|Christadelphians singing praise to a God that|
only exists inside their own minds
Generally speaking most children accept the family religion. Catholics beget more Catholics, Protestants beget more Protestants, Muslims beget more Muslims and Christadelphians beget more Christadelphians. So on it goes, around the globe in all religions.
Young minds are naturally attracted to adopt the beliefs and ways of their parents. To do so bestows an evolutionary advantage and that is why this behaviour is born and bred into us all. Since the time that Homo Sapiens first left Africa, survival critically depended on families and clans remaining together and not being dispersed. Families that split up would soon be lost to posterity and their genes not passed on.
The children of Christadelphian parents who follow their parents into the family religion are not displaying "faith", they are obeying the instructions coded into their genes and adopting the mindset and beliefs of their parents.
Adolescents think that they are rebelling against the authority of their parents, but in reality they are following in their parent’s footsteps. Tell any Catholic, Protestant, Muslim or Christadelphian that the primary reason that they maintain their affiliation is because of childhood conditioning and they will reply that you are mistaken. They will claim that they hold their conviction because of the authority of the Papacy, or that they object to the authority of the papacy, or the prophet was inspired by Allah, or that Dr Thomas rediscovered the Truth. However the end result is that religious affiliation is not so much a matter of faith and conviction, but rather it is a result of a genetic lottery.
The majority of humans are born into their religion. That is how it has been since the beginning of history. Every religious person claims a personal conviction and maintains that they have thought it out for themselves and formed their own independent opinion by vigorously examining their own beliefs. But the reality is that the “churn” of people switching between, or abandoning belief systems is very small. Childhood conditioning has created a powerful cognitive bias in their minds towards a certain religion that is almost impossible for them to overcome.
It has nothing whatsoever to do with "faith". It is like an addiction to crack cocaine or nicotine that cannot be broken. The great majority of Christadelphian offspring will be baptised. Childhood conditioning has "hooked" them and they are unable to escape from the family religion. The religion is actually a nonsense, but to the infant mind it all makes perfect sense to believe what they are taught by their parents. As their minds mature the imprint of that conditioning becomes stronger, not weaker.
It is not just the Christadelphians, all childhood religious imprinting works the same way. "Give me a child until he is five and I will give you a Catholic for life" is the Jesuit pledge. I was a Christadelphian child until I was fifteen and it took another twenty wasted years before I could shake my mind free. I was lucky to escape.
Tens of thousands of Christadelphians are still trapped in the Christadelphian belief system convinced that they are there because of the exercise of their own free will and intelligently considering the facts. But they are wrong. They are like North Korean children praising "The Dear Leader" because that is what they learned from their parents. It is NOT faith - it is an invisible, mental, genetic trap.
|Christadelphians are increasingly |
Is it God's purpose in the "Latter Days" to confer salvation only on the descendents of a tiny number of families primarily in the Anglo-Saxon English speaking area of the world? The Bible certainly does not predict such a bizarre outcome. So why has it worked out that way for the Christadelphians?
It has worked out that way because a minor Nineteenth Century American revivalist sect has survived into the Twenty First Century by being handed down through families that have shut their minds to the realities of what is going on in the outside world.
The Amish and other sects have survived for exactly the same reason. It has nothing to do with faith, or God, or the Bible, or anything at all supernatural or divine. John Thomas's beliefs have been preserved in families who are unknowingly obeying their genetic instructions to preserve the family religion.
Those same genes were bred into their ancestors in Africa hundreds of thousands of years ago as a way to strengthen families and the clan in order to improve the chances of survival in a hostile world. It's not Christadelphianism that is in their genes; it is the preservation of family ways that is in their genes.
If they had been born Amish or Mormon they would be Amish or Mormons instead of Christadelphians. It is not "faith" or divine providence, it is a refusal to let go of the past and use the mind productively. It is the natural human tendency to take the easy option and avoid facing hard realities. Christadelphianism is not a collection of God's saints; it is an ostrich with its head buried deep in the sands of time.
