I just wrote up a massive diatribe on another site about faith - maybe I'll throw that here since it's Fri., I'm bored, and I have to stay up for 3 more hrs. till work ends.
I'll tell you a bit - I was a pretty strict Bible-believing guy thru the 20's - waiting till marriage for sex, tried not to swear or drink, stuff like that. - Never had that fuzzy warm feeling people who trust God get, but I believed in him.
I sorta took a triple whammy - I had a very special relationship with a woman end (one I thought I would marry), I had a great job end, and I just sorta got hit with mega depression. (first two probably didn't help the third) - drank a lot, cried a lot, prayed a lot - and got jack in answer to those prayers. As a result, I'm a lot less religious then I was, and I don't go thru the motions anymore - but I didn't give up - I just quit trying to find external signs. - In fact, I think you would say I lived my life like those AA guys live (trying to give it all to God) and when it all went to fuck and back, I quit living that way - which is another reason I can never join AA.
But then, I feel more like I am where I should be. I never understood people in churches who thought putting on a happy face when there was so much pain and sorrow in this world. Maybe not in their lives, but I'll be fucked if I'm expected to believe God shows his love to people by helping some 19 yr. old girl find a $20 bill to pay a parking fine so she doesn't have to work overtime when there are millions of kids in the same age group dying/being raped/being exploited/starving/suffering with no answer to their prayers. The stupid 19 yr. old at the Christian college will not convince me of God's love with that.
In fact, I would dare say I would be hard pressed to see signs of God anywhere in the world these days when confronted with the large amount of human misery I've been privy to - maybe it's just me looking at pictures of countries torn apart by war or watching too many third world documentaries, but I don't see God's love in Christians who tell them to "be at peace" and do nothing to aleviate their suffering.
and it never helps that other people of faith often just give you the good ol' platitudes like "if there's distance between you and God, it's not him who's moved" or "Have you tried praying in the 4 part prayer that Father so and so taught in this book...etc, etc) - I have a Christian friend, who's a good friend but I don't speak to anymore because I know all he has is platitudes on what I'm doing wrong - I didn't sin vs. god to be depressed or ask for it - but in the rose colored glasses world, that's all they see.
I guess for me, it's not like I don't have faith, - I want it to be true, I think it's true, I hope it's true, but I just have no external sign or indicator that he's there or is listening in the slightest - and sometimes it's easier to believe he doesn't exist then to believe he does and is ignoring me in my times of deepest need - -
Philip Yancey, in a great book called Disappointment with God - well, - he describes God (well, the bible does) differently then most. We see him as the strict father figure saying don't do this, don't do that or I'll smite you. Instead, the bible seems to describe him as a lonely person who's lover ran off and abandoned him. Not a person in the world who doesn't understand that. There lots of times, God would go on a rant in the bible about how he was gonna smite so and so, and right in the middle he makes this plea like one would make to an ex-wife who cheated on him - "come back to me - I forgive you"
So on one hand, I think all the crap that goes on in this world, the evil makes him as sad as it does us. On the other hand, there's that whole free will think, so politicians are allowed to get fat on the backs of the poor and suffering.
So do I believe in God - would I call myself a Christan? - I guess most church goers would say no. I drink, I gamble, I want to have sex, and I don't go to church on Sun.
But do I hope God is real? - Do I believe it is even though I won't make shit up about how good he's been in my life and how he's made such a difference? - do I want my faith in Christianity to be real? - yes.
so fuck the religious right....I may be judged someday, but it won't be by them.