Waking Up

sent in by Lord Hades

I wouldn't necessarily call it a crisis of faith, but lately I have found the resolve and courage to confront a very disturbing, yet liberating, issue within myself that I have carefully ignored and avoided over the last few years: namely, that I am not so certain, anymore, if I actually believe God exists, at least not in the ways that I have always been taught that He does.

The older I get, the less I find evidence that God exists in the ways that I have been taught to believe. It's an age-old circular argument that I have refused to answer, truly, because of what that answer would do to my perception of reality: if God exists, and He truly loves each and every one of us without prejudice or judgment, then why does He allow such horrible things to happen in our world? I understand the reality of war: people get killed by other people, even civilians. Even ants have wars. But when I read about the Holocaust, and the systematic rape of thousands of women and girls in the Sudan, and the torture and execution of countless Muslims by Croatian soldiers, it becomes harder and harder to make excuses for a God that is omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent.

If I understand correctly, God has power over everything in the entire universe, from the subatomic particles that comprise my body to the path comets travel as they plunge through the cosmos. So we start with an all-powerful being that is, reportedly, perfect and unerring and Good in ways that we could never understand; He is the embodiment of all Light, Love, and Justice in not only our world, but in every other world throughout all of Creation. If that is the truth, then why does He need us to worship Him? Why do we have to have faith for Him to move mountains? Why do we even figure into the equation of power? We often anthropomorphize God and claim that He desires companionship, that He desires our love and respect, and that He is like any other Father and just wants his wayward children to behave. Am I to really believe that a being capable of building an entire universe in a few days actually needs or even wants emotional gratifications that even animals are not bound by? In so many ways, this notion seems absurd. Isn't t it more realistic, when we think of our own evolution and development, that a being with such divine power would be beyond the need for emotional rewards such as love, affection, and obedience? The ancient Greeks and Romans told stories about gods and goddesses who behaved in the same ways: they demanded our respect, compliance, worship, servitude, and even lives. How does God, in the Christian sense of the word, compare to these pagan deities? It becomes more and more difficult for me to believe that such a divine being would really care whether or not I prayed to Him: to my mind, that would be like me expecting a molecule to worship me, and then becoming angry when it didn't t.

So we have a divine being capable of creating a universe for no other reason, truly, than to glorify Himself. Let s start with that. Now let s add human emotions and motivations to this being: according to the Bible and to Christianity, God is jealous (isn't t that also a sin?), vengeful (another sin?), and swift to anger (yet another sin?). He loves us (human emotion?), wants us to worship Him (isn't t this connected to Ego?), and will punish us if we commit sins (although His son already died for all of our sins, meaning that we have limitless credit). So now we have a divine being with total power, human emotions, and an Ego. Finally, let s add the problem: evil.
I have spent hours asking Christians questions that they couldn't t answer and it s been frightening to watch their eyes gloss over and their mouth twitch as they very conveniently explained: We don t have all the answers, but we have faith. You just have to believe! But then I argue: I do believe, and that s the problem! I believe that God is so powerful He could could've stopped that little girl from being raped and molested by her father! I believe that God is so great He could have saved a few million Jews from being systematically butchered! I believe that God is so perfect that He can erase evil from the universe with nothing but a murmur of His divine power, taking it from our flesh and spirit like a passing smoke, and leaving us purified without having to live an entire life of suffering and confusion! Yes, I believe, but where is God in all of this? Of course, when I ask this, Christians simply respond with a glazed look, a few quotes from the Bible, and a condescending shake of the head. Ask God, they say, Read your Bible! they say. I find it amazing that a Republican can answer almost every difficult question posed to him or her about President Bush and his failed War on Terror, and that a gay man can argue, with intelligence and evidence, that his sexual preference is biologically inherited and as natural as heterosexuality, but that I have yet to meet a Christian who can offer any sort of intelligent argument for their faith or their dogma. And, believe me, I don t think that people should be forced to argue over their beliefs or their faith, except when that system of belief is used to judge and segregate the entire world. So a Christian will tell me that I am living in sin because I am having sex with my fiancé before marriage. I ask her, Why? She responds: Because God says it s a sin. It s not taking place within the sacred bounds of marriage. So I say, Does it count that I love her? She says, No! Love isn't t enough! You have to be married! So I go away and get married by a Buddhist monk in Tibet, then come back and say, Okay, now I m married and we are having sex. Is that OK? She says: No! Buddhism is not Christianity! It s a pagan religion and closer to secular humanism and spiritualism than anything else! You are still committing a sin because now you are worshiping false gods! Buddha is not God! So then I say, But am I married? Can we have sex without it being a sin? And so it goes on and on until one of two things happen: either the Christian will glaze over and start quoting scriptures to me without any intelligent discourse on why pre-marital sex is actually sinful, or why Buddha couldn't t validate our marriage (I suppose love is only real if it s ordained by a Christian?).

