Christianity And Why I Left
Christianity Ruled My World.
From the time I was practically a baby until I was seventeen years old, the Christian religion controlled most of my world. Even after I had “left the church” at age seventeen, I still carried the “shackles” of my Christian upbringing for many years and did not fully relinquish myself from the grasp until years after actually leaving the church.
I’m making this post because I want to share with people who might find themselves in a similar situation.
Before diving in, just to be clear and up-front, I think the Bible is absolutely fascinating. Nowadays, I read my Bible (the same one I’ve had since I was a kid) more than ever. I’m absolutely obsessed with dissecting the code language that I believe was used to write the Bible. Theories about Jesus, Christianity, and the early disciples such as the one detailed in “The Sacred Mushroom And The Cross” by John Allegro absolutely fascinate me. I still pray, I ask Jesus for help and guidance, and I think often about what he would do. In more ways than one, my “relationship” with Jesus Christ has never been better than it is today.
That all being said, I have an entirely different view about Jesus, Christianity, and the history of the religion than most Christians would ever attest.
Christianity ruled my world until I was seventeen. As a high school student, I attended church almost every day of the week. On Mondays I had skit team practice. Tuesdays was prayer group. Wednesdays was bible study. Thursday I would go to my Christian homeschool group for the day. Fridays was “outreach” night where we’d try and convert some folks to the “good lord”. Saturdays I’d usually hangout at the mall with my church friends. Obviously, Sundays was church.
I was obsessed with being the best Christian I could possibly be. Over the summers, I would go on mission trips. I went on “expeditions” to Baltimore (ironically about 20 minutes away from my home…), New York, and England all in the name of spreading love and, of course, “winning souls for Christ”… Whatever that means.
Here’s an episode of the Podcast where I dive into this topic in detail:
Christianity And Why I Left:
My “doubts” first began to creep in when I was around 16.
What happened? I started reading the Bible.
Specifically, I began reading only the words of Jesus. I was becoming curious about what Jesus himself actually taught and I was looking to answer some questions about this whole “hell” thing that I was supposed to be rescuing people from suffering. Honestly, I’m not sure exactly why I began questioning the theory of hell but I knew that Jesus would probably lay my questions to rest.
Quite the opposite happened.
You see, Jesus actually does not mention hell very often. Furthermore, whenever he does, it’s mentioned in parable. It’s told in a story used to illustrate some other point he’s trying to make (oftentimes a point about loving people and other “crazy ideas”).
Here’s what struck me as odd:
If Jesus was really sent here to “save us from our sins” and bring us to an everlasting kingdom in heaven, would he not have made everything crystal clear?
If it was the case that hell existed and the ONLY way to avoid going to hell was to “believe in Christ and accept his salvation”, would not Jesus have made that perfectly clear? Would he not have laid out the rules?
I was confused. If Jesus truly was the being of love and salvation that I knew him to be, why was there no “sermon on the mountaintop” where Jesus lays down the law?
I was expecting to find something like this: “Hey everyone, I need to fill you in on something VERY important. In fact, this is the reason that I (God) incarnated as a man. Ok, everyone taking notes? Listen up: At some point in your life, you MUST say a prayer and accept that I am real and ALSO that I am here to save you from your own sins. If you do not say this prayer, you are literally going to burn in hell forever. Got it? Again, this is extremely important. Please, for the love of me, say the damn prayer at some point in your life.”
No such sermon exists in any form.
Instead, we are given a number of parables and stories where Jesus alludes to hell in an extremely metaphorical way that is open to interpretation. Most fundamentalist churches interpret these parables to be talking about a literal hell where our souls will literally go if we do not say the literal prayer and ask for forgiveness. However, there are hundreds (if not thousands) of interpretations that could also be true… Interpretations that make much more sense when compared with the loving and forgiving individual that Jesus appears to be in the stories.
What’s more is that anytime Jesus DOES say something with crystal clarity, its in verses like the following:
“Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” (Matthew 7:1-2)
“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” (Mark 12:30-31)
Now let’s contrast these verses with a parable that is often used as justification of how Christians need to save people from hell by getting them to say a very specific prayer:
“The Parable of the Weeds Explained
Then he left the crowd and went into the house. His disciples came to him and said, “Explain to us the parable of the weeds in the field.”
He answered, “The one who sowed the good seed is the Son of Man. The field is the world, and the good seed stands for the people of the kingdom. The weeds are the people of the evil one, and the enemy who sows them is the devil. The harvest is the end of the age, and the harvesters are angels.
“As the weeds are pulled up and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of the age. The Son of Man will send out his angels, and they will weed out of his kingdom everything that causes sin and all who do evil. They will throw them into the blazing furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Whoever has ears, let them hear.
