Many Paths Up the Mountain.

I tend to be a bit of a people pleaser. I feel responsible for people’s emotions and have never mastered the haughty aloofness that I often wish I could nail.

So this post is one that is really difficult for me to write. I don’t want to disappoint you, readers, as so many have read my posts, thought deeply about them, commented and prayed for me. So I’ve been putting this off for a while.

The fact is, the Christian God is not the way for me. I’ve thought about it so much (as you all know!) and read and thought and discussed and, well…everything.

It’s just not the path that I feel I’m meant to take.

And my GOD I’ve given it some thought.

I suppose it’s not a huge revelation; I’ve been hedging around it for a while now.

What has brought me to this? For starters, my belief that the Bible isn’t inerrent is not a death knell- there are plenty of Christians who have come to terms with that. Fundamentalism isn’t a given for any religion and I’m comfortable in the understanding that ‘The Christian Left’ is a legitimate movement.

Essentially, I don’t believe that there is only one way to God, and, in my understanding, to be a ‘Christian’ you have to believe that Christ died. For our sins. And rose again.

And I don’t.

I just….don’t.

I’ve not made a secret of the fact that the idea has never sat comfortably with me, but I entertained the concept. Mulled it over. So I don’t feel that I’m dismissing the whole thing without due consideration, put it that way.

I’m not going back to a purely materialist world view. I don’t think that the here and now is all that there is.

Given that, back in the day, I decided on the title The Aspirational Agnostic, I know that that the journey is not over and I feel that there is something that I need to continue searching for. Not because there is a void in my life, not because I am unhappy and not because I need a set of rules to live by.

I’m not saying no to God. I’m still going to visit church sometimes and I, and this is an important bit, am not going to be stereotypical of ‘christians’ anymore.

I choose to believe that there is more to existence that what we see in front of us.

This blog really, really doesn’t have a niche, does it? I piss off the Atheists and now I’m disappointing the Christians.

But the conclusion that I have now come to is that there are many paths that wind up the mountain, but once we get to the top, the view is the same.

Bugger me if it doesn’t seem that I’m moving towards being ‘spiritual rather than religious’. I guess that this proves that God (or Goddess 😉 ) really does have a sense of humour.

17 thoughts on “Many Paths Up the Mountain.

  1. My thought (in short) is perhaps no one has revealed the full revealed composite of the Christian God to you…. I’d be interested in the depictions you’ve been given.

    Also, it is interesting how situations may be sent in your path (even after you’ve made up your mind) to cause you to rethink your decision…

    • There are many manifestations of Christianity. I am uncomfortable with any religion that states that it is ‘the only way’. With so many people, existing with so many beliefs, throughout our planets history, I can’t believe that ONE path is the right one for everyone.

      Although I may have not understood your question 🙂

      Eva

  2. You have done what we are all called to do, Eva, make a decision. One that is ours and ours alone to make and to own. When the decision is yours, one is better able to accept and live with the consequences of said decision. I wish you well on our journey.

  3. I greatly admire your honesty in this decision.

    My own reading of Christianity puts right on one thing and wrong on the other.

    I don’t believe that Christians can claim exclusivity to God – there are other valid ways to approach God. I know many Christians strongly disagree with this. But it is in line with the teachings of mainline churches – for example the Anglican Church of NZ is quite clear on this in its Catechism. Being surrounded by Christians with an exclusive faith has also pushed me out of the church in the past. It is not something I can associate with in clear conscience.

    But you are absolutely right – at the centre of Christianity is the belief that the divine became human with us, was killed on the cross and rose from the dead. And to say you are a follower of Christ without being able to believe this on some level, would be wrong. And I think you have made a much better decision than many who just sit in the church pews every week.

    I wish you well and really want you to keep blogging. I know God/ess will be with you. In the end, the only person you truly disappoint is yourself.

    • Thanks David. I certainty don’t want to lay claim to something that I don’t believe- I’m not trying to prove anything to anyone, as they say. 🙂

      • Of course, as soon as you write something (and the medium of writing makes it sound more certain and definite than it really is), you find that there are more layers to be explored. So having replied above with what I thought was a simple “essentialism”, I am reading more deeply into Christianity and realising there is no simple understanding of what stands at the centre of this religion.
        So I would revise what I have said to say keep with love and with God and you will find the right path.

  4. This is fantastic. I have followed your blog for a while but not said much so far, but with this I have so say, go you. There’s no more certain way to piss off everyone than to say there is no certain way. But that itself is a sort of surrender, a death, and maybe a step further towards what is most real.

    Christianity is the tradition I come from and is still my point of reference, not because I think it is more right, but because it is familiar to me, and it is a story that makes a lot of sense to me in the broad strokes. Christianity as a religion will defend its God to the last as the only one, but I can’t think that in the end it alone has all the answers. God is much bigger than that, and much less able to be claimed by one religion or set of beliefs. Christians who understand this I think are closer to real Christianity, if that makes any sense at all.

