Becoming an Honest Sinner

stop sinning

Joyce asked, “Bruce, I’m looking forward to some exciting blog posts telling us all about the sin you’re doing now, and all the fun you’re having.”  Her comment got me thinking about how I used to sin and how I now sin and the big difference there is between the two.

In my previous life, the life where I was a Christian and a pastor, my behavior was shaped by the Christian doctrine of sin and the various behaviors the Bible calls a sin. According to orthodox Christian teaching, sin is transgression of the law of God. Violating any of the commands, teachings, and precepts of the Bible, either by omission of commission, is a sin. According to the doctrine of original sin, every human, at the moment the egg is fertilized in their mother’s womb, becomes a sinner. We don’t become sinners, we are sinners. We had no choice in the matter. Adam and Eve, representatives for the entire human race, transgressed the law of God when the ate the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden. Because of their transgression, every human is now a sinner. Thanks Mom and Dad!

According to most Christian sects, it is human sin that lies at the heart of almost every problem. Sin is the problem and salvation is the solution, preachers tells us.  Because we all sinners, we are alienated from God. God is righteous and holy and any and every sin is a stench in his nostrils. As a wrathful, vengeful God, he demands that every sinner be tortured in the Lake of Fire after they die. This God, realizing that  creating people and then allowing them to sin would create a huge PR problem for him, decided to take on human form, come to earth, live a sinless life, and die on a cross to provide atonement for the sins of some or all humans, depending on the theology of future Christians. Somehow, a god-man being spit on and tortured on a cross is supposed to appease the anger and wrath of the Christian God. It all seems quite confusing to me, but hundreds of millions of Christians believe this very bloody, horrific, contradictory story.

Hundreds of millions of people are taught, from birth forward, that they are sinners in need of redemption. God says they are a sinner, the Bible says they are a sinner, their pastor/priest says they are a sinner, their parents say they are a sinner, and their culture says they are a sinner. They are told that they need to repent and ask Jesus to forgive them of their sins. Then they need to start going to church and listening to and obeying their pastor/priest’s preaching.  These men are commanded by God to remind church members of their sinfulness and their need of forgiveness. They are duty bound to recite the laws of God to the people, throwing in their own, peculiar interpretation of these laws. In fact, because they are so in touch with God, they have the liberty to add their own personal laws to the laws that must be kept by all Christians, that is as long as they can quote a Bible verse to justify their new law.

Growing up in a church environment that took God, the Bible, and sin seriously, by the time I was a teenager, I had an advanced degree in sinfulology. (i preferred the word sinology. but the word sinology means the study of Chinese history, language, and culture. Yea! I learned a new word today) From Genesis to Revelation, the law of God was drilled into my head. Even though the gospel message was salvation by grace, it became clear to me that the real gospel message was do this and thou shalt live. (and this gospel is preached by every Christian sect)

Of course, the problem I had was that even though I was a saved and forgiven sinner, I still sinned. The very laws that I was commanded to keep, and empowered by the Holy Spirit to overcome, were still a problem for me. Even as a pastor, I was still quite the sinner. I just learned to hide it a lot better than the average Christian did. Needless to say, because I was human, I was quite a law breaking failure.

Christians love to talk about new life in Christ. They love to sing songs like Victory in Jesus and I Surrender All. They love to talk about overcoming sin and living a sanctified, holy life. While they give God, through Jesus and the Holy Spirit, all the praise and glory for their righteous life, it is quite evident that they are bragging about how much better of a person they are than anyone else. So much so that they often write a book so everyone can know exactly how to become a super-sanctified, top of the class, 1 percenter Christian just like them.

Other Christians realize that they will never reach Mount Zion so they reinterpret the Bible in such a way to lessen the demands of the law of God. They decry legalism and preach sermons on Christians not being under the law of God. To them, it is all about grace. And it is all bullshit. Here is how easy this is to prove…ask the free grace preacher if a gay Christian man and his lover, who just so happens to work as a male stripper, can join the church? This loving couple professes faith in Jesus. As children they were baptized in the Baptist church. Free grace, right? Surely, their gayness should be no impediment to them joining the church? R-i-g-h-t. I could spend hours coming up with stories that would quickly show how empty the free grace, we are not under the law, gospel really is. Every Christian sect, every church, every pastor/priest, and every church member has a list of non-negotiable behaviors they consider a sin. One church may have a longer sin list than another, but they ALL have them.