The Parables of the Hidden Treasure and the Pearl
“The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field. When a man found it, he hid it again, and then in his joy went and sold all he had and bought that field.
“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it.
The Parable of the Net
“Once again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net that was let down into the lake and caught all kinds of fish. When it was full, the fishermen pulled it up on the shore. Then they sat down and collected the good fish in baskets, but threw the bad away.This is how it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come and separate the wicked from the righteous and throw them into the blazing furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
“Have you understood all these things?” Jesus asked.
“Yes,” they replied.
He said to them, “Therefore every teacher of the law who has become a disciple in the kingdom of heaven is like the owner of a house who brings out of his storeroom new treasures as well as old.”
This parable is interpreted by fundamentalist Christian churches that Christians must go out to the world, share the gospel of Jesus with non-believers, get them to say a prayer where they accept Jesus into their heart and repent for their sins, or else those individuals will burn forever in a literal fiery hell.
Now, let’s come up with a few alternative explanations:
- Jesus is saying that the angels will put these “wicked” people into some sort of cleansing fire where their sins will be destroyed and then the people will be able to ascend to heaven with everyone else. The weeping and gnashing of teeth will come from the demons who are being vanquished.
- Jesus is actually encoding a message meant for his initiated disciples and the other early Christians. This is why he asks them specifically “have you understood all these things?” to imply for the reader that there is some sort of encoded and secret message in the text, meant to be deciphered (common practice in ancient religious text).
- Folks who are not “righteous” (whatever that means) will go to some more glorified version of heaven and the “sinners” will go to some lesser version.
There’s three examples literally off the top of my head that make a bit more logical sense than the extrapolation that Jesus is saying that there is a literal hell where the “sinners” will be burned forever.
Christianity extrapolates on these stories when there is no basis for them to create meaning where there is none.
Granted, I understand that there are supporting verses and that other parts of the New Testament (such as the works of Apostle Paul) elaborate more on this theory of folks going to hell. However, I have always been concerned with the words of Jesus himself. In my view, the Apostle Paul and all the others are just one more set of pastors and priests who are adding their own interpretation to the words of Jesus to suit their own ends. In fact, here’s an excellent article on how the Apostle Paul pervaded the words of Jesus to manipulate and control the early church.
Although there were many reasons in general that I left the fundamentalist church, this was the one that I could not overlook.
I lost believe in hell. It just does not make sense.
How could a loving God possibly send people to hell ESPECIALLY when the “message” about hell is so confusing and encoded?
If you want to read more on this topic, check out the groundbreaking book “Love Wins” by Rob Bell. This book outlines the argument is a great deal of clarity and essentially establishes in the author’s view that Jesus’ message is actually that everyone is going to heaven and that it is Satan and his demons who are going to be cast into the fires of hell. This is a great example of how a person can remain a Christian while also not believing in hell.
Christianity Has Some Truth.
You see, for many years after leaving the church, I struggled with feeling bitter.
Christianity had me feeling as if I had just wasted a hell of a lot of time…
I had begun training in martial arts and began to get completely obsessed with Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and Judo. As I began to develop as a martial artist and fall even more in love, I felt like Christianity had robbed me of a childhood. I felt betrayed. I felt a bit traumatized. I felt like a victim.
I carried this feeling forward into my early twenties. At the time, I was suffering from some pretty severe mental illnesses as a result of being on the autism spectrum and suppressing my homosexuality. Although it would be a few years before I had this realization as a result to using psychedelic mushrooms and going through some intense spiritual and personal development, I credited Christianity as part of the reason that I was so unhappy.
“If only I had not spent so much time living a lie in the Christian church, I would have had more time to develop myself as a ‘normal person’ and I would not be having so much trouble at my job!”
It was not until I realized I was autistic and took responsibility for my own personal development that my life changed.
I began to experiment with psychedelic mushrooms in an attempt to gain more empathy and heal the relationship I had with my wife at the time.
What followed was a journey deep down the rabbit hole of psychedelic mushrooms that resulted in me 1. Realizing I’m autistic. 2. Realizing I’m gay. and 3. Realizing that there is “god” of some sort after all.
You see, on the psychedelic experiences that I had, it became abundantly clear that there is some sort of spiritual force at work. It was obvious that there is more to reality than meets the eye. Thanks to psilocybin mushrooms, I was able to experience spirituality firsthand instead of going through a “third party” preacher who told me what spirituality was supposed to be about.
