My friend Ryan Eliason is sharing several freebies this month only (June 2018) to help people launch a successful visionary business (i.e. the kind that creates positive ripples in the world, even if it's just one person running it). Today he’s giving away a free PDF called The Revolutionary Entrepreneur Manifesto. I've read it and encourage you to download it while it's free. For more more details, see this News update.
If you were raised as a Christian, perhaps you’ve reached the point where traditional Christianity no longer resonates with you, but maybe you don’t feel good about moving beyond it. If so, you certainly aren’t alone. This article will explore how to retain and expand the best parts of your Christian beliefs while shedding the elements that disempower you.
1. Admit There’s a Higher Truth
The first step is to consciously acknowledge what you’ve been feeling. Don’t be afraid to face up to your inner truths. If you want to live consciously, you must learn to accept truth in whatever form it comes to you. Sometimes you’ll discover inner truths that challenge you tremendously.
Within the belief system of Christianity, many controls are set up to discourage you from leaving. Rewards and threats are employed liberally. Stick with it and you’ll gain eternal life. Abandon it and you’re doomed to hell. Once enough people are integrated into such a system, the social conditioning becomes self-reinforcing. Members help to keep each other in line.
Recognize that you’re dealing with a control structure. When you see enforcement based on the promise of rewards and punishments, you’re not witnessing real truth. You’re witnessing marketing masquerading as truth.
Like many Americans I was raised as a Christian. All of my family and friends were Christian, so that was the only belief system I was exposed to. I knew nothing else. But as I took time to consider my core beliefs, I realized that the various elements of Christianity simply didn’t add up. It was filled with internal contradictions, and it was incongruent with my sensory experience of reality. I began to feel more and more disconnected from it. I often felt guilty because my Christian beliefs told me it was wrong to harbor such thoughts and feelings.
It helped me to realize that if God is almighty, then surely He can see into my heart. I cannot hide my true feelings from Him. He would know if I’m just going through the motions and that my heart isn’t in it. He can surely tell if I am a true Christian or just faking it. This realization helped me to accept the folly of subscribing to a belief system that no longer resonated with me.
Accepting the truth of your feelings is a powerful yet difficult step to take. It is a step you must take, however, if you are continue to grow as a conscious being. Never deny that you feel what you feel. If you have doubts about your beliefs, admit and accept those doubts as they arise. Realize that there exist deeper truths you have yet to discover.
2. Stop Going to Church
If you actively attend church services like Sunday mass, it’s a good idea to discontinue that habit. Disconnect from the continued reinforcement of your old beliefs, and give yourself some space to pull back and reflect on your life more consciously.
I used to attend church services religiously (pun intended). I attended mass every Sunday and on every religious holiday. I found these services to be incredibly boring and repetitive. The same scriptures were read every year. The same stories were retold again and again. The sermons were usually droning and uninspiring. Mass is basically a form of hypnosis. The next time you attend mass, sit in the front row, and turn around to observe the glazed-over eyes of the congregation in trance. It’s a scary sight, especially if you’re used to associating with people who are highly conscious and aware.
I stopped going to church when I was 17. Aside from occasional weddings and funerals, I’ve never been back. I’m glad I went through that experience, however, as it helps me relate to people who are in the process of making similar transitions.
I also used to go to confession regularly. I would tell a priest my sins, be forgiven, and be assigned a penance. When I finally abandoned this practice, I was empowered to make real improvements to my life instead of relying on a priest to perform magical acts.
In lieu of attending mass, I encourage you to transform Sunday mornings into a time of personal reflection at home. Take up the habit of journaling to explore your thoughts and feelings in private. Explore your spiritual side without the rules and constraints of a mass market belief system. Think of this time as your own personal retreat.
Transform the habit of church attendance into personal reflection. Don’t allow others to dictate what you should or shouldn’t believe since that will only turn you away from conscious growth.
If you miss the social element of going to church, consider forming your own spiritual meet-up group, or join an existing group of people who are more open-minded. I recommend that you focus on the experiential side of spiritual development. Erin and I used to host a weekly spiritual discussion group in our house. With such an interesting mix of people, it was never boring. I remember one fun session we had trying to practice telepathy. In another session we did an interesting group meditation. It costs nothing to do this, and if you form your own group, you can handpick the members.
