Do you now have a customized religion?

by losthobbit 25 Replies latest jw experiences

  • losthobbit

    I was never a JW. I was a member of the church of Christ. I didn't jump from Christian to non-believer, but rather went through a transition period, and I'd guess that all of you did the same,... changing beliefs bit by bit until you believe what you do now.

    When I first realized that there were logic problems in the bible I started to find excuses for those problems. After a while I had to admit to myself that there were certain things in the bible that couldn't possibly be true, and so I had my own customized religion. I believed some of the things that my church taught, but there were areas in which I couldn't possibly agree. This continued for about ten years until I spoke to a preacher about it, and he explained that if I didn't believe a certain thing then I wasn't actually a Christian. He was right, and it took a while until I eventually realized it.

    I've noticed that some of you on this forum have customized your own religions. Having transitioned from JW to another religion / denomination / belief, you might still hold onto some JW beliefs, or you might simply disagree with the other members of your church. You might consider yourself not orthodox, but independent.

    If you are such a person, I'm interested to hear, what is it you now believe?

  • Phizzy

    I should not really be taking up space on your thread Mr Hobbit ,by the way, Tolkien did leave maps for you to find your way home !

    I do not fit your criteria, but my journey from the JW's was not disimilar to yours. I went from totally questioning all JW beliefs, took about ten minutes to get rid of those, to questioning the Bible, took longer, maybe eleven minutes, to questioning the existence of God, after five minutes He was gone.

    I jest of course, the total journey took about three years, but from where I stand now I simply cannot understand anyone who has an unfounded belief in the bible or the god thereof.

    They simply need to educate themselves, grow up, and move on.

    Believing in "Bible God" or a derivitive is as sensible as believing in Santa Claus, or fairies, no wait a moment, my wife insists that fairies do exist, who am I to argue ?

  • losthobbit

    Thanks for the comment, Phizzy. By the way, fairies do exist... unfortunately not everyone can see them... only those who partake in absinthe. Might want to cosider hiding that from your wife :)

  • garyneal

    I get what you are saying, and if I may ask, what thing did the preacher say you must believe in to be Christian?

    I guess for me, Christianity is now an experience as it took me a while to realize that so much that is found in the Bible can be easily disproven. I can see using the Bible to inspire people (when you pluck out the humanist parts) but it is also far too easy to use it to control people. I am finding the WT to be a fine example on how they make scripture say whatever they want it to say. As I have seen pointed out on this board, when something can mean anything it means nothing.

    I think anyone who calls themself a believer has a customized religion. How else do we end up with over 40,000 Protestant sects and new churches forming all the time even in the midst of already highly churched towns and cities. This is in addition to the fact that even within the church you have various people who do not always agree in regards to what they believe.

  • losthobbit

    garyneal, to answer your question about what the preacher said I must first explain what I believed...

    My past irrationality is quite embarrassing now, but here goes... I could not believe in hell, simply because it contradicts God being loving and almighty. Due to cognitive dissonance I made up the excuse that perhaps God was just trying to get people to be good, by giving us something to fear, when in reality, he would probably forgive everyone on judgement day.

    The preacher then asked me, "If you don't believe in hell, what is Jesus saving you from?"

    My answer was "Nothing"

    He explained that since I don't believe that Jesus is my saviour, I am not a Christian.

  • garyneal
    The preacher then asked me, "If you don't believe in hell, what is Jesus saving you from?" My answer was "Nothing." He explained that since I don't believe that Jesus is my saviour, I am not a Christian.

    Hmm, I think I would've just answered that question with 'sin and death,' or probably simply 'sin.' Of course that leads to all kinds of questions.

  • blindnomore

    If you don't believe Jesus is your saviour then you are not Christian. Christian means follower of Christ. But if you were told you are not Christ because you didn't believe in hell then that's another story.

    Can you share more about Church of Christ? They sounded very much like JW. I once stumbled into one of writings on 'Birthday' written by COC writer. His writing would have been come from one of the GB of JWs.

    I agree with garyneal that anyone whos call themselves a believer has a customized religion. People move on to next one to next one until they find something that fit in to their idology or need. And settle in with it for a while or for better.

