“Isn’t it a little suspicious……..”

I started reading Evolving in Monkey Town the other day and was excited this afternoon to discover that Evans asks many of the same questions as I do.  I’m not quite half-way through the book so I don’t know if she gives any answers, but there is something affirming about finding someone else who wonders/wondered about the same things.

“Isn’t it a little suspicious that the only true religion is the one with which we happen to grow up?” -Rachel Held Evans

One of the first questions I began asking over a year ago when I finally allowed myself TO question things was “How can we Christians be so sure that we are right and everyone else is wrong?  How can we be absolutely positive that all the people around the world who don’t believe the same as us will spend eternity in hell for their mistakenness?”  I’ve wondered this for the last 10 years or so but, because I blindly accepted the things I grew up hearing from my parents and sunday school teachers and pastors, I kept shoving that question to the back of my mind hoping it would eventually go away.  But it hasn’t.

Why was I a Christian?  Really, I almost didn’t have a choice.  I was born in Canada in the 80’s to a young Christian couple whose parents and grandparents were also Christians.  I was raised in the church and grew up hearing all the Bible stories both at home and at Sunday School.  When I was about 3 I remember waking up in the middle of the night.  It was dark and I was alone and a little scared.  I don’t remember WHY I thought to do this (perhaps the bits about “Jesus is always with you and will protect you” popped into my mind.  I don’t know.) but I remember sitting up in bed and asking Jesus into my heart.

Evans talks in her book about how a person’s religion is at least influenced if not determined by when they are born and where they are raised.  Of course anyone can change their beliefs at any time, but many if not most people don’t.  And for the majority of the world past, present, and future who do not believe or have not heard that the creator of the universe came to earth in a human body, died on our behalf to save us from sin, rose from the dead three days later and now demands that we “believe in” him or else spend eternity in torment, the “gospel” (aka “good news”) is about the worst news they could ever receive.

I honestly find it incredibly difficult to believe that God can both love every human he has created AND condemn the majority of those loved creations to an eternity of torture.  I can’t think of any situation in which I could send someone I love to a place of torture for a month, let alone eternity.  And I can’t think of anyone I could in good conscience sentence to an eternity in hell.  Does that make me more loving than the God of the Bible?  Because seriously, if the Bible is telling the truth about who goes to heaven and who goes to hell, most of the world’s people are going to hell simply because they were born in the wrong part of the world at the wrong time.  If he really truly loves them, he could do something about that.  He SHOULD do something about it.


6 thoughts on ““Isn’t it a little suspicious……..”

  1. I find it difficult to imagine what a totally ‘free will’ would mean, because if we are raised in indoctrination to believe there is one truth and all others are false, to investigate the options automatically would bring judgment and condemnation. We would naturally shy away from that, which by virtue of self-preservation keeps us in the ‘narrow way’, not truly because we freely chose that way, but because of the need/instinct to avoid discomfort/pain/fear.

  2. God does love each and every one of his creation and wants nothing more than all of us to live with him in glory when the world ends. You can witness that love in the very fact that he doesn’t demand love in return. He gives us free will to choose whom we will serve. If you are God, do you grant such a great reward that Heaven is to someone who will never love you in return? Think about this….God creates man and woman in the garden of Eden, they sin and thus are separated from God because they are no longer holy. God then creates a way to bring mankind back to that holy state so they can once again be with God. Everything you read in the Old Testament is a build up to the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Jesus WILLINGLY left the splendor of heaven to become human and face the suffering and temptations that humans endure in life, then took the sins of all mankind upon Himself and died a humiliating and excruciating death on our behalf, thereby conquering death so that it no longer has any hold on us at all. We must realize that we are not our own, that God created us and loves us so much that he sent His only Son to die for us, so that eternal life in heaven can be ours. Don’t you think that God would have ended the world by now if he didn’t love us like he does? He tells us in his word that he is a longsuffering God. Looking at the state of the world today, it’s hard to see what he’s waiting for. I think he’s waiting for more lost souls to be saved by believing in Christ and repenting of sin and being buried in the waters of baptism to rise and walk a new life in service to him. The commands that he has given us to live by require change, which is something that a lot of people aren’t willing to accept. But the way I see it, I’m going to give it my best because of what Jesus suffered for me. I couldn’t do what He did. Bottom line is, this earthly life is temporary, and death is NOT the end. The whole meaning of this life is laid bare in the pages of The Holy Bible. We are put here to serve God. How? It’s in the Bible. Man often fails to read the scriptures for himself and blindly follows someone who professes to know all things holy. God tells us to read and study scripture daily, so that we may know what is truth. I’m so sorry to have taken up so much space in this comment. I guess I had a lot to say. 🙂 I encourage you to read and study the Bible, I like the ESV or NKJV, and hopefully God’s truth will set you free. I also do some blogging and welcome you to read. I am not a biblical genius and don’t have any type of degree in religion or theology. None are needed to be able to understand God’s word. I will keep you in my prayers. 🙂

    • Travo, thank you for taking the time to write this obviously heart-felt comment. Every single thing you said is what I grew up believing whole-heartedly. One of the first books I tried to read to myself once I learned how to read was my Bible, and over the years I have read almost all of it many many many times (with the exception of Isaiah and Jeremiah because I found them too long and dull), memorized hundreds of verses for both Sunday School and my own personal pleasure. Up until about a year and a half or two years ago I was incredibly passionate about my relationship with God. NOTHING mattered more to me. And then I allowed myself to ask a question or two that had always kind of bothered me but I’d shoved them to the back of my mind behind all the Bible verses and hours of prayer and worship. The original questions lead to other questions which have lead to other questions, and I have yet to find satisfactory answers in Christianity. I assure you, I am not looking for an excuse to leave the faith I grew up in and was so passionate about. This has been an incredibly painful and scary process and I have not come to this place of unbelief lightly.

      • Thank you for your response. I don’t doubt that this has been painful and scary for you. I think it’s only natural that we question things that we have been taught, and when we don’t get satisfactory answers it builds into doubt. The difficult thing about Christianity for us is that we can’t use our five senses to confirm truth. We have to rely on the Bible being the complete word of God and place our faith in it. I would be interested in hearing your questions, if you are comfortable sharing them. As I said before, I’m no expert, but if I could possibly be of help to you and hopefully shed some light on the darkness of doubt, I’m willing. If you’d rather not, that’s okay too. If it matters at all, I am a member of the local church of Christ.

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