Immediately the father of the boy cried out, “I do believe! Help my unbelief.” (Mar 9:24 CSB)
I am going to take some time away from blogging, and all social media for a little while to focus on my marriage and kids. Before I do though I want to share a few things to set the record straight. These are actual questions that have been posed to me.
Am I mad at God? No, because for one, I do not know whether or not he exist, or at least not in the form of any man made religion (Christianity included).
So, who are you mad at? I am mad at people, who isn’t, right? I am mad at the “idea” of religion. I have subscribed myself to a set of beliefs that I have completely focused my life around, and based on everything I can find, it is not true. I have left the military because I was worried that I was not following “God’s call”, and I pursued it, only to be told I needed to go do something else with my life because I am divorced. Honestly, I am glad that those churches said no, but I will leave that for another blog. I left police work because I was concerned that it was not what I needed to be doing for God. You may think that those were just excuses, but I know that I genuinely believed I was following God’s call for my life. Now, at 30 I am having to accept that I do need to focus on other things besides ministry, just so I can take care of my family. So, I am mad at the idea, the hypocrisy, the manipulative nature of religion that holds so many people captive.
When did this happen? Honestly, it was years ago (about 5 or 6 years ago) that I started to question my faith more deeply. However, most of my questions started when I first joined the military, as this opened my eyes to an entirely different world then I had ever known. Despite this fact, I mostly held these feelings within because I was terrified what my wife would think, what my parents would think, what my entire circle of people would think.
Isn’t this just happening because someone or something hurt you? Probably one of the most common reasons given for someone not believing (I used to even give this as a reason myself when someone would say they don’t believe) is that somebody must have hurt you. I would say the easiest answer to this is no. People have hurt me, but as I stated earlier, my questions started long before I ever started feeling “hurt” by anyone. So, as far as my doubts, they were not because something or someone hurt me.
So, why do you have doubts? I would be willing to believe that most people have had doubts. Moses doubted, Gideon doubted, David doubted, Abraham doubted, the followers of Jesus doubted, Thomas doubted, the disciples doubted, etc. A lot of people have doubted. The only difference between our doubts and the people of the Bible, is that the people in the Bible had their doubts answered by God in miraculous ways (parting of the red sea, staff being turned into a snake, burning, talking bush, healing the lame, raising people from the dead, making blind men see, putting dew on the fleece, and not the grass, and then changing it around the other way. I have doubts, because in no convincing way have my doubts been answered. I know some respond that even people in the Bible who saw these miraculous gifts did not believe, and so maybe I just will never believe. My answer to that is simply, try me. I would love to see one of these miracles from the Bible performed today. Maybe a man living three days in the belly of a large fish. Or, potentially when I am out fishing the next time and I let down my net, surely Jesus could just fill that net up so much my boat tips over. However, apparently what I am supposed to believe now that we are post-bible days, is that for my unbelief my life is at risk here on this earth, and God may take me out at anytime. Even if he does not take me out, at a minimum because I just wont believe on word of mouth I am destined for hell (unless you believe once saved, always saved. Because, I did genuinely accept Jesus at 9, and genuinely submitted to full immersion baptism at 13). I find too many contradictions of scripture. Now, sure each belief explains the contradictions away by subscribing to a particular set of beliefs that line up, and then they have neat explanations for how the contradictions are taken out of context, or that they were written during a time that it meant something different. However, if you think about it for more then a minute you realize that each of these denominations do the exact same thing. Now, how can they all be using the same “we’re reading the Bible right, they just don’t understand” message, but be preaching completely different messages. It may all focus on Jesus loves you, unless you’re a super fundamental church, then it’s hell, fire and brimstone for everyone, but there are very distinct differences between all of these denominations.
This is where I leave you, I appreciate everyone’s concern for me, but honestly I am the happiest I have ever been, and at peace more then I have ever been (only stating because it has been assumed I must be hurting inside) about my beliefs. However, I am truly hurt by the responses from people about me questioning my beliefs. I feel completely isolated from everyone that I have ever known. The only people of my former life that are reaching out to me, seem to be doing this with mainly an intention to “save” me, not just chat and hang out. Obviously, I get that in the evangelistic culture this may be what makes sense, but unfortunately it leaves me feeling like I need a group of new friends. Those that are reaching out to my wife only, and I mostly know who you all are because my wife has shared with me what you all have said, have been questioning the safety of her and my children, and trying to tear our family apart by making sure she stays indoctrinated in the faith. There have been “preachers” to tell her that she should, and has the right to leave me because I cannot lead our family spiritually anymore. There have been people who have “cautioned” her against listening to my communication because I might “change” her. I am hurt, but it’s not with God, and it’s not with my beliefs, I am hurt by people. When the Bible says, “you will know them by their fruit” most of y’all suck, and I do to. I think we’re all human, and do have a “fallen” human nature. However, I think that is impulse, and because our species has evolved over time, we also have rational thought. Even Neanderthals, which Christians want to force you not to believe in, dug graves, and buried the dead with flowers. Click here for info on Neanderthals. I did not make this choice lightly, and I am not “trying” to upset anyone with my decision. However, I realize that a lot of people who are in my life today were at one time influenced by my belief, and for changing that on you I am sorry. However, I am only sorry that I did not research these things sooner, so that I would not have led you astray with religion. I am open to conversation, to debate, to dialogue this topic at any time. However, for now I would like to focus on my family, and try to keep religion from tearing it apart.