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Questioning Christian
#1
Questioning Christian
Thanks all for this forum, it's nice to see a diverse mix. Here's my lowdown.

My family wasn't overly religious. Went to the Episcopal Church in my youth, which to me seemed insanely boring. I went through the confirmation class and even after being confirmed, never really "got" it, so I stopped going and considered myself non-affiliated. My ex-wife, coincidentally, was in the same boat, also a former Episcopalian. I was still friends with the minister, and when we tied the knot, he happily officiated, even though we weren't regular attenders.

Well, we split (long story), and a few years ago was feeling a bit down. A friend of mine invited me to the church he worked at, and the seemed like a welcoming bunch. Their pastor seemed like down-to-earth guy, and I liked what he preached. So, I went pretty regularly, even got involved being their resident tech guy (I'm an electrical engineer). They encouraged me to go through Celebrate Recovery, since I was still dealing with the divorce. It seemed to help, and made a bunch of new friends at the church.

Well, last year the pastor I liked moved. They just got a new guy in, and I don't dig his preaching style at all. They had him as a guest pastor a couple mornings, and this guy seems less like a man of God and more like an entertainer. He waves his hands a lot, his wife jumps up and down during worship songs, he shouts out lots of superfluous "Amen!"s and "Praise Jesus!". The most disturbing thing is that he gets people to come up to have him pray over them, but he starts shouting, and getting VERY animated while doing it. These folks then get to where they are screaming hysterically, and even passing out on the floor! Yikes! I was wondering if I was going to have to offer first aid or CPR for some of these folks. I was hoping maybe it was just a freak occurrence, but this is happening regularly.

This guy lives for that though. At least he finally acknowledged that some people may find it disturbing (ya think??), but it's "God's power" we're seeing. Sorry, I'm not seeing that. All I could think of is seeing footage of old Beatles concerts where teenage girls are screaming hysterically and passing out. The trouble is, after these services, friends of mine around the church are all praising this guy as a real man of God. Whaaaat??? He puts on a big song and dance, gets people all hyped up on adrenaline, they pass out and this is OK? I'm sorry, I'm an engineer, I have a scientific mind, and while I can believe a lot of things, there's a very scientific reason people are passing out. What God would want us to be losing control of our mind and bodies? I find it especially disturbing that these poor people are convinced that an adrenaline high is a sign of God's power, and they love their new pastor. Hoo boy.

The last straw was his views on other religiion. I was raised to respect other people's religion. Jews, Muslims, Atheists, Pastafarians, Jedi Knight... I think everyone is entitled to their beliefs. Too bad wars are fought because people think they have to force their beliefs on others, or those who don't share their beliefs are inferior. Well, during one of this guy's services, he flat out said Christianity is the only way to the good life, and Muslims and Jews will never have a good life because they aren't Christian. Sorry dude, but our last pastor and I once had a chat, and he agreed that it's not our place to diss their beliefs or try to convert them. He even surprised me by sharing my view that there is no "right" religion. Maybe the Muslims or the Jews have it right, and we have it wrong.

Well, I don't plan on going back. Sure, there are some nice folks there, but I'm a little surprised that they see these things and they embrace it.
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#2
RE: Questioning Christian
Welcome, I hope you'll put your intellect to use and critically examine the logic that made so many of us to ditch the superstitions. (fellow engineer)
Find the cure for Fundementia!
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#3
RE: Questioning Christian
And here you are again. Welcome once more. ---- It sounds to me though rather like you are rejecting a particular religious view, rather than not believing in god. Or to put it another way, had the previous pastor stayed, would you still believe in god? What you believe is up to you. But my question is why?
If there is a god, I want to believe that there is a god.  If there is not a god, I want to believe that there is no god.
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#4
RE: Questioning Christian
Sounds to me like you held (hold?) some pretty reasonable theological positions. I appreciate that you don't get caught up in the hysteria and don't feel empowered to call out other religions as being wrong. Very cool. I suspect you don't hold to a literalist interpretation of the bible.

May I ask what you like best about the church or religion (if you still do)? Are you looking for encouragement to abandon faith altogether? Just trying to get a little more clear on your situation.
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#5
RE: Questioning Christian
Maybe you just need to find another church
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#6
RE: Questioning Christian
The fact that the difference between just two pastors in their view on Christianity is so vast should probably tell you something about the origins of Christianity (hint: man-made).
Luke: You don't believe in the Force, do you?

Han Solo: Kid, I've flown from one side of this galaxy to the other, and I've seen a lot of strange stuff, but I've never seen *anything* to make me believe that there's one all-powerful Force controlling everything. 'Cause no mystical energy field controls *my* destiny. It's all a lot of simple tricks and nonsense.
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#7
RE: Questioning Christian
Welcome.

And I must note; Religion 101, what ever religion you is, ALL other religions are wrong.

Religions that have this big "we are all questing towards the truth" ecumenical outreach aren't really religions at all, IMO.

So to clarify, that you're disappointed with the lack of ecumenical fervor with your new pastor is interesting. I associate ecumenical fervor as indicative of progression towards atheism.

Heh, heh.

Tongue


Again, welcome.
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#8
RE: Questioning Christian
It seems like you are starting to question some things. Skepticism (scepticism for you on the other side of the pond) is a valuable asset. I has this odd tendency of leading people to a personal relationship with reality. Good luck, my man!
"There remain four irreducible objections to religious faith: that it wholly misrepresents the origins of man and the cosmos, that because of this original error it manages to combine the maximum servility with the maximum of solipsism, that it is both the result and the cause of dangerous sexual repression, and that it is ultimately grounded on wish-thinking." ~Christopher Hitchens, god is not Great

PM me your email address to join the Slack chat! I'll give you a taco(or five) if you join! --->There's an app and everything!<---
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#9
RE: Questioning Christian
I would definitely get down to studying, pronto. I spent enough time in religion dealing with the same type of people in church who have polar opposite beliefs, especially leaders, teachers, and pastors.

This could drive you insane. Do lots of studying, both sides of the argument, and use your scientific mind to draw conclusions on the evidence, or lack of evidence provided.

Personally, I think your happiness is number one. Whether you stay, leave, start a fellowship, or go anti-everything religiously made...just be happy. Even if we disagree with you.

But I would strongly suggest looking into atheism, if that is too certain for you, agnosticism is a very reasonable argument as well.

Happy doubting to ya!

-Q1C
"Just call me Bruce Wayne. I'd rather be Batman."
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#10
RE: Questioning Christian
(July 29, 2014 at 8:02 pm)SWguy1 Wrote: I don't plan on going back.
I'm sorry all of that is going on. It sounds like a mess. It also sounds like the church lost a good man when the pastor moved.

I'm especially sorry that you, one who is questioning, had to see such a despicable display. Don't let the actions of a few people harm your process.

I hope you can find a new church to attend - one that will be more genuine (if that's what you want). I bid you well.

I'm glad you're here.
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