This post is likely to be hard to read because I’ve literally just thrown down a number of ideas in my mind out on the page. At the moment it is essentially a brainstorm of ideas which need to be shaped into some form, just like “In the beginning the earth was without form, and void.” Genesis Chapter 1
This is such an important post that I really want to write it ASAP. I hope that I will be able to write it out properly in more detail if not later today (Saturday 29th July), then all the same as soon as possible.
I am sorry that I have to apologise. I said that I would write a longer “deconstruction” post today, but I just kept intermittently forgetting, until now. I also realised that I have to think a little bit more about what i want to say before I put it down.
This is what I mean by “framework” as I spoke of in my previous post, that is the “framework” that the Christian faith gives you:
How the Bible teaches us to live, what the Bible teaches us, if you remove the supernatural aspects. To be honest, you can’t truly remove the supernatural aspects because it is all completely integrated, but if you try your best.
Some aspects of this are:
How to think of yourself
My simple point is that if you throw away your Christian faith, you lose all of this. You lose even the presumption that any of this is what our lives need, or that there is any true meaning to our lives whatsoever.
For instance, as a Christian you believe that the way to joy is to live for Jesus, and for His priorities. However, if you then throw away the Christian faith, and you ask yourself “How do I seek joy in a post-Christian life?” Then you might realise – hang on a second, if there is no God, if there is no meaning to the universe, how do I know that my life is supposed to have any joy? Or that there is any point pursuing joy at all? Why would a meaningless universe hold out the slightest promise of joy?!
And so on with so many other things.
So throwing away your faith might seem to hold out the promise of freedom, but it is an illusory freedom. If you were to follow it to its intellectual conclusion, the only thing that this truly offers is emptiness. If there is no God, then there is no overarching purpose in “the Universe”. So people cling to the feeble things that this world offers. Some people put all their hope in career success, others put all their hopes into romantic love, or family love. Sometimes people talk about romantic love in such overblown ways.
I think also if you are tempted to give up your faith, before you do so, please look around at people who are currently living the faith-free life that you are thinking of. Do they look as if their lives are full of joy and freedom, or rather full of heartache?
The truth is that for most of us, even if we reject the idea of God, we still have overlords that we have to obey. Rejecting God practically means for many of us that we install as the most powerful person in our lives an exploitative boss in the place of a loving God.
Even people who have every material need satisfied, and have no need to submit themselves to evil bosses or indeed anyone, are their lives automatically full of joy?
Getting rid of God does not remove all the pain and frustration in the world, it just removes your shield to be able to deal with them. Getting rid of God also does not remove the selfishness and evil from ourselves or the people we interact with. It merely removes the hope that there could be a solution that could transcend all the misery of this life.
Why many people leave the faith: hypocrisy in the church
Bad Christians: the best thing to do in your best interests would be to keep living your life as a Christian, but to keep a distance from Christians who might be problematic.
Staying away from church does not change the fact that everyone else that you continue to interact with will remain deeply flawed. Staying away from church merely removes the one reliable chance of community that many of us have. I write this as a Christian who has actually made the decision to stay away from church, and even with the benefits of community I don’t plan to change that decision. I unapologetically discourage people from attending church. However, in my life I have also experienced church working very well indeed, and when it does work well, it is beautiful.
Look at societal trends, watch YouTube videos.
I really need to rewrite this post, as I realise that I am mixing up faith and framework – which is possibly inevitable, as these things are pretty much one and the same.
Without a doubt, there are discrepancies in the Bible, between the Gospel accounts. But all the same, if we look at what the Bible teaches us, about who we are, about our inherent worth, about purpose, then we can see that this is truth, especially compared to the emptiness that faithlessness holds out.
What the Bible teaches us that is true that we instinctively know to be true:
As human beings we are not just nothing. We are created with dignity, and with purpose. Not pointless accidents, spit out by the Great Meaninglessness to live pointless, confused lives gasping for meaning, only then to lapse back into the ether and nothingness. No.
We are all of incredible worth
We are all inherently worthy of love
No matter what ways we might differ from one another, we are all worth the same.
We are all incredibly talented, with deep potential. And yet, ultimately our worth is not defined by our talent.
Our lives are created for purpose.
We do not need to compare ourselves with one another. Rather we can each sit secure in knowing that we as individuals were created with value and meaning.
When I look at all the advantages that faith gives, and the way each of these advantages seems designed to slot into our human psyche, I know, like Mendeleev, that this thing must be true.
Those few discrepancies that we see in the Bible must bear out a rational explanation that is as yet unknown.
Furthermore, my own personal experience, I have felt God when I speak to Him, He has answered my prayers. That does not need to convince anyone else, but it does convince me.