Since Christians, like their unwashed, uncircumcised Philistine brethren in the world, have a problem with breaking the laws of God, they are forced to come up with novel ways to cover up their sin. Catholics have the confessional and Baptists have the altar. Both are meant to provided a quick wash dishwasher like cleansing from sin. Evangelicals are encouraged to pray without ceasing. John R. Rice was fond of saying that Christians should keep their sin list short. According to Rice, as soon as the Holy Spirit convicts a person of their sin, they should immediately pray and ask for forgiveness. Of course, this kind of thinking results in a constant cycle of sin-guilt-repent-sin-guilt-repent. Rarely is the Christian free from the guilt of sin because sin is ever-present and they sin hourly and daily in thought, word, and deed. In fact, sin is so pervasive, that the Christian likely sins without even knowing it. (one wonders where the sin-convicting, sin-stopping Holy Spirit is)

Christians live with fear and guilt, whether they are willing to admit it or not. Many Christians want to think that they are not like those legalistic fundamentalists, but they seem to be oblivious to their own set of laws that they think every Christian must and should obey. They may try to obfuscate things by chasing the motive rabbit, suggesting that they try to keep God’s commands out of love rather than out of fear and guilt like the legalistic fundamentalist does. Nice try. Social reasons aside, remove fear and guilt from the repertoire of the preacher and in short order his church would be empty. Time for babes, beach, and beer, the boys of the church say.

Christians find novel ways of sinning without sinning. Take bywords. Many Christians think it is a sin to say words like shit, fuck, God damn, and son of a bitch. Many of us heathens, when we get angry we swear, but sanctified Baptists often use by words like shoot, crap, darn, gosh darn, son of a gun, or freaking when they get angry. See, they are not swearing!

As a fifteen year old boy, I skipped school one day so I could attend the Ohio Baptist Fellowship meeting that was being held at the church I attended. This was my opportunity, as a recently saved, called to preach teenager, to rub shoulders with the great Ohio BBF preachers. After the morning session, I was standing with my youth director and a group of preachers in the church parking lot. I reveled in the stories they told. One preacher decided to tell us about his solution to lust:

When you see a beautiful woman that turns your head, the first turn of the head is not sin. It is when you turn and look a second time that it is sin. So, just make sure your first look is a long one.

Everyone laughed, but as I think 40 years later about this story, it is a perfect illustration of how sinning can be turned into not sinning. Every preacher would agree that lust is a sin, right? But, God also made women beautiful and it is natural to look at them. (with sanctified, only looking at their eyes, gazes, of course) It is when the Christian man does a double take that he is lusting after a women.  Of course, as any woman can tell us, most men are quite capable of undressing a woman with their eyes with one, long look. According to this preacher, this is just men enjoying the scenery.

I am sure many of you can tell stories about the novel ways used by people to sin without sinning. We have all heard preachers go wild in the pulpit over this or that, justifying their anger as righteous anger. Atheists like myself, especially those who were once preachers, often are attacked and vilified by supposed followers of Jesus. In their twisted mind, behavior that the Bible calls sin can be turned into virtue and standing up for God. There is no sin that can not be justified if the circumstances are right. (i.e. Christian America dropping atomic bombs on Japanese civilians in WW2)

What I have described above is dishonest sinning. Now, that I am a vile, wicked, evil, hell bound follower of Satan, I find that I am a much more honest sinner. First, the list of what I consider a sin, actually what I call bad behavior, is quite small. I no longer make it my business what consenting adults sexually do in the privacy of their home, office, car back seat, motel room, or beach. I no longer consider the Bible to be THE moral authority for all humans. I realize the situational morality and ethics are normal and that context is everything. Just because some preacher says something is a sin doesn’t make it so. I find that I am free to be a normal heterosexual man, freed from the guilt and fear of religion. Yes, there ya have it, I became an atheist, so I could sin, sin, sin, sin, sin, sin, sin. (you know some Christian is going to say this, so I might as well just say it for them)

I have learned that I don’t need to feign shock and outrage when I see a woman’s breasts on TV. I can laugh with millions of others when HBO comedian John Oliver shows viewers a “picture” of Congressman Mitch McConnell’s dick in a hilarious bit about congressional campaigning in Kentucky. (you can see the 11 minute clip here. It is sexual, violent, and funny as hell) I have learned that I don’t need to pretend to avert my eyes when an attractive woman walks down the street. I have also learned that my wife knows when I am paying attention to the scenery.

