Former churchgoer (not by choice) of 15 years checking in.
Absolutely hated going by about the age of 8 or 9 - same stories every year, not allowed to ask questions about Bible plotholes, told that if you didn't go to church you went to hell. (Really lovely to hear when you have a parent who doesn't go to church. Incidentally, the Sunday School leader who shared this idea with me ran off with a married parishioner a decade later and was ostracised from the church community.)
Had a great youth worker in my tweens who was very patient and honest about his own doubts and lack of answers, and attended the adult Alpha Course aged 14; both were positive and respectful experiences that helped me to understand why faith was important to people. I also inadvertently ended up experiencing some of the Youth Alpha course, which was absolute shit - patronising, brainwashing, smug - and heralded a several year long angry atheist phase, which could be described in the same adjectives
By about 14, I'd come to the conclusion that I was certain there was no god, but also that others were certain that there was at least one god. Schrodinger's certainty, I guess. Generally at peace with it all now - for as long as it's a vague construct somewhere in the distance, the odd carol service aside. I know people whose lives are stronger and happier for having faith, and people who have been tortured and poisoned by their faith. All things considered, religion has been a negative influence in my life, but unless someone specifically brings it up I'm not going to shout about it.
While I can't stand aggressive atheists, I'm definitely not judgement-free on some stuff: cultish stuff disturbs me (missionary work, social media feeds full of Bible verses, neo-evangelical churches), vicars who won't marry those who have been divorced before (it makes me sick to know that some people who escape domestic violence from a former spouse and rebuild their life with someone new can be denied the right to marry), those who reject marginalised people based on scripture... These are things I'm generally insulated from, and I'm lucky that my Christian friends and family are generally very progressive and not too intense (with me at least), but through them I hear of some disturbing stuff being enabled by people's interpretation of faith.
I've only ever come across 'prophesying' in conversation with a sober Christian at the pub 3 weeks ago who told me that she prophesied 9/11 (and saved several people's lives through prayer) and also that I was a lesbian. I am not aware of this being accurate.
Season 2 of Fleabag made me consider religion in a more interesting way than anything I've come across from Christians themselves.
Marc Meakin wrote: ↑
Sat Aug 24, 2019 11:16 pm
I do respect Christian values
What does 'Christian values' actually mean? Don't think I've come across the concept in a capacity that isn't dogwhistle vacuity at best (Breitbart etc), where tenets like 'love thy neighbour' don't seem particularly compatible.
Dan Byrom wrote: ↑
Sat Aug 24, 2019 10:01 am
It is conceivable that Jesus is not God, but then who is he? Is he a conman? Has he lied to everyone to go down in the history books? But then how could he be the wisest, humblest most loving man to have existed. Perhaps he is mad then? But reading his biographies suggests to me that he isn't..
This came up at Alpha and was (imo) the weakest argument put forward - I've never understood why this is meant a convincing argument to a non-believer. Charismatic snake oil salesman/pathological liar/fantasist is infinitely more believable than the Christian interpretation of Jesus.