Monthly Archives: June 2013

How to Recognize a False Prophet

Sometimes, there is no need to elaborate on a truth. It can speak for itself and allow those who see it to draw their own conclusions. The following excerpts from Early Church History to the Death of Constantine and The Teaching of the Twelve Apostles speak for themselves.

falseprophet

As regards the prophets and apostles moreover, according to the doctrine of the gospel, so do ye. Let every apostle who comes to you be received as the Lord: he will not remain with you [more than] one day; or if need be, the second day also; if he remain three days he is a false prophet. When the apostle departs, let him take nothing but bread enough to last till he reach his night quarters; if he ask for money he is a false prophet. And any prophet who speaks in the Spirit, ye shall not try nor test; for every sin shall be forgiven, but this sin shall not be forgiven. But not every one who speaks in the Spirit is a prophet, unless he have the behaviour of the Lord. From their behaviour therefore shall the false prophet and the prophet be known. No prophet who in the Spirit orders a table shall eat of it, otherwise he is a false prophet. Every prophet, though he teaches the truth, is a false prophet if he does not do what he teaches. Every approved true prophet who holds Church meetings for a worldly mystery, but does not teach [others] to do what he does, shall not be judged by you; for his judgment is with God; for the ancient prophets also did likewise. And whosoever shall say in the Spirit: Give me money, or anything else, ye shall not hearken to him; but if he tell you to give for others who are in need, let no man judge him. — The Teaching of the Twelve Apostles, chapter XI.

Instead of overseers (or bishops) and deacons, the corresponding passage in the Apostolical Constitutions has “bishops, presbyters, and deacons,” the offices having by this time become separated. The Gospel was preached by the traveling ministers, on the simple principle that the workman is worthy of his meat. “If,” says the Teaching, “the apostle should ask for money he is a false prophet.” — Edward Backhouse, Early Church History to the Death of Constantine, p. 119

Louise’s Story of Spousal Rape and Pastoral Abuse

I’ve been wanting to share some of my story for a while.  And this is just a small part of it. But after reading so many stories from others of horrible abuse they suffered, I began to feel like my experiences didn’t compare and weren’t that important.  Just recently, I was talking to a fellow abuse survivor on the phone and said as much, and she urged me to get this written and share it – saying it’s important for ALL the abuse to be exposed, that there are many others who suffered abuse and think “well, it’s just not as bad as what others went through”, so they keep it to themselves.  That conversation has been on my mind, and I thought “Well, it’s not like others…who were molested or raped.” When it hit me. Yes, it is.

Only those who grew up in an IFB environment really understand how sheltered young adults, particularly young women, can be.  This is to give you a little background of how naïve a young woman I was when it happened.  We didn’t attend movies or even own a TV, and I had very little exposure to “the world”. When I was 21 years old, I was forcibly raped.  By my husband.

We were married when I was 19 and he was 18, just three months out of high school, neither of us with any sexual experience. Our Hyles-Anderson-trained pastors strongly encouraged (and still do) marrying young people off as early as possible – that’s their means of keeping young people pure until marriage.  Self-control is not really expected, particularly of men. When we’d been married just over 2 years, I was thrilled to learn I was pregnant, and then devastated 2 months later when I miscarried.

About two weeks after the miscarriage and the ensuing D&C, he decided he had “waited” long enough and demanded sex.  I began to cry and said I wasn’t ready.  That simply infuriated him and he held me down and forced himself on me.  I screamed over and over for him to stop, but it was like he had turned into someone else. When he was finished, he left me sobbing on the bed and stormed out of the house.  I felt so filthy and hurt and broken.  Still hysterical, I called my father, but couldn’t talk.  He came over and held me while I continued to sob for several hours and eventually calmed down.  My father never knew until very recently what had happened that night.

When my husband came home, both of us simply acted like nothing had happened.  In the years since, I’ve realized that’s a really common coping mechanism when you have to continue to have contact with your abuser.  And in time, the abuser even uses that against you – saying you didn’t seem very upset about it and that you’re exaggerating, or else you would have told someone. Except….I did tell someone. Several days later, I went to see my pastor and sobbed out what had happened.  He very matter-of-factly said that my husband really shouldn’t have forced me, but that he WAS entitled to sex and that I had NO RIGHT to refuse him.  Ever.  He even quoted the passage about a wife not having power over her own body.  His summation was that I was NOT raped, because it’s not rape between a husband and wife.  It wasn’t until after we were divorced a few years later that I was able to confide what happened that night to a friend.  That friend started to cry and told me I WAS raped – twice. First by the one person I should have been safe with more than anyone. And again, by the spiritual leader to whom I turned for help.   I was shocked, but slowly began to realize the truth of those words.  Since then, I’ve realized that it was not just that pastor’s coldness when he should have given comfort.  He actually blamed me for causing it, basically said it was my sin of not submitting that created the situation where he HAD to force me. And again, after that day, both that pastor and I acted as if it had never happened. When I later separated from my husband, the pastor blamed me again, saying I had contributed to the failed marriage by making  him feel less of a man by not allowing him “enough” sex.

In the years since, I’ve also realized that all the male-dominance teaching actually helped create the sense of entitlement that gave a naïve young man the sense he could just forcibly take what he wanted.  I have long since forgiven that young man.  But forgiving the pastor that condoned his actions is a long way off.

-“Louise”

A Heathen Perspective

judgmentOf those who wrote during the first two centuries the most noted was Celsus, an Epicurean, whose treatise, entitled The Word of Truth, written about A.D. 160, is known to us only by the refutation which nearly a century afterwards it drew from the learned pen of Origen.

Amongst the charges which Celsus brings against Christianity, are the absurd conduct of those who preached it and the vulgar character of those to whom it was preached. Underneath his words, often false and unjust, there lies a profound homage to the truth, the more valuable because it is involuntary. He describes the preachers: “There are many nameless persons who in the most facile manner act as if they were inspired. They go through the cities, declaiming within the temples and outside the temples, and through the armies, everywhere attracting attention. They declare, I am God; I am the Son of God; or, I am the Divine Spirit. I have come because the world is perishing, and you, O men, are perishing for your iniquities. But I want to save you; and you shall see me return with heavenly power. Blessed is he who now does me reverence. On all the rest I will send down eternal fire, both on cities and countries. Those who know not the punishments which await them shall repent and grieve in vain; but those who are faithful to me I will preserve eternally. To these promises they add strange and unintelligible words which every fool and imposter may apply to serve his own purposes.” — Edward Backhouse, Early Church History to the Death of Constantine, pages 108-109

