I’m Coming Out

No, I’m not gay.  But I use the term “coming out” because I feel I have a secret that I’ve been afraid to tell and now it the time to tell.  I hope you’ll listen till the end. I’m going to write and publish and not read or correct anything.  Stream of consciousness.  This needs out of my head.

But out with it!

I am no longer a Christian.

Meaning, no, I no longer believe that Jesus died to save me from my sins.

But it is so much more than that.  I don’t really believe in sins or that I needed to be saved.  Let me share my journey.

First – I know some of you may not want to read this.  If you are a christian you might be appalled and I understand that.  If you can’t read this that’s ok but please in the comments,

If you are going to pray for me, thank you.  I got to where I am through much prayer and I believe prayer can only help so please do.

If you are going to pray for me in an ironic, snarky way then I suggest you check you willingness to be Christ-like.

If you want to argue with my points that is more than welcome but please be respectful of my journey and I’ll be respectful of yours.

Thanks!

So, to start with this has not been easy.  I’ve been going to church since I was born.  3 days a week minimum as a child.  I was baptized at 12 when I had a dream that I died and went to hell.

I am very lucky to have been born with an abundance of faith.  I know many people struggle with this but I just believed.  I had no problem reconciling things I didn’t understand or couldn’t answer.  I had faith.  I still do.  I thank any higher power that may be (and/or my genetic predisposition) for the innate faith I was born with.

It has been very hard to be a christian as an adult.  I see so much hate perpetrated by the “church”.  I’ve said for years that I think the Catholic church (not Catholic people) is a work of Satan.  To believe you are doing good and yet be doing so much bad is a huge triumph of evil.

For years I’ve had to apologize for being a christian.  Like, “I’m a christian but not the crazy, hateful kind you see on tv.”

Or, “I’m a christian AND I’m pro-choice, pro-marriage equality, I believe the earth is 4.5 billion years old, I believe in evolution,…” and so on.  I had to separate myself from the horrible connotations of “christian.”

But that was ok.  My religion was between me and my God.  It didn’t bother me that I had to apologize for christians everywhere or that some christians hated me (I was once called a eugenicist for my abortion beliefs).  I never felt conflicted about my belief in God or Jesus because I never believed the Bible to be inerrant.  I believe it was written by men and in a context and that neither of those things can be ignored.

I had no problem seeing the old testament as a history lesson not dogma.  I also had no problem seeing the new testament as written for first century Jews (with some books for Gentiles).  Purple meant you were a whore.  My God in Heaven doesn’t hate the color purple.  Etc.

It got stickier when I thought about feminism, the place of women in the church bothered me.  I went to a very conservative church.  Women were not allowed to lead songs or say scriptures or do anything else from the pulpit.  Women also couldn’t serve in church meetings.  I wondered often, as my church (we didn’t have any instruments) struggled through another off-key hymn, why God would give me musical ability but not want me to use it in his worship?

The answer at the time was God put it there to tempt me.  I thought that made him sound like a dick.

No problem, when I went to college there were plenty of churches that didn’t take things so literally.  I could teach, sing, read and be valuable to the Lord in church.

I went to a church I loved but then they started a “pray the gay away” ministry which hurt my soul.  I couldn’t go there anymore.  I found another church.  And another.

I eventually decided there were no churches (near me at least) that taught the love of Jesus as he presented it on the Sermon on the Mount.  My religion was still in my heart.  I still believed but I’d have to practice alone.

Then I had kids.

Oh this is where it gets really hard.  I’m crying writing this.  I prayed SO FUCKING HARD for these kids of mine.  I mean you can’t even imagine.  I prayed with every thought in my head, every spare moment.  During my IVF cycle I did meditation and yoga for an hour everyday and the whole practice was a prayer.  I said, “please Dear God in Heaven give me a child.  I will raise that child to love the Lord.”

When I got the first pregnancy test positive I fell to my knees – literally, I know people say that – and thanked God through tears once again promising to pray for my child every day that they would be good christians filled with love.