Christianity is hiding some deep truths about our world. In fact, I’ve begun to think that Jesus (if he was actually a real person) was influenced by the psychedelic mushroom. In fact, the theory of John Allegro I mentioned before is essentially that Jesus WAS a mushroom… That the disciples and early “Christians” created the character of Jesus to relay the teachings they were receiving from the psychedelic mushroom.
If you’ve experienced psychedelic mushrooms in some detail, you will see how this theory makes a great deal of sense.
Christianity very well could be influenced by the teachings of psychedelic mushrooms and other psychedelic plants like the Acacia which were native to the area.
Why is this the case? On a psychedelic journey, oftentimes one is exposed to all sorts of “beings” and “entities” that relay lessons, teachings, and messages from some sort of divine mind or collective consciousness.
Could it be that this is where the teachings of Jesus originated?
I’m going to write more on this topic soon and expand on various theories of religions. However, for now, I hope this post has helped in some regard.
If you have suffered with leaving the Christian church or any other fundamental religion and you are looking for a new way forward or someone to talk to about leaving the church, reach out to me! I’m here to help.
Honestly, I hesitated for YEARS about talking openly about Christianity and my experiences…
You know the old saying… “You don’t talk about religion and politics”…
Well, personally I’ve come to believe that THIS way of thinking is the very reason why these organizations continue to have a harmful influence over our world: we “can’t talk about them”.
It’s bullshit… It’s a contrived notion created by the organizations themselves in order to remain above criticism. Frankly, they are terrified by criticism because they rely on fear to maintain control the masses.
Someone has to start talking about this shit…
Let’s get into some of the ETHICAL concerns of Christianity.
Christianity And Sex
The way Christianity treats sex education is borderline criminal.
This is the fundamental teaching of Christianity that is poisonous: that we bear original sin… That humans are inherently “not OK”… That we come into this world completely broken and we are only made acceptable by solving the riddle of salvation, repenting for our horrible sins, and accepting the forgiveness of Jesus. When this happens, we are redeemed (to an extent). Until that point, we bear the weight of sin.
Christians are taught that sex or lust with anyone other than your own wife or husband is completely immoral and full of sin. However, conversely, once married these are desirable. Outside of marriage, lust and sex are completely criminal. Once in marriage, these are acceptable (and encouraged!) behaviors but only within the confines of marriage… Sex or lusting towards anyone other than your husband/wife are completely forbidden and reprehensible. Of course, homosexual behavior of any sort is also evil and forbidden.
Where does this teaching come from in the text? Well, primarily, this verse from Jesus in his famous sermon on the mountain:
27 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ 28 But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart. 29 If your right eye causes you to stumble, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. 30 And if your right hand causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go into hell.
-Matthew Chapter 5, Verses 27-30, NIV
This is the only time Jesus directly addresses the topic of lust, sex, or anything remotely similar in a condemning manner. Besides this example, Jesus is typically hanging out with prostitutes, ministering to those who want to stone adulterers, and generally being a loving and great individual full of criticism for the religious authority.
Most of the references in the Bible to adultery, sex outside of marriage, sexual “impurity”, or lust come from archaic verses in the old testament or the teachings of the Apostle Paul. Here is a very Christian influenced source listing a few of these examples, straight from the “horse’s mouth”.
Christianity mis-uses this quote from Jesus, in the first place. Typically, it is understood to mean that a person who LOOKS “lustfully” at someone who is not their wife/husband is committing a sin. This is used to demonize porn, skimpy dresses, Victoria’s Secret, and much more. Here’s the thing: just taking this verse itself at face value… Jesus is speaking to a MARRIED AUDIENCE. He is speaking to a culture that got married when they were thirteen. In this day-and-age, everyone (for the most part) had a spouse! It seems more that Jesus is essentially saying “Hey don’t envy someone else’s wife… Be thankful for your wife” (decent advice, right?). However, this verse is taken literally to mean that non-married young folk (or anyone) should never ever ever lust over one another, under any circumstances.
Christianity leans heavily on the above quote by Jesus to talk about the evils of premarital sex. I have heard and seen this verse used in a variety of circumstances… Everything from explaining why Christians should not kiss anyone until marriage up to arguments about why women should not dress inappropriately because they are causing their “brothers to stumble”. Over my years in Christianity, I heard many moronic and sexist arguments for why Christian women should never dress “inappropriately” because their “brothers” cannot help but look. It was taught that Christian women who dress “inappropriately” are behaving in a way that is unkind, unloving, and much more.
Here’s the issue: first of all, this is completely against what is obviously moral. It is not OK to teach kids that they are responsible for the sexual reactions of others to them. This is encouraging of rape culture, victim blaming, and much more. When we teach our kids that they are at-fault in any way for how another person feels about them, especially sexually, we open the doors for kids to not understand boundaries regarding sexuality. A person is NEVER at-fault for unwanted sexual advances or harassment from another.
