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Alasan Meninggalkan Gereja

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Alasan Meninggalkan Gereja

Post by Penyaran on Sun Mar 10, 2013 2:27 pm

Penelitian lima tahunan tentang peluang dan tantangan pembangunan keimanan di kalangan pemuda Kristen yang dilakukan oleh The Barna Group menyebutkan, ada 6 faktor yang menyebabkan anak-anak muda malas pergi ke gereja.

Menurut anak-anak muda di Amerika Serikat, sebagaimana dilansir dalam laman situs Barna, gereja kelihatan overprotective. Seperempat dari anak muda berusia 18-29 tahun mengatakan, “Ajaran Kristen menganggap buruk semua yang di luar gereja.” Sekitar 22% menilai, “gereja mengabaikan masalah yang ada di kehidupan nyata.” Sedangkan 18% anak muda bilang bahwa gereja terlalu khawatir akan bahaya film, musik dan video games.

Alasan kedua para pemuda meningalkan gereja adalah karena pengalaman mereka selama berada di gereja kurang berkesan. “Gereja membosankan,” kata 31% pemuda. “Iman Kristen tidak sesuai dengan kebutuhan dan karir saya,” kata 24% anak-anak muda usia itu. “Cara pengajaran Bibel tidak jelas,” kata 23% pemuda. Dan yang lebih parah, 20% pemuda mengaku tidak merasakan kehadiran Tuhan di gereja.

Faktor ketiga yang membuat pemuda enggan pergi ke gereja adalah karena ajaran kristen anti ilmu pengetahuan. “Umat Kristen terlalu merasa percaya diri bahwa mereka serba tahu,” kata 35% pemuda. Menurut tiga dari sepuluh pemuda, gereja melepaskan diri dari dunia ilmiah di mana mereka hidup. Sementara ¼ pemuda lainnya merasa gereja anti ilmu pengetahuan. Sedangkan 23% dari mereka merasa “telah dimatikan dengan adanya perdebatan paham penciptaan versus evolusi.” Tidak sedikit anak-anak muda yang harus berjuang keras mempertahankan keyakinan terhadap ajaran Kristen sekaligus menjalani kehidupan profesional mereka di industri yang berhubungan dengan sains.

Faktor keempat, gereja memandang masalah seksual secara simplistik dan menghakimi. Di satu sisi para pemuda ingin menikamti kehidupan seks, mengakses materi-materi pornografi, tetapi di sisi lain gereja menyuruh mereka untuk menjaga kesuciannya. Jika melakukan kesalahan, para pemuda merasa gereja menghakimi mereka. Sementara bagi 40% pemuda, pengajaran gereja soal masalah seks dan pengendalian kelahiran dinilai ketinggalan zaman.

Faktor kelima, gereja dinilai eksklusif. Pemuda Amerika yang dibesarkan dalam budaya mengagungkan pemikiran terbuka, toleransi dan penerimaan, harus berhadapan dengan gereja yang eksklusif. Seperlima pemuda mengatakan, “Gereja seperti country club, yang hanya diperuntukkan bagi orang dalam.” Sebanyak 29% pemuda mengatakan bahwa gereja takut dengan agama lain. Banyak pemuda merasa dipaksa untuk memilih antara teman atau agamanya.

Faktor terakhir yang membuat pemuda tidak mau pergi ke gereja adalah karena gereja tidak ramah terhadap orang-orang yang meragukanya. Para pemuda merasa tidak aman untuk mengakui bahwa kadang-kadang ajaran Kristen tidak masuk akal. Mereka tidak bisa mengungkapkan berbagai pertanyaan yang terpendam tentang gereja dan ajarannya. Para pemuda (23%) tidak bisa mengungkapkan keraguan ilmiah atas agamanya itu. Ada juga yang merasa bahwa keimanannya pada ajaran Kristen tidak bisa membantu mengatasi depresi atau masalah mental yang dihadapinya.

http://www.voa-islam.com/lintasberita/hidayatullah/2012/01/20/17484/6-alasan-anak-muda-ogah-ke-gereja/

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Re: Alasan Meninggalkan Gereja

Post by Penyaran on Sun Mar 10, 2013 2:32 pm

Seorang peserta seminar terbuka Latihan Rohani di Kolese Kanisius, 23 Juni 2012 kemarin mengungkapkan adanya gejala jumlah umat Katolik yang semakin berkurang. Dikatakan bahwa hal ini terjadi mungkin karena harapan umat tidak dipenuhi Gereja. “Harapan umat Katolik banyak, namun Gereja tidak mampu memenuhi harapan tersebut. Adakah yang salah dengan kurikulum pendidikan calon imam?”, ungkap salah seorang peserta.

Romo Deshi Ramadhani, SJ, dosen STF Driyarkara dan sekaligus rektor Kolese Hermanum menunjuk tiga hal yang membuat umat Katolik meninggalkan Gereja.

Pertama, khotbah. Seringkali khotbah para imam tidak menarik. Namun dikatakan oleh Romo Deshi bahwa sebenarnya khotbah bukan menjadi unsur penting dalam sebuah perayaan ekaristi. Tidak heran, misalnya, kuliah “homiliteka” yang mengajarkan para calon imam berkhotbah tidak banyak diberikan dibandingkan dengan mata kuliah yang lain. Khotbah yang tidak menarik membuat umat lari dari Gereja Katolik.

Kedua, Liturgi. Liturgi dalam Gereja Katolik acapkali dipandang tidak menarik. Masih terjadi diskusi dan perdebatan tentang lagu apa saja yang boleh dipakai dalam perayaan liturgi. Bahkan terjemahan dalam doa Bapa Kami juga masih menjadi perdebatan mengenai mana yang benar “Jadilah kehendak-Mu di atas bumi seperti di dalam Surga” ataukah “Jadilah kehendak-Mu di atas bumi dan di dalam Surga.” Artinya, seringkali terjadi perdebatan dan polemik yang “kurang penting.” Oleh karena itu, beberapa orang Katolik mulai bosan dan mencari liturgi yang lebih dinamis dan menarik.

Ketiga, Komunitas. Yang sering terjadi adalah: umat yang datang tidak disapa, umat yang tidak datang tidak dicari. Pernahkah kita mengenal umat yang duduk di sebelah kita, kendati tiap minggu kita ketemu? Pernahkah kita saling bertukar nomor HP dengan mereka yang duduk di sebelah kita? Aroma “tidak hangat” di antara umat Katolik inilah yang acapkali membuat orang tidak krasan lagi menjadi bagian Gereja Katolik. Mereka mencari komunitas lain yang lebih “hangat.”

Seminar terbuka Latihan Rohani tersebut berlangsung di Kolese Kanisius, 23 Juni 2012. Seminar yang dihadiri sekitar 80 peserta dari berbagai kalangan umat ini diadakan atas inisiatif PERHATI (Perkumpulan Harapan Tunas Indonesia) dan menghadirkan Romo Prof. Dr. Franz Magnis Suseno, SJ dan Dr. Deshi Ramadhani, SJ, sebagai pembicara. Keduanya dosen STF Driyarkara Jakarta. Sumber ketiga dari kalangan awam, yakni Boen Kosasih, yang pernah retret Latihan Rohani selama sebulan. Acara ini dimoderatori oleh Romo In Nugroho, SJ dari Kolese Kanisius Jakarta.

Seminar ini menjadi salah satu mata rantai gerakan Yesuit provinsi Indonesia untuk membentuk jaringan, yang diharapkan ikut memikirkan dukungan bagi karya-karya Serikat Yesus di Indonesia. Selanjutnya, PERHATI akan mengadakan acara retret/rekoleksi dengan tema “Memberikan diri untuk Misi Rekonsiliasi” pada hari Sabtu, 28 Juli 2012 dan “Fund Raising is about restoring the web of relationships” pada hari Sabtu 17 November 2012 di Jakarta. Sedangkan di Yogyakarta juga akan diadakan acara yang sama masing-masing pada hari Minggu, 29 Juli dan Sabtu, 24 November.

http://www.sesawi.net/2012/06/26/inilah-tiga-alasan-umat-katolik-tinggalkan-gereja/

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Re: Alasan Meninggalkan Gereja

Post by Penyaran on Sun Mar 10, 2013 2:36 pm

From time to time I revisit the question: why are young adults walking away from religion? Although the answer(s) vary from person to person, there are some general trends that I think apply in most cases.

In the list below, when I refer to "we," "I" or "me," I'm referring to younger adults in general, and not necessarily myself.

We've Been Hurt: I can actually include myself in this one personally. Sometimes the hurtful act is specific, like when my youth leader threw a Bible at me for asking the wrong questions. Sometimes it's rhetorical, either from the pulpit, in a small group study or over a meal. Sometimes it's physical, taking the form of sexual abuse or the like. But millions claim a wound they can trace back to church that has never healed. Why? In part, because the church rarely seeks forgiveness.

Adult Life/College and Church Don't Seem to Mix: There are the obvious things, like scheduling activities on Sunday mornings (hint: young people tend to go out on Saturday nights), but there's more to it. In college, and before that by our parents, we're taught to explore the world, broaden our horizons, think critically, question everything and figure out who we are as individuals. Though there's value in this, it's hyper-individualistic. But Church is more about community. In many ways, it represents, fairly or not, sameness, conformity and a "check your brain at the door" ethos. This stands in opposition to what the world is telling us is important at this time in life.

Perhaps an emphasis on a year of community service after high school would be a natural bridge to ameliorate some of this narcissism we're building in to ourselves.

There's No Natural Bridge to Church: Most teenagers leave home, either for college, to travel, work or whatever after high school. With the bad economy, this number is fewer, but it's a general trend. But the existing model of church still depends on the assumption that communities are relatively static, and that the church is at the center of that community. Not so anymore. When I went to college, I was contacted by fraternities, campus activity groups and credit card companies, but not one church. The only connection I had with religion was the ridiculous guy who (literally) stood on a box with a bullhorn in the union garden and yelled at us about our sinful ways. I could have used support in how to deal with my own finances for the first time. I could have used a built-in network of friends. I would have loved a care package, an invitation for free pizza at the local restaurant or help with my laundry. What I got was the goof with the bullhorn.

We're Distracted: I shared a video by Diana Butler Bass in a recent post about a priest who took his Ash Wednesday service out onto the street. When people saw him, they reacted as if they had been shaken out of a deep sleep. "It's Ash Wednesday!" they said with surprise as they asked for the ashes. "Lent is starting!" It simply wasn't on their radar. It's not that we don't care; we have so many things competing for our limited time and attention that the passive things that don't offer an immediate "interrupt" get relegated to the "later" pile. And we rarely ever get to the "later" pile, which leads me to the next point.