By this time my religion was down to “the words in red”.  Paul was a misogynist of the ninth degree.  His writing of the epistles were so steeped in 1st century crap and his own prejudices that they didn’t mesh at all for me with what Jesus is reported to have said in red.

Having the blessing of kids finally brought me closer to my faith.  I read my bible daily, had some great devotional apps on my iphone, and meditated and prayed for myself to be the best mother possible and to pay back the kindness of the grant funders by making my kids the best they could be.

I sent my daughter to bible school this summer (free child care!!) and I was just glowing with the idea that my daughter was going to learn to love church and God.

Then she came home with a CD of songs.  She loved them.  They were cute.  Then I listened.

“Be Good and God will bless you”

“Trust God and always do the right thing”

“Jesus died to save us from our sins”

“Our sins can be covered by Jesus’ blood so they no longer make our lives dirty”

Right/Wrong? Sin? Dirty?

I didn’t like what she was learning.  It wasn’t any different from what I learned.  But I *heard* it as if for the first time and it made me shut down and ignore the feeling for a few months.

Then one day during meditation my heart just opened up to it.  I let the thought in and dwelled on it.  I realized, really realized, for the first time some things about christianity.

The whole premise is that we, humans, are sinners.  We are naturally bad people.  The world is a bad place.  We need a savior.  We need divine, unearned intervention to even think about being good.  And even then, even with the sacrifice of a diety, we are still not good enough for God.  Only grace saves us.  The world isn’t to be embraced and loved it is to be survived.  Every day of a christians life is getting through so one day we can be in Heaven with God.

We are told that our impulses are sinful and we will only have morality if we follow God’s laws.  If you have something you want to do like sing in church, be gay, etc. then God is putting that in your path as an agony – to help you understand Christ more and be more like him.  Damnit, he kind of is a dick.

I know I’m offending anyone who still believes when I say that.  But I’m really not being flippant.  I just know that the God I feel in my heart is not that God.  You know there are people who think masturbation is sinful?  So this God put a button on my body that says “press to feel good” but it was just a test.  A temptation.  That is just asshole-ish.

This horrible realization that I didn’t really believe in the christian god anymore sat in my stomach like acid for months.  I didn’t want to dwell on it or think about it because it made me sick.

Then one day I said it out loud to my sister.  It was like a weight was lifted.  It was suddenly quite clear and simple in my mind.  I do not believe in the christian god.  I don’t believe I am a sinner and that I need Jesus.

Things snowballed quickly after that.  It wasn’t easy.  It was like losing a long time friend.  Praying to Jesus was my comfort.  Suddenly I was without comfort.

Worse, I knew that coming out would bring hate my way.  I also knew that it would negate anything I had ever written for those people who would now see me as “fallen”.  My voice as a “liberal” christian would mean nothing now.

It has taken me many weeks to come to the point where I can tell the world.  And I had to tell.  I live my life out loud on this thing called the web.  I can’t pretend to be something I’m not.  You all deserve to know.

So what am I?

It is hard to be label-less after years of being a christian.  I only know two atheists well, my sister and Bill Maher.  Both have a similar atheisim that doesn’t really work for me.  They strongly believe that there is no god.  I don’t really know if there is a god.  They are also vehemently anti-religion.  I am not.  I consider myself a deeply spiritual person.

I know my children are miracles and that appreciation for art and love are not simply biological.  I believe we are inherently good.  So good.  The word is beautiful and we are beautiful too.  I feel sad to say that religion makes us much uglier than our true selves.

I’m also not a naturalist – this terms is for people who believe only what exists in nature is real.  I believe in the unbelievable.  I believe in magic if you will.  I guess I would have called them miracles.  I believe in the power of prayer.

I’m a scientist by my college degree but I’ve never been a slave of logic and the scientific process.  I believe in evoultion and the big bang but I also believe there are things beyond belief that logic alone can not understand.  I don’t care the “studies” say vitamin E doesn’t do x,y,z.  I’ve seen it for myself.  I don’t want to be a zealot for science any more than I want to be one for religion.

