Can Christians and Ex-Christians See Eye to Eye? | Middle Ground

Can Christians and Ex-Christians See Eye to Eye? | Middle Ground

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Can Christians and Ex-Christians See Eye to Eye? | Middle Ground

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Christianity is the only true religion.

Can the agreers please step forward?

It’s interesting because there are so many religions, and I don’t even consider myself religious. I consider myself a child of God. I have a relationship with Jesus. I would say the only true way to heaven, the only true way to eternal, everlasting life is Christianity.

I’m surprised that all of us came forward because, well, I’m a pastor, so that’s what you expected of me. But I’ve noticed that it’s such a hard thing to say today rather than it was like 30 years ago because so many people get offended. You didn’t say anything else except Jesus is the only way. Right there, people don’t want to talk to you.

Right. It’s really true.

True. For me, I think all religions teach you to do well, but Christianity is the only religion that teaches you. You can’t do it without God. You can’t do it without Jesus. Amen. So for me, I couldn’t get out of my depression. I couldn’t get out of my loneliness. I could only maintain. I needed something to save me, pull me out of that. I grew up Buddhist, but with Christianity, I was able to really step out of that frame of thinking of I’m my own God. I have to take care of my own issues. And God was the one that helped me in everything.

To be. Please be to God.

Amen.

I mean, I really don’t want to seem like my religion is better than yours. Yeah, of course. It’s simply what Jesus claimed for himself. Yeah. And the disagreeers, please join me.

If we reflect on the aspect of the only true religion or the only true religion for me, it’s a sleeper slope because if you substitute religion with nationalism, we can all of the sudden see the problems with it.

I get it. I think that religion, organized religion can cause a lot of issues. The message of Jesus Christ, he’s the embodiment of love, right? But I truly believe in my heart. I do not think people that do not know him are just going to burn in the fiery pits. I don’t think it’s that black and white. But yes, I truly do believe Jesus Christ, Christianity is the only way.

My epiphany was like walking down Route 101 in Pennsylvania and thinking, Oh, my God. This idea behind Christianity is that everyone that doesn’t just ascent, believe in this one thing, they’re going to burn forever. And that was my epiphany like, Oh, man. It is fun. Not fun. It is fulfilling to have a very black and white way of looking at the world. I remember how great that felt. But also my epiphany is, Oh, there has to be more in the world and the universe than that. That can’t be the end of it. That might be like an all-knowing God, but that’s not an all-loving God. It can’t be all…

Yeah, I was going to say I’m so jealous that you guys feel like it’s the only religion. I wish I felt that way still, but I just don’t know anything. And there’s millions of religions. How can you say 100 % that it’s the only true one? You can’t, but I know in your hearts you can. I wish I had that so bad, but I just don’t.

It’s like this. In answer to your question, I haven’t studied every religion to say this is wrong, this is right. But I do know that Jesus is real based on what he’s done in my life. And I know the Bible is real based on archeology and prophecy. And Jesus says he is the only way. So I’ll believe him. I mean, he could be lying. I could be wrong.

What if I.

Said that to you?

What makes.

Him special? But Jesus proved himself to me by saving me, by doing miracles in my life.

What if I say? Yeah, but.

That’s anecdotal. But you haven’t saved me.

What if I do, though? What if he does?

What if anybody else? I believe that you experience that and that it’s powerful. And if that makes you a better human being, fantastic. The issue is that it’s anecdotal. To go to what you were saying, how can you prove without just the basis of faith that this is the absolute truth?

Christian.

Apologetics. But the Christian apologetics are disagreeing a bunch of different aspects. Not really.

No, they.

Don’t, actually. Well, they do. You really need to focus on whether you are going to theologically accept the Bible as the absolute document of truth. What are you going to cherry-pick from it? What are you going to accept as, Oh, this was just a historical thing. When you said you can’t change an ioda here.

It’s hard because I feel like I’m hyperliberal, too, and stuff because I’m like, You know what I mean? But then it’s true to a degree. Sometimes I honestly feel like I cherry-pick from the Bible. I’m like, Well, they still eat shellfish, so I could be with a man. You know what I mean? It’s so tough because it’s like, I only know how to love a man as much as I would love to be what normal is. This is just who I am.

You’re normal. I want to know why shellfish- They’re completely normal. -keeps coming up in these debates.

Because it’s a weird entry in the Bible. That’s why.

Very bizarre. Well, there’s things that we were meant to have stayed from, and then there was a time when God said everything is clean. So, I mean, that’s the thing. If you’re actually studying as far as food, if you’re actually studying the Bible, and if you’re actually looking into the history, the science, the theology about that, that’s where you’re going to get your questions answered.

I am still ignorant of the Bible. It’s only been maybe seven years for me and Steph. I admit I could probably learn so much from you instead of just from hearing how you speak about it. It seems like you’re very knowledgeable and stuff.

I have 28 years of the Bible, and I still don’t understand it. It’s very contradictory and.

There’s other books, you guys. It’s okay.

The Bible is.

Always open to interpretation.

The Bible is so confusing. Every Christian cherry picks. Everybody does. You’re not supposed to lie. You lie. Yeah. So how can you not interpret it in so many ways? And it’s been obviously transcribed so many times, adding the word homosexual and all this, and it’s.

