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I took a deep breath, walked a short distance, turned around and realized my reality had fallen to bits...
I've been frequenting this site quite a lot lately, amazed and relieved that there are others out there. And reading some of your testimonies I realize that most if not all of you were "true" Christians, although I've found most Christians deny this fact and say otherwise.
I think right now I'm stuck in a transitioning process, still open minded to both sides.
There are still books to be read and thoughts to examine. However, I'm tired of trying to shove mashed potatoes through a small pin hole -- it's frustrating and brings great fatigue and confusion.
I realize all that I have based my belief on is unfounded and shows my great ignorance.
I grew up in a Christian home my whole life. I've attended a Baptist church ever since I was a small child. I even went to a Christian high-school. I was saved when I was about six years old -- I think, for fear of going to hell. Who wants to go there, right? But as I grew older my faith became real to me.
I started growing in a deeper relationship with God; I prayed; I read the Bible; I tried to be a good witness; I loved Jesus/God with all of my heart. I even went to Bible school, where I began to understand the Bible at a deeper level then I ever had before.
It was one of the best experiences of my life, other than them trying to pound and pound into me the insignificance of a female, reiterating the fact many times over. I almost left at one point because of that, yet still, I loved it. I came home, became involved in my church youth group and children's Sunday school.
I've always been a big questioner. I have always questioned a lot about the Bible, but I guess I excepted most answers I got, or brushed them off as things too great for me to understand. I know what I write next may not settle with some of you. You may not agree, and that is fine, but it's part of my journey that led me to where I am now. I began looking into the food I ate: all the wonderfully toxic things the food manufacturers puts in the overly processed crap they feed us. I began to understand the corruption of the food industry, the pharmaceutical companies, and eventually the government itself, and the world. I realized how ignorant the Christians I knew were, and not to start any nasty political debate, but it infuriated me to no end the blind loyalty of Christians to president "Christian" Bush. I have poured myself into much research... and well... the evidence seems to speaks for itself.
Other things that got to me was the great hypocrisy of Christians. It sickens me. And, is there no error to be seen in bribing a teenager to do their quiet time for money?! That is what my youth group does. Does it not say in the Bible that the love of money is the root of all evil? I say my youth group because, unfortunately, I am still volunteering there. Ah, the hypocrite I am.
This whole experience is very recent for me and all I know and have grown up with are Christians. I stand to lose everything I have ever known, and though the truth is worth it, I just can't bring myself to make any rash decisions right now. My husband thinks I've gone a bit loony, but feels everyone should search for truth. My grandparents are sure to die of shock if/when they find out. My parents will cry and tell me they are praying for my return, and will call upon their fellow prayer warriors to join in. And my brother will probably never venture near me again.
The basis of my faith has mainly been built around my "experience" with God. I felt his presence and He answered my prayers, or so I thought. I felt the highs you can get from singing worship songs. After reading that it was nothing more than chemicals and stuff -- endorphins or something released in your body -- I was shocked and didn't want to believe it. But, it was true. I could get that same feeling from admiring the strength of the sun or from listening to other forms of music. I also realized God was my sugar pill. I would lay in bed, and if I thought I heard someone outside, I would become a little frightened (the little baby I am) and so I would pray for God's protection and would envision him holding me in his hands. And peace would set in. It suddenly dawned on me that it was me who gave myself the peace. It was all in my head. I was like a child with an imaginary friend.
This, among other things really got me thinking.
So anyway, the "experiential" part of my faith couldn't hold water. So, what of the bible and it's truth? Well I have many issues with it, and no longer can I push them away. God is love, but he kills, promotes rape, promotes polygamy, is sexist...etc... just the same stuff a lot of people get hung up on I guess. I always brushed it all away. "Who are you to question God?" I told myself. Well, if God made people to think and reason, it seems mighty cruel of him to make things so utterly confusing, so much so that a person thinking logically could rightfully deny His existence. Besides that point, It seems I would be trusting in man more than the God by believing the Bible. It was man who physically wrote it; man who copied it; man who decided upon which writings should go into the Bible. And it was no easy decision. Who says they were right?? Plus, the Bible is so confusing, everyone disagrees on what it means to say. Almost every single issue can be taken more than one way, it seems, thus the many denominations we see out there.
