Deconstructing from Fundamental Christianity

48,252 Views | 1255 Replies | Last: 1 mo ago by TexasScientist
BaylorJacket
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I am curious to see if there are any other bears out there who have deconstructed in the past or are currently in the process of deconstructing from their religion.

I personally grew up as a fundamental, evangelical Christian, and over the past year or so have had the time to actually reflect on what I believe. After going through a process of deconstruction and then reconstruction, my faith looks very different from a few years ago, but I am more rooted in my love & respect for Christ than ever before.

Here is just a high level view of some of the things that were challenging for me, and curious to hear if anyone also struggles with the same topics:
  • Evolution - coming to the acceptance that Genesis is not a historical textbook on the formation of the universe, and that to not accept the overwhelming scientific evidence for evolution by the majority of Christian churches is head scratching
  • Hell - I struggled (and still do) on the concept of hell. How a normal human being deserves to be tortured for infinite time for simply not believing in X, Y, Z
  • Salvation - Similar to hell, but do un-reached people really deserve to be separated from God forever for simply being born to a particular geographic location?
  • Historical Jesus - Scholars and theologians who have dedicated their lives to studying Jesus now are quite certain that Jesus believed and taught Apocalypticism, and did not even consider himself to be God. This obviously does not mesh well with fundamental Christian teaching.
  • The Bible being inerrant - There are more variations in the original manuscripts than there are words in the New Testament.
Limited IQ Redneck in PU
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My outlook started to change about 10 years ago. I still read the Bible daily. I have stopped trying to get people to conform to a "my way or the highway" and try to respect others. I try to lead my life as a good example by helping people that need it and sharing my talents with those that can benefit. I dont think my works will get me to heaven but it makes it easier for me to live. I believe in hell but dont think a loving God would damn a person that never had the chance to accept Christ. I have no idea what heaven will be like. I have never heard a description I think I would enjoy.

Theres a lot of things I dont understand.
I have found theres only two ways to go:
Living fast or dying slow.
I dont want to live forever.
But I will live while I'm here.
GrowlTowel
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Needs more butt sex and abortion. 47 will be along shortly with his Butt Sex on the Mount and the Divided Fetus sermons.
Limited IQ Redneck in PU
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I hope you find what you need.
I have found theres only two ways to go:
Living fast or dying slow.
I dont want to live forever.
But I will live while I'm here.
JXL
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BaylorJacket said:

I am curious to see if there are any other bears out there who have deconstructed in the past or are currently in the process of deconstructing from their religion.

I personally grew up as a fundamental, evangelical Christian, and over the past year or so have had the time to actually reflect on what I believe. After going through a process of deconstruction and then reconstruction, my faith looks very different from a few years ago, but I am more rooted in my love & respect for Christ than ever before.

Here is just a high level view of some of the things that were challenging for me, and curious to hear if anyone also struggles with the same topics:
  • Evolution - coming to the acceptance that Genesis is not a historical textbook on the formation of the universe, and that to not accept the overwhelming scientific evidence for evolution by the majority of Christian churches is head scratching
  • Hell - I struggled (and still do) on the concept of hell. How a normal human being deserves to be tortured for infinite time for simply not believing in X, Y, Z
  • Salvation - Similar to hell, but do un-reached people really deserve to be separated from God forever for simply being born to a particular geographic location?
  • Historical Jesus - Scholars and theologians who have dedicated their lives to studying Jesus now are quite certain that Jesus believed and taught Apocalypticism, and did not even consider himself to be God. This obviously does not mesh well with fundamental Christian teaching.
  • The Bible being inerrant - There are more variations in the original manuscripts than there are words in the New Testament.



1. Hell is not a place of "torture" - that picture comes from Dante and Milton. It is a place of separation from God, which may bring "torment" from the soul's internal anguish.

2. Unreached persons are not automatically condemned, as explained in Romans 2.

3. A certain group of scholars and theologians may hold that view, but there is no shortage of those who feel differently. Since all of the earliest sources recount that the Christians believed Christ to be divine, it is not clear where these particular "scholars and theologians" are getting their information.

4. 99 percent of those "variations" are inconsequential and meaningless - the scribal equivalent of typos. Not one single variant ever identified makes any difference in beliefs or theology. Even those variations which are more than mere typos are things like 1 Timothy 3:16, which the Byzantine text renders "great is the mystery of godliness - God was manifested in the flesh" while the Alexandrian text says "great is the mystery of godliness - he was manifested in the flesh." So all the talk about "variations' is vastly overblown.
J.R.
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GrowlTowel said:

Needs more butt sex and abortion. 47 will be along shortly with his Butt Sex on the Mount and the Divided Fetus sermons.
you are a real prik. Can people not express their beliefs and thoughts without condemnation? You the the guy that turns people off relative to religion. You are just a sad person. Don't be a hater !
Harrison Bergeron
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I think that Protestant fundamentalism had done a lot of harm. Christianity is such a more complex faith than many would allow us to believe. I think the core problem has been fundamentalism's move away from the worship of G-d in Christ to the worship of the Bible. My thoughts on your specific questions:

1. The Bible is not and does not proclaim to be a scientific document. It should be read in the context of the ANE, where people did not have a post-Enlightenment view of history or science. Genesis never was intended to be a historical account, but it's true in the sense that G-d created the world not because he had to but he chose to do so.

2. Great answer above - Hell is not Milton but estrangement from G-d.

3. Always a tough one. Don't think I have a great answer. Should not really affect one's faith ... that's between G-d and His creation. Some things are transcendent and we cannot fully understand.