We're Skeptical: We're exposed to more ad impressions in a month today than any other previous generation experienced in a lifetime. I'm sitting in a hotel room writing this, and in this room (which I paid for in part to have privacy), I see more than a dozen marketing messages. If I turn on the TV, they're there. Pick up my phone, they're there. Online...you get the point. So whereas generations before us expended energy seeking information out, now it comes at us in such overwhelming volumes that we spend at least the same amount of energy filtering things out. This leads to somewhat of a calcifying of the senses, always assuming that whoever is trying to get your attention wants something, just like everyone else.

We're Exhausted: I was lumped in as pat of the Generation X group, also known as the Slacker Generation. This implied, of course, that we were lazy and unmotivated. But consider how many of us go to college, compared to generations before us. And consider that the baseline standard for family economics requires a two-income revenue stream to live in any level of the middle class. Debt and credit are givens, and working full-time while also trying to maintain a marriage, raise kids, have friends and -- God forbid -- have some time left for ourselves leaves us with less than nothing. We're always running a deficit. So when you ask me to set aside more time and more money for church, you're trying to tap already empty reserves.

I Don't Get It: Young adults today are the most un-churched generation in a long time. In many cases, it's not that we're walking away from church; we never went in. From what I can tell from the outside, there's not much relevance to my life in there, and I'm not about to take the risk of walking through the door to find out otherwise.

I've tried to offer insight into what might be done about a few of these issues as I went, but I invite you also to sit with the tension of not having the answers. Better yet, seek some young adults out, ask them if they relate to these. And see if they have ideas about what you (maybe not even "church" but you) can do to help relieve some of the challenges.

I think the conversation that follows might pleasantly surprise you.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/christian-piatt/seven-reasons-why-young-a_b_1338159.html

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Re: Alasan Meninggalkan Gereja

Post by Penyaran on Thu Apr 04, 2013 2:00 pm

"Mengapa anak-anak yang tumbuh di gereja cenderung meninggalkan gereja? Apa yang bisa kita lakukan tentang hal itu? " Pertanyaan ini sering menjadi pergumulan tidak hanya bagi para pelayan yang berkecimpung dalam dunia pelayanan anak muda, atau majelis atau hamba Tuhan.

Ini menjadi pertanyaan juga dari para orang btua yang ingin anaknya tetap ke mgereja atau kembali ke gereja. Seorang blogger di Christian Post Michael Greiner juga bergumul dengan pertanyaan yang sama bertahun-tahun dan dian menemukan beberapa beberapa alasan :

Alasan 1: Mereka pergi kuliah. Ini agak sederhana, lulusan sekolah menengah yang akan lanjut ke universitas otomatis akan berpindah tempat tinggal.

Alasan 2: Mereka tidak mengenal Yesus. Sewaktu kecil mereka mungkin hanya ikut-ikutan ke gereja dan ketika mereka besar iman ini seperti ini mudah luntur.

Alasan 3: Mereka menabur gandum liar mereka. Kita mungkin tidak ingin mengakui hal ini, tetapi anak-anak muda Kristen ingin mencoba gaya hidup duniawi untuk sementara waktu. Jika mereka mengenal Yesus, mereka akhirnya akan jatuh dan terbakar dan Gembala akan membawa mereka kembali.

Alasan 4: Orang tua mereka adalah orang-orang munafik. Anak-anak melihat bahwa tidak ada sukacita yang nyata, tidak ada integritas nyata untuk iman orang tua mereka, sehingga mereka menolak ke gereja.

Alasan 5: Tradisi Gereja membuatnya bosan. Seorang dewasa muda mungkin menjadi orang Kristen sejati, tetapi merasa bosan sehingga ia mengambil waktu istirahat dari gereja untuk sementara waktu, menunggu sesuatu yang menarik baginya.

Alasan 6: Gereja tidak memiliki keinginan untuk membangkitkan para pemimpin muda atau memperlakukan mereka sebagai orang dewasa. Ini adalah halus, tak terucapkan, tapi nyata. Ketika mereka menambahkan "darah baru," usia minimumnya 45

Alasan 7: Orangtua anak gagal mengajarkan anak-anak mereka untuk mengatasi kesulitan hidup melalui doa dan penerapan Firman.

Alasan 8: Gereja tidak memperkenalkan anak-anak untuk proses keanggotaan seiring mereka tumbuh menjadi dewasa. Sebaliknya, kita sering beranggapan bahwa mereka adalah anggota karena mereka dibesarkan di gereja.

http://inspirazio.blogspot.com/2012/08/8-alasan-mengapa-anak-muda-meninggalkan.html

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Re: Alasan Meninggalkan Gereja

Post by Penyaran on Thu Apr 04, 2013 2:02 pm

Jika Anda seorang pendeta atau gembala sebuah gereja, Anda PASTI tahu bagaimana rasanya ketika ada panggilan telepon, janji, atau kabar berhembus. “Kami meninggalkan gereja.”
Hal seperti ini sudah lazim terjadi, di gereja mana saja hal ini selalu saja terjadi. Apa yang menyebabkan ini terjadi. Mengapa orang keluar atau meninggalkan gereja?

1. Kadang-kadang orang keluar karena KESALAHPAHAMAN. Beberapa orang yang meninggalkan gereja pada tahun-tahun awal berpendapat bahwa komunitas itu berbeda dari yang lazim. Beberapa orang tidak dapat memahami visi atau membanding-bandingkan gerejanya yang kurang nyaman dengan gereja lain yang nyaman yang pernah dia hadiri.

2.Beberapa orang keluar karena PELANGGARAN. Seorang wanita pernah mengatakan pada saya bahwa keluarganya meninggalkan gereja karena saya tidak mengakui suaminya. Sejujurnya, saya tidak bisa mengingat salah satu dari mereka, tapi mereka telah meninggalkan kesan pada dirinya, sehingga mereka pergi. Sering kali mereka tersinggung dengan orang lain dalam gereja dan daripada menghadapi masalah ini, mereka pergi begitu saja.

3. Beberapa orang keluar karena RASA TERTARIK DENGAN HAL BARU MULAI MENURUN. Hubungan jangka panjang sulit untuk dipertahankan, baik itu dalam pernikahan, persahabatan, atau hubungan gereja. Tidak ada hal-hal baru dalam gereja itu, kalau dulu bisa “movement” sekarang tinggal “monumen” saja. Tidak ada terobosan baru yang menarik begitu ungkap mereka.

4.Beberapa orang meninggalkan karena itu adalah KEHENDAK TUHAN. Mereka memiliki tugas baru, sebuah misi tertentu, atau tempat lain lebih cocok untuk musim kehidupan yang baru. Hampir semua orang yang meninggalkan gereja memilih nomor 4, dan untuk beberapa orang itu benar-benar bisa menjadi motivasi yang benar.

http://www.gmih.org/4-alasan-kenapa-orang-keluar-dari-gereja/

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Re: Alasan Meninggalkan Gereja

Post by SEGOROWEDI on Thu Apr 04, 2013 3:05 pm



alasan utama:
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Re: Alasan Meninggalkan Gereja

Post by Penyaran on Fri Apr 26, 2013 8:29 am

Facebook dan Twitter membuat umat ke gereja menurun

Ketua Komisi Kepemudaan Konferensi Waligereja Filipina mengatakan bahwa dampak internet, situs-situs seperti Facebook dan televisi dipersalahkan karena menjadi penyebab penurunan kehadiran umat di gereja.

Pastor Kunegundo Garganta mengatakan bahwa internet telah menjadi sebuah “cyber” di mana remaja tidak menghadiri Misa atau ke gereja.

“[Orang muda] cenderung percaya bahwa apa yang ditawarkan di internet adalah benar,” katanya dalam sebuah wawancara di Manila.

Media sosial, khususnya media sosial seperti Facebook dan Twitter telah menjadi tantangan besar bagi Gereja karena media tersebut menjadi lebih relevan dan menginspirasi umat, tambahnya.

Ia juga menilai bahwa media sosial masih belum digunakan secara efektif dalam upaya untuk evangelisasi.

Sebuah survei terbaru yang dilakukan melalui jajak pendapat oleh Social Weather Stations mengungkapkan bahwa kehadiran umat di gereja pada Misa mingguan khususnya di kalangan orang dewasa Katolik di Filipina menurun dari 64 persen pada Juli 1991 menjadi 37 persen pada Februari 2013.

Survei itu juga mencatat bahwa satu dari setiap 11 umat Katolik Filipina berpikir untuk meninggalkan Gereja.

Imam aktivis Robert Reyes mengatakan survei itu muncul untuk menunjukkan penurunan umat dalam Misa. Tren itu dikaitkan dengan “homili para imam yang membosankan”.

http://www.abs-cbnnews.com/nation/04/18/13/social-media-also-blamed-lower-church-attendance

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Re: Alasan Meninggalkan Gereja

Post by Penyaran on Sun May 12, 2013 10:59 pm

Americans Abandon Christianity, Study Shows

January 13th, 2009 by George Whitten

By Mary Priddy

HUNTSVILLE, ALABAMA (Worthy News) — More than half of Americans no longer consider Christianity as the nation's main religion while one in three Christians say "Jesus sinned while He was on earth," a new study claims.

The Barna Research Group, a leading Christian polling institute, says half of the adults interviewed for its nationwide survey agree that Christianity is no longer automatically accepted by Americans as their personal faith; 44 percent "disagrees", and six percent isn't sure.

Yet, even those calling themselves Christians no longer accept Christian teachings, according to the study obtained by Worthy News Tuesday, January 13.

One quarter of American Christians "dismiss" the idea that the Bible is accurate, almost half agree that Satan does not exist, and one-third say that "Jesus sinned" while he was on earth.

That contradicts Christian teaching which says Satan exists and although Jesus was without sin, He died for the sins of this world before his resurrection, so everyone who believes in Him as everlasting life.

SHARING FAITH

In addition, two-fifths of those questioned say they do not have the responsibility to share the Christian faith with others, according to the study.

Despite the controversy, three out of four Americans say their "religious faith," whether Christian or other, has become "more vital" to them than in their past "as a foundation of objective and unfailing moral judgment."

There are over 200 Christian denominations in the United States, but the Barna Research Group study reveals that over 60 percent of Americans, including many 'born-again Christians' no longer look at churches or denominations to offer theological teachings.

Especially young Americans (82 percent) of 24 or younger believe that individuals should customize their believe as they see fit, the study shows.

Researcher George Barna suggests that the Christian faith "has become a faith that is defined through individualism." In a statement obtained by Worthy News, he also said that, "Americans are comfortable picking and choosing what their religious beliefs should be from the Bible and are disregarding the rest of the Bible. Many Americans are their own Theologian."

'GOOD DEEDS'

He is concerned that "Americans are holding on too their own random beliefs and not the whole picture, so to say. Of those individuals many believe that if you perform enough good deeds then that is enough to get you into Heaven."

