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Posts Tagged ‘christian living’

By Mike Edwards

Religion and science share a common sin these days – claiming they certainly know the “truth.” We have an inborn sense of good and evil. Who doesn’t know rape, sexual abuse of children, murder is immoral? Most criminals don’t defend their actions; instead, they deny committing such crimes. The truth though is we don’t know the best response for the greater good on issues such as responding to a pandemic, taxes, climate change, immigration, etc. Benefits and risks exist for most issues. Religion and science are playing God (Superior) in the lives of others by claiming they know the truth and we are too stupid to decide for ourselves!

Christians must stop hiding behind supposed biblical truth 

Religious folks hide behind their interpretation of a Book as government health officials hide behind their interpretation of science. Opposing views are said to be heretical or anti-science. 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. See here. Scholars don’t agree that a literal Hell is a reality in the Bible. The truth is leaders must stop being so damn certain despite what anxiety or challenges that may cause themselves or others!

Certainty may help to avoid fear but is an illusion 

Certainty rather than uncertainty comforts individuals psychologically. One may believe the narrative being proclaimed because unknowing can create confusion or anxiety. Disagreeing with the popular science narrative can lead to being ostracized. Disagreeing with church leadership about God’s character can lead to isolation. It doesn’t matter if those who proclaim certainty have good intentions or believe their ideas are best for society. They may be wrong! When universal agreement doesn’t exist, it should be obvious that one must be allowed to form their own opinions since uncertainty exists.

What are the consequences of avoiding uncertainty?

When only one side is presented, control and power grow intentionally or unintentionally; control and power are intoxicating and a part of human nature.  These internal forces flourish when others are not allowed to discuss or debate alternative opinions in the public arena. It should be intuitive denying diverse opinions is unloving and controlling. Most don’t except such behaviors in their personal relationships. A refusal to openly discuss or defend one’s views suggests an unhealthy dependency on “certainty.”  It isn’t science if there isn’t debate. The same goes for religious truths.  The beauty of a free democracy is that no one person or those in control get to play God.

Our Path forward

Leaders must be empowered and held accountable to be open-minded than certain. I left the institutional church due to the sin of certainty. We can try to engage with those who insist on certainty when it doesn’t exist, but in time one may need to move on. We can stop labeling those who disagree with our biblical interpretations as heretics. We can stop calling those who disagree with our views of science as conspiracists.

Imagine how different as a people we would be if religious and political folks were open to discussions for the common goal of pursing the greater good! You want to be supported to make your own decisions freely when there is uncertainty? Respect the rights of others to do the same. A voting democratic society surely is more humane and less dangerous than an authoritarian government style.

What Do Religion And Science Have In Common Unfortunately?

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 Doesn’t God Stop More Suffering?

What Really Is “Truth” About Science Or God?

Lies About God!

Does God Promise Heaven Or Hell Or What?

How The Heck Do You Have A Good Marriage?

Can I Follow God If I Can’t Stand Reading The Bible?

What Kind Of God Do You Believe In?

God Is Not All-Powerful Or In Total Control!

Was God As Violent As Old Testament Claims?

Should We Forgive Others Without Expectations?

How Can We Know It Is God Guiding Us?

Are There Good Reasons To Follow God If A Skeptic Or On The Fence?

Why Doesn’t God Answer More Prayers?

My Spiritual Journey These Past Six Decades

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

Let’s just say this right off, Jesus was not a Christian. Also, Jesus was not white, nor American, nor a Republican. 

Here in the United States, when we think of Jesus we usually think of Christianity. Actually, Christianity is just another religion that men started based on Jesus. Jesus did not come to start a religion, yet in our modern era, Christianity is thought of as a religion more than it is a lifestyle of following Jesus. 

Jesus does not belong to any particular religion, nationality or political party. He loves and accepts people no matter what they believe, where they live, who they love, who they vote for or what they look like. He came to show the love of God to the human race which includes all people in every part of the world.