Just-the doctrine of hell? Yeah.

Not very clear whether or.

Not-yeah, 100 %. It’s all just… If you look at the God that’s portrayed in the Old Testament and the New Testament both, it looks a lot more like us than it looks like an all-knowing, all-good situation. You’re like, Oh, yeah, this totally came to get people to cooperate with the power.

I would say vengeance. These are human qualities.

My argument or my issue with interpreting is that we as human beings, that’s what we do. We have something and we have to interpret it. My issue is it all boils down and distilled to, is it divine or is it not? Am I allowed to pick things out or am I not? You know, there are so many issues with the claim of divinity because it’s not that it’s open to interpretation, it’s that it’s always being interpreted. There are conclaves.

So many languages.

Yeah, they are built just to do that, to decide which book goes in, which book comes out.

Yeah, Martin Luther took out 10 books or something, and they’re like, Why did you do that? And he’s like, Well, it’s not what God wanted. It’s like, Okay, Martin Luther.

One of the biggest reasons why I step forward is, again, because I think it’s a guideline, not an absolute. It was tough for me because I’m very much like, I believe in Jesus Christ and whatever God says He wants. And it’s tough to even realistically do that every day. Every day I sin because I kiss this man that I love, and then I jump on a box and go to OnlyFans. You know what I mean? It’s tough feeling like everything that you do, that’s just an everyday thing. And it has zero to do with how you treat people. At the end of the day, the rainbow that it gets to and stuff and pot of gold is that Jesus Christ is all loving. He loves everybody. He hung out with someone who was like a whore. Hey, don’t say that. Still was like, Hey, you still can be this good person. Don’t let the world tell you this, but I believe that in some way, the Bible is telling you that. It’s telling you like, this is hate. It’s okay to not be this. I think it’s maybe organized religion that gets it muffled. And then there’s all this hate towards everyone because I’m like, I’m sorry.

I don’t think that Jesus Christ.

Hated any of us. Trying to organize all of the Bible and make it make sense, that’s going to fail. Not very clear whether it’s telling us to do good things or do bad things. It has a combination of both in there.

Thank you, and I’m actually glad that you brought up the whole translation thing because that is something that I used to question as well. And once I looked into it, every modern translation of the Bible is actually translated from Greek, Hebrew or Aramaic, which are ancient languages. So it’s not that we’re just continuing to translate from whatever was modern to another modern. I’m like, no. And that’s why if you’ve ever heard of the Dead Sea scrolls, it’s ancient text from the Bible, where if you were to compare it to the Bible today, only things different is punctuation.

Well, that’s amazing because that was one of the most amazing discoveries of this century in that they discovered the Dead Sea scrolls and they thought they would correct all these mistakes in the Bible. But it was so amazing that 99.99 % was accurate. So they were amazed.

Second Peter 1:20 tells us that no scriptures for interpretation. So it’s actually for us to accept rather than understand. And for me personally, when I try to understand, so I have a kid, when he was five years old, I tried to explain to him mortgage. I had money in my pocket. I was still poor. I was living in the projects. My kid was like, Let me get bubble gum. And I was like, I can’t. I don’t have enough money. I don’t want to buy him the clothes. I couldn’t buy him the clothes. But in his mind, he was understanding it as, Dad, you don’t love me. And I’m like, But I do love you. As much as I explained it to him, he couldn’t understand it. He was very miserable because of that. Bible tells us, at least for me, that we’re all children in God. We’re finite beings. We cannot understand infinite things. So when I learned to stop trying to understand rather and accept, then I was able to truly be free, for me personally.

That’s like growing up. -that’s amazing. -it was like, growing up, it was like I would ask my parents, because my parents are super religious, Trumpers, borderline Q-anon. It’s scary. 2024. Let’s go. And I was terrified of the rapture. Anytime I said anything about the rapture, it’s always just like, Well, you’re thinking with your human brain. You’re not thinking with your heavenly brain. I’m like, But I only have a human brain. I can only understand what I can understand here.

Can I ask you something, too? I wanted to know. So do you believe, say, if someone’s kind and treats people right and is a really good hearted soul, but say, they really don’t believe in anything, perhaps God or right, do you believe that they’re going to burn just because they don’t believe?

I think that God invites us all to have a life with Him in eternity. And I think a lot of times we’re like, He’s just want to throw people in hell. But he’s like, If you want to be with me in eternity, these are the qualifications. Jesus is the only.

Way to be with you.

So that’s a yes. So yeah, you think they’ll.

Burn in hell. That’s a yes. The good person will burn in hell.

If they don’t know Jesus, yes, they will not be with God for eternity.

Yeah, so that makes me not want to.

Know that guy. I think step back a little because we’ve been dancing around it a little bit, but relating to the prompt, though, I would like to know how you became ex-Christians. I think that might help us.

Actually, yeah, that would be really nice.

By reading the Bible? Okay.

I think.

That’s the.

Common thing.

When you disagreed. Do you mind if I ask if you have a religion?