  • NewChapter

    I may have done things out of order or simply skipped steps. I looked at the bible and realized it was false. Therefore all religions based on the bible were false. I didn't need to pull apart JW beliefs specifically---and I didn't need to deeply research other bible religions. They were all based on a false premise. It was the realization that a world wide flood never happened.

    Then there are some bible based religions that claim certain parts are not meant to be taken literal. But then this makes bible application extremely subjective and bible truths at the mercy of every single person personaly interpreting which scriptures are literal and which are not. It does not make sense to me that some god who bothered to write down these scritptures would have left things such a chaotic mess.

    So there are plenty of religions not based on the bible. Again---a chaotic mess. If there were a god at sometime, it clearly is not interested anymore.

    Customized religion often allows believers to adjust their view of their god using current scientific information and the morals of today. But then, that makes a god that is being defined by science and rewritten according to more enlightened society. Why would some all powerful god need this kind of support?

    So being honest, there was no evidence for a god or gods. For that matter, there are a lot of people all pulling in different directions with very different concepts of the spiritual which all changes at a whim. Or worse, does not change regardless of what strong evidence shows. But either way, this idea of god is certainly a being who can be shaped and reshaped according to a believer's desire---which makes him/her look a lot like the creation of beleivers and not the other way around.

  • mrbunyrabit

    I myself am still in the stage of defining what i believe in. Regarding the WTS, im one foot in, and one foot out.

    Ive stopped believing in the WTS, and i havent prayed for about 5months now. So guess i dont believe in a god either any more..

    What i believe in now? We all came from monkeys,, hell if i know what i believe in now...

  • James Brown
    James Brown

    I am such a person, a person with a customized religion.

    I am a work in progress.

    I am like a heat seeking missle that twist and turns seeking out the target of truth.

    One thing I know is what ever I believe there will be many that disagree and say I am wrong.

    I also believe if I find or have found the truth I may not know what to do with it.

    I may not want anything to do with it.

    I believe that I live each day as if it were my last.

    I believe that there are logical problems with the bible.

    I believe that there are uplifting scriptures in the bible and from time to time I have returned to them and read them.

    I believe that customizing a personal religion with a personal God, helper is more beneficial to me than being a flat out


    I believe that many would say and by certain definitions I am an atheist. I prefer the term agnostic.

    I believe truth is where you find it. And when I find it or think I have found it. I begin testing to ascertain whether

    its fools gold or not.

    I believe the bibical hell is a metaphor for darkness and being cut off from the light source.

    I believe since I cant absolutely, name or prove the light source, I may be considered atheistic or agnostic.

    I believe the bibical light source is Jesus, but because of all the logical biblical problems I have to insert either intellectual

    weakness here or faith.

    I do believe in 60 years when feeling down and out in the past that thinking about jesus and his promises is to me

    much more uplifting and upbuilding than any of the many, many atheistic books that I have read. In fact over the past 10 years

    I have read many atheistic books to the point of being spiritually drained and then to build myself back up I would have

    to think of Jesus and the bible, and its more than thinking its reading about Jesus and his words and when I do, I feel life, just

    like the scriptures say.

    I believe right or wrong provable or unprovable that I am not the kind of person that could say there is no God and feel

    good about it.

    I believe that I am the kind of person that when I dont feel good, I try to correct that. I believe from studying anatomy and physiology

    in college that everybody is that way.

    I believe I like to drink alcohol often and to excess because it makes me feel good. But I dont because I think it will kill me.

    Thinking about a higher power makes me feel good and I dont think doing so will kill me.

    I believe thinking about scientific and other arguments that there is no God does not make me feel good and

    having observed and reflected for 60 years I fear atheistic thinking will kill me. I have seen it kill more than one person in

    this life.

    I look at Christopher Hitchens he could eloquently argue many believers under the table. But his dying a miserable

    alcoholic and cigarette smoker tells me that he was medicating himself from the harsh realities of the truth he was

    fashioning for himself and others. I choose not to go down that road.

    I believe I will look at that road, travel along side it from time to time, understand it as well as I am intellectually capable

    But I dont believe I will go down it.

    I believe when we die, we will know which road was the right one.

    I believe in the 10 commandments.

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