Dear God,

March 23, 2009 at 11:34 pm 30 comments

I realized sometime ago that I don’t talk to you like I used to. The most praying I do these days is the same nighttime prayer I’ve prayed since I was a child. I don’t even say grace before meals anymore. Not out loud, anyway. It’s just the little rhyme Mom taught me, and it’s usually when the first forkful is already in my mouth.

I don’t even know if I miss you. I don’t know who I’m supposed to miss.

Somehow, though, I still believe in you. Somehow, I still hope that you care and are doing something about the state of the world. It would be nice to know that you loved me and really did do some of the things they say you did. But I won’t hold my breath.

I don’t mean that in a sarcastic way, but I guess you know that. I mean that I’m not going to hold out for a sign from you before I live my life. I don’t think I’ll ever fully know or understand your will, so I don’t really see a point in continued attempts to grasp it through prayer and biblical interpretation. I’m just going to keep going, and keep hoping that it will all be okay with you in the end.

You might remember the conversation I had with M. (We’ve been going out. Fellow agnostic theist. It’s been awesome, thanks. :D) We were talking about heaven, hell, and judgment. And I said that a usual scare tactic is a Bible verse about the “weeping and gnashing of teeth” by the people who are shut out, in darkness. Nobody wants to spend eternity weeping and gnashing their teeth, right?

But after a while, I realized that anyone who wept and gnashed their teeth did so out of regret. So I’m now set on living my life in order to have as little regret as possible. That way, if I get shut out, I could be calm enough to sit the hysterical blubberers down on the curb and pat them on the back till they feel better. Maybe together, we could figure out what to do.

You know, if eternity were like that, if I got shut out and had to wander dark streets – and if there were no one else around, if it were just me groping, alone – I wouldn’t mind. It would only be more of what I’ve already experienced, what I’m sure I have more to experience. Me, wandering, mostly alone, thinking. That doesn’t sound so bad. If I go mad, I have eternity to become sane again. If I become angry, I have eternity to become serene again. If I have sinned, I have eternity to become repentant again. If I have been confused, misguided, I have eternity to find you again.

But when I think about it now, I don’t see the point of an afterlife if it will be very much like the current life. It makes more sense to me to work this one to the bone and then be done. But what do I know, right? I’m not you. I won’t even know that I’m dead. You, on the other hand, already know everything.

So I’m not going to worry. I’m just going to do my best with what I do know and what I can control. You do your God thing, and I do my human thing, and I guess I’ll see you when this is over. (Or not.)

Thank you, by the way. And I say that with a smile on my face, God. I don’t know who I’m smiling at, where to face, and whether I should be thankful, but I am. It’s been lovely so far.

- Kat (guest contributor)

Note to d-C Contributors: I noticed that most of the stories posted here are by people who’ve given up belief entirely. I’ve been hoping to read someone who, like me, has retained at least the tiniest bit of belief, but maybe there aren’t that many of us…

Entry filed under: ~Guest. Tags: , , , .

Reconciling the reality of my experiences with church teachings on life How Religion Ruins Relationships

30 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Luke  |  March 24, 2009 at 12:21 am

    “You do your God thing, and I do my human thing, and I guess I’ll see you when this is over. (Or not.)”

    i really liked this! this is very similar to the theology i was trying to discribe in another thread. God will do God’s thing.. we should do our best to let God be God and we try to help out our neighbor.

    “Maybe together, we could figure out what to do.” and where i do that is in church. it works for me. i think that’s a pretty good forum in my history and context although i agree that there’s problems with it and the testamonies of those on here i take as things not to do when i get my own church.

    peace!

  • 2. Quester  |  March 24, 2009 at 1:36 am

    I’ve been hoping to read someone who, like me, has retained at least the tiniest bit of belief, but maybe there aren’t that many of us…

    Not here, perhaps. There are deistical and pantheistical forums and blogs on the Internet, and groups like the Unitarian Universalist church where you can find some agnostic theists (shoot, even some members of mainline churches, if not the official church lines). A few of us are still at a similar point, or considering the value of it. Have you read C.S. Lewis’ Great Divorce? It might speak to where you are in your faith journey just now. Might not, too.

    It’s good to hear you have much to be thankful for. Best wishes!

