Rethinking My Beliefs about God Apart From Traditional Christianity

Why Do I Get A Mansion While The Rest Of The World Gets A Lake Of Fire?

In Freedom, Heaven, Hell, Life, Love, Universalism on February 20, 2011 at 10:50 pm

I love a good debate because it means that at least two persons are engaging their brains and passion in a controversy that might have otherwise gone ignored. There’s something to be said for struggling through challenges together. Somehow we can come out a little more enlightened on the other side, as well as exhausted.

I’ve noticed that some of the issues we often argue about are beliefs that we are trying to convince our own selves to believe. I mean, if we really believed it, couldn’t we simply relax and let the truth keep on being the truth whether anyone believes it or not?

Our avid defense of a certain concept such as say, God, can also be an indicator that we really don’t know what we’re talking about, but wish we did. Not that there’s anything wrong with this, but maybe this understanding can help us to comprehend just what we believe and don’t believe within our soul of souls.

Awareness.

Our real beliefs seem to dwell somewhere in some great unknown, such as maybe our subconscious, or what some people might call the spirit within. We can get glimpses of these mental truths through our words and actions, especially when we’re caught off guard.

For example, a burst of anger where previously unspoken words slip out might surprise even ourselves. Did I really just say that? Drunkenness might reveal even more. Or in the joy of laughter, we might discover our own witty response to a brilliant joke. We not only discover emotions but also talents and intelligence that we never knew we had because we never felt the freedom to explore life beyond our own comfortable little world.

Sometimes when I’m in a twilight of a trance just before I fall asleep, an “ah-ha!” kind of thought will come to mind – a thought such as, “Ohhhhh, God loves everyone. Now I get it.” But it seems like the thought was there all along. I just happened to have the ability to notice it at that particular moment for some particular reason.

Who knows how much we’ve got buried deep within under the rubble of conditioned or perceived beliefs in disguise as “This is what I believe and I’m not going to budge.”

I always assumed I believed in a God that was very stingy about who he called his own. As it turns out, I think I only thought I believed this because I thought it would make me feel special and loved. Once I felt some freedom to really examine it for what it is, I saw a contradiction. How could I trust a God to love me when he doesn’t love others? What if I wasn’t one of God’s lottery winners?

These kinds of “half-beliefs” cause all kinds of problems. First of all, there’s no real security in them, and yet, if we have nothing else to depend upon, we’re forced to defend them out of fear. We’re also in a position to create a whole imaginary kingdom out of them… just to help us feel like they’re a little bigger and a little more solid than they really are.

Enter Christianity, or any other belief system with just enough mystery to fill in the blanks with our own dream scape. As long as we have some explanation for death or the after-life to ease our personal fears and worries, we become bait that will buy into literally anything.

But we can only last so long in this accepted imaginary world before we feel some responsibility to dare to start questioning it. Hey, wait a minute, why do I get a mansion while the majority of the world gets a lake of fire? Something isn’t quite right with that picture.

The idea that we only have to believe in it doesn’t help calm my fears; this is only an attempt to keep them buried. Why are some people rewarded for believing while others are punished for not believing? That sounds fishy too. What’s the difference between believing in the truth or believing in a scam? And how do we know the difference without presuming we’re smarter or somehow more superior than all of those other ignorant infidels out there? Sure, we might really be wiser than the next guy but does that change our worth in light of love?

Maybe this will only make sense to a parent with multiple kids. Even with unique personalities, challenges and traumas, love just doesn’t have the capacity to play favorites with our innocent little offspring. Over time, and hopefully without a lot of humbling experiences with teenagers, a parent seems to inevitably face the fact that love doesn’t change; it simply has different expressions. While one kid needs help with homework, another kid needs a time out before they beat the crap out of a sibling. Same love, different expressions.

So how do we figure out what we really believe and don’t believe? I think this can only take place if we sense an element of personal freedom. As long as we are slaves who must conform to some imposed standard in order to be loved, it won’t be easy to discern our subconscious mind. Do I really believe that or have I only been pressured, or enticed to believe that? We need to know that we’re going to still be loved (at least by our own selves) if we step over the boundaries.

Dissidents are usually not treated very well. It disrupts the perceived order and false unity the rest of society is hiding behind. Heck, it can disrupt our own sense of peace and security too. But if we can dare to face reality with all of its risks, I think this is where we eventually discover a more dependable security system. It’s called our own soul, which will never leave us nor forsake us simply because it can’t.

This kind of heresy scares people and actually I think it should. No matter how independent we are, we seem to be inherently dependent creatures as well. We need each other. We also need whatever is supplying the oxygen and water reservoirs around here. But the problem comes in when we become a little too needy. We’re still drinking out of baby bottles when we’re supposed to be eating food.

This seems to be when we become vulnerable to codependency or slavery. We might as slap a sign on ourselves that says, “Shoot Me” then wander out into a  forest full of poachers. And well, that’s no way to live.

Real connection with our counterparts, and perhaps God too, involves trust in believing that we aren’t going to shoot each other. And we need freedom to discover that for ourselves, which is a risk, but a risk worth taking. While questioning our beliefs in order to discover them, we’re going to have to face our fears.

Maybe I’m not really loved. Maybe there is no God. Maybe we all must pass through a symbolic lake of fire. Maybe there are no answers. Maybe I’m not who I thought I was and you’re not either. Maybe reality is just a dream….

Some would warn that this is a place of hopelessness and despair, and it may very well be that. But I’ll take hopelessness and despair over a blind reality. I don’t think anyone could live in a utopian matrix for very long without wanting to break free from it, no matter how comfortable it is. Just like love cannot be confined to just a few, so life cannot be limited to a playpen for very long. Life cannot be controlled and manipulated. Its nature just doesn’t seem to work that way.

