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May I Become a Christian after all? Please give me advice!

Sim

Registered Member
I'm not sure if this posting should better be placed in the advice board, because I am looking for your advice, both from Christians and non-Christians. I'm very much looking forward to your opinions!

So, I found myself attracted by Christian faith more and more in the past few weeks. Probably this feeling has been growing for a few years already. And finally, after I read the New Testament again last week, it became really strong and I felt somehow "touched" (it's really hard to describe). I found myself nodding in agreement with many things I read, and felt a strong feeling of solace.

Maybe I should explain my background a little more: I grew up in an atheist, or at least very secular environment and used to consider myself an atheist or agnostic. But I wasn't generally anti-religion either, although I strongly disagree with people who abuse their religion to justify discrimination or violence. Most of the time, I believed my mind and my conscience are a good team and are enough to guide me through life, that I don't need more than that. Also, I used to be rather rationalist, I believed there is no reason to believe in God, because there is no proof for his existence, and unless such proof exists, I saw no reason to change my mind.

But two things disturbed this worldview: First, for 15 years, I keep having recurring dreams that could be called "apocalyptic". It's about a future(?) war in Europe. My reason told me it's probably just the unconscious expressions of existential fears and not more. But recently, I searched and read a lot about alleged "prophecies", both in Christian and non-Christian context, and realized that my dream scenario is very, very similar to what many of these prophecies say. Of course the rational explanation is obvious: I must have read about such prophecies a long time ago, before the dreams started, then forgotten about it, but they remained stuck in my unconscious memory and then inspired my imagination and dreams.

That explanation is all nice and fine, and probably that's just what it is. But because these dreams have a strong impact on my emotions, regardless where they originated or stem from, it seems rational denial and explaining it away is not enough to give me peace. I feel the need for solace that goes beyond that, a hope that addresses rather my heart than my mind. I feel faith could be what I am looking for.

Another point, maybe related to the first, is a very disturbing experience I made 5 years ago: Back then, I suffered from a delusional, paranoid psychosis for about 4 weeks. It was too short and too weak to be considered schizophrenia, but the symptoms were similar: I did not have auditory hallucinations, but I felt watched, observed, trapped and sourrounded by evil forces that are after me, and which blackmail my friends to conspire against me. It was much like a bad LSD trip, lasting for weeks. I also felt, at some point, that there is a war going on, between good and evil, for my soul. The delusions had a religious compound.

Since then, I am taking medication, and fortunately, such delusions never came back. But I am still suffering from occasional so called "comorbid symptoms", like lack of energy and motivation, occasional panic attacks. I feel I can deal with them. But this experience, that was disturbing to say the least, had some impact on me: It made me feel I cannot always fully trust my reason. Or rather, although I can usually trust it, it's not enough to base my existence on. There has to be more.


So with this background, I read the New Testament again (after reading a translation of Quran, which I didn't find appealing at all), and felt something that could melodramatically be called "touched by God". I feel I might be willing to make a leap and embrace the idea wonders are possible, yet invisible, that Jesus Christ died for us and when believing in his sacrifice, I may be saved. And if anything from my dreams ever came to pass, this conviction and trust would be all I need, or at least the best I could hope for.

Now my problem: While I may agree with 95% of what I read there, there are two, maybe three things I read in the New Testament I cannot embrace at all. Never. And I am inclined to believe that they must be Satan's work, rather than inspired by the Holy Spirit.

#1 is Paulus' stance on the role of women: He says women have to shut up and obey men, they must not enjoy equal rights because Eva was created out of Adam's body to serve him, not vice versa, and because Eva brought sin to mankind in the first place, by seducing Adam. Women may not speak in service, and they must obey and serve men. There is really no way to explain this stance away. It's not an unclear translation, it's not ambigous. Paulus, who is the main basis for Christian theology, as far as I know, says just that. IMHO, this stance can only be from Satan. Men and women are equal in the eye of God, and when men acquire the hubris to dominate and subjugate women for no other reason than the sex they were created with, this is blasphemy.

