Throw the Christians to the Lions
I use to be a hard core Christian. Like almost to the point that I’d to say “God Bless,” and even the much worse statement, “Have you heard about Jesus?” (Or some variation on that statement.)
I attended Youth Groups as much as possible, the big one I attended was put on by my Science Teacher, her husband, and their friends. I remeber it got pretty big – 50 teenagers or so. I worked hard on inviting people to it – but not being very popular in school I didn’t get that many people to come.
I think that by my senior year in high school I was starting to doubt my faith. I had gotten a job on the weekends and couldn’t go to church on Sundays any longer. My job started at 7am, so there wasn’t any services at an earlier time in my small town.
But there was one thing that really shook my faith – amazingly – in Church of all places. The head pastor got up to talk to the congregation. He was talking about how the church did all these missions aroudn the world. All the things it did for the rest of the world. Talked about how they had 60 some people on missions. But noticeably – nothing local. I didn’t think too much of that, until he brought out the overhead projector and started showing graphs of the church’s budget.
He showed how the church had operating expenses of something like $30,000 a month… which astounded me. I could see that building being expensive, but how many people did the church have hired full time? Then he started showing how donations had been falling off the last couple of months – drastically enough that they were $15,000 in the red for the next month!
Here I was – dressed in jeans, a fairly nice shirt. Rode my bike to church every weekend because my parents wouldn’t take me. No job, all the money I had was from babysitting and berry picking during the summer. I had figured out that I could give $5 a week and have enough money for a while – because up until that exact point I believed whole heartedly. The pastor then started asking everyone to dig deep this week and help support the church and it’s works.
He talked about how Missions to Africa, South America and China were in jeopardy if they didn’t get help. It really got to me at that point – here we are spending thousands of dollars to covert people in other countries, but not in our own. I want to say that I walked out of the Church at this point, but I’m pretty sure I was a coward and stayed until the end. Either way I practically ran out of the church and rode home as fast as I could.
In previous times of trouble I had turned to the Bible. So I thought that perhaps it might help again. I randomly opened the book and started reading. I do not remeber the exact passage but I ended up in the Book of Leviticus As you can see – those are the rules of God. As good as written down in stone. But how many people follow even a tenth of those? Read this Letter to Dr. Laura and this this follow up for a good idea how ludicrous these all sound in modern times.
I ended up re-reading the Bible from one end to the other, but only had more questions. (BTW – Jewish/Hebrew Scholars have done a pretty good job answering a lot of questions and inconsitencies in the Bible, but a lot of feels forced at times.)
During the next several years – I feverently wanted to believe in God, and the Bible. I read everything I could get my hands on, granted in a small college town that wasn’t much. But I read several versions of the Bible, the Koran, Hebrew versions (which I liked the best,) and then started branching out into other religions to find the answer. I started with Buddahism, Wiccan, Hindu, etc, etc. All I read just reinforced my problems with the Bible and forced one conclusion upon me.
The Bible was written by the powerful to keep the common people in line. It’s been changed, massaged, and corrupted by people reinforcing that, and people trying to correct the problems in it. If it ever was truely the word of God, God hasn’t done a very good job of keeping it pure.