Posts Tagged ‘God’

division of labour

It must have been about two weeks ago. I felt really tired of carrying  the responsibility of bringing myself back to faith.

“God”, I suggested, “how about a division of labor. You take the responsibility of bringing me back to faith. I take the responsibility of being honest and to  stop trying to believe it if I can’t believe.”



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child-prayingIt was a big eye-opener for me, when my girlfriend recently asked me “On a scale of 1-10, how much would you like to be a Christian?” and even after reflection, I was  still fairly positive that my spontaneous answer of “10” was right.
I want to be able to continue the kind of life I’ve started, the relationship(s) I’m in, the hope that there’s someone good behind this universe, the sense of belonging to a home like the church, the trust in a foundation for my fights for justice, etc. I’d be so incredibly frustrated to have to give up that kind of stuff. Of course, there’s also lots of “anti-emotions” (to be blogged about soon) but overall, what I want to be is a Christian. Exclamation mark!

This “10” also worries me. Because I know that I am so eager to be a Christian, I grow evermore suspicious of myself. Everytime I find a reason to re-start my faith, I become skeptical of this reason and cultivate the suspicion that its root might be found in my wishful thinking rather than in my honest sense of what’s real.


My girlfriend also asked me how much I long for God (as something separate from “wanting to be a Christian”). And there the answer was not as clear. I long for God but I couldn’t give it a 10. No.
I want to be a Christian for many reasons that are unrelated to longing for God. Such reasons are: Staying with the friends I have, Living in an enchanted universe, Enjoying a traditional marriage ceremony, etc.
I think I wasn’t able at all to give a 10 to my longing for God because I think life without God would be bearable. It would definitely be extremly frustrating to loose faith and I’d feel empty — but I have the impression that it would be bearable. I’d be really annoyed — but I wouldn’t fall into depression. I am blessed with so many earthly good things (good job, good family, good food, etc.) that I have the impression that I would only be incredibly upset about loosing faith — but not completely broken. It seems like I wouldn’t fall into a hole of cosmic sadness. I’d just be frustrated so badly. (But, of course, this is partly guesswork).
This was different when I lost faith 8 years ago: Deep within me and far below the surface, I felt such a tremendous inner sadness and brokenness about life back then, that being desperate by itself was enough reason to long for God.

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back in the game

It’s Easter and my blog is now resurrecting 🙂

I’m sorry for the long absence. I had the stupid idea in my head that spending the last 12 years at the university made it necessary for me to gain some practical experience in the so-called “real world”. However, this just meant working way too much and dealing with really difficult people out there, in that real world.
…A friend of mine was in Africa, these last months and she wrote that when she would walk in normal speed on the sidewalk, people would turn to her and remind her: “Tranquillement!” So, that’s what I told myself, too, and I therefore let some things in my life, such as this blog, go less well than they should.
I know that this is not the way to go for a blog… It is my intention to now start blogging again with a certain regularity.

Easter was a special experience. My girl friend and I went to a Christian retreat up in the mountains. I liked it. But I also made a bitter experience. Even as a person whose faith has gone bankrupt, I could follow a lot of the program: Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, Stations of the Cross, Songs, Prayers, etc. They all meant something to me and they were interesting to follow, observe, go along. But when it came to Easter Morning, I crashed. On Easter Morning I wasn’t able to be truly happy, joyous from within (not that surpising, given the state of my faith). I didn’t manage to believe the “big thing”, i.e. the resurrection.
I could follow other spiritual activities much more easily. They were activities that one could follow half-heartedly and with doubt in my mind. But Easter Morning couldn’t be followed half-heartedly: I had to face the fact that the celebration of the resurrection of Jesus doesn’t make me euphoric. And since I couldn’t go along with it half-heartedly, I turned to the complete other side, emotionally speaking.
(Maybe it also had something to do with celebrating at 5.30 a.m. This is a time of the day when I usually am very grumpy (VERY grumpy) regardless of what I’m doing…)

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please, please

Please, God, if you’re hearing this: please, please make this journey of doubt of mine have some purpose! I just wish so badly that all this questioning and de-construction  is useful for something.

I just wont give up hope that persisting on this journey will deepen the life, love and faith of me and others.

And even if walking the valley of darkness should have no deeper point — even then… even then, well, I’ll just move on. But not without at the very least pleading God it to all be necessary for something.

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There is this song that touches something so incredibly deep within me. And it’s done so with millions of other people:

(BTW, here is an really electrifying version by Cher)

Can anybody tell me whether this song is the ultimate believer’s song or the ultimate unbeliever’s song?

I know that many people (including U2 itself) have called it a gospel song. But when I once told my friends, in the midst of my doubts, that this song expresses something so real within me, it strangely felt more like a confession of “atheism” rather than faith — just look at the title of the song…

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miracles I

Isn’t it funny how people are convinced by different things of Christianity? And how doubts about Christianity are grounded in different things as well? If we made a list of all the pros and cons for faith, every thinker would tick his own unique combination of what convinced him or made him doubt.

In contrast to most christians who struggle with faith, I would hardly tick evolution and the problem of evil as my biggies (though the latter problem has many disguises, and I guess in some of them, I do know it). My important problem has always been the bible or also the fact that there are many religions.
On the other hand, what convinced me of God is also not what convinced everybody else. I guess I would put a lot of weight on “direct experience/perception” of God. And on miracles.


Yes, I’m serious about that. I’ve always found it deeply troubling for atheist positions to somehow have to explain away the evidence.

This weekend, I’ll post a small series of comments on this issue.

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There is this famous idea associated with Freud that a lot of our behaviour and thinking is actually driven by sexuality. I often wonder whether and how this is true for the decision for/against faith. I have two points in mind.

First, sexual fantasies are some of the most forceful powers driving the human life. They can very much occupy the mind. They’re strong. (And just in order that this doesn’t sound like some confession  only about my own experience: I have looked at the stats, I have talked to friends, and I have read the reports).
Now, most christian lifestyles regulate sexual behaviour to quite some degree. Can’t our subconscious craving for sex manipulate our reasoning about faith? Aldous Huxley, for example, admitted: “For myself, the philosophy of meaningless was essentially an instrument of liberation, sexual and political.”

Second, many people have trouble living their sex life the way they would like to. The “fire of the night” has them under complete control. Christianity offers an answer to this feeling of being at the mercy of an untamed “dragon of desire” in that it offers an alternative to the anarchism of “free love”. Christianity offers some time-honoured rules (doesn’t matter whether they’re the best rules or not – as long as they are rules), together with a community affirming those rules (though often only affirming instead of living them, but still…) along with a community who offers support on these issues.

The two points point in opposite directions but I guess the first point is the more salient one. Maybe I can deepen the reflection on these issues in some later post. If you have any opinion, please comment. Are doubts about Christianity just a disguised craving for less sexual boundaries?

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