the post i’ve been avoiding

templeDo you ever struggle, no, not with what to say, but how to say it?

My whole life I’ve been a pleaser. A goodie-goodie. A teacher’s pet. No, not on purpose. I’ve never taken a teacher donuts, but I have always done my best. I studied hard and made good grades. I never partied, even in college. I’ve never smoked a cigarette, and the only piercings I have are single holes in my ears.

I was raised Seventh-day Adventist, and Seventh-day Adventists just didn’t do those things.

The only area in which I’ve ever been a “rebel,” really, has been in my thought patterns. At fourteen I fell in love with a young man who would eventually choose to become a Catholic priest. Talk about challenging your faith. The Adventist church preaches that the Pope is the Antichrist predicted in the Books of Daniel and Revelation. How could an Adventist date someone who was leaning towards such an “abomination”?

. . . But, then again, who decided what books were included in the Bible in the first place?

Randy challenged me to think deeply and hard about what I believed and to not just accept viewpoints that were thrown at me as fact. Although our relationship was, in many ways, extremely painful for both of us, I have no regrets and will always be grateful to him for the vantage point he gave me. In college my questions about my childhood faith were only compounded by a rigid system (I went to a private Adventist university) in which worship and religion were forced and felt fake. I stopped going to church because I no longer saw the point. What was the value of an hour’s sermon on Saturday when all you were doing was preaching to the choir?

And then I went to Taiwan. And then my mind was blown.

Less than two percent of the population in Taiwan is Christian. Most Taiwanese are a combination of Taoist-Buddhist and worship deities and observe traditions that, to a Christian, seem crazy. You burn paper money to pass on to your dead relatives in their next life? Really?

But it was here that I came to understand how greatly my early years shaped everything about the way in which I viewed religion and the world. The Bible is the Word of God, right? There is only one way to salvation — through accepting the name of Christ, right? Right?

avoidBut would I believe the same if I’d been born in Outer Zambooblia? Even the questions I was asking were from an entirely Christian viewpoint!

And that’s when I began to see that God is bigger than religion — He HAS to be. I have good friends in Asia who are wonderful people who know about God but, for cultural and other reasons, will likely never accept Him. According to the teachings of traditional Christianity, this means they are doomed for hell.

I don’t believe that. I can’t. Salvation and access to truth can NOT be dependent on where you were born.

Today, as a blogger, I have readers from all over the world. The pleaser in me is very aware of how everything I say and do might be received by every one of my readers. So you’re an atheist. You’re laughing at me for believing in God at all right now. So you’re a Muslim. You don’t believe in the Bible; your holy book is the Quran. So you’re an Adventist. You’re upset that I’d challenge the wisdom laid down by the founders of the Seventh-day church. So you’re a Catholic. You’re offended that I’d challenge the authority of the universal church.

And all I can say is, “I’m sorry, but I’m not sorry.” I can’t say what you want to hear because I can never please everyone. God knows my heart, and in the end, the most important thing is staying true to is myself.

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Images: TheAtlantic.com and Pinterest

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82 thoughts on “the post i’ve been avoiding

  1. Joe Bradshaw says:

    I love the sentiment and yes I have to say you are awesome being you! :)

  2. paywindow7 says:

    I’m not religious but I believe in God. God directs my life. My life had always been a bit shaggy and then a few years ago I experienced revelations that convinced me that God does exist. Now God points and I fetch and I know a peace that I never had before.

    • Jessica says:

      I’m so glad to hear that. Yes, I believe He exists, too. There is no way this world could come into existence through… chaos. The Chesterton quote in my previous post fits my thoughts well: “If we find ourselves with a desire that nothing in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that we were made for another world.”

  3. There are worse things than being a goodie-goodie. No cigs is a good way to go. Although I don’t know how all the Mormons around here can go without drinking, seriously. All 98% percent of those Taiwanese that are not Christian are going to hell! — just kidding.

    • paulbrodie says:

      its easy not drinking when its a principle of faith. and when you never take the first drink.

