Monday, September 26, 2011

Life Beyond Christianity

My life beyond Christianity is not about giving any supreme being the finger or "enjoying" the sinful life. It's not about living a prideful life without the need of Big Daddy in the sky, or even a part of some Atheist/liberal/Evil anti-God agenda. My life beyond Christianity is not a life without meaning or sacredness, the core sacredness remains I've simply unchained the need for borders, labels, or tribal loyalties. At the heart of Christianity is (or at least should be) Love, love that transcends who we are and accepts us completely. The sacraments, rituals, and beliefs are just the language that attempts to translate that love into something tangible. I'm not seeking out to destroy the language but merely seeking THAT, the source beyond words.

If you were to ask a Christian (let's stick with Southern Baptist only because I know next to nothing about Eastern Orthodox Christianity) what God is, I mean really ask, they will inevitably end up telling you a story. Regardless if it's the Gospel story or their own testimony you will end up hearing a story. And why? Because there is power, beauty, and creation in words. Jesus is envisioned as The Word, as the source of all life, how can Christians not keep themselves from telling the Good News. But in the end the story points back towards That, the source beyond words! The story and the language are just vehicles and modes of expressions expressing a shared experience. It is that sense of community, the sense of connection with one another which is truly sacred. My personal choice to move beyond Christianity wasn't because the faith was lacking a sense of community but that I wanted to connect with a much larger community.This was as much of a personal choice as the personal choice of someone choosing to accept Christianity. The stories in the Bible don't have to be factually true to contain Truth, however, the Bible was written in a different time and place and many ideas, beliefs, taboos, etc. are no longer relatable or even morally acceptable. We've evolved (mostly) beyond slavery, treating women like property, and believing that the gods are the cause of natural disasters, so why can't we move beyond the need for our stories, our myths, to be factually true for them to hold any meaning or any values?

While I personally believe it's pretty messed up to turn to an outdated text for morality and daily guidance I understand why people do it: life is uncertain and people turn to something, anything which may anchor us through the chaos. But I find no peace or feel any transcendent love while reading Scripture (any scripture), just an interesting collection of stories. When I chose to leave Christianity I wasn't leaving behind Love, I was leaving the restraints which were keeping me from Love. This doesn't mean that Christianity is a monstrous, archaic evil organization filled with fearful angry bigoted people. Christianity can and is as beautiful and loving as the community of people which call themselves Christians. The beliefs and rituals don't speak to me, they don't help me to let things go, to move on, and to love my fellow man. It may work for others, and it worked for me for a time but not anymore. I know that may sound smug as if I were saying I'm too good for Christianity, and I apologize if that's the impression some may get. I see religion as language, it attempts to express something worth expressing but is limited by the words and symbols it uses. To me life beyond Christianity is an attempt to go beyond language to reach that something it tries to express. Or at the very least learn something about my own struggle, my own humanity, while attempting to reach THAT. The struggle, the journey, the experience itself is what I consider sacred, and the choice of leaving behind the Christian faith was my choice alone (not the Devil "tempting" me, nor the secular media "seducing" me into a life of Reason, etc.). I just want to express Love in other languages, or even using no language at all. We all know love when we see it, so can't we learn to let go of the words and experience it for a change? Is it really so evil/bad/sinful that I want to be more loving and understanding of my fellow man than I was yesterday?


Don said...

Great post Sam! You have described so much of how I feel.

captron52 said...

I can truly appreciate the way you feel Sam.There is so much truth in the words you say. I think you are one of the truly "enlightened" ones and this planet needs your love and work to share the message of real true unconditional love. So keep up the good work and know there are those of us who really do appreciate your work

Karma said...

I "left" Christianity around the time I was 16, and though I by no means consider myself Christian today, I am finally beginning to understand what Jesus was saying, doing, and teaching. I realize now that I had to leave the religion in order to later come back and begin to understand it's foundations - as it is the foundations that matter.

I think that each religion was built on a good solid foundation, but that along the way people began to worship the religion rather than God himself. People go to church because they are supposed to - but do they ever question why they are supposed to? Or what they should be getting from the experience? It seems like many go out of a sense of duty or guilt, rather than a genuine desire or thirst to learn more and to grow.

Good luck to you as you continue your journey, may you find what you seek!

Sabio Lantz said...

When I first left Christianity, much of my tone sounded like yours. I needed to keep much of the language, much of the soft, sweet idealism. Later I would lost the need for the language -- I didn't care what my former Christian friends felt. All my careful rationalizations never comforted them anyway. They just saw me as lost.

Slowly over the years with new friends, new language and more freedom of thought followed.

We change slowly, eh?

Eruesso said...


"We change slowly, eh?"

As long as we change it doesn't matter to me how long it takes.

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