I’ve studied Buddhism for several years and I love the precepts.  Meditation has been life changing for me. I believe in the love and kindness of the Dalai Lama is a true and pure religion. I don’t know if I can label myself as Buddhist.

I’m currently trying to understand my new life.  I still pray but not to a specific God.  Perhaps I’m just putting my intentions out there?

I still believe in the wonder of the universe putting certain people in my path right when I need them.  I always felt like God gave me just what I needed.  Like, I needed to be home raising my kids so he gave me an asshole boss.  Now, how do I label that?  I’m not sure.  I still feel great wonder in how things work and I really don’t believe it is random.

So, there you go.  I’m not sure what I am.

I was so scared at first to let go of my tether of christianity.  Then I realized I wasn’t letting go of anything.  My path through christiantiy brought me here.  I haven’t left the path I’m just continuing where it took me.  I didn’t fall out of christianity through disuse but fell into this new arena through study and prayer.  How can I stop listening to my inner strength now?

Thanks, if you took the time to read this.  I have much love and respect for you regardless of your chosen religion or what path you are on.  Or if you don’t believe at all.  I admire anyone who takes the time to contemplate such things as this. 

Author: Paige

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34 Comments

  1. I am not a Christian but a kind-of Pagan. To me it sounds like you are a wonderful person who has seen the light. That you were chosen by God to see the light, if you may. I believe that a person does not have to believe in Christ to be a good person. And God belongs to everyone. Christians, Buddhists, Muslims, Jews, you name it. Christians seem to think that they are the only ones with a right to God, and that just isn't and can't be true. I think you have just experienced a spiritual evolution Paige. Blessings to you on your journey. :)
    My recent post The Night My 7 Year Old Made Dinner

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  2. I am working through some similar issues. :) we need to chat for reals. We started to, and now we need to finish. I am proud of you!!

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  3. I wish I could think out loud as well as you do. I think you are honest and just as much a product of your life and times as we all are. I am 60 years old and still question humanity everyday. We are such wonderfully complex creatures. I pray that we may always be more good than bad and that the world will always have more good people than bad people….If God is real, we will be loved either way and if there is one thing I know…..we all want to be loved.

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  4. I disagree with you, but I'm not going to bash you or anything else. I hope that I can be a better person than that, a bigger person than that. It always interests me to read of people who have left Christianity, because I can't imagine ever doing that. Regardless, I think you are brave for posting this because it is not easy and I recognize that. There are a lot of people who will say hateful things to you and I wish I could keep them from saying those things because it's not right. I'm also sorry some churches treated you so poorly as a woman and as a person.

    That being said, I just wanted to say I hope you recognize that not every thing that feels good is good and should be treated as such. For a little bit it sounds like you're saying that. But then there are people who enjoy things that are clearly not good – like pedophiles who enjoy raping little children. Clearly just because they enjoy it does not mean it should always be okay.

    I believe some of those things you said – that grace does save us. But I don't necessarily think of the world as something to be survived. Sure, sometimes I do, but don't people also think that about work on Mondays? Even if they sometimes also really enjoy their jobs, sometimes they still wish the day would be over. Most of the time though, I think about living my life in joy, not about just surviving. And I'm sorry that you didn't find that same joy.

    Anyways, I hope you took this all in the best possible way and I hope that you are not offended or upset by anything I said because honestly that was not my intent. Like I said, I think that you are brave for posting this, even if I disagree. It's never easy to change something as big as your religion.

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  5. This was good and hard to read. Thank you for sharing something so personal. I have lots of thoughts, but I will refrain from sharing. That would seem… impertinent. I will say only that I think there are people who consider themselves Christians who would agree with most, if not all, of what you have written here, for whatever that's worth. They might use different words or understand things a bit differently, but I think they'd dig what you're saying. I do pray peace for you. It's so hard to not know what to call yourself or how to file things.

