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How Can a Person Believe in a God Like That? A Guest Post by SANDRA

What if you just don't fit in with the crowd?

What if you just don’t fit in with the crowd?

What a mixture of topics we have at this blog. It strikes me anew this morning, Blog-Buddies.

I was just about to give you an invitation. And, hey, I’m still going to….

Like me, you may think it would be a good idea to help more people find this blog. Well, here’s something you might do.

If you have friends or family members who are excited about the Academy Awards show this Sunday night, how about sending them a link to one of our articles with an Aura Reading Movie Review?

On the other hand, you might not choose to send friends a link to the following guest post. Because this whole theme of what is Christian versus what’s merely “Christian,” etc. could be THE most controversial topic ever discussed here at the blog.

Unquestionably it takes courage to think for yourself when the stakes are as high as the sky… and beyond. Yet every one of you Blog-Buddies has done that, haven’t you?

Maybe your religious journey has been peaceable and supportive, like KIRAs — as recounted in her Comments 22-37 (mixed in with other people’s excellent comments as well) at Might I Have Any Impact on the “Christians” in My Family — Besides Puzzling Them? A Guest Post by IRENE .

But maybe you have struggled, more like IRENE and — as you’ll learn in today’s guest post, RES Practitioner SANDRA HAERING. A woman who lives in Eden Prairie, for heaven’s sake!

Incidentally, editing today’s article, I will continue my editorial practice of placing the word “Christian” in quotes to signify those who define Jesus’ teachings in a very particular manner, one that some folks might find quite unrecognizeable from what he taught.

Am I Christian or Not?

First: I have, at times, considered myself a Christian.

Most “Christians,” however, would say I am not one of them, because I don’t believe everything in the Bible.  I also see truths in other religions.

For me Christianity is following the wisdom and guidance of Jesus.

So when I refer to “Christians” in this post, I am referring to those who have a narrow view of what a Christian is.

Rose’s reading of Justice Scalia’s aura highlighted, for me, how Christians fit their concept of hell into their human lives.

Hellfire Spiked with Malice

In the case of Scalia, he took some enjoyment out of people getting their just rewards by being consigned to hell. Eternally.

I have seen this troubling aspect in “Christians” from time to time, but more frequently I see “Christians” responding the way Irene so eloquently described in her blog post.

My family is just the same as Irene’s.

I also have a couple of evangelical friends who still hang out with me; and on occasion, biblical retribution comes up.

One of my friends was distressed because her son and daughter-in-law were not raising her grandchildren as “Christians.”

She actually believed that God would condemn her beautiful, sweet grandchildren to hell!

At the same time, she was a true believer in God.

How can a person believe in a God like that? A God like that just sounds like a particularly evil human being.

How to Live Simultaneously as a Christian and a “Christian”?

It seems obvious to me that one way to deal with these conflicting beliefs is through spiritual disconnect from God. It is no wonder that so many Christian leaders live in what Rose calls “Spiritual Shutdown.”

About my friend: I tried to use bits of the Bible, Jesus’ example, and reasoning to calm her fears for her grandchildren.

Who knows?  Maybe that’s why she is still friends with me.

 

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  1. 1
    Isabella C. says:

    I love what you shared here, Sandra, especially your take on friendship, which I would like to hear more about, if you’ve got anything else to say there.

  2. 2
    Sandra says:

    Isabella, I don’t share all of my spiritual beliefs with this friend, and she doesn’t try to convert me.

    Sometimes I feel a little sad that she wouldn’t understand my relationship with God. But we have been friends for 45 years, so we give each other a pass!

  3. 3
    Irene says:

    Sandra, this is so similar to my experience. I find that most “Christians” I know want to ignore their belief that “I’m going to hell” since it makes them feel sad.

    I don’t usually talk to them about it but I sometimes get the impression that it can also trigger confusion and doubt, since they know I’m a pretty nice person and so why would God want to send me to hell. It’s easier to just not think about that at all.