Call it “walking by the Spirit” or call it living in reality. Label it freedom, self-discovery, living in the moment, enlightenment, depth of awareness, the kingdom of heaven, or whatever you want. Or understand it as something different every day. Just give yourself permission and courage to look for it, when you’re ready that is. No matter what you find or have to face, I think you will discover a whole new world out there… which was there all along. And after we face it, it’s not so scary anymore.

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  1. I just love what you have sharing….you say all the things I feel and think about…at this point in my journey, much like your own, I have more questions than answers and that feels better all the time….to just live in the mystery of what is…
    Thank you!

    • Exactly. In my search for the answers, I am only awakening to more questions… but that seems to be the exciting thing about life. Maybe life really is eternal. 🙂

  2. Some what thought provoking with a lot of what if’s and maybes, but the bible does have the answers your looking for and yet I see no scripture. Not sure I understand your reasoning. I see God as Sovereign in All things and only He will have mercy on whom He wishes. Lets not forget that though their were two covenants with one being a conditional love and the other more unconditional God does not change for anyone, He still is! Is your question in this article concerning sovereign election? The title and the body of your Blog leads me to believe this may be your question, just asking…. Not all Israel is Israel….Paul in Romans 9, 7-13

  3. Good advice Elizabeth.
    Fear seems to be a constant threat to our freedom.
    It is one of life’s most powerful enemies.

    • … and yet conquering the powerful enemy of fear is not only a fulfilling sense of accomplishment but then the fear is no longer a threat. Sounds like a win-win situation to me.

  4. Elizabeth, there are many of us on this exact path you are on. I love to analyze everything, turn it a million times in different directions/positions, yet still there are questions. 1 questions leads to thousands of other questions. Yet i have found there is always and underlying truth. Like an undercurrent of water flowing in a river. It may be such a small trickle, not a raging flow, yet its always there. Trying to nab that flow is what i’d love to do – catch it, put it in a bottle and examine it to my hearts delight. HAVING the truth is what we are after. At this moment in time i believe that undercurrent is this: Jesus Christ, the FOUNDATION upon which we build. I don’t fully understand my foundation, and that is what i’m seeking, so that i may have the “go ahead” to continue building, if that makes sense? Unless the foundation of my beliefs are STRONG, i cannot move on. And this is what i’m seeking – to understand whether the foundation i have is strong and secure. And in the christian sense, this requires a revelation of Jesus Christ. I’ve tried so hard to analyse his purpose, yet find in order to do so, i need to believe a specific doctrine according to what man has taught me. Isn’t this analysing of him equivalent to crucifying him? Taking him apart? I have all these questions and millions more, but no REAL answers except my own experience.

  5. I guess the point I’m trying to make is this: We need a sure, stable, foundation upon which to place our beliefs….. whatever that foundation may be. My search at this moment is more for a SURE, STABLE foundation, than the actual walls.

    • Louise, I think we need to eventually face the frightening idea that a sure and stable foundation is only an illusion. I thought I could trust the ground I walked on, until there was an earthquake…

      Understanding that what we don’t know could change everything that we do know is not easy to accept… but I think that is where our freedom and security is actually discovered.

      It sounds like irony, but our sure foundation is knowing (through experience) that everything is going to be okay, no matter what happens… and random events certainly will happen. But we have to take the risk of our boat sinking before we realize we can survive even if it does sink.

      The solid foundation is within us, not something outside of us… but the foundation within us has to be developed through life experiences before we feel we can trust it. So instead of looking for a sure foundation, just get in the boat.

      By simply living life, we find that strength we’re looking for but not until the end of the journey, when our own soul has had a chance to be refined through adventures of shipwrecks as well as beautiful horizons.

      Truth must be lived in order to be “known” or rather, trusted.

      Thanks for your comment, Dear. 🙂

  6. What I love about truth is that it remains truth no matter what we believe. Man believed the earth was flat and the earth stayed round! My witness is love!

  7. Elizabeth, I truly appreciate the manner in which you share your heart in the many puzzling questions of life.

    Being so open and honest and free with your thoughts and feelings makes it ‘okay’ to ‘not know the answers’…..makes it easier for others to seek truth at all costs.

    Most of us, I believe, have so many unanswered questions. Thank you for opening the gate for others to seek their truth.

    One of my favorite verses from the Bible that kept me going through many years of questioning my beliefs was John 3:8; The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear it’s sound. But you know not from where it came, or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.

    We don’t have to justify our doubts and fears to others, but share them in humility and hope, and seek truth wherever the Spirit leads us, whether or not others understand.

    Many Blessings!

    • Thank you, Ruby. I think it’s interesting that in accepting our doubts and fears, we realize that we are no longer afraid of them. The fear of fear seems to be the brunt of the battle.

  8. Love your post Elizabeth. What an inspiration you are.

  9. […] slope, yet she’s followed a certain logic that she explains (prolifically). Here’s a question she asks. So how do we figure out what we really believe and don’t believe? I think this can only take […]

  10. […] your findings to your fellowship. This is what we all should be doing. Asking tough questions about why some people get a mansion and others get the lake of fire or what the hell is hell anyway are acceptable questions. It is time to grow up, get out of the […]

  11. […] your findings to your fellowship. This is what we all should be doing. Asking tough questions about why some people get a mansion and others get the lake of fire or what the hell is hell anyway are acceptable questions. It is time to grow up, get out of the […]

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