For many years in fundamentalist and Pentecostal churches, I was taught to be wary- even fearful, of practicing Yoga. Years ago, I was taught that practicing Yoga could open up a person to the demonic world. (Did anyone else see the Christian film “Gods of the New Age?”)
It’s been many years since I was fearful of yoga, but I still have religious friends who would be unable to practice it in good conscience. I also still feel very uncomfortable with meditation.
With that background, this article fascinates me deeply as it suggests that the Yoga we know in the U.S. is not as ancient or as “Hindu” as we think it is!
Does the God of the Bible act like an abusive lover or spouse?
Below is a great article that compares attributes of God as portrayed in the Bible with an abusive spouse or lover. Some of the comparisons of God’s words and actions are chillingly reminiscent of an abuser. What do you think? Based on the Old Testament prophets’ depictions of God, is God someone you would want your daughter to date or marry?
The God of Abuse- ExChristian.Net – Articles.
These days I find it hard to “believe” in things that are patently absurd.
I could probably believe in a limited amount of absurdity if there was good reason or some evidence to do so. I might be able to believe that a virgin conceived a child if there was reliable evidence recorded at the time of the event by credible witnesses. I can also think of many strange, hypothetical circumstances that would lend evidence to such a “miracle.”
There are some things that I can believe.
I can believe a man named Jesus was born in the first century who had a close and special relationship with God (assuming arguendo there is a god). I can believe this man traveled, evangelized, started a movement and was sentenced to death. I don’t have any problem with that per se. I can believe there have been many peaceable, wise, spiritual people to walk this earth. Assuming the existence of a supreme God, I could believe such a God started the process of creation.
However, to believe that God made a mud pie in the shape of a human and then blew magic breath into it and the figure came to life?
This pushes my rational mind too far. I cannot permanently suspend my disbelief on this one. I just can’t do it, as I can’t believe that somewhere an Italian boy named Pinocchio began his life as a wooden puppet or that near Hansel and Gretel’s home there really was a cottage made of gingerbread and candy.
Even if I could believe the following: that a virgin gave birth to Jesus, whose father was the Holy Spirit, and Jesus was half-God, caused miracles, explained the wisdom of God to us, was crucified, rose again and then ascended into heaven in front of his disciples; there is no contemporaneous evidence that any of these things actually happened.
One recent morning, as I and my two kids sat at the breakfast table eating raspberries for breakfast, my daughter asked me, “Mom, do you still like God?”
I paused. “What do you mean sweetheart?”
“Is God still your friend?
“Are you asking me because you think I used to be friends with God and you don’t think I am anymore?”. She nodded and said, “Yes, I don’t think you like God anymore.”
Again I had to pause. After collecting my thoughts, I said something like, “Oh honey, I still like God, I’m just not sure whether people know as much about God as they think they do. Everyone says, ‘God does this and not that’ or ‘God likes this and not that,’ but I don’t think they really know as much about God as they think they do. And I’m trying to figure it all out.”
She seemed reasonably satisfied.
Then I added, “And I promise that what I figure out, I will explain it all to you when you are old enough.” She seemed pleased with this and had no more questions for me.
I haven’t had much time to write. Ok. I will be honest. I NEVER have ANY time to write!
Since I am a SAHM of two young children it is next to impossible to write on the computer. If I sit down at the computer, two adorable monkey-like creatures begin climbing me as if I am a jungle gym. The preschooler tries to sneak the mouse away to click to the Disney Princess website while the 9 month old wants to bang on the keyboard, pull everything off of the desk and conduct pummeling experiments with the objects. Both kids compete for space on my lap, the office chair and desk surface. It is not very comfortable for the three of us to sit in one office chair while the preschooler tries to turn us in circles, the infant tries to eat the mouse, cords and printer and climb onto the desk while the mom tries to check twitter and hopes that one of the kids doesn’t fall to the ground as a crying, injured mess!
It is summer too! Or rather, it WAS summer. So I tried to do the most important things in life, which is to take care of and spend time with my kids, rather than blog the often half-baked religious musings, complaints and rantings of my inner mind. And we had a great summer! The preschooler attended dance camp, soccer camp and swimming lessons. We went to the local water park twice, once with family friends and once with just our family. At 9 months, our infant learned how to do the army crawl, though some said it looked like he was doing the butterfly crawl! He also pulled himself to standing and tried to climb every structure in sight! He learned how to climb onto the couch, then to the top of the couch, then to the stair railing!
During the summer I have tried to read a few books! I am still reading five books at a time with a book list of others in my head! I’ve received many good recommendations for other books as well. (I plan to start a book list page! See sidebar!)
I am reading “The Christian Delusion: Why Faith Fails” edited by John Loftus. It is wonderful. I think every Christian should read it!!!! I am also reading “Godless: How an Evangelical Preacher Became One of America’s Leading Atheists” by Dan Barker. I recommend it though it is not as scholarly as “The Christian Delusion” but it does explain Barker’s personal loss of faith and points out many flaws in Evangelical Christianity.
As I journey from certainty to openness in my faith walk, I often wonder how to help others who are locked into a rigid belief system that does not encourage them to question their assumptions. I am still working on a letter to others, in my head of course, to help myself and others to begin to question their own belief systems. However, in the meantime, below is a letter, “Dear Born-again Christian” by Marlene Winell, a psychologist and writer who counsels people who are leaving harmful religious systems. I think the letter is nicely done.
Winell’s letter points out how a rigid born-again belief system can seem to solve problems for people, such as give us comfort in our fear of death and loneliness and also give us absolutes for answering the big questions in life. She correctly suggests that the born-again belief system could create other problems system, such as cutting ourselves off from our fellow humans on the planet and sharing in the human journey and by causing us to miss the reality of our life here and now (the only life we can be sure of, I might add) by living one’s life for a future, hoped-for afterlife that may not materialize.
I think that anyone, such as a born-again christian or anyone else, who begins their journey for truth by accepting a system that proposes to provide all the answers for them, is unlikely to find the truth. However, once having accepted a system promising the “truth” to all questions, it can be hard and frightening to begin to question that belief system. I think Winell’s letter is a good attempt to help a person locked in a belief system to begin to consider opening their mind to questions and answers outside of that belief system.
Here is Marlene Winell’s letter. What do you think?
This looks like an exhaustive list of great resources for folks who are recovering from fundamentalism, cults and religion.