#2 is Paulus' stance on homosexuals. He condemns "men who lie with men" in the same breath along with debauchery, excessive drinking, and adultery. I am not sure how to interpret that exactly, maybe you can help me: The strict interpretation, of course, is that homosexuality is always sin, regardless in which context. But maybe there is a more lenient interpretation: Since homosexuality is mentioned in the context of debauchery, it's maybe just hedonist lust Paulus is condemning -- including homosexual lust that is acted on without any love or commitment (after all, committed homosexual relationships based on love hardly existed in his time). With that interpretation, I could live. But I cannot agree to a condemnation of homosexual lust between two committed partners, who love and care for each other, don't engage in debauchery and are true to each other. When love is the highest value in Christian faith, and the commitment and care that stems from it, I am convinced that must include love between men and love between women as well. And I believe I have seen such love is often bearing fruits.

There are two other, less severe problems I see:

#3 is Paulus' hardcore stance on marriage, based on Jesus' stance in the Sermont: Divorce is generally wrong, and when a divorced partner marries again, she or he is committing adultery. No exceptions. That, I have problems with as well. I'm all for giving marriage an important status, and I can agree partners should not decide to marry too easily, and not divorce easily -- but what in cases when, for example, a wife is constantly abused and mistreated by her husband? Should she be punished when she divorces him, in that case? Should faith require her to just turn the other cheek and endure constant beatings and rape? I don't think so. Am I interpreting Paulus' stance too strictly here, and that's not actually what he says?

#4 is the demand that slaves should respect and obey their masters. Disobedience is allegedly a sin. Does that mean those who fought for an end of slavery and equal civil rights were sinning? Maybe this verse should be interpreted historically, and while it might have made sense in 1st century's Rome, it is no longer binding. Or how do you explain it?


So, these are my problems that still keep me from embracing faith. Maybe you can help me: Can I hold these opinions, and still be a Christian? Does it make sense to embrace all the other 95% of Christian tenets, when I can never, never agree to these 3 or 4 stances? Or should I rather look for spirituality somewhere else? After all, it would be a bad start as Christian, when you start with sinful opinions.

So if I called myself a Christian, would it be a lie? Please let me know your advice.
 

Jeanie

still nobody's bitch
V.I.P.
Why do you have to call yourself anything at all? Is the label really necessary to have a rich spiritual life?
 

Sim

Registered Member
Why do you have to call yourself anything at all? Is the label really necessary to have a rich spiritual life?
That's a good question. Probably it is not.

But I feel I can only make it, when I take an "everything or nothing at all"-approach. I may be wrong, and maybe I'll end up somewhere between the worlds after all. But at the moment, I feel that I can only embrace faith when I embrace it as a whole. That's the point of it, at least for me: The central message of Christianity, as I understand it, is embracing Christ as savior -- and you can't do that when you cherry pick those things from the Bible you like, but reject those you don't like. That would be dishonest, at least it would feel like that to me. Don't get me wrong, I am not condemning anybody who does that, and in the end, it's God's decision anyway whom to save (assuming he exists). It's not my position to judge that, I can only speak for myself.

It's much like I don't like unclear relationships. When I am seeing a woman, I'd rather define our status with her: Yes, we are a couple. No, we don't feel committed, you may see other people as well. Just to know what I am dealing with. Maybe that is a weird comparison, but I feel similar about my spiritual status.
 
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Jeanie

still nobody's bitch
V.I.P.
Have you explored other religions and their dogma? Perhaps something like Buddhism is more suitable to you, or Native American spirituality?

I'm not trying to dissuade you from Christianity, but if you take an all-or-nothing approach, you might want to find a belief system that you can embrace completely without doubt.
 