  • 3. theLakattack  |  March 24, 2009 at 2:33 am

    Don’t believe in it. Solved.

  • 4. The de-Convert  |  March 24, 2009 at 4:48 am

    Kat,

    Most of the d-C Contributors fall either on the agnostic atheist or atheist side of the fence. However, I believe MOI (Mystery of Iniquity) still holds to belief. Her blog is http://mysteryofiniquity.wordpress.com/

    Paul

  • 5. Lucian  |  March 24, 2009 at 5:48 am

    But after a while, I realized that anyone who wept and gnashed their teeth did so out of regret.

    Bingo!

    If I go mad, I have eternity to become sane again. If I become angry, I have eternity to become serene again. If I have sinned, I have eternity to become repentant again. If I have been confused, misguided, I have eternity to find you again.

    Wrong. You will continue in the life thereafter heading in the same direction that You began to follow even in this one (Revelation 22:11-12). If the tree that You’ve planted in Your heart is like the Tree of Life, You will taste of its sweet fruit for all eternity. If not, then not.

  • 6. TitforTat  |  March 24, 2009 at 6:25 am

    In my mind, Faith tells me Im ok in the grand scheme of things. It doesnt tell me a G-d loves me or that I will live happily ever after. My faith tells me that like my life now, some things work out, some dont but overall its pretty damn good.

  • 7. Rover  |  March 24, 2009 at 7:15 am

    Kat,

    Please read God’s respoonse below:

  • 8. BigHouse  |  March 24, 2009 at 9:03 am

    Wrong. You will continue in the life thereafter heading in the same direction that You began to follow even in this one (Revelation 22:11-12). If the tree that You’ve planted in Your heart is like the Tree of Life, You will taste of its sweet fruit for all eternity. If not, then not.

    Another awesome billboard for Christianity!!

  • 9. Joshua  |  March 24, 2009 at 10:04 am

    Kat, absolutely beautiful post. Loved it. I know the feelings expressed in the prayer – almost all of them. Thank you.

  • 10. LeoPardus  |  March 24, 2009 at 10:20 am

    Kat:

    I’ve been hoping to read someone who, like me, has retained at least the tiniest bit of belief, but maybe there aren’t that many of us…

    Most of us had a period of time like that. After a while one usually moves on and just lets the belief go. You may or may not do that.
    Best of luck in your journey.

  • 11. mysteryofiniquity  |  March 24, 2009 at 1:02 pm

    Kat,

    Thanks Paul for the “shout.” Yes, I am like you and hold to a tiny portion of faith only because I find my own personal experiences hard to deny in the face of intellectualism, not that there’s anything wrong with intellectualism at all.

    You wrote: “So I’m not going to worry. I’m just going to do my best with what I do know and what I can control. You do your God thing, and I do my human thing, and I guess I’ll see you when this is over. (Or not.)”

    And that about sums it up for me too. :-)

  • 12. Joshua  |  March 24, 2009 at 1:25 pm

    “Most of us had a period of time like that. After a while one usually moves on and just lets the belief go. ”

    I am definitely nearing the end of some sort of move on stage. Moving on in friendships, in hobbies, in life… its a really comfortable and good point to get to in my opinion. Although I would recommend that people should give themselves time to heal and to be open about their struggles and letting things go in the faith – just like this post. Its great. I love it and it will do you a world of good Kat to keep writing like this.

    Keep posting :)

  • 13. exrelayman  |  March 24, 2009 at 1:26 pm

    Rover,

    Exactly!

  • 14. Joshua  |  March 24, 2009 at 5:33 pm

    BigHouse is God!

  • 15. the chaplain  |  March 24, 2009 at 5:50 pm

    Rover:

    How about that? God gave you the same answer he gave me!

    More seriously, this is a nice post, Kat. I’m one of those who have given up religious belief entirely. Still, I know that my way is not everyone’s way. You’ll find your own way in your own time. The important thing is your willingness to make the journey.

  • 16. Erudite Redneck  |  March 24, 2009 at 11:44 pm

    Lovely, straight-shootin’ post, Kat.

  • 17. Joshua  |  March 25, 2009 at 12:01 am

    Yeah I sometimes hated the no delete feature. It makes me more careful about what I write though!

  • 18. notreallyalice  |  March 25, 2009 at 12:27 pm

    Well said. I appreciate your honesty.

