Resigning To Faith

Trading one problem for an accepted one—the art of conformity

Faith is consent without evidence to that which is opposed by reason“—Jean Meslier

Enduring faith—bridled to a single, vulnerable moment in the past now sustained by layers upon layers of dismissal. Rarely any reasonable explanation will change the miracle (even by the obvious) in the mind of the believer.

A trauma or high point of conviction, an anchoring bias coupled with endless persuasion until it is the only option you know in depth—no other doctrine is welcomed now, for through the automatic rebuttal feature, faith is the closure of a once opened mind. For the child of the earth that could entertain a myriad of possibilities, now has but a few ways in which to conform.

Naturoglyphs in the canyon

Knowledge will not be had by dismissing even one errant point. There is only one, contradictory free, ultimate truth in the universe. Can we follow that path without waving off a bit here and there, but turn only where the evidence leads? It cannot be done post acquiescence to religious faith—and it will take natures children to realize it before the sidetracking of beliefs settle in to the long haul of conformity.


Author: jimoeba

Alternatives to big box religions and dogmas

126 thoughts on “Resigning To Faith”

  1. Conformity–following the crowd even when no one knows where the crowd is going. Theists love conformity, because there is strength in numbers.
    Thousands of years ago buffalo allowed our human ancestors to run them over a cliff they could not see, a hundred thousand at a time, because they conformed to the herd. (See “Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump”)
    Eventually, this is where theism will lead.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Rawgod, how can we make a blanket statement like this, though?

      Do all theists love conformity? Are there atheists who want to conform to their social/cultural group? Doesn’t it partly depend how someone comes to their view, and even in great measure depend in personality and temperment?

      I think in general people high on the “agreeableness” scale tend to be more conforming.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. NO ONE can claim us atheists conformists. We do not conform to what theists are. Atheists? Are a totally different creature than theists are.

        Conformity for Christian theists is shown in their denominations. Roman Catholics? Proclaim they are the only true Christians and all others are not. Same with many Protestants. Heck Catholics are not true Christians they say. And then? Even within the Protestant denominations of which there are literally thousands? One group says if you do not conform to what we teach and preach? Then you are not a True Christian.

        So there is conformity with Christians as well as unconformity, but conformity rules most. You belong to the Roman Catholics? YOU MUST conform to their ways or you cannot call yourself a True Roman Catholic. You got Southern Baptists and American Baptists and each state? You either conform with our teachings or you are not true to it. Same with Episcopal, Methodist Episcopal and Methodist.

        But here is what is interesting in all of this. Each denomination? Has a different set of conformity rules. And if you do not follow them? Then you are not comforming. So in essence? That is when you can say a Christian is being a non-conformist.

        We can show this too with how some Christians? Believe the Universe is only 6,000 or 7,000 years old while others? Actually believe the Universe is billions of years old. Most Christians would say these kind are non-conformists.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. My masters thesis? Literally blew the minds of my professors. It was titled…If we did not know this god of the bible would we still worship him and call him good and holy?

        Now the basic thesis was? Coming from the point of a person never having read or heard of the bible. Yet? Were told some of the stories of god from the OT, without telling them this was the source of these stories.

        My questions were as follows.

        If a being sent 2 she bears to shred 42 children for making a joke would you call that being loving and merciful?

        If a being commanded that a virgin who is raped is forced to marry her rapist? Would you call that being loving and merciful?

        If a being had parents cannibalize their children? Would you again? Call that being merciful and loving?

        If you had a being that had parents stone to death mouthy children? etc.

        And I proved that if a person had no clue this was a god of the bible? They would in fact? Call this being pure evil, vile and horrifying and no being worthy of any worship.

        I actually stood in debate with 12 professors in this and guess what? They actually said? I won the debate lol. Because I was right. If YOU did not have any knowledge of the bible or the god of the bible and someone told you these stories taken directly from the bible? YOU would not declare this being? Holy, or loving, or merciful, or just.

        Liked by 2 people

            1. Mine were RCC. Kneeling was one of their favorite punishments. They whacked ya sometimes, you got the belt sometimes, but it was typically go kneel in the corner. Sometimes? They had me on broomsticks. No wonder my knees are oh so screwed up. Hell the penguins at the RCC school I went to were worse. I was left handed. What they say about those nuns and priests hating left handers is absolutely true. My godmother got so pissed at them for it cause I actually have beautiful “penmanship”. She went down there after she had come to visit and saw me with my left knuckles BUSTED all to crap. Trust me, after she got done? They never did it but the damage was already done and I had to write with my right hand. I do everything else though lefty.

              they once put me in the corner with a dunce cap for proving the penguin wrong and that there was a female god. Oh boy did she and the collar meltdown. I think that is why he did to me what he did oh so many years later. But? He is dead and rotting in his grave, hopefully? Their hell is real and he is down there being butt banged by the big dicked demons of hell.

              Liked by 1 person

        1. Good for you, Militant. But, here is my thoughts. I don’t think God commanded any of these atrocities either. No way.

          I would also question if many of the stories particularly in the OT are even meant to be interpreted in a literal way at all.

          I would say that I am orthodox in the faith, but not especially conservative or a fundamentalist. I’m not able to wrap my head around why there should be a direct correlation between things such as for instance, a literal/historical person named Eve, or if God actually floated a big boat full of animals, etc. with the historicity of Jesus or the apostolic witness of the resurrection which is the basis of Christian faith.

          To me, these are all very separate issues. Also, what is wrong with questioning the Bible? Why I question it all the time. But, this hasn’t led me to atheism. Far from it.

