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Prominent Evangelical Christians Leaving Christianity

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Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, Calm said:

The important thing is whether you just take the stuff that tastes good to you or you are comfortable with right now or if you are willing to try healthy alternatives in hope of them doing you good and even learning to like them.

Yeah of course.  I know that God has guided me in the decisions I have made.  I don't think I am alone.  God helps all who sincerely seek Him.  

I do think that Church leaders are trying their hardest to bring as many back to the Savior as they can.  I don't agree with all of the policies and decisions they have come up with.  Like all the rest of us, we follow what we believe to be right.  Sometimes we get it wrong.  

Not everyone is on the same path back to God.   And I don't think it is any secret that the Church is not the best environment for someone who is gay.  We seem to have to find our own path back to God.  I strongly have the spiritual belief that God doesn't not want anyone to be forced into a life of celibacy and live all by themselves.  I believe that part of the Plan of Happiness is indeed finding someone to share this life with and to learn the real deep lessons of unconditional love, charity and commitment.  If that were not true, why would the Church focus so much on marriage and family. Just because someone is gay is not a reason to forbid all of those experiences that are gained from committed relationships.

What happens after we die?  Well no one knows.  But like most things, I trust God to sort out the details and make judgements that will further our progression.  

Edited by california boy
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Posted (edited)
9 hours ago, california boy said:

Is it possible that any attempt by anyone, whether through an organized religion or through personal study and prayer that is bringing people closer to Christ and the understanding of the Atonement are steps in the right direction.  Certainly some individuals thrive in a structured organized religious belief.  But not all people do.  To judge their approach as not being valid or inferior to the one you choose may not actually be how God looks at it.

Children of Adam and Eve took the cafeteria approach and eventually came to love Satan more than God.  Things got so bad that the whole world became extremely violent to the point that God had to command Noah to build an ark.

The children of Israel took the cafeteria approach and was unable to measure up to the higher law so they were given the "Carnal Commandments" in the Law of Moses.  "A Schoolmaster" to try to bring them back to the true standard.

The Great Apostasy occurred due to schisms in the christian church that started developing in the days of Peter, James, John, Paul and the primitive church.  A major consequence of the Cafeteria Approach.

Edited by longview

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22 hours ago, mfbukowski said:

Religious folks need to grow up and understand how one can be a relativist AND a Christian- in essence a secular humanist AND a Christian at the same time.  As I have said before, if God is of the human species in some sense, humanism becomes theology.  God's intelligence is our intelligence, magnified to an infinite degree in our perception.  He is the glorification of all it means to be human in the highest possible sense.   That is the real POWER of the Church of Jesus Christ- the power we as members have yet to understand and use.  Christ is our friend and brother, not a cloud of amorphous, transcendent substance.

As I see it Creedal Christians have the same problem we are having- with us it is about infallible prophets AND scripture- for them it is only about inerrant scripture but the basis of it all is the same- how those texts or people we take in our lives to be inerrant turn out to be flawed and "human".

But for us, "Human" should be a good thing- because our Father is also Human but far above our understanding.  We must change our understanding of what "Human" is to understand our Father AND ourselves in doing so.

We all need to learn about contextual truth- that religious statements are not scientific statements and that all texts are humanly generated with some being more "inspired" than others.  And the greatest thing of all to learn- that WE need to take responsibility for our own beliefs  and confirming them through our OWN inspiration.

I am now working with a small group who have recently left the church and teaching these principles and it seems to be working.  You have to think like an atheist- easy for me- ;)- and show why atheism does not solve the problem of having a meaningful value-based life.

So many believe in "karma" or that if they concentrate the "universe will manifest" the reality they imagine for themselves while eschewing prayer and notion that we all build our own worlds from matter unorganized.

They don't see that "asking the universe to manifest " the solutions to their innermost fears and searches for meaning is VERY similar to praying to God for help.

All they have done is changed the language game but the basic human needs- surprise surprise- remain unchanged.