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  6. Thank you so much for posting this!! I also take issue with the atheists out there who mock others' beliefs, it just won't do any good at all, it's obnoxious. I was sort of raised a Christian and then was "saved" when I was 17, I worked for the church and was really hardcore into it all through college. A bunch of stuff happened when my husband and I got married (when I was 22) and he became an atheist soon after. It literally made me sick and I cried and cried. Then my DAD became an atheist too and I couldn't even tell anyone about it I just thought it was the worst thing ever. Slowly my husband and I talked about more and more issues and basically through tons of discussion about logic I also came to the conclusion that there isn't sufficient evidence to convince me there IS a god, or the christian god, or any number of the thousands of deities fabricated by humankind. I can see WHY they do it, basically a fear of death. I do believe that is the root of all religion, and alternately in order to help form a sense of purpose. Once I got past the… feeling totally sick about it part… I felt so, so very free! And thankfully this all happened before I became a parent. Now once I'm a parent I TOTALLY am so glad he won't be raised with all that mess. Like you, we are unschooling and peaceful parents. Our son does not need to be controlled, punished, or kept in line. He is pure, and good, and happy, and extremely caring. People only see what they want to see, and interpret their children's actions in the worst possible way when religion is guiding them. I am free to make my own judgements about the intent of his actions and for me, I choose to assume the best intentions and guide him from there. The most obnoxious thing about being an atheist is people assuming you are amoral. I OFTEN link to your "what atheism taught me about parenting" post in order to help people understand that yes I do have morals, and I actually have reasons for thinking the way I do about things, not just because some god told me to. The other thing that I don't like about what people assume about me, as an atheist, and I guess this won't apply to you from what you've said but I figure I will share it anyway. Is people do assume I am pro-choice and I'm not. I believe that all human rights are equal no matter age, or gestational age, and while I obviously 'believe' in abortion for medical reasons, for anything else I don't believe it's a choice a person can make, to take away another's rights and opportunity for life no matter how old they are, how many cells they are, or in whose body they are in as they are a separate person (although dependent, but you can make that same argument about premies and infants as well) and no one seems to be looking out for their rights, but I do personally. I just simply believe it is a base violation of the Non-Aggression Principle.

    Look up pages like "Peaceful Parenting, Atheism, and Anarchism", "The Atheist Homemaker", "Free Your Kids" and "Nonviolent Parenting" on facebook and "Freedomain Radio" on YouTube, for more support and inspiration!

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    • Thanks Kate! Thanks for the FB suggestions. I followed them and I'm really enjoying them.

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  7. Thank you for being so open and honest. Your journey is so similar to mine, except that I haven't been able to say that I don't believe in Jesus anymore. I believe in a higher power and all the fruit of the spirit and mostly I call it Jesus or God, because it's easiest. But now that my first baby is 18 months, I know I have to put more effort into clarifying my believes for myself. But I also believe I was led to this point of my spiritual journey and that I will be led further.

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  8. Beautiful and raw. Thanks for this. I would suggest looking into the teachings of Thich Nhat Hanh. I come form the opposite side of religion as you. I was raised as an atheist and always felt that there was something more. At the age of 17 I began to explore spirituality, knowing that it was something that I need to wrap my life around. It was only through my experiences of birth and motherhood that I came to find Thay's teachings, and they speak to every level of my soul. Specifically, I would suggest his books "Jesus and Buddha as Brothers" and "Living Buddha, Living Christ"
    Peace on this joyful journey, sister.
    W

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  9. I just had to say "thumbs up". Lots of love and blessings to you.

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  10. Thank you for posting this. I have never been a christian, mostly because my parents were so church was just not something I was introduced to. My parents are wonderful people with great morals and they taught me that and I've carried it through my life so I never understood where christ played a role. I'm also science minded, that is what I studied in school and the facts are proved. I consider myself spiritual and I pray but not to a specific god.

