6/20/2010 | Share this article:By Kristin --
I’ve always had questions about religion. They started out innocent and curious, but when no one could answer those questions, they became suspicious. My most frequent included the following:
- Why would God send someone to hell who hasn’t even heard of Jesus?
- If every religion says they’re the one true religion, how do we know which is right?
- Why would God even let someone be born if He knew in advance that they were going to hell?
- Other than the Bible, what evidence is there that Jesus is the Son of God?
- Why do we believe people who hear things from God, even though they are sometimes wrong?
Growing up in a Pentecostal church (think one step down from snake handling), I was thoroughly brainwashed from a young age. Still, I always felt guilty for not having the urge to do cartwheels down the aisles, speak in tongues, or lift my hands to worship the wall (I mean, isn’t God supposed to be everywhere?). In fact, I was constantly in a state of guilt, praying for forgiveness multiple times per day. The more I tried to stop thinking mean or bad things, the more I thought them. These minor thought sins sparked major ones; I began to wonder why I felt so guilty all the time if God’s love was so amazing, why 95% of Christians were not loving, kind, and accepting like Jesus, why there are inconsistencies in the Bible, why people will believe anything if you say God told you so. The start of my questions. I decided to start doing some research on Jesus and the Bible.
I stopped asking my mother questions the day she quietly said, “Your intelligence is going to make it hard for you to have a relationship with Jesus.” About the time I had begun to privately doubt the veracity of the Bible in earnest, my mother suggested I go to a class at our church with her for questioners. Questioners! Perfect! I didn’t realize there were others like me at our church. The class promotional material promised to answer questions like, “How do we know there’s a God? How do we know Jesus is the Son of God?” For once, I was excited to go to church. However, the class used only Bible scriptures as “evidence” of these truths. Everyone around me acted like they had finally been truly enlightened, but I was almost heartbroken. The Bible really was the only thing Christianity had as evidence. It simply didn’t make sense to me, and I couldn’t force myself to believe it.
I have not “come out” to my family, and I know that I will keep it that way for as long as possible. If I can, I want to avoid the awkward phone calls, arguments, and thoughtful Christmas gifts of books chronicling someone’s account of going to hell and being resuscitated for a second chance. Being from a family of missionaries, pastors, and youth group leaders, it’s bad enough that I went into psychology – “Psychology is evil, and psychologists are unnecessary. God is able to heal all psychological problems.” Really? The same way He heals all medical problems? Regardless, I’m not sure I can bear to tell them.
Thank God (heh), there’s a happy ending to this story. I married an atheist who loves me regardless of my beliefs, and he has been a source of sanity in the midst of my Jebus-crazy family. I now officially categorize myself as agnostic, and I’ve never been happier or more guilt-free.
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