If we describe being Christian as a follower of the example of Jesus, then there is nothing wrong with using this word to describe our fellowship with Him. If we use the word Christian to describe belonging to a particular church, following a particular doctrine or set of rules or belonging to a particular political party, then we have totally missed what being a Christ-follower is all about. I would rather not have anything to do with the word Christian used in this sense. 

Jesus is the Son of God, and He loves all people. Jesus came to show us what God may really be like, a God of love and acceptance. A God that loves the entire world. God does not see Muslims, Jews, Christians or any religion. God loves people, all people, every nationality, every political party, every race, every man, woman and everyone who is LGBTQ. God sees people who need and want love and acceptance. The only way people are going to come to true fellowship with God is through Jesus…not Christianity. 

It is time we stop looking to organized religion as our way of becoming acceptable and pleasing to God. We need to look to the example of Jesus and allow the Spirit to live through us to love all those we meet each day. Stop demanding that people come to follow your doctrine, your rules, your beliefs and accept people as they are. Show the love of Christ to them and let the Spirit do the work of God in them as God sees fit. 

We are never going to completely agree with each other on doctrine and religion. Only through Christ and the love He gives will we be able to love and accept others. Let us be known by the true meaning of the word Christian, being someone who is doing the works of Jesus and following the example of Jesus by loving God and loving one another. 

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 write on this subject ad nauseum. In fact, years ago I named my site  What God May Really Be Like.  I used the word “may” because I didn’t want to do what frustrates me most about the institutional church. They act as if they are certain what an invisible, inaudible God is like, yet there are thousands of denominations with difference understandings of God. What one believes about God may be a main reason many don’t purse a closer a relationship with God.  See here.  

The Bible can’t be the only source to know God 

The Bible can’t be an end-all. The Bible as literature has to be interpreted and many disagree claims made about God regarding moral issues – gays, women, and the destiny of people of other religions. See here. To claim the “Bible says” is frankly a little naïve.  Besides, even if we agreed on interpretation, we can’t prove God controlled the thoughts and writing of the writers of the Bible in conveying a perfect view of what God was like. But I’m grateful for the recorded history of God with the Israelites as it gets me thinking about what God is really like.

Our moral intuitions aren’t the enemy!

It is only intuitive that a Creator loves the ways their creations ought to love one another. Many of us are into God but many of us left the institutional church because claims about God’s character was contrary to our deepest moral intuitions. Why believe in a God you can’t respect. We may not always know what perfect love entails but we seem to know the question we ought to ask ourselves – am I loving others perfectly? Or am I loving others like I want to be loved? Any God worth believing in must be a perfect. What might that perfection look like?

What relationship give us the most insight into God? 

What human relationship comes to mind when thinking of a Creator’s relationship with their creations? Is it the employer-employee relationship, the marriage partnership, or the parent-child relationship? I think the latter. Perfect love from a God or parent is surely one and the same. God’s love surely is other-directed not self-consumed. It is true we don’t all agree or know how a perfect parent responds, but a perfect parent or God surely hopes for my success, believes in me, pulls for me even when failing. Why doesn’t God make it crystal clear what God expects from us? God’s overpowering presence may only lead to fearful obligations to obey. The road traveled of learning and reflecting about God better may lead to lasting convictions. God may speak to us in non-dramatic was out of love!

How Do We Best Determine What God Is Really Like?

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

National polls suggest the majority of people believe there is a God. Many seem to have a strong inclination that there is an afterlife after time here on earth. I’m all “in” with God for some reason, but we all have different journeys. I may be needy, scared to accept reality, etc., but how do you explain billions believing in a God. Many would admit they believe in God but don’t have a close relationship with God. I wrote possible reasons why  here .

I have a hunch God especially loves skeptics!

Most agree an unloving or tyrannical God isn’t worth believe in. It is only intuitive, if a Creator exist, that a Creator loves the ways their creations ought to love one another. A parent obviously loves a child who finds it easier than their others children to accept them and their ways. But we don’t unlove our skeptical children. A greater pain may be when our children ignore us. Spiritual or human parents don’t desire forced love, which isn’t genuine, but hope for consideration and to prove the possibility of a better relationship. 

Don’t believe everything you hear about God? 

