Website owner:  James Miller

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Why I believe as I do

   I am of the emphatic conviction that true Christianity is all 
   about practice i.e. righteous, upright, god-fearing living -- 
   as opposed to the "just accept Jesus", "just believe", "just 
   get saved" theology that is being preached so much today with 
   all the attendant emphasis on dogma, doctrine and complicated 
   theology.  I believe that the heart, soul, essence, and 
   substance of Christianity lies in love of God (Jehovah God) and 
   obedience to him in the form of godly, upright living and that 
   it is important to thoroughly understand that.  To be a 
   Christian is to follow Jesus i.e. to live according to his 
   teachings.  I don't question that those of us who do love God 
   and serve him are saved by grace through faith and redeemed by 
   the blood of Jesus Christ but that is, for me, a sort of 
   abstract, theological side fact.  The essence of Christianity 
   is faithfulness to God through upright, godly living; living by 
   the principles taught by Christ and also found in other parts 
   of the Bible.  And I believe that that kind of obedience is not 
   an option, but a requirement.  Why am I so sure of myself on 
   this matter?  Well, the answer to that question is personal 
   experience.  I know from personal experience what works.  From 
   personal experience I know that the heart and soul of what 
   actually works in the spiritual realm lies in practice (as 
   opposed to intellectual belief).  It has been my personal 
   experience that those spiritual truths that we find stated 
   everywhere in the Bible, from the books of Psalms and Proverbs 
   in the Old Testament to the gospels and the epistles of the New 
   Testament, are critical to happiness in this life.  There they 
   talk over and over about the necessity of upright, righteous 
   living for pleasing God, finding personal happiness in this 
   life, and redemption in the life to come.  These spiritual 
   truths (truths such as the importance of love of God, love of 
   our fellow man, honesty, humility, peacefulness, moral purity, 
   chastity, forgiveness of others, avoiding strife and agrument, 
   etc.) are, I am convinced, absolutely basic to finding 
   happiness in this life.  They are eternal spiritual principles 
   demanded by God and Reason.  I am a practical man in search of 
   truth.  I am interested in what works.  Religion seems so often 
   to be all dogma and theory and no practice.  And because it 
   does so often seem to be lacking in the practice I secretly 
   suspect that there is a bit of error somewhere in that dogma 
   and theory.  If the dogma and theory do not emphasize the 
   importance of the practice I suspect something is wrong 
   somewhere.  Intellectual belief, dogma, and doctrine by 
   themselves, without the practice of Christian teaching, are 
   empty; they do nothing for you; they don't work.  The secret 
   lies in the practice.

   I am deeply skeptical of preachers and churches -- all 
   preachers and all churches.  I don't trust them.  I suspect the 
   vast majority of being in deep error.  I am afraid of them.  
   The very heavy religious indoctrination found in a great many 
   denominations results in heavily manipulated minds -- 
   programmed, heavily conditioned, brainwashed minds.  Moreover, 
   many of the familiar practices and customs of these 
   denominations have a very strong indoctrinating, programming, 
   brainwashing effect.  Preachers and churches use very heavy 
   methods.  The preachers learn them, I suppose, from their Bible 
   schools, seminaries or courses they may take.  They may bring 
   in a lot of converts, fill their churches, and bring them a lot 
   of money and power (I suspect a whole lot of preachers of 
   unholy motivations -- like more interest in big churches, money 
   and power than in spirituality).  Well, I don't want my mind 
   manipulated, conditioned and programmed [How does one program a 
   mind? Repeat any falsehood frequently enough and people will 
   believe it].  And with all this emphasis on dogma and doctrine 
   I have long noted something about most of the sermons that 
   deeply bothers me: the tendency to slight or ignore the topic 
   of practice.  They spend a lot of time emphasizing the 
   importance of giving money, being active in the church, and 
   winning souls (things that make the church grow) but they spend 
   little or no time teaching people how to live life; they spend 
   little or no time teaching people those principles, values, 
   philosophies, attitudes, outlooks, and ways of behavior taught 
   to us by Jesus.  The sermons have a complete lack of balance.  
   The preachers talk about things that just happen to have the 
   effect of making the church grow larger and richer but they 
   don't talk about the principles that Christ gave us for living  
   (it is as if the preachers viewed themselves as being, first of 
   all, managers, with money and church size as the bottom line). 
   My basic sense and intuition tells me there is something deeply 
   wrong here.  This is not in accordance with the spirit of the 
   New Testament.  In the Epistles we find repeated exhortations 
   on the importance of practice -- and constantly repeated 
   specific instructions on how to live life.  They repeatedly 
   emphasize the importance of righteousness, godliness, love of 
   your fellow man, humility, moral purity, chastity, forgiveness, 
   peacefulness, avoiding argument and strife, etc..  They give 
   practical instruction on how to live life, on how God expects 
   us to live.

   Not only am I skeptical of preachers and churches, I am wary of 
   any kind of church involvement.  I distrust the group peer 
   pressures that one encounters in churches (especially heavily 
   doctrinaire churches).  And I don't trust the influence of mind 
   on mind that is part of group psychology.  I am an independent 
   thinking person, I like my intellectual independence, and I am 
   not willing to accept any social pressures to think or act in 
   some particular way.  We live in a world of countless fanatical 
   religious cults, sects and belief systems and presumably they 
   are mostly all false.  What does this mean?  It means countless 
   people in this world live out their lives as unthinking, 
   deceived, brainwashed automatons in slavish bondage to some 
   false religious dogma or system.  They live sad, wasted lives 
   in self-deception, self-delusion.  They are followers of 
   falsehoods, lies; livers of falsehoods.  They are sheep 
   following false leaders.  They are blind following the blind.  
   Members of these cults and sects become so fanatical, so 
   thoroughly brainwashed, so certain that they are right, that 
   they are lost to all sense and reason, lost to hope, lost to 
   truth.  They are caught in mental traps, the Devil's traps,  
   from which they are unlikely to ever escape.  How do all 
   these false systems of religious belief perpetuate themselves?  
   They perpetuate themselves by propagation from person to 
   person; propagation from one credulous person to another; 
   deceived zealots spreading their false, erroneous beliefs, 
   making converts.  I am interested in truth.  I believe that 
   Christianity is the right way, that it represents absolute 
   spiritual truth.  I am a Christian.  But what is it to be a 
   Christian? I find my answer to that by going directly to the 
   Bible, refusing to trust any human authority.  This website 
   represents my answer.  But there are many, many Christian 
   denominations, most with a different answer than mine.

   I don't attend any church.  I haven't attended one for years. 
   And I am very happy not doing so.  And the truth is I feel a 
   lot closer to God, a lot more genuine and sure of myself, a lot 
   more spiritually whole, a lot happier, than I ever felt when I 
   was attending a church.  And that is a fact.  I feel that my 
   spiritual health and my Christian faith have increased in 
   direct proportion to the distance I have gotten from churches.  
   And I think the secret has been in getting away from all the 
   dogma and doctrine.  I believe implicitly in God and in Jesus 
   Christ and his teachings and I believe in the authority and 
   reliability of the Bible, but I don't trust churches.  My 
   Christian faith is now very much a quiet, personal, reflective 
   one.  I am serious about my religion and I focus on the 
   practice and I don't like lie and hypocrisy.  And I am not 
   interested in a lot of theoretical gibberish.

   Nov 2004

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