          Of course, there are errors and inconsistencies in the Scripture. Any honest and thoughtful person call see this. But, how does this all logically follow that there is no God, or that nothing in the Scripture might be true or useful? Talk about ditching the baby with the bathwater.

          Also, I’ll be the first to admit that there has certainly been evil committed by and in the institutional church. It cannot be justified. But, surely this evil was not consistent with the command of Jesus to love our neighbor and even to care for enemies.

          Because others walked in sin and hypocrisy, why should I surrender my faith, and refuse to follow Christ?

          Hope you are well, Militant. Stay safe.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. We could discuss all kinds of things about your god and the literal evil he has committed in the OT. Heck, I just touched on a couple of them.

            Let’s take, if I remember I haven’t told or discussed this one with you. I cannot remember. But. Let’s take the Tribe of Benjamin and how they got their wives, with your god’s approval.

            They were under a prohibition that they could not get any girls from any of the other 11 Tribes of Israel, but if we want to be specific one tribe was kocked out of the running cause they were the priestly class. But? None of the others could allow a member of the Tribe of Benjamin to get one of their virgin daughters to take as wives and thus? Their tribe was dying off. God himself would not lift the prohibition on this but came up with another plan.

            So? God said go to Jabesh-Gilead and slaughter ALL the living except the virgin girls and that is exactly what the Tribe of Benjamin did. They then raped those 400 girls they got and then? Under Levitical law? forced them into marrying them. But they did not get enough girls to marry so God said go do the same to the virgin dancing girls of Shiloh and the Tribe of Benjamin did so.

            This whole story is in Judges 21:10-24.

            Now, if you did not know this was your god? How would you describe his actions? He in fact? Commanded his Tribe of Benjamin to go into a town and slaughter all people except for the virgin girls and rape them and force them into marrying them. How would you feel if you had been one of those virgin girls from Jabesh-Gilead who just witnessed your whole family, hell, your whole town slaughtered, including the animals and now? Your being raped by those who did it and then forced into marrying your rapist who just took your virginity?

            Would YOU call this a good, kind, loving and merciful god?

            Couldn’t have god suggested that hey, why don’t you go to Jabesh-Gilead and asked for their virgin daughters hands in marriage and give them a dowery? Hmmm now that? Would have been more kind, loving, merciful and good wouldn’t you think so?

            Liked by 1 person

          2. Then again? On the flipside? God could have just lifted his restrictions on the Tribe of Benjamin marrying members of the other Tribes too and just stopped all the slaughter and butchery of the people of Jabesh-Gilead in the first place.

            Liked by 1 person

            1. Militant, we are having a terrible miscommunication. I’m agreeing with you. I don’t think God commanded any of this. Look at Hebrews 1. It speaks of Jesus as being the exact representation of the being of God. God has spoken in a real sense through Christ. Does it seem logical to think that Jesus who prayed for forgiveness of those who were murdering Him on the cross supports this slaughter and butchery??

              Only folks whose Christian faith is somehow tied to the doctrine of the inerrancy of Scripture cannot see this disconnect.


          3. why should I surrender my faith, and refuse to follow Christ?
            Maybe, because frankly, it doesn’t do what it is promised to do? If there was a god he would have known better than to unleash this kind of conceit on humanity. The monotheistic conceit that actually recognized better ways of living but destroyed it anyway. A good god would have said, “be careful how seriously you take this message. Realize not everyone is going to believe this, so be patient and wait. None of it really matters enough to hurt another human”.

            Liked by 1 person

            1. But, Jim hurting another person, IMO, is the antithesis of Christian faith. I feel this way because I am taking the way of Jesus seriously. Forced conversation is like an oxymoron.

              When Jesus told us to love our neighbors and care for enemies, doesn’t this automatically preclude murder? He commanded Peter to put up His sword.

              True, we can’t get into the heads of some of these people. But, I suspect they were far more impacted by greed, the need to control, even the culture of the times which reflected things like manifest destiny, as well as the acquisition of land and wealth through conquest then they were remotely shaped by the teaching of Christ.

              Anyway, Jim, I know you are completely sincere, and a very good man. But, I’m not able to see your this.

              I will keep trying to understand, though, and listen.


            2. This is why it is called a snare. It’s hard for any creature to imagine that his natural surrounding has been infiltrated by a barrier. His whole life he has dealt with it or gone around it. It really never occurred to him that it might be the result of something sinister.
              Let me try another approach. A+B=C. Every time. Thankfully Christianity has lost its teeth by everyone adding something to the broth, but when it has been followed, when it has been really believed, it carried itself to the world by force. It never once won on its ideas, but by the sword everywhere it planted its flag. We have evidence of this even in modern times in accounts by Henry Rambow and Daniel Everett (and as late as 1900 right here in my own neighborhood with the native Americans) the natives actually laughed at the doctrines. Never would they have chosen it without a threat (or surrender to protect their loved ones).
              So we saw in the world a lot of death. Not just an occasional masochist or two, but in every town and hamlet around the world where Christianity was allowed unfettered access. Thankfully now there are secular laws to protect us from these abuses. Even a hundred years ago my wife would have been burned alive, but public shaming of these tactics have led to better standards.
              So we see that torture, imprisonments, and barbary were always the way of the church. Now such abuses are generally restricted within the walls of the home or chapel, the guilt and shaming and coercion by threat is the way of the church doctrine. Say what you want, but as nice a person one may be, no one but the believer will abide his coming.
              So we see, “go ye into the world” wasn’t so benign with the appeal to faith as the pinnacle of religious experience. Is simply step two of three and until humanity can overcome this discrepancy, Christianity will continue to win by withholding the final phase of enlightenment.
              Abrahamic religion equals bloodshed. It’s as obvious as 123, but what naturally good person like yourself could ever associate such outcomes with themselves, except by a special miracle of enlightenment.

