FR Disclaimer – Sometimes I post things without typos. This is rare. Bear with me.
Hello to the sceptics and fundamentalists reading this post and everyone in-between. I’ll start this post by introducing you to a bit of my background history and where my faith in God is today. I also curse in this blog post. I was venting, kay?
IN THE BEGINNING THERE WAS…
A very…I don’t even know what to call it…a very basic believer. When I say basic, I mean that outwardly I would profess that I believed in Jesus but that was it. I didn’t go home and read my Bible nor did I consider God my friend and if I did it was because I thought it was the Christian thing to do. Fast forward a bit into college and that’s where I got involved with a Christian group on campus in the Cayman Islands and I re-dedicated my life to Jesus. Still struggling with many things like depression but otherwise…I was a Christian. A real one too.
…I began questioning my beliefs recently. I began to wonder a lot about my faith and what mainstream Christianity believed. Heck, I began to question the Bible all the more. At first, when people said that the Bible had a ton of contradictions…I sided with conservatives in Christianity. I wrote their statements about the Bible off mentally and thought “What do they know about the Bible? *major eye-roll*”
But as I began to boldly encounter what the Bible’s views on God in the Bible and life and war and raising families were about I became infuriated. I became so angry with God in the Bible that I called bullshit on Him. That’s if the Bible was as accurate about portraying God in the Bible as I thought it was – which I don’t think it was. I called bullshit on the Bible portraying a God in the Bible who would send a nation against nation and would be fine with innocent children being killed (Deuteronomy 7). I called bullshit on a man “of God” sending 2 females bears to kill children who were making fun of him (2 Kings 2) yet Jesus walks on the scene as a person who wouldn’t even let a woman caught in adultery to be stoned (John 8:11). I was confused.
I called bullshit on a God in the Bible who wouldn’t send people to hell forever as their skin burned over and over again in eternal torment yet without dying even as the Bible claims that “sin will be no more” in (Revelation 21:4). I began to call fucking bullshit on the thought that a little boy, 9 years old, would be sent to hell because he never believed in Jesus but grew up in a house of Islam and didn’t believe in Jesus. I called bullshit.
I called bullshit on the fluffy version of God that we portray in mainstream Christianity and doesn’t allow questioning or introspective beliefs that conflict with the Bible. I called bullshit on a majority view of God who was okay with sex only being within marriage without considering individual circumstances and experiences. I called bullshit on a majority view of God that believe same-sex marriage was a sin all the while hiding our own prejudices on “gay people” without taking the time to learn about their community without the agenda to convert or shame them for their decisions. I called bullshit on a God, we made up, who wouldn’t consider the love a same-sex couple shared but rather their inherent and abhorrent “sin”.
I called bullshit. I got angry. I mourned. I bawled my eyes out. Got happy when I considered other views of God that were more welcoming of my beliefs as of late about Christianity. Then, the cycle would return again whenever I read something upsetting or was triggered by an upsetting memory of my life experiences with the church and what Christianity has sided with on a whole throughout the decades (e.g. interracial marriages, spousal rape, and more).
I called bullshit.
I decided that if the people in the Bible, much less Christians, throughout the years believed in insane things (just as they did some good stuff) then I better do some research and decide what I as Miriam THE Mascal should believe in yo. Church history is in-saaane and quotation marks around a verse don’t necessarily mean that God said it – in my humble opinion.
I began reading up on other views and approaches to Christianity and even considered becoming a Universalist (and still am) because I just can’t fathom how a loving God would send people to hell and brimstone for eternity and not give a shit. I just couldn’t fathom how a merciful Savior would allow His chosen and set apart peoples, the Israelites, to slaughter innocent men, women, AND CHILDREN. What mentality does that take? What level of apathy does one need to murder children? Yes, I call bullshit on anyone who believes it wasn’t murder.
Oh…and what happens to disabled people who can’t fully understand the idea of God? Do they get a quick pass into heaven while the man who committed suicide gets declined because he was a responsible adult with fully functioning cognitive abilities?
To all of my questionings and wonderings…the Bible didn’t present an answer. While I still do believe in God and we talk back and forth every day…I simply believe that while the Bible has presented some groundbreaking wisdom that has changed my life…I consider the Bible to be a book written by individuals with their own personal experiences of God with very valuable life experiences and sayings we can all learn from while adapting what we’ve read to our own personal lives without such a dogmatic to how we interpret and apply the Bible to our lives.
As controversial as this is to some conservative readers, I believe this about every religion and I believe threads of God exist in them all. Are they all right? In my opinion, HELL to the no – even the Bible. There are experiences in each religion which I do not have to agree are an accurate representation of God. Because, to me, if God is love, killing innocent children in my book would land the God of the Bible in His own version of hell.