Therefore I observe a disturbing principle operating: The world is populated by billions of humans who are following thousands of different and exclusive religions into which they have been born by a mindless genetic lottery.
They are all convinced that they have thought it out for themselves and that everyone else in all of the other religions is wrong. You could argue that most of them go along with the family religion because it is the easy option. But, challenge the faith of any of these people and you will be surprised at the vigour with which they defend their position.
Because the great majority remain in the beliefs into which they have been born, it must be obvious that, re-examining those beliefs rigorously when of a more mature age, is not the determining factor in establishing faith or conviction. Instead it appears to me that childhood conditioning is the causal factor. “But I re-examined my beliefs rigorously” a believer will claim. My rejoinder is: “Yes - that’s what they all say!” "Re-examining beliefs rigorously” almost always results in the subject reinforcing his previously held belief in the family religion and often makes him into a stronger adherent and promoter of the family faith.
That is what happened to me. I know because "I've been there and done that". I was as misguided as the Christadelphians who remain in the religion now. I am not smarter than them because I left; I was just extremely fortunate that things worked out for me the way that they did. They are unfortunate because they did not get the break that I did.
Why People Join Religions
A minority of people join a new faith which is not the family religion. A small number of people convert to the Christadelphian religion when it is not their family religion. However when you investigate the real reason why they converted it usually falls into one of the following categories:
1. They marry INTO the faith. Therefore romance or sex is the inspiration for their conversion, not intellectual conviction. If challenged they will deny this. But as it is a world-wide, faith-wide phenomenon it is quite obvious that the desire for sex and romance preceded their declaration of "faith" in the new religion, or in Christadelphianism. One Christian sect "Hookers for Jesus" recognizes the power of this basic human instinct and uses sex as the primary method of conversion. Sure, it can result in conversion, but it can hardly be called "faith". The mind has been tricked into believing something because of a greater payoff. The payoff is a partner, not life after death. The brain knows that a partner in this life is worth far more than the illusion of life after death for which evidence is totally absent.
2. They join the faith because they are expecting material reward. You only have to observe the Christadelphian "conversions" in Eastern Europe and Russia etc to see this happening. In the process of time the Christadelphian religion might eventually transform into some sort of social welfare organization rather than a religion and that would be no bad thing. But converts rising from the waters of baptism with hands held out for welfare makes a mockery of the faith. Bribery is NOT conversion.
3. They join the faith because they desire social acceptance and fraternity. I have seen this happen on several occasions during my time in the Christadelphians. One of the people that I "converted" joined for that reason. I could have told him that we were aliens from another planet for all he cared. He was just lonely and we were the answer to his problem. He died in the faith and we gave him a good send-off. But we did not send him to God's Kingdom. We sent him to the grave and that is where he will remain for all eternity, along with all the other Christadelphians and all the members of every religion that has ever been or that ever will be. It was all an empty sham except for the fact that he did find some friends in his declining years. That was the only good that came of the whole thing. If people want to join the Christadelphians to make friends then I'm all for it; but let's not kid ourselves that faith has got anything to do with it.
The reality is that it is extremely difficult to get anyone at all to join the Christadelphian religion for the biblical reason - that they have been converted by the power of the Holy Spirit operating through the Word of God. You know from your own experience and I know from mine that Christadelphian preaching is a thankless task. It is extremely rare that you ever convert anyone at all unless it is for one of the reasons given above and those reasons are NOT biblical conversion; they are decisions arrived at as a result of faulty cognitive bias or pressure.
Christadelphians stay in their religion because the faith acts as a network of social involvement and support. To leave the religion means to be judged and ostracised by one's relatives and peers and no one wants that to happen. Being a member of a group that believes irrational things makes those beliefs seem somehow normal. You look at all the other "normal" people in the group who believe what you believe and it reassures your mind that your beliefs are socially accepted because everyone else in the group thinks the same way. But the problem with that arrangement is that what is actually happening is that each member of the group is reinforcing the paranoia of everyone else.
