In a normal human relationship, there is regular two-way communication in real-time. An exchange of ideas, possibly dreams, goals, and feelings. Friends come to one another’s aid when help is needed. Friends support each other in real time.
Not so with the imaginary fundamentalist god.
It always chaps me when I hear someone insist that they have ‘a personal relationship with Jesus’ who ‘saved them from their sins, etc…’ Jesus is a historical figure from the long, long ago past. He occupies the same feeling and historical facts just as George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, or even my great, great-grandfather who I was told was a railroad foreman who was a very hard man. I even saw his picture, and his countenance seemed to match what I was told about him.
My friends would think I was completely off my nut if I were to suddenly start claiming that I had experienced a personal awakening that led me to experience a daily personal experience with my great, great, grandfather.
And yet, that is essentially what fundamentalist believers claim. That they experience ‘personal relationship’ with an invisible being who ‘loves for them, cares for them, and has a plan for their lives.’
And if I don’t agree with their belief, it is I who is obviously an unbelieving heretic.
I’ve spent a lot of hours studying fundamentalist beliefs, (I graduated with a Bible major from what was Pillsbury Baptist Bible College – and that was after a few years of studying Pastorology at Faith Baptist Bible College), I have spent hours memorizing verses, praying, seeking after God.
But this ‘relationship’ is all one-sided. And sadly, as I’ve experienced more than once, a one-sided relationship with someone you are pursuing but who has no interest in your is highly frustrating and hurtful. In my past, I’ve idealized a few girls to the point that in my mind they were perfect in every way. Of course, I didn’t really know them, as it was a one-sided pursuit!
But the analogy seems to me to be similar in ‘pursuing God.’ If God really wanted to have a ‘personal relationship’, then why didn’t He make Himself known? Why doesn’t He just show up and tangibly answer prayers?
And what about all those people who lived between the Testaments? They weren’t necessarily Israelites, Jesus hadn’t been born yet, and there was no Bible as we have today. So what’s up with those millions of lost people who had no chance of establishing a ‘personal relationship’ with Jesus?
In my experience, I tried over and over, and rarely, it seemed to me that perhaps I ‘heard’ in my brain a very short, phrase that seemed to me to be pure, and felt different from my usual thoughts. Was that the Holy Spirit speaking to me?? Probably not.
But even if it was, how good is a relationship in which one party only speaks maybe three times in 50 years to the other partner? And the other partner has to guess that he was spoken, is never sure if the communication is real or not?
So I’ve just given up. Yes, there is a great lonely hole from giving up on this, and it grieves my soul. But I’m just done trying to rationalize and imagine that I have some sort of ‘personal relationship’ with an invisible idea that people call god.
And again, if the fundamentalists are literally correct, and I stand before their god in judgement who tells me that “I never knew you.” I would reply by saying, “It’s not for lack of trying on my part!”
Lonely and grieving this hole from a lifetime of believing? Oh yeah!
Freedom from stupid irrational rules and beliefs? Hell yeah!