Celsus was a heathen philosopher that was not for the Christians. As a matter of fact, he employed his abilities in warning people against them. His perception of them was that they gave off a holier-than-thou spirit that was judgmental. They were isolating themselves and their families and giving off a very unfriendly attitude.  Most Christians refused to participate in any of the outside activities of their time once they were converted.  It made the heathen feel like they were wicked and evil influences even if they were just as moral or ethical as the Christian.  It led them to believe that Christians thought something was wrong with THEM – a very offensive attitude. There were many Christians at this time that had exemplary conduct morally and ethically; and yet, forgot the most important directive that has ever been given – Love your neighbor as yourself.  Ostracizing themselves and their families from non-Christians and worldy activities that they once particpated in, was not showing love and allowing love to draw them to Christ.  Even back then, many Christians were so caught up in the rules of separation and holy living that they could not see how this behavior was perceived as offensive.  Backhouse talks about their unwillingness to “show themselves friendly” to the heathen people.  They forgot they lived amongst heathen that had the ability to pick up on these offensive attitudes of self-righteousness and judgmentalism that emanated from them. This attitude only exacerbated the other things that the heathen did not like about them.  Another reason they did not like Christians was that there were those that were serving their own purposes and bringing to fruition their own agendas as mentioned in the quote above. Another reason  for the animosity was that they did not worship the heathen gods. Even though the latter was considered a bad thing, it could have been overlooked if only the Christians reputation had not been tarnished by the perceptions of unfriendliness, self-righteousness and judgmentalism. There was a large number of Christians that did not unconditionally love heathen people, did not show themselves friendly as Christ did, and did not allow non-believers to come to know Christ at  their own pace; accepting them as they were and allowing God to do the work. Instead, they were forcing their beliefs upon the people through threatenings of eternal damnation. As a result of this, there were many bogus charges levied against the early Christians that were preposterous.  These preposterous accusations followed Christians everywhere they went as a result! This eventually led to the Christian being heavily persecuted for not worshiping the heathen gods; which was the legal way of taking them out of the picture. Many countless Christians lost their lives as a result.

When I read the above passages, it reminded me of the Balaam Phenomenon that I wrote about in my book and on this blog. What Celsus saw happening with Christian pastors then, is the similar to what we see today. Many of them were usurping the position of a god. They were paying themselves undue homage and claiming and authority they did not have. They usurped the Holy Spirit’s position in the lives of the people and had the audacity to tell people what God’s will was for them instead of letting the Holy Spirit guide them. They were furthering and bringing to pass their own agendas at the expense of others. And, as Celsus said so well, “they add strange and unintelligible words which every fool and imposter may apply to serve his own purposes.” In other words, they were twisting the truth to further their agendas. Add to this the many grievous words heralded against them regarding hell if they did not repent and get saved. Truly, if the unconditional love of God and his unconditional acceptance of sinners was the theme of every Christian’s message and actions,surely the persecutions would have been much less.

What we can learn from this bit of history from a heathen’s perspective, is that not much has changed. People do not like to be made to feel like they are “less than” anyone else. They do not like to deal with those that think they are “above” them and look at others with an air of arrogance, self-righteousness and judgmentalism. This type of conduct will always bring about persecution. It did then, and will today. Because of the those that give off a stench of being holier-than-thou and, separate themselves from the world – being perceived as unfriendly –  the majority will bear the brunt of the labeling that will take place against them. If Christians undergo persecution today, it will be because of the same issues that plagued them back then and throughout history.

Aasiya Hassan Honor Killing

CaptureSource: WikiIslam and the Guardian UK

Name of Victim: Aasiya Hassan

Age: 37

Date of Incidence: February 2009

Location: New York TV Station

Method of killing or religious violence:  killed his wife with two hunting knives

 Perpetrator: Husband

Reason for Violence: She filed for divorce

Read More:

Aasiya Hassan, beheaded, February 2009

A man who set up a TV station in New York state to counter negative stereotypes about Muslims has been found guilty of beheading his wife in what lawyers say appears to have been an “honor killing.” Muzzammil Hassan, the Pakistan-born owner of Buffalo’s Bridges TV, will be sentenced to 25 years to life for killing his wife with two hunting knives 6 days after she filed for divorce, the Guardian reports.

Hassan, who acted as his own attorney, claimed that he was a battered husband who acted in self-defense, although the prosecution produced plenty of evidence to prove that his wife was the battered one. In a bizarre 2-hour closing statement, he didn’t mention the murder but compared himself to Nelson Mandela and said a “religion of patriarchy” had “unleashed a bloodbath on American women because battered men have no legal way out.” The jury deliberated for under an hour before finding him guilty.

NY TV Station Owner Guilty of Beheading Wife
Rob Quinn, Newser, February 8, 2011

More on this Honor Killing: http://religionscell.wordpress.com/2013/04/27/the-honor-killing-of-aasiya-hassan/

 

Celibacy, Separation and Second Marriages

separateAnother form of Asceticism was the honour paid to the unmarried state. At a very early date, perhaps from the times of the apostles, celibacy was esteemed a holier condition than marriage. Athenagoras (A.D. 177) says, “You will find many among us, both men and women, growing old unmarried, in the hope of living in closer communion with God.” Some even, like the hermits and monks of the third and fourth centuries, withdrew from the haunts of men to spend their lives in meditation and prayer. But the more healthy view of the Christian life still made head against these ascetic tendencies. The writer of the Epistle of Barnabas thus reproves those who yielded to them : “Do not retire apart to live a solitary life as if you were already perfect : but coming together in one place, make common inquiry about what concerns your general welfare. For the Scripture says, Woe unto them that are wise in their own eyes, and prudent in their own sight.” Clement of Alexandria treats the question in his usual vigorous and enlightened manner. “The mature Christian,” he says, “has the apostles for his example. And truly it is not in the solitary life one shows himself a man; but he who, as a husband and father of a family, withstands the trials that beset him in providing for a wife and children, servants and an establishment, without allowing himself to be drawn from the love of God. The man who has no family escapes many trials; but as he has only himself to provide for, he is inferior to him who, having more to disturb him in working out his own salvation, yet fulfills more duties in social life, and truly exhibits in his family a miniature of Providence itself.” Second marriages were in general disrepute, and were by some writers even denounced as sinful. Such a doctrine, it need hardly be said, is contrary to the clear voice of Scripture.

— Edward Backhouse, Early Church History to the Death of Constantine

There are three things that I would like to point out here:

1. Celibacy has been a “religious practice” from the very early centuries that is condemned.

2. Separation was a religious practice that is condemned.

3. Second marriages were condemned, a practice that is “contrary to the clear voice of scripture.”

All three of these areas of concern have there tentacles in today’s religions. Not much has changed with the “church system.”  What was then, is still taking place now. We see celibacy as part of the priesthood in Catholicism; separation has taken on a paramount importance among fundamental Christians who not only isolate themselves, but their families; and, second marriages are condemned by most religious sects, still.

