Okay, I'm going to turn my blog into a journal for tonight. Or as my blogfriend Kate called it in a recent post, a "brain dump." What a good phrase.
I just feel like there's so much going on inside. I've been reading a book called Evolving in Monkey Town by Rachel Held Evans. The book is mainly about her spiritual journey from having a theologically sound intellectual faith where she could answer every question to how she started doubting the cold intellectual nature her faith had taken on. She writes about how she during college she started feeling like life and Christianity really wasn't fair. About how is her professors and SS teachers are correct, hell will be populated not only by Hitler and Stalin, but by all of their victims as well. She said:
It was as if I had discovered a giant crack in the biblical worldview wall, and the more I studied the crack, the more fractures and fissures I noticed growing out of it... If God is really good and merciful, then why did he command Joshua to kill every man, woman, and child in Jericho?... When we say that God is sovereighn, does that mean that he presides over every rape of a child? ... The space between doubting God's goodness and doubting his existence is not as wide as you might think.
That's exactly how I feel. I'm assuming that the last half of the book she'll talk about how she's come to trust God again and work through her doubts, but right now I feel stuck in the middle stage of the book. I don't know what it says about me that I can identify most closely with her spiritually dark time of life. But I also don't really care. I'm so sick of people being ashamed of their doubts and fears and I'm so sick of Christians acting like everything is perfect and everything makes sense. Maybe it truly does make sense to some people, but I honestly feel like very little makes sense to me. (Also, this blog post will probably not have the happy ending of, "but now everything's great!" Just so you know)
I think it all started when I began questioning the view of homosexuality was taught growing up. I starting reading about how there are many respected and legitimate interpretations of the verses that do not end up with damnation and judgement, but in fact translate it in its historical context in which is was written. After completely changing my views on that, I started questioning what else in the Bible is misleading. If I can't trust something like that, what can I trust? There seem to be multiple interpretations of every.single.passage. Do people just pick what sounds good and run with it? Where's the Absolute Truth in that? (Moral of the story: Don't question anything or you will start to doubt everything. I'm kidding.)
Rachel goes on to write about how frightened and lost she felt, praying that God would help her unbelief. She wrote:
Praying grew harder and harder, and I felt myself starting to give up. Publicly, I grew obstinate and incorrigible, ready to debate family and friends whose easy confidence baffled and frustrated me. It bothered me that other people weren't bothered. I couldn't understand why no one else was stressed out about the existence of hell or angered by all the suffering in the world. I raised such topics at bridal showers and poker games. Whenever I sensed a calm sea, I sought to rock the boat; I wanted others to share in my storm. There's a chance this may have alienated me from some people.
I almost cried when I read that, because finally, finally, I feel like there's somebody who has experienced what I feel. Why do I feel the need to argue with people all the time? Why do I want to debate about abortion, homosexuality, politics--anything on a constant basis? I think I've just gotten so frustrated and pissed off at how easily people seem to accept everything they've been taught. I'm not sure if it makes me irritated or just jealous at their seeming ease of faith. I grew up with the intellectual, knoweverysingleanswerintheBible, type of Christianity, and I was a judging Christian who scoffed at people if they didn't agree with the doctrine of Election. Who the hell did I think I was? And more importantly, was that undoubting confidence I had actually true, loving Christianity? I have no idea.
Is it better to be cold and sure of everything than to be confused about everything? I, once again, have no idea.
That's basically the point of this post. That I have no idea about anything. Maybe things have to fall apart before they can fall back together. Actually, I think that's a bullcrap pinterest quote, but that's the only encouraging thing I can think of right now.
One thing I've been thinking about a lot lately is the unwavering exclusive belief held by many evangelicals about how only born-again Christians will go to heaven and to hell with everybody else. Literally. I used to get furious when people mentioned the idea that maybe, just maybe, other religions might go to heaven also. But amidst the confusion in my heart is the idea that maybe that's true. Maybe. There's an Eastern orthodox quote that says, "We know where God is; we know not where he is not." C.S. Lewis, the brilliant scholar said, "We do know that no person can be saved except through Christ. We do not know that only those who know Him can be saved by Him."
I think maybe God is more merciful than I grew up believing. And maybe, just maybe, my questions aren't too big. Are there answers to them? I still have half of the book to find out. I'll let you know.