I now know that anger, envy, lust, along with love, empathy, and compassion, are human emotions that I don’t need to be ashamed of. I have learned that beer and wine taste good, women aren’t sluts if they wear slacks, and depression is not a sign of spiritual weakness or sin. In fact, I have learned that most of the laws of God, as interpreted by frail, sinful, contradictory men, are only meant to control and demean. It’s not about living a better life in harmony with God, the environment, and each other. It’s all about making sure the sheep obey. (and the same could be said of some secular laws)

Most of all, I have learned that the Christian concepts of original sin, indwelling sin, coupled with fear of judgment, is quite harmful mentally and emotionally. I have corresponded with countless former Christians who are still shackled by the indoctrination of the past. They want to be free, to live authentically, but they still have twinges of fear when they do things that were once considered a sin. I can only imagine how horrified my wife’s fundamentalist family is as they read about our family’s sinful behaviors. I am sure they consider us a perfect example of what happens when people get out of the will of God. (in their mind we are still Christians, just out of God’s will, sure to be hammered by God in the near future)

In the mind of the Christian, I am an antinomian reveling in my love of sin. What I really am is a normal human being that respects the rights and space of other. Certainly, as we gather together in tribes, communities, and countries, we must develop guidelines by which we can all live in love, peace, and harmony. (cue the 1960′s) As Amimental is fond of saying, her governing law is, don’t be an asshole.

How about you? Did you find freedom once you left the shackles of Christianity? Was it hard for you at first, discerning between what was a hangover from your religious past and what you wanted your moral/ethical foundation to be? Pleas share your thoughts in the comment section.

Comments (34)

  1. billwald

    “Sin boldly,” Martin Luther.

    from http://www.scrollpublishing.com/store/Luther-Sin-Boldly.html

    Last paragraph (#13)

    Reply
  2. Tony

    harmartiology is apparently the real word for the study of sin http://capro.info/Christianity/Sin/Hamartiology_The_Study_of_Sin.html

    and it seems this guy is a fundamentalist calvinist baptist… and just like you might expect he is quite mean spirited

    Reply
    1. Bruce Gerencser (Post author)

      Man, that’s a term I haven’t heard in a long, long time.

      Reply
    2. Paul

      Hey Tony,

      I came across your comment via the stats page on my site. I’m curious that you think I’m “quite mean spirited.” What exactly are you referring to and how did you come to such a conclusion, particularly since the link you’ve provided is a simply explanation of the Doctrine of Sin?

      Oh, and btw, I’m not a “fundamentalist calvinist baptist.” ;-)

      Reply
      1. Bruce Gerencser (Post author)

        Can’t speak for Tony, but I perused your site, blog, and other places you have commented. I would agree with mean spirited and fundamentalist. I didn’t read enough of your stuff to decide if you were a Calvinist or a Baptist. Your writing did get my attention. I may do some writing about it but I doubt you’ll like it. :)

        Thanks for commenting.

        Bruce

        Reply
        1. Paul

          Bruce,

          Simply repeating what Tony wrote doesn’t tell me anything. What do you mean by “mean spirited”? Moreover, since you’ve chosen to use “fundamentalist” as a pejorative, please explain what you mean by that? What is inherently evil or wrong about being fundamental in one’s beliefs as a Christian?

          Thanks.

          Paul

          Reply
          1. Bruce Gerencser (Post author)

            It is your approach to anyone who does not believe like you do, theologically or politically. It is your condemnation of human behaviors that are normal.

