Saturday, July 07, 2007

My Great Fear


My great fear is to be passionate for a cause that turns out to be a fraud. That is, I fear pouring my energies into achieving a goal that I later find out to be empty and false. I'm not saying that everything I am passionate for must be guaranteed to work out or succeed. I can still be passionate for social or political goals in so far as they bring good. No, what I fear is dedicating my life to a cause that is based on deception. The reason for that fear is that that describes a large portion of my life so far.

Until my mid to late twenties, my life had been dedicated to the cause of Christ; that is furthering the message of redemption, salvation and a future life in heaven, and seeking to overcome the opposites: sin, death and hell. I fervently believed the key claims of Christianity and was eager that others would be similarly enlightened. I admired those who died for the faith, and those who spread the gospel message to the unsaved. I read the Bible through at least once a year and actively participated in Christian events.

But now I see that it is a great fraud. I feel betrayed by others and by my own credulity. Looking back I see myself as deluded and unwilling to see the problems with my belief. How did I manage to blind myself to the truth for so long?

That is not to say there aren't many good teachings in Christianity, and that its followers don't do many good things. I have benefited in many ways by the good aspects of Christianity; by friendships, by support of other followers, by helpful guidance and similar things. All that, however, does not mean that its core claims are true. Rather now I see that the core teachings about God, the afterlife, the incarnation, the spiritual world, and obtaining truth through faith and inspiration are baseless.

This blog is in part an exploration into reasons why I have concluded the message is not true. What if I had continued to believe and spread the gospel message until I was 50 and then found out it was a fraud? What if I had brought up my children to believe in a false message? I can thank God (in a figurative sense) that I avoided that. But I know many good people who are blithely pursuing a fraud. Why don't all Christians give some heed to the possibility that they may be being deceived? Perhaps this blog will help some to come closer to the truth. Perhaps it is also an atonement for my holding onto those beliefs so ardently for so long. Also I hope it will be an exploration into what are the alternatives going forward.

13 comments:

  1. You don't say why?
    Why?
    Joe

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  2. You mean why do I fear living a fraud? Because pursuit of truth is one of my highest goals. If you found out one day that one of your basic assumptions about the world that affects how you choose to live was false, wouldn't that be of great concern?

    Daniel

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  3. What do you thnk about people who give themselves over to martyrdom for their faith? If the message isn't true, what a cruel joke for them.

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  4. Indeed it is a cruel joke to sacrifice all and die for a lie. There are plenty of martyrs from other religions who we think are deluded; why should Christian martyrs be any better off? The world can be a cruel place.

    Daniel

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  5. What is it that you have found to be untrue?
    Joe

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  6. See my posts on this blog for the things that I think are untrue about Christianity.

    Daniel

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  7. How can you be one hundred percent sure that his word is true before you commit your life to him? Actually it is a risk. For example, how do know your girl friend is the one for marriage? Your great fear is to be passionate about her and pour your energy into the relationship then she changed her mind or she turned out to be not good at the end. How could you be 100% sure?
    I think you can ask Romeo and Juliet: What make you commit your life to each other on the first you met? And die for each other on the third day?

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  8. Let me distinguish two thing: committment to a person and committment to a set of beliefs. In the former, say a marriage, one remains loyal to a person no matter what. I think we all hold this in high regard. But committment to a set of beliefs in the face of contrary evidence is generally not a virtue but an act of willful blindness. Granted, I may remain committed to a belief that I don't know is true, but given the evidence I think is likely to be true. But if later on I find that my reasons for holding the belief are bogus, simply clinging onto them is not virtuous. One who desires truth will carefully evaluate them and if he determines they are not true (or reasons for belief in them are unfounded) will reject them, even though he has believed them his whole life.

    That has been my experience with Christianity. And surely the truth of the claims of Christianity about God are prior to any committment to God. I realize now the person I had committed my life to doesn't exist. Hence the committment is empty.

    Daniel

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  9. I think, what you need a real encounter with God--through actual experience with His power and grace or even see his face...then you can believe he exist.

    Moses have a divine perspective because he had been exposed to the power of God more than anyone else in Israel. All throughout Scripture, God invites us to to experience Him as we read the stories of His encounters with past saints. He invites us to "taste and see" that He is good.

    Paul hated Christian, and seemed unlikely candidate for a God encounter. But God chose him, and he was changed. Acts 9 shows How he had encountered God..
    "Meanwhile, Saul was still breathing out murderous threats against the Lord's disciples. He went to the high priest 2and asked him for letters to the synagogues in Damascus, so that if he found any there who belonged to the Way, whether men or women, he might take them as prisoners to Jerusalem. 3As he neared Damascus on his journey, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. 4He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, "Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?"

    "Who are you, Lord?" Saul asked.

    "I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting," he replied. "Now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do."

    7The men traveling with Saul stood there speechless; they heard the sound but did not see anyone. 8Saul got up from the ground, but when he opened his eyes he could see nothing. So they led him by the hand into Damascus. For three days he was blind, and did not eat or drink anything.
    ...

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  10. I wonder how you can be sure from your experience or vision that it is God you are experiencing or seeing? Does a bright light, booming voice, prophetic utterances, warming feelings, even a miracle etc, imply that you are seeing or experiencing God? It could be your imagination, or it could be some other supernatural being that is pretending to be God or Jesus and having power to affect this world. If there are supernatural beings, I'm sure they are more than capable of impersonating others and fooling humans.

    Actually, I made a more extensive post on this topic here: Can we know if a message is from God?

    It seems to me that there is no way to validate supernatural experiences or visions, and so they are no help in determining truth.

    Daniel

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  11. Do you know why people cannot see God just like they see other people? Think about the moment you fell in love with your girlfriend because she met her in a certain place and certain time..just like a destiny..she was right before our eyes, wonderfully made, breathtaking and can be touched..How about God, why can't you just meet him and see Him?

    If He exists and He is the universal God,the perfect being, the all-powerful King, why couldn't he just tell you who he is and let you see his face?

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  12. About three years ago I reached the crossroad in my walk of faith that you described in this blog. I felt like I had become aware of something that had deceived me my whole life. From that point on, I felt like I took a voyage out to sea. The more I travel, the further away what I once knew becomes. And yet, I can't find new ground to land on. At some point, I hope to find my truth, The thing that makes sense to me. I hope you can find your truth too.

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  13. Jessica -- I like your metaphor. All the best on your journey!

    Daniel

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