How did you escape your religion ?

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zadox's picture
How did you escape your religion ?

Perverse consequences of the belief that faith saves from hell

I encourage everybody (believers as nonbelievers) to enter the debate. Do researches. Ask questions to believers, unbelievers, regarding what I say.

The Bible and the Koran claim that after death, each of us will be judged by God and either will go to a place of eternal hapiness ("paradise"), or to a terrible eternal punishment ("hell"). After these books the criterion to go to paradise or to hell is not the work which was fulfilled during the life, but faith. According to evangelical doctrine, trying to be a good person and doing his best during the life has no influence of our destination after the death, because every man is a sinner and deserves hell since he commited his first sin. The only solution to avoid this sad destiny would be to be sure that God sent his son Jesus, who took on him our sins for which we must be punished by dying at the cross, then that Jesus resuscitated, and will come back. All that is written in the Bible, that is why believing in it requires first of all to believe that the Bible is the "word of God", the "truth". According to evangelical doctrine, the one who believes in it, the one who is persuaded that it's true, will be saved, he will go to paradise. On the other hand, the one who has another belief, or the one who supposes honestly that he knows nothing with certainty about God, and also the one who would like to believe in what he reads in the Bible, but who is not sure that it' the truth, is lost! Whatever he mades during hs life, he will go to Hell, if he dies in these belief conditions. The fact to be sure that biblical (I would rather say: evangelical) dogma is the truth is the condition to avoid the terrible eternal punishment. It's very surprising that the supporters of this religion call it a "good new". I would rather call it a bad new.

Among the passages which teach the of unbelievers in the Bible is Jean 3:36

The one who believes in the Son has eternal life. The one who rejects the Son will not see life, but God’s wrath remains on him.

Orthodox Islam does not make better. Certainly, there is also an uneternal hell in this religion, but it is reserved for "bad Muslims", those who sinned a lot, but who where convinced that islamic dogma is the truth. Those who did not believe in it (who died with opinion that it was not "the truth", or who didn't know) will go to an eternal hell. Let us note that orthodox evangelical and islamic dogmas contradict themself: for the evangelicals, the muslims don't think that Jesus is God, and that this Jesus died on the cross for their sins, they don't fullfill the criterion and go therefore to hell whatever their works are. For orthodox muslims, the christians have several Gods. The Koran is very clear about it, Jesus was only a simple prophet, the one who thinks that he was God, and in a general way the one who does not think that the Koran is "the truth" and Mohammed a true prophet sent by God, will go to hell, his good works won't have a value for God. That is the case of christians, according to orthodox muslim point of view.

Among many passages which speak about the perdition of the unbelievers in the Koran, we find Koran 3:91

As to those who reject Faith, and die rejecting,- never would be accepted from any such as much gold as the earth contains, though they should offer it for ransom. For such is (in store) a penalty grievous, and they will find no helpers.

That is why members of these two groups are so motivated to try to convert whom they call "unbelievers", they believe to "save" them, according to their point of view! Evangelical Christianity and orthodox Islam are not the two only religious groups by witch faith is an obligation to avoid hell. But these are the two largest groups that teach it. The tragedy is, this dogma is a real intellectual prison for the believer. It is a technology of mental manipulation that is extremely worked out. Indeed, if after death we are intended for an eternal hell or an eternal paradise, then the only thing which is important in this life is to be sure to go to paradise. Since the criterion to be saved is faith, certainty that the religion one belongs to is the truth, according to evangelical and orthodox islamic belief, then the only thing which counts is to keep this certainty. The believer is afraid of all that could endanger his faith. He is being teached that the devil is very shrewd, and will use even friends, members of the family, or even his own reason to try to make him fall. So, if the believer, during a debate with an "unbeliever" (or believer in somethng else), or by making a personal research for example, begins doubting, and has the impression that the Bible has mistakes and/or imperfect contents, or even unacceptable parts, he will think that it is Satan which creates these thoughts in his head, and that he has to resist them at all costs.

The dogma of faith is one particular religion as an obligation to escape hell is the enemy of intellectual honesty. It prevents any objective reflexion on the subject, and makes a research of the truth nearly impossible. I think that some of the first christians introduced this dogma with the intention of preventing that christians lose their faith, or anyway to make the process that conduce to apostasy extremly difficult. The believer catched into this trap cannot imagine to change his opinion, or to make the hypothese hat his religious opinion could be a mistake. The idea of losing his faith, is so terrifying and would have so much consequences that it is excluded; it is necessary to avoid this catastroph at all costs. Whatever the facts in favour or against his religion are, the believer will do everything to keep a solid faith, or in the worst case to believe again, to be again persuaded that his religion is the truth. Because unbelief is punished for the worst possible punishment which exceeds imagination even.

