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I'm Afraid

By Lisbeth ~

My deconversion began last month, when I realized half of my anxiety and stress was due to the very religion that had promised me peace. I took a few weeks' break from it and then when I realized the freedom I felt, I began to doubt God's existence. He didn't try to reconvert me. All I heard from the bible was the same old stuff I'd been hearing since I was four. My mom tried to tell me that every good thing that happened to me was him telling me he loved me, but I could t help feeling it was pure chance.

The real journey started this month.

I was reading the comments on Jessa Duggar's Instagram page, a guilty pleasure of mine; I find internet arguments to be very amusing. The comments often degrade into debates about spirituality and religion. A few things that I read disturbed me.

Firstly, I began to realize that most of the Christians arguing with non believers were far more closed-minded than the atheists and agnostics. Secondly, I also realized that this was not a problem on this one page, but everywhere, even in real life. Conversations would generally follow this path:

Christian: God is love

Non Christian: If God is love then why does he choose who to save and who burns in hell? Would a loving God really send people, no matter how bad they are, to eternal damnation? Isn't this a little bit harsh?

Christian: God is perfect; we cannot begin to understand his reasoning but we trust that since he can do no wrong, somehow, as bad as it may seem, what he is doing is completely justified and goes hand in hand with his loving nature.

Non Christian: but he says we have free will and then he says we don't. He states very specifically that he is the one who chooses the saved and the unsaved. That takes away all need for a savior if the supposed Messiah chooses who will and will not be tortured forever.

It's all circular reasoning! God is love. Why does he send people to hell then? Because he is love. It doesn't make sense.

And sure, they can justify the fact that it doesn't make sense with their assumption that since God is perfect, Him sending souls to hell is totally fine because it glorifies him.

I then realized I didn't want to serve a God who, if he did in fact exist, sent souls to hell for eternal torment. It became a moral issue: if I was to remain a good person, I could not accept the assumption that people were doomed to hell to suffer forever through no choice of their own. I could not worship a God who chose to 'save' some people and not others. But the fear of hell still nags at me. What if Christianity is right? What if I will go to hell for standing up for what I believe is noble and true? What about the prophecy that Israel would be a country again? Does the fact that it came true prove that God is real and wants to torture me endlessly?

To put it simply, my problems are as follows:

  1. How can I remain open minded about God and yet know that if he exists I will go to hell
  2. If God really does not exist, how do I keep myself from being afraid because I have been programmed my whole life to think this way?

Also, I suppose I should mention that I am 20 but have no choice of whether or not to go to church because of a very controlling mother who will be very depressed and worried if she knows what I'm going through.