But, I am getting off track, here. My point is this, and it s really simple: If there is a God that is all powerful and all-knowing, then He either decides to ignore the suffering of innocents or He simply is powerless to affect it. Either way, it means that I need to redefine my relationship to this God and how much of my life I am willing to trust in His hands. If God can t (or worse: won t) stop a little girl from being gang-raped in the Sudan and then bludgeoned to death by soldiers, how in the hell am I supposed to believe that He is going to stop my own son from being hit by a car or mauled by a pit bull or accidentally shot while he walks down the street? This has been the scariest thing for me: admitting that God does not protect us, maybe can t protect us, and that every day, every hour, we keep living is simply because of the choices we make in our lives, informed or uninformed, wise or foolish. I have reached the point where I believe there is too much suffering and evil in the world for me to keep praising a divine being that chooses to do nothing to address these evils. Children are molested, women raped, boys tortured, entire communities burned to the ground, nations gripped by poverty and famine, the poor oppressed, the weak abused and exploited, and all while God stares on: all-knowing, all-seeing, and all-powerful.

In the end what shames me the most is realizing how many people, including myself, have used the mythology of God to validate their inaction and apathy. People hide behind God and blame Him for their own selfishness. I don t see armies of Christians sweeping through the Sudan, bringing relief and justice to the oppressed; I don t see churches donating thousands to alleviate hunger or poverty; I don t see Christians working to bring child molesters and rapists to justice. What I do see is a very convenient excuse for being self-absorbed: after all, if God is going to take care of everything, why worry about your neighbor?

My main issue is that, if there is a God, and He is all powerful, there is no reason, no hidden wisdom, and no mysterious truth behind the simple, brutal fact of human suffering and its seemingly endless cycles. Some of make choices to suffer because we are foolish, or selfish, or ignorant. But children? Do they truly choose to be abducted, raped, molested, tortured, and killed? Can a God that is filled with love, justice, and Light truly turn away from a single, screaming, bleeding child and still be trusted? What if it were my child? What if it were yours?

So, moving forward and facing my fears, my questions, I am redefining the ways in which I believe in God. There IS a Power in the Universe, but I am not so sure that I believe it s the God of Abraham that I was taught about.

Joined: I was born into it.
Left: I'm not sure that I have actually ceased - but I am wavering.
Was: Christian
Now: Spiritualist, Mystic, Pagan
Converted: Again, I was born into it.
De-converted: We have to act if we want to live in a different world
email: hades3030 at yahoo dot com


Anonymous said...

I understand your deep troubles with defining why a god with so much power would let such destruction run havic on his people. It makes no logical sense why would he sit back and let all of this happen. It is a question that has plagued humanity for much time.

Yet, in the begininng we learn that there was a time when god took suffering out of life. We betrayed him and he took us out of the garden of eden. Now this may sound a little strange but because of our being cut off from the garden we inherit sin. Sin is basically the things you were explaining in your testimony. He also granted us free will. This free will can be used to help by a man deciding not to take advantage of a child or to take advantage. Now because we have inherited sin many things such as disease, mental illnesses, and other psychological disorders exist. Its not so much gods way of punishing us as it is the way the world is made. We are not perfect beings anymore and our minds are somewhat corrupted by our ancestors. Feelings as greed, selfishness, and desire are all fed from our instinct to survive and that was necessary when we no longer had unlimited "mortal" life. Thus all of these feelings came from the initial sin.

