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Growing up and moving on from fundamentalist roots #1

In the United States of America, one can find lots of people who claim to be Christian, but have gone far away from the teachings of the Jew Jeshua ben Joseph, who is the Christ Jesus.

In many American churches, sermons are constantly being held that talk about hell and damnation, but little about the love of God.

Dan Foster in his new article “Stupid Things I Did When I Was an Evangelical” looks at the time when he was an evangelical Christian and sat through so many sermons about sin, judgment, and the coming wrath of God, that he was pretty much convinced that God was reasonably unimpressed with him.
Listening to those many sermons, one cannot help but think that those people must be looking at their lives with fear and that they must constantly be questioning ‘am I doing it right’.

The article writer let us know that when he was a teenager, hearing such sermons, coming from the pulpit every Sunday, he became so scared of upsetting God that when he would willingly commit some kind of sin, it was always followed by days of contrition and repentance, he even admits

sometimes accompanied by tears that I legitimately cried because I didn’t want God to reject me. {Stupid Things I Did When I Was an Evangelical}

He writes now

You can imagine how often I came before the Lord with the willing sins of a teenage boy. I was caught in a vicious cycle of doing things that the church told me were naughty and then begging God not to condemn me to hell. {Stupid Things I Did When I Was an Evangelical}

One wonders whether, in his church, the effort was made to present and discuss the ordinary things that come with growing up as things we must learn to deal with. Many young people, while growing up, are confronted with questions such as “What am I?” “Why do I feel this or that for another?”, “Is it permitted to feel so deeply for another?” and so on.
It is up to the adults to guide them in this, but in many evangelical churches, we see that they rather misuse this childish questioning to increase their power and to keep the young in their hands.
But these evangelical preachers also like to have their adult churchgoers in their hands and preferably get the greatest possible sense of guilt from them, so that they do not dare to do anything else but put a lot of money in the dish at the sacrificial altar.

Instead of giving a sense of life and joy in life, we see that in several American communities, in addition to this doom and gloom, politics has increasingly taken over, daring to do nothing more than vote for a certain political party (the Republicans). The politicisation of these churches with this doom and gloom has created a very dangerous toxic cocktail. The question is, how long will these churches be able to continue to play the churchgoers to the extent that they will follow their church leaders and political leaders without further questioning.

Dan Faster writes

I was terrified of dying as well. What would happen when I stood before God? Would I be cast into the eternal fire? Or would he welcome me into my heavenly home?

Three decades later, I am only now becoming fully aware of just how toxic this kind of religion is. When I look back on it all, I realize that many of the things that I did to please and appease God were merely superstitions dressed up as religious fervor. {Stupid Things I Did When I Was an Evangelical}

And he looks at the prayers he sent up to heaven, to his God. He also sheds a light of what they did in his church:

In the evangelical church in the eighties and nineties, it was fashionable to give an altar call at the end of a sermon where people could get up out of their seats and come down to the front of the church if they wanted to make a commitment to Christ. It was often accompanied by all kinds of emotive language and even some ethereal-sounding keyboard pad just to make it ‘feel’ like God was in the room. {Stupid Things I Did When I Was an Evangelical}

The worst thing in it all, was that for what Luther revolted against the Roman Catholic Church. Though still in the 21st century there are churches who do as if God can be bribed. Foster writes:

I was taught that if I gave financially to God (which really meant ‘the church’), then God would pour out so many blessings on me that my ‘cup’ would overflow. It was a ‘give-to-get’ system that I now see as both stupid and manipulative. As if God needs to be paid off in order to bless us! Please!

I once gave $10,000 in a single offering. I am a sucker, and I wish I could get that money back and give it to something good. {Stupid Things I Did When I Was an Evangelical}

There are many mega churches where the pastors enriched themselves at the cost of poor churchgoers.

Foster looks back on the silly things that heI used to do to curry favour with God, preserve his life from the flames of Hell, and manipulate God to do his bidding, and now says

and I have to laugh.

I reckon that God laughs, too.

Not in a mocking way, but in the same way that I laugh at my eight-year-old daughter when she tries to make pancakes and fails. The shadow of my evangelical self still tries to get me to believe that God is angry with me, but I think God is delighted and just enjoys watching me grow up. {Stupid Things I Did When I Was an Evangelical}

Published by Guestspeaker

A joint effort of several authors who do find that nobody can keep standing at the side and that “Everyone" must care about what is going on in today’s world. We are a bunch of people who do not mind that somebody has a totally different idea but is willing to share the ideas with others and to be Active and willing to let others understand how "today’s decisions will influence the future”. Therefore we would love to see many others to "Act today".

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