On the one hand I’m loathe to type it. How many times has Jesus been presented as the “answer,” irrespective of the problem? How many times have people been naïve, been of “good faith,” or perhaps gone out on a limb with this Jesus only to be let down, or even abused? So the problem—before even beginning with discussion—is huge.
I’m particularly sympathetic to the dis-ease (and at times, disease) that this Jesus can wreak because I was an evangelical Christian for many years. I repudiated my Christian beliefs after a series of profoundly evil and destructive events led me to the irrefutable conclusion that evil is more powerful (and more real) than God. In these clutch moments God fell short. Or more accurately, from everything that I could perceive, God simply didn’t show up.
So where the cost of any belief system is one’s sanity and intellectual integrity, such a cost is too high: paying this price is effectively divorcing oneself from one’s personal history, one’s culture, one’s world. In short, it is embracing irreality. I was a truth-seeker and Christianity was a lie, so we really had nothing in common. Yet while not ignoring or denouncing the preceding, I am, on the other hand, actually writing in favour of Christianity and its Jesus.
I am doing so because over the course of nearly 7 years as a hostile agnostic I had new experiences and understandings (of the world, myself, Christianity, and God) that are as real—and more powerful and compelling—than my experiences of evil. In short, I am writing in favour of Christianity because the Christian God actually showed up in my experience and makes sense according to my new understandings.
This claim requires much more explanation and validation than I can offer here, but the end result of such experiences and understandings of God was that Christianity was possible, and in fact more than possible.
Before going on to present this specific Christianity and its “more,” let me state two caveats. First, Christians, best not applaud at this point: if you presume that I’m another sinner who has “turned back” to what you understand as Christianity or that I’m simply “in your camp,” then what follows will be an even chillier proverbial ‘bucket of cold water’. And second, Non-Christians, best not insist that I must be lying about either my initial, negative claims about Christianity or deceived about the validity that I find in my current Christian belief (as though no one who truly thought the one could ever again really think the other).
You’d be dead wrong in supposing the first. And as to the second? Well, I suppose that will depend on what you get from what you read here. It depends, in other words, on whether there is another Christian option.