One Thing You Can Do To Help - OTYCDTH... I know you were wondering :)
Anyway, when I was young the church that I happened to go to, First Covenant Church in Cadillac Michigan (http://www.firstcovenantcadillac.org/) wasn’t the fire and brimstone sort. Most of what I remember is singing songs and playing games and having fun. The church in general seemed fine to a me as a kid. I was never worried about my salvation.
I also went to bible camp for many years. Portage Lake Convent Bible Camp (http://portagelake.org/) near the shore of Lake Michigan. Youth pastors with a soul patch and the camp counselors with tribal tattoos, you know the deal. It was also very fun from what I remember. Many hours of playing games, eating good food, high ropes courses, sports, crafts and of course kid focused ministry with an aim to “save” youngsters.
Although there was never any heavy hell talks or damnation discussions, the message was always clear, Romans chapters 2 and 3 basically... We have all sinned but the good news… yada yada yada Jesus! I never really put two and two together and asked;
“How could I have already be dammed?”
“Why did God make us sinners if he didn’t want us to be?”
“Can you tell me more about free will?”
I was just a kid after all.
After those school years, not going to church and serving my country in the Navy, I started to investigate things and left the faith fairly unceremoniously. I am lucky. Many people struggle for years in silence. Most never make it out. Why? Why is the message in Romans in particular so powerful AND so addictive? Why do people buy it? Why do they then sell it to their family and friends?
Here are the four fears that keep us going.
1. The Unknown: We are afraid of what we don’t understand. Fire, water, the dark, monsters, new food etc. Some of this is an evolutionary protection instinct; some of it is that black beans look gross.
2. Death: As we get become self-aware we start to fear death and again the uncertainty. Since we know that no one has come back from death, the fear runs deep. It is terminal after all… Unless you believe!
3. Fear for Others: Our natural empathy and compassion drives a feeling fearing for others. "What will happen to my parents/siblings/friends/pets when THEY die?"
4. Fear of Rejection: "What happens if this isn't all true? My whole life is built around the church and believing. I can’t leave now. So I will just keep going, after all what do I have to lose?"
The path of a freethinker isn't always an easy one. It forces you to challenge what you have been taught, and often to challenge the very foundations of your belief. Many struggle with their belief, with doubt, with the emotional burden of having questions with no certain answers, and with the threat of losing their friends, family or community upon speaking openly about their true thoughts and feelings.
If you accept this event notification, we ask you to post this as your status on the morning of June 1st 2013.
Friends, if you no longer believe or are struggling with your faith, you are NOT alone. Many people have been where you are. Please send me a private message if you would like to talk about your doubts. I will keep your information and our conversation private, and I will do my best to answer your questions and provide support and resources to you as my friend. If you aren't comfortable messaging me, please consider visiting the Facebook page of Recovering From Religion and asking your question there, either publicly on their wall or via confidential private message. https://www.facebook.com/
If you are comfortable with your position as a non-believer, please re-share. The struggles to reconcile doubt can be extremely challenging, and by doing this you could save someone's life.
REMEMBER TO MAKE THE POST “PUBLIC” AS MANY OF YOU PROBABLY HAVE YOUR STATUSES SET TO “FRIENDS” OR “FRIENDS OF FRIENDS” BY DEFAULT.
Hopefully each of you will get at least one note from a person who is struggling with doubt. This is a very simple pledge that you can take that could literally save a life, and we appreciate your support!
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