Bringing together non-believers
If you are a Christian and are ‘SAVED’ (whatever that means), you probably don’t know it, but you are living a lie. Read the following true story – The path to a Christian apologetic!
I was a Christian for approximately 8 years. During that time, I had the opportunity to interact with people from many strains of Christianity. Since I recanted in 1983, I’ve had a lot of time to reflect on the thought processes gleaned from others, as well as those going on in my own little head at the time. In my opinion, Christianity is nothing more than a culturally inculcated myth. As a system of thought it is philosophically inadequate. Its historical claims are erroneous on a number of fronts. But more to the point, it defies common sense to such a degree that only the mentally enfeebled could honestly embrace it as a belief system.
Christians are liars, to some degree. I was one, and everybody I interacted with in the context of pursuing any kind of ‘Christian walk’ were as well.
It starts like this: First you have what is generally known as the ‘born-again’ experience. This might come about through some emphatic proselytizer ‘witnessing’ to you about his or her experience with the divine, perhaps buttressed by cherry-picked ‘key’ verses from the bible. John 3:16 is a perennial favorite. Or you might hear something from a TV evangelist, or read some biblical passage that hits an emotional soft spot. Ofttimes it’s that fear of hell that tips the balance. It was for me, and for several other converts I knew back in the day.
Ok, so you kneel down in your bedroom (most of us back then had plenty of practice doing that as kids, prayers often being enforced by our parents), or you walk the aisle during an alter call after being sufficiently guilted by the sermon, or…whatever. Then you ask God to forgive you of your failings (sins), and ask Jesus to come into your heart and save you (from hell, of course!). Often what follows is a big emotional release; crying, praying, raving etc., though this isn’t always the case. Eventually you get involved in some kind of fellowship, because every new Christian needs ‘support’ (can you spell INDOCTRINATION?). Eventually you start learning about the bible, interpreted along the lines of whatever group you’ve managed to fall into. And in not too much time at all, the lying begins.
At first, the lies start at simple self-deception, usually about the time you start reading the bible for yourself, instead of relying exclusively on what others are telling you it says. It doesn’t take long before you start finding things that just don’t make sense. Of course, you’ve already been given the line about the bible being God’s Word, which doesn’t exactly make sense to you since obviously the thing has been written by people. But, oh well, why would these folks be dedicating their lives to what it says in a book, if the book isn’t true, right? Still, there seem to be these problems, and eventually you work up the courage to ask somebody about them. So you go to a ‘spiritual elder’, be that the pastor of your church, or simply a brother or sister in the Lord who’s been at it longer than you. And they give you an answer, but sometimes the answer is surprisingly abrupt, especially if you press the question too long, and you sense an unexpressed ‘tone’ behind the words, like “Should we really be talking about this, brother? This smacks of DOUBT!” And you walk away not completely satisfied, but somewhat placated, though there’s this small tearing sound coming from between the two halves of your brain. That, my friend, is the sound of the beginnings of cognitive dissonance.
You’re starting to lie to yourself, and part of you knows it. But either you swallow it, or you walk away and risk that eternal torment stuff if you’re wrong.
Thus begins the process of self delusion. The more you read and hear, the more stuff starts to bother you. Sometimes you try to talk about it, and my how the bullshit flies! One person will tell you there’s some deeply ingrained sin in you that’s hindering what God wants to do in your life. Believe me, this is NOT something you want to hear regarding the Guy who holds the fate of your immortal soul in His hands! So you learn to repress, and your stomach hurts a lot, but that’s better than considering the alternative. Or sometimes they go with the carrot instead of the stick, assuring you that you’re special in God’s sight, and that He must have some REALLY big plans for you, because why else would Satan be giving you such a bad time? This gives you a wonderful sense of security (for a time), plus it’s a great shot for the ego. Man, you might even be a prophet!
Of course, the doubts are still there, running in the background like a malware detection program on your computer, sending up little red flags that make you cringe late at night. But you KNOW there are answers, somewhere, which will ultimately reconcile everything for you. So you study, absorbing the pat assurances offered by your spiritual elders, and sometimes even coming up with your own unique rationalizations, and you share them with the brotherhood, and if they’re pretty good (they never have to be REALLY good), others sharing your state of cognitive dissonance will even glom onto them, and their temporary assuagement will feed back to you in the form of acknowledgement, and praise, and pats on the back, and at some point you may even find that new converts are being steered your way to assuage THEIR doubts, and at another point you may find yourself being referred to as spiritually mature, or wise ‘in the Lord’, adding some much needed gear oil to the machinery in your head that’s smoking and grinding and sputtering, as the doubts grow but are pushed further down inside, and the rationalizations become more numerous, more complex and convoluted, and downright scary at times. And eventually you might just discover that you’ve become, either formally or informally, school taught or homegrown, an APOLOGIST.
And a big, fat, Christian liar.
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