Saturday, December 31, 2011
my religion podcast with david bazan from pedro the lion
Non-blog-post post: Last week I was on a special religion episode of the Grapes of Rad podcast with David Bazan. He was my Bible study leader ten years ago and isn't a Christian anymore, and we talked about that and the ways that being preacher's kids (which we both are) have come into play. In Part One we all talked about leaving our faith and growing up as preachers' kids and why Newt Gingrich has a chance in hell, American Girls, non-practicing evangelicals (which Dave identifies as), questioning, hating, bitterness, grief, Joseph Campbell, how not knowing is scary, and I also told the story about how Carman grabbed my ass one time. That was in part one and it is here.
In part two we talked about Santa’s influence on Bazan’s view of God, masturbation, how I was in a Dr. James Dobson video in 1991, grief, Christians and therapy, WALL-E (twice!), using “Bug Me Bucks” to deal with ideological clashes at family gatherings, tits and ass, how Aaron and I met at one of Bazan’s Living Room Shows, underdogs and Malcolm Gladwell, abandonment and those you turn their backs on you if you stop believing their religion, Morning Loaf with The Rev. Jeff Breakfast, how being a parent changes things, Bazan and I both attended the same church for awhile, sex scandals with pastors, and leaving church. So part two is here.
It was weird being so open about crazy personal stuff but I hope it helps people, maybe. It'd better or it's all for nothing! Ha.
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I recently started following your blog because someone randomly quoted one of your posts on tumblr. Because of my upbringing, I'm wont to say that God brought me here. lol. Just wanted to say I love this blog and I really enjoyed listening to this podcast.
Oh thanks! That means a lot. Really.
I really appreciate your openness (and David's openness). I try being open about most meaningful things because I feel it lets humanity be humanity, which is important to me.
As a fellow recovering PKer, I can't wait to give this a listen(especially the part about Carman. I always figured that guy for a pervy creep!)
"and isn't a Christian anymore".
If that's true, it simply reveals that he never was to begin with and a total misunderstanding of scripture on what occurs when one is born again. You don't get unborn.
Anonymous, that sounds pretty harsh and unappreciative of what he's been through. Put the person above semantics...please.
Not to sound like a complete troll, but anonymous comes across like an undergrad theology/philosophy student who just discovered Calvin.
Also, Stephy, the podcast was amazing. Listening to you all speak so openly about things made me feel like I was amongst close friends. And who doesn't appreciate a little Morning Loaf?
I listened to both parts at work... and I loved it. I've been a Bazan fan for a long time, but it was great to hear a group of people talking about things I care about. I'm no longer a Christian (no matter what Anonymous says) and Bazan's music has really helped me realize there are others who've been through something similar.
And I discovered this blog, which is really great.
As for Carman, I played Jesus in a play set to the song "The Champion." It was one of those, you-can-only-see-our-shadows-behind-the-curtain kinda plays. I'm tall and skinny so they always picked me to be Jesus... because, everyone knows he was tall and skinny.
"I'm no longer a Christian (no matter what Anonymous says)"
Kenney, If you say you are not a Christian, I believe you.
That's the whole problem with Cultural Christianity. It's an external show, without a converted heart. Then, when they get tired of the act, they blame it on Christianity. In reality they never were a genuine, blood bought, born again beliver to begin with. If you want the real thing, it is available.
Anony-Christian above seems to favor the No True Scotsman Fallacy when s/he is pretending that no one has ever really stopped believing in God...sorta like no REAL mullet-fan has ever gotten a haircut upgrade: Mullets-4-Life, yo!
I loved your blog and your views are awesome. your submission are so interesting. i loved it.
"Anony-Christian above seems to favor the No True Scotsman Fallacy"
Not quite. More like a dog saying I'm not a lion anymore.
To continue with the dog and lion analogy... A dog might say "I was sick and tired of all the things I had to do as a lion, it was so repressive! I had to roar, hunt animals for food, act ferocious and try to hang out with other lion's pretending to fit in. So I decided to not be a lion anymore, and just gripe and moan about real lions instead."
"That's the whole problem with Cultural Christianity. It's an external show, without a converted heart. Then, when they get tired of the act, they blame it on Christianity. In reality they never were a genuine, blood bought, born again beliver to begin with. If you want the real thing, it is available."
I'm not blaming anything on Christianity. You have no clue how genuine or not my beliefs were. You don't know me. That's the problem with Christians such as yourself ... you think you have the truth and you have some kind of power to tell others their belief isn't exactly what it's supposed to be according to your narrow, probably uneducated view of a very specific, inaccurate type of Christianity.
An analogy that might make your point better, but will surely upset you, is to say someone who's gay saying "I'm not gay anymore." Or someone saying "I'm not white anymore." Except, those are things you really can't not become.
Christianity, on the other hand, is something you can walk away from, because it's a belief, not a fact.
The best approach to "Jerks for Jesus" is to just ignore them, if you can...
"Christianity, on the other hand, is something you can walk away from, because it's a belief, not a fact".
Kenny, a born again believer is a believe it or not, a work of God. And if God has converted a soul and that person is born again, God keeps that soul. That's not my opinion that's just Truth. So you state that you are not a Christian anymore, and I say okay. Just don't drag God's name through the mud and claim to have the power to do something that he says no man can, and that is to pluck a true child of God out of His hand.
Just because you spell truth with a capital "T" doesn't make it absolute. I was a believer. I went through a process that brought me to a place where I no longer believed. That's my truth, without dragging anyone's name through the mud.