      • Jessica says:

        I’m with you, Paul. I hardly drink and didn’t at all until after college. I’m lame that way, I guess. Jon, on the other hand… ;)

    • Jessica says:

      Haha, Joe. Thanks for the kind words about being a goodie-goodie. I guess I just never had reason to rebel — unless my rights were being threatened. Haha. *Then* you’d better watch out!!

      Interestingly, a lot of people think of both Adventists and Mormons as cults because of all of their rules, but they’re really not.

  4. Steven says:

    Yes, I am an Atheist and struggle to believe that people still believe, whatever their religious persuasion, in a God, any God, when for 2000 years scientists have uncovered not a single shred of evidence. However, I do believe in people’s right to choose, and so I respect you for your honesty and appreciation for people’s opinions, and as long as each of us is true to ourselves first, and respect everyone else along the way, then, God or no God, the world will be a decent place in which to live and die.

    • Jessica says:

      Fair enough, Steven. I agree that the key to peace is respect for others’ vantage points and all that goes into them. One thing I thought about in regards to your comment about scientists, though: Scientists still know so little about so much and are uncovering new things about the world every day. If you think of how far we’ve come in the last hundred years, even in medicine… I guess the fact that God’s existence can’t be “proven” isn’t enough proof for me *not* to believe in something. My faith in man just isn’t that strong.

  5. Reblogged this on MIND SPEAKS and commented:
    WHAT DO YOU THINK?
    Does God really care about your religion?

  6. elbrookman says:

    That’s it. You got it now. Keep going. Write like no one will read it and edit it like the world will read it….great job.

  7. “God is bigger than religion,” Spot on Jess! I’m with you on that one!

  8. Francis.R. says:

    In my country (Peru) catholics have Saint James the killer of “Indians” :D, funny because we are not from the India…
    If I understand well to create, to write, is a way to rebel. It’s not fortuitous that the governments ruled by ideologist as religious people apply a strong censure to everything.

    • Jessica says:

      I would agree that writing is a way to rebel — or can be. It is certainly my outlet, and it is encouraging when others relate to what I write!

      I would also agree that it is terrible when strong government censorship is in place. I wouldn’t like to live in a Communist country where I wasn’t allowed to talk about things like religion openly!

  9. klindsay93 says:

    I really enjoyed this perspective on belief! Very refreshing to hear somebody taking about faith in an open, inclusive and truly loving way! K x

    • Jessica says:

      Thank you, Lindsey! Glad you enjoyed it. I am glad to know it came across as loving and inclusive. That is certainly the way it was intended. :)

  10. Myles says:

    G-d IS most definitely bigger than religion; yours, mine, and everyone in between. I still, automatically and quite subconsciously, spell G-d without the “o” in the middle. As Jews, we’re taught early on that HIS name his too holy to actually spell. And there are other little things I do without thinking about them: every time I enter a room I look for a mezuzah (Jewish charm nailed outside of doors to ward off evil).
    We can’t change where we came from, or how that shaped our world view, but thank “G-d” we’ve learned, some of us, to think for ourselves – to see outside our respective religions, and realize that being a good person and doing the right thing is what matters…to G-d.

    • Jessica says:

      I didn’t know you were Jewish, Myles! I actually did some work with a Jewish catering company a while back. There is a lot to know about kosher foods!

      I love what you said: that being a good person and doing the right thing is what [really] matters to G-d. I couldn’t agree more… Your thoughts may spur my next post, actually. ;) Thank you!

  11. Jack Baker says:

    Glad you and Jon made it safe =). This is a good post and I think it’s good to question and test your beliefs. I’m not a big fan of religion which to my understanding is more along the lines of the repetitive church stuff and “good works” people do that some think will get them to heaven. I lean more towards the faith & repentance side instead. Jesus did not have much good to say about the “religious” folks such as the pharisees of his time.

    For atheism I like the analogy of looking at a building but then believing there is no “creator” of it just because you can’t see him. If the building exists someone must have made it. So it is with nature and God. We have been separated from the creator because of sin. For me it takes more faith to believe that nothing created everything (goes against scientific laws anyways) then something all powerful that always existed created the universe and time. This world sure does have a lot of complexities in it I think to be random.

