Tuesday, August 4, 2009

On the Road Again...

There are many roads we venture down in our lives here on Earth. Whether it is down the road of education or prosperity or down the road of drug and alcohol abuse; we all are venturing down life’s roads. Whenever there is a crossroads in life it always seems to hit us in the most inopportune time. Whether we are just comfortable in the direction we are already going or completely ready for the change, life always throws a curveball. Even if we think we are ready to take on the challenge of change, we really are never fully ready and as prepared as we would like to think and be. One of these crossroads life has is always the hardest to follow; at least it is this way for me. This is the life long endeavor of seeking for the truth.


When one seeks for the truth it can be a very long and hard voyage. It always seems like there are a hundred different roads to go down and only one of those is the right way. No matter how you look at it, it always feels like the odds are against you. It has the ability of making one mentally and emotionally distraught. It requires hours and hours of thinking, reading, and meditating. There is a lot of information out there to process. This kind of rigorous, mind numbing cogitation and investigation is exactly what I have put myself through for the past 5 years even though I have been on this journey since day one. So, here I think, is a good place to start out with a little background information.

A Boys Journey

As far back as I can remember I have always been the instigator, the agitator, and the rabble-rouser of my family. I grew up in a normal family. I had a father who worked construction pretty much his whole life to support his family and a mother who was always in this or that but always had a stable job. My parents were always there for me when I needed them the most and for the most part I was a spoiled brat. I also had a sister. We were only sixteen months apart, so we were very close. Growing up we fought just like any other brother and sister out there. Generally, we were a pretty typical family. When I was 6 something would drastically change my family forever. My mother had become a “born again” Christian. So my sister and I would accompany my mother every Sunday to church. Soon after that, me and my sister both would accept Jesus into our hearts and become “born again” Christians. This ended up becoming somewhat problematic because my father had a hard time believing in all that church hocus pocus and all that Jesus mumbo jumbo. So for my mother he would try and come but it never lasted very long. He would go one Sunday but skip out on the next and the next and the next, etc… But something ended up changing all that and that was music. For my dad music was a huge part of his life. He had played the guitar since childhood. So he started to go to church more and more and became involved in the worship and soon enough he had a “born again” experience.

So it is safe to say that I grew up in the church pretty much my whole life. So for me God and religion was always a part of who I was and what I did. Its implications on my life were huge. It dictated how I thought and lived my life. Some people might say this way of thinking is dangerous and detrimental to life but to most Christians it is quintessential and vital. For me it was of the latter kind of thinking that I lived by. I remember as a young boy growing up in the church I was told these fairytalesque stories of Jonah and the whale or Noah and the ark. I was told these stories come from a capricious book called the Bible. Even as a young boy I was drilled with the fact that this book, the Bible, was inerrant and inspired by God himself. And if God wrote or inspired it, it could tell no lie or contain no contradictions. Some people even claimed that these were the very words of God. That God had spoke through the people who wrote them. They authoritatively ascertained that this was some sort of divine intervention. Now as a teenager growing up in a conservative fundamentalist Assemblies of God church there was a time where I did not want to conform to some of their views like no drinking or no sex outside of marriage. And in my rebellious teenage years I did experiment on my own and tried to experience what I thought was life outside of Christianity. So I began to drink. Heavily. Till I was about 18 is when I decided enough was enough and I wanted to go back in time to where I was before I was 15. I wanted the old lore back. I had missed the chimerical stories of the Old Testament. I decided that I wanted Jesus back. I didn’t want what the world was offering. I wanted what the Bible offered. Eternal Life. This time around though, it was a lot harder for me than I remembered. There were so many things as a young boy I never struggled with. Like the whimsical stories of old. Now I even doubted the easiest and most loved by children story of the bible. How in the world could Jonah survive in the belly of a whale for three day and nights? This was the first time in my life I seriously began to doubt all the stories I had learned over the years as a child. I was losing my child like faith.

