Dear Christians

Dear Christians,

You can do no good.

You are not worthy of love.

You should feel guilty for your constant sin.

Everything in your life has been laid out for you and you have no control over it.

Nothing you can say or do can get you into heaven.

That’s never something you like to hear, is it? So why would it be okay coming from your God?

One thing I despise about Christian teachings is the idea of total depravity: the only good is from God, and all we are capable of is sin, and we would never be worthy of his love. What surprises me is that the same Christians that believe in total depravity also tend to respectfully pity atheists and feel the need to remind us that without religion, our lives are not complete. They want me to agree that there is a holy loving Father looking down on me, and without religion, I am missing out on a beautiful and beneficial relationship.

Although his malevolent personality is not the reason why I don’t believe in God, it definitely contributes to the list of reasons why religion leaves a bad taste in my mouth. Christians, I know that the reason why you tell me to “open my heart to God” is purely out of love and concern for my well-being, but the teachings of your religion make me feel concerned for your well-being as well.

Christians, I want to tell you that you are capable of doing good. You are worthy of love. You should not feel guilty for not being perfect. You have the power to take control of your life. As a matter of fact, you ought to know that it isn’t bad to be proud of yourself. It isn’t a bad thing to live autonomously. Feelings of lust are completely natural, and they’re nothing to feel guilty about. Your life is worth more than constantly groveling or begging God for forgiveness or to get into heaven. I believe that religion is detrimental to your self-esteem, and that it is time to stop making yourself out to be less than you are worth. In addition to loving and respecting others, you ought to love and respect yourself.

With love,

The Closet Atheist

P.S. Just because you may not believe that one of these “religious claims” is not scripturally sound does not mean that I haven’t heard it from the Christians I know. In one way or another, the bible lead them to that conclusion. Whether or not the bible leads you to the same conclusion doesn’t change the fact that your fellow Christians believe it. Whether or not I know how scripturally sound their beliefs are is irrelevant, so pointing out to me that you believe that it is unfounded is pointless.

Furthermore, just because you believe that these religious claims are biblically sound doesn’t mean that I agree with them. I’m an atheist. I don’t believe that the bible is the word of God or that it has the final say on anything at all relating to human nature. Saying that one of these self-worth-diminishing ideas is justified because it is in the bible doesn’t, in my eyes, justify it at all.


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65 Replies to “Dear Christians”

  1. The intellectual path towards a Christ-centered dialog among people is an interesting one. Three conditions must minimally be met:

    Belief in a Creator. Since the Big Bang Theory, scores of astrophysicists and cosmologists have concluded that there is indeed a Creator.

    Belief that the bible is the inspired inerrant literal Word of God. This can only be concluded if there is:
    Belief in the supernatural. There is generally no argument by most scholars representing a wide range of disciplines, on the historicity of the books of the bible.

    A Christian cannot have a meaningful dialog with an atheist about Christianity because there isn’t a common frame of reference or authority. If the atheist doesn’t believe that the bible is the Word of God, the dialog effectively ends, because the Christian has ONLY the bible as the authoritative source.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Very insightful and thought-provoking. It may not put an end to my ten-year-and-counting struggle as an agnostic individual who was born into Christianity, baptized and all, but it gives me more to consider when looking at both sides of the belief coin. Because God (or gods) cannot be proven or disproven, I’ve essentially been stuck in limbo, in a state of utter confusion, and the only way out of this mental ravine is proof of either, which means I’m practically screwed, haha. I do always feel as if both Christians and atheists want me to join the “right” team, and I’m just trapped in the middle waving a white flag that doesn’t always get noticed.

    But I digress. Thank you for sharing such a beautiful story. I sincerely hope you get through this and eventually live happily ever after, the way you were meant to, which isn’t exclusive to fairy tales. May solace remain a moment longer. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  3. The label Christian is enormously wide from the occasional church attender to the pious devout soul who lives to serve others. It is even used to describe the faithless kindly good person who performs what are called Christian acts. It covers those who take the Bible literally word for word and those who have a much broader interpretation ; the former often call themselves true Christians which implies all others are not Christian at all.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Wow, my mind is numb from reading all these well thought arguments! Some should just agree to disagree, eh?