I believe that believing God is in every word of the Bible causes people to take on doctrinal beliefs that are harmful to others and society as a whole. I also believe that when we take the Bible too literally…we kinda do crazy things that also harm others too. Ya know?
I believe that the people who wrote the Bible were just like any of us. This is my opinion. They weren’t given some special liquid glowing juice that gave them the ability to transcribe God’s heart word for word but rather wrote out of their own experiences with what they thought God condoned and didn’t condone. In their approach to things, sometimes they were right and sometimes they were wrong. I’m talking about: condoning slavery, forcing a woman to marry the man who had sex with her (Deuteronomy 22:28-29), hardening a King’s heart against his will and then punishing his soldiers for the results of that decision when the opposite could have easily been done (Exodus 7:3, Exodus 9:12), viewing women as property and our virginities as commodities. And we know what happens to women who didn’t bleed on their wedding night (Deuteronomy 22:13-21) and scientifically it is proven today that not all women bleed.
Not to mention the church’s habit of selectively applying which laws apply today out of convenience (I personally believe) and dividing laws in the Bible as cultural, moral, and etc when the Bible gives zero distinction of that. This also aids in the selective use of scripture. Bleh!
I mean, if Jesus is the only way, what happens to unborn babies or those who die before making their choice? I also begin to picture a scenario of a man has lived his whole life as an atheist not because he hated God and the church but hated what he learned about God from the church. What shocks him as he enters the next scene after death is a man dressed in a long white robe with long hair. He’s heartbroken at his decision to reject God but God simply says this chilling response…”Dude, I know your reasons for never accepting me into your heart but here’s the thing, my people believe that I can only accept into heaven those who believe in me and you’re on the opposite side along with every unborn child, disabled individual, and ignorant fellows such as yourself. Sorry kid, you gotta go. I saw the awesome things you did in life but they don’t merit you a key.”
And as if to mock this man’s new sentence, God opens a wooden door and what blasts from it are scalding heats the world has never seen. As he takes this “ignorant fellow” by the hand and walks him towards hell he whispers “By the way, thank you for feeding the poor. Some of my people don’t do it as often as they should or give as much as I’d hoped they would. Anywho…see ya. If it gets too hot and you’re close to death, just click the red button to your right. It takes 2 degrees off the heat. This is after all…supposed to be “eternal torment” *fake tear*”
Of course, you could say this story is tinged with my own pettiness but there’s truth to it. If God loves good deeds so much than what’s it to Him to toss away a man that, sure, might not have believed in Him but helped those He cared about? It doesn’t make sense to me.
Yeah, yeah, faith doesn’t have to make sense. That’s a lie. I think it does. How can I trust someone who’s giving all sorts of mixed signals? Why do we accept this way of thinking when it comes to interpersonal friendships but not when it comes to putting our trust in religion? If faith is built on trust, then my trust sure has to be earned.
WHERE AM I NOW
I still believe that there is a God. I honestly still do. This is not because I want to hold onto to that truth but I’ve had hundreds of spiritual experiences over the course of my life – some welcomed, some not – enough to know that there is something out there and I call Him God and He calls me daughter. We laugh together and we cry together. I have visions of Him daily and He’s helped me to deliver timely encouragement to people that were spot on without them telling me their stories. I call them spiritual gifts. I know, I know…science can prove a lot of things but not everything. Certainly not the supernatural. Which is why I believe in the possibility of a world flood back in Noah’s day and that Mary could have had a virgin birth.
God is just as real to me as any other person.
What offends me is when others try to boil down my beliefs to fiction. Screw that. These are my beliefs. Crazy or not. They’re very real.
I simply don’t believe that the Bible is the “infallible and inerrant word of God’. It’s very fallible and highly inerrant. But not all of it is. Just like any other book. It has it’s own fair share of contradictions and screwed up things in it that I liken it to life – it includes the good, the bad, and the shit ugly stuff that a ton of conservatives and narrow-minded folk tend to gloss over too much for my liking. I want to address those things here on this blog with the heart that I am writing this not to change your mind but to offer a different approach to Christianity. I am a fallible and inerrant human being myself. Though awesome, I am deeply flawed too at times.
I would liken my beliefs to those of Progressive Christianity with a touch of Universalism – I’m still discovering Universalism myself. So far, so great. I will caution those coming across more liberal Christians and who often are lumping us all in the ‘crazy bin’. This seriously only shows that you have a problem with your beliefs and aren’t fully certain of your version of the truth (or too cocky about it) enough to patronize others for their beliefs and write them off your “holy code”. I’m sure there is Psychological backing to my opinion on this…I’m just too tired to search the web for my own pleasure. Or perhaps this is just my pettiness rising to the front. 😀
I believe that God is capable of expressing who He is to other religions but I also believe every world religion has a ton of errors in them that can be questioned. The best way I can experience this is when I was trying to find a church that was right for me. They all pissed me off in some areas and made me feel at peace in some. However, that doesn’t change the fact that they all had their flaws. This goes for any religion.