  • 19. freestyleroadtrip  |  March 25, 2009 at 12:44 pm

    Kat. Great. Very honest. Thanks for sharing. I too hang onto a shred of belief, probably a bit more than yours even. I really think that finding God is in the searching, not in the actual finding. I think it is important to keep struggling and striving and searching and refining with the idea in mind that I will never stop and have it all figured out. I want to listen to what everyone has to say about their beliefs in God, whatever they think that God is like, or whether they think there is no God. That is part of my search. Thanks again for sharing. Doug

  • 20. AM  |  March 26, 2009 at 5:26 am

    Hey Kat,
    I will say this was an interesting read, but I have to agree with BigHouse on this one.

    “If I go mad, I have eternity to become sane again. If I become angry, I have eternity to become serene again. If I have sinned, I have eternity to become repentant again. If I have been confused, misguided, I have eternity to find you again.

    Wrong. You will continue in the life thereafter heading in the same direction that You began to follow even in this one (Revelation 22:11-12). If the tree that You’ve planted in Your heart is like the Tree of Life, You will taste of its sweet fruit for all eternity. If not, then not.”

    Eternity in hell is not something that improves over time. Either you have a relationship with God through Jesus and his blood on the cross, or you don’t and you are completely cut off from God. Once a person reaches hell, it is too late to repent. They have already rejected God. Hell is not just “more of what you have already experienced”. Hell cannot be comprehended by anyone in the here-and-now world. It is COMPLETE separation from God. God is the provider – the essence – of everything good. This means that hell cannot be “good” at all.
    I find it hard to believe that nobody has even mentioned Jesus in this whole forum, although I am aware that not everybody agrees with my beliefs. The only way to heaven is through Jesus and belief that he died on the cross taking the penalty for our sins once and for all. It is by FAITH alone, not by just purely believing in God. As the bible states, “You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that – and shudder.” (James 2:19). We cannot just stroll through life and think “If I believe God exists and try to do the right thing, then if it turns out heaven and hell are real, I’ll be safe.” This would be completely ignoring the whole reason for Jesus dying in the first place – our sin. Sin, in God’s eyes, requires death. And, rightfully, we should take this penalty with our own lives. But Jesus, out of his boundless love, did it for us. Jesus could have saved himself, but he endured this suffering because of his love for us. He could have chosen not to take the pain and humiliation; he could have killed those who mocked him – but he suffered through it all because he loved even his enemies. We had a significant part in the drama that dark afternoon because our sins were on the cross too. Jesus died on that cross for us, and the penalty for our sins was paid by his death. The only adequate response we can make is to confess our sin and freely accept the fact that Jesus paid for it so we wouldn’t have to. We should not insult God with indifference toward the greatest act of genuine love in history. And Jesus’ death was a definite historical event, whether you believe it significant or not.
    It was not the physical aspect of Jesus’ crucifixion that he dreaded the most either, it was that moment of separation from God, the moment where he cries out “My God, my God! Why have you forsaken me!” His perfect relationship with his father was cut off, and for that instant, he was completely alone. This is what hell is. Complete separation from a father who loves us, who created us for relationship with him.
    So yes, God does love you. I cannot fully explain just how far or wide his love spreads – no one can – but i can guarantee it does. If sending Jesus to die for sinners such as us isn’t love, then I fail to see what it is. Once we get even a small glimpse of God’s love for us, I believe sites like this – de-conversion – cannot have any impact on our faith whatsoever. I have to say that reading some of the other posts almost made me cry. It is hard, as a Christian, to see how far we have fallen from God’s grace and to see people blatantly reject his offer of salvation.

    I really like freestyleroadtrip’s post:

    “I really think that finding God is in the searching, not in the actual finding. I think it is important to keep struggling and striving and searching and refining with the idea in mind that I will never stop and have it all figured out.”

    Keep searching Kat, and I can guarantee that if you open your mind and ask God to help you, he will reach out and guide you on the right path.

    “I love those who love me, and those who seek me find me.” [Proverbs 8:17]

    “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.” [Matthew 7:7-8]

    Don’t give up in your efforts to seek God. Continue to ask him for more knowledge, wisdom, patience, love and understanding. He will give them to you.

