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Archive for the ‘Acceptance’ Category

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?

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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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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

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By Mike Edwards

Parenting, like marriage, isn’t complicated just hard. Treat your partner like you want to be treated and you will probably have a good marriage. See here. Parent your children like you wish your parents had parent you and your children may visit when adults. There are hundreds of tips in being a good parent, but I will suggest only a few. There are no guarantees in parenting. A parent’s job is to parent well, not control their children. I am going to be brief and focus on a few positive actions that can set children up for success.

First, keep in mind the three main stages of parenting

Ages 0-2: Total Dependence so just love, feed, and try to get them to sleep

  • Ages 2-11: Time to discipline because for some reasons kids tend toward selfishness than unselfishness. They rightly are seeking to be independent and need help. Say yes as often as possible. Know when to say “no” and mean it. If you tell them “no” for the right reason, follow through with actions that show you mean it or they will be confused. Pick your battles carefully – mainly around how they treat others (character).
  • Ages 11 and Up: Mentor as much as possible to prepare them to be on their own. Act more as a coach whenever possible so they can learn from their own decisions. Sometimes, you have to interfere when drugs, etc. are involved, but empower your kids to make their own decisions and to learn from their mistakes.

Secondly, discipline well

Expect your children to treat others like they want to be treated. When they don’t, call them out and follow up with any discipline appropriate. There doesn’t have to be any hitting or yelling. Physical discipline/spanking is not necessary. Most parents don’t spank with control all the time so remove the option; besides, it stifles creativity in teaching. I have raised three children (now in their thirties and none in jail) without spanking and you would be proud to call them your kids.

Thirdly, require siblings to get along

I wanted my children to have a positive relationship with one another. I couldn’t make them like one another, but damn if I couldn’t make them treat each other like Mom and Dad should treat one another even when we didn’t get along. Children cannot and do not work this out on their own as the older/bigger just wins. I don’t sit back when bullying in any relationships is happening. I reserved my biggest responses when the kids yelled, hit, or took advantage of one another.

Fourthly and finally, parents must walk the talk

Parents must walk the talk if they expect children to listen to their advice. How can parents obtain commitment by asking their children to treat others right, but parents don’t treat others or their partner well? If kids are not going to drink when young, this translates into their parents not getting trashed and drinking responsibly. Whether we like it or not, kids are always looking for an excuse to be irresponsible. It is just human nature. Parents must work very hard to not give their children a reason to misbehave because of the example they set. “Do what I say, not what I do” is just plain stupid

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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

Uncivil discussions between those who have science differences seems to becoming more the norm. Those with religion or God differences are no better though less hostile. Disagreements often lead to calling one anti-science or heretical. Successful relationships only happen by handling disagreements in a positive manner so solutions can be agreed upon. Dictators or authoritarians seek to control different opinions. Demonizing different views is tearing apart our nation!

An attitude of “certainty” can destroy a Nation! 

Truth is less certain than let on. Truth is a pursuit! Supposed scientific truth is often updated. Supposed biblical truth, because interpretation is required, is not agreed upon by sincere believers in God. My biggest regret when younger was acting certain than open-minded. Good luck having a good marriage if assuming you are right when disagreeing with your partner. Universal immoralities are obvious (murder, sexual abuse), but some truth can be found in opposing views concerning climate concerns, immigration, pandemic responses, etc.

Why do we claim certainty? 

Certainty than uncertainty comforts individuals psychologically. Those in Authority don’t want to be seen as unknowing. Many religious and scientific folks hide behind their interpretation of a Book or data. But contrary biblical interpretations exist for many moral issues and science data is often updated. It doesn’t matter if you believe your opinion is best for all. You may be wrong!

An attitude of certainty hinders the democratic process and could prevent the most caring decision for all involved. It is hard to know one’s internal motives, but thwarting diverse opinions is self-serving, allowing one to remain in control. Labeling others who disagree as conspiracists or heretics is revealing. Freedom of expression is essential in the pursuit of truth!

How have we pursued scientific truth during the Pandemic?

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. Dr. Tony Fauci, Dr. Francis Collins, and Pfizer, who have led the U.S response to the pandemic, have failed to abide by what most agree use to be the course of action in pursuing scientific truths:

Why can’t we agree to openly pursue the most caring decision for all involved? 

Immigration laws can be discussed as to what are the most caring for the greater good. It would be wonderful if all children without loving parents could be adopted into your home. It that best for your family? Regarding climate changes, what is best for those who have energy and for those nations who need life saving energy from more fortunate countries? In responding to the pandemic, we must be able to ask and discuss what are the benefits and risks for individuals and society as a whole regarding Covid shots, lockdowns, masks, etc.

