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It just does not work!

By Sunday Silence ~

I cannot do Christianity any more. Its illogical stories, inconsistent standards, and ineffectiveness have become too much for me to continue believing. I struggled with intellectual doubt throughout my 26 year Christian experience. Many of the stories in the Old Testament are troublesome to my conscience and I would never suggest to someone that they use the stories as examples of upright behavior, as many preachers do. The evangelical and fundamentalist churches prescribe bizarre and contradictory remedies to the challenges of individuals and the culture at large. I navigated the doubts for so long yet I still held on to my faith.

What finally destroyed it was the experience in my own personal life and that of my family. I tried to do everything that I thought God wanted and that the church prescribed. I was “sexually pure” and saved sexual activity for marriage. I did my best to be honest and live honorably. I tried to care for the poor. I tried not to be lustful. I tried to be patient. I tried to love my family by providing for their physical needs because the church told me that love was an action. I tried to control anger. In general, I tried to be a “godly man.” I used prayer to help me change for the better, and I fully expected God to improve both me and other Christians so that the church would reflect God’s character and especially his love.

However, I observed in the past few years that prayer, the church’s prescriptions, my faith, and God himself are ineffective at improving me or other Christians. After 26 years I still struggled just as much to be loving, patient, without lust, and joyful. Christians and the institutional church continue to be judgmental and self-righteous, and my own beliefs fueled the same attitudes in me. The feeling of judgement was so pervasive that whenever I was at church I never felt free to be who I was – I had to hide for fear of judgement. It did not matter if it was a conservative or liberal church. Both types of theology produce the same attitudes, albeit with different political views.

The breaking point came when my Christian wife (now ex-wife) said that we should separate and eventually divorce. Throughout our marriage I tried to provide and love through action, but it was not enough. I did many things wrong in the marriage for which I am to blame. But the prescriptions of “sexual purity,” the notion that love is an action, and the Christian beliefs that there are perfect standards of child-rearing and marriage set us up for failure, I feel. These ideas hindered openness and communication and so I hid from both the church and my family.

What finally destroyed it was the experience in my own personal life and that of my family.
For the past 6 months I have lived without god, as best as I can. In this time I have become a better father, with more patience and authentic love for my child. I have discovered the peace of Sunday mornings without church. Instead of rushing to church, I meditate or take nature walks. I have discovered true romantic love through my girlfriend. Throwing off the prescriptions of the church, we have blended affection, communication, sex, and love into the most beautiful and fulfilling relationship that I have ever experienced. All this has improved me and made me a better man, in ways that 26 years of Christianity did not.

If God does exist then it seems he is distant and has neglected the church, his people. He appears to be ineffective at changing us. Instead, I have found improvement through the true love of another person, friendships, the love I have for my child, being in nature, meditation, and even an appreciation for simpler things such as the glow and smell of scented candles! These are the things in which I have found life – life abundantly.