Someone asked me why I’m writing the TL:DR Bible series. Part of it, I suppose, is to have fun with a certain point of view about the bible. A greater part of it is to answer a question that has been plaguing me for quite some time.
What do you do when you wake up one morning and you no longer believe what you used to believe?
It’s a difficult question. One that many people face. I won’t pretend to be unique.
I was raised a fundamentalist and a conservative and over the years, I’ve become more convinced that what I used to believe was wrong about God and politics. Politics is easier to change. Ideas about your religion are much, much harder to re-examine.
I never had an anti-road to Damascus. No bright lights. No voice from heaven or hell. There was just a constant slow trickle of doubt eroding the walls of fundamentalism. Why couldn’t God outlaw slavery? Why does a temporal crime deserve a punishment of torture, let alone eternal torture? Why would God demand a rape victim marry her rapist? How do you justify a genocide and ethnic cleansing? How can you take Genesis 1-3 literally in light of the observable evidence that fits the evolutionary model? If you locked up your children in a dark basement and tortured them every day for the rest of their lives for disobedience, wouldn’t that make you a monster? Why does God really need me to sing songs about Him? Can you really have a ‘relationship’ with someone who doesn’t talk back to you? What do you do with the evidence that the Exodus and the book of Joshua are almost certainly fictional?
And one day, the walls came tumbling down, to build on today’s reading.
So what do you do then?
Do you go through the motions? Keep showing up to church every week. Sing the nice songs. Listen to the sermon. Shake hands and walk away feeling nothing inside?
Do you toss it all out? Leave. Buy yourself a copy of the God Delusion and never come back?
Do you re-examine your faith? Trying to find something to hold on to because you don’t want to let it go or you’re too afraid to let it go, or maybe because you still believe there’s a God there and you want to find Him or Her on honest terms. No more lying to yourself. No more twisting yourself into knots to try and justify the awful things written in a book 1,900 – 3,000 years ago? Try to come to a more mature understanding of God and the bible and what that book represents. Realize that maybe some of the lessons one should take from those readings is that one should NOT be like the person in the story, the so-called ‘heroes’ of the faith.
So, I suppose that is why I’m writing.