Monday, February 1, 2010

God: Part III

Yesterday, a friend asked me, “What has been the most significant change in your life since you returned from Cambodia?”

Couldn’t help it, couldn’t deny it, though I tried: Come on think of anything else . . . “Before I went to Cambodia, I believed in a loving God.” Sometimes I lack a filter.

I’m not anti-God.
I’m not anti-Adventism.
I’m not anti-Christianity.
I’m not anti-anything.
I’m pro-truth.

I’m seeking answers.

It was easy to believe in a loving God when I was 6 years-old and the Bible told me so. It was easy to believe in a loving God at 10 years-old when the biggest trial in my life involved surviving my older brother’s torment and spit-torture. It was easy to believe in a loving God for most of my years until life really hurt me and I wanted someone to blame. God seemed the obvious choice, I suppose He always is.

Life was simpler when I was 19. I didn’t have to think so hard. I didn’t have to confront my thoughts or the reality of a world in which people are hurting, and dying, and killing each other for no reason at all. The grey areas of life continue to become more obvious to me as I search for the good ‘ol black-and-whites I grew up knowing well: Don’t steal. Don’t cheat. Don’t have sex. Don’t question God.

For the last two years, my identity has been built on my doubts. Am I being too stubborn? Are the answers right under my nose and I don’t want to see them for fear of being wrong? I think it’s easy to get stuck here. I don’t want to get stuck.

I often have conversations with people about God, but over the last week, the topic has come up more than usual. Probably because last week, I performed a song at church and last night, I attended vespers; both of which events I haven’t attended regularly in years.

I’ve found a group of people—Christians and non-Christians— who accept my questions and who welcome my doubts. I like them. I learn from them. I have some very Christian friends, but I also made some very not-Christian friends. It’s interesting to me that because I’m open about my doubts with God and my questions about Christianity, that I’ve gained an entirely new group of friends who are in a similar place. I realize we get a long for many reasons, but we seem to agree on the fact that Christianity doesn’t look super appealing right now. We relate on this. We agree on this. Last week, I told one of these friends I was singing at church, and felt the strong urge to tell him, “Well, I’m doing it for a friend and I only agreed because I am singing a song that I wrote. And I’m going to leave right afterwards.” I felt like such a big dork, foolish for trying to be cool enough to not be Christian. It’s like I was trying to prove that I still had my doubts and needed to be wary and resistant.

He ended up attending to hear my song, then left. The next day, he told me about how uncomfortable it was for him to be in church. I heard what he was saying, but it struck me as we were talking that it seems sometimes because of my identity as a doubter, that I want to disagree with Christians. I somewhat look for what they’re doing wrong, instead of what they’re doing right. So in the end, while I may complain that some Christians can be judgmental, I’m being just as judgmental by assuming they’ll disappointment me.

The other night, as I walked into vespers, a not-Christian friend latched onto me and whispered, “I don’t want to be here.” Her eyes daring side-to-side. “I haven’t been in church for so long. It makes me uncomfortable.”

“Well,” I said. “I don’t think anyone is forcing you to stay. You can leave at any time.”

Antsy. “No, I’ll stay.”

But throughout the service, I glanced around at some truly awkward not-Christians as they huffed under their breath and slightly rolled their eyes. I sat there thinking: We need to get used to this. Otherwise we’re fighting change. We have to endure uncomfortable situations all the time in which we are surrounded by people who may believe differently than we do. How about a Republican convention? How about a National Rifle Association meeting? Or simply a classroom where the discussion shifts and new ideas are presented? What makes some, including myself, so uncomfortable with church? Unfortunately, I haven’t been looking for truth. I’ve been searching for the flaws. That’s not fair. I’m sorry. That’s a pretty sad way to live. It’s like I’ve been taking my anger with life out on Christianity, as if they are somehow responsible.

Some people believe that Christians are unintelligent, simple-minded, and shallow thinkers. That’s not fair either. Look at some of the smartest philosophers in the world, some believed in God, some didn’t. After a few thousand years, the world’s smartest people can’t figure it out either. Is there a God or not? If they don’t know, who am I to decide? It’s like I’m waiting for one more scientific study, or one last missing piece that will confirm what I should believe. Maybe I have everything I need and it all comes down to a choice.


Seth said...

As far as proving God there are to possibilities;

1. There is no God: You die and never find out.

2. There is a God: You find out when Jesus returns at the second coming and either you go with Him or you don't.

If there was a way of proving God is wouldn't be believing.