Religious rules and practices have always been a part of the zealously religious lifestyle. In their zeal to please God, they have forgotten:

1. That “practices” = “works” – – and you only need FAITH to please God.

2. Separation creates a “holier-than-thou” perception in the minds of unbelievers, propagates hate and/or fear toward those who believe differently or act differently, and cripples those isolated from being able to function in the real world once they have to branch out on their own as adults.

3. Forbidding one to divorce puts a shackle of bondage on those that are being emotionally, physically and sexually abused in a relationship.

True Love

heart“To those who pleaded their ignorance, Clement of Alexandria replies: “But are we not all striving after life? What sayest thou? How didst thou become a believer? How lovest thou God and thy neighbour? Is not that philosophy? Thou sayest, I have never learned to read. But thou hast heard the Scriptures read; and the faith may be learned without hearing the Scriptures, for there is a Scripture which is adapted to the capacity of the most ignorant, and which yet is divine, and that is love.”

When I came across this passage while doing my studies, I had to stop and read it again and again. This one passage stopped me with its profound simplicity. Sometimes, as Christians, we get so caught up in doctrines and religious beliefs that we miss the most important concept that our faith is built upon – Love. The question that Clement of Alexandria asks: “How lovest thou God and thy neighbour?” is worth reflecting on. Today, I was in a dialogue with a fundamentalist Christian whose only desire was to throw hateful darts at me and others because we disagreed with him on inerrancy of the Bible. Claiming to be a Christian, he forgot that love is the most important thing. Instead of showing me love, he showered me with ridicule. His testimony in handling disagreement was so far removed from Christian love, that I went away from the dialogue sorely disappointed in the young man.  Digging one’s heals in regarding dogma is not as important as loving your neighbor and treating them with respect. If you love your neighbor, you will choose your words more wisely so as not to offend. If you love your neighbor, you will agree to disagree amicably. If you love your neighbor, you will learn to LISTEN to what they have to say because that shows them that you genuinely CARE about what they have to say. Sadly, the young man, with an air of pride and arrogance, made it quite clear that he didn’t care about what we had to say.

Another statement Clement makes is this: “and the faith may be learned without hearing the Scriptures, for there is a Scripture which is adapted to the capacity of the most ignorant, and which yet is divine, and that is love.”  Imagine that! Clement does not hold the Bible to the standard that we do. People CAN have faith without the Bible. What a concept, indeed!  How is that possible? Because LOVE IS THE ANSWER. If you love your neighbor as yourself, you don’t need to push your theology and beliefs on others. The fact of the matter is this: They don’t care how much you know. . .  until they know how much you care – about them.

Truly, God is Love. We as Christians have forgotten that you don’t need the Bible to love God. You don’t need the Bible to love others. You don’t even need the Bible to have faith.  However, loving others and treating them with kindness and respect can go a long way in letting them see your faith in action and influencing them for God. To take the position of anger and animosity because of differences only gives a testimony of hatred, not love. Before you take to throwing those darts of ridicule, ask yourself, is that showing love?

The Balaam Phenomenon

evangelistEarly church history is full of information that brings truth to light regarding early Christianity. It also allows us a glimpse into how far Christianity has fallen from its once pure state. Through the annals of church history, we can see all the mutations that have occurred that have changed the face of Christendom forever. Many of these mutations have resulted in doctrines and practices of the “church system” that have brought disgrace to the name of Christ and turned countless numbers of people away from the faith. A veering off course has taken place throughout Christianity that has allowed church leaders to usurp the Holy Spirit’s place in the lives of believers and usurp control over the lives of believers; all while creating for themselves wealth, prestige and power.. Needless to say, the Lord will not hold them guiltless.

It is very important that as Christians, we study to show ourselves approved unto God. Satan is a MASTER at deception and masquerades as an “angel of light.”  This means that there might be some in positions of leadership within the “church” that are only there for themselves. We must become aware of these false brethren that sneak in unawares. Most believe that these imposters would be lay people; however, I genuinely believe that there are more church leaders that are imposters than one would imagine. In order to see how far the corruptions have come from the purity of the early church, we need to first know a little about the early church and how it operated. The many articles on this blog go into great detail in many areas to help readers in understanding the truth about every aspect of the early church and the many twisted doctrines that have birthed as a result of the many corruptions.

The following is a little insight regarding the evangelists of the early centuries:

The spread of the Gospel during this period was rapid and continuous. Eusebius thus describes its propagation in the opening years of the second century. “There were many next in order of time to the apostles, who built up the churches founded by them, and pushing further the preaching of the Gospel, scattered broadcast over all the world the seeds of the Kingdom of Heaven. Many evangelists, first obeying the Saviour’s command to give their substance to the poor, set forth, vying with one another in preaching Christ and distributing the Scriptures of the divine Gospels. After they had thus laid the foundations of the faith, and ordained pastors into whose hands they could commit the care of the new converts, they would themselves pass beyond to further regions and nations, God accompanying them with his grace; for even down to that time the Divine Spirit wrought so mightily by them, that at the very first hearing, whole assemblies embraced the Gospel.”  May we not say it is these obscure evangelists, whose work remains but whose names have perished, who are especially worthy of honour in the Church? The most glorious time in her annals was the century or more during which she had little or no history.

Looking at these passages of history, I would like to point out a phenomenon that is seen today not only with evangelists, but pastors as well. Today’s Evangelist is nothing like the evangelist of the early centuries!  In the passages above, I have highlighted a very important characteristic of an evangelist: “Many evangelists, first obeying the Saviour’s command to give their substance to the poor, set forth, vying with one another in preaching Christ and distributing the Scriptures of the divine Gospels.” Early evangelists gave all they owned to the poor before embarking on their ministry!  They truly lived by faith, allowing God to provide their need.  They did not own anything.  Not only this, they did not make a name for themselves! They had the humility to do the work of God without the accolades and ‘pats on the back’ and recognition that many thrive on today.   Let’s compare this conduct to today’s evangelistic conduct. I would like to also point out that pastors are guilty of the following phenomenon as well, so the following will encompass both areas – evangelists and pastors.

Here’s Today’s Pastors and Evangelists as quoted from my book, Religion’s Cell: Doctrines of the Church that Lead to Bondage and Abuse:

The Balaam Phenomenon

The Balaam Phenomena is sweeping the churches and has mushroomed into catastrophic proportions. As Balaam was for “hire” so are these ministers who market the “Truth” and “Revelation” they received from God. Ministers are profiteering off of the Word of God and marketing “Revelation” they receive for personal gain.

