I am a believer in Christ, with a lot of doubts! It started with a powerful conversion experience in the late seventies that led to studies in a post graduate seminary and upon completion to twenty years as a Baptist pastor. My convictions were firm and sincere throughout this period. I was Liberal (I was a sailor as well for quite a few years
) and not the typical fun denying, hell fire and brimstone type, something I am happy about to this day. Looking back, I don't think my preaching did any obvious harm! LOL
I also did not believe in the inerrancy of the Bible. There were obvious mistakes that could not be explained away, so I stuck with the New Testament only (well, except for some Psalms, and Isaiah 53.) Quite frankly the God of the Old Testament was too human for me, petulant, capricious, toying with poor Job, regretting things He had done. There was a branch of Christianity in the fifth century A.D. that only wanted the New Testament as their Scriptures. I wish they had succeeded. Having said that, I might be proven wrong down the road when I finally meet my Maker!!!
I have always blamed all the misery we are facing, and having faced throughout our recorded history, on having been given free will! God does not want robots but people who will freely make up their minds: good or bad, you choose!! But after a while, sadly, the closeness to God, the awareness of His presence slowly faded away. Now I am clinging to the knowledge that my conversion experience was real. THAT THERE IS SOMEONE THERE WHO CARES!
Here is my proof (You don't have to believe it, I sympathize, I was a militant atheist):
During a depressed period in my life I cried out one night "God if you are there, help me!" And found myself unexpectedly in a sea of light, experiencing pure love and a joy I had never known before. When I told my brother some time later what had happened, he grinned: "Psychiatrists have a word for people like you!" But here is the clincher, my present anchor to my weak faith:
I was actually guided to a passage in the book of James, which turned out to be very pertinent to my prolonged experience of God, and I had never held a Bible in my hands before. My wife had to scramble for hers so we could check things out. But now, years later, I still believe but, like so many others, I have seen so many things that disturb me deeply, that I frequently cry out "God where are you?" And my daily prayer: "God I believe, help Thou my unbelief!"
Apologies for taking up so much of your time!