Re-evaluating the past

Re-evaluating the past

How often does life go full circle? I was following Lorena’s blog around 2008 and found it again a few days ago. I had long come to the conclusion that there is an enormous difference between the Christian RELIGION and the Christian FAITH. I have said that I have far more empathy with some atheists than I do with those ‘Christians’ who think they have all the answers. I am now 76 but in 2008 I still knew nothing about Aspergers Syndrome. Erin – another name from the past – made the first comment on your post. When I looked at Erin’s blog I saw comments from Barry and Sue – two more names from the past that I had lost touch with.

I had known Sue from about 2005(?) and it was one of Barry’s posts in 2008 about Autism and Introverts that encouraged me to take an online quiz that suggested I had full blown AS. When I started exploring the meaning of this it was a real eye opener and very exciting – because it helped to explain why I am the way I am. I have two children and each one has a child with ‘autistic tendencies’. I didn’t know at the time that my son was exploring the possibility that his daughter might have AS. I was talking to him about the difficulties I had had with eye contact when he asked me if I had ever noticed that he had had the same problem – always looking on the ground. Only then did it click – when talking to someone face to face I didn’t look on the ground I looked at their chest – and had never realised how that might be interpreted by women! Later we came to the conclusion that my father had displayed several of the ‘symptoms’.

I found listening to John Robison very enlightening. It is said that one of the ‘perfect’ jobs for those with AS would be programming computers. It was in 1967 that I was ‘accidentally’ offered a job as a trainee programmer. It would have been around 1973 when as part of a job evaluation, my boss had said to me that I seriously underestimated my own abilities – and that was a real surprise.

I was subsequently made redundant for the fourth time in 1990 and have not had a full time job since then. It was in 1995 that I was forced for the second time to reconsider just about everything I had been taught about the Christian RELIGION but it wasn’t until 2010 that many of the pieces of the jigsaw began to fit together.

It was in July last year that I was introduced to WordPress as an ideal tool for developing a community web site (something I had been involved with in the past). I soon realised how good it was and started re-writing my personal blogs that had been in Blogger. It was in August that the controversy surrounding the reality or otherwise of Adam and Eve came to a head again in America – and my blog continues the story from that point.

It was only at the beginning of May that I finally brought it all together which was when I started following up on some of my old contacts.

I think I’m right in thinking that Erin was at one time a guest editor for The Porpoise Driven Life (Bill Dahl). There was an interesting review and interview with the author of ‘Christianity After Religion’ in April that prompted me to write an open letter to them.

That’s more than enough for now! One of the things I like about WordPress is the ability to use pages that are effectively hidden except to those who know the page is there. Rather than write separately to the others I’m loading this to my blog here and inviting them to read this and comment accordingly. My journey has obviously been so very different – but then I didn’t come from a fundamentalist background.

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7 Responses to Re-evaluating the past

  1. Lorena says:

    You used to follow my blog? What screen name did you use? Did you ever comment?
    Thank you for letting me know that you had written about me. Interesting story the AS one.

    I think I’m coming full circle as well, you know. I’m still an atheist, but I have come to understand why people need to believe. I also realize how important it is to have community.

    If religions were to take away the need to be right, the demands for money, the threat of hell, the so-called moral rules and others, the whole thing would make great group therapy. Imagining a good father that takes care of us is powerful emotional help, or crutch. Some people wouldn’t be able to walk without crutches.

  2. Erin says:

    Hey there, Pete. Yep, ’tis me who was a guest author/editor at PDL a few times.
    Interesting your revelations about AS. My brother is an aspie, so I’m always understanding of those I meet who have ASDs.
    Good to see you again.

  3. Peter says:

    Lorena – I probably didn’t comment, but I certainly read quite a few of your posts at the time. Only later did I realise how much I was learning about why people believe what they believe, often as a result of divisive, denominational theology.
    I have no problem with people being atheists. From what I see of the American scene from the other side of the pond amazes me sometimes. No wonder millions are walking away!
    As I’ve said I have far more empathy with some atheists than I do with some of those ‘Christians’ who think they have all the answers. My article ‘From Christian to Atheist was originally written about 4 years ago.

