My parents are honest people. They’d had some bad experiences with the Catholic organization when they were younger and so decided not to raise their children as Catholics. Their decision was based not on a hatred of God or Jesus, but on a dislike of Catholicism. To them, anything that came from the Catholic church was suspect, as the people they’d dealt with in the church were disingenuous at best and outright cruel at worst. And so I was raised an atheist, and I say thank God for that.
If I’d been “raised in the faith”, I would not have had the advantage of learning about God and Jesus from the Bible, and then by extension getting to know God as my loving and protective Father and Jesus as my big brother, Lord, and best friend. I would never have sat at the feet of Jesus, like Mary, learning from him directly. I would instead have sat in a pew learning doctrines of men and devils at the feet of churchianity.
As I’ve mentioned in previous entries, churchianity is not what Jesus had in mind when he established God’s Kingdom on Earth. In fact, churchianity much more resembles the hodgepodge melting pot of blasphemies that characterized the back-sliding phases of the children of Israel prior to Jesus. Those were the phases where worship of God took a back seat to demon worship or occurred alongside it in blatant violation of the first Commandment.
I mention this not to bash churchianity (although it sorely deserves to be bashed), but to point out that I really dodged a bullet there by not being raised to worship demons or to hold to doctrines of men, and for that I owe a debt of gratitude to my parents.
Being “raised in the faith” is essentially a death sentence for developing real faith. I know many people who were raised in the faith, and while they continue even as adults to support churchianity and its many social causes, none of these people are actually following Jesus. They religiously attend church on Sundays, do volunteer work, organize church-related social events, and pour money into their church’s coffers. Otherwise, their lives are indistinguishable from those of unbelievers. That’s not to say they’re not generous with their service to their respective churches, but they’re not following Jesus. They’re following churchianity.
Christianity is not something you are born into; it’s something you are born-again into. Catholicism claims that you’re born-again at baptism, which takes place when you’re around three weeks old, but that’s clearly nonsense. Spiritual rebirth of necessity starts with repentance, and obviously a three-week-old baby has no idea what repentance is or how to do it.
Most Protestant denominations also either hold that rebirth takes place at baptism or at some form of ritual that may or may not involve the laying on of hands. But having hands laid on you by someone who is not born-again does not make you born-again. In Acts, the ceremony involving the ritual laying-on of hands accomplished spiritual rebirth because the people performing the ceremony were genuinely born-again, and those being reborn genuinely wanted to be reborn. God’s Spirit happily attended those ceremonies. Whether or not he chooses to attend ceremonies where people who are not born-again attempt to confer spiritual rebirth on those who don’t really want to be born-again is anyone’s guess, but I’m guessing that in most cases not.
The whole circus of organized Christian religion needs to be nuked from space. It is falsely portraying Jesus and the gospel and driving people away from God. In other words, churchianity is a false prophet. It should not be surprising, then, that this false prophet is spawning individuals who themselves are false prophets. YouTube and some “faith-based” TV channels are full of them.
Jesus was an outsider to organized religion. He used it as a resource tool, but he didn’t support it. His job was to overthrow it, like the tables of the money-changers in the temple. What he retained from Judaism were the prophets, the Ten Commandments, and the Passover feast. But he modified the Passover to insert himself as the spiritual sacrificial lamb. The slaughtering of a lamb is no longer required in the new Passover. The rest of Judaism (i.e., the lower-case law, the oral teachings, etc.) he threw out altogether.
Jesus warned us that in the last days we would be inundated with people who claim to be following him, but are not. And here we are, right on schedule. God permits churchianity and false prophets as a way to sift the wheat from the chaff: Those who choose to do his will and follow Jesus are the wheat, while those who choose to do the will of the world and/or follow churchianity are the chaff. Make sure that you, during the sifting process, remain wheat to the end.