I agree with you, Kenny.
I've read pretty much your whole blog and i still don't know if you are a Christian or not. Not that I have bad thought toward you if you aren't. I just don't want read another Christian hate blog. But with the other anonymous person said I have to agree with him. Jesus that He has never lost one. Now this is where I'm confused if your a Christian or not. If you're not then I'm not shocked you don't believe that, but if you are I don't understand. I myself have been hurt by people in the church, been used, lied to, controlled by church ppl and more. But I had to realize I live in a broken and fallen word with no so perfect humans. I had to learn than has nothing to with Jesus. Some people who say they are Christian's sadly arent. That may make ppl mad but its true.
He said for many are called but few are chosen. His path is not the path the majority like to take like ppl want to believe. I've come to learn many are Culture Christian's as you call it. Like the person said you can't be unborn. Now I'm not saying that guys faith wasn't real or trying to cross out what he went through. At times people need to wonder what they are really putting thier faith in. After my horrible incident with this crazy church in SoCal I had to evaluate if I was really a Christian or not. Was my faith in Jesus or just the motions or the idea of Jesus. I understand ppl go throught a lot. I have heard horrible stories. Bit God can take what was meant for bad and turn into something good.
Another thing, I'm black to some of this stuff I have never heard of before. It should white Christian culture. Something I'm just coming into contact with within the last year. But being black we definitely have our own christian culture, which is not really being a Christian but claiming to be one because you beleive in Jesus. Even the demons proclaimed who He was. That means nothing.
The site is nice, even though some of it I have never seen in my life lol. But maybe it would be nice to have a Christian who is truly seeking the Lord. Or show true Christianity. Since it does exist. I read a lot about how you are all about relationship and love. Which a true Christian should. But that also means loving and forgiving Christians as well( Christian or culture Christian) , we are humans like everyone else. Not perfect one bit.
Oh and speaking for myself. This site isn't suppose to be generalize ppl right? Cause as a Christian I have NO Christians friends. They are all pretty much full blow athiest. A few are gay, alcoholics, and some with some other issues. One of by closest friends used to be a prostitute. I had freinds who use to strip. My childhood bestfriend is in rehab as I type. I can't tell you how many baby showers I've been to where I can't buy anthing that says daddy on it. I'm pretty the only one I know without a baby daddy. Oh and all my friends are a variety of black, white, and Hispanic. So not all Christian hide from ppl who don't beleive or live like they do. My problem is when I do run into other Christians they are typically white. But there are homeschool kids who friends all did too are when to thier churches High school they run. All married by 22, coffee shop, worship leader, youth group leader, or THE wife. Instagram crazy, hillsong loving and I could go on. I'm from Cali but live in Texas now. I'm very different so I guess it hard for me to fit in with that type of group. Anyways I love my non Christian friends. But when they ask my beliefs I'm not afraid to tell the what they do is sin, but I tell them I'm no better either. I just admit I have sin and issues. So not all Christian are the same. With that being said some 'Christians' need to learn to live like Jesus said we are to, but some need to learn to not be scared to tell the truth in q loving manner. Because the gospel will offend ppl. Heck it has offended me before!
Once agian like the site, even though I think you have to be white or grew up around a lot of white ppl to have seen some of this stuff. But some of it I've seen and its crazy. But when I read the comments I see a lot of athiest basing Christianity and you seem to bash with them and attack when a Christian speaks. You may not be it just looks like that for where I'm reading. Anyone this is way to long. Hope none of this offends you. Just putting in some perspective.
Oh when I said show Christian seeking the Lord I meant on here. Not sure if that came across clear. Christian Culture has it horrible affect on ppl. But the gospel has amazing effects. Show that sometimes. Compare Christianity here to it around the word. Totally different. Here we take Christianity and mix it with American norms and culture and water it down expecting it to have the same affect the pure gospel would. In other countries they don't have time for the capitalistic prosperity gospel and the false word of faith movent that makes God a magical genie that gives us whatever we want. Cause Gods not really God we are. And that's what gets a lot of ppl from what I've seen in my experience. They get mad cause they don't get their way or things do go as planned. Sorry for the rant I could go on and on.
But yeah after reading my post I realize I have some crazy friends lol. Hmm
Thanks anony, some great observations! Scripture calls for us to examine ourselves to see whether we are really in the faith or not. Much is said today about personal truth, yet we know that God's Truth is absolute, not based on feelings, regardless how genuine those feelings are.
Yeah i did that from my phone so autocorrect changed alot of the words and made it seem like I cant spell or speak proper english. Sorry. But yes I agree in absolute truth. I use to think it was ok to base truth off what I felt was right was ok, but what I felt right when I was 18 is totally different than now. So does that mean the truth changed? No. The truth doesnt change. Now forcing people to belive what I believe is true is what we dont do. We live the truth and let people see with their own eyes. But I wont hide it by saying what isnt true is. I didnt think that made me mean, but loving. An enemy would care less what you do. I know the world want to believe that truth is relative so no one is worng and everyone can get along, and understand that. But if it isnt religion humans will fight over other things. Not trying to be mean or offensive once agian
Anonymous (both of you, whoever you might be), one of my frustrations with Christianity in general is precisely the point that you made: all deviations/corruptions present in Christian culture are chalked up to deviations from a clear absolute "Truth" that we can know that we've abandoned on some level, whether consciously or not. With a cursory glance at the set of ethical issues before us coupled with the faintest inkling of honest Scriptural interpretation, however, this argument fails so miserably that I'm puzzled and shocked every time someone brings it up in conversations anymore. There are just too many unknowns with which we have to deal, and this view avoids (and sometimes blatantly ignores) tendencies *inherent* in Christian theology toward imbalances or faulty thinking (apart from the consideration of Christianity's worth in and of itself).
