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What led me to question my religion?
11-06-2017, 09:10 AM (This post was last modified: 11-06-2017 09:10 AM by Japle.)
Post: #1
What led me to question my religion?
Well, I smelled a rat at an early age.
My father was raised Catholic and my mom was Methodist. They took me to church on Sunday (not every Sunday) and I paid as much attention as a little kid usually does in church.
When I was 8 they put me in Sunday School.
My Sunday School teachers urged us kids to read the Bible, so I started with Genesis. I had questions and the next Sunday I asked them.
Were humans created before or after animals?
Were man and woman created at the same time or was Adam created first, then Eve?
Were the stars made at the same time as the Earth – Genesis 1:1 – or on the fourth day – Genesis 1:16-19?
Were plants created on the third day, before humans – Genesis 1:11-13 – or were they created after humans – Genesis 2:4-7?
Did the Flood last 40 days – Genesis 7:17 - or 150 days – Genesis 8:3?
The answers to those and other questions depend on which parts of Genesis you accept and which parts you choose to ignore. The accounts are contradictory. Both can’t be true.
The Bible is supposed to be the Word of God, yet it wouldn’t pass a grade-school essay test.
I was informed that my questions were inappropriate.
When I persisted, my parents were told that I was “being disruptive” and wasn’t welcome any more.
I realized that, if teachers couldn’t answer questions in their supposed area of expertise posed by a 2nd grader, there was something seriously wrong.
It all went downhill from there. I kept reading the Bible and kept finding obvious nonsense.
It took a few years to shed my early conditioning, but I really didn’t have any other viable choices.
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11-06-2017, 09:18 AM
Post: #2
RE: What led me to question my religion?
I was also kicked out of Sunday school when I was three. I had been saved from drowning by a dolphin at Santa Monica beach in the summer of 1964. After that, my mother took me to Sunday school. I basically told them they were full of it and I didn't believe it. Because of the disbelief and the language that I used, they kicked me out. I've always loved God, I'm just not a Christian.
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11-06-2017, 09:36 AM
Post: #3
RE: What led me to question my religion?
(11-06-2017 09:10 AM)Japle Wrote:  ...
The Bible is supposed to be the Word of God..

Did your sunday school teachers tell you that?
It's not literally 'the word of God', though some people think so. It's a collection of scrolls, some ancient, some not so ancient. It's not really surprising that they don't completely 'tally up'.

The Qur'an is more recent ( ~1500 old ), and confirms the basic truth of the Bible. It's very common for people as they become adults to turn away, and not just for reasons such as yours.

He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: He leadeth me beside the still waters.
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11-06-2017, 11:32 AM (This post was last modified: 11-06-2017 11:58 AM by Amememhab.)
Post: #4
RE: What led me to question my religion?
(11-06-2017 09:10 AM)Japle Wrote:  The accounts are contradictory. Both can’t be true.

They are in fact stories, from one of the Torah’s four text traditions, known as the Priestly Writer, who nonetheless enjoyed access to two earlier lines of biblical construction, one of these called the Yahwist, who influences Genesis 2, and the other, the Elohist, who gets more say in Genesis 1 and 3. Note use of the first-person plural pronoun where God says, “Let us make man in our image” (Gen. 1:26), and where the Lord God declares, “Look, the man has become like one of us, knowing good and evil; and now, he might reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life, and eat, and live forever” (Gen. 3:22). The Yahwist usually keeps God in the singular.

The Priestly Writer apparently just concatenated the creation myths, although I’ve now learned he interleaved the traditions in the Noah Flood story. A more or less unredacted Elohist comes on stage in Genesis 20, and continues on into Exodus. Theories of how Genesis was compiled vary by scholar; it is likely that later editors assembled all the earlier material into a unified recension, so that the Priestly Writer’s sources become less certain. The Yahwist belonged to a pro-King Solomon faction supporting descendants of this house.

Sources:

The New Oxford Annotated Bible
Oxford, 2007

Elohist
Contradictions in the Bible (web site)
http://contradictionsinthebible.com/the-elohist/

I’m sorry that your Sunday school teachers weren’t a bit more patient. You never said what denomination they taught for, or when your expulsion occurred. I’ve never heard of anyone getting barred from Sunday school in the church I attend—a disruptive child might have to leave the classroom and be welcomed back the next week. The educators would welcome the questions, and attempt to answer them, frankly acknowledging that we don’t have all the answers. Nor do they tell the kids the Genesis narratives are anything more than stories of faith, roots and social order. But that’s in 2017; things churchwise have evolved since 1970.

