The Eighth and Final Square

with courage face the thing you fear so the pawn becomes the queen

So there’s some huge debate thing going on with two sides. I don’t really know much about it, except it seems one side is pro-love and the other side is anti-pro-love-side.

I also gather that one side staunchly believes in the existence of hell (as in agony and flames for eternity), and the other side is questioning that. (If that’s not exactly right, don’t bother to correct me because these are my thoughts and I don’t really care who is saying what…it’s just that all this has made ME think.) Which really, I don’t think it’s a bad thing to question. Hell, I think even God should be questioned, because if he’s really God, he’ll hold up under it.

So then there’s other people, that say “if hell didn’t exist, would you still believe in God?” I guess that’s kind of nice to say, but is it really practical?

I admire the “pro-love” side because of…well, the love. It’s nice to be accepted and loved.

On the other hand, I’m seriously thinking…and honestly, at this specific point in my life, I can’t say I would want to love/obey/follow God if there was no hell. Why? Well, being raised in an extreme fear-based home, hell is why you need Jesus, because he saves you from it. You know, eternal life vs. death (whatever that means).

OK, let’s say there was no hell, no real consequence for bad actions. If there aren’t any eternal consequences, why bother trying to be “good”? Why chain yourself in the trappings of morality if there’s no reason to?

If there was no hell, I wouldn’t be afraid. I wouldn’t have to believe in something to save me from it, either, because whether or not God still existed, who’s to say I’d have to do whatever he wants?

Right now, the whole idea of “christianity” makes me feel stuck. I mean really…if there wasn’t the threat of hell, for me there would be no reason to believe in God. No real reason to try to imitate Jesus, unless it’s because he was a good person who helped people.

Certainly, if you take the examples of some so-called christian people as what the “new man” is supposed to be in Christ, you’re going to be very put off, as I am. My dad always said he hated christians because they were such hypocrites, and the only reason he decided to be one was because his mom said it was about living like Jesus, not living like the hypocrites.

But why? Why live like Jesus?

I’m getting tired of the circular belief that because the Bible says itself true, that wow, it must be true. In order to make sense, logic must be linear, not circular. Circular proves nothing.

I’ve read “A Case for Christ”. (Admittedly, a while ago, so I don’t remember much of it.) So you can scientifically prove the validity of the Bible? Nice…to what end? So you can believe in a God who damns people for stuff like loving someone of the same sex?

I’ve grown up with the whole Christian thing. I know all the pat answers (that my dad would say aren’t “pat” because he hated pat answers. haha.). But I don’t know what’s true or not. I don’t know what I believe, because I believe it, not because someone else told me.

I don’t like going to church because I feel like a fake. I don’t like listening to the pastor, because a lot of times it’s triggering, and even when it’s not, I feel like I’ve had enough preaching for one lifetime. I don’t like singing songs because I’m not sure if I really mean them.

I want to get away from it all, I want to not have to believe in all that. But it’s the fear of hell that brings me back in.

Fear of hell is the reason when I was six or seven, I thought I had to “confess” all the “sins” I could remember committing to God, so I could be “saved”.

Fear of hell is the reason I didn’t leave my parents’ house sooner.

Fear of hell is partly the reason I never killed myself. (Self-murder, you know.)

Fear of hell is the reason I didn’t leave when first presented the chance in May.

Fear of hell is the reason I’ve believed in God for 20+ years.

It’s like saying…ok, if there’s no such thing as gaining weight or getting sick…why SHOULDN’T I eat a whole carton of ice cream a day? You see?

So someone might say…”But you’ve said you’ve seen God work in your life!” How do I know it’s God? Someone else might say it’s a coincidence, Karma, luck, or something else. Or do they mean nothing good ever happens to anybody who doesn’t believe in God? (which is stupid.) Could it be Christians attribute stuff happening like that to God because they’re looking for stuff like that? Like, was it going to happen anyway…but since it happened to a Christian it was God; and if it had happened to a non-Christian it would have been something else?

That makes me think of something else; why pray? Sure, I know it’s supposed to be talking to God, blah blah, he’s your friend, blah blah, you talk to your friends, blah blah blah. But seriously, why? I mean, if he’s your friend and all…why doesn’t he answer? I thought that’s something that makes a good friendship, two-way communication? (Oh yeah there’s the bible…riiiight…unlike some people would have you believe, the bible does NOT have ALL the answers to life.)