Instead of pointing people to the “Truth” they draw attention to themselves and to the “Revelation” they received by elevating themselves as the source of the “Truth.” Thus, they raise their words to divine rank and exercise spiritual power for “position

Instead of the Apostle, Prophet, Evangelist, Pastor and Teacher (Ephesians 4.11) they pursue and embrace worldly designations such as “Dr.” “Reverend” “PhD” and “Senior Pastor” in order to distinguish themselves. In short, they seek to “elevate” themselves before others. Instead of “serving” they are being “served”

There is a fitting story in the Bible about this kind of conduct: The mother of Zebedee’s sons came to Him with her sons, kneeling down and asking something from Him. And He said to her, “What do you wish?” She said to Him, “Grant that these two sons of mine may sit, one on Your right hand and the other on the left, in Your kingdom” (Mathew 20.20)

You see…These two apostles wanted to be elevated above the others. And when the ten heard it, they were greatly displeased with the two brothers. One translation says they were moved with indignation against those two. Jesus taught, the greatest among you will be your servant. And whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.” (Mathew 23:1-12).

Three words come to mind that are characteristic of these ministers: Performance, Position and Power. These ministers have made a predacious climb on the “ladder of success” by building an institutional empire that rivals many corporations. Their ministry has become an “idol” in their heart at the cost of their own soul.

Through the Balaam Phenomenon, ministers use the “Truth” of God to nurture their own visions and bring to fruition their own agendas beneath the shroud of furthering the Gospel. It is easy to identify these ministers in the pulpit since the anointing is no longer present. The Spirit of the Lord has departed (1Sam. 16:14). Yes, they operate in the “gifts.The gifts and the calling are without revocation (Romans 11.29) however, the anointing has departed! Consequently, there is a lack of a clear Biblical objective.

The “Revelation” they are delivering to the people is the “Revelation” that was only for them when they were “small in their own eyes” (1 Sam 15.17). They force others to eat their diet of food. They are unable to prepare a table like a Master Chef who prepares a balanced variety of food some for the mature, some for the young and another for infants. Consequently, the pathway they present is littered with landmines and pitfalls. It is the same truth over and over deceptively packaged to look different.

For the mature discerning Christian, that minister is easily identifiable because he relies on the “Revelation” received in the past that catapulted him into recognition. There is no “New” “Revelation” delivered to the people because he is NOT drawing from the presence of Christ and His Spirit. He no longer has the intimate relationship with Christ that he once had and he knows it! These ministers know how to smile outwardly, and they know all the religious words and how to manipulate the congregation. Private personal prayer life is non-existent. What burden for that minister to carry. Eventually he will falter under its weight. What is hidden will eventually come to light (Luke 8.17).

These ministers increase their spiritual “stronghold” over people and they have “mastered” the ability to manipulate the “touch points” in a person: that area within a person that is vulnerable; they probe without applying salve or the ointment of healing brought by the “anointing” — they open the wound wider. The wounded keep returning looking for that healing… that balm of Gilead (Jeremiah 8.22). They never find it and the wounds closes over being festered with all the wrong doctrine.

Woe to them! For they have gone the way of Cain, and for pay they have rushed headlong into the error of Balaam (Jude 11)… forsaking the right way, they have gone astray, having followed the way of Balaam, the son of Beor, who loved the wages(2 Peter 2.15) who suppose that godliness is a means of gain(1Timothy 6.5) Drawing disciples after themselves…. (Acts 20.30).

Furthering their own agenda under the deceptive umbrella of “godliness” as a means of gain” they siphon money from those hurting…the vulnerable that come seeking healing and restoration. The result is that these ministers divert “Truth” to water their own field and feed themselves (Ezekiel 34:2-10).

The “Truth” and “Revelation” they have received is “for sale “in the form of tapes, CD’s, books and videos. During and immediately following a service one is encouraged to “purchase” the “truth & Revelation” from the minister. Little has changed from the time of Jesus when those tables were overturned by him (John 2.15). In the name of God, they were providing for the people the sacrifice offerings for worship right in up the temple (John 2.16). How that seemed noble!

How often has someone walked out of a Sunday service hungry for the “Truth” only to find it being sold for money? What happened to “freely you have received freely give? (Mathew 10.8). I tell you the truth…they have received their reward (Mathew 6.5). Who is wise among you and who is discerning (Hosea 14.9) let him come forward and shout from the roof top!

The Balaam Phenomenon is pervasive throughout the body of Christ. It’s time for clarion call to go out. The Presbyters, Bishops and Elders need to rise up; I mean those whom the Holy Spirit has appointed (Acts 20.28) NOT overseers elevated by man. I am not referring to these who fail the test of integrity. I am referring to the wise and discerning. I am referring to the man or woman who has Wisdom; “Godly Wisdom” — which is comprehensive insight into the ways and purposes of God (Proverbs 12.8).

— Edward Umling

Is the true nature of the evangelist and pastor becoming clear?  Power, prestige and money have become the ultimate snare. As a result, abuses abound and many are turned away from the faith. Who do you think God will hold accountable? If you do not know the answer, then maybe this will help: The Third Commandment – What it Really Means.

The Truth About Changes in Translation

manuscriptFor centuries, Greek scholars have known about the many changes done by scribes in translation of the early manuscripts. What is sad is that mainstream theologians, preachers and Christians refuse to accept the fact that translators have made these changes. Most would rather believe that their English translation of the New Testament is “innerant.”  There are countless manuscripts in existence written in Greek and yet, due to copyist and translational errors, not very many of them match word for word. There are NO ORIGINAL manuscripts in existence. Let’s make that fact perfectly clear. All we have is copies of copies of copies of copies of copies. This is a reality. But why would someone want to change the manuscripts in translation?  In order to translate the text based on what they already believe, or, to make changes in order to lean people toward those beliefs. This is exactly what has taken place and people refuse to admit it. The usual response is quite amazing and usually wrapped up in anger and hatred toward anyone that points these truths out. This matter of corruption of scripture is serious! Scholars know for a fact that the manuscripts in existence are riddled with thousands of variations. Rather than attack those that bring to light these corruptions and call them “anti-Christ,” let’s fix the errors and corruptions! We now have technology and the best scholarship in history. Comparative analyses between the many thousands of manuscripts can be done with accuracy to deduce what is truth and what is not.

Sadly, one of the most blatant corruptions in translation has to do with women and their place in religion and society. Translators have made an obvious effort to point women in scripture into a direction of servitude to men and out of positions of leadership and autonomy.  It is time to shout from the rooftops what men have done in translation that has caused a race of people great harm throughout history — women. And, it is time to make the populous aware of the many changes that affect other areas of religious practice!

Educating people on the many changes in translation has been a focus of mine on this blog. Continually, I point out the corruptions so that minds can be set free of abusive dogmas and doctrines that lead to abusive behaviors and attitudes toward others. One cannot be truly free until one’s mind is free from bondage to religion and its doctrines and rules. Man-made rules were never a part of the teachings of Christ and, he never treated women with the disrespect that man-made religion does. I will continually point out what has been twisted and bring it to light on this blog.

