in john’s latest post, he ponders something that i struggled with before i left my christian faith behind.
i’ll quote him:
I am a practical atheist. Yes, I believe in God, but in practice, my life doesn’t always reflect that belief in God. As I asked the crowd this morning, what would be different about my life if I really took God at His Word? How would it affect my prayer life? My private life? My future? Do I really believe God is in control? That He is actively involved in the life of His creation? I say I do. The Bible says He is. But, I wonder why my daily life doesn’t always reflect what I profess to believe.
these were things i struggled with a lot in 2003 through 2005, leading up to my big decision.
i didn’t just think about it, though, i set about really finding out.
i set about really studying, and applying the bible to my life in a whole new way. i wrote, lots, about what i believed, hashing through ideas about evangelism, atonement, grace, emerging culture, hell, and lots of other subjects.
this led me to start reading the works of the church fathers, which led me to be interested in the early church, which led me to be interested in the culture behind the early church, and i ended up studying roman culture and the early church fit into it. i studied paul’s life, i studied basically everything i could get my hands on,
and, to be honest, i was uncomfortable with the things i was learning.
i ignored some what what i was learning, at first, but eventually couldn’t, and be honest with myself.
one of the hardest things to come to grips with was that the bible wasn’t perfect.
i had come to believe before that the bible was the inerrant word of god, reliable and trustworthy.
but i was learning that it was hobbled together by people with political agendas, stealing from older works (many of them not “christian” works, either).
and i was learning not to angrily stop reading the articles that pointed out drastic inconsistencies. inconsistencies that i had previously glossed over.
i was learning to recognize some of the awful awful things in there that i had candy-coated in order to believe this was a “good” book.
as i learned how the bible came to be as it is, i learned not to impose my own viewpoint on what it was, and eventually came to see it as a collection of writings from a wandering desert tribe barely out of the prehistoric age and a god-man myth built around those writings collected in order inspire a people to throw off an oppressive government.
and as i accepted this, i cam eto realize why i had always had such trouble reconciling my own lack of faith (in christian terms).
i came to realize that despite my giving myself over to god, why i was still not ever really “living for him”.
i came to realize why me and my christian peers were constantly struggling with things the holy spirit was supposed to be helping us overcome.
it was, simply, because there is no holy spirit that does any such thing.