Apostate! What it’s like to be a Liberal Christian in a Sea of Conservatism

Yesterday, David Schell wrote:

David Schell People think I moved left because I wanted to compromise with the world, because I wanted to fit in better.

People think I moved left because I was deceived by the devil.

People think I moved left because I’ve been reading the Bible without the help of the Holy Spirit.

People think I moved left because I just stopped reading the Bible.

My dad sees me as a disappointment and is glad I’m still alive. He doesn’t say it, but I’m pretty sure he thinks that if I died today I’d be in hell. He holds out hope that God will show me the light because I’m still alive.

My Grandma calls me and says she’s heard rumors that I don’t believe in the Bible anymore.

My aunt sends me a Facebook message that her kids, my very young cousins, are praying for me. They’re worried about my soul.

As a former fundamentalist, and then a conservative evangelical, I can relate to this. David reports that his father believes God will judge him for deceiving people; I have the same experience from some of my relatives.

David continues by saying how tired he is of argument. I agree; there is no benefit to arguing with people with closed minds. I have already explained myself, and I am unwilling to rehearse the conversations further. I am happy to dialog and listen to their perspective, but I am no longer interested in defending against constant and repetitive attacks.

I think David’s entire article is worth the read. You can see it at:

http://davidmschell.com/unacceptable/

This entry was posted in evangelicalism, favorite blogs, fundamentalism, judgment and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

60 Responses to Apostate! What it’s like to be a Liberal Christian in a Sea of Conservatism

  1. michaeleeast says:

    David’s article is very sad.
    That people are harassed for their beliefs in 2014 is unacceptable.
    I’m glad it’s not like that in Australia.
    As a gay Christian I am happy to be a member of The Uniting Church.
    He has my full support and my blessing.

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    • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

      I am glad you have a better situation in Australia. We who have left our conservative beliefs have former associates who are concerned with our spiritual condition, but some go further and reject us. It is sad.

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    • gallbladder says:

      Imagine there’s no Heaven its easy if you try no Hell below us above Us only Sky Imagine All the People Living for Today Imagine There’s no Countries It Isn’t hard to Do Nothing to Kill or Die For And No Religion Too ….. Imagine All the Peoople Living Life in Peace ……You May say Im a Dreamer But Im not the only One I Hope Some day You Will Join US and the World Will Be As ONE ……. magine No Possessions I Wonder If You Can No NEED For HUNGER A BROTHERHOOD of MAN Imagine All the People Sharing ALL the WORLD You May say Im a Dreaner But Im not the Only One I Hope SOME DAY You will Join US And the WORLD WILL LIVE AS ONE John Lennon The Bible Is a great Book if that is your Only Reference for Life then you are condemmed to living a life based on a 3000 year old Philosophy People Have Chaanged The World Has Changed Times are changed and so You Have Changed Good Luck A Buddhist Follower ( Formally Catholic ) Sometimes We need To find Our Own Way

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      • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

        GB, I have loved this song by John Lennon ever since it was released. It still inspires me with yearning and hope for a world without hurt and conflict. I know that religions have cause a lot of strife, but most religions were not meant to be that way–including Christianity.

        The good news of Jesus is very consistent with John Lennon’s plaintive wish. Christianity should have been a community of peace that would spread that dream around the world, but instead it has become a ‘religion’ to compete with other religions and to be defended against them.

        Thank you for sharing John’s words.

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        • Chas says:

          Tim, I am very much with you that Christianity ought to have been a community of peace. Given the clear message of pacifism (with the exception of the Clearing of the Temple) in the words which are attributed to Jesus, how did the Christian churches get it so wrong in condoning the Crusades, the Inquisition and other cruelties . Where did they pick up this message of violence? Was it from the OT, or from Revelation?

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          • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

            Chas, I think the biggest problem is when a military leader, Emperor Constantine, claimed to have a vision of ‘In this sign (the Christian cross) conquer’.

            By enlisting the Christian movement into the Roman Imperial structure, he changed the church forever; the Church and the government became indistinguishable from each other and political wars became religious wars.

