The old blog post below shares what I learned after sifting through the "non-negotiables" about my own religion in the face of my husband losing his. The challenges of his arguments caused me to decipher my own---the arguments that I had been told were essential to keeping my Christianity. Here I am, laying out some of my budding realizations a year after his deconversion:
January 15, 2015
If there is one thing living with an atheist has taught me, it's the dangers of preaching my own darn agenda. Ugh. There are three talking points that I thought were certain, but actually just end up pushing non-believers further and further away from Truth:
1. In the past, I had said that I knew what God's saying. I interpreted the meaning of every tingly feeling, every coincidence with confidence. But after a year in the valley, I realize that I have a sliver of a glimpse at who God is and what He says He does. In my every day circumstances I think it's safe to say, "Perhaps" and "Maybe" and "I wonder".
Putting words in the mouth of God is just...dangerous.
It's risking the salvation of those around me...those whom I might just be there to help along the path called faith.
When I say "I know" or "God said this to me" (and I didn't hear Him but I just "think") I put God in a very constricting box that can be reasoned away from existence, that can be considered silly to the every day non-believer.
It's creating God in my own opinion. Even if the intentions are pure, it's not okay to put words in the mouth of the Creator of an infinite Universe...how could I?
2. I treated the Bible as a science book. It's a very very important book. It's my only firm foundation in God's heart and His ways. But, now I don't think it was ever meant to explain the intricacy of creation nor to be something we sift through to distinguish God's perfect timing in our present. God is SOOOO much bigger than the words man is inspired by. Of course, the inspiration is from God. Absolutely. But I don't think it could ever explain away the amazing mystery of God. The intricacy of scientific discovery is a gift from God to lead His creation in their curiosity, but we will never know all of it, and in the magnitude of creation, we will discover more and more along the way. That's the beauty of it, really. The possibility to discover and a Provider who will lead us and gift us the knowledge as He feels is best.
3. I measured God's blessing by the stuff of this world. I'd minimize Him to be my best friend and my genie. I expected blessings because of my belief. I considered everything materialistic, healthy, and life-giving, blessings from God. What of curses? What of those who have dying babies and dying wives and bankruptcy? Is God not there for those people? Should we equate earthly blessings with faithfulness and obedience?
I think that God is so much grander than His material dealings. Could a blessing not be the character born from trials? Could a blessing not be the broken spirit crying for God because her husband has turned his back on faith? Isn't the shaping of the heart the most coveted blessing? I fear these are discarded too much in this world of "I give, so I must receive."
The rich atheistic billionaires out there say, "Ha. What is blessing if I have it all?" They scoff at our God and think they've proven His nonexistence.
I would rather use "lucky" than "blessing" if the risk of wrong definitions gives glory to the stuff and takes it away from the God who gives beyond what the world can give us.
Have you gone through a valley and discovered a perspective change that brings you closer to God? I think that's the intriguing part of the valley---the sifting, the refining, the discovery.
Thursday is my last day to reflect on Valley Notes, but the journey is not anywhere near being over. Each step is a step toward something---on good days, it's toward God; on bad days, it's toward self-reflection and where I've missed the turn to God. Join me this Thursday to end the Valley Notes Series!