By nature, I suppose, I am a bit gullible. Maybe naive is a better description. I’ve never viewed that as a bad thing. There is some appeal in the innocence of naivete. I tend to take what I’m told or things I read at face value. For those who have never experienced the loss of that, maybe they are skeptical by nature, it would surely be hard to understand the mentality of such trust in the words and thoughts of others. I have wholeheartedly bought into theologies and ideals that others espoused simply because I held that person in such high esteem, had such an immense amount of respect for them, that I never even really questioned what they said. There are no words to describe the grief and turmoil that accompany the realization that all that trust has been misplaced. Not because these people have done anything wrong. They sincerely believe the theologies they espouse, so I hold no anger or ill will toward them. I still have great respect for them. I have been a sheep content to follow, to my own detriment.
Those are difficult things to admit about yourself. Sometimes the hardest person to face is yourself. That’s what this journey is all about. I’m finally figuring out who I am and what I believe. This blog has been one of the best things I’ve done in this quest. It’s given me a voice that I wouldn’t otherwise have, it’s given me a place to say how I feel and what I think, wrestle with the reality of my existence and experience in a way that is difficult to do in my local community. People have come along beside me in support, offered a listening ear and given validity to my doubts. At one time I thought the only reason anyone came along side another was in the power of the Holy Spirit. My experience here has taught me different. Feeling empathy and wanting to reach out to others to lift them up and encourage them, to be a support, is innately human.
I have many questions and no easy answers. One thing that is changing on the inside of me is that I’m no longer content to be a sheep. The need to know why I believe certain things has never been greater. So the search continues but not with nearly the angst I had even a week ago. There is peace in acceptance. I’ve come to terms with the fact that I have doubts and they aren’t going away any time soon.
The online community of doubters has rallied around me and offered a respite and comfort. The one thing I don’t have any desire for at this point is to be told what I should believe. This is something I need to wrestle out. That does not mean that suggestions and advice are unwelcome. Surely that would be foolish on my part. Fleshing out ideas and other perspectives is the entire point of this blog.
There are some 38,000 denominations within Christianity. Many of those claim to be the “one true church”. I have never bought into that. There are certain core tenets that are present within most of those which I believe are requirements to be a “true Christian”, namely the death, burial and resurrection of Christ. Clearly that means different things to different people. Some groups have a wrong interpretation of scripture, or maybe they all do. They can’t all be right. How would you know if your group’s interpretation is the right one? Maybe another is. I would hazard a guess that each one of those 38,000 denominations think they are the ones who have it right or there would be no need for division. You may be hardcore fundamentalist, moderate, liberal/progressive, agnostic or atheist. I welcome all ideas and thoughts from every one of these.
At this point I am leaning toward agnosticism because I don’t feel I can trust scripture as inerrant or the word of God, and if it isn’t what’s the point of twisting and turning and bending myself to follow the doctrines and laws held within them? I mourn the loss of that naive notion. On one hand I wish I could turn back time to before the moment I decided to research my beliefs, on the other I’m glad I decided that I can handle whatever the truth reveals. To be certain if I do leave Christianity it won’t be done lightly because I don’t take my faith seriously. No, it will be most assuredly because I do.