Originally Posted by Zerbie
For what it's worth, and I'm not sure you want to hear this right now - I know I would like it if you could disentangle the religious persons who post here from the 'christians' who write the vicious, violent, and non-sensical diatribes such as you quoted above.
My grandfather was a Methodist minister and the most gentle and loving man I ever knew. I never once heard him speak an unkind word to anyone. He loved his family, his grandchildren, and life in general. He is what Christianity used to be.
I know that there are many good things that come from religion today. Soulforce is a good example of this. If it wasn't for Christianity, Soulforce probably would not exist. Mel White would have never written his books. There would be no Equality Ride or American Family Outing. And more than anything, there would not be you guys on this forum and the humor, friendliness, and support that comes from so many who reach out to others in need.
Also, if it wasn't for Christianity, there wouldn't be the many charitable organizations like The Salvation Army or the Christian Children's Fund.
And then there's Christmas. Christmas started out as a Pagan holiday but it was Christianity that transformed it into the beautiful holiday it is today.
But most of the time when I think of Christianity today, James Dobson comes to mind, or Fred Phelps or Rick Warren or the viciousness coming from groups like the American Family Association, the Traditional Values Coalition, or the Southern Baptist Convention. The cross has changed from a symbol of love to one of hate, hypocrisy, viciousness, intolerance, bitterness, and exclusion.
That contributed to, but is not the soul reason, why I no longer believe. Even though many years ago I left my Christian fundamentalist beliefs behind, I clung to the belief that a loving creator of the universe listened to my prayers.
In 2006 shortly after I joined this forum, I visited a Christian friend of mine one weekend and he encouraged me to read the Bible. So I went home that Sunday night and began to read the Bible. What I found in it astounded me. The stories were full of violence, blood, murder, execution of babies and animals, the destruction of families and whole villages. The books of the Bible preached hate and intolerance and were full of contradictions, illusions, and scientific impossibilities. It was the most absurd piece of literature I had ever put my eyes on.
It was at that point that I began to examine my own personal beliefs. I began doing research on religion and studies on prayer and the possibility of God. Now, three years later, I'm still asking questions. But so far, I have found no convincing evidence for a superior being that is in control of everything and answers prayers. I have found no convincing evidence that miracles, magic, or the supernatural exists anywhere in the real world. None.
Until I do find that evidence, or rational answers to my questions, I will remain a non-believer.
Originally Posted by Zerbie
To play devil's advocate though, beliefs being personal do not HAVE to be publicly stated. You're under no obligation to share your personal views with anyone. Why should one be?
Yes. And I'm also under no obligation to share my sexual orientation to anyone. I could keep that in the closet too. There are many out there that believe that all of us should do that. "Don't ask, don't tell."
My beliefs about science and life are a part of who I am just like being gay is. To not express them keeps an important part of me hidden. It's the same as lying about who I am. Part of living a healthy life is expressing who you are what your thoughts and emotions are about the world around you. This is exactly why I'm openly gay.