    All I want to say is that I see a big difference between faith and religion. Faith is something internal we share with others in love. Religion is something external we force upon others in judgement.

    My first 44 years I also loathed religion for my own personal reasons.

    But, events and circumstances in my life caused me to start seeking changes in myself, in my life, in my eternity.

    The change I found was the willingness to embrace a faith in something unseen, to embrace a relationship with someone I can’t touch or see or hear, except through the laying down of everything that is “me,” and seeking of everything that is God.

    I recall as a teen, at my mom’s request, attempting to read the New Testament. It was all jibberish and foolishness to me. I had no interest, no business with it.

    I don’t believe that anyone who has not put aside all aspects of one’s self and attempted to see something unseeable, attempted to understand something humanly unknowable, has the ability or even an opportunity to take in the whole concept of scripture. It is holy, and truly, humans are not. We need guidance to navigate it.

    I believe it’s all a contest of “mud slinging” until each one is willing to change.

    Religion, I believe, was started as a human attempt to mandate change. But no one can be forced. God loves the world so much that he gives us all free will.

    So, let’s not confuse faith with man’s religions.

    In love.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Whatever you may call it: religion, faith, relationship with God, Christianity, believers, being Christ-like. This post doesn’t need to be picked apart with technicality of what is and isn’t a religion. You know what I mean. I got my point across.

      I also don’t see my post as an argument. I write what I think and what I believe. I believe that the Christian idea of total depravity is harmful. It’s not an argument. It’s what I think. I’m not asking for an argument. And I’m not asking for opinions.

      Don’t say you want to agree to disagree before going into great detail on why you disagree with me.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I apologize, I did not mean to enrage you. I chose the word “argument” to refer to the back and forth of 2 or more sides of a friendly discussion. I thought the title was an open invitation, and a discussion which is allowed here by the ability to reply, could inherently include opinions. Isn’t that all anyone can offer, their own perception, or the regurgitation of another’s?

        I thought that I was agreeing that the idea of total depravity is harmful in the hands of men, or religions intent upon oppression.

        But scripture must be perceived in whole, not in part. There is bad and good in this life. Accordingly, this world will default to total depravity and decay, however, God offers the solution. The whole story of God does start with some bad news, yes. We are not holy, as God is. But Christians believe that the whole story of Jesus is the good news that is the remedy for our predicament.

        My “agree to disagree” was a humble recognition that we cannot force our opinions upon one another with the expectation to convert. Maybe, at best we can raise questions.

        I don’t believe I need to add any great detail, i cant convince anyone. We believe what we believe, until we seek change.

        Liked by 3 people

      1. The Difference Between Being A Christian and Being Christ-Like

        By Alan D. Griffin

        Christianity is a religion developed largely by the ideas and concepts of Paul laid out in his letters.

        Christianity is the belief that Jesus was not only the Jewish Messiah but God incarnate. It is based on a concept of worshipping Jesus for sacrificing himself for the forgiveness of sins. It is a belief that accepting this sacrifice and acknowledging Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior will allow one everlasting life in the presence of God known as Heaven, by God’s own Grace.

        It is the belief that Jesus conquered death and was bodily resurrected and will return to overthrow the corrupting powers and right all wrongs and punish the wicked. It creates a dichotomy of the in- group and the out-group. The out- group refuse to acknowledge the sacrifice of Jesus for the forgiveness of sins and refuse to worship Jesus as Lord and Savior. Those in the out- group will be cast into hell, not as a punishment but as the only alternative to being allowed in the presence of God.

        One must remain faithful to these beliefs regardless of persecution or any rational teaching to the contrary.

        But one must also remember Paul never met Jesus, did not witness his ministry, did not witness the resurrection, and swears he did not get any of his information from the Apostles.

        To be Christ- like means to be as Jesus actually was.

