Lately undercurrents of doubt have caught hold of me. I just want to know God, but all I seem to find are closed theologies, an obtuse Bible, and Christians that don’t act like Christ. Including myself.
It makes me feel like giving up on it all. But I realized that to give up just because I feel confused and defeated would be irresponsible. So on my long drive home tonight I decided to turn off the music, roll down the windows, stop feeling helpless and angry, and really nail to the table what I can believe right now.
One nail at a time…
First, the world is either created by chance or by God. After seeing how well designed nature is, a smart God seems to be just as viable, and the more desirable choice.
Then about Jesus. This man changed the whole direction of the world by my age, 33. So I’ll give him a listen.
What was his agenda? Well, he didn’t seem to want political power; he pissed off all those who could have given him power and he discouraged upheavals against the power.
And he didn’t even seem to want popularity among the masses; he regularly said things that sounded so ridiculous that people bailed on him all the time. So, what then was he trying to do?
His agenda seemed to consist of just a couple things.
For one, he asked people to give up all they had for God. It doesn’t seem like he was here to gain anything from this world.
He also said he came to forgive us for breaking the law, which only makes sense if he was the one who wrote the laws. And he even seemed to invite death, saying that was how he would take our punishment for breaking the law. So if he really died for that, it seems likely that he really must have thought he was God.
But he seems to be more than just a crazy guy, because people recorded miracles that showed he had power over physical bodies and even spirits. So he seemed to have something more than the rest of us. Also, a lot of coincidences seemed to make him the right person, filling prophecies at the right place and right time. Right parents. Big star pointing right down at him.
Ok, so now that this guy in history seems to stand out from the rest, because he actually might be God, how does he deal with all my religious questions that make me doubt.
I guess when I look at it, he just doesn’t say that much about the things that get my knickers in a bunch, and make Christians argue. Maybe they’re just not that important to him.
Things like whose theology is correct? Well, Jesus pretty much only speaks in vague stories so it seems he’s more concerned with touching the heart than straightening out theology.
But how do we answer all those questions about things like sexuality, suffering, dependencies, mental disease, getting a little drunk, smoking pot, abortion, eating disorders, how far can you go with your girlfriend, and masturbation? He just doesn’t say that much about those things. But he does have a mighty fierce passion to rescue people from their own selfishness. Maybe that’s it. Perhaps for these types of things he just wants us to do what sets us most free from selfishness and helps us do the same for others.
So then what DID he say?
The two statements he seems to make over and over are that we must trust so much of ourselves to God that it borders on absurdity, and we must love those who have less than we do, even when it makes us look bad.
And what did he spend most of his time doing? He railed the organized church for not loving the needy, and then he went out and loved the needy. And it totally made him look bad. To everybody but the needy.
I still have huge questions about how we’re supposed to interpret the Bible, does prayer really work, and plenty of other issues, but after tonight’s little throw down, I’m taking away a couple things.
I think I can believe in the man who said to surrender my heart to God, and then said to help people in need. . . even if it makes me look bad, seems absurd, or I guess even if it kills me. . .
One nail at a time.
And then, if I still can’t see God, I hope at least someone out there will start to see him in me.
Does anybody have any other enlightening thoughts on this issue? Please tell!
Raw Spoon, July 9, 2013