              Liked by 2 people

          4. (((Militant))) sorrow. I think you should pour out your heart and express all of your anger to God. It’s not wrong to be honest about our feelings. He can handle it. Somehow you’ve got to work through this rage or it will surely destroy and poison your life if it hasn’t already. Hope and prayers that you are getting the support that you need, Militant.

            Remember your life is of infinite value and worth. You have purpose. We all do. I’ve committed my whole life to the unconditional love of God in Christ. It means more to me than any amount of money that I could wager, Militant.


      3. Hi Becky,
        I look at the world around me, and this is what I see, so I say it. It doesn’t make me right or wrong, it just makes me me.
        Having said that, the word atheist describes non-conformity, going against the grain. Theism mean conformity, going with the grain. That is basic. Of course there are those within each grouping (not group, atheists are not a group) that choose to either take their position from others or against others. That is human nature.
        But there is one thing theists seem to be incapable of understanding, so I will point it out:
        Atheists come to atheism not because someone tells them to be atheists, but because they ask themselves questions and look inside themselves to find answers. Theists are told to believe in whatever it is they believe, and they think they decide to join the group. That decision has been taken away from them by their early indoctrination. But this is not what I want to ralk about.
        I have never met an atheist who did not take that journey alone. It is only through personal introspection that a person becomes atheist.
        I have never met a theist who grew up without god and discovered god through personal introspection. The idea of god always comes from outside the self.
        There is no conspiracy theory to be found in this. Atheists are not “out to get” theists, although some anti-theists are, but that is a whole other story. If you are a theist, as your questions suggest, good for you. Live what you believe. But don’t bring your theism to non-theists. We don’t want it. Keep it to yourself.

        Liked by 4 people

    2. As an Aniwaya Tslagi (Wolf Clan Cherokee) and Blackfeet? You got that pretty off. It was not a herd mentality of us Native Americans when we drove buffalo off a cliff. We did so because at the time? It was the best way for us to get our protien food. Once our Sioux and other Plains Natives got their horses? That all changed. We no longer had to drive animals off a cliff.

      Now yeah, I can see you using this as an analogy, but you could have used a better one.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You misunderstood. It was the herd mentality of the buffalo that I was describing. I am partly native american myself, I understand that we used the herd mentality of the buffalo against them.
        I am not sure how you got to humans having a herd mentality, but I do apologize for the musunderstanding. Our ancestors did not have a herd menrality. The buffalo did.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Sure. I agree that it’s preferable to reserve judgement pending further evidence.

          However, I disagree with the notion that all religious people are conformists — because a multitude of religions and splinter groups within those religions suggests that theism is fairly non-conformist aside from its shared belief in the supernatural.

          And I outright reject the notion that all atheists are non-conformists or immune from herd mentality.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Well, according to the article John posted, even if I could prove you wrong you wouldn’t change that opinion? I think you would. I know I do all the time based on the reasoning presented against every idea I’ve ever posted. Submitting to faith first then reasoning every iota into it, is tenfold the bias of atheism.
            The apologists I encounter most often fail to even comprehend what is being said. Anything outside of belief is pure nonsense.


            1. According to the article, ignoring facts and conforming with the opinions of others is predicated on a strong desire to maintain social standing within the group.

              Step outside the realm of religion for a moment and consider the numerous ways in which we conform to social expectations in order to avoid becoming an outcast or facing severe ostracism. That fear of social shaming acts creates a deterrent to going against the flow.

              Liked by 1 person

      1. Of course not, but when it comes to belief in an invisible superbeing I think it is. And when it comes to non-belief in that same invisible superbeing, that is non-conformity. Anything else is open to other factors.

        Liked by 2 people

        1. My point is that saying “all theists love conformity” is a sweeping generalization. It’s no more accurate than saying all atheists love science, or all men love sports, or all Canadians love hockey, or all seniors love bingo, or all Democrats love Bernie Sanders.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. conformity”

            – Action or behavior in correspondence with socially accepted standards, conventions, rules, or laws (American Heritage Dictionary)

            – compliance in actions, behaviour, etc, with certain accepted standards or norms (Collins)

            – action in accord with prevailing social standards, attitudes, practices, etc. (Random House-Webster)


            1. What conformity is there between Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Hinduism, Sikhism, Jainism, Buddhism,Taoism, Zoroastrianism, Rastafarians, etc. ? or Catholics and Baptists and Mormons and Seventh Day Adventists and JWs, etc.? or Unitarians and Trinitarians?

              Belief in and of itself is not conformity. Dig deep and you’ll find that there are as many versions of Christianity as there are adherents. Each split in the religion from Orthodox > Catholic > Protestant > multiple protestant churches is an example of people not conforming to socially accepted standards, conventions, rules, or laws.

              Liked by 1 person

            2. The founders instituted a constitutional republic, not a Christian theocracy. But you already know that because you posted several long responses to Joe highlighting that very fact in another thread.

              Liked by 1 person

          2. Did I say they “love” conformity? I’m too lazy to look, cus that is not what I meant. They worship conformity, but that does not mean they love it. The easiest way to travel is to follow the beaten path. The hardest way to travel is blazing your own trail. I choose to be a trailblazer.

            Liked by 1 person

            1. That doesn’t make any sense. Worship is defined as reverence, love, adoration and devotion; so worshipping what you don’t love would be illogical and counterproductive.

              To re-iterate, my issue here isn’t that theists are conformists so much as the assumption that theism is the primary cause for their conformity.


