Shame On You
For Disagreeing With Me!
This letter is in response to the letter from Christine Lehman, "Troy Dyck's Bizarre Letter," March 26, 2001.
I read the letters Troy wrote and I agree with most everything he said. I also think that Christine Lehman misunderstood everything Troy said.
This is what I think Troy said:
You should hate what is evil about your parents and yourself so that you try to change. However, all have sinned and deserve to go to hell. But because Christians believe that Christ is God and that he came to this world and died on the cross as a sacrifice for the atonement of our sins and that he then rose again, just by believing this and committing our lives to him we now live under God's grace. Therefore, you do not need to beat yourself up over your short comings, or fear eternal damnation. God knows you are a sinner and that you will continue to sin. Christianity is for people who realize they need God in their lives. If you are scared of God because of your sins, then you are not putting your trust in God. The bible says come as you are, so you do not have to get rid of the sin in your life first. God will do that for you if you let him.
This is what I believe Christine wrote:
She believed in God, but was so worried that she was falling short of the glory of God, that she must have been going to hell. So eventually she realized that being a Christian was too stressful and therefore must not be real.
So this is my commentary:
In the article titled "Any Attack On Christianity Seen As Personal" Christine mentions that she was once "born again". The term born again is widely misunderstood and strikes fear in the hearts of non-christians. Let me define it how I see it. Being born again means you trust Christ to be the leader of your life, and so you say goodbye to your sinful ways and hello to what Christ has to offer. In other words you die to your old self and are born into the family of God with Christ as the leader. But to get to the point in your life where you decide that you need Christ, you must first realize that your sins are in fact a burden. Christ said he came to heal the sick. But he can only heal you if you first believe you are sick. Just like a doctor, they sit in their office and wait for people to come to them.
Christine was too afraid to have a personal relationship with Jesus because she kept sinning. In the end she chose her sins over Christ, and denied that she ever needed Christ. This is fine because if she did not believe she needed Christ (or if she did not think she was sick) then Christ was not for her. But at the same time, I do not believe she was ever born again. Because if she was, then she would have remembered the sins that once held her back in life, and she would have remembered the events that led her to give her life over to Christ. Then she would have seen that Christ was in fact helping her to rid herself of her sins.
Also if Christine was evengelical then she also believed in a personal relationship with Christ. She obviously did not know what that meant, because if she did she would have also treated Christ just as she did one of her friends. As someone who helps her through life, and is there is good times and bad. She would have also known that Christ loves her no matter what she does. Because of these reasons I do not believe Christine understands what being born again is. Instead she has this view that Christians have to act a certain way and that they can not have their own personality. And that they have to dress up on Sundays. Well fuck that. Being a Christian is knowing that Christ died for me, and that I do not deserve Christ's love and I do not deserve Christ's rewards, but I am getting it anyway. Its a free gift, I don't have to do anything for it, its just sitting there waiting for me to take it. It does not mean I will be made perfect, nor does it mean that I think I am better than anyone else. In fact I think everyone is equal and I just so happen to have found Jesus on my walk through life, and now I am humbled by the fact that I don't deserve Jesus' love. But I'll take it, because its better than what I was doing before. So now I feel like doing something good for someone in the name of Jesus, because of the humbleness I feel. But I also know in the back of my mind that many Christians have been very hypocritical, so I will try to set a better example.
Message to Cliff Walker (editor):
None of Christine's arguments disprove Christianity. If I find a church that is hypocritical, then I will try to change it. If I can not change it, I will find another church. But those hypocrites are not going to keep me from God. Shame on you Cliff for posting her letter but not critisizing her for being so lame and narrow minded. Just because she is an atheist, doesn't mean she came to the conclusion in the correct manner.
Christianity is either for everyone in the world, or its for no one. If it is for everyone, then I want to see the all current Christians live a good example for Christ. Instead of using Christianity as a crutch, or for some political agenda. Christianity is for sinners, not for self righteous weirdos. Sure those people are welcome in the kingdom of heaven, I just hope they examine their motives.
From: "Positive Atheism" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
To: "Matt Freeman"
Subject: Re: Ex-Christians
Date: November 04, 2001 1:26 AM
Christine mentions that she was once "born again". The term born again is widely misunderstood and strikes fear in the hearts of non-christians.
The term "born again" strikes fear in those non-Christians who have been there. The rest of us think it's kinda funny, actually. Unfortunately for American Evangelical Christians, the only Evangelicals we ever hear from are those who want to force the rest of us to conform to the very narrow, extremely bigoted brand of religion practiced by those who wish to force our children to watch them pray in the "street corners" of the classroom, to place slogans such as "In God We Trust" on the currency and coinage that we all spend (1950s), to add the quip "under God" into the Pledge of Allegiance that we all used to say but can't any more (again, 1950s), to post in every government-controlled area a Reader's Digest-type condensed version of the Protestant listing of the first stone tables edition of some Hebrew religious edicts (only the second set of stone tablets are called "the ten commandments" in the Bible -- see Exodus 34). These greedy Christians ought to strike fear in the hearts of even regular Christians, because if this doesn't happen, part of our role is to alert those Christians in an attempt to see that it does.
Your little attempt at spinning Evangelical Christianity into an innocuous, harmless, mainstream movement was cute, but we are not, at this time, going to waste our time responding. This is primarily because of the patent falsehood that permeates your letter, falsehood that we're frankly tired of addressing (it all having been addressed hundreds of time already in our Forum). Most notable among these falsehoods is your insistence that without having even met Ms. Lehman, you pretend to know what is going on in the privacy of her own mind. You even pretend to know what she did! Then you went so far as to literally rewrite what she said and comment on your revision rather than what she actually said!
Have a nice life because as far as anybody can tell, it's the only one we get.
For that reason, I choose to try to avoid slandering those people that I don't know, particularly those who do not share my ideology. I would never want to harm somebody over an idea, for gaud sakes! Rather, I will let them be and continue to trust that they know best how to live their lives. Only when they enter into my field of vision and commit some act such as telling a falsehood about myself or my colleagues (or attempt to make legislation conform only to their narrow religious beliefs) will I even raise a voice.
Positive Atheism Magazine
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