I don’t usually write about the God-stuff here because honestly, there’s some fear there. Who’s reading this? A former Phi Lamb sister? A former prayer-partner? Maybe someone who is still trying to rescue my soul from the depths of wherever souls go when they decide that maybe they don’t believe in the doctrine of Jesus anymore?

Who can know, right?

But a dear friend, one with whom I share quite a history and about whom I care very deeply, recently posed some questions to me and I promised him some answers. It’s just hard.

Why? Because I’m not sure how these unknown readers will react. To some of my friends who ran in the same Jesus-y circle, I’ve ceased to be who I am and instead have become another soul to save, another lost little lamb to rescue. For the record, and before I get into this stuff, the people who see me in this way do so with much love. They love me and therefore want me to be with God for eternity. And according to Christian beliefs, my view of religion now most likely will not allow this.

A bit of background: 10 years ago, I joined a Christian sorority called Sigma Phi Lambda (Sisters for the Lord). I donned my pretty pink t-shirt with the Bible verse, threw on a matchy matchy pretty pink bandana, and dove full-force into the Christian Bubble at A&M. It was a game and I was a fast learner. I knew the right people, prayed the right prayers, sang the right songs, and felt convicted about the popular things. It wasn’t real. I wasn’t real. And it nearly killed me.

Hear me on one thing and then I will honestly answer the questions. I am not questioning the authenticity of any of the people who ran in this bubble with me. You can never know what someone truly believes. I just know that *I* wasn’t real, that I lied about praying for others, that I pretended to follow God, when really I was running screaming from God because I didn’t like what I was learning. Something deep down wasn’t agreeing with it. And if I’d admitted that to myself? If I’d allowed myself to voice my questions out loud? Then I was a sham. I was a fake and a sham and I couldn’t handle that. So I continued the charade until I dropped out of school a few years later and was on my own for the first time and God and I faced off.

So here are the questions I was asked by my friend:

1) What made you change your view on God?

2) You mentioned that your personal belief in God allowed you to live with homosexuality not being a choice and that you are praying to God for change in our country. Is your God still the God of The Bible or a different God?

3) Who, now, would you say that Jesus is?

These are good questions. These are questions that have been in my mind for the two months since he asked them. And now, I’ll them my best shot.

1) What made you change your view on God?
This is a great question with a fairly simple answer: honesty. I’d been lying for so long and telling myself that I believed everything everyone around me said. Meanwhile, I was breaking down emotionally and mentally. My family was falling apart. I left College Station and came home to hibernate and help my mother. For the first time, I allowed myself to be angry with God which is funny because the things going on around me had zero to do with religion and everything to do with myself. I didn’t know who I was and I couldn’t make any decisions, let alone about something as lasting as God, until I knew who I was.

So I fought my way out of the pit and faced the life around me and made my own decisions. And that’s what changed my view on God.

2) You mentioned that your personal belief in God allowed you to live with homosexuality not being a choice and that you are praying to God for change in our country. Is your God still the God of the Bible or a different God?
The God of the Bible or another God…that’s a lot of math and a lot of deities. I don’t know, truthfully. I find myself (and always have been) drawn to the Old Testament. For some reason, it always seemed more real to me. But I don’t think I believe the Bible to be literally the word of God. I believe it to be a collection of teachings passed on through many generations. And the New Testament? I’m not sure.

But I do believe God is the same; we just see him differently depending on our own interpretation. I believe the God I believe in is the same God of the Hindu religion. I believe in many interpretations, many ways of relating to the same God. This is not meant to be disrespectful; this is just what I believe about God. I’ll get into this more in the next question.

3) Who, now, would you say that Jesus is?
Oh, Christ. (Hehehee. Couldn’t help myself.) Jesus, yes. Here’s my thing with Jesus, and the reason I am no longer a Christian. To be a Christian, you must believe in the teachings of Jesus. And for the most part, I can. I can get behind the exultation to feed the hungry and help those in poverty. The man made a lot of sense. I just can’t believe in One Path Salvation.

I believe in God as the creator of the universe and humanity. And I believe he cares about his creation, cares in such a deep way that my human understanding can not even comprehend it. I’ve come away from my time with God with the belief that he is fiercely protective of his creation and, as a result of such protectiveness, has supplied the humanity with free will. Now, Christianity teaches that we have free will. But Christianity also teaches One Path Salvation, which is basically saying we all come to a point where we have to decide to use our free will to believe in Jesus as the Son of God and the way to eternal glory. I feel as though that’s a gross contradiction. Free will (true free will) and One Path Salvation don’t go together; they are like trying to push together similar ends of a magnet; they repel. When you apply One Path Salvation to free will, you get free will with strings. I can’t believe in that. And I don’t believe this is the God that I’ve come to know. Why would he make us all so different if he wanted us to reach the same conclusion, if he wanted us to be the same? For me, personally, this is not the God in whom I believe.

And if I’m wrong? If God truly did create free will with strings? I don’t want to believe in that god. And if the consequence of my choice is eternal separation from God (which I don’t believe in either), then I’m truly fine with that, as I don’t want to spend eternity with a god that cruel.

So there you have it. My long overdue answers to some very good questions.

Again, these are the beliefs of one girl. But I fought like hell to find something I could believe in for myself.

Here’s the thing that spurs me on in my studies of other religions and other ways to see God: There was an ancient Jewish teacher called Hillel. When asked by a non-Jew to relate all the Torah had to say while standing on one foot, Hillel replied, “Do not unto your neighbor what you would not have him do unto you; this is the whole Law; the rest is commentary. Now go study.”

I believe this. The rest is commentary and I’m studying that.