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141 of 152 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thank you, Mr. Barker!, November 23, 2000
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This review is from: Losing Faith in Faith: From Preacher to Atheist (Paperback)
I, too, have spent years in an Assembly of God Church. I started out in a Church of Christ, which taught me to hate the Charismatics (who were deceived by Satan), who in turn, taught me to hate the New Agers (who were deceived by Satan), who in turn, taught me that everybody is on their own spiritual path, and we are all brothers.
I was watching "Prince of Eygpt" with my 4 year old niece recently. There was a roomful of Christians present. The movie was on the Passover scene where the firstborn of Eygpt were dying, and my niece suddenly looked up and said, "This story isn't true. God wouldn't create people and then kill them." It stunned the adult Christians in the room. One of them said, "But, honey, you don't know the Bible yet." She said, "I know that God isn't mean."
That, in a nutshell, is where my spiritual journey has finally taken me--through the years of dogmas and theatrics of Christianity and back out again. I learned to think for myself, and I discovered what my 4 year old niece knows instinctively, without any Bible telling her differently. God isn't mean.
I no longer see through the eyes of "Christianity" in terms of "good" or "bad"--"lost or unlost." That, to me, is one of the most damning things about Christianity--it divides mankind from his brother.
I struggle with what I know is my approaching "emancipation" from the Church. I love my friends, and I know that when that day comes, I'll never be a part of it again, and it makes me sad. In many ways, it served my needs, (until it didn't anymore). But I also know what Mr. Barker came to know---that once you come to this truth, there is no going home again. You can never turn back. Once you know--You "know." It's not something you can change.
Mr. Barker's book encouraged me in so many ways and assured me that I will meet other people who are free thinkers and will again feel the bonds of fellowship that I have known in the church. And because there are people who exist without the "divisions" of Christianity in their hearts & in their minds, I will not have to be afraid of being "rejected" or cast from the fold if my belief system does not correspond to their own.
This is a well-written book. Walking away from a belief system that has been ingrained in you from birth is not an easy thing to do. I remember when I finally realized that the end was coming, I lay in bed night after night and was literally numb. Fundamentalist Christians may think this is a "light" thing or some kind of serious "deception," but it is neither. It's like a light finally shining on darkness and a terrible fear of moving away from that darkness because it's all you have ever known. It's a soul-tearing, gut-wrenching, coming apart at the seams kind of realization, but when it's all over, there is peace.
I believe in a better God today and in a better world. I believe that every man is truly my "brother." I only wish that every man believed that of me.
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Tracked by 4 customers

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Showing 1-9 of 9 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Jan 13, 2008 4:26:02 PM PST
K. saba says:
Dear Anna,
I feel sad in church as well. But I go because my teenage daughter wants to. I know it will keep her off drugs and discourage her from sex at least for a while. It is strange, but I became a Christian at her age, back in 1971. At a Christian college, Westmont, I lost my faith. Now I believe in God, but my ideas don't fit into Christianity. I have Christian values, but my theological ideas do not fit.
Any way I pray, and do the best I can. My life is good, and I am thankful for my life and my family.
Take care.

Posted on Sep 17, 2009 12:11:45 PM PDT
Light Pebble says:
Anna,
I go to an atheist group, and there's a guy there who used to be a Christian minister. He still goes to church. It's probably a liberal church, he didn't mention any bad reactions from people there. So you don't necessarily have to abandon your christian friends.
Laura

Posted on Dec 27, 2010 9:51:47 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 29, 2010 11:00:53 AM PST
Jason 0047 says:
Dear Anna:

I hope you understand that there is good and evil in the world just by looking at it. I also hope you understand that society teaches us today that evil must be punished in order for that society to thrive and survive normally. Because surely, we would not allow murderers and rapists to rome free within our streets to hurt us. What I am trying to say is that by simply looking at how our real world actually operates today (scientifically, artistically, ethically, and sociologically) is an indication of how God and the Bible operates.

