My faith is almost gone, to be honest. Not my belief that God exists – everyone believes that, even the demons. It’s easy to believe God exists, the more so for anyone who’s studied philosophy. We splice and dice propositions with ever increasing analytic precision until we realize there are none whatsoever that are immune from splicing. There is nothing true that can’t be analyzed and dissected into irrelevancy. In such a world, any and all propositions can be accepted or rejected at a whim; the more grandiose, the better. So we’re left with a primal urge to see a person in back of it all.
No, it’s not belief He exists that I’m lacking. It’s belief that He cares. I’ve had too many unanswered prayers – too many mountains that have remained unmoved – for me to give any credence to what Christ says in Scripture. The best His apologists can say is that the plain reading is incorrect and that, despite appearances, God really didn’t mean to suggest He would be with us day in and day out. He didn’t mean that He would answer our prayers or that He would supply us our basic needs. Nor even that He is some sort of master potter (or a shepherd), molding or guiding us along a specially-created path of destiny. No, really we’re all on our own; whatever happens, happens, and God is the God of the dead. We’ll see Him when it’s all over but until then, He’s irrelevant. (The majority of Christians believe this – look at their actions, not their words; you’ll see I’m right).
Other “experts” aren’t as honest. They try to claim God is constantly answering our prayers; they do this by trying to twist any occurrence whatsoever as, somehow, the answer to a prayer. They do this to save their cult more so than out of loyalty to God. If they were loyal to God, they’d freely admit that, despite all of Christ’s grand promises in Scripture about knocking and having the door opened, or seeking and finding, etc., He doesn’t do any of that. Give me an honest Christian who admits that Christ doesn’t open doors, no matter how often you knock – and I’ll show you someone who’s really loyal to God.
Better to say: no, despite what Christ said, He doesn’t seem to answer prayers today. I don’t know why, but He’s God and He can do what He wants. I follow Him even though He’s not doing what He said He would. I put all my trust in Him, even though it seems foolish to do so. Better that guy than an army of dishonest apologists.
No, it’s not belief in God I have a problem with. It’s an outright fury that He doesn’t do what He says He’ll do: answer our prayers, be a part of our lives, bring vengeance on our enemies, etc. etc. You start wondering if Jesus is wrong about God answering our prayers, if He’s wrong about God taking care of our basic needs and so on, what else might He be wrong about?
The author George MacDonald was a man really loyal to God.
If there’s any chance of saving my faith, it’ll lie in his writings. In his novels, characters are taught to trust that God is good, even when God blatantly seems to do bad. And while MacDonald strikes me as a little naive about the coming spiritual destruction of Europe (a fault he shares with Lewis, Chesterton, Tolkien, etc. etc. – that is to say: he wrote during a time when he had the luxury of being an optimist), his works resonate in me as expressions of the true faith.
They cause me great joy mixed with great bouts of anger and cynicism…the demons never leave quietly.
Happy birthday to a man who’s few lines of poetry are the last holding me to Christendom.