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  11. This was very interesting for me to read because I actually found and subscribed your blog just two days ago when looking at some list which I've forgotten of top christian-friendly blogs to read. I am very not religious but I enjoy reading blogs contrary to my own beliefs to gain perspective and learn to be gracious for different types of people. The part where you listened to what your child was learning about religion and realizing it was the same but it sounded different, it reminded me of something. When people ask "If no one was taught religion until they were older, would anyone believe it?" I don't know if I could answer that, but I do think it's good for everyone to question the things they are brought up believing and either come to believe them in their own right, or question them to gain new perspective. Congratulations on coming out, it's always a big step no matter what it's about!
    My recent post New Browsing

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  12. Hi Paige. I was just cleaning out my neglected Google Reader when your post caught my eye. I just want to share some thoughts I had as I was reading it.

    I don't agree with what a lot of Christian churches teach. I do believe in Christ as our Savior, but I believe that his gospel has gotten corrupted since he was on the earth. I mean, it's quite obvious–there are over 40,000 Christian denominations–at most only one can be correct.

    I think it's so sad that there are churches that teach that humans have bad qualities. In my religion, we teach that we are of a divine nature. We believe that we all lived in heaven as spirits before we were born and we are God's spirit children and he loved us then and does now. He knew we needed bodies to continue in our personal development, but he wanted us to come back to heaven to be with him. All my life I have felt very much loved by my Heavenly Father.

    I don't believe God gives us temptations. Satan does that. I don't believe God makes hard things happen to us. Hard things just happen. He lets them happen, so we can grow. But he also blesses us and sometimes he even removes obstacles from our lives. I see him the way I see a gentle, loving parent–as parents we want nothing but happiness for our children. We give them guidance, but we let them choose. We help them, but we don't do everything for them, we don't remove every obstacle–because how else would they learn? How can a child learn to be happy if they never have to overcome challenges? So God does allow some hard things in our lives, but he is also trying to help us, trying to make it easier for us. He's allowing us to learn how to be happy.

    I really think it is sad that your church wouldn't let women lead music. In our church, it's primarily women who lead music. I believe musicality is a divine quality. I'm the music director for the women's meeting in my church, and I can't tell you what an amazing experience it has been for me. I've never felt like women in our church do less than men. It feels very balanced.

    I do believe in wrong and right, but I also don't think in those terms so much as I think in terms happy and unhappy. I have noticed that doing things that are called sins, lead me to feeling less happy, even when I've tried to rationalize that it's not really a sin, it's okay for me to do, I eventually feel the effect it has on me–that it's sapping away my peace, it's dimming my perception of truth. Sometimes it effects my relationships with others. There are times when sinning has made me feel dirty, but I actually believe it is Satan telling me that I am dirty, trying to make me feel bad and tear me down. I believe commandments are given not to create sin, but rather to guide us to happiness and peace. Different Christian religions all have their own interpretations of things and may believe in different commandments. Of course they can't all be right. If you haven't felt right about something then maybe it hadn't be presented correctly to you. Maybe it was completely wrong.

    I think if I didn't have the Book of Mormon, which clarifies so many things in the Bible, then I would possibly be where you are now. I'm thankful my church teaches that everyone should have a personal relationship with God. We don't pray to Jesus, by the way, we pray to Heavenly Father. We are taught to ask God for a witness whether the things we learn are true or not. We believe in personal revelation. I find it essential to be able to ask God for answers to my questions.

    Paige, I would encourage you to continue praying and seek for truth. I believe God wants us all to know what is true. I believe he loves us all and wants to help. Even though I grew up an easy believer, in the last few years I've had a lot of questions, I've read so many opinions on the Internet that it's enough to make anyone's head spin, and I've even wondered a few times if my religion is really, really IT. And I can tell you this, it is. It makes more sense than anything and it gives me peace.

    People just want to be happy. I believe that we are MEANT to be happy. We are meant to have joy. It's not just about surviving this world, but using our time here to learn how to be happy and have joy. That's the whole purpose of life.

