A lot of things have changed for me in the last ten years. I've gotten married, become a father, and made the choice to become an owner/operator in the trucking industry. Another significant change is that I no longer get enraged over a headline, nor do I come unglued when someone questions my long-held beliefs.
I grew up "in church." I attended the same church from birth to age 30 (with a "hiatus" from age 18 to 26). After our first child was born, we began to feel that we needed to leave that church and find another. That is a detailed story for another time. We found one that we liked and that we felt that represented the tenants of the faith we were taught. Then, we moved to another state. We attended two more churches while we were there, but never felt like they were living what they were preaching. We moved back to our home state and are now attending our "home church" (my family in person and me over the internet when I can).
I think everyone has heard of the Freedom From Religion Foundation. I'm amused by the growing "evangelical Atheist" movement. It seems like an oxymoron. but in today's internet-connected world, it's easy for people to band together with like minds and promote their shared views. Most people feel the need to protect and defend their belief system. Most also feel that they need to bring everyone else into their fold. Here's an excerpt from the Freedom From Religion website:
"The history of Western civilization shows us that most social and moral progress has been brought about by persons free from religion. In modern times the first to speak out for prison reform, for humane treatment of the mentally ill, for abolition of capital punishment, for women's right to vote, for death with dignity for the terminally ill, and for the right to choose contraception, sterilization and abortion have been freethinkers, just as they were the first to call for an end to slavery. The Foundation works as an umbrella for those who are free from religion and are committed to the cherished principle of separation of state and church."
Personally, I think that statement is a huge step out and a very generous view of history that favors their viewpoint. They are not completely wrong however. Millions if not billions have died throughout human history in the name of religion. There is no way to deny that, and yes, most wars have been started or joined due to a religious belief.
The point of my writing is not to defend religion or to ostracize non-believers. I do not like religion. I have seen first hand the destruction of life and liberty due to religious zealotry. Am I a hypocrite? I don't think so. I am a believer, but I am not "religious." I hate meaningless traditions and rituals. I'm frankly shocked that some of my fellow followers of Christ can read his words and still think that ritual drinking of grape juice is an unbreakable necessity. Am I saying that taking communion is insignificant? Absolutely not, but when it becomes a ritual, something we do just because we are "supposed to," then it loses all of its meaning. Christians churches have been split wide open over rituals and traditions. I even saw an argument over carpet and curtains cause people to leave the church. I've seen too many churches that are totally inward focused. I've said on many occasions, "If the church was doing its job, welfare would go out of business. There would be no need for the government to provide benevolence."
I want to pose a question. Why is the Christian religion and the teaching of Christ so ostracized in American culture? I think I have an answer. Christians are the problem. By becoming the modern-day Pharisees, the teachers of the law, that Jesus so despised, we are driving people AWAY from Christ.
Read this post from my friend Jason, a pastor. http://pastorweasel.blogspot.com/2013/05/modern-day-pharisee.html
Religion is death, Christ is life. Religion is slavery, Christ is freedom. When you go on your ignorant rants about homosexuality and abortion, you taint Christ with your bigotry. Am I saying that homosexuality and abortion are permissible? No. That is not my place to say. What is my place to say is that making a human behavior illegal does not make it go away, and the law does not honor Christ. If you succeed in making abortion illegal, you will drive the people that WILL DO IT ANYWAY into the shadows where the Kermit Gosnell's of the world exist. This is what we have done to prostitutes and drug users. These people are going to engage in this behavior whether we like it or not. By trying to legislate morality, you are doing the same thing to them they are trying to do to you. There is a war that needs to be stopped, and that is brother against brother. It is a war based solely on religion. I'm done with it. I will live my life according to my beliefs, you live according to yours. Marriage is no business of the government. The only answer to the issue that ALL laws and statues concerning marriage be dissolved.
I want a life free from religion. I want a life filled with Christ. The most compelling argument I've heard for evangelism was made by an ATHEIST - Penn Jillete. Have a look.
If your view doesn't mean anything to you, then shut up about it. But if you believe it, then you should share it. However, "sharing" doesn't mean lobbying the government to make people behave the way you think they should. It means SHOWING them with the life you live.
"You may not live what you profess, but you will uncontrollably live what you believe." Rick Burgess (@bigvox) Co-host of the Rick and Bubba Show