It’s Okay Not to “Know”

There are some people you’ll meet in life that just KNOW beyond a shadow of a doubt that there is a God, gods. They’ll convince you that they have hard evidence and proof and “experiences” to show you that there is a god.

But, really, it can’t be proved and we all know it. If there is a heaven or hell (I don’t believe there is one. I think it’s a fear tactic), wouldn’t we likely not have proof of that until we die?

Oh, yeah, except that the “bible” is the word of god breathed from his mouth?

Not likely. Most documents are drafted, edited, and rewritten; sometimes using many contributors.

Anyway, I’m getting off track.

The point of this blog post is this: it’s OKAY to not know everything about what you believe in or don’t believe in.

Say you just left a cult, like I did about five years ago. You’re probably going through a wide variety of emotions and probably rethinking virtually everything that happened there and how those people you were in the cult with treat you now.

If you’re rethinking things, that’s a good sign. It’s healthy. It means, you’re learning from your past experiences and turning it into wisdom, in my opinion.

It may take years for you to come to terms with what you do and don’t believe in. You might be more lenient and understanding toward others. You might miss the community of church, but abhor the judgmentalism that exists there.

So what if you end up an atheist at the end of your “I-don’t-know” phase? So what?! Atheists aren’t bad and they’re not baby killers. They’re “god less” but not godless.

So what if you end up Buddhist? Hmm…you may just end up to be far more moral and caring than some of us are. Not to mention more zen. 🙂

So what if you still end up going to charismatic churches? No big deal. I’m sure some of your views have changed and you’re not going to be duped or suckered anymore. Smile! 🙂 That’s good news.

What if you just don’t know and don’t care? I personally think that’s a great place to be.

Belief and spirituality (or the lack of) aren’t about labels, in my opinion. Just be who you are and surround yourself with positive people. From there…enjoy life free from worry and oppressive dogma.

 

Where Do I Stand? by Aaron Gates

 

Where do I stand?

A Guest Post by Aaron Gates 

After leaving a church group that I had been “professionally” affiliated with for five years I had a lot of questions to ask myself. I had to ask myself where to go to church; who my real friends were. Everyone I associated with on a regular basis I went to church with. When the dam finally broke I was engaged and about to start pre-marital counseling with the pastor. I was living with a family from the church. Two of the teenagers I worked closely with in the youth group lived in that house. It was a Thursday afternoon when I had finished up my extremely heated conversation with my pastor by telling him I was going to find somewhere else to go to church. When I got home I told the guys that I had a disagreement with Pastor S. and would not be going to church with them any more. When their Grandmother got home a little later I gave her the same vague description of why I was leaving. She said something very interesting to me. She said, and I quote, “You know what really happened is going to come out so you might as well tell me.” She was right and I knew it. So I responded, “You’re probably right but you aren’t going to hear it from me.” I promised myself I would not bad mouth the pastor to any of the church members or anyone affiliated with the church.

To this day I have not.

I have had more opportunities than I can count to tell people how badly I was treated. How violated I felt by people I trusted. I could have told the truth. I did not. Unfortunately I was not afforded the same courtesy.

The people at the church had always talked about our relationship as if we were family. So when I stopped attending that church I did not know what to expect.

Would they continue to treat me like family, or was I only family when I attended church with them?

So I was hurt when I realized that I was only a family member when I was a church member. I felt like I was mourning the death of myself; like part of who I was died, because part of me did. A huge part of my life was over, and I felt empty. I was stressed out by trying to live up to the expectations and standards that were set for me from the time I was 18. Then I felt broken and lost.

 

The conflict at the root of everything was that my relationship with God was founded on what I had been taught and told and made to experience. My relationship with God had been corralled in a direction that a pastor wanted me to go. I had a need to find out what I believed and needed to reconcile that with all that I had been taught for the past ten or so years.

I had to decide for myself where I stood.

What do I believe? That is a scary question.

I wanted to know if believing in God was even worth it. It took me a very long time to work everything out.

I wrote that like I have it all worked out. That’s funny. I don’t!

However, there are some things I know. I know that God loves me and He sent His Son to the world for that reason. I know that I chose to live for God before I went to Masters or to the church. I know that my relationship with Him is based on our mutual experience with each other. I believe that He is the way the truth and the life and no one can go to the Father except through Him. I also know that everyone has a different reaction to difficult situations and I don’t expect everyone to believe that. I know that in the church that God wants to see in the world there is room for everyone and room for different opinions and different convictions.

Some will say that there is only one way to be a Christian. I know that God made every person on earth different. Based on that, there are roughly six billion ways to have a relationship with God and it is not my place or anyone else’s to determine what that should look like for anyone. I also know that I lost sight of God because I was more concerned with what a group of people thought about me than what God thought about me. I know that I will never be in ministry in any capacity again, by choice.

But most importantly, I know God.

 

My name is Aaron Gates I live in Gulfport, MS with my wife Jenny and brand new daughter Rebecca. I have been blogging about my experience as a Christian and a new dad since August 2010. If anyone wants to contact me to talk about your experience in Master’s Commission, ministry, or anything else, I’d love to hear from you: aaron.p.gates@gmail.com.

Check out my blog.