In my perpetual need for inspiration to overcome my bloggers block I asked for some folks to provide with some questions or topics of interest….I’m gonna hit all of the replies as i go along, but this one seems like the easiest one to answer, from Frigga:
I could suggest a few topics and definitely ask a bazillion questions… but I haven’t read your archives, so you’ve probably covered lots of stuff so far.
I’ll ask one anyway. I’d be interested in reading about your journey to becoming a Christian, and then your journey away from Christianity. What was it that made you believe so strongly, and then not believe so strongly?
Do you have any doubts that you could be wrong?
Firstly, anyone can feel free to ask or bring up any topics of interest they want to, rehashed or not, because if it is something i covered more than probably a year ago, it was still with some semblance of Christianity left in me. So really anything is fair game.
My journey INTO Christianity started very early, in 1992 (i was 6, so do with it what you will) I was “saved” at the Chester Church of God- a fairly small COG Pentecostal church. My earliest memories of that church were of me being at the alter and crying a lot and having “chattering teeth”, some Pentecostals equate this with speaking in tongues (like i said, do with it what you will). I also remember being “Slain in the Spirit,”—if you are unfamiliar with these terms just ask…alot of people outside of the pentecostal subculture may not be familiar with the terminology–a lot of it is somewhat extra-biblical. I also remember very clearly going to a pentecostal summer camp ever year for a few years through that church—and there were a lot of the same experiences. If you have seen the movie Jesus Camp—its a lot like that—except I don’t remember praying to George Bush.
My family stopped going to church for one reason or another and i was out of church for many years….i guess i was about 13 or 14 when i started going to a local Southern Baptist church. I got exited about Jesus again, i went to that church for about 3 years, toward the end of that I started studying the Bible a lot, and I got into apologetics. There was a schism in that church due to the pastors “full gospel aka pentecostal” leanings and on the day that the church asked him to leave, myself and the pastor along with many from the church went to another building and founded the new church. It was a non denominational full gospel type deal. During that time I had a mentor and with his encouragement i really delved into the Bible, eschatology, and Word of Faith doctrine—i loved the church and i loved studying. I helped the Praise leader (whom was my mentor), worked with the youth group, prayed for people at the alter a lot, and ran the sound board during services, Monica and I also went to the church and prayed (someone did it every night) about 2 times a week…so that’s a minimum of 4 nights of church most weeks.
My ministry is an area of this that I am still not comfortable addressing So i am omitting anything to do with that—it also took up a lot of time.
So things at that church began to bother me as i read the Bible further, I think i was working through the Bible for the 4th time or so when I had an epiphany moment about the Word of Faith doctrine and how wrong and selfish it was, my pastor at the time was going further and further into that (and I was HUGE into it for a while)…it just hit me that it was wrong….and I didn’t know how to confront my pastor over it so Monica and I made the decision to stop going to that church—I continued studying the Bible on my own and apologetics, and i Kept the ministry running for about a year. (this was around 2005 i think).
Monica and I went to a few churches here and there, but I never really felt like there was anything locally that would really be “God’s church” and fulfilling all the things and roles that it should be, I never was satisfied with church…I mulled over the thought of a new church but that never happened, thankfully.
So Eventually i stopped reading the Bible for the most part, and I had a lot of resentment for the church and the poor examples of Christians in it…so yea if you still sense that in me, its there. In the end, i think the Bible deconstructed itself, finding the contradictions i was afraid to face during my earlier studies….with the knowledge that the Bible was erroneous so often, i think the paradox between a loving god providing no means for us to KNOW he was true was more or less the final straw. IN apologetics I had faced all the same questions and oppositions I hold today with no trouble—the reason for that is because when you are a Christian, and suddenly what you believe is challenged, your mind nearly shuts down and blocks out that realization—at least that occurred with me and I don’t doubt that it occurs with many Christians today
The more emotional aspects of this change are covered here. In a nutshell what made me believe so strongly was that i loved god—i felt god—i knew god in a personal way that most people never experience…therefore my belief was incredibly strong. Now I am strongly opposed because of the dramatic way in which all of my belief was turned on its head….the sheer pain of that loss (the death of the Omega if you will) is why I am where I am. I have no doubt that i will lose interest in proving others wrong eventually, but it is a built in part of my personality right now…hopefully i will grow out of it—but debate is fun, and I want to do so in respectful way. I hope this blog can be a forum for that, and for others that are struggling through the same thing.
The second part of this question is about whether I have doubts of being wrong in all this…I think i handle it pretty well in this entry titled: What if I am wrong about all this?
Thank you frigga, did that answer your questions? if not smack me side the head and i will try again.
sorry if that rambled