I remember one day as I was sitting in church our pastor made the suggestion that we all read the bible in its entirety at least once in our lifetime; the purpose of it was so that we as Christians can see Gods plans as they unfolded throughout time. I took this challenge on very seriously, and when I finally got around to doing it what I discovered shocked me. I believed in a god who was our creator, who loved us intensely, who took care of us, that guided us in the spirit as well as in our everyday lives, but that was not the god I found in the bible. The O.T. God was cruel and evil in so many ways, he was unforgiving and even tyrannical. It even said in Genesis 6: 6-7 'And it repented the Lord that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart. And the Lord said I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth me that I have made them.' (KJV)
Upon learning about this and other cruelties that the Lord of the O.T. had perpetrated against mankind I began to have questions as to his judgment, I found this biblical deity to be more and more evil as opposed to the benevolent God I thought I worshiped. Then in the N.T. I discovered that he had changed his attitude and his tone, but at the same time the evil was even greater, for the O.T. God just smote you dead and that was it but this N.T. God was not content with just taking your life. This God wanted you to suffer eternally in a place called the lake of fire or hell Matthew 10:28. And what was the crime? The crime was for simply not believing or accepting his sacrificing of himself or his son on the cross. So no matter what kind of life you lived whether you kept the ten commandments to the best of your ability and helped out those in need, according to this deity you were hell bound no matter what. The only way out was to submit your will to his and accept his sacrifice as the only true way to salvation.
The second thing that made me doubt the existence of God was the miraculous aspects of the ministry. I was sitting at home one day watching a documentary on world religions and I came across a ritual that was practiced in India where these young girls did a dance supposedly under the influence of a spirit of a snake. It looked a lot like Christians who were supposedly dancing under the influence of the Holy Spirit. I began to wonder if it was all mental, if there was some kind of correlation between hypnosis and what I was seeing and experiencing in the church myself. I began to read books on therapeutic hypnosis and also its counterpart the entertainment version of hypnosis, I discovered that many of the methods hypnotists use on their patients or participants were the same as the ones used in the church. You had the loud music, the inspirational preaching, the hyped up emotions, and auto suggestion. When a preacher told a congregation that the Spirit of the Lord was about to be unleashed in a wave of blessings upon the congregation and he did a countdown the entire congregation would go into a frenzy. Speaking in tongues, passing out, dancing in the Spirit etc. would all happen at once, I must admit that I was genuinely afraid for the way I was thinking because I did not want to commit the ultimate sin of blaspheming of the Holy Spirit which Jesus said was the only unforgivable sin in Matthew 12:31.
I kept praying to God to show me a sign that my way of thinking was not wrong and that he would guide me in this venture to find out the truth, and ironically I came across a book written by a minister that at the time I felt I could have written myself. It was a book entitled 'Charismatic Chaos' by John MacArthur once I saw this book on the shelf at my christian book store the very title blew me away and spoke volumes to me. I read the cover and decided to buy the book, what I read in there confirmed all of my thoughts and emotions regarding the so called gifts of the spirit and its manifestation in the church. I was so impressed with this book that I wrote its author and he replied about a month later with a list of churches he was affiliated with in my area, I never attended any of those churches. I took it as a sign from God that I had to seek another church that did not emphasize the gifts of the spirit. I began doubting myself and my ministry and could not go on preaching one thing and believing another so I kept it up for a little longer and then I changed to another church.
There was one more thing that happened to me in the church that ultimately was the straw that broke the camels back for me. I was so angry that I left the church once and for all and it has now been 16 years and I have never gone back nor do I feel the need to do so. I honestly feel sorry for those that are still trapped in the delusion that is the belief in God, miracles, and the holy spirit.