Many may be skeptical about God because of claims made about God which are contrary to our deepest moral intuitions. One’s understanding of the Bible may be the reasons some Christians seems unloving. But biblical scholars who have a deep respect for Scriptures don’t agree that the God in the Bible condemns homosexuality, that God forbids women in leadership roles, or that the Bible teaches there is a literal Hell where unbelievers are tortured forever. Don’t believe everything you hear claimed about God! See here.

Do I have to believe in Jesus’ resurrection or that Jesus was both God and human? 

I am convinced Jesus’ resurrection isn’t legend but others may not. Jesus told followers He was coming back from the dead and they didn’t believe Him despite witnessing Jesus’ miracles beforehand. They only believed after witnessing or hearing Jesus resurrected. I would like to think more of us if we witness a man or woman coming back from the grave, after killed on a cross, would be convinced of their message. But none of us lived during biblical times. 

Some can’t logically wrap their heads around Jesus being both man and God. Exactly how does one do that chromosomally? Isn’t it logically impossible to be God and not God? Some may be willing to accept that Jesus was an extraordinary man who epitomized who God was. Why can’t we begin there discussing what teachings of Jesus seem to represent what a loving God is like? 

Don’t we want the Jesus story to be true? 

Jesus didn’t use His power if really God in human form. Who doesn’t respect Jesus was willing to hang out with those despised by society and take on the snobbish religious and political leaders? Jesus, when ask what was the greatest commandment, simply said love others like you want to be loved. Try it! You might have fewer relational regrets. Jesus risked being crucified by the powerful and didn’t bother to save himself from pain on the Cross, though reported capable of miracles. Maybe Jesus wanted other to consider His message. If the biblical writers were making up stuff, you don’t report your leader was crucified, rejected by your family, and followers doubted Jesus’ claims including being God in flesh. Jesus simply was not the stuff legends were made up.

What is the risk of following God?

It’s okay to be skeptical and take a leap of faith. Faith is a part of life. We still get on an airplane, not because we know but have reason to believe it is safe. A God worth believing in only desires to help you in your journey of becoming the person deep down you want to become. I am not sure there is anything to lose in beginning a journey of faith if the desire is to live life with fewer regrets. Personally, the biggest reason for being a God-follower is the inspiration and encouragement I sense in striving to be a better human being than I would be otherwise.

Are There Reasons To Pursue God Even If Skeptical?

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

In today’s world, it seems everyone has the ‘I’m number one’ attitude. We are all interested in what is best for us, what makes us happy, how to be more comfortable and satisfied in our lives. Seems like we will do anything to get ahead in life, and to get all the comforts and things to make it easier for us.

Yet, as followers of Christ, we should be doing just the opposite. Our thoughts and attitudes should be about how we can show the love of God to others. What can we do to help those in need, and how can we use the money God has blessed us with to help the less fortunate.

Jesus told us to love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, strength and mind and to love others as yourself. While the things we have been given and blessed with by God are not wrong, we need to keep in mind that they are not the important part of our lives. We are to be thinking of others and their need for love, acceptance and encouragement. We are to be concerned about how we can build someone up and meet a need in their life.

The Bible states ‘do not merely look out for your own interests’ — there is nothing wrong with taking thought of our wants, needs and interests, (unfortunately, very often our own interests are all that concern us) — ‘but also for the interests of others.’ May we daily ask God to help us be concerned for others and be ready to care for them as the Spirit leads.

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

There are so many views of what God is really like. Many picture God as this angry, judgmental God whose character demands that God is deeply offended when we sin (I hate that “sin” word). See here. The only way God can supposedly like us is to look through their Jesus-colored lens. Others picture God as graceful and loving, ready to forgive on a dime. Where do we get such views?

The Bible doesn’t always help

Both views mentioned are often claimed according to the Bible. The Bible can’t be an end-all. The Bible as literature has to be interpreted and many don’t agree on how God is portrayed in the same passage – even moral issues regarding gays, women, destiny of people of other religions, etc. To claim the “Bible says” is frankly a little naïve.  Besides, even if we agreed on interpretation, we can’t prove God controlled the thoughts and writing of the writers of the Bible, thus having a perfect view of what God was like. But I’m grateful the recorded history of God with the Israelites gets me talking about God. 

