First of all, I will say that as of recently, I have decided that I am no longer going to attend a bible-based fundamental church ever again. I am just so done hearing the same story over and over again that I'm a sinner and that God had to send is perfect son to die for our sins so we could be saved from a place of eternal conscious torment. This is hard for me, because I grew up in the church, got baptized, went to youth group, young adults group, healing services, retreats/camps, even did a Christian internet radio show for years. I remember defending the old testament's description of God commanding Israel to kill men, women and children...why? Because they were "evil pagans" and plus, the line of David had to be kept alive for Jesus to be born into (disgusting now that I think of it).
What got me to question my beliefs? Hell. The one thing we were all supposed to be scared of. But this God of unconditional love would somehow be ok with cursing us to a fate worse than death if we refused to worship him? Sounds more "Satanic" than a loving God to me. So, I went on a quest to use the bible to disprove the doctrine of eternal torment. I succeeded, but couldn't convince my friends (LOL).
As an INTJ, I question everything. I even started questing "who is man to silence God that the bible is the 'only' scripture or inspired word there is?" I then discovered near death experiences and discovered that, at least how many people described them, that God really is unconditionally loving despite what religion you had (or even if you were agnostic/atheist). I found that it caused me cognitive dissonance because, really---if we take NDEs as literal events--- it throws a monkey wrench into "church doctrine" that only those who "ask Jesus into their hearts" are saved. Over the years, I started finding intriguing spiritual videos by Eckert Tolle, Alan Watts, Teal Swan, and tons of others who tried to explain that we are all a part of God...and explained other spiritual and philosophical concepts that seem to make sense to me...and were strikingly similar to what Christians have also been saying but in their "own" words.
Soon, I began to feel a little lost and confused as to not knowing if Christianity is real or if it even has to be "real" because what if all religions are a valid attempt to reach the divine/God/source? Throughout these years, I still attended church, but I had become disillusioned because I struggled with some of the same issues I've had since I was a child: anxiety, depression, obsessive/addictive behaviors and thoughts, as well as emotion dis regulation. I prayed for healing over and over again and I just kept right on struggling. Worse, I saw others worshiping and praising God and seemingly feeling his presence while I kept feeling like I was on the outside looking in. Nothing felt worse than feeling like a spiritual outcast.
I started listen to different spiritual books on Amazon Audible, any many of them just made me even more upset or confused. Last summer, I decided to search for "Christianity and spirituality" on the Amazon Audible site and found this book called the Urantia Book. I downloaded that and started listening to it, and it seemed like an interesting explanation on the concept of God. Many times I would be listening/reading and I thought to myself, "That makes sense." or "That's what I always thought!" As I kept listening/reading, I kept having those 'aha! finally someone gets it!' moments all throughout the book. It convinced me that evolution is real even though I was staunchly against it my whole life. It convinced me that prayer doesn't always "work" (at least not the way we want it to). It convinced me that a lot of the bible stories I learned as a kid were either twisted or fables. This summer, I experienced a mental breakdown and if it wasn't for that book, I don't think I would be here today. It really helped me get through the lowest moment of my life.
Anyways, not here to pedal a book but just describe where I'm at now faith-wise and that it is such a great and freeing feeling to know that I don't have to "have it right"... and that God/source doesn't expect us to even arbitrarily worship Him...he is just happy that we are even reaching out to find him. How I see it, we are just primitive humans who barely have science figured out and we are trying to understand a force/being that is infinitely greater than us. We are "so sure" we got it right. The more I learn, the more I realized I don't know! As I stated elsewhere, it's like a person blind from birth trying to tell the rest of the world that seeing isn't real. Though he may have no proof in the ability to see---doesn't mean seeing isn't real.