        The Historical Jesus was a socio-political revolutionary who along with John the Baptist came out of the Essene sect of Judaism with a unique outlook and plan. Their purpose was to reach out to the poor, outcast, and marginalized masses to organize a peaceful protest and revolt against the Roman occupiers and the corrupt Sadducees who ran the Temple who were exploiting their fellow Jews for monetary gains.

        One thing we know about Jesus is he knew his scripture and could take from it a unique perspective. The main theme he took from the prophets was that strength lies with the poor, outcast, and marginalized masses.

        The Prophet Amos especially preached on reformation of the treatment of the poor and marginalized when facing the impending Assyrian invasion around 722 BCE.

        The main motivation for this was that to withstand the Assyrians they would require this segment of the population to be willing to fight off the invaders for the Kingdoms of Israel and of Jerusalem to stand a fighting chance and under their current treatment the poor and marginalized were more likely to simply flee than to stand and fight.
        
         Lack of these reforms resulted in the conquering of Israel and much of Judah except the city of Jerusalem who became somewhat subservient to the Assyrians and forced to pay homage to Assyria to insure their survival.  
        

        The prophet Jeremiah preached the same message to improve the treatment of poor and marginalized population prior to Babylon conquering Judah the people did not listen to either prophet and the Assyrians and Babylonians eventually won out.

        Jesus picked up on this idea and went out of his way to support and keep company with the poor, the outcast, and marginalized population to achieve a climate of peaceful revolt against the Roman occupiers.

        We have seen the astounding affects this method of social revolution can have in our own time with Mahatma Gandhi in the early 20th century and the Civil Rights movement in the 1960’s led by Dr. Martin Luther King.

        Jesus’ ministry stoked the fire of social revolution and his intentional capture and crucifixion he thought would be the push his revolution needed to change the dynamic of the Palestinian region.

        Jesus removed the man- made boundaries which keep people divided in to groups. A division amongs people promoted by those in power to maintain control. For a population divided among themselves and focused on such divisions cannot stand against the powers that be.

        Jesus closed these divisions through his own example as well as his teachings,such as the Beatitudes found in the Sermon on the Mount and he created a network of sharing of Goods and Wealth among his followers which strengthen their position and improved the livelihood for all. This was the Agenda and Message of Jesus.

        The Resurrection was always meant metaphorically. Jesus was Jewish, monotheistic, and believed in one God ,YHWH. Deuteronomy 6:4 (NRSV) 4 Hear, O Israel: The Lord is our God, the Lord alone. Other verses include Isaiah 45:5, Psalm 86:10, Psalm 83:18, Malachi 2:10, etc…

        Jesus spoke in metaphors and parables and the resurrection was no different. The ideas, the agenda of Jesus is what was resurrected and worth dying for. The apostles and disciples operated in the name of Jesus, which means they operated based on the outline Jesus provided. This was common to write and behave in the name of someone else. In the spirit of a person. This type of writing is known as Pseudopicgrapha. They did not see this as plagiarism but a continuation of that persons ideals after they had died.

        The apostles and disciples of Jesus are the metaphorical body of Christ. The church itself, is the Resurrection of Jesus. This is what is being referred to when Jesus says “Where two or more are gathered I Am there”…. get it? The Paraclete or counselor Jesus spoke of was his own spirit which would guide his followers after his death. This is not a seperate entity or persona from Jesus. The “Holy Spirit” it is not the third person of the unified godhead.

        Following the example of the historical Jesus is being Christ-like. To focus on people and disregard man- made divisions which come between them. Unification is the Spirit of Jesus. The “Holy Spirit” if you will.

        https://m.facebook.com/groups/283614305131302?view=permalink&id=779268392232555

        Liked by 1 person

  5. You can’t take this stuff too seriously on its own terms.
    It is internally inconsistent from the base (for example, God is a timeless, complete something{?} and also a guy who gets things done in the world).
    But acceptance of the inconsistencies is consistent with the role of religion in society, which is to facilitate the break-down of the individual in a specific way.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. I said stricter, and it’s clear that you find the Christian moral standard to be so. Otherwise, why argue that we should not feel guilt in regards to our moral failings? Why try tempt us from trying to be perfect as our Father is perfect? To be prideful and give in to our lusts?