            2. Perhaps. For me the critical issue is do the rules exist to serve us, or do we exist to serve the rules.

              While post modernists question (and frequently reject) all rules, cultural norms, hierarchical structures and value systems, I’m a little more cautious in this regard. The majority of us crave unity and social cohesion, so dismantling everything posthaste without offering a viable alternative may be worse than allowing society to evolve at a slower pace.

              Liked by 1 person

            3. I don’t think conformity is the real problem here, but the trend to conformity of the appeal to faith that has us at a standstill. The phases to enlightenment are;
              1. hope
              2. faith
              3. knowledge
              Christianity has made the second step the pinnacle of religious experience, hence the holding pattern that is in opposition to even the most basic human advancement. It has never produced the promised results because in effect, it is the study of nothing—just adding more faith is like thinning paint that is too dark with with dabs of white. You have to dump the container or you wind up with barrels of useless bland.
              I could imagine a place where conformity, like a well run football team is a competitive excellence versus more words and waiting.


            4. How do you define enlightenment? For me it means removing unwarranted beliefs, assumptions and prejudices by striving to gain a better understanding of ourselves and the world around us. And more specifically, it involves asking:

              – What motivates me?
              – What motivates others?
              – What do I value and why do I value it?
              – What do others value and why do they value it?
              – Why do we value certain things above others?
              – How do we prioritize our values?
              – Where and why do our values conflict?
              – Why do we fail to recognize our own biases and weaknesses?
              – Why do we hold onto opinions that have been proven false?
              – etc.

              Given that the majority of cultures and societies subscribe to some form of mysticism or religious belief, I start with the premise that those beliefs must fulfill some basic need or purpose or desire in the human psyche and go from there. Which is why I’m hesitant to blindly assume that religion is the root problem, or that all of our other problems will disappear once we eradicate it from society. Because if we fail to identify and address the need that religion fulfills, it will be replaced by another ideology or belief system.

              Liked by 1 person

            5. And as long as you are a theist you will not understand. You cannot recognize conformity when you see it. Like looking at a forest, and only seeing trees.
              I thought you were going to stop this discussion. Someday soon I will try to give it my full attention. Today is not the time.


            6. No problem. You’re welcome to continue or end the conversation at any time.

              But please note that I’m not a theist. I just don’t subscribe to the idea that being unable to see the forest for the trees is a uniquely religious problem. Nor is it an insurmountable challenge because many former theists (including pastors, scholars and theologians) have made the transition from belief to disbelief on their own.


            7. And that is the only way to non-belief, on one’s own. I’m not saying a conformist will always be a conformist, there is a point where one can branch out on one’s own. But that takes guts, and it takes determination. Non-conformity is a hard road to travel, one has to think for one’s self, and belief in one’s self.
              I apologize for misreading your form of belief or non-belief, you seemed to be vehemently defending theism and non-conformity, but where I stand they are antithetical. God or whatever someone wants to call a superbeing controlling the universe is a non-entity, an idea with no basis in reality. It is something constructed to give one a feeling of security in a chaotic world. It maintains our weakness so others can step all over us.
              To end that weakness one must learn to rely on one’s own strength and power. And it is within every person to do this.

              Liked by 2 people

  2. Jean Meslier, a practicing and preaching Catholic priest until the day he died 290 years ago, when the truth of his atheism (and silent antitheism) were revealed to the world. Indeed, ‘consent without evidence’ is the antithesis of skepticism.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. I’m not going to pass judgement on Fr. Meslier. He lived in a different era, and I understand gave so much to help the poor.

      But, this is my honest reaction. I have huge issues with the clergy today who stand as closet atheists preaching from our pulpits. What pure hypocrisy this is. I’m not just talking about someone who has honest doubt or is experiencing a “dark night of the soul.” But, no, we have folks in the pulpits today who are there primarily for a pension and a paycheck.

      And, please don’t say that a woman or man with a graduate degree from seminary can find no other gainful source of employment. I would have no issue with a church helping to support someone financially for a year in order for them to find alternative work. Just be honest with your congregation. Walk with integrity.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Ok, what about all those Pastors in the Pulpit who preach everything that is anti-Christian? Do they belong in their pulpits?

        When you got thousands of Christian preachers out there, behind their pulpits, teaching everything contrary to your Jesus greatest commandment of loving all your neighbors as you do your god, and to never hate others or to spread hate against others, or to bear false witness against others, etc. That sort of destroys the message of your Christianity does it not? Do you think they do more harm to your Christianity than atheists who are in the pulpit?

        How much more dishonest are these preachers who preach hate and death against lgbts, or atheists, or others than having someone who is an atheist in the pulpit?

        I was actually? An atheist in the pulpit. I graduated from Bangor Theological Seminary with a masters degree in biblical studies and comparative religion. YES I did not stay long in the pulpit, but I started my path to atheism during my studies and guess what? Many others are just like me.

        When you truly study the origin of Christianity? When you truly study the real Jewish religion that is the basis of your Christian religion? When you truly study this brutal god of the OT? And how basically evil he truly was, especially towards children? Then? YOU actually start on that path of saying whoa there, is this the god I truly want to worship and believe in and follow?

        When you then learn how Christians actually? Changed much of the Jewish theology? Especially their concepts of their afterlife called Sheol? Or all the other things that Christians changed in the bible like the original Jewish creation myth that Eve was NOT the first woman born? Then you start to truly question it all.

        Then? When you truly study how Christianity actually rose to power? Not by spreading the message of your Jesus in love, but by brutal conquest and forced conversion programs of mass slaughter and mass genocides? And what Christians did to Native Americans..which by the way? I am Aniwaya Tslagi and Blackfeet? That was it for me.

        I walked away. I shook the dust off of my feet and walked out the door, to never return to the pulpit.

