December 10, 2014

When I Started Questioning: The biggest reason that I started questioning God came from religion itself.

We've talked a lot about Genesis recently during our Atheist Bible Study series. Today, I'd like to visit it again, but this time, in the context of my personal journey from belief to nonbelief.

I found the greatest reason to question God right in my bible. I've talked before about how some of the strongest arguments against God are his inherent characteristics, but today, I'd like to talk about another argument for doubt--this time, not from God's characteristics, but from our own.

It starts with this passage in Genesis 1:

28 Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”  
27 So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.

 We, as a species, are created in God's image. Most of the biblical influences that I grew up with agreed that this did not refer to our physical nature, but rather, to our spiritual one. To our intellectual nature, even.

Thus I was raised to believe that our spirit and intellect mirror God. Sure, we can't always understand his ways--but our basic nature is patterned after his.

For me, this created a significant disconnect.

You see, if we are created in God's image, and that creates a nature in us that is inquisitive and rational, one that looks for patterns and answers, then a religion that doesn't provide those things made no sense to me.

The idea that God would give us these characteristics--characteristics that would be a part of his own nature also--and then somehow expect us to ignore them only in the realm of faith and himself and his own existence was impossible to reconcile.

If the God that created us in his own image, then, can't give us a relatively solid form of proof for himself--if he instead expects us to go against that nature and not question his existence, not look for reasonable proof--then is he really the God that created us at all? To me, this became a consuming question, one that constantly chewed at the edges of my mind and undermined my faith.

Eventually, it was a major part of why I walked away from my faith. I simply couldn't believe that a god that supposedly understood us so innately could fail so awesomely at providing the basic evidence that would encourage us to believe.

Instead, it felt like entrapment. I was to believe or go to hell, and yet, the evidence provided was not enough to satisfy that innate seeking instinct that I was endowed with.

If I were to create a being in my own image (which I suppose, in a way, I have, as a parent), I would most certainly make sure to support that nature. I wouldn't encourage a being to deny it--I would want them to grow it. In fact, as a parent, that's one of the most fulfilling activities I've had--the idea that I can encourage my children to grow into the most amazing, unique people.

Why would the god of the universe be any different?

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