    Erin – thanks – I’d love to explore some of the implications of AS.

  4. Erin says:

    I was just telling a friend yesterday that I have no problem with religion if it’s a positive force in someone’s life. But when it starts causing people to judge, or even hate, others, it becomes problematic for me. However, I don’t like telling people that I don’t believe, because it’s met with disdain around here by most people.

  5. susieq777 says:

    ‘ello Pete! It *has* been a long time, hasn’t it!

    That’s interesting about Asperger’s. My partner is an Aspie. I’m not, although I share a pretty big wad of Aspie traits with him. I did one of those tests too, and it sort of bulged a little in the Aspie traits section, even though it informed me I am not one. (I am definitely a Highly Sensitive Person, though, which I think is at least some sort of distant relative of Asperger’s 🙂

    I like what you say about the Christian religion being so different to the Christian faith. I was just writing about it yesterday on my blog, actually. I always felt that my entry into Christianity was via a sort of personal or mystical experience, and so entering in via that doorway was probably the way to do the least damage to myself 🙂 I wasn’t brought up in the Christian faith, I found interacting with the people who had to be a little stultifying. They seemed so straitjacketed and … well, as if they were sort of lying to themselves about themselves. Anyway, they used to make me feel awfully uncomfortable and just a total loser, considering all the bad habits I’d picked up in my life up to that point 😛

    But anyway, it’s a pleasure leaving that realm once again. There is nothing there for me, unfortunately or fortunately. Christianity in itself is a long-dead wineskin due for the rubbish bin. At least that way whatever Jesus said that applies to us at this point in tme will be able to be seen and heard clearer, me reckons.

    Anyway, nice to catch up with you again, Pete 🙂

  6. Peter says:

    Thanks for your comments.
    Lorena said, “If religions were to take away the need to be right, the demands for money, the threat of hell, the so-called moral rules and others, the whole thing would make great group therapy. Imagining a good father that takes care of us is powerful emotional help, or crutch. Some people wouldn’t be able to walk without crutches,“.
    Apart from the ‘get out of hell free card’ one of the biggest crutches of the Christian RELIGION is surely that we go to heaven when we die?

    I have no problem relating to those who have de-converted from the Christian RELIGION. I am convinced that evangelical theology is seriously misguided, and then there are those who see Jesus as their ‘boy friend’! But for me one of the biggest problems is that the Christian RELIGION has no answer to the problem of SUFFERING.

    Many people described the Worldwide Church of God not unreasonably, as either a cult or a sect, but some things stick! One of the major ‘platforms’ of their teaching was ‘This is not the only day of salvation’ – that everyone will have a chance when they understand, after death, the real meaning of this physical life.

    Erin says that she doesn’t like telling people that she doesn’t believe. I can understand that – apart from anything else it can undermine their crutch – and that I sense, is important for many older people. One of my problems is that I believe that Paul was writing to Christians who were already followers – and that RELIGION has highjacked what he wrote and taught that he was writing to all people down through the ages. I did refer to this in an article I wrote some years ago – ‘Why Suffering?’ (see sidebar) where I asked people to consider Romans 9 and suggested that the context seems to be that only a few were being called to salvation in the early NT church – children of Abraham – chosen by God! Paul writing to the gentile Christians at Ephesus reminded them that they had been without Christ, utter strangers to God’s chosen community, Israel, and had no knowledge of, or the right to, the promised agreements. They had had nothing to look forward to and no God to whom they could turn (Eph 2.11 on).

    I realise that this raises many other questions – but then I only ask the awkward questions, I don’t have answers for others!

  7. susieq777 says:

    I love Lorena’s comment, and I agree totally. Putting issues of truth aside, believing what you believe feels real, seems real, and for all intents and purposes IS real as far as your psyche is concerned. It really does shape people irrespective of whether it is true or not.

    And I so agree, Peter, that the Christian religion has not known what to do with suffering. It has bred a whole lot of people who could do nothing but shove their suffering, and large portions of themselves, down into the deep dark caverns. So destructive and dangerous. I believe along with Carl Jung that those elements still exist when we suppress them – it’s just that we can’t see them.

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