When I was 15-17 I seriously thought I wanted to be a Minister, I looked at Biblical Study courses when it was time to leave High School, I read quite a lot of Christian books (I even understood some.) and was even for a short time involved in a pretty hardcore youth group. I went to work at a Christian Summer Camp for 3 years, but I must confess, my world view had changed by my final year there. By the age of 21 I was just going through the motions.
So What Happened?
As my old Youth Group friends might have said I was “corrupted by the world”. To me this means that I had a look at folk who were not religious, who did not believe, who were going to hell and realised “Hey a lot of these guys are good people.” Then I looked at the people I knew who had already died, applied biblical criteria and was repulsed by the idea that someone would send them to hell. That’s pretty much the crux of the issue, I can’t abide the concept of hell, I reject it and am repelled by any person or organisation that would use it.
Yes, I know I don’t have to believe in Hell to go there (in fact it is easier if I don’t!) blah blah, I know the arguments, I used to make them.
I just don’t understand why after my eternal soul inhabits my body for around 70 years (hopefully more.) It is then judged on this time as to where it spends forever. Surely, if God is as described in the Bible a split second in his company immediately after death would give him all the repentance he needs.
Furthermore, I don’t need Hell to make me strive to be a good person. I want to be a better person everyday, I know and hear about many really good people who don’t believe in Hell.
What are you left with?
Once you take Hell away from the particular brand of Christianity I was involved in, you have nothing. No reason for Jesus to die, the whole thing crumbles. I’ve always believed your religion should be an “all in” experience, meaning you cannot just go through the motions like I once tried.
A friend quite recently called me a fundamentalist, which I think might be right. Some of that stuff never leaves you, it’s just I think the foundation has a big crack in it and I’m not too happy with how the building looks.