In other words, you can't attribute everything bad that happens within Christianity to the idea that "they're not really saved" or "they're not really righteous" or "their theology is incorrect," particularly when theology, as a rule, is the assertion of ideas we cannot prove about things we cannot know for sure. Calvinists, on the whole, seem to adhere to this kind of thinking more than anyone else, and it drives me crazy. It's as if they're privy to a knowledge that no one else can obtain but is judged by nonetheless. And I'm sorry, but that is the stupidest, most callow assertion of anyone ever, which is why I have such a low tolerance for Calvinists.
The idea that somewhere out in the ether there exists an absolute truth (for everything, including the way we ought to live)--but no one can come close to accurately finding and following it--is a remarkably silly idea. Those espousing such a view demonstrate their own inability to deal with ambiguity (ambiguity that is obviously present in Scripture). What bothers me so much about Christianity is this sense that we cannot evaluate Christianity on its own terms but instead must assume the foundation (based often on experiences) while trying to rationalize all manner of shortcomings as a part of flawed humanity and not the Christian system.
I said humans were flawed. But Not Jesus which was kinda my point. Faith in God does not mean easy life with no questions, doubts, disappointment, hurting, and so on. It is a secure eternal life through Jesus Christ, thats what ppl forget. I've,learned He is more concerned about the spiritual things because the natural doesn't last and will fade. I'm sorry you have problem with Christians. The church is full of humans which means we will most likely get hurt. I don't know what he really believed in but Jesus did say He hasn't lost one. He also said for many called but few are chosen. He also said many false teachers are amongst us. And it will only get worse in time. I believe in the Word and Jesus is who He says He is and what He says is true. We can't ignore that or we might become victims to the false teaching. When something bad happens it came from somewhere, either God or not. And we need to test the spirit by the spirit. As this site kinda shows a lot things going on in American Christianity has nothing to do with Jesus and what He taught, died for and wants from us. And many ppl have had issues because of stuff like this. As Christians we all need to see who or what our faith is really in. Me included. I'm sorry but if your not a Christian I would not expect you to understand or care. I don't think I know some sort of truth no one else does or can't have and only my group is right. Ive fallen pray and hurt by ppl like that when I said something about that kind of thinking. Like I said ppl are flawed Jesus is not. So as christians, yes we can get it wrong. But I believe we can know the truth by true seeking God without attaching what we feel, think, understand, and have culturally been taught to it. But sadly most don't, and from it comes many problems. But as a Christian I've learned that you can't win with ppl who do don't believe, there is always going to be something they don't like no mater what. So I serve Jesus my Lord and Savior, run my race, and follow Him the best I can according to His Word and His spirit and the grace given. I pray the best for you. Sorry that Christians have done whatever it is they have done to you . I hope that changes one day. .
Someone linked the podcast on facebook and I listened to it because I knew of Dave Bazan; glad I listened, because now I found you! I am a recovering evalgelical. I have broken up with the cultural Christianity, as it were. I still believe in God and Jesus (or at least a deity which I'm going to continue to calls by those names, for simplicity sake) but I would not say I am a Christian, mainly because of all the things that that names is associated with. My mainline evangelical parents are struggling with my divorce from tradition, but thankfully I am at no risk of being disowned.
It was so refreshing to hear your perspectives and the honest discussion. So much of what you said resonated with me and put into fluent words what I had been trying to articulate.
I admire you for holding out a life raft to the many former Christian kids lost in losing their faith with nowhere to turn. I admire you even more for the respect you show to the Christians who disagree with you, especially the ones who are obviously just trolling (they only do it because they've been so terribly misled.)
Thank you, I feel like I've found a friend.
Also, I'd just like to throw out there to the continuing argument with the anons, that I think there is absolute truth, but it doesn't mean what you think it means. I think that truth is round. Like, it's a sphere. And what is on opposite sides of the sphere can appear to contradict, but it is still a part of the same big whole. And that's not even to mention all the truth that is inside the sphere. It's so big, and complicated, and round that it's safe to say no one can ever grasp the whole thing. There's always more truth that you don't know yet, and just because something isn't in the truth you know about, doesn't mean it isn't true. In fact, it is so much more than we can comprehend, it pretty much doesn't matter at all if there's is absolute truth or many truths because from our perspective it will all look the same.
Kat, thanks, you're so nice to listen and to say all that.
My main thought on the anonymouses (anonymi?) is that once you "know" "truth" you cease to have faith.
How do I no longer have faith by seeking Gods truth. I didn't say I was right about everything just that by seeking God we can know what is false and what isn't. How have I ceased to have faith?
once you "know" "truth" you cease to have faith.
So when God says it is wrong to commit adultery and it is wrong to lust after my neighbors wife, and I believe it based on the Truth He has given in His Word, then I lack faith? Really?
That would go over splendily in the engineering and medical fields. "Gee Charlie, how can you have faith in that bridge design if you build it to the specifications"?
