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Old 12-19-2003, 10:23 PM   #1
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Normal Christianity is very confusing

Just for fun, I thought I'd post something in here and see how people would react.

Some of the people in here know me as someone who was raised in a TOTALLY 100% non religious household. My mom was an Anglican and then became an Atheist. My dad is a Theosophist turned Materialist. My sister is a WICCAN. My brother is a Unitarian, mostly because he thinks his kids should have some spiritual training.

I never went to Sunday School and have never read the Bible (well, I keep starting and then leaving it off after Noah's Ark!).

When I was about 12, I had a Born Again Christian guitar teacher. I was a budding young scientist. This teacher had the nerve to tell me that cavemen did not exist, nor had dinosaurs. We spent more time arguing about the dinosaurs than working on guitar! This, combined with his kindly, but superior and holier than thou attitude, really didn't advertise Christianity well to me.

My sister says that Christians complain about witchcraft being bloodthirsty, yet the main symbol of Christianity is a) Christ being crucified and b) the consumption of his flesh and blood! WICCANS eat honey cakes! My sister has also studied the religions of the world and I've heard enough dreadful stuff about Christian behaviour through the ages to turn me off completely.

BUT....I still feel like I really want to believe something, if only for peace of mind and so I don't have to keep wondering about this.

Being a U2 fan has naturally thrown me in the direction of Christianity. Yet I feel like Adam on the back of the tour bus during the October tour. Namely, not part of the club. I can relate to EVERYTHING about U2 except the religious content of their music. The Halleluliahs at the end of Walk On for example are nothing more than words to me. Which saddens me, but I am comforted knowing that U2 struggles with doubt all the time.

So I have been trying to learn more. I have read some books that interference friends have sent me, which has taught me a lot. But I am still skeptical, even about the existence of God let alone Jesus as personal saviour!

For starters, there is TOO MUCH CONFUSION. Even the Christians can't make up their minds.

There are waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay too many denominations with different beliefs and interpretations. Sometimes it seems like separate religions entirely. How do you know who's right? What if I picked the WRONG ONE??? How do you know to find a church if there are 8 zillion different choices? Even in this forum you get everything from "the Bible must be taken literally or you will go to Hell" to "The Bible must be interpreted according to the context of the times" to all that matters is God loves you and everything will be OK.

It bothers me that I am told that our actions here on earth do not matter, because if you believe you will be saved. Yet people are always quoting the many things you are NOT allowed to do in this life. I thought that it didn't make a difference, so what difference does it make? What gives??

I do not want to be religious for the sake of being religious. That to me is the same as an arrranged marriage with no love. I'd rather be single until I figure it out. Also, if I am going to believe in something, I have to wrap my head around it first. My heart would then follow. I refuse to trust in something I consider unjust. If I were to die tomorrow, and be sent to Hell just because I wasn't baptized and wasn't brought up religious and am still searching for answers I would consider that CATEGORICALLY UNJUST and unfair, and that would be proof that God does not love me at all. That is in fact, spiritual blackmail!!

If I were thumbing my nose, that would be one thing, but it takes time to make such important decisions about one's soul. I think an informed decision is better than brain washing any day. I would hope God would want that too.

So......all I'm saying is, I wish Christianity weren't so un user friendly for newbies.

Comments?

P.S. Please don't just suggest I go to Bible study, I am aware that it is an option...I just want people's honest reactions.
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Old 12-19-2003, 10:33 PM   #2
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Yes, Christianity is confusing!

The most important thing is that you do what feels right for you. Maybe visit a couple of different churches, see what you feel comfortable with and maybe get some different perspectives on things.

I think the more you know, the more easily you will be able to make a decision. Don't feel pressured by anyone, just explain that you are visitor wanting to experience what the church is like and don't let anyone try to push you in a direction you're not happy with.

As long as you feel right in your heart, that your decision is the right one for you, then you can take things a bit further (eg courses for new Christians and so on). It's a bit difficult for me to say because I was raised Catholic, so I just "know" ... I didn't have to learn anything specifically. But I just pick up bits of information as I go along and I've found that's what works best for me.

Best wishes! Let us know how you go :-)
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Old 12-20-2003, 09:43 AM   #3
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Christianity can be confusing, especially if approached in an intellectual way.

God does love you and is tugging on your heart. That is why you keep asking the questions.

I didn't believe until I was 22. I was raised in a non-religious household and took an intellectual view of the world.

I could go into great detail on any one of your questions - I'd be happy to PM with more.

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Old 12-20-2003, 12:27 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally posted by nbcrusader
.

God does love you and is tugging on your heart. That is why you keep asking the questions.


Right on, Doug!


