Thursday, February 02, 2006

An unbelieving heart is evil...

"An unbelieving heart is declared by God to be evil. Why? Because it mistusts God, and mistrust is evil - it knaws at your soul and grieves the heart of God. Indeed, mistrust and unbelief seperate you from the living God. One thing, however, can help you to overcome unbelief and mistrust. Picture to yourself the image of Jesus, the Lamb of God, in His amazing love for you. Worship the Father for His unending love in giving His only begotten Son as a sacrifice for you. Then you will not be able to do otherwise than trust Him.Take care, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God. Heb. 3:12"

Posted today at CF
The problem is, when I picture God now, this is what I see...

"See, this is my problem.
It is perhaps one of the biggest stumbling blocks I have with regard to Christianity of the sort that believes in hell for eternity.
And perhaps the best way I can explain it is this.
Imagine sitting quietly in a room with a piece of paper.
On that paper write down the name of the person you love most in the world.
Then write next to that "will spend eternity suffering in hell."
Look at that paper.
Imagine hell, the hell you believe in and then imagine the person you love most in the world there.
Whatever torments you imagine for someone, imagine them going through that, without end.
Now picture yourself face to face with God.
Keep that image of the one you love in your mind, their cries, their screams, their pleas for mercy and look into the face of God and see justice, love and mercy and want to worship him.

I cannot do that.
I have tried.
If I cannot imagine my loved ones suffering, how can this infinitely compassionate merciful just God do that?
Like I said, for me, one big stumbling block."

I cannot conceive of there being a god who is like this anymore.
In fact, I can no longer see a god as more than the wishful thinking of humans desperate to live forever.
Which I no longer believe in.
So why can I not get hell out of my head?
Why the pre-occupation?
Because it is burnt into me.
I don't know if I will ever be able to walk freely like others seem to do.
I think I'm condemned to walk forever with a weight in my heart and on my shoulder.
Forty years of belief is hard to leave behind...


Rosa Mystica (from CF) said...

Hi Cat,

Just wanted to say that you are not alone in your struggles with Hell. I have the exact same issues that you do in this area. As you know, I have no idea what will happen to my beliefs in the end. But I will say this: I don't think that I will ever, EVER say again that someone is deserving of Hell! I cannot, CANNOT see this as compassionate. Humans are weak. We stumble. Surely, the Almighty Lord must see this? But, like for you, things just don't add up in this area anymore.

I guess maybe the best advice I can give echoes the advice that you gave me: be open and honest with yourself. Peoples' understanding of things can change over time. I'll keep reminding myself of this as well.

Hang in there, sweetheart!


faerieeva said...

Ahhh Cat... the idea of God as a God for frightened people who want to live forever seems just as much as an indoctrination as the idea of God self. Because believing, in same phases of your life is so much harder than believing there is nothing.
I must admit there is a large part of Christians and Catholics that I've never understood. One poster at the moment is raging to get all of the women to wear pink because it's a female colour and she wants to show God that she's not on the side of 'Sodomites' and that she doesn't want to support the fashion industry and we all need to change our phonecompany. I'll be honest... I've had to stop myself from buying a tinfoil hat in the armoury for her, because it wouldn't be christian. She also claims that there is a big government conspiracy to control us and the banning of smoking is proof of it. She seems utterly convinced that God is ready to burn cities, smite people (especially homosexuals) and is an all round bad guy just ready to slam down a wooden ruler on peoples knuckles....
I look at her, and I feel lost. I don't find words anymore to talk to her. I've tried, desperately, in one thread to break through her circle reasoning. Tried with post after post after post to ask her 'give us some proof of this phone compagnies claim' only to get Scripture thrown at us about Gods vengeful nature, and the churches stance on everything from homosexuality to financial responsability but nothing about this phone company. Every time I see a post by her, my hair starts standing up, and sure enough, it's another hysteric ramble about the malice of society...

What am I saying? Christians are a bad meter for Christianity. Sometimes, you meet someone where you just can see ... that something shines through them. A goodness, patience, kindness... whatever you wish to call it, that sort of surrounds them. They're rare. I think those are the people that have, knowingly or unknowingly, tuned in to Gods 'radiostation'. But most of us... we stumble, and stumble, and stumble again.

Cat said...

Rosa, lots of hugs! I like Nightson's advice to you in the deconversion thread- have some time away to think and breathe the air. I've got a bit pre-occupied with hell at the moment and it doesn't help to ruminate on that alone. The reality of real life is sometimes needed to blow away fears and touch base with reality.
For many years I managed to push hell to the back of my head and I just trusted that the god I loved would not do badly by anyone, in fact I suppose I was a universalist without knowing it. And it wasn't hell that led me to my deconversion alone, by any means. It's now it's so much there, perhaps it's a deep fear within me that I am wrong and once dead, there'll be no second
chance. Rosa, you are a brave woman, I mean that and I just wish you all the best in your journey, wherever you end up, I hope for you peace in your mind and heart.