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          • Marc says:

            I think your understanding concerning the relationship between the Church and the Roman State is rather distorted Tim. It was Constantine’s Mother, Helena, who was a true Christian. Constantine did not accept baptism until he was on his death bed. When Theodosius made Christianity the official religion of the Roman State in AD. 395, the influx of nominal Christians into the Church precipitated the monastic movement by those who sought to preserve the Apostolic Faith. An unbiased research of Church history reveals that there were often conflicts between the Church and State over the centuries that led to the martyrdom of many saints who through the Grace of God were able to preserve the Ancient Christian Faith, and the one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church. From an Orthodox Christian perspective, the Great Schism of AD.1054 was a great apostasy that led to many of the evil actions mentioned by Chas.

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          • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

            Marc, now that you mention it I do recall that Constantine’s mother was a strong believer. But it was the Emperor, who adopted and co-opted the Church, that created such problems. It was he who meddled heavily in the First Council of Nicaea.

            He protected the Church, but he also used it to his political advantage.

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          • Chas says:

            Tim, the wars that followed the breakdown of the former Yugoslavia were religious, rather than political, wars: Catholic vs Orthodox vs Muslim in nature. It was only Tito’s dictatorial rule that had kept them from each other’s throats for the preceding years. A similar thing can be seen in Iraq, where the Shia and Sunni muslims plus the Kurds were kept quiet by Saddam, until the intervention of Bush and Blair.

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          • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

            I agree with you about the religious wars. And they are so harmful and destructive.

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  2. Chas says:

    Tim, I am trying to understand the position that you are taking/proposing to take, which seems to be that you will listen to these people who oppose you, but you will refuse to put your own beliefs forward to them. Is that correct? From my perspective your message appears compromised if you hesitate to state it clearly and unequivocally: it makes you seem to lack authority. Why not say out clearly what your belief is and then just ignore them if they persist in their judgmental reactions. It is the verbal equivalent of turning your back and walking away from them.

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    • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

      Sorry Chas, I was not as clear as I should have been. I am happy to present my beliefs, and answer questions, for anyone who is interested; and I am interested in hearing their thoughts as well.

      But once it becomes very apparent that they are in discussion only to attack, berate, or badger me, it is no longer a discussion. I don’t want to continue a long discussion by defending myself, so I simply acknowledge to them that I know we disagree.

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  3. Jane says:

    Thanks Tim for sharing this. This resonates so strongly with me. I don’t want to have to be the one to justify my spirituality all the time. Like the burden of proof is on me. I just want to enjoy God.

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    • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

      Agreed. Though perhaps we should be willing to give an answer to those who enquire, we have no obligation to defend ourselves against the onslaughts of those who ‘demand’ an answer.

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      • gallbladder says:

        To those who Demand an answer” to me that statement is an invitation to plant a seed for questioning what and why those people are so Frozen in their views To have a “Brotherhood of Man” We as people have a responsibility to mankind to say Look I acknowledge Your beliefs but where and why was that belief founded The Christian Belief that Women should be submissive to Men say women are a lesser human than Men In today’s Society that idea is no longer the the widely held View when you present that to a person of religion it opens a small door to help others see that maybe what their Religion Says you must believe Can be Questioned Fear has been instilled that any questioning is Forbidden If we allow that to continue by avoiding to defending the positions of todays society we will never Change the World to accept All people as egual

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        • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

          GB, I agree that we should be clear and persistent in our views against misguided beliefs like the submission of women to men, but I don’t have time to waste on people who just want to lambast me about it. They are not likely open to my reasoning anyway.

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          • gallbladder says:

            then start planting seeds with questions to stimulate them to question themselves and then walk away

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  4. sheila0405 says:

    I agree that there is no point in arguing theology. Nothing comes of it. I answer questions if asked. If things turn contentious, I change the subject.

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    • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

      A very good practice!

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      • gallbladder says:

        I disagree Theology is the study of the Nature of God and Religious Beliefs and theory when systematically develope If we Limit or stop Discussion we stop the Understanding and Investigation into the Reason we Believe as We or Others Do When you examine Our Beliefs and that of Others we Can discover Things We have In Common Rather than the things that devide Us . Established Religions Have stagnated the process to Unite People Rather than Focus on what could Unite People they Look at only what devides Us From Becoming A “BROTHERHOOD OF MAN” When We Close the Door Of Conversation We Give Ignorance and Fear Power over us The Recipe for Propetual Ignoranse is : Be Satisfied with Your Opinions and Content with your Knowledge

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        • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

          GB, I think you are talking about dialog–I am all in favor of that. Hostile argument is something else, and it is not very helpful.

