So...I did my research. I now think that there not only *could be* but there must be a God. I also think Jesus was his Son, A Diety on earth.
I still have a lack of true faith though. I'm still not seeing how all the pieces fit together. Granted, I have not even finished Genesis yet, but I started feeling pretty lackluster with my new found belief system yesterday. There's a lot of stuff in the Old Testament that is hard to swallow. There is a lot of stuff, I just plain don't understand.
Yesterday, after a dentist appointment, I was driving back to my township- a city of only 50,000 or so. For most of my life, I've scoffed at the only Christian bookstore in town "The Manger". Now, I felt a need to go check it out... maybe I would discover this piece I'm having a problem with in my heart.
The store was like a maze, and I was quickly disturbed by the commercialism of Christ. There were a lot more people in it than I imagined as well, which should have made me happy? But instead it made me feel weird. Among shoppers there was a a woman with 3 small kids- Christian Rock was playing over the loudspeaker. One of the children said "listen mommy, it's your favorite song, you should buy that CD again". Buh. Then there was the store owner busy bodying his way around, "Oh Daphne, it's a joy to see you God Bless!" One minute later "Elma! What a delight! Praise Jesus, yes, that waterproof KJV would be perfectly suitable for your trip with Doug to the Camans. Only 79.99! Oh *laughs* for you a discount!" I found myself swirling among a rack of "hip" faith shirts... many were paradies of popular products like A&W Rootbeer ,Crush Soda, and Yoohoo. (ie, Yoo hoo He died for). I just felt kind of yucky seeing that... like... would Jesus have wanted His image to be so closely associated with something so cheap and disposable as a can of rootbeer? Who's profiting on these shirts? Are these people making money off of Jesus' image and life? I guess these items are called "Christian swag". Ugh. I just don't know about that...
In another section of the store I found a spinning "jewlery" case-- full of more Jesus propaganda. Not just simple cross pendants mind you, but big gawdy expensive jewels with the word "Christ Lives" or "True Love Waits" or other popular Christian catch phrases. The prices were ridiculous- $80 lime green watches with too many crosses to count embedded in their bands, $120 diamond headed Jesus crucifixes, Gold medalions with biblical quotes on them, the list goes on and on. Is this what being a "christian" is all about?
One woman ran in the store "I need an NAB with real life applications, red marginal notes and matching devotional journals preferably with pink covers for my teenagers... they are soooooo hard to handle.. Britney is downright unruly... blah blah blah". Ugh. In one aisle, I could have been killed between 2 soccer moms grabbing for the last "chewable" baby bible. "How soon til you get this back ?" one screamed over my head. Store clerk replied "about 4-6 weeks, but I can put a rush on it if you need". The 2 bickering moms looked at each other in dispair as one just dropped her quest and announced she would buy a "better one" in the next town over. I'm sure their babies will be bound for damnation without that chewable bible to gnaw on before afternoon snack. BUH. I wonder if it's flavored too. Double buh. Graham cracker scented maybe? BUH BUH BUH.
In my whirlwind around this store clearly set up by the antichrist- not MY JESUS.... I did find 2 books on Atheist-Agnostic questions- many of which I still have. I had spent so long in horror in the store, my old Catholic guilt kicked in and I felt I had to buy something. A catch 22 isn't it? I felt I was there for a reason though and that there *must* be something here for me. I found - 2 books-- One was "Answering questons of Atheists, Agnostics and Skeptics" by Ron Rhodes.. and the other was The case for Faith by Lee Strobel. A couple weeks ago, I bought A Case For Christ DVD by Strobel, and I was impressed at it's intelligent viewpoint and less than stuffy approach to bringing to light the history rather than the "legends" of Christ...
I bought my books along with 5 funny postcards to share with the man I love.... I know he will enjoy them.
Once at work, I tried cracking open the OT again, but I just wasn't feeling it. I had enough of incest and sexual temptressing and brothers killing brothers from the night before. I started reading Lee Stroble's book and it was absolutely enthralling! He basically investigated the 8 issues most Atheists and Agnostics have with Faith... with blindly believing....he doesn't just *talk* or preach... on each topic, he interviews highly reknown intellectuals and asks them the hard questions that nobody likes asking. Last night I read all about the issue of pain. How can a loving God, an all powerful God sit back and let so many people in the world suffer? How can something so Good allow for Evil? Isn't it impossible? Contradictory even? It was an intriguing issue, one I felt Stroble investigated and his interviews answered adequately.
It got me obsessing over one really big issue... an issue I'm having a hard time putting together in my head right now. Christ died for our sins? But how? I understand the crucifiction- physically... I'm just beginning to realize that Christ- God felt the pain of all humans in his death.. but how did that "save us" from our sins? In dying a physical death and in feeling all of our pain, our sins, He forgave us and opened the door to heaven? I guess this is a big dum dum moment for me because I'm just not getting it. Is it just because He filled all of His prophecies and nearly all of the OT prophecies? Is it just because He said so?! I'm missing a big piece to this puzzle in my head. All I ever hear is He died for us. I know He at any moment could have survived the cruxifiction... I understand that... But how did Him dying the way He did, how did that save us? I just don't get it.
I will pray for the answer. It's time for work now.