4. Theologians are always finding new things to write papers. Just men making up stuff 2,000 years later that likely fits their current world view. What is more reliable, accounts closer to the time an event occurred or some professor in an office two millennia later postulating about stuff?

5. Agree with above. The Bible is amazingly consistent across textual variations given the realities of the time during which it was written. I do not really adhere the the "inerrant" argument as deployed by fundamentalists but I would agree it is inerrant in its message and teaching in totality, the truth about G-d's relationship with His creation.
BaylorJacket
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Limited IQ Redneck in PU said:

My outlook started to change about 10 years ago. I still read the Bible daily. I have stopped trying to get people to conform to a "my way or the highway" and try to respect others. I try to lead my life as a good example by helping people that need it and sharing my talents with those that can benefit. I dont think my works will get me to heaven but it makes it easier for me to live. I believe in hell but dont think a loving God would damn a person that never had the chance to accept Christ. I have no idea what heaven will be like. I have never heard a description I think I would enjoy.

Theres a lot of things I dont understand.

Thank you so much for your thoughts. Part of my reconstruction process has been accepting that there are many things I will not know, nor ever understand and it has made my spiritual journey obviously more challenging, but also fun and rewarding.

Your take is refreshing to hear though on not conforming others to your beliefs.
BaylorJacket
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JXL said:

BaylorJacket said:

I am curious to see if there are any other bears out there who have deconstructed in the past or are currently in the process of deconstructing from their religion.

I personally grew up as a fundamental, evangelical Christian, and over the past year or so have had the time to actually reflect on what I believe. After going through a process of deconstruction and then reconstruction, my faith looks very different from a few years ago, but I am more rooted in my love & respect for Christ than ever before.

Here is just a high level view of some of the things that were challenging for me, and curious to hear if anyone also struggles with the same topics:
  • Evolution - coming to the acceptance that Genesis is not a historical textbook on the formation of the universe, and that to not accept the overwhelming scientific evidence for evolution by the majority of Christian churches is head scratching
  • Hell - I struggled (and still do) on the concept of hell. How a normal human being deserves to be tortured for infinite time for simply not believing in X, Y, Z
  • Salvation - Similar to hell, but do un-reached people really deserve to be separated from God forever for simply being born to a particular geographic location?
  • Historical Jesus - Scholars and theologians who have dedicated their lives to studying Jesus now are quite certain that Jesus believed and taught Apocalypticism, and did not even consider himself to be God. This obviously does not mesh well with fundamental Christian teaching.
  • The Bible being inerrant - There are more variations in the original manuscripts than there are words in the New Testament.



1. Hell is not a place of "torture" - that picture comes from Dante and Milton. It is a place of separation from God, which may bring "torment" from the soul's internal anguish.

2. Unreached persons are not automatically condemned, as explained in Romans 1.

3. A certain group of scholars and theologians may hold that view, but there is no shortage of those who feel differently. Since all of the earliest sources recount that the Christians believed Christ to be divine, it is not clear where these particular "scholars and theologians" are getting their information.

4. 99 percent of those "variations" are inconsequential and meaningless - the scribal equivalent of typos. Not one single variant ever identified makes any difference in beliefs or theology. Even those variations which are more than mere typos are things like 1 Timothy 3:16, which the Byzantine text renders "great is the mystery of godliness - God was manifested in the flesh" while the Alexandrian text says "great is the mystery of godliness - he was manifested in the flesh." So all the talk about "variations' is vastly overblown.

Apologies if I wasn't clear in the OP, but these aren't concrete, black/white truths I believe, but overall topics that I personally struggle with. As a former fundamental Christian, I believed that the Bible was historical and literal.

I'm with you in that I believe hell is not some burning eternal torture, but still struggle to believe that a loving God would damn someone to eternal separation for not believing and accepting the gift of Christ.

Also agree on the variations part. I personally couldn't care less (in historical context) if one gospel says Jesus died on the Passover and another said he died on Good Friday. Is this a discrepancy? Historically, obviously yes - but that doesn't mean it isn't true.
BaylorJacket
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Harrison Bergeron said:

I think that Protestant fundamentalism had done a lot of harm. Christianity is such a more complex faith than many would allow us to believe. I think the core problem has been fundamentalism's move away from the worship of G-d in Christ to the worship of the Bible. My thoughts on your specific questions:

1. The Bible is not and does not proclaim to be a scientific document. It should be read in the context of the ANE, where people did not have a post-Enlightenment view of history or science. Genesis never was intended to be a historical account, but it's true in the sense that G-d created the world not because he had to but he chose to do so.

2. Great answer above - Hell is not Milton but estrangement from G-d.

3. Always a tough one. Don't think I have a great answer. Should not really affect one's faith ... that's between G-d and His creation. Some things are transcendent and we cannot fully understand.

4. Theologians are always finding new things to write papers. Just men making up stuff 2,000 years later that likely fits their current world view. What is more reliable, accounts closer to the time an event occurred or some professor in an office two millennia later postulating about stuff?

5. Agree with above. The Bible is amazingly consistent across textual variations given the realities of the time during which it was written. I do not really adhere the the "inerrant" argument as deployed by fundamentalists but I would agree it is inerrant in its message and teaching in totality, the truth about G-d's relationship with His creation.

Thank you for taking the time to write out your thoughts!

Especially love the final point you made. The Bible is a beautiful piece of God breathed literature and art that has a consistent revolutionary and progressive message - it is inerrant in these truths.
TexasScientist
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BaylorJacket said:

I am curious to see if there are any other bears out there who have deconstructed in the past or are currently in the process of deconstructing from their religion.

