26 Feb 2016

Contrasting Traditional Christianity With One Person's Reality

Submitted by Stephen Winters

First Rough Draft

Comparing Traditional Christian Beliefs with One Person’s Reality

Compare Traditional Christian paradigm Versus an Alternate Paradigm

(or, Comparing Traditional Christianity with Reality [reality defined as “what seems ‘real’ to me".]

This chart is not finished, and I plan on continuing to work on it as I have time, but it is useful now.

 

For many years I have been transitioning into a new paradigm, a new way of thinking and acting in life. I have found it increasingly difficult to explain where my thinking is at in this stage of my life. For example, when I say that I no longer believe in hell, most Christians have a hard time relating or understanding. Modern Christianity is largely based on the concept of hell. if that is taken away, then what is Christianity, or religion, all about? I’ve been writing for years on my website www.live-anew.com , mainly to clarify my thinking to myself. Finally an idea has come to me to make this chart as a comparison of where I used to be (and what I think Christianity largely believes) and where I am at now, which I call an Alternate Paradigm.

 

 

Paradigm: which would include the basic assumptions, values, goals, beliefs, expectations, theories and knowledge that a community has about.

 

NOTE: I make no claims as to the rightness of my paradigm, this is merely what makes sense to me. The Traditional Christian Paradigm makes no sense to me. How could I have every believed that? How could anyone really believe that?

 

Note: I could not get the chart to show nicely here, so, to see the chart go to the page on my website here: Compare Christian Beliefs versus an Alternate Belief or Thought Paradigm

 

There a lot of uncertainties in this life. I don’t see God as requiring us to be certain about whether or not he exists, or whether or not we believe in him or in Jesus. It seems to me that, if anything, I think that God just wants us to be real about where we are at in our understanding, no pretenses, no trying to please other people. That is what faith is all about, in living out our lives with integrity, honor, and compassion to all people no matter where we are in our doubt, belief, or uncertainties.

 

Traditional Christian Paradigm

Description

Alternate Paradigm

     

 

Angry God, Loving Father, said to be a spirit.

God

Father, as in The Source of all things, Great Spirit. Perhaps because I was raised as a Christian,  it just makes sense that everything was created by a God,  rather than it came from nothing,  or was always here.

 

Understanding God

 

Son of God, also God the Father. Born of a virginhip

Jesus

Since I strongly doubt the magical/supernatural impregnation of Mary (see below), that leaves me with not knowing how to see Jesus. He is who he is no matter how he got here. In the very least, he seems to be an example of a good life to pattern our lives after

 

Relationship of Jesus with God

 

The third person of the Trinity, He comes to live in believers

Holy Spirit

Not a Person, but a condition: Holy (pure & blameless) Spirit (mental disposition). OR "Holy Spirit = The strong ongoing desire to do what is right". See Holy Spirit.

A description of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, How they are three persons making up one God.

Trinity

The word Trinity is a made up term, it is not in the Bible. There is no justification for this belief.

Sends his enemies to be tortured forever, Kills his enemies,
Tells us love go our enemies

Character of God

 

To die to bring salvation, to Save humans from the wrath of the Faither

Jesus’ Purpose on earth

Since there is no literal hell, then he did not come to save us from hell nor to save us from the wrath of God.

He showed us that in dying we truly live. He was an example of how to live our life on this earth.

The literal raising of Jesus from the dead.

The Resurrection

 

birth of Jesus was to Mary, a young woman who had never had sex. The Holy Spirit is said to have impregnated Mary through supernatural means so that there was no sex involved. Some people believe that Mary remained a virgin even after Jesus’ birth.

Virgin birth

I doubt that Mary was magically-supernaturally impregnated.

From what I’ve read and studied, it seems that the word for “virgin” actually refers to an unmarried woman…….  born of an unmarried woman was a term denoting shame and disgrace. He may have come through this means so that he could reach and relate to the lowest of the low.

Sinners, bound for hell, unless they accept the message of the church “Believe in Jesus….”

unchanged humans

Immature adults who have never matured nor have they learned to live responsible lives.

A place of everlasting punishment and torture reserved for the devil and his angels. Also, the place where everyone goes who has not accepted Jesus as their savior.

