I’d like to share an email I got recently and my response to it. I have made some edits indicated by bracketed [ ] words to correct grammar or to protect the writer’s identity:
I have just read an article posted by Filipino Freethinkers regarding questions you have answered on belief of God as a creator and not as how it is presented in the Bible.
I want to say thank you for writing that. I have been struggling for the past months about my faith. I had a conversation with a Protestant friend who is a firm believer of God in the Bible. Trying to “save” myself from losing my faith, I admitted to her that I am having a love-hate relationship with Christianity, that I find myself comforted with reading different thoughts on deism. She responded to me this way: “Since you read a lot, why don’t you try reading the Bible? But then again, if you will really use logic, then, Bible will be a useless source for me.” How was that for an answer? It’s like saying, to believe, read the Bible BUT to understand or to read the Bible you have to believe first. I was not convinced.
I am still struggling now that it has become a day-to-day problem for me. It affects me a lot (that I feel like I’m becoming mad). I am torn between two belief systems…with Christianity and Deism at each end, my mind is leaning towards deism? I am currently in the situation of feeling guilty (like you, what if I’m wrong with my disbelief with Christianity?)
I want to ask you, during those tough times, how did you deal with it? I am in [another country] now and I have not found someone who can understand how I feel. I don’t have the courage to admit it. I still go to church, trying to talk to God to help me find my way to him. Or maybe this is the “way to” him. My partner is a Catholic, I have tried telling him these but (good that) he just [listens], he rarely responds (maybe he thought I just need to sleep it off).
Sorry for my tangled thoughts. I hope you got what I am asking.
I am somehow comforted to know that I am not alone. Thank you.
Thanks for your email. I think I more or less understand what you’re asking. There is a part of you that seriously questions your traditional beliefs about God but there is also another part that fears that too much questioning might lead to your soul’s eternal damnation. Is that a fair assessment?
When I was at that stage, I just held on to this thought — that if God were truly just and fair, he would not blame me for asking all these questions. He knows my heart. He knows I ask these questions not as an attempt to rebel or to destroy him but to really know the truth. And so in a strange sort of way, I gathered enough faith to trust in God not to condemn me to hell even if I turn away from him after all these questions. After all, he was the one who made me this way, so he, above all, should understand.
In our tradition, God has often been compared to being a father. I happen to be a father and I can think of no circumstance where I would condemn any of my children to eternal punishment and torment simply for doubting me or for asking too many questions.
This is where I am now: I no longer believe in the God of the Bible. I do believe, however, that if a “god” does exist, then he/she/it will understand perfectly what I’m going through and not condemn me for it. If the God of the Bible does exist and if he would indeed condemn me simply for doubting or asking questions, then he never deserved my love and trust in the first place and I would not want to stay with him.
One “evil” of religion is that it has made us believe that we are not good enough, and that we are victims who cannot save ourselves but must rely on a savior in all aspects of my life. Once I removed that mindset, I learned to see that my life is my own. I am truly, totally responsible for what happens in my life and for how I live my life. I learned to love myself — to see myself as deserving love and because of this, I learned how to truly love others in return.
Your life is your own. Live it. Relish it. Enjoy it. It’s probably all you’ve got, so make it count.
Originally published in SunStar Davao.
Andy Uyboco is a businessman, trainer and speaker. Send me your thoughts at firstname.lastname@example.org.