Tuesday, April 6, 2010

My faith or lack thereof (Part 1)

I have hesitated for sometime to bring up the topic of "my faith" on this blog. Probably because I'm not sure I have one, and I'm not sure I want people to know that.

Unfortunately, the most tangible parts of my religious upbringing have always been the fairly morally dogmatic, so I've often wondered if things had been different would that have affected the final outcome. Even though, my questioning on a theological sense began well before I ever questioned the practices.

My initial concern about belief started when I was quite young, I didn't understand the concept of the sinner's prayer. We were taught in church that if we confessed our love to Jesus, then we would be saved (from hell that is). Clearly, I wanted to be saved, hell had already been imprinted on my mind as a terrible place. However, it did not make sense that this prayer could work. I would ask my dad questions like "Is that it?", "Which way do I say it?". So much emphasis was on this prayer that I had to do it right. Consequently, I prayed it many times in many ways throughout my growing up years, just to be sure. In the end I think I was looking for some sort of confirmation like a big shining light from above showing me the truth. People at church would share such stories, but I never experienced it.

Sometimes when I was young I would lay awake at night, wondering if the whole thing was made up. Perhaps there was nothing in the afterlife, or worse yet one of the other religions is true and we are all going to hell. I worried about all the people that hadn't said the prayer right - "What was their fate?", and "How many sins was too many sins?" I never knew if I was okay. I would explain some of these thoughts to my parents and they were always willing to provide me with a helpful resource. At this point, I became introduced to the world of apologetics. One of the first books I read was Dinosaurs and the Bible.  Keep in mind here I was no more than 12.  I read other books too, as well as exploring many other resources.  I was also exposed to Church camps, and retreats and many other fun and truly dynamic experiences.

All of these experiences were wonderful to me, and as I became more and more involved those experiences the seeds of doubt began to erode.  I made a decision when I was 14 to say no more doubt or missteps I am going to be a Christian for always!.... and for the most part this was the end of my questioning.

Until I graduated from high school and....

2 comments:

Jen said...

Erin,

Thanks for sharing and I'm sorry to hear about your concerns and doubts. I understand where you are coming from....and I have discovered that it is more about what is in your heart and the relationship you desire, than it is about how you say something or the religious tradition. I can't wait to hear "the rest of the story".

Marz said...

Hi!

This is Marz from Former Fundies.
I followed a link here from the Discussion Board, and I just have to comment because I totally relate with your kid hood-worrying over the exact wording of the Prayer! OH, THE TECHNICALITIES OF IT! I too was constantly re-praying it to try to secure my salvation. Such a bizarre system.....

OK, onto Part 2!