I personally grew up as a fundamental, evangelical Christian, and over the past year or so have had the time to actually reflect on what I believe. After going through a process of deconstruction and then reconstruction, my faith looks very different from a few years ago, but I am more rooted in my love & respect for Christ than ever before.

Here is just a high level view of some of the things that were challenging for me, and curious to hear if anyone also struggles with the same topics:
  • Evolution - coming to the acceptance that Genesis is not a historical textbook on the formation of the universe, and that to not accept the overwhelming scientific evidence for evolution by the majority of Christian churches is head scratching
  • Hell - I struggled (and still do) on the concept of hell. How a normal human being deserves to be tortured for infinite time for simply not believing in X, Y, Z
  • Salvation - Similar to hell, but do un-reached people really deserve to be separated from God forever for simply being born to a particular geographic location?
  • Historical Jesus - Scholars and theologians who have dedicated their lives to studying Jesus now are quite certain that Jesus believed and taught Apocalypticism, and did not even consider himself to be God. This obviously does not mesh well with fundamental Christian teaching.
  • The Bible being inerrant - There are more variations in the original manuscripts than there are words in the New Testament.

I agree with all of what you wrote. We have a similar journey, and after looking deeply into all of the points you made I came to the same conclusion. Further, from a purely scientific perspective, the existence of the Judeo/Christian/Islamic god, or the god of any other religion for that matter, is highly improbable. I first began to question Christianity from what I learned while taking religion classes at Baylor. Science took me further down a path that follows the evidence of reality. Science doesn't support religious claims. There is nothing about this universe that requires a supernatural being to explain anything. And, the concept of Yahweh/Jesus being an all loving, all powerful god is inconsistent with the god described in the OT and NT. An all loving, all powerful god wouldn't have created mankind (innocent men, women, and children) and other life on this planet to suffer, nor would he sentence mankind to an afterlife in eternal damnation due to error of birth, or for failure to believe in what is unbelievable - an intangible, hidden god. An all powerful, and all loving god would not allow what is taking place in Ukraine.
BaylorJacket
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Thank you for your response. As a self proclaimed scientist (does computer science count lol?), I can probably relate to a lot of the logical struggles you have gone through.

Just curious, where do you find yourself now on the "religious spectrum"? Agnostic, atheist?

You brought up some excellent points though that are simply impossible to answer with our microscopic understanding of the universe. Such terrible suffering mixed with an all powerful yet loving God is difficult to reconcile. Sure, some might point to the fall of man being the reasoning, but that logic loses some footing when you factor in evolution
Jack and DP
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TexasScientist said:

BaylorJacket said:

I am curious to see if there are any other bears out there who have deconstructed in the past or are currently in the process of deconstructing from their religion.

I personally grew up as a fundamental, evangelical Christian, and over the past year or so have had the time to actually reflect on what I believe. After going through a process of deconstruction and then reconstruction, my faith looks very different from a few years ago, but I am more rooted in my love & respect for Christ than ever before.

Here is just a high level view of some of the things that were challenging for me, and curious to hear if anyone also struggles with the same topics:
  • Evolution - coming to the acceptance that Genesis is not a historical textbook on the formation of the universe, and that to not accept the overwhelming scientific evidence for evolution by the majority of Christian churches is head scratching
  • Hell - I struggled (and still do) on the concept of hell. How a normal human being deserves to be tortured for infinite time for simply not believing in X, Y, Z
  • Salvation - Similar to hell, but do un-reached people really deserve to be separated from God forever for simply being born to a particular geographic location?
  • Historical Jesus - Scholars and theologians who have dedicated their lives to studying Jesus now are quite certain that Jesus believed and taught Apocalypticism, and did not even consider himself to be God. This obviously does not mesh well with fundamental Christian teaching.
  • The Bible being inerrant - There are more variations in the original manuscripts than there are words in the New Testament.

I agree with all of what you wrote. We have a similar journey, and after looking deeply into all of the points you made I came to the same conclusion. Further, from a purely scientific perspective, the existence of the Judeo/Christian/Islamic god, or the god of any other religion for that matter, is highly improbable. I first began to question Christianity from what I learned while taking religion classes at Baylor. Science took me further down a path that follows the evidence of reality. Science doesn't support religious claims. There is nothing about this universe that requires a supernatural being to explain anything. And, the concept of Yahweh/Jesus being an all loving, all powerful god is inconsistent with the god described in the OT and NT. An all loving, all powerful god wouldn't have created mankind (innocent men, women, and children) and other life on this planet to suffer, nor would he sentence mankind to an afterlife in eternal damnation due to error of birth, or for failure to believe in what is unbelievable - an intangible, hidden god. An all powerful, and all loving god would not allow what is taking place in Ukraine.


"There's nothing about this universe that requires a supernatural being to explain anything…"

Watch a hummingbird this morning and get back to us on that.
LIB,MR BEARS
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BaylorJacket said:

I am curious to see if there are any other bears out there who have deconstructed in the past or are currently in the process of deconstructing from their religion.

I personally grew up as a fundamental, evangelical Christian, and over the past year or so have had the time to actually reflect on what I believe. After going through a process of deconstruction and then reconstruction, my faith looks very different from a few years ago, but I am more rooted in my love & respect for Christ than ever before.