        But many atheists in the pulpit? Are there for a reason YOU cannot even come close to fathoming. Go and listen to some of their sermons. They preach REAL Christianity when they do. They truly preach that you are to love all your neighbors, they preach against spreading hate and how you cannot call yourself a lover of god or Jesus if you hate anyone. Etc. We atheists in the pulpit? Taught what it was to be a True Christian. Compared to others who call themselves True Christians that preach Fake Christianity of hating others etc.

        Liked by 2 people

        1. Militant, you will certainly receive no argument from me here. Of course, it is totally wrong for any Christian preacher to preach hate in the name of Jesus. This is an even worse situation. Lord have mercy!!

          Liked by 1 person

      2. Yeah try getting a job with a masters degree in biblical studies and comparative religion. Luckily? I had two back up professions to help me once I walked away. I am also a chef and a highly regarded nature photographer. I no longer really make money off my photography cause that business tanked once cell phones came about. But I am still one heck of a chef. I got people who tell me when they come to my home to eat? I even make the air taste good lol.

        But truthfully? It is almost impossible to get a job in any field if your degree is in biblical studies or comparative religion.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. I am retired now. But when I worked it was specifically for a paycheck and pension. I often kept my opinions to myself about many things for the same reasons. Now it’s more to keep the peace.
        Coming out atheist is difficult, if not dangerous, for many. Yes, there are some number in the pulpit and many sitting in the pews. I judge none of them.
        There is The Clergy Project. I know of one Christian church where the minister is an outed atheist/skeptic.
        You be the judge, Becky. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you sir. A fantastic article. ”They cite research suggesting that people experience genuine pleasure—a rush of dopamine—when processing information that supports their beliefs. “It feels good to ‘stick to our guns’ even if we are wrong,”
      I particularly like the part where people continue to defend their beliefs in the studies when it’s revealed the information they were analyzing was fake. I remember Bill or grouchy farmer did a study like this in college with a fake psychic.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I love that study. This is one of the reasons my journey into atheism had to be my own, expert free investigation without reading others or watching their videos. Jean Meslier is now the only book I’ve read.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Bill, it’s true that only God can ultimately judge someone’s heart and mind. And, I think no matter what we should strive to show the love of Christ in every situation.

    But, I am just not ok with clergy walking away from their ordination vows, play-acting from the pulpit, and intentionally deceiving their congregations. It’s so sad, IMO, that we’ve come to this. My husband and I moved into a new area and were looking for a new church within the mainline. We actually sat down with the pastor and shared with him concerning our personal convictions. At one point, I asked him as gently and tactfully as possible, if he was able to personally affirm the Nicene Creed of the church in a historic sense. What an awkward situation. The pastor was very kind and understanding and shared his personal faith and experience with us.

    I can’t imagine that this is easy. But, I can’t help but think that a pastor who is attempting to lead a double life and to be deceptive is also going to pay a steep price for this emotionally and in other ways as the years go by as well.

    Enough said. Peace.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. intentionally deceiving their congregations” by preaching what you believe when they don’t believe it? “We do it for the kids” haha. I would suppose it is more common than you think.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. I think Becky you are more of a literalist than you perceive yourself to be. Every *i* dotted, every *t* crossed. The Nicene Creed is your Bible and upon it you rest your sure foundation, literally and perhaps without realizing it, you are quite legalistic when it comes to it.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. In a way, Zoe, I think you are right. I feel that the Nicene Creed is a very ancient confession of basic essential Christian faith. There’s a sense that where we’re at on the belief spectrum is relative. When I’m around people who are quite progressive theologically, they would think I was more conservative. On the other hand, fundamentalist Christian people would feel that I was liberal. Who defines these terms? On another note Zoe, what a difficult time. Be well and safe.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Zoe runs around the room hands in the air waving, I’m right I’m right Becky said I’m right.
          Calm down Zoe, it’s a “think” . . . it’s not an absolute. Damn the nuances of life.

          Where was I?

          Becky: “Who defines these terms?”

          Zoe responds: Exactly.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Hey, Zoe, I want to jump back in here and share with you that, really, over the years, you have made a significant impact in my thinking, and Bruce G. too years ago…Because your honest push back has helped me to think more deeply and to really examine my faith and my own heart.

            For me, it’s been good, and a growing experience, Zoe, and I appreciate that. I can’t believe sometimes how the years fly by.

            I realize that because of the nature of discussion across these blogs, it may seem that we have little in common or always disagree. But , I think if we knew each other in real life and time, the reality would be quite different.

            Liked by 1 person

            1. Hi Becky,

              You’ve mentioned this before. Bruce and I make a pretty good tag team. I believe getting honest with oneself is likely one of the most difficult phases to go through in life. In my own life a common refrain in response to me is: ‘I never thought about it like that before.’ I often come away thinking, ‘why not?’

              Even Bruce and I would not agree on everything though I’m sure it seems so.

              Pushing back doesn’t mean we don’t have things in common. It also doesn’t mean we disagree.

              In real life we might kill each other. 😯



        2. Becky: “On another note Zoe, what a difficult time. Be well and safe.”

          Zoe: Yes. You too. Hope to see everyone here on the other side when this is over or a new normal falls into place.

          Liked by 1 person

  4. What about the earliest Christians though? If anything, they were the ones who became persecuted by the Roman empire, even resulting in degrees of death by the emperor Nero.

    Jim, I don’t entirely disagree with all that you are sharing. But, where I think we disagree is the feeling that these abuses are intrinsic to Christian faith and a direct corollary of the teaching and influence of Christ.

    I feel like a huge part of the problem occurred when Constantine welded the influence of the institutional church to the power of the state. More and more people became simply culturally Christian. The church became a tool.

