Imagine for a moment that you and your sibling share the same parents and home. While you are happy and well cared for, your sibling is neglected and deprived of their basic needs. If you knew your sibling was neglected but you still believed your father was a great parent because he took such great care of you, what kind of person would that make you? Is your father really a good father?
I have reached a point where I am able to critically think and analyze the Bible and, more than anything, think as a loving parent. If I continued to believe God was all powerful and all knowing, then I would also have to accept that he knew the fate of each and every one of us ahead of time. He already knew that if he allowed Satan to live that Adam would be tempted to eat from the tree of wisdom, which would open the gate to hell which meant Satan and his minions would have a pass to assist billions of God’s children in doing things that give them a hot spot in an eternal fire. He could’ve just killed Satan to avoid pain and suffering of his children, but he chose to make it difficult and leave his children to roam among demons and giving us the struggle with temptation. I compare it to a parent putting a porno and bag of cocaine in their teenage son’s drawer just to see what he’s going to do with it. Will the son avoid the porn and drugs to prove how much he loves his parents? Or will he give in to temptation and watch the porno while smoking the drugs? I wouldn’t do that to my children I love and I choose not to associate myself with any person or deity who would.
God wanted to know if a man would kill his child to prove his love for him, but if God is all knowing he would’ve known how much he was loved. God allowed 42 lads to be mauled to death by two bears for teasing a bald believer (2 Kings 2:23-24), but allows horrible things to happen to innocent children every single day. Either God is vain and evil or the Bible is a compilation of fictional stories of a God made in man’s image.
Embracing my truth only gave way to more questions. How was I able to have such deep worship experiences?
I came to realize the root of it all: overwhelming emotions. Simply put, I was in my feelings. I oftentimes thought myself into those experiences. The story of death, burial, and resurrection of Christ for your sole benefit of salvation from eternal hell will bring out the deepest sense of appreciation when it’s been drilled in your psyche. The cyclical emotions of gratitude and guilt, the deep sense of brokenness when you think of your life without Christ, and the religious experience of shouting (a mere reduction of the enslaved African tradition of “circle shout”) creates the Holy Spirit experience. It’s the power of the mind.
As I grew more comfortable in my truth, I decided it was time for my husband and I to talk to our children. I didn’t know how it would affect them and I worried about how they’d adapt. I incorporated God into their daily life. I’d even begun them on the path of religious guilt, often telling them “God isn’t happy with your behavior” when they’d misbehave. Soon, they even wanted to know if God was happy if they did certain things, like helping me clean or being obedient to my instruction. I didn’t want to confuse them, but I knew it was time to be honest with them. After sharing my truth with them, they too asked questions about God and stories of the Bible they had been taught. My daughter began to bring up things that surprised me. She had strong opinions about God killing Job’s family; a proud mommy moment that I’d raised such a critical and sympathetic thinker. Even in this new awareness, I explained that we should respect others no matter what they believe and that if they wanted to continue to believe, it was okay with me.
After talking to my children, I knew it was time to tell my parents. In December 2015, I broke the news to my parents and my closest friend. Their reactions were devastating. My Dad took it the hardest and it only worsened when I explained why I didn’t believe anymore. I argued fiercely with my inner circle, only to be met with their rebuttals. I was told I didn’t try hard enough and my faith was never real. I was told that if anyone found out about my beliefs it would ruin my reputation. I was even given the argument that faith is what worked for my ancestors, especially during slavery. I became so angry I yelled, “Faith is a placebo! They freed themselves!”