You’re free to return to church later if you so desire. I certainly don’t miss it. My spiritual life is much richer without all the constraints and limits of Christianity.
Unplug yourself from group think, and discover what spirituality means to you as a unique individual.
3. Read the Bible Cover to Cover
Most people don’t even know that the various forms of the Bible floating around today are inaccurate translations of earlier texts, which themselves were passed down from copies manually produced by scribes. Even if you believe that the Bible is the inspired word of God, we don’t actually have any version of God’s original words. All we have are a bunch of flawed, inaccurate copies, and those copies aren’t consistent with each other. In fact, in many sections they massively contradict each other. If the original words were inspired, they’ve long since been lost.
Did you know that there are actually more versions of the New Testament than there are words in it? Some experts say there are more than 200,000 versions now. Some say 400,000. Many of those versions have radically different meanings, and again, none of them can be said to contain the original “inspired words of God.” What we have are error-filled copies of copies of copies of copies that have been passed down inaccurately for centuries.
So if you say you believe in the Bible, you’d better specify exactly which version you claim to believe in. And you must also face the fact that what you claim to believe is not what God actually inspired people to write. You’re actually putting your faith in some scribe’s interpretation.
If the original words truly were inspired, why didn’t God take steps to preserve the original texts? Why allow so many flaws to be injected and so many misunderstandings to spread? Of course the most logical conclusion there is that there never were any original divinely inspired words that God cared to preserve. There were only human writers and human copiers all along, and each human scribe altered the texts to add their own slant on what they thought the Bible was supposed to say. So what we have now is a large body of work collectively created by man, not inspired by God.
Read the book Misquoting Jesus if you want to dive into this hairy subject more deeply and get your facts straight about what the Bible actually is and where it came from. It’s a bit dense, but it will surely engage your brain and help you shed some false yet popular beliefs that even senior clergy members would know to avoid.
Most Christians I know have never read any version of the entire Bible. In fact, I’d say the vast majority haven’t even read 20% of the book’s content. I’m erring on the generous side here.
If you attend mass regularly for decades, you’ll be exposed to only a tiny fraction of the Bible’s contents… less than 5% I’d imagine. Partly this is because the same stories are read year after year, so every year of mass is essentially a repeat of the previous year. How long would you subscribe to my blog if I kept posting the exact same content every year?
If you’re going to call yourself a Christian, then at the very least, you should read the entire Bible cover to cover. Wouldn’t you agree? After all, it’s touted as the most important work of your entire faith. If you’d rather watch TV than finish reading the Bible, perhaps you aren’t cut out to be a Christian. Don’t worry — my blog will still be here in a few years when you’re done.
Now if you actually attempt this, it’s a safe bet that you’ll be bored to tears. The vast majority of the Bible’s content is very, very dull. It’s filled with long-winded genealogies and badly written stories. There’s a lot of aimless wandering in the desert. Very little of the Bible’s content is likely to be relevant or interesting to you. The good parts are few and far between. It’s an ideal cure for insomnia.
If you somehow manage to read the whole thing (an act that requires significant persistence), you’ll be left wondering what the big deal is. You’ll probably wish you’d spent that time reading something more interesting or educational.
The Bible is simply not a very interesting or useful book. Aside from the general dullness, it’s also filled with internal contradictions. This is intentional. You aren’t supposed to be able to make sense of it or discover profound truths on every page. The book is designed and marketed as a mystical work, such that you’re beholden to the Church as your interpreter. First they sell you a book you really wouldn’t want to read. Then they sell you a subscription service to the summary version, one that quotes the same passages year after year.
Try to read the whole book yourself, notice that there just isn’t much substance to it, and realize that an all-powerful God could surely have channeled a work of much higher quality. This realization will help you remove this book from a pedestal of mysticism. When you take the time to see that the Bible is little more than a mediocre work created by human beings, you’ll realize that it holds no special claim to your immortal soul.
4. Assess What You’ve Gained
Take a moment to consider some of the good you’ve gotten out of Christianity. Surely it wasn’t all bad. Feel grateful for the positive role it served in your life, and do your best to let the rest go.