  • 21. Erudite Redneck  |  March 26, 2009 at 8:47 am

    AM, why don’t you bottle that certainty of yours and sell it? Oh, wait …

    I don’t think you agree with BigHouse. L and OL.

    This oughta get good now.

  • 22. BigHouse  |  March 26, 2009 at 9:04 am

    I don’t think you agree with BigHouse. L and OL.

    Indeed. Someone’s sarcasm detector is on the fritz :-)

  • 23. Quester  |  March 26, 2009 at 12:42 pm

    AM isn’t actually agreeing with BigHouse, but misunderstanding #8 where BigHouse is mocking Lucian for the same bull-headed nonsense. For every verse that closed-minded Christians can pull out of their Bibles to support their prejudicial condemnations, there’s another one supporting universal salvation, and giving hope where none seems to be.

    Whether this is a good reason for hope, or a good reason to dismiss the Bible as a coherent, consistent revelation of God’s self and will, I leave for you to decide. You might even choose a combination of the two. *grin*

  • 24. AM  |  March 26, 2009 at 11:19 pm

    Thankyou Quester for clearing that up…sorry for the misunderstanding.
    Obviously I am not going to “prove” God to anyone – I am not trying to, only God can do that, and I’m certainly not trying to “sell” it. You may or may not agree with me, but all I really have in the end is my faith. You can choose whether to accept it or reject it yourself. I am not trying to condemn anybody – I am just as much a sinner as the next person. But personally I would prefer to have my faith and, when I die if it all turns out to be wrong, I have not lost anything by it. If it turns out to be true, then I am assured of a place with God in heaven.

  • 25. edwinhere  |  March 27, 2009 at 11:57 am

    Keep doubting.. that is the real virtue.

    But there are cults that thrive by recruiting doubters by using fear. When you face them, you need to remind yourself of all the evidence you have against their worldview..

  • 26. Quester  |  March 27, 2009 at 2:22 pm

    AM, I wish you luck with that. Of course, if you die and find out that the Muslim or Hindu faiths were the correct ones, you’ll have lost just as much as I, but at least you can blame Pascal.

    I hope that gives you some comfort.

  • 27. BenevolentInquisitor  |  March 29, 2009 at 8:53 am

    From AM:
    It was not the physical aspect of Jesus’ crucifixion that he dreaded the most either, it was that moment of separation from God, the moment where he cries out “My God, my God! Why have you forsaken me!” His perfect relationship with his father was cut off, and for that instant, he was completely alone. This is what hell is. Complete separation from a father who loves us, who created us for relationship with him.
    Is ironic the word I’m looking for? Perhaps something stronger? I love you so much I’ll send you to hell for doing what I asked you to do??

  • 28. Mark  |  March 29, 2009 at 10:10 pm

    Kat,
    I’m like you who in unbelief is holding on at least a tiniest bit of belief, or at least a desire to believe. Take care in your journey.

  • 29. Kat  |  March 31, 2009 at 4:55 am

    Hey, everyone. Thanks for all the comments. :) They’re really encouraging.

    @AM

    Either you have a relationship with God through Jesus and his blood on the cross, or you don’t and you are completely cut off from God.

    This is kinda tricky. I know that I (and a lot of people who read/write here) entered into a relationship with God through Jesus – usually by a special prayer, am I right? Does having entered this stage of my faith mean that that prayer/request/experience meant nothing? Relationship rescinded? If God’s a god who does takebacksies, then there’s no way I’m trusting that kind of god to save me.

  • 30. Kat  |  March 31, 2009 at 5:05 am

    Of course, that brings us into the even trickier realm of,

    Do we really need saving? How do we know this is the solution? How do we know that we can trust the folks who passed and wrote down the solution? How do we know that this is really what God thinks? Why would God bother with us anyway? Etc., etc.

    Don’t worry about me and my salvation. When it all comes down to it, it will be my and God’s business.

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Attention Christian Readers

Just in case you were wondering who we are and why we de-converted.

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Whether or not you believe in God, you should live your life with love, kindness, compassion, mercy and tolerance while trying to make the world a better place. If there is no God, you have lost nothing and will have made a positive impact on those around you. If there is a benevolent God reviewing your life, you will be judged on your actions and not just on your ability to blindly believe in creeds- when there is a significant lack of evidence on how to define God or if he/she even exists.

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