    I hope you will continue posting about your journey on this blog. I for one am eager to see where it takes you.

    • Thanks Jonathan. I’ve said in the past that the reason I’ve been pulled to Christianity at all is cultural. God, sometimes I feel a fondness for Catholicism of all things, and there’s just no way- but my Dads family were catholic way back in the day, so I guess I’ve got trace memories 😉
      I’m going to keep posting. Lets see what else I can find lacking and annoy people about- ha!

  5. “But the conclusion that I have now come to is that there are many paths that wind up the mountain, but once we get to the top, the view is the same.”

    There’s a Buddhist saying I like: Just because your side of the mountain is a forest with running streams and my side of the mountain is a desert, doesn’t mean it isn’t the same mountain.

    I really enjoy your blog because you’ve asked and are asking the questions I’ve asked and continue to ask. Yours is the genuine journey. I’m continually surprised that you often arrive at much the same place as I do—even though we are literally on opposite sides of the planet and coming at these questions from very nearly opposite religious poles.

    The conclusion you’ve come to above, is the conclusion I’ve come to. I’m a Christian. Most Christians I know (maybe all) don’t understand this conclusion. I think most people, religious or not, see Christianity as just another franchise in the religion league, just another competitor for our spiritual attention. Most Christians, of course, tout Christianity (usually their particular version) as the only true religion. So, I suppose in that sense, Christianity is just another franchise.

    I make a distinction between being a Christian and “being in Christ”, as Scripture puts it. Being a Christian is an outward discipline that gradually seeps into the soul. Being in Christ is an inward experience that grows outward into action.

    There’s a story about Mother Theresa I like: When she went to Calcutta, she learned the local language (Bengali) to better serve the people. She also learned the appropriate local religious rituals (Hindu), especially for the dying, so she could better comfort them. The question for me is, is Christ in the outer form of proper rituals and labels or in the inner spirit of sacrificial giving?

    I used to think that I was a Christian because that is how I was raised and that is what I chose to be. I’m realizing that I am a Christian because Christ chose me to be that. It is how my inner spirituality is best expressed. But I have known too many people expressing Christ by other names or none at all to think my understanding of Christ is the only one.

    Forget the labels. Keep asking. And please keep blogging.

    • What a thoughtful comment ( and you’re agreeing with me which makes me like it right of the bat 😉 )

      I’d certainly lay claim to living a ‘Christina’ life, in that I agree with many of Jesus’ teaching and agree with the ‘red letter’ bits of the Bible. And hey, maybe he was divine. I’m fallible, I don’t know what I’m talking about.
      There will be more question, trust me!

  6. Hi Eva, I guess I’ll have to count as a christian who is slightly disappointed, but not critical.

    I agree with you when you say “I don’t believe that there is only one way to God and “to be a ‘Christian’ you have to believe that Christ died. For our sins. And rose again” We all come to God in different ways, and the path for the Old Testament Jews was different than for the New Testament disciples. And it is very hard to define, let alone agree on, exactly what is a christian.

    But that doesn’t mean it isn’t true that Jesus died for our sins, and rose again, and made it possible for us to return to God. It may be (and I believe) that all that is true, but it doesn’t limit God. His grace is very wide, and so he accepts people who respond in the best way they can to the light they are given, even if their beliefs aren’t all correct.

    I think christians need to be very careful in claiming their religion is the truth and the only way – Jesus claimed that but christianity should not.

    So I conclude it is best to be a true follower of Jesus (which means not just professing belief, but following his teachings), but God’s grace draws many others in. I hope you may retain your tolerance, your spiritual aspirations and your concern for truth, but come in time to see that Jesus embodies all that better than anyone else because he speaks with greater authority about the things of God. And I hope you keep blogging your journey.

    Best wishes.

    • I’m certainly open- if that happens, then I’m up for it 🙂
      Meanwhile, I’ll keep on aspiring.
      Thanks.
      Eva

  7. Eva, I didn’t respond to your post earlier, because I wanted to take the time to consider what I should say. I know that it is popular today to dismiss any claims of exclusivism, and with good reason. Too many people have used their beliefs as a club to hit others on the head with. That being said, I choose to believe there is truth out there. Every decision we make means choosing one thing and rejecting another. Every religion or philosophy will teach one thing and not another. The same is true of science and mathematics. So we cannot and do not live our lives with the belief that truth does not exist. The universe is real, and real things tend to be complicated and often messy. I have always admired your honesty and your willingness to seek. I encourage you to continue that. I do believe in prayer, and know that I will continue to pray for you in your search.

    • Thanks you. I certainly haven’t yet found an ‘ultimate truth’ but I don’t discount that one day I might. I appreciate the prayers 🙂

      Eva

  8. Pingback: Many Paths Up the Mountain. | littlelatinfirecracker

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