    I wish you the best Paige.
    My recent post Fertility Foods

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    • Thanks for your thoughtful comment. I will never stop seeking. I believed for a long time that just the church's I was visiting were wrong and my heart's knowledge of God and Christ were truth. I think not being able to admit the problems I was having with the church really blocked me. But, I will never stop searching and I do pray that my heart will remain open and if back with God is where I belong I'll find my way back there.

      Sorry again for making you worry I was upset about your comment!

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      • I am so relieved. I was thinking that you were moderating all comments, so when I saw Hobo Mama's post a couple days after I wrote my first comment, I thought you had approved hers and not mine! Then I wondered if maybe my comments hadn't gone through at all. I was bummed because I put a lot of thought and heart into it. Ah, silly me for worrying.

        I am glad you hear you are keeping your heart open. In my faith, we are taught that learning truth begins with desire. You have to nurture that desire and eventually study things out and pray, but as long as you have desire to know truth, you should eventually find it. In James 1:5 it states: "If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given." One of my favorite scriptures :)

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  13. It is so incredibly meaningful to hear your journey. I seriously can't get over how similar it is to mine — not in the details, of course, but in the general path with the stops along the way. I have clung to not saying the words out loud, or even in my head — I still feel a need to embrace and defend Jesus, who was so beautiful and, yes, so much a best friend to me. It's been heartbreaking to see all my faith (once so simple and sure) fall away.

    And, of course, having these conversations with people who still believe can be wrenching. I know when I was a believer, if a dear friend or loved one had confessed to doubts or, heaven forbid, atheism, I would have cried and prayed and anguished. So to lay that on my own family and friends … sigh.

    We try to go to church occasionally, but I get so aggravated when I hear Christians talk now in that peculiar language familiar only to those in the know. I can't help now but view them as people in denial.

    For me, the breaking point, too, was having kids. Attachment parenting itself wasn't the catalyst, because it's fine to respond quickly to a baby. I mean, some sects preach otherwise (B@byWise, etc.), but my beliefs never blamed babies for being babies. But once I started delving more into radical unschooling, gentle discipline, and continuing to respond sensitively and respect who my children are as they grow — ah, there was the rub. I saw that my children were not wild, evil monsters to be tamed and civilized and have good morals forced into them but social, eager, curious, delightful children who did not need to be taught to be good and behave in society but simply have it modeled for them. Their mistakes weren't "sins" but developmentally appropriate, markers that they were still learning. It made me rethink, "Wait — if I extend such grace to my children, why then do I think I am this horrible, broken, unworthy sinner?" And I simply did not believe that anymore. (Although, of course, there's no "simply" about it, since it unraveled everything else about my faith from there on out, but I couldn't go back to believing what I did before — and I tried.)

    One thing in here was so reassuring to me (aside from the general fact that it's nice not to be alone!), which was that study and prayer got you to where you are now — and the kernel that maybe it's not the end of the journey, either. There's a quote from St. Augustine that I always loved: "Wherever we taste the truth, God is there." Maybe it's easier to call God something else now, but I like the refusal to shy away from what study and prayer have taught us and led us to. This new path might not have been our choosing, but it's where we've arrived, and not accidentally. I don't have to be ashamed or afraid that my study and prayer led me here.

    Thanks for your bravery and honesty in sharing your story!
    My recent post Happiness, not greatness

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    • Thanks Lauren. I love that quote from St. Augustine! And you are right about the burden it places on our friends and family. I used to cry myself to sleep as a teenager because my dad was going to hell. /sigh. I don't want to put anyone through that. There is such an "OMG save them now!!!" mentality that it just leaves any discussion of doubt by the wayside.

      I'm glad I'm not alone!

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  14. Paige, I don't understand why you have chosen not to post my comment. I don't believe it was rude or condescending in any way. My main point is that I believe that so many Christian denominations have such grievous errors that it's no wonder people turn away from them. I am seeing this in Lauren's post as well. Are there really Christian religions that teach that children are sinful?? That people are broken and unworthy? This is not what Jesus taught.