Mrs. Edge, you will find what your looking for; it doesn't have to be written or forced upon you...I was raised in a semi-strict Catholic home - catechism, confirmation, Mass every Sunday...but my parents also gave we kids the chance to experience our own interpretation of "what was what"...who was who...in the years prior to BAW, I learned to combine both christianity and catholicism into one...so while I will catch myself praising aloud at times, I also find myself walking into St. Joseph's and spending a quiet afternoon on my knees. I still struggle in my search; I won't debate anyone about God, Jesus; heck, I can't interpreter the Bible but I am strong in my conviction that there is a Lord and that I am headed in right direction.

Peace will find you sister! Doug's statement is loaded!
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Old 12-20-2003, 02:07 PM   #5
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Re: Christianity is very confusing

I'm not the best person to answer your questions, I'm hardly the best example of a Christian. But I'll do the best I can to help you in your search, and to answer questions.

Quote:
Originally posted by Mrs. Edge
My sister says that Christians complain about witchcraft being bloodthirsty, yet the main symbol of Christianity is a) Christ being crucified and b) the consumption of his flesh and blood! WICCANS eat honey cakes!
Please forgive me if I'm being extraordinarily dense, but Wiccans don't actually think Christians consume literal human flesh and blood, do they? When Christ said, "Take, eat, this is my body," He was using bread and wine as an illustration of what was going to happen to Him, and establishing a ritual for future generations to remember His sacrifice.
http://www3.sympatico.ca/ncmrevival/Communion.htm

Quote:
Originally posted by Mrs. Edge
My sister has also studied the religions of the world and I've heard enough dreadful stuff about Christian behaviour through the ages to turn me off completely.
Look into any culture, and (if they're honest in reporting their history) you'll find dreadful behavior, bloodshed, oppression and evil. It's part of human nature, unfortunately. Human evil knows no limits.

I'm not condoning the Crusades or the Inquisition or any of that; the mere thought of them makes me sick and I'm sorry that it happened. It's definitely not what Christ wanted, nor does He approve anything and everything that we do simply because we say "In Jesus' name." But don't forget that many of the pagan Roman emperors put Christians to death by burning them alive or throwing them to the lions.
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Old 12-20-2003, 11:46 PM   #6
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Jess, please keep in mind that many of us have very personal, very complete and satisfying relationships with God, and yet we're not Christians.
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Old 12-21-2003, 04:46 PM   #7
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Yeah, but according to some of my friends, if you aren't a Christian you are on a one way bus to hell (which I certainly hope is not true!).

Anyway, thank you all for responding so far, it felt good to get that all into words.

NB, I would be very curious to have you answer some (or all) of my queries, so I'm sure we'll be in touch by PM at some point!
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Old 01-01-2004, 04:51 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally posted by Mrs. Edge
Yeah, but according to some of my friends, if you aren't a Christian you are on a one way bus to hell (which I certainly hope is not true!).
Then you are currently in the company of almost 5 billion others on the planet.

You should never, ever seek a religion out of fear of being punished. That's not a true relationship with God. And those who so boldly predict God's will can continue to do so as much as they please. They are not converting anyone through their meanspirited ways. The God they profess to follow would sure be proud at how they're using fearmongering to try to get new followers instead of preaching the word of love and peace.
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Old 01-02-2004, 11:41 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally posted by anitram


Then you are currently in the company of almost 5 billion others on the planet.

You should never, ever seek a religion out of fear of being punished. That's not a true relationship with God. And those who so boldly predict God's will can continue to do so as much as they please. They are not converting anyone through their meanspirited ways. The God they profess to follow would sure be proud at how they're using fearmongering to try to get new followers instead of preaching the word of love and peace.


Very well put.



Jess...this is exactly what I've been trying to say to you.
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Old 01-03-2004, 03:23 PM   #10
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Religion and faith is a simply personal thing and everyone has to go about finding it in their own way. Actually through my experince it finds you.

I have never questioned that there is a God just the way that he is made out to be through orgainzed religions. My relationship with God is between God and I and no on else .. I show my faith through the responsibility I feel to humanity to be a good and moral citizen and to love thy neighbour which trancends religion, I have always known that Gods belief in me is much greater then the faith I have shown to him, it is the knowledge that guides me and I strive to live up to .. to fullfill my potential .. some days are better then others.

Thats what it is to me .. I don't know if that is right or wrong but it is my belief .. it is different for everyone

Faith is in your soul and that is very personal thing that no one has the right to judge
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Old 01-05-2004, 07:47 AM   #11
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I've taken an intellectual approach to Christianity, and, in the process, I've found it the most satisfying. I've learned where all the "contradictions" amongst the various denominations originated, along with many the various philosophical approaches to Christianity over the past 2000 years.

