prune picker

This is the blog of a prune picker. (Native born Californian) Retired oilfield. I am an old man. (91) I blog a lot about my body and getting old. As I approach death life gets more interesting. More interesting is not good. I still drive. I attend sports, music, and civic events. I am writing my memoirs. I attend swim class three times a week. Some of my blogs might be interesting. A lot of my blogs are silly and trivial. None are very long.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

A statement of my belief.

I may not be a Christian but I am a very close fellow traveller. I have been taught Christian principles and I have studied Christianity for eighty years. Ladies, starting with my maternal grandmother, told me Bible stories from a young age. At times in my life I have spent much time in Church and Bible study classes. I have read the Bible, some parts many times. I have been to several Billy Graham meetings, and many other revivals. I have heard hundreds of alter calls. I have always been very interested in religion and philosophy. I enjoy theological discussions. I have read, studied, and considered. I think that I have been well churched and educated in Christianity.

I love Christian people and enjoy being with them. I love the stories and music of Christianity. I listen to a lot of gospel music. I have several CDs of gospel music and listen to them in my car. I agree with many of the teachings of Christianity. I enjoy and agree with the saying of grace. Opening prayers at various functions are fine with me. When I tell someone that I am praying for him or her, I do pray.

However, I am unable to believe in vicarious atonement. I cannot believe that someone must die to save my soul. I do not know how my soul is saved or if it will be saved. I hope for the best. Normally I am very reticent to talk about religion. I have no desire to convert people to my belief. I really do not have a belief and I am not even an adamant non-believer. I am not an atheist or an agnostic. I consider that I am a seeker.

I have made this statement because in recent years members of my family, and friends, who are concerned about my salvation, have approached me. I love them and I am very grateful for their concern for me. I thank them. I pray for them, and for myself. However, I am at peace with my belief or unbelief. I doubt very much that my mind can be changed. I hope that this statement might allay the concerns of my family and friends.

As Tiny Tim said “God bless us every one!”


  1. So interesting. I don't think I even consider myself a seeker any more but I find the subject so intriguing. I've come to the point where I am probably an atheist but I've arrived there having considered different aspects. I'd love to spend time talking about this on our trip.

  2. Well said, Prune Picker. It's not easy being a "seeker" here in the buckle of the bible belt. Lots of people seem to think that if you don't believe the way that they do it could only be because you haven't put any thought into it. If they only knew how much thought it takes to question things rather than to have "blind" faith. Thanks for the post. - A.B.

  3. Dad, thanks for posting this. I've been curious where you were with all this lately and, clearly, your views have remained quite consistent.
    However, I don't think you realize that one doesn't have to believe in atonement by death in order to be a Christian. Many liberal Christians believe in the idea that humans are brought in harmony with "God" through Jesus' moral influence, rather than his death. And, still, there are many humans who go to Christian Churches, follow Jesus' teachings, and believe in a God of their own understanding, call themselves "Christian," and do not feel like they have to believe in all of the dogma presented to them in a church in order to feel close to God and Jesus.
    There are a lot of ways to be a Christian and a lot of ways to spiritual.

  4. Does what I said make any sense? I'm not commenting with any agenda because while I think Jesus and Christianity are full of wonderful (as well as ridiculous) things -- I don't believe in "salvation," or anything to do with saving one's soul. So, I'm not trying to save you or convince you of anything. Rather, I'm trying to point out that it is actually only SOME Christians who believe in the whole idea of atonement as Jesus dying for your sins, or, in the idea that one's soul must be saved in order to go to heaven (or in the idea that there is a "heaven" or life after death).
    These are just ideas from the particularly evangelical strain of Christianity that I think you've mostly been exposed to.
    I went to a church in Modesto for many years (Church of the Brethren, which is related to the Mennonites) and both pastors there did not believe in "atonement," by Jesus' death and also did not consider the Bible the unerring words of God. But, they certainly loved Jesus and loved following the basic teachings in the new testiment.
    So, I guess what I am saying is that if you are doubting Christianity because you disagree with atonement, you may be limiting your understanding of Christianity as whole while fixating on one controversial idea.
    Check this out:


  5. i pray for all of your souls

  6. This blog and the comments resulting from it make me very sad....


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