From Fear To Clear

I have been born and raised in a family that is based around the Christian religion. I've gone to a rather large church all of my life. I'd like to make clear that I'm not talking about Catholicism here. This religion is often referred to as a personal relationship.. between you and God. It was almost an insult to call what I engaged in a religion. My pastor always made note that religion and relationship differ in that religion is focused on the outward appearance while a relationship is focused on the heart. Nowadays, I don't discern between the two because I don't believe there are any notable differences except that my church was a lot more casual than most. In the months leading up to my abandonment of the Christian religion I had actually been the most in touch with my faith than ever before. I was reading my Bible every night, praying constantly, getting involved at church, and forming relationships with those I knew to be of the same mind. For me, this was as real as it got. I would sit in my room some nights and just marvel at, what I considered to be, God's work in my life. On the contrary, there were times when I would be absolutely saddened by my 'failures'. There were some sins that I just couldn't get rid of no matter how hard I tried. I would sit and cry and pray that God would take them away and then cry some more. It was an emotional roller coaster. On top of that, I had questions that needed answers. Questions that not even my dad (one of the most devoted Christians I know) could return. After constant prayers with no response, I began to doubt everything I believed in. This was a horrifying stage for me. I would literally pray and ask God to guide my thoughts away from skeptical thinking. I was afraid of any teaching that went against the 'inspired Word of God'. But as my doubt grew, so did my courage. I was ready to figure out what I truly believed in. So for two weeks, I decided that I would take a complete break from Christianity - no praying, no reading my Bible, no church, no socializing with Christian friends, no God. I figured if it was truly real, I would feel a void in my life. I mean, I was letting go of the biggest part of me. There was no possible way I could remain the same. I would surely come running back to the arms of Jesus, right? No. Those two weeks were the start of the beautiful life I live today. I was living free of any boundaries. I wasn't worried about pleasing a God that I had little faith in. I wasn't judging every 'sinner' I came in contact with. I was truly enjoying every second of my life. The most defining moment for me was when I was going for my usual jog around the neighborhood, I began to concentrate on this feeling I had inside me. I don't know what it was. I felt.. limitless. The feeling grew and grew until eventually I couldn't even help but to sprint as fast as I could with the biggest smile on my face. About fifty yards later I came to a stop, bent down, caught my breath, and just started crying tears of joy. I was so unbelievable happy to no longer be entangled in this concept of pleasing God. Later on down the road (figuratively), I began to explore new options. Even while I was a Christian, nondualism had always intrigued me, yet I felt guilty because it went against what the Bible taught. I began to meditate and attend yoga classes. Seeking the light within my own self has proven to be much more effective than relying on God for a sense of peace and well-being. I now find myself totally accepting of others and their beliefs, even Christians. I know that everyone has their own definition of truth and to be tolerant of others, you have to realize and understand that. I still have respect for all Christians even if they think I've fallen off the deep end. In the case that the Christian God does, in fact, exist, I would hope that His intentions have only been mistranslated through the centuries. I can't imagine a God so portrayed by love sending me to hell because I decided to use the noggin that He supposedly blessed me with. It would be pure ignorance for me to continue living my life the way I did for so long. To anyone reading this who feels they are at the same spot I was - I encourage you to do some freethinking. No, I'm not of the devil, I'm just giving you advice that could have helped me out a long time ago. Take care, my friends.
burtonsnow845 burtonsnow845
18-21
2 Responses Sep 11, 2012

Every religious sect is generally at variance as to its idea of what is virtue and what is vice, and fights with others over the means of attaining virtue and eschewing vice, instead of aiming at realizing the end. Every means is helpful more or less, and the Gita (18.48) says, "Every undertaking is attended with defects as fire with smoke." So the means will no doubt appear more or less defective. Since we are to attain the highest virtue through the means laid down in our respective scriptures, we should try our best to follow them. Moreover, they should be tempered with reason and discrimination. Thus, as we progress, the riddle of virtue and vice will be solved by itself.

All your experiences as stated leave out the essential ingredient which is the new birth, born of the Spirit.

I get that a lot. "You were never a true Christian" But I most definitely was. I accepted Christ at age 16 and even re-dedicated my life when I was 17. From there on out I was certainly a true, born again Christian.

This business of accepting Christ is jargon not Biblical, what about sin and repentance?