I first encountered Amanda on an atheist blog that chose to challenge the existence of God. After a few volleys, I left that comment discussion because I realized that it had devolved into exactly what I thought it would– a chance for Christians to be on an Atheist home turf to be mocked and laughed at as a clown. Rarely is it actually an open an honest discussion– even if there’s not a comment saying as such, you can be sure that those that are reading that site are sitting behind either laughing or shaking their heads about “the foolish” Christian. The Bible said that the Word of God is foolishness to the Greek– so we should not be surprised.
At that point, I stuck her blog in my feed reader, and have followed what’s going on over there ever since. Until this last week, everything was fine. Until last Wednesday when she went on an, albeit brief, Hiatus. Now, I know that bloggers have the tendency to get bogged down, to need a break, or just leave. So I offered prayer and help, and then she came back with a post saying that “I want God to leave me alone and to be happy with me leaving Him alone.” She rightly comes to the conclusion that if she were to say that she no longer believes in the God that she has always said she proclaimed it will bring her blog to naught. Some things are downright scary and have me wondering if she was a true Christian at all:
For my entire life, I’ve always done what’s expected of me – even where God is concerned. I know that there have been periods where my desire for God has been real, but I think that most of it has been me doing what I’m supposed to do.
And I’m tired of it.
Donald Miller said, “I began to wonder if becoming a Christian did not work more like falling in love than agreeing with a list of true principles.”
Well guess what? I’m not in love with God! Or Jesus, for that matter.
He also described me pretty well when he said, “I grew up believing a Christian didn’t have to love God or anybody else; he just had to believe some things and be willing to take a stand for the things he believed.”
That’s me. And I think I’ve done those pretty darn well. But it turns out that’s not what God wants from me. But do I really want to give God what He wants?
And that leads to yesterday when she declared that she no longer believes in the God of the Bible, but has taken at least a more deist tack– a watchmaker god that created the world and left it alone. A probably real Jesus, that was inflated and twisted in writings by His followers.
I believe that this was brought about by how I lead this off. Left around Atheists and Agnostics long enough to feed doubt, those that have grown up in the faith have the same crossroads they must face as those saved later in life– mainly, who am I and what do I really believe?
Start with a Christian Foundation from an Early Age
You see, unlike those that are saved out of a life of deep sin, those of us that have a very young conversion experience usually do not have as good of a before and after picture. For me, I can always remember being the “good kid”– and those that claim salvation even younger always believe they were saved. Without the stark contrast, one can get older never knowing a difference which can feed the idea that “I’ve always been able to be moral and good, and I don’t need God.”
Add in Some Differing Views.
The longer we spend time around people of a specific belief, the more influenced we are by it. People seek out those of like thought for many reasons– common bonds, things to talk about, reassurance, and reinforcement. All of these things happen, even if you aren’t looking for them.
This is true for families– the longer time that you spend in a home with a given set of rules, the more comfortable you are with the rules. It is only when there is a conflicting set of morality or rules enters that there is a choice: Do I continue with what I know or do I choose another?
The same is true here. Amanda grew up believing one thing, she has had it reinforced, and she truly believes/believed it. However, she has not spent considerable time talking with atheists and those that question the very things that she holds foundation to who she is/was. She now is at a crossroads of who she will become.
And now you have doubt
Let this be a sign for those that would spend time in discussion of things that disagree with their beliefs. At some point you’re going to have doubts (grass is always greener effect)– and how will you cope. And this is not isolated to Christianity, Atheism, or any religion– as people change what they believe based on who they are around all the time. Since we are beings that are thusly influenced the question of what really is truth is important.
For Amanda, she now even doubts the very thing that she has been saying to the Atheists. And, like I said, she understands the impact she is having. Atheists are already saying they are witnessing the butterfly coming out of the cocoon– meaning that she is finally becoming enlightened throwing off the old belief in religion. She’s starting to talk about how the Bible was written by men with an agenda. She’s beginning to undermine everything that she believes/believed and in the process give the very people she has been trying to minister even more hardened hearts so that they may, in turn, mock those that believe the more.
Who is Influencing You?
Who are you choosing to spend your time with? What thoughts are you entertaining that are at odds with what you believe? Are you engaging in activities that go against your faith? Is your faith based on works and what you’ve done, or a love for God. The latter is the key. Regardless of when you came to Christ you are a changed being. Now you must live like it.