Now as for you saying why doesnt god just stop things. well remember he gave us free will and if everytime we were about to screw up he reached down and prevented it it would take free will away, and why do we need free will? to see if we are worthy to be with our father in heaven.

Also as for your unlimited credit for sinning. You have to be truly sorry for your sins to recieve devine mercy. Some one who succumbs to the devil really wouldnt feel sorry because hes worshiping another entity or maybe he doesnt worship anything at all just his own personal desires. Well then he wouldnt feel sorry, and the gates of heaven are open to those who believe in the lord jesus christ.

Then for your whole thing on why dont chirstians do anything about those poor people in sudan. Well have you heard of mission trips. Sure there are plenty of people who just sit on money and dont help others and "claim" to be christian. Yet, you are looking at a personal choice and I would never say that hypocrites dont exist in the church. They are still human and will still do humanistic things. Also about the bush thing and the sudan thing they are politics. Its good to help trust me i believe that. But in politics you have pre made answers and those answers rarely get to the point. "watch" wag the dog. and well some people think they are sooooooo good because they are christian. I am a christian and i know i am full of sin, but i ask for forgiveness and try to "change" my life for the better. Some people get caught up in tradition and don't really see the point of christianity. its too spread the love of god to your neihbors. Im sorry you are having difficulties in your faith and i hope this may help to a point. Just dont get caught up in all of the negatives in life and try to help out others. God does give blessings but suffering will always exist as long as man and sin walk the earth.

Anonymous said...

Wow--that was simply BEAUTIFUL, anonym-ass 2:45! Consider yourself poster-child of the day for Christianity! And while you're at it, also consider yourself Target-Boy for the day, too.

Stick around, it'll only be a matter of time. LMAO!

But to get the ball rolling---I would say that anybody who posits that "disease" is the result of "sin", is an insensitive ignorant prick. Guess what?...there's THOUSANDS of different denominations of your pathetic cult, Christianity..... and none of them---NONE OF THEM---can agree on what "sin" even is.

Just the fact that you cannot even see the hypocrisy in that, ALONE, exploits your ignorance, let alone the rest of your tired-ass post. NOW git!

Anonymous said...

I've made this remark before.....there is no such thing as sin.

Sin was created by the same men who created religion, etc. Xians can't decide what's a sin just like they can't define what a "true xian" is. It is in the mind of the "believer". And the believer always uses their religion and their definitions to their own benefit.

PS: The garden of eden didn't exist, either.

webmdave said...

"We betrayed him..."

I don't know about you, but I don't recall being in any Garden and told not to eat an apple.

Besides, this so called god of yours made the garden, made the apple (or whatever fruit it was), made the tree, put the talking snake there, pointed it all out to the man and woman, knew exactly what was going to happen, and then stepped back and let it happen.

I put some chocolate on the floor by my dog's dish. I told the dog "no-no." I left the chocolate there and left for the day.

When I returned, my dog had eaten the chocolate.

So, I beat the dog mercilessly, and threw him in my roaring fireplace.

Damned dog.

Oh, and the dog's puppies?

They ended up in the fireplace too.

webmdave said...

"...he gave us free will..."

Your phoney god created people with a propensity to disobey him, put them in a situation where they WOULD disobey him, and then blamed them for doing exactly what he knew they would do.

Free will?

No -- cruel manipulation.

Your god is a monster.

Anonymous said...

Yes, Webmaster, Mr. Omniscient created the Garden, the props, the setting, the characters, the circumstances...hell, he created the whole universe!.....yet, Adam and Eve were "hiding" from God, in the Garden. "Where art thou?"

Hiding from God? Please! LMAO!!!

Shannon said...

It’s odd that most people don’t directly exercise their free will against your god. It seems that most people use their power against the weak or the innocent. And yet the innocent have no counter against other people’s free will. The victim gets no choice in their suffering. But then your god does seem to hold suffering as a virtue.

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