Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Why I Can't Believe in Your God: Part 1-My "Bitterness" Towards God

I often get to a point in my conversations with mainline Christians when they begin to see that I'm just a normal person. When they get to this point they become perplexed trying to balance the "paradox" of how someone can live happily (and morally) without following their view of God. Instead of accepting the possibility that other views may be equal to theirs they try to find some fault with the non-believer. I've often heard that my unbelief in the Christian salvation narrative stems from a past cosmic injustice causing me to be angry and bitter towards God.

I'm sure there are people bitter towards God but I am not one of them. I have a roof over my head, two wonderful children, a loving wife, my health, and I have plenty of food in my fridge (in fact, too much). Outside of being unemployed I have no bitterness towards the universe. My childhood wasn't the greatest but I had a home and two parents who loved me. I have no reason to be bitter and if I had a reason I don't believe that a truly compassionate God would punish me for unfaithfulness or lashing out against It in anger. The rain falls on the just and the unjust, as anyone from the Southern Baptist Convention President, Johnny Hunt, to notable Atheist, Christopher Hitchens, can be diagnosed with cancer. The universe is indifferent, we shouldn't be.

I humble myself not before a Grand Designer with a Grand Plan but before the reality that surrounds us, dwells in us, and that which we take part in as living things: the cycle of life itself. I am not bitter towards the fact that I will cease to exist because I did not exist before I was born. Yet knowing that I am going to die does not drive me into a hedonistic rampage or extreme bouts of depression. I welcome the day along with the night, the pleasure with the pain, and the laughter with the sorrow. If anyone has a legitimate reason to be bitter it should be the unborn for not having the chance to experience the ups and downs of life. Most Christians who claim I'm bitter only do so because they believe I must have experienced something terrible resulting in my anger towards God which hardened into unbelief. But I could only be bitter against God if I 1) believed in the theistic view of God and 2) believed God is in control of everything. To say that God is in total control of EVERYTHING means God is the source and author of both the Good and Bad. The fact is that I arrived at my conclusions and beliefs (two separate things) over a long, long journey of thought, reflection, and meditation. I have not arrived "here" because I'm against something, I arrived here by realizing my connection to Reality, my place in and relation with the universe. Being bitter is pointless and self-centered, it's not all about me, nor is it all about Mankind. We are not the center of the universe, we are simply participants and observers of the cosmos. How can I be bitter towards anything when I have the chance to observe AND participate in life itself?


Andrew said...

Oh yeah, I get the hurt, bitter, angry, accusation leveled at me all the time. To point out an inconsistent part of Christian theology or culture is to be bitter or attacking. You are right, I think it stems from an inability to imagine that anyone could be happy outside their way of thinking.

captron52 said...

Great post Sam. In it you have summed up my life's search for spiritual enlightenment. I to am accosted by "Christians" who claim I am doomed to hell because I dont believe in nor accept their beliefs about God. They are amazed wehn I say I am happy and that I donot fear God's wrath upon me at some later date.I absolutely refuse to worship a God who can be so vengeful and downright nasty to Its own creation. If its either believe in a God who watches and judges us and then decides if we are "good" enough to be rewarded or to spend eternity in hell I guess I am doomed in that regard. My God that I worship is kind loving and forgiving and I am happy with my choices so far.

Don said...

Why does it always seem to be that those of us who see no need for the traditional Christian theism, are "bitter or angry with God"? I'm not! Why can't it be that we simply see things, like the Bible, and God, in a different light than they do.

captron52 said...

I totally agree with you Don!

Doug B said...

I like your point about bitterness being self-centered. So true. But most of us are the center of our own universe, so I think disappointment and perhaps bitterness are natural. Accepting things for what they are and making the most of what is helps. I personally haven't had much luck with ego loss. How are you doing?

Eruesso said...


I personally haven't had much luck with ego loss. How are you doing?

I haven't had much luck either with ego loss. I'm still learning how to keep me ego in check. Although I keep finding myself returning to the Book of Ecclesiastes and eastern philosophies for help with ego control.

I really couldn't tell if you were asking how I was doing with the ego loss or just altogether. But in case you were curious I'm doing great. I finally got a job after job hunting for 7 months. I've been filling out applications and going to interviews like mad, Which is why I've been a bit silent recently.

@ Everyone else-

Thanks for the comments. I wonder has anyone experienced a positive change in an evangelicals expression or overall attitude after noting your calm assurance about the afterlife? Or in other words, has anyone NOT received threats of eternal damnation after sharing your "radical" thoughts? If anyone has had a positive discussion or an unexpected reaction from a Conservative Christian I would like to hear your story. Post it up on your blog or if you've done so already just drop the link here.

I feel that Conservative Christians get a bad wrap for being hostile, negative, and pretty much live in a completely different universe. I guess I'm asking for stories about die hard evangelicals who experienced a moment of self-reflection and realized that they didn't have to cling so hard to their beliefs. An AHA! story.

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