Barna says the survey shows Americans are moving away from Christianity. "In America’s past when most people were making up their mind which religious road to take for their lives, the answer was always Christianity. Today Americans are offering up non religious points of views against Christians points of views."

He says this has resulted in "overwhelming worldwide views based on individuals' personal combination of spirituality, drawn from different world religions such as Christianity, Islam, Judaism, and Buddhism."

Barna warns that with Americans spending less time studying the Bible, "people are instead embracing the views of self reflection, dialogue, and observation instead of teaching. Many people now base their faith on their emotions."

http://www.worthynews.com/3648-americans-abandon-christianity-study-shows

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Re: Alasan Meninggalkan Gereja

Post by Penyaran on Sun May 12, 2013 11:01 pm

20 Reasons to Abandon Christianity
by Chaz Bufe

This pamphlet briefly looks at many of the reasons that Christianity is undesirable from both a personal and a social point of view. All of the matters discussed here have been dealt with elsewhere at greater length, but that’s beside the point: the purpose of 20 Reasons to Abandon Christianity is to list the most outstanding misery-producing and socially destructive qualities of Christianity in one place. When considered in toto, they lead to an irresistible conclusion: that Christianity must be abandoned, for the sake of both personal happiness and social progress.

As regards the title, "abandon"—rather than "suppress" or "do away with"—was chosen deliberately. Attempts to coercively suppress beliefs are not only ethically wrong, but in the long run they are often ineffective—as the recent resurgence of religion in the former Soviet Union demonstrates. If Christianity is ever to disappear, it will be because individual human beings wake up, abandon their destructive, repressive beliefs, and choose life, choose to be here now.
1. Christianity is based on fear. While today there are liberal clergy who preach a gospel of love, they ignore the bulk of Christian teachings, not to mention the bulk of Christian history. Throughout almost its entire time on Earth, the motor driving Christianity has been—in addition to the fear of death—fear of the devil and fear of hell. One can only imagine how potent these threats seemed prior to the rise of science and rational thinking, which have largely robbed these bogeys of their power to inspire terror. But even today, the existence of the devil and hell are cardinal doctrinal tenets of almost all Christian creeds, and many fundamentalist preachers still openly resort to terrorizing their followers with lurid, sadistic portraits of the suffering of nonbelievers after death. This is not an attempt to convince through logic and reason; it is not an attempt to appeal to the better nature of individuals; rather, it is an attempt to whip the flock into line through threats, through appeals to a base part of human nature—fear and cowardice.

2. Christianity preys on the innocent. If Christian fear-mongering were directed solely at adults, it would be bad enough, but Christians routinely terrorize helpless children through grisly depictions of the endless horrors and suffering they’ll be subjected to if they don’t live good Christian lives. Christianity has darkened the early years of generation after generation of children, who have lived in terror of dying while in mortal sin and going to endless torment as a result. All of these children were trusting of adults, and they did not have the ability to analyze what they were being told; they were simply helpless victims, who, ironically, victimized following generations in the same manner that they themselves had been victimized. The nearly 2000 years of Christian terrorizing of children ranks as one of its greatest crimes. And it’s one that continues to this day.

As an example of Christianity’s cruel brainwashing of the innocent, consider this quotation from an officially approved, 19th-century Catholic children’s book (Tracts for Spiritual Reading, by Rev. J. Furniss, C.S.S.R.):

Look into this little prison. In the middle of it there is a boy, a young man. He is silent; despair is on him . . . His eyes are burning like two burning coals. Two long flames come out of his ears. His breathing is difficult. Sometimes he opens his mouth and breath of blazing fire rolls out of it. But listen! There is a sound just like that of a kettle boiling. Is it really a kettle which is boiling? No; then what is it? Hear what it is. The blood is boiling in the scalding veins of that boy. The brain is boiling and bubbling in his head. The marrow is boiling in his bones. Ask him why he is thus tormented. His answer is that when he was alive, his blood boiled to do very wicked things.

There are many similar passages in this book. Commenting on it, William Meagher, Vicar-General of Dublin, states in his Approbation:

"I have carefully read over this Little Volume for Children and have found nothing whatever in it contrary to the doctrines of the Holy Faith; but on the contrary, a great deal to charm, instruct and edify the youthful classes for whose benefit it has been written."

3. Christianity is based on dishonesty. The Christian appeal to fear, to cowardice, is an admission that the evidence supporting Christian beliefs is far from compelling. If the evidence were such that Christianity’s truth was immediately apparent to anyone who considered it, Christians—including those who wrote the Gospels—would feel no need to resort to the cheap tactic of using fear-inducing threats to inspire "belief." ("Lip service" is a more accurate term.) That the Christian clergy have been more than willing to accept such lip service (plus the dollars and obedience that go with it) in place of genuine belief, is an additional indictment of the basic dishonesty of Christianity.

How deep dishonesty runs in Christianity can be gauged by one of the most popular Christian arguments for belief in God: Pascal’s wager. This "wager" holds that it’s safer to "believe" in God (as if belief were volitional!) than not to believe, because God might exist, and if it does, it will save "believers" and condemn nonbelievers to hell after death. This is an appeal to pure cowardice. It has absolutely nothing to do with the search for truth. Instead, it’s an appeal to abandon honesty and intellectual integrity, and to pretend that lip service is the same thing as actual belief. If the patriarchal God of Christianity really exists, one wonders how it would judge the cowards and hypocrites who advance and bow to this particularly craven "wager."

4. Christianity is extremely egocentric. The deep egocentrism of Christianity is intimately tied to its reliance on fear. In addition to the fears of the devil and hell, Christianity plays on another of humankind’s most basic fears: death, the dissolution of the individual ego. Perhaps Christianity’s strongest appeal is its promise of eternal life. While there is absolutely no evidence to support this claim, most people are so terrified of death that they cling to this treacly promise insisting, like frightened children, that it must be true. Nietzsche put the matter well: "salvation of the soul—in plain words, the world revolves around me." It’s difficult to see anything spiritual in this desperate grasping at straws—this desperate grasping at the illusion of personal immortality.

Another manifestation of the extreme egotism of Christianity is the belief that God is intimately concerned with picayune aspects of, and directly intervenes in, the lives of individuals. If God, the creator and controller of the universe, is vitally concerned with your sex life, you must be pretty damned important. Many Christians take this particular form of egotism much further and actually imagine that God has a plan for them, or that God directly talks to, directs, or even does favors for them.(1) If one ignored the frequent and glaring contradictions in this supposed divine guidance, and the dead bodies sometimes left in its wake, one could almost believe that the individuals making such claims are guided by God. But one can’t ignore the contradictions in and the oftentimes horrible results of following such "divine guidance." As "Agent Mulder" put it (perhaps paraphrasing Thomas Szasz) in a 1998 X-Files episode, "When you talk to God it’s prayer, but when God talks to you it’s schizophrenia. . . . God may have his reasons, but he sure seems to employ a lot of psychotics to carry out his job orders."

In less extreme cases, the insistence that one is receiving divine guidance or special treatment from God is usually the attempt of those who feel worthless—or helpless, adrift in an uncaring universe—to feel important or cared for. This less sinister form of egotism is commonly found in the expressions of disaster survivors that "God must have had a reason for saving me" (in contrast to their less-worthy-of-life fellow disaster victims, whom God—who controls all things—killed). Again, it’s very difficult to see anything spiritual in such egocentricity.

5. Christianity breeds arrogance, a chosen-people mentality. It’s only natural that those who believe (or play act at believing) that they have a direct line to the Almighty would feel superior to others. This is so obvious that it needs little elaboration. A brief look at religious terminology confirms it. Christians have often called themselves "God’s people," "the chosen people," "the elect," "the righteous," etc., while nonbelievers have been labeled "heathens," "infidels," and "atheistic Communists" (as if atheism and Communism are intimately connected). This sets up a two-tiered division of humanity, in which "God’s people" feel superior to those who are not "God’s people."

That many competing religions with contradictory beliefs make the same claim seems not to matter at all to the members of the various sects that claim to be the only carriers of "the true faith." The carnage that results when two competing sects of "God’s people" collide—as in Ireland and Palestine—would be quite amusing but for the suffering it causes.

6. Christianity breeds authoritarianism. Given that Christians claim to have the one true faith, to have a book that is the Word of God, and (in many cases) to receive guidance directly from God, they feel little or no compunction about using force and coercion to enforce "God’s Will" (which they, of course, interpret and understand). Given that they believe (or pretend) that they’re receiving orders from the Almighty (who would cast them into hell should they disobey), it’s little wonder that they feel no reluctance, and in fact are eager, to intrude into the most personal aspects of the lives of nonbelievers. This is most obvious today in the area of sex, with Christians attempting to deny women the right to abortion and to mandate near-useless abstinence-only sex "education" in the public schools. It’s also obvious in the area of education, with Christians attempting to force biology teachers to teach their creation myth (but not those of Hindus, Native Americans, et al.) in place of (or as being equally valid as) the very well established theory of evolution. But the authoritarian tendencies of Christianity reach much further than this.

Up until well into the 20th century in the United States and other Christian countries (notably Ireland), Christian churches pressured governments into passing laws forbidding the sale and distribution of birth control devices, and they also managed to enact laws forbidding even the description of birth control devices. This assault on free speech was part and parcel of Christianity’s shameful history of attempting to suppress "indecent" and "subversive" materials (and to throw their producers in jail or burn them alive). This anti-free speech stance of Christianity dates back centuries, with the cases of Galileo Galilei and Giordano Bruno (who was burnt alive) being good illustrations of it. Perhaps the most colorful example of this intrusive Christian tendency toward censorship is the Catholic Church’s Index of Prohibited Books, which dates from the 16th century and which was abandoned only in the latter part of the 20th century—not because the church recognized it as a crime against human freedom, but because it could no longer be enforced (not that it was ever systematically enforced—that was too big a job even for the Inquisition).

Christian authoritarianism extends, however, far beyond attempts to suppress free speech; it extends even to attempts to suppress freedom of belief. In the 15th century, under Ferdinand and Isabella at about the time of Columbus’s discovery of the New World, Spain’s Jews were ordered either to convert to Christianity or to flee the country; about half chose exile, while those who remained, the "Conversos," were favorite targets of the Inquisition. A few years later, Spain’s Muslims were forced to make a similar choice.

This Christian hatred of freedom of belief—and of individual freedom in general—extends to this day. Up until the late 19th century in England, atheists who had the temerity to openly advocate their beliefs were jailed. Even today in many parts of the United States laws still exist that forbid atheists from serving on juries or from holding public office. And it’s no mystery what the driving force is behind laws against victimless "crimes" such as nudity, sodomy, fornication, cohabitation, and prostitution.

