I was told all my young life that there are NO contradictions in the bible and NO discrepancies between the gospels. I was told that the bible is divinely inspired by god, and all the people that wrote the books in it were being told what to write by god. I believed what I was told for a long time, until I started seeing weird stuff in the bible. I mean, god told the people that killing is bad, and then told them to kill people. And god said not to lie, but then god blessed a harlot for lying and protecting some Hebrew soldiers and helping them escape. Once, when I found a contradiction, I brought it to the attention of my sunday school teacher, and she told me I was blaspheming god and that it was a very serious sin. I was temporarily scared to ask questions, but I eventually couldn’t contain my curiosity and I asked my mother why the bible seems to not be consistent throughout. How could god BOTH tell his people not to murder, and then tell them to murder entire populations? She gave me an answer that I heard many times (worded in various ways) in the years after that from pastors and teachers alike. She told me that we are just humans, and we can’t understand god’s ways, so we just have to trust that he knows what he is doing. She said that’s what faith is.
I was never satisfied with that answer. Ever. I pretended to believe that, for years…just to get along peacefully as possible with all my church peers. I essentially lied to myself and to others for a long time. Deep, down in my soul, I never believed that some of the most blatantly IN YOUR FACE contradictions in scripture are excusable or explained by “god works in mysterious ways” and “faith”…
In the last 3 years, I’ve gone from very nearly becoming a 7th Day Adventist, to realizing that I would be trading one type of imprisonment for another, and to finally delving into the history of christianity and discovering that it’s not the benevolent and triumphantly pure and good history that was painted for me by my spiritual leaders in life. Instead, I see an incredibly confusing, murderous, hate filled history. Any of the different sects of “christianity” that I’ve explored so far, all seem to come from some man or woman with supposed directives from god himself. They all can appear good and true until you actually look into their conception as a belief system. Most of them are basically the same, with a few doctrines that are unique…but they regard the tenets of belief in the inerrant scriptures, the trinity, Jesus as the son of god and died and risen again as the core of their religious belief, and as the way to escape being thrown into hell for ever and ever. And as I’ve looked into these, it makes me feel kind of sick inside. There is something that stands out like a massive elephant in a powder room. It’s fear. Fear drives the core of these belief systems. Fear of hell specifically. But there are many ways in which a soul can end up there. And so there is fear in the every day living and conducting oneself “righteously” so as to not ignite the anger of god and end up in hell. Even as I was taught that you have to believe that Jesus is the son of god and then you will go to heaven, I was also in the same breath taught that if you say you believe and then live like you don’t, then you automatically are doomed to hell. I was informed that only god knows if you really, truly believe so you might wake up in hell even if you thought you believed. It was fear, fear, fear all day every day and at night. I think I may have developed my horrible insomnia when I was a child just because I was so afraid that I might die in my sleep and wake up in hell. There were fear tactics used in ALL of the youth programs I was ever involved in growing up, and when I was a leader for youth I was expected to deliver the same tactics to scare youth into dedicating their lives to god. IT’S SICK!
And what makes it all that much sicker to me is that so many people swallow what they are told without looking OUTSIDE the walls of their own church or bible college for any education of where all of it comes from. People spout the same nonsensical phrases over and over again in reply to honest questions, or worse they chastise the questioners for not having “faith” or being “rebellious” and being in danger of “hellfire”.
It’s barbaric the type of abuse that is happening inside of these buildings of supposed “sanctuary”.
And, at the risk of jumping topics in a really big way, the same type of ignorance is prevalent with the history of the U.S…..What I was taught in school is in big portions NOT what really happened. And the same goes for what we are told is healthy to eat by most physicians, (or what is”medicine”). The inquisitive nature of a child is squelched by all of the above. We become adults who “know what’s what” and never (or rarely) question why. People like me who chose motherhood over a Masters in Music Education or a Bachelors in Child Psychology (what I was going to pursue before I realized I didn’t want to be in debt before I even had a job) get kicked to the wayside for things that we say to “truly educated” people. In the same way I got brushed aside or threatened with hellfire for asking questions. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve been ignored when someone finds out I didn’t go to college. And I keep getting told I am “overthinking” religion and god and should just listen to the people who are “called” to teach god’s word.
I’m just so sick of it.