Since very few people know about all the variants between manuscripts in existence, I want to take this time to give some insight on this matter.  Let’s talk about some of these changes in the Greek manuscripts of the New Testament:

Mill’s Apparatus of the Greek New Testament

The text of the Greek New Testament seemed to be a trusted source for most scholars throughout the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. However, many scribes would add marginal notes identifying places of variation among several manuscripts they had looked at. Later, in the seventeenth century, “editions were published by English scholars such as Brian Walton and John Fell who took the variations in the surviving (and available) manuscripts more seriously. (Erhman)” However, no one really realized the magnitude of the problem with textual variations until 1707, when John Mill published a book that exposed all the variations. This book was so shocking that it caused scholars to realize that they need to take the textual situation of the New Testament manuscripts more seriously.

John Mill of Queens College, Oxford, invested 30 years of hard work collecting manuscripts for his book. The text that he printed was the 1550 edition of Stephanus; “what mattered for Mill’s publication was not the text he used, but the variant readings FROM that text that he cited in a critical apparatus.  Mill had access to the readings of some one hundred Greek manuscripts of the New Testament. In addition, he carefully examined the writings of the early church fathers to see how they quoted the text–on the assumption that one could reconstruct the manuscripts available to those fathers by examining their quotations.  Moreover, even though he could not read many of the other ancient languages, except for Latin, he used an earlier edition published by Walton to see where the early versions in languages such as the Syriac and Coptic differed from the Greek (Erhman, Misquoting Jesus, p. 84).

Mill published his text with apparatus in which he indicated places of variation among all the surviving materials available to him. To the shock and dismay of many of his readers, “Mill’s apparatus isolated some thirty thousand places of variation among the surviving witnesses, thirty thousand places where different manuscripts, Patristic (=church father) citations, and versions had different readings for passages of the New Testament (Bart Erhman, Misquoting Jesus, p.84).”

However, Mill’s apparatus was not exhaustive in that the data he collected did not include the countless variations in word order. According to Erhman, “. . . what it did include was enough to shock the public away from the complacency into which it had fallen based on the constant republication of the Textus Receptus and the natural assumption that in the T.R. one had the “original” Greek of the New Testament. Now the status of the original text was thrown wide open to dispute.  If one did not know which words were original to the Greek New Testament, how could one use these words in deciding correct Christian doctrine and teaching?”

The impact of Mill’s publication was immediately felt. The scathing attacks that followed from conservative theologians was huge. One protestant conservative, Daniel Whitby, believed that “even though God certainly would not prevent errors from creeping into scribal copies of the New Testament, at the same time he would never allow the text to be corrupted to the point that it could not adequately achieve its divine aim and purpose (Erhman, Misquoting Jesus, p. 85).” In 1710, Whitby published his own set of notes to dispute Mill’s findings. In his publication, Whitby suggested that Roman Catholic scholars “would be all too happy to be able to show, on the basis of the insecure foundations of the Greek text of the New Testament, that scripture was not a sufficient authority for the faith– that is, that the authority of the church instead is paramount (Erhman, Misquoting Jesus, p. 85).”

“Whitby may have intended his refutation to have its effect without anyone actually reading it; it is a turgid, dense, unappealing one hundred pages of close argumentation, which tries to make its point simply through the accumulated mass of its refutation (Erhman, Midsquoting Jesus, p. 86).”

Let me point out here that this is what many conservative Christians do in refuting the work of those that have labored intensively for years to bring the truth to light. They have no factual basis for their refutations. They parrot what they have been taught as truth and use those teachings as grounds for dismissing facts that prove their dogmas and doctrines are not what they should be. They label any work that exposes lies and errors in translation as an attempt to destroy the Bible. They label anyone that exposes the corruptions as “anti-Christ” instead of realizing that the facts don’t lie and something needs to be done about all the changes made.  Instead of realizing that Mill did not INVENT the variant readings – that he only pointed them out– it became a personal attack on Mill’s character to discredit what he had brought to light. Every time I point out a corruption in Scripture that has caused women much harm, conservative Christians think that I made up the corruptions and make it a personal attack on me, wishing to discredit ME instead of looking at the findings and realizing that I am only pointing out what re-known scholars have pointed out before me.

Because of Mill’s publication, the result was that it drew responses from many learned and indignant people. The most significant being a scholar of enormous international reputation – the Master of Trinity College, Cambridge, Richard Bentley. Bentley was known for his work on classical authors such as Homer, Horace, and Terence. What Bentley pointed out, is what is mentioned above – the variations Mill’s points out existed before he pointed them out and that, “If Religion therefore was true before, though such Various Readings were in being: it will be as true and consequently as safe still, though every body sees them. . . no Truth, no matter of Fact fairly laid open, can ever subvert true Religion (An Account of the Printed Text of the Greek New Testament (London: Samuel Bagster & Sons, 1854).”

Bentley was an expert in the textual traditions of the classics. He pointed out that anytime you find large numbers of manuscripts, you will find a multitude of textual variations. If there were only one manuscript of work, there would be NO textual variants. The good thing about the variants is that they show where the preceding manuscript has preserved an error and, they also show where the original text is preserved. So, variants do not detract from the integrity of the New Testament, they just provide the data that scholars need to work on to establish the text that is more closely aligned to what the original authors wrote! Another thing that these variants do is show with clarity the changes made that affect women and their standing in the world today.  What was done was “on purpose,” and not by accident. Men willfully changed scripture regarding women. As a result, woman have been the most abused race of people in human history. The facts regarding these changes that affect women have been brought to light by many re-known scholars over the centuries, but have been ignored by mainstream theologians. Why? It is my humble opinion, based on the evidence I have read, that men wish to continue to have a male-dominated religious system that subjects women to their whims of servitude and abuse. This also gives them sexual dominance, which is a key factor in this issue of control.

It is time that the Bible translations that many mainstream religions use as a foundation for their teachings be revised and many of the errors removed; especially, regarding women. Women need to be given their equality, honor and dignity back. Religion permeates every society in the world. Religion is the foundation for beliefs, actions, attitudes and character of men and women everywhere. Religion has pointed women down a road of submission and servitude to men and robbed them of equality, autonomy, status in society, etc. Correcting translations with these errors, will help to change attitudes and behaviors toward women and help to alleviate the doctrines and dogmas that lead to their abuse and inequality.

What the Apostle Paul Didn’t Write

twisting of scriptureThroughout Christianity, across all denominations, teaching and preaching of truth is filled with innuendos and implications that give an underlying message to people regarding women and their place in the church and society.  Many of these underlying messages are the result of a mindset regarding women that developed due to scribal changes in translation of religious texts. During the early centuries, men, not willing to allow women the freedom, autonomy and respect that Christ gave them, made sure that through translation they would be silenced and controlled.  Because of these additions and changes in the texts, women have been forced into very abusive roles by men, while at the same time, men are not being held accountable for the abuses.

