Last night, Nighline did a story about religious reality TV. There are apparently at least three shows now that feature a group of Christians as they try to spread their message, including one called The Uprising. As I watched this show, I was reminded of something I've seen many times as people have tried to convert me back to Christianity and to convert others to Christianity. I've heard stories of how Jesus can change your life and how wonderful Jesus is, and why wouldn't I want to be a part of that?
Sure. I'd love to. Sign me up. I would love more than anything to know that I could live forever after I die in a beautiful, loving place called Heaven with wonderful people like God and Jesus. Where do I sign? Except there's a fundamental problem that these people seem to miss: I don't believe Jesus is real. So before I can possibly accept Jesus into my heart, first they better figure out some way to convince me that Jesus is real. And sorry, most of the testimony I read of how Jesus did this for somebody and Jesus did that for somebody can be chalked up as pure coincidence. While reading the comments to a story on a local newspaper site, a woman said that Jesus healed a sick relative of hers. Well I've been healed many, many times, and so has everybody. News flash -- the body has a way to heal itself. When I get cut, my skin regenerates.
What I'd be curious to hear from this woman who responded to the newspaper story (not that she's reading this post, unfortunately) is how many times she's prayed for people to heal and how many times it has actually worked. Don't get me wrong; I admire the fact that she cares so deeply about these people and I wish everybody cared so much. And so I would venture to guess she has prayed for others many, many times. Does only one or two incidents of the person getting better prove to her that God did it and that God is real? That doesn't cut it for me.
This becomes especially true for me when you start to factor in the fact that this "God" character as described in the Old Testament bears remarkable similarity to the other gods of the time -- gods that nearly all of us, Christians and non-Christians alike, agree that didn't exist.
And so if people want to convert me, first they'll have to convince me that Jesus is real. I don't believe it. I used to, but not anymore. Jesus isn't real; God isn't real; the Holy Spirit isn't real. How can I "come back" to Christianity when I realize that these three things don't even exist?
Most people I know who are former Christians are in the same boat as I am: We were incredibly reluctant to leave the religion. After believing and for so long, we tried and tried and tried to find Jesus, to find some sense that he's real. But after time we started to realize that he doesn't exist. Many of us have shed a LOT of tears over this. It's not a happy thing. It's not an angry thing. It's a SAD thing. Ask any former Christian if they felt sad and alone, and they will almost certainly answer YES. It was a horrible, horrible thing to start to realize that this God and this Jesus and this Holy Spirit that we had worshiped and believed in with all of our heart for so many years simply isn't really there.
So people can tell me I'm going to go to Hell, but it won't work, because I don't believe in Hell. They can tell me I obviously wasn't a real Christian because I didn't have the Holy Spirit in me (which I've been told more than once), and I agree: I didn't have the Holy Spirit in me, and neither do you, because the Holy Spirit doesn't exist. They can use all the means they can come up with to convert me, but at a most fundamental basis, none of it will work, because there is no Jesus.
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