Life is hard. Bad things happen. Children get murdered. People get sick with horrible diseases and die. People die in natural disasters and accidents. Some people are plagued with health problems all their life. People starve to death. People die of exposure to cold.
Sorrow and heartache are a part of life. Disappointments, grief, loneliness, and feelings of despair are part of life. Time flies so fast.
Why is life like this? Why are things the way they are?
That’s what Christianity addresses. The Christianity we’re used to hearing, though, doesn’t address it well. The Christianity we’ve always heard has been sidetracked.
That’s why we need to forget “the Christianity we’ve always heard” and go another route. We need to look at a different perspective on Christianity.
Maybe Christianity is not the problem. Maybe what church and organized Christianity have made out of Christianity is the problem.
Let’s think about a man named Levi. Levi grew up attending church every Sunday with his parents. As an adult, he and his wife were in church every Sunday. They took their daughters to church. They worked in Sunday School and took part in other church activities. In middle age, Levi was diagnosed with a debilitating, progressive disease. He gradually lost the ability to do just about everything. He couldn’t walk, he couldn’t feed himself, his speech slurred. After about 10 years, he died.
By the time Levi died, he hated God. Why? Because God had not lived up to His part of the bargain. All his life, Levi had been told that God controls everything. Nothing happens that God does not cause to happen. Levi had been told that God has the power to do anything. There is nothing God can’t do. Levi had also been told that God blesses and gives a good life to those who please Him.
Levi had certainly tried to live a good life. He had been active in church, had raised his daughters in a Christian home. He had avoided all the “sins” he was told to avoid. He didn’t drink, had never had sex with any woman other than his wife, didn’t cuss, didn’t play cards or dance, had never stolen anything. He had been honest in his dealings with people. He was a respected member of the community. He was nice to people and tried to help those in need whenever he could. Levi had lived a good life.
So why had God given him this disease? It just wasn’t fair. He had lived up to his part of the bargain, but God didn’t live up to His part.
Levi sat in his house day after day, unable to walk, unable to see well enough to read or watch TV, unable to talk clearly enough to talk on the telephone. He and his wife were struggling financially, since he was no longer able to work. He thought about all the people he knew who God had blessed. They had high-paying jobs, nice houses, wonderful lives. They had the good life. God had certainly blessed them, but God had not blessed him. He was bitter.
One day a guy he had gone to high school with stopped by to see him. Levi told him how God had given him a raw deal and how he couldn’t understand it. Why had God sent this disease on him? Why did God heal other people but not him? Why did God bless other people but not him? He told his friend how much he now hated God. After all, how could you not hate a God who has sent this on you, a God who could heal you in an instant but won’t?
His friend replied, “Levi, maybe the problem is not God. May the problem is what you’ve been told about God. Maybe the things you’ve always been told about God are not true.”
Levi couldn’t bring himself to even consider that. After all, what he believed is what he had always heard in church, what all the preachers say, what all the popular Christian authors say. Even the big-name evangelists who get invited to the White House say it. How could it be wrong, when it’s what everybody in Christianity agrees on?
Levi could never bring himself to consider, even for a moment, that what he had always been told about God was wrong.
And so he stayed mad at God. When he died, he was mad at God, mad at the world, and disillusioned with everything.
There are millions of people like Levi—people whose lives have been ruined by organized Christianity. There are millions more who have gotten sick and tired of organized Christianity and have walked away. But what have they walked away to? A life that has no meaning, no purpose, no sense of direction.
Why not take a chance and start over with Christianity?