All I know is that I experience God daily in crazy and casual ways and to write that off as the need for psych checkup isn’t enough when I’ve found others who share those same spiritual experiences. Yet, I also believe that not everyone has to experience crazy stuff like I do to believe that there is a God. I also believe that we are often prone to writing off the idea of a deity because of what we’ve experienced from the church. Which isn’t fair really. And to those who did try the whole ‘believing in God’ thing and it didn’t work out – at least they were open.
Open. That’s what I’m aiming to be in my beliefs and that’s what’s working for me. I question things, a lot, and believe that such a pattern is healthy in the discovery to what we believe is true for ourselves. Some people start off at point A and end up at another letter. That’s their journey. Not everything that’s true to me has to be true to another. Nor do my experiences invalidate another person’s beliefs about the world. We’re all different.
I’m a Christian who believes that same-sex marriage should be allowed across the borders, that premarital sex isn’t always a sin, and that masturbation is not something that should be prohibited outside of marriage. I believe in social justice, taking care of my body and the planet. I believe when I love everyone I am in turn loving God and that I cannot love God while dishonouring others and His planet.
I believe that having a code of honour, regardless of beliefs, that extends to every individual and this planet is what matters most. I believe that we should question our own practices and motives for doing things. Only then will we come to a better understanding of our own hearts and to decide if we are truly loving others or just being selfish human beings.
Of course, I often think..dude…what if I go to hell for these beliefs? But then I remember something about love. A few things really and I know God would find honour over that more than what I believe when it comes to my religion.
I believe that if we did something out of love for someone and they don’t understand our intentions then I believe, not in forcing my version of ‘love’ unto them but to love them differently in a way that they are at peace with. I would want someone to do the same for me even if they thought I was wrong. This is love. You don’t need a law to reveal what love is but to reveal what wrongdoing is. This is, after all, my opinion of what the Bible meant when it said these beautiful words;
“ But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.” Galatians 5: 22-23
How can someone put up a law to doing what is right? And if such a law exists, should it stand? For example, laws that prohibit unions between same-sex partners in total love choosing to commit to each other for life.
I think that’s at the basis of the law of love really. It’s very simple – to love. If we all focused on loving more and developing healthy ethics in the interest of everyone to live by much more than we focused on “keeping the law” our lives would become freer and less fear-driven especially when it comes to religion. I believe that we were all created by a loving God who wants to see everyone love and be loved. I believe that He exists inside and outside the Bible and that all of our understandings of this God, when put together, begin to unravel who He is. I believe revelation is progressive and not stuck in one time period but evolves with time as time seeks to portray the character of an infinite God.
This is why I believe in discovery together is better than alone. One’s approach may be something you never even considered on this side of eternity and that’s okay. It gives you the opportunity to learn. I believe in seriously considering other world religions to round out your approaches to love. Because, after all, love is all that matters no matter which God you believe in. He is more honoured by the one who loves than the one who can say His name right or spell the word ‘religion’.
Am I wrong in saying this? What do you say?
My Christianity is my Christianity but if it harms another individual it is no longer love and I must lay down my weapons and extend my hand of love towards that person, towards that tree, towards that puppy. I believe love is for all of creation and that love cares about all of creation as the Bible often depicts.
I will leave this verse of John McMillan’s song “Enemy, Love” right here to end this post off:
I’m willing, but I’m weak
So come and talk to me
I don’t want to, want to be, want to be
Your enemy, love
I’m willing, but I’m weak
So come and talk to me
I don’t want to, want to be, want to be
Want to be your enemy, love
What I’m about to say is not in the context the song was written but it’s so romantic and reminiscent of the unity we need to be exhibiting more of in this world! I don’t want to continue living in a world where we are all enemies. I want us to talk to each other without trying to convert that person but trusting that truth is powerful enough especially if it even is truth in the first place. But even then, I want us to practice allowing people to make their own decisions about the Bible, about God, about this Universe without berating them but following the ‘do unto others as you would have them do unto you” law of love.
Can we do that? Is this something your willing to commit to from now on as you bravely encounter other religions and peoples? Are you willing to see love instead of seeing red when someone disagrees? We need to love ya’ll. The earth is ravished of it. We must return it wildly and without shame. Bold and unafraid. Even if you don’t believe in submission to God, believe in the power of submission to love. For this is, who I believe, He is at His core.
Let’s return the love we were created with and to make it a point to do so babes.
I love you,