When you just said that "by seeking God we can know what is false and what isn't" you used the word know. Once you 'know' something, faith has left the picture. If you believe what the Bible says then you have faith it is true. If you claim to know it is true, no faith is required. Faith is the opposite of scientific, like the engineering and medical fields you mentioned.
I talked more about this "knowing" phenomenon here — http://www.stuffchristianculturelikes.com/2010/02/127-knowing-beyond-shadow-of-doubt.html
I think the writer of Hebrews caused this confusion between faith and knowledge by defining faith as a form of certainty, suggesting that we must actually know this truth that we are called to wholly invest our faith in, which puts faith-based belief beyond the requisite for proof. And then people exploit that. Like Mark Driscoll.
I do not want to drive over a bridge that an engineer has faith in. I want him/her to know based on evidence that it will stay up.
Once you 'know' something, faith has left the picture.
That's not true Stephanie. The Bible says in 1 John 5:13 "These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that "you may know" that you have eternal life, and that you may believe on the name of the Son of God.
We can "know" that the Word of God is Truth and our faith is based on evidence. Heb 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
But engineering design is about trust in the equations. In the rules. One of my largest increases in understanding faith/trust came in honors freshman physics when my intuition (and most of the classes) was always wrong. This was the joy of vector analysis. We had to trust the equations.
The engineer has tested other things and other bridges but a new bridge is always tested based on trust.
This all comes down to poor translations of the greek pistis which is best translated as trust rather than faith/belief/knowing, IMHO.
Truth may not be relative, but our understanding of it certainly is. It used to be considered Truth that the earth is flat. It used to be considered Truth that diseases could be cured by bloodletting. It used to be considered Truth that certain races were less human than other races.
At no point were any of the above actually Truth: the earth was never flat; draining people's blood didn't cure their illnesses; no race is more or less human than any other. And yet, our understanding of all of the above has changed.
I find my faith in God to be like that. Some of the things I used to KNOW to be Truth seem ridiculous to me now. Truth hasn't changed, but what I believe to be true and what I believe about that truth certainly has.
This is what makes me human; this is what differentiates me from God. I am finite, with finite knowledge and finite understanding. He is infinite. How could I ever claim to know anything about him and his infiniteness for sure? Just when I think I've grasped it, something shifts, and my view of him changes and I am back at square one.
Anonymous, the 'faith' you are describing is extremely western in flavor and would be completely foreign and unrecognizable to Jesus and the writers of the Bible. Even if you keep 'feelings' out of it, the influence of your culture is overtaking the original culture of the Gospel and that changes its meaning drastically. To be fair, we all view the Gospel through our own unique lenses. Which is why I do not believe that just because I believe something to be true it must be Truth.
It used to be considered Truth that diseases could be cured by bloodletting".
Your totally missing the point. Bloodletting was an example of a lame "scientific belief", like fat is bad for you. The Bible never said that bloodletting was a Truth.
Another examle is Abraham preparing to offer Isaac up for a sacrifice. He knew that God's Truth said that Iraels lineage would continue through Isaac. He "Knew" God's Truth said that Isaac would continue to live, so by faith he was going to sacrifice him.
Anonymous at 8:29 AM January 18, there was no "scientific belief" behind blood-letting as a practice for treating illnesses (real or imagined)--it was just a "best guess". Modern science (as we know it) has methodology behind it. Even mathematicians, astronomers, and others who pre-date the codification of the scientific method utilized aspects of the method in their observations, notes, experiments. I'm loath to say that blood-letting is one of those things that went through any sort of trial or questioning process beyond "is the person dead yet?", which doesn't exactly stand up to any sort of complex, tested rubric.
Leeches were a lucky find, though. :)
Not trying to say that there haven't been mistakes made in the name of/practices of science, but stating that a centuries-old process for disease treatment was "scientific thought" is disingenuous.
"Not trying to say that there haven't been mistakes made in the name of/practices of science"
I'm glad to hear that. Just look at all the people that have died from pharmaceuticals that were scientifically studied, then yanked off the market because the studies were flawed or manipulated.
In the cases of pharmaceuticals, the desire for money and a market share trumped actual study results. Don't confuse that with science.
It is a truly arrogant thing for someone to tell another person that they were never saved. First of all, fuck you for leveling that sort of invalidating shame at another person.
Secondly, how the he'll do you feel the right to tell them what God thinks based on their current outward appearance? I'm pretty sure sure when Jesus cried out "why have you forsaken me!" he didn't lose his salvation. It takes a truly narcissistic and shallow person to only take into account what is directly in front of their face and pass an eternal judgment based solely on those facts.
I truly hope that God turns out to be less of a selfish arrogant prick then those people that love to speak for Him.
Steph, I just wanted to say thanks for this podcast with David B. I finally got around to listening to the second half today after hearing the first one a few weeks ago and it's the first time I've heard such an open, honest, reasonable and intelligent discussion from people who have left the church. I've been on my own journey out of Christianity for several years now and still have a tough time shaking off the shame, anger and hurt that goes along with that, and listening to you all talk through it was huge for me. Thank you!
You haven't a clue. Scripture is clear that if you are genuinely saved, converted or born again, there isn't a "never mind". God can and "will" keep you. It's not my opinion. So get a grip of your postured self and take a breather.
you don't know that. You only know what Scripture says. You don't know if it's true.
And if you believe in Scripture and that God is love, then why are you being rude to Chris R.?
And by the way, I know throwing out insults and expletives makes you sound real cool and above the whole traditional Christianity and all, but trust me, it really doesn't add any validity to your argument,quite the opposite.