    As you know, the institutional church is a powerful vehicle of socialization. Sadly, this can be used for evil as well as for good. This is true of any institution. It is indicative of fallen human nature, another controversial topic.

    History is a mixed bag. Sure there have been many abuses, but also much good that can be pointed out as well, IMO.

    As for me, even if the whole institutional church were “heading to Hell in a handbasket,” my heart and mind is still set to follow Jesus Christ and to do what I can to make a positive difference.

    Perhaps in the end, we will be found on the same page.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. ”What about the earliest Christians though?”
      Of course no group of a few or hundred is going to don their persecutory boots and start busting in doors. Like I said though, the moment it was big enough to use leverage, it does, every time. Call that human nature if you want and excuse it, but these teachings are supposed to be different. Love and peace, right up until they get in power. Your teaching is not special. It does nothing but accelerate self importance and imposition of its will. If believing in Christ is supposed to generate a more loving society, we can judge that on the outcomes every time.
      Even today in the re-aging of “just follow Jesus”, is political gainsay on every advance in social equality. Every time! Every issue, and historically consistent.
      The Christian wants to think its god given rights are ideals of the church. It was secular law that forbade Christian tactic to bring about any semblance of progress towards that.
      This is a remarkable conversation for one single point alone. One day, if or when you realized the entire thing is a hoax, that very day indeed, you would look back on our conversation and agree with nearly every single thing I have said. Only by consent to faith is this even remotely debatable.
      On the contrary, through unbelief I’ve found I want no part of building this particular kingdom, divisions and condemning any human for his absence of conformity to believe above all else, that which is and has been the biggest problem in the world for 3500 years.


      1. Becky: ”What about the earliest Christians though?”

        Jim: “Of course no group of a few or hundred is going to don their persecutory boots and start busting in doors.”

        Zoe: Mulling it over. And, no group at first knows that one day they’ll all be willing to die for the lie.

        Liked by 1 person

    2. I don’t think that it was any surprise or deviation that Christianity started to persecute everyone. It was always part of the plan. Christianity is a derivative of Judaism. It was inevitable that it would want to wipe out everything else, that is what Judaism also teaches. The early Christian writers before Constantine were intolerant too. The first apologist Justin back in the time of the Antonine Emperors was already urging the Roman state to persecute other Christian sects(heretics as he called them), except his own of course. These early Christians called their opponents devils, possessed, insane, beasts, without reason, corruptors, and all sorts of other pleasant things. Don’t wish them well, don’t greet them, don’t even enter their houses, that is in the New Testament epistles. A high level of thought control and monitoring(by yourself and other members) is also evident in the New Testament itself, and even more of that is found in other early writings. “Obey your bishop as you would Christ himself”, another early Christian maxim, something pre-dating Constantine. The early Christian writers couldn’t get enough of Moses. They promoted a form of Mosaic law, and what do those say about tolerance? The early Christians were not ignorant of what a victory for them would entail.

      I think that works like the Apocalypse of Peter or the more known Book of Revelation give away what Christians wanted. Or just read Tertullian’s delightful passage about how entertaining it is going to be for the elect Christians to watch the rest of humanity be horrifically punished for eternity. If you cultivate that level of hate toward all others(even people only guilty of not being Christians), as soon as your religion gets power it is bound to persecute. The Christians wanted a miracle to make what many other Jewish movements had wanted to achieve by direct fighting. When the miracle failed to occur(excuses abound in the early writings), the Christians turned to the same means. Unlike many do, I don’t regard Christian intolerance and persecution as hypocrisy. It is just another feature.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Jim and K I suppose we definitely could be going around and talking for a long time. What leads to this incongruity between us? I think intolerance and persecution of people for non-conformity is even worse than hypocrisy. It’s positively sinful. Every Christian believer that I have personal fellowship with would agree. I literally do not even personally know people in my church that fit some of these stereotypes. Although, there are people out there, I’m sure. The ironic thing is these are the same people who fear persecution from all the atheists, which is of course pure nonsense. Lord have mercy. God’s peace and a restful evening, friends. 😊


        1. I would really like to hear your thoughts on K’s comment, particularly the first paragraph. Your response here feels like special pleading dear friend.


          1. Jim, are we being called to follow Jesus Christ or all the opinions of Justin Marytr or Tertullian?Jesus reached out to people that were societal outcasts and healed shunned lepers. That’s what we need to be about. Seriously, I think the writings of the church father’s are a mixed bag. They shared some good and helpful things and wrote other things that were not so helpful, to put it mildly. The same is true of the reformers. Martin Luther came to great insight relating to the centrality of God’s grace and faith. Yet, later in his life he became embittered and anti-Semitic. The central issue in my life has been what am I going to do about the call of Christ to trust and to follow me rather than to focus on the abuses and mistakes of others. The more I think about this deeply, I wonder if there is a certain type of rigid, authoritarian personality that is more prone to having the need to control and to persecute others who refuse to conform to their way of thinking. I don’t see theism as the common denominator though. Look at the authoritarian regimes in both communist China and the former Soviet Union. Certainly neither of these countries are theocratic. Final thoughts. I certainly feel that the church needs to be called to account when she does wrongly. In that regard, thank the Lord for the anti-theists. But, I personally don’t feel a need to ditch the baby with the bathwater either.

            Liked by 2 people

            1. So the question/statement you made—”But, where I think we disagree is the feeling that these abuses are intrinsic to Christian faith and a direct corollary of the teaching and influence of Christ”.
              This has been demonstrated to be the case, a continuation from its roots in Judaism. If anything the teachings of Jesus accelerate that. People who “feel” the calling now vie for position to be instrumental to the way the truth and the life. No man is worth his salt unless he kneels before me and in the end, “every knee will bow and confess allegiance to god”. First of all wow, what a head case, but really, what kind of person (even a god) would demand this as his defining epitaph? You do not see how this teaching and the appeal to faith could be damaging, even though time and time again it has been?