    As for consequences, you suggest that heaven isn’t worth begging for or giving up our fleshly selves for. You despise Christianity because God tells us that our choices have grave and eternal implications. You imply that we’d be better off assuming such things don’t matter.

    I read your post out of curiosity and replied because I wanted to see how you would answer my questions, which you haven’t done. And yes, I do know what prodigal means.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. What gave you the impression that I believe that Christians hold themselves to higher moral standards?
      2. What did I say in this post that had to do with the consequences of your decisions? This post concerns total depravity and original sin.
      3. What drives you to my blog if it tempts you from the path you’ve chosen? I believe that Christianity is unhealthy, so I write about it. It’s your choice if you want to read my writing or take it to heart.
      4. Do you know what the word “prodigal” means?

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I read the first part of what you wrote until you started to hammer down on the Christians. But I just thought I’d drop a line and let you know that I agree with God. Before I knew anything about Christ, I agreed that I am a worthless piece of trash who can do nothing and accomplish nothing.

    Your argument only points to the way things should be. Your argument only points to the way things are. So if something ain’t broke why fix it?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hi.

      When did I “hammer down on the Christians”? And the problem with saying that you agree with God is that every Christian thinks that they agree with God. Everyone interprets Scripture differently. That’s why you and my family and friends have different ideas of total depravity. Seeing these different interpretations makes me all the more skeptical and makes me doubt Christianity entirely.

      I’m not sure what you mean by that last statement. What is the way things are, and what is the way things should be? My post discusses what I observe about Christian belief, and I identify my problem with it. Whether it is theologically sound or not, total depravity is detrimental to our self worth, and it is an idea that many Christians believe.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Hi Closet Atheist,
    Please explain why you chose this particular title for your persona. I am intrigued. I have heard of the combination used in the context of homosexuals in that they are afraid to reveal their true identity because of social stigma etc but I cannot see that as your reason in this day and age,unless you are surrounded and immersed in a Christian community and this may somehow compromise your standing in the community. Please clarify why anyone would be a closet atheist in this contemporary setting.
    Secondly, your post rings true for any of the modern monotheisms of modern contemporary society. Simply put, they are all anachronisms that belong to a different age and setting and speaking to a different audience. Trying to make sense or apply modern relevance to the textual evidence is a futile exercise which only serves to appease bipartisan interests. Before monotheism we had polytheism and before that some other appeal to some form of animism that permeated various cultures across the planet.
    As some esteemed scientists have pointed out we are probably just past the toddler age of mental evolution of our species. So if you see modern monotheistic religion in that context it doesn’t matter whether it be Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Bhuddism they are all part and parcel of the stage we have mentally evolved to as a species.
    I don’t have any personal conflict with Christianity as such because I know that it does serve various purposes for a variety of different individuals including , personal police watch on unchecked passions, belonging to a clan, cultivating a sense of purpose, offering a personal ideology to approach life, to name a few; but essentially they are all motivated and espouse the concept of an after life predetermined on our ability or inability to follow basic religious instructions and practices ordained by the religious authorities.
    Ofcourse this has ended up an even greater mess for all of the monotheistic religions because they now they even kill each other over who is right or wrong in practising their religion and its particular interpretations of their so called religious texts.
    I tell you human sanity has been hijacked by this delusion they call religion!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hello!

      I chose the name The Closet Atheist because I am a closet atheist. In many ways it is similar to being a closet homosexual. My family would be very upset to find out that I’m not a Christian like they are. Everyone at my school is also Christian, so it could be reputation-damaging to fully come out at school as well. I would definitely say that I am surrounded and immersed in a Christian community. The country and general area of where I’m from is a Christian majority to start with, so even nowadays, a lot of atheists stay in the closet in order not to be looked down upon in their communities. You can read more about my experience with why I’m a closet atheist and how I deal with it here: https://theclosetatheist.blog/category/personal-experiences/

      Liked by 3 people

      1. I understand now. It just goes to show what a wide range of communities there can be found in the world today. Sounds like you are trapped in a place controlled by a community caught up in a collective tradition unwilling or incapable of stepping out of their historical context. I cannot imagine the irksome feelings these routines have on you day in, day out. Thanx for responding. I should exercise more caution when criticising or questioning an individual’s integrity.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. If you believe something enough, and are passionate enough, you should fight for it.