The off shoots of religion are many; the majority of which, go even further in their corruption of the truth and place on women shackles of bondage to abusive men that God never intended nor commanded. Modern scholars have come to realize that disputes over the role of women in the church occurred precisely because women HAD a role; often a very significant and publicly high profile role ( Bart Erhman, Misquoting Jesus).  Many of Jesus’s closest followers were women and they accompanied him on his travels. Some of these women provided for him and his disciples financially, serving as patrons for his preaching ministry. The scriptures show remarkably well that Jesus did not treat women like the men of his day did. He actually went against the teachings of his day in his treatment of women! According to Erhman, “Most scholars remain convinced that Jesus proclaimed the coming Kingdom of God in which there would be no more injustice, suffering,  or evil; where all people would be equal.” This included the women.

“The Pauline letters of the New Testament provide ample evidence that women held a prominent place in the emerging Christian communities from the earliest of times. . . Women, in short, appear to have played a significant role in the churches of Paul’s day. . . This appears to have been Paul’s message as well, as can be seen, for example, in his famous declaration in Galations:

For as many of you as were baptised into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, neither slave nor free; there is not male and female; for all of you are one in Jesus Christ. (Gal. 3:27-28)

— Bart Erhman, Misquoting Jesus, page 180

The equality that developed as a result of the teachings of Jesus and his disciples laid the very foundations for women that changed their subservient and oppressive positions and gave them new found freedoms. Women were now equal through Christ and were allowed, once again to participate in every aspect of the early church. However, after Paul’s death, men began once again to force women back into the abusive bondage that Jesus came to set them free from. This is evidenced in the following passages that were written in Paul’s name. Scholars agree that these passages were NOT written by Paul, but have been attributed to Paul. These very passages have been used to beat women over the head and force them into silence and subjection to men in the church and keep them from positions of leadership. (For more on other translational changes, read some of my other articles on this blog.)

Let a women learn in silence with full submission. I permit no woman to teach or to have authority over a man; she is to keep silent. For Adam was formed first, then Eve; and Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor. Yet she will be saved through childbearing, provided they continue in faith and love and holiness, with modesty. (1Tim. 2:11-15)

33For God is not a God of confusion but of peace. As in all the churches of the saints, 34let the women keep silent. For it is not permitted for them to speak, but to be in subjection, just as the law says. 35But if they wish to learn anything, let them ask their own husbands at home. For it is shameful for a woman to speak in church. 36What! did the word go forth only from you, or has it reached you alone? (1Cor. 14:33-36)

According to Erhman, this seems a long way from Paul’s view that “in Christ there is . . . not male and female.” By the time the second century had rolled around, there were some very clear battle lines drawn regarding women and the church. Scholars understand that scribes were very involved in these early debates regarding women and translated scripture to reflect their personal views regarding women. Erhman states in his book, Misquoting Jesus, that . . . “In almost every instance in which a change of this sort occurs, the text is changed in order to limit the role of women and to minimize their importance. . .”

These passages teach a straight forward injunction for women not to teach and to keep quiet. However, according to Erhman, scholars are convinced that Paul did not write the 1 Timothy passage because it occurs in a letter that appears to have been written instead by a second-generation follower of Paul in his name. No one doubts that Paul wrote 1 Corinthians, but there are doubts about that passage because verses 34 and 35 are shuffled around in some of the most important textual witnesses. In three Greek manuscripts and a couple of Latin witnesses, they are found after verse 40. This has led scholars to surmise that the verses were not written by Paul but originally were a marginal note by a scribe that was later inserted in different places of the text– some placing the note after verse 33 and some after verse 40.

Another reason that scholars give in determining that Paul did not write these passages is that they do not fit well into their immediate context.

“In this part of 1 Corinthians 14, Paul is addressing the issue of prophecy in the church, and is giving instructions to Christian prophets concerning how they are to behave during the Christian services of worship. This is the theme of verses 26-33, and it is the theme again of verses 36-40. If one removes verses 34-35 from their context, the passage seems to flow seamlessly as a discussion of the role of Christian prophets. The discussion of women appears, then, as intrusive in its immediate context, breaking into instructions that Paul is giving about a different matter.

Not only do the verses seem intrusive in the context of chapter 14, they also appear anomalous with what Paul explicitly says elsewhere in 1 Corinthians. For earlier in the book, as we have already noticed, Paul gives instructions to women speaking in the church: according to chapter 11, when they pray and prophesy–activities that were always done aloud in Christian services of worship–they are to be sure to wear veils on their heads (11:2-16). In THIS passage, which no one doubts Paul wrote, it is clear that Paul understands that women both can and do speak in church. In the disputed passage of chapter 14, however, it is equally clear the “Paul” forbids women from speaking at all. It is difficult to reconcile these two views–either Paul allowed women to speak (with covered heads, chapter 11) or not (chapter 14). As it seems unreasonable to think that Paul would flat out contradict himself within the short space of three chapters, it appears that the verses in question do not derive from Paul.

And so on the basis of a combination of evidence–several manuscripts that shuffle the verses around, the immediate literary context, and the context within 1 Corinthians as a whole–it appears that Paul did not write 1 Cor. 14:34-35. One would have to assume then, that these verses are a scribal alteration of the text, originally made, perhaps, as a marginal note and then eventually, at an early stage of the copying of 1 Corinthians, placed in the text itself. The alteration was no doubt made by a scribe who was concerned to emphasize that women should have no public role in the church, that they should be silent and subservient to their husbands. This view came to be incorporated into the text itself, by means of textual alteration.”

— Bart Erhman, Misquoting Jesus, pages 183-184.

Clearly, what is being taught in these passages regarding women is a corruption. As a result of these two changes, women have borne the brunt of abuses throughout history. They have been robbed of equality in every aspect of life and relegated to subservient positions. As a result, today, women are still not paid the same salaries as men and, degrading “mindsets” and “attitudes” toward women are prevalent across all cultures. These mindsets and attitudes are a result of SCRIPTURE placing women on an unequal level to men. SCRIPTURE has become the weapon of choice for power and control hungry men.

So, if scholars agree that these passages were not written by Paul and, the evidence points to this fact, then why are those, who are not scholars, condemning those that bring these types of corruptions to light? Why does one think that Bible theologians want to teach and preach an “inerrant” and “infallible” Bible? Answer: Because all the changes made by scribes point women into subservience, allowing for sexual exploitation and abuse AND, the changes give men power, prestige, control and money to boot! Scripture translations have only been done by MEN. Corruption in translation of scripture has only been done by MEN.  Interpretations of scripture have only been done by MEN. Rules have been fabricated for women only by MEN. It’s time for the corruptions to be made known and corrected. Women need to be given back their equality, autonomy, dignity and honor. Laws need to change to protect women from the abuses within every area of society and religion and, Bible translations need to be purged of the corruptions placed in them by MEN. Scholars know all the corruptions. It’s time to set things right and give women back what men robbed them of – equality, honor, dignity and protection from abuse.