In the end I retained many of the values I was taught as a Christian. One thing I appreciate about my Christian upbringing is that it taught me the value of service to others. After leaving the Church, I strayed from that concept for a while, but I successfully reintegrated it later in life. As an adult I’ve spent thousands of hours helping people in a variety of different ways, mostly for free, and I feel very good about that.
If you’ve had a rough time with Christianity as many people have, step back and look at the big picture. Notice the part it played in awakening your consciousness. In my case, the experience jolted me into accepting total responsibility for my own spiritual path, which was a powerful step for me. What role did Christianity play in your conscious development?
Be thankful for what you gained from your experiences as a Christian. Forgive and release everything else.
5. Connect With Jesus Directly
Since Jesus Christ is the central figure of Christianity, you may worry that if you turn away from the Church, you’ll lose your connection to Jesus. Nothing could be further from the truth.
In fact, it’s easier to connect with Jesus without the Church. The main problem is that the Church tends to demonize the very skill set you need to connect with Jesus directly, so you’re stuck with priests as your interpreters. Unfortunately most priests are not very good interpreters because they lack these skills as well.
Jesus is a construct of consciousness. He remains unattached to any particular belief system. With practice you can tune in to him directly whenever you desire. Because of all the energy associated with Jesus as a thought form, he’s one of the easiest entities to connect to.
Sit quietly with your eyes closed. Take several deep breaths. Allow your body to physically relax, and visualize a meeting place in your mind. Mentally invite Jesus to come and talk to you. Wait patiently, and at some point you should be able to feel his energetic presence. Jesus has an extremely powerful energy. If you’ve taken the time to develop your psychic skills, you may feel a huge surge of emotion when he shows up. Usually I can’t help but cry when I do this because the energy of his presence is super strong. I’m actually getting a strong emotional hit just writing about this because I’m effectively pinging him by thinking about him.
I find Jesus’ energy to be so strong that I usually have to ask him to tone it down in order to communicate with him. “Dude, can you rein in that aura a bit?”
Once you have a manageable connection, feel free to ask Jesus anything you want, and allow his answers to flow into your consciousness. Some people have used this connection to channel messages from him. It’s really not that hard to do if you develop the sensitivity to tune in and listen. If you haven’t developed this skill yet (which does take practice), you may find this exercise difficult to apply and the results, if any, hard to trust.
I regard Jesus as a guide of unconditional love. He’s the go-to guy for questions related to love, oneness, and service. I often find his answers challenging to implement because he’s in such a perfect state of oneness. Whenever I think I’ve come really far in this area, he shows me how much more work I have to do and how many attachments I have yet to shed. Normally I prefer to consult with my own spirit guides because Jesus’ answers can be a bit too strong. Talking with him is like drinking a spiritual espresso.
You can also connect directly with other figures from Christianity such as Mary, various archangels, and saints. I find that Mary has a similar energetic signature to Jesus, but she comes through as more motherly. Sometimes Jesus, Mary, or various angels will make their presence known during my meditations if they have a message for me. Recently I’ve been connecting with a certain angel to help me solve a problem where I felt my guides were offering ineffective guidance. The angel was able to provide a higher level perspective that made the problem easy to solve.
How do you know if you’re connecting with real celestial beings? In truth you never really know. You can always argue that it’s just your imagination. But personally I’ve found it very effective to explore my spiritual growth in this manner. I consistently get good results from tuning in and asking for guidance from positive sources.
When you broaden your horizons beyond Christianity, you can connect with other religious icons as well. You aren’t limited to Christian figures. When you get good at meditating, you can summon anyone you wish. For example, in 2006 I did a meditation to connect with Quan Yin, and I posted the information I received from her as a blog entry called Desire in 2007.
I do not recommend you push forward with this skill set until you’re in a good place energetically, happy and at peace with yourself. You will most often attract beings that are close to your vibration. So if you attempt this when you’re feeling depressed, frustrated, greedy, or some other low-energy state, you’ll likely attract negative entities that offer counterproductive advice. And definitely never do this while drinking alcohol; you won’t be able to trust the results.
6. Diversify Your Relationships
It’s common for Christians to get stuck with inbred social circles. The religion does a good job of discouraging you from connecting deeply with non-Christians. But if you succumb to such limitations, you’ll severely limit your opportunities for growth.
