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Religion v Reason

By Jesse ~

I'm still split in the middle of reason and religion. At this point in my life, it almost seems that the two are mutually exclusive.
I've been raised in a hyper-religious household. I walked the Christian walk and I talked the Christian talk for many years. I raised my hands in church, though I never quite felt anything special. I read my Bible every night, because I was scared to death of damnation and because that's what those around me did. I even read some supplemental Christian readings to strengthen my faith. I went to church at least one time a week. I often had deep spiritual conversations with people I was close with.

Lift up your heads, O gates, And be lifted up,...Image by Sprengben [why not get a friend] via Flickr

It was all a simulation. From a young age, I had my doubts about my faith, but until about a year-and-a-half ago, I just pushed those doubts to the back of my mind. How could I know better than God? A year-and-a-half ago, I started to think for myself. Whenever I went to church, I could not help but disagree with about 75% of what the preacher said. Christians are supposedly elite moral beings, but they seem to have it all wrong. How can it be that saying a four-letter word can be more immoral than humiliating or condemning homosexuals? The number of homosexual teens who commit suicide before coming out because of guilt and fear of judgment is staggering.

Christians themselves can’t agree on truth. Each Christian interprets their bible their own way. I’ve heard many differing opinions on how to get to heaven or how to live your life. Christians can’t agree on moral relativism or moral absolutes. What does it really mean to be saved? Is it simply asking Jesus into your heart? I did that. A couple of times. But there was no transformation. I begged for something unique, for fulfillment. I begged for a sign from God to assure me that I was saved. All I wanted was truth. All I got were more questions.

How can those who have never heard of the gospel be condemned to Hell? Who does one make it to heaven? Where is the line drawn? What about those who have had traumatic religious experiences? How is it that some people seem to be so spiritual, but no matter how much I beg, there is no change in my life? How can Christians see things as black and white? There is no black and white!

After years of suppressing these questions, I sought answers. Maybe I had been brainwashed. As much as I prayed for answers, I never got them. It is a little funny that the possible responses to prayer are “yes”, “no”, or “maybe later.” Maybe prayer is a lie.

Every way I reason, Christianity seems to be a farce. It can play a positive role in many people’s lives, as can any religion for that matter. Religion can help heal people. It can help direct people or inspire people. It can give hope. But I simply cannot reason a way that any religion is exclusively true.

I know what Christians would say to this. The devil’s gotten ahold of me. I have been deceived. Maybe I never was a Christian. Maybe Christians are right. This is what vexes me. How can I be okay with leaving what’s left of my faith? If Hell exists, nothing on earth is worth risking salvation. I would do anything to be saved. If I choose not to believe in Hell, I may just be falling into the Devil’s trap. I am trapped in the middle of religion and reason. The two are mutually exclusive. My religious upbringing has without-a-doubt lead to more torment than purpose.