Hell

There is no actual place of hell. It is the type of harmful consequences that we cause ourselves (and others) by our irresponsible behavior and actions.

Saved from God’s wrath and saved from hell.

Salvation

means to come to a wholeness and wellness.

Called the “saved” or the “redeemed”, people who have been saved by “accepting Jesus” into their hearts.

Changed humans

Maturing adults who have put aside selfish childish ways and who are endeavoring to live responsible, compassionate and obedient lives.

 

Faith

Faith is not convincing oneself to believe something that you don’t believe. Instead, it’s proceeding to live out your live with honor and integrity as a son of God even though there are a lot of uncertainties

Often telling God what to do, or asking for God to provide daily needs. Talking to God.

Prayer

Focusing of the mind, taking time regularly to remind oneself of important matters

The Bible

The Word of God

Words, thoughts, ideas that are given to us from God. It does not refer to a book.

The infallible, Inerrant, .. Word of God, The final authority in all things of faith

The Bible

A collection of manuscripts that were written by men about God as best as they knew him at the time. None of the authors gave any indication that they wrote their work to be part of a larger holy book. The authors were not stupid people, they wrote many wise things.

"Only the original autographs (original manuscripts written by the apostles, prophets, etc.) are under the divine promise of inspiration and inerrancy. The books of the Bible, as they were originally written under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit (2 Timothy 3:16-17; 2 Peter 1:20-21), were 100% inerrant, accurate, authoritative, and true. There is no Biblical promise that copies of the original manuscripts would equally be inerrant or free from copyist errors. As the Bible has been copied thousands of times over thousands of years, some copyist errors have likely occurred"

www.gotquestions.org/Bible-inerrancy.html

Inerrancy of the Bible

If it was important enough (to God) that the original manuscrips were "under the promise of inspiration and inerrancy", the why were not the copies under the same guaratee. It makes no sense that if an all powerful God would make sure that the originals were inerrant, that we would then let the copies get errors in them.

Which is more important, the ink on the original manuscripts (which would decay and pass away), or the message that was to be conveyed, presumably, for all time?

God created the heavens and earth in 6 literal days about 6000 years ago.

Creation

unknown and doesn’t matter. In the end everything was created by the Father, the source

Christians are told not to doubt as it could destroy their faith.

Doubt

Honest doubt is the gateway to knowledge. It should motivate you to let go of preconceived notions and to earnestly seek out what is true. Closely examine your own beliefs and your own thinking to see if it is true.

Heaven, a place reserved for the saved who have accept Jesus as Lord and Savior. Streets of gold, with Jesus for all eternity, singing is glory.

Afterlife

 
Lucifer, who was one of the highest angels, who got prideful and ... and was cast down out of heaven. He knows his time on earth is short so he is trying to ...

Satan

An allegory for

Often used as a scapegoat for the consequences of poor judgement or wrong choices. Also used to intimate or scare ..

Satan's workers, who inhabit humans and animals

Evil Spirits

 

God is constantly portrayed as someone who is only interested in getting glory for himself. This makes God sound like a very conceited person who always wants to be center stage.

The Glory of God

God is not glorified by any attempt of ours to glorify him. Saying the words “Glory to God” does not glorify God. In fact, we don’t know how to glorify Him.

If bringing glory to God is important, which i doubt, it would be just through living your life fully and treating others with integrity, honor and compassion.

God is said to be unchanging, and yet in the Old Testament he  is said to have ordered the children of Israel to kill the enemies of God. Yet in the New Testament Jesus says to Love your enemies.

The evolution of God?

I recently read an article that said men have pretty much viewed God as they are. For example, in early civilization men were more warrior and barbaric, and that is how they viewed God . Through the years, as men have become more civilized the kind to one another, they have viewed God as a kind and loving Father.

Many Christian churches claim or imply that theirs is the true doctrine.

Claims

I do not claim anything, except this is closer to what makes sense to me.

The general claim is that “Jesus is the truth.” (“I am the way, the truth and the life”)

What  is Truth?

The truth does not refer to a person, but rather it refers to things as they really are, without any deception or ….

Apparently to make sure that members are “genuine Christians”, many churches or other religious organizations require members to sign a Statement of Faith or other type of covenant agreement.

