An omnipresent recluse

sent in by Kevin

Why did I loose my faith? To be honest, there was no single reason, no silver bullet that turned me from a serious, bible believing Christian to a self-professing agnostic/atheist. My faith struggle took place over a period of three years, and was the result of many different reasons. I will cover some of them in later posts, but one of the main causes can be summed up by a quote in Philip Yancey’s Disappointment With God. Yancey recounts the true story of Richard, a young Christian writer who looses his faith after a long and painful struggle with his belief. Yancey records Richard as saying: “How can you have a personal relationship if you’re not sure the other person even exists?” This was the exact problem I had – dealing with a hidden friend.

I started to slide from my faith when I realised that although I was talking a lot to God, I wasn’t hearing much in reply. As a believer, I was expected to share my all with God, every thought and desire; but in return he didn’t share his every thought or intention with me. Many times I asked for guidance and answers to specific questions, and all I received were the same old verses that were simply too vague. I was expected to speak to him directly - God should have had no problem hearing my prayers - but in return I had to work hard to decipher and decode ambiguous messages through sermons, the Bible, and other Christians.

As a result I was almost always uncertain of what God was trying to say to me individually. I must have prayed countless times and spent many mornings talking to God. In all those years I only once ‘heard’ a clear and direct message to me, through a single Bible verse that popped up two or three times from different sources in a single week. A thought occurred to me: was this a real message to me from God, or was it just my imagination creating faces out of random static? Only one clear message in 13 years! I suddenly got tired of being in a one-way relationship, where I did all the work and got little in return. I then started to doubt if God cared for me at all, or if he even existed.

I believe it was Emily Dickinson who said "They say God is everywhere, and yet we always think of him as somewhat of a recluse."

I was taught that God is a constant companion who will never leave your side. I wonder why I struggled so much to hear him, then, if he is supposed to be so close by.


Memoirs of an ex-Christian:


Anonymous said...

I can personally attest to having the same dismal "relationship" with God.

I now get quite a kick from the "it's not a religion, it's a relationship" line given by the drones.

From what other person would we ever tolerate such a "relationship"?

Jesus said, "You are my friends if you do whatsoever I command you." Well, if I had a bunch of people doing everything I told them to do, I'd consider them friends, too! Talk about one-sided.

One of my complaints of theism is this: is it such a problem for God to manifest itself to its adherents when they need it? If Jesus can come down once, he can certainly materialize (perhaps in some spiritual sense, because he'd no doubt be multitasking and visiting many people at the same time) at any time for his people who need him.

And for that matter-- Why should the church be run by humans? Let real angels be preaching. Let Christ be visibly sitting in the front. LET US FREAKING EXPERIENCE YOU, for crying out loud.

I'd say that if my wife has a legitimate grievance about my not talking to her enough (and she does), then I had a legitimate grievance that God wouldn't talk back to me.

Interpersonal relationships break down all the time from the same communication failures: "Not listening," "Not talking," "Not being there when I need you." So, since human relationships break down for these reasons, it makes sense that supposed God/Human relationships should break down (i.e., the human loses faith).

Anonymous said...

Hey Kevin,I think maybe your just too "sane" to hear from a non-existing god.I have volumes and volumes of words and prohecies on paper I thought I recieved from god.I prophecied at church & evangelical meetings etc..
These manifestations were of of couse just zealous, narssistic
audio halucinations,...I suffered fron un-medicated bi-polar syndrome
Many prophesies I gave over 20 yrs. were ones I had recieved from other ministers.They were all superficial, general and would apply to anyone.
Personal relationship with an imaginery diety is called mental illness ,or at least,...foolish!
peace, freedy

Anonymous said...

Welcome, Kevin! Thanks for your post. It all makes sense, doesn't it? Trying to make sense out of the faith that christian leaders say is the cornerstone of their religion is like banging your head against the wall. Definition of crazy: "doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result".

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