The believer victim of this dogma is prisoner and has little chances to go out of it one day, and for the minority which will manage to escape, process of deconversion will be long and difficult. I speak here according to my own experience and to that of others evangelical and orthodox muslims who recovered. In principle, this process lasts several years. Faith does not get lost in one day. There is a long transitional period during which one still half believe, and again and again are coming thoughts like: "And if it were true? If I made somewhere a mistake?". But now, one belongs to the unbeliever who are going to hell if they die in these conditions, one takes the threats of its "holy book" towards unbelievers for itself. In my case, the whole period ago when I tried hopelessly to persuade myself that the Bible was the word of God and that I believed in it, I spent hours the night trying to find faith, I asked God to give me the faith again and if there was something in me that maked it impossible, to destroy it, I asked God to save me. I was terrorised at the idea of dying in these conditions, because I told myself that perhaps I am going to hell then. Pastors tried to play on this fright to reconvert me. In spite of these psychological barriers instituted to make apostasy as difficult as possible, my opinion about the Bible became more and more negative, and my fear diminished.

The belief in a hell for the unbelievers is also a considerable obstacle to the objectivity of pastors and imams. It is already enough difficult to remain objective, and nobody can claim to be completely objective, but this belief aggravates things even more. Because if only believers will avoid hell, the most important yhing is to persuade the so many people as possible. The objective analysis of facts is not then the first priority. Priority is that people believe and be "saved". If the pastor (resp: the imam) introduces things in a too objective way and also mentions elements which can be more or less disturbing, he takes the risk of letting some believers doubt (and perhaps "fall"), or of dissuading present unbelievers to convert. And for him, it is the worst things which can happen, because this would cause the eternal damnation of these souls. As a result, when he will deal with a subject, he will not have a bad conscience to present facts in an abnormally favourable way for the Bible (resp: for the Koran), on the contrary, since he will believe that on this maneer he works at the spread of the kingdom of heaven. I will explain it with more details when I have the time to do this, I intend to make a sub-article, with notably my experience in relation to this.

I will now mention other reasons why conversion to evangelical Christianity or orthodox islam is very easy, but on the other side the exit is very difficult. For orthodox islam: the one who left islam can be punished with death: see the corresponding article. Even in the countries which do not apply this law, a non-negligeable risk is present. Let us note that an equivalent prescription is made in the Bible also, but it is in the old testament fortunately, evangelical christians use to consider that this part was valid only for the Jews in Israel before the visit of Jesus. The death penalty in case of apostasy dissuades from leaving orthodox islam, but does not lead to psychological barrier contrary to the obligation of believing to escape hell. The death penalty for apostates dissuades especially ex-muslims of speaking about their experience, so that no negative advertising is made towards Islam. If nobody knows about these apostasies, it avoids that some believing people ask themselves questions on their religion. There is a bit the same phenomenon in evangelical christianity, even without risk of death: since the unbeliever is dedicated to eternal punishment, it can be extremly painful for an evangelical to be informed that one of his friends or someone of his family lost his faith. Lots of former evangelicals wait before announcing their apostasy, some speak about it only with a small number of friends while nobody in their own family knows it. This preserves religion.

Sometimes, it is possible to be led to make sacrifices for its religion. For example in the domain of marriage. Nothing forbids to unbelievers to marry whoever they want, they also could marry a believing person. That's not case on the other hand with evangelical christians who get married only between them, and orthodox muslims, by whom men can marry muslims (that's the preference), christians and jews, and where women are just allowed to marry muslims. But a believer can very well love someone who has another religion, then he has to abandon this love because of his religious convictions. It would be possible to name also the case of a homosexual who disclaimed his different sexuality all his life and tried to live so-so with a woman because of his religion. After this type of sacrifice, it is even harder to lose faith, because it is like saying that this sacrifice has been made for nothing! But if someone in this case despite lose his faith, rage can be very strong.

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WilfDisney's picture
Religion has always changed

Religion has always changed to meet the social and individual needs of the time, it began with ritual behaviour around death then sacrifice and then animism, gods got organised into pantheons soon came the one god of monotheism and finally we arrive at today where we have a religion that has no god - science.

Nobody escapes religion, they just exchange it for another.


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