When You Run Out Of Excuses

I believed in Jesus for a long time. I loved God and I longed for an eternity with him. I praised him day and night and I thanked him repeatedly for all that he had done in my life. I was every bit the Christian I set out to be. Not perfect, but ready, willing and able to do the Lord’s work. I accepted the stories I read in the Bible and I shared them with others in hopes that I could reach at least one more person and bring them to Christ. Now I speak out against such things. So what happened to me? What made me leave it all behind? Five simple words: I ran out of excuses.

I was reading some of the stories on the Clergy Project‘s website tonight. For those of you who don’t know, the Clergy Project is a nonprofit organization that was formed to help support current and former leaders of religion. The Clergy Project helps people transition from a life of religion to a life without it through monetary means, therapy and job placement. It is a worthy cause and you should check it out if you get the chance.

One story that stood out to me was the story of Michal Pleban. Michal was a pastor in a Pentecostal church. His story stood out to me because I felt like I was reading my own story, except for the pastor part of course. Here are a few small excerpts from his story on http://www.clergyproject.org :

…”Why did I stop believing in God? The shortest answer would be that I ran out of excuses for him…”

Speaking of his faith in Christianity, he said:

“It is full of promises about what God is supposed to do for you, both in this life and in the next. He will answer your prayers. He will guide you. He will protect you. He will give you wisdom, strength and an abundance of everything that you will ever need. All of these promises are more or less directly derived from the Bible, which is treated as inspired and literally infallible. But when you live this kind of life for a few years, you start noticing that more often than not, these promises fail to materialize.”

“Some excuses are found in the Bible itself. Even more are just passed around in countless sermons and other elements of Christian culture. God will answer your prayers? Sure, except when he won’t because you don’t have enough faith. Or because they are not consistent with his will. Or because his perfect time hasn’t happened yet. Or because you have selfish motives for praying. Or because of countless other reasons, often made up on the spot. God will protect you from evil? Sure, except when he won’t because he wants to teach you a lesson. Or because he has different plans for you and you just don’t understand them. God will heal the sick, feed the hungry, save the lost? Sure, except when he won’t. The fine print keeps accumulating, up to the point when you are not really sure what to expect anymore.”

If you are interested in reading the whole story, you can find it here.

I just wanted to share a bit of someone else’s story to explain why I share my own story. I share because I want people to know that their feelings are normal and that they are not alone. I found this one story out of countless others written by former Christians that mirrored my own. It is comforting to know that others have been through what we’ve been through and that even though leaving religion is a struggle at times, there is still a lot of good life to live ahead of us.

If you find that you have to make excuses for God, maybe it’s time to figure out why. Why do you have to explain the reason prayers are unanswered when the Bible says they will be? Why do you have to have to make excuses for Jesus not coming back “soon” as he said he would? Why do you have to make excuses for why innocent people suffer and die, children go hungry and why there is no evidence to back up the claims of the existence of a God who is supposedly everywhere?

Stop making excuses and start making sense of the world around you. Stop trying to figure out why biblical promises go unfulfilled. Stop labeling perfectly normal human nature as a sin against God. Start living your life in a manner that gives you joy and brings joy to others. Don’t tear people down with words from a book. If the story you have been believing in has fine print that constantly changes to make new excuses for each and every situation, it’s not a fine story after all. Instead of immersing yourself in a story of endless excuses, write your own story and add to it each and every day, the words of your own choosing. The stories of our lives are much more beautiful when we create them for ourselves.

13 thoughts on “When You Run Out Of Excuses

  1. “I ran out of excuses for him.” Wow, what an excellent way to put it. That seems to be mostly what religion does these days, make excuses, rationalize, engage in mind numbingly bizarre twists of logic to try to come up with reasons for god not doing what he himself says he’ll do in the scriptures.

