Looking back on your history of beliefs.
That got me thinking about the differences in my own beliefs between then and now. 15 year old me was a sheltered homeschooler who thought he was better than everybody else. I would have described my limited little worldview as "evangelical, conservative Christian." I grew up being taught that "You can't be a democrat and also be a Christian." (Actual quote from my mother.) Thus, I was conservative. I was firmly anti-LGBTQIA+, even to believing they had no humanity. We lived in a lower-income neighborhood and I was taught that people with darker skin than me were automatically wired to commit more crimes than us pale folk. I grew up in the Evangelical Free Church of America and was taught that us and Baptists were the only ones who really got it right. Methodists? Sinners. Lutherans? Lazy. Catholics? Hypocrites. Presbyterians? Evil wolves in sheep's clothing. I was taught that the Bible was inerrant (only the NIV or ESV translations), and that everything in it applied directly to me, a Protestant in middle America. The firm hand of Purity Culture had a tight grip on me. I judged women who didn't dress "modestly" because THEY were causing me to stumble. Sex was practically a swear word to me. I didn't dare date anyone; after all- I'd kissed dating goodbye. Some people I knew asked questions about Christianity. Some expressed doubts. I judged them. Idiots. They didn't know as much about God as me. They listened to teachers who disagreed with what I believed, which I believed was sin. Listening to people who don't believe in God? Why would you risk losing your faith? When I went off to college, I spent so many weeks trying to find "a good, bibliaclly-sound church" as my parents said to do. I never found one that met their expectations. Of course my college was a bible college, so I had to dual major in what I actually wanted to learn and Biblical Studies. By the end of my freshman year, I was so burnt out on bible classes, chapels, and just spending all my time judging people for being worse Christians than me.
24 year old me thinks a little differently. I ask a lot more questions now. I have a lot of doubts, and I'm okay with that. I actually am working at a church now. It's a Lutheran church, which I don't think I ever could have done before. They preach some things I disagree with, but again, I have questions and doubts, and I think it's healthy to listen to people you disagree with. My politics and worldview have completely changed. I'm much more liberal now. I've seen how the conservative agenda tears people down. It ruins lives. It actively murders people. I'm fully LGBTQIA+ affirming. Having several friends come out in recent years, all I want is to love them for who they are and be an ally for their rights. I'm actively working to de-program the racism I grew up in. I'm always trying to listen and learn to learn to love better. As for purity culture, that's weird for me, since I'm married now. It's not really an issue for me so much. It's a little weird, because it did warp my views at the beginning of my marriage, somewhat. Everything still felt like sin, even though it was "okay" now. I don't believe I know everything anymore. I don't believe the English bible is accurate. I don't believe I've been taught how to read it right. I don't believe God loves America more than anywhere else. At this point, all I can firmly say that Jesus Christ is love and calls us to love Him and love other people. That's all I can do now.
Have your beliefs changed in the last several years? I'd love to hear your stories or even discuss my own.
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The biggest changes are actually on my views of one's emotional status while dating. This is something that the Bible is silent on but I was of the belief that emotional availability started at engagement. Boyfriends were to be viewed as expendable and not to be emotionally attached to so my emotional purity was kept. THIS ISN'T A BIBLICAL THING!!!
Especially since I didn't get too close to women either because I feared their reaction if they discovered my past.
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As someone who has followed Josh Harris extensively (and who didn't really buy into it in the first place), I'm curious about this. You say that it affected your views of marriage, even after getting married, but I'm curious if his influence played any kind of a role in the change in your overall beliefs?Steve wrote: ↑Wed Mar 10, 2021 5:08 pmThe firm hand of Purity Culture had a tight grip on me. I judged women who didn't dress "modestly" because THEY were causing me to stumble. Sex was practically a swear word to me. I didn't dare date anyone; after all- I'd kissed dating goodbye.
As for purity culture, that's weird for me, since I'm married now. It's not really an issue for me so much. It's a little weird, because it did warp my views at the beginning of my marriage, somewhat
edit--and just out of curiosity as a Lutheran, which denomination is the church in that you work for?
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The lazy one, I bet.
But yeah good post, Steve.
I was never quite as... far right...? as most of the community here seemed to be. It was always weird because in real life I'd always been like a far right extremist, but on here in comparison to the fundamentalist homeschoolers I was like ultra liberal, in the earlier days before there was more diversity. So I wasn't starting from the same place as a lot of people. But also I was ALREADY an old man when I got on here, like in my early 20's, so I had aged past some things that others were still in the middle of. Over a number of years a lot of my more hard-line stance on a lot of things softened. I mean, even if my own PERSONAL VIEW OF HOW I LIVE MY LIFE is the same, I don't feel the need to brush anyone off as TERRIBLE SINNERS IN THE HANDS OF AN ANGRY GOD because of their lifestyle. I mean we are all terrible sinners, but totes obvs I mean in the sense of their sin being so far worse than mine.
The more recent changes were more political. Again, softened stances over time, but for a long while I looked at things as "okay I disagree with the republicans on X and Y but still overall I am ALL IN!!!!" for whatever reason. And then Donald Trump. And it basically brought to the surface a lot of evil that you could kind of wave away as a tiny minority of the party--but as it turns out, the numbers are flopped and its really a tiny minority that has some semblance of a moral compass. That doesn't mean I'm ALL IN on the other side, either, but being able to look at things more objectively now, I would say there are more aspects on the left that are more in tune with Christ's teachings than there really are on the right--although of course they are all on both sides a BUNCH OF CROOKS!!!!
Abortion was a big sticking point, even though I've always been more on the "yeah I'm against it but here's a ten page list of exceptions," but statistically speaking, the democrats do more to prevent abortions by both educating on avoiding pregnancies as well as offering financial assistance to those who end up pregnant and can't afford it, than republicans do by yelling about CONSERVATIVE JUDGES that have no interest in touching Roe V Wade, and the occasional banning of a weird rare abortion that never happens anyway unless the mother is about to implode or something.