    I agree that I think that God is much bigger than any form of religion. It’s interesting to think how are viewpoints could be different depending on where we grew up. Sadly I think Christians have failed a lot of people by not sharing the truths that Jesus commanded his followers to share. I do think it’s worthwhile to study the different religions of the world to come to your own conclusions of the truth.

    That’s just my two cents coming from an ex-agnostic…not looking to offend anyone else as I believe everyone has a right to choose what they believe. Hope you guys are doing well!

    • Jessica says:

      Thanks, Jack. We *are* doing well, and thanks so much for your insightful comment! I really like your building/creator analogy. It fits well and sums up my thoughts, too. This world is far too complex, and, honestly, there are far too many similarities between world religions for everything to have been created by chance. I’m not a big fan of repetitive church stuff, either. My biggest beef with the human race is its inclination to surround itself with people who think and do exactly what it does.

  12. You know, I think being honest and real with each other is one of the ways we grow best and gain an understanding of one another! So although I don’t agree with all you say, I really appreciate you saying it! I appreciate that you take time to think about things, and to present your thoughts graciously for others to read and potentially criticize :) It is good to get to know you through what you say!

    • Jessica says:

      Thank you, Ruthie! I’ll admit that this post was a tough one to publish. I tend to shy away from controversy — especially on my blog — and don’t want to offend anyone. I myself have TONS of questions, and I guess that that’s why I’d rather present questions than act like I have all the answers. My best posts come from things I am passionate about, too, and yes, I agree: honesty is the only way to go!

      It’s nice to get to know you, too, by the way! My life has been crazy lately, but I’m trying to get back into the blogging swing. :)

      • I tend to shy away from it too- offending lots of people is a scary concept! But if thoughts and questions are presented in a gentle way and it still is offends some people on my own blog, well maybe I shouldn’t owrry about that! :)

        I hope life is going well! :) The blogging swing is definitely hard to keep up when life is busy!

  13. It takes power and strength to share your faith. Bravo! It’s a beautiful thing to see. And you talk about it with such passion that isn’t full of the cliche “preaching to the choir”. It’s been interesting here in Japan because I’ve been directed to the local Lutheran church because it is assumed I am Christian. I have always gone along with it so as not to rock the boat. And really, it’s always been an interesting experience. I love seeing and learning about different perspectives. There’s always something to be learned. Thanks for sharing!

    • Jessica says:

      Interesting that you’d be directed to a Lutheran church, I assume just because you’re a white foreigner? From what I’ve heard the Japanese themselves are not very religious. They work too much. :D And I’m glad you feel my passion without the cliche. I too love learning about others’ perspectives. Living in a country where Christianity was not the dominant religion really did rock my world.

      • It just so happens that a Lutheran church is the only one in the area, at least that I’m aware of, and it probably was because I was white. Most of the other white foreigners go there. It was a kind thought but a bad fit for me. As far as Japanese go, they don’t seem so religious but many are very spiritual, particularly the older generation, at least from my experience. The interesting thing is being told to do different things at the local shrine by different people. Hope your day is filled with joy!

  14. Sara says:

    Great post! Similar background here… and similar conclusions.

  15. shoe1000 says:

    I like what Joseph Campbell said. “Ggod is a metaphor for all that is beyond intellectual. It is that simple.”
    I believe in Ggods….. hundreds of em!!

    • Jessica says:

      A metaphor for all that is beyond intellectual? Interesting… I like that, but I’m not sure I agree. The idea of God certainly is intellectual — how else would we think of it? — if not fully explainable or understandable… Still, I think I see what you and Campbell mean. :)

  16. twdyen says:

    Well, the Antichrist is the last false prophet, whose appearance will mean the end of the world, because following the event, God will bring in the New Jerusalem with a new heaven and earth. The Antichrist will probably be a Jew, to be enthroned at Jerusalem, because throughout Jesus’ mission, Jews remained unbelieving. He is just to show the Jews someone they’d rather take as Messiah instead of Him. It’s next to impossible that the Antichrist will be established anywhere near Rome. The whole Bible is written to make a simple point: God loves us all, though He doesn’t seem to care right now.

