I write about my life. Saucily.

Monday, September 05, 2005

An ending fitting for the start, you twist and tore our love apart.

Religion. I'd wax poetic if I thought it had it in me, but unfortunately (or fortunately, as I view it) I've mostly given that up. Even my poetry doesn't even wax poetic half the time.

I don't know. So many people try to flower things up to make them interesting, when in reality I know for a fact that my religious quandary is of interest only to myself. And if I know my friends well enough, I know that they probably don't even want to hear about it. Which is fine with me at the moment - I also know better than to assume that they could ever understand.

Some people get it and some people don't. That's the way most things work, religion especially. You won't get why it cuts me so deep and you won't get why I can't just turn my back on it unless you've experienced it like I have. And I don't just mean going to church. There are tons of people who go to church and then one day just walk away from it without thinking twice. You have to go to church and actually believe it. Believe what's being said with every fiber of yourself, whether of your own volition or because you've been taught to. You have to believe.

That's the part that people don't understand when they tell me that I should just walk away. They didn't go to church, or if they did they never wanted to and didn't pay attention to any of it anyway. It means next to nothing to them. But for me, it meant something, and even if it I don't believe it now the echoes of it are still there in everything I do or think.

I believed it. I really did. For years I never questioned it. It was what I'd grown up with; what I'd always been told was true; and I never thought that any of it might be wrong. Until I really started thinking. Until that time when I met people who went against what I had always been told was right, and I was faced with the unbelievable idea that these wonderful people could suffer eternally just for being who they were.

I can't remember if I ever felt the icy finger of dread at that first moment of doubt. I can't remember if I felt anything - a kind of foreboding - that this was only the first step into another world of thinking and believing. Maybe I did, and maybe I didn't. I certainly kept up the facade for long enough. These people, the people that I knew, would be fine. Of course they would be fine. It was different for them.

And slowly but surely, over the passage of years, I changed. I stopped accepting and started asking. Why was it so? Why would a God of mercy and love condemn so many of his children? Why would so many people who only tried their best and did what they thought was right be sent to burn? It made no sense to me.

That was the most frightening part, I think. The Hell part. That's when it all twisted and I saw that I wasn't the same. I had already changed my opinions on so many things - homosexuality, premarital sex, dress code, body modification... but it was the Hell part that was and is the most frightening question for me.

It's just such a big thing to question. Questioning God's position (strange thing to say; he's not a politician after all) on homosexuality and the others was easier - it's a gray area. Who knows? But Hell? That's one of the big ones. Questioning its existence leads to the questioning of Christianity itself. Doesn't it? It feels that way.

I believe in God. I believe in Jesus. But beyond that I'm starting to realize that I don't know what I believe. Or rather, I do, but I don't know what it all adds up to.

I don't want to be condemned for questioning. I don't want to be condemned for thinking that everybody is okay and everybody can make it. I don't want to be condemned for loving. But will I be?

I don't know.


Blogger Alana Asby Roberts said...

Hey, I hope you're not offended that I'm commenting on your personal blog. I don't know who you are, so you're safe. I just roam around reading blogs. Reason is, I have an ambition to be a writer and I get so much understanding of how people work by reading these things.

I don't usually comment but I had to say something to you because your pain about religion rings so true with me. I grew up in church, too. I invested a ton of time, emotional energy, and whatnot into church and everything it taught. My first church basically saw itself as 100% right about everything. I knew this was impossible but I was afraid to question anything because I thought, if they can be wrong about one thing, why couldn't they be wrong about everything? I was afraid of being completely lost in a meaningless world. But I started to question anyway, searching for answers. Now I can't even find a church I'm comfortable in anymore. And yes, it hurts. I questioned everything, including your hell question.

Now I'm very independant from religious teachers and I judge things for myself, not like I used to be. I still keep my belief in the Bible, though. Not unquestioningly, just that I came to be satisfied about it. I read a lot of theology too.

The hell quesiton is the worst one, and I think most Christians have the wrong attitude about it. We tend to think that it's basically the most important part of the religion. Reason is, we think that mankind is the most important thing in the Universe, so saving people from hell must be the most important thing we can do. Actually, understanding God and Christ is the most important part of the religion - that, and being reconciled with God. Great Christians, such as C.S.Lewis, questioned hell, too. You should remember that God didn't reveal it until the New Testament. It's a hard doctrine and if you are struggling with it that doesn't mean you have to abandon your faith. But nothing is more important than God, and nothing is uglier or more dangerous than a false god. So theological questions are worth working on. Don't just float off, please. Paul said, "Let God be true and every man a liar". That even means your church. Every church in the world could be wrong, if only God were true then it would all be OK.

If you care for some reading suggestions, try C.S. Lewis' the Chronicles of Narnia. It's a gentle way of understanding the nature of God and why things are the way they are. Also, The Great Divorce, by the same author. John Piper's "The Pleasures of God" could be important to you. Then you may want to tackle Jonathan Edwards "The End for Which God Created the World" and if you can find the list he made in which he answered common objections to Christianity, it may help clear things up with you.

God be kind to you, Lass!

4:07 PM


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