This material was originally written some 5 – 8 years ago and has recently been updated.
I first started questioning the Christian religion more than 60 years ago. I had been treasurer of an Anglican parish church for 8 years in the 1960′s. I was always asking questions. I cannot remember a time when I didn’t believe in the existence of God but my views have continued to change, sometimes enormously, after having been outside the walls of traditional Christianity for some 40 years. I now have a faith that I don’t have to defend, and this blog is a small part of the story of that journey.
I have been using the internet since 1997 and had my first web site in 2000. I have never had any formal theological training and with hindsight I can see, especially since 2003 that I have learned so much about why people believe what they believe, often as a result of divisive, denominational theology. This had persuaded me that there is an enormous difference between the Christian RELIGION and the Christian FAITH.
A very close friend once said, “Peter, you have the knack of asking the awkward questions to which there are no easy answers“. Here are a few for starters:
What is the foundation of our faith? Why do we believe what we believe?
How for example, would you define the purpose of life? Some would say that this is a mystery that we are not meant to understand, but if we don’t have a sense of purpose, what is it that motivates us? How can we really share our faith unless that faith is built on a meaningful foundation?
There is I suggest, a close parallel with the way our understanding grows and changes as we move from childhood to teenage; from teenage to young adult; from young adult to a more mature view of life that may continue to change over the years. For some 30 years I can now see that my faith was based almost entirely on ‘head knowledge’ and very little ‘heart awareness’. That really began to change in 2003 as I began to share thoughts with others who felt that they were being drawn away from churches they may have been attending for many years.
As an introvert with Aspergers Syndrome (self diagnosis) who feels much more at home on the Internet, rather than in face to face conversations, I have had many long discussions on the Internet over the years about the “Stages of Faith” with committed Christians, Agnostics and even a few Atheists.
Consider some of the following:
How much do we think we know about God and how well do we really know God and his plan and purpose for mankind in general?
What is the place of suffering – something that the Christian RELIGION doesn’t seem to have an answer for?
Would a loving Father really allow anyone to end up in hell simply because they had never heard or understood the real truth of the gospel message?
What is the real meaning of ‘church‘ and why are so many committed Christians being drawn outside the walls of traditional Christianity, and away from churches that they may have attended for many years?
Why do we have so much divisive, denominational theology, and is there really a big difference between the Christian RELIGION and the Christian FAITH?
What is the place of leadership? What about the priesthood of all believers?
What does the story of Genesis mean to you? Are you willing to consider the possible significance of myth and symbolism? Did Adam and Eve really exist? Have you ever really considered the possible meaning of the story of the two trees? What is the significance of the “Fall of Adam“? (there are several conflicting views). What is the real meaning of sin? (a very contentious subject). Is it possible that it might be better described as a lack of love or missing the mark of what Father wants us to be?
These are some of the questions about the foundations of the Christian faith that have brought me to the place where I have a faith that I don’t have to defend – a faith I am happy to share with any who have been, or are being drawn away from ‘traditional’ Christianity – whether or not they now consider themselves to be agnostics or atheists.
This is the first of ‘The Earliest Posts’ that were put together between 5 and 8 years ago – see sidebar for links to the other five.
It’s been an interesting and at times very frustrating journey.
My story continues here.