Claiming certainty doesn’t help

Many believe the Bible is only how we can know or best know God. This can lead to being dogmatic about one’s views of God. The Bible says God condemns gays. I don’t believe it does but I will except your “maybe” it does. See here.  It is better to be uncertain than wrong about God. One can’t be certain about an inaudible, invisible God. Allow open discussions what a loving God is mostly to be like.   

Why not trust our moral intuitions?

Let’s assume a God exist and created us human beings. Any God worth believing in must be a perfect, loving God. Wouldn’t such a God create us to be perfect, loving humans? Even the Bible implies such an idea: “Be perfect, therefore as your heavenly Parent is perfect” (Mt. 5:48). This passage also agrees with our intuitions – we must have some clue of what true love is. We may not always know what perfect love entails but at least we know the question we ought to ask ourselves – am I loving others perfectly? Or am I loving others like I want to be loved? God’s character surely isn’t contrary to our deepest moral intuitions.

How Can We Get Our View Of God So Wrong Or Right?

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

What loving parent demands love. Forced love is an oxymoron. If you believe in not loving people like you want to be loved, good luck in life. I am convinced God only wishes for all to consider the possibility of a loving God who desires to help in our journey to become the person deep down we want to become. Loving, human parents don’t require certain beliefs from their children before hoping they will consider a closer relationship. Are we better lovers than God? 

Does God love skeptics? 

Most agree an unloving or tyrannical God isn’t worth believing in. It is only intuitive, if a Creator exist, that a Creator loves the ways their creations ought to love one another. A parent obviously loves a child who finds it easier than their other children to accept them and their ways. But we don’t unlove our skeptical children. A greater pain may be when our children ignore us. Spiritual or human parents are always hoping for consideration to prove the possibility of a better relationship. 

Is believing the resurrection of Jesus and Jesus is the Son of God a non-starter? 

I am convinced Jesus’ resurrection isn’t legend but others may not. Jesus told followers He was coming back from the dead and they didn’t believe Him despite witnessing Jesus’ miracles beforehand. They only believed after seeing Jesus resurrected with their own eyes. I would like to think more of us if we witness a man or woman coming back from the grave, after killed on a cross, would be convinced of their message. But none of us lived during biblical times. 

Some can’t logically wrap their heads around Jesus being both man and God. Exactly how does that happen chromosomally? Isn’t it logically impossible to be God and not God? Some may be willing to accept that Jesus was an extraordinary man who epitomized who God was. Why can’t we begin there in discussing what teachings of Jesus seem to represent what a loving God is like? 

You don’t even have to believe the Bible or what it teaches

You certainly don’t have to believe in magical trees and talking snakes. The global flood story could describe a regional flood in hyperbolic terms to convey moral, spiritual food for thought. God doesn’t require literal belief in any event in the Bible or else! Be careful thinking you have to believe what some claim the Bible teaches. Scholars disagree what the Bible teaches about many moral issues, including if there is really a literal hell. See here.  Now if God physically appears before your very eyes, you might want to consider what They claim.

What do you lose taking a leap of faith? 

No one can prove God exist or doesn’t, but billions in the past have believe in the possibility of a Creator. They couldn’t all be lunatics. Do you want to be more in with God? I am not sure there is anything to lose in beginning a journey of faith if the desire is to live life with fewer regrets. Personally, the biggest reason for being a God-follower is the inspiration and encouragement I sense in striving to be a better human being. Give God a chance to influence you positively.

What Beliefs Does God Demand To Be “In” With 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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by Jim Gordon

Here we are at the end of another year. It can be a time of sadness in some cases, but usually it is a time of excitement and anticipation for a new beginning.

The past happenings of the year are either remembered as sad occurrences or as happy memories. Either way I think they help shape us into the person we are becoming.