I do not have any organized religion. I don’t really believe in anything supernatural. I am technically part of the Satanic temple. We only have seven rules. We don’t have an entire book. We don’t need to yet.

Is that considered a religion? I’m just curious.

It is technically considered an original religion, but it’s like the religion to end all religions. They really hate organized religion. They want to just have everybody focus on humanity, putting differences aside, treating each other with respect, difference.

I guess what I’m asking is there was a time when you called yourself a Christian. Of course. How did you become an ex-Christian? What made that change?

So it all started when my family, I was 22 years old. I started asking specifically, if you wanted an example of something, the Bible says in exodus 20, these are the 10 commandments. And then it lists things that God only verbally spoke. But then later, if you go to exodus 34, it mentions the 10 commandments, and they’re a little bit different. I would encourage you to go look at exodus 34, especially the 10th commandment. Do not boil a goat in its mother’s milk. That’s a fun one. We should be adhering to that today, right?

Well, if Jesus never came and created a new covenant, then yeah, there’s a lot of things we’d still be doing. Sure.

Those are part of the 613 laws, which is called the Mitzvah. And people don’t know that we’re not under those laws anymore. We’re also not under pretty much any law because it says, Romans 6:14, we’re free, right? We’re free from.

The law. I mean, that’s just one example. If you really want to focus on the things that most Christians say should be relevant, that would be the Gospels, right? You guys would agree with that? Absolutely. Right. So let’s look at all four Gospels. Let’s compare them to one another and tell me that there are not contradictions in them. There’s no contradictions in the Bible. One event happened, and also the simultaneous other event happened. Was Judas? Did he die in the desert or did somebody kill him?

It never says anybody killed him. It says he hung himself.

He hung himself. He fell headlong right then.

Or was he killed by the people that he was paid.

Off by? We could have a nit-picking, theological discussion. We should. We could, but we also should. I also want to note, so your experience, is that similar? Difficulty with the Bible, so you’re walked away?

I talked about my epiphyry experience, but also when I came out to my mom, I went to Christian camp and Bible College. When I came out to my mom, she ripped up my birth certificate and sent it to me. I said to my therapist, I was like, Oh, that’s so bad. That was so passive-aggressive. My therapist was like, no, that.

Was.

Aggressive. That was aggressive. No passing. But we came to find each other. I was the only of her five kids that was holding her hand when she died. We prayed together. But that experience was one of the ones where I was like, It’s not just about me. Actually, I lost two partners in a row to cancer, which is just horrible. But I know that there is something that I have faith in, and it’s not Christianity and it’s not God, but that I was the right people to sit with both those women as they died, right? And that is what I have faith in. I wish that I still had Christianity. I wish that that was something that I could still stomach because, I mean, except for you saying you like Trump, I think we would have a lot of fun, right? Did she say that? I already like it.

Trump doesn’t have to come. I love Trump. You don’t got to be there.

So I still have that faith. I just wish it could come in a Christian package, but that just does not work for me. I feel like the world is too big.

For that. And I see your reaction when she mentioned the birth certificate. Most of the good Christian friends that I have react the same way as you do. And the problem is that’s the norm. Her experience in Christian households is the norm. I’ve never heard that. That’s crazy. It’s the norm. I came out to my family. I am a happily married man for 15 years, and my family hates me because of that. There’s an issue with that. So that becomes the norm. And when that’s the norm, you need to really question what’s happening in there.

I feel like a lot of people think that Christians are allowed to judge. And if they don’t read the Bible, they don’t understand that we’re not allowed to judge. So that’s why a lot of this sounds like your personal problems with your families who claim to be Christian, and this is no disrespect, but if you really are Christian, you’re not called to judge anybody. We’re all interconnected by sin. If I stand in front of God as an ex-gang member and you stand in front of God as a homosexuality, we’re both on the same level. We have to recognize that. I do agree with people when they say, the community here, when they’re saying that Christianity and people try to act as holier than thou, that’s not what true.

Christianity is. 100 %. I’m just hearing you said my mom wasn’t a good Christian. Now I’m mad at you for that. My mom was a good Christian. She was doing what her… I mean, maybe a little dramatic, right? It seems a little gay to wrap up some of you thinking, Oh, my God. But my mom was a good Christian. She was doing what she thought she needed to do to keep me from going to hell. Like, shoot, no joke. That’s what she thought was the most loving thing in that moment. There’s a right way to go.

About it. If I may add to that what you said is correct. If you want to be a rightful, correct Christian, you’re not called to judge. The problem is going back to what I mentioned. It’s the norm. So we need to ask ourselves what is happening with the majority of Christian families or households that are all reacting like that.

Yeah, if you all could just go talk to your people, please. That would be great. Believe me, I do. Yeah, I know.

You do. Hey, I know this discussion can feel like.

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You can be gay.

And Christian. I feel.

That you need to start.

Well, this is horror, huh? Obviously and stuff. I’m a big old fruit cake. I bartend in nightlife. I go-go dance. I do adult content. I love it. I love having sex to win, which almost sounds bad now that I’m saying it out loud. I love it. It’s amazing. But I still love the Bible. I treat people with respect. I go to confession. I do all these things, but I love my LGBTQIA community. And I’m a gay man and I’m a big old fruit and I love it.