When they realize that, you can see them start to soften and say things like "Well I never thought of it in that way".   They need to learn that "the universe" can be very forgiving when one has done all one can do to correct and give up any wrong doing they still have problems with.   That is pragmatically very similar to "saved by grace after all we can do".

A very intelligent young mother gave a testimony recently in our ward which included wording like "I know that the STORY of Adam and Eve is true in that Eve was able to understand the principle that it is better to pass through death and trials than remain in a safe cocoon without the possibility of progression, that God organized the world we know in six creative periods..." and on it went in that vein.

She saw the scriptures as allegories as well as being possibly historically accurate, while using traditional knowledge of "knowing truths" within that context, which is not typically the kind of testimony one hears in church.  And yet every word was fully compatible with the gospel of Jesus Christ.  She legitimately knew these principles were true.

Kevin C makes the point of course that we must advance in cognitive maturity through the stages roughly outlined by Perry- and that is I think the key to it all.

That is what I am teaching my newly self-styled "atheists"- that once one moves on to a different way of seeing, it starts to all come together.  They seem to like the idea that they are no longer trapped in literalism and silly rules and what they THOUGHT religion was and they are moving on to a "more mature" position - that appeals to their pride in being "smarter" than these poor bible thumpers around them- while not really seeing that they had it all the time and all they had to do was click their heels to go "home"

You gotta hit them with what works and if pride is the key, they will eventually see that it was.

We will see how it goes.

Awesome post. Marry me you old man!?!

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2 minutes ago, Valentinus said:

Awesome post. Marry me you old man!?!

Uh, thanks for the thought.

I think. ;) :)

But I believe in terms of plumbing form follows function. ;)

 

 

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1 minute ago, mfbukowski said:

Uh, thanks for the thought.

I think. ;) :)

But I believe in terms of plumbing form follows function. ;)

 

 

Lol! You're my bud and I love your posts. Don't knock it till you try it. 😉

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Posted (edited)
20 hours ago, bluebell said:

From my perspective, the "usual stuff" has a different impact on Evangelical Christians because it calls into question their Christianity and not just their affiliation with a specific denomination.   I know that can happen with members of the church of Jesus Christ as well but it seems like it's easier to reconcile a belief of an errant bible with being a Christian for a former latter-day saint than it is for a former evangelical.  

It's interesting as there is some social overlap between Evangelicals and Mormons. Both tend to have a thriving subculture that some sociologists have suggested has let them maintain the high retention levels longer. Of course the Church is a bit more demanding in terms of tithing, drinking, and so forth although there clearly are Protestant sects also that demanding or more so. In general I think sociologists think that both we Mormons and Evangelicals will start shrinking in part due to lowering birth demographic. This is the theory that liberal Christianity shrunk so drastically primarily due to being the first wave of small families (0-2 kids instead of what we saw in the Church or conservative Protestantism) However what we're also seeing both among Mormons and Evangelicals is retention issues as well. 

I think a big chunk of that frankly is the rapid social change particularly on sexual issues and politics. As 16-30 year olds tend to reject conservative politics in part that is tied to a rejection of religious conservative social dogma. We've seen that on the LGBT issue in our Church but the effect is, if anything, more pronounced among Evangelicals for a variety of reasons. First many Evangelicals don't have a doctrinal thrust to their religious practice. This leads both to ignorance of doctrine (both Biblical and more historical) but also less committment to social practice tied to doctrine. There's nothing like how say a doctrine of pre-mortal gender affects sexual views in the Church for instance. Second Evangelicals tended to be more open to a grace of doing sins and changing than I think Mormons often were. Again I don't mean doctrinally but more the social views of say pre-marital sex or the like. There definitely was a push on such things such as purity culture among Evangelicals, but overall the way it was treated was different. (This isn't to deny a high rate of at least one pre-marital sexual encounter among Mormons at least according to Jana Reiss and others - I don't remember the figure) 

You're seeing this tension on the Evangelical side with a conflict between those pushing traditional sexual mores and a new generation of pastors, authors and so forth arguing to downplay such issues. Not just LGBT issues but also even pre-martial sex.