With that, religion has never been static or fixed. The way even fundamentalists approach religion today is different than how fundamentalists approached religion even 100 years or more ago, and there have been many cycles of fundamentalists. So much for "unchanging beliefs." Different cultures have emphasized different verses in the Bible, much of which is taken out of context. Early Christians were concerned about idolatry, for instance, while we seem to be sex obsessed. So, yes, if you're looking for a "definitive answer" to this conundrum, I can't give you one, and those who do I am usually skeptical over.

With that, though, there is one passage in the New Testament that I find particularly helpful, even if I also think it is the most ignored amongst Christians:

"Owe nothing to anyone, except to love one another; for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. The commandments, 'You shall not commit adultery; you shall not kill; you shall not steal; you shall not covet,' and whatever other commandment there may be, are summed up in this saying, (namely) 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' Love does no evil to the neighbor; hence, love is the fulfillment of the law." -- Romans 13:8-10

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Old 01-05-2004, 12:54 PM   #12
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Very nicely put everyone!

You know what? A girl at work was at a wedding last week, and they were some sort of fundamentalist couple (who were probably marrying at 19 so they could have sex!) anyway, at the wedding the speeches were not about the couple but about their religion. The couple actually announced to the guests that they were so glad their parents had put them on the "right path" and that everyone else who was not on this "true path" was going to hell. NICE!!

But anyway.....thank you for your comforting words, everyone!
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Old 01-05-2004, 07:14 PM   #13
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A good place to start is say the Nicene Creed. This is more or less the basic points of Christianity which nearly all mainline Christian denominations follow. Personally I find the whole denominational thing silly as it is almost all disagreements are over form, and methodolgy and emphasis. Back in the first several centuries after Christ there were hundreds of varying Christianities. Eventually the form which is expressed in the Nicene creed and which most modern Christians follow supplanted the others partially by honest debate and partly (well largely to be honest) by a lot of very unChristian actions (there's a reason why there aren't Arian Christians around anymore). The Church has always be made up of people, many of whom were debateable Christians at best (the Popes from around 900 come to mind, one was so bad that Christians everywhere prayed for his death - sounds bad until you read on about how he murded his Cardinals and kept a harem if I recall correctly, others in all stations from peasant farmer to king were less obvious). Humans are fallible and many crimes have been done in the nameof God, by people who in their hearts somehow belived they were doing God's work. This does not make the message false, it just means that many simply didn't get it right.

I'd be wary of any denomination that says it has the lock on salvation. As I said all the major denominations agree pretty much on teh basics, so anyone who says they are the only ones who is right are either part of a minority group or don't know anything about their denomination (if you've visited the corrupt Christian music thread you'll have seen those nut jobs who insist that Catholics and Episcopaleans aren't Christian).
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Old 01-05-2004, 08:05 PM   #14
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So you don't have to look it up, here is the Nicene Creed:

We believe in one God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible.

And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God, begotten of the Father before all worlds, God of God, Light of Light, Very God of Very God, begotten, not made, being of one substance with the Father by whom all things were made; who for us men, and for our salvation, came down from heaven, and was incarnate by the Holy Spirit of the Virgin Mary, and was made man, and was crucified also for us under Pontius Pilate. He suffered and was buried, and the third day he rose again according to the Scriptures, and ascended into heaven, and sitteth on the right hand of the Father. And he shall come again with glory to judge both the quick and the dead, whose kingdom shall have no end.

And we believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord and Giver of Life, who proceedeth from the Father and the Son, who with the Father and the Son together is worshipped and glorified, who spoke by the prophets. And we believe one holy catholic and apostolic Church. We acknowledge one baptism for the remission of sins. And we look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come. Amen.



The Apostles Creed would be useful as well:

I believe in God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth.

And in Jesus Christ his only Son our Lord; who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead, and buried; he descended into hell; the third day he rose again from the dead; he ascended into heaven, and sitteth on the right hand of God the Father Almighty; from thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Ghost; the holy catholic Church; the communion of saints; the forgiveness of sins; the resurrection of the body; and the life everlasting. AMEN.

Creeds have been developed to address theological challenges of the time. They are not inspired, but are the result of theologians wrestling with specific issues.
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Old 01-07-2004, 01:18 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally posted by Mrs. Edge


You know what? A girl at work was at a wedding last week, and they were some sort of fundamentalist couple (who were probably marrying at 19 so they could have sex!) anyway, at the wedding the speeches were not about the couple but about their religion. The couple actually announced to the guests that they were so glad their parents had put them on the "right path" and that everyone else who was not on this "true path" was going to hell. NICE!!
That sounds like 98% of the people at my (undergrad) university and a large portion of my high school. One church I went to considered it a sin to kiss anyone (even on the cheek!) before marriage and when they found out a couple there (in their early twenties) had had sex before marriage, they pressured them to get married and forced them to stand up and confess to what they did in front of the whole church (a few hundred people).
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