Here is just a high level view of some of the things that were challenging for me, and curious to hear if anyone also struggles with the same topics:
  • Evolution - coming to the acceptance that Genesis is not a historical textbook on the formation of the universe, and that to not accept the overwhelming scientific evidence for evolution by the majority of Christian churches is head scratching
  • Hell - I struggled (and still do) on the concept of hell. How a normal human being deserves to be tortured for infinite time for simply not believing in X, Y, Z
  • Salvation - Similar to hell, but do un-reached people really deserve to be separated from God forever for simply being born to a particular geographic location?
  • Historical Jesus - Scholars and theologians who have dedicated their lives to studying Jesus now are quite certain that Jesus believed and taught Apocalypticism, and did not even consider himself to be God. This obviously does not mesh well with fundamental Christian teaching.
  • The Bible being inerrant - There are more variations in the original manuscripts than there are words in the New Testament.

how appropriate that I came across this, this morning. Several things you bring up are addressed here:

LIB,MR BEARS
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JXL said:

BaylorJacket said:

I am curious to see if there are any other bears out there who have deconstructed in the past or are currently in the process of deconstructing from their religion.

I personally grew up as a fundamental, evangelical Christian, and over the past year or so have had the time to actually reflect on what I believe. After going through a process of deconstruction and then reconstruction, my faith looks very different from a few years ago, but I am more rooted in my love & respect for Christ than ever before.

Here is just a high level view of some of the things that were challenging for me, and curious to hear if anyone also struggles with the same topics:
  • Evolution - coming to the acceptance that Genesis is not a historical textbook on the formation of the universe, and that to not accept the overwhelming scientific evidence for evolution by the majority of Christian churches is head scratching
  • Hell - I struggled (and still do) on the concept of hell. How a normal human being deserves to be tortured for infinite time for simply not believing in X, Y, Z
  • Salvation - Similar to hell, but do un-reached people really deserve to be separated from God forever for simply being born to a particular geographic location?
  • Historical Jesus - Scholars and theologians who have dedicated their lives to studying Jesus now are quite certain that Jesus believed and taught Apocalypticism, and did not even consider himself to be God. This obviously does not mesh well with fundamental Christian teaching.
  • The Bible being inerrant - There are more variations in the original manuscripts than there are words in the New Testament.



1. Hell is not a place of "torture" - that picture comes from Dante and Milton. It is a place of separation from God, which may bring "torment" from the soul's internal anguish.

2. Unreached persons are not automatically condemned, as explained in Romans 1.

3. A certain group of scholars and theologians may hold that view, but there is no shortage of those who feel differently. Since all of the earliest sources recount that the Christians believed Christ to be divine, it is not clear where these particular "scholars and theologians" are getting their information.

4. 99 percent of those "variations" are inconsequential and meaningless - the scribal equivalent of typos. Not one single variant ever identified makes any difference in beliefs or theology. Even those variations which are more than mere typos are things like 1 Timothy 3:16, which the Byzantine text renders "great is the mystery of godliness - God was manifested in the flesh" while the Alexandrian text says "great is the mystery of godliness - he was manifested in the flesh." So all the talk about "variations' is vastly overblown.
a galaxy of blue stars for #4
LIB,MR BEARS
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Regarding creation, I suggest watching this video if you cannot read the book Seven Days That Divide The World.

( I also suggest you fast forward through Eric Mataxas intro )

BaylorJacket
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Will give this a listen - love John Lennox! Have listened to many of his debates
Coke Bear
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BaylorJacket said:



  • Evolution - coming to the acceptance that Genesis is not a historical textbook on the formation of the universe, and that to not accept the overwhelming scientific evidence for evolution by the majority of Christian churches is head scratching
I agree with you about Genesis (the first 11 chapters) not being a literal, historic text book about creation. Nor is it meant to be a scientific textbook.

Pope John Paul II stated in is message to the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, Oct. 22, 1996,

"There is no opposition between evolution and the doctrine of the faith about man and his
vocation, on condition that one did not lose sight of several indisputable points …"

Those indisputable points are that humans are created in the image and likeness of God; that the whole person is spiritual soul and material body; and that, if the human body evolves, God immediately creates the soul. It is also true that we cannot deny original sin.

BaylorJacket said:

  • Hell - I struggled (and still do) on the concept of hell. How a normal human being deserves to be tortured for infinite time for simply not believing in X, Y, Z
  • The Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) states about Hell:

    • 1035 The teaching of the Church affirms the existence of hell and its eternity. Immediately after death the souls of those who die in a state of mortal sin descend into hell, where they suffer the punishments of hell, "eternal fire." The chief punishment of hell is eternal separation from God, in whom alone man can possess the life and happiness for which he was created and for which he longs.



    God doesn't send people to hell; they choose it themselves by rejecting God.

    BaylorJacket said:

  • Salvation - Similar to hell, but do un-reached people really deserve to be separated from God forever for simply being born to a particular geographic location?
  • The Catholic Church (in the CCC) states that those people will NOT be lost:

    • 848 "Although in ways known to himself God can lead those who, through no fault of their own, are ignorant of the Gospel, to that faith without which it is impossible to please him, the Church still has the obligation and also the sacred right to evangelize all men."




    BaylorJacket said:

  • Historical Jesus - Scholars and theologians who have dedicated their lives to studying Jesus now are quite certain that Jesus believed and taught Apocalypticism, and did not even consider himself to be God. This obviously does not mesh well with fundamental Christian teaching.
  • Please cite the specific Scholars and Theologians that state this. This sound like a modern twist on old heresies which were dismissed in the earliest Councils of the Church. None of the writings of the Church fathers remotely resemble these notions.

    BaylorJacket said:

  • The Bible being inerrant - There are more variations in the original manuscripts than there are words in the New Testament.