    I'm sorry if I somehow offended you. I don't know what I could have said.
    My recent post Fertility Foods

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    • I'm so sorry Lisa! I just haven't been keeping up with my blog! I literally came on today and had a slew of comments to approve. I actually don't know why it didn't automatically post because you've commented before. But I haven't even read your comment (yet) because this one was first! You'd have to be REALLY OFFENSIVE before I wouldn't post your comment and I doubt you are even capable of that! :)

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    • Also to respond here. Catholics believe if an INFANT dies it will burn in hell if it wasn't baptized. They literally believe that babies inherit the sin of Eve. Now, protestant denominations, like the ones I've attended tend to believe in an "age of reason" that varies from kid to kid. But the idea is still that human nature is base and evil and must be wrangled. They even have a name for it: Sin Nature. They use verses like: Isaiah 64:6 We are all infected and impure with sin. When we display our righteous deeds, they are nothing but filthy rags. Like autumn leaves, we wither and fall, and our sins sweep us away like the wind.

      Isaiah 64:6 We are all infected and impure with sin. When we display our righteous deeds, they are nothing but filthy rags. Like autumn leaves, we wither and fall, and our sins sweep us away like the wind.

      and

      Ephesians 2:3
      among whom we also all once lived in the lust of our flesh, doing the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest:–

      I've definitely heard arguments against it but it is something that appears in lots of parenting books.

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      • I've never heard of the term Sin Nature. And the teaching that unbaptized babies go to hell…I don't understand how anyone, even a Catholic, could believe that. You can't inherit sins!! I really don't know a lot about other Christian religions, but I so often hear things like you've talked about and others on this thread. It makes me wonder what kinds of sermons people must sit through!

        I mean, we do believe in sin, but there isn't much focus on a sinful nature, but rather a divine nature. It seems like all that sinful nature talk would really bring people down! I suppose it is meant to induce humility?

        I didn't quite understand your last sentence. What is it that appears in parenting books? The sinful nature thing?

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      • Actually, Catholics don't believe that unbaptised babies burn in hell. The official position of the church is that no one knows what happens to those, babies or adults, that are baptized, but that it's possible, even likely, that unbaptised babies go to heaven. The pope stopped short of saying unbaptised adults go to heaven, because that contradicts the church's belief of one true church. Among individual Catholics and individual catholic priests, you'll find a wide range of interpretation of dogma. Not just on this particular example….my husband had a great conversation wi our priest concerning birth control.

        As for original son, it refers to ADAMs sin, not Eve.

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  15. I never comment on blogs, but stories like this make me run to the computer. Or sometimes talk passionately AT the radio. It is that hard for me to hear this without responding. But NOT because you stopped calling yourself a Christian. One of my favorite quotes is "God is always bigger than the boxes we build for God, so we should not waste too much time protecting our boxes." I celebrate your spiritual evolution (as the first commenter called it.) And I applaud your honesty in writing about it. In the same way that my father, a minister, celebrated my declarations of agnosticism. He saw it as a positive and necessary part of my journey. And then he gave me a reading list. ☺

    What causes my passionate radio talking —and LONG blog commenting—is that our churches prevent exactly the growing understanding and awareness of God that they are supposed to be nourishing. You grew up, and the God you saw in your churches did not grow up with you. He remained a God of temptation, damnation, sin, and dogma—a God, by the way, that Jesus would not have recognized—even as you became more aware of a God of love, kindness, prayer, and connection. Which is a God Jesus totally would have recognized. And high-fived you about. Or whatever they did back in Galilee. But, instead of having a supportive faith community there to cheer you on, you were made to go it alone.

    Sighs. Smacks head. Yells at the heavens.