            2. It is not theism that I see as the problem with Christians(and other Abrahamists). My main problems with them are their hubris and worldview. I don’t see communism as much different. It is much like a secular version of the Abrahamic religious worldview, and that is not a coincidence.

              Liked by 2 people

          2. The evidence from psychology suggests this has more to do with psychological factors around identify, particularly social identity.


            Basically people naturally are going to have somewhat negative and intolerant views towards people they perceive to be outside their social identity group. Christians will view people who are
            Non-christian in a more negative light, while really strong anti-theist atheists will tend to view religious people in a negative
            light. Republicans will Democrats and democrats republicans, etc.

            This seems less something intrinsic to Christianity in itself and more something intrinsic to human nature (how we evolved to relate to in-groups and people we perceive to be part of out-groups).


            1. I don’t dispute that. Having an in-group/out-group is a normal thing. If anything, the Christians claim that all humans in general can all be one big in-group, provided that we all submit to their particular sect. Not to those filthy heretics over there, though, their specific sect. I have heard the same from a Muslim, the solution to everything is a Muslim world. That is one of the things I count as among their greatest delusions, and an example of hubris.

              Liked by 1 person

            2. Hubris is often a matter of one’s point of view. After all, there are plenty of anti-religious atheists who claim sometimes explicitly and sometimes between the lines that the world would be a better place without religion and even most of our problems would disappear. In other words, they’re claiming that the solution to most of our problems would be solved if everyone just acted like them, which more or less takes a similar form to the very behavior you’re criticizing as hubristic.

              Then there are atheists like this one:

              So a guy holding a sign declaring its his intelligence that theists should be jealous of and by extension that’s why he is an atheist seems pretty hubristic to me. Also that one example is hardly exhaustive; I could find plenty more of behaviors exactly like that.

              Of course, not all atheists are like that, but then again not all theists are the way you’re describing them either. Many groups are perfectly fine with pluralism such as many forms of Christianity, most modern forms of Judaism, and plenty of Muslims as well.

              Liked by 1 person

            3. God might exist or God might not exist. I accept both those possibilities. In terms of the God question I would describe my position as agnostic theism. Basically I don’t think there is any easy way of knowing one way or the other if God exists or not, but I am willing to give the idea the benefit of the doubt. I also don’t find it that important a question in itself.

              Liked by 1 person

  5. Well, Jim, I’m able to see how certain teachings of Jesus could be used and twisted toward evil as can everything else. We all have “feet of clay” and can become blinded. My church has gone on line and so I was reflecting concerning this during the confession. It’s not only about what we might have done, but it’s about even more ” those needful things that we have left undone.” I started reading “The Trail of Tears.” If ever there was a need for heartfelt repentance, this book illustrates it. Anyway, Jim , I’ve appreciated so much our conversation together. We will have to agree to disagree. Pax.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Militant, what I think about all this is that you are a good and caring man who is deeply hurting, and in a pack of serious trouble. I’m feeling pretty sad and helpless to know how to respond or give any kind of meaningful support across a short blog post.

    Peace and healing to you, Militant.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. If I were Jim … I would say you’re out of line. Becky has never attacked you. Just because you have such an intense hatred for Christians doesn’t mean that every one who wears the mantle is an “idiot.”

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Take a break sir. Try a different drum for a while. One that expresses some positive or better ideas. You are not helping.


        1. She already knows this and has sympathized such. Next topic please.. relax man, take a break. I’m not alone in thinking this. I will block you if I see one more hate filled response.


    2. AMR you need to back off the attacks here. This is for constructive conversation. You’re crossing the line again. I won’t be a part of your tactics. Why don’t you take another break for a while.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Contrary to what some apologists may try to portray, we who were formerly Christian can attest that Faith is Trust regardless of and even sometimes counter to the evidence.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Kia, I think we all have this unfortunate tendency to assume and to project our own experience onto others. I’m including myself in this here.

      When the reality is that everyone is very different. It’s like when Christian people based in their own thinking and experience assume that all the non theists must be invariably angry at God or amoral or have nothing positive to offer.

      I definitely can struggle with this. Because I feel like my faith in Christ has led me to become more compassionate, less judgemental, and has so enriched my life…I haven’t thrown reason and science under the bus, etc..Why I just want to naturally assume that everyone should be the same, or have similar experiences.. Even though intellectually I know better.

      So, I want to “fix it” for them. You know, there are both Christian and anti-theist apologists. But, in reality, we can’t pull people to where we are at, or where we wish they would be. From my perspective, maybe it is just better to bless and care for each other, find common ground, and leave it to God. 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Becky: “From my perspective, maybe it is just better to bless and care for each other, find common ground, and leave it to God. ”

        Zoe: Why not, leave it at this: From my perspective, maybe it is just better to bless and care for each other, find common ground.

        Liked by 2 people

        1. Kia, I’m not the type of Christian believer who is able to just check my mind at the church door. Even as a young girl I was always very questioning and inquisitive. So, I would say that my faith is definitely based in evidence and intellectual inquiry, but also in subjective personal experience and personal observation.

          I do think that there are things that cannot be fully conceptualized by our finite human minds as well. So, it’s a combination of factors for me. I feel there is also an element of real choice in whether someone is a theist or a non-theist. Even objective evidence can be interpreted in different ways depending on our paradigm.

          But, what about you? What has brought you to your thinking?


