Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Questioning God

This post is going to go around and around. In other words, I don't intend to resolve anything, but rather I want to provoke thought. There are some things running around in my head these days and I don't have answers for any of it. Sometimes simply musing over issues helps to put them in place even if they aren't resolved.

Is it right to question God? Or maybe a better question is: Is it WRONG to question God? It's not that I think He will strike someone down for it, but is it disrespectful?

I watched the new Clash of the Titans last night and at the beginning of the movie a narrator explained the setting as being in a time when the gods had been silent for so long that man questioned them. Well, that's the gyst of it. I kept thinking, yeah, that's how I feel sometimes. It's not that I question the EXISTENCE of God, but it feels like He's set us here and left us to our own devices.

In the end, I still choose to believe in God as the Creator of All, Jesus Christ who died and rose again to save us and is the ONLY way to God (at the very least, it's better to err on the safe side-HE said He was the ONLY way to the Father), and in the Holy Spirit. I also believe that soon, we will all meet God and face judgement, whether there is a rapture, a tribulation or we just die of old age. My choice to believe is my faith. It isn't something that just happens. Faith is a choice. Most of things we "have faith" in are really just learned trust. But to have faith is to trust without necessarily having the past history to warrant that trust. I trust that my car will start this morning, but I have faith that I will one day be in heaven with Jesus. My car starts every morning as long as I keep it in repair, but I have no way of knowing about heaven except what is told to me by way of the Bible.

Someone very close to me is going through a questioning period right now. I've been there. You can't be a political science major and not question. This particular question is: "how do we know if Christianity is right?" Quite frankly, EVERY religion claims to be the RIGHT religion. There is a little bit of the same stuff in all of them. I've known people who have claimed to be Christian that were awful people and I wouldn't want to share any space with them in heaven. I've also known good, loving, caring people who are agnostic if not atheistic. There are times that I think that God is not as exclusive as Christians have made him. I know people who think Mother Teresa went to hell because she was Catholic and I know people who believe Ghandi is in heaven because, while he probably did not know Jesus, he had a relationship with God. I know people who firmly believe that the God of the Bible, is the same god that the Native Americans call the Great Spirit, that Muslims call Allah, and so forth. Who is right? Is it wrong to ask that question?

I have always believed that there is absolute truth. When I look at some of the customs in Biblical times, such as slavery and polygamy, that God seemingly condones (or at the least seems indifferent to) that we condemn as sin now, I wonder if there are things that are relative about God. The Bible equates homosexuality with lying. Everyone lies, yet christians today seem to put all sexual sins in a category of sins that deserve the hottest portion of hell. What about cultures that believe that sex is a natural function of the body. Will they go to hell for not having those cultural restraints? I don't know all the answers. I would like to believe that God has a failsafe for those who don't know about him or who came before Jewish law. I'd like to believe that Christians who fall are still covered by grace even if they die in their sin. I am firm in my belief that when grace is offered, it must be accepted to be recieved. It is the rejection of faith that keeps a person out of heaven. What about those who are just confused and don't really know what to believe like my friend? Is it wrong for them not to accept Jesus, because he is confused about which religion is right about God? I sure hope that God has some kind of understanding that we are human and that He has been relatively silent since the days of Paul. Sure there are miracles every day, but when God was building a nation, He spoke in an unmistakably, loud voice and backed it up in big ways. For a person who is seeking answers, Christianity can seem like an obnoxious, arrogant philosophy. The way is straight and narrow, but to a person who does not know or understand that saying, Christianity is exclusive, condescending, and condemning. Who wants to follow that?

God has called Christians to holiness, not sinners. Love will win sinners. The Holy Spirit will speak to hearts. Sinners sin, expect nothing more. But by all means, stop being a christian and be a Christian. Stop being the hypocritic, unloving stereotype of the church. Even your own are turning away because of it.