The Book of Revelation Scared Me Away From Church

This a weather computer model and a Bible.  The two are nothing alike, yet they have so much in common.  Both tell many stories and both are full of contradictions.

One meteorologist will look at the computer models and see one scenario and make a forecast and another meteorologist will analyze the same information and could devise a totally different forecast.  One person reading the Bible will take those words to mean one thing while another person reading those exact same words will come to a different conclusion of what it means.

The way a meteorologist analyzes a weather computer models could mean the difference between a snowstorm or sunny skies.  Christians reading the Bible could deduce that if you live your life one way, you’re living God’s way and you’ll go to heaven.  Another Bible-reading person will say that if you’re living that same way of life, you could be a sinner and you’ll go to hell.  Some even say that’s a gray area and if you ask God for forgiveness, it could change your travel plans once you die.

Shocking as it may be, I attended the First Assembly God Church in Mayfield, Kentucky, although forcibly in my pre-teen years.  I still pray to God every night.  However, I now choose to analyze weather models instead of reading the Bible.  Actually, I don’t even own a Bible and for the record, I looked at one the other day at the dollar store, but the print was too small!

I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again.  I’ve always known that I was gay from the time I was a little boy.  That had nothing to do with me not wanting to go to church.  What scared me away was my church’s obsession with the Book of Revelation.  Maybe it was a 1970s thing to preach and obsess over fire and brimstone or maybe my mother just chose an unlucky church with that stance?

Those Sundays and Wednesdays in church didn’t just scare the hell out of me, it scared me away from church and organized religion.  It was frightening to hear about God’s anger with the world and not God’s love.

**If you’ve read this far, read each of the following words in the next paragraph in its entirety and do not take out context, please.**

I believe that every person on Earth of every faith has a right to a relationship with God however they see fit.  If that means going to church, do so.  If that means reading the Bible at home, enjoy.  However, as an adult, I will never have a relationship with God through a church.  When we see religion and the Bible used to discriminate and hate and call it God’s words, that is sad.  When we see suicide bombers and  people killing others in the name of religion, no thank you.   I have a wonderful one-on-one relationship with God.  He’s gotten me through some dark times in my life and he’s blessed me with so much.  I don’t need to be in a “house of God” to maintain that relationship with him.

Hopefully, I made my stance about organized religion, churches, and the Bible clear so I don’t alienate and insult people that I call my friends.  Now, I want to get to the point of this blog.  It’s the Book of Revelation and how I put it behind me 30+ years ago and now it’s coming back to me through entertainment.  However, this time, it doesn’t scare me.  It fascinates me.

I’m sure you heard about the controversy in 2006 when Madonna sang “Live To Tell” “nailed” to a mirrored cross on the “Confessions Tour”.

It was incredible, but it didn’t remind me of scary childhood memories of church.

However, when I saw Britney Spears in concert at Summerfest in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, last summer (wearing a Madonna t-shirt –the religious icon, not the pop music icon), her closing number jolted me back to my childhood and the Book of Revelation.

When performing the finale “Till The World Ends”, Britney comes down as an angel in the midst of fireworks.  It reminded me of  the seven angels mentioned in Revelation.

However, I really didn’t become intrigued and newly educated on the Book of Revelation until two weeks ago when season six of “Dexter” arrived.  It was all about the final book of the Bible and the end of the world!

If you haven’t seen season six of “Dexter” yet, I mention the plot line in a generic fashion with visuals and video, so stop reading now.  And, I’ll give you the last line of my blog so you know where all of this leads:  “Children and young adults should be taught the difference between right and wrong, but not by making God seem like an evil or scary person through the Book of Revelation.  For that, we have Halloween.”

The antagonists in “Dexter” season six, are the Doomsday Killers (DDK).  They thought it was their job to bring on the “End of Days”, or the end of the world.  And, they had to do by making seven sacrifices.

Even with the spoiler alert, I won’t go into much detail except for the fact that the “Seven Sacrifices” included the Seven-Headed Serpent, the Four Horses of the Apocalypse, the Angel of Death, the Whore of Babylon, the Bowls of Wrath, Wormwood, the Lake of Fire, and the Lamb.