Fact vs. Faith

I began to try and look at these stories factually and scientifically. At the end of the flood narrative Noah sends out a dove and a dove brings back an olive branch but science proves that salt water kills plant life. There is not enough oxygen in it and salt dehydrates plants. So how in the world could plant life survive a salt water flood? How in the world did people live to be 985 years old? Why don’t we live that long today? Why hasn’t there been anyone who remotely lives past, say, 300 years old? How could any one survive in the belly of a whale with no fresh oxygen, constant water moving in and out, and let’s not forget digestive juices or the pressures of deep water? And to top it all of how in the world do you fit that many animals on an ark no bigger than a football field?

These were just some of the questions I began to ask myself. But as the typical cynic and over thinker I couldn’t stop my thought process there. I began to ask questions about the validity of everything. This is where my serious inquiry of the truth began. And here I am 5 years later. This is where the real story begins. In the past 5 years and in this last year especially I have been accused of some real heinous and ridiculous accusations. I have been accused of trying to “rationalize” my faith, being a cop out, looking for a way out and not actually searching for the truth. I was told that if I really was looking for the truth instead of a way out I would realize and know Jesus was real and I was in need of a savior. The fact is I lost my faith after serious inquiry. Not biased apologetic Christian research but disinterested honest research. I was and am searching for the truth. I have never once tried to rationalize my faith. As a Christian I thought you didn’t have to because this was the “one” true religion. That all the evidence was there and people were just blind and didn’t want to face facts and be accountable and responsible of and for their actions. But I found myself trying to rationalize what I believed as a Christian more then I have now as an Agnostic. I was never looking for a way out. I wanted to know Jesus was real and the only way. This was the point of my research and serious inquiry. I never copped out. I wanted Jesus to be the messiah. I wanted him to be God. But I found that that wasn’t the case. So, after just 5 years of searching I have come to three conclusions. My thesis of this paper is to show you the thoughts and facts that led me to my conclusions. Here are my conclusions.

The individual experience of life and their differences amongst a vast majority of different people.

The Bible and its contradictions, discrepancies, validity, and everything in-between.

The question of suffering and how the Bible doesn’t reconcile the world around us.

2 comments:

  1. Devin - "These were just some of the questions I began to ask myself. But as the typical cynic and over thinker I couldn’t stop my thought process there. I began to ask questions about the validity of everything. This is where my serious inquiry of the truth began."

    I went through the exact same thing, dude. I was sick and tired of being told just to believe and have faith (basically blindly). I was tired of asking questions in church and being told "well, there are many things that our finite minds just can't understand about an infinite God, so we just have to believe." I was sick of being told that asking questions was disrespectful to God.

    I'm in my late 20s now, but after flirting with atheism and agnosticism over the last 10 years, I have become convinced that Christianity (not always as it is portrayed to us in church) is true. But, guys like you are rare - it doesn't seem like many of my friends even care about thinking about any of this stuff. So I look forward to reading your thoughts and discussing all this shizzle with you.

    Yeah, I reached some conclusions, and you've reached some (different from mine), but anyone who likes to think realizes that we are still in the middle of asking ourselves questions and challenging our own beliefs. So keep it up, man.

    "The fact is I lost my faith after serious inquiry. Not biased apologetic Christian research but disinterested honest research. I was and am searching for the truth."

    Precisely.

    And even though I ended up finding the faith all over again, I still maintain that I would rather be an atheist than believe some of the illogical nonsense about God that is taught in many churches.

    If you're intending this website to help start a dialogue about the questions you've asked and are still asking, I'm asking a lot of the same questions myself, so I'm in. (raises beer) Here's to the discussion.

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  2. That is exactly why I started this blog. I want to show my thought process. I want to show people how I have come to my conclusions. I am tired of listening to illogical, fallacious, implausible, contradictory, and senseless arguments that don't prove anything. I started this blog to ask questions to people who might have the answers. I am not a biased person. I seek the truth in anything and if I find something later on that proves me wrong I am willing to admit I was wrong. So I will soon write another post on my blog about some of the questions that need answered. (raises a cold glass of Arrogant Bastard) Heres to the future!

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