SmilinSilhouette

Registered Member
If you find inspiration in the bible then that is great. If you believe in Christ as Lord and Savior, then you are a Christian. If you don't believe every single thing in the bible, then you are normal!

My advice is similar to Jeanie's: forget about the label. Explore for yourself your own spirituality. Find ways to be inspired and use that inspiration to guide you.

I gave up on religion long ago, but I still believe in God. I find it a comfort without the baggage of having to be "right". I thank God every day for my many blessings and I offer up to God the things in life that are beyond my control. It gives me peace. I hope you find what you are looking for, my friend!
 

Sim

Registered Member
Have you explored other religions and their dogma? Perhaps something like Buddhism is more suitable to you, or Native American spirituality?

I'm not trying to dissuade you from Christianity, but if you take an all-or-nothing approach, you might want to find a belief system that you can embrace completely without doubt.
Maybe this is a good idea and I should keep searching a little more. I have read about Islam a lot, including a translation of Quran within the last two or three weeks. Originally, I was inspired for doing that because of a flirt I had with a Muslim woman four years ago. But I found Islam is not for me.

So now I am exploring Christianity. Naturally, I have stronger feelings for Christianity, because I'm more familiar with it. Also, I remember my dear grandparents who were Christians, and I imagine they'd have approved of it when I do that. That makes me feel good too.

I superficially glanced into a Hinduist book, the famous "Bhagavad Gita as it is" by a Hinduist guru, which some Hare Krishna missionary once gave me on the street. But this first glance was enough to make me feel this is not for me.

Accidentally, I discovered the Bahai religion when surfing online. I wonder, do any of you know it? I was surprised, because I had never heard of this religion, although with 6 to 8 million followers, it's a rather large religion. And they are the largest religious minority in Iran. So it's weird I didn't even know they exist:

Bahá'í Faith - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Based on the few things I read about them, this may be for me. There are many stances I agree with. But before I do that, I should get more information on them. At any rate, they may be worth a further look.
 

Jeanie

still nobody's bitch
V.I.P.
I've heard of the Bahai faith but I don't know anything about it.

I hope you find what you're looking for, Sim.
 

FutureTrackStar

Registered Member
So, I found myself attracted by Christian faith more and more in the past few weeks. Probably this feeling has been growing for a few years already. And finally, after I read the New Testament again last week, it became really strong and I felt somehow "touched" (it's really hard to describe). I found myself nodding in agreement with many things I read, and felt a strong feeling of solace.
- My first piece of advice is this: You should not choose a religion based on your feelings. Christianity is not an advil, and the gospel is not "accept Jesus and you will feel at peace." This is not to say, however, that you will feel more at peace as your faith grows, but the feelings you get from a sermon or a worship service are temporary. What is not temporary is knowledge; knowledge of the Bible's framework and Christian apologetics. It is knowledge that builds your faith.

So with this background, I read the New Testament again (after reading a translation of Quran, which I didn't find appealing at all), and felt something that could melodramatically be called "touched by God". I feel I might be willing to make a leap and embrace the idea wonders are possible, yet invisible, that Jesus Christ died for us and when believing in his sacrifice, I may be saved. And if anything from my dreams ever came to pass, this conviction and trust would be all I need, or at least the best I could hope for.
- Well, the fact of the matter is that He did die for us. My suggestion to you is that you do a bit (or a lot) of studying and meditating on the scriptures.

BTW, I've learned recently that most of the NT is not new, its just OT stuff.