Reach out and make friends with lots of non-Christians. Stop seeing people as either Christian or evil. Recognize that we’re all human beings together. We’re all part of the same whole. There is no us vs. them, saved vs. unsaved.
Put yourself in social situations you avoided as a Christian, if only for the experience. Go outside.
When I finally had the chance to associate with non-Christians, it was an eye-opening experience for me. I realized these people were not corrupt, evil, or misguided. Most of them were good and moral, and they didn’t require an order of priests to tell them how to think and behave.
These days I enjoy a lot of diversity in my friendships. I have friends who self-identify as Christian, Buddhist, Mormon, Jewish, Muslim, New Age, atheist, agnostic, etc.
Do your best not to dismiss potential friends or relationship partners based on their spiritual beliefs. Get to know people as individuals. You’ll realize that you’re not so different after all. This will bring you more into alignment with the principle of oneness. Learn to regard everyone on this planet as a member of your family. There are no outcasts. We are all one.
7. Explore Other Belief Systems
As you expand your social circle, delve into other belief systems as well. Read a variety of books on spiritual development. Learn to meditate. Branch out and explore whatever interests you. I especially recommend that you study Eastern philosophies at some point, as a contrast to Western religions.
Many years ago I joined the Church of Scientology for a few months just to see what it was like. I went to one of their centers a couple times a week and spent hours talking to other Scientologists. I even had an official membership card. I found the experience fascinating. I had no interest in becoming a Scientologist long-term (and paying them hundreds of thousands of dollars like some people do), but I’m glad I did it. You always learn more about a belief system from the inside than you do from the outside.
If you study a lot of different belief systems as I have, you’ll learn that no one has a monopoly on your soul. All of these belief systems are man-made and flawed. Some are driven by powerful marketing machines. Whether you subscribe to any of them or not is of little concern to the rest of the universe.
Follow the path of conscious growth. If you feel that the best way to maximize your growth is to adhere to a particular belief system for a time, go for it. But remain alert for when your inner voice tells you that it’s time to move on. If you’re no longer excited by your spiritual path, that’s a powerful indicator that you’re ready to graduate to something else. Don’t buy in to religious marketing messages that urge you to stick around longer than you should.
8. Develop Your Own Moral Code
Christianity teaches you a basic system of morality. It’s a good start, but it has many flaws. Some elements are outdated. Others are impractical. Priests are frequently caught violating the moral code they’re preaching.
You probably disagree with various elements of Christianity. Which parts do you think are lame? Do you think pre-marital sex is bad? Is divorce a sin? What about using contraception? Telling white lies? Looking at porn? Using “Jesus Christ” as a swear word? (Seriously, Jesus doesn’t mind if you do that.)
Are you seriously going to hell for bending the rules? Or do you feel the rules are messed up to begin with? Would most Christians agree or disagree with your exceptions?
My guess is that on a practical level, you’re not a big fan of rigid rules, but you do see the value in living your life by a certain moral code. You probably think of yourself as a good person, and you want to live a good and moral life. You don’t want to go around hurting people, and you’d like to make a reasonable contribution to help this planet. Sometimes you screw up and violate your own values, but you feel best when you can forgive yourself, learn from those experiences, and move on.
This is all well and good. But I’d encourage you to take it a step further. Put in the time to codify your personal moral philosophy in writing. Where do you draw the line between right and wrong? How do you make moral decisions?
This is where you must do some serious soul searching.
If you’d like a shortcut to help you get started, I’ve written a whole book about it. That book is the result of my own act of soul searching to codify the principles of conscious growth. If you haven’t read it yet, no worries. I’ll give you the short version right now.
The three most fundamental principles of conscious growth are Truth, Love, and Power. You will find that these principles align with what you already intuitively know to be true. If you wish to develop any sort of moral code, then in some way it must incorporate these principles. Whenever you turn away from these principles, you turn your back on conscious growth.
To its credit Christianity does a decent job of stressing the importance of Love. Jesus’ teachings are all about unconditional love. “Love your neighbor as yourself.” “Turn the other cheek.” Those are worthy messages. Unfortunately the Church doesn’t do a good job of modeling this ideal in practice. It encourages separation between Christians and non-Christians. It creates division instead of promoting unity. You’re either saved or you’re not. Many Christians are raised to be rather unloving toward non-Christians, including the priests themselves. That is unfortunate because this is not at all what Jesus taught.