If your nonintrusive beliefs or actions are not in accord with Christian "morality," you can bet that Christians will feel completely justified—not to mention righteous—in poking their noses (often in the form of state police agencies) into your private life.

7. Christianity is cruel. Throughout its history, cruelty—both to self and others—has been one of the most prominent features of Christianity. From its very start, Christianity, with its bleak view of life, its emphasis upon sexual sin, and its almost impossible-to-meet demands for sexual "purity," encouraged guilt, penance, and self-torture. Today, this self-torture is primarily psychological, in the form of guilt arising from following (or denying, and thus obsessing over) one’s natural sexual desires. In earlier centuries, it was often physical. W.E.H. Lecky relates:

For about two centuries, the hideous maceration of the body was regarded as the highest proof of excellence. . . . The cleanliness of the body was regarded as a pollution of the soul, and the saints who were most admired had become one hideous mass of clotted filth. . . . But of all the evidences of the loathsome excesses to which this spirit was carried, the life of St. Simeon Stylites is probably the most remarkable. . . . He had bound a rope around him so that it became embedded in his flesh, which putrefied around it. A horrible stench, intolerable to the bystanders, exhaled from his body, and worms dropped from him whenever he moved, and they filled his bed. . . . For a whole year, we are told, St. Simeon stood upon one leg, the other being covered with hideous ulcers, while his biographer [St. Anthony] was commissioned to stand by his side, to pick up the worms that fell from his body, and to replace them in the sores, the saint saying to the worms, "Eat what God has given you." From every quarter pilgrims of every degree thronged to do him homage. A crowd of prelates followed him to the grave. A brilliant star is said to have shone miraculously over his pillar; the general voice of mankind pronounced him to be the highest model of a Christian saint; and several other anchorites [Christian hermits] imitated or emulated his penances.

Given that the Bible nowhere condemns torture and sometimes prescribes shockingly cruel penalties (such as burning alive), and that Christians so wholeheartedly approved of self-torture, it’s not surprising that they thought little of inflicting appallingly cruel treatment upon others. At the height of Christianity’s power and influence, hundreds of thousands of "witches" were brutally tortured and burned alive under the auspices of ecclesiastical witch finders, and the Inquisition visited similarly cruel treatment upon those accused of heresy. Henry Charles Lea records:

Two hundred wretches crowded the filthy gaol and it was requisite to forbid the rest of the Conversos [Jews intimidated into converting to Christianity] from leaving the city [Jaen, Spain] without a license. With Diego’s assistance [Diego de Algeciras, a petty criminal and kept perjurer] and the free use of torture, on both accused and witnesses, it was not difficult to obtain whatever evidence was desired. The notary of the tribunal, Antonio de Barcena, was especially successful in this. On one occasion, he locked a young girl of fifteen in a room, stripped her naked and scourged her until she consented to bear testimony against her mother. A prisoner was carried in a chair to the auto da fe with his feet burnt to the bone; he and his wife were burnt alive . . . The cells in which the unfortunates were confined in heavy chains were narrow, dark, humid, filthy and overrun with vermin, while their sequestrated property was squandered by the officials, so that they nearly starved in prison while their helpless children starved outside.

While the torture and murder of heretics and "witches" is now largely a thing of the past, Christians can still be remarkably cruel. One current example is provided by the Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka, Kansas. Its members picket the funerals of victims of AIDS and gay bashings, brandishing signs reading, "God Hates Fags," "AIDS Cures Fags," and "Thank God for AIDS." The pastor of this church reportedly once sent a "condolence" card to the bereaved mother of an AIDS victim, reading "Another Dead Fag."(2) Christians are also at the forefront of those advocating vicious, life-destroying penalties for those who commit victimless "crimes," as well as being at the forefront of those who support the death penalty and those who want to make prison conditions even more barbaric than they are now.

But this should not be surprising coming from Christians, members of a religion that teaches that eternal torture is not only justified, but that the "saved" will enjoy seeing the torture of others. As St. Thomas Aquinas put it:

In order that the happiness of the saints may be more delightful and that they may give to God more copious thanks for it, they are permitted perfectly to behold the sufferings of the damned . . . The saints will rejoice in the punishment of the damned.

Thus the vision of heaven of Christianity’s greatest theologian is a vision of the sadistic enjoyment of endless torture.

8. Christianity is anti-intellectual, anti-scientific. For over a millennium Christianity arrested the development of science and scientific thinking. In Christendom, from the time of Augustine until the Renaissance, systematic investigation of the natural world was restricted to theological investigation—the interpretation of biblical passages, the gleaning of clues from the lives of the saints, etc.; there was no direct observation and interpretation of natural processes, because that was considered a useless pursuit, as all knowledge resided in scripture. The results of this are well known: scientific knowledge advanced hardly an inch in the over 1000 years from the rise of orthodox Christianity in the fourth century to the 1500s, and the populace was mired in the deepest squalor and ignorance, living in dire fear of the supernatural—believing in paranormal explanations for the most ordinary natural events. This ignorance had tragic results: it made the populace more than ready to accept witchcraft as an explanation for everything from illness to thunderstorms, and hundreds of thousands of women paid for that ignorance with their lives. One of the commonest charges against witches was that they had raised hailstorms or other weather disturbances to cause misfortune to their neighbors. In an era when supernatural explanations were readily accepted, such charges held weight—and countless innocent people died horrible deaths as a result. Another result was that the fearful populace remained very dependent upon Christianity and its clerical wise men for protection against the supernatural evils which they believed surrounded and constantly menaced them. For men and women of the Middle Ages, the walls veritably crawled with demons and witches; and their only protection from those evils was the church.

When scientific investigation into the natural world resumed in the Renaissance—after a 1000-year-plus hiatus—organized Christianity did everything it could to stamp it out. The cases of Copernicus and Galileo are particularly relevant here, because when the Catholic Church banned the Copernican theory (that the Earth revolves around the sun) and banned Galileo from teaching it, it did not consider the evidence for that theory: it was enough that it contradicted scripture. Given that the Copernican theory directly contradicted the Word of God, the Catholic hierarchy reasoned that it must be false. Protestants shared this view. John Calvin rhetorically asked, “Who will venture to place the authority of Copernicus above that of the Holy Spirit?”

More lately, the Catholic Church and the more liberal Protestant congregations have realized that fighting against science is a losing battle, and they’ve taken to claiming that there is no contradiction between science and religion. This is disingenuous at best. As long as Christian sects continue to claim as fact—without offering a shred of evidence beyond the anecdotal—that physically impossible events occurred (or are still occurring), the conflict between science and religion will remain. That many churchmen and many scientists seem content to let this conflict lie doesn’t mean that it doesn’t exist.

Today, however, the conflict between religion and science is largely being played out in the area of public school biology education, with Christian fundamentalists demanding that their creation myth be taught in place of (or along with) the theory of evolution in the public schools. Their tactics rely heavily on public misunderstanding of science. They nitpick the fossil record for its gaps (hardly surprising given that we inhabit a geologically and meteorologically very active planet), while offering absurd interpretations of their own which we’re supposed to accept at face value—such as that dinosaur fossils were placed in the earth by Satan to confuse humankind, or that Noah took baby dinosaurs on the ark.

They also attempt to take advantage of public ignorance of the nature of scientific theories. In popular use, “theory” is employed as a synonym for “hypothesis,” “conjecture,” or even “wild guess,” that is, it signifies an idea with no special merit or backing. The use of the term in science is quite different. There, “theory” refers to a well-developed, logically consistent explanation of a phenomenon, and an explanation that is consistent with observed facts. This is very different than a wild guess. But fundamentalists deliberately confuse the two uses of the term in an attempt to make their religious myth appear as valid as a well-supported scientific theory.

They also attempt to confuse the issue by claiming that those nonspecialists who accept the theory of evolution have no more reason to do so than they have in accepting their religious creation myth, or even that those who accept evolution do so on “faith.” Again, this is more than a bit dishonest.

Thanks to scientific investigation, human knowledge has advanced to the point where no one can know more than a tiny fraction of the whole. Even the most knowledgeable scientists often know little beyond their specialty areas. But because of the structure of science, they (and everyone else) can feel reasonably secure in accepting the theories developed by scientists in other disciplines as the best possible current explanations of the areas of nature those disciplines cover. They (and we) can feel secure doing this because of the structure of science, and more particularly, because of the scientific method. That method basically consists of gathering as much information about a phenomenon (both in nature and in the laboratory) as possible, then developing explanations for it (hypotheses), and then testing the hypotheses to see how well they explain the observed facts, and whether or not any of those observed facts are inconsistent with the hypotheses. Those hypotheses that are inconsistent with observed facts are discarded or modified, while those that are consistent are retained, and those that survive repeated testing are often labeled “theories,” as in “the theory of relativity” and “the theory of evolution.”

This is the reason that nonspecialists are justified in accepting scientific theories outside their disciplines as the best current explanations of observed phenomena: those who developed the theories were following standard scientific practice and reasoning—and if they deviate from that, other scientists will quickly call them to task.

No matter how much fundamentalists might protest to the contrary, there is a world of difference between “faith” in scientific theories (produced using the scientific method, and subject to near-continual testing and scrutiny) and faith in the entirely unsupported myths recorded 3000 years ago by slave-holding goat herders.

Nearly 500 years ago Martin Luther, in his Table Talk, stated: “Reason is the greatest enemy that faith has.” The opposite is also true.

9. Christianity has a morbid, unhealthy preoccupation with sex. For centuries, Christianity has had an exceptionally unhealthy fixation on sex, to the exclusion of almost everything else (except power, money, and the infliction of cruelty). This stems from the numerous "thou shalt nots" relating to sex in the Bible. That the Ten Commandments contain a commandment forbidding the coveting of one’s neighbor’s wife, but do not even mention slavery, torture, or cruelty—which were abundantly common in the time the Commandments were written— speaks volumes about their writer’s preoccupation with sex (and women as property).

Today, judging from the pronouncements of many Christian leaders, one would think that "morality" consists solely of what one does in one’s bedroom. The Catholic Church is the prime example here, with its moral pronouncements rarely going beyond the matters of birth control and abortion (and with its moral emphasis seemingly entirely on those matters). Also note that the official Catholic view of sex—that it’s for the purpose of procreation only—reduces human sexual relations to those of brood animals. For more than a century the Catholic Church has also been the driving force behind efforts to prohibit access to birth control devices and information—to everyone, not just Catholics.

The Catholic Church, however, is far from alone in its sick obsession with sex. The current Christian hate campaign against homosexuals is another prominent manifestation of this perverse preoccupation. Even at this writing, condemnation of "sodomites" from church pulpits is still very, very common—with Christian clergymen wringing their hands as they piously proclaim that their words of hate have nothing to do with gay bashings and the murder of gays.

