Watching this at the moment.
I was 'born' into Christianity about 20 years ago.
I gave myself to it completely.
I did a Christian Doctrine course at Spurgeon's College, went into leadership, relocated from Bishop's Stortford to be part of a church planting team into Luton. Bought a Study Bible, scribbled notes all over it, led 'home groups', read countless books on faith, went to Bible conferences, did weekend courses, did street evangelism, wrote tracts, preached at churches.
Cut me and I would bleed the gospel. I was a 100% - all in.
And then - and I hesitate to write this here as this is my career, and because believe me there are tons of nutters in the world saying, "God told me to write a novel." Anyway, so I felt God tell me to write novels. I mean what the heck?
WHAT THE HECK!!???
I had literally no experience in writing. None - save from my school days. My background was in science. Space Shuttles. NASA. My only drama being Muff Potter in Tom Sayer and singing, "A MAN'S GOTTA BE (WHAT HE'S BORN TO BE)."
And that changed me.
God changed me.
I discovered as I researched about literature that most of the stuff I had given myself to before in Christianity was not what I was led to believe. I was taught that Evangelical Christianity was robust - our best theologians easily holding their own against the atheists. I could stand firm in the doctrinal truths:
God is the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
The only way to heaven is to choose to follow Jesus Christ.
Everyone else is going to hell.
We must tell the good news so people can be saved.
The Bible is God's word - it is without fault and the benchmark to keep you straying into heresy.
Well, that is just not true.
It's really not.
You can't even make a convincing case from the Bible itself - it's not that kind of book.
There is no literal hell.
God is far more mysterious than we would like.
The trinity is a human construct borrowed from pagan beliefs.
A lot of the Bible is a retelling of existing legends and myths that pre-date it.
You cannot robustly defend another position.
Does that mean I don't believe in God?
Of course not.
I'm closer to God than I ever was.
What it does mean, and where I find God has taken me, is to a place where I get unfriended on facebook. I get mostly silence to articles I write. People copy and paste scripture into the comments to show me the 'truth.'
Mainly silence though.
Because to many of my Christian friends on facebook I have deviated from the accepted path. I'm a heretic. I'm dangerous. I have probably had some kind of mental breakdown.
I never really understood.
I'm in the arts - I'm flaky, unreliable.
Why am I writing this?
I don't really know.
Inside I want to say to those people, well screw you.
But I still love them. I was one of them.
And you know people can believe what they want.
And maybe if I hadn't spent 20 years in Evangelical Christianity, I wouldn't be where I am today. Maybe my fiction would be shit. You can't take all the bad stuff out of your life and then expect to be a good writer.
But you know.
It's fine to believe what you want - believe in pixies at the bottom of the garden for all I care, but if you are pulling people into an institutional and doctrinal relationship with God - just make sure you check your heart first