A starving Christian prays for food. Maybe he’ll get it, maybe not. If he does, WOW, it’s God!

A starving atheist doesn’t pray for food. (OK maybe he does, haha, idk.) Maybe he gets food, maybe not. (Though in my cynicism, I’d say the atheist is more likely to get the food than the praying Christian…just how things seem to work.) If he does, YAY, he has food.

What’s the use of praying for something for five years, and getting it in the sixth? Maybe it wasn’t supposed to come for six years anyway, and you could have spent your praying time doing something else useful. But no, it’s an “answer to prayer”. So if a non-Christian got whatever they wanted after six years…is it still an answer to prayer, or is it just what was going to happen anyway??

Sigh. Tomorrow I’ll probably think “Oh I was being silly yesterday”, but even if I think that, it’s not true; some of this stuff I’ve been wondering for a while. I just haven’t had a place or the guts to say it. I think it would be ironic if after everything my parents did, that ultimately is what makes me turn from God…because seriously, that has a huge hand in why I’m thinking all this. (I never blame the women who DO turn from God because of growing up like me, too. Sometimes I almost envy them…because I’m still afraid.)

Then again, if none of the bad stuff happened, maybe I wouldn’t question why I believe or disbelieve all this stuff and go on through life not knowing.

(Hopefully this post wasn’t TOO disjointed.)

Phoenix On March - 10 - 2011

39 Responses so far.

  1. Joanna says:

    It is definitely not a bad thing to ask questions about God. What’s the point in life if you feel like you’re living a lie? You’re right, if God really is real, He will be able to stand up under opposition and questions.

    Good on you for being willing to question what you have always known yet don’t know if you always believed. How else will you know what is truth unless you question what claims to be?

    If you ever want to chat about it (talk about what my personal reasons are for believing it, or just to vent or share your questions, thoughts, fears), I am always available.

  2. Gloria says:

    ***hugs*** Oh hun…I’ve been there, too. It’s so agonizing- so many questions, and so much fear and uncertainty tied up in it.

    Chad has spent a lot of time on http://new.exchristian.net/ and http://friendlyatheist.com/ , searching for the answers to these questions. I had already pretty much intellectually de-constructed my faith in college, but chose to believe in spite of the questions. When Chad started questioning/walking away from the faith, I did some more examination of mine, and my weak “foundation” quickly crumbled. We’re both officially ex-christians now- he’s an athiest, and while I haven’t totally labelled myself yet, I’m probably somewhere between agnostic and deist, or something.

    Anyhow. yeah. The whole hell thing. There is actually very little scriptural support for the concept of hell- it’s mostly a human construct made on a few mistranslated passages. I’m sure there would be some articles on the aforementioned sites that would deal with that.

    Also, yes- if something is real, it should definitely stand up to questioning. That was the stance I took in college- if my faith was solid, it would emerge my questioning intact. If it wasn’t, well….such a faith was not worth having, anyhow. For some, it does stand up to questions. For me, no matter how hard I tried, it didn’t. I held on for several years, trying desperately to be ok with even the most liberal of Christianity, but in the end, I realized that I couldn’t be honest with myself and keep on claiming to believe. It just didn’t work for me.

    Losing/walking away from my faith is one of the most terrifying things that has happened to me. Now, looking back, I’m not sure what that fear was about. I guess it was all I had ever known? It’s still hard- so many of our friends and family are still Christian, and we know how much it will/has hurt them to find out. We’re still keeping fairly quiet about it, although if anyone really knows us, I’m pretty sure they can figure it out. My extended family has actually been fairly understanding about it- it still makes them sad, but yeah.

    I was also afraid of hell. I guess when you’re so brainwashed, the concept that maybe this all could be just a shadow is something that you cannot grasp. The further I went, though, the more I saw the flimsiness of the whole structure, and wondered how I could have ever fear all those dark shadows. I guess it takes not being subject to that anymore to realize how little power those shadows actually hold.

    I have an acquaintance that constantly tries to scare me by saying that if Jesus/the Bible is true, I’m in a lot of trouble. My retort is that it’s about equally possible that if (pick a religion) is true, I’m in a lot of trouble, no matter what. They all have approximately the same historical/logical validity, in my opinion. They all have their strong points, and their weak ones.