    There are people born before Christ’s incarnation. They don’t have a choice, either. Are they all dead? They didn’t disbelieve, because they didn’t even hear the message. Of course, they didn’t believe, either. It’s all about doing what’s good (John 5:29). How about those who reject Him today, due to lack of evidence to support Jesus’ resurrection? Well, they will probably be forgiven, just like the Roman soldiers that mocked Him when He was on the cross. They didn’t know that He is Christ. Faith is evidence-based. Jesus made sure all apostles witnessed His resurrection.

    The Bible is still the best preserved historical document in the world. You can compare if you want.

    • reedmyles@gmail.com says:

      I’ve heard this before: “The Antichrist will be a Jew.” Is that because Jesus was a Jew? I don’t understand. Also, I think it important that we take the books of the bible, both old and new testaments, as a means of spiritual fulfillment. I don’t think the literal translations serve us well. Jesus never said there was a “hell”. And don’t forget about the other 26 Gospels that were cut from the bible, they tell a very different story than the four that made it.

      • Jessica says:

        Love the conversation, fellas. Keep it up! I’ve always found it interesting to study how the various books of the Bible made it into the Bible. I don’t believe in a literal hell, either, Myles.

      • twdyen says:

        If you really want to debate, I can create a new post at my blog just for you. In any case, the Antichrist doesn’t have to be a Jew, but will the Jews accept a foreign Messiah? I doubt it. Most books in the New Testament were penned by the 12 Apostles. That was a key differentiator. Luke worked closely with them and made an exception. You can skip the Gospel of Luke if you want. That makes no difference to the overall understanding of the Bible. Hell appeared numerous times, all probably referring to the Lake of Fire instead of Hades, which is obviously a very different place. I’m not a pastor, so if it’s too much for me, I will let you know.

        I just got back from work, just so you know.

      • Myles says:

        Actually, the gospels were not penned by the apostles, they were written some 200 – 300 years after the apostles died. Additionally, the other 26 gospels (the gnostic gospels) were written during the same period. There is a new documentary on the History Channel about the Gospel of Judas, an incredible story. Judas was demonized by the early church leaders, but was actually the one Jesus confided in the most. He, according to his Gospel, was the only one that understood Jesus’ message that we should all look for G-d within ourselves. And he didn’t betray Jesus, but rather freed him of his “earthly clothes (his body) at Jesus’ request.

      • Myles says:

        Also… I didn’t say Hell didn’t appear in the bible, I said Jesus himself never mentions it.

      • Jessica says:

        I didn’t say it didn’t appear, either, just to clarify. ;)

      • Myles says:

        That wasn’t meant for you, Jessica! Sorry.

  17. I was so interested in all of these fourteen comments Jessica, and had a few thoughts I wanted to share. I believe that man has done a thorough job of messing up what God gave to us as our heritage, that being the gift of having been created in His image and His likeness. That is an extremely broad concept, but has been understood only in the concept that we are part spirit, (as in body-soul-spirit). As a result the gift of His Spirit which was to lead us to a life of spirituality morphed instead into what we have come to know as ‘religion.’ It was not a total loss as there is ‘good’ In this world, and that is a result of the ‘few’ who seek it. “Faith” we are told is the ‘substance’ of what man seeks for, generally that would be the good within us and in others, though for some, as for Satan, that would be evil. To complete that verse (Hebrews 11:1) there is one more thing that “faith is”, it is the evidence of what’s not seen and that would be God. The only way we can see Him is by the ‘good’ that’s done on this earth by people, His creation. How do we see it? We see it by their deeds.

    One of your writers mentioned those who lived before Jesus as being without hope. Never would God do that. He treats all humanity the same, from Adam to the end of time. It is a principle that is unchanging. What we are told to do often changes, but principles never change. Even so, like the thief on the cross who recognized who Jesus was (the Son of God) and believed his belief was all he had to give just like the widow whose offering was one mite (less than a penny in our currency) it was all that she had and it was said that it was the best that was given that day. Do you see the comparison to the thief? He, too, gave all that he had…his belief, and he was promised to be with the Lord in paradise. We can’t limit what He can do, we can only obey what has been revealed to us. The caveat is that He expects us to seek Him to learn what He wants of us.