#1 is Paulus' stance on the role of women: He says women have to shut up and obey men, they must not enjoy equal rights because Eva was created out of Adam's body to serve him, not vice versa, and because Eva brought sin to mankind in the first place, by seducing Adam. Women may not speak in service, and they must obey and serve men. There is really no way to explain this stance away. It's not an unclear translation, it's not ambigous. Paulus, who is the main basis for Christian theology, as far as I know, says just that. IMHO, this stance can only be from Satan. Men and women are equal in the eye of God, and when men acquire the hubris to dominate and subjugate women for no other reason than the sex they were created with, this is blasphemy.
- Actually, Peter tells men that women are equals in that they are heirs of the eternal life given by Christ. And Paul tells us that marriage is supposed to be a mirror of the relationship between Christ and the Church. Women are supposed to be subject to their husbands as the church is subject to Christ. Husbands, on the other hand, are supposed to love their wives as Christ loves the Church. Neither command is more difficult. Christ died for the world when the world hated Him, so, the husband's role is just as difficult. Paul never says women ought to be dominated... that would be satanic.

...And Paul also tells Christians to subject themselves to one another, so, in a way, men have to subject themselves to their wives as well.

#2 is Paulus' stance on homosexuals. He condemns "men who lie with men" in the same breath along with debauchery, excessive drinking, and adultery. I am not sure how to interpret that exactly, maybe you can help me: The strict interpretation, of course, is that homosexuality is always sin, regardless in which context.
- Marriage is one of the first divine institutes, enacted in Genesis. It is between a man and a woman. Paul condemned all forms of homosexuality.

#3 is Paulus' hardcore stance on marriage, based on Jesus' stance in the Sermont: Divorce is generally wrong, and when a divorced partner marries again, she or he is committing adultery. No exceptions. That, I have problems with as well. I'm all for giving marriage an important status, and I can agree partners should not decide to marry too easily, and not divorce easily.....
#4 is the demand that slaves should respect and obey their masters. Disobedience is allegedly a sin. Does that mean those who fought for an end of slavery and equal civil rights were sinning? Maybe this verse should be interpreted historically, and while it might have made sense in 1st century's Rome, it is no longer binding. Or how do you explain it?
- There are many things in the Bible that are difficult to come to grips with, one of the least of which is this view of marriage. More difficult problems are things like the Holy wars and the strict OT Law.

So, these are my problems that still keep me from embracing faith. Maybe you can help me: Can I hold these opinions, and still be a Christian? Does it make sense to embrace all the other 95% of Christian tenets, when I can never, never agree to these 3 or 4 stances? Or should I rather look for spirituality somewhere else? After all, it would be a bad start as Christian, when you start with sinful opinions.
- You need to determine your methodology of distinguishing right from wrong. This is the very important. If you are the ultimate authority when it comes to determining Right from Wrong, then you are no different than all the other pagan religions. If, however, you truly believe that God exists and He, alone, is Good, then you should conform you mind to His mind, think His thoughts after Him.

I cannot express in words how invaluable this resource is: Bible Framework

You will learn very profound truths in 99% of the lectures... and there are over 200 lectures.


last but not least... you don't have to ask permission to become a Christian. A Christian is anybody who follows Christ.
 

Sim

Registered Member
FutureTrackStar,

thank you very much for your valuable advice!

- My first piece of advice is this: You should not choose a religion based on your feelings. Christianity is not an advil, and the gospel is not "accept Jesus and you will feel at peace." This is not to say, however, that you will feel more at peace as your faith grows, but the feelings you get from a sermon or a worship service are temporary. What is not temporary is knowledge; knowledge of the Bible's framework and Christian apologetics. It is knowledge that builds your faith.
That's what I'm trying to do: I don't want to embrace a faith or religion for its surface only, not just because I like the company of people in a service, the music and singing, or the nice church building. I want to know its heart, the teachings. That's why I didn't start by going to a church service or joining a Christian group, but read the NT (and I am planning on reading those parts of the OT as well, which I haven't read before).

Of course I realize that by simple reading, without knowledge about the context, or background knowledge that helps to identify the central verses, much may be lost on me. That's why I additionally read books about the topic of theology and Bible reading, to guide me through the lecture.

I have already read C. S. Lewis' "Mere Christianity" and R. C. Sproul's "Knowing Scripture". The books "The Theology of the New Testament" by Werner Georg Kümmel, "The Truth of the Cross" by R. C. Sproul and a collection of essays on modern Christian theology based on a radio program are in my shelf and on my "read next"-list, waiting for me.

