Confessions of a Questioning Christian

Archive for March 2013

I’ve lived abroad for three years, and spent about half of that time questioning everything I grew up believing in.

At first it was scary, then it was frustrating, then I got mad, and I think I just passed through apathy.

Apathy may be where I stay for a while. Something about apathy appeals to me. I may not be much of a Christian anymore, and I may not be questioning much. I feel I would best be classified as an agnostic at this point.

Agnosticism is the view that the existence or non-existence of any deity is unknown and possibly unknowable. More specifically, agnosticism is the view that the truth values of certain claims—especially claims about the existence or non-existence of any deity, as well as other religious andmetaphysical claims—are unknown and (so far as can be judged) unknowable.[1][2][3] Agnosticism can be defined in various ways, and is sometimes used to indicate doubt or askeptical approach to questions. In some senses, agnosticism is a stance about the difference between belief andknowledge, rather than about any specific claim or belief. In the popular sense, an agnostic is someone who neither believes nor disbelieves in the existence of a deity or deities, whereas a theist and an atheist believe and disbelieve, respectively.[2] In the strict sense, however, agnosticism is the view that humanity does not currently possess the requisite knowledge and/or reason to provide sufficient rational grounds to justify the belief that deities either do or do not exist.

Source: Wikipedia

The last time I was in the States visiting, my mom asked me if I still believed in God. I said that I did, but I didn’t know what else I could promise her as far as supernatural beliefs. Surprisingly, she took comfort in this response. She is comfortable in her belief in God and specifically in the Christian lifestyle. That’s fine – my mom is a good person. She stand behind some things that I find repugnant, but I assume she feels the same way about things I believe in. Even things I believed when I still called myself a Christian. And I’m sure she’d see some of those beliefs as the slippery slopes that sent me sliding into this valley. But I don’t feel like I’m in a valley, I think I climbed out of one.

If there was a god, and if that god was like the one I grew up learning about, then he’s too callous about the millions of people who will never get to “know him” (as if we could ever have a firm understanding of a supernatural entity). Good for missionaries, but why leave salvation up to a group of sinful humans to save? It’s not fair, and it’s not a doctrine I can throw myself into. I think there are a lot of beautiful Christians – I have met many, in fact, and their lives are beautiful and generous and committed to humanity. That’s awesome. If they like the way their lives are formed by Christian living, that’s cool – it’s working for them. But even discounting all the Christians that are just going through the motions and patting themselves on the back, it’s this idea that we are made faulty, and then depend upon other faulty people to prove something unprovable in order to be seen as worthy. It’s impossible.

I like the idea of a god who cares about all humans, but I don’t see that. I stopped believing in heaven and hell a long time before I stopped believing in everything else. So, why would I need religion? Morality and religion are not synonymous – and that idea in itself is laughable. I believe in many things that religious people do – love, kindness, generosity, forgiveness, and other “fruits of the spirit.” If anything, religion was the fire that got my ass in gear to “bear” those fruits. That was a good thing. But I can’t cling to religion to do that for me; I need to take responsibility to do those things because they are intrinsically good and right.

I don’t care what people believe – if they are Christian, Buddhist, Muslim, Jewish, Sikh, atheist, whatever – as long as they do good in this world. Maybe I think they are wasting their time with religion, but who cares, if they treat others with respect and try to make this world a better place? We all waste too much time – whether in bible study or on Reddit or watching too much TV or playing basketball. So those things don’t bother me. What can I say… I’m a secular humanist, which once meant I was one step away from a Satan-worshipper and surely damned. I didn’t walk away from Christianity lightly, but I can’t believe in something if I have lost faith in it, no matter what anyone else may want from me. So I will do as much good as possible, because that is right, and that’s what I believe I’m here on earth to do.

Maybe after I die, I’ll get an answer. But I doubt it.