For me, the most heart-wrenching aspect of an Omnipotent, Omniscient and Omnipresent God, was his silence.
Prayer eluded me. I never could quite understand why we had to pray at all, since we were to pray for his will to be done. Seemed to me that Christians should just say to God, "Heavenly Father, do what you want, since you're going to anyway, in Jesus' name I pray, Amen."
I could not relate to other Christians who just loved to bang on the doors of Heaven in effort to praise and petition their God. A "relationship" with Christ was impossible. Humans relate through their senses. That isn't our fault; it's biology. If someone wants to correspond with me or connect with me, it would take some effort on their part to achieve it, right? Well, the Christians claim that the Bible is God's way of doing that, but then how did the early believers hear from God? Was he still speaking audibly then?
No, he wasn't; people sat around telling stories to each other, playing the telephone game for hundreds of years, until a council of power hungry men decided they knew what writings were "divine" or not, compiled them together, and put God's stamp of approval on it.
This is how I'm supposed to hear God's voice? Okay, fine, I'll take it, but as I begin reading it, I am left in a quandary, finding God's will and character even more elusive than when I had never "heard" from him in the first place. He continually contradicts himself, so is it my fault that I am still left not feeling any kind of bond with him?
The next step is to pray or ask people who might be able to clear up these contradictions. Well, we all know that it's pointless to ask God anything, because he never answers back, so I might as well just go straight to the guy with the white collar or Rolex watch.
After listening to a regurgitated and oft times incoherent answer to my question, I am left feeling a little fucked up in the head. His "answer" just doesn't make sense. The next thing to do is to consult ANOTHER wise follower of the Lord...and around and around it goes. None of the answers make sense, and even the answers contradict one another.
So here I am, some sixteen years later, still trying to "know" God, to connect with him and "hear" from him. Some told me, that it was Satan hindering me. Some say it was a lack of a "want-to" in me. Some say I didn't try hard enough. Some say His voice is to be found in that still and quiet place within me ( can someone please tell me what the difference between the "voice of God' and common sense is).
Years go by, life gets harder, and God seems to become evermore distant. I cry out to Him begging Him to answer, to visit me in my dreams or to actually take me to Heaven like the others he took during 'near-death experience'. I ask him to just TALK to me in some discernible way, but He never does. I cry out from the depths of my soul with hot tears running down my cheeks, for my Heavenly "Father" to just interact with me in a personal way, but SILENCE, deafening silence, is all that rings back at me.
I have only been a de-convert since July. It was finding this site that solidified it all for me. The trauma of losing my religion haunts me some days...they made us hope. They made us believe and become dissatisfied with what we have. They made us expect more, and it's very difficult to accept less. I have read the atheist apologetic response to this. I know that many atheists feel fulfilled and plan to meet death with steady hearts, regardless of the fact that their lives essentially mean nothing in the grand scheme of things, because this world will eventually pass away, and collide with another, and thus mankind and all of his endeavors were absolutely pointless. I am not one of those atheists. I am having a hard time with the possibility that my life has no real purpose in the end. Perhaps that is vain of me. If only I could grasp the wonders of evolution than I would get it, right? Sounds like a Christian argument that goes the other way. If I could just grasp this "loving God" that will throw everyone in Hell who believed the wrong thing, than I would have peace.
Well, I don't have peace with any of it! I'm mad as Hell. If there is a God, how dare He leave us down here to kill each other over proving just which religion is right! If there is a God, how despicable of him to refuse the pleas of a child being raped or tortured? If there is a God, how low and debase an act to watch humans suffer mercilessly! If there is a God, I hate him for remaining silent (except for the occasional sighting of he or his mother in a peanut putter sandwich, the side of a building, or toilet paper).
The notion of a loving God is nonsensical when paired with all that we see and know to be true about our existence. No, a loving God that is silent can not be reconciled in my mind.
Online Reading List
- An Outline of Intellectual Rubbish by Bertrand Russell (1943)
- Bible Teaching and Religious Practice by Mark Twain
- God is Imaginary
- Is there an Artificial God? by Douglas Adams (1998)
- Skeptics Annotated Bible
- The Age of Reason by Thomas Paine (1795)
- Which Way? by Robert Ingersoll (1884).
- Why I Am Not A Christian by Bertrand Russell (1927)