God’s Wrath Dealt on the Apostate Christian

July 7, 2007 at 10:14 am 17 comments

House ConstructionThis weekend my wife and I finally finished moving into our new house. As with any hectic real-estate transaction, this one had its share of tense moments and close calls. Purchasing a new house is always a risky venture. Despite it all, I was surprised at how smoothly our purchase went, and how easily we could have lost everything.

As a Christian, I would have been praying vigorously for God’s guiding hand. Before the purchase began, I would have brought my desire to purchase a new house to the foot of the alter. I would have asked God if moving was indeed in his Will – then I would have waited for an answer.

Has any Christian, even the most devout, ever figured out exactly how something like this is done? How does a Christian find the Will of God? How does one determine if God wants these things to be done? I figured, like most Christians, that if I felt that tugging in my heart directing me to move, and if the transaction went relatively smoothly, that God was guiding everything, and thus was in his Will. If God was throwing too many obsticles into the transaction, perhaps it was not in his will? Maybe? I have heard many sermons which gave directions on how this is done, and they all boil down to doing exactly what is preached AGAINST in other sermons – “Follow your Heart”. Although it is never stated that way, that is ultimately what is done. Dividing the human from the supposedly Divine is such a subjective exercise, even to the devout Christian, that the Heart’s desire is nearly always followed in the end, and is just interpreted as being Divine.

As a Christian, I would have had trouble figuring if that tugging in my heart was my own fleshly desires for the purchase, or God gently moving me. Now as an ex-Christian, I realize that the gentle tugging in our hearts is nothing more than our own desires – or our own convictions which I intpreted to be from God. In the end, Christians and non-Christians alike do what is best in their own best judgement. It is just that Christians think their judgement is directed by God.

I remember many years ago, when I worked as a dishwasher. A bicycle to get me to and from work was a major purchase for me back then, and I prayed fervently, asking if purchasing this bike with God’s money (everything I had belonged to God) was in his Will. Too many cold mornings sitting at the bus stop must have convinced me that it was, because I spent $150 dollars on a brand spanking new one. I remember thanking God for this new bicycle, and I promised to use it to bring glory to his Kingdom. Whatever that meant.

Purchasing this house was the biggest financial transaction of my life – and I did not once pray for Divine guidance. I did not ask God if it was in his Will, even though I felt that push and pull in my heart just as if I had asked him. I did not ask God to select a house for us, even though we found our house on the very first day of looking! I did not ask God for financial help which was surely going to be needed. But with a little scrimping, saving and budgeting, our finances are fine. I did not ask God to work out the tight schedules of everyone involved so that accomplishing everything in time was like threading a needle. But coincidentally, everything worked out according to schedule, even though there were some pretty hairly moments. I did not ask God to help us find adaquate renters for our old house – but somehow they turned up just when they needed to.

We really did find this house on the first day of looking. Of course we looked at other homes for months afterward, but always came back to this house. As a Christian, I would have interpreted that as evidence of God’s Hand guiding every step of the process. It would have seemed miraculous considering the months of viewing and inspecting most people do before finding an adaquate house.

But I did not ask God for help. I did not ask God for his Will. I did not ask for God’s permission. And I am not thanking God for this house. And despite God’s promises to punish the apostate believer, to bring me down low so that he will be exaulted, no such thing is occuring. Life continues on without God. Something good just happened in my life. I know that bad things will happen soon. Followed by more good things. Then maybe something bad after that. I realize now that those ebbs and flows have nothing to do with God’s direction, guidance, reward or chastisment. It is just the cycle of life – and it flows the same, whether you think God is there or not.

- HeIsSailing

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17 Comments Add your own

  • 1. mysteryofiniquity  |  July 7, 2007 at 10:47 am

    HIS,
    Most EXCELLENT point, one that theists and atheists alike will come at from exactly opposing directions, but the point is, whether we pray beforehand or not, things happen. It’s only in hindsight that we attribute it with spiritual dimensions. All we have is hindsight!

  • 2. fontor  |  July 7, 2007 at 12:13 pm

    I wonder how I used to do it. Every thought I had could have been God, the Devil, or just me. If I had a little opposition, was it God saying ‘no’, or was it the Adversary? Should I not do it, or is it the trial of my faith? Or is it just stuff happening?

    I used to think that unseen people could put ideas into my head. Now I think that idea is the beginning of mental illness.

  • 3. Thinking Ape  |  July 7, 2007 at 1:38 pm

    Lets not forget that if you don’t get “your heart’s desire”, it could also be a time of trial and tribulation for you.