Also, have you ever had to correct a younger loved one on what was right and what was wrong in the world? Do you think that every young child in the world thinks exactly alike and would agree with one another on what is right and wrong? Well, despite personality differences, children are taught by what they learn from the world around them, and from their parents. Sometimes they may not like a particular thing (like going to school, or eating their vegetables instead of chocolate), but we must never give in to what is good by what any man, woman, or child would say in this world. But only by what God would say on the matter.

I think what you are trying to really ask is.... "Why does God create people just to punish them in Hell (and or why does God do harmful things (as seen with the curses in Egypt)?

Well, this is a common misconception by many people who have not truly admitted their sins before God and asked Jesus into their hearts and forgive them of their sins (sincerely) and look to seek God's truth rather than their own.

First you have to understand that God does not send anyone to Hell. The person who chooses not to believe in God, and His Word (The Bible) chooses not to be with God. They choose to follow their own imaginings or gods. Thus, they pay the price for their choice. In other words: People choose to put themselves in Hell. But the good news is that God provided a way out for man to be with Him in Heaven by what Jesus (God) had done on the cross for us. All we have to do is accept it by calling upon Jesus's name in prayer (and then follow his Word (The Bible) as God originally meant it to be.

But to answer the heart of the question, God cannot reside in Heaven with sinners. And according to Romans 3:23, "For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God." Therefore, God (seeing he is a righteous and just God) cannot allow sin to go unpunished, too. We are taught this within our own society. I mean, imagine how you would feel if someone had hurt your niece in the worst possible way. Although God commands us to forgive: I imagine you would want to see that person (who hurt her) get some kind of justice. With God, it is no different. Imagine how God feels when His very own people are being enslaved and persecuted by the Egyptians. He was very angry. You better believe it. But it was a righteous anger. A Holy anger (from a good, perfect, and just God). But that does not mean God is not loving and good. Furthermore, God had to show us in the Old Testament that He was a God who would not tolerate sin, disobedience, and unbelievers (who would have never accepted Him if given the chance to begin with (because He knew their hearts long before they were born).

What is really going on is that when people reject Jesus (God) in this life, people are denying their Creator. They are denying his love gift for their lives (and all the good it would bring them) when they reject God and continue to sin. But God says there is a punishment for that wrong act in being disobedient towards Him. We are not just sinning to sin (for sin's sake) when we do things that we know to be wrong. But we are actually sinning against God when we sin. And this sin must be handled by a just and fair means because God is holy and good. So yes. God cannot just let it slide and let you into Heaven when you rejected his love gift. And God cannot lower himself to man's standards of what he think is right and wrong and not punish man for his wrong doing against Him.

Imagine if you tried to seriously hurt the President of the US or some other important figure within society. There is going to be more of a consequence to your actions because He is the President of the United States. The same concept is true for God. If you try and hurt God by denying his existence or by ignoring his love gift for your life, then you are in fact doing harm towards the very Creator who made you. Especially when he provided a way out for you.

But your probably thinking to yourself... I did not hurt God. What did I ever do to him? I led a good life. I did a lot of good for people and loved them. I gave to the poor and done great things. I was loving to my family. I went to church and was active in helping out there. Why should I be punished? God is not impressed with what you think is just and good by your own standards or motivations that does not include Him. If you reject God in this life. You reject Him in the after life. It is that simple. Mark 8:36 says..."For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, yet lose his own soul". So yes. Good people (by the world's standards today) can go to Hell. Sure, it may sound harsh and cruel in your own mind. But you have to think that when you are rejecting your Creator and his ways. Their is going to be a consequence to that action. It all comes down to cause and effect. For every action there is an opposite and equal reaction. A person's lack of a true relationship with God is going to have consequences. Whether you believe it to be true or not. Whether you think it to be fair or not. There are a lot of things we would like to think are not fair in this life. But sometimes we can't see the big picture because we are not willing to dig a little deeper into the truth. Because I can tell you right now everything I am saying to you is 100% true. The question is: Are you following your own watered down version of the truth? Or are you willing to follow God's truth? Because I can confirm to you with God's Spirit: There is going to be a consequence to anyone's decision in not choosing God and his ways (the Bible).