"you don't know that. You only know what Scripture says. You don't know if it's true".
I do know it's true based on manuscript evidence, archeological evidence, historical eye witness accounts from both biblical and non-biblical sources, and fulfilled prophesies.
But, if you can't or don't want to use the Bible for the discussion authority then yes, every man can be right in his own eyes. None the less, I'm still basing my statement of once saved, always saved on scripture, not my opinion. You can't say the same.
Oh, dear. Anonymous, why've you gotta be like that?
Anonymous(gee, what a creative name!), I'd like you to explain Adam. Did Adam fall from grace? According to what you're saying, it's impossible; either he didn't really lose his life by sinning, or he was a sinner from creation on.
So, what I think I'm hearing (reading) is that anyone that believes you can lose your salvation (eg., many Pentacostals) or that salvation isn't actually based upon your choice to be saved (rigid TULIP Calvinists) are not following the Bible, but you are.
It also seems that what you believe is what the Bible clearly teaches, so to disagree with you is to disagree with Bible, and by extension to disagree with "God".
If I've got this right, it must be really great to know that God sees things exactly the way you do and to also know that everyone that disagrees with you has to deal with the fact that they are disagreeing with "God".
Oh, and also that the way you view the Bible is the most possibly accurate way to approach the text, so all other ways of dealing with the text other than yours are definitely wrong.
I envy you. I can remember the good old days when Jesus was on my side against everyone that disagreed with me. It was kinda fun. :)
"I envy you. I can remember the good old days when Jesus was on my side against everyone that disagreed with me. It was kinda fun."
NonCharon - Yes! I'm envious and simultaneously sick to my stomach remembering how I used to be so sure that the way I interpreted the Bible was the only CORRECT way and that all other people who understood Scripture differently were not real Christians. Don't even get me started on all those people who didn't believe in the Bible at all. Lordy!
Anyway, it's so asinine looking back at it from this perspective, but God, at the time, I was so fucking SURE.
Anonymous, I understand your point of view because it WAS my point of view for 85% of my life. Only in the last few years has my perspective changed. I'm saying that because you seem determined to change the minds of people here and I think that for many of us, our minds already HAVE changed. You're preaching to the (apostate) choir.
You all are kind of in a frenzy chasing you're tails aren't you? First you say, it's all in how it's interpreted, and how you view it. Then you say you can't even know that scripture is even true. And to that I say, you have no source of authority to even go to in which to have the ability to debate an issue beyond your "own thoughts".
You make statements like I think God must agree with me, when I simply believe His Word, while you're casting doubt upon it. I too remember the days when I would put my own thoughts and ways above God's in order to have my own version of right and wrong instead of His.
Anonymous, do you see how you're being condescending? That's going to do the opposite of engender relationships here (or anywhere).
If you believe in Scripture and that God is love, then why are you being rude?
Me being rude? Goodness Stephy take a closer look at all the comments.
Which ones in particular bother you?
Certainty of one's view of scripture or "God" requires one to denigrate those that disagree. If someone disagrees with the true believer then it can only be because they are morally (wilful choice of evil/turning away from good), spiritually (just blind because they aren't one of the elect/saved) or intellectually (not intelligent enough) compromised. It keeps the true believer from having to examine their presuppostitions or logic if they can just dismiss the other's position from the very beginning.
Anonymous.... a major problem you are running into here is that many of us have stood where you stand and have seen things from your position before coming to where we are. We understand your position, and have an informed disagreement with it. With every word you type you reinforce our view because you demonstrate our view, not negate it.
If it makes you feel any better, just think of us as swine that you should stop casting your pearls before. :)
Which ones in particular bother you?
I'm just making and observation to your odd tag of my comments being rude. Simply use the same lens on all comments, and the observation becomes clear.
The rhetoric in "I used to be like you, therefore I'm more mature and know better" is classic. The fact is, I used to be like you in my efforts to put my ways above God's. Trust me I've been there, trying to claim a form of godliness, but living by my own self righteousness.
I'm not sure if all the Anonymouses (anonymi?) in this thread are the same person (it happens a lot - see http://www.stuffchristianculturelikes.com/2009/05/80-leaving-perturbed-comments-and.html) but I want to talk with you about what it seems you're feeling. It seems like you feel that you are right and the others are wrong. Is this kinda true? If I'm off base seriously, please tell me. But I'm getting the honest impression that you think you're correct and when someone else says that what you're saying seems factually incorrect to them (such as faith needing doubt or that we cannot scientifically prove someone's salvation) you are approaching them in a shaming manner, meaning, you are coming off as seeming like you don't want community or to interact with people here but instead to school them and get a jab in. That's what it seems like to us here.
Did it upset you when Chris R. said "It is a truly arrogant thing for someone to tell another person that they were never saved. First of all, fuck you for leveling that sort of invalidating shame at another person"? I can see how that sounds pretty intensely rude. I allowed that comment because he's expressing how what you said made him feel. You were dismissive in the first place towards the person who called themselves a former Christian. How do you know what they are? We can't say what they are; only God can. You can say "this is what the Bible says" but you do not know their heart and you don't know God's heart, or if he even exists.
People can say whatever they want to say in these threads because this is a place where people can doubt and be sad and angry and they will be safe and not receive shame for it. You say you come here with firm belief in God and yet you are so unkind. Do you not feel like you were being unkind?
