off about sin rather than what sin is doing to us, we may stop going to God when failing. God desires perfection for our own sake but surely celebrates our victories along the way. Our image of God can dictate our beliefs about God. Imagine what you believe a perfect God is like in your life and the lives of others. You may discover God is more like what you assume a loving God is like.

What Kind Of God Do You Believe In?

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

Read Full Post »

And Everyone Else is Wrong

by Jim Gordon

If you are around a lot of people or are on social media very often, you will see many people are ready to argue in order to prove their way of thinking, especially in regard to spiritual matters.

Some atheists complain about Christians believing in a fairy in the sky, some people get mad over the transgender debate, gays are treated like second-class citizens and some of them are hateful toward Christians. Many Christians fight with other Christians over doctrine and some can be very judgmental and condemning of atheists and the LGBT community. It seems each group is trying to prove why they are right and the other group is wrong and many times they do it in ways that are not so nice.

Why do so many people spend so much time arguing and defending personal views when we cannot prove any of it? Seriously, none of us can prove beyond a doubt our thoughts and views on spiritual things or life after death. We cannot prove God exists and we cannot prove he does not exist. There are so many varying doctrines, interpretations of the bible and denominations among Christianity that it is not surprising we do not know who is right or wrong?

If we really think about it no matter what your religion, what your faith or belief, what your lifestyle, if you are atheist, Christian, gay, agnostic, transgender, if you have a scientific view or creationist view none of us can prove our way of thought in regard to spiritual matters. It is our personal view and it is good to have those views, but we should not be trying to prove our way and push it onto others expecting them to see things our way.

Each group is passionate about the way they see things and there is nothing wrong with that. The problem is expecting everyone to agree and go along with our way of thinking.

We are not all going to agree on things, yet we should be able to be accepting of others. Being accepting does not mean we always agree with one another or approve of everything people do, but we should be able to be kind and show respect to everyone even in our differences. Being judgmental, condemning, or poking fun at one another is certainly not being loving and kind.

It all boils down to no matter what route we take in life, what we think about life after death, what we think about God or spiritual life, none of us can prove our way of thinking, at least not until death. Once we die, if there is life after death and I believe there is, we will know for sure at that point. Until that time, we can only follow our way of thinking or believing and we should be respectful of others and the way they think.

Those of us who are followers of Jesus should especially be loving and kind because Christ told us to love God and love one another. He did not say we should only love those who believe like us. He did not say to be judgmental, condemning or to exclude anyone.

When reading about Jesus in the gospels we see a person who loved people and was accepting of everyone. He did not condemn nor judge and I believe he was God in human form showing us that God loves us all.

I believe God provides grace for everyone, but he gives us all freedom to choose what to believe and whether to accept it or not. I believe we should offer the same option to our fellow human beings no matter what label is put on them.

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

Read Full Post »

By Mike Edwards

Do you not give a damn how others feel or how your actions impact others? Color me God then. You are a wretched soul and your behaviors disgust me. I doubt though that is you because you wouldn’t be reading a spiritual blog. Church folks are familiar with hymns that describes us humans as “filthy rags” in the eyes of God. Does God really view us as evil from birth and has to put on Jesus-colored glasses to even look at us?

Does the Bible really claim God is pissed and views you as scum?

Some of us were taught at church that a loving God thinks we are sinners from the day we were born (Doctrine of Original Sin). See here.  Such a view could only come from a book such as the Bible. Anyone can point to verses to defend their view of God. Google to find verses that describes God a wrathful and revengeful God. But I could point to Isaiah 54:10: “…my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed, says the Lord, who has compassion on you.” Jesus says He judges no one. (Jn. 8:15). This doesn’t sound like a “pissed” Jesus. I am convinced a loving God can only love how an earthly parent ought to love their child.

Did God create us to be better lovers than God? 

It is only intuitive a Creator loves how their creations ought to love one another. Even the Bible implies perfect human love and God’s love are the same: “Be perfect, therefore as your heavenly Parent is perfect” (Mt. 5:48). “Follow God’s example…” (Eph. 5:1). If I discover my child is bullying someone at school, I detest the behavior not them. If we find out our kid is using drugs, do we hate them or what the drugs are doing to them? I don’t sense the Bible as a whole describes God as loving us but we don’t really deserve it. God, like human parents hates unloving actions.

Views of God shape our attitudes toward God toward others 

If we think God is hard to please and pissed off about sin rather than what sin is doing to us, we may stop going to God when failing. God desires perfection for our own sake but surely celebrates our victories along the way. Our image of God can dictate our actions. If God can do Hell, we may think we should emulate God in our attempts to judge and punish. If God punishes us forever (Hell) for sins briefly while here on earth, aren’t we teaching others to fear God rather than experience God relationally like they would a human parent?  I am not convinced such a Hell is biblical. See here. Imagine what you believe a perfect God is like in your life and the lives of others. You may be right!

Is God Pissed At You For Being A Sinner?

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

Read Full Post »

by Jim Gordon

Over the past few months, I have watched with displeasure the discussions and comments on social media. The interaction among people seems to be taking a turn that is more divisive, argumentative and sometimes hateful. Social media has become the common way of communication these days and it is very easy to be unkind and bolder than usual. We express our thoughts and feelings in a much meaner way than we would if we were face to face.

I think most people find that sitting in front of a computer screen gives a sense of boldness and openness to express themselves in ways that are not always a good thing. There is something about not being in the presence of someone or seeing their face that emboldens us and allows our mean side to come out.

To me it is the same feeling you can get when you get behind the wheel of a car. All of a sudden, we seem to be in attack mode. We blow our horn at others, yell and curse and flip people off, yet if we walked by them on the street we would smile and say hello.

