I am not a Sinner

I had a transformative spiritual experience recently. I was driving from Las Vegas to Phoenix (about a 6 hour drive) alone on a beautiful day. I found myself surrounded by the desert, mountain valley after valley moving behind me, as I drove through this incredible landscape.

An environment which is conducive to reflection, that’s for sure. I found myself replaying in my mind an email conversation that I had with my Christian friend Ray, in which he stated that I “blamed God for all the negative things in the law”. As well as the atrocities committed in the name of Jesus by the Christian church, etc.

I realized that I did not think I really blamed God for these things. But that’s a natural mistake on Ray’s part. He was thinking as he is: A Diest Christian. So he has a personal relationship with his Creator. Most days these days, I am agnostic. Certainly I know at this point in the core of my being that the existence or non-existence of God is an unknowable fact. Certainly not knowable by me, that’s for sure! So I do not know, and cannot know, if I am in a relationship with my Creator. Thus, it would be very difficult for me to blame Him for things of which I don’t believe He is is capable. No. I think that the negative things in the bible and the acts of men in His name are simply acts of human beings. Perhaps acting under a particularly ugly form of delusion. But acts of man nonetheless.

That led to the question: So why is it that I am so pissed off about the law? Why do I get so incensed about the stupid, evil, racist, misogynistic, cruel and inhumane stuff in the law? I mean, beyond normal incredulity at the insanity which is the biblical law. Certainly, my ire seemed to me to be more intense than most folks in our time and culture.

And then I figured it out. What I was angry at was not the law. What I was angry at was sin.

Here is what the idea of sin says: The creator of the universe hates me. And He wants to kill me. And after that, he is going to put me in a terrible place when I die, where he has legions of demons who will torture me to death continuously. Although I won’t be able to die. So the suffering will go on and on and on.

And the only way out of this inevitable abyss (about which I have nothing to say, by the way) is to accept that this same Creator took his own son and tortured him terribly instead. And then if I believed, really believed, all of that, I would be saved, and God would not want to kill and damn me anymore.

Once I got my arms completely around that idea, I did get a bit pissed. I realized the real problem with traditional religion in all of its forms is this very thing: The idea of sin.

So I let it fall away. I simply determined at that moment that I am not a sinner. I have not displeased the Creator in any way. This does not mean that I am perfect. Far from it. It simply means that there is no divinely prescribed code of behavior for humans to follow, the violation of which brings divine ire. I have the right to live my own life, in what ever manner I see fit. I am both responsible and free.

This revelation (if you can call it that) was followed by several hours of driving through an incredible desert landscape with tears streaming down my face as I was bathed in an incredible feeling of love.

Was I visited by God? I don’t know. It certainly felt like it. I have been different from that day. I can feel the difference. It is quite weird, and a bit scary. But I would not want to go back to the way I was before.

More later.

Forgiveness

I forgave my father today. I had compassion for him and understood him for the first time. This is an amazing event given that my father cheated on my mother almost my entire childhood, and continued to do so (with some of the nastiest women I ever saw) until his deathbed. Also, my father was proximately responsible for my sister’s death. (Although she shot herself in the head with a 38 caliber pistol at the age of 28, he gave her the gum and ammunition and instructed her to do it. And she did.)

I think you will agree: That’s a lot to forgive. And that does not even include his physical abuse of me (for which I have broken bones), which I do not even place upon the enormous mound of my father’s sins. I do place the sexual abuse of my sister on that mound, though.

And there it is: I apparently believe in sin. At least for my father. Not so much for myself, as I, of course, am a good guy. Or at least I like to think so.

I hope you understand: I am going to keep this real. If you are up for it, please keep reading. I am going to keep writing, that’s for sure. I need this now. I need to get this out. This helps me. I hope it helps you too.

Anyway, back to forgiving my father. I have a family member with whom I am not on good terms at the moment. She and I have not talked in a while. I have connected with all of my other family members, but not with her.

I found myself literally convulsed today with grief and pain over the situation with my family member. I am rejecting her. I felt terrible. I have behaved badly. Yet she has also rejected me. I am angry. She is angry. You get the idea.

And in that moment, I finally understood my Dad. He faced a terrible situation as well: My mother was insane much of the time. He was living with her and taking care of her (other than sexually, at least). And in turn, she took care of him. It was a sick twisted little world, but somehow they managed to get through it, day to day.

Into that world walked my sister. She was married to a man who infected her with genital herpes. He was bisexual and extremely promiscuous. He wanted her to participate in his lifestyle, which she found disgusting. She was at the point where she was wanting to move back in with Mom and Dad.

My father reacted badly: I do not deny that. I would undo his actions in that conversation if I could. But there are actions I have taken in his life, and in the life of my sister that I would take back too, if I could. (more on that later.)

He told her he already had one insane, dysfunctional woman on his hands and he could not tolerate a second. He said that if she could not handle her problems, then she should step up, and go ahead and end her life. And he then gave her the gun and the ammunition and escorted her out of the house.

She called me that night. I also reacted badly. She sounded strange. I was living in Longview at the time. Now I wish with every fibre of my being that I could simply go back to that young man and scream: Go to her!!!! Go now!!!! She needs you!!!!

But, instead, I had no time for her either.

The next day I got the call from my Mom: Debbie had committed suicide. (I weep as I write this.)

I suppose the person I need to forgive next is myself.

More later.

Welcome

I have a good friend, Ray who is worried about me. Seems that I have fallen away from my Christian faith, and Ray is my Christian friend who is continuing to pray and stand for me to be reunited with the faith I once believed.

I wish I could say I had a great deal of hope here, but as you will see if you keep reading, I suspect I am beyond hope from folks like Ray. And I actually think that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Although you should be the judge.

At any rate, welcome to my new blog, Scars Upon the Earth. The idea behind this blog is to discuss the following questions:

  • Did Jesus save me from my sins? (Personally, I tend to doubt that these days.) I have a bit of┬átrouble with the concept of sin, as you will see.
  • Is the Bible the inspired Word of God or simply a work of human culture? (I have looked at this a lot. More later.)
  • Is religion absolute, or is it also a form of culture? In other words, is God’s plan for marriage an arrangement in which one man and one woman live together and are monogamous? This one is quite interesting.

The essence of my blog is the exploration of the forbidden topics: Is God real? Is he / she personal? Does he / she hear my prayers? What evidence do we have for the existence of a personal God? I have spent a great deal of time reflecting and studying these issues, and I hope you benefit from these thoughts. If you have any comments and push back (I sincerely hope so!), then let me know and the discussion will begin.