If, like myself, you were raised Christian, lived the Christian life, and believed Christian doctrine, but eventually rejected it all, that is one of the scariest things you will ever experience. I can’t imagine how scary it must be in Muslim countries where apostasy is punishable by death. For ex-Christians, it really all has to do with hell more than anything else. Growing up, I tried my hardest to stifle and flush out all thoughts of doubt about my faith, because I believed it was the Devil’s influence. I believed he was trying to pull me away from God and make me ultimately meet the same fate he will one day meet.
For people experiencing that, sometimes, the doubt is too great for you to control. Sometimes, your better sense overpowers what others are so desperately trying to shove down your throat. Logic, philosophy, scientific understanding and analysis, recorded history… All these things disagree with the majority of the Bible’s content. Where did God come from? Could God construct a wall he could not leap over? If God exists and he cares about us, why will he never actually talk to us? On and on, and on, and on the questions go. As a former Christian, I know all the cop-out answers to these questions, because I used to answer these questions to non-Christians when I was a Christian.
But I have a philosophical, skeptical mind. I asked myself if these answers were truth. More importantly, I’ve always understood that the truth is ever present, whether I know it or not, and whether I understand it or not. Truth is truth, regardless of what I want to believe. So, I began to wonder if all my Christian answers to life’s toughest questions, and to Christianity’s toughest criticisms, were truthful answers or just the answers I wanted to believe.
What’s the point of having faith, if there’s always a good chance you have it all wrong? Christianity could be a ploy by the Devil to actually make Christians the ones who go to hell. What if the Bible’s authors weren’t divinely inspired, but were just regular people who wanted to believe the things they were writing down? What if Islam is the true religion, or Buddhism, or Hinduism, or a religion I’ve never even heard of before?
These aren’t so much doubts, I suppose, as they are legitimate questions. See, Christians don’t ask questions to learn the truth, they ask questions to bolster what they already believe. Me? I wanted the truth. I want to be certain about why I’m here, and if there’s anything I must do before I die. Because no matter how long we live, we’ll be dead longer than that, and we must be reasonably certain of what the truth is, or, at least, what the truth is not.
A search for truth is the deadly blow to every religious person’s faith. From that point on, their faith is bleeding out and it’s only a matter of time before it dies. To search for truth is to also diminish delusion.