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The Gospel Of Frustration


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“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.

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Welcome to reality, Pilgrim!  It gets better!  Hey, no need to fear macro evolution either.  It's the same as micro.  A billion changes aren't likely to happen all in one generation.  ;)

 

I hope the depression issue improves.  Take care!

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Welcome Pilgrim to ex-c.Your story from a young age (mine started at 19 years old) down to your recent timeline is so much like my story, it's scary. I totally relate. You hang out with us for awhile and we'll help you get through some of this. It just takes time to put some of the pieces of the puzzle together. It's a scary, but very interesting journey. You are going to make it.Thousands are starting to ask the same questions as you. You are a freethinker. That's what makes you so special. You have the guts to ask the hard questions!! Your going to make it. We are all here for the exact same reason! It's a great support group. Hope to hear more from you!

 

Hugs!

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Hey Spiritual Pilgrim,

 

That was one of the most well-written testimonies I have read since joining here.  You are a writer, right?  And man, can I ever relate to your journey.  From the cross hanging to the living room wall to the depression, I went through all of it.  It's such a painful reminder of what all of us had to go through.  BUT I'm here to encourage you.  Like TrueFreedom said, it does get better.  And like Margee said, we are all here for you.  You are one of us.  Welcome!

 

Christianity sucks, we all agree on that.  But you seem like a strong-spirited guy.  There are lots of different paths to choose from.  The key is simply to find your own.  Your way is the right way, the only true way.  The fun starts here.

 

Can't wait to read more of your posts!

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It does get better.....I was very depressed, too, and that got better.  Hope yours does the same.  Just relax and know that you can trust your own understanding.  When I first began the journey I tried to "find" a belief system that would work for me and it made me crazy and very very stressed.  Then I decided to ditch it all and just do nothing from a spiritual perspective for a long time until I felt a calm and a peace and then I realized exactly what I believed without influence from anyone or anything.  For me, though, trying to find a new religion didn't do anything but make me hyperventilate.  I just had to ignore all of it and rest and think.

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Welcome to reality, Pilgrim!  It gets better!  Hey, no need to fear macro evolution either.  It's the same as micro.  A billion changes aren't likely to happen all in one generation.  wink.png

 

I hope the depression issue improves.  Take care!

Hey thanks for the welcome and the encouragement.  The depression has gotten way better just in the last month so I'm hopeful that the worst is over.  

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Welcome Pilgrim to ex-c.Your story from a young age (mine started at 19 years old) down to your recent timeline is so much like my story, it's scary. I totally relate. You hang out with us for awhile and we'll help you get through some of this. It just takes time to put some of the pieces of the puzzle together. It's a scary, but very interesting journey. You are going to make it.Thousands are starting to ask the same questions as you. You are a freethinker. That's what makes you so special. You have the guts to ask the hard questions!! Your going to make it. We are all here for the exact same reason! It's a great support group. Hope to hear more from you!

 

Hugs!

Thanks Margee.  It does kinda seem like a puzzle that's incomplete now, but I think I need to take a break from the puzzle for a bit and relax. :)  I'm realizing it's not an easy process changing your worldview so thanks a bunch for the encouragement.

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Hey Spiritual Pilgrim,

 

That was one of the most well-written testimonies I have read since joining here.  You are a writer, right?  And man, can I ever relate to your journey.  From the cross hanging to the living room wall to the depression, I went through all of it.  It's such a painful reminder of what all of us had to go through.  BUT I'm here to encourage you.  Like TrueFreedom said, it does get better.  And like Margee said, we are all here for you.  You are one of us.  Welcome!

 

Christianity sucks, we all agree on that.  But you seem like a strong-spirited guy.  There are lots of different paths to choose from.  The key is simply to find your own.  Your way is the right way, the only true way.  The fun starts here.

 

Can't wait to read more of your posts!

Hey, thanks for the comment and the compliment on my writing.  I do enjoy writing as a hobby but have never done any published work.  Maybe someday?  I was gonna link my blog but I see that you already found it.  :) I look forward to chatting more. 

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It does get better.....I was very depressed, too, and that got better.  Hope yours does the same.  Just relax and know that you can trust your own understanding.  When I first began the journey I tried to "find" a belief system that would work for me and it made me crazy and very very stressed.  Then I decided to ditch it all and just do nothing from a spiritual perspective for a long time until I felt a calm and a peace and then I realized exactly what I believed without influence from anyone or anything.  For me, though, trying to find a new religion didn't do anything but make me hyperventilate.  I just had to ignore all of it and rest and think.

Thank you, and I think you're right.  I do need to take a break from any belief systems.  If I did take on another religion it would be like a "rebound relationship" and those never turn out to good...   Thanks for the encouragement. 

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Welcome to the journey. I agree with what everyone else has already expressed. I have found good people here in these forums and they have challenged me and helped me in my journey away from religion. I believe they can do the same for you. Best of luck in your journey and hope to see you around the forums.  

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Welcome, Pilgrim!  Trying to actually understand and make sense of the bible will send you in circles.  I agree that the bible saying "lean not on your own understanding" doesn't make sense with god giving us brains.  I've heard preachers say things like "Seeking knowledge is a sin" which just means they don't want you actually thinking about what's in the bible and leaving the fold and taking your money with you.

 

There is a lot in this site that is so useful, and said much better than I can say.  So I'll just say welcome, I'm glad you're starting to feel better, and I'm glad you're here!

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Welcome to ex-C.  Sorry to hear about your troubles.  I hope it gets better.

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