        God has changed my life, I cannot be a closet man of God because that is the person I am. Inside and out.

        Be who you are and nothing else, and if it is not worth laying yourself on the line for it, then be careful what you fight for.

        All I’m going to say is God has amazing plans for you, and he has no plans to pick you up and drop you. He will hold you until the end.

        Liked by 2 people

  9. Good morning, this is an admittedly well written post ☺ but even from the first points I have to disagree and these are the reasons why:
    1) Doing ‘good’ depends on how you define it, if you define it as simply performing a good act then yeah of course we are capable of doing good. But if you define doing good as wholeheartedly doing good with pure intentions not to exhalt yourself and it coming from a place of service and complete humility, i hope you can agree with me that these acts are rare.

    Secondly (and lastly as i don’t want to go on and on) Christians of course believe that we are worthy of love, the whole point of Christianity is the love of God for us. He sacrificed his only Son for our lives, Christ endured pain and agony because he loved us so much. As a Christian I believe that there is no greater demonstration of love than this, because i don’t know of anyone who would die such a gruesome death for me.
    I hope you can see my point of view, i honestly did not come to bash your post, just thought I should share my opinion.
    Thanks for this post and creating this space for discussion.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. I think that whether or not Christians are worthy of God’s love is one of those things that will get you different answers for from different denominations. Your interpretation makes sense, but what I have been taught is that we are completely unworthy of God’s love, ergo the lifelong worship and praise and gratefulness and bowing down for being shown mercy on our poor sinful souls.

      I appreciate your comment. Thank you for sharing your opinion in a productive and respectful way. 🙂

      Liked by 4 people

  10. The delusion is not just of a loving father, but Jesus as portrayed in the New Testament is only slightly less a nasty character. Christians – read your Bible and honestly evaluated it. Yes, there is some feel good stuff in there, but the bad far out ways the good.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death.” (Romans 8:1-2) Everything you said is refuted by Scripture. You don’t have a clear understanding of the true Christian worldview. Christians can do good, in fact, we are told to live as lights in the world, being conduits of God’s love and goodness. Nowhere in the Bible does it say that we aren’t worthy of love.

    Liked by 8 people

    1. I agree that Christians can do good. As a matter of fact, in my post I said “Christians, I want to tell you that you are capable of doing good.” Whether or not the negative claims are found in Scripture, I hear Christians say them all the time referring to themselves and to humanity in general, and I’m pointing out that they are harmful.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I just wanted to make sure that you knew that that was an inaccurate representation. When Christians believe that or say that, they are wrong, not the Bible or Christianity in general. I agree that those are harmful things to believe, and I was trying to show what the Bible actually says about a Christian’s identity.

        Liked by 4 people

    2. Completely depends on which part of scripture you quote. The same scripture condemns in parts atheists as fools, says none are righteous (except Abraham, Job, Noah), indicates many negative views of humanity, such that God was moral in drowning us all, etc…

      You can back up practically anything with scripture because it is fundamentally non-harmonisable. Best wishes from the UK, 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    3. Unfortunately, quoting the Bible will not help because it is false. I am sorry if this sounds harsh, but sometimes you just cannot sugar coat the truth. Of course, Christians can do good, just like anybody else, but it does not involve god.

      Liked by 1 person

        1. If you assume that the Bible is the word of god, than it is false because there is no valid proof of any god’s existence. Do not ask me to prove that god does not exist because you cannot prove a nonexistence, and the onus is on the person that posits the existence of something to prove it.

          Even if you do not assume that the Bible is the word of god there are enough errors and contradictions to show that what remains can not be trusted without independent justification. If you have such independent justification than the Bible is not needed.