Christianity does a poor job of embracing Truth. It claims to value honesty and it does promote some degree of self-awareness, but that’s about it. Beyond that it markets a variety of fictional stories as indisputable truth. It doesn’t teach people to accurately interpret and accept what their senses tell them. And it largely ignores the importance of prediction. The lack of Truth-alignment is why many Christians find this belief system largely unhelpful in their day-to-day practical lives. So they’re Christians on Sundays but not on weekdays. Because Christianity is disconnected from Truth, it’s out of touch with reality. If you want to grow in your career, finances, or health while maintaining a strong spiritual focus, you’re basically on your own.
Christianity falls flat in the area of Power too. It teaches people to become dependent on the Church for spiritual guidance instead of cultivating real power as independent conscious beings. It promotes fear and timidity instead of courage. It teaches you to give your power away to an external authority instead of developing your own authority and creativity as a conscious being.
If you want to create an effective moral code for yourself, it must be solidly grounded in reality (aligned with Truth), it must help you cultivate a sense of unconditional love and connection (aligned with Love), and it must empower you to grow (aligned with Power). If it fails to satisfy any of these conditions, then your moral code is ultimately turning you away from conscious growth.
As explained in my book, my moral code is based on aligning my life with the 7 principles of conscious growth. The first three are Truth, Love, and Power. The other four are Oneness (Truth + Love), Authority (Truth + Power), Courage (Love + Power), and Intelligence (Truth + Love + Power). I am doing right when I am living in accordance with these principles. I am doing wrong (or sinning, so to speak) when I turn my back on any of these principles. This is a demanding code, but it ensures that I keep growing year after year without stagnating or getting sidetracked.
Your success at following your own moral code is for no one to judge but you. Only you know your true intentions. What might seem like an act of cowardice from an outsider’s perspective might have required extreme courage on your part. What might be viewed as an unloving act could have been driven by a deep sense of compassion for others. You must evaluate yourself.
Are you living in accordance with your highest ideals? When you commit those ideals to writing, it’s much easier to see how well you’re doing.
9. Deal Compassionately With Christian Friends and Family
I know this is a big issue for many graduating Christians. Once you feel ready to progress beyond Christianity, how do you handle your old Christian family and friends? How will they react to your decision?
When I decided to move on at age 17, my family took it very badly, as if I’d personally assaulted them. It was not a pretty sight. My friends mostly gave me strange looks and didn’t worry about it, so I didn’t have any difficulties at school, but my family was a different story.
It’s a shame that so many Christians react negatively when someone decides to unsubscribe. But you must understand that this is the nature of the beast. The Christian belief system encourages this kind of reaction. Your family and friends have been taught that if you leave the Church, you’ll be doomed to hell. Naturally they don’t want to see that happen. So their negative reaction is actually a sign that they care about you very much. Burning you at the stake may seem like a funny way of expressing love, but it is what it is. Some Christians simply have a lot to learn about expressing love toward non-Christians.
Another problem is that when you leave the Church, you stir up other Christians’ fears and doubts. You push them to face parts of themselves they aren’t ready to face. This can generate quite a backlash against you.
I know it’s hard to maintain this level of understanding when you’re currently being stoned, verbally or otherwise. I certainly wasn’t in a place where I could say, “Thank you for caring about my immortal soul” when people were treating me like I’d turned to the dark side. I’m glad I can hold this perspective today though.
I don’t think it’s helpful to get into arguments and long-winded debates with other Christians when you’re on your way out. All that does is create additional stress. This is a time where you should quietly slip out the back door, at least to the degree that’s possible. This is a time to reconnect with your spiritual side and focus on your inner development. You have a lot of healing to do and a lot more growth to prepare for.
Being treated like a demon for dropping Christianity certainly didn’t help me much. The negative reaction from Christians simply turned my doubts into certainty. In retrospect that was unfortunate because it wasn’t until seven years later that I was able to start consciously re-exploring my spiritual side. That was eventually triggered when all the 11:11 stuff started popping up in my life.