It's a bit like the story of the emperor who rode through the streets naked. The crowd saw nothing wrong with the spectacle and were held in a collective delusion with each member of the crowd reinforcing the mistaken belief of the others. Only when an outsider cried out that the emperor was naked did the illusion vanish and the individual members of the group realise that they had been foolish.
An individual who thought that he could gain eternal life, murder unbelievers and help rule the world for a thousand years would be diagnosed as being seriously paranoid and prescribed sedating medication; they might even be restrained under a mental health order. But when such an individual is a member of a fifty thousand strong group like the Christadelphians, who all think the same way, the rational constraints of secular society no longer act to balance the person's thinking to a healthy psychological frame of mind.
Indeed, society itself tends to ring-fence such madness, labels it as a "Faith" and accords a level of respect to such a faith. It is only when a "Faith" begin to stockpile weapons, or release sarin gas on Japanese subways, or marry off underage girls to old men, or shoot a US Congressman, or fly planes into skyscrapers that society decides that the "Faith" has crossed the line between religious fantasy and reality and the leaders of the "Faith" are thrown into jail.
"Faiths" are tolerated by society just so long as the faith does not turn into reality. Christadelphians don't turn their faith into reality. They just keep patiently waiting for a return of Christ that will never happen. Society tolerates them, they reinforce each other's delusion, their children propagate the myth to the following generation and so it goes on.
It keeps going on because the faith and reality are not allowed to bump into each other. As long as the Jews hang on to a slither of Palestine the Christadelphians will forget that J Thomas told them that Christ would return in the middle of the Nineteenth Century one hundred and sixty years ago and they will keep hoping that the impossible will happen and that they will hit the jackpot when the overdue Christ makes his appearance. If Iran drops a few nuclear weapons onto Israel, or if the Israelis make a genuine peace with the Palestinians, faith will crash into reality for the Christadelphians and the bottom will drop out of the religion. Only a few die-hards will remain and the passage of time will finish them off.
Christadelphians believe in and defend their religion because of faulty cognitive bias. All the other believers in religions are similarly deceived. The fact that all the different religions claim that they hold the exclusive truth and that everyone else is mistaken is powerful evidence that they are all mistaken. The same forces for conversion operate in all religions and no less in Christadelphianism. People are born into the religion, or they marry into it, or they join in the expectation of reward, or they are lonely and desire social support. Like homeopathy, voodoo, astrology, clairvoyance, spiritualism, witchcraft, alien abduction, crop circles, water divining, flat Earth theory and similar delusions it is misguided, superstitious, naïve, dysfunctional thinking. It has nothing whatsoever to do with a “God”; it is a manifestation of human frailty making a mistake.
Leaving the Christadelphians
The good news is that leaving the Christadelphians is easier then ever before. Thousands of Ex-Christadelphians have successfully escaped from the sect and established successful and satisfying lives in the “normal” world outside the religion. People seem to be leaving the Christadelphians faster than at any time in its history.
The Internet provides a very effective method of providing support and encouragement to leavers and you can be assured of tremendous help from us if you have the courage to cleanse your mind from the poison of distorted Christadelphian thinking.
Like us, you will find the social upheaval of leaving to be upsetting because your previous Christadelphian friends will almost certainly reproach and reject you for your bravery in rejecting their dogma. Like us, you will feel the shame and guilt that you once believed crazy things. But we ex-Christadelphians are a thousand times stronger than the people that we have left behind because at last we are thinking rationally.
Intelligent, sensible human reasoning has been the driving force of human progress throughout all of history and that same force is now operating to bring an end to Christadelphian dogma, doctrine and the whole ridiculous eschatology. I implore you to open your eyes and realise that what the Christadelphians call “The Truth” is actually a ragbag of lies and paranoid thinking. Your road to discovering truth must commence by walking down a path that is called disbelief. If you have the nerve to undertake that journey you will free your mind from Christadelphian captivity and, like us, you will pity the poor souls who remain, waiting for a Kingdom that throughout the ages of eternity - is never going to happen.