Also, in addition: God (The Creator) created man to have free will. He wanted us to have free choice to choose him or not to choose him. He did not want us to be puppets who just blindly followed and loved Him. He wanted us to choose to be with him. I mean, would you want someone who did not want you by your side? True love is by choice. So those who follow and believe God and His Word (The Bible) will be rewarded (because they actually loved God). Those who do not will be punished (because they would have never really loved God no matter how many chances they would be given). Sure, it is not pretty scenario. But it is the truth. I mean, surely I would not ignore something invisible like gravity. Then why would I ignore God? Just because I don't like something doesn't mean it is not still true. Truth is truth regardless of what our deceitful hearts or Satan would like for us to believe.

I mean, think about it. If Hell was temporary like certain christian cults teach, then what does it matter how you live in this life then (if you are going to eventually make it up in Heaven anyways)? I mean, why bother being truly good in the first place. You can continue to carry out any sins you want in this life and then eventually get into Heaven? In other words: the actual idea of good and evil would be void then if everyone just got a temporary spanking, got transformed into a good guy so they can be in Heaven with God. Sorry. But the very concept of "true good and evil"...&... "true reward and punishment" does not work that way.

Anyways, Anna: Please be well and do not throw aside the truths of the Bible so quickly. Please seek thru it's pages and test it's truths. You will be surprised that there is something to God and his Word (The Bible). Otherwise no one would get all that worked up about Him and His Word in the first place (trying to point out Bible contradictions where none exist or stating false information about His existence and truth).

You are in my prayers.

Sincerely,

~J Muzie.

Posted on Sep 16, 2012 8:46:45 PM PDT
X14Fan says:
Anna,

Thanks for your review and telling highlights of your personal journey. I found it very helpful and very comforting as I continue on my own personal journey.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 1, 2013 3:01:24 PM PST
Dana Wolfe says:
How can I reject "god" if I don't actually BELIEVE in one. How do you explain not accepting Odin and not going to Valhalla when you die?

And yes I have read the bible and I was a Christian. You are devaluing a lot of people here.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 9, 2014 6:27:42 PM PDT
Woodduck says:
To Jason -

Are there good people - people of profound virtue, people of great integrity - who do not happen to share your Christian beliefs? Obviously there are and always have been. But for you and your God this is of no importance or value. All that matters to you is that people "believe" some doctrine which makes them feel guilty for existing and in need of someone else's death to "redeem" them. And those that "believe" will be "saved," and those who do not, no matter how exemplary their character and actions, or how great their contribution to the world, will be "damned" forever.

And this - as hideously evil a design as any "supreme being" could ever contrive - is, to you, simply "cause and effect"?

Your God is a monster. And that 4-year-old, infinitely wiser than you, saw it. Please keep your God and his "justice" in your own rotting brain where it belongs and away from the children of the world.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 20, 2014 12:07:44 PM PDT
The Sphinx says:
From your comment:
" Imagine how God feels when His very own people are being enslaved and persecuted by the Egyptians."

Aren't the Egyptians his prople too? Didn't God create them too? Where the other peopele, the non-Israelites, come from? That issue has always puzzled me.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 11, 2015 6:43:35 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jun 11, 2015 6:46:58 AM PDT
WOW!!! Do you even realize how many circles you made in this rant? I think you are trying to be sincere, but you are not being honest with yourself. I would highly recommend that you read this book. I mean, just think about it, a book like this, "Losing Faith in Faith", is in no way a threat to God's ultimate truth, the Bible. I would encourage you to not only read "Losing Faith in Faith", but please, question everything in it. Every single word. I believe you should do this with every book you ever read, including the Bible.

Good luck in your journey J. Muzie.

J.C. Maness

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 11, 2015 7:13:47 AM PDT
Dana Wolfe says:
The best way to become an atheist "or at least not to be a Christan" is to read the bible cover to cover. :)
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