    In the end, I can only do the best with what I know. I will treat people well, live my life as fully and productively as I can, and do all in my power to never harm anyone. Anything beyond that is really only smoke and mirrors. And…if there is a deity/God/etc, I throw myself at his/her/its mercy. I will never cease my quest for truth, and will live as honestly as I possibly can. That’s all I can do.

    lol….man, I never can write short things! :P

    • quicksilverqueen says:

      ((((hugs)))) thanks for your input!!

      Hell is one of the many fears that I have to overcome because of the poisonous stuff I was told/taught. My mom told me once that if you “look” for ghosts/demons, you’ll find them…and my dad said demons/satan can read what you’re thinking, not because they can read minds, but because they can read faces. So a lot of my fears, it’s really difficult for me to even say out loud, or even acknowledge to myself, because I’ve been afraid if I think it, they can know it…let alone if I say it out loud! Fucked up, probably, but still…that’s how/who I am.

      Yay I said the F word on my blog! haha…

      • Gloria says:

        ugh. :( That’s miserable!! And yes- it’s a part of who you are- it’s what you were taught in your impressionable years by the people you looked up to as your absolute authorities. Those things are SO HARD TO BREAK!!

        I’ve worked through a lot of this on an intellectual level, but so many of those ingrained things were still there emotionally. My therapist referred to it as my “inner parents”- lol- they were still yelling all those horrible things to me, even if my actual parents weren’t any longer. It’s something you have to deliberately go in and break, and it’s horrible and painful and HARD! It’ll all come with time, though. You’ve only been out for a short time, and there are so many layers of fear/brainwashing/untruth to work through. I’ve said it before, and I say it again: give yourself time! :) Things will fall into place- just keep relentlessly questioning and working your way through them. :)

        ****MANY, MANY HUGS!!!!*****

        • quicksilverqueen says:

          Yeah! In some things I’ve kind of gotten rid of the “daddy voice” we call it…but some things are even more ingrained than that…when stuff is ingrained into your emotions, rather than just your thought process, it makes it even harder to get rid of!

          I’m always impatient ;) Lol Thank you so much for your advice, encouragement, and support!!! MANY MANY HUGS BACK!!!

          • Gloria says:

            Ohhhh yes- that emotional stuff is THE WORST! Even when I had rejected everything my parents had taught me, it was the guilt…oh, that guilt! My therapist caught me at it several times, and made me address it- lol- it was hard!

            You’ll get through this! :)

    • quicksilverqueen says:

      I do plan on writing sometime about all the things I fear…just so I can get over them and as my tagline says…courageously face them. ;)

      Oh and no worries about being long…you should see my dad’s replies…haha…if he replied to this, his reply would be about three times as long…so no worries :D

  3. Kiery says:

    Wow. Totally right there with you…you were just able to explain it. I’ve tried to, several times talking to Alex but I always end up trailing and getting muddled…
    The only reason I had/have to believe anything is pascal’s gamble (better to die and be safe than be wrong) and I hate it. I feel like there should be something more compelling, I just…haven’t found it yet. Love, I guess. Love is good. It motivates me, but would a loving God be such an ass?

    yeah….

    • quicksilverqueen says:

      Exactly!! “Better to be safe than sorry” is pretty much where I’ve been my whole life, I think, underneath everything, because I was never taught to LOVE God, I was taught to FEAR him. (And everything else.)

      Love is a good motivator for stuff in life…but I don’t think love has to be based on God, either. And yeah, my gripe is, how come a “loving” God doesn’t step in and help helpless people in abusive situations? My husband’s coworker said what made him stop believing in God was hearing an 8 month old baby was raped.

      Of course, the answer for how come God allows that is “sin”, right…and we brought sin upon ourselves. No wait…I thought that was ADAM and EVE who did that…so no matter what we’re screwed. Gah.

      Anyway. lol

  4. unk says:

