I have debated writing this post for some time because I suspected I might disappoint some of my friends or cause them to distance themselves from me. However, in light of recent events and discussions, I've decided to no longer worry about that.
A number of my friends identify themselves as Christian, (Many of them go further and also identify themselves as Catholic.) I used to be one of them. I am no longer.
I was baptised a Catholic at Easter, 1984. For 20-some years, I tried to be a good Catholic. Yet something about the Catholic Church did not feel right.
So I tried other churches, but I always came back. If nothing else, the rituals of the Catholic Church felt safe. And yet, something did not quite seem to fit.
Something about the Catholic Church in particular and about Christianity in general struck me as contradictory. I had trouble identifying it an making sense of it until I began reading the Conversations With God series of books by Neale Donald Walsch.
I can't pinpoint it specifically, but something in Neale's depiction of God resonated with me. After reading several of his spiritual books, I concluded that none of the faiths with which I was familiar truly understood the nature of God. Many of them had some aspect of God, but none was complete.
I have also come to realize than many so-called Christians cherry-pick Bible verses to fit their faith's view (and by extension, their view) of the world, all the while forgetting that the Bible was written or related by one group of men (mostly), translated by another group of men (mostly), and interpreted and explained by yet another group of men.
In the last several years, I have come to the conclusion that all religious groups may have some understanding of God, but no religious group can claim to be The Way. Not Judaism, not Christianity, not Islam. Each has at least one fatal flaw.
That fatal flaw is that each kills in the name of God. Yet Christianity says "Thou shalt not kill" and claims that the ways of God are not the ways of man. By extension, that would seem to imply that Christians do not understand God since they kill in God's name. (The same could certainly be said for many of the other major faiths.)
Reading through a number of books of Neale Donald Walsch, I feel I have come to a better understanding of God and of the contradictions inherent in many of the organized religions now in existence. For instance, it never made sense to me that we would be called upon by the Bible to love our neighbor as ourselves even as we are trying to bomb them into oblivion.
Another contradiction is the call to love God and fear God at the same time. One cannot fear and love together; they are mutually exclusive.
I'm sure there are some who will begin praying for my soul or will begin worrying that I am headed to Hell. Don't. I truly believe God is bigger and is more than any faith can express. Because of that, I don't believe any faith does God justice. I don't think any organized faith can.