This is how the Four Horses of the Apocalypse murder was depicted.

While the following art images from “Dexter” are fictionalized, the premise was lifted from directly from the Bible.  It encouraged me to go online and look closer at the Book of Revelation and it made me realize that my decision to leave church when I did was the correct one.

Children and young adults should be taught the difference between right and wrong, but not by making God seem like an evil or scary person through the Book of Revelation.  For that, we have Halloween.

Anthony

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21 responses to this post.

  1. Anthony, we don’t belong to organized religion for many reasons, I could write a book, but that doesnt mean we don’t pray and believe in our God on our own. I have never felt I had to be in a building to be loved by God. And believe me when I tell you I have found some wonderful bible verses that have helped me through some storms this year…My bible is dusty, but I have access to ai little booklet full of verses for any occasion or feeling..helps me a ton. And what is it with revelations..scares me as an adult. I believe God is a loving God. And what we do with our lives on earth as opposed to how many times we step inside a church building will hopefully earn me a good place to plop in Heaven..I believe its our deeds towards others that count, not how many times I go to church. Just what we think and we have had a lot of discussion with some family members on our stance but we are good with our beliefs.. God made you himself. You are who you are supposed to be, friend..I’ll see you in Heaven!

    Barb

    Reply

  2. Barb,

    That is very true. I will see you in heaven. Keep the faith, my friend.

    AP

    Reply

  3. Posted by Angie on September 1, 2012 at 8:49 am

    Anthony great blog. Freedom that comes from having a relationship with Jesus is AWESOME religion will kill. I rode the Assembly’s church bus for years. Longing to try and please this God that wanted to send me to hell when I screw up. From one week to the other I never knew for sure if I was still “saved” I was sure I had lost my salvation earlier in the week. Long story short…..Jesus found me and introduced me to a relationship. My life changed. I have been forgiven much and I love much. I want to introduce others to this loving Jesus so they too can experience unconditional, non condeming love. I love you and Ray. If we don’t get together here on earth see you guys at home. You know we maybe wrong but I had rather love like we do then be hateful, mean spirited, holier than thou.

    Reply

  4. Posted by Tracy Koranda on September 1, 2012 at 9:12 am

    I’m a perfect example of what you are talking about! Our differences bring us together – not apart!

    I didn’t grow up going to church and didn’t start a relationship with Christ until my late 20’s. I spent about 10 years going to church and I loved being surrounded by others joined in prayer, praise, song and giving. A great deal of the people I hung out with at and outside of church were very much like me; humans muddling through life trying to fulfill the life God intended for us, sometimes succeeding, often times failing and humbly crawling back to God asking for forgiveness. I desperately miss going to church and having a church family. I was equally moved by Dexter Season 6 and have felt a tugging to go back and back to the kind of relationship that took me on a path closer to God.

    I see plenty of arrogant, misguided Christians who twisted scripture to use as a weapon against others. I see thousands more who genuinely want live life the way God has planned for them; a life full of love, learning and giving back more than we get.

    It’s admirable that you have used the gifts that God has blessed you with to share love, kindness and forgiveness. I’m blessed to know you!

    Reply

    • Tracy,

      Thank you so much for sharing your story and for the kind words.

      I will always reach out to others although I may stumble some times with my thoughts, which may seem crass to some.

      Take care, my friend.

      AP

      Reply

  5. Perfectly said! You don’t have to be in a church to have faith. I was raised Methodist, and my husband was raised Catholic. Our son is 16, and has not been baptized or “raised in a church”. We’ve brought him up with an open conversation about religion, our beliefs, love, respect, and just being a good, kind person. He can make his own decision on the path he would like his faith to take. I don’t know how many times we’ve actually had people lecture us about how he’s going to hell because we didn’t have him baptized. I refuse to believe that God would send a child to hell for something his parents chose to do. (I know, I know. “They” can believe their thing, and I’ll believe mine…. I could argue it until I’m blue in the face, but I just smile and nod…) There’s too much hypocrisy, and too many ways you can interpret things. Anything can be twisted until it can be interpreted to your advantage. There should be more “love one another” and “to each his own” instead of the fire and brimstome, and all the judgement that gets passed around. I’ll be quiet now before I start to sound too preachy! Thanks for a great blog, Anthony!