10. Christianity produces sexual misery. In addition to the misery produced by authoritarian Christian intrusions into the sex lives of non-Christians, Christianity produces great misery among its own adherents through its insistence that sex (except the very narrow variety it sanctions) is evil, against God’s law. Christianity proscribes sex between unmarried people, sex outside of marriage, homosexual relations, bestiality, (3) and even “impure” sexual thoughts. Indulging in such things can and will, in the conventional Christian view, lead straight to hell.

Given that human beings are by nature highly sexual beings, and that their urges very often do not fit into the only officially sanctioned Christian form of sexuality (monogamous, heterosexual marriage), it’s inevitable that those who attempt to follow Christian “morality” in this area are often miserable, as their strongest urges run smack dab into the wall of religious belief. This is inevitable in Christian adolescents and unmarried young people in that the only “pure” way for them to behave is celibately—in the strict Christian view, even masturbation is prohibited. Phillip Roth has well described the dilemma of the religiously/sexually repressed young in Portnoy’s Complaint as “being torn between desires that are repugnant to my conscience and a conscience repugnant to my desires.” Thus the years of adolescence and young adulthood for many Christians are poisoned by “sinful” urges, unfulfilled longings, and intense guilt (after the urges become too much to bear and are acted upon).

Even after Christian young people receive a license from church and state to have sex, they often discover that the sexual release promised by marriage is not all that it’s cracked up to be. One gathers that in marriages between those who have followed Christian rules up until marriage—that is, no sex at all—sexual ineptitude and lack of fulfillment are all too common. Even when Christian married people do have good sexual relations, the problems do not end. Sexual attractions ebb and flow, and new attractions inevitably arise. In conventional Christian relationships, one is not allowed to act on these new attractions. One is often not even permitted to admit that such attractions exist. As Sten Linnander puts it, “with traditional [Christian] morality, you have to choose between being unfaithful to yourself or to another.”

The dilemma is even worse for gay teens and young people in that Christianity never offers them release from their unrequited urges. They are simply condemned to lifelong celibacy. If they indulge their natural desires, they become “sodomites” subject not only to Earthly persecution (due to Christian-inspired laws), but to being roasted alive forever in the pit. Given the internalized homophobia Christian teachings inspire, not to mention the very real discrimination gay people face, it’s not surprising that a great many homosexually oriented Christians choose to live a lie. In most cases, this leads to lifelong personal torture, but it can have even more tragic results.

A prime example is Marshall Applewhite, “John Do,” the guru of the Heaven’s Gate religious cult. Applewhite grew up in the South in a repressive Christian fundamentalist family. Horrified by his homosexual urges, he began to think of sexuality itself as evil, and eventually underwent castration to curb his sexual urges.(4) Several of his followers took his anti-sexual teachings to heart and likewise underwent castration before, at “Do’s” direction, killing themselves.

11. Christianity has an exceedingly narrow, legalistic view of morality. Christianity not only reduces, for all practical purposes, the question of morality to that of sexual behavior, but by listing its prohibitions, it encourages an "everything not prohibited is permitted" mentality. So, for instance, medieval inquisitors tortured their victims, while at the same time they went to lengths to avoid spilling the blood of those they tortured—though they thought nothing of burning them alive. Another very relevant example is that until the latter part of the 19th century Christians engaged in the slave trade, and Christian preachers defended it, citing biblical passages, from the pulpit. Today, with the exception of a relatively few liberal churchgoers, Christians ignore the very real evils plaguing our society—poverty; homelessness; hunger; militarism; a grossly unfair distribution of wealth and income; ecological despoliation exacerbated by corporate greed; overpopulation; sexism; racism; homophobia; freedom-denying, invasive drug laws; an inadequate educational system; etc., etc.—unless they’re actively working to worsen those evils in the name of Christian morality or "family values."

12. Christianity encourages acceptance of real evils while focusing on imaginary evils. Organized Christianity is a skillful apologist for the status quo and all the evils that go along with it. It diverts attention from real problems by focusing attention on sexual issues, and when confronted with social evils such as poverty glibly dismisses them with platitudes such as, "The poor ye have always with you." When confronted with the problems of militarism and war, most Christians shrug and say, "That’s human nature. It’s always been that way, and it always will." One suspects that 200 years ago their forebears would have said exactly the same thing about slavery.

This regressive, conservative tendency of Christianity has been present from its very start. The Bible is quite explicit in its instructions to accept the status quo: "Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God; and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation." (Romans 13:1–2)

13. Christianity depreciates the natural world. In addition to its morbid preoccupation with sex, Christianity creates social myopia through its emphasis on the supposed afterlife—encouraging Christians not to be concerned with "the things of this world" (except, of course, their neighbors’ sexual practices). In the conventional Christian view, life in this "vale of tears" is not important—what matters is preparing for the next life. (Of course it follows from this that the "vale of tears" itself is quite unimportant—it’s merely the backdrop to the testing of the faithful.)

The Christian belief in the unimportance of happiness and well-being in this world is well illustrated by a statement by St. Alphonsus:

It would be a great advantage to suffer during all our lives all the torments of the martyrs in exchange for one moment of heaven. Sufferings in this world are a sign that God loves us and intends to save us.

This focus on the afterlife often leads to a distinct lack of concern for the natural world, and sometimes to outright anti-ecological attitudes. Ronald Reagan’s fundamentalist Secretary of the Interior, James Watt, went so far as to actively encourage the strip mining and clear cutting of the American West, reasoning that ecological damage didn’t matter because the "rapture" was at hand.

14. Christianity models hierarchical, authoritarian organization. Christianity is perhaps the ultimate top-down enterprise. In its simplest form, it consists of God on top, its "servants," the clergy, next down, and the great unwashed masses at the bottom, with those above issuing, in turn, thou-shalts and thou-shalt-nots backed by the threat of eternal damnation. But a great many Christian sects go far beyond this, having several layers of management and bureaucracy. Catholicism is perhaps the most extreme example of this with its laity, monks, nuns, priests, monsignors, bishops, archbishops, cardinals, and popes, all giving and taking orders in an almost military manner. This type of organization cannot but accustom those in its sway—especially those who have been indoctrinated and attending its ceremonies since birth—into accepting hierarchical, authoritarian organization as the natural, if not the only, form of organization. Those who find such organization natural will see nothing wrong with hierarchical, authoritarian organization in other forms, be they corporations, with their multiple layers of brown-nosing management, or governments, with their judges, legislators, presidents, and politburos. The indoctrination by example that Christianity provides in the area of organization is almost surely a powerful influence against social change toward freer, more egalitarian forms of organization.

15. Christianity sanctions slavery. The African slave trade was almost entirely conducted by Christians. They transported their victims to the New World in slave ships with names such as "Mercy" and "Jesus," where they were bought by Christians, both Catholic and Protestant. Organized Christianity was not silent on this horror: it actively encouraged it and engaged in it. From the friars who enslaved Native Americans in the Southwest and Mexico to the Protestant preachers who defended slavery from the pulpit in Virginia, the Carolinas, and Georgia, the record of Christianity as regards slavery is quite shameful. While many abolitionists were Christians, they were a very small group, well hated by most of their fellow Christians.

The Christians who supported and engaged in slavery were amply supported by the Bible, in which slavery is accepted as a given, as simply a part of the social landscape. There are numerous biblical passages that implicitly or explicitly endorse slavery, such as Exodus 21:20–21: "And if a man smite his servant, or his maid with a rod, and he die under his hand; he shall be surely punished. Notwithstanding, if he continue a day or two, he shall not be punished: for he is his money." Other passages that support slavery include Ephesians 6:5, Colossians 3:22, Titus 2:9–10, Exodus 21:2–6, Leviticus 25:44–46, 1 Peter 2:18, and 1 Timothy 6:1. Christian slave owners in colonial America were well acquainted with these passages.

16. Christianity is misogynistic. Misogyny is fundamental to the basic writings of Christianity. In passage after passage, women are encouraged—no, commanded—to accept an inferior role, and to be ashamed of themselves for the simple fact that they are women. Misogynistic biblical passages are so common that it’s difficult to know which to cite. From the New Testament we find "Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church. . . ." (Ephesians 5:22–23) and "These [redeemed] are they which were not defiled with women; . . ." (Revelation 14:4); and from the Old Testament we find "How then can man be justified with God? Or how can he be clean that is born of a woman?" (Job 25:4) Other relevant New Testament passages include Colossians 3:18; 1 Peter 3:7; 1 Corinthians 11:3, 11:9, and 14:34; and 1 Timothy 2:11–12 and 5:5–6. Other Old Testament passages include Numbers 5:20–22 and Leviticus 12:2–5 and 15:17–33.

Later Christian writers extended the misogynistic themes in the Bible with a vengeance. Tertullian, one of the early church fathers, wrote:

In pain shall you bring forth children, woman, and you shall turn to your husband and he shall rule over you. And do you not know that you are Eve? God’s sentence hangs still over all your sex and His punishment weighs down upon you. You are the devil’s gateway; you are she who first violated the forbidden tree and broke the law of God. It was you who coaxed your way around him whom the devil had not the force to attack. With what ease you shattered that image of God: Man! Because of the death you merited, even the Son of God had to die. . . . Woman, you are the gate to hell.

One can find similarly misogynistic—though sometimes less venomous—statements in the writings of many other church fathers and theologians, including St. Ambrose, St. Anthony, Thomas Aquinas, St. Augustine, St. John Chrysostom, St. Gregory of Nazianzum, and St. Jerome.

This misogynistic bias in Christianity’s basic texts has long been translated into misogyny in practice. Throughout almost the entire time that Christianity had Europe and America in its lock grip, women were treated as chattel—they had essentially no political rights, and their right to own property was severely restricted. Perhaps the clearest illustration of the status of women in the ages when Christianity was at its most powerful is the prevalence of wife beating. This degrading, disgusting practice was very common throughout Christendom well up into the 19th century, and under English Common Law husbands who beat their wives were specifically exempted from prosecution. (While wife beating is still common in Christian lands, at least in some countries abusers are at least sometimes prosecuted.)

