I hope everyone had a good Christmas. Things were good on my end. I’d have liked to written a post beforehand, but I honestly couldn’t think of anything appropriate to write for the occasion. It hasn’t helped either that my mind has been overworked. I’ve had a lot going on lately.
Anyway, I’ve had something bugging me, and I wanted to share this and get it off my mind.
I remember writing some time back, either on this blog or as a commenter on another, that knowing Jesus makes life easier. I think I was wrong to believe that. This last year, I’ve not gone to church much at all. When I have, I’ve become guilt ridden, frustrated, angry, edgy, depressed, and faced battles of feeling really low self-esteem and self-worth. Life is not easier knowing Jesus. It can certainly be better in a lot of ways, but far from easy. Knowing Jesus takes a lot of work, and it takes a lot out of you.
I don’t know what’s wrong with me. This last year I’ve increasingly felt more and more of a resistance to anything God-related. I think, to an extent, it is because knowing Jesus is hard, and it brings to mind a lot of the negative aspects of my life/past. I don’t like feeling this resistance. It’s affected my faith in some rather major ways. I’ve had a lot of doubts about Christianity.
I hate saying or thinking that.
I know this is probably going to sound out in left field, but it’s something that really has weighed on my mind lately and something that has seriously caused some doubts in me. I don’t understand why God would be so vain as to require circumcision as a necessity to showing faith in Him (talking about the Israelites). Why would God make this requirement and then come down to Earth and preach a message that circumcision of the flesh is meaningless, and that it is actually circumcision of the heart that really counts? I’m confused by this. If physical circumcision was so important that God would threaten to cast out Moses for not circumcising his son, then why would He a few centuries later say that it’s not that important? I guess God can change His mind, but that in itself begs the question if God really is all-knowing, all-wise. I can’t help thinking that circumcision was simply an ancient custom adopted by the Israelites at some point and accredited as God’s commandment for His people later on. And if that is true, then perhaps a lot more of what we read about in the Old Testament is untrue, or at least not the whole truth. Perhaps there is indeed a God, but a lot of His so called commandments, really are not from Him at all, but made by people who simply thought they knew what was best for their people during the times in which they lived.
These doubts aside, I’ve felt so much of a resistance to going to church, reading my bible, praying, or just having anything at all to do with God. I feel like I’m going to hell. But aside from that, I’ve felt better about myself, been more outgoing, and relaxed about life the last few months than I probably ever have. It’s really only the last few weeks that that has begun to change. I did not go to church this last Sunday, but I did go the previous five Sundays. I was glad to go. But I didn’t at any moment feel as though I belonged. And I’ve been reminded of how much I tried to belong a few years ago and never was really allowed to. I’ve had a lot of doubts creep in, old wounds resurface, and in general felt like I’m just a piece of crap. I don’t know how to feel close to God. I don’t know how to feel close to other Christians. I don’t know where I belong in the great realm of Christianity. And all of this bothers me a lot.
I do believe in God. I think it’s ridiculous to believe everything in this great big universe just came about of its own accord. But I do doubt a lot of what we Christians have been taught about God. I think, as in today, people in the past may have been wrong on their teachings and beliefs. How do we know that certain dreams weren’t just that and nothing else? How do we know that certain visions weren’t really episodes of drunkenness, hallucinations, and/or forms of mental illness? How do we know that Moses didn’t just take old stories (maybe of truth or myth) and add a bit of his own thinking to help rule the Israelites? How do we know that the good men and women of the Bible weren’t really as honest or noble as we’ve been taught they were? Perhaps their actions were more in the line of best intentions than clearly presenting what they knew as the truth. Along that line, I can’t help thinking about the Catholic view that Mary must have not died, but ascended into Heaven sometime late in her life. I see no proof at all to suggest that this is the case. There are no eye-witnesses, no one that wrote about it near the time that it supposedly happened, nothing. I think it’s likely that the Apostle John took Mary into hiding, to protect and to care for her, as Jesus wished, and she eventually died in obscurity. I think it’s likely that no one knew what happened to Mary. And embarrassed not to know this about the mother of the person for whom the church was founded, some early Christian leaders came to the conclusion that surely she must not have died such an ordinary and depressing death, but that something marvelous must have happened to her. And so, in their search for an answer as to what happened to Mary, they concluded she must have been ascended into Heaven to rule alongside her son. I have to say I like the notion of this idea, but I’d like to know where the proof is. It’s not enough for me that some priest a few hundred years after it supposedly happened wrote that that was what happened. He didn’t see it, so who did? How does he justify this answer? Apparently it’s supposed to be enough just that he said it, and so we just have to take him at his word, that’s the conclusion, case closed. I’m sorry, but it’s not enough for me.
I just feel as though everything is all mixed up. No two Christians ever seem to believe in the same thing. No one has any convincing answers. A lot of Christians act anything but Christian these days. It’s just all such a huge turn off for me, and something that I’ve increasingly wanted less and less to do with.
I could write more, but for now, I’ll leave it at this. I’m not feeling bad, really, or depressed, so please don’t anyone think that. I’m just frustrated because I’d like some answers and to be able to feel as though God actually is God.
On another note, I want to apologize for something else which I implied in a previous note a few months back, concerning friends. I think I was operating under the assumption that online friends weren’t as good as other types of friends. I’m sorry I ever thought that, and I’m sorry if I offended any of you for suggesting it. I’ve met some really great people online, and I’ve made some of the best, closest friendships I’ve ever had with some of you. You’re blessings from God, and that’s one thing I surely do not have doubts about. I thank God for each and every one of you.