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      • gallbladder says:

        Change is not easy and many times the Price we pay for change is uncomfortable but retreating to be content only places us a position of allowing those not willing to accept us to continue to Proclaim their view is the only “Rightous ” or accepted view and You must have their Values or you are a lesser Human being or not worthy of Gods Love or their Love They use their Religion to Reject you rather than Using God to embrace you Even if its painful or people Hurt you if you avoid Changing the world even through it may cause conflit you keep your self in a position of being viewed and treated as a Lesser Human being And You are not

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        • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

          I think I understand your point GB, but what antagonist conservative believers think of me does not affect me. I don’t think continued argument is likely to change their mind.

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          • gallbladder says:

            Then you dont understand peaceful protest of Ghandi King and Jesus its not about a new Religion alone its about How the People can change how your fellow man treats you ( treat your brother as you would be treated ) By Not Standing up to others it give them Power over you Gives them permission to continue to discriminate dominate and permission to tell society you are a lesser Human being Your failure to engage in a peaceful manner can be viewed either of lacking commitment to end discrimination and shunning and change how you are treated and what of others do you not care to end how these people dominate society with their superior attitude and thinking how it Influences society and Laws or are you one of those People who belong to the society of ” its all about ME ” That MATTERS is only how it effects Me Personally so i retreat into a shell and say let the world continue as it is I live in my own little world I avoid anything uncomfortable the world can treat me as a lesser being and I accept that well Sir than you are not a follower of the words of Jesus he said spread the word of how to treat your fellow man you Sir just read them and recite them and claim you follow them If this Blog is about Jesus and How he Changed the world and how He can change the world and your life if you believe his words than you are short on inspiration and you allow People who Call themselves Christians to distort the words and intent of the words of Jesus If the rest of people followed your example we would still have slavery we will continue to discriminate we will still accept degradeing of women Gays and people of color and other religions Yes if we all follow your actions “OH WELL WHAT I DO WON”T CHANGE THEM Well not by a giant step but if you can plant a seed in one person’s mind to re think it can spread like a weed in in a garden So just to let you know the work that others do to plant a tiny seed for change the world will make how you are treated and improve and then your little self absorbed world will benefit and you will not have to do anything Some of us who care will do it for you You said the words of John Lennon “IMAGINE” inspired you ????? REALLY he’s asking you to change the world as Jesus did Ghandi did King did Lincoln and More You dont have to have a “NAME” to do the work The people Named did not by themselves change the world NO it was one person at a time all following the same WORD IDEA GOAL To say your efforts are insignifficant as one person is wrong you can But will you ? No Because in your mind what you do won’t change things well As John said You may say that I m a dreamer But Im not the only one maybe someday you will Join us and make the world as ONE

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        • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

          GB,

          I fully support passive resistance against oppression. Passive resistance is a tool against those in power who don’t listen as a group calls for civil rights. I have marched against the oppression of Palestinians by the Israeli government, and I speak out against those who condemn gays and try to deny them their rights.

          Defending my religious beliefs against those who oppose them and repeatedly demand that I answer their is a different situation. One is human rights, and the other is differences in religious beliefs.

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          • gallbladder says:

            Does not your religious beliefs weed themselves into Civil and human rights does “CHRISTIANITY” deny Human rights against women Gays people of color and other religions your religion say they are of lesser value lesser Humans to be Shunned Or are you not Christian ? are you of no religion and just read what Jesus said ? You have not made that clear ? The teachings of Jesus defines you as a Christian

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  5. gallbladder says:

    In a sense words (the bible or book of religious based belief that we limit ourselves to ) are encyclopedias of Ignorance Because they Freeze Perceptions of one moment in History and then Insist We Continue to Use these Frozen Perceptions to Run Our lives , Ideas are only Lethal If You Suppress and Don’t discuss Them Ignorance is not Bliss Banning other Views or Book Shows you don’t Trust yourself To Think

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  6. gallbladder says:

    Even in hostility their is a Chance to plant a seed to stimulate people to Re think what They have been taught to believe remember you are taught to believe something you can also be taught New Ways of thinking I find when someone Becomes Hostile it represent Ignorance and Fear That Fear is based on The possibility that what they presently believe may be questionable What i advocate is when Presented with Hostility it opens a Door to leave the person with a Question and then walk away allowing them to think of the answer ( its called psychology ) Now with David He is Being Subjected to Harrassment and Shunning Here is what I would do and its based on the Fact that all Human beings wish to be Valued His Grandma is shunning him she is a women My question would Be Do you think you are a strong Valued Independent Women and egual to any other Person ? Then Why do you follow a religion that teaches women are Lesser valued than a Man ? Then walk away I promise you she will think about it and possibly re direct her anger at what her religion actually teaches she will even go to the bible verses and find passages that reject the fact though she knows it is true That is how you plant a seed to change the world You don’t need to argue only plant a seed for thought

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    • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

      There IS a CHANCE, and I have no objection to your following up on that chance; but there comes a point where I no longer wish to argue without dialog.