What Kind of Faith in God Can One Have After an Abuse has Occurred?

christian_atheistOne of the most common characteristics I have seen amongst religious abuse victims is the shattering of their faith in the Living God. Many struggle with the reality that, at the time of their abuse, God did not help them and rescue them from it. Since God did not save them from the abuse, then surely there is no God!  Because of this, the common question is: “If God is real, then where was God when I was being abused?” Another common characteristic that I have not only experienced, but also see in others, is the fact that through the deception of religious dogmas and rules, one’s faith can also be shattered once one comes to the realization of the lies believed. Then, there is the reality that the abuse was perpetrated by those that the victims trusted and/or loved – their pastor, other church leaders and, even family members!  Following the abuse, is the secondary abuses where no one believes the victim and, those closest to the victim (family and friends) actually work to discredit their testimonies of abuse and shame and shun them!   As a result of these traumas, it is easier to choose not to believe in God for many of these victims.

Because this is an issue that many struggle with, I want to share an excerpt regarding the Holocaust, from Jewish Wisdom by Rabbi Joseph Telushkin. If ever there was a race of people that rightly should NOT believe in God, it would be the Jewish people! How can a Holocaust survivor still maintain faith in a God that did not rescue them from the torture, nor save their family members from it?  After this excerpt, I will then draw a conclusion that I hope will help many with this issue.

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What Kind of Faith in God can Jews Have After the Holocaust?

Can one still speak to God after Auschwitz? Can one still, as an individual and as a people, enter at all into a dialogue relationship with Him? Dare we recommend to the survivors of Auschwitz, the Jobs of the gas chambers, “Call to Him, for He is kind, for His mercy endures forever?” — Martin Buber, “Dialogue Between Heaven and Earth,” in Will Herberg, ed., Four Existentialist Theologians, Page 203

We learned in the crisis that we were totally and nakedly alone, that we could expect neither support nor succor from God nor from our fellow creatures. Therefore, the world will forever remain a place of pain, suffering, alienation and ultimate defeat. — Richard Rubenstein, After Auschwitz, pages 128-129

A principle teaching of the Hebrew Bible is that God, Who created the world, intervenes in history. Thus, when Pharoah enslaved the ancient Hebrews, God acted to free them. (His intervention, however, came only after two centuries of slavery.)

God’s inaction during the Holocaust led Rubenstein to conclude in After Auschwitz, that, contrary to the Exodus story, there is no God Who acts in history. His work is among the bleakest and most disturbing Jewish books ever written. The alternate position (articulated by Rabbi Avigdor Miller, among others), that the Holocaust represented God’s inaction but rather his punishing of the Jewish people for their sins, was rejected by Rubenstein as repugnant: “If indeed such a God holds the destiny of mankind in His power, His resort to the death camps to bring about His ends is so obscene that I would rather spend my life in perpetual revolt than render Him even the slightest homage” (Power Struggle, page 11).

With the publication of After Auschwitz, Rubenstein became identified with the mid-1960’s “death of God” movement. But while the movement’s radical Protestant thinkers (e.g., Thomas Altizer, author of Radical Theology and the Death of God) saw God’s so called “death” as a fortunate event that would liberate human beings from God’s “heavy hand,” Rubenstein, who has a bleak estimation of human nature, found it cause for despair. Because the Holocaust has already happened once, he argued, similar acts of mass murder are more, not less, likely to recur, to Jews or to other people (see his The Cunning of History).

While empathizing with Rubenstein’s pain, two other Jewish thinkers, Eliezer Berkovits and Emil Fackenheim, view his conclusion that there is no God Who acts in history as representing an unintentional triumph for Hitler:

What, on account of the Jewish experience at Auschwitz, attempts to emerge as a Jewish version of a death-of-God theology has both an ironic and a tragic aspect. Its starting point is the problem of faith raised by the German barbarism of the Nazi era. In search of a solution to the problems, it arrives at a position from which one may not only not reject Nazism, but, indeed, find a “moral” validation for it as one of the man-created truths. [For if there is nothing higher in the universe than man, who is to judge which man-made truth is higher than another?] This is the bitterest irony. . . and presents us with one of the truly great triumphs of the Nazi position. It is of the very essence of [Rubenstein’s] proposition that there is no personal God who is concerned with justice, morality, or human suffering. . . — Eliezer Berkovits, Faith After the Holocaust, page 72

There emerges what I will boldly term a 614th commandment: the authentic Jew of today is forbidden to hand Hitler yet another, posthumous victory. . .

We are, first, commanded to survive as Jews, lest the Jewish people perish.

We are commanded, second, to remember in our very guts and bones the martyrs of the Holocaust, lest their memory perish.

We are forbidden, thirdly, to deny or despair of God, however much we may have to contend with Him or with belief in Him, lest Judaism perish.

We are forbidden, finally, to despair of the world as the place which is to become the kingdom of God, lest we help make it a meaningless place in which God is dead or irrelevant and everything is permitted.

To abandon any of these imperatives, in response to Hitler’s victory at Auschwitz, would be to hand him yet other, posthumous victories. — Emil Facenheim, The Jewish Return into History, pages 22-24

. . . The most cogent, if coolly rational, critique of Fackenheim’s 614th commandment was delivered by the Orthodox Jewish philosopher Michael Wyschogrod:

Let us imagine that there arises a wicked tyrant who sets as his goal, for his own depraved and psychotic reasons, the extermination of all stamp collectors in the world. It is clear that it would be the duty of every decent person to do everything in his power to frustrate the scheme of that tyrant. Let us further imagine, however, that before the tyrant is made harmless, he succeeds, in fact, in murdering a large proportion of the world’s stamp collectors. Does it not follow [according to Fackenheim’s 614th commandment] that subsequent to the tyrant’s demise it becomes the duty of the remaining stamp collectors not to lose interest in their stamp collecting so as not to hand the tyrant a posthumous victory? . . . Would it be a posthumous victory for the tyrant were stamp collecting to disappear from the world as long as this disappearance is due, not to force, but to free choice? I cannot see why, if I am a secular, non-believing Jew, it is incumbent upon me to preserve Judaism because Hitler wished to destroy it. What was incumbent upon me was to destroy Hitler, but once this is accomplished, the free choice of every individual is restored and no further Hitler-derived burdens rest on the non-believing Jew. — Michael Wyschogrod, “Faith and the Holocaust,” a review of Emil Fackenheim’s God’s Presence in History, Judaism, Summer 1971 (20:3), pages 288-289

For Wyschogrod “the Holocaust was a totally destructive event which makes my remaining a Jew infinitely more difficult than it has ever been.” He can only marvel at Fackenheim’s attempt to deduce a commanding voice out of Auschwitz.