Eva, hugs too. I didn't mean to imply people only believe because they fear death, so much of what I write is about me and my pathetic attempts to cope with life.
Thanks for being there and listening again. You are a special person and so many of the OBOB people are too, I miss being with them so much in the evenings when I'm flitting between kids and baths and bed and paper work. I used to post nonsense in the pub knowing those wonderful people were always there to listen and support if needed and I miss that aspect of fellowship.
Now I'm getting all soft and squishy...
But wanted just to say that I see Christians as being very good people too and not always as stumbling people and you one of the best of all.

faerieeva said...

oh, Cat, I stumble sooo much. *ss* I wish so much I was a better Christian. I didn't mean to imply you said all Christians believed out of fear, more to share my frustrations about those who do. I always feel they only have half of the gift. And it seems so much harder for them to put the joy above the fear. To let the love grow deeper. I want to reach out and share with them what is inside me. It's like... a light at times. Though I admit in times of trial I've been known to call out hysterically to God "Why...? I do everything you want. Why don't You... do this or that. Why do I always have to travel the hard road. Can't you for once make something a bit easier for me?"
But despite that, there is this... gah... I can't explain it... a light I think. If I'ld have to try and explain it it would be like one of those old fashioned lamps they used during world war one. You know the ones that could be closed at all four directions to black out the light in case of attacks? It's something like that. Sometimes all the four shutters of the lantern are closed and I just feel entirely closed up inside, and I doubt if there is any faith left in me. Sometimes one of the shutters is just opened on a tiny ray of light. And at other times it seems like all four shutters are open and all of a sudden that entire light glows through me...

faerieeva said...

that needs to be world war two. *grumbles at fingers*

Rosa Mystica said...

Hi Cat,

I tried commenting on your most recent post, but I was unable to.

I'm infinitely sorry that you are still having such a hard time with so many things. I sometimes wonder if maybe what you need is just for some time to elapse in order for you to reach an understanding. I know that an individual's understanding of faith usually evolves over time- even among devout believers. I don't know how either one of us will end up, but I do know that the elapse of time can have a huge effect on things. Maybe that concept will help you sort things out.

Another thing: thank you so much for listening to my story (i.e. the one I PM'd you.). It was probably one of the most honest things I'd ever written. That level of honesty with self is not always something that comes easily to me. Maybe with time, it will get easier. Maybe...

A.A. said...

If I could only share my heart with you for but a moment :hug:

Cat said...

*hugs* back to all...

Celina said...

Hey all,
God doesn't send people to hell. As judge, He has established believing in Jesus Christ, as the only one who can and has paid for the sins of all humanity, as the criteris for eternal life. It truly is our choice. Now, if you don't want to spend time with God while you're in the earth, He sure won't force you to spend an etenity with Him.

Our decision to accept this gift of salvation/rescue from eternal hell (and daily distress) or choosing to create our own means of side stepping the Judge's directive is what causes people to be able to stand before the court blameless, through the blood of Jesus Christ OR fail to be able to pay the penalty for their own sins, therefore recieving the penalty of not believing or receiving the "get out of jail" card the Father has freely given us.

Being human we mess up, but that is not what causes hell to be our final destination. When you sin-REPENT. Earnestly and honestly tell God you are sorry and you WILL be forgiven. "His mercy endureth forever" and "He will forgive you of your sins and cleanse you from all unighteousness".

Rosa_Mystica said...

To Celina,

You stated that "God has established Jesus Christ as being the only way to salvation." The key part here is "God has established". What does this mean? That your god has essentially created a set-up. He created (according to you) Jesus, the devil, and Hell. He made up a rule that disbelief=damnation- even though He has the power to NOT throw people into the the disgusting place of eternal torment that He himself chose to create. Christians like to say, "God hates to see people go to Hell." Puh-leeze! If He hated it that much, He wouldn't have CREATED it Himself!!!

The God you believe in toys with His creation. It's a game, and it's one that I choose not to play anymore. I actually believe in God- but NOT the God of Christianity. That God is NOT compassionate, and I don't think He's real. I was Catholic for over 20 years, and not too long ago, I would have said the same things your saying. Not anymore. I simply experience too much cognitive dissonance when I feel forced to call The Divine Setup (i.e. Christianity) "loving".

That is all I have to say.