            Fundamentalism, generally speaking is away of thinking, away of interpreting. Christian fundamentalists think the Bible is inspired/inerrant, tend to be literalists, are narrow minded, judgmental, and exclusionary.

          2. Paul

            So, Jesus, Paul, Peter, John, et al, must have all been “fundamentalists,” given what you’ve just explained.

            After all, they thought that God’s Word was inspired/inerrant, believed in the literal truths of the biblical message; were “narrow minded” in the sense that they believed in one way unto the throne of God; were judgmental in the sense that they believed truth was absolute, not relative; and were exclusionary (see previous comment on narrow-mindedness).

            That’s what makes a person a “fundamentalist,” much less “mean spirited”? Really? If so, it would appear that such a definition is actually a caricature, not a reality. Otherwise, all of the aforementioned are damned, and then what are you going to be left to write about and upon whose authority?

          3. Bruce Gerencser (Post author)

            you are importing your theology into this. Fundamentalism is a mindset, a way of looking at the world. It is, above all else, a worldview.

            I hope you will take the time to read about whose blog you are on, my background etc. Then you will realize your comment is quite silly and a waste of time.Try to be at least a little bit curious about the site you are commenting on.

          4. Paul

            Bruce, I’m not importing anything. I’m simply stating a biblical fact. Otherwise, please provide the biblical evidence to support the idea that Jesus, Paul, Peter, John, et al did not believe God’s Word to be inspired or inerrant. Or that they believed that truth was relative or even that Jesus never said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life; no man comes to the Father, but by me,” which is “exclusionary.”

            Also, before I go about perusing anything, I’m still curious about the comment where you think I’m “mean spirited.” Aside from a twisted pejorative about being “fundamentalist,” I have yet to understand, due to a lack of an example, what you mean. Could you possibly provide something a bit more tangible?

          5. Bruce Gerencser (Post author)

            Not going to do this Paul. Feel free to read anything you wish on this site, but I make it a rule not to get into fruitless discussions with fundamentalists. Like all fundamentalists, you assume your beliefs are authoritative and right and everyone should bow to your infallible truth. Your objective is not engagement or understanding, as anyone can tell by reading your writing. You are certain you are right, end of story.

            I know how you think, Paul. Been there, done that for 50 years. Until you see that what you claim is true isn’t, then there is no possible way to have a profitable discussion with you. I do intend to write a post about your site/blog, not as a way of “reaching” you, but as a way of helping others that are naively drawn to fundamentalist thinking. I wish you no ill will, but I consider Evangelical/fundamentalist Christianity to be quite harmful mentally and emotionally. I think it leads to a denial of self and promotes ignorance. There are many other expressions of Christianity better suited for those who have faith. Of course, you think those expressions are false.

            There’s nothing more that I can say here.

        2. Paul

          So, in other words, Bruce, you don’t have any specific examples. You’re simply going to engage in what really amounts to a personal attack and defamation, and everyone is just supposed to accept it as the gospel truth? And then you’re going to write some kind of commentary about my site or blog, and that is supposed to be “instructive,” even though you can’t be instructive, now, regarding the simplest of questions?

          Well, let me ask, and I won’t bother you anymore: How is that not mean-spirited in itself? How is that demonstrating to your readership that your conclusions are reasonable and above board? Finally, how is such commentary going to be God-honoring, much less defensible, especially since you’ve caste His standard aside as everything but trustworthy?

          Blessings

          Reply
          1. Bruce Gerencser (Post author)

            I am not going to attack you. I am going to look at the beliefs and practices that you publicly promote.

            It is not that I can’t answer your questions,it is that I won’t. You are intellectually lazy, not even bothering to read the about page, comment rules, or anything else. Any question you might have is answered somewhere on this blog.

            I have no problem with direct, honest disagreement. I do have a big problem with people who use religion and the Bible to judge, attack, and bludgeon those who don’t believe like they do.

            I don’t give a f$&k about being God honoring. I am an atheist, so I think your god is a myth. Kinda silly for me to be worried about honoring a mythical being. While I think the Bible is a fallible, errant, contradictory book written by men, it does play a huge part in the culture I am a part of. It is also used to hurt people. So, the Bible and how people interpret it is very important to me as I try to help those who have doubts about Christianity or who have left Christianity altogether.