          1. Basically, evidence against the truth of Christianity’s claims and the reliability/accuracy of what the bible says about history and reality… is why I left after 34yrs as a christian. 25 of those in various ministry positions.

            Liked by 1 person

            1. Well, no, at least not without some type of accommodation or intervention that I don’t know about or understand. Maybe a new technology???


            2. You’d only have my say so that it happened. While serving on mission in South Korea in 1996, then again as a missionary in Mexico 1998, I walked on water. Don’t you believe God is powerful enough to let me walk on water If he wanted me to?

              Liked by 1 person

            3. I fully realize that you don’t know me from Adam. But truthfully, you don’t know the actual authors of the bibkkical texts either, anymore than you know me. Yet you Trust them to be telling the truth… that Noah loaded animals onnthe ark, elisha called bears to rip children apart for calling him bald, that Peter walked on water when jesus asked him to… or that Jesus actually asked him to.
              The problem is… You think you know that what is in the bible is history, is accurate and can be trusted. But in reality, the writers of the biblical texts are “saying so” every bit as much as I am telling you I walked on water too.
              You dont trust my say so without verification, why would you theirs?

              Liked by 2 people

            4. In the end Becky, you Trust regardless and sometimes In spite of evidence or no evidence. Like we all did. That’s the real definition of Faith.


            5. I’d like to see how beck responds. Why she trusts the authors of the biblical texts, who ever they are, and won’t trust my “say so” of walking on water as a missionary in 96 and 98 by the power of God when I was still a christian.

              Liked by 1 person

            6. Because those texts are old. Anything old gets credibility. Automatic authenticity. We’re getting that old Mike. Maybe we’ll actually be worth something someday? Haha.
              As nice as Becky and some of the others are, they essentially deny the doctrine in the end. We’re all going to burn in their hell, and historically the Christians weren’t patient enough to wait for god.


            7. Kia, my response is on top. For some reason, I don’t always get a reply button to make a direct comment right under the question.

              Liked by 1 person

  8. Now, waittt a minute here, Kia and Jim. 🙂 I certainly don’t feel that everyone apart from conscious faith is heading for Hell. I agree that love is patient and kind.

    And, God knows, I don’t feel that because I read something in the Bible it actually happened literally and historically in the specific way described. Or, sometimes, I’m just not certain, to be honest, and I want to hear and consider the consensus of scholarship.

    I think it can be difficult to sort out what is strictly historical especially in the time before the United Monarchy under David.

    Yet, I’m committed to Christ and want to follow Him. What’s wrong with that? People can be Christian and not feel that we have it all wrapped up.

    As for you walkin on the water, Kia, well, I’m Lutheran, God’s “frozen chosen.” We’re not into the “signs and wonders” stuff. LOL. So, I’ll reserve judgment. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Ah, Becky, I wish you could hear yourself through my eyes and ears, instead of through your own. You certainly do not believe only non-Christians are not going to Hell (paraphrased), but “you still believe in Hell” without any evidence of such a place existing. And if you believe in Hell, one has to assume you also believe in Heaven. You cannot even think such places do not exist. They are part of your brainwashing as a child. That very brainwashing is what prevents you from seeing a lot of things others do, or seeing things others do not. You see your conformity as non-conformity because you do not believe exactly the same as 90% of Christians believe. But that word “Christian” is still there, and therein lies your conformity.

      In so many places in the above conversation, which i have to say is a delightful yet thought-provoking discussion, you keep reverting to “how you see and understand the Word of God.” You have ABSOLUTELY no problem picking and choosing the things you want to believe, and ignoring those parts that don’t suit how you choose to believe. You start your religious experience in the New Testament with the words of Jesus Christ, even though he clearly states–or has others clearly state for him–that he is his father, meaning everything entailed within the Old Testament as well as the New.
      What part of WORD OF GOD are you missing? If one word in the Bible is the WORD OF GOD, then every word in the Bible is the WORD OF GOD, or, if even one word in the Bible is not the WORD OF GOD, then no word in the Bible can be the word of god. That is the NATURE OF GOD. Or, in my own atheism, that is proof that there is no God or god of any kind. Listen to yourself, please, Becky. Religion is not cherry-picking what is convenient out of that which is not convenient. Religion is all or nothing. Otherwise, like atheist priests, how can you say a priest is not a priest if he does not believe what he is preaching. He may not be honest, but he is still a priest.
      If I may take you on a quick journey through society over the past, say, thousand years, why did so many of the sons of wealthy families become priests to begin with. Society pronounced that the first son of the family was bequeathed all the wealth of the family, and all following sons became virtual paupers. I have this straight from the horse’s mouth. The second son of every family of wealth was sent into seminary because that was the safest way for him to try to make his lot in life. Fathers put their second sons through priest school so they would have no children, and thus not be able to lay claim to the family fortune, what with priests having to be celibate. But these very male children still had all the normal urges of sexual beings, so they turned to each other, and to the male children of their parishoners. The person who confessed this to me was extremely ashamed of his actions, but could do nothing but give in to his urges, while making sure no offspring could result. Being the second son, this man knew his fate from early on in life, and was taught he could not avoid it. The priesthood was not a calling for these second sons, but a social and economic and familial duty. Belief did not enter this equation. As he said to me, how could any of us believe in a God who fated them to a dishonest life of leading their communities in worship. The man turned not to God, but to alcoholism to bury his feelings for not being first-born, but still male.
      This is a huge reason why there are so many atheist priests. It is no word of a lie.

      Well, this is certainly NOT where i wanted to take this comment, but I will still publish it. I am going to have to step back for another while. I do have a specific target in mind, I just keep losing my way for how to get there. There is no beaten path, though there is certainly another trail of tears in this story.

      Liked by 2 people

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