I was going to say one of the reasons I became an ex-Christian was because I met gay people. Because I grew up in a Christian, small, conservative town, and my parents pushed it into me. They’re like, What are the two things we vote on as Christians? I’d have to say abortion and gay marriage, like brainwashed. I met gay people, and I was like, Why did my parents say you’re bad? It’s just crazy. Just living life is how I became an ex-Christian. I hate the fact that my mom says, You can be gay. You just can’t act on it. I’m like, So you want someone to go their whole life without loving someone, and people kill themselves.

Because of that. For me, I just think it’s pervy that there is this thought that he is so involved in what you do in bed.

I just think- Christians are involved in people’s beds.

Right. Well, the reason I’m sitting here, I think I also probably before the other two join us, I think I’m probably in line with them, too. I’m just answering the prompt in that can a gay person believe that Jesus Christ died on the cross for his sins and that he has risen again, that Jesus is God? Yes, definitely, and can go to heaven. I’m a Christian, and I think most of us don’t care about what people do in their bedrooms. But we do care about other people saying, No, your God says this is okay, when the Bible strictly says it’s homosexuality as sin.

How does that make you feel when he.

Says that? When they say it again, interpreting, right? So they have it interpreted saying that they meant mainly it was older men having sex with young men because there wasn’t a word to translate for just something else like men and men. Yeah, so I don’t believe he necessarily meant being in love with a man or a woman with a woman. And so I believe it’s for men with younger men who couldn’t determine didn’t have a choice.

I’ve heard that before, and I speak Greek, and I read and write Greek. And if you look at that passage in Roman 1, it’s not about the word. It actually describes men having sexual acts with.

Other men. I’m going to burn in the fiery pits.

But God forgives.

He does. I believe that.

You have a real faith in Jesus. You are.

Forgiven of your sin. I love Jesus Christ. And I know that the Bible is not going to change for me, too. I know that if this is truly a sin, then I have to answer to that when I go. There’s nothing I can do. Also, there’s nothing I want to do, though. I love who I love. And I truly believe Jesus Christ, the embodiment of love is like, I get it. I feel like he’s always letting me know I’m glad you’re on the right path.

I agree with you. I think that if you’re going to practice something, at least practice a good part of it.

I’d love to.

Hear this. I believe the Bible, I believe what it says, and I also understand in the Bible that it says that the unrighteous will not inherit the Kingdom of God or take or have any part of it. And it lists a lot of differences. I think that there’s a difference between people falling short. We all do. We all make mistakes. We all struggle. We’re all figuring out our identity, all of that. But for me, the difference is if you are purposely day in and day out saying, This is what I want to do, and this is how I want to live my life, and it goes completely against the word of God, that’s when I feel you have separated yourself from the Lord, and you will not enter into the Kingdom of heaven.

Do you have gay friends?

I do not have gay friends. I barely have friends, period.

But I can see that I actually think that you would be around a lot of people because you’re so bubblegamy and warm. I know. You’d be your friend? I know.

You can be your good friends.

Now there was a time that the reason why that happened, I’m not trying to get me on Morrie or something. I’ve had friends, but what I noticed is I was attracted to a lot of toxic friendships that were very one-sided. So what I had to do is get rid of that. And God actually called me to be closer to him. I entered into ministry. I do YouTube stuff. But anyways, so now is the time I have a church community. I have friends, but for me, a friend is someone who also draws me closer.

To Christ. Do you think that I truly will go to hell even though I’m Catholic and I practice? This just because I love a man. I’ll be miserable. I’ve tried being alone, and it’s hard. I want someone that’s there that I want to love, and I want to take care of them, and I want to provide for them, and do all that. All I want to do is have someone like everyone else. I don’t think that Jesus Christ wants me.

Not to. I don’t think loving anybody is wrong, but we’re talking love and sexuality are two different categories. I know that the Lord believes in Christian marriage, man and woman who are monogamous and who are not going to be cheating on each other, fornicating, all that stuff. So with you, honestly, I’m just going to go a little off script. I know you’re searching. I know you are. And I know you mean it. And I know that there’s things that you feel like you can’t change. I know that you have a genuine sorry.

I know what you’re saying because I can see you remind me of my grandma. And I say this in this way because she’s hyper-Christian. And she feels like if she starts upproving or liking something like this, it’s tough because you’re like, If I love someone who does this, it goes against my faith. I still love people. But all you want to do, though, you’re like, This person is cool. I get along with them. We’re going to the same place, right?

Do you feel that you’re searching?

I don’t think that I’m searching.

What were you to say to him when he says, I’m not searching? I feel that.

I found-Well, the thing I was going to go forward and say is I do believe that you want to please the Lord. I know that you’re-Thank you. So is that enough? I know that you feel like you can’t change. And there’s a lot of people like that. Heavy breaths, heavy sigh. Oh, my God, she said that. I know that you feel.

Like you can’t change. Can we get to the root of why homosexuality is wrong?

Because it’s.

In the Bible.

And it goes against God’s design for family.