  3. Stephanie

    I always thought they put so much emphasis on things that had little to nothing to do with true morality so they could then say how much better they were than everyone else because they were able to follow pointless rules. What harm does it cause if someone has one drink? Oh yeah, you will become an alcoholic. What happens if you think a sexy thought about someone? You will become an adulterer. What happens if you find friends outside church? You will leave the faith (this actually might be partially true). They are big fans of the slippery slope fallacy. Thoughts do not equal action no matter how many times they say it. I dress how I want, drink what I want and watch what I want. Those things harm no one including myself. So basically I believe in not treating people like crap.
    Once you get past all the rules you can follow the spirit of the what they rule was trying to do and apply that value to your life. For some examples, no drinking=don’t get drink and drive, no sex before marriage=don’t use people, be safe and honest etc. Granted, some of the rules I can’t see that they have any real value behind them. Just rules to follow but I do think to some extent you can look at some of the rules and see the greater point behind them.

    Reply
  4. Ami

    Our weekly church attendance was always bolstered by mid week fellowship of some sort, usually called bible study but really just more socializing and laying on of hands and snacks.

    My mom especially ‘needed her batteries charged’… sort of like touching base with God to continue her attempts to avoid being sinful.

    She had a long list of the things she did that were ‘bad’, too.
    It sort of makes me sad when I think of it, she always thought she was imperfect and needed to be accountable twice a week.

    I have to say that my mom is actually one of the nicest people I know, she is kind to everyone and really does try to be godly.

    I wonder how much happier she’d be if she realized that she’s already nicer and more decent than a large majority of the ‘Christians’ she associates with.

    I’m glad that I’m accountable to myself instead of an imaginary god.
    More responsible, I think.
    And when I fuck up, I have to own it… can’t blame the devil.

    Reply
    1. Bruce Gerencser (Post author)

      You said, “And when I fuck up, I have to own it.” Yep. My actions, my responsibility.

      Reply
    2. gimpi1

      “And when I fuck up, I have to own it… cant’ blame the devil.”

      For me, that says it all. I don’t regard anything as wrong if it causes no harm. If I cause harm, I’m responsible. It’s my responsibility to attempt to repair the harm my actions caused. No “get out of jail free” card. No evil other to blame. My responsibility. My job to try to fix.

      And to think, many religious folks would say that without their beliefs, I can’t be a good, responsible person.

      Reply
  5. Scott

    Pretty well sums up alot of Christian teaching wrt sin. Your story of the guy who said only look once etc rings an accord with me. As a young man newly married I spent an afternoon with an elder and his wife and his wife joked about how her husband secretly spied on pretty women on the beach…. there was a joke between the two of them. I was shocked by the revelation. In fact I sort of used it to excuse my own lust.

    One of the biggest guilt trips that was placed on us was ‘keeping the sabbath’. Of course we knew it was the Lord’s Day but somehow Reformed Evangelical Christians wanted to keep dragging the mosaic covenant and making it law for those under the new covenant.

    Reply
    1. Bruce Gerencser (Post author)

      Ah yes, Sabbath keeping. Wink, wink we keep it but we do ___________________________.

      Generally, I think Sabbath keeping is a good idea. A day of rest, a day of relaxation, away from work, the internet, etc.The human race would be better served if we all took a day off from our pursuits. Go to the park, take a walk, observe the natural world. No need to give it a religious connotation, full of rules and regulations.

      Reply
      1. Scott

        I can’t disagree with you there Bruce! You know that sounds like you’re keeping to a creation principle…. Is it hard wired in humans? Dorothy Dix question…..

        You should read what the Presbyterians consider is ‘keeping the Sabbath’ in the Westminster Confession!

        Reply
      2. gimpi1

        I think a day away from everyday pursuits is a good idea. However, turning that “break day” into a day of further obligation and pressure, that’s no help at all.

        Religious belief and the need to exert control over people takes a fine idea and turns it into one more legalistic demand. Sad, really.

        Reply
  6. Joyce

    Bruce, I’m tickled that you took my bait. Very interesting post! Thank you.