Statement of Faith

Since a statement of faith is only valid for those who wrote it, I will not sign such a document.

 

The Christ

Christ is a term denoting a condition...

Christians attempt to create unity through uniformity, and telling everyone what to believe.

Unity

True unity comes about in diversity in a spirit of love and cooperation. Everyone is allowed, and even encouraged, to think for themselves. They are also taught/encouraged to treat one another with respect, honor, and compassion.

 

The Light

The purpose light is not to draw attention to the light. Rather, the purpose of light is to help us see our way more clearly so that we can help others see their way more clearly.

 

Conversion?

We are not here to convince others to believe the same as we do. Instead, it is to help others learn to search out their own path.

As wicked sinners, whom he cannot bear to look up, “God cannot accept sin, which we  are full of.. he can only look at us through is Son so that we are pure and blameless in his sight, but in reality we are filthy sinners.

How God Sees us

As his beloved children whom he loves. He knows that we are very immature and takes through many often difficult times to mature us into the character and likeness of Christ.

 

The Gospel, The Good News

We are free and pure in God’s sight. We just don’t know it yet. Our lack of knowledge keeps us in bondage. We just need to walk out our freedom

All others are wrong and of the devil

View of Other Belief systems

 

unsaved, lost, doomed for hell and everlasting torture and punishment. People to be preached at and to be converted to the belief system of the preacher.

Sets  up division and pride, "us”, the saved AND “them”, the unsaved

How “non-believers” are viewed

We are brothers on a common journey. We need each other to help one another on our individual paths

Preaching at church, witnessing, quoting Bible versus at

Method of transferring good news

Don’t spent so much time talking. Rather let the quality of your life by the light for others to see.

 

Who are seen as mature and righteous

 

Pray for them...

Method of sharing concern for the hurting.

 

Going to church, reading the Bible, praying.

Method of Growing.

 
 

Who are seen as mature

 

Viewed as lost and headed for hell unless they accept Jesus.  Pray

Attitude towards people who are dying

 
Call the elders, anoint with oil, say a prayer of healing for the sick, Healing  

Use to denote specialness or to denounce… i.e. Christian, 144 thousand, or to deride and scorn, i.e. saved (us) versus lost (them) heretic (anyone who disagrees with church doctrine) “New Age”, heathen, etc.

The Use of religious labels

I don’t use labels in that way. I don’t know what to call myself. I’m just a person on this journey called life.

Preacher, minister, elder, deacon, evangelist

Religious offices

Don’t see religious offices, rather I see functions. For example, and elder is someone who has lived life well and has a good reputation. He has often successfully worked through many trials and consequently has a lot of genuine wisdom acquired by experience.

Something to be endured until I get to my real home in heaven.

This life

This life is what we have right now. Put your thoughts and your efforts into this life in living with honor and integrity,  Be kind and compassionate to those around you.

Often viewed as attacks of Satan

Trials, either from consequences or from life

Face the trials head on. Examine it to see if I caused it, or it is from another source. “it matters not so much what happens to us, but how we respond to it.”

Often seen as “Satan” sending bad thoughts, or financial problems, or enemies, or ...

Attacks of Satan

Often used as an excuse to not search out and solve a problem. Sometimes used as an excuse to deny responsibility for creating or contributing to a problem. Many “attacks of Satan” are just the consequences of our own poor choices.

God is said to have instructed the Israelites’ to kill off the inhabitants of Canaan (who can be assumed to be enemies of God).  God is also said that he will throw all of his enemies (sinners) into hell to be tortured mercilessly forever.
It is also said the God, through Jesus, told disciples to “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” Matt 5:44

Are God’s actions consistent with what he expects his children to do?

Attitude towards enemies

Be kind, responsible, and compassionate to all people, even your enemies. By doing so (some of) your enemies may turn into….

Christians claim that we have free will.

Free will with threat of everlasting torture if you make the wrong  choice is not free will.

Free Will

We do have the ability to make choices, and to experience the consequences of our choices, both good and bad..

     

Magical / supernatural

Much of what I see in the Christian Paradigm seems to be based upon God working magically (supernaturally)

Versus

Normal Processes

What I have seen in my 60 plus years has just been God working through normal processes.

     

 

 

 

 

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