This was my first Easter officially as a nonbeliever in the Mormon religion. It forced an obvious question on me that I wasn’t quite ready to tackle...”Do I believe in Christ?” Of course I’ve wondered this in the back of my mind many times since discovering the truth about Mormonism. A recent conversation with a coworker ended something like this, “I’m just not ready to say I don’t believe in Christ.” But now on Easter morning with the upcoming day’s events in mind (egg hunts, family gathering, etc) I decided I needed to decide. I spent most of the day wrestling in my mind what I knew of Christ and I how I felt about his teachings. I thought about what it would mean to actually say, “I don’t believe in Christ.” Also, “What do I teach my kids about Christ?”
I made it to the end of the day without an answer for myself. I went to bed and was reading from Lyndon Lamborn’s book. I realized the real question was, “Do I believe in the fall of Adam?” I knew I surely did not believe in the fall of Adam and the entire “Adam and Eve” story. That bothered me from day one. God told them not eat from the tree but secretly wanted them to disobey so they could progress? And of course...Eve was the first to sin...but according to the LDS church...she was the first to sin because she was so smart! (It was one of the many times I looked around thinking, “I must be an idiot because that doesn’t make any sense to me...but all these people seem to understand.”) I never bought that story....which was one of the reasons I had such a difficult time in the temple. So anyways, back to the original question. If there was no original transgression, would Christ even be a necessity? No. Could one man actually be responsible for every sin every person has committed? And it clicked. I turned over to husband and asked, “Do you believe in Christ?” He answered, “I don’t think so.” I then read to him a few pages from the book and we both knew at that point that not only do we not believe the LDS church is a crock...but we don’t believe Christ is the savior of the world. From his point on, Easter will only be about plastic eggs and Jelly beans And you know what...I’m okay with that.
So my question is for all of you fellow post-ex Mormons...what do you think about Christ? I’m curious to know what you believe and what lead you to that conclusion.
I dropped my belief in Christ at the same time as I dropped my belief in the church. If you recall from my exit story, I left the church without having read any "anti-mormon" literature. I more or less was reading other philosophies with an open mind and I had an epiphany that we don't need a savior, as we save ourselves. In my spiritual beliefs, I believe we are already each perfect. There is nothing to overcome, that which isn't needed falls away. What we resist, persists etc.
I have come to see Christianity, with their bible, the same way I see mormonism with their book of mormon. Both books having been written to control people as well as for personal gain of those doing the controlling. Also, if you look into the origins of Christianity, it appears to mirror many other mythologies and pagan traditions, likely with the character of Jesus as never actually living in the flesh but being purely mythological, like Horus.
We still celebrated Easter with eggs and candy and will likely continue to do so. The origins of Easter are mostly Pagan in nature and are to celebrate the fertility of Spring and the vernal equinox where light concurs dark for the next 6 months. This has been celebrated since before the story of Christ ever existed.
Christ may well have been a real person. History is full of charismatic people who start up a religion, gain a following, etc..
But that's a very different thing from being a real god, risen from the dead, etc...
So when people ask me if I think Jesus existed... I don't know. Maybe he did, maybe he didn't. But that doesn't really matter compared to the question of: If he did exist, was he literally the son of God?
- Philosophical / Theological problems:
You pretty much nailed it. It doesn't make sense that someone else could pay for our sins. If I commit a crime, the judge can't sentence someone else to serve in jail for me. That is unfair and unjust.
Besides, Jesus didn't pay for anything. He didn't die for us.
I'm amazed at how Christians will explain what a great sacrifice Jesus made by dying for my sins, and then in the very next breath talk about his resurrection. If he was resurrected - he didn't die for my sins!
If Jesus really were to suffer for us, then he would have died and stayed dead. Or he would be going to hell in our place. But that's not what happened... he immediately ascended straight to heaven.
- Historical problems
There is no independent record of Christ's existence. The gospels in the bible were written decades, even centuries, after he supposedly died. This guy is walking around raising the dead, performing miracles, getting all up in the law, causing trouble, and nobody said a word about any of it at the time. They only wrote it down long after he, and most of his contemporaries, were dead. And compare the gospels - they disagree on various points, and become more elaborate over time. Paul's writings were first, but he talks little about the miracles, angels, etc. The books written later incorporate more and more of that stuff. Paul never wrote about a virgin birth, for example, that only came later.
If you want a good example of just how quickly a story can spin out of control, look up "John Frum" and cargo cults. During WWII, pacific islands were used by the military, and to the native pacific islanders, all of this technology was heaven-sent. You could just talk into a little box, and before you knew it, a flying monstrosity would appear delivering unlimited supplies of food and medicine. To this day, just some 60 years after the war, some islanders still worship "John Frum" a serviceman who may or may not have actually existed. They say he lives in the volcano, and they build wooden mock ups of landing strips and radios, hoping he will one day return.
More historical problems -
Micah got it. The myth and legend of Christ appears to be an amalgam of various pagan gods, Horus among them. The "born of a virgin, sacrificed, returned from the dead" is a religious motif that began thousands of years before Christ was ever born.
I miss Jesus, for the most part. I don't miss the guilt from being actively gay, of course. But I miss the surety the church gave me. There was a plan, and no worries about whether or not there was an afterlife. I am totally clueless now. It hurts, but it's still good to be free.
I think a lot of what Jesus said (or supposedly said) in The New Testament is great. I think we should make an effort to live our lives that way: to return hate with love, to return violence with peace, to do unto others what we would have them do unto us, to become as little children, etc. I think those things are very wise, but I have to be honest, I miss the "rescuing" part of it all, the magic, if you will.
But I would rather have the truth. As Jesus supposedly said, "the truth will make you free." I feel freer than ever, and that's a good thing.
I also miss believing in Santa Clause, but to a much lesser extent. :)