  • JXL nailed this VERY well in his post.
    Coke Bear
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    TexasScientist said:

    I agree with all of what you wrote. We have a similar journey, and after looking deeply into all of the points you made I came to the same conclusion. Further, from a purely scientific perspective, the existence of the Judeo/Christian/Islamic god, or the god of any other religion for that matter, is highly improbable. I first began to question Christianity from what I learned while taking religion classes at Baylor. Science took me further down a path that follows the evidence of reality. Science doesn't support religious claims. There is nothing about this universe that requires a supernatural being to explain anything. And, the concept of Yahweh/Jesus being an all loving, all powerful god is inconsistent with the god described in the OT and NT. An all loving, all powerful god wouldn't have created mankind (innocent men, women, and children) and other life on this planet to suffer, nor would he sentence mankind to an afterlife in eternal damnation due to error of birth, or for failure to believe in what is unbelievable - an intangible, hidden god. An all powerful, and all loving god would not allow what is taking place in Ukraine.

    Are you really asking just trolling?

    I feel like this board has discussed this ad nauseam.

    If you would like to seriously discuss a SINGLE point, I'm happy to discuss with you (again). Only engaging one topic will be more fruitful for all.
    BaylorJacket
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    Coke Bear said:

    BaylorJacket said:



    • Evolution - coming to the acceptance that Genesis is not a historical textbook on the formation of the universe, and that to not accept the overwhelming scientific evidence for evolution by the majority of Christian churches is head scratching
    I agree with you about Genesis (the first 11 chapters) not being a literal, historic text book about creation. Nor is it meant to be a scientific textbook.

    Pope John Paul II stated in is message to the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, Oct. 22, 1996,

    "There is no opposition between evolution and the doctrine of the faith about man and his
    vocation, on condition that one did not lose sight of several indisputable points …"

    Those indisputable points are that humans are created in the image and likeness of God; that the whole person is spiritual soul and material body; and that, if the human body evolves, God immediately creates the soul. It is also true that we cannot deny original sin.

    BaylorJacket said:

  • Hell - I struggled (and still do) on the concept of hell. How a normal human being deserves to be tortured for infinite time for simply not believing in X, Y, Z
  • The Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) states about Hell:

    • 1035 The teaching of the Church affirms the existence of hell and its eternity. Immediately after death the souls of those who die in a state of mortal sin descend into hell, where they suffer the punishments of hell, "eternal fire." The chief punishment of hell is eternal separation from God, in whom alone man can possess the life and happiness for which he was created and for which he longs.



    God doesn't send people to hell; they choose it themselves by rejecting God.

    BaylorJacket said:

  • Salvation - Similar to hell, but do un-reached people really deserve to be separated from God forever for simply being born to a particular geographic location?
  • The Catholic Church (in the CCC) states that those people will NOT be lost:

    • 848 "Although in ways known to himself God can lead those who, through no fault of their own, are ignorant of the Gospel, to that faith without which it is impossible to please him, the Church still has the obligation and also the sacred right to evangelize all men."




    BaylorJacket said:

  • Historical Jesus - Scholars and theologians who have dedicated their lives to studying Jesus now are quite certain that Jesus believed and taught Apocalypticism, and did not even consider himself to be God. This obviously does not mesh well with fundamental Christian teaching.
  • Please cite the specific Scholars and Theologians that state this. This sound like a modern twist on old heresies which were dismissed in the earliest Councils of the Church. None of the writings of the Church fathers remotely resemble these notions.

    BaylorJacket said:

  • The Bible being inerrant - There are more variations in the original manuscripts than there are words in the New Testament.

  • JXL nailed this VERY well in his post.

    Thank you for the detailed response and posting your sources! I find myself incredibly interested in the early Catholic Church. I remember as a young Protestant, I used to wonder if Catholics went to heaven. Lol... Now, I am inspired by the writings of the early church fathers.

    The purpose of the OP was not to debate these topics, but more so just to see peoples experience with deconstruction and reconstruction of their faith (or perhaps lack of). Hope you have a blessed day.
    Redbrickbear
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    BaylorJacket said:

    I am curious to see if there are any other bears out there who have deconstructed in the past or are currently in the process of deconstructing from their religion.

    I personally grew up as a fundamental, evangelical Christian, and over the past year or so have had the time to actually reflect on what I believe. After going through a process of deconstruction and then reconstruction, my faith looks very different from a few years ago, but I am more rooted in my love & respect for Christ than ever before.

    Here is just a high level view of some of the things that were challenging for me, and curious to hear if anyone also struggles with the same topics:
    • Evolution - coming to the acceptance that Genesis is not a historical textbook on the formation of the universe, and that to not accept the overwhelming scientific evidence for evolution by the majority of Christian churches is head scratching
    • Hell - I struggled (and still do) on the concept of hell. How a normal human being deserves to be tortured for infinite time for simply not believing in X, Y, Z
    • Salvation - Similar to hell, but do un-reached people really deserve to be separated from God forever for simply being born to a particular geographic location?
    • Historical Jesus - Scholars and theologians who have dedicated their lives to studying Jesus now are quite certain that Jesus believed and taught Apocalypticism, and did not even consider himself to be God. This obviously does not mesh well with fundamental Christian teaching.
    • The Bible being inerrant - There are more variations in the original manuscripts than there are words in the New Testament.

    1. There is a lot of open questions still to this day about the theory of evolution. Certainly Darwinian evolution has lots of problems. I personally don't find it a stumbling block... if God used a process like evolution to bring about the mystery of creation. But either way its still an open question.



    2. As others have said. Paradise lost is a great book...but its a work of fiction. In reality Hell is most likely God letting people chose to be separated for him forever. One person I know described Hell as being alone with yourself for eternity and never having to deal with other people. That might be paradise for some people. It would be horrific to me.

