Doubt is more than not believing; doubt is the fear that what you believe may be wrong. For a long time I lived afraid. I was afraid that I was wrong, afraid that my beliefs were more make believe than logical. I was afraid of being wrong-yes. But even more afraid of being counted as a fool. To me, Christianity embodied stupidity. I did not understand how masses of people could believe in this God of the Bible. I did not understand how they could live their lives for someone whose existence could not be proven. Yes, there is the world around us. I never believed in evolution or the Big Bang Theory. But I didn’t really believe in God either. I guess you could say that I never really thought about it. I blocked it out of my mind more than anything. It was easier that way. It is often easier to ignore Christianity than to go against it. I found that when you go against Christianity, you go against the very presence inside of you. I do not know an atheist who has never considered Christianity to be appealing. The fact is- the idea of a loving God is appealing. More so than any other fact. But it is also scary.
It’s easy to convince yourself of something. When I was younger, I convinced myself that I was a good singer. No joke- I thought I was going to be the next Britney Spears. I spent most of my time in my room imagining a massive audience in front of me, hanging on my every note. I studied Britney’s life and became obsessed with learning how to become famous. I even tried to sign up for voice lessons to improve my “natural” gift. But then one day I had to wake up to the truth: I can’t sing. I can carry a tune, but that is about it. I’m pretty sure my singing career would have landed right before it had even lifted off.
You see, I convinced myself that I was a good singer even though the facts were staring me right in the face. I lived in this imaginary world, believing imaginary truth. Isn’t it easy to convince yourself of something? I eventually grew up and realized how absurd my thinking was. However, this world of make believe was not over just yet. What I didn’t know is that I would struggle with the make believe long after I left Barbies and Disney behind.
One of my biggest objections to the Christian faith and God himself was that very issue: make believe. I thought that Christians had something good, but they were severely misguided. Christianity to me was believing in a false God to make you feel good during the hard times. It was like a mental illness. I was convinced that Christians somewhere along the way became deluded and created this God to make themselves feel better and now it was just something that they believe.
I didn’t want to believe in something fake. I wanted to believe in reality. I had spent too much time in my own life believing in false ideas and realities that I was through. I was burnt out on fairy tales. I knew that the Prince would never come for Cinderella. I knew that Sleeping Beauty would never really awaken. I knew that the Beast would never turn into the handsome Prince. And I knew for certain that the Ugly Duckling would always be just that- ugly. I didn’t want false hope; I wanted truth. So I ran from Christianity like the plague. On the outside I looked like every other person in the youth group. I attended. I sat in the blue plastic chair for an hour and stayed awake. But on the inside I was screaming. I wanted to argue against everything that was being taught. I doubted every story in the Bible and rolled by eyes at the predictable Christian sayings. I couldn’t stand being around Christians for long; they got on my nerves. I didn’t want to associate with people who lived deluded lives. I wanted truth, so I searched for it. I searched and searched and searched.
And eventually ended up right where I started off: God.