8/25/2013 | Share this article: View CommentsBy Saphire ~
There are many Christians that could tell you the time and date of their decision to follow Christ. I never could. Simply because I'm not really sure when it happened. When I was fifteen, the youth pastors at my church decided that I needed to make a decision. They set up times to talk to me about God and Jesus and the need to decide if I wanted to be a Christian. Honestly, I just decided to become a Christian because I wanted them to leave me alone. I remember lying in my bed and saying the "sinner's prayer" over and over again. I had always heard about this weight lifting off your shoulders, of feeling peace and joy. I didn't feel anything. I just kept thinking I must have been saying it wrong.
But eventually I believe I became a Christian. I did all the things that make you a good Christian. I went to church multiple times a week, joined the choir, went on retreats, and even became a missionary. I had good friends, my family eventually became Christians as well, and I enjoyed my life. Leaving the church started for me when my best friend told me he was gay. I'm ashamed to say that I responded like most religious people. I told him that he needed to pray and allow God to change him. I told him that I was disappointed in his lifestyle choice. To this day I still feel nauseous when I think about what I said. One day we were talking on the phone and I heard the pain in his voice. I listened to my best friend weep as he struggled with who he was and who he felt God wanted him to be. My heart broke for him. And so the questions began. Did I really believe being gay was wrong or was I just repeating what I had been told in church?
This question only opened the door for more questions. I became so frustrated with how the church was treating people, not just gays but anyone who was different than them. So I began looking for a progressive form of Christianity. I didn't want to walk away from my beliefs, but I couldn't hold to the traditional views. I found a progressive from of Christianity but instead of finding something that allowed me to keep my beliefs it actually gave me the information I would use to walk away. Progressive Christians do not believe the bible to be infallible. At first when I read this I felt incredible freedom. But later it just became a slippery slope of doubt. If the bible is questionable than what can I actually believe in any of it? Once that question was asked my path was clear. There was no way I could be a Christian in any form. The questions just kept coming. Are we truly so evil that God would have to send his son to die this horrific death for us? Is salvation really only based on geography? If God is all knowing and all loving then how can he create a world knowing that most of his creation would spend eternity in hell? And really eternity? ETERNITY? Is that really justice? Etc.
My best friend told me that he is deciding what to hold on to and what to leave behind. I find myself doing the same thing. There are ideas and a way of life that I don't want to let go of. I want to hold onto the teachings of Jesus about compassion, mercy, love, forgiveness, and charity. He, or whoever made him up, had some great things to say. But his divinity and the Christian idea of God is nothing I can subscribe to. Neither is atheism. For me I see it in the same realm as Christianity just the opposite spectrum. I've come to the realization that I do not want to live a life of certainty. Living a life of certainty only draws you in to the great debate of who is right and who is wrong. I find myself leaning towards agnosticism as it is open to the realm of possibility. There are some things I cannot possibly know. The only thing I can know for sure is how I want to live my life. I know the person I want to be and so that is my focus. I'm not interested in proving anyone wrong or right. I simply want to have and give the freedom to simply be.
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