Sunday, May 15, 2016

Losing my religion

I can’t remember the exact moment I lost my faith, or for that matter, why I even began searching. But I did, and once you start down that treacherous path, you can never return. Oh, you can try. Hell, You may even convince yourself it was all just a trick of the enemy, but deep down inside you’ll know the truth, and the truth is there are no answers….. just questions. And that’s the damnable thing about losing one’s religion, the loss of absolute truth, and the emptiness it brings. But out of that initial emptiness, there is a hope - at least in my experience - that transcends the feelings of loss and replaces it with wonder.
You know the fear and anxiety that take over the moment the roller coaster reaches it’s peak, and no amount of wishful thinking can postpone the inevitable. Well, it’s a lot like that, but if you’re a believer, and you get it wrong - in your subconscious at least - there’s hell to pay! But for some reason unknown to me, despite all the years of teaching and indoctrination, I was willing to take that risk, and begin a journey of the soul that would change my life, and how I view the world forever. And like all good journeys of the soul, this one began with a book. Well, sixty-six books to be exact……. the Bible.
Yeah, you read that right, I said the Bible. But if you’re going to question your faith, or anything for that matter, you need to go the source, and for a born again, fundamentalist Christian, it’s the Bible. Of course, I was aware of the contradictions contained within it’s pages, but I repressed any real inquiry because that would be considered a lack of faith, and a lack of faith, like I stated earlier, is tantamount to eternal doom.
Now you have to understand, I was taught the bible was the literal, ineffable word of God, and if a story could be taken literally, then it must. So, Jonah and the whale, David and Goliath, Adam and eve and Noah’s ark, along with countless other stories were, in the church’s teaching, actual historical events. So, what should have been read as a great metaphorical story, was turned into a declaration of God’s character.
And God’s character it seems, is a little schizophrenic. Well, to be honest, it’s not God’s character I’m questioning. It’s religion’s. So when I speak of losing my faith, what I really mean is I’m losing my faith, or more precisely, I have lost my faith in religion, not God.
And like I stated earlier, it was the Bible itself that began my journey from fear to hope. And though I’ve never claimed to be a biblical scholar, I’m not ignorant either. Besides, it doesn’t take a scholar to figure out the bible is full of violent, misogynistic, homophobic stories that if taken literally, not only glorifies humanities travesties, but downright endorses them. But, and this is an important but, there are many, many verses that speak of God’s unconditional love, grace, mercy and forgiveness, and it is in these verses that my soul found solace.
But many a well meaning, legalistic, Christian, upon hearing my heretical thoughts, would inform me - with the wild abandon of a child left unattended in a candy store - that I couldn’t pick and choose which scripture verses to follow. Yes, God is a loving God, they would say, but he is also a righteous judge, and you can’t just dismiss that, Chris. God needs to be feared! After all, if God went about forgiving everybody with impunity, where would the world be? Later on I came to realize that what they were really saying was this: If God forgives and loves everyone unconditionally, where does that put me and my self righteous indignation? It’s a good question, and the answer is fully in the arms of grace.


  1. Very thoughtful post Chris. I've been right where you are buddy. And yes, the Bible is a very good place to start searching for answers. In my way of thinking religion has adopted the theory that God has the same attributes as men and women. I can well understand why that has become to be accepted widely by those who adhere to a religion. But I think that once one begins to attribute God with human characteristics they begin to lose sight of who and what God is. The human mind has to take in account that it can only truly understand what it thanks it sees and also has to have some kind of reference point to which to relate. A God that is prone to fits of anger and revenge is surely not the God I want to believe in. To me God is an impersonal force that always acts according to Its true nature. Like it states in the Bible God is no respecter of persons. That, I believe is why I cannot accept that God answers one person's plea for "blessings" and then turns around and says no to another's plea. To me the only prayer that needs to be uttered is "Thank You". God does have to be accepted on faith alone because our human minds cannot fathom anything that is infinite. I also refuse to accept a God that I have to be afraid of. Religion's interpretation of a God who needs to be "worshipped" by His own creation or otherwise they will be destroyed just doesn't make any sense to me. Who knows... I may be totally wrong in all I've said but if doing the best I can as a human being is not enough to "please" God then so be it. I'll never know by living only my dying will tell. One thing Chris, is that personally I am happy that you have the balls to stop believing everything someone else teaches you, and to be on that journey that will lead back to yourself. You have chosen the path that is by far the "hardest" one to take. But I feel it is the one that will lead you back home. Back home one day as you realize that all the questions you now have will fade away into the abyss of human thoughts. At that moment you will realize the "answers" have always been within you. Just keep on keeping on brother striving to become the very best human being you can. As humans I believe that is the best any of us can do. If God had not of wanted you to question the teachings of the "elders' I'm sure you would not be on the path you have chosen. Keep the faith brother.

  2. Thanks, Ron. Appreciate your input and guidance in my life.