While I appreciate your attempt to refer to my position as classic, you seem to have put words in my mouth (or fingers, as it were) that I cannot take credit for.
Despite that, gentle reader please notice the elegant symmetry between what Anonymous says is my position and his/her own stated position in the following line.
Bravo Anonymous! You are the one that is a classic my friend! I'd applaud, but it would seem trite. :-)
I really can't comprehend how you don't see a problem with telling a person that they are no longer saved. Because that's what you are doing. You are telling David that he is not longer saved because he says he doesn't believe anymore. Sure, there is evidence to support it. But the sheer gall that it requires of a human being to tell another human being something that by definition is reserved for God alone, is absurd.
The great thing about it is that David probably doesn't give two shits what you think, and neither does God. For someone that is so intensely defending his position based on scripture, you seem to be ignoring the parts where Jesus lost his faith, where David lost his faith, where Moses lost his faith, where Jonah ran from God. Did they end up lost? No. To pass judgment on someone based upon one singular moment in their lives is shockingly arrogant.
It must be very reassuring to have God himself be explaining to you who he has saved and who he has not, because last I checked, you don't know what has gone on in Davids past, or what will happen in his future. Do you not remember the parable about the lost sheep? Do you not recall God talking about "the one?" You really don't seem to have a firm grasp on the Bible as a whole, and rather seem to like it to support what you believe yourself.
Also, disparaging the post because I said "Fuck you" does nothing but make you look condescending. Somehow your opinion is more valid because you say incredibly rude and obnoxious things passive aggresively? That's better how?
So, please reconcile your "once saved always saved" with 2 things.
1. The fact that you are not God. In what way are you privy to what is going on in Davids heart? Does the fact that the words, "I am not a Christian." coming out of his mouth, in some way nullify an act of God in salvation? Are you really truly implying that once you are saved, you will never question your faith again? Seriously?
2. The obvious scripture references that illustrate a journey of faith that, may at times, include walking away from the rest of "the flock."
Can you really pass judgement on David and Gods relationship? Because that's what you seem to be doing. And if you are, then fuck you.
Stephy - Thank you for being the sort of person who will be vulnerable enough to go to a place of explanation and dealing in the real issues of what is felt behind the words, and how that produces the stuff that gets said. That is increadibly healing for those with eyes to see it. All the rest of this is fantastic, but, at least for me, it is knowing that you see the heart of the matter, and will deal with it there, rather than in the superficial shit realm, meaning others are invited to vulnerability and aliveness too; that means the most. Can't explain how healing that is, but I will keep trying. :)
"But the sheer gall that it requires of a human being to tell another human being something that by definition is reserved for God alone, is absurd".
Yes, it is absurd, that is why God has revealed in His Word the definition. You keep making it sound like it is of my opinion, and I say look at the Word. And by the way, God does give people the "right and responsiblity" to tell others what His Word says. You can ignore Truth, throw your insults and childish expletives at those who repeat the Truth, but it doesn't take it away.
All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me, I will in no wise cast out. John 6:37
In whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory. Eph 1:13-14
Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. Romans 8:35-39
Yeah, Anonymous, about that relationship thing I was talking about...your saying verses that we all know doesn't help us believe them any harder. But if you talk about your experiences that will humanize you and then we can get somewhere.
I can accept that Stephy, the fact that you don't believe them and therefore we can't have a discussion based on an authoritative source. Experiences are great, I have a ton of them, but I won't use or ever trust experiences over the Word of God as an authoritative source.
I'm not saying I don't believe them. I am saying that hiding behind them stops relationship. Stops it cold.
"Hiding behind them", scripture that is, suggest that they are bigger than me, more important than me, and all any experience that I may have. I'm fine with that.
What do you say to the Scripture that says to live in community and carry each other's burdens?
I'm seeing the inability to understand the difference between one's view (how you connect the dots in your head) of scripture (shared data points) and scripture itself as a major road block in such discussions.
Anonymous, you are equating your view of scripture, your inferences based upon your reading of it, which is based upon your experiences, education (whatever level) and theological tradition with Scripture. This is not even going into the problems of reading a translation of the scriptures done by someone else who has all of those issues that get projected into their translation.
You just equate your view with what scripture says and then assume that anyone else that disagrees with you is not being 'biblical'. Calvinists are 'not biblical' when they advocate for unconditional election, pentacostals are 'not biblical' when they view think that salvation can be lost. They are no less devoted to scripture, no less rational, no less devoted to Jesus than you are. You and your view of scripture is not the standard by which the world must be judged. You are not hiding behind scripture, you are hiding behind something you've put together in your head and equated with scripture.
You also seem to be equating what happens in your head with "God" and then declaring disagreement with that as rejecting scripture. That is creating "God" in your own image. That is idolatry. It is placing your cognitive processes in the seat of G-d and demanding we bow down to it. We will not bow down to your opinion. Your view of scripture and how you interpret it is not worthy of our obedience or worship.
To not address the space that exists between you and scripture and how you choose to interpret it is a common form of self deception, but it is self deception none the less. Plugging your ears and repeating "scripture says" does not make it true, it just makes it something you keep repeating.
Anonymous, I don't expect you to be capable of addressing this concern because to do so would mean you'd have to surrender part of your identity, a part that allows you to be better, more enlightened than others. That's a hard thing to put down. It's actually pretty damned scary.