So I hope this will give me a good amount of knowledge on the topic for a start.

- Well, the fact of the matter is that He did die for us. My suggestion to you is that you do a bit (or a lot) of studying and meditating on the scriptures.
Thank you for the kind advice. Fortunately, I am free this week and will hopefully find enough time for that. :)

BTW, I've learned recently that most of the NT is not new, its just OT stuff.
How so? Can you explain that a little further?

- Actually, Peter tells men that women are equals in that they are heirs of the eternal life given by Christ. And Paul tells us that marriage is supposed to be a mirror of the relationship between Christ and the Church. Women are supposed to be subject to their husbands as the church is subject to Christ. Husbands, on the other hand, are supposed to love their wives as Christ loves the Church. Neither command is more difficult. Christ died for the world when the world hated Him, so, the husband's role is just as difficult. Paul never says women ought to be dominated... that would be satanic.

...And Paul also tells Christians to subject themselves to one another, so, in a way, men have to subject themselves to their wives as well.
That is an interesting way to look at it. So this stance is not as horribly sexist as it may sound in the first moment, when it's seen in context.

Still I believe Paul makes clear women only are in the second row behind men, regardless of his demand to love wives and to treat them well. Maybe women should not be treated in a bad way, but they certainly are not considered equal.

1 Corinthians 11: 7-10 says:

7A man ought not to cover his head,[b] since he is the image and glory of God; but the woman is the glory of man. 8For man did not come from woman, but woman from man; 9neither was man created for woman, but woman for man. 10For this reason, and because of the angels, the woman ought to have a sign of authority on her head.
1 Corinthians 14: 33-35

33For God is not a God of disorder but of peace.
As in all the congregations of the saints, 34women should remain silent in the churches. They are not allowed to speak, but must be in submission, as the Law says. 35If they want to inquire about something, they should ask their own husbands at home; for it is disgraceful for a woman to speak in the church.
So women should be loved and treated with respect -- but she shall shut up and ask hubby, if she has a question. And cover her head in church. Now with that attitude, I might as well become Muslim. :lol:

I don't think this can be explained away, and even when qualified by context, it doesn't become any less sexist, or any less evil.

So what can I do with verses like these? Just switch off my conscience which cries out loudly that this is just wrong on so many levels, and blindly embrace the authority of Paulus? Is it really the Holy Spirit speaking for him here? I have severe doubts about that.

And look into history. "Look at their fruits and you will recognize them." Some of the worst forms of sexist discrimination were committed by people who took these verses literally and seriously. The NT time and again demands from Christians to live a good example, for that they don't give Christianity a bad name, and for that the truth will shine even on unbelievers, to make them see it too. On that field, Christianity horribly failed during many periods in history. So maybe Satan managed to get his hands on Paulus, when he wrote these lines?

- Marriage is one of the first divine institutes, enacted in Genesis. It is between a man and a woman. Paul condemned all forms of homosexuality.
Forgive me if my grasp on exegesis is still rudimental, but isn't the OT law not binding anymore for people who embrace Christ -- along with the many other, obviously evil laws from the OT (like in Deuteronomy, that demands that women have to be stoned to death for adultery when they were raped, in case nobody heard their calls for help -- because nobody hearing that is allegedly proof enough she wanted it)?

Paulus explains in detail that the old law is no longer binding. Of course the institution of marriage is confirmed and still has its important place in the life of Christians. But it's not explicitly mentioned that there can be no marriages between two partners of the same gender, isn't it?

And it's Paul only who condemns homosexuality in the NT. When the Holy Spirit obviously did not speak out of him when he spoke of women, can't he fail here too?

