There are many things in and about Christianity that don’t make sense: the sovereign mandate to kill hundreds of men, women, and children; the outlandish and outrageous commands in the Levitical law; the command the we must forgive others or our own sins won’t be forgiven—as someone who has been in abusive and traumatic situations and relationships, this one hurts and confuses me the most—and the fact that sometimes, God just seems like a cosmic bully (just being honest). All of that can be understood, even accepted, on some level, but that’s not my breaking point. I have read enough of the old, wise theologians to know that nearly every intellectual problem, for the most part, and if one is seeking honestly and in earnest, can be answered within the Biblical text itself, if not a sound theology book or two.
No, my breaking point is much deeper than merely questioning if the flood “really happened” or if God’s decision to wipe out the entire human race in the name of a do-over is “humane” or not.
Beyond the Surface
At first glance, the intellectual wonderings seem to be what people think will be the end of the conversation, but that’s just surface-level stuff. The real matter goes deeper, way beyond the surface.
“Do not have other gods besides Me.” (Exodus 20:2)
“The person who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; the person who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. And whoever doesn’t take up his cross and follow Me is not worthy of Me. Anyone finding his life will lose it, and anyone losing his life because of Me will find it. (Matthew 10:37-39)
This, above everything else, beyond all my intellectual doubts, gets me every time. If ever I were to leave Christianity, this would be why. This is my breaking point: I want to have control and God says, “No.” Some of the things God allows to happen, both in the world at large and in my own life, baffle me to no end. I cannot, for the life of me, understand His ways or why He does the things He does and I want to. The fact that I can’t angers me something fierce.
To leave Christianity—to leave God—because I want to be the one in charge and He denies me would be quite foolish. Some of the things He allows is downright painful and I can do naught to bring about change or a small portion of comfort to those suffering—myself included. I feel helpless in that regard, knowing that whatever God allows to happen will come to pass and neither I or anyone else can change His hand in the slightest. I feel more oft like a pawn in a cosmic game of chess than an adoptee of the Most High. Nonetheless, He calls me his, even though for the past few months I’ve been going back and forth between two opinions, flirting with the idea of whether or not to leave again.
Flirting with Danger
The first commandment God gives to the Israelites infers that there are other gods that exist besides Yahweh, either man-made from other religions or idols we make ourselves. It seems from a Biblical context though that God—that is, Yahweh—is to be the only really true cosmic Divine Being. If I were to leave, there would be no solace, no solemn, quiet, safe place to rest my weary soul nor would I find comfort for my ever-questioning mind.
In the End
All that being said, I know that if I left—again— I wouldn’t come back.
In fact, I would die. I don’t mean that spiritually, I mean literally.
I would kill myself and have absolutely no qualms about doing so because I’d have nothing.
I still have doubts; I still have questions; I still have panic attacks linked to spiritual things. I haven’t left Christianity or God despite my wrestling—and it’s only by His grace that I haven’t. So for now, I’m just sitting in the corner, so to speak; taking my time, being still and knowing that He is God. And that remains true, regardless of if I leave or stay.