I received an electronic letter which was not addressed to me, but forwarded to me at the behest of the author.  As I began to write a response which I quickly realized was doomed to become a series of responses written over many days, I also perceived that his questions often were ones with which I had grappled, and with which others had grappled, and I dared to presume that if my answers were of any help to him, they might also be of help to others.  Thus I have created a series of web pages based on my answers to his letter.

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 I have also included his letter here as a starting point.  However, I have edited it.  He wrote it with passion, not with care for spelling and grammar; and all of a single piece, not divided into easily understood sections.  I have taken the liberty to correct his typos and occasionally his spelling, and to break it into manageable units.  From this page, you can read the entire letter, and click on the star in front of any paragraph to reach the page on which that material is repeated and answered.  I also removed all personal references to him and his circumstances, and to the intermediary through which this came, save as they were relevant to the question, and to remove language which might have been offensive to some of my readers (done without judgment on his use, but in part because I am uncomfortable using such language).

Here, then, is his letter:

  Well, I am procrastinating, and I need a good reason to not work. You are it. Here are some mindless brain ramblings. asfask asred9i l;jh[oif asdfg jlijfdtgge et asdggiuj[;; ewwetishgd okjigdk I have been speaking in tongues, if you were real religious like me you would have understood it. Isn't it strange to think that God has so much time to waste that he can just make up special languages for special people that no one else can understand. It doesn't matter that God is all inclusive and all encompassing and if he said something to us we would all understand it no matter what language you speak. Why would God want to say something to only special people instead of all of us. Doesn't it seem reasonable then that if you are speaking a special language - maybe it isn't God talking through you as much as it is you filling the desire to be special and separate from everyone else? What better way to say "hey - I'm better than you" than to say "God speaks a special language to me and not you"?

  I hate people who are holier-than-thou. That is the whole point of Jesus' teachings - we are all the same in God's eyes - God is no respecter of persons. Can I get an Amen?? Just read the red letters of the New Testament. Don't read the other stuff that other people said. Did it ever occur to you that (as Mark will attest) the Bible was compiled many years after the individual texts were written? These texts were compiled by a bunch of people who felt that they were at the top of the religious food chain. (And we all know what the bible says about people who think they are at the top of anything.) Apparently they took all of the religious texts that they could find and weeded out the unimportant ones and the ones that they didn't agree with and came up with the basic text that all Christian religions are to follow. Who were these people? Who guided them? Does God come down now and guide you to do your day to day tasks? Why would he then? Why did these people feel the need to edit the religious texts? Why did they include the "begats"? Do they have some meaning that I don't understand?
  Why do most hard core religious zealots believe that drinking booze is a sin if the first miracle that Jesus performed was to turn water into wine. (Don't give me that grape-juice nonsense because I don't believe it. The writer meant wine.)
  If heaven is an exclusive establishment that only keeps a few thousand or a few million of the "right thinking" people that every religion seems to have, why did God bother creating us - if he was only going to banish us all (the other billions of people who don't follow the major exclusive religions) to hell? Wouldn't that just emotionally kill God to see the vast overwhelming majority of his creation burn for eternity in hell? For that matter will he send any of us to hell if he loves us, why would he send anyone to hell? Is there a hell or did religion create that concept to modify behavior?
  I have so many questions but no answers.
  Don't shut me off by telling me to go talk to my pastor, he hasn't had an original thought in his life. He seems to have always led a religious untested life, and just doesn't seem to understand what questioning your religion is about. Don't tell me that I just have to have faith and believe all of the discrepancies of the bible are mysteries that will be revealed later, they are mistakes that men wrote. Men wrote the texts and men edited. The only thing that you can believe is what's in the red letters. Can you believe them? Men wrote them from their memories many years later. I don't remember what my friends said last week.
  Why would a God who is constant and never changing make a world that science can figure out, but make a religion of divine mysteries that we just have to have faith to believe, but no proof? The basic principles of the bible - love one another, don't drink to excess, do unto others, and such are wonderful, and I believe that they came from God, but the stuff about killing children who are rebellious....(It's in there. Why can you pick and choose what you are going to do out of the bible? Who are these religious leaders who can say that the old testament is figurative and we don't have to follow every word exactly, but some of it we do have to follow, O.K. then who chooses what biblical texts are literal and what ones are figurative?) Why did God allow the editors to put that stuff in the bible about Levitical law (don't eat pork, don't lie with a bleeding woman, etc.) if we weren't supposed to follow it? If God had put it in there he would have wanted us to follow it. Did the constant God, creator, Father of us all really invent a religion of errors and discrepancies?
  He made us a perfect world that works according to physical laws that we can understand - wouldn't he also make a religion that anyone can understand? ANYONE CAN UNDERSTAND ANYONE CAN UNDERSTAND. Why is it that only religious leaders claim to understand it? Why do you have to go to seminary to understand it? Doesn't he love us all? Doesn't he treat us all the same? Doesn't he want us all to know Him? Why did he create a confusing religion? Did he create a confusing religion?
  Why did he only come down in the flesh and talk to people 2 to 8 thousand years ago? If he treats us all the same why doesn't he come down and talk to us now? Why does he make me rely on men to explain it all to me? GOD - COME DOWN AND EXPLAIN IT ALL TO ME !!!!!!! IT JUST DOESN'T MAKE SENSE!!!!! IT ALL MUST HAVE BEEN GARBAGE. IT'S ALL BASED ON PEOPLE WHO CLAIM TO HAVE TALKED TO GOD, BUT HE DIDN'T COME AND TALK TO ME!! HE SHOULD TREAT EVERYONE THE SAME. HE'S GOD FOR GOD'S SAKE!!!!!!!! The above blind ramblings (or free writing as we called it in college) are not meant to shake your firm belief in religion. they are not meant to offend you, I envy you. you believe your religion. you know what you believe. you are comfortable in your faith. I just don't understand it all. I really didn't start out to write out this, I just wanted to send you a note and talk for a while, but these things have been on my mind for a long time and they are making me mad because I can't talk to anyone about it. I don't trust religious leaders and preachers because they are going to steer me to their religion, and I was turned off by you when I mentioned some of these thoughts in passing, and I am closest to someone who is not on the level of development where you question these things. I can't talk to her about much of anything deep and you are the only person I can open up to and I know you can't turn this off and stop reading it because it is very long and doesn't have any paragraph indentations or follow too many rules of grammar, and your curiosity has gotten the best of you. No I didn't get all this from the book someone gave me - they were in my head already. You understand my ramblings. Show this to Mark when he has time. I want his input also. Don't give me any of that "you just have to believe it all" nonsense. I don't believe it all. That's my problem. Well, where did all that come from? I feel better already. I'm almost ready to go deal with my life. Thanks for letting me vent.

  PS, I am not trying to be blasphemous (however you spell it.). God understands this and is not going to strike me with lightening. I really want to talk to him. People in the old testament did it and he should treat us all the same.  Bye.

Well, that's it.  Read the answers, too (by clicking on the stars or start here and follow the links at the page bottoms)--they're the part I wrote.

Return to the Difficult Questions index.

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