          Liked by 2 people

          1. You can prove the non-existence of something, i.e the tooth fairy: leave a tooth under your pillow overnight and you’ll meet it there in the morning.
            If something indefinitely is false and un-provable, people wouldn’t need to go to great lengths to try and prove that it’s false, you would just wait and let it stand the test of time to prove itself false.

            Also, the Bible is a complex book that should be studied in great detail and unless, as Christians believe , in order for you to fully comprehend the Bible, which is a compilation of accounts by men who were inspired by the Holy Spirit of God, you need the Holy Spirit to aide the understanding of the text. The Bible is not just words that some random men felt like writing just because. Therefore, it cannot be read like any other book.

            My question was could you prove that the Bible was false and essentially, if I read your response right, if I didn’t please feel free to correct me, that you couldn’t prove the Bible was false.

            Liked by 2 people

            1. Sorry, also to add, you cannot just take random bit of the Bible and assume they contradict each other, because, again, the Bible need to be read in great detail and with the aide of the Holy Spirit. If approached this way, you will in-fact find that the Bible is all one progressive narrative.

              Liked by 1 person

            2. FTPB — you say the bible is “all one progressive narrative.” Are you aware the bible is not in chronological order? This includes the New Testament. In fact, Paul wrote his letters before the gospels were written. And the gospel by “Mark” was written before the others.

              Does your Holy Spirit make this information available to you?

              Liked by 2 people

            3. You’ve misinterpreted what I meant, but that’s probably because I didn’t put it very well, what I meant was in terms of the theme of salvation and the role of God within humanity. That’s what I meant by ‘one progressive narrative’. But yeah, I didn’t make that clear.

              Liked by 1 person

            4. One experiment with the tooth fairy is not enough. No one knows whether in the future the tooth fairy would actually reward the toothless child. I will say that it is safe to assume the tooth fairy does not exist, but it is not logically proven no matter how many time the tooth fairy experiment is done. By this I believe it is save to assume that god does not exist. And, to through in an irrelevancy, it is safe to assume evolution is true.

              My response was two parted. If god is assumed to exist, than the Bible is false. Going the other way the Bible is not false in totality, but unreliable as a whole. So apply the one you choose to accept because there is no other option.

              As far as the holy spirit is concern how do you know you or anyone possesses it? Why do two people claiming to be led by the holy spirit come to different conclusion to what this or that in the Bible means.

              Please do not jerk my chain with further replies. I think it is quite obvious that nothing you or me would say would change the mind of the other.

              One last thing – do you think I blasphemed the holy spirit above? If so, than I guess there is no forgiveness for me–Jesus said that. Oh well, maybe I could bring some marshmallows with me to a nonexistent hell. I think I just sealed the deal.

              Liked by 1 person

            5. So sorry, but I will have to jerk your chain and respond further and let you know that I will be praying for you because although you may not believe in heaven or hell, I do and I would not want you to go to hell. 🙂

              Liked by 1 person

    4. Hey there!

      CA’s main point is still accurate of Christian teachings found in biblical texts. See Romans 3:9-20 and even Romans 3:23 (“for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God[]”). You can also take a look at Luke 7:6-9, where Jesus compliments a centurion who confesses his unworthiness to ask anything of him. Christians are commanded to commit acts worthy of repentance (see, generally, Matthew 3:8, Luke 3:8, and Acts 26:20). The idea behind that is that Christians need to worry about what their actions say about their repentance.

      Liked by 1 person

        1. I agree, but I wanted to shore up the post author’s point with references to it. Getting called out for not being a “true Christian” or misrepresenting the faith is a common charge levied against former Christians. I think it’s important to remind people that former Christians did pay attention in church, read the same or similar biblical versions that current Christians do, and didn’t forget what they learned when they left.

          All that aside, biblical unreliability can be demonstrated in so many different ways. The most succinct one I always think of is the fact that the sun and moon were allegedly created after day and night. Go figure.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. I was not referring to parts of biblical texts that do not jive with science, are in contradiction with different parts of itself, or have no outside historical back up. The issues I was referring to were with which text, what translation are the true word of god, and whose interpretation.