  4. 4
    Irene says:

    I have one close friend from way back, and we do what you describe in #2 and we just don’t share all our beliefs anymore.

  5. 5
    Sandra says:

    Irene, again you have expressed what it’s like to be friends with a “Christian” so very well.

    Every once in a while a “Christian” friend will be unable to hold down this doubt. Their belief causes them too much pain, and they may look for comfort from you.

  6. 6

    Thanks so much for all these comments, adorning a so-compassionate guest post related to religion, friendship, and so much more.

  7. 7

    Two quotes have made me laugh today, Blog-Buddies. Neither is related to this blog post, but I’ll share them here since it’s our latest thread, just in case you could use a laugh or two.

    A new one from Donald Trump, “I love poorly educated people.”

    And from Ringo Starr, commenting on his fellow Beatle of yesteryear. “Paul McCartney is pleasantly insincere.”

  8. 8
    David B says:

    Someone once close to me got involved in a “Christian” church when she was a teenager. Her life revolved around it. Then a bum decided he wanted to marry her. Men rule, so it was not her choice. When she declined, they threw her out of the “church”. Her friends all treated her like poison thereafter.

    In retrospect, it was a good thing she broke away. But it left an aversion to spirituality for her.

  9. 9
    Kira says:

    My singing partner was brought up in an evangelical household and considered himself a Christian when I first met him.

    Since I met him as part of science fiction fandom, which tends to be a haven for those with divergent beliefs and lifestyles, I was a little surprised to learn some of his beliefs at first; but he never struck me as intolerant of other friends in the group.

  10. 10
    Kira says:

    I wasn’t close enough friends with him at the time to have discussed his exact beliefs on hell and who goes there, so perhaps he was never all the way in that camp, but there was a public email exchange some years ago on our SF group mailing list between him and another friend who is into BDSM that indicated he was in fact concerned that that friend was potentially going to hell.

  11. 11
    Kira says:

    As we got closer as friends during years of working on plays together, I noticed he seemed to be less and less concerned about potential “transgressions” that he himself might be committing.

    Other than that one memorable email exchange, he had always seemed pretty “live and let live” as far as others were concerned anyway.

  12. 12
    Kira says:

    As his singing partner, I was one of the first people he told when he came out as atheist.

    We didn’t talk at length about the change, but he basically came to the conclusion that is the title of Sandra’s post here.

    I think her observation about dealing with conflicting beliefs leading to spiritual disconnect or shutdown is most likely what happened to him.

  13. 13
    Kira says:

    He has since come out as atheist to his family and friends at large. His family accepts him; I don’t know how they reconcile it to their satisfaction, but they love him.

    Most of his friends are in the science fiction community and extremely tolerant of differences compared to the general population.

    I don’t know if he lost any friends over changing his beliefs. I know he was very involved in his church of origin, at least on a human level (objective reality church management), for many years.

  14. 14
    Kira says:

    I do have a funny anecdote about this:

    Since I was one of the first people he came out to about being atheist, I needed to avoid telling anyone else until he came out to them, and he told me on our way to a science fiction convention together.

    One of our mutual friends was talking to me at the convention and said, “We need to find [our friend] a nice Christian girl.” It was all I could do to avoid reacting to that.

  15. 15

    Fascinating comments, KIRA. Thank you.

  16. 16
    Kira says:

    I think he’s the only close friend I’ve had who was brought up in an evangelical Christian household, and I don’t know the full details of their beliefs, although I’ve been told at least some of his family are highly conservative politically and enjoy Fox News.

  17. 17
    Kira says:

    I did in high school have a boyfriend who was perhaps even more fundamentalist in his and his family’s beliefs, and I was so low in self-esteem at the time that while I worried about the potential difficulties, I didn’t do anything about it myself.

    I was relieved when he stopped calling me of his own accord. (It was a long-distance relationship for a teenager who didn’t drive; he lived an hour away and didn’t go to my school.)

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