    Reply

    • Vicky,

      I love it when you get “preachy”. I enjoyed reading your story and I’m with you. I think with the open religion conversation with your son that you and your husband did the right thing. But, that’s my opinion and yours.

      Take care, my friend.

      Thank you.

      AP

      Reply

  6. Posted by Deb Griffin Senko on September 1, 2012 at 1:07 pm

    Loved your blog. I agree with Vicky. I was also brought up Methodist and as an adult have been very involved and still am. My husband on the other hand says he is agnostic. ok. whatever. I don’t care. I love him. Both my sons were baptized but have not been in a church for over 15 years. They are concerned about the people who call them Christians but don’t act in a Christian ways if this make any sense? I feel the same way. I honestly don’t feel that if you want to have a relationship with God you do not need to do it in a church. My parents and I always fought over that. I was forced to go to church every Sunday and when I became an adult when I missed my mom always called to see why I wasn’t at church. I hated it. But when I missed I felt it. I missed that companionship of my church family. It was something about them that seemed different than the outside world.

    I honesty don’t think God intended to people on earth to be condemned. My husband is agnostic, my sons haven’t been in a church for years and you Anthony along with tons of other men & women are gay. God will not send you to hell or anyone else. He loves you and he loves me the same.

    Love all your blogs.

    Reply

  7. Hey Anthony~Really liked this blog entry. Some very good points made as well. When Jesus spoke of the temple it was not a building, but our own bodies….We are the temple & He is the heart of that temple. Judging comes only from Him & anything man (Christian or not) is truly hypocrisy….Let each one cast the first stone that is without sin….(Even though some believe that they are “holier than thou”). Personally I do not believe in the “End of Days” stuff….I believe that Jesus has already returned, that He has fulfilled all of the prophecies, & thus we have a Heaven….I do have scripture for this if interested, but do not preach it to others, only mention it. I will NEVER be a part of any organized religion ever again….I do not even call myself a Christian as I do not want to be associated with such hypocrites….I am a Follower of Christ & live as I feel Jesus asks me too. I love to share love with everybody & to me that is the greatest gift that can be given….LOVE, the greatest commandment….Thank you Anthony….for your blog, for your friendship & for sharing your world with us. Love & Prayers to You, Ray & Gretel.

    Reply

  8. You know anthony, god created all men and women equal. It dosen’t matter if you are black/white rich/poor famous/unknown gay/straight. WE ARE EQUAL. Before we get a cut on our finger the blood that runs through our vains is blue when it seeps it is red. Just as our love for each other is different but the same. LOVE IS LOVE.God dosen’t care who we love as long as we do. No one has to go to church to know that. I believe in god more than I ever thought possible and am proud of it. No I don’t attend church, I was raised a Baptist and just before I married I became a catholic. I wanted to do what was suppose to be right for any children that I might have. Wrong thing to do. I should have been doing what was right for me and me alone. I don’t fear that when my time is up that I am going to hell, Yes I have sinned over and over. In the privacy of my own home I pray to the good lord above to help me through what ever issues I might be going through, to help me learn from any mistakes that I have made in the past and any that I may make in the future. I am so far from perfect that I am hardly ever seen by people that seem to think that they might be. The life that we decide to live is not totally all of our own decisions. God has planned our life and without our knowing it has lead us down the path slowly, taking our hand and walking with us. He is not judging any of us he is walking down the path that he has chosen for us hand in hand.We don’t make our plan for our life god chooses for us. People seem to forget that. We have no choice in the plan, we just need to follow that plan to the best of our ability. You being gay is of no matter to god. YOU are fulfilling gods plan for you. It dosen’t matter how you love as long as you love and that is not a sin. Judge not lest ye be judged.To thine own self be true. You are who you are and you are because that was gods plan for you. To those that choose to condemn you for your love that you share are truly hypocrites. LOVE IS LOVE. So just remember The time now is not question but to accept. Accept yourself for who you are, be happy with who you are, and love for who you are. Live and love today like there is no tomorrow. You will truly be surprised that there is a tomorrow and another day to love . We all love the same, but differently. You and Ray deserve to be happy with your love for each other, you have a beautiful little girl , what more could you ask for. You and ray are being accepted by the only person that really matters and that is by the good lord above. I love you and ray for who you are, not what others want you to be. Just remember To Thine ownself be true, and that is not a SIN. BE HAPPY, and KEEP ON BEING YOU.

