While I'm breathing...

I tell people that I believe in a creator when in all actuality, I honestly dont know if I do or not. I once held a pastors license, played in a praise band, held a position as a youth sponsor and proudly proclaimed christianity as my foundation for life itself.

I was repeatedly lied to by my church and began to doubt everything. There were so many unanswered questions regarding the bible and faith. I couldn't just set the many other faiths and religions aside and focus on a single one. I began to understand that we are what we know and nothing more, that every belief is nothing more than an opinion, based on a learned pattern.

How could one belief system assume any form of damnation onto another? If a creator exists, how is right and who is wrong, with regard to what the creator expects of us?

Who has been lied to? Who has been given only part of the story? Who was given the rest? Are all faiths nothing more than a crutch, a place to believe in something? Yes? No? Who got the correct information and who has been led to believe nothing more than an intricate system of fiction?

Who is responsible? I have no idea!

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  • I am with you! I used to believe, now I do not. My boyfriend is Jewish, he believes in it because that's what has been ingrained in him all his life. I was raised christian, I believed in it for the same reasons my boyfriend believes on his religion. So who is right who is wrong? Like you, the contradictions in the bible raised too many questions for me. I think humans want to believe in something, anything to make them feel better. Like the whole heaven thing, no one truly knows what happens after death. But fear makes people want to believe they will be ok in heaven. It's all just a big mess.

  • I could write for hours on the topics you raise -- all valid, all important -- and quote scripture and cite learned biblical scholars and offer my personal views on all of them, and not give you a single answer that could withstand the rigors of intellectual analysis, much less, the scientific method. Unfortunately, or fortunately, depending on one's perspective, the answers to all the questions aren't designed to withstand those sorts of examinations. If they were, if they could be proven to you or to anyone asking the questions, they would be facts. And a "belief" in the answers would, then, be meaningless. And a reliance on those answers would require no faith.

    A part of the problem is that man is an intensely-flawed delivery vehicle for the word and the love of the God he claims to worship (those who so proclaim). As they say, there's nothing wrong with Christianity that couldn't be solved by getting all the Christians out of it, and that is perfectly true: we continue to make a mess of the entire affair of religion, we are our own worst enemy, and we give the notion of a belief in God a very bad name. I'm extremely sorry that you had such difficulty with your church; I truly am. I'd love to say that your experience was unique or rare or aberrant, but you already know that's untrue. But I think you also know that the problem was the product of man, and man alone: whether or not you still believe in God, the trouble in your situation was rooted in the hearts and minds of failed and failing humans, not any superior being.

    Despite your disillusionment and disappointment, I sense that there is a part of you still hoping, still wanting to believe. All I can offer you is two recommendations. First, reconnect with a friend, teacher, mentor, seminary professor, someone you knew and admired and respected and whose faith you once aspired to or emulated. You needn't tell him or her of your doubt: just talk and listen. That may reconnect you to what you felt when you found your way into the life of the ministry. And second, forgive. Forgive all those who treated you so unforgivably, all those who totally do not deserve to be forgiven for their abysmal behavior, and let them go. Once you've put yourself in the emotional posture of forgiving, you may be able to look upward and see what you saw when you knew -- as a fact, in the life of a believer -- that God was God and that he loves you.

    Best wishes.

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