Beliefs that stop intimacy

This morning I was listening, and I heard, you do not need to wear the label “Christian” to know me, and I breathed a sigh of relief, because I am so confused about what to believe, but I also heard that I don’t really have to believe anything to be with God. And I remembered an old Jason Upton sermon where he said “Be is the beginning of belief.” I have focused and worried so much about what I do and don’t believe, but in reality, I don’t think it really matters. It is far more important to be with God than to have a mental picture figured out about it all. And I’m so shocked at myself because of how many beliefs I have let fade away, even the ones I held to the strongest.

Yesterday I was listening to a Darin Hufford podcast about heaven, and he and his friend sounded so positive about heaven. I think I started letting go of my belief in heaven about the same time as my belief in hell. I do have a hope of eventually being one with God, and I hope for things to get better on earth, but I really do not have any idea what heaven might be like. In fact, I am probably more scared about going to hell since I have let go of the label Christian. But actually, that label feels like such a chain on my soul, and I just cannot hold onto it any longer. I think it is because if I wear that label, I feel that I have to convince other people that that is the truth. I cannot be free to just be who I am with others. And I and many other people are so turned off by people who have no interest in relationship other than to convert, that I just cannot be that person anymore.

I finally have a friend who does not believe in God at all. I could never have done that in my Christianese days. I could not have actually been real with her or held a deep friendship because I would have had to convince her to accept all my beliefs to save her soul. But isn’t it odd to believe that what a person does or does not mentally assent to will damn them to hell for eternity or allow them to live uttur bliss for that same eternity? It is so weird, because there are so many things that can cause or help us to believe or not believe something. I think my friend does not believe in God because she has no awareness of God and no experience of God. The Christian way is to take a person like this and scare them about hell and convince them about the Bible until the person “accepts” Christ, even if she still has no experience of God. I think that’s criminal. I think Christianity claims to be about introducing people to God, but for the most part, it is about introducing people to religion. And while I had a lot of experiences with God when I was practicing that religion, these have become very confused in my head and often intermingled with all the religious b.s., so that I can’t really hold onto any of it anymore.

Of course, the last several years of being in Christianity, I was deeply distrustful of religion. Groups I joined felt the same. And even though there was a vast difference between these churches and more religious ones I attended as a child, there was still a lack of intimacy there that went so deep I could not stand it.

In fact, I think lack of intimacy is what has driven me away from Christianity. The belief that your way is right and people who don’t believe it are going to hell forces you to hold back part of yourself from others. My own mother flat out told me that she cannot have real fellowship with me because I don’t believe the way she does. There is always necessarily an undercurrent of her wanting to convert me. As long as she wants to convert me, she cannot know me for who I am. She cannot accept me as I am because she wants to change me. No matter how close we may seem in one moment, in another her religiousness pops back up and she proves once again that she does not know me as she tries to lecture me and change me and I must put up walls once again.

But what about the new age ideas about God being this spirit that flows through all humans? It feels like a river that we can tap into at any time. I have a hope that this spirit that was in Jesus who said “I am the way, the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but by me” is really this spirit of God that flows through all people. It is the divine consciousness or whatever-you-want-to-call-it that anyone can tap into through meditation. It is this spirit of God that brings people to God, whether or not you put some religious name on it.

In fact, I really think that all this naming and labeling of things is really a human invention. It keeps us from God and from the God inside each other, because every label serves to divide us and put us into little boxes that we cannot get out of.

Perhaps all that crying out to God I did in my early 20’s has led to my heart no longer being able to stand all the devision that keeps me from being one with God and especially from being one with other people. Though I never expected my prayers to lead me out of Christianity, I wouldn’t be surprised if that is the very thing that did it.

I also think that religion does not foster intimacy simply because religious activities do not naturally lead to intimacy with others. That is not their purpose, and it is a rare thing when it happens, and one must go outside of the religious activities to find it.


6 Comments to “Beliefs that stop intimacy”

  1. Hi Eva! I have read your case on your topic of “I want to connect” on the Free Believers Forum as well as your blog entry as you know by the fact I am commenting (as a side not I have also read some of your other entries).

    Like you I have been feeling less like a Christian (though for different reasons in a way then the reasons you imply but in the way their might be similarities). I even posted a topic about my issue on the forums and one of the members mention that I was thinking of the perceptions Christians are said they are suppose to live by. Of course I don’t seem to be going by that perception so this must mean that I am not a Christian in that aspect. I don’t really know what to refer to myself in this case except maybe either a “non-religious Christian” or a “free believer”. However now I am not really so concern about that because I really want people to know me as something us. I don’t want nor have any interest to
    be known as a Christian or a disciple of God who spreads the message in topics like faith. That was not what I was put on this planet for. The only time I do think about it is when it comes to describing where I stand when it comes to God, but I would probably just imply that I follow God without being a part of a religion. You are right that labels are made up by humans and that people tend to go by someone base on their labels, or titles, in society.