  • 4. ryan  |  July 7, 2007 at 2:22 pm

    “I have heard many sermons which gave directions on how this is done, and they all boil down to doing exactly what is preached AGAINST in other sermons – ‘Follow your Heart'”

    Beautiful. :)

  • 5. Stewart Paterson  |  July 7, 2007 at 5:27 pm

    “promised to use it to bring glory to his Kingdom”
    how fucked up were we?

    “promised to enjoy riding my bike” that’s more like it.

  • 6. Slapdash  |  July 7, 2007 at 6:10 pm

    Thank you for putting into words the main reason I started seriously questioning my faith. Christians cover everything with a sheen of spirituality; they view and interpret everything through the lens of God’s guidance; which can never be proven, of course, and which is experientially and statistically indistinguishable from that which non-Christians do all the time.

    Given how eager Christians are to praise God for his guidance, I find it ironic how many of them argue that we have to act and not just sit around waiting for God to do something. Um…?

  • 7. Thinking Ape  |  July 7, 2007 at 6:21 pm

    slapdash says, “…the main reason I started seriously questioning my faith. Christians cover everything with a sheen of spirituality”

    This was actually the reason I went to bible college. I knew the Bible inside and out. I prayed. I poured my heart out. I asked for the HS’s guidance. Yet… nothing. It wasn’t until I got to Bible college I realized that it was pretty much a sham, and then when I started studying psychology, it was all confirmed.

  • 8. cragar  |  July 7, 2007 at 7:54 pm

    HIS–glad to see you are staying in the Sun City for awhile.

    This story may seem harsh to some, but it is the first thing I thought of after reading your post. I used to be in direct sales, usually done in the home with married couples. The item(s) I sold were not nearly as costly as a home or anything of that nature (normally about a $1500 purchase.) But it was often a situation where you had to be a good closer to make a good living.

    Occasionally a couple would want to “pray about it” overnight. This was often a bad sign for me because truthfully our products were sold on emotion, and by the next day the sale was lost 99.9% of the time. I finally came up with a close that at least amused me, even though it only worked once out of the probably 10 times I tried it. When the couple would want to pray about it, I would say ok let’s go ahead and bow our heads and do that. I would bow my head and pray with them, wait for them to make the first move to stop, and then the first words I would say would be “I don’t know what He told you but He told me you guys need one!”

    And probably half the people wouldn’t even attempt to pray with me. They must have had a good “inner eye” :-)

  • 9. pj11  |  July 7, 2007 at 8:28 pm

    HlS: Great post. This is one of the biggest frustrations I have with Christians who cannot think critically … even some in my own church. Much of it – I believe – is fallout from the inroads made by the charismatic/pentecostal movement in the U.S. Many Christians really do believe they can specifically discern God’s will and/or leading in each and every little moment of life.

    The reality is … when we make a big decision, most of us survey the situation, perhaps seek out sound advice, and follow our “gut” or our “heart” and make what we hope is a wise decision. Just like you pagans do! Unfortunately, many of us then apply divine guidance on the back end as if we have an infallible pipeline of information from heaven (“opened doors” and “closed doors”). This is part of the fallout from watered-down, candy-coated, suburban prosperity church that is so common today!

    Most of us today want God to be our “genie” and make things go right in our lives. If things don’t go right, we then obsess over finding out the reasons why. Yes, there is an ebb and flow to life, both good and bad – for the Christian and for the pagan. As a theist, I cannot rule out the possibility that God might specifically move me in a direction or that God might specifically bring something good or difficult into my life for His purpose … but without special revelation, I’m unable to infallibly discern whether it’s God (specifically) or just me (attempting to live life within the realm of God’s sovereignty). While I recognize God’s sovereignty, I don’t believe He’s a micro-manager!

    Does God care which house I live in? I don’t think so. As a theist, I’m convinced that God cares about the condition of my heart (soul) in relation to Him and to others around me as I experience the ebb and flow of life. When things are going well for me, am I grateful or do I become arrogant? When I’m suffering, do I lash out at others or endure in faith? The Christian walk has always been about motivation of the heart … why we do the things we do.

    Gotta finish my sermon for tomorrow. The topic comes from the O.T. prophet Habakkuk … why would a holy God allow rampant sin to remain unchecked? You guys would love my church (seriously) … for the most part, it’s a thinking church that studies hard and doesn’t settle for easy answers.

    Blessings to you … and thanks for putting up with me over the last couple of days. I have enjoyed the interaction.