"I know that most men, including those at ease with problems of the greatest complexity, can seldom accept the simplest and most obvious truth if it be such as would oblige them to admit the falsity of conclusions which they have proudly taught to others, and which they have woven, thread by thread, into the fabrics of their life"
"The most difficult subjects can be explained to the most slow-witted man if he has not formed any idea of them already; but the simplest thing cannot be made clear to the most intelligent man if he is firmly persuaded that he knows already, without a shadow of doubt, what is laid before him."
There is no spoon! :)
Can you give me the particular verse?
Anonymous, are you really trying to infer that the only truth you will accept come from the Bible?
I'm not going to lie, but I did laugh when you posted your remark at 12:18, January 27.
"You also seem to be equating what happens in your head with "God" and then declaring disagreement with that as rejecting scripture. That is creating "God" in your own image. That is idolatry".
NonCharon, that is simply nonsense. You and millions of others have determined that we can't really know what scripture says, therefore let's all live what's right in our own eyes. If a jehovah witness comes to my door and claims that the scriptures say that Christ was a created being and brother of Lucifer, I can "know" that he is wrong based on what scripture says. Not based on what I say, but what God does.
"Anonymous, are you really trying to infer that the only truth you will accept come from the Bible"?
I'm saying that I will not accept anything that contradicts the Bible.
Anonymous... do realize how often you actually supply some sort of imaginary position or statement and attribute it to someone else?
"You and millions of others have determined that we can't really know what scripture says, therefore let's all live what's right in our own eyes."
In logical discourse that's called a Straw Man argument.
You're misrepresenting somoene else's position and then pretending to refute it. You're "bearing false witness against your neighbor". Is that right in your eyes? ;-)
Not to mention the fact that your glib response seems to indicate that you might not even understand my point, because you certainly seemed not address it at all.
And a quick thing... Peter trusted a dream (the sheet with unclean animals) that seemed to contradict scripture (Levitical dietary prohibitions). I don't know about you, but I love me some bacon and occassionally shrimp (They're kinda expensive). :)
"And a quick thing... Peter trusted a dream"
And he was rebuked for it. I suggest you fully read and understand what you cast forth to try and prove a point.
Also on that note, Peter also recognized after a supernatural "experience" that there was something more sure to rely upon. Get ready... The Word of God.
He was rehearsing his personal encounter with the majesty of Christ at the transfiguration and he said, "I was there when He was transfigured, I saw His majestic glory in that marvelous scene when the heroes of the Old Testament appeared and we were there on the mountain in the wonder of supernatural glory. And I say this to you," in verse 19, "there is a more sure word than this." Experience, supernatural experience, signs and wonders have their place, Peter says, there is a more sure word than this, and that word is the Scripture...the Scripture given as holy men were moved by the Spirit of God. The Scripture is the more sure word in contrast to the unsure reasonings, musings and opinions of men about God and morality, we can stand on the Scripture.
I don't suppose any true relationship can take place with someone who wants to remain anonymous anyway. But if you want to show your face, haha, and keep talking we'd love it!
Hmm... I read no rebuke.
And once again. You do not stand on scripture. You're standing on your understanding of someone else's understanding (a translation from the original languages) of scripture (which is not univocal anyway).
Plugging your ears and pretending that issue doesn't exist does not make it go away.
Anonymous, how do you feel that you pointing people toward Christ, and reflecting Christ through what you do?
Additionally, have you ever had an experience in or with a church where you disagreed with something that happened within that church? How do you handle dealing with people in your life who let you down? Or people who disagree with you in everyday, non-internet situations?
Laura, That's a fair question.
The way I point people to Christ is through speaking and living Truth.
The friends that I used to party with generally ask me why I am different than I used to be, and I take the opportunity to explain why. They are lost and don't claim to be born again or submitted to Christ. Therfore I don't hold them to any kind of accountability to scripture. I love them and serve them in whatever capacity I can.
As for those at Church, sure we have disagreements. Yet we get past those disagreements by using scripture as our authority.
Call me ignorant, childish, and insulting, then completely ignore everything I said. Totally awesome. I'm going to just go ahead and finish this argument for everyone.
Hey Anon, you say Scripture is your only truth. Cool. So how many slaves do you own?
Anon, stop being silly. The bible didnt actually MEAN that.
Hey Anon, Yea it does. All over the place. New Testament too, so tossing out the law doesnt work either.
Anon, Nope. I'm still right.
Hey Anon, So you are subjective, just like we say you are.
Anon, No you just don't really understand the Bible like I do.
Hey Anon, cool. Glad we got that straightened out.
Some people just can't be helped.
If you'd like to actually formulate a reply to my previous questions, Moses, David, Jonah, Jesus etc. Id love to hear it. I'll even leave out any potty words so as to not offend.
Moses, David and Jonah never once said "I was once a child of God once, but am no more." And that is exactly what you are saying when you ays I am not a Christian anymore.
And you couldn't even respond to verses given and quoted that show that God promises and will not cast those that are His out. Talk about the pot calling the kettle black.
It is surely true that Moses, David and Jonah did not say, "I was once a child of God once..." 'cause that would be stupid.
Anon said, "I'm saying that I will not accept anything that contradicts the Bible."
There is no hope for reasonable discourse with this person. Slavery, rape, genocide, "intelligent" design of the universe, woman and children as property, murder (even the non-genocide kind) and all of the other things that the bible makes clear are acceptable are part of this persons world view as A-OK!
Reason is useless here.
"Moses, David and Jonah did not say, "I was once a child of God once..." 'cause that would be stupid".