    I’m sad to see that you are turning away from God. At some point you have to stop blaming your dad for everything and take personal responsibility. I understand that you have been emotionally scarred because of the methodology of your dad, but you have to move on from the negative.
    The problem in the McLean psychy is that we were all raised to think negatively first and foremost. A lot of things in mine and Dennis’ growing up were negative, so, and probably, subliminally, he comes at things from a negative point of view; ie: Fear of God as opposed to the Love of God.
    You don’t have to look far in the bible to find all sorts of references to hell, and the existence of such a place. Instead of looking at living your life in FEAR of going to hell, look at it as the HOPE of the eternal security of heaven. A Christian comedian some years back said ” If you spend time doing the do’s, you won’t have time to do the don’ts .
    Contrary to the belief system you grew up on, God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit is about LOVE and happiness, not about FEAR and retribution. I look forward to the day I can spend eternity in heaven, ya, I mess up…. a lot, but because Jesus paid for my sins, I know that I’m forgiven. I don’t live in Fear that he is going to banish me to hell for everything I’ve done. At the same time, I shouldn’t be going out and living in a worldly way following the simple and easy pleasures that the world has to offer.
    Being a Christian is not easy, but the rewards are greater than you or I can imagine.
    God is there, He is real, you know prayer works. You have seen it in your own life. I remember you talking about it once. God does answer prayers, sometimes it isn’t the answer we want, but it is the answer that follows His plan, and we need to accept that. In your heart you already know the answers to a lot of the things you question. Not all of what your dad taught you is wrong. Just reverse some of the Fear based thinking and put Love in its place.
    Anyways, I don’t want to ramble on in a Dennis like diatribe, I’ll start boring myself, lol .

    My whole point is, don’t reject God just to be the antithesis of your dad, rather truly seek what God would want you to do in your life. Joe had similar experiences but he hasn’t questioned (to my knowledge ) the existence of God or hell or anything like that. If you trust his judgement, call him and talk to him.

    We love you and are praying for you, Anne.
    Love unk

    • quicksilverqueen says:

      Actually, I haven’t turned my back on anything except accepting whatever people say at face value. :) (OK, well, I’m still working on that one. haha)

      Saying “this is how I was raised” isn’t the same thing as saying “everything that happened was my dad’s fault”. Sure, he’s a (very large) part of it. Also, like you said, there’s emotional scarring. You can’t just get up and go on with your life. Compare the eight months I’ve been out to the 23.5 years I was there. You can’t undo that many years in that short of time. That’s why people go to therapy.

      Btw you never ramble on like him (thank goodness). lol!

      I’m not rejecting God, and even if I did, it’s not to be the antithesis of my dad. I’m not trying to be his opposite. I’m trying to figure out for myself what is true and what isn’t, instead of believing stuff because it’s what I was taught.

      Joe is not me. Joe has a completely different makeup, and even growing up in the same situation as me, does not and did not deal with things the same way. Perhaps some things didn’t affect him that affected me deeply, and vice versa. Just saying that just because HE isn’t questioning God or anything doesn’t mean I shouldn’t, can’t, or won’t. Let’s not do the sibling compare thing here. :)

      I love you too, Uncle. :)

    • quicksilverqueen says:

      Oh also…what am I supposed to be taking responsibility for? The stuff I was taught growing up? My life now? Cuz I thought that’s what this post was about…taking responsibility for what I believe…only I’m not sure what that is yet.

      • Sisterlisa says:

        I think I almost choked when I saw that… “stop blaming your dad and take responsibility for yourself.” What you went through was at the hand and words of your parents. What they did when you were a child is their responsibility to deal with. All you have now is to rest in Christ and let him heal you. I couldn’t forgive my “patriarchy” person my life for a long time and God UNDERSTANDS THAT.

        But even in all that, perhaps all this turmoil is what led you to find out what YOU really believe instead of leaning on what your parents believe. And in a while, if you find that you agree with them on some things and disagree on others, that’s ok too. How many preachers say this.. “it needs to be YOUR Jesus, not your daddy’s Jesus”. Your dad’s beliefs and your mom’s faith isn’t what saves you. No matter what you think the word “saves” means… it’ s not their place to make you choose their beliefs, it’s their place to love you and let GOD form his love within you.

        Questioning hell is not going to hurt you any more than questioning head coverings will. Hell and head coverings don’t save us, Christ did!

        Everything else is just part of the journey of being a disciple of Christ. It’s always about love and even when you are angry, depressed, and flat out raging about injustices that happened to you, you can kick against God and he will embrace you and whisper in your ear, “I know, I understand, I love you”

        I speak all this to you in love, as a mother who also taught such similar things to my girls too. Our family has healed and God held us together in this journey away from legalism. As a mom… I’M sorry you went through that. I pray that God will reveal to you how those tough years might be used to create gold out of it all…Gold in you!

        • quicksilverqueen says:

          My dad was of the opinion that no matter what happened in your life, you were supposed to just suck it up and move on, and take responsibility. Even if the stuff happened because of someone else.

