I grew up in a family that was Christian in name only. We did not go to church except Christmas, because it was tradition. My father is an atheist, my mother was a sort of minimal Lutheran. I went to Lutheran confirmation and became a Christian for a short time as a teenager. After some really bad stuff happened, and God did not help me, despite lots of prayers I stopped being one. Later on, after meeting my current husband ( married 20 years), he convinced me I should give God another chance, and we became members of the LCMS Lutheran church. I think I brainwashed myself into believing, and was quite happy to be a fundamentalist Bible thumping Christian for a little while. I liked the church friendships we made, and it was nice being part of a group, and it was nice thinking there is a God that is there when you need him. I made the same excuses every other Christian makes when prayers are not answered " oh, it was not part of God's Plan" , " God will answer it later" , " maybe there is some unconfessed sin in my life and that's why " , "maybe some good will come out of some bad later" , blah blah blah...you all know the excuses.
Anyway, this went on for a good 10 years, until the cracks started to appear. Things just went majorly wrong in my life, and in those around me, despite all the prayers in the world. I started question things in our Bible studies that didn't have answers and almost got me kicked out ( like pointing out inconsistencies in the Bible , or telling someone that survived cancer, that it was not a miracle, but modern medicine, after all 50 years ago, that same person would have died from it for sure) . The number one question I got no answer to was "why do animals suffer"? why would a loving GOOD God condemn innocent animals to suffer not just because of us evil humans in factory farms ( yeah, why nothing in the Bible about treating animals well?) but just by the nature of them. We have guardian dogs that protect our livestock ( goats and sheep) from coyotes and bears and such. These dogs are super friendly to us, but if you see what they do to a groundhog or fox, or other dog, or cat, anyone with any sense should question what sort of "nature" God has created there. Ever watch a cat with a mouse? This is nature. Nature if full of cruelty and suffering. Some Christian excuse this by saying that animals don't feel pain and have no feelings at all ( bull!!!! ) , others just say they are part of a fallen creation caused my human sin ( so it is OUR fault...hmmm...I did not create nature) . Others don't care at all. I hate that. Part of why I am a farmer is to raise livestock in a humane way, so we can avoid factory farm meat. It makes me cry to see how some Christians treat their animals around here ( not all but some). But there is nothing I can do about nature itself. If God created it, he sucks!
Then there is the prayer thing. I have to be honest here. I had an accident recently and got injured. Everyone told me " I am praying for you" and when it turned out I was going to be ok, they all agreed it was THEIR prayer that made that happen. What about all the prayers all over the planet that don't get answered? What about people's kids disappearing and getting brutally murdered for example? Aren't those prayers more important than my relatively minor accident? Why does God allow wars and famines that kill and injure millions? Why do 5 year old's die from brain tumors? Why did God create Adam and Eve if he knew they were going to sin and we were all going to suffer because of it? Why "free will"? Free will is not mentioned in the Bible at all btw. Why would God create different races and languages only to cause endless conflict amongst humanity because of it? Why not make everyone look the same ? Yes tower of Bable, but really???? They wanted to build a what 100 foot tower to "reach the heavens" and God punished them by making them speak different languages?>??? That really makes God seem like a moron. First, they were obviously NOT going to reach heaven, and God would have known that. Second the punishment seems very severe for such a minor silly thing. It makes God seem like a petty asshole. The flood. Again, why are the animals getting punished ? And what happened to the unicorn?
I could go on but I am new here and don't want to ramble endlessly.
I no longer believe the Bible is the word of God. If you don't believe in the Bible, you really have no basis for any sort of Christian faith, so I am no longer a Christian. The problem I now have is that almost all of my friends are still Bible believing Christians. I don't really believe in prayers, but they want to pray for me all the time. I don't know what to say to them. I don't want to be rude or make them feel bad, or cause them to lose their faith like I did. It's not a good feeling to lose your faith. Faith gives people hope and comfort. I just don't have any anymore for the reasons I wrote.
My problem is what to say to my Christian friends. I am a terrible liar and not good at pretending. I just usually say "thanks for the prayers" and offer prayers in return when they need some, but it is so damned insincere, I hate doing it. But at the same time I would really hate saying " your prayers are just nonsense and there is no God going to do anything for you or me" , which is what I am really thinking. I try to say things like " well wishes" instead of "praying for you" , but that always sticks out, especially if I post it on facebook or something like that. EVERYONE offers prayers, except myself offering "good thoughts and well wishes" ., So I continue to say I am praying for them, even if I am not and don't believe it, just to make them happy and avoid making anyone feel bad. I love my friends and don't want to lose any of them because of this. It's very hard. Thankfully most of MY relatives are not really Christians either , my husband sort of still is, but he understand why I think the way I do and also does not believe the Bible is the total truth.
Thanks for letting me write this on here, no place else I can say these things!