At about the same time that English Common Law (with its wife-beating exemption) was being formulated and codified, Christians all across Europe were engaging in a half-millennium-long orgy of torture and murder of "witches"—at the direct behest and under the direction of the highest church authorities. The watchword of the time was Exodus 22:18, "Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live," and at the very minimum hundreds of thousands of women were brutally murdered as a result of this divine injunction, and the papal bulls amplifying it (e.g., Spondit Pariter, by John XXII, and Summis Desiderantes, by Innocent VIII). Andrew Dickson White notes:

On the 7th of December, 1484, Pope Innocent VIII sent forth the bull Summis Desiderantes. Of all documents ever issued from Rome, imperial or papal, this has doubtless, first and last, cost the greatest shedding of innocent blood. Yet no document was ever more clearly dictated by conscience. Inspired by the scriptural command, "Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live," Pope Innocent exhorted the clergy of Germany to leave no means untried to detect sorcerers . . . [W]itch-finding inquisitors were authorized by the Pope to scour Europe, especially Germany, and a manual was prepared for their use [by the Dominicans Heinrich Krämer and Jacob Sprenger]—"The Witch Hammer", Malleus Maleficarum. . . . With the application of torture to thousands of women, in accordance with the precepts laid down in the Malleus, it was not difficult to extract masses of proof . . . The poor creatures writhing on the rack, held in horror by those who had been nearest and dearest to them, anxious only for death to relieve their sufferings, confessed to anything and everything that would satisfy the inquisitors and judges. . . . Under the doctrine of "excepted cases," there was no limit to torture for persons accused of heresy or witchcraft.

Given this bloody, hateful history, it’s not surprising that women have always held very subservient positions in Christian churches. In fact, there appear to have been no female clergy in any Christian church prior to the 20th century (with the exception of those who posed as men, such as Pope Joan), and even today a great many Christian sects (most notably the Catholic Church) continue to resist ordaining female clergy. While a few liberal Protestant churches have ordained women in recent years, it’s difficult to see this as a great step forward for women; it’s easier to see it as analogous to the Ku Klux Klan’s appointing a few token blacks as Klaxons.

As for the improvements in the status of women over the last two centuries, the Christian churches either did nothing to support them or actively opposed them. This is most obvious as regards women’s control over their own bodies. Organized Christianity has opposed this from the start, and as late as the 1960s the Catholic Church was still putting its energies into the imposition of laws prohibiting access to contraceptives. Having lost that battle, Christianity has more recently put its energies into attempts to outlaw the right of women to abortion.

Many of those leading the fight for women’s rights have had no illusions about the misogynistic nature of Christianity. These women included Mary Wollstonecraft, Victoria Woodhull, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and Margaret Sanger (whose slogan, “No God. No master,” remains relevant to this day).

17. Christianity is homophobic. Christianity from its beginnings has been markedly homophobic. The biblical basis for this homophobia lies in the story of Sodom in Genesis, and in Leviticus. Leviticus 18:22 reads: "Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination," and Leviticus 20:13 reads: "If a man lie with mankind as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them."

This sounds remarkably harsh, yet Leviticus proscribes a great many other things, declares many of them "abominations," and prescribes the death penalty for several other acts, some of which are shockingly picayune. Leviticus 17:10–13 prohibits the eating of blood sausage; Leviticus 11:6–7 prohibits the eating of "unclean" hares and swine; Leviticus 11:10 declares shellfish "abominations"; Leviticus 20:9 prescribes the death penalty for cursing one’s father or mother; Leviticus 20:10 prescribes the death penalty for adultery; Leviticus 20:14 prescribes the penalty of being burnt alive for having a three-way with one’s wife and mother-in-law; and Leviticus 20:15 declares, "And if a man lie with a beast, he shall surely be put to death: and ye shall slay the beast" (which seems rather unfair to the poor beast). (One suspects that American Christians have never attempted to pass laws enforcing Leviticus 20:15, because if passed and enforced such laws would decimate both the rural, Bible-Belt population and the cattle industry.)

Curiously, given the multitude of prohibitions in Leviticus, the vast majority of present-day Christians have chosen to focus only upon Leviticus 20:13, the verse calling for the death penalty for homosexual acts. And at least some of them haven’t been averse to acting on it. (To be fair, some Christian "reconstructionists" are currently calling for institution of the death penalty for adultery and atheism as well as for "sodomy.")

Throughout history, homosexuality has been illegal in Christian lands, and the penalties have been severe. In the Middle Ages, strangled gay men were sometimes placed on the wood piles at the burning of witches (hence the term "faggot"). One member of the British royalty caught having homosexual relations suffered an even more grisly fate: Edward II’s penalty was being held down while a red hot poker was jammed through his rectum and intestines. In more modern times, countless gay people have been jailed for years for the victimless "crime" of having consensual sex. It was only in 2003 that the Supreme Court struck down the felony laws on the books in many American states prescribing lengthy prison terms for consensual "sodomy." And many Christians would love to reinstate those laws.

Thus the current wave of gay bashings and murders of gay people should come as no surprise. Christians can find justification for such violence in the Bible and also in the hate-filled sermons issuing from all too many pulpits in this country. If history is any indication, the homophobic messages in those sermons will continue to be issued for many years to come.

18. The Bible is not a reliable guide to Christ’s teachings. Mark, the oldest of the Gospels, was written at least 30 years after Christ’s death, and the newest of them might have been written more than 200 years after his death. These texts have been amended, translated, and re-translated so often that it’s extremely difficult to gauge the accuracy of current editions—even aside from the matter of the accuracy of texts written decades or centuries after the death of their subject. This is such a problem that the Jesus Seminar, a colloquium of over 200 Protestant Gospel scholars mostly employed at religious colleges and seminaries, undertook in 1985 a multi-year investigation into the historicity of the statements and deeds attributed to Jesus in the New Testament. They concluded that only 18% of the statements and 16% of the deeds attributed to Jesus had a high likelihood of being historically accurate. So, in a very real sense fundamentalists—who claim to believe in the literal truth of the Bible—are not followers of Jesus Christ; rather, they are followers of those who, decades or centuries later, put words in his mouth.

19. The Bible, Christianity’s basic text, is riddled with contradictions. There are a number of glaring contradictions in the Bible, in both the Old and New Testaments, and including some within the same books. A few examples:

". . . God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man."
(James:1:13)
"And it came to pass after these things, that God did tempt Abraham."
(Genesis 22:1)

". . . for I am merciful, saith the Lord, and I will not keep anger forever."
(Jeremiah 3:12)
"Ye have kindled a fire in mine anger, which shall burn forever. Thus saith the Lord."
(Jeremiah 17:4)


"If I bear witness of myself, my witness is not true."
(John 5:31, J.C. speaking)
"I am one that bear witness of myself . . ."
(John 8:18, J.C. speaking)

and last but not least:


"I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved."
(Genesis 32:30)
"No man hath seen God at any time."
(John 1:18)
"And I [God] will take away mine hand, and thou shalt see my back parts . . ."
(Exodus 33:23)

Christian apologists typically attempt to explain away such contradictions by claiming that the fault lies in the translation, and that there were no contradictions in the original text. It’s difficult to see how this could be so, given how direct many biblical contradictions are; but even if these Christian apologetics held water, it would follow that every part of the Bible should be as suspect as the contradictory sections, thus reinforcing the previous point: that the Bible is not a reliable guide to Christ’s words.

20. Christianity borrowed its central myths and ceremonies from other ancient religions. The ancient world was rife with tales of virgin births, miracle-working saviors, tripartite gods, gods taking human form, gods arising from the dead, heavens and hells, and days of judgment. In addition to the myths, many of the ceremonies of ancient religions also match those of that syncretic latecomer, Christianity. To cite but one example (there are many others), consider Mithraism, a Persian religion predating Christianity by centuries. Mithra, the savior of the Mithraic religion and a god who took human form, was born of a virgin; he belonged to the holy trinity and was a link between heaven and Earth; and he ascended into heaven after his death. His followers believed in heaven and hell, looked forward to a day of judgment, and referred to Mithra as "the Light of the World." They also practiced baptism (for purification purposes) and ritual cannibalism—the eating of bread and the drinking of wine to symbolize the eating and drinking of the god’s body and blood. Given all this, Mithra’s birthday should come as no surprise: December 25th; this event was, of course, celebrated by Mithra’s followers at midnight.

Mithraism is but the most striking example of the appearance of these myths and ceremonies prior to the advent of Christianity. They appear—in more scattered form—in many other pre-Christian religions.

A Final Word: These are but some of the major problems attending Christianity, and they provide overwhelming reasons for its abandon-ment. (Even if you discount half, two-thirds, or even three-quarters of these arguments, the conclusion is still irresistible.) For further discussion of these issues, and for consideration of many others not even mentioned here, please see the following books and pamphlets:
1. A friend who read the first draft of this manuscript notes: “My moronic sister-in-law once told me that God found her parking spots near the front door at Wal-mart! Years later, when she developed a brain tumor, I concluded that God must have gotten tired of finding parking places for her and gave her the tumor so that she could get handicapped plates.” As Nietzsche put it in The Anti-Christ: “that little hypocrites and half-crazed people dare to imagine that on their account the laws of nature are constantly broken—such an enhancement of every kind of selfishness to infinity, to impudence, cannot be branded with sufficient contempt. And yet Christianity owes its triumph to this pitiable flattery of personal vanity.”

2. The Westboro Baptist Church directly addresses the question of its hatefulness and cruelty on its web site (www.godhatesfags.com): "Why do you preach hate? Because the Bible preaches hate. For every one verse about God's mercy, love, compassion, etc., there are two verses about His vengeance, hatred, wrath, etc."

3. The repeated mention of this sin in medieval ecclesiastical writings leads one to wonder how widespread this practice was among the Christian faithful, including the Christian clergy. One 8th-century penitential (list of sins and punishments) quoted in A.A. Hadden’s Councils and Ecclesiastical Documents states: "If a cleric has fornicated with a quadruped let him do penance for, if he is a simple cleric, two years, if a deacon, three years, if a priest, seven years, if a bishop ten years."

4. Given his religious background, and that his cult mixed Christianity with UFO beliefs, Applewhite was quite probably aware of the divine approbation of self-castration in Matthew 19:12: "For there are some eunuchs, which were so born from their mother’s womb: and there are some eunuchs, which were made eunuchs of men: and there be eunuchs , which have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven’s sake. He that is able to receive it, let him receive it."

http://www.seesharppress.com/20reasons.html

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Re: Alasan Meninggalkan Gereja

Post by Penyaran on Sun May 12, 2013 11:03 pm

Why Are Teens Leaving the Faith?

by Brian Housman

Growing up under the watchful eye of his parents, Eric* loved going to church. Like most kids, he loved the songs, his teachers, and playing with his friends. But even for a kid, church wasn't just a social thing for Eric. He could clearly remember the summer of third grade during Vacation Bible School when he gave his whole heart to Jesus. He was baptized shortly after.

For Eric, Jesus and the Bible weren't things you had to figure out or question. He had a child-like faith. He knew Jesus loved him and would walk with him throughout his life. The Bible was the moral compass by which he would live his life.

A few years later as Eric hit adolescence, his parents thought he would continue to grow in the faith of his childhood. He would discover even more deeply just how Jesus could make a difference to him in his high school years. He would see how his faith would define him.