          I don’t take responsibility for what happened to me growing up. But now I AM taking responsibility for what I’m doing now, with my life…and figuring out what I believe and overcoming toxic teachings and the deep emotional and psychological wounds is what I’m doing…and this blog is part of it. ;)

          And thanks :)

  5. Valerie Morrison says:

    I love what your Uncle had to say, Anne. I can understand how confused, angry, and resentful you feel about all that you’ve experienced in the “name” of God or Christianity. Just please don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater.

    I think the one thing that is missing in your parents “methodology” is an understanding and belief in Jesus/God/Holy spirit as a real BEING that CRAVES relationship with us! On a PERSONAL level. Not just pray because it’s what we’re supposed to do, but because you want to share who you are… what you’re thinking, how you’re feeling (the good, bad and ugly), and all the questions you have! God created us for fellowship with Him. He gave us “choice” because He wasn’t interested in robotic (or fearful) followers of a religion. He wanted us to fall in love with Him, as He loves us. That is what should motivate us to do “right”; our love for Him.

    I really hope you decide to read that book I mentioned, “The Bible in Light of Our Redemption.” And that video study we are doing right now, and that Joe is doing/has done, “The Truth Project”… These are not full of “Christian speak”, these use logic to show the truth… And the Truth is, God IS bigger than your mistrust, questions, or doubts, or fears… and hopefully you will give Him the opportunity to prove it. Love you, Girlie!

    • quicksilverqueen says:

      What baby and what bathwater? :)

      I’d be interested in reading the book, but I can’t buy it right now (and don’t particularly like to buy books I haven’t read before) but if you’d like to send me a copy I’ll look through it. :)

      I love you too!!

  6. Chad says:

    I hope I am not out of place by commenting. I may be coming from a very different place than some of the voices surrounding you, but I appeal to you as someone who has asked many of the same questions, and has learned immensely from people whose opinions differed from his.

    I remember being in a similar situation after reading part of Carl Sagan’s The Varieties of Religious Experience, in which a prominent scientist provides his personal opinion on what science has to say about the search for God. Up to that point, I had been a fervent Christian who took great pride in believing a credible, historical, and scientific faith. But even backed up by all the apologist books I had read, I simply could not do any more than disagree with his conclusions; his arguments were sound. My point is that I simply shut down after that, and could not openly process anything until I found myself outside of organized religion. I admire your honesty and the courage for you to openly discuss these questions.

    You are right to demand sensible answers. You are right to smell a rat when anyone uses circular reasoning to make an assertion.

    I have a question for you about your statement “I admire the ‘pro-love’ side because of…well, the love. It’s nice to be accepted and loved.” Could you expand this more?

    As far as Pascal’s Wager is concerned, Gloria has identified the chief problem: which one of thousands of different religions do we pick as the alternative to lack of belief? If there are such a multitude of options, even limiting it to those which are mutually incompatible, then what is the reason for making a “me-versus-you” statement? The wager is no longer 50:50. In fact, “we” have more in common, since “we” both don’t believe in thousands of religions—the “non-believer” simply believes in one less. I get the sense that this argument is a last resort in your case, as part of the threat of hell; am I off the mark?

    Heaven and hell were a fascination for me, even during childhood. I constantly experienced a bit of cognitive dissonance surrounding the issue, as I tried over time to reconcile the respective beliefs of an infinitely powerful, infinitely knowledgeable, and infinitely good God with that of sin and hell. My mother thought about this as well, and eventually decided that the goodness had to prevail, concluding that God (ultimately) saves everyone and that Jesus’ statements about hell had to be figurative or referring to the removal of evil from our souls prior to entering heaven.

    With time, I saw that the common Christian beliefs on the subject were mutually incompatible. Any combination of up to three may be true, but not all four:
    -God is perfectly good
    -God is infinitely powerful
    -Hell exists and those who disobey God will go there
    -The only way to obey God through the Christian faith
    This is not among the reasons I left the faith, but it certainly doesn’t trouble me anymore.

    Though both you and I know that whatever questioning you do will affect the love you feel from certain friends and family, it really should not. It may be difficult or impossible for them to see or understand what you’re going through (and difficult for you as a consequence), but to the extent that their love for you isn’t conditional upon your religious beliefs, that love will abide. I hope you can come to a place where you’ve thought things through and are comfortable with the answers, even if they are provisional.