  • We can have open discussions and avoid demanding “supposed truths”
  • We must learn to respond not react over our differences
  • We can seek areas to agree first
  • We can seek to understand before being understood
  • We must stop demonizing by moralizing
  • We must handle differences with physical and verbal civility
  • We must stop claiming we have the corner on what is biblical truth
  • We must stop canceling others’ opinions when it comes to pursuing scientific truths

I left the institutional church, but not God, because others wouldn’t engage in non-dogmatic conversations. I didn’t wish to be divisive to those seeking God. Few will engage in political discussions as a way to understand one another’s point of view. We aren’t always certain how to best love, but we must reach solutions by civil and democratic means. If one is close-minded denying your freedom to come to your own conclusions, sometimes we must counteract assertively. We must discuss in the current pandemic the benefits and risks of the Covid shots.  We must be able to debate climate, immigration laws, and what a loving God would truly think about gays, women roles, and other matters that impact millions of lives.

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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?

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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

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?

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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

Why can’t we have discussions with others about politics and religion when disagreeing? There are differences in the political and religious arena, but politicians and religious folks have similarities when disagreeing. I will discuss religion disagreements more in my next post.

Could the problem be about power and control? 

There may be an elephant in the room. Not all but many seek to impose their beliefs on others without debate. I can’t read the hearts of individuals. I do know control and power are intoxicating and a part of human nature. These internal forces flourish when others are not allowed to discuss alternative opinions in the public arena. When only one side is presented, control and power grow intentionally or unintentionally. A free, democratic society requires debate.

Recognize your opinion may not be the more moral view 

Politicians and religious folks often hide behind either science or a book such as the Bible. Opposing political views are often said to disagree with science or be immoral. But science is not black and white and demands challenge. Most admit science can change, revealing claims should always be open to debate. Refusing challenges can suggest some underlying fear or dysfunction.

Your view of climate control or immigration, whatever side you stand on, must be open to challenge. You may be right; you may be wrong. Yes, expert opinions exist on both sides of the aisle. Different opinions must be allowed to stand side by side as we attempt to come to an agreement which actions may be the most caring for the greater good. Can you imagine how different our nation would be if all politicians were open to such discussions?

Accept disagreeing about most issues is normal

My wife and I didn’t argue much when dating, which didn’t exactly prepare me for the first years of marriage. Love doesn’t make go away having to share bathrooms, finances, closets, in-laws, etc. Love requires learning to disagree well so to live happily incompatible. Partners begin falling out of love when each assumes their way is right. You don’t have such intense conflicts with others friends because you don’t live with them.

We must stop hiding behind science or a Book. I bet I can get all politicians to agree that murder or sexual abuse is wrong. We make decisions how to punish such offenses, not whether such actions deserve punishment. Science or the Bible don’t make such actions immoral. Murder is immoral due to our inborn sense of good and evil. It is a dictatorship not a democracy when we impose our will on non-moral issues such as health care, taxes, climate change, immigration, etc.

We must have rules for war – I mean conflict 

We must learn to respond not react over our differences. Begin conversations by looking for areas you agree. Both parties must seek to understand before being understood. Stop demonizing by moralizing. Handle differences with physical and verbal civility. It does take two to tango in politics. When the other side doesn’t act cooperatively, one behaving doesn’t always win the other side over in politics. Different actions may be required. Cancelation of different opinions is disastrous and unacceptable in politics or any relationship.

Why Can’t We Disagree About Politics?

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

As I move through life outside the walls of religion, I have found myself being more comfortable with questions about God. Do you do that too?

Growing up in the church, I remember the feeling of having questions but was afraid to ask. I knew people would question my faith or tell me I was back-sliding so I kept my mouth shut. The issue was that as time went on, the questions kept popping up and I finally began to realize that questioning was not wrong.

As Christians, we have been taught that we need to have the answers. Study to show thyself approved meant you must have an answer for everything people come up with so you can prove your beliefs are right.

I truly believe God accepts us, questions and all. I am hoping that one day I will have more answers, mostly for my own sake and not necessarily to defend my beliefs.

I think the modern-day church and religion in general do not like questions, at least not hard questions. Especially questions that make us wonder about the basic beliefs they teach. They like to have all the answers, and answers that fit into their particular belief and doctrine.

In his book ‘Dying to Religion and Empire: Giving up Our Religious Rites and Legal Rights’, Jeremy Myers makes a statement that is oh so true: “And as is the nature with questions, asking hard questions rarely leads to answers, but only to more questions”

I think God is much bigger than what the church makes of him sometimes. They try to fit everything into a box and do not like people asking questions that require out-of-the-box thinking.

It seems to me the spirit within, the spirit of truth, brings up questions that the religious system taught us and we always just accepted. Now, rather than suppressing these questions, I have allowed them to surface and truly seek God for guidance.

A few years back, Mick Mooney posted an article on Facebook, part of which says: “But who has the faith to ask questions with the intention of seeking the answers to them? Who can let their foundation be not a doctrine or dogma that must be defended, but Christ himself who needs no defense? For it is those who have their foundation solely upon Christ, who can walk in their faith without fear of questions, but rather they walk in their faith knowing that God is lighting their path with questions, and it is these very questions that are paving the path that the Spirit of God is guiding them upon”.

If you have been feeling guilty for having questions, I have found it best to put that feeling aside and keep asking the questions. That is the best way to continue growing and learning in our walk with God. Even when we do not get the answers right away, or if ever, we should continue to be asking and seeking the truth from the Spirit who lives within us. There is nothing too difficult for God; there are no questions or doubts that will turn him away from us or keep him from loving us.

