Friday, January 20, 2006

An omnipresent recluse

Why did I loose my faith? To be honest, there was no single reason, no silver bullet that turned me from a serious, bible believing Christian to a self-professing agnostic/atheist. My faith struggle took place over a period of three years, and was the result of many different reasons. I will cover some of them in later posts, but one of the main causes can be summed up by a quote in Philip Yancey’s Disappointment With God. Yancey recounts the true story of Richard, a young Christian writer who looses his faith after a long and painful struggle with his belief. Yancey records Richard as saying: “How can you have a personal relationship if you’re not sure the other person even exists?” This was the exact problem I had – dealing with a hidden friend.

I started to slide from my faith when I realised that although I was talking a lot to God, I wasn’t hearing much in reply. As a believer, I was expected to share my all with God, every thought and desire; but in return he didn’t share his every thought or intention with me. Many times I asked for guidance and answers to specific questions, and all I received were the same old verses that were simply too vague. I was expected to speak to him directly - God should have had no problem hearing my prayers - but in return I had to work hard to decipher and decode ambiguous messages through sermons, the Bible, and other Christians.

As a result I was almost always uncertain of what God was trying to say to me individually. I must have prayed countless times and spent many mornings talking to God. In all those years I only once ‘heard’ a clear and direct message to me, through a single Bible verse that popped up two or three times from different sources in a single week. A thought occurred to me: was this a real message to me from God, or was it just my imagination creating faces out of random static? Only one clear message in 13 years! I suddenly got tired of being in a one-way relationship, where I did all the work and got little in return. I then started to doubt if God cared for me at all, or if he even existed.

I believe it was Emily Dickinson who said "They say God is everywhere, and yet we always think of him as somewhat of a recluse."

I was taught that God is a constant companion who will never leave your side. I wonder why I struggled so much to hear him, then, if he is supposed to be so close by.

8 comments:

eddie said...

Hey Kevin

I saw this on exchristian.net and enjoyed it. I browsed out to your blog and noticed you are from SA. Same here, although I have been living in California for the last six years now.

Anyway, I am in the same boat as you being an xchristian, and am busy getting my new blog ready. Keep up the writing!

nomailhere at gmail . com

Kevin Cadman said...

Haha! What a coincidence.

My name is Kevin and I too have a blog (with the same template nogal!). I too am from South African and I too am an ex-christian!

Great blog -- I'm going to give it a read through today. Feel free to check out my blog at http://boredkevin.blogspot.com -- I've written some religion-based entries as well as just arbitrary day-to-day ramblings.

Keep well.

Cheers,
Kevin

Kevin Parry said...

Howzit Eddie and Kevin

I’m really glad that two fellow South Africans have visited my site. Thank you for taking the time to post these comments.

Eddie: when you have your blog up and running, let me know of the URL, if you don’t mind

Kevin: I will visit your blog shortly.

Kevin

Roger Saner said...

I also wonder how to reconcile the "why is God so silent" stuff with Frederick Buechner's statement: "I think God reserves his deepest silence for his saints."

BlackApologist said...

Dear Kevin:

To speak to the question as to why you still deal with Christianity? I want to give this short response:

You still deal with Christianity because "God has not given up on YOU!" The Holy Spirit is still working on you to bring you to a place of repentance and reconciliation with God through Jesus Christ our Lord!

I am going to be so bold as to say, you will NEVER find true meaning and purpose for YOUR life until you've come to grips with the fact that there is a God who is the Lord of the Universe, and someday YOU and all of us will stand before Him to be judged!

See, your intellect, your reasons for not believing will be irrelevant in that day when you will stand before the God who created you in His own image and likeness and give an account of the life you lived. What will you say Kevin? "Lord, I didn't believe because I couldn't figure you out?"

Or, "I didn't believe because of the many unfair and unjust happenings in the world that didn't make sense to me?"

My friend, God loves you and even in spite of your rebellion, HE is reaching out to you with compassion that you couldn't possibly comprehend. However, HE loves you so much that HE will allow YOU to choose YOUR destiny!