    Reply

    • Marci,

      What a well thought out response. Thank you very much for responding and for being a friend.

      AP

      Reply

      • Anthony, when you really believe in something you don’t have to think about it, it is there, God does all your thinking for you. You just have to let him be your guide. It is truly all my pleasure to be your friend. Take Care and have a wonderful day, and life.

  9. Posted by katie on February 3, 2013 at 4:31 pm

    I love my church but when I first came to Christ I didn’t want to have anything to do with church. I wanted to go it alone……..just me and him……..but God had other ideas and he gently pointed me in the direction of the church I go to now. I resisted so much and found it so hard at first but then I began to have little revelations of why I needed to be part of it. The first realisation was that actually church wasn’t about the building, it was about the people…….Gods people. The church is Gods people not a building! So wether you like it or not, you are part of the church 🙂 Another thing I discovered is that our church is a city on a hill, I am happy to be part of that city, I want to be part of it. I also discovered that there was a place for me in the body of Christ, a place that was created for and me only. I have a part to play in the body and I need to stay in it for it function properly and I will not function properly if I am not in. God has been able to do so much more in me within the church, I know very well that if I had gone solo like I wanted to I would not have grown nowhere near as much as I have now. I believe there is a church out there for everyone and I pray today that you guys will find one as awesome as mine cos God loves to see his children come together

    Reply

  10. this is sooooooooooooooooooo damn true….anytime I went to church I ended up feeling bad about myself and I felt everything I did was wrong. I was so judged and looked down upon because I had children and was not married…because I had tattoos…I personally don’t follow the Bible nor believe in the Christian God but I don’t care what anyone believes or feels is right. If you think that rock on the ground is God…who am I to tell you different? I guess I just practice equality in all aspects of my life and judge people on how they treat me and their actions rather than how many times they go to church or who they decide to love…..People amaze me with their intolerant ways and ignorance.

    Reply

  11. Posted by nickolas page on September 10, 2013 at 8:51 am

    as a athiest, i do not believe in god , the bible though filled with intrigueing analogs of the times in witch its characters lived, and stories of social importance for that time, may be inspirational for some, or have some sort of hidden message for others at best is a fictional account of those who wanted to make a case for the existance of a god. i have been troubled on so many occasions that i cannot count to see religion used to inflict negativeity, violence, hate, crimes against humanity, bigotry, all the evil things you can think of and all with the arrogance of self ritousness and a attitude of morality based on there “faithfull obediance to what they think is gods word. the problems i have with religion on the whole stem from the problem people have seperating the idea of freedom of religion , with the idea that they need to inflict there idea of religion on everyone els because only they are right. lol, i found your blog today very interesting, but i have to say , as someone who was raised in the orthodox christian religion , who then later after much “soul” serching came to the conclusion that rational thought and free thiking was a much better way to live, allong with the acceptance of the truths of who i am and what this wourld is all about, science for me is the way to discover the answers of the unsolved mysteries of the universe, and human will to live and achieve, the force that everyone can rely on to get themselvs through whatever pitfalls life and the process of liveing have for them, i do believe that everyone should have the freedom to believe in whatever religon, or ideology
    they chose, but to inflict those ideas on others who have chosen to believe diffrently, or not to believe , is wrong. everything i did , was my responsability in my life, and i claim it, everything i chose to do in the future will be my responsability and i will claim it. that is the way i chose to live my life as a homosexual. and i only wish others the best in getting through there lives as best they can , , now if only others felt that way and could live and let live, artistic expression is a freedom i take very seriously, and even when it treds on the toes of religion it needs to be defended, ty for your thought provokeing blog, and take cair my friend 🙂

    Reply

    • Nickolas,

      Thank you for taking the time to read my blog and for sharing your thoughts.

      We all have our opinions and I always welcome everyone sharing what they believe.

      Take care, my friend.

      AP

      Reply

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