Before and After

Photo Credit: Peter Ras via Compfight cc
Photo Credit: Peter Ras via Compfight cc

I was back in the classroom the other day.

Technically, it wasn’t a classroom but an audio-visual room, but it was a familiar place. I held quite a number of lectures there back when I was teaching English to high school students. My former-student-now-pastor-and-teacher, Mark, had invited me to speak before a joint assembly of his 4 CE (Christian Education) classes.

So, imagine me in front of a gaggle of 11th grade students in a Christian Education class. What does this scene remind you of? Hint, it’s one of the oldest stories of mankind. Yes, it was like putting the snake in the Garden of Eden with Adam and Eve.

That was my role there that morning (and I told them so), to be the snake; to be the one injecting doubt and to prod them to ask questions. I told them about my own life, how I journeyed from faith and devotion to doubt and skepticism. Mark had told me that their next lesson would be about the reality of Jesus and why they ought to believe that Jesus was God. So I told them why I thought the Bible wasn’t inspired, and why I thought much of the stories about Jesus were legendary developments, and why it wasn’t such a far-fetched idea as apologists make it sound.

And then it was Q & A time, which started a bit slow, but as soon as it got going, the questions started flowing — so much so that we had 4 or 5 questions after the “last” question.

One of the more interesting questions I got was what had changed from my life before when I was a Christian to now, when I was not.

So I said that as a Christian, I was serious about my faith and I always desired to know God more and I wanted to know, “What is God’s will for me?” This question would drive me crazy because I would always ask it when faced with decisions and I could never manage to get a clear answer no matter how hard I prayed, read the Bible, or asked church leaders. I would always get mixed signals.

As a logical person, I would approach a decision with analysis and logical thinking. Now, suppose the logical decision would be A and the less logical choice would be B.

So of course, the easy choice would be A but now I have to ask what God’s will is, and if you know the Bible, you’ll know that God doesn’t always give you the easy way out. So I get to thinking “Ok, is this what God really wants? Is this the devil tempting me or is this God opening the door to what I should do? Is making the logical decision a decision to trust myself or to trust God?”

On the other hand, if I looked at choice B, I would think, “Ok, is this what God is trying to make me do because he wants me trust him instead of my own thinking? Is he challenging me to have faith in him? Or is he deliberately closing the door and telling me not to go down this road?”

I would do that for almost every decision in my life and it drove me nuts.

Of course, now, there is no such agonizing. Whatever looks most reasonable and logical and promising, that’s it. And if it turns out to be a mistake, well, it’s easier to bear as well and faster to correct. There’s no one to blame but me. There’s no wondering why I misread or misinterpreted God or if I somehow lacked faith and feel guilty about it and so on and so forth.

Does that mean I’m happier now? The student who asked that question wanted to know.

Yes, of course, I am happier now.


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3 thoughts on “Before and After”

  1. This post is so hard to read because it is so ambiguous. Why are you so reluctant to write about these as specific problems that you have encountered? Especially the one that you referred to in a previous post as the worst decision you ever made?

    “Of course, now, there is no such agonizing. Whatever looks most reasonable and logical and promising, that’s it.” Does it cause you concern that you admit to embracing your contradictory world view, but rely on what you think is best to be the moot reasonable, logical, and promising? Do you see yourself as your own God, as you worshipping yourself? Proverbs 14:12. ”
    Aramaic Bible in Plain English
    There is a way that men think is right, and its ways are the ways of death.”

  2. Unfortunately, I cannot go into more details at this point regarding these problems and decisions I mentioned because doing so would give hints to the identity of the people involved and I do not want to do that at this point in time. That’s why I just frame the issue in very general language.

    //Does it cause you concern that you admit to embracing your contradictory world view, but rely on what you think is best to be the moot reasonable, logical, and promising? //

    No, it doesn’t, because that is the best anyone can do.

    //Do you see yourself as your own God, as you worshipping yourself?//

    Well, in a way, yes, in the sense that I chart my own destiny. But you know what, I am convinced that you are the same way as well. You just project your desires and aspirations onto this external figure whom you believe is God, because it is much more comforting to think that there is a more powerful force guiding your destiny and who is ultimately responsible for what happens to you. That burden is too much to bear for a lot of people.

  3. Andy, you are “a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma”. I have been responding to your posts in a particular way because I was under the impression that you had a falling out with God and were trying to wrap your head around life. As I look at your latest postings, and, please correct me if I am wrong, it seems like you are no longer searching for truth. From the outside looking in on your life as posted through your articles, it really seems like you want to have a worldview that excludes any god, and you are bent on trying to skew things in a way that is belittling those that do believe in a god, specifically the God of the Bible that you got mad at.

    If you seek a worldview, and start with the notion that there is no God, or, more specifically, no God of the Bible, then there is a chance that you will not come up with the right answer.

    As far as your assessment of me, I can only assume one of several things. Your earlier claims of Christianity are unlike any I have seen. My views and beliefs are nothing like that. Or, you are intentionally distorting another truth, either to rile things up or because your views or so distorted. I like to find common interests or points of view with people, but that is taking things too far. Or you are trying to make a bigger point, saying “That burden is too much to bear for a lot of people.” Which is also incorrect. That may be the reason for some people, and we will never know this side of the grave how many, but, at this point, you cannot honestly believe that about me without having a few screws loose. I believe in God, the God of the Bible, because I cannot find one honest reason not to. I believe it is completely logical and consistant. I do not claim to know and understand everything completely, but I do see it as much better than anything else. I have also grown to know God and love Him from what i have seen from the Bible and from general revelation. Your arguements against it are nothing new, have been answered appropriately, and I could never conceive of anything better.

    Your postings claim you will follow God if He winds up being who you want Him to be, or irrefutably proven beyond any doubt in your mind, yet you offer no explanation of what that would be. Christianity has proven to be more logically consistant than your worldview, yet you do not yield. Do you think it is time to admit that it is a matter of the heart and not the mind?

    You can conceive of an athiest believing in God, but cannot conceive of a way to share this experience that drove you away from God without giving away other people who were involved? Or, do you think that it is too painful and you do not want to open old wounds? Or that it might be properly addressed and you might see an error in your thinking and have to admit that this crusade against God was wrong?

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