All mainstream religions that I am aware of promise grand, miraculous things that we all want and appeal to the noble part of our nature.
Eternal peace, eternal happiness, grace, mercy, forgiveness of our sins, miraculous power to overcome in our daily lives, seeing our loved ones who have passed away again, eternal bliss in heaven, great relationships, wisdom, miraculous answers to our prayers by a loving, caring Heavenly Father.
And it appears the early believers actually saw miracles, got answers to their prayers, and really experienced supernatural power from the Holy Spirit. It was unquestionably obvious.
Now? Not so much.
And I think this song by ‘Five Finger Death Punch’ rather sums up the yearning in our hearts. We yearn for the promise, but then we are continually disappointed. (By the way, I really don’t like this style of ‘music’, but a few of my younger coworkers posted this song on Facebook, and I thought the message was pretty appropriate) Here it is. . .
(Suggest starting at 35 seconds in to start the song)
Let me put this idea another way. Remember Charlie Brown and Lucy? Lucy kept promising Charlie Brown that she would hold the football and let him kick it. He believed her over and over again, ran to kick it in his naive belief that Lucy was telling him the truth. She always pulled the football away with some excuse. Charlie Brown was the one who was really a sincere soul.
I think religion does exactly the the same thing to sensitive, thoughtful, sincere souls. And since my experience has been growing up as a Baptist Fundy, my focus is on how much they have hurt me, and continue to hurt people with their promises, combined with their expectations, and ultimately failed promises.
I jumped through hoops my entire life, my heart sincerely sought out God, but God didn’t seek me out. God never showed up for me in my most desperate, needy time. It was like I was standing alone in a desert at the edge of the Grand Canyon. The sun was beating down on me mercilessly, my throat became dry from my constant yelling across the great, vast, chasm to the other side where I believed God resided and was listening for my voice. All I heard was repeated echos of my sad, lonely, despairing voice fading away as my life literally crumbled into ruins and I slowly sank to the dry dusty hot ground with my hands out, begging, pleading for a drop of God’s relieving help.
And now, I am in great, great sorrow at losing my belief in a caring, loving God who I believed looked after me, protected me, gave me wisdom, and helped me in real time. That belief popped for good and I realized that religion has good points, has helpful associations, and does good works.
But just don’t expect any miraculous promises from an invisible imaginary fundamentalist god.
The outstretched hands of my heart have dropped to my sides in utter sad grief, and unlike Charlie Brown, I’ve stopped believing Lucy even when she promises that she’ll hold the football for me so I can kick it.
There is a huge gulf fixed between our reality and religious promises, and apparently there is no bridge to connect them except in fairy tales told in churches.
Sad. . .