You know Kathy, we’ve been fairly blunt with you today. Flippant, too. And it’s tough when people talk to/about you that way. I’m sorry for that.
If we could cut through all the rhetoric for a second, I’d like to commiserate with you. A little over 4 years ago, I was a very dedicated Christian. I had some doubts, but they weren’t about the Christian faith, just my understanding of it.
I felt like there were problems in my beliefs about the gospel. I believed in a literal Hell, and I believed a lot of people would be going there. But I had a very hard time squaring that with a loving God. I had matured enough to realize that most people were pretty decent. Not perfect, certainly, but good people who cared about others and typically wanted to do the right thing. I didn’t think such people deserved Hell. In fact, like Paul, I often thought that if God would accept it, I’d gladly go to Hell myself, if it would save my friends and family. And if everyone else could be added into that deal too, even better.
So if I felt that way, could I be more compassionate than God? Of course not. But I had a very hard time finding anything in the Bible that backed up an idea that most people, regardless of creed or belief would be saved.
I didn’t give up though. I knew about Universalists, so I decided to read up on their reasons for thinking everyone went to Heaven. It sounded good, but I just wasn’t convinced by their arguments. I just didn’t see the Bible teaching such a doctrine, and I still believed the Bible was the inerrant word of God.
I was in a state of flux.
And that’s the position I was in when I first ran across articles that pointed out flaws in the Bible. I was shocked by what the articles said, but since I didn’t have any answers against them at the moment, I got busy with research. I didn’t even comment on the articles — I just went to work. It wasn’t about winning any arguments; it was simply a search for answers.
I think that frame of mind I was in made all the difference for me. Deep down, I was already struggling. The doctrines I had long believed in, and even taught to others, didn’t fit together in my mind as well as they once had.
That’s probably the difference between you and me. I get the feeling that you question nothing about your faith. Not trying to put you down about that; just making an observation.
For me, discovering that the Bible was not the perfect book I had always thought it to be, and finding out that some of these church leaders I had always admired knew of these problems but never spoke of them, helped me make sense of a lot of things. It took time, and it wasn’t easy to come to the realizations, but everything finally fell into place for me when I realized Christianity was just another religion. For the first time, I finally understood the sentiment of that line from “Amazing Grace,” I once was blind, but now I see…
I don’t know if that’s helpful to you at all. Maybe one day it will be. Maybe one day, something will make you ask a few questions, and you’ll think back to those non- believers who were so insistent that Christianity was certainly not the only way. If that day comes, I hope you’ll find this exchange helpful and realize you’re not alone.