I suspect that demographically we're just starting to see the results of those changes. It'll be interesting seeing future ARIS or Pew self-identity surveys. 

Edited by clarkgoble
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11 hours ago, california boy said:

Isn't every approach to religion a cafeteria approach?  Every organized religion picks and chooses what they want to believe and discards the part they don't want to believe.  The only difference is it is the leaders that are pick and choosing rather than individuals praying and asking God to help guide them to truth.  

One might be skeptical and think that the individual approach of praying and seeking personal revelation is self serving and not objective.  But again, organized religion is also self serving in what it decides to embrace or discard.  I would argue that if a person is just making up their own rules to fit their own lifestyle, then they are probably not all that interested in God or religious ideas.

Is it possible that any attempt by anyone, whether through an organized religion or through personal study and prayer that is bringing people closer to Christ and the understanding of the Atonement are steps in the right direction.  Certainly some individuals thrive in a structured organized religious belief.  But not all people do.  To judge their approach as not being valid or inferior to the one you choose may not actually be how God looks at it.

Just something to think about.

Thanks for these thoughts CB.

l’ve always invited those worried about a “cafeteria approach” to envision a cafeteria with only two entrees: love of God and love for our neighbors.

Think of all who could agree on how perfect those entrees are and how much good could be done if we spent less time focused on what others might choose for dessert and more time going back for seconds and thirds on the two entrees.

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11 hours ago, california boy said:

Isn't every approach to religion a cafeteria approach?   Every organized religion picks and chooses what they want to believe and discards the part they don't want to believe.  

Yes, basically.  We all get to choose what to believe or not believe.

11 hours ago, california boy said:

The only difference is it is the leaders that are pick and choosing rather than individuals praying and asking God to help guide them to truth.  

We get to pick our leaders, too, though, so in the end there is no real difference.  Some people just don't believe God will answer them personally so they try to find the mortal(s) they think is best qualified to lead them to the truth.

11 hours ago, california boy said:

One might be skeptical and think that the individual approach of praying and seeking personal revelation is self serving and not objective.  But again, organized religion is also self serving in what it decides to embrace or discard.  

No religion can be organized unless there are people in a religion who are willing to organize it.  Some organizers are mortals who make bad judgments and some organizers are our Father and Jesus Christ.

11 hours ago, california boy said:

I would argue that if a person is just making up their own rules to fit their own lifestyle, then they are probably not all that interested in God or religious ideas.

I would agree with that because I don't think our Father or Jesus Christ is making up any rules as they go along.

11 hours ago, california boy said:

Is it possible that any attempt by anyone, whether through an organized religion or through personal study and prayer that is bringing people closer to Christ and the understanding of the Atonement are steps in the right direction.  

What works, works, I think.  What doesn't work doesn't work, though, regardless of what somebody's intentions are.  A step in the right direction has to actually be a step in the right direction, or it simply won't work.

11 hours ago, california boy said:

Certainly some individuals thrive in a structured organized religious belief.  But not all people do.

Are you suggesting there are some people who thrive in chaos?  Actually getting closer to Christ and our Father even in the midst of chaos?  Even when they do not know what they should do to take a step closer to Christ and our Father?

I don't think there actually are very many people who are opposed to the concepts of structure or organization.  Those who say they do most likely just have a problem with certain people who they do not think are good organizers or structure builders.

And I say structure builders with the idea that Christ is the chief cornerstone of the true Christian religion and some Christians just do not build upon his foundation as he wants them to.

11 hours ago, california boy said:

To judge their approach as not being valid or inferior to the one you choose may not actually be how God looks at it.

And then again, it may be.

11 hours ago, california boy said:

Just something to think about.

 

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2 hours ago, kllindley said:

I completely believe and support this. I have a testimony that as He said: "I am able to do mine own work."  God is fully capable of leading his children back to him through any infinite number of paths.  [I personally believe that ultimately all of those paths lead through Christ by way of the New and Everlasting Covenant, although when or how an individual comes to that point is irrelevant.] 

