Firstly let me say, I read your site with interest. Secondly I come from a VERY religious background and spent my formative years attending Sunday School, church, youth fellowship etc.
(I have a very strong set of moral beliefs but they revolve around personal responsibility, honesty, integrity and REVENGE — not upon blindly following the words of others.)
In all that time I was treated with nothing but contempt (I never did fit in — yes, I do love thrash metal). This is a source of much anger to me.
I have never gained ANYTHING from worship or religion, if god existed he never would have let half the things happen in my life/family that have happened, therefore, I have rejected him.
I feel fine, better for it in fact and I think that for me at least, I have chosen the correct path. Maybe your choice is right for you but to say that someone else’s is wrong (just because you believe it to be so) is nonsense. Basically, I feel you miss the mark.
Still, that’s your personal choice and as such that’s your right.
When bad things happen to people, I have to admit that is a very powerful argument against the existence of God, or at least against the goodness of God.
However, all of us at Probe have been convinced that the evidence that God truly exists and that there is a purpose beyond the horrible things that happen, is greater than the weight of the argument of pain and suffering. Personally, I believe that the shame and contempt that “church people” heap on those who don’t fit their mold, like yourself, makes God both angry and extremely grieved. Since the Bible says God made us in His image, then we’re supposed to reflect what He is like to the world and most especially, to others who are also made in His image. When people treat others with contempt, they are telling a lie about what God is like, and I think none of us understands the depth of His anguish about that.
I think I understand where you’re coming from in terms of wanting to castigate us for saying that someone else’s path is wrong since it is different from ours. That would, indeed, be an arrogant and revolting position to take if it didn’t matter because there is no God and thus no purpose in life, no afterlife, and no ultimate meaning. On the same plane, I guess, as saying that someone is wrong for choosing Neapolitan ice cream because chocolate is right.
However, if God has truly spoken and revealed true truth to us, and if He determines what is the right path and the wrong path because He is God and He has the right to do that, then simply agreeing with what He says is neither arrogant nor revolting.
I wish you peace, and I pray for you the ability to sift through what you learned when you were young and sort out what was true from what was merely man’s teaching and from the pain you received and understandably rejected. I pray that somehow, God will communicate to you the tears HE cried because of the way you were treated. He made you, He loves you, and He died for you. You were never supposed to experience contempt.