    I’ve moved on past most of the things from my evangelical upbringing that used to upset me, but there are still a few that get me angry. One of them is the memory of pastors who preached about atheists and agnostics as no more than people who really knew better but just wanted to sin. Oh, and were also devil worshippers. ‘Cause that’s like totally the same thing. (If anyone can show me that Satan worship is anything other than either satire or teenage boys smoking pot in their parents’ houses while listening to heavy metal, please point me to some evidence). Even as a child, when I heard about agnostics, I would say, “that make sense” but then I’d be admonished, “that’s a sin!”.

    Another one that bothers me still is the idea that thought=action. This is thought crime. It’s adultery to have sex with your neighbour’s wife, but also equally bad to think about having sex with your neighbour’s wife. However, one is an action and the other might be an involuntary image that flashes through your mind. Someone might think it for a minute, but never in a million years act on it. Or ever think it again. In what world are these equal? Although at heart and in principle I am a pacifist (the good part of my Mennonite upbringing, perhaps?), I often read about murderers, rapists, pedophiles, kidnappers, religious extremists, etc. and want to do extreme violence to them (really, really want to do extreme violence. There is my confession). But in the real world I believe in justice and proper legal proceedings, and don’t support the death sentence. So have I committed thought crime? In what logic system does that work?

    I guess this belief in thought crime is why so many fundamentalists struggle with emotions? Emotions are scary because they flow directly into sin. Just a thought.

    Reply
  7. Scott

    Is it freedom to be non judgemental to – those who abort a foetus? Or to those who want to end their suffering at end of life – whether they be suffering excruciating dementia or some awful painful cancer-disease?

    Reply
    1. Bruce Gerencser (Post author)

      I am not sure what you mean Scott. Please elaborate.

      Reply
      1. Scott

        Yes having re-read what I wrote, I’m not sure either what I meant to say. Must be the good Australian shiraz kicking in.

        Christians believe it is sinful to abort a foetus. As one on a journey of discovery… I don’t believe it’s my call to call out someone who has aborted a foetus as being overly sinful or indeed sinful at all. (Aside – if foetus are aborted they must all go to heaven… wink wink). On a similar front. Christians believe that taking someone’s life is murder and therefore we won’t murder people who have incurable diseases. Being free from this Christian worldview of sin, surely one is free to allow for another’s choice to end their own life or indeed be free, without guilt, to end one owns life.

        Reply
  8. Scott

    There was guy who used to have a radio program in our area who used the phrase “the incredible sinfulness of sin”. To which I changed to “the incredible blueness of blue” to point out the stupidity of the statement.

    On the idea of fantasizing about the neighbor and it some being the same as actual sex with the neighbor, has me thinking does a mystery writer commit actual murder in the killing of a character?

    Another reason that the thoughts are the same as the act is a stupid idea.

    Scott

    Reply
    1. joyce

      “the incredible blueness of blue”

      Just interrupting this conversation to say that I really like that combination of words and think I’ll use it for the title of my next novel. Booker prize, here I come.

      Reply
  9. Kat Astrophe

    Alas, I seem to have exchanged one set of “sins” for another. My creed is, like Amimental’s, is “don’t be an asshole,” but I worry a lot about that assholishness. Am I being an asshole if I eat meat? If I buy a gadget instead of giving the money to a homeless shelter? If I drive somewhere I could technically walk to?

    At least I’ve gotten rid of the thought crimes…oh, wait, no I haven’t. I still excoriate myself if I think something unkind about someone who isn’t doing anything assholish themselves. (You know, the “what the hell is she wearing?“-type thoughts.) Go, me. >:-(

    I don’t know how much of this is leftover Christian guilt, how much Liberal guilt, how much Depression. Maybe it’s just me. :-(

    Still, it’s nice to not have a big angry god looking over my shoulder while it happens.

    Reply
    1. Bruce Gerencser (Post author)

      Yeah, I wonder of we EVER get totally past thinking an non-existent God is looking over our shoulder. I still feel guilty when I say something harsh to someone even if it was warranted.