. . . Rabbi Irving Greenberg represents a position close to Berkovits and Fackenheim, but one that also acknowledges Rubenstein’s despair. According to Greenberg, the Holocaust has blurred the boundary lines between believers and nonbelievers, perhaps permanently:

After Auschwitz, faith means that there are times when faith is overcome. . . We now have to speak of “moment faiths” . . . interspersed with times when the flames and smoke of the burning children blot out faith, although it flickers again. . . The difference between the skeptic and the believer is frequency of faith, and not certitude of position. — Irving Greenberg, “Cloud of Smoke, Pillar of Fire: Judaism, Christianity and Modernity After the Holocaust,” page 27

— Excerpts from Jewish Wisdom by Rabbi Joseph Telushkin, pages 311-315

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The Holocaust is one the most tragic events in human history. How could anyone condemn the survivors of this tragedy if they willingly chose to not believe in God? Wouldn’t they be justified in their positions that there “is no God?” Would a God that one believes to be full of Love, Mercy and Compassion punish further those that are broken and bruised that lose their faith as a result of abuses perpetrated by evil people? The answer: Of course not! So, does it matter to God if someone loses faith in Him? I believe it does matter, BUT, I also believe that He will “suffer it to be so” for the sake of the victim and hold the abusers accountable for the loss of faith when all is said and done.

Today, the reality of religious mutilation, torture, sexual exploitation of women and children, sexual mutilation and abuse, physical abuses and, all the horrors that take place against men, women and children that are hidden under the “mantle of religion” have led to countless numbers of people that have given up their faith in God. The number one question being the same as the Holocaust survivors: “Where was God when I was being raped, molested, tortured or abused?”

I have come to realize that there are two groups of religious abuse survivors.  There are those religious abuse survivors where, throughout there abusive experience, the closeness of God is imprinted on their hearts and minds. They can say with all sincerity that, “God was there with me and carried me through.”  I am in this category of believers. God was very near, although I believed he hated me and I could never be “good enough” to please Him (a mindset derived from the brainwashing). As I look back, I see his hand of protection and his hand of blessing in my life and, remember feeling “wrapped in his arms of love and care” even when I thought I could not go through another day. The memories of the sweet communion with God after extracting myself from the abusive cult and its brainwashing will forever be emblazoned in my heart and mind. Although I was deceived and acted in accordance with that deception, I WILLINGLY chose God. If I had not done so, then in my mind,  the Great Deceiver would have won the victory.  For if I give up my faith in God, I would be carrying out the will of the one who wishes for me to do so — Satan. Therefore, Satan wins.  Is maintaining my faith easy? No. It is difficult. Especially when I read the countless stories on my blog of abuses of women and children where the perpetrators of the abuses are still free and not behind bars; especially when I read the countless news stories of women and children abused and killed at the hands of Islamists the world over under the guise of “Honor Killing.”  This is where I reflect on Irving Greenburg’s quote mentioned above – “We now have to speak of “moment faiths” . . . interspersed with times when the flames and smoke of the burning children blot out faith, although it flickers again. . . The difference between the skeptic and the believer is frequency of faith, and not certitude of position.”  We will all experience lack of faith only to have it resurrect again.

Is my position regarding my faith, right? Yes.

The second group of abuse survivors are those that have turned away from not just religion, but God. God does not exist to them and is only a figment of the imagination.  There is so much evil in the world that takes place every day against men, women and children, that there is no way there is a God that is “Love” that could allow such tragedies. Since these tragedies take place and God does not stop them, then there must be no God. Many of these abuse survivors have found peace in removing God from their lives. In doing so, they have been able to answer the question, “Why did God allow this to happen to ME?” If there is no God, then what happened was the result of circumstance and evil people. This removing of the “why” eliminates the emotional and mental anxiety that the mere question poses in the mind of a victim. Truly, it can free them from the emotional trauma that this brings and, for many, give them the strength to move on with their lives.

Is this position regarding turning from the faith, right? Yes.

Now, let me say this from my own personal standpoint.  I am sure many will disagree with me on this, but please, allow me to have my opinion and let’s “agree to disagree” amicably.

Because I now know a God that is full of Mercy, Love and Compassion INSTEAD of a God that is vengeful, exacting, incites hatred toward those that believe differently, or will send people to hell if they don’t believe, I now understand “unconditional” love.  Unconditional love allows people to believe what they believe in order to cope with the trials and evils that will come their way. God will not judge them for their lack of faith. He will “suffer it to be so” in order for a victim to cope and move forward. If God is LOVE, then he will love regardless of belief or lack thereof.  Therefore, what right do believers and non-believers have to judge each other and condemn each other? They have no right to do so. God knows circumstances and motives. He knows the responsible party to every single abuse. He knows victim’s inner most thoughts and struggles. He’s seen every tear shed and, more than anything, desires to see victims of abuse and tradegy have their pain and heartache eased.  For those that lose faith and it eases their burden and gives them strength to carry on, “suffer it to be so.” For those that retain their faith and it eases their burden and gives them strength to carry on, “suffer it to be so.”

For me, my many years in an abusive religious cult and the struggles that I went through, have molded me into who I am today. The experiences have enabled me to be a help to those who feel alone in their pain and are emerging from abusive religious institutions.  Had the tragedies in my life not happened, I could not have written my books or be able to handle the many burdens of other survivors.  Truly, I would crumble under the weight of the emotional turmoil and, the question of “Why, God?”

If you do not believe in God, do not believe in God, still. If you believe in God, believe in God still. He KNOWS. HE UNDERSTANDS. He loves you UNCONDITIONALLY.  Let that sink in! NO CONDITIONS ARE NECESSARY!  Religion puts conditions on God’s love and acceptance; God does not. Religion tells us we will suffer eternal punishment for turning from God; God does not (read my book, Religion’s Cell on this subject.). Religion judges you for your sins; God does not! He SO loves us and desires for everyone to have peace and happiness.  It is time that we realize that whatever faith, or lack thereof, you have is OKAY. God is for peace and is compassionate toward broken and wounded people. Find that peace however you can so that traumas inflicted by evil people do not destroy you AND, give the abuser the victory or, Satan the victory in your life. When you find that peace, you win, you overcome and you can move forward. Peace allows you to find happiness and, to be able to love again. Sometimes, I believe that the biggest struggle in a survivor’s life is the struggle between believing in God and not believing in God. Until one makes the choice, one will not find peace. Because I know how great and compassionate MY God is, I say make the choice that allows you to move forward and gives you peace. In doing so, you are released from emotional turmoil and bondage to “theology” and freed to be who you are in the Lord (even though you may not realize this).  God understands. HE IS THAT BIG AND THAT AWESOME!