    My point is that no matter what age man has lived in, God requires of him first belief in whatever God has revealed to him and then he requires obedience to his illumination.
    The final piece of this information is that God desired from the beginning to put His Word in man’s heart and then He said, “they will be my people and I will be their God.” I agree with you and with your writers that we do not need religion, but we do need to seek spirituality.

    • Jessica says:

      Religion is mad-made. God is so much more… And can be seen everywhere and yes, throughout all time. In some ways, God’s presence could be felt in a much more “real” way than it can today — that is to say that He made his presence felt and seen differently, I suppose. So I agree that no, the people before Jesus were not without hope!

      You nailed it, though, when you said that the way we see good and God through His people today is by their deeds. I believe that all the way. I am planning to address this in a future post, but I feel that, no matter what religious or moral system you were raised under, we all have the ability to choose between wrong and right and know when we are making that choice. And that choice can make all the difference.

    • Jessica says:

      P.S. Sorry if this is a somewhat rushed response. I am in the middle of all kinds of things right now, but want to make sure I follow up with all of the wonderful readers of my blog! It’s good to hear from you, Marie. I’ve missed you!

      • I’ve missed being able to communicate but you don’t have to worry that I haven’t read every one of your posts, (and enjoyed every one!) Thanks for your reply.

        My book deals with the idea that God is impartial and treats us in fairness, mercy (if we are seeking Him) and justice (what is deserved) if we are not seeking Him. It illustrates His continuity throughout the ages, beginning with how He dealt with Satan, how He prepared the way for Jesus by a foundation that had its beginning with Adam and Eve and continued until the resurrection and ascension of Jesus and which signaled the beginning of His church which has no resemblance to the denominations of today. His sacrifice was for all people who decide themselves whether they will accept His gift or not. Had you ever considered that a gift doesn’t become our own until we accept it? It is the same with His gift.

      • Jessica says:

        I love that, Marie — all of it — and believe I fully agree. Would love to talk with you about it more… And that is an interesting and, yes, I suppose very true thought: We don’t own a gift until we accept it… Or at least we can’t maximize it to its true and full potential.

  18. Hmmm. Jess the rebel. Has an odd ring to it.

  19. Rajiv says:

    This is a wonderful post. Very honest. Very strong

  20. So interesting, Jess. I think it’s a loaded topic and you expressed yourself really clearly and from the heart. Beliefs are perhaps not as important as what you do with them (aka thinking everyone should believe as you do), that’s where the trouble begins, I think.
    A superbly thought-provoking post. I love the honesty you put forth here in your own personal journey with religion.
    ~Andrea <3

    • Jessica says:

      I love your thought that beliefs are perhaps not as important as what we do with them, Andrea. There is a lot of truth to that — unless, that is, your belief is that everyone else is wrong!! Haha. But I agree that respect for others’ beliefs rather than dogmatic insistence on the truth of your own is the key to a better world… And I’m glad you like my honesty. It feels good to write posts like these. It really does!!

      Hope you’re having a wonderful week!

  21. Jennifer Lawson says:

    Loved this. Thank you for sharing :)

  22. MW Moore says:

    When I was about nine, I told my grandfather I wanted to go to church (he did not). He walked into his study and pulled a book down off a shelf and handed it to me; “Beliefs and Practices of Religions in the United States”, find one that you agree with and we’ll go. I went to church just after my thirteenth birthday. I went with the clear understanding that there was a God(ess) (the Bible makes several references to the gods, a pantheon), that had a clear plan for the earth and the heavens; that it was beyond my comprehension; I had a part in that plan (don’t know the plan, don’t know where I am in the plan); everything that has happened in my life, is happening in my life has/is making me unique/singular and the only person/thing on this planet that is capable of doing that thing. And I pray that I am not asleep when I’m supposed to do it.
    Accepting that theology as Truth, and there is only Truth, every other person/creature on this planet also has a part in that plan and everything that they are have done, believe is what makes them uniquely capable of doing what it is that they are to do in God(ess)’s plan.
    How can we not see God(ess) in everyone/everything, how can we not love them, respect them because they are Buddhist, Muslim, Hindu, Catholic, Jewish, blah, blah, blah.
    I’m old, not terribly attractive, long-winded and I enjoy your blog and the courage you show in sharing what you believe (have come to be).
    peace

