Johnny came home from Sunday school and his mother asked him what the Sunday school teacher taught him that day.
Johnny: Mom, the teacher told us the story of Moses and the Israelites. She told us about how Moses was leading the Israelites out of captivity in Egypt, when Pharaoh and the Egyptian Army started chasing them trying to take them back into slavery. Suddenly the Israelites came up to the Red Sea and couldn’t get across . So Moses sent two brigades back to fight a rear guard action and delay the Egyptians while he had his combat engineers build a pontoon bridge across the Red Sea. When the bridge was finished Moses had his artillery fire smoke shells to blind the Egyptians while the Israelite host withdrew across the bridge. But when the Israelites got to the other side of the sea and the smoke screen cleared, Moses saw that the Egyptians were still following and crossing the sea over the same bridge. So Moses got on his radio and called for an airstrike. A squadron of F-16s appeared and dropped GPS guided smart bombs blowing up the pontoon bridge and drowning the whole Egyptian Army in the Red Sea.
Johnny’s Mom: Johnny! Are sure that’s what the Sunday school teacher told you?
Johnny: Well no Mom, but if you heard it the way she told it, you never would have believed it.
“A nominally Christian church that does not believe in God or Jesus Christ has no reason to exist. By severing themselves from God's Word, the Bible, and freeing themselves from its strictures, they inevitably decline and die. It is a reliable predictive model. Welcome women into the pulpit in defiance of Scripture and your church will almost instantly go into decline. Once Jesus Christ is evicted from the building, the genuine Christians soon follow.”
- Vox Day
Yeah, stripped of the belief in and worship of a deity, the "metaphysics as they say, what is Christianity? Just being “nice”? Do you need to attend weekly meetings and pay tithes for that?
But some people just can’t wrap their heads around the supernatural aspects of traditional religion, can they? Believing in God is just something they cannot do. It makes no sense to them. Where’s the proof? If you think you have a soul take it out and show it to me. Nowadays more people are willing to say so out loud than in the past. Yet some among them still want something that will make them feel good about themselves without having to believe in God. Certainly without having to follow a bunch of old-fashioned buzz-kill rules of behavior just because some deity that doesn’t exist tells them to in a book that was written two thousand years ago either. Or else they want to take a cafeteria approach to religious doctrine and pick and choose what they want to believe or not believe. All scriptures are open to interpretation, but some people clearly want to put words in Jesus’ mouth and /or disqualify some of his Apostles. Hey I can dig it, many of the things that the scriptures tell us, we moderns just don’t want to accept anymore. The Feminists sure don’t like much of what’s written in the Bible. Anything that doesn’t demonize men and pedestalize women they don’t agree with.
The 18th Century German philosopher Immanuel Kant came to the conclusion that all religious experiences are personnel since religious beliefs cannot be proven or disproven in a court of law or by scientific experiment. So this the doctrine that drives modern western thought: freedom of religion and freedom of conscience. Believe what you want to believe. Religious belief is a personal matter (except in the Muslim world where it is a matter of the state and there is NO freedom of religion). Martin Luther taught we all have a personal relationship with Christ and don’t need a church organization to intercede. But a Christianity that is not based in the Bible is not Christianity. All the orthodox Christian Churches (Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox and all the mainstream Protestant Churches) adhere to the beliefs stated in the Nicene Creed about the nature of God. Enforcing correct worship is not a public issue today since we no longer believe that God will collectively punish us for allowing people to pray the wrong way and believe the wrong things. Except in the Dar-el-Islam, the Muslim world.
So if you’re seeking to develop a calm and peaceful mind and free yourself from worry and rumination you would be better served by reading the works of the ancient Stoic philosophers and following their advice. Clearing your mind with Zen mediation does a good job too. If you’re not wiling to believe that Jesus is one of the three personalities within the one God, then most of his teachings will make little sense to you, simply because his principle teaching IS that He is the Son of God and whoever believes in him will have eternal life.
“Lord,” Martha said to Jesus, “if you had been here, my brother would not have died. But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask.” Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.” “Martha said to Him, "I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day." Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies, and everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die. Do you believe this?" “Yes, Lord,” she replied, “I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, who is to come into the world.”
- John 11:21-27
Which apparently is why secularized Christianity is selling as well as no alcohol beer.
“Happiness comes from understanding one basic principle. Some things are within our control and some things are not. Our opinions, ambitions, desires, and aversions are in our control. We can change the content of our inner character. Our body, wealth, fame, and social status are not in our control. They are external to us and not our concern.”
– Epictetus, Stoic Philosopher, 55-135 A.D.
“How much time he saves who does not look to see what his neighbor says or does or thinks.”
- Marcus Aurelius, “Meditations”
“Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.”
"...the Church of Christ Without Christ. Where the blind can't see, the lame don't walk, and the dead stay that way."
-Brad Dourif as Hazel Motes, "Wise Blood" (1979)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ph-oCWpQWlE (Wise Blood Trailer)
“Religious people tend to encounter, among those who are not, a cemented certainty that belief in God is a crutch for the weak and the fearful...Now the belief in God may turn out at the last trump to be a mistake. Meantime, let us be quite clear, it is not merely the comfort of the simple—though it is that too, much to its glory—it is a formidable intellectual position with which most of the first-class minds of the human race, century in and century out, have concurred, each in his own way....speaking of crutches—Freud can be a crutch, Marx can be a crutch, rationalism can be a crutch, and atheism can be two canes and a pair of iron braces. We none of us have all the answers, nor are we likely to have. But in the country of the halt, the man who is surest he has no limp may be the worst-crippled.”
― Herman Wouk, This Is My God: The Jewish Way of Life
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
– Matthew 11:28-30 (NIV)