War is always bloody and tragic. There are always more casualties than solutions. Always. And a war in the mind is no different. For years the carnage ripped through the deep secret corridors of my mind. A war of questions, and a war of truth. They fashioned themselves as an unending tidal wave and relentlessly pounded the stone walls that more than twenty years of indoctrination and brainwashing had built. There is no doubt that it has taken its toll on my mind and on my life. One after another, walls came crashing down and truth shined in. At first, I was ok with that. The issues that I questioned were only related to standards and priorities. But the more walls that came down, the more exposed became the ideas and beliefs that, in themselves, were inseparable from who I was as a person. And that’s when the feelings of freedom gave way to chilling uncertainty.
And even though I was scared, I couldn’t back away. I couldn’t just brush it under the rug as I had in the past. And so I asked the questions I was scared to ask. Is God real? What about the virgin birth? Is it possible that Jesus Christ was just a historical figure and not really the Son of God? Is the Bible really a divine book, and not just a great piece of historical literature? Are Heaven and Hell real? If they are, is Christianity the only way to get to Heaven and escape Hell? Is the creation that Genesis describes really a young-earth creationism point of view? Is it possible that evolution could be compatible with Christianity? Is it possible that God had no part at all in the origins of the universe?
As long as this war was fought on the inside, I didn’t have to face the consequences of vocalizing these questions. For years I didn’t even mention a word of this to my wife. But the war has gone public now. And in a way, its a relief. I thought I was the only fundy who struggled with these questions. I was wrong. She does too. In fact, thousands have entered the dark forest of questions. I know this because I have spent the last few months cyberstalking your blogs and podcasts. Some of you are now atheists. Some of your are now agnostics. Some of you decided to ignore the questions and continue on with life as normal. And some of you remained Christians, but have left the IFB for a drastically different kind of Christianity.
But for those of us (and I include myself) in the fourth group, have we jumped ‘out of the frying pan and into the fire’ so to speak? What is to say that by switching from one bubble (the IFB) to another that we didn’t just switch the label on the propaganda pipeline connected to our brains?
I am going to be completely vulnerable here and admit that I have not yet made it out of this forest of questions. And I am willing to go on the record as saying that for two reasons. Number one, I want others who are asking questions in the dark corners of loneliness to know that they are not the only ones. And number two, because its an undeniable part of my journey.
Funny. There was a time that I could construct complex theological arguments to justify my position. Now, my Christianity is wrapped up in the following simplicity. I call myself a Christian because I cannot explain my life without God. As for the rest? I will probably share my conclusions on some things in a series of later posts (I hope), but to tell the truth I don’t have all the answers, and I never will. And that’s okay.