    3. I just don't think that is true. All the apostles died horrible deaths as martyrs..(expect maybe John, some accounts say he lived to old age, dying at Ephesus sometime after AD 98, during the reign of Trajan.
    But alternative accounts of John's death, ascribed by later Christian writers to the early second-century bishop Papias of Hierapolis, claims that he was slain by the Jewish authorities)...either way all did so thinking Christ was the actual son of God. They did not just make that up. And if they did would not have been interesting in living lives of poverty, persecution, and eventually tortuous death for a known lie.

    4. Others on here have already gone through that.
    Osodecentx
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    BaylorJacket said:

    Coke Bear said:

    BaylorJacket said:



    • Evolution - coming to the acceptance that Genesis is not a historical textbook on the formation of the universe, and that to not accept the overwhelming scientific evidence for evolution by the majority of Christian churches is head scratching

      BaylorJacket
    • Hell - I struggled (and still do) on the concept of hell. How a normal human being deserves to be tortured for infinite time for simply not believing in X, Y, Z
    • The Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) states about Hell:

      • 1035 The teaching of the Church affirms the existence of hell and its eternity. Immediately after death the souls of those who die in a state of mortal sin descend into hell, where they suffer the punishments of hell, "eternal fire." The chief punishment of hell is eternal separation from God, in whom alone man can possess the life and happiness for which he was created and for which he longs.

      God doesn't send people to hell; they choose it themselves by rejecting God.

    • BaylorJacket
    • Salvation - Similar to hell, but do un-reached people really deserve to be separated from God forever for simply being born to a particular geographic location?
    • The Catholic Church (in the CCC) states that those people will NOT be lost:

      • 848 "Although in ways known to himself God can lead those who, through no fault of their own, are ignorant of the Gospel, to that faith without which it is impossible to please him, the Church still has the obligation and also the sacred right to evangelize all men."



    • BaylorJacket
    • Historical Jesus - Scholars and theologians who have dedicated their lives to studying Jesus now are quite certain that Jesus believed and taught Apocalypticism, and did not even consider himself to be God. This obviously does not mesh well with fundamental Christian teaching.
    • Please cite the specific Scholars and Theologians that state this. This sound like a modern twist on old heresies which were dismissed in the earliest Councils of the Church. None of the writings of the Church fathers remotely resemble these notions.

    • BaylorJacket
    • The Bible being inerrant - There are more variations in the original manuscripts than there are words in the New Testament.
    JXL nailed this VERY well in his post.

    Thank you for the detailed response and posting your sources! I find myself incredibly interested in the early Catholic Church. I remember as a young Protestant, I used to wonder if Catholics went to heaven. Lol... Now, I am inspired by the writings of the early church fathers.

    The purpose of the OP was not to debate these topics, but more so just to see peoples experience with deconstruction and reconstruction of their faith (or perhaps lack of). Hope you have a blessed day.
    Thanks to all for a civil discussion
    Interesting
    ShooterTX
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    I'm curious about this.

    If you remove the Bible as a reliable, truthful text; then where does your understanding of Jesus come from? The words of Jesus, as recorded in the Bible, make the claim that the Bible is true and "the Word of God". How can we use the writings about Jesus in the New Testament as a basis for religion, if we also discount the words of Jesus in the New Testament, when he describes the validity of the Old Testament?

    So where is this alternative source for knowing/understanding God & Jesus?
    ShooterTX
    EatMoreSalmon
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    I enjoy the videos done by Dr. Ryan Reeves. They cover the history of the church and the Bible.
    There are lots of other sources for these topics, but for a basic overview of them, Dr. Reeves gives good account.

    Dr. Ryan Reeves' YouTube channel
    Coke Bear
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    BaylorJacket said:


    The purpose of the OP was not to debate these topics, but more so just to see peoples experience with deconstruction and reconstruction of their faith (or perhaps lack of). Hope you have a blessed day.
    I have undergone some of this as well. I'm a cradle-Catholic whose dad was/is very strong in his faith and not going to mass was never an option.

    Growing up in (strongly Baptist) Waco as an "minority", strangely, I was never really challenged in my faith. I'd have others offer me to attend their church, but I had no desire. I knew that I'd never leave the Church, but I didn't know why. I can only assume it was thru the power of the Holy Spirit and parental prayers.

    Being a Vatican II baby (those born after '65), we received a watered-down to poor education of the faith from our CCE (Sunday school) teachers. This isn't a knock on them, it was just the times that we were living. We created a society of cultural Catholics, not necessary a society of well-informed and instructed Catholics.

    I blindly accepted my faith because I wasn't challenged. I went to UT for two years (quit going to mass while there) and then came home to finish at Baylor. Started going to mass again (because that's what you do.) Never challenged there, either.

    At the age of 40, I started teaching CCE to 7th graders. I was arrogant. I figured that I'd been Catholic for 40 years, went to mass (most of the time), and my dad was now a deacon in the Church (a 6+ year formation process of classes (Theology, Philosophy, Scripture Study, etc.) every other Saturday in Austin). I KNEW this stuff! Right?

    How wrong I was. I was quickly humbled by how much I didn't know about the faith. Sure, Catholic that attend mass for weekly will hear a about 4% of the OT and 41% of the NT. I knew the stories but didn't completely understand how they fit with the faith.

    By teaching, I HAD to learn so that I can explain to the kids. I'm driven by logic. If it makes sense, I can explain. Because of the questions that the kids would ask, I had to research the answers. I had to start all over and learn why I believed in God. What are the proofs for that belief? Did Jesus exist? How do I explain and defend resurrection deniers? How do I explain the Eucharist, Confession, Baptism? Where do they come from? How do you defend them?