And what about other verses I read, especially about the importance of love: I don't remember the exact verse, but I remember having read something I understood to mean that love grows in the heart (the love that is the law God has written right into our hearts!) and will then bear fruit, resulting in good works in accordance with God's will. So if you truly embrace faith and love in your heart, good works will inevitably follow. Correct me if I'm reading that wrong, but I understand that as a description for what happens, for example, between loving partners in a marriage: When they truly, genuinely base their relationship on love, they live a life that is pleasing God. Isn't that the case as well, when, for example, two men have the same kind of feelings for each other, embracing their mutual love in commitment, care and responsibility for each other? Aren't there even many homosexual partners who love each other more, than many heterosexual partners love each other?

Which is better? Two heterosexuals who marry without much love, just to respect the law (remember what the NT says about formal obedience to law without genuine law in your heart!), or two homosexuals marrying, who genuinely have love in their hearts?

- There are many things in the Bible that are difficult to come to grips with, one of the least of which is this view of marriage. More difficult problems are things like the Holy wars and the strict OT Law.
From what I read in the NT, Paulus says the old law no longer is binding:

Galatians 2:15–16

"A man is not justified by observing the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ."
Galatians 3:25

"Now that faith has come, we are no longer under the supervision of the law."
So no need to break our heads over OT laws, or is there?

- You need to determine your methodology of distinguishing right from wrong. This is the very important. If you are the ultimate authority when it comes to determining Right from Wrong, then you are no different than all the other pagan religions. If, however, you truly believe that God exists and He, alone, is Good, then you should conform you mind to His mind, think His thoughts after Him.
That is easily said, but very difficult to respect. Because you have no other indication which faith to embrace, but your individual feelings on that faith and its teachings -- or, maybe, inspiration.

Jews tell me I have to respect Mosaic law, and by embracing the false prophet Jesus, I will go to hell. Christians tell me that without embracing Jesus Christ as savior, I will go to hell. Muslims tell me that when I think of Jesus as God's son, instead of just a human and an honored prophet, and when I reject Mohammed's revelation, I will go to hell.

And then, even when you believe in God and Jesus Christ, his son and our savior, you may still reject other Christian dogmas: Like the claim the entire scripture of the Bible was divinely inspired, that the Holy Spirit was inspiring all of the apostles' writings. Is really all of the Bible a genuine reflection of God's revelation, or have fallible, uninspired humans mixed some of their ideas into the final version? Were those who determined the canon in the Convent of Nicea inspired and guided by the Holy Spirit too? The latter is especially tricky, because even believing theologicians no longer doubt that several of the NT letters and even Gospels were not really written by those the NT claims they were written by -- but that it was common pracitize back then to lie about the author, to give particular texts more authority.

Protestants protested against the corruption of faith by the institution of the church. What if that corruption was part of Christian tradition right from the beginning -- even when the canon was decided on, or maybe even when some of the Gospels and letters were written already?

There is no way to know who is right, even if you embrace belief in God, in Jesus, in divine revelation and the work of the Holy Spirit.

So all I can do is reading the scripture and hope that God will guide me, maybe the Holy Spirit may guide me, for that I just *feel* I am on the right path. So when I read the Bible and feel I am on the right path, that is the only indication I have -- and that I shouldn't rather read Quran instead, or Bhagavad Gita.

Tell me, was it any different for you?

And is it better when you blindly accept the entire Bible as authority, accept common dogma, for no other good reason than your parents raised you that way? For no other reason than so many others do that too, and because our forefathers always used to do it that way? And thus, you will never read any other religious scripture from any other, different religion than yours, never find out if God gives you a signal you may be on the right path, and maybe miss the only opportunity for salvation, in case these others are right after all.

You see that very often: Many Christians are convinced they are right, although they have never read Quran or other holy books, for no other reason but because they were raised that way. But their fathers could have been wrong in the first place. The same for many Muslims: They are convinced to be right, yet all they have is the authority of their fathers. But both cannot be right, can't they?

