Most of you will know by now, that I’ve left Christianity, quite suddenly to some. The truth is that the cause of my disagreement with God has been there for a long time now. Every time I hear the news that a confused teenager has gone out and shot twenty people, or that every thirty seconds a person is dying of Malaria, I see that reason, and I can’t ignore it – there is so much wrong with this world that either God doesn’t exist, or he doesn’t care.
Now some would like to tell me that by turning my back on God, I am abandoning all that I have ever stood for. This isn’t true. I believe in a world where people should be rewarded for their hard work, and compensated for their misfortunes. I believe that if we put in the effort, and if we are ethical, moral people, we are better people than those who would lie and steal to achieve their aims. I believe that each individual should want to serve society as a whole, but that society should never (and should never have to)tell people to help it in ways they are not willing to. In the end, I believe that one should be able to live, with the greater good of society in mind, and die, content that society in turn has returned what it has received from them. I believe that many religious people here share my view of an ideal world.
Coming back to the reason I have decided to leave the Church. I feel that we, as a people, have betrayed each other. I wonder at the purpose of the Bible, and whether people spend so much time reading it that they forget the reason it was written – I think God, if there is one, gave us the bible as a code of conduct – and that if we stuck to the guidelines that God had set down for us, we would:
- find inner peace and be one with God, and
- bring about a utopia for all, where the world is filled with joy and idealism, where peace reigns not only within the soul but everywhere – the land of milk and honey.
(NB: I assume this is true for the major religions besides Christianity.) The first object of the code, people excel at. We are so at peace with ourselves that we ignore the glaring sins we have committed, and either forget or ignore the second, greater objective. This is my first criticism of the vast majority of religious. (My second is that the religious are frequently too busy trying to convert others that they forget the two objectives that the Bible seems to be telling us.) If God exists, then I think he will forgive my frustration with him – he told us that if we conduct our lives well, we would be given utopia. But what he didn’t tell us is that we need to build it on our own. He expected us to work this fact out for ourselves.
This is the third possibility – that God, for whatever reason, has decided that we are to do the work he set for us, and that we have to earn our keep.
My current line is this: I am going to do as much as I can for the downtrodden of the world. God isn’t going to do it directly. Again, the three possibilities are that he doesn’t exist, can't be bothered, or he’s waiting around for me, and people like me, to do something about it.
If it’s the first then I suppose I would have lived up to the objectives I’ve set for myself – that I as one of the more fortunate people should give to society as much as I can give, willingly and with no regrets.
If he really does exist but cannot be bothered, then I suppose I would rather not believe in a God who could stop all this nonsense, yet chooses not to.
If it is the latter, I suppose God would meet me at the end of my life, and tell me how this was all part of his grand plan. And maybe then I would decide whether to believe in a God who would rather people save themselves, even though he himself can.
My path to agnosticism begins here, and I am turning my back on God for the time being, but not on what God says – that the world as it is needs fixing, and that we shouldn’t expect anyone else to do the fixing for us.
[EDIT: I am not turning my back on God, but on our religious teachings on God and the way God operates – things will become clearer to me later, and I would rather be active and practical than ponder over the same thoughts repeatedly. I believe I made that statement with a great deal of frustration, and therefore didn’t quite check what I wrote. Thank you, Mum, for pointing out my typo.]