Falling from Faith or The Great Bible Charade

Everyone:  Be forewarned.  This is a rant.  You may not like it.  Shoot, I may not like it after I hit “publish” but I HAVE GOT to get these thoughts out of my head and out onto (cyber) paper. These are all the things you are NOT allowed to say, think, or ask….. unless you are at seminary (oh, the irony)

Okay, so for those of you that have been reading, you may or may not know that I have been feeling some type of way about organized religion, as of late.   I’ve been having my doubts about what I’ve been taught my entire life.  (I won’t get into the gay marriage stuff, because that’s another post ENTIRELY)  My issues right now relate to those “magic trick” bible verses.  I feel like pastors have been preaching this formula:  Input A + Input B = Output C (I mean, yeah, there’s some “if and only if” in there too, but I digress)  But how can they continue to teach that, when there are people that have been inputting A and B their ENTIRE lives, and NEVER get Output C?  But wait, isn’t that formula in that big book you teach from?  Why isn’t it working?  I’m starting to wonder about some of these “prosperity preachers” as they are called.  And, just to bring some balance; no, I’m not one of those people who listens to somebody preach from behind a pulpit but never reads the book.  No, I’ve READ the book.  And it seems like this God that is over us is playing one big game of Puppetmaster.

“Children do this, children to that. You have to use your faith. I may or may not have something AWESOME for you, but I’m not going to tell you.  Just use your faith.  I want to see if you trust me.”  

Seriously??  If this were a relationship I was in with a man (like a boyfriend) we would have broken up a loooooooooong time ago.  I want to see if you trust me???????? REALLY???  And, no, I’m not some random, I GREW UP in the church.  I was in the church before I was born.  I’m just sick of the games and sick of the half truths, and lies by way of omission.  Yeah, sorry, but THAT’S how I feel right now.  There…I said it.  Now, I suppose I’m going to get struck by lightning or something. (I’m kidding about the lightning).

I won’t say I’m atheist, or agnostic.  No,I believe He’s up there, but I’m just not sure what His motives are.  And to all the people who say, “Well, he gave you life, and that’s the ULTIMATE gift.  He woke you up this morning, that’s enough reason to praise Him.  He doesn’t OWE you anything”  Okay fine.  I’d be JUST FINE with that, if that’s all that was in the book.  But that’s NOT what’s in the book. HE made those promises, not me.  And I HATE when preachers say, “You need to remind Him of His promises?  Wait…what?  I have to remind HIM of His promises?  Did He forget them, somehow? *side eye*

“The Book” says if  we acknowledge Him in all our ways, he’ll direct our paths.  Ever felt lost, but, all the while, you were “acknowledging” God?  Yeah, yeah, me too.  “The Book” says if we delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give us the desires of our hearts.  Anyone ever do this, and NOT get the desires of your heart?  Yeah, same here.   And this is the worst one of all, as it relates to “Puppetmastery”:  Remember that story about how Abraham wanted a son, and God’s all sure, sure, I’ll give you a son.  And God waited until Abraham was like 100, and his wife Sarah was like, 90 to do it?  AND THEN GOD TOLD ABRAHAM TO KILL HIM!!!!!!!!! I mean, or course, He provided a ram in the bush at theeeeee last possible second, but ummmmmmm, GOD TOLD HIM TO KILL HIS KID BECAUSE GOD WANTED TO SEE IF HE WOULD TRUST HIM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  I mean, that’s a great Bible story about faith, and trust, and all that lovely stuff, but they really don’t go into the psychology of what that did to the family thereafter.  But, to be fair, who knows, maybe people ran around almost killing their kids all the time back then, so, you know, maybe it made sense…..  So here’s the conclusion of this rant:  If we’re just supposed to love, trust and worship God because He woke us up this morning, and, in the meantime, live our lives as they come, the good, the bad, and the ugly; FINE…..JUST SAY THAT.  But do not sit here and play games with people’s emotions by making us all of these promises, and then not keeping them, or PRETENDING you’re not going to keep them, just to see if we trust You. Or, worst of all, remaining completely silent when we need you the most.  What sort of loving relationship is that?  And please don’t hit me with the “His ways are greater than our ways, so you aren’t supposed to understand them” either :-/

Okay.  Rant complete.  Feel free to comment, guys. Honestly, I just don’t know what I believe anymore.

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Posted on November 9, 2011, in Philosophies R Us and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. I love this blog. Explains how I’ve felt for the past 10+ years

  2. First, great post. Not to sound preachy and uber-religious, but as a Christian I know it’s hard…trust me, at one point in time I was searching for other religions to join because I was not 100% sold on the doctrine of Christ and his teachings (and belief in God). With that being said, you are not alone. I, like you, grew up in church. I went from being non-denominational to COGIC (Church of God In Christ), to Baptist (although I never really joined) back to non-denominational. I never really subjected myself to other religions outside of Christianity mainly out fear, but I definitely did research them enough to strongly consider changing beliefs. But, I digress….moving on. Growing up COGIC, I was one of the millions who was in church, literally, 5-6 days out of the week doing the ‘work of the Lord’ (several red flags). I also grew up under teaching of various televangelists (i.e. Prosperity Teachers). Oh, and my dad didn’t go to church, no does he believe in God (well, the God we worshipped at church). To be honest, I don’t know what he believes. So, you can see, I grew up in a mixed-belief household from the start.

