I was very happy for all of the moral teachings and inspiration I had found in the Bible studies, and I wanted to believe and accept the idea that the Bible was God’s inerrant word. But I couldn’t help but feel quite unsatisfied with the evidences I had. The practice of glossolalia, that is, of speaking in tongues, had always amazed me and, as I explained previously, was the main proof I had for the truthiness of Christianism as well as the inerrancy of the Bible. But one thing did not feel quite right about it. “If it is so convincing, how come there are so many people who have experienced glossolalia and still ended up giving up the Christian faith?” I was curious. I decided, then, to search for stories of such people and why they abandoned the religion despite of such an amazing evidence.
THE QUEST FOR GLOSSOLALIA
I came across a documentary called “Why I am no longer a Christian”, where a guy exposes a series of arguments against the religion. I wasn’t shaken by his ideas, in fact I thought most of his claims were refutable. But when he talked about glossolalia, he sure caught my attention. He himself had practiced it, but later learned that it was actually more of a psychological than spiritual phenomenon. Experiments had shown it’s just a babbling without any sort of language structure, that it’s been also common among believers of other religions, like Hindu Kundalini and Montanism, and that people unconsciously learn how to do it by listening to others while in a deep concentration state, kind of like a hypnosis. Of course it sounded odd at first, but after confirming that with other sources, the confidence I had fell to the ground. Not because I trusted completely these arguments, which I didn’t, but because I saw so many possible flaws in an idea I had considered almost flawless. To me there was no way glossolalia could be refuted. It was obviously a spiritual phenomenon, I had thought. Still, so many arguments showed otherwise.
I could not regard the practice of glossolalia as the major proof for the Bible and the Christian religion anymore. In fact, I came to realize that the evidences I had were never enough to conclude something of the magnitude that I concluded. Even if glossolalia were truly a spiritual manifestation, that alone wouldn’t prove its godliness, much less so the veracity of all of the thousands of dogmas and ideas taught by Christian scriptures. The same is true for other kinds of experiences such as fulfilled prayers, healings and accident survivals. Even if they do happen through some sort of divine miracle, that alone can’t possibly prove a specific religion is 100% perfect. After all, I’ve seen that such things happen in all sorts of religions, still it would be paradoxical for all of them to be 100% true. Anyways, I felt I just did not have enough evidence to support my absolute belief in the Bible, at least not yet. An absolute belief would require an absolute evidence.
TO BELIEVE OR NOT TO BELIEVE
The truth is that I felt some degree of guilt, and especially fear, as I questioned the Bible and Christian practices, searching for logical reasons to believe in them. I had always learned, in all the churches I had attended, that faith is the most fundamental condition to please God, the condition to receive God’s blessings and salvation. Such faith should be absolute, unquestionable, and regardless of evidence. A famous story that illustrates this point is that of the Apostle Thomas, who questioned the resurrection of Jesus because he had not seen any proof of it, and was later reproached by Jesus. So I, too, felt compelled to stop questioning and simply accept the Bible as plain truth. Even more so for being afraid that God would punish me and condemn me for my lack of faith.
Yet, another side of myself kept saying it didn’t make any sense at all to have absolute belief in something without examining it first, without knowing for sure that it is true.
If God was truly just, as Christianism preaches, then he would never require me to blindly believe something, without having reasonable evidence for it. After all, if I were to believe without evidence, I’d be justified to believe any religion in the world, since I have no evidence for them either.
And if God was truly omniscient, then he knew my questioning was not because I wanted to sin, but because I really felt it was the fairest thing to do. At last, I prayed and asked God to show me an evidence or give me a rational reason to believe, if he really wanted me to. Nothing happened though.
AN UNEXPECTED CONCLUSION
My conclusion after going through several arguments was that, unfortunately, I simply did not have anything even close to an absolute evidence, any logical reason to justify absolute faith in the Bible. I did think God was real, and it seemed to make sense that God was just. But it didn’t feel anymore that a just God would possibly want me to resort to unquestionable, blind belief.
Some say denying the divine inspiration of scripture is to exalt man’s wisdom over God’s word. But God had never told me which scripture was his word and which was not. All I had were texts in the Bible claiming that God said this or that God said that, but that’s all they were… texts. Similar to hundreds of other texts of other religions. Maybe those texts were true and inspired by God.. maybe not.. but as far as I could know, they were just texts. God had never given me the power to know beyond that, nor had He told me or showed me anything directly. Still, I used to affirm that the Bible, and no other religious book, was God’s inerrant word. How could I declare that the Bible was the word of God if God had never told me so?? It was like I was putting myself above God, claiming to know something He had never made known, putting words into God’s mouth. It was then that I realized believing in the Bible as the word of God was actually like committing an act of blasphemy against God…
I chose to just be humble and recognize I did not have power to know. It just wouldn’t be fair to have absolute faith.
In face of such an awakening, I had to adopt a new attitude towards the Bible. In practice my behavior did not change that much, though. At least not yet. I simply stopped accepting blindly biblical ideas and dogmas and started to investigate and analyze them with critical sense, as I would with any normal book.
But faith is a so important element of Christian religion that there were still some big questions I couldn’t take out of my head for a while………………………………..
In my next post, I will present my reflection about the very essence of faith.