Suppose God does exist. I don’t need god. God doesn’t need me. I’m okay with this.
Leaving “the faith” was a long process for me, around seven years to be exact (the universe has a funny sense of humor). It started with my questioning the concept of sin. At many times during my Christendom, I wondered why something I did was wrong. I could not reconcile how something that I enjoyed, something seemingly harmless, could be grounds for damnation. Furthermore, I could not reconcile how honest mistakes, such as letting the word “god” or “Jesus Christ!” slip, could be grounds for an eternity of torture and punishment. I also didn’t understand how simply believing something could change the rules.
For a long time, I simply just ignored those raging questions or accepted the Sunday School answer that god didn’t like it anymore than us, but that was just the way it had to be. As time went on it became more difficult to ignore. With each Sunday the questions screamed at me louder until I could not longer ignore or accept the answers given to me. Being born into “the faith,” I was attached to all the notions that Christianity (more so fundamentalist Christianity) had given me. Because of this I blamed the church first. I thought that the nature of sin had been distorted.
I rationalized that a sin is not so much an action that is inherently bad but rather it was the result of that action that granted it the classification of sin. I thought that a sin was something that brought us away from god. It made sense and was compatible with the life I wanted to live at that time. I clung to that notion for as long as I could. Slowly but surely my idea about what is good and what is bad slowly eroded. Well not exactly. They were never really my ideas. I always had my own feelings about right and wrong. Really those ideas of right and wrong I had adopted had been replacements for my true feelings on the subject.
One example was my thoughts on dinosaurs. I remember a Discovery Channel program which stated that dinosaurs existed millions of years ago. I remember saying this to my mother with excitement, only to have her dismiss this by saying “no they’re wrong. The earth isn’t even millions of years old…” blah blah etc… I can’t remember if I felt any disappointment. What I do remember is wondering how all the scientists were wrong about that and right about everything else. But mom is always right, so they must be wrong. You can redo this scenario with a multitude of things and the result would still be the same: I would make an assertion that seemed pretty reasonable, it would be rejected because it doesn’t fit the Bible, and I would half-heartedly accept the “Biblical” interpretation instead what I considered to be my true feelings on the subject.
Truth is a sticky thing, especially when it doesn’t fit in with the facts. This realization made it seem as if my sense of morality was eroding so I began to turn on the religion as a whole. Specifically I began to wonder the necessity of Christ. If right and wrong are subjective then how can I truly know what god wants? I realized even the New Testament was not really specific on a code of conduct. If there is no real code of conduct (or at least an explicit one), how can anyone know if they’re sinning? If they don’t know they’re sinning how can they be sinning? It would be as if you lived in a country with millions of laws and none of them written down or talked about. You just have to guess. What kind of law is that? I came to the conclusion that there must be no real sin then. Then all one must do to get to heaven is seek a relationship with god.
Finally I came to the question that led to my de-conversion. If all one must do is seek relationship with god, then who needs Jesus? If seeking god was the chief end of man, why did Christ have to come to “free” us from sin? Sin seems to be a pretty irrelevant notion then. Even accepting the Bible’s notion of sin, there is still this question: Why would god sacrifice itself to itself to change a rule that it made up?
These were some of the questions I wondered to which I found no sufficient answer. Nothing made sense to me anymore. A good friend once told me “if it doesn’t make sense, it’s probably not true.” That’s the conclusion I made. If the Bible was 100% true and infallible, then I wouldn’t have to bend over backward to justify and rectify the inconsistencies with what I knew was true. If god sent man a message, it wouldn’t be confusing. Satan is supposed to be the great confuser, not god. His message should be clear, but it wasn’t.
Finally I came to the question I now dwell on: Suppose god does exist. Why do I have any responsibility to god? I didn’t ask for existence. I wasn’t consulted. Why should I abide by rules I have no hope in changing? This is all I know. If there is a god, I have no responsibility to it. Conversely, I feel god has no responsibility to me in the same way I have no responsibility for an ant colony. I don’t need the ant colony. They don’t need me. I don’t need god. God doesn’t need me. I’m okay with this. I just wish everyone else was too.
– Thomas (guest contributor)