So here’s the thing, guys. I think we’re focusing too much on this thing that’s like… So for me, sin is more of like a virus, right? There are symptoms of this virus, right? -for the gay virus. -right? No, it’s not a gay virus. What I’m saying is I’m trying to make a differentiation between sin and what we think is actual sin, okay? So if it enters our body and we have a fever, let’s say, runny nose, fever, sore throat. If I take Tylenol and I take aspirin, my fever will suppress. But if I don’t attack the virus at its core, then it’ll keep still popping up. Do you guys understand what I’m saying?

With the symptom? -well, how does this analogy relate to me? -so I’m.

Getting there.

-he’s getting.

To the point. -so I’m getting to the point. True sin, like I said, is a virus. It stems from unbelief. It stems from trusting and believing in myself, right? I knew, for example, that you can’t just kill people. But I was like, You know what? I’m going to be a gang member. My dad beat me. He was an alcoholic. My mom, all of that was an excuse. I chose, like she was saying, right? You chose. I chose. I’m going to follow my thoughts and believe in myself. Do you guys understand? And from that, I became a gang member. When I lived my own way and I trusted my own self, essentially being my own God.

And you trusted yourself? Yes. Another decision. I’m really sorry. I’m really, really sorry. Everything that you’re bringing up to the table are decisions. When did you chose.

To be gay? Right? No, I did not. There was no choice for me. You can’t help who you fall in love with, right? And say, if you are… Are you biracial? If you don’t mind me asking? Yes. So dito and stuff like that. At some point, maybe our parents and stuff like people were like, How dare you be with our grandparents? You know what I mean? And stuff like that. You can’t help who you love and you’re not supposed to. But people told them they were supposed to. So I can’t help who I fall in love with. And I’m not supposed to because Jesus Christ, he did all these things with people that were very not. They’re all supposed to go to hell.

He just didn’t.

Follow the Bible. He was extremely kind and loving to everybody and said, No matter what and stuff, just trust in.

My heart. Do you understand that he also was saving people, healing them, and also saying, Go and send no more. He wasn’t saying, Let’s all… Do whatever you want. And people like to say he’s just do whatever you want.

But my love and loving someone, though, isn’t partying and having a good time being like, Who’s at the bar? That’s a bar.

Literally like having companionship.

And love. He’s not saying even the woman who was caught in adultery, he wasn’t saying, Don’t throw a stone at her. You’re okay. Keep doing that. He was like, Stop that. Don’t do that anymore. And that’s what his-I.

Get that he was saying don’t be a harlet or don’t be extra about it, right? And said, But me, there is nothing. He made me this way. There is nothing I.

Can do. How many testimonies have you seen?

I was.

Born gay. In the LGBT, we can agree to disagree. But how many testimonies?

You can’t disagree, though, about my life, though.

We can argue the same thing about that. There’s no hypothetical about.

If I was.

Born gay. Can I.

Finish my sentence, though? Hypothetically, I’m not that. I was born.

This way. What do you say about all of the people who have come out of the LGBT lifestyle and have said, This is where it started. I can pinpoint something happened. I can pinpoint a trauma. I can pinpoint they weren’t just-I think.

They’re long times ago.

I don’t know. Let’s accept it as true. Let’s just give that as true. What makes the other thing false?

Right, 100 %. I don’t understand.

You can go through trauma and whoa, yeah, that made you whoever you are. That’s not my story. I’m glad your life.

Was really great.

I don’t think we could just focus just on homosexuality for two hours.

That was the prompt.

But I don’t know, Jake. I don’t know his experience, and I can’t judge his heart. But if Jake really believes Jesus Christ is his Lord and savior dying on the cross for his sins, I think God will work in his heart. I mean, there are sins in my life that I haven’t repented of. I’m not perfect either. I think in heaven, no one is gay. Yes, gay people can become Christians and go to heaven, but in heaven… What? I don’t think that that.

Would make some mistakes, though. I’m so sick of Christians comparing like they say, all sin is equal. They don’t believe that.

No, they don’t. It’s a lifestyle. It’s a day to day thing. If I’m always lying, I’m always cheating, I have no…

If those.

Things are bad, why is being gay bad? And again, those.

Are decisions to murder, gay violence. I don’t understand.

I don’t understand.

I.

Answered it.

Like three times. I studied.

Theology for many years. Is it purely just because it’s in the Bible? Exactly. Exactly. When you see me, like if you saw me kiss a guy or-There is no natural reason. -you don’t come off this way as someone who seems like that’s off-putting to you.

No, it’s not because of that. It’s because, well, theologically, I don’t know why the Bible is against it. I don’t know why God says these things.

Then ask those questions.

They’re important. But the Bible is clear in saying this is God’s standard. I don’t understand the whole mind of God.

Well, why don’t you understand about there’s a design for family?

You could say it’s about the natural order of creation, of procreation and how God made things the way they are in the beginning.

Is that the.

End all to life? Now that’s my interpretation. I can’t say 100 % that that’s what I want. No, that’s fine.

Not even in nature. I don’t even.

Have any nature. Itry not to think for God, but I do know what the Bible is clear in its teachings.

But he gives us logic and amazing.

We.

Should do questions.

Yeah, Kelly, what’s on your mind?

