Thursday, August 13, 2009

Christian Mind Changers

I came from a religious family and practically grew up in the church. I was a "born again" Christian by the time I was 12 years old. I approached religious scholarship with the same intensity that I had for all things that I was interested in learning. I read books about sermons, books about religious leaders, books about the Bible, and even books about Christian history and about other religions. I took every Bible study course offered by the church and read the whole Bible cover to cover. Parts of it I read many times. My goal in life was to become a church pastor and Preacher of the Gospel .

The older I got the more I realized that most church members knew very little about the Bible. Most of them thought that if they worshiped regularly, made public professions of faith in the Church Theological Dogma (which they didn't really understand) and obeyed the Ten Commandants, their ticket to heaven would be punched.
The most important part of being a Christan was the support of the religious community and the respectability it gave you in the general community.

But that wasn't enough for me. As I have already said, I had an intense interest in knowledge of all kinds. The study of science had convinced me that the world was far older than six thousand years, that Adam & Eve had to be an allegory, and that a world flood and salvation from drowning by way of the Arc was an impossibility. 

By the time I understood the implication of evolution the deal was done. If I was forced to accept the Bible as literal and without error in order to become a Minister I would have to live a lie. I was unwilling to do that

There were practical problems for me in church teachings. When prayer went unanswered (as it usually did), the explanation that God answered in his own time or his own way or sometimes said no was not acceptableto me. God either helped or he didn't. 

 The idea that a person could be subject to punishment for ever and ever because he did not accept church doctrine or had never even heard  of the Church Doctrine that one must know to have the option to choose was Unjust and without Mercy and unacceptable. God himself would have to explain it to me and I might not accept it even then.

There I was at 16 years of age with out a religion, without a chosen profession and without a direction. I was an Agnostic leaning at times to Atheist and at time to Pantheist( where the Holy Being's only job was to Be). 

 I also knew that Science had just began to reveal Knowledge or at least had given us a method to "Propose but Verify". And slowly I discovered freedom and passion and new purpose.

 While my life took a pedestrian path and I never acquire the credentials to prove I know what I know, I did acquire the confidence to know that I know what I know. After you have had a chance to absorb that convoluted statement, I will tell you where I now stand. I have reached the comfortable age of 67 without acquiring a fear of death and lost the fear of speaking to controversy. I have renewed a great passion for writing that I had in my youth. My sense of ethics, human value, and a passion for making life as good as I can remained with me even when God had gone. The journey ahead is shorter than the one behind, but it is filled with joy and anticipation. Come! Walk with me.