Tuesday, March 25, 2008

God, where are you and what plans do you have?

Have you ever wondered why some people seem to have so much more grief than others? You're human, so I'm sure you have. Lately, well not really so lately, but off and on now for about three years I've been battling a loss in faith.

The more I learn about our history, the more illogical it seems that an infallible God would plan all of the evil that exists in the world. Study history and see how men have destroyed, robbed, raped, controlled, and ruined the lives of his brothers and sisters. Reflect on the role of the church throughout history. The church supported the feudal system, telling the peasants that the pecking order was ordained by God. The church gave the lord of the manor le droit du seigneur, saying he had the first right to sleep with the bride married under his estate. The church sold penances during Chaucer's time. The church has enslaved people by instilling fear. It has supported slavery and is behind the bigotry against homosexuals that is still so rampant today. The Bible tells me that as a woman I am not fit to teach, that I should be submissive to my husband. Pick up a Mark Twain book and discover how pathetic we humans really are. Then consider the idea that we are made in God's image. What does that say about God?

You might tell yourself that God and the church are not the same. It was the people in God's church who did these evil things. But, isn't God supposed to be in control of everything? Then wouldn't He have the power to purge this evil from the world? Either He no longer cares, or He isn't the same God I've been told about all my life.

I cringe as I write this entry because I used to be one of the most firm believers I had ever come across. From my childhood I believed everything I was told. My education has told me, however, that right and wrong, good and bad, are simply labels we have placed on things to help us organize and control ourselves. This doesn't mean I have the urge to do things that I've previously considered wrong. It just means that I think these ideas have been a part of us as part of a natural order. Without these ideas, we'd be way worse than we are. Other cultures have different ideas about right and wrong. In French culture, lying is an everyday occurrence. They are not offended at all when they are called a liar. They simply shrug and say, "Isn't everybody?" Their divorce rate is way lower than ours, yet they think nothing of cheating on their spouses. In fact, they actually consider having occasional flings to be healthy for a relationship. In Middle Eastern countries women are killed if they happen to be so evil as to incite rape in a good, honest, moral man of God. Women must cover their faces. Worshippers must sacrifice themselves for their cause. Why? Because this is the way these people have been taught.

Oh, I grew up hearing and believing all the answers to questions such as I've been having. I can answer myself pretty well. The trouble is I'm not very convincing. Even as I'm regurgitating what I've been told, this little nagging thought keeps pounding at the back of my head. Don't the Muslims have reasons behind what they believe? Can't they back up their ideas with "holy scriptures" of their own?

I think the Mormons are absurd because they believe one day they'll rule a planet and be a god of that planet. I can't believe that anyone would think such a thing is true. Yet, I have always believed that God sent his son down to earth to live as a human being for a short time and then to die on the cross for our sins. I used to just accept this as what had to be in order for us to be saved, but today I think, "Okay, God, you are supposed to be omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent, so why did it have to be that way? Why did you place Jesus in Mary's womb and have Him live a lowly carpenter's life just to die a horrid death on the cross? Why didn't you just make us perfect in the first place? Did you make a mistake, and if so, then you aren't perfect, and I've been taught that you are? So what is it, God? Are you there? Are you disgusted with me for doubting? Do you still have plans for us down here on earth, or have you given up on this crazy, messed up world?"


Juanita said...

I read your post several days ago, but didn't respond until I thought the ache in my heart would dull. It hasn't. I still ache with sadness at your poignant confession of a crisis of faith. I think we all go through this. I have. But I've also rallied, realizing that without the hope of a greater place after our time here on earth is finished, where would the strength to live come from?

And, life is good. Sure, life has problems, but life is good.

Isn't the traditional teaching that God gave his angels free will, gives us all free will, and is saddened when our free will makes us hurt others, but because he loves us, he doesn't take away that free will? Unconditional love, a model of how we are to treat each other.

This, too, shall pass for you. You are not alone in your questions, and you are not alone in your sadness.

I'm sending strength to you ...

Barri L. Bumgarner said...

Kim, one of the biggest parts of having faith is questioning it...I know, I've done it many, many times. I hurt for you, for the battle you're struggling with. If there's anything I can do to help, please let me know. Writing is cathartic though, and the more you let it out, the better you'll eventually feel.