No, I mean, I do really feel for you because I do understand that… It sounds condescending to say, but I understand you believe that the Bible says being gay is wrong. And that is how I always felt growing up. And what I watched is as clearly gay people of my generation, I watched them kill themselves. I watched them try to be different. I watched them live lives of just complete desperation. I watched them get married to women and have sex on the side. I watched them-My friend, they loved themselves. I watched these beautiful people, these beautiful, loving, people made of love and who had so much to give the world, try to subvert an important part of themselves to fit into this one or two lines from the Bible.

And as I said when you mentioned testimony and I said that was anecdotal, I will also come back and say that’s also anecdotal. But we can go then back to the legislation. If you have a fundamentalist person that believes that that’s wrong and they managed to get into the legislature, they will pass a bill against it. So we’re not in a playing field for equality for all. So the fact that you have, even if you don’t understand where it comes from, the fact that you have that belief and you will force yourself into government to then decide for.

Other.

People. I don’t understand those things. It’s a big no.

I truly do feel God enjoys love. I prayed and prayed and prayed to find love and stuff. And I was like, I’m so lonely. And it’s like I’m getting to that place where I might have that with someone, and I feel so happy. And this guy, he’s Catholic. He goes to church, and he goes to confession. And he loves these things, and it makes me.

Feel so good. Do you feel like part of that relationship was filling a hole and avoid that maybe Jesuscould have filled? Maybe if you focused on that first.

I’m just asking you the question. -no, because I’ve been focusing on it for about… I’ve been single for about seven years.

And your Jesus hole is filled already with.

Jesus itself, right? Jesus is inside the hole. Excuse me, Lord. Oh, my God.

In.

The past.

I’ve experienced.

Unexplainable supernatural events.

Come on, let’s go. Let’s go. I’ve questioned if what I believe is true.

That’s the nature of knowledge. -it’s all about the truth. -that’s the nature of knowledge.

Look at that, a middle ground. Look at that. I even question being an ex-Christian sometimes. I call myself a hopeful agnostic. I sure as shit, hope some things out there because that’s really depressing if there’s not. But if there is it, that’s cool, too. I just… Yeah, obviously we all became ex-Christians because we started questioning what we believe. And I think that’s really important to solidify our faith as well, like on your side, too.

Thank you for saying that because that is true. That is something me questioning is something that has solidified my faith a lot more, finding information about the evidence of Christ, the evidence of God. Because I feel like, honestly, you’d be lying to yourself if you didn’t say that it took faith to believe in anything. It takes faith to believe in the Big Bang. It takes faith to believe that there’s this void out here.

Why would you say that?

Because you don’t know. Were you there when the Big Bang happened?

We don’t need to be there. We have likelihood. Were you there? We don’t need to be there. We can measure that light from the original-.

Then why does science keep changing? It changes every year. Actually, we.

Discovered we were wrong. Because of the same way, Newtonian physics changed into Einstein, the same way things evolved. Knowledge keeps on growing. The hubris of Christianity to say we have everything figured out and everything is true, science has humbleness to say we know only this and we keep on researching to grow our knowledge.

Science doesn’t claim to know everything. Your belief system does claim to know everything and doesn’t move off of that point. Science keeps updating, making itself more and more accurate. That’s the beauty of life. That’s the beauty of living is to keep learning.

And I think that’s crazy.

To keep learning?

To keep saying that every time something changes that we thought to be true, This is awesome.

We were wrong. We thought that we didn’t need to wash our hands before surgery. Then all of a sudden-I’m glad that I discovered that. We discovered the microbes and how that affected the health of the body. Then all of a sudden, that’s bad. Then stop saying you know.

Then just be like, We.

Think this and we think that. We never said we knew. We said we were humble in science to know that we know what we know. We’re constantly trying to grow that knowledge. We don’t have the hubris to say we know everything.

I think it’s.

So.

Important to be like, I can’t prove that God exists, but I also can’t prove that He doesn’t exist.

I love that you said that, and.

I appreciate that. And I hope you all say that, too, like that you can’t 100 % prove God.

I agree.

That’s what faith is. Speaking about belief, I’ve spoken to a lot of ex-Christians because six years ago I started a ministry called Uber Evangelism. You say Uber? Yeah, dozen people to go across the country to drive for Uber and also talk about Jesus. I’ve spoken to.

A lot of people.

The Uber drivers talk to you about it?

I’m the Uber driver who talks about Jesus. Do you.

Think.

That’s harassment? No, aside from going over that. I’ve spoken to a lot of people from different perspectives, different religions, and it really enhanced my faith in Christ. But also I’ve also spoken to a lot of ex-Christians, and you could tell me if I’m wrong, but although the stats say it’s because they disagree with some of the churches political stand, negative experience, but from my conversations with them, it appeared that most of them became ex-Christians because they just don’t believe in Jesus. Is that right?

For me, I’m an extremely reluctant ex-Christian. Why? I would like to be a Christian, but things don’t seem true. What do you mean by.

Not believing in Jesus?

That he’s the son of God? Of course, everybody knows he’s existing.

That’s our debate.

Right, but that he’s the son of God. It’s historically-It’s not that he existed. But yeah, the belief that he is the son of God, died for.