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      • gallbladder says:

        An arguement takes two people Asking a question of a person and walking away is no longer an arguement it is simply planting a seed for thought now the Ball is only in the other persons court He can only give himself the answer you are no longer there to hear the answer its called self evaluation and thinkining you are no longer in the line of fire Your behavior or rationalization saddens me Jesus said spread his teachings NOT Keep the to yourself You set up your Blog to spread the word but the people who reply already follow jesus or his Ideas these people already heard the word or Idea your focusing on the wrong people Its those who distort the word who need Jesus without baggage for Organized Religions who distorted the word they are unchanging Was your Goal to get your own following many people here are telling stories of being rejected by organized religion Are you just here to give comfort and say you understand or do you want to help the world to change What is the Purpose of your Blog ? Change or a following ? if a following is your goal to have your own Pulpit without advocating change is no different than present day organized religion What is the Purpose ? Oh Gee some one argued with me Oh Gee my feelings were Hurt Oh Gee that happened to me I feel your pain OH GEE what do you do to change it You pull your head into your shell and say if I cant give my point of view I will do nothing “I NO LONGER WISH TO ARGUE WITH OUT DIALOG are you saying If I can’t BE Heard I give up YOU reject the chance to plant a seed You wont plant a seed as I suggested Cause You didn’t get the last word in the bully took your toys and now you go home defeated Yes go home he bullied me now you gave the bully what he wanted to ruin your day to Run your Life That gives me great insite into your Motives Its all about you and your need for people s admiration agreeing with you your replys are always short when someone calls you out on something

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        • Chas says:

          gallbladder, I obey God as my means of changing the world, what do you do?

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          • gallbladder says:

            as a buddhis t i do not have a God We do self reflection My goal on a daily basis is to examine my action to reduce human suffering I give of my time and hands on actions I promote equality I plant seed questions to others to stimulate thought I offer no God so all are welcome I do not discriminate and based on gender or color Buddhist have been doing this for thousands of years without the concept of God we do not have a need to OBEY a God we Know what is fair and kind and do no harm all this can be achieved by meditation and enlightenment and being accountable for our own actions thank you

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        • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

          GB, I think we might be saying the very same thing!

          When I say I refuse to CONTINUE in a dead-end discussion where there is continuous attack but no dialog, this means I am walking away. I have already planted the seed and I am walking away. If the ground isn’t fertile, there is no need to plant the same seed over and over.

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          • gallbladder says:

            sorry it is my daily obligation even in poor soil there is still a chance for growth it is not in my nature to ever give up after self evaluation and refection I aways plant a seed you would be surprised at my success you don’t always need a shower of rain a mist will sometimes soften a heart of stone

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  7. Marc says:

    Probably the biggest tragedy in Christian history was the failure of the 16th Century Reformation to heal the apostasy caused by the papal pretensions that led to the Great Schism of 1054. Being an apostate from an apostate church is probably a necessary reality for any Christian wanting to find their way home to the undivided Church in Heaven.

    Like

    • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

      This was a great tragedy, Marc. I am dismayed by so much division–not that there is disagreement, but that there is separation and rejection of other traditions.

      Like

  8. Janice MacKenzie says:

    It’s always good to have some expert testimony when making an argument for a loving, generous, non-judgmental interpretation of Christianity as compared to the close-minded, judgmental, and controlling kind. Even as an agnostic, I find it very effective to quote Jesus, over and over again. It’s the trump card to all the Old Testament tribalism, and against the residual bigotry of Christianity’s violent and bloody history. It’s surprising how many Christians don’t know much about the teachings of Jesus when you get right down to it.