    • Jessica says:

      I couldn’t agree more, though sometimes it is hard to understand that plan, no? I don’t know if you read my rock-climbing accident story some months back, but I distinctly remember feeling guilty that I had survived. The following school year — I would have been nineteen — I heard about a car accident in which two 16-year-old twin sisters were critically injured and one of them died. I remember asking, “Why her? Why not me? Was *that* God’s plan? How could that be God’s plan?” And yet I’ve come to see that even horrible things *can* come to good, and there are things I just will never understand. I fully agree that God works through all religions (Truth), and it is my duty to respect people and meet them where they’re at.

      I’m so glad you enjoy my blog. I wish I could be more consistent in my writing!! I appreciate your comment so much and hope you’re having a wonderful day!!

      • MW Moore says:

        A wonderful day indeed, me and the weed garden…and yes I read about your accident. A question; do you not feel stronger (spiritually, emotionally and yes physically) since the accident? God’s work out program can be a bear.

  23. manangbok says:

    I think I am a closet atheist. In my heart of hearts I am sure there is no god … or at least not the personal Judeo-Christian Supreme Being I have been taught to exist my whole life.

    But I love the trappings of Christianity, the traditions of my Catholic “faith”. Alone, or with relatives and friends, I can enthusiastically participate in going to mass, receiving the communion, celebrating Catholic holidays.

    But a part of me knows that there must not be a God. I blame Richard Dawkins and (the late) Christopher Hitchens (god bless his soul … say the closet atheist, tongue firmly in cheek) for this certainty. My high school friend D (a self professed atheist at 14) also has something to do with it.

    But still, I love Christian traditions … even if sometimes, they don’t seem to make rational sense. For example, during the Communion, one is supposed to believe that one is literally ingesting the blood and body of Jesus Christ. I don’t believe in that. But I love taking the communion wafer and praying afterwards to a deity that I know doesn’t exist.

    Does this make me delusional? Or a hypocrite? I wonder.

    • Jessica says:

      No, you’re not delusional… Have you read any of C.S. Lewis’s stuff? He was an atheist who sought to prove God didn’t exist, and instead came to the opposite conclusion. I can understand why you would feel that God doesn’t exist. I have SO many questions for and about God. If the biblical perspective of God as an omniscient, omnipotent being is true, why… all this? The world is a crazy, dangerous, and yet beautiful place, and no one person is to blame for the mess. I just don’t know… And yet… I love that quote by C.S. Lewis: “If we find ourselves with a desire that nothing in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that we were made for another world.” I really do believe that and *have* to believe that the intricacies of our planet are not merely by accident.

      I have an atheist friend who once told me he thought all religion was man’s attempt to make himself feel better about all of the sh*t that happens in this world. I don’t think he’s right, but I can understand why he would feel that way, too, and why you would say you like some of the “trappings” of Christianity. There *is* a sense of wonder and enrichment when you know the history and symbolic meaning behind such traditions as mass.

  24. ksummersb says:

    We seem to be in similar places lately :) When I saw the title of your post and started reading the content, I nearly fell out of my chair. :) I am working on a post on the same topic – it’s been in draft for two months and I have only been actively crafting it for the last week or so bc like you I’ve been ‘avoiding’ it. I want to write something that’s respectful, but still speaks to my own truth. I think you balanced that very well here. I’m hoping to post Saturday with this one. Although I don’t think I’ve ‘copied’ you, it is true to say that your post has helped bolster my courage for posting my own version of this sentiment. Love and support always :)

    • Jessica says:

      I’m so glad to hear that… It is nice to know others have had similar thoughts. I don’t like talking religion because I don’t want to offend anyone or push away any of my readers. For the most part, my religion is acceptance of others, because how can I know what it’s been like to walk in your shoes…? I’m glad you think I balanced this well. And no, of course I won’t think you’ve copied me! I will look for your post!! :)

      Hope you’ve had a great week!

  25. “There is only one way to salvation — through accepting the name of Christ, right? Right?”

    This has exactly been the question has been disturbing me for quite sometime.