Each new year seems to give us a sense of renewed purpose and goals of doing better, whatever that may mean to each of us. For some it is going to the gym, others want to read more or volunteer more. Many want to get closer to God while others want to distance themselves further from religious ways.

We are all different. We all have different ideas on life yet we are so similar in many ways. We all want to be loved and accepted. We all want to be happy and successful in life. We want to have a purpose and fulfill a meaning that is suited for us. My belief is we accept one another the way we are. We are not all going to agree or condone some of the actions of others, but we can still respect and treat each other kindly. We can be friends and still be as different as night and day.

No matter how hard we try, none of us have it all figured out. None of us have it all together and none of us have the right to force others to live, act or believe a certain way just because we think we are right. We are responsible for ourselves, and those of us who are Christians are to let the love of God flow out to all people no matter if they agree with us or not. We are only asked to love God and love one another.

As this is the last post of the year, I wanted to take a minute and thank each of you who take the time to read our articles. There are many different views and thoughts on life among our readers and I know not all agree with what we say…and that is OK. We do not try to force our views on others. We write about how we feel and how we see things at this period of time. Each of us has our own views and opinions and we should be able to share those views and still be accepting of others.

We also want to make sure that no matter who you are, what you believe, no matter what religion, race, sex, gender or nationality, we consider you friends and are glad you take the time to read our articles.

So, until next year, we here at Done with Religion hope each of you have a good holiday season. We are hopeful you will continue to visit our site and find encouragement, acceptance and friendship throughout the new year.

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

Many Christians assume the Bible teaches we must forgive without any expectations. The Bible can also be used to claim repentance is required. God does not forgive the rebellious (Josh. 24:19); “… if they repent forgive them” (Lk. 17:3). The Bible wasn’t meant to be a rules book to advise what every individual should do in their circumstances. “Turn the other cheek” is not meant for a domestic victim. One is free to forgive without expectations, but you have come to the right blog if a victim and you think certain expectations are important before forgiving a person.

Doesn’t God expect genuine forgiveness before getting into Heaven?

Many defend that the Bible claims you must always forgive no matter the circumstances. But those who defend easy forgiveness would not agree God forgives without acknowledging any wrongdoing. They would suggest you can’t enter Heaven without seeking forgiveness from God. The assumption is God expects and can discern if you are being genuine in repenting. Maybe even God has certain conditions or expectations if seeking forgiveness. Aren’t we supposed to imitate God?

I am suspicious of those that “just want to move on” 

A bully or abuser who doesn’t acknowledge their behaviors and just wants to move on is suspect. I have hurt others to know how I should go about asking for forgiveness. It isn’t about my feelings but the victim’s feelings. I don’t know why some guilty folks focus on their expectations and not their victim’s. The guilty obviously know they have done something wrong if asking for forgiveness. Those refusing to wrestle with expectations communicated by victims don’t acknowledge the seriousness of their actions. The innocent decides next steps and if a future relationship is possible.

Wrongdoing must be recognized 

If one is not held accountable for their wrongdoing, might they just do it again? Quick or easy forgiveness can allow a husband’s abusive behavior to continue. When a sexual abuser doesn’t openly acknowledge their actions, will they continue to abuse others? The guilty need to stop with excuses or blaming others. Those with the same upbringing or circumstances don’t always mistreat others. The guilty must take responsibility and accept steps a victim wants taken next. 

Restitution isn’t always possible 

Bad memories can’t be erased; positive memories robbed by the guilty can’t be restored. This is why certain relationships cannot always continue.  Those that have hurt others are not in a position to insist on a future relationship. When restitution is possible, discussions are necessary unless the guilty aren’t really sorry. 

To forgive or not!

In my mind forgiveness isn’t really a discussion until the guilty acknowledge they need forgiveness. But for some forgiving despite lack of remorse can control bitterness. For others to forgive despite lack of remorse can cause feelings of further victimization and bitterness. We must stop guilting victims, according to the Bible, to forgive their violator no matter what. Those hurt must seek the mind of God what actions in relationship difficulties lead to your best interest in the long run in a world full of disappointments. You may discover God is emphatic!

Should We Forgive Others Without Expectations?

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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