There is something about face-to-face communication that usually changes the way we talk to and treat others. Face to face communication seems to take away the meanness we usually find with social media communication. Looking someone in the face, being in their presence seems to soften the way we talk and respond.

Why is it that we cannot see the human person behind the computer screen? Why is it we feel the meanness, this emboldened power to treat others with contempt? Remember Jesus said to love not only those who love you but to love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you and persecute you.

There is nothing wrong with social media and communicating through it. Just keep in mind that there is another human being on the other end, and even though we are not in their physical presence, the things we say and the way we react have an impact on them. Let us make it a point to have a positive, encouraging impact when we communicate with others.

The way of Christ is the way of love. Whether it be online or in person we are to love our neighbors. In our world today living in love is becoming rare. Yet by doing so in the power of the Spirit, it will be noticed and it will make a difference in the lives of those who are hurting and so desperately seeking love and acceptance.

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

Read Full Post »

By Mike Edwards

The doctrine of original sin suggests we are guilty even before we were born because of Adam’s sin in the garden thousands of years ago. This may be hard for many to understand why God would hold a person responsible for another’s person sin. This seems totally unjust according to human logic. God forbid certain disputable images of God drive people to unbelief and despair.

Does the Bible really imply God holds us responsible for another’s person sin?

Exodus 20:5 says: “You shall not bow down to them or worship them; for I, the LORD your God, am a jealous God, punishing the children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me.” It is true when parents disobey the Law when in one’s best interest, the impact can be felt for generations. Parents can provoke positive or negative behaviors from their children. With freedom given by God comes the possibility and responsibility of influence. This passage suggests only consequences to children who hate God as their parents do. 

The Bible clearly states children are not held responsible for their parents’ sins

Children who break the law, as their parents do, suffer consequences. Legal biblical texts concur. “Parents are not to be put to death for their children, nor children put to death for their parents; each of you will die for your own sin.” (Deut 24:16). The Bible doesn’t declare that sin is inherited. Ezek 18:20 says: “The one who sins is the one who will die. The child will not share the guilt of the parent, nor will the parent share the guilt of the child. The righteousness of the righteous will be credited to them, and the wickedness of the wicked will be charged against them.”

What does the New Testament claim?

A fair reading of Romans 5:12-21, which is the main passage referred to about original sin, implies Adam’s sin was not transferred but certainly influential. Sin entered the world through Adam as did God’s grace through Jesus’ birth. We are born in sin but not with sin. Babies are not guilty of sin and doomed to eternity without God before the age of accountability. The truth though is the influence of sin is so powerful that only one person has ever managed to live a totally unselfish life.

Romans 5:12-21 says Adam’s sin brought alienation from His Creator; Jesus’ life brought reconciliation. Adam hid when God visited the garden after he sin. Guilt will do that to those with a conscious. Adam’s sin brought him spiritual death or alienation from God. (Gen 2:17, see Col 2:13). In the same way, spiritual death is inevitable if others follow in Adam’s footsteps. We don’t inherit Adam’s guilt. Condemnation is conditional. Could anyone after Adam not have sinned and led a totally selfless life? The Bible doesn’t say that is impossible, though clearly all have sinned.

How does God view us if not condemned from the beginning? 

Original Sin theology assumes sin is inherited and we are condemned before we are born because of Adam’s sin. Some assume the Bible says Adam’s offspring were condemned to some place like Hell before even birth. I doubt it! Our Creator loved us enough to give the freedom to rebel and the choice whether to be with God after death or not. God loves us as any loving parent loves us. Fear of God is overblown. I guess fear God if helps to avoid consequences of destructive actions. But if struggling and need encouragement and mercy, a loving God awaits with open arms.

Does God Really View Us As Guilty From Birth? (Doctrine Of Original Sin)

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

Read Full Post »

Randy Scobey

Let's have the courage to be ourselves, together

The Sons are Free

Matthew 17:26

Frozen in the Fire

Rising up through Grace

Writer Dylan Morrison

Fascinated by the Nazarene but unimpressed by religion!

Follow Your Arrow

Unashamed of who God made us to be, and unapologetic in our pursuit of God and our purpose in His kingdom

Blind Injustice

Injustices we may not be aware of

Sophia's Essays

This is where I post my essays, primarily about LGBTQ+ issues, politics, and Christian theology.

DB Art

Our natural world has a unique beauty to behold. I bring it to you in a perspective you've never seen before.

Hazy Divinity

Welcome To The Party

Candice Czubernat

A leading voice in the LGBTQ and Christian dialogue

Our Journeys Matter! - Posts

Done with Religion ... Not Done with God

Ally's Notebook

Thoughts To Share

Life of a Prodigal

Searching for Truth outside the church walls

What God May Really Be Like - Misbeliefs About God

To those done with religion but not God and my kids (Click FOLLOW for future Posts; See ABOUT/USING THIS SITE tab to navigate Site)

Christy Lynne Wood

Looking for the Real God

Confessions of a Recovering Churchboy

What I bought before, I just can't sell

Intermission

Reflections in the midst of life.

She Seeks Nonfiction

A skeptic's quest for books, science, & humanism

The Wild Frontier

The search for infinite Truth and the invincible Love of an incredible God.

A Wilderness Voice

"The glory of this latter house shall be greater than of the former, says the LORD of hosts: and in this place will I give peace, says the LORD of hosts." (Hag 2:9)

What does the word God mean to you now?

It's been a long journey - so far!

Entering the Promised Land

by walking in the Spirit

Beyond Church Walls

Done with Religion ... Not Done with God

Escape to Reality

Explore the wide spaces of God's amazing grace

%d bloggers like this: