I've never experienced anything like this before. I'm getting a depression-like feeling from the anxiety that I will find some facts that destroy some ideas I really, really like concerning my faith. It's an odd thing. I have geared myself towards following Truth wherever it may lead me. And I found a place that I want to stay. Let me explain… The last couple of years of my life have brought me through some really tough emotional valleys. And that experience set my thoughts on a trajectory that I've been happily pursuing for the past while. I see it as a maturation of my faith as I've wrestled with reconciling my experiences and newly learned spiritual insights with what I used to understand about Christianity.
Of course, everyone's personal spiritual journey is fraught with epistemological problems. We all must consider how we know what we know, and how it was learned. Since a personal spiritual experience is not subject to repeating for analysis it's hard to justify any actions or attitudes that come about as a result of that experience. Everything that happens to us is subject to interpretation, and as such, is going to be defined by the ideological lens through which we view it. I can truly state that I am very comfortable with the lens that I am using. I've studied it from a multitude of angles, compared against reality, seen it work well in many situations, and understood its benefits. I am speaking of a Christian worldview. Yet, I pause when using that phrase…. After all, the number of philosophies and viewpoints within Christendom are legion, and it's really hard to boil them all down to one generic idea that fits all. (C.S. Lewis did an admirable job, although those who fall outside of his "Mere" Christianity probably disagree with that.)
And this is where my wandering mind has found a place of comfort. I've been recording my spiritual journey on this blog for the past couple years and that has helped me to see the trajectory that I've been following for a while now. I call it a trajectory because it truly feels like my divorce was like an explosion that shot me out of a cannon in a specific direction. How much of this is God, and how much is my own imagination is open to debate, but that is how I feel.
There are three areas of Christian doctrine that I have been having quite a few issues with over the past several years. The idea of Free Will, the Problem of Evil, and the doctrine of Hell. They are all intertwined to be sure, and I'm not going to delve into them just yet. I just wanted to record the fact that I've stumbled across some literature that has wrapped all of these problems I've had up, and serve as a logical conclusion to where my mind has been racing towards for the last couple years. These writings have a good side, and a not-so-good side. The good side is that they are pulled from the Bible with a deep reverence for it as the Word of God. The thorny part is that they approach the Bible from outside of the traditional teachings of the Church and its theology. And they involve some very important translation issues. AND the guy presenting these issues is not a Greek or Hebrew scholar. For these reasons, I am approaching this material very, very carefully. Yet, it's hard to be careful when you are in love. And I have to be honest here, and say I am head-over-heals about these ideas. Everything is clicking for me. It's like a golden epiphany. Suddenly all these loose ends have been tied up in a way that my soul has been searching for. All that is required is to sever the Gordian Knot of Christian theology.
Which may be a foolish thing to do. That's why I'm not diving in, even though the waters are so inviting. First there are several heavy duty questions that need to be raised. Like: if this stuff is true, how did everyone get it wrong? And by everyone, I'm including many people who are much smarter and spiritually mature than I. And if they all did, what makes me think that this guy, and me, and a handful of others got it right? (I do have some theories.) Well, modesty must be the bit in my mouth, reining me back as I explore this. And that's where the anxiety comes from. I don't want to be shown that this is wrong. I don't want it to be disproved. I like it. I like how it exalts God. I like how it diminishes me. I like how it presents answers from the Bible that I've never seen before.
One thing is certain though. No matter how this pans out, it is a good thing. I have never hungered like this to study God's word. I've never had such a desire to read the whole Bible in detail. But now I do. I want to see how these ideas line up with all of it. I want to look into the Greek and Hebrew, and see if these translation issues are valid. I want to talk to experts in the field and learn about the actual words that God inspired. God has never seemed so alive in me, and I'm very excited, though also apprehensive, about delving into all this.
I'll be posting more about this as it develops. First looking into traditional Christian theology and dogma, (as I understand it.) and then examining the truth claims of this new theological framework.
One thing my dad has drilled into my head is that "Ideas have consequences." And so I'm looking down the road so to speak. Where does one end up if they follow this radical thinking. Well God bless the internet… there is a forum of like-minded people, and I'm checking that place out to see what kind of fruit is evident. If this idea's consequences result in diminishing my love for others or God, than it is surely one I will drop quickly. Ultimately, God knows my heart. I mean, He IS the one who designed it and gave it to me. He knows that I sincerely seek Him in so far as my limited capacity will allow. He hears me when I say I don't want to be fooled by "every wind of doctrine". He promised that if I seek I will find. And I trust that will be the case.
This may not be true, but I feel like my heart will be crushed if I have to go back to thinking about God in the same way I did before.