Being a thinking, critical, and questioning Christian is hard work. But intellectual arguments (mostly) aside, what about love. More specifically God's Love. God's ever present, unfailing, over-whelming, ya-can't-touch-this-even-if-you-were-MC-Hammer Love. How does one reach, recognise and feel that love?
Some of you may find this familiar but for those who don't, let me just take you on a brief tour of the process of becoming a Christian:
You've discovered God is real and have decided you want to be a Christian, so either with someone else or by yourself, you say something along the lines of "I'm sorry for all the wrong I've done, Jesus please be in my life, I accept you into my life" and then you'll probably get baptised.
Now everything isn't suddenly all in place and you're suddenly the perfect Christian, so there's some work to be done, got to start socialising with Christians, going to church, reading the bible and praying regularly. Most important is getting to know God, in order to trust God, in order for you to know how much God loves you and feel his love.
I. Don't. Feel. His. Love. ...and it's frustrating.
Over a year of work, suppressing some questions, reading the bible, spending time with God and I don't feel that almighty love that people keep telling me about - that may not take the situations they're facing away but seems to make the cloud not lined with silver but gold... and the clouds are well... fluffier so you don't mind so much. Okay, well lets try not to get dogmatic about this, but it is frustrating - in a way that if I possessed the confidence I might make a video with effects of me jumping around the screen asking different questions on this matter and talking to "other self" on the screen and referring to myself in third person. However she does not possess such confidence... wait, I... I mean I don't possess such confidence; why? Well... what's wrong with me? Why doesn't God love me... or show me his love, have me feel his love? Seems everyone else is feeling it... why not me? Am I defective? I have already concluded that if I am to believe scripture that God is perfect, so he is not at fault in this. Am I missing something? Maybe I missed something. Perhaps there are only so many people who "get it".
Furthermore, I was never brought up, taught or thought for one moment that God would ever make me feel any of the above things I mentioned, things that I feel right now. There was a time perhaps (and maybe certain things now) that would cause me to think that being a Christian is about loathing oneself or at least coming to terms with the fact that you've screwed up majorly in God's eyes... but I never really thought I'd feel unloved or like there was something wrong with me. I imagine much like SuperTed felt back when he was an ordinary teddy bear and rejected from the rest when they're seemed to no difference in him at all.
What would a person do to feel the love of God? What would a person do for it, if they have never felt it? How long does one keep searching? Reaching? Hurting?

Views: 1

Tags: Christianity, God, Love

Comment by Aric on October 7, 2009 at 6:02pm
You said,"You've discovered God is real...". I believe the phrase you were looking for is,"You think God is real."
To answer your question about god's love. You don't feel it because you doubt the existence of god. Those that do feel it truly believe in god or lie about feeling it. However, they don't feel it because god is real, which he probably isn't. They feel it because they believe he is real, and in their minds he is. So that love that they're feeling is coming from inside their brains not from any god. Also, I wouldn't call that feeling love because it's something entirely different. It would be more accurate to call it a sense of satisfaction with oneself and happiness with ones surroundings. That feeling can come from anything not just religion.
Comment by Alison Rufus on October 7, 2009 at 6:19pm
Aric - It was a talk through of the becoming a Christian process, what you would do/know/feel then. Not what you actually believe, which is clearly different.
The last paragraph of what you said was quite thought provoking for me, something that I guess was in the back of my mind but seeing it written down is different. I don't really have much comment on it at this stage however, but thanks for that input!
Comment by Ashli Axtell on October 7, 2009 at 7:10pm
There was a period of time where I thought something was seriously wrong with me because I felt sort of like you - I didn't "feel god's love." I went through the motions of going to church, reading the bible, praying, and doing all the good Christian things a Christian should do, but everything just felt out of whack. Prayer felt like a waste of time and, while I enjoyed the singing at church and the free wine (what teenager doesn't?), the rest of it was bullocks. My questions always went unanswered. I tried really, really hard to be a Christian because everyone around me was, but then I got some self-esteem. Also, I was fourteen.

These are my thoughts on that "feeling" of "god's love":

Whenever you're in church, the people around you are just overjoyed and blissful. They're so darn happy to be there with each other, praisin' the lawd and they're basking in the glow of organized religion.

But you get that sort of feeling anywhere that lots of people gather and are excited about something, like a Golgoroth concert. Well - maybe they're not the best example. How about Madonna? A Madonna concert has thousands of euphoric, squealing, sweaty fans, all waiting to bask in her glory. Just like church but with more open homosexuals.

You can also go somewhere totally unfocused on a single person and get the same sort of feeling, like a corporate rallying event. I can't tell you how many open forums for my company I've been to that have felt like a freakin' tent revival. I'm surprised someone hasn't gotten up and started speakin' in tongues! People are cheering and laughing and yelling about how awesome it is to be a part of a corporation...it's not awesome.

Humans are social by nature - we're wired to need each other and are rewarded by our bodies with happy brain chemicals whenever we congregate en masse. Larger groups mean better chances of survival as a species. At their simplest, those are some of my ideas.
Comment by Prazzie on October 7, 2009 at 7:38pm
I only realised this in retrospect, but my twice-yearly prayers to God were usually "Please God, strengthen my faith in you, help me to believe". I was asked to leave two different churches in two different cities for two different (really stupid) reasons and so my mother gave up on making me go to church when I was 15. I continued calling myself a Christian, but distanced myself from the "hypocritical Christians", telling myself that I believed in God and I would just be a good person and that would be enough.

Then I met a girl who was part of a crazy Christian cult that was crazy even by normal Christian standards. I told her that I don't really practice the faith, although I do believe in God. She told me that she could see that I didn't have the light of the Lord in my eyes. That got me thinking. I was offended, but I saw that she didn't have any lights in her eyes either, so she was obviously full of it.

Shortly after that, my father, who had been reading a lot of books about atheism and religion, told me that he was sorry they raised me to believe in that shit and it was ok not to believe. I went from believer to atheist before he closed his lips at the end of that sentence. I experienced a sense of relief and euphoria. That was many years ago now and I am still on a high. It's the all-encompassing joy people feel when living rational lives without superstitious hang-ups and guilt-trips. Like Christian rock music, the "love" you feel is but a shadow of the real thing.
Comment by Nix Manes on October 7, 2009 at 8:10pm
You should get and watch Julia Sweeney's Letting Go of God. She addresses a lot of the same things you've talked about during her trip to atheism. It's a funny one-woman show which I really enjoyed. She does a great job of detailing her very valid reasons for leaving the church, too.
Comment by Alison Rufus on October 8, 2009 at 8:58am
@Nelson: I'm inclined to agree right now.

@Ashli: I realised that a while ago, and as Nelson said, it's one of the things people miss most, right now it's one of the things that terrifies me the most (losing it).

@Prazzie: I'm glad you have that high and relief but I'm not sure I will feel that... scarily enough.

@Nix: I'll try and find it and watch it at the weekend. I won't have time to do it until then now. But thanks for the suggestion. Hopefully I remember and I will get back to you on it!
Comment by Dave G on October 8, 2009 at 3:53pm
Alison,

Nex has a very good suggestion, Julia's Letting Go of God is a very funny and touching story of her own journey through religion. I suspect that you'll find some of it very familiar. I did.
Comment by Alison Rufus on October 8, 2009 at 5:19pm
I hope so Dave, shall watch it at the weekend!

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