A Non-Believer's Perception of Christianity and Its Adherents

Discussion in 'Religion and Ethics' started by Coloradomtnman, Apr 27, 2009.

  1. Coloradomtnman
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    Coloradomtnman Rational and proud of it.

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    Being an agnostic, belonging to a family of agnostics, having lived in a community of non-Christians, having dated a recovering Christian for two years, and having friends who don't believe in Christianity, I just wanted to share my perception of Christianity and its Adherents.

    Now, I know that there are many types of Christians from Catholics to Mormons, from Episcopalians to 7th Day Adventists, from Unitarians to Jehovah's Witnesses so I don't want to lump them all together. But, I'm sure we can all agree, that there are some things in which all Christians, if not all religions, have in common.

    Which brings me to my first point: that there are so many different sects of Christianity. From a non-believer's point of view, this is implies something not omnipotent and omniscient in the message of the Bible. There are some Christians who don't take the Bible literally, but interpret what the Bible says differently. And there are Christians who do take the Bible literally, and yet they still interpret it differently. That implies to the non-believer that perhaps God should have used a different form of communication so that His message came across more clearly and timelessly to His creations. Considering how God expects His flock to believe and behave a certain way, why is there so much controversy between different sects of Christianity? This has historically been a source of strife i.e. The Reformation. Why didn't God plan better to prevent massacres committed by his followers against his followers? Some Christians reconcile this inconsistency be claiming the some Christians aren't true Christians, but that, to a non-believer, doesn't reconcile the inconsistencies of the Christian religion at all and just perpetuates the "We're the ones who are Righteous and everybody else isn't" attitude of monotheists.

    I perceive Christianity as very morbid and violent religion. I have read the Bible and was made to attend church as a kid. For a little while my parents took me to Catholic Church. The call and response parts of Mass seemed, to me as an 8 year old, like brainwashing that happened in cartoons and movies. And right above the priest's head was a statue of an emaciated and almost naked man who appeared to be very sad, hanging from an ancient device of execution with blood dripping from his fatal wounds. At many of the church services I attended, the reverend or priest or pastor or preacher read from the Bible. I heard stories of God killing the first born of every Egyptian, of Him manipulating Abraham to kill his son but then stopping him at the last moment (which seems awful to me), of thousands of Egyptians drowning in the Red Sea, of God destroying Sodom and Gomorrah and turning Lot's wife into a pillar of salt for looking back (which I thought was pretty mean), of God commanding his followers to commit genocide, and many other stories that didn't sit well with me. And I see many churches and Christians adorned with decorative versions of the device used by Romans to execute many thousands of people. And dying on the cross wasn't a pleasant way to go by any means.

    Many non-believers and I don't understand the logic that Jesus died for our sins. To me, that doesn't make sense. Jesus knew he was God's son, he knew he was going to die for our sins, he knew he would be resurrected and go to Heaven. So what was so bad for him about dying, other than the temporary physicl suffering? There have been many thousands if not millions of people who have died much more agonizing deaths than Christ did, and some of those people were at the hands of his followers: i.e. torture and burning at the stake. Why did Christ's temporary death (3 days) cleanse our sins? Where is the logic in that? For me, there isn't any. In fact, it makes very little sense at all.

    As I pass churches, some of them as large as the Denver Convention Center, and just as opulent, I wonder about how the tithes are used. Considering what the Bible said about rich men entering into Heaven, and that what I thought the purpose Christian and church organizations was: helping the needy, disaster relief, and charities, I wonder at why the money the raised is used to construct such huge, elaborate, and expensive buildings. I thought that Jesus and the Apostles were simple men who taught about evils of wealth and extravagance. And as I click through the channels on cable, I see the tv evangelists and commercials for the Lord's Prayer in a necklace or other Christian-centric products wanting your money and I know it isn't for good works. I've read the stories of huge tv evangelists being investigated, indicted for tax fraud or just outright fraud. I've seen pictures of their multi-million dollar personal estates.

    As a non-believer I hear the message of Christianity of love, acceptance, mercy, and forgiveness but I see the actions of hate, self-righteousness, and knowing many in this nation who are conservatives are also Christian and its generally conservatives who are proponents of the death penalty, the inhumane treatment and lack of human rights extended to the prisoners at Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib, and of wars against such places as North Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, Iran, and nations whose cultures aren't Christian. From what I perceive as Jesus' message of peace and love, these don't seem like Christian stances on these issues. The GOP is also the party that represents the KKK, white supremacists, and other right-wing extremist fringe groups and organzations with which I would assume that Christians wouldn't want to be associated.

    Another inconsistency I see is the refusal of some Christians and Christian sects of certain scientific facts which refute the claims of the Bible, such as evolution* and the age of the Earth (evolution is not a theory but an observable scientific fact, The Theory of Evolution through Natural Selection is a theory to explain observed evolution). Some Christians claim that the 6 days in which the Universe was created is not literal, to a non-believer this seems like blurry rationalizing of a glaring inconsistency in what is supposedly the infallible Word of God. And since the advent of telescopes and the subesequent knowledge gained from their use, we know that there are hundreds of billions of stars in just our galaxy alone, and billions of galaxies in the observable Universe. What we know of the requirements of life, even with the most conservative figures, we can safely assume that there is life on other planets. Did Jesus die for their sins? Did they get a copy of the Bible? Or, like New World, African and Australian indigenous peoples, are those who died or die unshriven and ignorant of the Word of God going to burn forever in Hell?