      Reply
  10. Appalachian Agnostic

    I admit it, I love to sin. My favorite way of sinning is to get a lot of work done on Sunday. I delight in the smell of Tide as load after load of laundry agitates through the washing machine. Then I weed-eat the back yard and sit back in a glorious high as I contemplate the close cropped neatness of the fence line. If I am really feeling wild, I might even take a can of Scrubbing Bubbles to the bathroom.

    I watched the ad about Grimes and McConnell. What shocks me is not the humor, but the fact that I live in Kentucky and have NEVER seen any of the real ads he showed. But then, I live very close to the West Virginia border and all of our local TV stations are based in WV. I get so disgusted with WV political ads that I avoid watching TV during certain times of year.

    Reply
    1. gimpi1

      Between work and helping an aging relative, Sunday is usually the only day I have to to yard-work/housework/errands. If I refused to “sin” by weeding the vegetable garden, doing laundry and hitting the market, my household would be dirty, smelly and hungry. I guess that makes me EEVVIILL!

      These dark side cookies are great!

      Reply
  11. SteveS

    Bruce,

    It’s funny you should write this. although I’m late to the party in viewing this post, what you wrote struck a chord with me. I was seeing a movie yesterday, one of those R-rated, crude n’ vulgar films, and all of a sudden my mind flashed back to all the thoughts I used to have when I was a christian and was terrified of divine retribution for watching such movies (which I still did anyway, despite the “sin-sation” of fear that would often wrack my body as I did so). It makes me so happy to think that the gut-wrenching feeling I used to feel did not accompany itself yesterday, and I was able to identify such thoughts as vestiges from my time spent thinking that conservative Christianity was the religion that would always make the most sense. The vestiges of fear and the thoughts I have from my time in Christendom will stick around for years to come, but now I know that it is not the holy spirit convicting me, but instead a physical attribute of my mind’s wiring. It feels so good to be able to give life meaning and purpose on your own and it feels so good to have so many sins off your sin list. Forget freedom in christ, what about freedom without christ? It’s a better deal as far as living the only life I know for sure I’ve got.

    Reply
  12. Brian T.

    Hey Bruce,

    I’m new to this blog post and (if I can use an Old Testament analogy) it’s like manna from “heaven”!  Trying to explain my born again experiences to my difficult; they just can’t understand the mentality. I haven’t been to an IFB church in over 20 years. In my early teens, I accepted Jesus as Lord and Savior, and began attending a local “Bible-believin’” IFB church. One thing I could never understand: why, after 10-20 minutes singing “Victory in Jesus”, “What a Friend we have in Jesus”, etc – would we open our bibles for the reading and turn to … Paul!

    Everything I’ve been reading on here, I’ve been quietly nodding going “Yup .. sounds familiar”. Especially about sin,sin sin. Appreciate you sharing your story.

    -Brian

    Reply
  13. TL

    This is how I remember salvation being:

    Christianman: In order to get saved, you have to acknowledge that you are a sinner, depraved, and can never not sin. And because you’re too depraved to not sin, God had to sacrifice himself as his only Son to redeem you. So, in summary, confess that you are depraved, incapable of not sinning, and ask Jesus for forgiveness.

    Sinnerman: okay.

    *Sinnerman prays the sinner’s prayer*

    Christianman: Congrats! you’re now a Christian!! We’re sooo excited to have you as part of the family! Oh, and just an FYI, since you’re now my brother in Christ, I have to hold you accountable for any sinning you do. So stop sinning.

    Sinnerman: But I just told Jesus that I was incapable of not sinning. How am I-

    Christianman: ALL I’M SAYING is that if you sin, there will be poopoo to pay.

    Sinnerman: But you just convinced me that I couldn’t not sin an-

    Christianman: Poopoo. To. Pay! I WILL hold you accountable. My iron will sharpen your iron!

    Sinnerman: Okay, so I’m going to have to spend the rest of my life trying to do the one thing that I just confessed I was absolutely incapable of doing? Then feel guilty about it and keep it a secret for the sake of not having your iron sharpen my iron? For the rest of my life?

    Christianman: That’s right! See you in church brother! Our pastor is going to talk about our wonderful freedom in Jesus this Sunday!

    Reply

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