Furthermore, the very idea that sex is “bad” is steeped in puritanical tradition and hierarchy.
It is a method of control.
You see, sex is as important to human life as eating good food and drinking clean water… It is essential to healthy hormone production. It is necessary for health. It is obviously essential in furthering the species and reproducing. Sex is an essential part of personal expression, individual health, and feeling connected with the world and our community. Sex is a part of living a healthy life. Demonizing sex means demonizing an essential part of the human experience. We are suppressing a crucial element of the human experience.
Christianity and other fundamental religions are responsible for furthering this belief system and thought in our culture.
It is time for us to move past this error in thinking. We must teach our children that safe and consensual sex is a crucial element of the human existence. It is no longer OK for these fundamental religions to teach our children otherwise.
Christianity Preys On The Weak
Christianity and other fundamentalist religions prey on folks with low self esteem.
In the Christian theology, there is the idea of “original sin”… If you’ve grown up in a religious environment, you are probably familiar with the concept of original sin. If you are not, let me break it down quickly:
Christians interpret the story of Adam and Eve literally. In Christianity, it is taught that THIS decision essentially signed humanity up for a sinful existence of defying God’s word. Due to this initial disobedience, humanity is doomed to hell unless they accept Jesus’ salvation. If that is done, they will go on to heaven and live the eternal life they were originally promised before Adam and Eve committed the “original sin”.
Oftentimes, the ridiculousness of this interpretation is lost in translation and overcomplicated by thousands of years of Christian teachings that throw their own spin on this story…
Basically, here is what Christians believe… Broken down clearly.
Christians believe that two people existed thousands of years ago as the first two people ever. They think that because these folks ate the fruit of the wrong tree, that all of humanity is doomed to hell for all of time. This would be like if your great-great-great-great-great-great-great grandparents disobeyed their parents and didn’t eat their vegetables at dinner and, because of that disobedience, you and the rest of the world are doomed to be tortured for eternity.
However, Christians give God a pass because he sent Jesus to “save the world”… Of course, they forget that Jesus didn’t arrive on-scene for a few thousand years thereby condemning plenty of folks to hell before he got off his ass and came on down here… Even when I was a Christian, I would wonder about this predicament… What took Jesus so long to get down here and start saving people?
So Jesus is our “way-out” of this deal.
However, as I have mentioned before, the whole message of Jesus is a bit encrypted.
It is not as if there is a passage in the Bible where Jesus clearly lays out “the deal”…
He never gets up on the mountain-top and lays out the rules of the game. Instead, the whole plan is hidden in parables, obscurity, and messages that do not give clear instruction on how to actually achieve eternal salvation. Furthermore, he does not lay out WHY salvation is even necessary. In fact, Jesus does not actually describe people as sinners who are in need of his forgiveness. From his perspective, everyone is… well… saved!
It is the Christians that twist around this message in the same way the pharisees were twisting the message back in the days of Jesus…
It is the same pattern repeated.
Christianity preys on the weak because this message could ONLY be widely adopted by people who already struggle with self worth and low self esteem.
The only way that a person reliably “buys into” this message is if they already do not have much self worth. Throughout my time growing up in Christianity, this was my experience. The majority of Christians I know struggle with their own self esteem and self worth… Obviously, many people all over the world struggle with their self esteem! It is an epidemic in our world. As I discuss on this blog relatively often, there is an epidemic of limiting beliefs in this world that is collectively holding back our species.
It is not a person’s fault that they have limiting beliefs… It is a natural result of going through any sort of traumatic event. However, these events are meant to be overcome. Instead of educating people on how to overcome their limiting beliefs and improve their self esteem, Christianity and other fundamental religions teach people that they are on the right track! It teaches people that their suspicions are true! Indeed, they are pieces of shit… Thankfully, there’s this guy named Jesus and if you just say a certain prayer and keep showing up at church, your sinful nature won’t land you in hell for all of eternity…
In other words, they get people who ALREADY are struggling with confidence and they convince them that they were right all along! Indeed, “you are worthless!”
This is a completely immoral message that must be purged from our collective consciousness. It is poisonous.
Want to know what is really fucked up? This message is taught to kids… All over the world, kids are taught by these fundamental religions like Christianity that they are tainted by original sin and inherently worthless. No wonder we have an epidemic of limiting beliefs…
The school system teaches folks that they better “stay in line” or get in trouble and then, on Sunday morning, folks are taught that they better “stay in line” or suffer eternal damnation…
It is almost as if there is someone who invented this whole thing… It makes you think that weird YouTube videos about “The Illuminati” might be onto something.