But that's not what happened.
No fairy-tale ending

In the car on the way home from church one Sunday, Eric blurted out, "Why do we think we are right and everybody else is wrong about how to get to Heaven?" Over the coming weeks his questions turned to, "Is it fair that God would send everyone else to hell just because they don't know Jesus?" and "How do we know the Bible is real?" Pretty soon Eric didn't want to talk much on the way home from church and seemed agitated whenever anyone else would bring up faith in daily conversation.

It all came to a head when his parents asked him about his plans for the youth group's summer camp. Eric nonchalantly announced, "Mom, Dad, I think that stuff like church and Jesus is fine for you, but I'm just not sure if I believe all that anymore."
Discovery of self in Christ

Adolescence is the phase of life in which everything seems up for grabs. Teens discover new friendships, try out new interests, and develop new beliefs about everything from family to faith. For most, it's perfectly natural to gravitate toward a new passion one day but then drop a lifelong interest almost overnight.

A teen's faith is a big part in the puzzle of discovering his or her newly developing identity. Many parents struggle watching the forward-backward see-saw development of a teen's faith. For many teens, this journey of identity will result in a deeper faith. Except when it doesn't.
Why kids leave

Several studies have been conducted to answer that important question-why are they leaving? The results can be found in book such as "Sticky Faith," "Soul Searching," "Generation X-Christian," and "Almost Christian." All of them conclude that there is no one answer for a teen's exodus from the faith community. At the same time, the books cite similar reasons why some young adults walk away.
1. Shallow belief system

In her book "Almost Christian," Kenda Creasy Dean explains that many times, the Church offers nothing more than a "Moralistic Therapeutic Deism." In short, we've taught teens that there is a disinterested divine power who wants to give them personal peace and prosperity and to help teens "be nice." The result is a faith that cannot withstand the scrutiny of trials or intellectual questions. Parents and mentors have given teens an anemic sketch of faith at best. A robust faith is replaced by a code of conduct-we "do" these things (read our Bibles, pray, and go to church) and "don't" do those (watch wrong movies, cuss, drink or have sex). Conduct replaces relationship with Christ.
2. No room for doubt

Those who leave the faith sometimes do so because they had questions and the church didn't help answer them. In some cases, their questions were ignored. In others, doubt was considered a sin to be squelched quickly. Their questions varied from "Why do bad things happen to good people?" (intellectual doubt) to "If God cared about me, then I wouldn't feel so (depressed, sad, lonely, etc.)" (emotional doubt) to "Why do Christians not believe in evolution?" "Why does the Bible contradict itself?" to "Why didn't God answer my prayer for my parents not to divorce?" (experiential doubt). These are the types of questions the intellectual doubter needs to answer. Unfortunately, many times they either get poor answers from Christians or bad answers (which can sound convincing) from outside the Christian faith.
3. Exclusive faith

Scripture makes no apologies for the centrality of Christ. Those who turn to Christ in faith are saved. Those who do not are condemned to hell. In a culture that lauds tolerance, acceptance, and open-mindedness, claiming Christ as the only Way (John 14:6) is a hard truth to swallow. Unfortunately, many well-meaning believers twist this truth into a club to verbally (and physically) bash those with viewpoints different than theirs. Unfortunately, Christianity is often equated with bigotry, racism, homophobia, and sexism. Today's generation wants nothing to do with that brand of faith.
4. No answers for opposition

Today's teens are bombarded with philosophical and scientific oppositions to Christian beliefs. In science class, the teacher rails against anyone who believes in creation; the philosophy professor tells a freshman class to "prove the existence of God." Most Christians are completely unprepared to provide logical, coherent, well-examined reasons for their belief in Christianity. When faced with opposition, these teens find that the answer is simple: you can't be a Christian and an intellectual. Faith and science are incompatible.
Giving them room to wrestle

When my kids were little, they experienced their first act of independence as they learned to clothe themselves. Later, they learned how to wash those clothes, put those clothes away, and buy clothes with their own money. One of the big lessons my 14-year-old son has learned is if you want clean clothes tomorrow, then you better wash the dirty ones today. To learn this, his mom stopped washing his clothes for him even if it meant he had to wear dirty clothes one day. The same is true for their faith.

It's not comfortable or fun to hear my kids question things that I am firmly convinced are true. But they are in good company. Moses did it, Job did it, and Thomas did it. God was not intimidated by Moses' feelings, Job's questions, or Thomas' doubts. After their season of searching, each of them was brought to a new and deeper understanding of who God is.
The good news: faith that sticks

Recent research out of Fuller Theological Seminary examined the long-term faith of teenagers, and the results were compiled in the book "Sticky Faith: Everyday Ideas to Build Lasting Faith in Your Kids" by Kara E. Powell and Chap Clark. In their study, they followed hundreds of committed Christ followers from high school all the way through college. They found that about 60 percent of students will walk away from their faith and many of them will not return. However, (this is the good news) others had what they termed a "sticky" faith. When they were faced with real life hardships, temptations, and questions, their faith remained as firm as ever.

The researchers were quick to point out that there is no "silver bullet" to developing such grounded children, but they did discover factors common in most of the students with sticky faith. And you have the opportunity to build into your own teen's life these components.

1. Students with sticky faith are raised in a faith culture that emphasizes a relationship with Christ as opposed to an adherence to a set of rules.

Teens (and children) need to develop a clear understanding of the Gospel and biblical faith. What does it mean to be saved by grace? What does it mean for the Holy Spirit to live in and transform saved sinners? What does it mean to walk with God?

As parents, we need to evaluate whether or not our focus is on training them to adhere to a set of behaviors (do's and don'ts). We also need to examine our own lives for evidence of a growing relationship with Christ.

2. Students with sticky faith are surrounded by an intergenerational faith community.

The "Sticky Faith" research found that when teens were involved with other age groups (like teaching younger children in VBS), the more likely they were keep their faith. On the other hand, teens who were segregated from "big church" (didn't worship frequently with older adults) shelved their faith, and teens with few or little significant caring adults didn't stick with their faith (no pun intended). This underlines the need for mentoring within the church. Encourage dialogue with other mature Christians. These key people could become a safe person for your teen to ask questions of that they may feel uncomfortable asking you.

3. The most important factor by far in each of the lives of teens who developed sticky faith is a parent who is willing to walk with them through their faith journey.

This type of active parent doesn't drop his teen off at the church and say "fix her" or "teach her." She takes seriously the charge of being the primary spiritual developer of her child.

We as parents need to evaluate not only what we say with our mouths, but also with our actions. Who you are, not just what you say or do, shapes your teen's faith.

Actively discipling your teen also means having faith conversations on a regular basis. What does this look like? Create an atmosphere where questions are welcomed and dialogue (not lecture!) is a part of everyday life. Talk about the sermon on the way home. (What did you like? What did you disagree with?) Share times when you struggled with your own doubts. Make your home a place where your teen can explore all aspects of his faith (intellectual, emotional, relational) without being preached at, lectured to, or scared back into belief (you're going to hell if you...).
Seasons of searching

Seasons of searching can be a time of unrest for your teen, but they don't have to be a lonely or fearful experience. Eric's parents may not have known how to handle his crisis of faith, but you can do it differently. If you are willing to walk with them along their faith journey, and are willing to surround them with a community of believers that love and encourage them, then doubts can lead to firm conviction and deeper faith.

* Eric is fictitious but his story mirrors that of many real life teenagers.

http://www.lifeway.com/ArticleView?storeId=10054&catalogId=10001&langId=-1&article=ministry-family-Why-are-Teens-Leaving-the-Faith

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Re: Alasan Meninggalkan Gereja

Post by Penyaran on Sun May 12, 2013 11:05 pm

Why Do Christians Leave the Faith? Breaking-up with a God Who Failed Them
November 22, 2011 By Bradley Wright 40 Comments

In a study of religious deconversion, we analyzed 50 on-line testimonies posted by former Christians, and in these testimonies we found four general explanations for deconversion. The first explanation, which I wrote about last week, regarded intellectual and theological concerns about the Christian faith. The second, which I elaborate here, regards a failed relationship with God. Almost half (22 of 50) of the writers expressed sentiments that in some way God had failed them by His not doing what they thought He should.

God’s perceived failure took various forms, most of which fall under the general heading of “unanswered prayers.”

One way that people felt that God had failed them happened when He did not respond to requests for help during difficult times. A young man raised in a Baptist church epitomized this feeling of failure when he wrote about God not answering his prayers about family difficulties. He wrote: “The first time I questioned the faith was when my grandmother shriveled up in front of me for 6 month’s due to cancer. I was 13 & my mother & father [were] getting a divorce. My father told me I should have been aborted. I prayed to God but nothing fails like prayers.”

Likewise, a woman raised in a Methodist household described her step-father as “cruel and abusive” to her, and she could not understand why “if God loves me, why won’t he protect me instead of letting this happen to me?”

In a variation of this theme, some deconverts lamented God’s inactivity amidst spiritual
difficulties. A man in his forties, a former elder at a charismatic church, wrote: “In my own life, no matter how much I submitted to ‘God’ and prayed in faith, ‘sin’ never seemed to leave me. Well, what’s the point of being ‘saved’ if you aren’t delivered from ‘sin’?”

A former Southern Baptist described the various good things that God failed to give him: “God promises me a lot in the bible and he’s not come through. Ask and it shall be given. Follow me and I will bless you. I promise you life and promise abundance. Man should not be alone. I have a plan for you. Give tithe and I will reward you. All broken promises. This god lacks clarification. This god lacks faith in me. He wants my faith. I want his too.”

Other writers took a different approach to God’s failures. They too sought God’s help,
but when they did not receive it, they simply concluded that God did not exist. A former member of an Assemblies of God church explicitly linked unanswered prayers and the existence of God: “How many humble and totally selfless prayers offered up to and ignored by the imaginary skydaddy does it take for the average person to finally throw in the towel and say [God doesn’t exist]!!!!” His answer: “Too damn many.”

Still others sought a tangible sign of God’s presence. A former Pentecostal exclaimed: “There were many nights while in bed I would ask God to show me the truth, or give me some type of sign to show that he or she existed. These prayers would never be answered. So I would just go on with my life having doubts.” Likewise, a former Baptist missionary wrote: “I’ve begged God to show himself to me and put an end to my inner torture. So far it hasn’t happened and the only thing I know for sure is that I have unanswered questions.”

I am struck by how much these accounts resonate with sociological theories of human relationships, especially those coming from social exchange theory. This theory describes humans as judging the value of relationships in terms of costs and benefits. One variation of social exchange theory, termed equity theory, holds that people are satisfied with their relationships when they get the rewards that they feel are proportional to the costs that they bear. An inequitable is unstable, and it usually occurs because a person thinks they receive too little for how much they give.