            There is no single original text on which to go on. In other words there are no written documents which were written by their original writer—not even lose. Most are from the third century, most of which do not totally agree with each other. There are interpolations and word changes. It gets even worse if the texts are suppose to report on actual events and sayings in Jesus’ life and words. All texts even the Pauline epistle’s, all of which were doctored from an original text, were written after the biblical Jesus was long gone. No biblical writer knew Jesus personally. Paul never met a physical Jesus, only various voices and visions.

            Then, there is the question of which translation is the correct one. Problem number one is directly related to the various texts used. Without a single text translators have to choice which texts to use. Then, translators have word choices that need to be made, as well as sentence structure and overall coherence. Many thinks influence how a translator will translate the Bible (actually any text). Mainly, it is all about the theological orientation the translator is working in.

            This leads to the last factor with the biblical text—interpretation. People basically take whatever meaning they want from the text. Of course, most Christians will rely on the interpretations of others, such as their ministers or pastors and church teachings (such as catechisms and Sunday schools). And then, there is the question of is the Bible to be considered the literal word of god or just inspired by god or god’s spirit.

            Finally, I do not understand what your point is in your last sentence. What do ex-Christians not forget? How to act? I believe no one should take their morals from the Bible. Yes, there are a few ethical gems, but you have to do some serious cherry picking,* more so than, dealing with the many more negative ethical portrayals. But these gems can be found outside the Bible, either in other religious texts or in secular philosophical writings. And as Neil Young sang, “Don’t forget what your good book said.” Hate your family.

            For more on the concept of cherry picking see my blog – “Do You Want to See Some Cherries?” @ https://wordpress.com/post/aquestionersjourney.wordpress.com/2130

            Liked by 1 person

            1. You’re barking up the wrong tree here. I’m well aware of the problems biblical texts have; at no point have I asserted above that these texts must be reliable.

              My actual point in quoting the Bible was to address an argument on its own terms, demonstrating that the original author was actually not misrepresenting Christianity. I chose verses because the person I responded to tried using verses to paint Christianity differently. For the sake of my comment, I passed on the question of biblical reliability.

              Liked by 1 person

            2. Fair enough. But, that is the problem. The Bible can be interpreted in so many ways, there is no one correct Christianity. And, there never has been. I only ask, how many Christians actually feel like they should hate their families as Jesus commanded? Not many I suspect.

              Liked by 1 person

            3. The Bible possesses more textual accuracy than any other text. There are thousands of copies and transcripts to compare and look for discrepancies. Yet, it is considered errant on many levels as you stated yourself. However, we may only possess less than 100, or less than 20 transcripts and copies of some writings, such as Plato’s writings or Homer’s writings, yet most times such writings, even with so few copies, are considered to not have been altered.

              I agree that there is not a single translation that can be used. I do not speak Ancient Hebrew or Aramaic or Greek, do you? I also agree that some words may have a slightly different meaning or lose some context when translated. Therefore, sometimes one must go back to the original translation if they really want the full meaning. I often do this.

              As for interpretation, the best interpretation is the one of which the author meant. There is meaning, and there is interpretation. You must look at the language used (nouns, verbs, syntax, etc.) and who was speaking and who they are speaking to if there is a confusion. For your specific example of Jesus speaking, I think you and I both know he does not mean that you must hate your family. However, you are sharpshooting ans using the literal explanation to attack Christianity. If Jesus truly meant that you should hate your family, would this not go against when he says to honor your mother and father? That doesn’t make any sense. Instead, he is stating that God should be first and you should love him so much, that in comparison for your love for your family, you hate them. The love is such a drastic difference in size that the word hate is used. I assume now you are going to accuse me of choosing my favorite interpretation. By the way, Jesus also didn’t mean to cut off your arm and gouge out your eye. Sometimes, the Bible requires you to think and research. Hm.

