I've Lost My Faith!
by Rob Schock
I’ve lost my faith. I used to have faith. I was raised in church and continued to attend well into my adult years. I used to believe what I was taught. I believed there was a God who created all there is. He appeared in person to Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, but after they sinned he hid himself. He revealed himself later through prophets and unusual signs. He then came back to earth in the form of Jesus. Jesus came to die on a cross. His death was necessary to meet the requirement of the law. The law was given by God to the Jews. It was a standard they found impossible to keep. Therefore God punished them many times. He finally gave his son to reconcile mankind to himself.
I believed that we needed to be saved from hell. I believed that accepting Jesus as my savior was the only way for this to happen. I believed that Jesus came to give mankind an opportunity to be saved, but that most of mankind would not take the opportunity. It troubled me that God had the ability to save everyone, but that he would bow to our free will and permits us to suffer eternally for ignoring or rejecting his offer.
But now this doesn’t trouble me so much because, I’ve lost my faith. I no longer believe what I was taught. I’ve lost my faith in the church. I now see it as a closed system that exerts tremendous control on people. It has its own jargon. It has its own philosophies. It claims to have sole rights to truth. It sees itself as separate from the rest of the world. It sees itself as containing the chosen few who have a personal relationship with God which has saved them. Those outside the church are doomed. I don’t believe this anymore.
I have also lost my faith in religious leaders. I don’t believe that people who pursue learning in seminaries and Bible schools actually get an education. Education should encourage students to have enquiring minds. It should encourage them to question their assumptions and to at least consider different ways of looking at things. Religious learning stresses the opposite. It teaches its students to have a closed mind. It encourages them to accept the assumptions of the school. After all, the school is teaching truth. Therefore, anything different must be false. Basically those who attend seminaries and Bible schools don’t get an education. They get indoctrinated. A Catholic school will indoctrinate its students into accepting the Catholic view. The Baptist school down the street will turn out Baptists. Neither graduate is likely to question the assumptions they were taught. Neither is likely to accept the other’s point of view.
Incidentally I realize there are biases in all forms of education. There are liberal and conservative universities. Leaders in all fields have their pet theories, and tend to criticize those who have a different view. These biases exist in all fields from the sciences to the humanities. But these teachers are likely to see their views as theories and opinions. Religious teachers are likely to be rigid and dogmatic. They are more likely to reject any different views outright.
So generally, I have lost my faith in all religious authority. I have seen incredible arrogance being displayed by many church leaders. I have seen much opinion being expressed as truth. I have seen the leaders run in terror from logic and rationality and basic common sense. Let’s take a look at God for example. Without a doubt, most people have a sense that they are separated from God. So what is God going to do about it? One option is that he has a desire to be reconciled to us, but he isn’t able to fulfill that desire. That would make God weak, and probably not deserving of much worship. Or, he has the ability to reconcile everyone to himself, but for some reason doesn’t want to. At best, this God would be indifferent. This God could hardly be called a God of love. Thirdly, he has both the loving will to reconcile his creation, and the ability to do it. This would be the God of love and power described in the Bible. Incidentally the Bible declares that God will ultimately redeem his entire creation back to himself. Oddly enough, Christian doctrine ignores or attempts to refute these parts of their holy book. So, these are the only three options dealing with our separation from God. It’s really that simple, but you should see the mental gymnastics theologians go through to try to explain this away. Overall, there is so much pressure to conform that questions are seen as a lack of faith, and a lack of faith is the very sin that will get you thrown into hell. It’s no wonder that the same beliefs are unquestioningly transferred from one generation to the next, basically unchanged.
Have I lost my faith in God? Absolutely not. The universe in all its splendor declares his creation. The God of the Bible is the one who claims to be the creator and I don’t see another deity making the same claim, so I’m going with that. I believe God is intimately involved in his creation, right down to being the energy inside every atom. I believe that God is in love with his creation. For some reason he brought us all to this planet. We often suffer here and we ultimately all leave this planet. He has made us feel separate from him yet we each have a longing to be connected to our Source. I believe that eventually it all works out and that our purpose for being here will be revealed. My trust in God is more complete and solid now than it ever was in church. Hey, maybe, I haven’t lost my faith after all!