But if you felt you needed to discard religion from your life, then you made a legitimate choice for yourself. Religions involve the acceptance of contradiction and arbitrary theology. Of course I believe in Christ. The biblical portraits of God, Israel and Christ are however distorted, the product of human, not divine, pens, and thus containing incisive, sometimes bombastic propaganda elements. They were meant to bolster faith or convince the nonbeliever, never giving what we would understand as history or biography. The Torah instilled in the Hebrews a sense of confidence in their ethnic identity.
~ Angel
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11-06-2017, 12:53 PM
Post: #5
RE: What led me to question my religion?
(11-06-2017 09:10 AM)Japle Wrote:  I realized that, if teachers couldn’t answer questions in their supposed area of expertise posed by a 2nd grader, there was something seriously wrong.

That is one freaky statement - considering we live in the 21st century - we are supposed to be far more educated and intelligent and yet continue to blindly follow medieval ideas

I have asked repeatedly - what does one DO in heaven? It is amazing that so many think that they will be spending eternity in heaven but have no clue as to what they would actually be doing. How they will be paying for rent, food or other utilities - they just expect some being to let them live the easy good life of sitting around doing nothing and they have no shame in taking up on such an offer
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11-06-2017, 01:01 PM
Post: #6
RE: What led me to question my religion?
(11-06-2017 12:53 PM)RamaRaksha Wrote:  I have asked repeatedly - what does one DO in heaven? It is amazing that so many think that they will be spending eternity in heaven but have no clue as to what they would actually be doing. How they will be paying for rent, food or other utilities - they just expect some being to let them live the easy good life of sitting around doing nothing and they have no shame in taking up on such an offer

Oh My Gosh! What an original thought! I don't think I've ever heard anything so amazing in my whole life!

Rama, please try to post something relevant to what the OP is saying, not just repeating your worn out hobby horse in every thread regardless of the actual subject.

And here I sit so patiently waiting to find out what price
You have to pay to get out of going through all these things twice
Dylan
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11-06-2017, 01:37 PM
Post: #7
RE: What led me to question my religion?
The Torah- or Old Testament- is essentially a combined history book and instruction manual on how to live one's life. The accuracy of some of that history is debatable, and it's clear that not everyone is cut out to follow all the life instructions- but there you have it. Whether or not it is the literal Word of God, it remains a tremendous work and its influence on Man cannot be calculated.

As for the New Testament, my personal view is that the only relevant parts are the Synoptic Gospels relating the events of Jesus' life. Most everything else is aimed at forming a religion around Jesus and consolidating the thoughts and doctrine of the new faith. As I have noted previously, I tend to discard the fantastic tales and concentrate on the very human teachings attributed to Jesus. Again, the veracity of those Gospels is debatable, but even if Jesus were a completely fictitious character the teachings attributed to him would be as valid. "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you", for example, is the sort of teaching that holds weight regardless if it is spoken by God himself or a poor, faithless beggar in the street.

~~~

As for the questions about 'what does one DO in Heaven?' I'll add my 2 drachma's worth. Heaven/Paradise is supposed to be a place of 'perfect contentment' in which one can focus simply on being close to God and not having any worries. Does this mean that if 'contentment' to you means having an original Mustang and unlimited roads to drive on that's what you get? Possibly, but who knows for sure? Maybe instead of you getting what you want in order to be content and peaceful, God simply give you what he wants to give you and MAKES you content and peaceful with whatever that may be. You may eternally dream that you're cruising Sunset Boulevard with your best girl in your '59 Caddy, but in 'reality' you're for all intents and purposes just knocked out sleeping on a cloud. Again, we don't know- and even when we get there (IF we get there) we may never know the truth of it all.

When someone asks "What would Jesus do?" remind them that flipping tables and chasing people with a whip is entirely possible.
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11-06-2017, 02:23 PM
Post: #8
RE: What led me to question my religion?
(11-06-2017 01:01 PM)Imprecise Interrupt Wrote:  
(11-06-2017 12:53 PM)RamaRaksha Wrote:  I have asked repeatedly - what does one DO in heaven? It is amazing that so many think that they will be spending eternity in heaven but have no clue as to what they would actually be doing. How they will be paying for rent, food or other utilities - they just expect some being to let them live the easy good life of sitting around doing nothing and they have no shame in taking up on such an offer

Oh My Gosh! What an original thought! I don't think I've ever heard anything so amazing in my whole life!

Rama, please try to post something relevant to what the OP is saying, not just repeating your worn out hobby horse in every thread regardless of the actual subject.

I second that - this has now become spam, plain and simple.

Don't cling to a mistake just because you spent a lot of time making it
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11-06-2017, 02:23 PM (This post was last modified: 11-06-2017 02:58 PM by Amememhab.)
Post: #9
RE: What led me to question my religion?
(11-06-2017 01:01 PM)Imprecise Interrupt Wrote:  ...please try to post something relevant to what the OP is saying...

Oh, Lordy, I’m not ready for the pearly gates!
Tongue

Heaven Can Wait (1978 film, Warren Beatty, Julie Christie, James Mason)
Trailer
YouTube
https://youtu.be/Aqt-O9F6AkQ
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11-06-2017, 02:38 PM
Post: #10
RE: What led me to question my religion?
There are many contradictions in the bible.

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