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 Jim Gordon

When we think about Jesus, we automatically think of Christianity. Although the two are completely different. Christianity mostly means a religion that is based on the Bible and God. Yet it is more of things we do rather than who we are in Christ.

Jesus did not come to start Christianity. Jesus was not a Christian. We are missing the whole point when we focus on religion rather than the real reason Jesus came to live among us. He came to show us what God is really like, and the love God has for each and every one of us.

According to Wikipedia it is stated that there are roughly 4,200 religions in the world. Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, Jewish, Christianity and every other religion, and in a sense, they are all actually related. They are all human based ways of trying to please the God (or gods) they believe in and serve.

In regard to just Christian denominations, World Christian Encyclopedia says that Christianity as a whole consists of 6 major ecclesiastical-cultural blocs, divided into 300 major ecclesiastical traditions, composed of over 33,000 distinct denominations in 238 countries. It certainly cannot be stated that people are not interested in some type of higher power.

The sad part is that we want to argue over which religion is right or wrong. We constantly argue over whose interpretations are right, and most often we do not even want to associate with those who feel differently.

Needless to say, we all have our interpretations, thoughts and ideas, but those just make us unique individuals. They were not intended to cause separations and divisions among us. We should be able to be ourselves and yet love and accept those who see things differently.

If we could get past the religious part of our beliefs and live in the freedom God provided, things would go much better. Rather than defend our denominational interpretations and our personal ideas, if we would love and accept others with the love of Christ, people would be more open to hear about our God.

Often, rather than love and accept one another, we are normally busy pointing out the mistakes of others and condemning those who we consider sinners. When we do so, the love Jesus told us to show everyone seems to get missed. I personally do not think it is our job to convict people of their sins. The Holy Spirit will convict those who need it, and will draw them to God. We are just told to love God and love others.

When we focus on the gospels and the life of Jesus and realize that he did not condemn people for their sins, we can see a distinct difference from the way we act today. He only had an issue with the religious leaders who thought they were better than everyone because of their works.

When it comes to saying I am a Christian, I am hesitant anymore because of the meaning it often has to many people. If being a Christian means being part of a religious organization, trying to live by following the law and being discriminatory, exclusive and condemning others, I am done with that. In that sense, Christianity is not the answer, nor is any other man-made religion. If being a Christian means a follower of Christ, someone who wants to be like Christ and show the love of God to everyone, then I am all in.

Jesus is not into religion. Jesus came to show the love of God to every human being no matter who they are or what they believe. Jesus crosses the barriers of religion and loves everyone. In the world today, we are the Jesus that people see. We should be ready to show the love and acceptance that God showed us to everyone we meet.

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

I cringe when well-meaning people passionate about God say things like “it’s all part of God’s plan” or “everything happens for a reason.” It implies evil is some grand scheme by God. How is a God who supposedly can prevent evil any different than a parent who stands by and watches their child being physically or sexually abused? We must consider if God can’t interfere because to do so would deny freedom. 

A loving God can’t be controlling

Atheists and believers agree. The only God worth believing in and following is a perfect God. Such a statement is nonsensical if we are clueless what perfection is. Can God manipulate others? We would say no because perfect love doesn’t manipulate. Also, we hate when we see friends try to control others for their own reasons or gains. Love does not insist on its own way (I Cor 13:5). Obviously, God’s love must be uncontrolling. God can’t control evil because God’s very nature is love and true love is uncontrolling. Not everything that happens is part of God’s plan! 

What bother to pray then?

See here.

God’s uncontrolling love can be good news

Can there be true freedom if the future is determined or known? Even God can’t know a unknowable future. God isn’t hiding a “known” future for important decisions. God joins us in an open future. God wants us to feel free to pursue our own dreams without strings attached, unlike some earthly parents. God only desires to influence us 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. The future is open to God as well. God joins us in a true friendship by sharing our joys and sorrows in our journey. God certainly deters any suffering when not inferring with freedom. 

Please stop rationalizations 

Are you dissatisfied with answers to your questions such as: “God wants to make you stronger;” “God’s ways are not our ways;” “You didn’t have enough faith.” If evil is some grand scheme God can control, why then does the Bible says God hates evil so much? Does God hate God sometimes? See Thomas Oord’s book GOD CAN’T for further insight about God, evil, and suffering.

Imagine the perfect friend – that is God! 

God loves like how you wished you loved others. God hates when prayers can’t be answered. God feels the same pain you are experiencing. God shares the dreams you have for your future.  Conventional thinkers don’t like to suggest God has feelings of vulnerability, but they don’t mind talking about God’s wrath. If a God can be angry, a God can be sad. God hates when we are suffering. If God truly loves, God like a friend hurts when you hurt. We may wish God would just intervene but there may be legitimate reasons why God can’t. But God is with you each step of the way as we reach out to others for help as well.

Can We Stop Saying “Everything Happens For A Reason”!

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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