The latter is fatal, because salvation is too big a thing to play it away by blind trust in respected authority, isn't it? And isn't God and/or the Holy Spirit guiding you on the way of finding the truth a better option?

Now of course this feeling is not a reliable yardstick either. It might as well be Satan who makes me agree to one or another verse, instead of the Holy Spirit, and whisper into my ear I shall embrace it. But what other choice do I have? As I see it, it's the least bad alternative, considering the other options (which all boil down to lucky guessing).

I cannot express in words how invaluable this resource is: Bible Framework

You will learn very profound truths in 99% of the lectures... and there are over 200 lectures.
Thank you very much for the link! It does look very interesting. Probably I will have a closer look into it, after I have read the books that are piling up on my shelf ... :lol:

last but not least... you don't have to ask permission to become a Christian. A Christian is anybody who follows Christ.
I'm glad to hear that. So I'll have to judge myself if or when I am ready to take this label of a Christian believer, which I will only do once I believe I can do it the justice it deserves.
------
I've heard of the Bahai faith but I don't know anything about it.

I hope you find what you're looking for, Sim.
Thank you very much, Jeanie!
 
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ysabel

/ˈɪzəˌbɛl/ pink 5
Since then, I am taking medication, and fortunately, such delusions never came back. But I am still suffering from occasional so called "comorbid symptoms", like lack of energy and motivation, occasional panic attacks. I feel I can deal with them. But this experience, that was disturbing to say the least, had some impact on me: It made me feel I cannot always fully trust my reason. Or rather, although I can usually trust it, it's not enough to base my existence on. There has to be more.
"There has to be more". This is what I feel and that's why I can never be an atheist. If any, I think that's your self-discovery in the process: You realised who you cannot be any longer (the same atheistic person relying simply on reasons/proof), more than the idea of who you may be (becoming a Christian).

That's a good question. Probably it is not.

But I feel I can only make it, when I take an "everything or nothing at all"-approach. I may be wrong, and maybe I'll end up somewhere between the worlds after all. But at the moment, I feel that I can only embrace faith when I embrace it as a whole. That's the point of it, at least for me: The central message of Christianity, as I understand it, is embracing Christ as savior -- and you can't do that when you cherry pick those things from the Bible you like, but reject those you don't like. That would be dishonest, at least it would feel like that to me. Don't get me wrong, I am not condemning anybody who does that, and in the end, it's God's decision anyway whom to save (assuming he exists). It's not my position to judge that, I can only speak for myself.
I've been at this crossroad before. On one hand, you would have people telling you, you are a Christian as long as you accept Christ as your personal saviour. Or as long as you believe in Christ. On the other hand, you would have people telling you that you are not a REAL Christian unless you do this and that and truly follow the entire teachings (no cherry picking for your convenience). And I feel that you've given yourself this same kind of criteria too, thus your dilemma. That does give you an impression that you have to go all the way or you're not worthy.

Like you, I wanted to believe in something I can fully embrace. I started reflecting harder on my spirituality a few years ago. I kept a journal and wrote about every significant memory I have that involves religion (youth experiences, etc.) and reflected on how it affected my POV then and how it affects how I feel about it now.

I started researching on different religions (mono, tri, or polytheism). I wrote down whichever of their philosophy that speaks to me. And I also wrote down questions (like the way you did in this thread), trying to see if there's a way for me to embrace it, if maybe given a better understanding of it.

Anyway, my conclusion is that there is no organised religion out there that has yet to "fit" me 100%. Spirituality is so personal and also unlimited. I realised that when I start putting labels, I limit myself to that realm and it never really fully encompasses what I believe and feel.

Of course I can just "make" my own religion just to give my belief a name like..."I believe in ysabelism. It's quite unique and I don't expect anyone to fully adhere to it but myself". :lol:

And I'll be fine with that because I found something that is truly mine 100%. :) It's a good place to be. I hope you find your place somewhere soon.
 
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