...a macho sky daddy whose existence is factually- unsupported by any evidence one can see, hear or touch...
I read this description of God in the comments section of a blog just now, and I wonder... yes, God's existence is "factually unsupported" by any tangible evidence (except for the Bible, and as I've read so many other people say, you can't "prove" the existence of God using the Bible, since it's the supposed word of someone who's existence can't be proven (I have a headache now)). I'm not saying that's what I believe... in fact, I don't. What's wrong with having faith in something you can't see, hear, feel, touch? What's wrong with believing that there's a God who created us? (Or, for some of us, who caused the lightning strike millions of years ago that started the cycle, and then "let nature take its course" (no pun intended))? Yes, there are Christians out there who aren't very Christ-like. They're hypocritical, they're mean, they're bigoted, and they do horrible things in the name of our God and our Jesus. But that's no reason to bash all Christians, for the actions of a relative few. (Those few just get better press and give true Christians a bad name.)
I was raised Southern Baptist, which, if any of you all don't know about them, they're the most conservative of all the Protestant denominations. I left the Southern Baptist church behind in my mid-twenties, and have had no great desire to go back since (especially knowing their view on homosexuality). I have thought over the years about finding an inclusive church... Episcopalian, Methodist, etc., but haven't really bothered looking. I prefer to think of myself as "spiritual" rather than "religious", and to me that means you can worship God where ever and whenever. You can sit in a park in the midst of God's creation and quietly read your Bible and pray. (Maybe not sing, unless you don't mind getting weird looks...) My point is, you don't need to sit in a church pew on Sundays and perhaps the occasional Wednesday night to worship. I agree that it's good to fellowship with other Christians, but again, you can do that anytime and anywhere. "Where two or three are gathered in my name, there I am in the midst of them," Jesus said. (Matthew 18:20) Doesn't that prove that you can "have church" anywhere that a small group of believers are gathered?
...an unprovable mythology from ancient, unenlightened times in human history. As long as religion is given a free pass to destroy lives, we will never escape the dark ages.
Another comment from the same blog entry I referenced above. Again, there's no way to "prove" the existence of God (and no way to disprove it either), but that's where faith comes in. Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. (Hebrews 11:1). THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH HAVING FAITH IN A HIGHER POWER. And it is not religion (Christianity specifically) that destroys lives; it's the abuse of the Bible. We are called to speak the truth in love, but for a lot of Christians, where's the love? We can condemn what we see as sin, but for so many, it's only condemnation. No one can feel the love that we're supposed to exhibit.
And I wish Christians would stop condemning each other to hell for their beliefs!!! Again, not all Christians do this, but I've come across several who've told me that I'm going to hell for my support of gay rights and same-sex marriage. You do not get to tell me I'm going to hell. Only God can send me there, and if he chooses to, there's not much I can do about it. I'm not trying to be flippant about it (it scares the you-know-what out of me; who wants to burn for eternity?), but I'm trying to live my life as I think God would have me to. I think we'll all be surprised when we get to heaven at who he lets in and who he doesn't.
Well, this blog entry is long enough (I didn't intend to write a book here!), so I'll end it now. I'll be posting some more in this vein later, maybe even today. It's nice to be able to get my thoughts out there, even if not many people read them.