Getting Personal With Christianity
Making such a bold statement amidst today's political climate brings with it some apprehension of what others immediately conclude. Also, doing so is not easy based on experiences with other Christians. Admittedly, I have not always considered myself one. Doubt has played a large part in questioning what beliefs I engendered since my youth. There may be others out there that have experienced the doubt that I experienced. This is for those out there who doubt, teeter on a line between belief and abandon. If I share, maybe they will find kinship in my words and move from the line of doubt.
The Absurdity of Christianity
The first, and foundational tenet of Christianity I called into question is the conception and birth of Christ. Far be it from me to conclude that Christ was anyone but an upstanding person, but His mother I called into question.
In my logical mind, it made no sense that Mary was virgin at his birth when I understand the human reproductive cycle. A ruse she played at, I concluded, to trick her betrothed husband Joseph into marrying her. Enamored with her charm, dear Joseph could not accept that she has committed fornication and ended up having a dream about her, Mary, and the child because he truly did love her. His love for her caused him subconsciously to excuse her behavior and make up some delusion so that he could proceed with matrimonial festivities, being the pious man Christian culture portrays.
Foolishness, it was to me. Christianity, a religion of purity and forgiveness seemed to be conceived in fornication. Such a beginning came with irony but, to continue to believe, I put it out of my head and accepted that part of the Christian experience as pretential lore. It, of course, created doubt in my mind each time Christmas rolled around and people spoke of the Virgin Mary.
As a youth, I feared God too much, as in terror, to bring any verbalization to my concerns, not knowing Him other than the destroyer of the Old Testament, which I had not read. Stories and other deeds He committed, fed to my mind by others, forced me to follow Christianity out of fear. God would destroy those whom He wanted to follow His Son if they did not obey.
Mary, in error, I concluded, was not this upstanding person that we were all supposed to revere as the mother of God. Her clever conning of Joseph prevented Jesus from being born a bastard, just like Eve, her foremother's pressing of Adam to take the fruit so she would not be alone! Both made an escape for themselves to some degree, though the truth came to light about their actions.
Even after I had found God and converted to Christ, I could not reconcile these long-held feelings of doubt in the very story that set Jesus apart from all men and women born. Somehow, I was supposed to accept that the Spirit of the Lord rested upon Mary, as the presence of the Father overshadowed her.
Absurd! Who in their right mind would believe that? I know I experienced serious cognitive dissonance regarding the issue. The "bastard" child ended up becoming the most important and influential religious leader and icon of all time!
Of course, I would not dare share my view with any person. In fact, this article is the first time that I have admitted that those feelings ever went through my mind. It was almost as if some unseen influence continually pressed this issue upon my heart to cause me to question my faith.
The Price of Doubt
Youths, such as I was, do not have fully developed frontal lobes and are prone to make rash decisions. Doubt can cause great calamity in youths whose frontal lobes can take up to 25-years-old to mature.
Why do I mention this? The frontal lobe is associated with the decision and reasoning functions of the brain. Because I was such a young person, the conclusions that I reached were very unpredictable and not necessarily based in reality.
The price that I paid for doubt was losing my confidence in Christianity's veracity. I left the faith after some scandal within some church that involved adultery. I do not remember who and where. I concluded that if the servants of God could not even live their religion that it must not be true. With how I imagined its beginning, the scandal of Mary, why would the acolytes of the various Christian faiths differ? The seed of that first deception, I concluded, found its way to the light in the lives of the adherents.
I was an evolved ape!
I read in the Holy Bible where such things as adultery were incorrect. Thanks to some of my high school teachers, religion was cultural, I learned. It made sense to discard old cultural beliefs that had even become outdated with clergymen.
Deciding that religion, specifically, Christianity, proved a cultural construct to perpetuate order did not seem hard since the doubt of Christ's validity whispered in the back of my mind. I made a rash judgment of the faith of my youth, which I did not understand enough to make such a judgment. I went further and decided God did not exist.
It followed that I would come to such a conclusion rather than accept the notion that I no longer had direction because without God, life had no meaning. Without my Christian heritage, what was there? I was an evolved ape! I had no divine nature.
The problem with that new belief presented itself in the evil that had lurked in the background never stopped whispering in my ear new things to confuse my still developing lobe. Not that the immature lobe does not serve a benefit to society since nations arm their young men and women to fight wars fueled with the blind faith of developing frontal lobes. Those lobes also help brave men and women run into danger to save people. In any case, most people decided how the rest of their lives will be from decisions made during the ages of 16 to 25 years, the least steady mental period of their lives.
Doubting My Doubts
Humans are creatures of habit and need to have such patterns so that we can live without fear. We have it in our natures to worship something. Think about it. Even atheists worship something.
What I mean by "worship" is to give great time and devotion. I needed to have something to give my devotion to since I relieved God of that attention. Being a teenager at the time of my faith crisis, I did what any American teen boy would do. I worshiped at the altar of girls and friends.
I let my hormones do the talking and my brain marinated in stupidity. As I worshiped at the altar of this new god of mine, I did not do anything that caused me to lose my chastity. I did not know how to find any girls to accomplish that--not for lack of trying. I wanted to associate with the cool crowd.
As would any male, I consulted an "expert" in women, and an older cousin revealing to him that I wanted to have sexual relations with a girl and figured he could tell me what to do about that--he being attractive, appearing as if he could get any girl he wanted. I did not know he actively practiced Christianity at the time, but I desperately desired to remove the title of "virgin." He was my last resort.
Instead of laughing at me, he took me on an adventure around town with the idea in my mind that he would somehow magically de-virgin-ate me. At the end of the night, I ended up drunk and beaten. That's another story.
I do not, and cannot fault my cousin for those things happening to me, but he successfully purged my thoughts about sex that day before the drinking and beating happened without saying a word for or against premarital sex. For that I thank him.
The next day, I started to rethink my exclusion of God. I decided that there must be a higher power. I figured that this higher power had very little to do with us humans, but it did exist and arbitrarily intervened at his or her pleasure. We were mere playthings.
It is interesting how an experience one night can cause the very underpinnings of my faith to shift. Faith is not a stationary thing, I submit. It is an ever-changing and moving psychological structure. The mental gymnastics to have faith in Christianity required much training on my part.
The day finally came when instead of wondering about God and the things others said of Him that I approached God in prayer for myself. Knowing that God answered prayers and praying are two different things. Once a divine connection exists, there are no excuses for having doubts as I learned by reaching out.
Jesus taught, "Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you" Matthew 7:7.
In asking, I did not get all the answers to my questions, but God revealed that I could trust that He would reveal things to me as I prepared to receive and accept them.
I found out Mary did not create a scandal. She did not betray Joseph but did have a miracle pregnancy and birth. Today we call it in-vitro fertilization. Then, it was called being overshadowed by the Spirit of God. No, it still does not make logical sense, but God gave me enough information to have faith that there exists no conspiracy with Mary, or Eve, for that matter.
In conclusion, true religion is verified with a connection to God. He can reveal the truth of things that need revealing to verify a true seeker of faith. Asking God, as Jesus directs, means that He has the ability to answer.
You Weigh In
Have you ever had a question about your faith that you had a hard time accepting?
© 2014 Rodric Anthony Johnson