    I don’t think the church I attend never talk much on Hell as well as Heaven. I just went by the stereotypes people had of the two places (thought my thoughts on Heaven were a bit different then what most people thought. I was thinking Heaven was going to be this pretty Fantasy world with pretty coloured clouds that was like Candy Land but minus the candy looking structures), which I no longer go by. It’s very odd that some pastors would talk about the consequences of going to Hell but they never touch on the consequences of going to Heaven, and you think they would since that is what they are aiming for which is to get as many people save as they possibly can. Speaking of getting save I thought of the same thing you did. There are a lot of good people on this planet who do not deserve to go to Hell and it’s not everyone has a high chance of getting to know whom God is. Look at most of the Eastern nations where Christianity is a minority religion. People over there are going to have less chance of knowing God then the people who live in the Western Countries where Christianity isn’t a minority, because of the society the people in the East are raised on, and even if Christians were to try to get people over there to be save I doubt they would be as successful as they were back in their homes. I have been reading a book that talked on the Japanese way of thinking and from what I read I can tell you that it would be very tough or even impossible to convince everyone, or even most people, over there to convert to Christianity. All I would say for now (because it might take a while to explain I don’t feel like it at the moment. Plus I have other things to do) is that Japanese society has very strong beliefs in other religions/philosophies that they have been push and force to follow for centuries, and remnants of what the Japanese people had to endure over the years is seen in their society to this day (which is slowly disappearing thankfully). Anyway I don’t think it would be fair if those people were to go to Hell for not believing in God and Christ, especially when they didn’t even get the chance.

    As for the situations with your mom I find it both odd, as well as wrong, that a mother would not know her very own daughter just because she isn’t religiously a Christian (it feel a bit sick even when I think about it). It’s one of the major problems I have with some people over this

    Well that is all for now. Just keep living your life they way you are now and things would get straight. It’s sad when due to living a life of religion people end up not finding other interest in life as well as knowing what they truly want to do with their life. I’m sure you would find your as some point.

    • Hi Joshqinn, I’m stoked you found my blog. It’s true that according to the standard Christian idea of what it takes for someone to “know” God and avoid hell, most of the people in the Eastern world have little chance. I happen to think, though, that many people do have a relationship with God outside of Christian definitions and words, no matter where they live in the world. I think their experiences are valid and could probably give us who come from a Christian background another perspective. Sometime I’d like to live in Asia for a while to get to know some Eastern people better. Right now I’m in Ecuador, which isn’t culturally as different, probably, but it is good to get outside the U.S. and see what another part of the world is like.

      There are people from every culture who have dedicated their lives to spiritual pursuits, and I seriously doubt that they are any farther off from God than Christians who have done so. I think whenever or wherever people seek for God, they find. The missionary idea was one excuse that western nations used during colonial times to take over lands from less militarily-advanced people. I know some people have done it sincerely, but I think it is more enriching to learn from other people as well as teach them what you know.

  2. I really like this. I’m not sure what to comment except that I love the way you write, the openness and yes, intimacy of it… I really feel connected with you when I read these words.

    I came to spirituality from the other end – I was brought up atheist, “fundamaterialist” as some people have called it. I totally accept a spiritual version of the Universe now and believe in Universal Intelligence and similar things… though I do have a difficulty in relating with “God”. I prefer to put different words to it, though I wonder if I’m missing out on something because of my dislike of Christian-style beliefs.

    Have you read “Conversations With God”? It’s the only other place where I’ve read of the sort of God which I could believe in. A really good book.

  3. I was going to reply sooner but I never got around to it.

    Anyway, that’s a good point. I have been hearing lately that God has a way of helping and connecting with people whether they are aware of it or not. So in a way even if they are not Christians they happen to be more close to God then some Christians are (much like the case with some atheists).

    As I have been thinking about this I realize that one of the reason this mindset Christians have about getting save and hell (as well as tithing) is false because they don’t really consider the entire world per say. When you think about it they are focusing (most of the time if not all unconsciously) only of the western part of the world as well as their own countries. From my perspective I hear more about how the western view of the world needs this or how false the western mindset is. I hardly hear anything about the eastern world and when I do it’s mainly focus on the Middle East (particularly Israel) which according to the standard Christian standard in a way also have a higher chance of getting save. It seems that a lot or some Christians don’t think much about the Eastern part of the world and when they do they tend to put their mindsets on certain issues without taking much into consideration the cultures and philosophy these nation have as well as what they went thought throughout history that made them the way they are today.
    In this case it’s a good thing you are beginning to visit different places and experiencing different cultures. I agree that it must be good to get away from the United States and be able to experience things from a different point of view. It’s one of the ways to make us culturally aware and such. The same can also be said to anyone who lives outside the U.S. As a side note: How is it in Ecuador?

    As for the missionary idea I could understand that. I think it started out with good attentions, but like the case with communism, at some point people came by and turn it from what was supposed to be a good thing and to help people get saved to a bad thing which people mistreated others who were not Christians as well as, like you said, used it as an excuse to conquer nations. A good example of this would be the Crusade that took place centuries ago.

    Well that is all for now.

    Merry Christmas!

    • Thanks Joshquinn,

      I definitely want to learn more about Eastern culture and traditions. We just returned from Ecuador when we learned that our daughter probably has autism and needs therapy right away that is not readily available in Ecuador. So we are back in the United States right now, and I am looking for writing and/or editing work.

      • I see. I am currently learning about Eastern culture as well though it’s on and off. I am focusing on learning about Japanese culture at the moment.

        I heard the same story from another person on the Free Believers website. I take that must be your husband.

        Well good luck with what you have to do.

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