    I wandered the "spiritual desert" of my faith for forty years. Fortunately, I started to ask questions and learn about the Church so that I could explain and teach the kids to defend their faith. It started with a little flame, began a slow burn, and now I'm blessed to be on fire to learn more about the Church every day. I crush several podcasts and read daily to deepen my knowledge of the faith and better my prayer life.

    My passion now is teaching the youth of our church so that they can pass it on, too.

    TL; DR version: Yes, my awaking of the faith has caused me to deconstruct and build a foundation to gain understanding of the Church.
    Forest Bueller_bf
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    JXL said:

    BaylorJacket said:

    I am curious to see if there are any other bears out there who have deconstructed in the past or are currently in the process of deconstructing from their religion.

    I personally grew up as a fundamental, evangelical Christian, and over the past year or so have had the time to actually reflect on what I believe. After going through a process of deconstruction and then reconstruction, my faith looks very different from a few years ago, but I am more rooted in my love & respect for Christ than ever before.

    Here is just a high level view of some of the things that were challenging for me, and curious to hear if anyone also struggles with the same topics:
    • Evolution - coming to the acceptance that Genesis is not a historical textbook on the formation of the universe, and that to not accept the overwhelming scientific evidence for evolution by the majority of Christian churches is head scratching
    • Hell - I struggled (and still do) on the concept of hell. How a normal human being deserves to be tortured for infinite time for simply not believing in X, Y, Z
    • Salvation - Similar to hell, but do un-reached people really deserve to be separated from God forever for simply being born to a particular geographic location?
    • Historical Jesus - Scholars and theologians who have dedicated their lives to studying Jesus now are quite certain that Jesus believed and taught Apocalypticism, and did not even consider himself to be God. This obviously does not mesh well with fundamental Christian teaching.
    • The Bible being inerrant - There are more variations in the original manuscripts than there are words in the New Testament.



    1. Hell is not a place of "torture" - that picture comes from Dante and Milton. It is a place of separation from God, which may bring "torment" from the soul's internal anguish.

    2. Unreached persons are not automatically condemned, as explained in Romans 2.


    Quote:

    14 (Indeed, when Gentiles, who do not have the law, do by nature things required by the law, they are a law for themselves, even though they do not have the law. 15 They show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts sometimes accusing them and at other times even defending them.)



    3. A certain group of scholars and theologians may hold that view, but there is no shortage of those who feel differently. Since all of the earliest sources recount that the Christians believed Christ to be divine, it is not clear where these particular "scholars and theologians" are getting their information.


    Quote:

    "You are not yet fifty years old," the Jews said to him, "and you have seen Abraham!" "I tell you the truth," Jesus answered, "before Abraham was born, I am!" (John 8:49-58)


    4. 99 percent of those "variations" are inconsequential and meaningless - the scribal equivalent of typos. Not one single variant ever identified makes any difference in beliefs or theology. Even those variations which are more than mere typos are things like 1 Timothy 3:16, which the Byzantine text renders "great is the mystery of godliness - God was manifested in the flesh" while the Alexandrian text says "great is the mystery of godliness - he was manifested in the flesh." So all the talk about "variations' is vastly overblown.
    I'm not correcting anything here. Just inserting what I believe is the particular verses you are referring to. If I'm wrong let me know. Not sure how theologians have cooked up the Jesus isn't God aspect. He clearly declared he is God.
    GrowlTowel
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    ShooterTX said:

    I'm curious about this.

    If you remove the Bible as a reliable, truthful text; then where does your understanding of Jesus come from? The words of Jesus, as recorded in the Bible, make the claim that the Bible is true and "the Word of God". How can we use the writings about Jesus in the New Testament as a basis for religion, if we also discount the words of Jesus in the New Testament, when he describes the validity of the Old Testament?

    So where is this alternative source for knowing/understanding God & Jesus?
    Dr. Russell Lester?
    Your ideas are intriguing to me, and I wish to subscribe to your newsletter.
    RMF5630
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    My thoughts are you choose how you believe. You.may not believe in every aspect of a formalized religion, but believing in the basics is important.

    I also believe humans are social animals and need to believe and worship publicly with others. So, some formalized religion is important. Not really particular which one people choose to fit their personality and believe structure. Sort of like working out, consistency and frequency is key to me. Any of them will work. I choose Catholic. I am good friends with Moslems, Jews, and married a Lutheran


    Funny, in Florida the Baptists are the hardest to get along with since they own heaven...
    BaylorJacket
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    What a great story and testimony to share with others! Thank you for sharing. I was in the desert not too long ago on the verge of atheism, but it is true that the Lord is with the broken-hearted.
    BaylorJacket
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    You're absolutely not wrong. What many point to is Jesus' portrayal in the first three gospels. As Matthew, Mark, & Luke are the oldest gospels, only 30 - 50 years after Jesus ' death, it is interesting that not one single one declares Jesus as God or in status with God. You will notice quite a difference in Jesus' character between the earlier gospels and John. Not saying John is incorrect, but there are differences.
    ShooterTX
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    GrowlTowel said:

    ShooterTX said:

    I'm curious about this.

    If you remove the Bible as a reliable, truthful text; then where does your understanding of Jesus come from? The words of Jesus, as recorded in the Bible, make the claim that the Bible is true and "the Word of God". How can we use the writings about Jesus in the New Testament as a basis for religion, if we also discount the words of Jesus in the New Testament, when he describes the validity of the Old Testament?

