I have never been totally convinced that: there was a super entity responsible for creating the Universe; the World; Humanity, nor all that lives on the earth, swims in the sea, or flies in the air. I have never been totally convinced that mankind’s very existence depended on the whim of any super entity; nor that every human being was born sinful.
As a youngster, being told there was a God gave me both comfort and distress in equal parts; although I never understood exactly what, or who God was, I understood that he gave my mother strength. When my mother punished me for wrong-doing, the Devil never came up; she called upon God often though, saying: “God, give me the strength not to kill this little fool.”
I have used religion as a guide when it suited me to do so, but I have never credited God, or Lucifer, for my successes or failures. I was taught to admit to my mistakes and deal with the consequences of my actions. No one with the power to punish me ever accepted the excuse that the Devil made me do it. With the knowledge that I, alone, would be held accountable for my actions and that neither God, nor Satan could help me, I was set free. I understood that I controlled my own destiny and would no longer be dependent on the gods for anything, ever again.
I did not get the choice of what church to attend, or faith to follow; the Anglican Church was handed down to us and as such I was taught what it was to be an Anglican Christian. When I was old enough to decide for myself what to believe in, I felt no loyalty to Christianity, instead I looked for answers to questions that troubled me about Christianity. From the time I crossed the threshold of St. George’s Anglican Church, until the Reverend asked me to leave and not come back, I knew there were questions that I had to ask that could not and would not be answered; declarations of what God had done without any proof; Christianity came down to having faith in what other men said, and I had never been comfortable, nor good with that.
The Bible says that Man was born of sin, unable to resist doing the Devil’s work most of the time. If that were true, I reasoned, how could I:
determine what was true in the scriptures and what was not;
know the Bible, itself, contained the actual words of God, written down by man;
know that Satan and Hell were not just urban legend, started a long time ago to frighten children into being good, like the boogie man, or the candy man;
When I questioned the supremacy, the all-knowingness and the infallibility of God (first in Sunday school classes and then to the Reverend himself), I was told, “Some things just have to be taken on faith.”
When I ask why God did not know that Lucifer was plotting a rebellion in heaven, I was told, “Pray to God for the answer… Man’s purpose is to glorify God and serve God, not to question his greatness… Who do you think that you are that you think yourself able to understand the greatness of God’s thoughts and reasoning?”
When I learned about the African slave trade, apartheid, the lynching of black people in the USA, the forced segregation of White and Black people in the USA, as well as other abuses inflicted on my ancestors by good church going White Christians, I sought answers from the Reverend. I asked him:
would the enslavement of Africans have been known to God and their enslavement have been part of God’s plan?
was it true that North Americans embraced slavery because they were Christians, and not in spite of the fact that they were Christians?
would Africa have been better off without Christianity?
did God condone slavery?
The Reverend explained that the slavery the Bible says God condoned was a different kind of slavery; those slaves were more like indentured servants and not at all like the wicked, cruel form of slavery imposed on the Black people of the USA. Even then, I knew that slavery was slavery and that he and the Bible were wrong; and if they were wrong then so was God.
I did not want to be part of a church, or follow a God if this is what he espoused to be righteous and acceptable. Not quite finished asking questions about God’s great plan for Humanity I asked the reverend:
did God not know of priests having sexual relations with young boys in my neighborhood, and if getting away with it was also part of God’s great plan for both the priest and the boys?…surely if God knew, he would have done something to stop it?
was the boys’ suffering and shame on this earth the price they had to pay for getting into Heaven?
did God condone the threats of excommunication of parents and children that threaten to complain and cause problems for the priests and church?
was homosexuality a sin in the eyes of God, or not?
I remember the sad look in the Reverend’s eyes as he closed his Bible, got up, and asked me to leave the church and not come back while he was still ministering God’s work. I think it was then and there that I first asked myself the question whether God created Man in his image, or had Man created God in his image?
I have heard it said that Christianity must change with the times to be effective in our ever-changing world, but I say that Christianity is based on the fact that God is:
everywhere at once;
knows our every thought and deed;
If all of these things are true, then how can what was not in God’s favour yesterday, suddenly be in God’s favour today, why the need for change? Had the All-Knowing One not considered everything?
These are some of the questions that plagued me as a child; the questions that got me kicked out of Sunday school class, and in the end, my church. To these questions came the answer: You just have to have faith…I would always ask, Faith in what; faith in whom?
I do not understand the whole Devil thing; why and from where could an Angel created by God, with no other purpose than to serve and glorify God, get the idea to be jealous of God?
With no Devil yet present, from where does this jealousy stem?
From what I can see Man has changed the Bible and therefore, the Christian faith to suit himself since Christianity hit the earth. My question is therefore: Is Christianity or any other religion, more than an attempt to control Humanity by a few, and the creation of God/ Gods, the hammer by which the powers that be drive home the laws and morals of a time period?
Is religion like a fairy tale and our story time-heroes; only alive and able to exist, as long as some one believes in them? When a God becomes irrelevant, does he simply get replaced by a new more understanding God, more up to speed with the problems of the day?
Did all of the main religions of the world take on the ideology found in a best-selling book of a popular philosopher, in a time of great destruction and chaos? Is it possible that man has made God into whatever he needs at the time? Finally, can a God exist if no one chooses to believe in him? In other words, does God require man to live rather than man requiring God to live?
These are the questions that have remained unanswered to me throughout my life about religion, holy books, holy wars and the spreading of a certain religion. We know that there were many Gods being worshipped, many before Christianity, so where did they go and why?
It is only when:
I look at the wonders of nature, for example, that I see God;
I look at the sky and see the universe that Man tries to learn about, but really has no idea how it all came to be, that I see God;
I see a little baby before it is changed and influenced by elders, that I see God.
It is said, that to accept God you must accept God totally, believe in what you do not understand on faith, and follow the instructions left for you in His books, e.g. for Christians the Bible, but which one, which version, (King James) which denomination, (Anglican, Catholic) etc.
I know that for me, none of these so-called churches represent my God, because they have recreated God in their images. My God would have to be a God who would:
feed the starving and heal the sick;
lead you to him through love and good deeds and not through force and violent wars.
I am still looking for this God: Have you seen such a being?