Rethinking My Beliefs about God Apart From Traditional Christianity

Who Or What The Heck Is God?

In Freedom, God, Heaven, Love on February 10, 2011 at 9:39 pm

After I stopped attending church about three years ago, it might have felt similar to squinting my eyes from the sunshine as I walked out of a jail cell, or maybe leaving a very strict and isolating home for the first time as a teenager. But it would take me at least another three years to accept my freedom.

When we don’t have the freedom to learn how to live in freedom, we become overly dependent on say, an institution to do all of our thinking for us. I really did not know how to responsibly handle my own cognitive abilities. And so I continued to resort to what I “know” or what I had been taught, in order to cushion the shock of losing it all. Taking responsibility for our own mind does not happen overnight.

But more and more I find myself very thankful that I got out. How many people escape institutionalism? I feel very thankful. And now it is time to explore and discover the real world.

First order of business is, who or what the heck is God?

I don’t have a lot of answers at this point because I’ve been busy trying to let go of the vengeful punisher God who chose only those who go to church and read their Bibles to be rulers in paradise while the rest of the world must suffer for eternity in a lake of fire without escape.

By falling in love with human souls, sinners and Non-christians too, I found that this theology is impossible to retain. To me, it’s simply a difference between a God of love and a God of hate, and I’d like to choose a God of love – for all.

Letting go of the only God (of hate) that I knew, as well as an unreliable holy book, The Bible, I am left with a lot of questions, as well as insecurity. Who is God? Is he the creator? Is he even a “he?” If so, what does that mean? Is God a spirit? Is God only a spirit? Is God only love? Is there more? Is it even possible to understand God?

If Bible translations, and even more so Bible interpretations, have been tampered with, what exactly can I depend upon to point me to the truth? And I not only want to know who the real God is, I want to know who I am, who you are and what happens to all of us when we die?

What if there is no heaven? How disappointing. I’d like to believe in a heaven but I don’t want to only believe in something because it’s what I think I desire. It can be cute and sweet for a child to have an imaginary furry pet for a friend, but it isn’t so cute and sweet anymore when the child grows up. Now it’s time to question our imaginations, which, for me, includes the imaginations of what has evolved into mere religious traditions accepted as God’s absolute truth without question.

What’s true and what’s not true? All of my questions about God and life would fill up at least ten blog posts. It can be a scary and sad position to be in to feel clueless as well as responsible.

But this is where life begins, I think, in some sense, at least for me. What have I been given? That is all I have to concern myself with at the moment. Oxygen and a functioning body. A brain. Emotions. I can look around me and enjoy all of the details and colors of the world around me. I can be in awe at the wonderful as well as the terrible circumstances, relationships, technologies, and weather. I can look at the unique and significant purpose for all, as well as how it might relate to my own life. I can now feel, think, own and simply be. I can live life.

I can’t explain God but I think that God’s mystery is understood in small amounts by living life – everyday life, your life and my life, whoever we are and wherever we live. Living life seems to somehow be my connection to God.

About the afterlife, what exactly did the Christ mean when he said to the thief on the cross, “Today you will be with me in paradise?” I’ve got plenty of thoughts and ideas about that, and I will be sure to share them in future blog posts, but at the moment I am feeling content to trust that the mystery is good. It’s not good in the sense that some souls will have to endure an eternal burning at the stake. I do not understand how that could do anyone, including God, any good. But I do think that any temporal ignorance, as well as suffering, is good. I have lived it and I have experienced its pain and the goodness that results.

Because God is about life and life is about growing. And growing we shall all endure.

This sums up my beliefs at this point. I can talk for hours, but this is all that I really know concerning faith and God. And I am content. Very content.

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  1. Elizabeth, our journeys sound so similar. This Easter will be 4 years out of church for me. Every time I read your blog, I feel like I could have written it. Every single thing I used to believe has been delivered up for questioning, and I’ve tossed most of it. It’s very comforting to know that others have the same questions and are on the same journey.

    • Sherri, when I first left the institution, I thought I was going to be lone ranger for the rest of my life. (I wasn’t ready yet to befriend Non-christians.) While I lost many of my Christian friends, the depth and extent of my community has opened up so wide since then that I am absolutely amazed. I’m glad you’re part of it. xo

  2. We share a path, fellow traveller. Thank you for baring your soul.

  3. Elizabeth, it was bold of you to bare your soul in your quest for truth,
    and the reality of God, and I trust the Almighty will reveal exactly what
    you need to experience. Kinda like when I and my fam left a church to
    have “home church” … which was really a glorified Bible Study that wanted
    to allow the Holy Spirit to move the way “he” saw best. We then graduated to
    “Bible Study and a Movie” on Friday Nights! Wow. That was way cool.
    Now, out of the IC completely, and “wingin’ it with God”, I am enjoying
    the journey.
    You are a very coolio person in my book, and God Bless YOU real good!

  4. “…the mystery is good.” I love that. I’m astounded at how affirmed I’ve been reading your blog. Thank you for taking the time to write.
    More importantly, I must say you have a SERIOUS gift. Writing is, perhaps, a natural talent for you or maybe you’ve honed your skills for countless hours in workshops or college. I don’t know. But your writing has a natural flow and rhythm to it and your composition is brilliant.

  5. Amen sister. I departed organized church life a little over one year ago. You read our hearts to a tee with these thoughts. I tell folks this: “I am in the discovery phase and can go not much further than to love God and love my neighbor.” I will hang my hat on these all day long. I ask many this question, “How or what makes us the people of God?” I believe you know what many mainliners would say, my response would be we are by default the people of God. To live and breathe in this world makes us the people of God and to come to know this God and this Jesus makes it that much sweeter to breathe. Your thoughts made my heart sing… thanks!

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