    Which leads me to the message of fear spread by evangelicals that those who don't accept Jesus as their Savior will burn forever seems far different than the embodiment of unconditional love and mercy that is the Christian God. This is not only repellent, but hypocritical, to me as an agnostic.

    There are also the historical inconsistencies: like incorporation of pagan holidays, rituals, and symbols into the Christians faith. Christ wasn't born on December 25th yet that's when most Christians celebrate his birth. Christ is often represented as a white man, yet white people have never and still do not occupy the Middle East.

    These are just some of the inconsistencies and hypocritical attitudes and behaviors that I and many others who are non-believers perceive about the Christian religion. There are more which I do not have the time or memory or space to go into here. To us, generally speaking, Christianity is a religion which promotes love, acceptance, and forgiveness but only for its own members; it indirectly promotes homophobia, racism, war, and state-sanctioned exections; denies the validity of ceratin fields of science except for it when that science can be construed to its own ends, or technological conveniences; refuses to see itself objectively or from outside of itself; is morbid and uses fear as a tool to control people; and its adherents believe without any doubt that it is the one true religion, so all others are wrong, and therefore it has the righteous authority of God to promote itself and the beliefs of its adherents, make it as the accepted normal, and force its values into the rule of law.

    That has been my perception of Christianity.
     
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  2. Avatar4321
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    Avatar4321 Diamond Member Gold Supporting Member

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    I can completely understand your thoughts. I do understand unbelief. I have a few questions, and I hope no one decides to take any of my comments to derail your thread.

    First, Have you read the Bible since youve become an adult? From your comments you seemed to indicate reading it while you were young. I was just curious.

    Second, Have you read the Book of Mormon? If you havent, you may find many answers to why the Atonement was necessary.

    I don't know how interested you are in understanding better. You may simply want to state your opinion on the matter and continue living. I completely understand that. But if you do ever want to understand a believers perspective, I am more than happy to help you out there.

    There are alot of people who focus on the Bible above all things. Im not one of them. I think the most important thing is revelation. Open communication with Diety. Because we all need to understand things for ourselves, and while having the scriptures and the revelations of the past can help our journey, we have to establish a connect with the Divine to learn the truth about the Divine. You can learn more with five minutes of pure revelation then reading every book on the subject without it.
     
  3. editec
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    editec Mr. Forgot-it-All

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    As a non-believer, why do you care about any of these things?

    I mean I am a nonbeliever of a number of religions (well, actually all of them except the one I happen to cling to), and nothing about their inconsistencies or mysteries matters to me one bit.

    So what motivates you to ask these questions, exactly?
     
    Last edited: Apr 28, 2009
  4. Avatar4321
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    Avatar4321 Diamond Member Gold Supporting Member

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    Now that you mention it, Im rather curious now too.

    Personally, I like studying different religions. I like learning about others. it makes communication easier and the ability to love stronger.
     
  5. AllieBaba
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    AllieBaba BANNED

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    I'm always curious about why so-called non-believers seek out believers to quiz them about their beliefs for the same reason.

    I certainly don't feel compelled to go to places where non-believers hang out and attempt to draw them out about their non-belief.
     
  6. Coloradomtnman
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    Coloradomtnman Rational and proud of it.

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    I would say that there were a number of reasons why I wrote this. I wanted to express my opinion. I wanted to get some feedback from Christians about my perception of their religion. I wanted to impact someone's way of thinking, and maybe open someone's eys about how their perfectly held religious beliefs were seen from outside the realm of the faithful.

    I think its hard for Christians living in the US, which is supposed to be a secular nation, to understand what its like to not be a Christian or even a member of a religion, especially a world religion like Christianity. I wanted to try and express a small part of that.

    I wasn't posing questions to be answered so much as I was writing what my perception of the Christian religion is. I wanted responses, and I wanted a reaction, but I was attempting to express myself as sincerely as possible and I hope that came across.
     
  7. Coloradomtnman
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    Coloradomtnman Rational and proud of it.

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    This is a forum, Allie, not a church. It isn't a place just for Christians. And although you might not feel compelled to talk to non-believers about their non-belief, you do feel compelled to talk to non-believers about your beliefs. Otherwise, why would I see your posts so often in threads started by non-believers?

    And isn't that part of the reason you are a member of USMB? Isn't that part of the reason we all on USMB are?
     
  8. Cecilie1200
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    Cecilie1200 Gold Member

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    I'm curious about a number of things. One, why does Colorado feel compelled to start so many threads devoted to the belief that Christians are just DYING to know what non-Christians - and him in particular - think of him. Two, why does Colorado cherish the belief that he's fooling anyone about his hostility toward Christianity, particularly when he uses phrases like "recovering Christian"? (Hey, dumbass. Christianity is a belief system, not a disease or addiction. Really unbiased and open-minded there, genius.) Three, would he and his minions flock to a thread titled "A Believer's Perception of Atheism and Its Adherents" for any reason other than hostility or belligerence, as they profess to expect Christians to do to threads like this?

    I'm not saying don't start threads to pick fights. Just stop trying to cloak it in a pretense of seeking honest debate.
     
  9. HUGGY
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    HUGGY I Post Because I Care Supporting Member

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    I'm sorry. The book of morman is raging crazy bat shit and YES I did read it and the bible since adulthood. I read the book of morman three years ago.

    Carry on.
     
  10. JBeukema
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    JBeukema BANNED

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    why would a xtian care what a heathen thought and come to this thread to read it, let alone respond unless for reasons of hotility or some attempt at conversion, usually disguised as a 'defense' of their ignorance?
     
    Last edited: Apr 27, 2009

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