So if the Bible is truth, why isn't it clear? Why do we need a trained pastor who sorts it all out for us? And where is the Holy Spirit guiding the Christian in truth, if all Christians differ on their views?
I didn't realize Christians could fall away simply because they did some deep, realistic thinking. I always thought it was because they wanted to sin or because some trial in their life caused them to question God's love. I have desired a life where I could choose what I wanted to do apart from the Bible, and I have had many heartbreaking experiences, but neither of these caused my lack of faith. It was only courage to face what I didn't want to know, and a little critical thinking.
I gave up witnessing and trying to defend my faith even farther back. I realized the futility of it, and also, I had no facts, no evidence, no nothing to back things up. I couldn't answer important questions. I had no business trying to convince someone else of something that I couldn't really understand.
Before looking into my faith, I had researched and learned everything else up until this point in my life had been a lie (that's a whole long story that I will leave be) -- like the Matrix -- but I still had God, right? I didn't have the guts to look under the last rock, to explore the last corner. But, I had occasionally stumbled upon things, and they stuck in my head, nagging at me, 'till I had a whole pile of nagging little things overcoming me. I couldn't fit my reality into the Bible, but I didn't want to go to Hell!
And, I wanted there to be a wonderful heaven awaiting me!!!
But just because that is what I wanted didn't mean it existed, so I got up the courage to explore the forbidden areas of life. I struggled. I was depressed. I cried a little, but it didn't last long, maybe because subconsciously I had been conditioning myself for the truth (or what if it's because maybe I haven't fully cut myself off from my belief in life after death, so I still have a small bit of hope? But I thought I came to terms with that..oh..my goodness..there my mind goes).
My pastor has always told us not to look into things that would hinder our faith. I had listened obediently, scared that something would... Ha, no wonder he tells us that, for there my faith went -- flew right away, and now I am left wondering now what life is all about.
Sticking ones head in the sand leads only to great ignorance, if truth is truth then it will stand firm in all storms, no? So, at last, the final petal has fallen. It seems I have truly been re-born. Freedom from the stress of trying cover up or explain away things that don't make sense in light of the bible.
I know my story is a bunch of ramblings. Sorry for that. I know I don't make complete sense. I say I'm free from my past, but yet, I don't think I'm fully free from its grip. Once in a while I feel a sharp pain in my heart, and I want to run back. I struggle with wondering if it's just the 23 years of brainwashing that does this to me. Reading certain things, or hearing certain things, brings me back to that time I walked with Jesus. The mind is a powerful thing and I don't want it to get in the way of reason, but ah, that is what I reason with.
Does your desire become your reality? Do I feel a unique freedom without Christ and not want to go back, and so I will make my way right in my head? Or do I really know the truth, but am just struggling with letting it go for good because it has been my whole life.
I think... that I think...
There is perhaps some book out there that can make right what I have said doesn't make sense about the Bible. And so if evidence shows itself, I'm willing to open-mindedly look into it. But I doubt there is, and I don't see how I could ever go back to my ignorant ways. But there are some great wise people who have believed in Jesus, and it makes me wonder if they knew something I didn't.
Am I missing something or have I given up too easily?
Am I being biased because I like where I'm at, or do I?
I'm sorry for the lack of sense in my writing. Please don't judge my inconsistencies or ramblings. I'm in a state of confusion, and I simply cannot interpret my thoughts correctly, much less get them in writing. Maybe I'm just having withdrawal symptoms and do not know how to deal with them. I do know that I have hard times ahead. I hate fake people, and right now I am the epitome of the very thing I despise, although I'm not a very good faker, so I don't know how long I can do it.
No one knows but my husband. I freely told him because I knew he'd be OK with it, because he never had the same type of personal relationship I did with Christ -- a curse for me throughout our marriage, but now a blessing (lol). But as for everyone else...urgh, I don't even want to think about it. It will certainly be hell...
Online Reading List
- An Outline of Intellectual Rubbish by Bertrand Russell (1943)
- Bible Teaching and Religious Practice by Mark Twain
- God is Imaginary
- Is there an Artificial God? by Douglas Adams (1998)
- Skeptics Annotated Bible
- The Age of Reason by Thomas Paine (1795)
- Which Way? by Robert Ingersoll (1884).
- Why I Am Not A Christian by Bertrand Russell (1927)