“I wish I had never heard the Gospel.”
I whispered this phrase to myself today while staring at the cross still hanging on my living room wall. Life was so much easier before religion got involved. I remember being a simple minded child before being introduced to Christianity. The world was beautiful, it had an almost magical glow to it. Then as I got older around age 13 it came—I heard the Gospel and “accepted Christ”…
It catapulted me into a couple of nice Christian teenage years. The first girl I ever made out with was at youth camp and that was pretty cool. I talked to God all the time and felt that He was leading my life. I remember crying out to God to save my Dad because I didn’t want him to go to hell. Then around age 17 or so rational thinking took over and I quickly left my faith and pursued things like college and getting married.
Fast forward about 8 years and I’m an alcoholic in a strained marriage that I almost lost with a failing business I had started. It was obviously time for a life change. Lucky me at the same time I had some weird, freaky sleep paralysis spiritual experience at an old Inn known to be haunted. My brain thinks, “Hey this must be proof of a spirit realm so since everything is going so bad you should go back the God you loved so much as a teenager.” I did and it seemed like things started to pull back together.
But I could never make sense of Christian theology in my head. I tried to apply the verse, “lean not on your own understanding” but then I thought, “why the hell would God create us with a brain if were not supposed to use it?” And so I took up some unorthodox theology. I got caught up in the charismatic movement where I could have a more open/less conservative view of God. I started believing as an inclusivist. I reasoned if God created this screwed up world then it’s His responsible to clean up the mess. And if Jesus really died for all—like the Bible says—then he has taken responsibility… although He still just kicks back on a cloud while kids starve and genocides take place.
I also started chasing after signs and wonders thinking if I got enough experience that my “encounters” would outweigh my intellectual confusion and I could finally just live happily as a Christian. And so my wife and I moved across the country twice going to different churches where I thought God was telling us to go. Both times I ended up in extreme financial issues and depression. The worst of it happened just recently and I finally decided to go to a doctor and a psychologist about the depression. They got me on some meds and I am doing much better now.
But as far as God goes, I’m through with the hide and seek game. I stopped going to church just over a month ago because I couldn’t take the ups and downs it would throw my thinking into. The problem with me is that I really want to believe in God but the truth is I don’t—at least not the God of the Christian Bible. I can’t believe in a God that would order homosexuals to be stoned to death and entire villages of women and children to be executed. I can’t believe in a God that I thought led me somewhere and then abandoned me depressed and in pain twice, when all along He knows just one flippin word from Him would snap me out of it. If I could just know He was there I would have felt better. The depression came from trying to make sense out of something that was untrue. The truth is I’m too compassionate, intellectual, just and analytical to ever be a Christian. To be a Christian I had to lie to myself daily and that is a walking contradiction. I cannot do it anymore.
My depression is much better after being on meds for 6 weeks and staying away from church but I’ve had these inclinations to keep trying to continue some sort of spiritual life but it’s so confusing. I’ve read up on Hinduism, Buddhism and Christian Gnosticism and they are all quite interesting but not for me. If anything from studying Buddhism I’ve realized that labeling myself is where I first went wrong. Buddhism teaches the limits of words and if there is some Higher Power its not going to be comprehended through a book written 2000 years ago.
So that’s where I’m at now. I’m just being me. Taking life as honestly as I can, focusing on loving my wife and loving myself. The posts on here have been much helpful through the process so far. It’s very comforting to know that I’m not alone in the pain I feel from my Christian past. It’s also very intellectually freeing to not be frightened to read an article on Neanderthals, the age of the universe or micro evolution anymore. God bless the Neanderthals.