    Like

  9. I’m a transgender woman (or transsexual if you like, since I have legally and physically become the woman I was born to be). Even though I have faced rejection and hate, have been called an ‘it’ and an ‘abomination’ by the former churches I attended, I haven’t lost my faith. I spent many long hours during my transition reading and intensely studying the Bible. You see, I simply couldn’t believe that a loving God, as Jesus described him in the Bible, could reject and damn me simply for living authentically as he made me to be.

    A little backstory is required here: I was born with a condition that doctors call “Mixed Gonadal Dysgenesis”, in other words, I was born with the nascent sexual organs of both male and female. At the time when I was brought into the world – in 1961 – it was a fairly common practice for doctors to alter children born this way so that they would ‘fit in better’ in society. So they measured my ‘penis’ (also a common practice at the time) and decided that I would be better suited living as a male. Neither my parents (I was adopted, so my birth mother had no say in it), nor I were ever informed of this, and my birth records were sealed as was common practice in ‘closed’ adoptions.

    However, that sad part of my story is not the main purpose of my post here.

    In the years when I read and studied the Bible, trying to find reason and/or justification for my reality, I followed two guiding principles in my studies – and they came directly from words of Jesus Christ.

    They come from the Book of Matthew 22:37-40 in which Jesus was asked:

    “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”
    Jesus replied: “’Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

    I found that if I read the Bible throughout while *always* keeping these words from Jesus uppermost in my mind, it completely transformed my understanding of how the scriptures apply to our daily lives and our relationships with other people.

    If you apply this one simple rule, you will reject the violence, the hatred, and the legalism of the OT and the Pharasaical interpretations that fundamentalists/evangelicals use to justify their own bigotry and hatred. The most important part of Jesus’ answer however, is the last sentence: “All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments”. As Christians, we are called to follow a higher interpretation of the Bible and the scriptures contained within. In order to be Christ-like, we MUST reject war, hatred, violence and bigotry – most *especially* when those heinous acts are committed in “the name of God”. To do otherwise makes you nothing more than a proto-Pharisee, whom we all know Jesus soundly condemned in the NT.

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    • michaeleeast says:

      Toni, I am a gay Christian who lives in Australia.
      Although the situation is not as bad as America I have encountered prejudice in our Churches.
      You are quite right to base your Christian faith on Jesus commandment to love one another.
      The rest is commentary.

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      • Chas says:

        Michael, faith needs to be founded on the first of these commandments: love God with all your being. If you don’t put God first, you will be unable to do the second, as to love other people, you must first be able to love yourself.

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        • gallbladder says:

          Sorry Michael as a person First needs to accept himself Love himself learn to be comfortable with himself Perhaps God is not what he need right now to complicate his life Maybe self reflection Self Value self confidence would serve him better Surrounding him with people who respect him as a person who can show him his self worth and Value him as a person The majority of God Based religions teach that he should be rejected God does not have the physical ability to do that Mankind how ever does

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          • michaeleeast says:

            As a gay member of the Uniting Church in Australia I am surrounded by people who accept and value me. My experience of God is that He is totally loving and supportive of me as a gay man in His Church. I see no reason to change that situation.

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    • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

      Absolutely Toni! Understanding Jesus’ response of the two great commandments completely changes one’s views while reading the rest of the Bible. This is a powerful passage.

      Learning about Mixed Gonadal Dysgenesis was one of the first things to cause me to re-consider what I was taught about LGBT issues. If the doctor can’t tell if a person is male or female and makes a somewhat arbitrary decision in assigning gender, then how can conservative believers make that determination?

      If this is true of transgender folk, then it is likely true with gays as well. Of course, I have learned even more since then that caused me to reverse my negative views of gays and spirituality.

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      • Chas says:

        I think that doctors ‘try to play God’ when they make these decisions. Gender assignment in cases such as Toni’s should be left until the child is old enough to have become aware which gender they wish to take. Much suffering would be avoided if this was the case.

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        • gallbladder says:

          Sorry I think you are blaming the wrong person ( as a nurse of 35 years ) the doctor can only do what the parents give permission for the parents could have delayed it

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  10. Kelly says:

    Dear Tim,

    I am really enjoying your site. I was raised church of Christ and went to church every time the doors were opened for years and years, and still bear the scars. Unlike some of your readers, I am not so tolerant of their insanity now and would not hesitate to cut anyone out of my life who harassed me with the kind of abuse that David describes here. They are warped and soul destroying and do not deserve another second of my time.

    Keep up the good (and kind) work.

