I was ranting to my brother tonight about religious people who say “Oh yes, I had questions like yours a few years ago, but I finally came to the point where I just had to say “God, I’m believing in you. I know you’ll show me the truth.” and ever since then I’ve just KNOWN he’s real.” Or something similar to that. The other night I was chatting with an acquaintance and my unbelief came up. He had wanted me to pray about playing violin on a worship team he was organizing for some event. I said I wasn’t the kind of person he’d want on the team, so naturally he wanted to know why and I told him. After sharing a few of the questions that lead me to where I am today in my current state of uncertainty and unbelief, he said something like the above-mentioned annoying anecdote. To be fair, he was very nice about everything and the conversation remained congenial.
On Facebook, a friend posted a status about his recent deconversion, and I noticed a comment someone left that ran along the same lines as that of my acquaintance. Again, the comment was far from harsh or condemning, just an “I’ve been where you are, but I still believe.”
I am not going to argue that the believers who say they’ve been where I am and have questioned the things I question are lying or mistaken. I cannot say that they haven’t questioned things like I am. It offends me when Christians claim I never really believed, because I know for almost my entire life I DID believe completely and passionately and based my identity in my belief in God and my faith in the Bible. I have no intention of doing that in return. The thing that bothers me is the suggestion or implication that I should stifle my questions, turn to this god I am not sure even exists and say “God, I have these questions, but I’m going to put them aside now and believe that you are real.”
Perhaps I am just too far gone now.
For twenty-odd years I believed whole-heartedly that the God of Abraham was real and good and that the Bible was absolute truth and infallible. I believed Christianity was the one true religion. That therein lay truth and any who seek for truth would eventually find their way there and to God. I believed it unquestioningly. But no more.
I owe it to myself to find answers to my questions.
So on a humorous note….this video made me laugh. Notice the book Lucy is reading.
When I was a kid, I loved reading the Old Testament. It had more stories. More action. The book of Judges in particular was one of my favourites because of its collection of short stories about bloody battles, daring escapes, and intrigue. As much as I loved my Bible and loved my god–that is, to the point of constantly trying to change myself into someone more “pleasing” to both–some of the things God commanded (particularly in the Old Testament) never sat well with me. For example, he told the Jews, who were in the process of invading their “promised land” according to God’s instructions, to kill all the men, women, and children of a particular nation. When giving Moses the law, many infractions were punishable by death. Somehow this same violent God inspires the prophet Jonah to describe him as being “slow to anger and abounding in love.”
King David spent many many hours studying God’s laws and commands, and frequently went into raptures about God’s love and compassion and kindness.
Can this truly be the same God? Is he schizophrenic? Undecided? Experimenting? Misrepresented?
Darin Hufford suggests he is misunderstood. I suppose with the vast number of denominations and religions that are out there, one really must assume that if God DOES exist, he is grossly misunderstood. But who is right about him? Or the closest to right? I imagine each religious group out there would raise their hand and claim THEY are the closest to the truth. Surprise surprise. After all, that’s why they believe what they believe, is it not? I doubt anyone goes searching for a lie to believe in.
How can we find out if God exists? And if he does, how can we go about finding the real him/her instead of the version on display in the windows of all the world’s religions? How can we find out what he says about himself? ”Maybe the actual God…doesn’t endorse The God-Of-The-Bible.” -Frank Schaeffer
I plead busyness with school as my excuse for not having written here sooner. Excuses are a bad habit though. It IS one of the main reasons I haven’t written, and the other would be that I just haven’t been thinking about anything I felt was blog-worthy. Nothing deep-ish, that is.
Today I realized that my thinking has been taking a decidedly agnostic turn. I still pray on occasion, although that has become increasingly difficult in the last year, but more and more often I catch fleeting thoughts to the effect of “how can anyone really know if there is a god?” I know some people require irrefutable proof of the existence of a deity before they will believe one exists. Others believe that god is something or someone who, by nature, can never be proven to exist or not exist, and that one must choose (rather blindly, it seems to me) to believe or disbelieve in his/her/its existence. I, for one, cannot bring myself to confidently believe either way. I wonder sometimes if I ever will and envy those who do.
I would like to believe there is a god. A god who takes an interest in life here on earth and who is approachable and relatable. But if there is, then what is he like? All sorts of religions claim different things about her or them (gods plural) that it gets confusing trying to sort through it all to find out who is right. Life would be simpler if god didn’t exist and everyone knew it. Would there be meaning to life? I was lead to believe that without the Christian version of god life was meaningless. But is that really true? Probably not. Maybe there is not a universal meaning that is applied to everyone’s life, but instead an individual one chosen by each person. And maybe that’s the case even if there IS a god? That seems more likely to me. After all, everyone seems to have different values and find meaning in different things. Why shouldn’t it be individual?