Trying to find peace in my soul

sent in by Thomas

I was born into a evangelical family. I became a Christian at age 12,
it was an enormous relief after years of being desperate to know I was a
Christian and no longer facing hell. Through my teenage years I was
100% convinced and read the Bible every day. I was persecuted at school
for my faith but always turned the other cheek when beaten up, which was
not a very successful strategy. At Univerisity I was president of the
Christian Union and led the "mission" to promote Christianity to the
lost students. Nothing made me happier than seeing people come to faith
and find salvation.

I married very young, believing it was better to marry early rather
than risk falling into sin. We attended Church early in our marriage 5 or
6 times a week. The first tremor to shake my faith was a few years
later when I found out that the leader I most respected in the church had
been committing not just a sordid sin but something that was criminal as
well. Furthermore the pastor had known for over a year and had decided
not to challenge him. This experience was devastating and I was
appalled at how the gospel had been brought into disrepute.

We later joined a great church which was growing rapidly and was a
loving and caring community, but I now had conflicting thoughts in my head
about what the truth was.

The next body blow was at the graveside of my baby son. My pastor could
give no assurance as to the eternal destiny of my child, who of course
never believed in Christ. He just said we should trust God. Terrible as
this is I think it does reflect what the Bible says - the age of
accountability is not in there and all are born in sin. I did feel comfort
that people were praying for us, and for the futile jestures of endless
pre-cooked dinners. But after this as the months went by and my wife
suffered horrible grief and pain, and doubt, and believed that she must be
a terrible mother if it was "working together for good" for God to kill
our child.

This started a new phase in my spirituality. I started to really think
about Hell. It is a truely awful and hideous concept, after a billion
years of torture you can only look forward to a billion times as much
pain again. I started to resent the fact my other son, who despite my
investment in Christian schooling, says he does not believe the scriptures
although he believes in God might end up there. It was very hard to
love a God who would allow my son to end up there when he is all powerful
and surely could avoid this happening. I then started thinking about
all the other millions of unbelievers - what about the devout Muslim
teenager who was overwhelmed by the tsumani - why should he have to wake up
in Hell. I stood by Stone Henge that summer and (I am not becoming a
new age hippy BTW) and thought of the hundreds of people who must have
worked on it who were born with a 100% chance of not finding Christ or
Yahweh and hence were going to be tortured for eternity. Or what about my
loving Grandparents who are within months of the abyss right now. This
thinking about hell which I don't think Christians really do, created
severe doubts. An omnipotent, all loving God and the Biblical Hell just
don't fit together.

At this time I increased my reading of science and history and saw
that, while the evolutionary story (for me) really fails to explain how and
why we got here, equally there seems to be compelling evidence that God
did not create the world 6000 years ago as I had always believed. Why
are mammal fossils never found in the cambrian, why are like fossils
always together, what was Homo Erectus doing wondering the earth, why are
there ice cores with 700,000 annual melt rings, why can we see things a
million light years away? Equally Christianity, and my brand of it in
particular, was really a minority part of history, had the living and
loving God really left so many people in the dark?

These doubts, and the increasing feeling that ignoring them is an act
of dishonesty not an act of faith are really hurting. My whole family
life and friendships are based around Christianity and to "come out"
could have devastating effects. Also what is the alternative? The
foundation of my world view is shattering and life seems senseless at times. I
still at times fear Hell and even writing this although it is genuine
feels blasphamous.

Have have never just the internet like this before but welcome comments
of ex or current Christians that might help



Was: evangelical, reformed
Now: agnostic, seeking the truth, doubting christian
Converted because: Believed it to be the truth
De-converted because: Suspect it is not the truth

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