    I believe in God. But I have too many questions against the man made institution called religion. I was raised up as a Christian. But somewhere down the line just like you I felt worship and religion forced upon others to be fake. I couldn’t accept things the way they were. Some of my relatives and christian friends think that I’ve strayed away and left God’s path.

    If only religion was so simple. If only it taught us to be good at heart and that nothing else matters.

    • twdyen says:

      Believing in Christ still makes a difference, because you actually accept God’s promise to forgive you, in case you make somewhat big mistakes, for no one is perfect. Plus, you will be given a clean conscience to know right from wrong based on God’s definition and not your definition. However, those who never had a chance to hear the properly presented gospel will be judged according to their conscience (Rom 2:14).

      Believing in Christ is like buying heavenly insurance, because you go to church, present weekly offerings and spend time on worship, choir practice and all sorts of volunteer works. In exchange, God keeps His promise for you because you continue to follow Him. It’s a well established system. It’s just that we don’t have sufficient physical evidence to prove every claim in the Bible as a historical document. Nevertheless, we all agree that insurance is a good concept, right?

      The justice system remains the same before and after believing in Christ (John 5:29; James 2:17). God doesn’t use a double standard. However, our conscience is cleansed through rebirth, such that we accept God’s principles for moral decisions. It’s true according to the Bible that there is only one way to salvation (John 14:6).

      The Bible is still the best preserved historical document in the world. It is more a history than a religion.

      I am not trying to use this post as a channel to preach the gospel. It’s better that you speak to your pastor or even take a course for a systematic presentation of the gospel. However, I do feel that most of you didn’t have a good opportunity to learn the Bible the way it should. Goodbye now, before Jessica gets angry again and deletes my comments.

    • Jessica says:

      I didn’t know you were raised Christian, Allwin!! That’s so interesting… God is simple even if religion is not. I know exactly how you feel and have convinced myself I don’t care what others think. I’m sure many of my friends from childhood feel the same as yours, but… All I know is that, if I were to do anything different than what I have been and am, I wouldn’t feel like I was being honest with myself. And *that’s* what matters most.

  26. oldironhoss says:

    Well, that stirred things up! I agree 100%
    Closed minds…Small worldview…narrow narrow thinkers = for the safety of their soul

  27. Rhys Jones says:

    Stay true to yourself and people will like you and love you for who you are, not your religious beliefs.

  28. another door says:

    Beautifully Written !!

    • Jessica says:

      Thank you so much!! Now to see if I can write an equally meaningful follow-up. I doubt it, but I’ll try!

      Hope you’re having a great day! Thank you so much for reading and for the comment. :)

  29. “Staying true to yourself” indeed Jess! And the wonderful exciting truth about that is that every day, every week, every year all things change and are not the same: nature and people. From a subatomic level to the vastly infinite macro-cosmos. So…

    Stay true to yourself every day, for today and you are different. ;-)

    • Jessica says:

      That’s a true and interesting though, Professor. I’m pretty sure a lot of things about me are the same every day, though. My temperament hasn’t changed much in about the last twenty years!!

      Hope your weekend (almost) is off to a great start!

  30. Hi Jess, great post, you must always stay true to yourself which can be extremely challenging at times. I was not brought up in a religious house but have a lot of respect for those that have as long as they know there is a world out there with many different religions and can respect that and from reading this post I can see you have that appreciation so THANK YOU. For me, it’s more about being self aware of who I am and where I come from and treating those around with the respect they deserve. Have a great day!

  31. Dalo 2013 says:

    Very intriguing post, love the discussion. Growing up outside of any church/religious teaching I have been able to admire religions from afar (Catholic, Mormon, Episcopal, etc…) with friends and occasionally attending church with them. I took it all in more in a social role, but really admire the spirituality and goodness every church & religion represents. Very confused at the politics and eventual hostility that people have towards other faiths, which I guess has always been the turn off…

    You say something so important, which is basically in whatever environment you were born, you will have the beliefs/religion of that culture/environment instilled in you from birth…Christian, Buddhist, Muslim, etc… And given what I know of you from your posts, you would remain your own terrific self regardless of religion.

An angel earns a pair of wings every time you comment.

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