    When I was younger, my mother (who was raised Apostolic…very fundamentalist) always taught us ‘you have to know God and His word for yourself”. I didn’t really understand what she meant until I had graduated from college. Not only did regular adult life happen, but so did the true tests to my spiritual growth (hence the true start to my spiritual journey…switching churches, definitely questioning Christianity as a whole, etc). I had the same questions about why this and why not that. At one point, I stopped believing in God all together. I hated being around so-called ‘Christians’, I stopped believing in His existence…yeah, all that. At some point, I did regain belief and started doing more and more research on just what the Bible says about how Christians are to live and walk in Christ. Here’s what I’ve learned so far :

    #1) “Children do this, children to that. You have to use your faith. I may or may not have something AWESOME for you, but I’m not going to tell you. Just use your faith. I want to see if you trust me.” <—- while we do have to have faith (Heb 11:1), we also must keep working. Jesus said that if you ask for something in his name, He will do it (John 14:14). In the same vein, it has to be in His Will (Lord's Prayer Matthew 6:9-10). Keeping the faith is not easy and definitely wasn't intended. When Jesus ascended back to Heaven, the Holy Comforter (Holy Spirit) was left in His place to give us peace and mental/spiritual protection about our choice to walk in the ways of Christ.

    #2) Prosperity teachers (and other preachers/teachers) are and have always been a tough subject (with the exception of those that are just blatant abusers of the Word of God). This is where the 'wolves in sheep's clothing' scripture applies (Matt 7:15) and have been given a stage (if you will) to present their gospel and teaching to whomever will listen (2 Tiim 4:3).

    #3)There is more to than just knowing the Bible front-to-back, cover-to-cover. It is a textual document that was translated over a few thousand times, and while (I believe) it is spiritually infalliable, it is a historical document that needs to be understood piece by piece. The scripture that states for us to "study to show thy self approved (2 Tim 2:15) is very appropriate for the translation of words, knowing the culture in which the Bible was written, etc.

    #4)But do not sit here and play games with people’s emotions by making us all of these promises, and then not keeping them, or PRETENDING you’re not going to keep them, just to see if we trust You. Or, worst of all, remaining completely silent when we need you the most. What sort of loving relationship is that? And please don’t hit me with the “His ways are greater than our ways, so you are supposed to understand them” either :-/ <— I DEFINITELY feel where you are coming from here; been there and back and have been there again several times (well, more than I'd like to count lol). I think the 'quiet game' that we believe God is playing with us is no more unusual than a parent remaining silent when a child is constantly asking for something. Think about it, you (general, not specific) asked for a bike, the parent said yes, just be patient you WILL get it, even though they never tell you when. So, you ask again the next day, parent gives same response….you ask again the day after that, parent gives the same response…after a while, your continuous asking will warrant silence on the parents' behalf. why? the parent has already said/given you signs that you are going to get the bike, all they are teaching/asking for in return is a little bit of faith and patience….and as we grow older, some forsight into a situation. As cheesy/corny/preachy/church as this sounds, God's delay is not always a denial. And if it seems to be a denial, that is when you ask him to help change your mindset about the situation. Oh and by the way, WE aren't supposed to be able to understand His ways (in the sense of being on His level). That scripture (Isaiah 55:8) is more for things that we as humans are more resistant to doing (like forgiving, loving unconditionally, having mercy, etc).

    I know this is a really long response, but the conclusion is we are all human…NONE OF US ARE GOD!! The difference is how you choose to go about living this ilfe 🙂

    Also, please don't take offense to any of my responses…my intent is not to, especially with the scriptures (those are to support my statements).

  3. No offense is taken at all, Diane. It does seem, however, that you may think I’m something of a spiritual baby. My spiritual background is where you may have me confused, but you couldn’t have known since I didn’t post it. I come from a household of preachers. Both of my parents have a PhD in Divinity and Christian Education (they also have “secular” degrees, and “secular” jobs) but I say that to say I’m a PK. I know all of the verses you quoted, and have lived them for most of my life, so I can appreciate you using them to support your statements. Because I realize the Bible is both a historical AND living document, I know that just “knowing the words” and “reading the book” isn’t enough. I’ve been exposed to classes and books (obviously not as many as a theology student) on hermeneutics, apologetics and the like, so my rant didn’t really have anything to do with me not understanding the Bible in its true context. My bottom-line issue is very simple: If someone (God) makes a promise (to Man), and the people (Men) follow the formula given in order to obtain said promise, why are they not seeing results? Because they aren’t in His will? Is asking for guidance in life not in God’s will? And why should these people have to remind God what He promised them? He made the promises, so He should keep them if the man in question lives up to the standard set forth in the Bible. I’m not talking about “faith without works”, I’m speaking about sick people wanting to get well, or people on their last leg in this economy praying for a job during a fruitless search. I’m talking about people who feel lost and just need that “lamp unto their feet” I’m not referring to people constantly talking God’s ear off; asking for material things like houses, or cars…..or bikes…I’m talking about that person that has an eviction letter on his or her door and is praying for help. I just don’t feel a game of “faith chicken” is appropriate from a God who promises to supply all our needs.

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