              Liked by 1 person

            4. Sorry this reply is so late, but I missed placed the link. Here are a number points I wanted to make.

              Maybe because these lesser number of copies are more in agreement.
              I do not, why would you ask? And what original translation are you referring to.
              How can anybody be sure what the original intentions of the biblical authors were? We cannot even do this with the United States Constitution, which was written 230 years ago, as the conservative and liberal wings of the courts shows in there disagreements.
              Yes, the biblical Jesus did say to honor your mother and father. But, this just shows how contradictory parts of the Bible are, when you do not cherry pick the verses you agree with.
              How do you know biblical Jesus did not mean this? I suppose you think he did not mean to sell all your money and give it to the poor. Which by the way would necessitate the recipients to give the money away in turn, and so on.
              Finally, how can you tell that the Bible contains any of god’s words or intentions, supposing there actually is a Biblical god?

              Liked by 1 person

  12. Thank you for following my blog, and I look forward to following yours as well. I enjoyed this post, and it is a legitimate voice of concern regarding the mindset of Christians. I thought I might propose a social experiment between us. Perhaps we could write about similar topics on occasion, or respond to questions of the other on occasion as fuel for our writing, since yours is based on atheism, and mine on Christianity. One professor I follow states that, “Rather than seeing disagreement as insult, we ought to realize that gracious, thoughtful disagreement is the highest form of honor.” It is in that vein that I approach, in hopes that though we may not change the other’s mind, we may learn more about their world view.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. This is very good! I think it needs to be said because, I agree, many Christians look down on themselves and put others down because of this. However, they forget the whole story of the Gospel. (I am not trying to preach and you can tune out if you want.) The Bible says that by believing in Christ, we are made new. We are new creation and are children of God. We are a part of his kingdom and shine his love and light to the world (at least we are supposed to. Many do not). So, yes, I believe I sin. Yes, I believe I cannot get into heaven alone. The reason people say that we are not worthy of love is because they focus too much on the bad and not on the good. If they truly believed what the Bible says, they would realize that they are sons and daughters of the one true God and King. Have they done anything to merit such love and acceptance? No, they haven’t. However, they’ve received it, nonetheless. So, as a Christian, I do not feel depressed or feel like I live in depravity. I feel renewed and joyful.

    Liked by 7 people

  14. This is a great summary of many of the damaging things that evangelical churches teach. I’ve heard many times today, after I turned in my resignation, that people are praying that “God Will open a door for me…” Okaayyyy…. but I imagine that door is not going to open if I don’t beat the bushes for work and send out two dozen resumes. In the end, we have to rely on ourselves and be confident in who we are, who we have developed ourselves to be in the world. That’s all that matters.

    Liked by 2 people

  15. A great post. The idea of depravity makes me sick as well as does the idea that atheists lives are incomplete. I consider myself spiritual about the universe and I need no God for my happiness. Unfortunately many Christians seem to be too afraid of hell to consider the bigger picture. Luckily I didn’t have to grow up with it. Great work. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. I really appreciate this because I know many atheists, and I love them all. They are good people, and they are people I cannot fathom any harm coming to them, delivered by a divine spirit. To be a good human, I don’t believe, belongs to Christians.

    Liked by 2 people

  17. I can see your point. The religion of christianity, coming from one who grew up in the system, is a set of rules and a way of life trying to be good enough. I am done with that way of life. The way I see it, and this is only my opinion, God is a god of love. We do not live our lives trying to do good works and earn salvation and a life in heaven. God is not a huge figure sitting on a throne up in heaven just waiting to beat us for doing something wrong. I believe he loves us and wants fellowship with us. After all, the bible says we were created in the likeness of God. So to me it seems there is nothing wrong with admitting there is good within us, we are worthy of love and God knows we are not perfect yet loves us as anyway. All that you mentioned makes up the typical human being and God loves us the way we are. I agree that the religion of christianity seems to be all about behavior modification and good works trying to earn God’s love. I feel there is nothing wrong with being human, being ourselves, and accepting the love of God just because he loves us as is. Again, this is only my opinion and comes from a believer’s perspective. Thanks for the good article.

    Liked by 4 people

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