    Just to provide some context: I am a Christian. I’ve been one since childhood—with some agnostic and Taoist byroads—and I have never once believed that Jesus was the child of God–anymore than any one of us is–that he died for our sins or that we need to be saved. I never believed in hell. And I didn’t believe the Bible was fact. I absolutely believe it’s Truth: a story of our soul’s journey from an Adam mindset to Christ consciousness. In my household, Jesus—like Buddha—was honored as a way shower, the fullest expression of the God within each of us. We, too, are God in perfect expression—Good in expression—just waiting to be realized. When we are our gay, straight, feminist, enjoying our bodies, praying, meditating, loving, beautiful, individual selves, we bring God into expression here on earth. We align with God. And we make this the Kingdom of Heaven, which, as you see in the red words, doesn’t come by looking around, or by expectation, or saying "lo! I think it's over there!" but by going within. And, when we tap into that, as you so clearly have, we experience the beauty of the world, the serendipitous meetings, the abundance of God expressing in our lives and directing us along our unique paths.

    And that’s New Thought Christianity—what I sometimes describe to others as the “Buddhism” of Christianity. ☺ And that’s why my Unity church is filled on Sundays with people who could have written your blog post. In my mind, you shouldn’t be leaving your community, you should be leading it! I wish I had half of your prayer/meditation practice. But, until then, please keep blogging about it. Because you have just as much to say to Christians (and everyone) now as you ever did. And thank you for inspiring me to type what I have been feeling…because I don’t have an audio recorder in the car to catch my rantings. ☺

    And, because I am my father’s daughter, I highly encourage you to read Meeting Jesus Again for the First Time. Another commenter recommended Living Buddha, Living Christ–also awesome. Of course, only when you feel guided to do so. You know it will be right in front of you at a used bookstore when it's time.

    Sending much love and respect and journeying with you from Chicago…

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    • Thank you so much for this reply! I am definitely open to rediscovering Jesus in the way you describe. I mean I still love him, you know? And I learned so much from him – he is definitely a way shower. Thanks for the book recommendations.

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  16. A friend sent me the link to this… I have just been going through a very similar thing… and I’m still going through it… and I don’t know who I am either… anyway it felt really good to read somebody else’s thoughts like this… I would really love to hear more and share my story… thefoodreview3@gmail.com

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  17. Your story sounds so familiar. Have you read the book Original Blessing, by Matthew Fox? It is an approach to Christianity that emphasizes "original blessing" rather than "original sin" and I found it so life-giving. It was revelatory to me that there is so much to my religion (I am still Christian, though I guess a lot of American evangelicals wouldn't accept that I am) beyond what is taught here and now.

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    • Thanks for the suggestion, I'll check it out!

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  18. I too have travelled this path. And with the death of my daughter, my beliefs are becoming more firm. I wish I was brave enough to say so in my community. I live in the south, in a place where other parents will shun and disallow friendships for my child if I am honest. So I smile and nod and hope that someday I can be honest out loud.

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    • I look forward to a day when differences of belief aren't shunned in fear but embraced as unique journeys. I'm so sorry to hear about the death of your daughter. Peace and love to you.

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  19. Paige, you have beautifully voiced some of the struggles I’ve felt in my own walk. I am right here with you, and reading this, I feel even more confident being in this nebulous place. Peace to you.

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  20. Wow what you wrote really resonated with me! I have discovered that there are a lot of us are going through this. It is a struggle to let go of what you have always believed and I was terrified. I eventually decided that God was big enough to show me truth and to stop being scared of where I was going. It is a process, but I love what you said "I was so scared at first to let go of my tether of christianity. Then I realized I wasn’t letting go of anything. My path through christiantiy brought me here. I haven’t left the path I’m just continuing where it took me. I didn’t fall out of christianity through disuse but fell into this new arena through study and prayer. How can I stop listening to my inner strength now?" You explained it exactly. Thank you :)

    I wish you Love

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  21. I have also come from a Christian background, I am currently battling infertility and all your words and thoughts you have posted are nearly identical to mine and I love the way you put we are all naturaly good and beautiful people not sinners and I believe to my core god is through love and compassion and acts of love and judgments of eachother are not loving .

    There is great beauty in life and love and all of this touches what we term as god . It’s the good in all of us!

    Lots of love to you and anyone who can read this with an open heart .

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