Increasingly I found myself dissatisfied with Christianity and the exclusivist attitude that it had. For a long time, and I’m not sure exactly how long, I had this dire sense of unease growing inside of my that something about the way we approached the religion, something that was very, very important, was being overlooked.

In time, this urgency grew inside of me, and the smug attitude of Christians and the superiority complex mixed with the needless victim complex began to overwhelm and disgust me.

The original theological break with Christianity began one day when I sat in my 8th grade class and asked my Bible teacher a question.

“What happens to all the people of another religion, say, the Buddhists, who haven’t heard the Gospel or haven’t had a chance to hear the Gospel?”

Her response?

Said with a smile on her face: “They go to Hell.”

I argued, “But that isn’t fair; they have no chance, they don’t know about Jesus!”

To this she said, “God is not a FAIR God, God is a JUST God, so he gives them what they deserve. If Buddha had begun praying and said, ‘Hello, I know there’s a God out there,’ God would have revealed Himself to him.”

This was the first time I openly and blatantly disagreed with the teacher on the matter, the first time I had challenged Christian doctrine and teaching in any sort of way and began to search for myself the reality on the matter.

Until this time, I had begrudgingly accepted that this was simply the way that it was, but no more; that statement by my Bible teacher created the first true break that existed inside of me with Christianity.

Now, it is here, and everyone can see it as exactly how it happened.

Being trapped in an evangelical worldview, I had to search through the Scriptures desperately to try to understand salvation for people who would otherwise be considered so-called “unbelievers.” (We’ll address the presuppositions of worldviews in a later blog.)

This led me to read 1 John, which speaks of God’s love for us and essentially states that whoever had known Love has known God.

My theological perspective shifted to the notion that if someone has loved, experienced loved, and loved another person, then they have indeed experienced salvation, because otherwise, they would be unable to love.

Another influencing factor at this time, though not quite as large, was that my interest in Japan had essentially begun around this time. Japan’s religious affiliation is mostly in two religions- Shinto and Buddhism. The concept that the Japanese people as a whole, with their vivid culture and language, were somehow destined for an eternity in Hell did not set well with me.

At age 15, I began branching out. With access to the internet, I was able to read more and learn more about religion, Bible, and God.

A former friend recommended me to a few different sites, including web pages that spoke about astrotheology (the concept that our religions are ultimate based off of worship of the stars and planets; this is oversimplified but with suffice for now) along with sites on comparative religion, which show how the names of various deities and entities that have been worshiped in all ancient cultures etymologically overlap.

In addition, we ourselves argued; he was an atheist, I was a devout evangelical Christian. I suppose in this matter, he ended up winning out. Still, he was neurotic and disturbed in his own right, and I was an impressionable teenager looking for guidance from someone who did not assume the evangelical Christian worldview.

One such theological breakthrough came when I was told that miracles have happened in other religions. If miracles and accounts of healing can happen in other religions, it was, by my own reasoning, none other than the Holy Spirit who caused such miracles to happen; thus, if the Holy Spirit was able to act and function accordingly in other religions, then were they really wrong?

Naturally the first argument that someone would bring up is that these miracles happened by means of demons; yet the same accusation is made of Jesus according to the Scriptures, in which the Pharisees accuse Him of casting out devils in the name of the prince of devils.

Jesus’s response? A house divided against itself cannot stand.

For a while, I adopted the position that Jesus was another mere mythological figure and never actually existed. In time, this perspective has been amended, and I understand that the there is both a historical Christ and a mythological Christ.

My interests turned mainly to Hinduism, Buddhism, and the Eastern religions. So, too, did I take interest in Wicca and Neo-Paganism. A new conflict arose in the midst of these, but we’ll get to that in a future blog.

I was unaware of exactly how cult-like the behavior of evangelical Christians were until I tested the waters for myself and saw the backlash. Suddenly in church I was questioning things, pointing out parallels in other religions, and one day, while going over the lesson of “Other Religions and How They’re All Wrong,” I had enough when the Sunday school teacher said, “Every other religion except Christianity a cult.”

That did it for me! I was outraged, furious, that such a narrow-minded, ego-centric accusation would be thrust on other religions by a person who was acting as cult-like as any cultist.

When I expressed my opinions and pointed out parallels in terms of prophecies that exist in other religions written down way before Christianity, I was told to shut up, and that if I was going to go that church, I had to believe what that church believed.

…and every other religion except that one is a cult?!

Please.

That’s sufficient for the moment. Happy reading, and don’t worry about getting too passionate in reading my blogs; I get passionate writing these! We’ll continue with the happy memoirs in the next series of blogs. And please remember, this is just skimming over the top of things.

Beaux


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