I have been listening to the 'growing in grace' podcasts a lot lately. In more than one episodes, I heard Mike Kapler saying, "let's not keep the common sense aside". He says that especially when it comes to obedience and keeping the law.I think, being honest to ourselves is all it takes to come to the conclusion that religion doesn't work. It doesn't matter which religion it is. Each has its own 'ways' to please their god. For some, their god is pleased when they follow certain set of rules, laws, regulations or a list of do's and don'ts. Some gods are pleased when we gather at particular place at a particular time of a week. Some are pleased when we chant some prayers or starve through fasting. Some are pleased when we put some dollar bills into an offering plate. Some are pleased when we confess all our sins.
I am not excluding Christian religion from this. Christians says their god is omnipotent, omnipresent, and omniscient. He is a perfectly holy god. He is self-sufficient. That being the case, isn't it a futile act attempting to please that god through our puny works? Who in their right mind can logically come to a conclusion that they can somehow please god through all these? Not just that, some people think that they can make god angry! As though god has an emotional imbalance or something- easily angered, easily provoked but somehow hard to please.
I feel stupid for believing such a lie for a long time in my life. I thought my god would be pleased when I achieve sinless perfection. I thought I was pleasing him when I did the works of evangelism. I thought, the more I studied the Bible, he is more pleased. The more I set apart a 'quiet time', I thought I can somehow tap into his presence. I thought I could manipulate god through 'effective' prayer (by quoting scriptures, for example). I thought god was a genie who comes out and bless me when I give my money. I kept doing all these for years and years even though I never felt contented nor reached a satisfying point in my life to boldly say that I pleased him. I tried to do all the right things and tried not to do any wrong things to keep god from getting angry at me. But I always felt that I fall short. So, I successfully hid my burned out heart from others.For a long time in my life, I lived an illogical spiritual life. I kept my common sense aside and listened and followed other illogical spiritual leaders out there. I wasn't even honest to myself. I pretended as if my spirituality was working.
Then there came a time in my life that I had to take a step back and look at the foolishness of my belief system. Trying to achieve sinless perfection? Trying to earn forgiveness through confessing all my sins on a daily basis? Trying to keep the law? Trying to love my neighbors as myself? Trying to love the enemies? Are you kidding?I didn't know that James said, "whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it." Will I ever be accepted by this god? Will I ever be able to say that I confessed all my sins that I am now fully forgiven? Will I ever feel the security of god's love? Will I ever feel any kind of security, contentment or peace?
If you don't cheat in answering those questions, if you can be honest to yourself, the only thing you can do is - give up! That’s true - just give up!That’s where my journey started. I fist gave up, then God took over…