People’s sins. I like his messaging. I like the things that he said.

A lot of.

People do. I think a lot of people really like.

Those and like to live by them. Thank you for clarifying. I’m talking about believing in Jesus as Lord and savior is what.

I’m talking about. Yeah, well, maybe not just in the way that you say, right? I could believe in Jesus, but definitely not that thing. That’s why Christianity doesn’t work for me anymore, right?

In my case, it’s just that through study and a truly unbiased research and honest searching, I arrived at the conclusion that Christianity, as it is presented to us so far throughout the ages, I believe it’s deeply immoral and the images of God, it’s deeply immoral. Some of the teachings that are there are incredibly immoral. I don’t subscribe to that because I do believe that I do have a better moral compass.

I find it hard to believe that you came to that conclusion based on objective research.

Well, colonialism, right? Well, I mean, the Bible, colonialism, manifest destiny, slavery is not denied or rejected in the Bible. There are a whole bunch of immoral things that happen in the Bible that some apologists will say, Well, no, no, no, no, no. That was a historical thing that everyone did. So it has to be documented as the thing that happened historically. So is it human or is it divine? So for me, it’s just immoral.

Going back to the original prompt, I think for me, it doesn’t matter how much I tell my testimony. I always question whether or not people are going to accept God through it. If you guys don’t accept it, then that’s okay. For me, it’s like a all you can eat buffet. It’s like you could pick and choose. You want the chowmen or the sushi. You know what I’m saying? There’s still only one to answer that. I mean, technically. It’s fine.

That you believe that there is one right answer. If it’s for you and your truth, that’s fine. That’s a very postmodernism approach. I think from my perspective that that’s right. As long as you don’t intervene with my perspective, we’re cool.

For sure. Well, I get what you’re saying because there’s a lot of crap in institutional religion, including Christianity, judging, hypocrisy, abuse. I get it when people walk away from the church, but don’t walk away from Jesus.

100.

Percent.

I’ll tell you.

A thing I just can’t grasp is like, Okay, we’re born. We didn’t ask to be here. We are flawed from the beginning. Life, from a Biblical Jesus standpoint, seems like it’s one big test that we have to pass. And if we don’t, I’m a good person. I think I would go to heaven, but I won’t because I can’t force myself to believe in Jesus.

And God. That sucks. That’s what I don’t believe. And I know that you do believe. I don’t think that Jesus Christ, the embodiment of love, is saying, going to hell because you were kind to me. That’s the majority.

That’s what the Bible says.

You’re not going to hell for being kind. You’re going to hell for not surrendering to Jesus Christ. But that’s not.

Her fault.

It’s a narrow road.

Hold on. The game is I would throw you here and you decide.

So Hitler is on his deathbed, and he says, God, I believe in you. Hitler is going to heaven, and I’m not.

What the.

Fuck is.

That about? In his deathbed, yes, he would go to heaven.

I do believe we have free will. And when we come to these things like, Oh, this was wrong, and we learned from him, I think that is what his version of believing in me is. She believed in love and kindness, which is Jesus Christ. So that’s what I believe would send her and everyone else to heaven.

So I want to challenge that then. Why don’t cut the middle man and just believe in kindness?

I wish I.

Could say-It’s not about that. The Bible’s purpose, that God’s purpose wasn’t about trying to make people good or to improve people or to fill people with love. The purpose was to save people. Save everyone from the fall. He caused it. -everybody needs Jesus. Let me say something that you might not like. I think all four of you know that God really exists. Deep down, I think you.

Do know. Any Virgin God?

None. However, you don’t want it to be true. And so whatever- That’s putting the opposite in the same thing. I said you might not like it, right?

No, you might not like it and categorically.

Accepting it. But let me finish my thought, though. That because you don’t want it to be true, okay, maybe not specific to you, but for the people in the scientific community or historical community, they don’t want the God to be true. That’s telling them what’s right and wrong, that what they’re doing is wrong.

That’s a generalization. Right. Like, This.

Is a generalization. I’m saying probably, most likely the scientific community and others who are skeptical because they don’t want it to be.

True, you’re presenting margin of error. Probably, maybe this thing, that other thing, that’s the margin.

Of error. It’s not a brain thing. It’s a heart condition.

That’s.

Not-even worse. Exactly. I fear death. Yeah, I’d be lying. Yeah.

I.

Wish I didn’t fear death, but I do. And I used to be, since I grew up in a private school my whole life, Fire and brimstone, baby. You are going to burn, burn, burn. And I’ve done my research, and I don’t think that hell is a literal place. But sometimes I’m like, What if the pastor is in the back of my mind that I’ve gone through in youth group? I’m like, But what if it is? But I refuse to live like, fear-based and just believe in God because I’m scared. That’s not living to me, and I can’t force myself to believe in it.

I know my opinion doesn’t matter, but I’m sorry. I just don’t believe that you’re going to hell. I love that you said that to me. There’s just an aura about people that are just bad and evil and want… They’re going, you know what I mean? There’s no way in hell that you’re going there. But I fear what death will feel like. I’m like, man, I feel like it’s going to hurt. And I hate saying that because I’m such a panzy, but I am terrified of pain and stuff. Unless it’s the good kind, like Warranton, a little something. But that terrifies me also because I am afraid of what’s going to happen to the people that actually care about me, just knowing that they’re going through something and I can’t be there to comfort them anymore.

