Doubt Month Finale: How Could I Be a Christian?

January 22, 2010

Doubt Month is finally coming to a close.

Ironically, after a few weeks of unpacking all the things that make us uncomforable about faith, I can say this has been one of the best times I’ve had at blogging yet.  That’s thanks to you, readers.  Your comments and participation have blown away what I anticipated in variety, challenge and encouragement.  It makes me think blogging with a “theme” in mind might be something I want to do again.

So, I’ve shared with you my various and sundry doubts and difficulties with my faith.  I have a hard time believing healings, “miracles” and “prophets.”  I don’t know how to read my Bible a lot of the time.  I am bruised by friends “breaking up” with Jesus and I, and lost on what I am to do with them.  I think much of what we do as churches is phony and emotionally damaging.  As I have gotten to know God, He has refused to conform to my standards of…well, anything.

So where does that leave me?  How could I still be a Christian? 

Seems fitting to end Doubt Month on a note of faith.

I was asked by my wife rather randomly why I’m a Christian, while hiking on vacation in sweltering heat and humidity.  As a preacher’s kid, I had struggled and come to terms with my faith years ago, but I had never really talked about it until then.  I’ll tell you what I told her. 

First, is the personal evidence.  I’ve experienced God in my life.  He’s given me a great many things that I just don’t believe would exist if He were not real and interested in me.  I am not the same person I once was, and that’s not to say I didn’t try to stay the same.  I really liked me.

Second, is the physical evidence.  Despite all the difficulties someone might have with the Bible, there’s an awful lot of smart people who study it.  They go digging in sand for evidence of old cities and places in the Bible.  And you know what?  They’ve found a lot of stuff!  Bible people left behind a lot of junk for us to find.

Finally, is the fact that Christianity is an absolutely ridiculous, insane, what-on-earth-were-you-thinking religion.  I mean really, people used to sing a hymn about a “fountain filled with blood drawn from Immanuel’s veins.”  Gross. 

Is this the best religion we can come up with?  If I was to make up a religion, I would leave that out.

I would leave out…yes, just about everything Christianity says.  I’d leave out the virgin birth.  I’d leave out the blood of Christ and all that mess.  I’d leave out loving your neighbor as yourself…I would keep “wives submitting to husbands,” but not the verse after that.

The way I see it, humankind is not all that creative.  Sure, Michelangelo had a bit of a muse, but the rest of us are pretty much dolts.  That’s why Hollywood keeps churning out crap, and sequels to crap and we stare, slack-jawed in amazement.  I want to say this in the nicest way possible: you take practically all world’s religions and boil them down to their bare essence, and they look basically the same.  The main guts of most major religions are: you try to be a good person, (whatever that means), please the god(s) and work your way up the ladder to the afterlife, whether or not there is a god who cares or not.  Sounds good to me, because I know I’m a good person!

And then there is Christ.

There is Christ who says we can’t be good enough.  Give up, losers.  Talk about audacity. 

That really goes against what everyone else has ever thought about God.  I think even if all the people in the world were given indefinate time and infinite typewriters, they’d never think of God being born of a virgin woman and being executed to pay for the sins of mankind, just out of love.  It just wouldn’t occur to us.  It had to be told to us. 

Did it occur to us before Jesus?  No.  Are there a bunch of religions copying the Christian formula?  No, Christianity is still stupid and offensive to most people.  I call that the audacity of Christianity.  If there was ever a religion that should’ve died out, it was Judaism.  The Israelites seemed determined to not be God’s people!  Then there’s Christianity, which goes against every natural instinct any human acts on.  Why would anyone willingly fabricate and follow this religion?  There’s a lot of Christians who don’t even like Christianity!  They like promises of money and heaven.

As full of ourselves as we are, it never occurred to us that a deity would care that much for humans.  The one guy who did think that got nailed to a cross.  The monkeys would’ve written Shakespeare before we’d come up with Jesus.  Christianity is crazy…just crazy enough to work.

So in a weird way, the highly improbable God whose presence is so doubted and questioned by all of us is somehow evidenced by his almost total improbability.  God is the only one who could make himself up.  We would never want to be that creative.

Well it works for me.  Maybe it’s the stupidest thing you ever heard.

I doubt it’s the stupidest thing you’ve ever heard.

Doubt month is over, but doubt will always cloud us.  Despite all your doubts, what makes you believe?  What are the lingering, pesky doubts and questions that still hang in your mind?  What “theme” do you think we should spend a few weeks on in the future?

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