    Kelly

    Like

    • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

      Kelly, I always try to be as accepting as possibly, but you are right–sometimes you just have to let someone go. I have rarely done this, but when I do it is not with malice, and I don’t wish them ill will, but sometimes you just have to separate yourself from the negativity.

      I was never Church of Christ, but I was aware of them since I was a child and sometimes attended their services (non-instrumental). I developed a strong interest in Restorationist history and belief. The non-instrumental church can be quite dogmatic and exclusive.

      Like

  11. gallbladder says:

    what you just advocated is exactly what is being done to David Shunning How are you any different than they who are Shunning David this does not solve the issue So I go sit in My corner and you go sit in yours When I Plant a seed in a person for thought it is a Active Motion The potential For an AHHA Moment That maybe they will rethink a spark of Thought You Retreat and lick your wounds and now Put on the same Emotion of Superiority as they “They do not deserve another second of my time ” Wow thats not What Jesus said Asking Questions of people is not a conversation its planting seeds for re thinking and let those you give the question solitude to investigate the answer thats passive but effective what you advocate How does that stimulate change

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    • Chas says:

      Gallbladder, where is the question that you wish to ask here – the question by which you hope to make a difference when we have had time to think about it?

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      • gallbladder says:

        any question you have that stimulates self reflection as well as reflection of what your religion is promoting Is what your religion promotes is it really based in accepting people and promoting the brotherhood of man or does its teaching exclude people discriminate Shun or reject others does it draw a line as to “them” other peoples religion as not true or “US” does you religion or religion of others are they fair and equal to all ? basic questions such as posed to David’s Grand mother in a previous reply she was Shunning him for being Gay she saw it as turning away from the bibble and God My believe that all Humans wish to be Valued MY seed question was to her Do you believe you a strong independent valued person ? Then why do you follow a religion that say you are to be submissive to man and a lesser Human being ? a seed question for thought you can examine you r religion or others and find many religions has teachings of discrimination in the south people used the Bible to argue for slavery thank you

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        • Chas says:

          First, I am not the member of any religion. Religion is the ways of man. The God in whom I believe is gentle, kind and loving, and all forms of prejudice are nothing to do with Him; they come from the destruction in the minds of mankind. I am submissive to nobody, but am happy to submit fully to God, who knows all things. Anyone who tries to do everything in their own strength will ultimately fail. I am not a Christian, because I do not believe that Jesus was the Christ (Messiah). He was the Son of God, but I obey God, not Jesus.

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  12. gallbladder says:

    Well lets start with a few definitions Religion is defined as belief in or worship of a supernatural or superhuman controlling power especially a personal GOD or Gods So in reality you belong to a religion it may not have a “Formal ” name and it may be your own belief system that you have adopted for your own formulation but it is a religion . Because someone believes in it YOU / Now Lets go to your concept of God … as I have asked others You say your GOD is Gentle Kind and Loving and you are submissive to no one ? But you submit to to God and God Knows all things Really ? And anyone who tries to do everything in his own strength will ultimately fail Really? and How do you Know Your God is Kind Gentle and Loving ? How does He display his Kindness and Love ? what emotions can he express and in what manner ? Emotions and feeling are Human and living Characteristic and you need to be alive to express Them . Back to definitions you say you are not a Christian Well by definitian a christian (noun) a person or believer in the teachings of Jesus Christ . People think oddly sometimes in one sentence you denounce Mankinds ability to change the world and to do good and the next sentence you submit to a “Being ” you give “Human traits and emotions to ? illogical and How do you know God knows all things ? By this time you are probably annoyed by My questions I can not Hear your words but I invision a “ME tarzan” image as I read your words . Sorry i told you I was a questioner and one more comment as a Buddhist i disagree about man’s ability to change the world We have no God to Worship we function on self awareness and Human actions and you claim we will ultimately fail ? since we are not a unit of religion (NO GOD SYSTEM ) but a principle based on individuals who self evaluate our actions and take full responsibility for them We can not be Judged by others standards but only our own as to sucess or failure we can not fail and have not for thousands of years Because Humans still exist so as long as we exsist we can not fail I look forward to your reply thank you

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    • Chas says:

      That might be your definition of religion, but not mine. God shows His kindness and love by minimizing suffering in a world in which there is destruction, which is the cause of this suffering. There is suffering in the world because it is separated from Him. Christians are so called because of the belief that Jesus was the Christ. I have already explained that I do not believe that he was the Christ, therefore I cannot be a Christian. Since I know that God knows all things, it would be illogical for me not to submit to such a superior intellect. Your questions are not causing me any annoyance at all, only sadness because you are unable to reason without trying to intimidate me. You are wasting your time by using that tactic; I have faced much more logical philosophers than you. You are failing because of your reliance on human qualities; humans always make mistakes sooner, or later. If they didn’t, there would be no airline accidents, no car crashes, no typographical errors. That is an absolute standard, because it can be seen to be correct.