 

Three thoughts came up in response to this paragraph:

I acknowledge that perhaps the Leaders of the Church are mistaken in policies or decisions.  To date, my personal experience with the Spirit leads me to believe that they are in harmony with His will, so I do support them.

It may not have been intentional, but I deeply respect the humility demonstrated be including yourself in the "we" who sometimes get it wrong. 

From a perspective that God may use a variety of paths to bring His children back to Him, is it possible that He both led you away from the Church and inspires Church Leaders in their policies and decisions?  Could they be as "right" in their  decisions as you are in yours?

 

There's a bit more to quibble with here.  I would say that the Church is not the best environment for someone who rejects its teachings about sexuality and identity and instead adopts a late 20th Century Western view of sexual identity. I can completely agree with that statement.  

I also completely agree that Heavenly Father wants all of us to find the committed love you describe. I just don't believe that any members are forbidden from those experiences.  

 

Again 100% agree. I mean, some people may have had that information shown or revealed to them, and God is capable of confirming the truth of their witness in our lives. But that is nowhere near the level of sure knowledge that I would need before I felt remotely able to judge another. 

I think we are very similar in our views.  And to answer your question, I absolutely agree that 

"From a perspective that God may use a variety of paths to bring His children back to Him, is it possible that He both led you away from the Church and inspires Church Leaders in their policies and decisions?  Could they be as "right" in their  decisions as you are in yours?"

Yes, both paths may be right.  Clearly you staying in the Church is working for you.  For me, not so much.  Which is also why I have never suggested that the Church should change any of its policies.  That is only a decision that can and should be made by the leaders of the Church.  Outside pressure should not be a factor in. those decisions.

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1 hour ago, Ahab said:

Yes, basically.  We all get to choose what to believe or not believe.

We get to pick our leaders, too, though, so in the end there is no real difference.  Some people just don't believe God will answer them personally so they try to find the mortal(s) they think is best qualified to lead them to the truth.

No religion can be organized unless there are people in a religion who are willing to organize it.  Some organizers are mortals who make bad judgments and some organizers are our Father and Jesus Christ.

I would agree with that because I don't think our Father or Jesus Christ is making up any rules as they go along.

What works, works, I think.  What doesn't work doesn't work, though, regardless of what somebody's intentions are.  A step in the right direction has to actually be a step in the right direction, or it simply won't work.

Are you suggesting there are some people who thrive in chaos?  Actually getting closer to Christ and our Father even in the midst of chaos?  Even when they do not know what they should do to take a step closer to Christ and our Father?

I don't think there actually are very many people who are opposed to the concepts of structure or organization.  Those who say they do most likely just have a problem with certain people who they do not think are good organizers or structure builders.

And I say structure builders with the idea that Christ is the chief cornerstone of the true Christian religion and some Christians just do not build upon his foundation as he wants them to..

And then again, it may be.

 

Being outside a structured religion does not automatically mean chaos.

The fastest growing religion is no religion.  So there are a significant number of people who are in fact rejecting organized religion.  It doesn't mean they are rejecting God

 

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1 minute ago, california boy said:

Being outside a structured religion does not automatically mean chaos.

The fastest growing religion is no religion.  

No structure,, though, if it is indeed not a structured religion. And no organization, either, if indeed there is no organization in that religion.

I would call that a kind of chaos.

1 minute ago, california boy said:

So there are a significant number of people who are in fact rejecting organized religion.  It doesn't mean they are rejecting God

As long as they accept Jesus Christ and the Atonement, I support them and would say they are trying to worship God, even if they are trying to worship him in an unstructured or unorganized way.

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On 8/27/2019 at 5:03 PM, Ahab said:

Yeah, really, especially in light of the fact/truth that our Father (and I suppose our Lord too) is said to dwell in everlasting burnings (which I suppose means some kind of fire) while those who reject Christ are supposedly going to be cast into outer darkness (which I suppose means way out in space somewhere far away from any light where it would supposedly be very cold so much that they will be gnashing their teeth forever and ever).

It's amazing what some people choose to believe.

 

I guess in that case it would be teeth chattering while shivering.

 

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