This Is What You Are To Believe…

Being a deep thinker I often wonder where our biases and prejudices come from. 🙂 Are we born with them. Do they come from those around us or do we come up with them on our own? I kinda believe it is the middle one. If you grew up white in the South in the 1950s and 60s and most everyone around you were segregationists then it is very likely you also would become one.  If the people you look up to to learn about life think one way you are probably more than likely to think that way too.

Can the same thing be said about religious beliefs? Someone, usually your parents, tell you that this is what you are to believe about God and since you are nothing compared to him you better cling to these beliefs or you will spend an eternity in agony and suffering. No one wants that so we usually take on our parents beliefs as our own, at least for a while.

As a kid I was taught that only Catholics went to heaven to be with God as it was the only true religion.  But as I got older at about 10 years of age I started asking questions about God. “Why does he insist that we praise him in a language no one uses. Is that the only language God knows?” These type question were usually brushed off as  infantile ramblings but that didn’t keep me from asking questions.

Now that I am a fully grown adult, that is if I ever will be, I have come to form my own views of just who God is. Since the vast majority, if not all, religions start with someone’s view of what God is. Contrary to my Mormon friends I don’t believe that God handed out instruction manual for how to live on this earth.  Instead he sent the person of Jesus of Nazareth to spread the word of proper living. The problem with that was that hardly anyone actually listens to those words today.

Our Christian bible is primarily dominated by the words of Paul, otherwise known as Saul. Now don’t get me wrong, Paul had some good things to say but he never really heard anything directly from Jesus except maybe for those few words on the road. If you objectively read his words that fact becomes obvious. So, he went about making up his own rules for proper Christian living.

Some of them were necessary in order to keep this ragtag group together but they in general they still lacked the lessons from Jesus.  The four gospels make up for that to some degree but it is Paul who the evangelicals have latched on to.

In conclusion, most of our beliefs in the religious are taught to us by others. I think it is about time we started figuring out that stuff by ourselves.


  1. I agree wholeheartedly. I’ve always noticed that religious professors those with PHDs etc usually study the Bible with a critical eye and are more interested in the true history and do research in archives and other books and histories of the past to gain their knowledge and expertise. And they study other religions for similarities and differences. To me this is the best way to really “know” religion. It’s facts, as best that can be ascertained from a life of research and study and not sterile belief learned in our childhood from parents and a local pastor.
    I read a quote recently that said “the bible is true because it says it’s true.” The original intent was to control people and gain power through large groups believing the same thing. This still goes on today and our current religious and political climate just exacerbates this. It has absolutely nothing to do with the history which would require studying the many books left out, rewrites, different language interpretations, motive of the writer of the various “books of.” There are many well written and researched books about the history of religion and not particular belief systems itself.

    Look at the history of WWII. Anyone who really wants to know the history won’t just take someone’s word or one article or one lecture or someone’s posting on Facebook, but will read many books and histories from different views and countries and you’ve have to also study WWI. And this is just a 40 +- years of history, not the thousands of years of religion.

    People want it easy. They don’t want to do the hard work of research. They just want to believe something simple and feel they are “right.”


    1. Thanks for the thoughts Mary. Yes, there are some critically thinking biblical historians around but most of them are affiliated with a specific denomination and therefore must stick to the stated beliefs. That prevents a critical analysis of any subject.

      I once belonged to a Lutheran denomination that espoused the circular logic that the Bible says it is true therefore it is. I could never align with that but was too cowardly, or maybe lazy, to confront that belief.

      Unfortunately most church members have little to no idea of the the doctrine of their church is. They treat there church more like a country club to socialize with like minded people. Yeah, people want it easy and when you start telling them the Jesus demanded action they are quickly turned off.


  2. I have often thought we Christians depend too much on Paul and not enough on the Gospels for our direction. For one thing I think there is not enough attention paid to the culture of the time Paul was writing so as to read it with a critical eye.

    I agree with both of your comments. Especially RJ’s comment about church members having no idea of the doctrines of their church. I think this is especially true of Roman Catholics many of whom believe a lot more in Protestant/Evangelical doctrines than Catholic doctrines.


    1. When a congregation I once belonged to previous pastor who was then serving in Bulgaria was basically stripped of this pastoral duties and returned tot he US because he prayed with others outside the WELS Lutheran church the congregation was shocked. They had no idea that the doctrine of that church said you couldn’t do that. And of course I was kicked out because I publicly announce via a blog that I didn’t believe that the earth is only 6,000 years old and that the Bible is not “literally” true in all aspects.

      I am most familiar with Protestant theology so don’t know a whole lot about Catholic even though I spend the first 14 years of my life there. But I do think Catholics heed the words of Jesus to a greater extent than others.


      1. And Catholics usually believe in evolution and the earth and universe being billions of years old. Many long ago Catholics were scientists too. And they don’t go on and on about being “saved” or you’re going to hell


        1. When I started me search into this topic about 8 years ago I took a course in basic. Theology presented by a priest who was the theological regional authority. Even though I spent me early years in the church I really didn’t have any grasp of what Catholics believed. I was almost shocked to learn what you say Mary. Another topic you didn’t mention is that they believe that some of the Bible is probably myth that grew up around the time of the Bible’s formation.


  3. And the Jewish religion is not fundamentalist in their view of evolution or age of the universe I don’t believe, but I don’t know for sure. And of course the Eastern religions have no problem with billions of years and don’t seem to have this need to convert everyone to the “correct” way of belief. In today’s world, it’s like a glimpse into the Middle Ages when kings and various gods ruled. The fundamentalists seem to be stuck in another time.


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