I have for many years considered with great confusion the idea of God. I grew up evangelical and filled my world with the things that evangelicals are known for. I attended a religious school and even worked for several years at a Baptist church.
I left because I was not honest with myself. It is only now, some 13 years later, that I am fully able to admit that I never really believed the theology that was the core of the faith. I mean, I professed faith. I also REALLY wanted to believe. But there were aspects of the faith too surreal to explain; and too weighty to accept with even the most open mind I could pull together.
For me its not just that I was never fully invested. I absolutely was. I dedicated years of my life fully to the cause. I lived the life. I just could not convince my self that it was truly real.
I don’t think I was alone. In fact, I think very few truly concern themselves with the reality of what they profess.
Here’s what I mean. In Evangelical Christianity the theology allows for two options after death: heaven or hell. Hell isn’t just an analogy as in other Christian circles. It is to them a literal place of absolute torture. It is the most painful, horrible circumstances ever conceived.
But it isn’t so much that people believe this. It is that people profess a belief in it… sometimes as more of a relief. The thing is, if a car full of people were to drive by a preschool that was partially on fire, with one full side in flames and the other full of screaming children reaching their hands out of windows, every person would stop and do what they could to help. Worse case scenario, people would simply watch what was happening and call the fire department. Either way, it would not matter where they were going or who they were going to meet, all would stop and do something to help these poor children.
I believe this to be true. I do not believe it to be true about Christianity. If you really believe that the majority of the population will spend the rest of eternity suffering indescribable torture, how could you do anything but try to change this? How could you watch a movie, or take a vacation, or work a job outside of ministry, or mow the lawn… or just about anything else?
Could it be that this concept is as unknowable for others as it is for me?