Kia ora (Hi) everyone from New Zealand. I've been devouring the material on this website over the last few nights since I searched Google for "Former Christian Forum"!
Thought I'd say thanks for the material, and also how great it is that other people are going through or have gone through similar journeys to me.
This post is also somewhat for my own sake to help order my thoughts, keep me accountable for continuing to ask questions, and learn in community, so hi! My name is Sam you can also call me by my handle (Rangi).
The brief version of my story is as follows- raised in a Conservative Christina home by two parents and three siblings- had a great, happy childhood and was loved and looked after by my family. Always went to church, went to a Christian university, lived in a Christian hostel etc.
My journey of questioning started around this time as I made a close friend who was a very liberal Christian, and we had many great (and friendly) debates where my faith was questioned. I was very black and white in my worldview at the time!
A few years later and around 4 years ago I had had enough of Church (the institution), as it was the same every Sunday, nothing really changed in anyone who went, including myself, so I thought "If I'm really a Christian, I should be able to live my faith out authentically without a cheer-leading session every Sunday." Well. after a couple of years of trying to do that and slowly feeling like I was losing this battle and losing myself, I questioned everything layer by layer, all the way back to "Does God exist?". I decided that yes, he did, and rebuilt my faith from there, finding a Church and life/small group that allowed me to throw controversial subjects up for discussion. The result of this was that I regained my faith, but I was different to other Christians- I saw the world as more grey than black and white, and kept asking questions until this year, when I identified with Universalism (scandal!). However, once you decide that there are many roads to God, even if Jesus is the bridge over which these roads go, it's very difficult to reconcile Hell for any reason, so I then came to an impasse.
I then had a conversation on a date last week where we both got very deep and discussed our spiritual journeys (she isn't Christian, but has a religious background). I struggled to justify the main tenets of the Christian faith and had to honestly say I really don't know what I believe. This motivated me to resolve this tension that has been going on for the last decade, and so I ended up here, and as a result have been having my mind blown constantly for the last few days.
I know I need to take time and work through things, and I know I'll get through this, but man...it's kinda terrifying to have the entire framework on which your life has been based slowly torn away!
So yeah, good to meet you all, and thanks in advance for your patience, support and help!