If I were asked if I were a Christian or what denomination or sect I would call myself I would go wirh something like an Atheistic Theist or Atheistic Christian. Seems like some sort of any oxymoron but let me explain.
I grew up believing and listening to preachers from a very youmg age. My parents were part of an ACLU Lutheran church in small town Wisconsin. They were involved with the youth grpup. Somewhere along the line they started to ask questions and want more.
They went and looked around at other churches and eventually found a church that preached a simple salvation message. They beacme “savedcc and so did i. I tried to live upright. I followed the rules lived a Christian life. I went to a Christian college married a Christian wife and even partook in being a youth pastor.
I did everything I thouhht I should but I was living yet seemed to be missing something. In 2012 I literally fell apart, lost my job, ministry, and pretty much my family. I hit rock bottom and over the next couple years deconstructed both spiritually, emotionally, and mentally. Leaving me to go through a total me overhaul.
I came out on the other side a totally different me. A better me (Ben 2.0+)
The way I look at God and who he is, is light years away from my 40+ years of how I did.
So, by saying Atheistic Theist or Christian , I.mean.”yes, I believe in God but just not the version that most do.
I read the following article and it states much of my current me. It’s a good read, enjoy. I know I did.
The God I No Longer Believe In
JUNE 14, 2017 / JOHN PAVLOVITZ
“Do you believe in God?”
People have asked me that question for my entire life.
The answer used to be simple and quick, almost involuntary. I had a tidy little collection of the platitudes and Bible verses I’d stockpiled, committed to memory, and carried around should I be asked. That’s what good Christians did, I’d learned. It’s especially what good Christian pastors did.
My job was to sell God—and I could do it well.
But little by little, I gradually grew less comfortable with those easy answers and I had less and less peace in my spirit with what they implied. I began looking around at many of the Christians whose God I was expected to fully share and amen and defend—and I realized that I couldn’t.
I listened to the celebrity evangelists and the partisan politicians and the brimstone street preachers, and knew that we were not speaking about the same thing. We couldn’t be.
As I read the Bible and prayed and studied; as I reflected on the world I’d experienced and the people I’d encountered; as I watched what Christians were doing and saying in the name of God, I came to the conclusion that I had to make a distinction between theirs and mine—because the two were simply incompatible.
I do believe in God, but there is a God I no longer believe in:
I no longer believe in a God who is male and white. (though I will use masculine pronouns below, as this identity is critical to the beliefs I’ve discarded.)
I no longer believe in a God who created women as less-than; who assigns certain tasks to them, who ascribes different value to them, who reserves church and home leadership solely for men.
I no longer believe in a God who doles out blessings like a cosmic Santa Claus; adding up our naughty and nice stuff, giving us good things if the scales tip in our favor and withholding them if we don’t measure up.
I no longer believe in a God who answers prayers based on volume; who will move to bring healing and help—only if enough appeals are made to Him, when a critical mass is reached.
I no longer believe in a God who is capable of permanently writing off His children for their mistakes, their rebelliousness, their unbelief; who would craft a place of eternal torment and suffering and separation—and then send them there for good.
I no longer believe in an all-powerful God, who would allow a devil dominion anywhere—let alone in the place where His supposedly treasured children spend their days, as hurting, vulnerable, and scared as they all are.
I no longer believe in a God who commands me to forgive others unrelentingly—and then holds a grudge against me should I fail one too many times; a God who is as petty, judgmental, thin-skinned, and vain as I am.
I no longer believe in a God who spoke to a handful of people a few thousands years ago through divine dictation—and who is now silent.
I no longer believe in an all-knowing God, who would create men and women with a specific identity and natural inclination to love—only to find them repulsive as they lived into those deepest truths.
I no longer believe in a God who would choose sides in any war; who would revel in violence, who would rejoice in death, who would celebrate genocide.
I no longer believe in a God who blesses America—or any other nation.
I realize that to many Christians, this means that I am no longer a proper Christian; that my faith is illegitimate, my religion heretical, my testimony nullified. I’m okay with that. I know that any bitterness or condemnation that they respond to these words with, is the voice in their head of the God they believe—and I understand. They are, just as I am, just as we all are: trying to figure out what God is and what that God’s character is—and how we should live accordingly.
All any of us can do, is to be as honest as we can at any given moment, about where all our searching and studying and praying and living has led us. This is where I am. I can’t be anywhere else. God knows this.
Today when people ask me, “Do you believe in God?”, especially when other Christians ask me—my reply isn’t quick or simple or nearly as tidy.
Now my response is, “How much time do you have?”