What have I learned since leaving the world of 'born again evangelical fundamentalist' christianity?
1. Dont build a belief based on mere hearsay.
2. Cliams made by Church leaders i.e divine healings, miracles etc. Should be tested on the grounds of Reason, evidence and observation to question to see are such cliams based on reality.
3. Not to be afraid to employ criticial thinking and free equiry to even the bible itself or even the existence of God.
4. Seek not to build ones life based on dogma as this leds to bigotry, sectarianism and intolerance.
5. Seek to devolop in ones self intregity, honestly, openess and respect this potential for character devolopment lies within you and always has.
6. Learn to devolop your own confidence, value your own dignity and worth in connection to fellow human beings.
7. Always seek to be inclusive, open minded to listen to other ideas other than your own so I can be thoughtful and humble to value other insights so I can draw inspiration to devolop as a human being so be tolerant of diversity.
8. Always seek ways to serve and not satisfy ego, be loving and patient with others, be considerate show compassion care and concern. Dont be a 'mere talker' but do something about it. Seek to make the world a better place for this world is our home. So learn to live in reality based on reason, experience and observation.
While some attribute the statement Lead, Follow, Or Get Out Of The Way to Thomas Paine, what is important is it meaning as personified in my below reply to the above:
But the Church of Rome having set up its new religion, which it called Christianity, invented the creed which it named the Apostle's Creed... It then manufactured the allegories in the book of Genesis into fact, and the allegorical tree of life and the tree of knowledge into real trees, contrary to the belief of the first Christians, and for which there is not the least authority in any of the books of the New Testament; for in none of them is there any mention made of such place as the Garden of Eden, nor of anything that is said to have happened there. But the Church of Rome could not erect the person called Jesus into a Savior of the world without making the allegories in the book of Genesis into fact, though the New Testament, as before observed, gives no authority for it. All at once the allegorical tree of knowledge became, according to the Church, a real tree, the fruit of it real fruit, and the eating of it sinful. As priestcraft was always the enemy of knowledge, because priest-craft supports itself by keeping people in delusion and ignorance, it was consistent with its policy to make the acquisition of knowledge a real sin......Reason is the forbidden tree of priest-craft, and may serve to explain the allegory of the forbidden tree of knowledge, for we may reasonably suppose the allegory had some meaning and application at the time it was invented. It was the practice of the Eastern nations to convey their meaning by allegory, and relate it in the manner of fact. Jesus followed the same method, yet nobody ever supposed the allegory or parable of the rich man and Lazarus, the Prodigal Son, the ten Virgins, etc., were facts. Why then should the tree of knowledge, which is far more romantic in idea than the parables in the New Testament are, be supposed to be a real tree? The answer to this is, because the Church could not make its new-fangled system, which it called Christianity, hold together without it. To have made Christ to die on account of an allegorical tree would have been too barefaced a fable.
Unlike the modern Deist, Thomas Paine understood the allegorical nature of the scriptures -- and what he condemned was those who attempted to read the text literally as if they are historical accounts -- rather than accounts of the Mind of the seeker (see http://AnInconvenientTruth.org ). The Original Deists understood this reality, because their spiritual movement was an outgrowth of the Age of Enlightenment. And as such, they possessed the knowledge, wisdom and insight to lead faith-based Christians onto a higher path of spirituality. Before you can help others to find the Greater Truth, you have to first open the door to Truth within your own mind and being. Revealed Deism often uses the death of Giordanio Bruno as an example of Christian violence and ignorance (see http://ThomasPaineRedux.com#SpiritualReligion -- but unlike the modern Deist, Bruno understood the higher reality of the Soul (quoting):
When the Roman Emperors who ruled over the Church beginning in the fourth century outlawed and suppressed the teaching on the pre-existant Soul that evolves to perfection over the course of many lifetimes (see http://ChristianReincarnation.org ) -- creating the revealed Jesus-god of the Church -- the Key to Christianity and understanding the allegorical scriptures (see http://AnInconvenientTruth.org ) was thrown away. And as Thomas Paine states in the above, because they take as fact what was presented allegorically, they remain spiritually impotent and disenfranchised.
The Fundamentalist-Deist who tells the Fundamentalist-Christian to look only upon the images of physical nature as the source of reality, is as blind as the Fundamentalist-Christian he condemns. The scriptures are allegorical, because they are a text-book for the necessary levels of development to escape the limitations of this world which Paine correctly portrays above as an allegorical reality in which mankind is immersed, and must escape. There was an important reason why the authors of the scriptures wrote their sacred writing in an allegorical language of the Soul ( http://AnInconvenientTruth.org ), and not to understand the reasoning behind the use of allegory -- or the fact that myth is not the same as allegory -- or, in this case, what modern physicists portray as the "blemish" within the unseen Ætheric Field that is the true Source of what see is very much "...the death of the soul than that condition in which the thing which distinguishes us from beasts, which is the understanding, is subjected to the flesh in the pursuit of the letter." . When Revealed Deism portrays what modern physicists portray as the "blemish" as the whole reality of this world -- totally ignoring the Source of what is projected into the images of what we perceive with our physical senses -- then they are no different than the Fundamentalist Christians they condemn.