Well, apparently you’re not even going to know what’s happening down there. That’s what Christians have told me. I won’t even think about them. You won’t even know them when they come up to heaven. I don’t believe that. They say that you won’t recognize your partner when.

You’re a partner.

I thought.

Heaven was supposed to be heaven, and my heaven includes them.

I always just thought like, Do I want to live forever? Sounds so exhausting. I hope when I die, it’s just like in the ground and just resting.

I hope not. I want us to hang out there. I want us to go to a club up there.

Yeah, we’ll KeKe.

Up there.

I used to be super afraid of dying. And then had two partners in a row die. And when people talk about an afterlife, I’m like, Really? Another life after this one? That sounds like a lot. Yeah. Only if I can only watch, like HBO documentaries or something.

Are you okay? Okay. You all right?

Okay.

Can I give you a hug?

I’m sorry.

I’m so sorry. I hate the topic of death because you always remember the people that you care about that are gone. I said again, it really hurts.

I’m so sorry. Sorry.

Don’t apologize. You’re human.

You guys can go while I get my voice.

Back together. Do you need anything from us?

No, thank you so much. I really appreciate it.

Are you finished? Yeah. I lost two partners, and I feel like watching being with them as they died really made me not… First of all, A, there’s things that are worse than death. B, I don’t have a fear of going to hell anymore. I feel like I’ve already been through hell. I just feel like, Oh. If all there is blackness after this, just darkness. Yeah, let’s go. Let’s go. The big nap, please. Yeah, bring on the big nap. Relax.

I just want to rest.

For.

Me, I guess it’s very similar. Why should I fear something that in its simplest explanation, it may just be nothing. It may just be no experience, no pain, no suffering. And I’m fine with that.

I would say I don’t personally fear death because I believe I know where I’m going. But I’d be lying if I didn’t say it wasn’t something that ate me up inside to think of people that I know, and if they don’t know Jesus. And I even pray maybe on their deathbed, because I think we have family. Not everybody’s Christian in my family. Not everybody is living what I believe to be a Christian life. I think about that, and that is hard. I know there’s a lot of people’s perceptions of Christians that we want to send you to hell so bad. And that’s not it. So… -of course not. -that’s all. You all right?

If you keep talking, I probably get.

Over it.

I actually agree with that as well. I used to fear death a lot, being in that type of lifestyle. I would carry a gun because I was afraid of dying, actually. People think that, Oh, we want to hurt people. No, actually, it was a defensive mechanism for me. But now that I’m similar to the sister here, by faith, I feel like I know where I’m going. And likewise, I feel bad about my friends. So that’s why some of the people in my gang are actually my family members, my brother and my uncles. But for me, luckily, I keep my faith in God and allow God to save a person because we’re all here, right? I can’t change how you think. I can’t change how you feel. I can only speak. And then from my experience, if you guys accept it, you accept it. I’m happy with that.

Well, even if you don’t want it, I’m going to be praying for you all. That’s sweet. I’m definitely going to be praying for you. Not just like, just praying for you, for your wellbeing, for everything.

I think everyone here is fantastic and stuff like that. I genuinely, by the way, would love to talk to you about… I want to hear some of your thoughts and stuff like that. But I would genuinely want to be friends with everyone here. I feel like I can hang out. And so I know that me and her are going to be super tight. I think that you need to do stand-up. I do stand-up. You do?

Yes. I told you.

Didn’t I say she might actually do it? I called it.

I want to say, as a Christian pastor, I want to apologize for some of the things that you’ve experienced in the church. And no excuses. I’m not going to say, Oh, nobody’s perfect, but that shouldn’t have happened because of abuse and judgment. And that’s not what Jesus stands for. And I do disagree that I believe that you know that God is real. I’m going to go back to that. But let me just say, you know what?

I’m not.

Convinced, bro. I do wish the best for you.

And you.

As well.

Yes, you’re saying. You’re going to get me again. Don’t you?

I got a little teary-eyed because I didn’t have a good father figure, so that was really nice.

You’re.

Wonderful. I hope you know.

I really appreciate that you all came with your belief, but not proselytizing or forcing as other people do. I like and would love that this that can spread out in a way that everyone can let everyone practice their way of being a good human being and the things that are private to be kept private.

Thank you for being open. Thank you, all of you guys. Thank you.

Very much. We’re all looking for something to fill that void inside of us, right? Some of us it’s Jesus. Some of us it’s really wild sex.

There’s.

Nothing wrong with that. Oh, no.

Can I give you.

A hug? My hands are so sweaty.

Thanks, brother. I appreciate it.

How are you?

Let’s.

Meet up.

We have to go out.

You should. I got to get you in a boat.

You’re wonderful.

Let’s meet up. You are amazing.

-it’s so nice to meet you. -you’re amazing.

You got a friend for life in me now. -fame. -you do, too.

ο»Ώο»Ώ

 

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