Praying for Your Liberty!

BlackApologist

Anonymous said...

My challenge has been this... How does a Living Eternal God somehow take on the attributes of an idol. Deaf, mute & blind. Where are you Lord? Even Your Saints starve for your presence.

Anonymous said...

Kevin,
I'm sorry that you lost your faith. But isn't that the key.
You see faith in God is something that he gives to us. Throught His grace. It's not really yours to lose. It's still there, it's just muted by your seemingly justifiable reasons for not letting His grace to work in your life.

Did you read His word, daily without fail...Did you pray daily without fail?

Were you a changed man when you got saved? Were you Born Again and put on the new man.

I would venture to say that you weren't even saved in the first place. I don't mean this ugly or hatefully toward you. It isn't even your fault.

You were probably told that you had a hole in your heart and that Jesus has come to fill it...no scripture anywhere in the bible to back that statement.

Or that God has a purpose for your life and that once you say this certain prayer and accept Jesus as your savior that everything would be alright...again no scripture in the Word to even collobrate this nonsense.

Why would we have to accept Jesus? This means that we would be the judge of wether what he did was good enough for us...God already did that...He said that it was Satisfactory, what His Son did. Jesus doesn't have to prove anything to us, He already did that.

No Kevin God never left you...you left Him. As for answering prayers He did...He gave you what you needed, not what you wanted. If you prayed for decisions...most likely you made the correct ones, right? Even though you think that it was you who came up with the right decision...nope...God has a permissive will as well as His main Godly will.

Ever had a good idea that brought glory to God and not to yourself. Well if ya did...where do you think it came from.

Remember kevin, we are all sinners and have sin in our lives until we repent and Trust in Jesus. It never says that God will come down and verbally tell you in a great and mighty voice. But it does say to Trust in His Word.

Again, sorry you lost your faith..but that isn't God's fault.
And you don't really say it is.

Michael Gormley said...

“How can you have a personal relationship if you’re not sure the other person even exists?”

THE KINGDOM OF GOD IS WITHIN YOU.
That is, we are to understand that when we have purged our souls of every illusion and every disordered affection, we will see our own beauty as an image of the divine nature.

And it seems to me that the Word of God, in these few words, was saying something like this: In you there is a certain desire to contemplate what is truly good.

But when you hear that God’s majesty is exalted high above the heavens, that his glory beyond comprehension, that his beauty is beyond description, that his very nature can neither be perceived nor be understood, do not fall into despair or think you can never have the sight that you desire.

So if, by love and right living, you wash off the filth that has become stuck to your heart, the divine beauty will shine forth in you.

Think of iron, which at one moment is dark and tarnished and the next, once the rust has been scraped off, shines and glistens brightly in the sun.

It is the same with the inner core of man, which the Lord calls the heart.

It has been in damp and foul places and is covered in patches of rust; but once the rust has been scraped off, it will recover itself and once more resemble its archetype.

And so it will be good, since what resembles the good must be good itself.

Therefore, whoever looks at himself sees in himself what he desires.

And whoever is pure in heart is blessed because, seeing his own purity, he sees the archetype reflected in the image.

If you see the sun in a mirror then you are not looking directly at the sky, but still you are seeing the sun just as much as someone who looks directly at it.

In the same way, the Lord is saying, although you do not have the strength to withstand the direct sight of the great and inaccessible light of God, if you look within yourselves once you have returned to the grace of the image that was placed in you from the beginning, you will find in yourselves all that you seek.

For to be God is to be pure, to be free from weakness and passion, to be separated from all evil.

If these things are all true of you then God is within you. If your thought is kept pure from evil habits, free from passion and weakness, separated from all stain, you are blessed because your vision is sharp and clear.

You are able to see what is invisible to those who have not been purified.

The eyes of your soul have been cleansed of material filth and through the purity of your heart you have a clear sight of the vision of blessedness.

What is that vision? It is purity, sanctity, simplicity, and other reflections of the brightness of the Divine nature. It is the sight of God.