    Liked by 6 people

    1. Excuses are plentiful. Fulfilled biblical promises? Not so much. Is it really that hard to admit when you are wrong? I know it’s hard at first when you’ve believed for so long, but those doubts you’ve had all along were there for a reason.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. There is a great deal of grasping at straws to support the worldview chosen. I had a loved one in hospital recently who had several setbacks and rallied from those to finally get home from the hospital. All of the people in her prayer group attribute her successful treatment to the prayers. Not the doctors, the nurse, not Medicare which paid for the bulk of the hospital stay, not the training programs that create these medical professionals … it was the prayers that did the job! I daren’t ask them what evil forces caused the setbacks!

    I do note that this promoted helplessness promotes a “god bails us out” mentality that raises the standing of the religion in its community, a totally shameless program of taking credit for other’s work.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. I’ve talked about this before how we are supposed to give all the credit to God even when we know we did it all ourselves. It totally diminishes the hard work good people do. I’ll say this about how I view religion again:

      “The church takes the cash and God takes the credit.”

      Liked by 2 people

  3. How are we supposed to tell the difference between the mysterious ways in which God is said to work, and pure chance itself, when the results look exactly the same?

    The ex-pastor’s story pretty much illustrates that conundrum. It’s nice to hear positive stories of people moving on from their former errant ways.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. There is no way to tell the difference. The only way would be for God to reveal himself. But that would take away the mystery and eliminate the need for faith. If you take away faith, the whole system collapses. We can’t have that. If all the churches shut their doors, where would people go to empty their wallets?

      The ex-pastor’s story is refreshing. It’s a perfect example of showing the grip religion has on people but it also encourages at the same time by showing that brainwashing is reversible.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. Is this why the concept of free will was invented and developed, do you think? to allow for the obvious lack of evidence for an interventionist god, or one who cloaks himself in such secrecy as to be essentially undetectable?

    In other words, what looks like a gaping weakness — absence of evidence — is spun in such a way as to appear like some sort of charitable, divinely-granted gift: the gift of free will, entirely up to you whether you want to accept it or not ( though woe betide! there will be consequences).

    I don’t want to bog us down in a discussion of free will — it’s too complex, and not really germane to the topic at hand — but still: just broadly speaking, the history of the church, and theology, and apologetics looks suspiciously like a long, elaborate exercise in covering up for an obstinate omission — a fundamental void — at the center of the Abrahamic faiths.

    Atheist: “Let’s go.”
    Theist: “We can’t.”
    Atheist; “Why not?”
    Theist: “We’re waiting for God.”
    Atheist: “Oh…”

    — apologies to Samuel Beckett

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I think free will is Christianty’s ticket out of many arguments. If you ask why didn’t God do this or that, they can say “freewill” and walk away with their head held high. Maybe God let an innocent child be killed by a drunk driver because the drunk driver had free will. Maybe all the wars, diseases and unanswered prayers are the result of this person or that person’s free will. We can’t prove it isn’t, so Christians call that a win for them.

      Still, what Christians believe to be answered prayers and unanswered prayers are experienced at about the same rate as chance: 50/50. Are answered prayers the result of using our free will to praise God and unanswered ones because we chose to be sinful? Who can say?

      The truth is, there is no evidence of the existence of a god so saying God gave us free will or anything else is impossible to prove. But Christians will keep claiming there is a mountain of evidence… our sin just blinds us to it.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I’ve recommended and linked the Clergy Project more times that I can recall. The most frequent responses have usually been – ”They were never True Christians in the first place.” ( Now that is a seriously original line, don’t you think so?) and: ”Why do you hate God so much?”

    Because he’s a mean and very nasty futher mucker, you arsehole, that’s why. Haven’t you read the damn bible? Jesus H!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. It’s amazing reading the stories of Christian leaders who left the religion. You get to see real people acting like real people and see how they struggled with belief while preaching trust to the congregation.

      I probably only connect with these people because I was never a true Christian in first place either.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I do believe you are correct. The “Messiah” was, himself, a dedicated Jew. It only makes sense that we all abandon the religion he followed and instead make up our own and attach his name to it. Brilliant. No wait, not brilliant. What’s the word I’m thinking of? Oh yeah, lunacy.

        Liked by 2 people

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