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  13. gallbladder says:

    If your god is as you say in control of suffering and shows his love by Mininmizing suffering why does he allow suffering to continue ? then you say there is suffering in the world because of destruction ( of What ? ) How can suffering be separate from God if he has a ability to reduce it that means he has the ability to end it ?? and they were not my definitions of religion but the dictionary Hostility is a reflection of fear Well lets all commit suicide or become Robots because Man is so Flawed and lacks any abilities to change the world We Have many strengths and abilities . Humans are Failures yet the God you Created ( since you stated you have no religion so you must have Made your own god) why have you given him Human Characteristis ? The emotions of Love and Kindness ? are these not Good Characteristics to make mankind successful Do you prefer to eliminate Human Beings from the Earth What are they Good for ? Oh I Know Man’s only Purpose is to worship and Admire God and He is the only thing you Care about , he is your strength Well we have a problem Because you don’t have a specific Religion No one else But You Know your individual God So I guess your God Your Personal God that you have Created only Looks down over you So the World is Safe and we all don’t have to commit suiside Today My intention was not to intimidate you I was having a discussion about the Concept of God I ask questions to get insite how others think and Reason YOU Tarzan But I’M not Jane your EGO is Showing

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    • Chas says:

      There is suffering because He gave us free will, and mankind chooses to do things which cause suffering. There is suffering that comes from the action of the forces of destruction on/in the earth and God influences people to what they can to lessen that suffering; since they have free will, they can choose do do so, or walk away.

      As you say, hostility is a reflection of fear. What are you afraid of?

      Man is certainly flawed, but clearly has the ability to influence the world for good or ill.

      You seem to have got things the wrong way round, God created us through creating the first lifeform. He put into that first lifeform all of the characteristics that would ensure that when the processes of destruction on/in the earth damaged its DNA structure, certain of those lifeforms were able to survive and multiply within the environment where they were. That process has eventually led to thinking sentient beings that we call humankind, which was God’s intent from the beginning. Because of their ability to reason and communicate, they are potentially capable of communicating with Him. What He is really like, we cannot be certain, but the assumption that He is gentle, kind and loving seems, to me, to fit all of the available evidence.

      I would prefer humans to live in happiness on the earth, but many of those in positions of power and influence continue to do things that they know will cause suffering and death, or fail to do things that they know will lessen suffering.

      Man’s purpose is to exist and respond/react to their circumstances, which is the way that the process of evolution has caused them to be. My purpose, now that I know it, through knowing God and being enabled to communicate with Him (in both directions), is to obey Him/Her. (I actually believe that being gentle, kind and loving is more characteristic of the feminine gender, but I tend to use the masculine on this blog because most of the people here are more familiar with that.

      She is not my personal God, but is a God who is willing to communicate will all those who are willing to communicate with Her. The question is: are you willing to communicate with Her?

      Why does my not having a religion cause you problems? Is it because you find it more difficult to aim your bile when you have no specific prejudices on which to vent it?

      I hope that my ego is not showing at all. You clearly think that it is. I will leave it to others to decide whether it is, or not.

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      • jesuswithoutbaggage says:

        Well spoken, Chas.

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        • gallbladder says:

          Not well spoken I read your article on Florida Stories My spiritual Journey I have tried to email you on your private email but our servers on that address do not seem to jive send me an email from your personal email and i will try to reply that way

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      • gallbladder says:

        we have one thing that separate us I came to this site to understand how people think and Why they think what they do How concepts are started why they hold on to the Ideas they have But Here many just give me “BECAUSE” with no reason We will never r believe the same thing since I do not believe in a creator But I do believe man has done a lot of wrong But Man can also Bring about Change and change is not limited to God God can inspire Man Just as Men in History and People Today can inspire Mankind to Change the world Void of GOD thank you

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