    • quicksilverqueen says:

      Hey you’re not out of place at ALL. I’m glad you commented. I’m not one of those that only allows a certain kind of voice on her blog!

      About the “pro-love” side…what I meant is the debate that’s like John Piper vs. Rob Bell…I saw Bell’s “trailer” video for his book “Love Wins”, and it sounded interesting…it sounds like he’s questioning hell as well. But by “love wins”, I think he’s getting past judgmental christianity. Or something like that. It sounded nice, anyway. lol

      Regarding Pascal’s thing…yeah…the thought has crossed my mind as to which it’s safer to believe in!

      I hope it doesn’t…the rest of my family has told me they won’t cut me off for anything, so I guess I’m safe, in any event.

      I wish I could find the Book of Answers…and it irritates and frustrates me that everyone says the Bible is and it’s NOT! lol

      Anyways…thank you very much for your comment!

  7. Joe says:

    Uncle, you hit the nail on the head.
    Anne, you HAVE to watch The Truth Project. It’s really deep and filled with facts.

    • quicksilverqueen says:

      Where would I find it? Is it like, a movie, or a sermon series, or what? Love you ♥

      • Joe says:

        It’s a DVD of a class type setting and a professor teaching. Our church has it and loans it out. Ask your pastor, he might have it. Or your church library?
        Here’s a trailer
        Love you too!!!

        • Mrs. H says:

          The DVD series is put out by Focus on the Family Anne. I am glad that Joe suggested it. There are so many voices in this world that will try to confuse us when what we need is the Truth . The truths of God’s Word gives peace and confidence.
          Ask and it shall be given to you, seek and you shall find, knock and it shall shall be opened unto you. Luke 11:9 :)

  8. Lewis says:

    Anne…I’m very proud of the courage you demonstrate. You keep healing, seeking truth, and being loved by that good man you’re married to. I’ll be standing over here cheering you on.

    Same thing goes for you, Kiery. Proud of you.

  9. quietpanther says:

    I’m sad to see that you are turning away from God.

    This statement, along with the earnest implorations in some of the more recent comments, kinda makes me mad.

    I don’t think Anne said anywhere that she’s decided to turn her back on God. So save your tears and your fears. She’s asking honest questions, and instead of answers she’s getting pleas to turn back to the faith she never said she left and to believe for no given reason that God really is a loving God (a non-answer to one of the main things she was questioning). Bandages for a compound fracture.

    Gotta say I agree with you, Lewis — there are few times I’ve been prouder of my wife ^_^ (though I don’t know that I necessarily measure up to the pedestal everyone seems to keep putting me on….)

    One of the things Dennis said in the email he sent out upon Anne’s departure was that she had turned her back on God, for which (of course) I was largely to blame. She said then that she had not. And I’m pretty sure she still hasn’t. (And if she does I guarantee it won’t be my fault XD) But I’ve never seen a passage in the Bible that says “thou shalt not question” or “thou shalt not doubt”. As I recall, pretty much every great hero of the faith had their questions and doubts … Abraham, Moses, Elijah, Job, Paul, John the Baptist, David, and the list goes on.

    Personally, I’d rather believe in a God who set the world in motion and sits up there watching it spinning, and know WHY I believe it, and have every confidence that it’s true … than believe every jot and tittle of Christian-pick-your-favorite-doctrine-anity just because that’s what my family and church and everyone I respect believes.

    If God is big enough to trust with my soul, I figure He’s big enough to answer the famous prayer “help my unbelief”.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Anne, once again I am impressed with your wisdom and intelligence. YES, it’s good to question your faith. YES, it’s good to see what others have to say. And YES, if God is real, if Jesus was right, they’ll hold up under any questioning we mere humans have for them. Questioning is not turning away from God, it’s trying to find the real Him.

    This may sound weird, but have you told God how you feel? Just laid it all out on the table, just like you did here? “I’m tired of being afraid of You, and frankly if you’re as hateful as I’ve been led to believe, I don’t see what good You bring to my or anyone’s life. I’m losing all respect for You, and I’m starting to lose faith in the whole religion thing, and I’m going to need some real, gosh-darned, concrete, long-term, supernatural help here if I’m going to be able to stay with this Christianity stuff. YOU’RE the expert here… if You want me, help me with this!” I know, I know, sounds crazy and a little irreverant, doesn’t it, but the thing is, that IS where you’re at. Let Him know. It’s no surprise to Him anyway, so no use hiding it. As in any relationship, you’ll feel better if you’re honest and you get that off your chest, and if God is really there, and is first and foremost a loving parent, He will hear that prayer. And if he’s not really there… well, you haven’t lost a thing (except maaaaybe a little dignity, if you happen to do it out loud, lol).

