I should begin by confessing that I left my previous article a little bit bare of the details of my journey to practicing both Judaism and Christianity.
In Christian circles, and especially the Evangelical tradition in which I grew up, one’s testimony is often considered the epitome of spiritual dimension.
In my community, those people who were simply born into the faith often thought themselves lower than those who had battled drug addictions or depression, just because they had never wrestled with their faith. But, on the other hand, questioning what the Bible said (when interpreted “literally”) was absolutely wrong and resulted in shame as well.
But questioning your beliefs is never wrong; in fact, it might be the best possible thing for one’s spiritual life.
Like many Baylor students, I’m a pastor’s kid. I was taught at an early age that the Bible was an absolute authority on everything … until it came to contradict our modern capitalist system or refused us the fundamental human right to bacon. But in middle school, a plethora of personal issues sent me spiraling into depression.
I grew angry with God, and sought every means to throw Him out the window. I tried Buddhism, Islam, almost anything, before I finally settled into a dull life of agnostic atheism.
God didn’t seem to be done with me yet, and so He gathered around me a Christian theater group that loved me back into His loving embrace. To pay penance for my wandering sins, I turned into a Bible-beating Baptist child who was going to strangle you into a loving relationship with Jesus.
When we moved and I began going to a public school, I made a girl cry and later transfer because I so vehemently attacked her position on homosexuality. So much for a good Christian witness, I suppose.
For better or for worse, I was soon seen as a spiritual leader on my campus. I ran the Bible study, prayed for people, handed out verses, and tried to love as best as I could. Yet I was not the greatest witness for God’s kingdom.
My best friend in high school was an agnostic atheist who acts far more holy than most Christians I know. His piety to virtue was admirable, and he remains a huge inspiration as to how I should live my own life.
Through his witness, I realized that my reading of the Bible was inconsistent with its teachings. I couldn’t hold the beliefs my home-schooling curriculum had taught me and still believe in a loving and logical God. So I began to search again, this time with God in mind. I didn’t stick with any of my earlier faiths because, within them, I inexplicably found the God of my youth with whom I was incredibly angry. Yet now, with my eyes cast in a different light, I began to see His truth in every tradition.
In short, perhaps it is time for all of us to question our beliefs. If you continue to pursue truth, I believe it is impossible to miss Him. For as our Savior says, “I am the Truth, the Way, and the Life.” Wherever we find it, I believe, we find Him.
As a Child of God
– Micah Furlong
Phoenix, Ore., freshman