Yes, it would be wouldn't it? And that's exactly what you are saying when one says "I used to be a Christian". A Christian is a child of God!
Anon. Read again. Learn English. Get the joke.
And thanks for proving my point about slavery. Slavery is "figurative" but all the other stuff that you want to be literal is literal. Also, I DID answer your question. I asked you to consider the parable of the lost sheep. Or the lost coin. Either one. You are making an eternal judgment based on a temporal situation.
Chris, Where you get Slavery being "figurative" only. The Bible is full of literal bondservants who sold themselves into slavery. Once again your off the mark and reading your own desired meaning into clear text.
And Chris, you were NOT able to answer the verses about being "sealed" and not being plucked out of God's hands. As far as the lost coin or sheep, people do stray and wander. That's not what is even being talked about. It's someone saying they were once alive, but no longer. Again, what about being "sealed" and never being able to be plucked out of God's hands. You are strangely quiet on some simple verses.
The degree to which you cannot grasp this conversation is starting to border on sad.
Someone says that they are no longer a Christian. Your first response was "then they never were." You automatically assume the negative situation that lends itself to shame and condemnation as well as invalidating any relationship or experience that they may have had up to that point. I am trying to say that perhaps you could stop judging and invalidating this person offhand and try to assume that this person is on a journey and perhaps this is just a stage on their journey and really you have no idea, or right, to assume or declare anything about them. You have your pet scriptures that support your position, but blithely ignore the ones that I suggested. If you don't think that is what is being talked about then I think we're done here. I would be at a complete loss as to how one misses the point that incredibly severely.
I'm not ignoring your questions in the slightest. My response is that you are ignoring the other set. I was under the impression that presenting a counter position was the whole point of a discussion. I've never come across someone that got upsetwhen someone presented the other side of a discussion before.
Once again you show yourself inept to even address the clear and simple verses presented to you showing that your position is based on the mind of Chris rather then scripture.
The sad thing is, I did address the verses you used in your futile attempt to negate the ones I gave you.
You actually proved the point that a Christian "is sealed" by your attempt to prove the opposite! If one is truly saved God will not let him go, he will pursue him like the coin or sheep. One can not be unborn, to once be a Christian and then no more. There is no use going on with this, as you have shown yourself to have no desire to evne look at the clear verses that deny your position.
Yea. That's what I thought. I have no idea how to continue a conversation with some who is completely and totally unable to grasp the simplest concepts of discussion. You obviously have not actually read anything that anyone else has said, but rather just look for little bits that you can twist into support for the position that you prefer.
Hopefully one day you will be able to engage your mind with your faith and look at a broad picture of life and relationship rather than your current narrow view of rules. I'm sure of feels safe and reassuring to be certain of everything and be able to speak with authority on every matter. I hope that you realize one day what an insufferable and unlovable position that is and can see a way out.
The fun thing about religion is that you can be a condescending closeminded abusive jerk, and when things go south you can call it persecution and use it as proof that you're right. :-)
The thing about basing everything on man centered philosophy is it's all about you rather than God. And everytime actually speaks Truth that may grate upon the desires of the flesh, then it is whoa is me, all these mean Christian are haters.
Chris, the verses again are clear, and if you want to deny them then fine, but I'm not going to argue based on what's in your mind. The Word of God is clear and your own verses proved the point.
Chris, have you ever read any Peter Rollins? If you haven't, you may appreciate what he has to say, especially about doubt and the experience of being forsaken by G-d. His most recent book is called Insurrection .
NonCharon: Peter Rollins is the shiz.
Anonymous: We can switch to persecution if it makes you feel better. But I'm done beating a dead horse. You have no idea what anyone here is even saying and just like to hear yourself talk about the same tired things. We all know what you think. I am not disagreeing with your point. I am disagreeing with you as a human being. Your doctrine is sound, partially. You are ignoring completely everything that I am saying and acting like you are making brilliant strides for some mystical battle. Have fun with that.
Since you didn't answer my question upthread, I'll ask it again. Did Adam fall from grace? According to what you're saying, it's impossible; either he didn't really lose his life by sinning, or he was a sinner from creation on.
Glad to know there's still a corner on the internet where discussions like these can take place and not just the usual barrage of insults and offensive dumb comments I usually see on the web. Thanks to your blog, stephy.:)
It might seem that everyone's ganging up on Anon, and a part of me kind of says "aww..poor guy(gal?), (s)he's just trying to be true to his/her beliefs" but then again I think (s)he also oughta know that there is no one interpretation of scriptural truth. And that's not just because people are "putting man's truth above God's truth" or whatever.
New christians (or those who have not been open enough to learn about other theological stances) tend to see things this way, that their interpretation is the ONLY correct interpretation. But what I notice is that the more mature believers are the ones who accommodate diversity in Christianity and can practice loving their brothers, despite the differences.
Anyway, "In essentials, unity; in non-essentials, liberty; in all things, charity."
I believe that Stephy has come to see the truth about Churchianity vs Christianity. Christ told us to follow Him. Nothing in the scriptures about a wealthy, soul-stealing institution which I think of as 'Jesus Christ, Inc'. Ultimately, Christianity needs to be reformatted. We need to get back to the Primitive approach where if it ain't Bible, it ain't done. Everything else goes into the dustbin of history. In fact, the Protestant Reformation needs to be an ongoing thing - it cannot be 'one and done'. I have much, much more to say, but will leave that here for now.
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