    So where is this alternative source for knowing/understanding God & Jesus?
    Dr. Russell Lester?
    is that your source?
    ShooterTX
    LIB,MR BEARS
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    ShooterTX said:

    I'm curious about this.

    If you remove the Bible as a reliable, truthful text; then where does your understanding of Jesus come from? The words of Jesus, as recorded in the Bible, make the claim that the Bible is true and "the Word of God". How can we use the writings about Jesus in the New Testament as a basis for religion, if we also discount the words of Jesus in the New Testament, when he describes the validity of the Old Testament?

    So where is this alternative source for knowing/understanding God & Jesus?
    I can help you here. The parts of the Bible that say gossip is bad, the love of money is bad, false witness is bad, sex outside of marriage is bad and lust is bad are all false and can be ignored. The parts of the Bible I like are all truthful.

    Glad I could help.

    ps... the "who is my neighbor thing is pretty sketchy also. All of my neighbors look and think just as I do.
    RMF5630
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    ShooterTX said:

    I'm curious about this.

    If you remove the Bible as a reliable, truthful text; then where does your understanding of Jesus come from? The words of Jesus, as recorded in the Bible, make the claim that the Bible is true and "the Word of God". How can we use the writings about Jesus in the New Testament as a basis for religion, if we also discount the words of Jesus in the New Testament, when he describes the validity of the Old Testament?

    So where is this alternative source for knowing/understanding God & Jesus?


    Curious, why does the Bible have to be a literal historical text to have value for religious or philosophical believe?

    Jesus talked in parables. Why wouldn't the Gospels follow that model? Paul's writinfs and the Acts of the Apostles seem more historical in nature. But wouldn't they use stories to make points?

    Do I believe the Old Testament verbatim? I would say no, like any document that started from oral tradition, there is hyperbole to make a point. Did the walls of Jericho literally fall? Or did the Jews win a battle they shouldn't have? Doesn't change the lesson.

    But, I am a Catholic and according to many going to hell for following a false prophet, right?

    I do love this Board, not afraid to tackle the tough subjects. Historical accuracy of Bible, abortion. Trump. Heck of a week...
    LIB,MR BEARS
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    RMF5630 said:

    ShooterTX said:

    I'm curious about this.

    If you remove the Bible as a reliable, truthful text; then where does your understanding of Jesus come from? The words of Jesus, as recorded in the Bible, make the claim that the Bible is true and "the Word of God". How can we use the writings about Jesus in the New Testament as a basis for religion, if we also discount the words of Jesus in the New Testament, when he describes the validity of the Old Testament?

    So where is this alternative source for knowing/understanding God & Jesus?


    Curious, why does the Bible have to be a literal historical text to have value for religious or philosophical believe?

    Jesus talked in parables. Why wouldn't the Gospels follow that model? Paul's writinfs and the Acts of the Apostles seem more historical in nature. But wouldn't they use stories to make points?

    Do I believe the Old Testament verbatim? I would say no, like any document that started from oral tradition, there is hyperbole to make a point. Did the walls of Jericho literally fall? Or did the Jews win a battle they shouldn't have? Doesn't change the lesson.

    But, I am a Catholic and according to many going to hell for following a false prophet, right?

    I do love this Board, not afraid to tackle the tough subjects. Historical accuracy of Bible https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/world/biden-approves-plan-to-redeploy-several-hundred-ground-forces-into-somalia/ar-AAXlbyi, abortion. Trump. Heck of a week...
    Gen 1 and 2 are not history but poetry. There is history, prophecy, apocalyptic literature, songs, analogies, metaphors and they are all true WHEN read in context and take into consideration the type of literature they are.

    The gospels are written as history and part of that history is Christ teaching with parables.

    Nott every train leaving Chicago at 60 mph in 7th grade math is a real train.
    Forest Bueller_bf
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    LIB,MR BEARS said:

    RMF5630 said:

    ShooterTX said:

    I'm curious about this.

    If you remove the Bible as a reliable, truthful text; then where does your understanding of Jesus come from? The words of Jesus, as recorded in the Bible, make the claim that the Bible is true and "the Word of God". How can we use the writings about Jesus in the New Testament as a basis for religion, if we also discount the words of Jesus in the New Testament, when he describes the validity of the Old Testament?

    So where is this alternative source for knowing/understanding God & Jesus?


    Curious, why does the Bible have to be a literal historical text to have value for religious or philosophical believe?

    Jesus talked in parables. Why wouldn't the Gospels follow that model? Paul's writinfs and the Acts of the Apostles seem more historical in nature. But wouldn't they use stories to make points?

    Do I believe the Old Testament verbatim? I would say no, like any document that started from oral tradition, there is hyperbole to make a point. Did the walls of Jericho literally fall? Or did the Jews win a battle they shouldn't have? Doesn't change the lesson.

    But, I am a Catholic and according to many going to hell for following a false prophet, right?

    I do love this Board, not afraid to tackle the tough subjects. Historical accuracy of Bible https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/world/biden-approves-plan-to-redeploy-several-hundred-ground-forces-into-somalia/ar-AAXlbyi, abortion. Trump. Heck of a week...
    Gen 1 and 2 are not history but poetry. There is history, prophecy, apocalyptic literature, songs, analogies, metaphors and they are all true WHEN read in context and take into consideration the type of literature they are.

    The gospels are written as history and part of that history is Christ teaching with parables.

    Not every train leaving Chicago at 60 mph in 7th grade math is a real train.

    Yes true, but they always seemed to go in opposite directions and the other train never went the exact same speed.
     
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