Thursday, April 3, 2008

More on Christianity...

We talked about Christianity in my Philosophy of Religion course today, and I realized that every time we start to talk about Christianity in a philosophical or analytical context I experience a physical (and I'm sure mental) change. My muscles tighten, I get a lump in the pit of my stomach, and I just want to scream and run out. This, I think, stems from a few things, but it really upsets me that I can't rationally talk about this faith. I get very emotional about it in a very negative way.

I think that I feel spiritually abused by Christianity. For years people told me it was absolutely the right path and any other path was invalid. Now I think differently. For years people told me that if I would just pray to Jesus and God for answers, I'd find them. I never did. If I just lifted my prayers up to God he'd help. Then I watched one of my closest friends die a very painful death of cancer after we'd prayed until we could pray no more, leaving behind two daughters my age.

Christianity never helped me change my habits, so I kept feeling like I was doing it wrong or I was broken somehow. Through the years of putting all of my faith in God and the continual feeling of neglect, I couldn't help but think that it was because I was a spiritual failure. Everyone else got it, so why couldn't I? What was wrong with me? But I was continually told that Jesus loved me and there was no other path, so I tried harder and harder until I went to college. There I learned that there were alternatives to original sin, brokenness, the feeling of being God's unwanted child, and John's arrogant Jesus.

Now, hearing people preach the same path that caused me so much anguish and talk about Christianity's validity and truth claims makes me physically sick to my stomach. It makes me angry, I get distraught, and I also get scared.

This is what runs through my mind when we talk about Christianity:

I begin with something like, "Here we go again. Who could believe this? This is ridiculous! It naturally creates hierarchies, oppresses people by citing the Bible (which, I might add, is in no way justified as being the inerrant word of God!), and for the most part doesn't create people whose primary goal is to love and help each other. Why do people board this sinking ship?"

Then my past creeps up on me. "What if I used to be right? What if I really do need to be saved through Jesus Christ to enter heaven? What if my studies are only helping me rationalize not being able to do it right? What if I am broken and need grace? What if Christianity is the only way and God really was just ignoring me? What if it really is right and I'm going to spend an eternity in Hell?"

Then I get scared. There's no way of proving any of it, but sure enough some people will preach it as perfectly valid in every way because their pastor told them God said so. What if they're right? I don't want to believe it, but what if it's true? Even if it is true, I don't think I can go back to being who I was. It's too painful to continue to pray to a God who promises to listen and doesn't, who doesn't help the people who worship Him, who tells us to love Him and spread the message that He's supreme but never seems to love us back.

I'm through with it. I think we all need to work out our own salvation. I'm tired of waiting for God to work it out for me. We've gotta do some things for ourselves, no matter how painful it is and no matter how painful it is to look back on who we were once.


Anonymous said...

You must be related to my sons - they have that same visceral reaction. I have mellowed on it quite a bit just because I know Christians who actually live very sane and loving lives. But I am baffled about the need to wrap that practice in some pretty primitive beliefs.

lalalatesa said...

I understand some of what you're feeling. It seems more and more I'm having a similar reaction to Christianity that you have. I still don't know what my conclusions are. I know that the view of Jesus I grew up with doesn't work for the critical (and academic) mind, and I'm still trying to rationalize these two ideas as well as figure out just what the hell I believe.

Anonymous said...

7.22 -

The Master said, "In strolling in the company of just two other persons, I will surely find a teacher. Identifying their strengths, I follow them, and identifying their weaknesses, I reform myself accordingly.

e said...

I wonder who isn't listening to who.

Anonymous said...

faith i believe should not be blindly taken
while faith usually resides in the realm in which reason cannot reach, it is logical i think to at least, consider a most rational view of all options, before giving in to a logically-stifling option.
have a world view and i believe more can be seen. and that would be an objective and neutral view, not a preconceived view.