Grace and Peace!
I am going to reply inside of your letter. At the end, I will add a few things.
From: E SE NADA DISSO FOR VERDADE?
Sent: domingo, 18 de julho de 2004 21:12
Subject: E QUANDO A GENTE NÃO CONSEGUE CRER? (WHAT TO DO WHEN WE CAN’T BELIEVE?)
I have read your replies to the letters and I am surprised to see that you always have something to say when answering apparently unanswerable questions without judging, without “breaking the bruised reed”.
That is why I am going to ask you the following personal questions, which I am ashamed of asking any other pastor or anybody else. They are probably unimportant to the “world”, but unthinkable if coming from the mouth of someone “born and raised in the church”, with a large experience in the music and teaching (!) ministries… a “pillar” of the church, you see? Such people have no right to doubts, not doubts like mine… (staring at the screen, plucking up the courage to write…)
— What if the Truth is not the truth?
Answer: You already know that religion is not the Truth, as you have lived by religion so far. In order to know the Truth you have to dive headfirst into trust. This, mind you, is not a reason-based experience. Reason may lead you to the pride that says “Christianism” is a superior religion to all other ones. Then, to your liking, limited to the geography, time, space, and religious culture in which you were born, you will follow the path of true pride, thinking that you are following the right religion. But if you want to know the Truth, Jesus said that this is only possible by doing the Father’s will, that is, to have Trust. Jesus taught that the Truth is only the truth if it produces life in us. After we dive into Trust, doubts are history. In that day you are filled with God to such a point that no questions are left. Therefore, don’t expect me to give you “proof” of the Truth. What I have to say is that the Truth must be experienced, and this only happens after we jump into faith. Before that, everything is a mere intellectual and reason-based self-deceit, not to mention that no one lives by the right doctrine, but by Life only.
— What if the Bible is not the Word?
Answer: It is easy to know. If the Bible is, to us, a book to be studied, then it will never be the Word. But if we give ourselves over to the Word, by faith, then the Bible will start to reveal us the Word. But everything starts by and in faith. Without faith it is impossible to hear the Word. The Spirit makes our heart burn with faith, and the Word feeds our faith along the Way.
— What if the Word does not exist?
Answer: The Word is. I am filled with it. In fact, I am overflowing with it. It may not exist to you yet. After all, the Word is not a subject of study; it is a Path of Trust in Jesus. Everyone who tastes it learns that it is True.
— What if God does not exist?
Answer: I can’t help you with this either. The “proofs of God’s existence” are blasphemous. God is, and He revealed Himself to me in Christ. But I cannot prove Him to you. I can only say I know Him and He is a living God. To me it is easier to think that I am not than to conceive that He is not.
— What if the Way exists but it is not this one?
Answer: Which one? “Christianism”? Well, this is not the Way; it is only a fixed road. The Way is, and I walk in it every day. But, as I said, it has nothing to do with the religion of God or the right faith. God is only seeking worshipers who worship Him in spirit and truth. Wherever he finds such a heart, there He will build His dwelling place. Then the Way will come to be for this person. That is, we only get to know it after we dive into faith.
— Why does my religion have the truth and the other ones don’t?
Answer: Your religion has truths and deceits just like the other ones. Christianism does not save anybody. When I talk about Truth, please understand that I am definitely not talking about any religions or philosophies; I am talking about Jesus only. Jesus reveals Himself to whomever He wants to, in spite of the Christian arrogance that thinks that if I do not speak God is mute. When many come from the east, west, north, and south, and “take their places at the feast”—while the children of the religious arrogance will stand outside—, then you will see clearly that Jesus is the Savior of the world, not Christians only.
— Why this thirst, which seems to be quenched at my prayer time (yes, I pray), and looks absurd when the thoughts flow on the loose and I can’t stop the questions?
Answer: Because your heart cannot take religion anymore; it cannot bear the self-deceit any longer. Then it begs you to dive headfirst in Jesus instead of keeping playing at the drinking fountain of religion.
— Why this love (yes, I love) for God and this inability to resist to any question that challenges Him in me?
Answer: Because you still think that God needs to be defended. But He can defend Himself. Be calm when you cannot answer. God speaks of Himself through many ways and manners. God’s challenge in your life does not have to come from other people’s questions; it needs to become the challenge of faith He Himself puts to you in order that you believe and give yourself over in faith.
— I am more ashamed of these ideas than I would be if I sinned “more popular” sins.
Answer: There is no need to be ashamed. Most Christians live just like this; only they are afraid of admitting. Christians are so frail, are scandalized so often and fear questions so much simply because they have not known God, just religion. And if the point is religion for religion’s sake, Christianism is just one more.
— I have read in a study Bible about the blasphemy against the Holy Spirit. It says this only happens to people who get colder and colder, saddening the Holy Spirit and gradually walking away from His influence. Eventually, nothing else is left, and you can commit the unforgivable sin due to an absolute contempt for forgiveness.
Answer: Religion does that. It deprives you of your life with God, leading you to read the Scripture against yourself. Well, first let me tell you that you are like that because this god of yours is not trustworthy. He is very bad. He can make someone who has not known him as an experience in life get colder and colder, and, maybe, even gradually commit the sin against the Holy Spirit. Enough of that, my dear friend! God is good, and He only wants you to know Him so your life on the earth is good. Be sure: You are not going to hell; you are just preventing yourself from delighting in God on the earth. The Good News is that we have the chance to know and delight in God starting right here, on the earth.
— I hope this won’t happen to me...
Answer: It will not. I say so with the full responsibility of a person who knows God and knows how He loves all His children!
I hope you have something to tell me.
You are going through the blessed crisis of everyone who gets to a point in life where religion no longer helps. Your soul is looking for a relationship with God. You will have one if you leave behind all the disorders and insecurities of the religion of judgment and blameful moralism and dive headfirst into God’s love.
However, no “proofs” can be given you beforehand. With God, it happens if we believe. Those who believe are rewarded. Those who do not will live in great fear and insecurity. Believe and you will see that this is the Truth, because you will personally taste it. That is all I have to say to you.
My affection and prayers go to you.
In Him, in whom every doubt elevates us to higher floors,
Translated by F. R. Castelo Branco | September 2007
From the original “E SE NADA DISSO FOR VERDADE?”