  • 10. HeIsSailing  |  July 7, 2007 at 11:44 pm

    pj11 sez:
    “Gotta finish my sermon for tomorrow. The topic comes from the O.T. prophet Habakkuk … why would a holy God allow rampant sin to remain unchecked? You guys would love my church (seriously)”

    Hey, any church that dares venture out of the New Testament epistles and into the relatively uncharted waters of the minor prophets has my vote. I travel often on business, and I still check out some of the churches in the new towns I visit. I guess it is some vestigial desire I have for the religious liturgy.

  • 11. HeIsSailing  |  July 7, 2007 at 11:45 pm

    cragar,
    That is a terrific story! Thanks for the biggest laugh I have had all day!

  • 12. HeIsSailing  |  July 7, 2007 at 11:48 pm

    Slapdash sez:
    “I find it ironic how many of them argue that we have to act and not just sit around waiting for God to do something.”

    Or worse yet, our pastor used to chuckle at those who thought the proverb, “God helps those who help themselves” was in the Bible, then turn right around and tell us we have to act and stop waiting for God to do something.

    OK, so .. just what exactly are we supposed to be doing?

  • 13. thebeliever  |  July 9, 2007 at 1:17 am

    HeIsSailing – I read every word of that and it definitely provoked some thought.

    I am a Christian formerly of a Pentecostal/Charismatic background and there was such great emphasis placed on how God had a perfect plan/will and all you needed was faith and you would be set.

    Amongst Christian circles I think we have a strong tendency to “thank God” when good things happen. As if it was God who helped it us through. I do it myself all the time. Anyway, thank you, it was a very thought provoking read.

  • 14. Notabarbie  |  July 9, 2007 at 9:01 am

    HIS, great write as usual.

    Looking back the whole “seeking God’s will,” thing seems so ridiculous to me now, but as a Christian it worked out great to always put the “God spin,” on everything, even decision making.

    A Christian friend of mine was telling me recently about her daughter who graduated from college two years ago and is living at home, quit her job a while back to check out the “mission opportunities,” in Europe and is praying and waiting on God to direct her path. I thought, “Man, I wish I would have thought to use that one on my parents”

  • 15. Ben  |  July 25, 2007 at 4:05 am

    An ex-“Christian”? You’ve demonstrated very plainly that you don’t even know what a Christian really is.

  • 16. Jeanne  |  August 24, 2007 at 12:03 pm

    We bought a house two years ago, it was a HUD repo in the mountains of Idaho surrounded by the Clearwater National forest. We figured out what size payments we could comfortably make each month, then prayed. Our prayer was basically that if God wants us to have this place, we’d get it for the price we bid and at a fixed interest rate, not variable. Our bid got turned down so our realtor said to up our bid by a couple of thousand bucks. We said no, if God wants us to have this place we’ll get it for our original bid. All of a sudden the only other bidder dropped out and our original bid was accepted. Nobody could believe that HUD would take less than the amount they’d set, this area is a magnet to well-heeled buyers from out-of-state for vacation homes. Our property doubled in value in one year, it’s a wilderness paradise even though the house needs some work. Deer bring their fawns into our yard, bears claw for grubs in tree stumps, wild turkey peck their way past our front door. This was our dream but didn’t know if it was God’s will for us to have it, the only thing we could do was hold to what we’d agreed on as a bidding price and walk away if we couldn’t get it for that, even though we were SO tempted to bid just a little more and a little more… we wanted this place so badly. God doesn’t want us to take on debt that we can’t pay, He knew our hearts and honored our willingness to keep OUR word to Him. After twelve years of looking, we got the home we’d dreamed of…it’s humble, needs repair, but it’s a blessing to us.
    That’s an example of how my husband and I can know God’s will for us. Some people might say we just got lucky but we don’t see it that way. We don’t try to outguess God, we’ve been wrong so many times by doing that and the pain lasts a long time. I think that where the Bible says to abide in Him is key because when you abide in Jesus things may go right or wrong (regarding your desires) but He makes it easier to be healed of disappointments and be excited for the next adventure. If He wants you to go there, He’ll make a way. If you decide to push through on your own even though you don’t have real peace about it, don’t whine about the bumps and bruises because you decided you were in control and not God. God bless all of you, keep praying for America!

  • 17. Lenoxus  |  January 16, 2008 at 12:38 am

    “OK, so .. just what exactly are we supposed to be doing?”

    Hmm… a question for the ages, regardless of context…

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