There are those who say people who turn away from their faith, due to any circumstance, and leave it all-together, never had any faith to begin with. Five years ago, I might have gone along with that. Today, though, I think the matter if far more complex. I’ve literally been through, shall we say, hell and back, with my faith. I would like to blame my spiritual journey to the edge of darkness and a return on someone, or something, but I can’t. Oh, I could, but I am slowly coming to learn that faith is an evolutionary process. Some days we have it, and some days we don’t. The real problem is that religion gets in the way. When I first started dealing with what was going on in my life, my narcissistic approach was why is God mad at me. Then, that morphed into what I was doing wrong. I had some very good conversations with very good friends, almost alienating a few in the process. I’m a talker and a compulsive seeker of discussion when pushed into a corner. Like many women, I need to discuss it. I want to examine every little thing to the point where I drove people away, making them crazy. I made myself crazy during the process.
I complained a lot. I was furious with God. We are taught that we are not to be angry with God. Our superstition is that He is omnipotent, knows everything, and controls all aspects of our life. I still believe God is omnipotent. If you doubt it, just go outside and look at the night sky. I double dare you not to believe in a Creator. Many years ago I rejected predestination. Sorry, but God gave us free will, and the ability to reject Him. That’s the beauty of it. If you love someone, enough, you must be willing to let them go. He is willing to let us go. A wise and beneficent God is not going to demand we worship Him. Those who don’t believe in Him, and have a serious problem with Christianity, don’t quite get it. I truly believe they are at war with themselves, and what they believe, telling themselves that God is not love, but a cruel, and vengeful God.
One of my favorite philosophical pursuits is contemplating the nature of God. I suspect, over the years, I watched far too much Star Trek, it helped me come to grips with the very nature of the Creator. I don’t think we can contemplate His nature unless we bring cosmology and even science fiction into the mix. Religion is too confining. Contemplating the Creator requires science fiction. Religion just doesn’t have the language, the capacity to engage the imagination, to realize that there are thousands upon thousands of galaxies, the vast infinity of space, with, just in our galaxy alone, ‘near’ us, a vast collection of planets which are capable of sustaining life as we know it. We are literally dealing with numbers and distances so vast, even the mind of a Vulcan can barely grasp all of creation, all of the universe.
The Creator who managed to conceptualize the vastness of this universe, the galaxies, stars, planetary systems and our own fairly humble corner of the Milky Way is not to be underestimated. That’s the problem with religion, it underestimates the power, majesty, and vastness of our Creator. Religion hamstrings God. It makes Him petty, pathetic, little, and a shadow of what He truly is. Religion gets in the way of what we should believe. If we are to be absolutely honest, religion is a tool of evil. More damage is done, more lives destroyed, more civilizations upended by godly men of religious zealotry than by any other reason. Religion can be a tool for destruction, of nations, countries, communities, families, and the individual. What so many fail to understand, or don’t want to understand is that which is evil, destructive, unsavory, or wrong does not come from God. God is good. God is love.
Oh, but you say, God is cruel and vengeful, causing men to turn on men, to butcher, slaughter, and destroy. People do that. I’ve noticed that the atheist crowd who truly hates anything to do with Christianity are the worst. They’re also terribly intellectually dishonest in listing the genocidal rantings of a God of hatred and vengeance.
First, we are not dealing with a kinder, and gentler era during the Bible. It was written from the very early days of civilization, barely out of the Neolithic period, and maybe still in it. The world was not even in the Bronze age. Civilization may have existed in some form or another, but humanity had yet to evolve. Modern man did not exist. One of the problems with critics of the Old Testament is that they fail to comprehend the fact that ancient man did not think like modern man, with modern day sensibilities. Unfortunately, even Christians who are truly devout, don’t quite want to understand if God is truly omnipotent, all wise, then He will have changed how He approached humanity as we evolved and changed.
God is Love. God is all-loving and all knowing. He is a compassionate God. He also gives us that precious free will. He also gave us the ability to walk away, if we want to walk away, and turn our back on Him. We are not His slaves. We are his beloved children. The way He approaches humanity in the New Testament is so different from the Old Testament. There is only one logical reason for this: Jesus of Nazareth. If we believe in His only begotten son we have eternal life.
He allows us to doubt him.
He allows us to complain.
We can be angry with him.
We can lose faith.
We can walk away, and come back.
We can stomp off.
There are things He requires. We are to love Him, and love our neighbors as ourselves. We are to forgive others. That’s the rub, we are to forgive if we wish to be forgiven. But – what about alleged christians who, in the name of Christ, destroy lives, ruin families, crash faith, and leave a wake of shattered souls in their wake? When alleged christians demand their followers do as they require, ignoring the Bible, are they really Christians?
When alleged christians make life a living hell for their innocent flocks, causing them to walk away, and turn their back on Christ, is at fault? Are those poor souls who have walked away from Christ as endangered as are the men and women who destroyed their faith?
After the past five years of my life, I have come to believe that faith can be destroyed. Mine has been. I don’t think we have real faith until it has been destroyed, and gradually built back up, again. Mine has been shattered. I’ve come to view Job as my BFF. Been there, done that, sort of. I like Job. I like the fact that God lets him bitch and moan, complain, and basically be such a complaining jerk that he alienates nearly all of his friends. Been there and done that, too. Faith is what we make of it. I am learning about rebuilt faith. I’m getting there, but it is not an easy process.
I truly hope and pray those who have walked away from Christ, will one day return. I also pray that the alleged godly christian men and women who have ruined their lives and shattered their faith will somehow realize what they have done is wrong, and return to Christ. I also pray those who have been shattered will find it in their hearts to forgive. There are so many of these destroyed souls who are hurting, disparate to find peace. They never will, until they forgive.