The first step if you want to start over with Christianity is that you have to put out of your mind everything you’ve heard about Christianity. All the beliefs you grew up with, all the things you’ve always heard about God, all the things the preachers and the Christian authors and the evangelists say, you’ve got to put all that out of your mind.
You’ve got to start with a blank slate.
The second step is to not try to harmonize Christianity with 1950’s science. This will actually be the hardest step for most people. The fact is that you cannot have religion, whether Christianity or any other religion, unless you are willing to at least consider that there is more than just the physical realm.
If you take the view of 1950’s science and believe nothing exists that’s not made up of protons, neutrons, and electrons, you might as well forget about religion. In order to have any kind of Christianity, you have to be willing to believe in the existence of something behind the physical realm, beyond the physical realm, in another dimension, or however you want to say it.
The very basis of religion itself, of whatever kind, is the belief that there is “something else,” the belief that what we can see, sense, and understand is not all there is. It doesn’t matter what you might call this “something else.” You might call it the “heavenly realm,” the “spiritual realm,” “another dimension,” “the realm beyond,” or whatever. But whatever you want to call it, you have to be willing to consider that there is more.
If you’re stuck in 1950’s science and believe nothing exists that is not made up of protons, neutrons, and electrons, there is no other choice but to see life as nothing but a set of meaningless coincidences. There is no purpose, no meaning, no direction to anything. It’s all meaningless chance occurrences.
If that’s how you want to live your life, that’s OK. But just realize the despair of meaninglessness you are consigning your life to if you take that philosophy.
But I’m going to assume you don’t want to see life as a set of meaningless chance occurrences. So I’m going to assume you’ll let yourself be open, even if just a little bit, to the possibility that there is more to things than 1950’s science says there is.
So if you can clear the slate of all you’ve been told about Christianity, and if you can open yourself to the possibility that behind the physical universe lies “something else,” here’s the next step to starting over with Christianity.
You have to realize that Christianity will not answer all your questions. Sometimes people have the idea that religion, whether it be Christianity or any other religion, will have a set of explanations that answer all questions. Everything will be lined out in simple terms so that you can understand everything and have all your questions answered.
That’s not going to happen. By its very nature, religion talks about the “something else.” Whatever this “something else” is, it lies beyond here. It is outside of our experience, comprehension, and perception. For that reason, it will always, at least to some extent, remain a mystery. We will be able to talk about it and think about it only in approximate terms. We will be limited to human understanding of something that is beyond human understanding.
Now of course, Christianity has not always presented it like this. I’ve heard Christians say that the Bible has the answers to all questions. But remember, we’re wiping the slate clean as far as “what we’ve always heard” is concerned. So we’re going to forget the idea that Christianity can answer all questions.
You will never understand completely. You will never have all your questions answered. The most I can promise you is a journey toward understanding. You’ll never quite get there, but you’ll make progress along the way. As you move forward in the journey, you’ll find out that you understand some things better. But of course, you’ll also find out that you have even more questions.
But that’s what makes a journey so fun and interesting. There’s something new around every bend. Just when you think you’ve seen it all, you see something new.
Christianity is not a destination you reach. It’s a journey you’ll be on for the rest of your life here on earth.