Why I Lose Faith


To be truthful:
I find it hard to call myself a Christian these days. Almost impossible. These days I glance at my Bible and I want to throw it in the trash. I want to walk away without looking back.

I keep wondering: Does the Bible produce jerks? Or are jerks attracted to the Bible? Either way I’m not sure why I stay.

Yes, I still believe. My faith is still the pivotal anchor by which I stand. But it seems western evangelicalism has forcefully gone out of its way to be anti-medicine, anti-mask, anti-vaccine, anti-poor, anti-mental health, and completely against the Black community. It seems the western church only marches when they feel “persecuted.” (Ask any Christian in the east about real persecution.) How did the church rationalize such a bizarre norm? When did western Christianity become such a predictable, politicized, cliched, cartoonish one-dimensional silo of reactionary bullies and brats?

I’m not saying anything new, and perhaps I’m naive—but are not Christians called to be the most fiercely compassionate citizens of earth? So compassionate it makes no sense? The ones who hold ourselves accountable by the highest standards of holiness and justice? To be for our neighbors, the wounded, those in need? To transcend the political and institutional trappings of the tiny slice of history we’re living in?

I’m reading that first century Christians were most known for their 1) personal ethics and 2) radical generosity. Despite the church’s many problems through history, Christians were at the cutting edge of art, education, scientific breakthrough, and human liberation. Christians founded hospitals, universities, libraries, orphanages, shelters, and were at the forefront of protests. Am I romanticizing the past? Or do I long for something like this today?

Any time I bring this up, I get called a “liberal.” It’s apparently the worst insult in the world. But if someone having “empathy” and “compassion” is an accusation of being liberal—doesn’t that say more about the one making the accusation?

If I have to choose between today’s Christian and today’s liberal, then sign me up for the latter. As it is, I have no home and no faith to call my own.
— J.S.

14 thoughts on “Why I Lose Faith

  1. J.S. You always put so eloqunetly what so many of us are feeling. The church in America seems to have largely lost its way (and its mind) at the moment, but that has been the history of religion. Matthew 24 rightly predicted these days and there is a promised remnant who shall endure. We just need to keep about the Father’s business and allow Him the room He needs to work it all out with the larger body of Christ. He is preparing for himself a bride without spot or wrinkle. If the ratio in Matthew 25 holds true fully half of those who call themselves Christian will not be included in that group in the unfolding of God’s plan that is to come. Hold on. Keep the faith and as Paul said in Galatians do not be weary in well doing because you will in due season reap a harvest if you do not faint.

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  2. You may find the following link interesting. It an address by the former editor and chief of ChristianToday Mark Galli. Last December he wrote that our President was unfit to serve.
    What you have written here many evangelicals struggle with. For a long time I would not refer to myself as an evangelical. I relate to what you have written but I would never throw my Bible out. God is not the problem or His word. People are. We wrestle not against flesh and blood. God Bless. https://www.markgalli.com/?p=673

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  3. J.S.: Thank you for those times you express what others are thinking. Western Evangelicalism has not cornered the market on producing Christianized Jerks. The Pharisees in their day could fit that description. They called Jesus worse things than “liberal.” Jesus called them “whitewashed tombs full of dead men’s bones.” Jesus surrounded Himself with different kinds of people, and for those who did not leave He discipled off the hard edges. Please do not forsake faith or the Word over the behavior of “whitewashed tombs full of dead men’s bones.” As Jesus lives in you though the Holy Spirit, you will be salt and light to our perishing world…. even to the jerks.

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  4. Whoa, this is not the voice from “The Voices We Carry”! Where’s your tender heart? Where’s your compassion for those who aren’t on the same page as you? Are your words edifying to the hearer?
    God bless you, JS., something’s going on here… Every revival beings with “me”. Asking good questions, seeking understanding, loving each one right where they are. While I was yet a sinner, He died for me. In His great grace and mercy, go I. In Him I live and move and have my being… not in the behavior of those around me. Love & prayers, sweet one… I do hope you find your true voice again, because I’m not sure which one is speaking here.

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    1. It’s the voice of doubt, grief, struggle. There’s room for this, no? Today I’m the one asking for compassion. Rather than asking me to meet you where you are, will you not meet me where I am?

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      1. Also – in the defense of this blog and JS being real, when John the Baptist was in jail, he asked Jesus, “Are You the Expected One, or do we look for someone else?” (Luke 7:18-23) which, if we think about it, is riddled with doubt. And then a few verses down, Jesus starts freaking out about how amazing John is (verse 24 – 28). Jesus wasn’t offended by John’s question. He understood where John came from.

        Ann – there should be a space where we can be honest and say how we feel.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. I was riding down the street to the store and realized I contradicted myself. So I will try again. What I wanted to say is the problem is not with God or His word but with evil people. More than that it isn’t even them. Our struggle is “against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.” Ephesians. 6:12

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  6. I agree with the last comment by Lena Rae. God and the Bible have not let us down. People may have let us down, but that was probably not intentional. The problem arises when people are tempted to set up a man-made structure (doctrinal and/or institutional) to house the work of God, whose ways are past finding out. The temptation to contain God in a man-made structure comes from the realm of darkness. We find it so seductive because we long to understand, to make God predictable.

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  7. I will weigh in on this. The Bible is what keeps those of us yearning for the “real Jesus” from throwing in the towel. It is doctrine and systematic theology that should be thrown into the trash, where humans arrogantly interpret how everyone must experience God and give loyalty to an institution. Though I have, as I read your blog, a foundation if faith in Jesus, I have had to abandon religion from time to time as it nearly drove me to suicide. How wonderful that there are simple people around who believe in the Jesus of Calvary without adornments, and others who care so much they rant. I need your rants more than I need sappy cliche bullying religious ideals!
    Peace

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