    In the interest of full disclosure, I should tell you that all my doubt and uncertainties and questions led me to believe God and Jesus are real. Eventually. Took me awhile to get there, and all the rest of my beliefs are way different than when I started, but that was probably the point; they weren’t the right beliefs to begin with. And they’re still evolving. I believe when we are honestly seeking, doing our best to keep an open mind, He will ALWAYS find us, even if we reject Him for awhile.

    Question away. ; )

    • quicksilverqueen says:

      I guess whichever way I go, I’ll have someone agreeing with me! LOL! :D Thanks for your comment! Valerie, Unk, and Joe should read it! It’s encouraging to me too. :) I love what you said…”Questioning is not turning away from God, it’s trying to find the real Him”. :)

    • Sisterlisa says:

      Anon,
      Exactly! So many in the bible asked the same things. God isn’t insecure about our insecurities. He expects them, so he can fulfill our needs with his ever amazing love.

      Anne, The ‘image’ of ‘god’ in your past is not the same GOD who goes by Agape. God has loved you since the foundation of the world.

    • Darcy says:

      Great comment!
      I, too, have been wading through the murk of man-made religious beliefs to find the truth for about, oh, 8 years now. People were concerned for me too. But I kept thinking about that poem from Lord Of The Rings: (Yes, I’m a nerd, I know. :P )

      All that is gold does not glitter,
      Not all those who wander are lost;
      The old that is strong does not wither,
      Deep roots are not reached by the frost.
      From the ashes a fire shall be woken,
      A light from the shadows shall spring;
      Renewed shall be blade that was broken,
      The crownless again shall be king.

      “Not all those who wander are lost.” This describes me perfectly. I wander a lot. But that doesn’t mean I’ve “turned my back” on God…it doesn’t mean I’m lost. There are roots of Truth and Love and God in my heart that can’t be reached by any frost, that can’t be threatened by any doubting or questioning. All my questions and doubts have always led me to the Living God and eradicated the gods of men from my heart. When you’ve been raised under the commandments of men, you have two options: throw it all out or question and sift through everything. And I do mean EVERYTHING. You leave no stone unturned, no belief untried. Because lies can hide anywhere, even in the most dearly-held doctrines of Christendom.

      A light from the shadows shall spring.

      I wrote about my own journey here:

      http://darcysheartstirrings.blogspot.com/2010/02/not-all-who-wander-are-lost.html

      P.S I think that a group of believers/church should be the best and the safest place to discuss doubts and questions about our faith. Unfortunately, in my life it’s proven to be otherwise. I was even asked by a believer how I could dare call myself a Christian when I have doubts about trusting God. Don’t shoot the questioners and don’t preach at them.

  11. Rachel says:

    I can really relate to this. Thank you for linking to it on my blog! :) There are a lot of questions surrounding the hell thing – and christianity in general – and I hope you continue to work through them. Feel free to question everything, take your time figuring things out, and avoid conservative christians for a while. Seriously, it will do you good. :) Sometimes I wish I could avoid their beliefs for a while! :P

  12. Anonymous #Gazillion says:

    I think it’s entirely possible to WANT to be good without a belief in God or in hell. The only thing we need is already wired in us, and that’s EMPATHY. When you watch someone breaking their arm or crying, you react with a momentary mirror reaction, because you know about pain (you’ve felt it) and about sadness (more than likely you’ve felt it, too). We help each other out of knowledge that it could be us in that situation. Our motivation is this unspoken collective agreement that we will try to help each other out when either of us is in pain or trouble. We also have an innate sense of fairness. I believe it is unfair that someone else suffers unnecessarily, so I feel compelled to help, even if it’s not my business. Starving children in Africa don’t personally affect ME, but I still believe it is wrong to be indifferent. I think most people would agree, regardless of their religion or lack thereof.

    Varied religions, many of them within a belief in Hell, produce good people on the same numbers as any others. Atheism doesn’t take someone’s morality or capacity for empathy away.

    In fact, I would think that wanting to do something just because it is the right thing to do is much more laudable than doing it out of fear of personal pain (if you worry about hell you’re worrying about yourself, really).

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