Many of the testimonies given by former Christians described a broken relationship with God as one might talk about a marital divorce. They are emotional, even bitter at times. They contain the language of inequality. The writers did so much for God – praying, attending church, following God – but God did not do enough in return.

Some of the writers were quite explicit about this inequality. A former Roman Catholic lamented God’s inaction during the writer’s teenage years. “I prayed and prayed and things never got better . . . in fact they got worse. So I was like fine . . . this . . . if god can turn his back on me . . . I can do the same [i.e., turn his back on God].”

Based on this explanation for deconversion, Christians pastors and other leaders would do well to teach periodically on how to handle disappointment with God. In particular,
• Why does God sometimes not answer prayer?
• What we can and cannot expect from God?

We noticed that much of the frustration vented toward God in these testimonials regarded events that occurred in childhood and adolescence. This suggests that addressing issues of disappointment with God is particularly important to do with young people.

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/blackwhiteandgray/2011/11/why-do-christians-leave-the-faith-breaking-up-with-a-god-who-failed-them/

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Re: Alasan Meninggalkan Gereja

Post by Penyaran on Sun May 12, 2013 11:06 pm

Leaving Christianity

Human beings are intelligent and psychologically rich animals. We have much potential which we can either use, misuse or squander. There can be far reaching ramifications both in our mental lives and in our interactions with others when we take on a huge belief system such as Christianity. Many of us who are bought up to believe that Christianity is what the universe is all about end up taking our religious beliefs most ardently, basing our personal, interpersonal and sometimes professional lives on this. It makes a big difference to our lives if Christianity is mistaken and we take it as very seriously true. It is therefore worth examining our beliefs. Some of us take up this challenge, or are forced into it by noticing difficulties with the claims of Christianity. We notice problems, think, read and often come to a startling conclusion.

There are many reasons why people leave Christianity, but the most common reason for a very serious Christian to leave is through research. Ironically this often happens when research is carried out in order be a better exponent of Christianity. This happens to apologists, theologians, missionaries, ministers, fundamentalists and liberals. The broad spectrum from professional to lay Christian of all Christian types.

The deconversion experience is one of the most dramatic transforming experiences that can happen to a religious person for which there is no "exit counselling" from the church. Where does one go with such a life changing discovery? Our Christian friends do not want to look that deeply into our lives, preferring only to coach us back to Christianity, believing we must be mistaken. Often they condemn us as hell-bound for "turning our backs on Christ," rather than facing the possibility that we have just found that the Christian belief system is untenable. The Internet is one of the few places where those who leave Christianity can turn easily for help and find people who have already been through this leaving process. Often new deconverts feel that they are in a very lonely situation as there is nobody around who will sympathetically listen to their thoughts. Therefore it can be a great thrill and relief to find others with similar stories to tell.

So what is it like to leave? Some quietly slip out of their religious beliefs without much fuss. There are many though, who were previously strongly convinced that their religion is utter reality. It is highly revealing to listen to those who have had experience into and out of Christianity and are in a position to know and authoritatively evaluate and relate their actual experiences. Deconversion for such people, although sometimes initially very emotional or traumatic, comes as a revelation far more spiritually enriching than conversions into religion. In the stories scattered over the Internet and in books ex-Christians have repeatedly said this enrichment of life is the case.

In our modern age with ease of access to information many of us are still bought up to believe the unexamined religion of our culture. It is not routine at church or school to research the historical claims of Christianity or to critically examine its dogmas. The fact that this examination has even occurred is rarely known, neither is the extent of the criticism appreciated. What percentage of Christians have done their "extra-Christian homework" and have well thumbed critical books on their bookshelves? Most study is devotional or inclined towards "what is God saying here?" Indeed, most Christians are surrounded by other Christians, seldom in an environment promoting critical examination of beliefs. It is usually left to the personal research of the curious amongst us, or the chance discovery of a student of religion to stumble across the historical, psychological, philosophical, anthropological and sociological problems of Christianity. This research, although often very long and arduous, can still come as a shock to the highly religious. As mentioned, some do find their discoveries hard to cope with initially, although this is rarer than might be thought.

Unfortunately, if ones closest friends and relatives are very religious then not being a Christian can cause problems in the family and amongst peers. We often hear how Christians claim high standards for "family values" and yet, especially amongst more fundamentalist Christians, ex-Christian family members who "come out" are not only shunned but are even told that they will go to hell. Belief in the justice of unrelenting torture for your family is not a way to bring family unity. Also Christians seldom do justice to the possibility of what we have read, thought and discovered, merely claiming we can't have been "true Christians" or asking "where did you go wrong?"

It is a common misapprehension to claim that those who leave Christianity never understood what Christianity was "really about." The full range of Christian types leave Christianity, from all denominations, doctrines, and persuasions. From the most liberal to the most fundamentalist. The philosophical liberal, the conservative orthodox, the born-again and the hyper-charismatic fundie.

Christianity was once the centre of the universe for the many former Christians who lived it, thought it, felt it, preached it, discussed it, prayed privately and publicly, led religious groups and been thanked for encouraging other Christians and helping them in their "walk with Christ." Certainly if we were not "true Christians" then our fellow Christians were not able to judge a tree by its fruit. Ex-Christians have felt moved by religious experience and lost in numinous feeling of connection with God, taken communion, partaken of all kinds of fellowship, retreats, Christian college courses, study groups and missionary crusades. They have written many words of Christian thought, coming from all theological and doctrinal positions.

Nobody I have heard of chooses whilst they are a believing Christian to leave Christianity, neither do they think that they (a "real Christian") would ever deconvert. But they do leave. Indeed, the idea of choice does not describe what happens. Rather than choosing "I will not believe this now" (psychologically impossible to not believe something you do believe!) instead researches lead to the inescapable conclusion that Christianity is false. Not only that but contrary to former beliefs ex-Christians are so often surprised to find a better inner life after deconversion.

I have found that ex-Christians frequently describe an enormous life affirming nature to the discovery that their beliefs were false. Reports from deconverts are of a life of honesty, free, and more loving, and often a passion for knowledge and interest in the world. No divine judging, spiritual separation from others or easy condemnation of different lifestyles. Instead the discovery of the poignancy and vulnerability of life. The desire to be moral because we can truly empathise with others in their messy humanity. Connection with the world rather than running against it.

Any major change of world view can bring a "conversion experience" or trauma - but there is more to it than this. All the feelings had when religious were human and natural feelings that were mistaken for divine and supernatural things. I think this stunts them, no matter how good they where thought to be at the time. Non-theistic Buddhists describe belief in a god as "unskilful" as it can actually harm the spiritual life of a person. The fact is that we were missing out as Christians on the real world. Not only was our view of reality mistaken, but we were also too often wrapped up in our own ego or "salvation." It makes a huge difference to intelligent complex animals like ourselves when we really believe something of such vast ramifications which is false. When we know the real source of our feelings they can be far more powerful. Such was the experience of many deconverts as the world comes more into focus out of the confusing mist of misinterpretation that is religion. The more seriously one took their religion then the greater this transformation experience may be.

It is always better to believe things that are true. If one wants to know what is true then how can it be wrong to do some research? However, if only one side of the argument is ever listened to then what kind of research is that? If Christianity is true then it should correspond to the facts of the world. Nobody should be afraid of finding out what those facts, thoughts and discoveries are. There is nothing to fear from knowing reality but instead everything to learn.

Over the years I have come to know and know of many ex-Christians most of whom were well-churched, their numbers including former ministers, apologists, missionaries, theologians etc. Why should such people leave Christianity? These people are the best versed in Christianity and yet they leave despite so much personal and professional investment in their religion, enjoyment of their time as believing Christians and social pressures to stay. How can this happen if the evidence for Christianity is so good? If supernatural Christianity is true, shouldn't they have known better?

But what if the history and philosophical and moral implications of the various branches of Christianity are very different from that which is traditionally taught? The painful fact for many Christians is that through research and thinking this is the conclusion to which they often come. Why else should all these people leave, contrary to their world-view, culture, professions, and heavy investment in Christianity? Why would God go to the trouble of incarnation and crucifixion only to allow genuine seekers to find Christianity untenable, or give "spurious" experiences and "incorrect" interpretation to those who spend so many years trying to be Christians? From our research and testimonies it is apparent that Christianity is not what we once thought it was.

I hope that these collected stories and resources will be of comfort to new deconverts. It can be a great thrill to find fellow travellers in what is usually a very lonely journey with often few or no sympathetic people to turn to. I thought I was the first to deconvert from a genuine heartfelt Christianity until I discovered a few hints in books, some friends with similar stories and then the voluminous accounts on the Internet!

I hope to keep these pages fresh as I am still in the process of collecting stories and links and discussing this subject with various interested parties. Discussing religion can of course be very contentious and although primarily a resource for ex-Christians it is inevitable that some believing Christians, or others with different opinions, will surf here and wish to criticise this site. I have tried to avoid too much scornful material, although sometimes emotions rise in some of the reported on-line discussions - I am not from Vulcan! But if you think I have not been fair or really have missed something then I'd like to know. All criticism is welcome as long as it is not a knee-jerk at just reading a little of what I have to offer as such criticism is less interesting and causes too much repetition.

This site started partly as a FAQ when on debating lists and also as a collection of my bookmarks, so there is some of my own material here. However I don't think I have got the most to say, although I have included my own story with as much detail as I think is necessary for those who are interested. I am occasionally worried that I will one day be put in a corner by religious friends or relatives, so this is also my considered FAQ for any of them, rather than an emotional confrontation. Luckily it has not yet been needed - I have coped with carefully placed comments, so far! The bulk of the material is contained in the links to the writings of other people which is exactly the sort of information I wish I had found back in the mid 1980's when I was asking all those questions.

https://sites.google.com/site/leavingxtianity/

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Re: Alasan Meninggalkan Gereja

Post by SEGOROWEDI on Mon May 13, 2013 12:11 am



ke gereja/tidak
bukan satu-satunya ukuran kualitas kekristenan

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Re: Alasan Meninggalkan Gereja

Post by Penyaran on Mon May 13, 2013 1:29 pm

SEGOROWEDI wrote:

ke gereja/tidak
bukan satu-satunya ukuran kualitas kekristenan

berarti gak guna donk gereja dibangun 2 good

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Re: Alasan Meninggalkan Gereja

Post by SEGOROWEDI on Mon May 13, 2013 1:32 pm


gak nangkap ya?

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Re: Alasan Meninggalkan Gereja

Post by njlajahweb on Mon Feb 27, 2017 3:17 pm

yang lebih parah adalah orang-orang Kristen yang meninggalkan gereja karena kecewa berat sama Yesus
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Re: Alasan Meninggalkan Gereja

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