When I told my family I didn’t believe in Christianity anymore, the reaction was so negative that I felt the most reasonable course of action was to back off. I felt that forcing the issue wasn’t worth the loss of things like car privileges. I was going away to college in a year anyway, so I knew the conflict period would eventually fade. Consequently, I went through the motions and continued going to mass for many months. But I insisted on sitting in another part of the church, quietly slipping out the back and going for walks outside instead. Eventually I was caught because I got back late one time, and interestingly that ended the surface conflict with my family. They must have realized that they weren’t going to regain my soul with demands and threats. Turning 18 and going away to college was a major stress reliever for me, but my experiences led me to pre-judge Christians as people I could never really trust. I felt much safer in the company of atheists and agnostics.
It’s unfortunate that Christianity should create such rifts between people. I’ve seen countless others deal with similar problems. Almost invariably it’s the Christians that force these disconnections, while the non-Christians would like nothing more than to continue sharing a loving (or at least civil) relationship. Jesus did not come here to teach conditional love!
On the bright side, I learned a lot from this experience. In the long run, it taught me to be much more accepting of others, including Christians. I do my best not to push people away because of their beliefs. I may challenge people’s beliefs a lot, and there are some belief systems I hold in fairly low regard, but I still accept those who choose to hold such beliefs. I think the world would be much better off if each of us would develop the capacity to love and accept everyone as they are, regardless of whether or not we agree with them.
This mindset of unconditional acceptance can be a challenge to practice, but it serves me well. For example, as a vegan, I don’t condone acts of animal cruelty, including the consumption of animal products. I will not even harm insects. But I still accept those who think it’s okay to hurt animals, even though their actions violate my own moral code. Non-acceptance does not encourage people to live more compassionately.
If you’re facing a tough situation with your Christian friends and family, possibly debating whether or not to tell them of your decision, I feel for you. I know it isn’t easy. But in the long run, my best recommendation is to tell them the truth. That will put the ball in their court. Then it’s up to them to decide if they can love and accept you as you are. Unfortunately you can’t control the outcome. But you’ll soon find out whether they practice Jesus’ teachings about unconditional love or if they’ve been brainsquashed by the Church to reject you as an outcast.
Even if you become the family pariah at first, some of those people may eventually come around. Be patient. Go out and live the best life you can. When they’re ready they may choose to reconnect with you. You’ll have the best effect on them by being an example of conscious living, not by trying to convince them to accept your decision.
As long as your family and friends subscribe to a belief system that defines you as an outcast — as a person doomed to burn in hell — the doorway to a truly conscious connection remains closed. All you can do is hold the intention that they’ll eventually progress beyond that stage and learn to accept others fully and completely. In the meantime you can still accept and love them as they are, even if they find it difficult to do the same.
Rest assured that if you’re dealing with a situation like this, you’re not alone. You are not doing anything wrong or evil. The Christian religion itself is the problem. It is set up to create these artificial conflicts. It really is time for humanity to progress beyond this level of separation and bigotry. We need to accept that we’re all in this together.
10. Release the Guilt and Enjoy Your Freedom
My final piece of advice to you is to let go of all the guilt you absorbed during your time as a Christian. Forgive yourself and others completely. Let go and move on with your life.
Rest assured you’re not going to hell. You won’t be punished in the afterlife for declining to follow a man-made belief system. You are an explorer and a creator, not the servant of a multi-billion dollar organization that claims divine sponsorship. You are here to participate in the expansion of consciousness.
Know that you are a good person. Learn to love and accept yourself unconditionally. It doesn’t matter if you’re a saint or sinner by Christian standards. You are worthy of love no matter what. It’s time to step into your true power. Your light has been dimmed for far too long.
If all else fails and you find yourself feeling unloved, rest assured that I love you and care about you. It doesn’t matter if we’ve never met. It doesn’t matter if you don’t agree with half the stuff I write about. I love and care about you anyway.
Being a Christian was an important stage in your conscious development, but now you’re ready to progress beyond it. You no longer need others to define and control your spiritual identity. You’re ready to blaze your own spiritual trail. You have graduated. Congratulations!
Now go out and do some serious good with your life. Make it a masterpiece. Show this world your beautiful divinity. 🙂